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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 350, December 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 350, December 1844" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

generously made available by The Internet Library of Early




  The Scottish Banking System,                                    671

  The Milkman of Walworth,                                        687

  Injured Ireland,                                                701

  Singular Passages in the Life of a Russian Officer,             713

  Traditions and Tales of Upper Lusatia. No IV. The Moor Maiden,  726

  "That's What We Are,"                                           741

  Edmund Burke,                                                   745

  My College Friends. No. II. John Brown,                         763

  Nelson's Despatches and Letters,                                775

  Guizot,                                                         786


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




  No. CCCL.    DECEMBER, 1844.   Vol. LVI.


When any important branch of national polity has been impeached,
arraigned, and brought to stand its trial before the bar of public
opinion, it is satisfactory to know that the subject has been
thoroughly investigated, since a searching investigation alone can
excuse a verdict, be it of acquittal or of condemnation. That no man
can be twice tried upon the same indictment, is a proud boast of the
British constitution. It would be well if the same rule were always
applied when mightier interests than those of individuals are at

It is just eighteen years ago since a ministry, feeble in practice,
but strong in speculative theory, ventured to put forth its hand
against the monetary system of Scotland, under shelter of which the
country had improved and thriven to a degree of prosperity never
experienced to the north of the Tweed before, and at a ratio which far
exceeded that of any other nation in Europe. In the short space of
half a century, the whole face of the country had changed. From a
bleak, barren, and dilapidated region--for such she undoubtedly was
for many years subsequent to the last rebellion of 1745--Scotland
became, with the shortest possible transition, a favourite land of
husbandry. Mosses and muirs, which, at all events since the forgotten
days of the Jameses, had borne no other crop than rugged bent or
stubborn heather, were subjected to the discipline of the plough, and
produced a golden harvest of grain. Woods sprang up as if by magic,
from the roots of the old Caledonian forest, to hide the nakedness of
the land and redeem the national reproach. The towns and
boroughs--which had never recovered from the terrible blow inflicted
upon them by the failure of the Darien scheme, in which nearly the
whole capital of Scotland was embarked, and which had lost the greater
and more valuable portion of their trade, and dwindled down into
almost hopeless insignificancy--began to revive again. New
manufactures were established, the older ones were extended; the
fisheries rose immensely in magnitude and importance; the mountainous
districts were made profitable by the breeding and export of sheep and
cattle; and even the rugged shores of the Hebrides furnished for a
time a most profitable article of commerce. All this took place in a
poor and very neglected country. England for a long time knew little
of what as going on in the north; perhaps her eyes were then riveted,
with more than the anxiety of a gamester's, upon the great stakes for
which she was contending on the red battle-fields of Europe. This much
she knew, that Scotland could produce in time of need--ay, and did
produce--levies of men, whose high heroic courage, steady discipline,
and daring intrepidity, were the theme even of their enemies'
admiration; and of these services she was, and is, justly and
generously proud. But of the social condition of their northern
neighbours, we repeat, the body of the English, at this period, were
singularly ignorant. We had not very long before suffered the penalty
of adherence to a fallen cause. We were considered to be still rather
too irritable and dangerous for much interference; perhaps, also, it
was thought that it might be _cheaper_ to leave us to ourselves--and,
so long as we paid our proportion of the common taxation, not to
enquire too curiously into our own domestic system of management. In
all respects, therefore, notwithstanding the war, we flourished.

Peace came; and with peace, as a matter of course, a more searching
investigation into the internal state of the country. Then, for the
first time, Scotland became a sort of marvel. Our agriculture, our
commerce, our internal resources, so strangely and quickly augmented,
attracted the attention of the politician; and the question was
speedily mooted--"How, and by what means, have so poor a nation as the
Scotch attained so singular a position?" And truly the facts were
startling, and such as might justify an enquiry. _The whole coined
money in Scotland, at the date of the Union, was known not to have
exceeded the sum of_ ONE MILLION STERLING; and a large part of this
paltry sum was necessarily hoarded, and so withdrawn from circulation,
throughout the whole period of the intestine troubles. That single
million, therefore, held the place both of that part of the wealth of
the country which is now represented by bank-notes, and also of that
which is now deposited in the hands of the bankers. Aladdin's palace,
which sprang up in one night at the bidding of the slaves of the lamp,
could scarcely have been a greater paradox to the aged Sultan, than
this increase of prosperity on the part of Scotland was to our
southern legislators. How to explain the metamorphosis seemed for a
time a mystery. One thing, at all events, was clear--that English gold
had no participation in the change. North of the Tweed, a guinea was a
suspected article, apt to be rung, and examined, and curiously
weighed, before it was received in currency, and even then accepted
with a certain reluctance. The favourite medium of circulation was
paper-notes of one pound each, of somewhat dubious complexion to the
eye of the stranger, but received and circulated by the Scottish
people with the utmost readiness and confidence. The answer to the
question was a short one--"We have prospered through OUR BANKING

It was some time--not until ten years of peace had elapsed--before any
open attack was made upon that system, which had proved, if facts can
prove any thing, the greatest imaginable boon to the nation; and
which, be it always specially remembered, did not originate with the
state, but with private individuals--upright, honourable, and
patriotic men--who better deserve a monument to their memories, were
that required, than the most successful conqueror whose march is on
humbled thrones. During that period much was done with regard to
internal relations, of which we, in common with every Scotsman who
retains one spark of patriotic feeling, most heartily disapprove. The
tendency towards centralization in London--the inevitable consequence
of the Union treaty--was not only not counteracted, as we maintain it
ought to have been, by a wise and paternal government, but forced and
hurried on by an excessive exercise of power. Every remnant of our
ancient institutions that could be rooted up, and all our local boards
with hardly one exception, were transferred to the seat of
government--regardless of the drain that was thereby made from the
proper resources of the country, and the deep heart-burnings that such
a system must necessarily create amongst a proud, observant, and
jealous, though enduring people. These things we shall not dilate
upon--though the temptation is triply strong, and we know how keenly
that subject is felt by many of the best and most loyal of the
land;--but in the mean time we shall pass over this period of gradual
humiliation, and come at once to the first great attack that was made
upon the source of all our national prosperity.

At the close of the year 1825, there arrived a period of public
distress, followed by a panic which fortunately has but rarely been
felt in this country. We attributed it then, and we attribute it now,
to an unexampled glut in the money market, which we hold to be in this
trading country the most destructive of any, saving and excepting a
glut in agricultural produce and labour; and for this very plain
reason, that a glut of money resolves itself sooner or later into a
glut of goods, thereby carrying the amount of production in the
country far beyond the amount of the consumption and demand, and so
necessarily for a time closing the door against all the outlets of
industry. But it is of very little consequence to our present purpose
how that distress was created. The effects were very grievous. In
England the panic took effect, and a run was made upon the banks for
gold; the consequence of which was, that a number of the private and
joint-stock establishments failed. In Scotland, where the distress was
certainly not less in proportion, there was not only no failure on the
part of the banks, but no run, and no diminution in the usual credits.
At this time, it is very proper to remark, that England had been
thoroughly centralized; that is, that the whole course and tendency of
its money market was to London; and indeed, for purposes of trade, the
principal circulation of the important districts of Lancashire and
others, seems to have been bills of exchange payable in London, with
from twenty to fifty endorsements on each. With us such a system was
unknown. Scotland, then as now, and we devoutly trust for ever, had
her own internal circulation, and neither took nor gave, except when
statutorily compelled, beyond the limits of her own jurisdiction.

The attention of the ministry was immediately directed to an
investigation of the cause of the general distress. This was right and
proper, and precisely what a cautious and well-meaning government
ought to do under such circumstances, in order to prevent, if
possible, the recurrence of a similar disaster. But unfortunately the
ministers of the day, though well-meaning, were any thing but
cautious. The majority of them were imbued with speculative notions of
political economy. They were disciples of a school which rejects facts
and cleaves implicitly to theory--men who threw considerations of
circumstance, time, and national characteristics aside, as prejudices
too low for even the momentary regard of a philosopher; in short, they
wished to introduce the standard of an untried rule as the _ne plus
ultra_ of human sagacity, and remorselessly to overturn every existing
institution--no matter at what sacrifice or risk--if it only seemed to
stand in the way of the operation of their darling theories.

It was easy for men so tutored and trained, to overlook the necessary
effect which fluctuation of the seasons at home and abroad must have
upon the prices of either produce, of the effect of these prices upon
manufactures, and the manifest and established fact that there is a
point when _production_ will exceed _consumption_. This state of
things it is totally beyond the power of man to remedy. The facts of
nature will always be found too strong for the theories of the
political economist; but our rulers in the plenitude of their wisdom
thought otherwise; and began to search within the social system for a
cause of that disorder, which was neither more nor less than an
epidemic, as totally beyond the reach of their prevention as if the
College of Physicians were to issue their solemn fiat--"This year
there shall be neither cholera nor fever." In searching for the cause,
however, they stumbled upon an effect which they at once adroitly
magnified into a cause. In England there had been a marked increase
during the rise in the issue of the country banks. Here was an
opportune discovery for the champions of metallic currency! and,
accordingly, the paper system was prostrated in England to make way
for its more glittering, often more slippery, and always more
expensive rival.

Scotland, in the mean time, was going on in her old and steady
footing. One and all of the banks--chartered, joint-stock, and
private--were as firm as if each had been backed by the whole weight
and responsibility of the state. Between them and the public the most
perfect confidence subsisted; and very nobly indeed, in that time of
trial and distress, did the banks behave, in maintaining credits
grievously depressed for the moment, but certain to revive with the
return of general prosperity. This mutual confidence is the great
secret of the success of the Scottish system. The banker is to the
trader as a commercial physician--sometimes restrictive, sometimes
liberal, but always a judicious friend. It is impossible to separate
the interests of the two; and as they have risen together, so, in the
event of a change, must they both equally decline. But we will not
anticipate our defence, before we have adduced the facts upon which
that defence is founded.

All at once, and without sounding any note of preparation, the
ministry announced, that after the expiry of a given season, the whole
Scottish banking system was to be changed, all paper currency under
the five-pound note abolished, and a metallic circulation introduced
and enforced. If Ben Nevis had burst forth at once in the full thunder
of volcanic eruption, we could not have been more astonished. What!
without complaint or enquiry--without the shadow of a cause shown, or
a reason assigned, except it might be that reason--to a Scotsman the
most unpalatable of all--the propriety of assimilating the
institutions of both countries; in other words, of coercing Scotland
to adopt the habit of her neighbours--to excavate the foundation-stone
of our whole prosperity, and make us the victims of a theory which,
even if sound, could not profess to give us one tittle more advantage
than the course which we had so long pursued! We believe that if the
annals of legislation were searched through, we could not find a
parallel case of such wanton and unprovoked temerity!

We said then, and we say now, with even more emphatic earnestness, it
is the curse of the age that every thing is to be managed by political
economy and philosophy, and that local knowledge is to be utterly
disregarded in the management of local interests. CENTRALIZE and
ASSIMILATE--these were the watchwords of the ministers of that day;
and for aught that we can see, Sir Robert Peel is determined to
persevere in the theory. What excuse was there, _then_, for the
attempt of any assimilation between the banking systems of the two
countries? If it had been alleged that the Scotch paper currency was
surreptitiously carried into England--that it was there supplanting
the legal currency, and absorbing the gold in exchange, there might
have been some show of reason for a slight modification of the
system--at all events for a more stringent preventive check. But no
such allegation was made. The most determined hater of the Scottish
banks knew well that their paper never crossed the Border; for the
very best of all possible reasons, that the notes were not a legal
tender, and that five persons out of six to whom they might happen to
be offered, would unhesitatingly reject them. Again, to absorb the
gold would have been neither more nor less than partially to carry out
the views entertained by the supporters of a metallic currency, and
therefore surely, in their eyes, a venal, if not a meritorious,
offence. But such was not the fact. In Scotland there was no such a
thing known as a gold circulation. The fishermen, the cattle dealers,
and the small traders, would not so much as take it; and the stranger
who, through ignorance, had provided himself with a stock of the
precious metal, was forced to have recourse to a Scottish bank in
order to have it exchanged for notes. Beyond what lay in the bank
reserves, there was literally none in the country; and therefore any
idea of the interference of the currencies was too preposterous to be

But it is not here, or at this point, that we intend to discuss the
propriety of the measure which was then proposed. Unfortunately, we
are called upon to do so with reference to our own times, as well as
to those which are now matter of history; and the remarks which we
shall have occasion to offer are equally applicable to the one as to
the other. In the mean time, let us see how the mere alarm engendered
by that unlucky proposition affected Scotland, and what steps were
taken to resist the threatened change.

First of all, we have it in evidence that the open threat of the
ministerial scheme produced within the country more actual distress
and bankruptcies than had previously occurred during the period of the
previous depression. This may seem a paradox to a stranger; but the
reason will be readily understood, and the fact candidly admitted by
every one who is conversant with the Scottish system of banking. A
short explanation may be necessary. One large department of the
business of every bank was the granting of CASH-CREDITS; a method of
accommodation to the public which the experience of _ninety-four
years_ (cash-credits were granted by the Royal Bank of Scotland so
early as 1729) had shown not only to be the safest to the bank, but by
far the most advantageous to the public. Indeed it is not too much to
say, that were those credits prohibited, and no other alteration made
in the existing system, the mainspring of the machinery of Scottish
banking would be broken, and its general utility impaired. With that
point we shall deal more fully when we come to the consideration of
the system in detail; at present it is only necessary to remark, that
these credits had been maintained unimpaired during the period of
depression, and were the fortunate means of averting ruin from many.

But the attitude which the ministry assumed was so formidable, and the
prospect of a sweeping change so alarming, that the bankers were
forced in self-defence, though sorely against their will, to make
preparation for the worst contingencies. They were, so to speak,
compelled to follow the example of England in 1745--to recall all
their outlying forces from abroad, concentrate them at home, and leave
their allies to fight their own battles as they best could, and to
conquer or fall according to their ability or weakness. Their first
step was rigidly to refuse the granting of any new cash-credits; their
second, to withdraw--with as much tenderness as might be, but still to
withdraw--those which were already in existence. It was then that the
country at large began to feel how terribly their interests were
compromised. The trader, who was driving an active business on the
strength of his cash-credit, and turning over the amount of his
bank-account it may be thirty times in the course of the year, found
himself suddenly brought to a stand-still. The country gentleman, in
the midst of his agricultural improvements, and at the very moment
when their cessation would undo all that he had hitherto accomplished,
was compelled either to desist for want of ready money, and throw his
labourers on the parish, or to have recourse to the pernicious system
of discounting bills at a ruinous rate of interest. The manufacturer,
in despair, was reduced to close his works, and the operatives went
forth to combine, or starve, or burn; for the hand of the ministry was
upon them likewise, and their burden was sorer than their masters'.

These were the first fruits of the proposed metallic currency; and it
soon became evident to all, that nothing was left for Scotland, if she
wished to escape from universal ruin, but to offer a firm and most
determined resistance. The struggle was felt throughout the length and
breadth of the land to be one, which, if it did not actually involve
existence, involved a greater commercial interest than had been at
stake for more than a century before. The combination which took place
in consequence was so extraordinary, that we may be pardoned if we
express our wonder how any minister who witnessed it, can at this hour
have the temerity to return to the charge. Party-spirit, always higher
and keener in Scotland than elsewhere, was at once forgotten in the
common cause. All ranks, from the peer to the peasant, rose up in
wrath at the proposed innovation; and from every county, city, town,
village, and corporation in the kingdom, indignant remonstrances were
forwarded to the foot of the Throne, and to the Imperial Parliament of
Great Britain. It was assuredly a dangerous experiment to make with a
proud and jealous people. Old watchwords and old recollections, buried
spells which it were safer to leave alone, began to revive amongst us;
and many a lighter act of aggression, which had been passed over at
the moment in silence, was then recalled and canvassed, and magnified
into a serious grievance. In short, Scotland, from the bottom of her
heart, felt herself most deeply insulted.

It was at this time that the celebrated letters of Malachi
Malagrowther appeared. To the general sentiments contained in that
work, we subscribe without the slightest hesitation. Strong language
is usually to be deprecated, but there are seasons when no language
can be too strong. We think meanly of the man who can sit down to
round his periods, and prune his language, and reduce his feelings to
the level of cold mediocrity, when he knows that the best interests of
his country are at stake, and that he is her chosen champion. And
such, most assuredly, and beyond all comparison, was Sir Walter Scott.
He went into that conflict like a giant, in a manner that disdained
conventionalisms; he neither begged, nor prayed, nor conceded, but
took his firm ground on the chartered liberties of his country, and
spoke out in such manly and patriotic accents as Scotland has rarely
heard since the days of Fletcher and Belhaven. All honour be to his
memory! Were it for that good work alone, his name ought for ever to
be immortal.

In consequence, ministry were condescending enough to allow a
Parliamentary enquiry. Even that was not granted readily, as the
prevailing impression in the cabinet seemed to be, that Scottish
affairs were of too slight importance to occupy the time of the
Imperial Parliament. The old country might be dealt with summarily,
and left to remonstrate at its leisure. But the spirited resistance of
our representatives, and it is no less incumbent upon us to add, that
innate sense of justice in Englishmen, which will not suffer any one
to be condemned unheard, procured us the investigation, upon the issue
of which we were willing to rest our cause. The Scottish banking
system underwent the severest of all scrutinies before committees of
the Houses of Peers and of the Commons; and the following was the
nature of the reports.

The committee of the House of Commons, after recapitulating the
leading points which were brought out in evidence before them, came to
the following conclusions--which it is very important to bring before
the public now, as they refer not only to the deductions which the
committee had formed from the history of the past, but to the special
reasons which were to influence the legislature in future and
prospective change.

     "Upon a review of the evidence tendered to your committee, and
     forming their judgment upon that evidence, your committee _cannot
     advise_ that a law should now be passed, prohibiting, from a
     period to be therein determined, the future issue in Scotland of
     notes below five pounds:--

     "There are, in the opinion of your committee, sufficient grounds
     in the experience of the past for permitting another trial to be
     made of the compatibility of a paper circulation in Scotland with
     a circulation of specie in this country.

     "Looking at the amount of notes current in Scotland, below the
     value of five pounds, and comparing it with the total amount of
     the paper currency of that country, _it is very difficult to
     foresee the consequences of a law which should prohibit the
     future issue of notes constituting so large a proportion of the
     whole circulation_.

     "Your committee are certainly not convinced that it would affect
     the cash-credits to the extent apprehended by some of the
     witnesses; but they are unwilling, without stronger proof of
     necessity, to incur the risk of deranging, from any cause
     whatever, A SYSTEM ADMIRABLY CALCULATED, in their opinion, to
     economize the use of capital, to excite and cherish a spirit of
     useful enterprise, and even to promote the moral habits of the
     people, by the direct inducements which it holds out to the
     maintenance of a character for industry, integrity, and prudence.

     "At the same time that your committee recommend that the system
     of currency which has for so long a period prevailed in Scotland,
     should not, under existing circumstances, be disturbed, they feel
     it to be their duty to add, that they have formed their judgment
     upon a reference to the past, and upon the review of a state of
     things which may hereafter be considerably varied by the
     increasing wealth and commerce of Scotland, by the rapid
     extension of her commercial intercourse with England, and by the
     new circumstances that may affect that intercourse after the
     re-establishment of a metallic currency in this country.

     "Apart from these general observations, bearing upon the
     conclusions at which they have arrived, there are two
     circumstances to which your committee must more particularly

     "It is evident that if the small notes issued in Scotland should
     be current beyond the Border, they would have the effect, in
     proportion as their circulation should extend itself, of
     displacing the specie, and even in some degree the local currency
     of England. Such an interference with the system established for
     England would be a manifest and gross injustice to the bankers of
     this part of the empire. If it should take place, and it should
     be found impossible to frame a law consistent with sound and just
     principles of legislation, effectually restricting the
     circulation of Scotch notes within the limits of Scotland, there
     will be, in the opinion of your committee, no alternative but the
     extension to Scotland of the principle which the legislature has
     determined to apply to this country.

     "The other circumstances to which your committee meant to refer,
     as bearing materially upon their present decision, will arise in
     the event of a considerable increase in the crime of forgery.
     Your committee called for returns of the number of prosecutions
     and convictions for forgery, and the offence of passing forged
     notes, during the last twenty years in Scotland, which returns
     will be found in the appendix. There appears to have been, during
     that period, no prosecutions for the crime of forgery; to have
     been eighty-six prosecutions for the offence of issuing forged
     promissory notes--fifty-two convictions; and eight instances in
     which the capital sentence of the law has been carried into

This may, on the whole, be considered as an impartial report; and, as
it is as well in every case to disencumber a question from
specialties, we shall state here that experience has since shown that
there has been no tendency whatever to the introduction of Scottish
notes into England. With regard to the other special point referred to
by the committee--that of forgery--such a thing as a forged bank-note
is now unknown in Scotland. The evidence taken before the last
committee on banks of issue in 1841, established the fact, that since
the improved steel plates were brought into general use, there has
never been a forgery of a note. Such being the case, it is unnecessary
here to dispute the wisdom of that policy which would leave a great
national institution at the mercy of a single forger. The experience
of this last month alone might show how wretchedly that test would
operate if applied even to the Bank of England.

Setting these specialties aside, the only possibly grounds which this
committee saw for any future legislative interference were, "the
increasing wealth and commerce of Scotland, the rapid extension of her
commercial intercourse with England, and the circumstances which may
affect that intercourse after the re-establishment of an English
metallic currency." To us the first part of this reservation sounds
somewhat like a threat of future bleeding when Scotland shall have
become more pursy and plethoric. Nevertheless we are ready to join
issue with our opponents on any of these grounds.

The report of the Lords was even more favourable; and, at the risk of
being thought tedious, we cannot refrain from inserting their
admirable digest of the evidence, which, for candour and clearness,
might be taken as a universal model.

     "With respect to Scotland, it is to be remarked, that during the
     period from 1766 to 1797, when no small notes were by law
     issuable in England, the portion of the currency in Scotland in
     which payments under five pounds were made, continued to consist
     almost entirely of notes of £1 and £1, 1s.; and that no
     inconvenience is known to have resulted from this difference in
     the currency of the two countries. This circumstance, amongst
     others, tends to prove that uniformity, however desirable, is not
     indispensably necessary. It is also proved, by the evidence and
     by the documents, that the banks of Scotland, whether chartered
     or joint-stock companies or private establishments, _have for
     more than a century exhibited a stability which the committee
     believe to be_ UNEXAMPLED IN THE HISTORY OF BANKING; that they
     supported themselves from 1797 to 1812 without any protection
     from the restriction by which the Bank of England and that of
     Ireland were relieved from cash payments; that there was little
     demand for gold during the late embarrassments in the
     circulation; and that, _in the whole period of their
     establishment_, there are not more than two or three instances of
     bankruptcy. As, during the whole of this period, a large portion
     of their issues consisted almost entirely of notes not exceeding
     £1 or £1, 1s., there is the strongest reason for concluding,
     that, as far as respects the banks of Scotland, the issue of
     paper of that description _has been found compatible with the_
     HIGHEST DEGREE _of solidity_; and that there is not, therefore,
     while they are conducted upon their present system, sufficient
     ground for proposing any alteration, with the view of adding to a
     solidity which has been so long sufficiently established.

     "This solidity appears to derive a great support from the
     constant exchange of notes between the different banks, by which
     they become checks upon each other, and by which any over-issue
     is subject to immediate observation and correction.

     "There is also one part of the system, which is stated by all the
     witnesses (in the opinion of the committee very justly stated) to
     have had the best effects upon the people of Scotland, and
     particularly upon the middling and poorer classes of society, in
     producing and encouraging habits of frugality and industry. _The
     practice referred to is that of_ CASH-CREDITS. Any person who
     applies to a bank for a cash-credit is called upon to produce two
     or more competent securities, who are jointly bound, and after a
     full enquiry into the character of the applicant, the nature of
     his business, and the sufficiency of his securities, he is
     allowed to open a credit, and to draw upon the bank for the whole
     of its amount, or for such part as his daily transactions may
     require. To the credit of this account he pays in such sums as he
     may not have occasion to use, and interest is charged or credited
     upon the daily balance, as the case may be. From the facility
     which these cash-credits give to all the small transactions of
     the country, and from the opportunities which they afford to
     persons who begin business with little or no capital but their
     character, to employ profitably the minutest products of their
     industry, it cannot be doubted that the most important advantages
     are derived to the whole community. The advantage to the banks
     who give those cash-credits arises from the call which they
     continually produce for the issue of their paper, and from the
     opportunity which they afford for the profitable employment of
     part of their deposits. The banks are indeed so sensible that, in
     order to make this part of their business advantageous and
     secure, it is necessary that their cash-credits should (as they
     express it) be frequently operated upon, that they refuse to
     continue them unless this implied condition be fulfilled. The
     total amount of their cash-credits is stated by one witness to be
     five millions, on which the average amount advanced by the banks
     may be one-third.

     "The manner in which the practice of deposits on receipt is
     conducted tends to produce the same desirable results. Sums to as
     low an amount as £10 (and in some instances lower) are taken by
     the banks from the depositor, who may claim them at demand. He
     receives an interest, usually about one per cent below the market
     rate. It is stated that these deposits are, to a great extent,
     left uncalled for from year to year, and that the depositors are
     in the habit of adding, at the end of each year, to the interest
     then accrued, the amount of their yearly savings; that the sums
     thus gradually accumulated belong chiefly to the labouring and
     industrious classes of the community; and that, when such
     accounts are closed, it is generally for the purpose of enabling
     the depositors either to purchase a house or to engage in

     "It is contended by all the persons engaged in banking in
     Scotland, that the issue of one-pound notes is essential to the
     continuance both of their cash-credits and of the branch banks
     established in the poorest and most remote districts. Whether the
     discontinuance of one-pound notes would necessarily operate to
     the full extent which they apprehend, in either of these
     respects, may perhaps admit of doubt; but the apprehensions
     entertained on this head, by the persons most immediately
     concerned, might, for a time at least, have nearly the same
     effect as the actual necessity; _and there is strong reason to
     believe, that if the prohibition of one-pound notes should not
     ultimately overturn the whole system, it must for a considerable
     time materially affect it_.

     "The directors of the Bank of England, who have been examined
     before the committee, have given it as their opinion, that a
     circulation of notes of £1 in Scotland or in Ireland would not
     produce any effects injurious to the metallic circulation of
     England, provided such notes be respectively confined within the
     boundary of their own country.

     "Notwithstanding the opinions which have been here detailed, the
     committee are, on the whole, so deeply impressed with the
     importance of a metallic circulation below £5 in England, not
     only for the benefit of England, but likewise for that of all the
     other parts of the empire, that if they were reduced to make an
     option between the establishment of such a metallic circulation
     in Scotland, or the abandonment of it in England, they would
     recommend the prohibition of small notes in Scotland. But they
     entertain a reasonable expectation, that legislative measures may
     be devised which will be effectual in preventing the introduction
     of Scotch paper into England; and unless such measures should in
     practice prove ineffectual, or _unless some new circumstance
     should arise_ to derange the operations of the existing system in
     Scotland itself, or materially to affect the relations of trade
     and intercourse between Scotland and England, they are not
     disposed to recommend that the existing system of banking and
     currency in Scotland should be disturbed."

This is just what a Parliamentary report ought to be--calm,
perspicuous, and decided. There is no circumlocution nor ambiguity of
expression here. After a patient investigation into the whole
question, and a minute examination of enemies as well as friends, the
Lords arrived at the opinion, that the existing banking system of
Scotland ought on all points to be maintained, and they not only
stated their general conviction, but gave their reasons for upholding
each part in detail, in the luminous manner which has always been the
characteristic of that august Assembly, and which has established its
proud reputation as not only the noblest, but the most upright
tribunal of the world. It is worthy of the most marked attention, that
the committee of the Lords in this report, which afterwards received
the sanction of the House, advocated no temporary continuance of the
banking system in Scotland, but were clearly of opinion that it should
remain as a permanent institution. They evidently entertained no
ideas, grounded upon mere expediency, that it would be prudent to wait
until Scotland, by means of her cherished institutions and her own
internal industry, arrived at that point of condition when it might be
expedient to introduce the lancet, and drain off a little of her
superfluous blood. They vent upon the righteous maxim--that a nation,
as well as a man, is entitled to work out its own resources in peace,
so long as it does not trench upon the industry or prerogatives of its
neighbour, and so long as no impeachment can be laid against the
prudence and stability of its institutions. We defy any man to read
over this report, and to adduce one word from it which shall convey
the idea that it was not intended as a final judgment, with the simple
qualifications that we have stated in the last sentence.

These two reports saved the country--we trust we shall not hereafter
be compelled to add, only for a time--from its great impending
misfortune. The circulation in England became metallic, with what
success it is not for us to say, whilst Scotland was allowed to retain
her paper currency with at least most perfect satisfaction to herself.
One pregnant fact, however, it would be unpardonable for us to
omit--as showing the stability of the northern system when compared
with that practised in the south--that at the last investigation
before a committee of the House of Commons in 1841, it was stated,
that whereas in Scotland the whole loss sustained by the public from
bank failures, _for a century and a half_, amounted to L. 32,000, the
loss to the public, _during the previous year in London alone, was
estimated at_ TEN TIMES THAT AMOUNT!

Since 1826, we have had eighteen years' further experience of the
system, without either detecting derangement in its organization, or
the slightest diminution of confidence on the part of the public.
There has been no interference with the metallic currency of England.
Forgery is a crime now utterly unknown, as is also coining, beyond the
insignificant counterfeits of the silver issue. This, in fact, is a
great advantage which we have above the English in point of security,
since we are exempt from the risk of receiving into circulation either
base or light sovereigns, and since the banks provide for the
deterioration of their notes by tear and wear, whilst the holder of a
light sovereign has to pay the difference between the standard and the
deficient weight. When we reflect upon the small amount of the wages
of a labouring man, it is manifest how important this branch of the
subject is; for were gold allowed in Scotland to supersede the paper
currency, a fresh and most dangerous impetus would be given to the
crime of coining; and there cannot be a doubt, that in the remoter
districts, where gold is utterly unknown, a most lamentable series of
frauds would be perpetrated, with little risk of detection, but with
the cruelest consequences to the poor and illiterate classes.

We are not, however, inclined to adopt the opinion expressed by the
committee of the House of Commons, to the extent of admitting that it
would be either politic or just to disturb the whole banking system of
a country on account of private frauds, whether forgeries or the
fabrication of counterfeit coin. If their opinion was a sound one, the
weight of evidence is now upon our side of the argument; but we hold
that the interests at stake are far too great to be affected by any
such minor details. If any new circumstance has arisen "to affect the
relations of trade and intercourse between Scotland and England," we
at least are wholly unconscious of the occurrence, and, of course, it
is the duty of those who meditate a change to point it out, in order
that it may be thoroughly scrutinized. Internally, the business of the
banks has been increasing, and, commensurate with that increase, there
has been a vast addition to the number of branch banks spread over the
face of the country; so that, whereas in 1825 there was but one office
for every 13,170 individuals, in 1841 there was an office for every
6600 of the population. This is plainly the inevitable effect of
competition; but lest that increase should be founded upon by our
opponents as a proof of over-circulation, we shall say a few words
upon the subject of the _exchange_ between the banks themselves, which
is a leading feature of our whole system, and the most complete check
against over-trading which human ingenuity could devise. Fortunately
we have ample _data_ for our statement in the evidence tendered to the
committee on banks of issue in 1841.

It is right, however, to premise that, strictly speaking, there are
not more, nay, there are positively _fewer_ banks in Scotland at the
present moment than there were in 1825, though the amount of paid-up
capital in the banks is more than doubled. It is the branches alone
which make this astonishing increase. Now, as a branch is merely a
local agency of the parent bank, established at a distance for the
sake of outlying business, the number of parties engaged in banking
who are responsible to the public is not thereby increased, nor is the
amount in circulation extended. In fact, the multiplication of the
branch banks has been of extraordinary benefit to the public, by
affording the inhabitants of even the remotest districts a ready,
easy, and favourite method of deposit, and by extinguishing all risks
of credit. Further, it has this manifest advantage, that the manager
of the branch bank has far greater facilities of ascertaining the
character, habits, and pursuits of those persons who may have received
the advantage of a cash-credit accommodation, and can immediately
report to his superiors any circumstances which may render it
advisable that the credit should be contracted or withdrawn. So far
are we from holding that the multiplication of branch banks is any
evil or incumbrance, that we look upon it as an increased security not
only to the banker but the dealer. The latter, in fact, is the
principal gainer; because a competition among the banks has always the
effect of heightening the rate of interest given upon deposits, and of
lowering the rates charged upon advances. Nor does this give any
impetus to rash speculation on the part of the dealer, but directly
the reverse. The deposits always increase with the advancing rate of
interest; and experience has shown, that it is not until that rate
declines to two per cent that deposited money is usually withdrawn,
which is the signal of commencing speculation. To the mere speculator
the banks afford no facilities, but the reverse. Their cash credits
are only granted for the daily operations of persons actively engaged
in trade, business, or commerce. So soon as that credit appears to be
converted into a different channel, it is withdrawn, as alike
dangerous to the user and unprofitable to the bank which has given it.

Of thirty-one banks in Scotland which issue notes, five only are
_chartered_--that is, the responsibility of the proprietors in those
established is confined to the amount of their subscribed capital. The
remaining twenty-six are, with one or two exceptions, joint-stock
banks, and the proprietors are liable to the public for the whole of
the bank responsibilities to the last shilling of their private
fortunes. The number of persons connected with these banks as
shareholders is very great, almost every man of opulence in the
country being a holder of stock to a greater or a less amount. That
some jealousy must exist among so many competitors in a limited field,
is an obvious matter of inference. Such jealousy, however, has only
operated for the advantage of the public, by the maintenance of a
common and vigilant watch upon the manner in which the affairs of each
establishment are conducted, and against the intrusion of any new
parties into the circle whose capital does not seem to warrant the
likelihood of their ultimate stability. Accordingly, the Scottish
bankers have arranged amongst themselves a mutual system of exchange,
as stringent as if it had the force of statute, by means of which an
over-issue of notes becomes a matter of perfect impossibility. _Twice
in every week the whole notes deposited with the different bank
offices in Scotland are regularly interchanged._ Now, with this system
in operation, it is perfectly ludicrous to suppose that any bank would
issue its paper rashly for the sake of an extended circulation. _The
whole notes_ in circulation throughout Scotland return to their
respective banks in a period averaging from ten to eleven days in
urban, and from a fortnight to three weeks in rural districts. In
consequence of the rate of interest allowed by the banks, no person
has any inducement to keep bank paper by him, but the reverse, and the
general practice of the country is to keep the circulation at as low a
rate as possible. The numerous branch banks which are situated up and
down the country, are the means of taking the notes of their
neighbours out of the circle as speedily as possible. In this way it
is not possible for the circulation to be more than what is absolutely
necessary for the transactions of the country.

If, therefore, any bank had been so rash as to grant accommodation
without proper security, merely for the sake of obtaining a
circulation, in ten days, or a fortnight at the furthest, it is
compelled to account with the other banks for every note they have
received. If it does not hold enough of their paper to redeem its own
upon exchange, it is compelled to pay the difference in exchequer
bills, a certain amount of which every bank is bound by mutual
agreement to hold, the fractional parts of each thousand pounds being
payable in Bank of England notes or in gold. In this way over-trading,
in so far as regards the issue of paper, is so effectually guarded and
controlled, that it would puzzle Parliament, with all its conceded
conventional wisdom, to devise any plan alike so simple and

The amount of notes at present in circulation throughout Scotland is
estimated at three millions, or at the very utmost three millions and
a half. At certain times of the year, such as the great legal terms of
Whitsunday and Martinmas, when money is universally paid over and
received, there is, of course, a corresponding increase of issue for
the moment which demands an extra supply of notes. It is never
considered safe for a bank to have a smaller amount of notes in stock
than the average amount which is out in circulation; so that the whole
amount of bank-notes, both in circulation and in hand, may be
calculated at seven millions. The fluctuation at the above terms is so
remarkable, that we are tempted to give an account of the number of
notes delivered and received by the bank of Scotland in exchange with
other banks during the months of May and November 1840:--

                      Notes               Notes
                     Delivered.          Received.
  May   1,            £ 51,000           £ 43,000
  ...   5,              52,000             32,000
  ...   8,              44,000             45,000
  ...  12,              43,000             48,000
  ...  15,              54,000             64,000
  ...  19,            *132,000           *172,000
  ...  22,              98,000             69,000
  ...  26,              38,000             33,000

  Nov.  3,              38,000             32,000
  ...   6,              37,000             33,000
  ...  10,              51,000             61,000
  ...  13,             *99,000           *138,000
  ...  17,              67,000             80,000
  ...  20,              66,000             49,000
  ...  24,              52,000             33,000
  ...  27,              66,000             42,000

  *Term Settlements.

It will be seen from the above table how rapidly the system of bank
exchange absorbs the over-issue, and how instantaneously the paper
drawn from one bank finds its way into the hands of another.

If further proof were required of the absurdity of the notion, that a
paper circulation has a necessary tendency to over-issue, the
following fact is conclusive. The banking capital in Scotland has
_more than doubled_ between the years 1825 and 1840--a triumphant
proof of their increased stability; whilst the circulation has been
nearly stationary, but, if any thing, _rather diminished than
otherwise_. We quote from a report to the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

     "The first return of the circulation was made in Scotland in
     1825. Every one knows the extraordinary advance which Scotland
     has made between that period and 1840; for instance, in the
     former of these years, she manufactured 55,000 bales of cotton,
     in the latter, 120,000 bales. In 1826, the produce of the iron
     furnaces was 33,500 tons; in 1840, about 250,000 tons. In 1826,
     the banking capital of Scotland was £4,900,000; in 1840, it was
     about £10,000,000; yet with all this progress in industry and
     wealth, the circulation of notes, which in 1825 varied from
     £3,400,000 to £4,700,000, was in 1839 from £2,960,000 to
     £3,670,000, and in the first three months of 1840, £2,940,000."

We are induced to dwell the more strongly upon these facts, because we
have strong suspicions that our opponents will endeavour to get at our
monetary system by raising the senseless cry of over-issue--senseless
at any time as a political maxim, it being the grossest fallacy to
maintain that an increased issue is the cause of national distress,
unless, indeed, it were possible to suppose that bankers were madmen
enough to dispense their paper without receiving a proper
equivalent--not only senseless, but positively nefarious, when the
clear broad fact stares them in the face, that Scotland has in fifteen
years thrown double the amount of capital into its banking
establishments, increased its productions in a threefold, and in some
cases a sevenfold ratio, augmented its population by nearly half a
million, (one-fifth part of the whole,) and yet kept its circulation
so low as to exhibit an actual decrease.

If we were called upon to state the cause of this certainly singular
fact, we should, without any hesitation, attribute it to the great
increase of the bank branches. The establishment of a branch in a
remote locality, has invariably, from the thrifty habits of the
Scottish people, absorbed all the paper which otherwise would have
been hoarded for a time, and left in the hands of the holders without
any interest. It would thus seem, from practice, that the doctrines of
the political economists upon this head are absolutely fallacious;
that the increase of banks, supposing these banks to issue paper and
to give interest on deposits, has a direct tendency to check
over-circulation, and in fact does partially supersede it.

With these facts before us, we consider that the measure of last
session, prohibiting any further issue of notes beyond those already
taken out by the banks, is almost a dead letter. We have not the least
fear, that under any circumstances there can be a call for a larger
circulation; at the same time, we demur to the policy which ties our
hands needlessly, and we object to all restriction where no case for
restriction has been shown. We look upon that measure as especially
unfair to the younger banks, whose circulation is not yet established,
and whose progress has thus received a material check, from no fault
of their own, but from want of ministerial notice. With every system
where competition is the acknowledged principle, it is clearly
impolitic to interfere; nor can we avoid the painful conviction, that
this first measure, though comparatively light and generally
unimportant, was put out by way of _feeler_, in order to test the
temper of the Scottish people--to ascertain whether eighteen years of
prosperity might not have made them a little more supple and pliable,
and whether they were likely to oppose to innovation the same amount
of obstinate resistance as before. It is dangerous to permit the
smallest rent to be made in a wall, for, with dexterous management,
that rent may be so widened, as to bring down the whole

In the absence of any distinct charge against the Scottish banks,
which were so honourably acquitted in 1826, we shall confine our
further observations to the effects which must necessarily follow upon
a change in the established currency. In doing so, we shall conjure up
no phantoms of imaginary distress, but merely state the consequences
as they have already been explained to Parliament by men who are far
better able to judge than ourselves, and even--with deference be it
said--than our legislators, of the substitution in Scotland of a
metallic for a paper currency. That measure is to be considered, 1st,
as it will affect the banks; 2dly, as it will affect the public.

The general effect of the change would be to derange the whole of the
present system. The first result would probably be the abolition and
withdrawal of all the branch banks throughout the kingdom. These
offices are at present fed with notes which are payable at the office
of the parent bank, whither, accordingly, they invariably return.
These are supplied to them at no risk or expense, whereas the
transmission of gold would not only be dangerous, but so expensive as
entirely to swallow up the profits. Add to this, that the banks would
no longer be able to allow interest on deposit accounts; at all events
such interest would be merely fractional, and too insignificant to
induce the continuance of the saving habit which now so fortunately
prevails. In short, all the branch business would stagnate and die.
The consequence of the removal of the branch banks would be the ruin
of the Highlands.

Mr Kennedy's account of the profits of banking will explain the
sweeping nature of the change. "A banker's profits are derived from
two sources--the brokerage upon the deposit money, and the returns
that he gets from his circulation. We have tried to estimate the
amount of deposits in Scotch banks, and we calculate it at about
thirty millions; that, at the brokerage of one and a half per cent,
yields £450,000 annually. The currency we will take at three millions,
and that, at 5 per cent, is £150,000: making a gross sum of £600,000,
_which is the whole profit derived from banking in Scotland_. Out of
that are to be deducted the whole of the charges. From these figures
it will be perceived that the gross profit of the currency is a fourth
part of the gross profit of banking; but the expense that falls upon
the currency is not so large as the expense that falls upon the other
portions of the banking business; so that I should be inclined to say
that, upon the average, the profit derived from the circulation bore
the proportion of a third to the aggregate profit of banking."

Assuming Mr Kennedy's calculation to be correct, the profit of
£600,000, derived by the banks, would thus be reduced to £400,000 by
the change of currency.

But the diminution would not rest there. The brokerage upon the
deposits--that is, the difference between the rates of interest given
and charged by the banks--on the present calculated amount of
deposits, is £450,000. from which the charges are deducted. Now we
have already seen that the banks find it necessary, in order to
encourage deposits, to give a liberal rate of interest; and we have
also seen that, whenever interest falls to two per cent, the deposits
are gradually withdrawn, and a period of speculation begins. Let us
hear Mr John Thomson, of the Royal Bank, on the effect of a gold
currency on deposit accounts:--"I think, on the operating deposits, we
could scarcely allow any interest, and on the more steady deposits,
that the rate of interest would require to be very considerably

It follows, therefore, according to all experience, that, if no
interest were allowed, the deposits would be generally withdrawn for
investment elsewhere; and thus another serious reduction would be made
from the already attenuated amount of the Scottish bankers' profits.
But besides the loss of profit on the small notes, there would be a
further loss sustained by the necessity of keeping up a large stock of
gold in the coffers of the bank. Hear Mr Thomson again upon this

     "It would occasion greater loss than the mere profit on the small
     notes, inasmuch as at present we have to keep on hand a large
     stock of small notes, to fill up in the circle those that are
     taken from it by tear and wear, and to meet occasional demands.
     The present mode of keeping up this stock, which consists of our
     own notes, is done at no expense; if we had to keep a
     corresponding stock of gold to keep up the circle in the same
     proportion, we would, perhaps, if there is £1000 dispersed in
     small notes, require to keep up a protecting fund of £500 to meet
     that, or something in that proportion. So that, upon the whole,
     if there was £1,800,000, which was the sum assumed of notes in
     circulation, withdrawn, we would require to fill up the place,
     £1,800,000, in gold, and in order to fill our coffers with a
     protecting stock, perhaps from _seven to nine hundred thousand_,
     to keep up the stock; and, in addition to that, there is the
     expense of transmission from one part of the country to another,
     and the bringing it from London."

The small note circulation is here estimated at £1,800,000 but there
is no doubt that it is now considerably larger. Taking it, however, at
Mr Thomson's calculation, what a fearful amount of unoccupied and
inoperative capital is here! This, be it observed also, is only the
first reserve, which at present is represented by the small notes of
the bank. According to the later evidence of Mr Blair, the Scottish
banks are in the habit of holding, _besides this_, a further reserve
of gold and Bank of England notes, equal to _a fourth of their
circulation_, without taking into account exchequer bills, or other
convertible securities which bear interest.

Thus it follows, as a matter of course, that if the small notes were
abolished, and a gold currency established, there would not be room in
the country for one-fourth of the present number of banks. If the
banks are removed, and more especially the branches, which must
inevitably fall, we should like to know from any theoretical
economist, even from Sir Robert Peel, how the country is to be
supplied with money?

So much for the effect which the introduction of a metallic currency
would have upon the banking establishments. Let us now see what would
be the consequence of the change upon the interests of the public, who
are the dealers.

Now, although we hold, that upon every principle of public expediency
and justice, the legislature are bound to regard with particular
tenderness the interests of a body of men, who, like the Scottish
bankers, have not only established, but administered for such a long
time, the monetary system of the country with stability, temperance,
indulgence, and success, equally removed from weak facility and from
grasping avidity of gain; we must, nevertheless, allow that the
interests of the public are paramount to theirs, and that if it can be
shown that the public will be gainers, although the bankers should be
losers by the change, the sooner the metallic currency is established
amongst us the better. Here is the true test of the clause in the
Treaty of Union, providing that no alteration shall be made on laws
which concern private right excepting for the evident utility of the
subjects _within_ Scotland. There shall be no interference with
private rights if that interference is not to benefit the public; if
it does so, private right must of course give way, according to a rule
universally adopted by every civilized nation. In speaking of the
public, we, of course, restrict ourselves to Scotland; for although
the Treaty of Union is not, strictly speaking, a federal one, and in
the larger points of policy and general government is very clearly one
of incorporation, it has yet this important ingredient of federality
in its conception, that the laws of each country and their
administration are left separate and entire, as also their customs and
usages, so long as the same do not interfere with one another. It is a
sore point with the supporters of a metallic currency, and a sad
discouragement to their theories, that they have never been able in
any way to shake the confidence of the Scottish public in the
stability of their national bankers. It was no use drawing invidious
comparisons between a weighty glittering guinea, fresh started from
the mint of Mammon, and the homely unpretending well-thumbed issue of
the North; it was no use hinting that a system which professed to
dispense with bullion must of necessity be a mere illusion, which
would go down with the first blast of misfortune, as easily as its
fragile notes could be dispersed before a breeze of wind. The shrewd
Scotsman knew, what apparently the economist had forgotten, that the
piece of gold exhibited by the latter was in itself but a
representative, and not the reality of property; that the gold to be
acquired _must be bought_; that all representation of wealth within a
country must be conventional in order to have any value; and further,
that however fragile the despised paper might appear, that it was by
convention and by law the representative of things more weighty and
more solid than metal--of the manufactures of the country, of its
agricultural produce, and, finally, OF THE LAND ITSELF; all which were
mortgaged for its redemption. It was in vain to talk to him of the
rates of foreign exchange in the mystic jargon of the Bourse. He knew
well, that when the Scottish mint was abolished, and the bullion trade
transferred to London, that branch of traffic was placed utterly
beyond his reach. He knew further, that the circulation of Scotland
did not ebb or flow in accordance with the fluctuation of foreign
exchanges, but from causes which were always within the reach of his
own ken and observance. All scrutiny beyond that he left to the bank,
in the solvency of which he placed the most implicit confidence; and
accordingly he dealt with it as freely and as confidently as his
father and grandfather had done before him, and laughed the theories
of the political economists to scorn. Such is no overcharged statement
of the sentiments which the Scottish customer entertains;--is he
right, or is he wrong? and how would the change affect him?

In the first place, he would receive no interest upon his deposit
account. This point we have already touched upon, when proving that
the banks would sustain great loss by the inevitable withdrawal of
their deposits; but of course the profit to the bank is one thing, and
the profit to the customer is another. An operating deposit account on
which a fixed and universal rate of interest is paid, is a thing
unknown in England. In that country, according to Mr John Gladstone, a
Liverpool merchant, and a declared enemy to the Scottish currency, the
bankers only give interest on deposits by special bargain, according
to the length of time that these deposits shall be entrusted to their
hands. This is clearly neither more nor less than permanent loan to
the bank, and, like every other private contract, is arbitrary. But an
operating deposit is a totally different matter, by which the
circulation of the bank paper is promoted, and which acquires actual
value from the frequency of its fluctuations. It is a system so easy
in its working, that no householder in Scotland is without it; and for
every shilling that he deposits in the bank, he receives regular
interest, calculated from day to day, without any deduction or
commission, at as high a rate as if he had left, for a stipulated
period, a million of money unrecallable by him, to be employed in its
trade by the bank. This is surely a great accommodation and
encouragement to the trader. But see how the introduction of the
metallic currency would affect us. Operating deposits there would be
none; for, if the banker were not actually compelled to charge a
certain per centage of commission, he would at least be able to pay no
interest. Or let it be granted that, by great economy, (though we
cannot well see how,) he could still afford to pay a diminished rate,
the proportion would be too small to tempt the dealer to the constant
system of deposit which now exists, and hoarding would be the
inevitable result. Or suppose that the system of deposit should still
continue in the large towns, what is to become of the country when the
branch banks shall have been removed? A little topography might here
be valuable, to correct the notions of the theorists, who would
legislate precisely for the thinly inhabited districts of Kintail and
Edderachylis, as they would for the town-covered surface of

But there would be more important losses to the public than the mere
cessation of interest upon operating deposit accounts. All the
witnesses who have been examined, agree that cash-credits must be
immediately withdrawn. Of all the facilities that a mercantile
country, or rather the foremost mercantile system of a country, can
afford to industry, that of cash-credit is certainly the most
unexceptionable. Take the case of a young man just about to start in
business, whose connexion, habits, and education, are such as to give
every possible augury for his future success. The _res angustæ domi_
are probably hard upon him. He has no patrimony; his friends, though
in fair credit, are not capitalists; and he has not of himself the
opportunity of launching into trade, for the want of that one talent,
which, if judiciously used, would in time multiply itself into ten. He
cannot ask his friends to assist him in the discount of bills. Large
as the affection of a Scotchman may be for some descriptions of paper,
he has a kind of inherent repugnance to that sort of floating private
currency, which in three or in six months is sure to return, coupled
with an awkward protest, to his door. Probably in his own early
experience, or in the days of his father, he has received a salutary
lesson, better than a thousand treatises upon the law and practice of
acceptance; and accordingly, while he will lend you his purse with
readiness, he will not, for almost any consideration, subscribe his
name to a bill. To persons thus situated, the accommodation granted by
the bank cash-credits, is the greatest commercial boon that ever was
devised; but as the committee of the House of Lords, in the report
already quoted, has borne ample testimony in their favour, it is
unnecessary for us to dwell with further minuteness on their utility.

We must again have recourse to Mr Thomson for an exposition of the
reasons which, if a metallic currency were forced upon us, would lead
to the discontinuance of the cash-credits. "I do not think the
cash-credits would be maintained at all; the banker's profits might be
made up by the charge of a commission on each credit; but it is not
probable that the holders of accounts would pay at such a rate, if
they could borrow money upon bills at a cheaper rate, which they would
do. They would discount bills at five per cent. A banker would not be
disposed to come under the obligation to give a running credit with a
cash account, and thereby bind himself to keep in his hands a stock of
gold to supply the daily operations of a cash-account, while he might
find it perfectly convenient to discount a bill and give the money
away at once." In short, it has been stated, and distinctly proved,
that the difference to the trader between an operating cash-credit and
accommodation by discount, _is the difference between paying five and
a quarter by discount, and two and a half per cent by cash-credit_.
Are our merchants and traders prepared or disposed to submit to such a
sacrifice; more especially when it is considered, that a bank will
often refuse to discount a bill for £100, when it would make no
difficulty, from its opportunities of control, in granting a
cash-credit for five times that amount?

If individuals are thus to be crippled, the general commercial
business of the country must retrograde as a matter of course. Still
Edinburgh, and Glasgow, and the larger towns might, although they
would suffer immensely, get over the crisis by adopting some system of
internal arrangement, without experiencing a general crash. The great
question, however, yet remains behind--What is to become of the
country districts? To us who are familiar with almost the whole face
of Scotland, it seems a gross absurdity to suppose, that _under any
circumstances_, if the branch banks were withdrawn, a gold metallic
currency could be made operative in the remoter districts. Mr
Dunsmure, then secretary to the commissioners for the public
fisheries, gave very singular evidence upon that point in 1826; so
singular, indeed, that were it our purpose in this paper rather to
amuse than to warn and protest, we should have dwelt more minutely
upon his statements. Speaking of the silver currency, his evidence is
as follows:--"The quantity of silver on the west coast is so very
limited, that there is a great difficulty in getting a proper supply
for the necessary purposes. _Some of the people have been obliged to
issue promissory notes for 5s., long after they had been prohibited by
act of Parliament._ I happened to be at Barra, and the officer there
informed me that, having occasion to purchase some oats for a pony he
found it necessary to keep, the farmer whom he paid for them declared
he had not seen the face of a shilling for two years before." One of
the individuals who was thus forced by necessity to contravene the
statute, was a fish-curer and merchant, who kept a large store in
Tobermory, and the form of his notes is at once curious and
explanatory. "For want of change I owe you 5s., and for four of these
tickets, I will give a one-pound note." The establishment of branch
banks may somewhat have mended matters on the west coast, though we
doubt if the improvement has been commensurate with that of other
districts in Scotland, owing to the severe, and in our view
mischievous, commercial enactment which supplanted the native
manufacture of kelp, by the substitution of foreign barilla; but if
the branches are removed, no discovery short of the philosopher's
stone will establish the metallic currency there. Do our legislators
seriously mean to compel the population of about one-fourth of
Scotland, comprehending the whole western and northern divisions, to
accept the fish-curer's notes, instead of those of a joint-stock bank,
with its paid-up capital for security?

We have not space here to proceed with a minute analysis of the
evidence which was formerly given. Suffice it to say, that it is of a
much more serious nature than even those who have general notions upon
the question can possibly anticipate. In the event of any change which
shall derange the present system of currency, the landowners and
agriculturists of every class must prepare themselves for crippled
markets, curtailment of the sales of their produce, and consequently
for a great reduction in the rent and value of land. This will apply
equally to the fisheries, the distilleries, and the linen trade--to
every branch, in short, of internal manufacture, which is now
prosperous, and which has become so from the superior ease, facility,
and advantage of our present currency. Compared with these, the
interests of the bankers are actually trifling. Such of them as may
remain under the altered system, will no doubt, in one way or another,
secure their profit; but for that profit the country at large will
have to pay a heavy price.

The great question now for Scotland to determine is, whether these
interests are to be sacrificed to the theories of any ministry
whatever, without resistance of the most determined nature. That
resistance, in our deliberate opinion, she is not only entitled, but
bound, to make. We have purposely abstained from dwelling--nay, we
have scarcely even touched--upon any points of extraneous irritation
which may exist between the sister countries. Our wish is, that this
question should be tried upon its own merits, independently of any
such considerations; and we are glad to see that this line of conduct
has been adopted by every one of the numerous bodies who have hitherto
met to protest against the change. Believing thoroughly and sincerely
that we have a clear case, both on the score of justice and
expediency, we do not wish to revive any warmer feeling, though we are
convinced that a word could arouse it. Scotland in this matter feels,
and will speak, like a single man. We are sure of the unanimous
support and energy of the members for the ancient kingdom; and
although that phalanx forms but an integral part of the legislature of
Great Britain, we will not allow ourselves to believe that any
minister will proceed with so obnoxious a measure in the face of their
united opposition. One word only of advice we shall venture to offer
them, before they leave their native country to do battle in her
behalf. COMPROMISE NOTHING! Do not, as you value the interests of
Scotland, permit even the smallest interference with a system which
has already obtained the unqualified approval of the state. If you do,
rely upon it that one change will be merely the forerunner of
another--that the statute-book, in each succeeding session of
Parliament, will exhibit new changes and new modifications, until,
gradually and by piecemeal, we shall lose all the benefits of those
national institutions which you are now ready and pledged to maintain
whole and unimpaired. Any other line of tactics must, in the long run,
prove not only injurious, but fatal, to the cause you support.

And now we have said our say. It is not for us--more especially as the
batteries of our opponents are still masked--to remonstrate with an
administration which assuredly, on many points, has a just claim to
the support and confidence of the nation at large. Still we may
insinuate the question--Is it very politic, in the present state of
matters, to rouse up a feeling in peaceful Scotland which may, with
little fanning of the fuel, terminate in an agitation quite as
extensive as that which at present unhappily prevails in Ireland? It
is not only wrong, but--what Talleyrand held to be a greater sin in a
statesman--most injudicious, to overlook in such a matter the tendency
of the national character. Scotchmen have long memories; and although
the days of hereditary feuds have gone by, they are not the less apt
to remember and to cherish injuries. Would it not, therefore, be
prudent to adhere to the homely but excellent maxim, "Let well be
alone;" and to abstain from forcing the country into a position which
it is really unwilling to assume, merely for the sake of illustrating
another proverb with which we close our remarks upon the Scottish



I was just fifteen, when the battle of Waterloo, (it will soon be
thirty years ago,) by giving peace to Europe, enabled my father to
gratify one of the principal desires of his heart, by sending me to
finish my education at a German university. Our family was a
Lincolnshire one, he its representative, and the inheritor of an
encumbered estate, not much relieved by a portionless wife and several
children, of whom I was the third and youngest son. My eldest brother
was idle, lived at home, and played on the fiddle. Tom, my second
brother, two years older than myself, had just entered the army time
enough to be returned in the Gazette as severely wounded in the action
of the 18th. I was destined for the church--as much, I believe, from
my mother's proneness to Prelacy, (in a very different sense from its
usual acceptation,) she being fond of expatiating on her descent from
one of the Seven of immortal memory, as from my being a formal,
bookish boy, of a reserved and rather contemplative disposition. The
profession did not appear uncongenial to my taste; and although, from
my classical education having been deplorably neglected, there was no
small share of grinding and fag before me, I entered readily into my
father's views; the more especially, as in them was comprehended the
preliminary visit to Germany, the land of my early visions, where I
hoped to be on more intimate terms than ever with my old
acquaintances, the Spirit of the Brocken, the Wild Hunter, &c. &c.;
or, mayhap, to carry to practical results in the heart of the Black
Forest the lessons of natural freedom I had so largely acquired from
Schiller. My father's object in sending me to Heidelberg was not, I
believe, quite of so elevated a character.

After a month's preliminary bustle, I set out. The Lincoln
Light-o'-Heart coach took me up a couple of miles from my
father's--and with me a chest of stores that would have sufficed for
the north-west passage. Furnished with a letter to a friend in London,
who was prepared to forward me by the first vessel offering for
Holland, I accomplished the journey to town satisfactorily. On
arriving in London, I found Mr Sainsbury, the friend already
mentioned, awaiting me at the coach-office in Lad Lane. He was my
father's banker--a little red-faced hospitable man, fond of Welsh
rabbits, Hessian boots, and of wearing his watch-chain down to his
knees. He welcomed me very cordially, said he had not had time as yet
to make the necessary enquiries about my passage; but as he was sure
no vessel would sail for Helvoetsluys for at least a week, he insisted
upon my putting up at his residence while I remained. Oppressed as I
was with fretting and fatigue, it was a matter of indifference to me
at the moment where I stayed while in town. I therefore, with a proper
expression of thanks, accepted the invitation. A job coach conveyed us
in a short time to Mr Sainsbury's abode. He lived at Walworth, at that
period an extensive suburb on the Surrey side of London, but long
since incorporated into the great mass of the metropolis. The street
in which the mansion stood was large, the houses were spacious and
handsome, their tenants, as I learned afterwards, opulent and
respectable. It was late in August; my friend's family were all at
Margate; and I found none to do the honours of the house but himself
and his eldest son, a young man of prepossessing appearance and
intelligent manners. On finding I was not disposed to go out the
following morning, he recommended me to the library and some
portfolios of choice engravings, and, promising to return early in the
afternoon, departed for his haunts of business in the city.

I found the library tolerably comprehensive for its size; and having
glanced along its ranges, I tumbled over Hogarth and Gillray on the
print-stands for some time. I settled upon my usual efficacious remedy
in desultory hours--old Burton's _Anatomie_, and dropped with it into
the window-seat. I have seldom found him to fail me on such
emergencies--his quaintness, his humour, the lavish prodigality of
learning and extraordinary thinking that loads his pages, never to me
lose their freshness. Yet on the present occasion I found them fix me
with more difficulty than I ever before, or I believe since,
experienced. My mind wandered constantly from the page back to home,
forward to Heidelberg, and, after a while, I laid down the volume to
gaze vacantly through the window. It overlooked the street. Yet here
the day was so piteously wet there was nothing to arrest my
half-drowsy eye or half-dreamy attention. No young ladies in the
opposite windows. They were all at Hastings or Brighton. No neat
serving-wenches chattering on the area steps--not even a barrel-organ
to blow out one's patience--no vagabond on stilts, with a pipe and
dancing-dogs--no Punch--no nothing!--Once, a ruffian with four
_babbies_, two in his arms and two more at his ankles, strolled down
the street, chanting--"In Jury is God known"--his hat off, and the
rain streaming down at his nose as from a gable-spout. But he, too,
vanished. Occasionally a dripping umbrella hurried past, showing
nothing but thin legs in tights and top-boots, or thick ones in
worsteds and pattens. At one o'clock the milkman passed along the
street silently, and with a soberer knock than usually announces the
presence of that functionary. I counted him at number 45, 46, 47,
48--number 49 was beyond the range of the window; but I believe I
accompanied him with my ear up to number 144--where the
multiplication-table ends. He was assisted in his vocation by his
wife, who attended him--very devotedly too, for I remarked she seemed
regardless of the weather, and carried no umbrella. Wearied out
completely by the monotony and dulness of the street, I next sank into
a doze, which destroyed one hour further towards dinner, and the
remnant of time I managed to dispose of by writing a large portion of
a long letter to my mother. My dinner was a tête-à-tête one with John
Sainsbury--his father having been called away to Margate on affairs
connected with the residents there. Finding myself labouring under a
cold, I avoided wine, and while my companion discussed his _Château
Margaut_, I kept up a languid conversation with him, enlivened
occasionally by the snap of a walnut-shell or indifferent pun, with
now and then an enquiry or remark respecting the street passengers.
Amongst those, the milk-vender and lady at the moment happened to pass
along--"By the by," I said, "there is one peculiarity about that Pair
I cannot help remarking. I observe, that wherever, or at whatever
pace, the man moves, his female companion always keeps at the one
exact distance behind him--about three yards or so--See, just as they
stand now at No. 46! I never perceive her approach nearer. She seems a
most assiduous wife."

"_Wife!_" rejoined Sainsbury, with a motion of the lip that might have
been a smile, but for the gravity of his other features--"she is not
his wife."

"Wife, or friend then," I said, correcting myself.

"She is not his friend either."

"Well, his sister or relative."

"Neither sister nor relative--in fact," he said, "I don't think she is
any thing to him."

"But the deuce is in it, man, you don't mean to say that she is not a
most devoted friend who thus so closely, and at all hours, it appears
to me, attends him and assists"----

"She does not assist him," again interrupted Sainsbury.

"I mean, shares his toil."

"She has no participation whatever in his business. Come," he said,
rising and advancing to the window, "I see you are puzzled; nor are
you the first who has been at fault respecting that extraordinary
Pair. Just observe them for a moment," and he threw up the sash to
afford me the means of glancing after them along the street; "you
perceive that there is not the slightest communication between them.
He has just stopped at that house, No. 50, and there stands the woman,
rigid as a statue, only three yards behind him; now he has done and
moves rapidly on--how exactly she follows! He stops again, and see,
she is motionless; now, he proceeds slowly across the street to that
house with the lofty portico, but, slowly or quickly, there she is
close at hand."

"How very odd!" I said; "they never speak."

"Speak! Watch him narrowly, and you will see he never for a single
instant _looks behind him_. Here they come this way, on his return
homewards. You hear the shout from those idle throngs that have just
caught a glimpse of yonder balloon; you see _that_ man never turns,
never pauses, never looks up; he knows who is behind him, and hurries
on. There, he has turned the corner, and, certain as his death, _she_
has vanished in his footsteps. Singular--most singular!" he muttered
to himself half musingly.

"But surely their home reconciles them?"

"They don't live together! On the contrary, I believe, they dwell far
asunder; and we of this neighbourhood, who have seen them for years,
have just as little cause to conclude that they are known personally
to each other as you have, who have only beheld them once or twice."

"But this strange companionship, this existence of attraction and
repulsion, which I have witnessed those two days, it surely does not
always continue. You talk of years"----

"Yes, several years; and during that time the man has not been once
missed from his business, nor ever found pursuing it unwatched or
unattended by that woman, more constant, in truth, than his very

"Why, here is mystery and romance with a vengeance! ready made, too,
at one's threshold, without having to seek it out in hall or bower.
'Tis a trifle _low_ to be sure; had it been a shepherd and shepherdess
it _might_ do, but a milkman and a--may I say?--milkmaid."

"I assure you there is no quiz whatever in it. It is just as you see
it and say it--a downright mystery, and one that, perhaps, will never
be cleared up."

"I think the clue, my dear fellow, a very simple one--the woman is

"Not a bit of it; she is perfectly rational; of intelligence, I am
told, far beyond her apparent station in life--a little reserved, to
be sure."

"Then he is a lunatic, and she his keeper--eh?"

"For that I refer you to the cook, and all of that respectable calling
who transact business with the fellow. If he must be characterized by
any one particular quality, I would say that there is far more of the
villain than the fool about him."

"Pray, be kind enough," I said, "to tell me all you know respecting
this curious Pair. I am really interested in them."

"In what I have said already," replied Sainsbury, resuming his seat,
"I have told you all, or very nearly all, that I, or I believe any
body else, knows of them. My little information is chiefly acquired
from hearing the servants gossip about them; but I very well remember
that, on the first appearance of the Pair in this vicinity, they
excited a good deal of speculation and enquiry amongst every class in
Walworth. It is now more than eight years ago since this man's
predecessor--the purveyor, as he grandiloquently was wont to call
himself, of milk to this large district--died. His dairies, which I
fancy were lucrative things enough, were immediately sold, and taken
by a person who, we were informed, would not only continue to supply
Walworth with their produce, but, from motives of caprice or economy,
would deliver it himself. Accordingly, the man you have seen pass this
evening appeared; and all was uniform and punctual as before. In a few
days, however, he came, attended by that mysterious female, dogged
precisely as you have seen him an hour ago, and at once the heart of
every cook and kitchen-maid in the parish was on fire with curiosity
and suspicion. From the kitchen the contagion spread to the
drawing-room, and commissions of enquiry, in the shape of tea-parties,
were held in every house relative to the strange milk-vender and his
stranger shadow. To those who asked him any questions on the matter,
and very few ventured to do so--for his manner, though civil, had
reserve and sullenness, and there was in his deportment a decent
propriety, that repulsed, or rather prevented, enquiry--he usually
answered that he 'knew nothing of the woman who followed him;' 'that
he dared to say it was from some whim;' 'that she was welcome to do so
if she pleased;' 'she had the same right of highway as any other
person,' and suchlike evasive replies."

"But his companion--I should rather say, his attendant--from her sex,
she would, at least, be something more communicative?"

"Not at all. She was very seldom spoken to upon any subject. She kept
aloof from all who seemed disposed to be inquisitive; and if she ever
came within range, as the sailors say, of a question, she never gave
an intelligible, or at least satisfactory, answer. Besides, as she was
never seen save in the track of him whom she lives but to pursue, her
own sex have had no opportunity of conciliating her into an
acquaintanceship, and their patience and curiosity have long consumed
themselves away."

"Then, after all, it may be only the whim of an eccentric woman that
leads her thus to persecute an inoffensive, industrious person?"

"I cannot think so. I am persuaded there is some peculiar occurrence
in their past lives that has thus mysteriously associated them--some
conscious secret that, by its influence, draws them forcibly into
contact. What the nature of this strange sympathy may be, I cannot
form the least idea."

"Has no one attempted to unriddle it before now?"

"Not with any prospect of success. Of course there have been a
thousand conjectures. Among the lower orders of people, the prevalent
opinion is, that the woman once possessed a large sum of money, out of
which this Maunsell (for such is his name) contrived to cheat her; and
that she has ever since _haunted_ him, as they very appropriately term
it. But this offence I am inclined to think infinitely too light a one
to draw upon him the grievous punishment which has been so many years
inflicted on him. One of our neighbours, Rochfort, a very
matter-of-fact sort of man, not at all given to the marvellous,
asserts, that he witnessed by accident what he is sure was the first
meeting of the Pair after the man's arrival in this quarter. It was
late in the evening; Rochfort was standing, he says, in the shadow of
a gateway that breaks up the long blank wall of a large timber-yard
that belongs to him, at some distance from this, and which skirts a
lonely and unfrequented road leading to Kennington. He is positive
there was not a human being but himself within sight or hearing, when
he perceived the milkman coming along by the wall, his footsteps
echoing loudly up the dusty path. Not choosing to encounter a stranger
at the moment in such a spot, my friend withdrew further into the
shadow of the gateway. The man, in passing it, happening to drop some
pieces of money from his hand, stooped to recover then; and while so
engaged, a female, who, Rochfort asserts, must have risen out of the
earth on the instant, suddenly appeared standing at the searcher's
side, perfectly motionless, and muffled in those dark funereal
garments that have since been so familiar to our eyes. On lifting his
head the man perceived her, started, but, my informant says, it was
more the subdued start of one accustomed to face horror, than the
overwhelming dismay of a person terrified for the first time: he
folded his arms, as if endeavouring to collect himself, but his whole
frame shook convulsively. He was about to speak, when a noise of
workmen approaching up the archway stopped him, and, turning away, he
hastened on--that dark spectral woman gliding noiselessly after him."

"Perhaps," I said, with a forced laugh--for, despite of myself, the
story was exciting my imagination as well as curiosity--"she really
_is_ a visitant from another world."

"There are not wanting those who say so," replied my friend; "but
however ghost-like her mission and appearance may be, I believe there
is no doubt that as yet she is a denizen in the flesh."

"And this Pair--where and how do they reside?"

"The man lives at his dairies, a considerable way from here, and
although he has, I am told, an extensive establishment, never goes out
but on his daily business. He is of a serious, methodistical
disposition, and, I understand, affects devotional reading a good
deal; yet he is never seen at a place of worship. He is unmarried, nor
does any relative or companion reside with him. The woman--it is
hardly known where she lives; in some miserable lonely room far away,
buried in the heart of one of those dismal courts that lurk in the
outlets of London, her way of life and means of support equally
unknown, the one object of her existence palpable to all--to come
forth at the grey of daybreak in winter and summer, in storm or shine,
and seat herself at a little distance from that man's abode, until he
makes his appearance: when he was passed her, to rise, to follow, to
track him through the livelong day with that unflagging constancy
poets are fond of ascribing to unquenchable love, which the early
Greeks attributed to their impersonations of immortal Hate."

"Surely the wild and doubtful surmises that those circumstances have
raised in people's minds must have had an injurious effect on
Maunsell's business?"

"Not at all; on the contrary, I think it has assisted it. Every
neighbourhood loves to have a mystery of its own, and we, you must
confess, have got a superlative one. The man has been found
scrupulously honest, regular, and exact in his dealings; and were we
to lose him now, and get a mere common-place person to succeed him,
half the housewives of Walworth would perish of inanition. And now,"
said Sainsbury, rising, "That I have imparted to you all I know
respecting the milkman and his familiar, let us to the drawing-room
and seek some coffee."


The night that followed this conversation was to me a most
uncomfortable one. The episode in the day's occurrences had made so
deep an impression on me, that it excluded all other thoughts from my
mind, which it occupied so intently, that, upon retiring to my
chamber, several hours elapsed before I sought repose. I did so at
last, but in vain. Between the fever attendant upon my indisposition,
and the irksomeness of frame caused by mental inquietude, sleep was
completely banished from my eyelids, or visited them only in short and
broken slumbers, peopled by the distorted images of my waking
thoughts. The mysterious Pair were again before me. I saw them gliding
through the long street, the man hastening on in that attitude, so
strikingly described by Coleridge, like one

    "Who walks in fear and dread;
  And having once turn'd round, walks on,
    And turns no more his head,
  Because he knows a frightful fiend
    Doth close behind him tread"--

the woman keeping on his track with the constancy of Doom. Or I was
standing a witness to their first meeting in the grim Dark on that
lonely road, their eyes of hate and fear staring wildly into each
other. Sometimes I found myself spellbound between the two, the centre
upon which their fearful sympathies revolved, the object upon which
their long pent-up passions were about to burst. Starting from those
visions, my waking fancies were hardly less tormenting. I was just at
that season of youth, before the calmer and nobler faculties have
acquired maturity and tone; when incidents that vary but little from
the ordinary economy of life, seen through the medium of the
imagination, assume a magnitude of distinctness not properly their
own. On the present occasion, however, my friend's recital was well
calculated to arouse the speculations of a romantic fancy; and mine
was now fully employed in forming a thousand conjectures in
elucidation of the curious circumstances he had repeated to me. What
could be the relation between those strange parties? Was it attachment
in the one and aversion in the other? Or had one, as was commonly
supposed, been the plundered victim--the other the Despoiler? Neither
of these cases could be so. A petty office of police would have
relieved the persecuted--a court of law would have redressed the
robbery. _Monomania_ had been known to instigate persons to a line of
conduct as perseveringly painful as this woman pursued; but then there
could be no motive why the object of her attention should, for years,
resign himself to a system of annoyance that drew upon him so much of
remark and obloquy. Or could the female be the hired instrument of
persecution in the hands of others? The poverty, the utter joylessness
of her solitary life, precluded the supposition. No! crime, I felt
convinced--_crime_ was at the bottom of it all! and crime, too, of no
ordinary quality. Was the man intent upon committing some deadly
offence against society? and was it to prevent its commission that he
was so assiduously watched by his companion? Perhaps he meditated
breaking that instinctive canon which the Most High has so wisely
fixed against "self-slaughter." Or had some hideous deed already been
perpetrated? Was it by one, or both? or was one a soul black with
guilt--the other a spirit of innocence? The more I indulged in those
heated fancies, the wilder they became. Was the woman, after all, a
Being endowed with vitality? The suddenness of her first appearance
before the man watching at the gate--the fearful hour--the lonely
spot--her noiseless tread--her silent demeanour--her sepulchral
dress--almost warranted the contrary opinion. Had she fallen by the
hand of this Maunsell? and was the apparition, which we are told ever
lives by the side of the murderer, thus permitted to haunt him,
embodied before the eyes of men? Such were the troubled thoughts that
disturbed me throughout the night. Long before sunrise I was up,
endeavouring to calm the fever into which I had wrought myself, by
pacing my apartment in the cool of morning. A brilliant sunshine
ushered in the day, and under its enlivening influence my perturbed
spirits gradually subsided to their usual tone. At breakfast, I
confess, I was disposed again to enter on the topic, if an opportunity
occurred; but Sainsbury, occupied in some letters of importance that
had arrived, talked but little, and did not recur to the subject of
the previous evening. This did not assist to allay the interest which
had been so powerfully excited in my bosom. The continuance of my cold
once more served me as a plea for remaining within doors; and, upon
our parting for the day, I did not hesitate to retire to the
dining-parlour, whose windows looked directly on the street, and
there, shutting myself up, I awaited the arrival of the hour at which
the extraordinary pair generally appeared, determined to satisfy
myself by a closer observation than I had hitherto made.

Exactly as noon sounded, I saw _him_ stop at an opposite door,
and--did I see rightly? Yes--alone. No; I had not approached
sufficiently close to the window; when I did, _she_, too, was there,
at the same slight distance behind, in the same silent, patient,
motionless attitude. He went on, and, steady as his shadow, she
pursued. I now resolved to see them still closer, and for that purpose
proceeded to the hall-door, where I remained carelessly standing until
the man approached it. I could observe that he walked at an even
deliberate pace; and as he carried none of the cumbrous machinery
distinctive of his craft, his step was steady and unimpeded. He was a
low-sized, well-made man, probably somewhat more than forty years of
age. He was neatly dressed; his attire being a suit of some of those
grave colours and primitive patterns which find so much favour in the
eyes of staid Dissenters, and persons of that class. Indeed, I could
see by his whole deportment, that the occupation he pursued was one of
choice, not of necessity. His features were regular, nor was there in
his countenance any thing remarkable, except that it was pale and
subdued, with a look of endurance which peculiar circumstances perhaps
imparted to it. What I chiefly noticed, was an evident consciousness
about the man that some disagreeable object lurked behind him; and
when I caught his eye, which I did once or twice, I could see in its
glance that he quite understood why my attention was directed to him.
He did not utter a word in my hearing, and there was altogether in his
appearance an air of depression and reserve which still further aided
the impression Sainsbury's story had made on my imagination. When he
next paused, his short progress brought his attendant close to me--in
every way a more striking and interesting person. She was a woman tall
in stature, of an erect figure, finely proportioned, as well as the
coarse mourning garments and large dark cloak in which she was muffled
allowed me to judge. She must have been, in youth, very handsome; but
on her thin ashen cheek premature age had already made unusual ravage.
She could not, from the unbroken and graceful outline of her form, be
much more than thirty; but her face was marked with the passionate
traces of nearly double that period. Nothing of life I ever beheld
exhibited the paleness--the monumental paleness of that face. On the
brow, on the cheek, all was the aspect of the grave. Yet
life--intenser life than thrills the soul of Beauty in her bridal
bower, dwelt in the working of those thin compressed lips--lurked
beneath those heavy downcast lids, burned in those dark wild eyes,
whose flashes I more than once arrested ere she passed from before me.
Writing at the interval of time I now do, and disposed as I am to deal
severely with the fantastic imaginations of my youth, I have not in
any way exaggerated the appearance this singular female exhibited.
Should the reader suspect me of such an error, a moment's reflection
will convince him that she who could--from whatever motive it might
be--adopt the strange purpose to which she had devoted her solitary
life, must have been characterized by energies of mind that would of
necessity have filled and informed her frame, and imparted to her an
air that altogether distinguished her from ordinary persons. I
observed that she seemed wholly regardless of what was passing around
her, appearing to be entirely absorbed in one great duty--the business
of her existence--that of attending on the individual whose steps she
so closely followed. He made no movement that, I thought, escaped her.
Insensible, apparently, to every thing else, her glance showed that
never for a moment did she cease to watch him, eager, my fancy
suggested, to catch the slightest indication of his turning round and
encountering her gaze. If so, her vigilance, as long as I beheld the
Pair, was in vain. The man never ventured to look behind him. In half
an hour they had vanished from the street.

They re-appeared in the evening again as usual, and then, and for
several subsequent days, (for I did not feel well enough to undergo
some twenty or thirty hours' sea-sickness in the packet that offered
the Saturday after my arrival,) I took a morbid and eager pleasure in
awaiting the visits and observing the motions of those inscrutable
beings. Sainsbury and his son were amused, but not surprised, at the
anxiety I evinced to obtain a nearer insight into Maunsell's history.
My curiosity and vigilance were, however, fruitless. The Pair
performed their revolutions with a cold uniformity, a silent
perseverance, that I found sufficiently monotonous; and at length,
after one or two baffled attempts to engage the man in conversation,
and which never proceeded beyond a few common-place words, (about his
companion there was a something indefinable that prevented me from
ever addressing _her_,) I relinquished any further hope of penetrating
the mystery. Towards the close of my stay, and as my indisposition
wore away, the Sainsburys complimented me by giving one or two
dinner-parties, and these, with some morning visits and rambles with
the men I met at the house, served to draw my attention from the
matter; so that by the time I had fairly embarked on board the
_Blitzen_, bound for Helvoetsluys, the circumstances which had
occupied me so intently for the last fortnight were beginning to take
their place among the remembrances of the past.


The passage to the Dutch coast, and my journey onward to Heidelberg,
were performed without interruption, and were unenlivened by any
incident that deserves relating. As it is not my intention to dwell
upon the vicissitudes of my career at the high school and university,
I shall merely say that, attending very little to the conventional and
arbitrary distinctions by which the students of Germany choose to
classify themselves--caring still less for _chores_, _brand-foxes_,
and _Burschenschafft_, and nothing at all for noisy suppers and their
drunken _refrain_--

  "Toujours fidèle et sans souci
  C'est l'ordre du Crambambuli!"--

I very earnestly bent myself to second the intentions of my father.
For three years, diligently and indefatigably, I pursued a course of
severe application to long-neglected studies, which enabled me fairly
to redeem the time I had squandered in early youth. Nor is it unworthy
of remark, that, as is often the case with imaginative people, the
temptations which had appeared so inviting when beheld from a
distance, failed in their powers of allurement on a nearer approach.
The Spirit of the Brocken and I made no advances in intimacy, and I
rode through the Black Forest without a desire to enroll myself
amongst its freebooters.

The fourth year of my stay at Heidelberg was drawing to a close, when,
in pursuance of arrangements entered into with my father, I returned
to England. Upon reaching London, I drove to my kind friends at
Walworth, where I experienced the same ready welcome as before,
accompanied by many congratulations upon my academical success, of
which they had heard from time to time from my family. It was the
middle of winter--the second or third week in December--when London
exhibits all that joyous bustle of plenteousness and good cheer,
amidst which its citizens celebrate the festival of Christmas. As Mrs
Sainsbury and her daughters were now at home, I was easily prevailed
on to prolong my visit for a few days before I departed for
Lincolnshire. The moment I entered the house, the rooms and their
associations recalled to me forcibly the mysterious Pair, whose
proceedings had filled my mind with so much of curiosity and interest
when I was last a sojourner in the abode. During my residence in
Germany I had not forgotten them; and although the austerity of my
pursuits in that country had schooled my fancy to a soberer pace, I
could not forbear from enquiring, in one or two letters which I had
occasion to write to the younger Sainsbury, whether the milkman of
Walworth and his Shadow still pursued their rounds uninterrupted, or
if any thing had transpired that could enlighten our conjectures on
their history. My correspondent always neglected, or forgot, to
satisfy me in this particular; and it was therefore with something, I
am ashamed to say, nearly approaching to anxiety, that on the morning
after my arrival--for the gay variety of the social circle had
monopolized my attention until then--I once more, after so long an
interval, seated myself in the library window, under pretence of
seeking a passage in Herder, which I had quoted for Julia Sainsbury
the preceding evening, and awaited the hour of noon.

And there, before the clock of the neighbouring church had ceased
striking, with the selfsame step, in the same subdued attire in which
I saw him four years ago, came gliding up the street the dark, sullen
milkman; and there, too, close behind him as ever, followed his
shadowy companion! It is in vain to deny it. I could feel my heart
beating audibly when I beheld them, as if they were unsubstantial
visitants, whose appearance I expected the grave would have
interdicted from my eyes for ever. It was a dim, bitter, wintry day,
and showers of sleet were drifting heavily on the fierce and angry
wind, soaking the man's garments through and through, and sweeping
aside the thin habiliments of the female, as though they would tear
them from her slender form, and leave it a prey to the keen wrath of
the elements. Yet the Pair passed upon their way, seemingly regardless
of weather that had banished all other creatures from the streets. As
they stopped beneath the window where I sat, I scrutinized them
eagerly, to see whether time, or toil, or the terrors of such winters
as that now raging, had wrought the work of ruin I would have expected
in their frames. In that of the woman there was but little alteration.
She was thinner and paler perhaps, and the poorness of her dress
betokened no doubt an increase in her sufferings and privations; but
her glance, when I could catch it, had more of fiery blackness: her
mouth more of compressed determination than when I formerly beheld
her. But in Maunsell there was a striking change: his figure was
stooped, his cheek hollow, his eye sunk; in a word, his aspect now
bore the signs of that mental misery which, on an earlier occasion, I
had looked for in one subjected like him to such long, and steady, and
undying persecution. Mournful beings! I internally exclaimed, as they
proceeded from my sight, whatever sinful sorrow thus serves to link
together your discordant existences, it must indeed be of a damning
nature, if such a career as yours does not go far to expiate it!

That day, on the re-assembling of the family, I did not fail to allude
to the subject of the milkman, and to express my surprise at his
tenacity to life, as well as at the fixedness of purpose that enabled
him to pursue his occupation through a long series of years, under
such remarkable circumstances. I found, however, that the ladies only
smiled at the interest which my manner exhibited; some of them
assuring me, at the same time, that the neighbourhood was now so
accustomed to the matter, that, although calculated to arrest the
attention of a stranger, to them it had ceased to be either a source
of curiosity or enquiry. I believe they added, that of late the man's
health had begun to fail, and that once or twice, when he happened to
be confined from indisposition, his companion's visits were
interrupted by the occurrence, although she still kept her vigilance
in exercise by watching unremittingly for his re-appearance.

After a few pleasant days passed in London, I proceeded to
Lincolnshire, and had the happiness of finding my family well when I
arrived at home. My father was quite satisfied with the letters I
conveyed from Professor Von Slammerbogen; my mother delighted to
receive me in any character, whether that of pedant or prodigal.
Nicholas, my elder brother, I found as much attached, as when I left
him, to practising "Dull Care", upon the violin. In Tom, however,
there was a considerable modification, he having left his sinister arm
at Hougomont, in exchange for a three months' campaign in country
quarters and a Waterloo medal. In the following term I entered at
Cambridge, as my father had originally planned; and in due time, upon
obtaining my degree, was admitted into holy orders. My first curacy,
it is singular enough, was obtained through the influence of our
friend the Walworth banker, and was that of St ----'s, in his
neighbourhood, but nearer to town, and the centre of a poor but
densely peopled district. The scene of life I now entered upon was
truly laborious and painful. Resolved to perform its duties diligently
to the best of my ability, I found every moment I could spare from
refreshment and sleep hardly sufficient for the claims which the
Comfortless, whom I had to console, the Sick, whom I had to succour,
the Profligate, to reclaim, the Sceptic, to convince, made upon my
time. Wholesome and profitable to my spirit, I trust, was this
discipline! It seems to me a thing inexplicable, how a man can
advocate the interests, the benefits of religion--can impress upon
others the divine precepts of Christianity, and be himself not a
partaker in the blessings he imparts. Such a one, I hope, I have long
ceased to be; and although I do not profess to have attained that
degree of zealous fervour and devotion, which sees, in the light and
graceful relaxations of life nothing but the darkness and allurements
of sin, I humbly believe I have endeavoured to make my course, as much
as in me was possible, conformable to the doctrines I have taught.

Upon settling in London, I gladly renewed my acquaintance with the
Sainsburys; yet so arduous were the duties of my profession, that, for
the first two years in which I resided in St ----'s parish, I saw but
little of this amiable family. Towards the close of that period, the
aid of an additional curate, appointed to assist in the district,
afforded me a little more leisure time, and I was enabled occasionally
to spend an evening at Walworth. In passing to and from my friend's
house, I now and then met, and ever with renewed interest and
surprise, the dark PAIR still plodding their melancholy, interminable
rounds. The last time I beheld them, I remember calculating, as they
passed me, the number of years they had been thus incomprehensibly
associated, and speculating on how many more should elapse before age
and death terminated that melancholy partnership. In about two months
after, I dined at the banker's, and the first intelligence with which
John Sainsbury greeted me, was the news that the milkman of Walworth
and his companion had at length disappeared. Maunsell, he said, had
died some weeks before, after a couple of days' illness. No one seemed
to know of what disorder--general debility, it was thought; no doctor
had been called in; and not having left a will, his property went to
some distant relative. With respect to the woman, she was last
noticed, the evening of his death, sitting in the usual spot--within
sight of the gateway leading to his house--where she generally awaited
his appearance. She was not there the following morning; nor was she
seen again. As the deceased had made no disclosure respecting her, nor
left any papers that could tend to explain their connexion, all
chance, it was concluded, of clearing up the mystery was at an end for
ever. I confess this disappointed me not a little. I found I had,
whenever the strange Pair occurred to my recollection, unconsciously
entertained a conviction that I should, at some period or other, learn
their history; and now that all opportunity of so doing had vanished,
the fancies of my early youth again returned, and occupied me with
their wild suggestions for a longer time than was either pleasing or
justifiable. The coincidence, however, which had brought me so often
into contact with those singular persons, was not fated as yet to


It was, I think, about half a year from this period, that, in
returning late one evening from the neighbourhood of Russell Square,
where my father, during a short visit he was compelled to make to
town, had taken lodgings, I missed my way, and got entangled in the
intricacies of the numerous narrow streets and alleys that lie between
that quarter of London and the eastern end of Holborn. Intending to
avail myself of some of the public conveyances homewards, I had
attempted to shorten my passage to the great thoroughfares, and in
doing so had thus gone astray. As it was past ten o'clock I was
necessarily hurried, and yet the heat and heaviness of the night--it
was July--prevented me freeing myself as rapidly as I should otherwise
have done from the squalid and disagreeable avenues in which I had got
entangled. I was just pausing to enquire my way of a slatternly-looking
woman, who stood considerably in front of the door of a dirty-looking
house in one of the dirtiest lanes I had yet explored, and who, with an
apron thrown round her shoulders, to supply, it seemed to me, the absence
of their appropriate garments, appeared, from the direction of her looks,
to be awaiting some one's arrival, when a lad hastened up the opposite
side of the alley, and breathlessly announced to her, that "the docther
wouldn't come 'thout he first got his fee."

"Holy Mary, mother of ----! Oh, wisha, what _am_ I to do!" exclaimed
the woman in a strong Irish accent, with that elision of apostrophe
into complaint peculiar to her country.

"If she goes on this way till mornin', two men wouldn't hould her, let
alone one _colleen_.[1] Run, Micky, to the 'seer, an' let him get her
to the hospiddle, or my heart 'll be broke from her."

"How dove I know where the 'seer lives at this hour o' the night?"
expostulated the boy.

"There's a wake in Tim Reilly's second floor--can't you go there, and
they'll tell you--can't you?"

The messenger disappeared, and I now, before putting the question for
which I had stopped, asked the woman soothingly the cause of her

"Is it what's the matther, sir? Matther enough thin--a poor crethur of
a woman lodgin' with me is took very bad with the fever. She wasn't to
say so bad entirely till this evenin', when she begin to rave, and
'sist upon gettin' up; an' goin' on with terrible talk, that it would
frighten the heart o' you to hear her."

"How long," I said, "has she been ill?"

"Wisha, sir, she was never well since the day she darkened my dure;
but I think 'tis the heat o' the weather, an' her never stirrin' out,
an' the weakness entirely, an' the impression on her heart, that is
killin' her now."

"And has she had no advice?"

"Sorrow the 'vice--you'd think she'd go into fits when I mentioned a
docther to her; and as to a priest or a ministher--my dear life, I
might as well mention a blunderbush."

Well accustomed to hear of, and witness, such suffering as the woman
described, I was about to proceed in quest of a physician myself, if
she had paused in the first part of the sentence just finished. The
concluding remarks arrested me.

"I am a clergyman," I said; "will you let me see this poor person?"

"An' a thousand welcomes, sir. I know you're not the Revern' Misthur
Falvey, that I goes to a' Christmas an' Easther--nor the ministher
convenient here. Maybe you're"----

"I'm quite unknown here; but by allowing me to see your patient, I
shall be able to judge if she is in a fit state to be removed to an
hospital; or, if instantly necessary, I shall myself procure medical
advice for her."

The woman entered the house and I followed her, waiting, as she
requested me, in the dark entry, until she procured from the sick
chamber the only light that I presume was burning in the dwelling. She
then re-appeared at the head of the stairs, and requested me to

Lighting me up four ruinous flights of steps, leading to rooms that
appeared to be tenanted by beings as miserable as herself, she ushered
me into an apartment of such large dimensions that the weak rushlight
she carried left its extremity in absolute darkness. It was wretchedly
furnished. At the farthest end from the door was a bed, by the side of
which stood a coarse-looking girl about fifteen, engaged in
preventing--now by soothing, now by forcible restraint--the invalid
who occupied it from attempting to rise.

"Not another moment--not one moment longer! I _must_ get up--he is
waiting for me! See! I am late already, for 'tis daybreak--though you
cannot see the dawn through that dismal rain. Let me go--wretch,
wretch!--let me go; he shall not stir one step that I won't be near
him to remind him of"----

Leaving the candle near the door, my guide approached the bed, and
beckoned me to follow. I advanced, and even through the misty shadows
that enveloped the place, I recognised, in the emaciated Form
struggling on the couch, her wild flashing eyes now wilder with fever
and insanity, the well-remembered wanderer who had so often excited my
interest in Walworth.

"Ha!" she continued, after stopping suddenly, as lunatics will do when
a stranger unexpectedly appears, and intently observing me for some
minutes. "Ha! I knew I was late--see there. _He_ has come to seek me,
for the first time, too, for seventeen--eighteen-oh! so many long
years. Ha, ha! all in black, too--Barnard--and you've brought your
wealthy bride"--and she glanced at the woman, who stood beside me;
"but, faugh, how her limbs rattle--not a whole bone," she said, with a
hysterical laugh, "in her beautiful body!"

In this way she continued to rave, during the short time I remained in
the apartment. I attempted to ask her a few questions, to ascertain,
if possible, how far the distraction of her mind was consequent upon
her disorder; but her only replies were mad and incoherent allusions
to past scenes and occurrences, that seemed entirely to engross her
attention. Finding my presence of no avail, I quitted the place, and
was about to deposit a small sum with the hostess for the sufferer's
use, when she very ingenuously informed me it was not at the moment
necessary, that person herself having always, in the payment of her
weekly rent, entrusted to her hands money sufficient to supply the
wants of several ensuing days.

"An' though we're sometimes bad enough off, sir, when the boys don't
get the work at Mr Cubitt's, still, shure, if I was to wrong a poor
sickly crethur like that of her thrifle of change, 'twould melt away
the weight o' myself in goold if I had it."

I could not help smiling at this unwonted display of honesty in so
unexpected a quarter, and promising her that such care and attention
to her sick tenant should not go unrewarded, I departed, escorted by
"Micky," who had returned to say that no intelligence of the 'seer was
to be obtained at Tim Reilly's. On making our way into Holborn, I
called at the nearest surgeon's, and, giving him my address, I
dispatched him back with the boy, directing him, at the same time, not
to allow the woman to be removed unless her disorder was a contagious
one, (which, I was persuaded, it was not,) and requesting, should the
aid of a physician be necessary, he would at once procure it, for
which, with all other expenses, I would be answerable. Touching this
latter point, the lad had informed me as we came along, that he did
not think their lodger was at all at a loss for money, as she procured
it about once a-month, he thought, (the only time she ever went
abroad,) from some "gentleman's office in the coorts."

Although living at such a distance, I contrived to see the unfortunate
invalid several times in the following week. I found I was right as to
the nature of her disorder. An eminent physician had been called in
once or twice during its most violent paroxysms, and stated, that it
was likely her malady was not the cause, but the consequence, of some
extraordinary mental excitement. Under the judicious treatment he
pointed out, the fever gradually subsided, and for a short time there
was an appearance in the patient of returning convalescence. But her
physical energies were exhausted, and it was evident that a very short
period would terminate her existence. Reason, too, never wholly
resumed its functions, if indeed it had ever of late years exercised
them in that wearied brain. Her ideas assumed a certain degree of
coherency. She was able to converse occasionally with calmness, to
recognise faces familiar to her, and appeared sensible of and even
grateful for my visits, and the assiduity with which I sought to
awaken her to some preparation for the great approaching change; but

                            "the delicate chain
  Of thought, once tangled, never clear'd again:"

never _wholly_ cleared. The lightning of insanity flashed continually
from the heavy cloud that hung upon her soul. The allusions, too, she
was in the habit of making to some transactions of bygone years, were
of so startling a nature, that I was fully confirmed in my early
impression she had been at one time of her life implicated in some
wonderful, nay, heinous occurrence. Upon this point it was my
intention, if possible, to win her gradually to confide to me the
secret of her guilt or wrongs, hoping by this means to relieve her
spirit by seeming to share in its burdens and distress.

With the quick perception of persons labouring like her under mental
aberration, she seemed to anticipate my purpose. I was one morning
sitting by her bedside, when she suddenly began--

"You asked me yesterday if I remembered having ever seen you before
this illness--this late attack--and I said no. It was false. I spoke
as I thought at the time; but, in looking at you now, I recollect you
were one of those people I often met at Walworth. I even think you
once attempted to get into _his_ confidence--(now, do not interrupt
me.) You likewise desired to know why one like me, who appears
superior in mind and language to the wretched class amongst whom you
find her, should have led the life----Stay! send for a sheriff's
officer, and I will tell you."

I assured her I saw no necessity at that moment for the presence of
such a person; and, as she appeared somewhat more excited than I had
seen her for several days, I endeavoured to lead her away from the
subject that occupied her, by turning the conversation to some
indifferent topic. But it would not do. She still reverted to the
point at which she had broken off; and I was at length obliged to let
her pursue the course of her own thoughts as she pleased.

"Did you ever think me handsome? Many once thought me so; but that is
long ago. My father was still handsomer. He was the younger of two
brothers, both wealthy. They were plain Devonshire farmers--each, too,
was a widower, with each a daughter. So far for their likeness to one
another. Now for the contrast. My father spent his wealth, died, and
left me a beggar. _Her's_ (my pretty cousin Martha's) saved it, and
left his child an heiress--a Temptation--a prize for all the bumpkins
and graziers about us. I was glad to live with her. We kept house
together. We were both of an age--young, handsome, lively, and for our
station, or rather for a higher one, well educated. Here again ceased
the resemblance. Like my father, I was open, guileless,
unsuspecting--and it destroyed me. She was mean, cunning, treacherous,
and would--but HELL was too strong for her--have triumphed. My cousin
had numerous offers of marriage. I had none. Among several young men
who frequented our society, was a substantial farmer named Barnard.
You have seen him. When you first beheld him he was little altered. He
had ever that cursed look of Cain upon his forehead, though I branded
it a little deeper. Do not thus stop me!--breath!--I have breath
enough. Barnard was gay, smooth, agreeable--what was more, he was _my_
suitor--the only one amid throngs that was attentive, kind, obliging
to me. I felt first grateful, and next loved him--you shall hear HOW

"Our match began to be talked of. Martha from some whim disapproved of
it. He ceased to visit at the house--but I would not give him up; and
while he contemplated, as I thought, arrangements for our marriage, we
often met alone. Judgment is over with him now--mine is at hand, and I
will not load him with guilt that, after all, may not be his. He was
the only being that cared for me on earth, and I clung to him with a
tenfold affection. How do I know but it was this mad confidence that
first awoke the villain in his soul? That wine"--

I held the glass to her lips; and, while I wiped the damp drops of
agony from her brow, I besought her to defer the sequel of her story
until she was more capable of pursuing it.

"No," she said; "it must be now, or not at all. I am stronger than I
have been for months to-day. Where was I?--Stealing back day after day
to Martha's, a trampled, but not an unhoping spirit; for I still
looked forward to _his_ fulfilling his promise. He once more was a
visitor at our house. I did not know why--I did not care--he was
there, and I was satisfied: I had no eyes for any thing else. But the
blow was coming. It fell--it smote us all to dust.

"I was one morning occupied alone in some domestic duty, when I heard
Barnard's name pronounced by two female servants of our farm, who were
employed in the next apartment. I listened--poor souls! they were
merely agreeing 'how natural it was for Mr Barnard to have jilted
Miss--(but let my very name be unpronounced)--and taken up with Miss
Martha, who had all the fortune.' Was it not a natural remark? So
natural, that every being in the country had already made it but her
whose heart it broke to hear it. I rushed from the spot, a mist
spreading before my eyes as I hastened on. I sought out Barnard; I
found him, and alone. I told him of the report I had overheard. He
said it was not new to him. I charged him with perfidy--he avowed it.
Half-dreaming, I attempted to catch his hand. He coolly withdrew it. I
knelt before him--I clasped his knees--I wept, and prayed he would
bless me by treading me to death beneath his feet. He extricated
himself with a laugh, bid me not be a fool, and left me.

"Before I rose from the spot where I had fallen, a dreadful shadow
passed, as it were, suddenly across me, and some black passion I had
never known till then took possession of my spirit. It was JEALOUSY.
I returned home, and hastened to have an interview with Martha.
Hitherto I had been of a quiet, timid disposition--I was now bold from
frenzy and betrayed affection. I upbraided my cousin with duplicity,
with meanness in receiving the addresses of the man betrothed to her
relative. She retorted by drawing comparisons between our attractions,
personal as well as pecuniary. At these I smiled--bitterly perhaps,
but still I smiled. She scoffed at my pleas that Barnard was my
affianced husband, declared her intention of marrying him, and ended
by insinuating that I had lost him by the very unguardedness of my
affection. I never smiled again.

"I was mad from that day forward. My whole existence changed. I was a
dissembler--a liar--for my life was a long lie--and, come near--I _am_
a murderer. I lived blindly on--a day was fixed for their
marriage--but, though I knew not _how it was to be_--I knew another
would never stand at the altar as his bride.

"She and I had apparently been reconciled--I saw Barnard no more, save
in her presence--I lulled them both into a belief that I was a poor,
trodden, and stingless thing.

"The Sunday preceding the wedding-day arrived. It was a lovely evening
in summer, and Martha and he and I wandered far away into the
fields--they to taste the freshness of nature, I, to wonder the
flowers did not wither beneath our tread; for we were all alike evil
and abandoned. In our way, we visited a mill that was soon to become
the property of Barnard in right of his bride. In passing through the
different lofts into which it was divided, we paused in one to admire
the immense and complicated machinery connected with the great wheel
that worked the manufactory. Martha, ever capricious and perverse,
wished to see the engine set in motion. But there was not a
servant--not a creature, save ourselves--within a mile of the spot at
the moment. Barnard, however, volunteered to go to the mill-dam
outside, and, on a signal from us, to undo the wicket that kept back
the waters from the wheel. I watched him from the window till he took
his station at the spot. Just then Martha, who, with perverse
inquisitiveness, had been standing caged within the iron framework of
the engines, in hastening to leave it missed her footing, and stumbled
backward again within its circle. A streak as of fire flashed through
the place. I waved my hand; there was the sudden rush of tumbling
water, a faint shriek, and then the roar and thunder of the enormous
wheels hurrying on, grinding and tearing her to pieces. And then came
the horrorstruck look of Him, crying out to Heaven in his vain
impotency, and my own mad laughter, ringing high over it all!

"His consternation and despair--his wild attempts to stay the progress
of the crashing machinery--his wrath at my exultation--only raised me
to a higher state of frenzy--that frenzy of heart and brain that never
went from me more. I hollowed in his ear how I had done it--and when
he flung himself on the ground in a passion of remorse and grief, I
danced round him, proclaiming my hate and guilt, and summoning him to
give me up to justice. It was now his turn to quiver under the lash of
conscience. He accused himself of the ruin I had wrought--acknowledged
his falsehood--cried aloud for mercy--and still I exulted with a
fiercer laughter, with a louder demand that he would give me to the
gibbet. He endeavored to fly from the spot. I pursued him. I NEVER
LEFT HIM AGAIN. There was a long illness--a blot upon my memory. I
cannot tell you any thing of its duration. _Her_ remains were
found--there was an enquiry--he was the only witness--he kept _our
secret_. On my recovery, I found he had sold his property, and
departed to some distant quarter in the north of England. I tracked
him there. I had vowed to haunt his soul with the memory of my crime,
until he surrendered me to justice. He sought to shun me, by changing
his name and removing from one place of residence to another; but in
vain. My revenge was as hard and cruel as his own look on the morning,
in his orchard, when he spurned me fainting from his feet. Go where he
would, I pursued. At last he settled near London--in that place where
you first beheld us. You know the rest of our career. If guilt can be
atoned for by _human_ suffering--the wrath of years--the raging
wind--the scorching sun--ruined youth--premature age--privation,
misery, madness, and hate, have well atoned for ours. You shake your
head. It is not so? Well, you were the first to teach me to vent my
burning thoughts in prayer. Pray with me now. I seem to have lived all
my evil passions over again in this last hour. Do not leave me yet,

       *       *       *       *       *

Such was the disastrous tale imparted to me in almost the last
interview I had with its hapless narrator. Either the recollections
she had lived through, as she said, in so short a space, or the
exertions caused by its recital, were too much for her enfeebled
intellect. Delirium shortly after returned, and continued to within a
few hours of her dissolution, which occurred on the evening of the
following day. I was present when she expired. She instructed me where
to find the agent, who paid her a small stipend derived from a distant
relative, (to whom, by her uncle's will, his property descended,) that
I might apprise him of her death. She was quite sensible at the awful
moment; and there is still a hope mingled with the melancholy
remembrance that her last entreaty to me was--to "PRAY!"


The miseries of the Irish people, and the oppressions under which they
groan, form the topics of conversation in every quarter of the
globe--you hear of them at Rome and at Constantinople--they are
discussed on the prairies of Texas and in the wilds of the Oregon--in
Paris and at Vienna you are bored by their constant repetition. The
"smart" American contributes his dollars, and the "pious Belgian"[2]
his prayers, to effect their redress; and they have fairly driven from
the field of compassion all sympathy for the plundered Jews and
persecuted Poles. The restless Frenchman speculates on them as the
certain means by which England may be humiliated; and impatiently
awaits the moment when, under the guidance of the young De Joinville,
fifty thousand of "les braves" may be thrown on the coast of Ireland,
and take advantage of the national disaffection, for the double
purpose of mortally wounding his ancient enemy, and of giving, as a
boon to its oppressed inhabitants, that liberty of which he talks so
much and knows so little. Doubtless the sufferings of this _patient_
people have, before now, drawn tears from the sensitive eyes of "the
brother of the sun;" and the "sagacious and enlightened Lin" has
already suggested to his celestial master the propriety of dispatching
some of his invincible war-junks to effect the liberation of the
degraded slaves of the "red and blue devils" who have so cruelly
annoyed him. Every one has heard, and every one talks, of Irish
grievances; but no one seems to know exactly what those grievances
are: their existence appears to be so unquestionable, that to dispute
it is not only useless but almost disreputable; and yet if one venture
to enquire of those who declaim most loudly against them wherein they
consist, they limit themselves to generalities, and quote the admitted
state of the country as proof positive of English injustice and Saxon

That the inhabitants of distant countries should believe what they
hear so constantly asserted, cannot be a matter of much surprise; nor
that the enemies of England and of order should credit what it suits
their inclinations to believe; but that those who live close to the
scene of such grievous inflictions--that those who are the
fellow-subjects of the oppressed, and who may be said to be the
instruments whereby those enormities are perpetrated--should take for
granted all they hear stated, without endeavouring to discover the
truth of those assertions or the extent of their own culpability, does
seem to us almost incredible. Yet so it is. Irish grievances are now
in fashion. The most glaring fabrications are swallowed with anxiety
if they only profess to be recitals of Irish sufferings; and the
British people seem ready to yield to the clamours of mendacious and
designing demagogues, measures not only detrimental to the interests
of the country for whose welfare they profess so much anxiety, but
absolutely ruinous to the glory and the power of their own.

We will not stop here to discuss the benefits which we are told would
accrue to the Irish nation from the success of a measure which never
can be carried while Ireland holds loyal subjects, or Britain has an
arm to wield; but we shall at once proceed to ascertain if those
glaring injustices, which make us the world's table-talk, really
exist, and if the admitted misery of the Irish people can, with truth,
be attributed to the unjust or partial legislation of the British

We do not seek to deny, that the interests of Ireland have not been
neglected or unfairly dealt by, in former times. With that we have
nothing now to do; we take the existing state of things, and we
maintain, and will, we trust, convince our readers, that instead of
being oppressed or wronged by legislative enactments, Ireland is (as
matters are at present managed) greatly favoured, and that instead of
complaining of injustice, her inhabitants should be most grateful for
the exemptions which are granted them, and for the fostering care
which a Conservative government has extended, and is still anxious to
extend to them.

In supporting our view of the case, we shall appeal to facts--facts
which, if untrue, can easily be refuted; and first, we shall apply
ourselves to the amount of taxation imposed on Ireland by the Imperial
Parliament. _The Irish people are exempt from every species of direct
taxation!_ and their indirect taxes are not more than those to which
the inhabitants of England and Scotland are subject. Thus, while the
English and Scotch gentleman is taxed for his servants, his carriages,
his horses, his dogs, and his armorial bearings--and, in addition,
pays, in common with the trading and operative classes, his
window-tax--the Irish gentleman and tradesman are totally free from
all such imposts. And though, at first sight, this exemption would
seem to benefit only the wealthier classes, still when we find, as is
certainly the case, that it enables the Irish gentry to keep much
larger establishments than men of similar fortune could attempt to do
in this country; that consequently more persons are employed as
servants; that it enhances the value of horses by increasing the
demand for them; that it also greatly adds to the number of carriages
used, and, of course, to the employment of the artisan--we must admit
that it has no slight influence on the condition both of the tradesman
and the agriculturist.

Ireland pays no income-tax! (at least no Irishman need pay it if he
choose to reside at home;) for the Minister and the Parliament, _so
hostile_ to Irish interests, have only subjected the absentees to its
operation; and we find, that in the year ending the 10th October

  England and Scotland paid by assessed
  taxes,                                  £4,204,855
  By income-tax,                           5,158,470
                               Total,     £9,363,325

While under those two heads, "_injured, persecuted Ireland_" paid not
one shilling!

Thus we see, that a sum of over nine millions is annually levied from
off the inhabitants of the "_favoured_" portions of the British
empire, towards which "_oppressed Ireland_" is not called upon to
contribute sixpence!

It may be said, those taxes only affect the wealthy, and it is not
their grievances which call so loudly for redress; it is the burdens
imposed on the poor landholders which demand our attention.

We have, in a former Number of this Magazine, see Vol. lv. p. 638,
shown that the rents paid for land in Ireland are at least one-third
less than the rents paid in England; (but were it even otherwise, the
right to dispose of property to the best advantage could not be by law
interfered with.) In that article we stated, that in addition to his
rent, the English occupier is subject by law to the payment of tithes,
which in many instances amount to more than the entire rent imposed on
the Irish tenant; and that by recent enactments, the payment of the
Protestant church has been transferred from the Irish tenantry to the
landlords, nine-tenths of whom are Protestants; that the English
tenant pays _all_ the poor-rates, while the Irish tenant is only
called on to pay the _half_; and that while the former is subject to
county and parochial rates, in addition to turnpikes, which are a
heavy burden, the latter pays only the county cess, the amount of
which depends very much on his own conduct. We cannot, then, discover
that the Irish peasantry are subject to any pecuniary grievances which
legislation has inflicted, or could remove; neither can we perceive
any neglect of their interests evinced by the British Minister or the
Saxon Parliament; but, on the contrary, we see that they have been
specially protected by particular enactments against the payment of
charges to which the occupiers of the other portions of the United
Kingdom are still subject. If the Irish farmers set their faces
against the commission of crime, instead of tacitly, if not openly,
affording protection to the greatest delinquents, it is clear that the
amount of the county cess, _the only tax the tenant pays_, might be
greatly diminished; the constabulary force might be, under more
favourable circumstances, reduced from nine thousand men (its present
strength) to half that number; and if the people abstained from
houghing the cattle or burning the houses of those who are obnoxious
to them, the county rates would not amount to more than one-third of
the sum at present levied. Thus, then, the amount of the only direct
tax the peasantry have to pay, is mainly dependent on the peaceable
condition of the country: if the people be orderly and obedient to the
laws, its amount is reduced; if otherwise, and they have heavy
assessments to pay, to reimburse those they have injured, no one is to
blame for it but themselves. We would, then, ask any candid man, if it
would be possible for any government to act more leniently towards
Ireland as regards taxation? She is exempt from her proportion of the
nine millions levied from the other portions of the United Kingdom;
and many of the local assessments to which her inhabitants are
subject, were, by special enactments, removed from the shoulders of
the occupiers of the soil, and placed on those of the proprietors.

Thus, then, under the head of taxation, no injustice can be said to be

The extent of the Irish representation, and the laws regulating the
elective franchise, both in the cities and counties, form a prominent
portion of Irish grievances; yet if the efficiency of the
representation is to be judged by the influence which it exercises on
the councils of the empire, or the registration laws be tested by the
results which they have produced, the Irish have little reason to
complain of either. The very exemption from taxation to the amount we
have already stated, proves one of two things--either that the British
minister and British representation are peculiarly partial to the
interests of Ireland, (which would destroy the favourite doctrine of
"English hatred and Saxon oppression;") or that the Irish
representation is powerful enough not only to protect their
constituents from injustice, but to secure them peculiar advantages.
That the amount of representation already enjoyed by Ireland is _at
least_ sufficient for all constitutional purposes, cannot be doubted;
for every one knows that by the Radical portion of it alone, an
administration odious to the people of Great Britain, and rejected by
their representatives, was for years kept in office, and that through
its instrumentality both Whig and Tory ministers have been compelled
to abandon measures which they believed to be beneficial, and which
they brought forward in a spirit of good feeling, and with a desire
to promote the best interests of the country.

In the first Parliament elected under the Reform Bill, and after the
system of registration now complained of came into operation, the
Irish representation consisted of

  Liberals,                 74
  Conservatives,            31

Now, when it is borne in mind, that beyond all question at least
nine-tenths of the landed property of Ireland is possessed by the
Conservative party, and that that party was able to secure to itself
little more than a fourth of the representation, it must be admitted
that numbers told, and that the mass was represented in a ratio beyond
what the constitution contemplates. So far, then, as relates to the
laws regulating the elective franchise, if they are to be judged of by
the results which they produced, the Liberal party have nothing to
complain of, and the Roman Catholics still less; of the Radical
majority, they numbered thirty-five, or nearly one-half; and if
eligible men could be had of their body, or if their leaders wished
it, undoubtedly persons of their profession might have been returned
in every instance in which liberal Protestants were seated. They had
the power to effect this: if they abstained from using it, influenced
either by good taste or motives of prudence, they still have no reason
to complain of the law--it placed the power in their hands; their own
discretion alone restrained its exercise.

The agitators proclaim that their number in Parliament has diminished,
and that they have lost cities and counties, because the constituency
has decreased under the "emaciating influence of the registration
law." It is true the Irish constituency has diminished, and that the
Destructives have lost many places; but the diminution in the
constituency has not been caused by the state of the law--and this
they know full well--but by the disinclination of the respectable
portion of the people to make themselves any longer their tools! Under
the law when first called into operation, the Radicals had an
overwhelming majority. The same men who registered and voted in 1832
and in 1837, are generally still in existence--the same tenures under
which they registered still continue--the same assistant barristers
before whom they registered (or ones more favourable to their
interests) still preside; it is clear, therefore, that if the people
were inclined to claim the franchise, they have only to take the
necessary steps to secure it--but they won't. They were persecuted
between the priests and their landlords--they see the hollowness of
the agitators, who used them for their own purposes, and then left
them to ruin; and, as the surest way to avoid trouble, they don't
register at all; the landlords not having any influence over their
votes, and not wishing to quarrel with them, don't induce them to do
so--and they have hitherto resisted the efforts of the country agents
of the Corn Exchange. What man of sense would put himself upon the
register, when he well knows that any deviation from the path pointed
out to him by the priest, would not only entail curses and
persecutions on himself, but insult and outrage on the innocent
members of his family? Who would establish his right to vote, when he
would be called on to exercise that right with _his grave dug before

The assertions of the agitators, that they have lost ground _because_
the constituencies have been diminished by the operation of the laws
regulating the possession of the elective franchise, is of a piece
with all their other reckless falsehoods; but fortunately it is more
easy of disproof. It does appear by parliamentary returns, that the
Irish constituency has decreased, _on the whole_, in small degree; but
it is rather curious and unfortunate for those truth-loving gentlemen,
that, in every instance in which _they_ have been beaten, the
constituencies have greatly increased, and that they have only
diminished in those counties in which their interest is
all-powerful.[3] For instance, Antrim, in 1832, (when a Liberal was
returned,) had on the register 3487 electors; and, in 1837, when a
Conservative was seated, 4079.[4]

Belfast, in 1832, when two Liberals were returned, had 1650; in 1841,
when two Conservatives were elected, 4334.

Carlow, in 1832, when two Liberals were returned, had 1246; and in
1841, when the Tories beat O'Connell's own son, 1757.

Down had in 1832, when a Liberal was returned, 3130; and in 1837, when
a Tory was substituted, 3305.

Dublin County had in 1832, when two Liberals were returned, 2025; and
in 1841, when two Tories displaced them, 2820.

Dublin City had in 1832, when O'Connell was triumphantly returned,
7008; and in 1841, when he was beaten, 12,290.

Longford had in 1832, when two Liberals were returned, 1294; and in
1841, when one of them was displaced by a Tory, 1388.

Queen's County had in 1832, when one Liberal was returned, 1471; and
in 1835, when two Conservatives were elected, 1673.

Thus we see, by unquestionable proof, that instead of being benefited
by an increase of the constituencies, the cause of the Destructives
has invariably suffered by their enlargement; and yet sure we are,
that most persons on this side the water believe in the truth of the
Liberator's lamentations, and suppose that those patriots who have
been rejected by the votes of the most independent electors and
largest constituencies in Ireland, have lost their seats solely
because the names on the register had been greatly diminished, and the
Liberal portion of the people deprived of their rights, by the
"emaciating influence" of a bad law.

But if there be defects in the registry laws, who are to blame for
their continuance? The "great grievance" connected with them of which
Mr O'Connell complained, was, "that from the ambiguous wording of the
act, some assistant barristers adopted _the solvent tenant test_,"
instead of "_the beneficial interest test_,"[5] which he and those who
acted with him thought to be its legitimate construction. This
unquestionably would make a vast difference to the claimant; and so
thought Sir Robert Peel. He brought in a bill clearly establishing
"the beneficial interest test." And to remedy another objection
founded on the fact of tenants at will in England having the right to
vote, while the Irish law debarred persons similarly circumstanced, he
proposed to give the franchise to all occupiers of certain quantities
of land, merely from the fact of possession;[6] and yet Mr O'Connell
was the first to denounce the measure! The agitators complain of
defects in the law, and the minister agrees to amend them; the
patriots claim for the Irish a full equality in the registration law
granted to England, and more is conceded. When headed by their "august
leader," they denounce the redress of those injustices of which they
complained as "An additional insult," and they raise such a clamour
because what they formerly asked for was about to be granted, that the
minister was compelled to succumb, and the bill was withdrawn.

The next item in the catalogue of grievances is the municipal law.
None has been more frequently or more forcibly dwelt on; its
injustice, and tendency to exclude the "Liberal" inhabitants of the
towns and cities of Ireland from local influence and political power,
form prominent topics in the speeches of every patriot orator. Let us
see with what justice.

It must be admitted that there is considerable Conservative property
and respectability in the Irish corporate towns; and yet what has been
the result of the elections under this municipal law so loudly
declaimed against?--There are thirty-three corporations in Ireland,
all of which, with _one solitary exception_, (that of Belfast,) are
not only Liberal but downright Revolutionary. The number of the
friends of order in the town-councils is so small, that they can
accomplish nothing. Overwhelming majorities have voted addresses to
the "convicted conspirators," and their mayors formed a deputation to
present them, and proceeded in state to the "dungeon of the martyrs;"
and yet this law, which lays the corporations of Ireland at the feet
of O'Connell, forms "one of the greatest oppressions under which his
devoted country groans." He has unlimited influence in all. What more
would he have? what more could any law give him?

Men ought to have a little modesty; but the "Liberator" has gained so
much by reckless assertion that he is justified in persevering in its
practice. He has often said, that "he never knew any statement tell,
or any argument, however powerful, attain the desired end, if only
once repeated;" and on this principle he acts. He repeats and repeats
again, in the teeth of contradiction and disproof, what he wishes to
have believed; and the result shows the wisdom of his proceeding.
Those who contradict soon get tired, while, by perseverance, he is
left in full possession of the field.

It has been said that the Irish Roman Catholics have been debarred, by
the unfair exercise of political patronage, from the attainment of
those offices at the bar and in the administration to which they were
rendered eligible by the Emancipation Act. The Whigs promoted three
Roman Catholics--Mr Shiel, Mr Wyse, and Mr O'Ferrall; these gentlemen
retired with their party, and if Sir Robert Peel offered them place
to-morrow, they would, as a matter of course, refuse it. These are the
only persons of their religion _unpledged_ to "Repeal of the Union" at
present in the House, who would have any claim on the score of
abilities to official station; it surely cannot be expected that a
Conservative minister would give power to men pledged to the
dismemberment of the British empire, and the supporters of a measure
which he has so unequivocally denounced; neither can it be supposed
that any man would be such a fool as to place red-hot Repealers in the
important office of stipendiary magistrate, when the wishes of the
government might be thwarted and the safety of the country compromised
by their partisanship.

The Repealers admit their determination to accomplish the destruction
of "Saxon rule" in Ireland, and at the same time _modestly_ declaim
against the Saxon government, because they will not give them power or
confidential employment, by means of which they might more securely
carry out their intentions. Sir Robert Peel has taken every occasion,
to the great detriment and dissatisfaction of his steadfast
supporters, to give place to such of the Roman Catholic party as were
at all eligible; if the number of such persons be limited, the Roman
Catholics themselves, and not the minister, are to blame.

As to the bar, the list of Roman Catholics was run out before he came
to power. There was no one amongst them whose standing in his
profession would have at all justified the minister in placing him on
the bench; and he had men of his own party, distinguished for their
acquirements, whose interests he could not overlook, whose claims were
recognised even by Mr O'Connell himself, and whose conduct, since
their promotion, has been unimpeachable.

The agitators cannot, in justice, blame him for having recourse to the
Conservative bar, for when in trouble they sought protection from its
ranks themselves. Except Mr Shiel, who was merely employed to make a
speech, and whose legal knowledge was never insisted on by his
friends; and Mr _Precursor_ Pigott, who was retained lest a slur
should be thrown on the Whigs--all the leading lawyers who conducted
the defence in the "monster trial" were Protestants and Conservatives
of the highest order.

But what has this much-abused minister done to conciliate Ireland
since he came to office? He has nearly trebled the grant for national
education, and still continues the system adopted by the Whigs and
patronised by the priests, in opposition to a powerful and influential
portion of his own supporters;--he found a board of charitable
bequests composed altogether of Protestants, and seeing, as he stated,
"that two-thirds of the property they had to administer was Roman
Catholic," he dissolved that board and constituted another, in which
the Roman Catholics have an equality, and may under certain
circumstances have a majority;[7]--he found the mortmain laws in
existence, and he repealed them; now any man who wishes may endow the
Roman Catholic church to any extent he pleases. Yet these last
concessions have been denounced by priests and bishops as an
additional insult, as an unjustifiable and tyrannical interference
with their rights. And why? Because Sir Robert Peel clogged the
measure with the condition, that any testator so leaving property
should have his will made and registered three months before his
death. Because he wishes to protect the interests of the Roman
Catholic laity, by securing them against the interference of the
clergy when their relatives are at the point of death, he stirs the
bile and rouses the indignation of ravenous and pelf-seeking
ecclesiastics. He brought in a bill to remedy what was said to be the
great defect in the registration laws, and it was not his fault that
it was not carried; he proposed to extend the franchise, and he was
denounced for doing so by the advocates of universal suffrage; he has
promoted the formation of railways; he has issued a commission to
enquire into the oppressions said to be perpetrated on their tenantry
by the Irish landlords; and he has subjected Irish absentees to the
payment of the property tax.

Whig promises "in favour of Ireland" were used by Mr O'Connell as
arguments to procure the abatement of the Repeal agitation; although
no man knew better than he did, that if his "base, brutal, and bloody"
friends had even the inclination, they had not the power, to carry out
their intentions. Tory promises of a still more conciliatory nature
are used as a stimulus to its extension; although Mr O'Connell
equally well knows that what Sir Robert Peel promises, his influence
with the English people may probably enable him to accomplish. Ay, but
that is just what the sagacious demagogue wishes to prevent. If his
grievances were removed, the pretence for agitation would be
destroyed. If there be real grievances, and if Mr O'Connell wished to
have then redressed, why not attempt to do so? The ministry are
willing to assist him--the public feeling and the opinion of
Parliament are decidedly in his favour; yet what measures have he or
his followers proposed for the adoption of the legislature? The truth
is, nothing annoys him more than the desire manifested by the premier
and the Parliament to remove all just grounds of complaint, and
therefore it is that he has fixed on "repeal of the union," which he
knows to be impracticable. A man's own interest must be considered,
and "the Liberator" is well aware that, if agitation ceased, the
_twenty thousand a-year_ paid him by the "starving people" as a
recompense for having patriotically rejected an office worth but
_five_, would cease also.

We have alluded to the amount of taxation imposed on Ireland, to prove
that injustice is not perpetrated upon her under that most touching
head;--we have exposed the fictitious grievances, and recounted the
measures passed and promised by Sir Robert Peel, to show how
groundless the complaints of the agitators are, and that if there be
wrongs, there is, on his part, a sincere desire to redress them;--and
we have adverted to the manner in which those beneficent acts and
promises, so favourable to their views and injurious to his
administration, have been received by those who profess to be the
friends, and are the leaders, of the people for whose welfare they are
intended--to convince the British minister and the British people of
the absolute impossibility of satisfying men, whose own selfish
interest lies at the bottom of all their actions, and who fabricate
grievances that, under the pretence of seeking their redress, they may
be afforded opportunities of inculcating treason.

What more is there which can be effected by Parliament which would
better the state of the Irish peasantry, _while_ they suffer
themselves to be made the dupes of every headless demagogue, and while
they, by their own atrocities, drive from amongst them every person
who is willing or able to afford them employment? The existing laws
cannot repress the cruel outrages which they commit. Can an act of
Parliament humanize their minds, or impart mercy to their hearts? The
law cannot fix a maximum for rent; and if it could, it would be only
to increase their turbulence, without any mitigating comforts. Extend
the franchise, it will only enable them to accomplish more political
mischief--for they reject as nothing all measures, however beneficial,
which do not tend to the dismemberment of the empire; endow their
church, and they accuse you of corrupting it; truckle to them, and you
but make them more exacting; coerce them, and you benefit themselves
and save the country.

That Ireland does labour under evils, no man can doubt; but they are
evils which have grown up under an exploded system, which all modern
legislation has tended to remedy, but which no legislation can at once
remove. The education of the people, heretofore altogether neglected,
is now being attended to; but years will have passed before any
favourable change can be effected through its instrumentality; and if
things be suffered to progress as they have lately done, evil instead
of good must result from the enlightenment of the people by means of a
system which imparts knowledge without inculcating religion. If you
extend their information, and still leave them under the political
sway of those who induce the more ignorant by the most monstrous
promises, and compel the more instructed and better disposed by
unchecked intimidation, to follow in their wake, it is clear that you
but endow the demagogues with more power, and render the enemies of
order more capable of effecting their designs. The memorable
expressions of one who was the champion of a people's privileges and
the victim of their ferocity, are most true, that "to inform a people
of their rights before instructing them and making them familiar with
their duties, leads naturally to the abuse of liberty and the
usurpation of individuals; it is like opening a passage for the
torrent before a channel has been prepared to receive, or banks to
direct it."[8]

Yes, Ireland is afflicted by evils, but those evils are created not so
much by the defects of the law, or by the neglect and tyranny of the
better classes, as by the total demoralization of the lower. The Irish
peasant, naturally brave, generous, and faithful, is, by the system
under which he is brought up, rendered cruel, merciless, and
deceitful. There may be, and probably are, hardships inflicted by some
of the landlords; but they are produced in most instances by criminal
and precedent acts on the part of the people. In no country in the
world are the rights of property so ill understood or so recklessly
violated: the industrious man fears to surround his cottage with a
garden, because his fruit and vegetables would be carried off by his
lazy and dishonest neighbours; and he is deterred from growing
turnips, which would add to his wealth, from the certain knowledge
that his utmost care cannot preserve them. Amongst no people on the
face of the earth are the obligations of an oath or the discharge of
the moral duties so utterly disregarded: any man, the greatest
culprit, can find persons to prove an _alibi_; the most atrocious
assassin has but to seek protection to obtain it. Where in the
civilized world, but in Ireland, can you find a "sliding-scale" of
fees for the perpetration of murder?

And why is this so? Because the religious instruction of the people
has been totally neglected; because their priests have become
politicians, and stopping at nothing to accomplish their objects, they
teach the peasantry by private precept and example to disrespect and
disregard those doctrines which they publicly inculcate; because their
bishops, pitchforked from the potatoe-basket to the palace, become
drunk with the incense offered to their vulgar vanity, and the
patronage granted in return for their unprincipled political support,
instead of checking the misconduct of the subordinates, stimulate them
to still further violence,[9] and stop at nothing which can forward
their objects; because the opinions of the people are formed on the
statements and advice of mendicant agitators who have but one object
in view, their own pecuniary aggrandizement; because a rabid and
revolutionary press, concealing its ultimate designs under the
praiseworthy and proper motive of affording protection to the weak,
seeks to overturn all law and order, and pandering to the worst
passions of an ignorant and ferocious populace, goads them, by the
most unfounded and mischievous statements, to the commission of crime,
and then adduces the atrocity of their acts as a proof of the
injustice of their treatment. Every murder is palliated, _because_ it
arises from "the occupation of land." Every brutal assassination is
paraded as "a fact" for Lord Devon, and is recommended to that
nobleman's attention; not that the helpless and unoffending family of
the victim may be afforded redress, but that the executioner of their
parent may obtain commiseration. No matter what the conduct of the
tenant may have been--no matter what arrears of rent he may have
owed--to evict him is a crime, which, in the eyes of those
unprincipled journalists, seems to justify an immediate recourse to
"the wild justice of revenge." The rights of property are said to be
guaranteed by the law--while the exercise of those rights is rendered
impossible by the combination of unprincipled men, and the force of a
_morbid_ public opinion. He who would think it "monstrous" that a
merchant should be debarred from the right of issuing execution
against his creditor, shudders with horror at the idea of a landlord
distraining for his unpaid rent. And the individual who delights in
the metropolitan improvements, and glories in the opening of St
Giles's, though it drive thousands of "the suffering poor" at once and
unrecompensed from their miserable abodes, considers the improvement
of an Irish estate as too dearly purchased, if effected by the
expulsion of one ill-conditioned and remunerated ruffian.

But this morbid public opinion only feels for the lawless, the idle,
and overholding tenant; for the landlord it has no sympathy--_he_ may
be robbed of his rights, he may be unable to educate or support his
family, because he cannot obtain his rents, but his sufferings create
no feeling in his favour; his case forms no fact for Lord Devon. The
accomplished, the well-born, and the good, may be driven from the
homes of their ancestors, and reduced to beggary, because the
dishonest occupiers will neither pay their engagements nor surrender
their lands, and no one laments their fate. The gentleman may be
forced to emigrate, and be sent into exile by his necessities, without
any notice being taken of such an event. But let a tenant who has been
profligate, dishonest, and reduced to poverty by his own misconduct,
be dispossessed of the smallest portion of ground on which he eked out
a wretched existence, and which, if he had it in fee, would not be
sufficient to support his family--let such an one be but dispossessed,
and, even though he be afforded the means of emigrating to countries
where land is plenty and wages remunerative, the "Liberal press" will
teem with "the horrors and the cruelties" of "the Irish system!"
Doubtless it would be most desirable that every man should be
possessed of a sufficiency of land, and that he should (if you will)
have it in fee; but how is this to be accomplished? The Irish
population is too dense to be comfortably supported on the extent of
soil which the country possesses, _without_ the assistance of
manufactures; and the conduct of the people, under the guidance of
their leaders, effectually prevents their establishment. There is but
one way, under existing circumstances, by means of which this happy
state could be produced, and that is by following the example of the
French revolutionists, by cutting the throats or otherwise disposing
of the present proprietors, and then selling to the peasantry at the
moderate prices which were formerly fixed on by the Convention.

The Irish gentleman is held up to public disapprobation because he has
a lawless and pauper tenantry; and if he attempt to improve their
moral and social condition, by removing the worst conducted, and
enlarging the holdings of the others, so as to enable them to live in
comfort, his conduct is considered still more odious, even though he
send the dispossessed at his own expense to those colonies to which
thousands of the best disposed of the people voluntarily emigrate.
What, in God's name, is he to do? While all remain, it is an absolute
impossibility that good can be effected for any. The evil is
sedulously pointed out, and the only practicable remedy is resisted by
the same persons--the friends, "par excellence," of the people!

This moral disorganization, and the total disrespect for the rights of
property by which it is accompanied, creates other evils as its
necessary consequences; it produces hostility and ill feeling between
the higher and the lower classes, augments absenteeism, and deprives
the peasantry of the personal superintendence of those who would
really have their interests at heart, and by whose example they would
be benefited. Nor can we be surprised that any person whose
circumstances enables him to do so should reside out of Ireland; when
we see every man of rank and fortune who relinquishes the pleasures of
the capital, and the enjoyments of society, for the purpose of
settling on his estates, and performing his duties, subjected to the
abuse of every scurrilous priest, and the insults of every penniless
agitator. Landlords naturally wish to reside at home where their
possessions, in a wholesome state of society, would secure them local
influence and respect; but unless the Irish gentleman bows to the
dictates of every local representative of the "august leader," he is
deprived of both, and risks his personal safety into the bargain. No
men profess to lament absenteeism more than the priests and agitators.
But how do they act? They declare against the non-residence of the
proprietors; but their sole object in doing so is to rouse the
feelings of their auditors, and thus prepare them for the performance
of what they wish them to effect. What encouragement do they or their
creatures afford to such as do return? We like facts. The Marquis of
Waterford, a bold and daring sportsman, boundless in his charities,
frank and cordial in his manners, not obnoxious on account of his
politics, and admitted on all hands to be one of the very best
landlords in Ireland--in fact, just such a character as the Irish
would admire--he comes to reside and spend his eighty thousand a-year
in the country, and how is he treated? He gets up a splendid sporting
establishment in Tipperary; _his hounds and horses were twice
poisoned_; and this not being found sufficient to drive him from the
neighbourhood, in which he was affording amusement and spending money,
_his offices were fired_, and his servants with difficulty saved their
lives. Compelled to abandon Tipperary, he betakes himself to his
family mansion in Waterford; and how is he received there? Why, in his
own town and within his hearing, we find the "meek and Christian
priest" addressing his tenants and labourers, the men whom he employs
and supports, after the following fashion:--"Men of Portlan! you were
the leading men who put down the Beresford in '26, (_the marquis's
father_.) I call on you now, having put down one set of tyrants, to
put down another set of tyrants," (_the marquis himself_.)[10] Does
such conduct (and this is but one instance of many which we could
adduce) evince a desire, on the part of the "pastors of the people,"
to encourage the residence of the gentry, or a wish to procure for the
peasantry those blessings which they paint in such glowing terms as
sure to ensue from their landlords living and spending their incomes
amongst them? Much as the priests and agitators declaim against
absenteeism, nothing would be more contrary to their wishes than that
the absentees should return. They have no desire to share their
influence with others; and hence it is that an excuse is always made
for quarrelling with every resident who cannot be made subservient to
their wishes; and while they steadily persevere in their system of
annoyance and offence, they as lustily reiterate their lamentations on
a state of things which their own conduct tends to produce.

That we are justified in attributing the poverty, the misery, and the
crimes of the Roman Catholic peasantry to the constant state of
agitation and excitement in which they are kept by their leaders, and
the bad example set them by their religious instructors, and not to
any pecuniary burdens (legislative or local) imposed upon them, we can
easily prove, by a reference to the condition of that portion of the
Irish people who are not subject to their control or corrupted by
their influence. It is well known that in the province of Ulster land
fetches at least one-third more rent than in either of the other
provinces, although the quality of the soil is by no means so good.
Yet what is the condition of the people? what their habits? what the
appearance of the country in this less favoured district? We shall let
an authority often quoted by Mr O'Connell answer our question.

Mr Kohl[11] tells us, that "the main root of Irish misery is to be
sought in the indolence, levity, extravagance, and want of energy of
the national character." And again, in passing from that portion of
the country where the majority of the inhabitants profess the Roman
Catholic religion, to that in which the great bulk of the population
are Protestants, or Presbyterians, the same writer says--"On the other
side of these miserable hills, whose inhabitants are years before they
can afford to get the holes mended in their potato-kettles--the most
indispensable and important article of furniture in an Irish
cabin--the territory of Leinster ends, and that of Ulster begins. The
coach rattled over the boundary line, and all at once we seemed to
have entered a new world. I am not in the slightest degree
exaggerating when I say, that every thing was as suddenly changed as
if by an enchanter's wand. The dirty cabins by the road-side were
succeeded by neat, pretty, cheerful-looking cottages; regular
plantations, well cultivated fields, pleasant little cottage-gardens,
and shady lines of trees, met the eye on every side. At first I could
scarcely believe my own eyes, and thought that at all events the
change must be merely local and temporary, caused by the better
management of that particular estate. No counter change, however,
appeared; the improvement lasted the whole way to Newry; and, from
Newry to Belfast, every thing continued to show me that I had entered
the country of a totally different people--namely, the district of the
Scottish settlers, the active and industrious Presbyterians."

Nor can we be surprised at the condition of this unhappy country when
we see the Executive looking quietly on, when the public press has
become the apologist of crime, and public sympathy is enlisted on the
side of the evil-doers.

_Four murders_ have, within the last month, been perpetrated in
Tipperary, which were all but justified by the local papers, _because_
they were supposed to have been the acts of tenants dispossessed _for
non-payment of rent_. _They_ excited no horror. A _fifth_ was added to
the bloody catalogue, which roused the indignation of the virtuous
_Vindicator_;[12] and why? _Solely because_ it was the result of a
private quarrel.

_"We own,"_ says this respectable guardian of public morality, "_that
such a system of murderous aggression_ AS THIS, _remote from any of
those agrarian causes which may account for crime, is calculated to
fill every mind with indignation._"[13] Are we not justified in
demanding of the government how long this state of things is to be
permitted to continue? how long the lives and properties of the
respectable and loyal inhabitants of Ireland are to be left at the
mercy and the disposal of a ferocious and bloodstained populace? how
much further open and undisguised treason is to be allowed to proceed?

The Taleian policy will not answer. Mr O'Connell may abandon his
plans, falsify his promises, and break his most solemn engagements--but
there will be no relief; he will still be supported so long as his
agitation is unchecked--so long as the people think that through the
instrumentality of _his_ measures _their_ designs may be accomplished.
And if, after a further period of excitement, after a still increasing
belief in their own ability to attain the avowed object of their
wishes, "the free possession of the land," the peasantry should be
deserted or betrayed by their leaders, the best that could then be
expected would be the horrors of an unsuccessful servile war. Mean time
the enemies of Great Britain are openly apprised of the disaffection of
the Irish people, who but bide their time and wait their opportunity.


During a twelvemonth's residence in a continental city, I became
acquainted with a Russian officer, whom I will designate by the name
of Adrian. He was a man still in the prime of life, but who had
endured much sorrow and calamity, which had imparted a tinge of
melancholy to his character, and rendered him apparently indifferent
to most of the enjoyments that men usually seek. He was no longer in
the Russian service, did not appear to be rich, kept two horses, upon
which he used to take long solitary rides, that constituted apparently
his only pleasure. He had seen much of the world, and his life had
evidently been an adventurous one; but he was not communicative on
matters regarding himself, although on general subjects he would
sometimes converse willingly, and when he did so, his conversation was
highly interesting. He was one of those persons with whom it is
difficult to become intimate beyond a certain point; and although I
had reason to believe that he liked me, and for nearly a year we
passed a portion of each day together, he never laid aside a degree of
reserve, or approached in any way to a confidential intercourse.

I was one day reading in my room, when Adrian's servant came in all
haste to summon me to his master, who had been thrown from his horse,
and was not expected to survive the injuries he had received. I
hurried to the hotel, and found my unfortunate friend suffering
greatly, but perfectly calm and collected. Two medical men, who had
been called in, had already informed him that his end was rapidly
approaching. He had appeared little moved by the intelligence. I
approached his bedside; he took my hand, and pressed it kindly. I was
deeply grieved at the sad state in which I found him; but time was too
short to be wasted in expressions of sympathy and sorrow, and I
thought I should better show the regard I really felt for him, by
offering to be of any service in my power with respect to the
arrangement of his affairs, or the execution of such wishes as he
might form.

"My affairs are all in order," he said; "my will, and the address of
my nearest surviving relative, are in yonder writing-desk. I have no
debts, and whatever sum is derived from the sale of my personal
effects, I wish to be given to the hospitals of the town."

He drew a ring, set with an antique cameo, from his finger.

"Accept this," he said to me, "as a slight memorial of our
acquaintance, which has been productive of much pleasure to me."

He paused, exhausted by the exertion he had made to speak. After a few
moments, he resumed. "You have at times seemed to wish to hear
something of my past life," said he, with a faint smile. "Amongst my
papers is a small leathern portfolio, which I give to you, with the
manuscript it contains. These gentlemen," added he, looking at the
physicians, "will bear witness to the bequest."

At this moment the Roman Catholic priest, who had been sent for,
entered the room, and Adrian expressed a wish to be left alone with
him. That same evening he expired.

I had no difficulty in obtaining possession of the portfolio
bequeathed to me. In the papers it contained were recorded a series of
incidents so extraordinary, that I am still in doubt whether to
consider them as having really happened, or as being the invention of
a fantastical and overstrained imagination. I kept the MS. by me for
some time, but have finally resolved to translate and publish it,
merely substituting fictitious names for those set down in the
original. The narrative is in some respects incomplete, but whether in
consequence of Adrian's sudden death, or because no further
circumstances connected with it came to his knowledge, I am of course
unable to say. It is as follows:--

I am by birth a Russian, but my childhood and youth were passed at
Hamburg. Owing to the early age at which I lost my father, my
recollections of him are necessarily but imperfect. I remember him as
a tall handsome man, somewhat careworn, constantly engaged in the
correspondence rendered necessary by his numerous commercial
speculations, and frequently absent from home upon journeys or voyages
of greater or less duration. His life had been an anxious one, and his
success by no means constant; but he still persevered, led on by a
sanguine temperament, to hope for that fortune which had hitherto
constantly eluded his grasp.

It was shortly after my tenth birth-day, and we were anxiously
expecting my father's return from a voyage to the East Indies. Before
his departure he had promised my mother, that if he succeeded in the
objects of this distance expedition, he would retire from business,
and settle down quietly to pass the rest of his days in the country.
The letters received from him led her to believe that the result of
his voyage had been satisfactory, and she was therefore anticipating
his return with double pleasure. At last, one evening news was brought
that the ship in which he had taken his passage was come into port,
and just as my mother and myself were leaving the house to go and
welcome the wanderer, my father made his appearance. I will pass over
the transports of joy with which he was received. So soon as they had
a little subsided, he presented to us, under the name of the Signor
Manucci, a dark fine-looking man, who accompanied him, and whom he had
invited to sup with him. I say with _him_, because, to our great
surprise and disappointment, neither my mother nor myself were
admitted to partake of the meal. Hitherto my father's return from his
voyages had been celebrated as a sort of festival. A large table was
laid out, and our friends came in to welcome him, to ask him
innumerable questions, and tell him all that had occurred during his
absence. On this occasion, however, things were arranged very
differently. My father, instead of joining his family and friends at
supper, caused the meal to be served in a separate room for himself
and the Italian; and long after they had done eating, I could hear
them, as I lay in bed, walking up and down the apartment, and
discoursing earnestly together in a foreign tongue. My bed had been
made for that night upon a sofa in one of the sitting-rooms which
adjoined my father's apartment. My usual sleeping-room was given up to
the stranger, who was to pass the night at our house.

My temperament was naturally a nervous one, and my father's return had
so excited me that I found it impossible to sleep, but lay tossing
about till long after every body in the house had apparently retired
to rest. The strong smell of sea-water proceeding from my father's
cloak, which was lying on a chair near my bed, perhaps also
contributed to keep me awake; and when I at last began to doze, I
fancied myself on board ship, and every thing around me seemed
tumbling and rolling about as in a storm. After lying for some time in
this dreamy state, I at last fell into an uneasy feverish slumber. For
long after that night, I was unable to decide whether what then
occurred was a frightful dream or a still more frightful reality. It
was only by connecting subsequent circumstances and discoveries with
my indistinct recollections, that some years afterwards I became
convinced of the reality of what I that night witnessed.

I had scarcely fallen asleep, as it seemed to me, when I was awakened
by the creaking of the door leading into my father's room. It was
hastily opened, and the stranger appeared, bearing a lamp in his hand,
and apparently much agitated. He walked several times up and down both
rooms, as if one had been too small for him in his then excited state.
At last he began to speak to himself in broken sentences, some of
which reached my ear. "I leave to-morrow," he said; "when I return,
all will be over--all--the fool!" Then he took another turn through
the room, and paused suddenly before a large mirror. "Do I look like a
murderer?" he exclaimed wildly, and with a ghastly rolling of his
eyes. Then suddenly tearing off a black wig and whiskers which he
wore, he stood before me an old and greyheaded man. At this moment he
for the first time noticed my temporary bed.

"Ha!" he muttered, with a start, "how imprudent!" He immediately
replaced his wig, and with noiseless steps approached my couch.
Terrified as I was, I had yet sufficient presence of mind to
counterfeit sleep; and the stranger, after standing a minute or two
beside me, went softly into my father's room, the door of which he
shut behind him.

When I awoke the next morning, and thought of this strange incident,
it assumed so vague and indefinite a form, that I set it down as the
illusion of a dream. Every thing was as usual in the house; my father,
it is true, seemed thoughtful and grave, but that was nothing uncommon
with him. He spoke kindly to me, and apologised to my mother for his
seclusion of the preceding evening; but said that he had been
compelled to discuss matters of the greatest importance with the
Signor Manucci, who was then sitting beside him at breakfast. My
mother was too delighted at her husband's return to be very
implacable; and if the evening had been clouded by disappointment, our
morning meal was, to make amends, a picture of harmony and perfect

About noon, Manucci took an affectionate leave of my father, and
departed; not, however, till he had promised that he would shortly
renew his visit. The day passed without incident. My father had
planned an excursion into the country for the following morning, to
visit an old friend who resided a few leagues from Hamburg. I was
awakened at an early hour, in order to get ready to accompany him and
my mother. I hastily dressed myself, and went down into the parlour.
What was my surprise, when on entering the room I saw my father lying
pale and suffering upon a sofa, while my mother was sitting beside him
in tears, anxiously awaiting the arrival of a physician who had been
sent for, and who presently made his appearance. He felt my father's
pulse, enquired the symptoms, and finally pronounced him to be in a
state of considerable danger. Each successive half hour increased the
sick man's sufferings, and before the afternoon he was speechless.

In sadness and anxiety we were surrounding my father's couch, when
suddenly a carriage stopped at the house door, and the next instant
Manucci entered the apartment. He expressed the utmost grief and
sympathy upon learning my father's illness, sat down beside the dying
man, for such he now was, and took his hand. My father beckoned his
friend to stoop down, that he might whisper something to him; but
although his lips moved, an inarticulate muttering was all that he
could utter. He then, with an expression of almost despairing grief
upon his countenance, took my hand and that of Manucci, joined them
together in his, which were already damp and chill with the approach
of death, and pressed them to his heart with a deep sigh. The next
instant there was a convulsive movement of his limbs--a rattle in his
throat. My father was dead.

I shall never forget that moment. It was with some difficulty that
Manucci and myself withdrew our hands from those of my father, which
clutched them tightly in the agony of death. It was the first corpse I
had ever looked upon, and although of a parent whom I dearly loved, I
yet recoiled from it with an irrepressible shudder. The stranger, too,
inspired me with an invincible repugnance. I could not forget my
dream, or vision, or whatever it was, when I had seen him changed into
a grey repulsive-looking old man, and the mysterious words--"Do I look
like a murderer?" rang ever in my ears.

My mother's grief at her sudden bereavement was boundless. She was
incapable of arranging or ordering any thing; and as my tender years
prevented me from being of any use, Manucci took upon himself the
management of every thing. Through his exertions, the arrangements for
the funeral were rapidly completed; and I followed to the grave the
body of my unfortunate father, who had died, so said the doctor, of a
stroke of apoplexy. Child as I was, I was greatly struck by the
coincidence between this sudden death, and the singular dream I had
had not forty-eight hours previous to it. I said nothing, however;
for I feared Manucci, and should not have thought my life safe had he
heard that I related my dream to any one. In after years, when I was
better able to form a judgment on these matters, I thought it useless
to renew the grief of my poor mother, then becoming old and infirm, by
a communication of what I had witnessed on that memorable night, or by
inspiring her with doubts as to the real cause of her husband's death.

Meanwhile Manucci busied himself in the arrangement of my father's
affairs, concerning which he appeared perfectly well informed. In the
course of their liquidation, he became acquainted with many of the
chief people in Hamburg, who all spoke very highly of his talents, and
seemed captivated by his agreeable conversation and varied
acquirements. In an incredibly short time he had made himself numerous
friends, who courted his society and invited him to their houses.
Nobody knew any thing more of him than what he himself chose to say,
which was very little. It was rumoured, however, that he belonged to a
religious fraternity--but whether of the Jesuits, or some other order,
no one knew, nor was it possible to trace the origin of the report.
Manucci himself, the object of all these conjectures, seemed perfectly
unconscious of, or indifferent to them. He took a house at a short
distance from the town, close to a small country residence to which my
mother had retired; and in conformity with my father's last and mutely
expressed wish, showed a most friendly disposition towards me,
interesting himself in my studies, and to a certain extent
superintending my education. He visited us very frequently, and
gradually I became accustomed to his presence, and my aversion to him
diminished. The remembrance of my dream grew fainter and fainter, and
the guilty agitation and strange appearance of Manucci on the night of
his arrival at Hamburg, lost the sharp distinctness of outline with
which they had at first been engraved upon my memory. I regarded all
that I had seen that night as a dream, and nothing more.

The house inhabited by Manucci was of handsome exterior, and situated
in the middle of a large garden. The door was rarely opened to
visitors, and, besides the Italian, an old servant-maid was its only
inmate. I myself was never admitted within its walls till I had
attained my seventeenth year; but when I was, the curious arrangements
of the dwelling made a strong impression upon my fancy. The whole of
the ground floor was one large hall, of which the ceiling was
supported by pillars, and whence a staircase led to three apartments,
one used as a sitting-room, another as bed-chamber, and the third,
which was kept constantly shut, as a study. The sitting-room, instead
of doors, had green silk curtains in the doorways. Eight chandeliers
were fixed in pairs upon the wall, and between them were four black
marble tablets, on which were engraved in golden letters, the
words:--Watch! Pray! Labour! Love! In a recess was a sort of altar,
above which was suspended a valuable painting from the hand of one of
the old masters. Behind a folding screen in the sleeping-room, stood
the bed, which was surrounded by sabres, daggers, stilettoes, and
pistols of various calibre; and from this room a strong door, clenched
and bound with iron, led into the study, the interior of which I never
saw. Altogether, the house made such a strange and unpleasant
impression upon me, that I felt no wish to repeat my visit.

Manucci had now been residing seven years amongst us, leading a
peaceful and quiet life, a frequent visitor at our house, well looked
upon and liked by all who knew him. Although there was certainly a
degree of mystery attaching to him, yet no one was suspicious of him,
nor had the voice of scandal ever been lifted up to his prejudice. He
was friendly and attentive to my mother, kind to me, courteous to
every one, seemed perfectly contented with his mode of life, and never
talked of changing it. Our astonishment was consequently so much the
greater, when one morning we learnt his sudden disappearance from the
neighbourhood. Enquiries were made in every direction, but none had
seen him depart. His shrivelled old housekeeper was also nowhere to be

It was within a few weeks after this strange disappearance, that I
obtained the first insight into the character of the mysterious
Italian. After my father's death, and the winding up of his affairs,
his papers and letters had been put in boxes and locked up in a
closet. I one day took it into my head to rummage these papers. There
were vast numbers of bills of lading and exchange, insurance papers
and the like, all matters of no interest to me; but at last, upon
untying a bundle of miscellaneous documents, a small packet fell out
which seemed likely to reward my search. It consisted of fragments of
letters, much damaged by fire, and which, to judge from the size of
the half-burned envelope that contained them, and that had apparently
been originally used for a much larger parcel, probably formed only a
small part of a collection of letters that had been accidentally or
intentionally destroyed by the flames.

Here are some of these fragments of letters.

     "... The society of a man whose acquaintance I have made since my
     arrival here, becomes each day more agreeable to me. He has seen
     a vast deal of the world, and his mind is stored with the most
     varied knowledge, to such a degree that it sometimes appears to
     me as if the longest life would be insufficient to acquire all
     that he has learned. Our acquaintance was made in an odd place
     enough--a gambling-house, to which I had gone as a matter of
     curiosity. He was sitting away from the tables, and addressed
     some trifling remark to me, to which I replied. He then, as if he
     had known who and what I was, began talking of the commerce in
     which I am engaged, and displayed an intimate acquaintance with
     mercantile affairs. Our conversation had already become animated
     and interesting, when it was interrupted by a noise and bustle in
     the play-room; and several persons came up to my new
     acquaintance, and congratulated him. It appeared that he had
     staked sum equivalent to the whole amount there was in the bank,
     and it was while the game was being played that we had entered
     into conversation. He now went to the table, and received his
     winnings from the disconcerted bankers with an appearance of
     perfect indifference, returning them at the same time, a handsome
     sum--that they might have, as he said, a chance of recovering
     what he had won from them! Then, after giving me his address, and
     inviting me to call on him, he left the house" ...

     "... The diamonds ... enormous value ... excellent bargain ...
     twenty thousand pounds sterling" ...

     (This letter had been nearly destroyed by the fire.)

     "... It is some days since I have seen my new friend, although
     his agreeable conversation and manners render his society more
     pleasing to me at every interview. I am embarrassed about this
     purchase of diamonds, which I an very desirous of making, but
     find myself without sufficient funds for the purpose. If M----
     would join me in the speculation, his recent winnings would be
     more than is wanted to make up the deficiency. I must propose it
     to him ...

     "... I have just returned from a visit to M----. It appears that
     he is an Italian by birth, although speaking several languages as
     well as a native, and that he is travelling for the affairs of an
     important association of which he is a member. He has travelled a
     great deal in Germany, and will probably return thither shortly.
     To-day he told me that he was glad to have won the large sum to
     which I alluded in a former letter; that he had much need of it
     for a great object he had in view, but for which he was still
     afraid it would scarcely suffice. Upon hearing this, I resolved
     to say nothing to him about the partnership in the diamond
     speculation ...

     "... It is impossible for me to describe to you the fascination
     which this man exercises over me. You know that I do not usually
     exaggerate, although inclined to the mystical and romantic. I
     have lived too little on land, however, for any ideas of that
     nature to have taken much hold upon my mind. At sea, the movement
     of the winds and waves, the unintermitting intercourse with one's
     fellow-men--the whole life of a mariner, in short, leaves little
     leisure for such fancies. But here, in this tropical clime, where
     the heavens are of so deep a blue, and the leaves of so bright a
     green, where the imagination is worked upon by Oriental scenery
     and magnificence, and the very air one breathes is laden with
     perfumes from the flower-fields and spice-groves of Araby the
     Blest, here is the land of fiction and reverie, and here I at
     times think that my new and most agreeable friend has laid me
     under a spell equally pleasant and potent in its effects--a spell
     from which I have neither wish nor ability to emancipate myself.
     Yet why should I wish to escape an influence exercised only for
     my good, and by which I must benefit? My greatest happiness is in
     the friendship of this man, my greatest trust and reliance are in
     his counsels. Stern is he, bold, almost rash in his actions, but
     ever successful; and when he has an end to gain, nothing can
     withstand him, no obstacle bar him from its attainment....

     "... in the kindest manner lent me the sum I wanted to complete
     the purchase-money of the diamonds, but obstinately refuses to
     share the profits which, on my return to Europe, are sure to
     accrue from this speculation. What generosity! M----is assuredly
     the most disinterested and the truest of friends. We are becoming
     each day more attached to each other. He has formed a project to
     come and settle near Hamburg, and there we shall pass the rest of
     our days together. He is a most singular and interesting person.
     I shall weary you, perhaps, by all these details; but every thing
     that relates to him interests me. Only think, the other day I
     found in a cabinet in his apartment, a mask, which he told me he
     had himself made. I never saw such a masterpiece. It was of wax,
     imitating perfectly a human countenance, of an expression
     eminently attractive, although sad. He was not in the room when I
     found it, in seeking for a book he had promised to lend me. He
     came in when I had just taken it out of the drawer in which it
     was, and an angry exclamation" ...

These disjointed but significant fragments were all of any interest
that the flames had spared. From them, however, I acquired a moral
certainty that Manucci was my father's murderer. In order to obtain
possession of the diamonds, of which no trace had been found after my
father's death, the perfidious Italian had doubtless administered to
him some deadly poison. This must have been so skilfully prepared as
not to take effect till the murderer had left the house a sufficiently
long time to prevent any risk of suspicion attaching to him.

Burning to avenge my unfortunate parent, I now set to work with the
utmost energy to discover what had become of Manucci. I caused
enquiries to be made in every direction, and resorted to every means I
could devise to find out the assassin; but for a long time all was in
vain. It was not till several years after my mother's death that we
again met--a meeting which, like our first, was to me fraught with
bitter sorrow.

I had been for some time in the Russian service, and the regiment to
which I belonged was quartered at a village a few leagues from Warsaw.
At the period I speak of, a country house in the neighbourhood of the
village belonged to, and was occupied by, General Count Gutzkoff, a
nobleman of ancient descent and great wealth, and who had an only
daughter called Natalie, the perfection of feminine grace and beauty.
The villa had been christened Natalina, after his daughter, and no
expense had been spared to render it and the grounds attached to it
worthy of their lovely sponsor. Amongst other embellishments, a large
portion of the park had been laid out in miniature imitation of Swiss
scenery, with chalêts, and waterfalls, and artificial mountains, that
must have taken a vast time and labour to construct. There was an
excellent house in this part of the grounds, inhabited by a sort of
intendant or steward, and in this house rooms were assigned to me, I
having been quartered upon General Gutzkoff. I had thus many
opportunities of seeing Natalie, whose charms soon inspired me with a
passion which, to my inexpressible joy, I after a time found to be
reciprocated by her. I am not writing a romance, but a plain
narrative of some of the strangest incidents in my life; I will,
therefore, pass over the rise and progress of our attachment, of the
existence of which the general at length became aware. He was a proud
and ambitious man, and my small fortune and lieutenant's epaulette by
no means qualified me in his eyes to become his son-in-law. Natalie
was threatened with a convent, and I was requested to discontinue my
visits to the house. About the same time, I heard it rumoured that a
rich cousin, then stopping with the general, was the intended husband
of the young countess.

For some days I found it impossible to obtain a meeting with Natalie,
although I put every stratagem in practice, and sought every
opportunity of meeting her in her walks. After the general's positive,
although courteous prohibition, I of course could not think of
returning to his house. It was therefore with much anxiety that I
looked forward to a ball which was to be given by a rich old Smyrniot,
who lived at Warsaw. He was acquainted with the officers of my
regiment, and to console us, as he said, for the dulness of our
country quarters, he proposed to give a fête sufficiently splendid to
attract the ladies of the capital to the village where we were
stationed. He was intimate with General Gutzkoff, who lent him for the
occasion the part of his domain called the Swiss park, and there the
fête was to be held. I made sure of meeting Natalie there, and perhaps
even of finding an opportunity of speaking to her unobserved by her

The much wished-for evening came, and a numerous and brilliant company
was assembled in the gardens. The long alleys of trees were rendered
light as day by a profusion of lamps, of which the globes of painted
crystal were suspended by wires from tree to tree, and appeared to
float unsupported upon the air. Under two large pavilions of various
colours, flooring had been laid down, and chalked in fanciful devices.
These were for the dancers. Several bands of music were placed in
different parts of the grounds; and in the various cottages and Swiss
dairies tables were laid out, covered with the most exquisite
refreshments and delicate wines. On either side of the principal
fountains were transparencies, with emblems and mottoes complimentary
to the guests and to the noble owner of the park; and, finally, that
nothing might be wanting to the gratification of every taste, a
crimson tent, richly decorated, contained a faro-table, upon which a
large bank in gold was placed. Crowds of officers, and of beautiful
women splendidly attired, thronged the dancing rooms or rambled
through the illuminated walks. Natalie was there, but accompanied by
her father and cousin, so that I could not venture to accost her. She
looked sad, I thought, but more lovely than ever; and when at last she
sat down in one of the summer-houses, I approached as near as I could
without being myself seen, in order at least to have the pleasure of
gazing on her sweet countenance. I was leaning against a tree, cursing
the cruel fate that separated me from the object of my love, when one
of my comrades came up and asked me if I would not go to the
faro-room. There was a man there, he said playing with the most
wonderful luck that had ever been seen. He had already broken two
banks, and seemed likely to do the same with a third that had been put
down. I was in no humour to take interest in such matters, and should
have declined my brother officer's invitation, had I not just then
seen Natalie and her companions get up and take the direction of the
gambling tent. I followed with my friend. The play that was going on
had, however, no attraction for me; I had no eyes for any one but
Natalie, and was almost unaware of what was passing around me. After
standing for a short time near the table, the general turned aside to
talk with the colonel of my regiment, and his cousin went to speak
with some ladies who had just entered. The moment was favourable for
exchanging a few words with Natalie. I was about to approach her, when
there was a sudden bustle and loud exclamations round the table.

"See there!" exclaimed my comrade, "he has won again."

I glanced hastily at the fortunate player, and then started back
petrified by surprise. It was Manucci.

My first impulse upon beholding the man whom I had been so long
seeking, and whom I held for my father's murderer, was instantly to
seize him and tax him with his crime. An instant's reflection,
however, suggested to me the impropriety of such a course. What
evidence had I to offer before a court of law in support of my
accusation? The tale I had to tell was far too extraordinary a one to
be believed on the unsupported testimony of an accuser. This man
seemed well known to several of the guests who stood near him; he wore
the decorations of two or three foreign orders, and appeared to be a
person of some mark. Might I not even be deceived by a strong
resemblance? At any rate, it was sufficient if I kept him in sight
till I had an opportunity of making enquiries concerning him. If it
were Manucci, I was determined he should not escape me.

I was still gazing hard at the stranger, and becoming each moment more
and more convinced of his identity with Manucci, when, to my great
surprise, I saw him leave the table and approach Natalie. She seemed
to know him; they exchanged a few sentences, and then, passing through
a door, they left the tent together. I hurried after them as fast as
the crowd of persons through which I had to make my way would allow
me. On getting out of the tent I saw no signs either of Natalie or the
stranger. They could not be far--they must have turned down one of the
numerous sidepaths; and I darted in quest of them down the first I
came to. I had run and walked over nearly half the grounds without
finding them, when I met the general and his cousin, who, with looks
of some suspicion, asked me if I had seen Natalie. I told them with
whom I had last seen her; but my description of the stranger, although
minute and accurate, did not enable the general to recognise in him
any one of his acquaintance; and separating, we resumed our search in
different directions with increased anxiety and redoubled care.

While thus engaged, loud cries were suddenly heard proceeding from the
upper floor of one of the châlets or ornamental cottages near which I
was then passing, and of which the lower part only was used for the
purposes of the fête. I hastened thither, rushed up the staircase,
and, in so doing, ran against an officer who was carrying down Natalie
in his arms. She was senseless. At that moment her father arrived and
took charge of her. Above stairs, all was confusion and alarm, and a
number of the guests were seeking the villain who had dared to insult
or ill-treat the young countess. But he was nowhere to be found, and
it was supposed that he had jumped out of the window, and, favoured by
the darkness, had made his escape. Natalie, when she recovered from
her swoon, was still too weak and too terrified to give any
explanation concerning the matter. She was conveyed to her father's
house, the fête was broken up, and the guests took their departure. My
brother officers and myself mounted our horses, and rode in every
direction to endeavour to find the offender. All our researches,
however, were fruitless.

Strange to say, this singular incident excited much less attention,
and was much more rapidly forgotten, than could possibly have been
expected, especially when the rank and importance of the offended
party were considered. After the first day, few efforts seemed to be
made for the discovery of the stranger except by myself; and all that
I did towards that end was unsuccessful. The murderer of my father,
the spoiler of my inheritance, the vile insulter of the woman I loved,
had for this time eluded my vengeance.

About a fortnight after the fête, it became publicly rumoured that any
project of marriage which might have been contemplated by General
Gutzkoff between his daughter and her cousin, was at an end, and that
Natalie was to take the veil. It was known that, before the death of
the late countess, who was an exceedingly religious woman, it had been
in agitation to devote Natalie to a religious life; but when the
general became a widower, nothing more had been heard of the plan. It
now almost seemed as if its revival and contemplated execution were
in some way consequent on the strange incident at the ball. The
matter, however, was far too delicate for any one to question
concerning it those who alone could have given information. At the
appointed time Natalie entered as novice a convent of Ursulines,
situated at about a league from her father's villa.

The first news of this event was a terrible shock to me. In spite of
the small favour with which the general regarded my attachment to his
daughter, I had still hoped that time or circumstances might bring
about some change in his sentiments. But the cloister opposed a yet
stronger bar to my wishes than the will of a parent, and the vows once
pronounced, which at the end of one short year Natalie would have to
utter, I might bid farewell to hope. Our separation would then be
irrevocable and eternal in this world. It was necessary, therefore, to
make the best use of the short space of her noviciate, in order to put
in execution one of the numerous plans which I devised for freeing her
from the state of holy bondage which I was certain she had only
through compulsion been induced to enter. Day and night I hovered
about the convent, in hopes of catching a glimpse of Natalie, or of
finding an opportunity of giving her a letter, in which I strenuously
urged her to accept a plan of escape that I proposed to her. At last
an opportunity occurred. She was walking in the convent garden with
another novice, who left her for an instant to gather some flowers. I
was watching all their movements, and at this moment I threw my letter
at Natalie's feet. She took it up, retired into a shrubbery walk to
read it, and presently returned.

"To-morrow," said she, "the answer--here."

With what anxious impatience did I look forward to her reply, and with
what despairing feelings did it fill me when I received it! In it
Natalie spoke of her approaching death as of an event of the
occurrence of which she was thoroughly persuaded, and besought me to
give up all hopes of again seeing her.

At this period of the year the nuns of the Ursuline convent inhabited
their summer cells, which were a row of buildings situated in the
convent garden. Natalie had the last cell, which was separated by
several empty ones from those of the other sisters. It was on the
second day after I received her letter that the nuns were surprised by
her not opening her door at the usual hour. They waited some time for
her appearance, but in vain. They knocked; there was no answer. At
last the door was forced open and Natalie was found lying dead upon
the floor of the cell. She had evidently been dragged out of bed with
great violence; her features were distorted with pain and struggling,
and in her left breast was a wound which had been the cause of her
death. The murderer had broken in through the roof of the cell.

The news of this horrible occurrence flew with lightning swiftness
through the neighbourhood and to Warsaw. Nobody doubted that there was
some connexion between the crime and the singular occurrence at the
ball, although it was impossible to say what that connexion was. Every
attempt to discover and apprehend the murderer proved unavailing.

In order to see Natalie for the last time, I repaired to the convent
church, in which, according to custom, her corpse was laid out. With
faltering and uncertain steps I passed through the aisle, and reached
the chapel where the remains of her I had so fondly loved were lying.
I stepped up to the bier, but the next instant turned away my face. I
lacked courage to look upon the cold corpse of my adored mistress. A
violent dizziness seized me, the pillars around me seemed to turn and
twist about, and the roof of the church to shake. I sank senseless
upon a chair.

How long I may have remained in that state I am unable to say. It was
night when consciousness returned, and the moon was shedding its cold,
clear light through the high Gothic windows. I felt heated and
excited; all manner of strange fancies passed through my head, the
predominant one being to go at once and wander about the world, till I
should discover the fiend to whom the misery I now suffered was
attributable. Before doing so, however, I must see my Natalie once
more. I stepped up to the coffin. Natalie lay there in her nun's
garments, a crucifix upon her breast, and a veil surrounding her face,
which, to my inexpressible astonishment and horror, I now saw was
covered with a mask.

I was at first unable to explain this singular circumstance, but then
it occurred to me that her lovely features had been said to be much
distorted in death, and doubtless her friends had taken this means of
concealing them from the gaze of vulgar curiosity. I would see her
though, I thought; I would kiss those lips, once so warm and
love-breathing, now so pale and chilled. The better if, in her
death-like embrace, I found an end to my life and suffering. I
stretched out my hand to detach the mask, which was by no means
unpleasing in its appearance. It reminded me of the one spoken of by
my father in one of his letters; and as I stood looking at it, I
little by little persuaded myself it must be the same. The lips curved
into a mournful smile, an attractive expression on the features; only
the sockets for the eyes were empty, and through them shone the glazed
orbs of the departed.

Whilst given up to these reflections, I suddenly heard a slight
rustling noise near me. I looked round, and saw a muffled figure
sitting at a short distance off, in which I thought I recognized some
old nun keeping her drowsy vigil by the dead. I took no heed of her,
but stretched out my hand to tear the mask from Natalie's face, when
suddenly the figure rose, and with three long, noiseless strides,
stood close beside me. The robe in which it was muffled opened, and I
beheld--Manucci! not the Manucci I had seen at the faro-table, nor yet
he who had lived for years near my mother's house, but the grey old
man who had appeared to me on the night of my father's arrival, and
had said, "Do I look like a murderer?"

"Thou here, villain!" I exclaimed, on beholding this unexpected
apparition. "The hand of heaven is in this!"

I stretched forth my arm to seize the murderer, who thus braved me
beside the corpse of his last victim; but as I did so I experienced a
strange stunning sensation, and fell, as though struck by a
thunderbolt, lifeless to the ground. The first persons who entered the
church upon the following morning found me in this state, and carried
me to the nearest house, where I lay for weeks in a raging fever,
during which time Natalie was buried, and the flowers that sprang up
on her grave were withered by the frosts and snows of winter. When I
at last became convalescent, and re-appeared amongst men, Natalie was
forgotten; and the strange circumstances that had occurred to me in
the church would have obtained no credence, or at most would have been
considered as the precursors of fever, the visions resulting from a
heated imagination and exhausted frame. Indeed my memory was in so
confused a state, and the weeks I had passed in the unconsciousness of
delirium, caused every thing that had previously happened to appear so
remote and indistinct, that I was myself almost unable to give any
clear and definite form to the occurrences that preceded my illness.
My health was greatly shaken, and I was no longer equal to any
occupation that required sustained exertion and application. I
resigned my commission, therefore, and formed a plan to divide my life
amongst the various large cities of Europe, changing from time to
time, and constantly endeavouring to seize again the thread that had
escaped me, and if possible to discover and unmask the vile impostor
who had destroyed my life's happiness. I may, perhaps, some day write
down the various and strange adventures that I have met with during
these researches, and in my wandering course of life. In this
portfolio, however, I will put nothing but what relates to any further
discoveries I may make concerning the base Italian and his

       *       *       *       *       *

Here Adrian's manuscript ended; but between the two following blank
leaves I found a letter dated from St Petersburg, written in a
different hand, and that seemed to form a sort of appendix or
continuation to the preceding narrative. This letter, from the
different dates scattered through it, appeared to have been continued
from time to time, several weeks elapsing between its commencement and
the period at which it was sent off. The envelope was wanting, and
there was no address; but, from its contents, it appeared that it had
not been written to Adrian, but to a friend of his who had handed it
to him. At the end came a dozen lines in Adrian's handwriting, leaving
off somewhat abruptly. Here follows the letter:--

                                          _St Petersburg, 12th June._

     My dear Augustus,--Of all the wealthy and distinguished
     foreigners whom this gay season has brought together in St
     Petersburg, not any attract so much attention as the Marchese
     d'Emiliano and his daughter. The father is as remarkable for his
     learning and talents as the daughter is for her innumerable
     graces and accomplishments, which draw all eyes upon her. She has
     only one extraordinary peculiarity, which is--but stay, I will
     first describe her to you, so that this singularity, when I tell
     you of it, may appear the more striking. Picture to yourself a
     brunette, slender and perfectly formed, possessing the exact and
     beautiful proportions of a Grecian statue--a foot smaller and
     better shaped than I ever yet beheld--an exquisite hand, slender
     and tapering, not one of those short fleshy hands with dimpled
     fingers, which it is now the fashion to admire, but for which no
     precedent is to be found in the Medicean goddess or in any other
     standard of beauty. A magnificent bust, an arm like alabaster, a
     profusion of dark flowing hair, grace in every movement. But--now
     comes the wonder, my friend--instead of a face corresponding in
     beauty with this perfect form, there is--a mask. Can you imagine
     a greater absurdity? and yet they are people who, in every other
     respect, show extreme good taste.

     From the lips of this mask proceeds a voice which, for melody and
     sweetness, I have never heard equaled. In speaking, its tones are
     of silver, but when she sings one forgets mask and every thing
     else to give one's-self up to an ecstacy of perfect enjoyment.
     She knows a vast deal of Italian, French, and Spanish music,
     languages that she speaks with the utmost purity, and she
     accompanies herself alternately on piano, guitar, or mandoline,
     of which instruments she is a perfect mistress. Her dancing is no
     less admirable than her singing; and, at every ball to which she
     goes, crowds collect around her to watch the sylph-like grace
     with which she glides through the dance. In short, she unites
     every womanly accomplishment, and yet this heavenly creature
     persists in concealing her face under that vile mask, which fits
     so closely that not the smallest portion of her countenance can
     be perceived. However hideous the latter may be, it would be
     preferable to this horrid covering. Not that the mask is ugly; on
     the contrary, it is the handsomest I ever saw, and in itself has
     nothing disagreeable. It is formed of wax, and has a mournful
     expression which is quite attractive, at least when its owner
     sits still; but when she moves or speaks, the dead look of the
     mask has an indescribably unpleasant effect. Several persons have
     indirectly questioned the Marchese on this subject, but he evades
     or turns off their enquiries with all the tact of a consummate
     man of the world. Of course it would be indelicate, if not
     unfeeling, to ask her about it. Meantime the public amuses itself
     with all sorts of absurd suppositions. First it is a vow; then
     she has got a pig's face; then her waiting-maid had said that she
     had once caught her unmasked, and that her face was covered with
     feathers and had a beak in the middle of it. Then, again, it is a
     stratagem, to try the man whom she shall marry, and to see if he
     will love her for something besides her appearance, and on her
     wedding-day she will take off the mask and disclose features of
     perfect beauty. All this is of course mere gossip; for nobody
     knows any thing about these Italians, except that the Marchese is
     enormously rich, and that his daughter, in spite of her mask, is
     the most amiable and fascinating of women. Amongst other
     absurdities, a report was spread that the marquis was no other
     than the celebrated St Germains, who, as is well known, was
     himself no other than the Wandering Jew. It is ridiculous to hear
     the extraordinary things they tell of him. Only the other day it
     was asserted that he had been met in a distant country, where he
     passed under another name, and was remarkable for his constant
     and almost suspicious success in gambling. I should be very
     curious to trace all these reports to their source. Their
     inventors can at least have no lack of imagination. The fact is,
     that there is unquestionably something strange and mysterious
     about the old man--but what does it amount to after all? He is an
     old Italian marquis, his foreign manners and appearance, and
     imposing title, work upon the imagination of us northerns, and at
     once make us suspect an adventurer in this worthy old nobleman.
     The mere presence of Natalie (that is his daughter's name) is
     sufficient to refute such a suspicion. She is the incarnation of
     all that is pure and beautiful; and I confess to you, my friend,
     that I am each day becoming more and more the slave of her
     attractions. If in society she exhibits her varied
     accomplishments, on the other hand, when we are alone, she is the
     simple and unsophisticated girl. During our _tête-à-têtes_,
     however, it has not escaped me that she is frequently melancholy;
     a something seems at times to weigh upon her spirits; and,
     although she evidently struggles to hide this, she has been
     unable to conceal it from my close and interested observation.
     Yes, my friend, interested, for deeply interested I am in all
     that concerns Natalie; and, I own to you, that in spite of her
     mask, in spite of the mystery that surrounds her, nothing would
     make me so happy as to call her mine.

     _27th June._--A week ago it was Natalie's birth-day. She had felt
     herself somewhat indisposed, and had begged the Marchese not to
     invite any guests. Nevertheless, when I called to offer my good
     wishes on the occasion, they kept me there till evening. We then
     walked out in the garden--Natalie and myself, that is to say--and
     sat down upon a rustic seat, amidst a cluster of flowering shrubs
     that perfumed the air around us. I know not of what we spoke,
     but, after a short time, I found myself with my arm round
     Natalie's waist, her hand clasped in mine, her mask--alas! that I
     cannot say her face--resting upon my shoulder. It was one of
     those sweet moments with which past and future have nought to do,
     but during which one lives upon the present. Gradually my lips
     drew nearer and nearer to her waxen ones, but, half-jesting, she
     turned her head away. I became more persevering, and without
     saying any thing to her I raised my arm gently till my hand
     touched her hair, amongst which the fastenings of the mask were
     apparently concealed. In another moment the mystery would be
     solved, and I should gaze doubtless on the most lovely
     countenance that ever blessed a lover's sight. At that very
     instant she uttered a sort of shriek, and sprang from my embrace.
     In vain did I entreat and supplicate her to suffer me to remove
     that envious mask. She was inexorable, and just then, attracted
     perhaps by Natalie's cry, the Marchese appeared.

     "What!" said he in a distant and somewhat angry tone and manner,
     "nearly midnight, and you are still here?"

     The time had indeed passed rapidly. The hint was too direct for
     me to do otherwise than apologize and depart.

     Since that evening they have treated me with some coolness, nor
     can I wonder at it. My constant visits to their house have become
     the talk of all St Petersburg; and it is evident that I must
     either declare myself the suitor of Natalie or avoid her
     altogether. Avoid her! How can I do it? Do not blame me,
     Augustus, when I tell you that I have decided to go this day to
     the Marquis and ask his daughter's hand. Rank, fortune, every
     thing in short, is suitable. Only that mystery--but I will not
     think of it. I lay down my pen, and go instantly to execute my

     _30th June._--You will set me down as a fool when you read what I
     last wrote. I should perhaps say the same of you, were our
     positions reversed; and yet, were you not my old friend and
     comrade, I should feel disposed to be angry with you for saying
     it of me on this occasion. She is mine, Augustus--mine by her
     own and her father's promise. My friend, I am unutterably happy.
     I am not able to look forward with any thing like coolness to the
     moment when she shall remove that odious mask, and disclose the
     lovely countenance which I am persuaded it conceals.

     _8th July._--I cannot understand Natalie. She seems happy at the
     prospect of becoming my wife; and yet that same melancholy which
     I have before noticed, hangs about her, and seems impossible to
     be dissipated. Can she have had some previous attachment, some
     disappointed affection, which has left its lingering regrets, and
     which her present engagement recalls more vividly to her
     recollection? And yet, why torment myself thus? She loves
     me--that I cannot doubt; and surely her approaching change of
     condition, and the separation from her father which it must
     sooner or later entail, are sufficient to account for an
     occasional pensiveness on the part of a young and susceptible
     girl. In vain do I seek for any other probable cause of her
     melancholy. At times I fancy that she has some disclosure or
     confession to make to me, which she has difficulty in repressing.

     _23d July._--The secret is out. Natalie is ugly. You laugh
     already at the poor dupe. But beware of laughing too soon: for he
     can be no dupe who becomes the husband of Natalie; should her
     face prove as hideous as that of Medusa. You will perceive from
     this that I have not yet seen it, nor, truth to tell, am I now so
     anxious to do so. She has been tormenting herself with the fear
     that I should cease to love her when I once saw her unmasked, and
     has reproached herself innumerable times for having encouraged my
     passion. She has decided what to do. On her marriage-day, before
     I lead her to the altar, I am to see her without her mask.
     To-morrow is that day; and although I am prepared for the very
     worst, yet my uneasiness increases with every hour that brings me
     nearer to the decisive moment. My regrets are infinite that she
     has persisted so long in her disguise. If at the commencement of
     our attachment she had had the courage to remove that fatal mask,
     I must still have loved her; no deformity of feature would have
     been sufficient to neutralize the effect of her other charms and
     accomplishments. But now, at the moment that I have been looking
     forward to as the happiest of my life, to have my bliss disturbed
     by such a revelation--it is cruel! Yet how can I blame her for
     conduct so natural in a woman who loves? She feared to see my
     growing affection turned into aversion, and delayed to the utmost
     the much dreaded disclosure. Enough for to-day. I send off this
     letter. After my marriage you shall hear from me again. Ever

                                                         Paul S----.

What a ray of light thrown upon my dark uncertainties! "To St
Petersburg, instantly! The trace is found!"

Such was my exclamation after reading the above letter, which was
communicated to me at Vienna by an old and tried friend. In an
incredibly short time I had reached the Russian capital. What I there
learned was as follows:--

On the day appointed for the marriage of Natalie d'Emiliano and the
young Swedish count, Paul S----, when all were in readiness to proceed
to the church, and the guests were only waiting the appearance of the
bride and bridegroom, a piercing cry was suddenly heard in a room
adjoining that in which the bridal party was assembled. The company
hurried, in the direction of the sound, and there found the Count
lying apparently lifeless on the floor, while the bride was hastily
securing the fastenings of her mask. The guests thronged round the
former, and tried every means of recovering him from the death-like
swoon into which he had fallen. After much trouble they were
successful. The Marchese and Natalie were then sought for, but both
had disappeared; and neither of them were ever afterwards seen or
heard of in St Petersburg. The bridegroom could never be induced to
tell what it was that the mask concealed.


No. IV.


"Wildernesses and heaths are not the only spots that boast of their
_Fata Morgana_," said Woldemar, in a society of torch-bearers which
regularly assembled in the old castle on Christmas night.

"The vision appears in a hundred places, in shapes answering to the
peculiarity of soil and country in which she rises. Here she is an
apparition of the air, beaming with splendour; there she unfolds
herself in glittering mist. On the unbounded plain, you behold her in
the form of an enchanted city--a paradise of leafy loveliness, or it
may be simply as a fantastic Erl-King, a giddy dazzling vapour. Let
her appear, however, where and how she will, she is ever seductive,
mysterious, and beautiful, and attended with the awe of a strange
nameless delight.

"You know the high table-land, strewed with countless blocks of
granite, between C---- and K----. Inclosed upon two sides by mountains
and thick groves of beech, it would be a perfect desert but for the
clear crystal brook which purls its way along the glistening stones.
This labyrinthine brook, indeed, fills the barren spot with animation,
whilst it creates too that singular power of attraction which we
cannot explain to ourselves, but which, nevertheless, becomes our
unfailing companion in regions with which the heart of the people has
intimately associated itself by tales of wonder and tradition.

"The Tradition touching this very table-land is dim and shapeless,
like the thick mist of a sultry summer's day, hanging over hill and
valley. It is most convenient to the common working mind to retain and
hold fast in a history only so much as is needful for the great
catastrophe. The people are content to abide by the beginning and end
of things, not concerning themselves with the important connecting
links. All that lies between is left to the imagination of the more
inquisitive to fill up. A tradition of this order occurs to me this
moment, and, by your leave, I will do my best to complete it:--

"A mysterious curse lay upon the noble house of Gottmar. No male scion
was suffered to perpetuate the race. The bride of his selection died
on her wedding-day, and he himself was doomed to follow quickly after.
The rich possessions passed to the nearest relative, who, by virtue of
an ancient law, assumed the name of Gottmar. The family was very
ancient. It traced its origin back to the Sclavonian priests, the
sacrificers to the God Mahr, and bore in its armorial ensigns a
sacrificial axe and a blood channel, in shape like that which at this
day is found cut into the granite-blocks of the high mountain that
bears the name of Gottmar. The later descendants of this powerful and
widely-ramified house could no longer explain the cause of their cruel
condition. It had been deemed advisable by their ancestors to
exterminate every record of it, hoping thereby perhaps to weaken, in
the course of time, the curse itself. The precaution was fruitless. No
alteration whatever took place in the fate of the doomed family, which
at length was regarded, no less by itself than by the world, as the
outlawed of heaven.

"The last living representative of the house of Gottmar entered upon
the family inheritance upon the death of his cousin. Bolko was a mild
yet enthusiastic youth, glowing with deep, ripe feeling, and needy of
human love. He had little joy in the acquisition of what, in other
circumstances, might have been considered his enviable fortune. He
thought only of the miserable destiny that sentenced him to celibacy
or death. His immediate predecessor, riding across a heath to take a
last farewell of his bride, had been struck dead by lightning, and the
maiden herself had been hurled from life at the edge of a precipice.
Bolko, attired in mourning, sat at the window of his lofty castle, and
surveyed the lovely prospect before him, bathed as it was in the
golden light of evening. Here were rich forests, there teeming fields;
in the depths of the valleys prosperous labouring villages; and in the
far distance, towering above all, the blue crests and jagged peaks of
a mountain region.

"'And all has become mine!' he exclaimed, resting his forehead
dejectedly upon his hand; 'to pass quickly away again, and unenjoyed!
And I, in ignorance, why! To be a sinner, a criminal, and not
conscious of one criminal aspiration. Yet, to be punished for
crime--to be killed for crime. Oh, it is hard! And heaven, sweet and
fair as she appears, is crueler than I could have believed.'

"His preceptor, confessor and friend stepped into the apartment.
Hubert was an aged man, learned and pious, and well skilled, it was
believed, in cabalistic science. He had buried three Gottmars, and
received their last confessions. From these he had drawn conjectures
and conclusions which induced him to investigate the traditions
current amongst the people respecting his unhappy patrons; and out of
all, he was able at last to form a picture of probability, to the
completeness of which some demonstrative evidence of its truth was
wanting. At the period of which I speak--it was still before the
Reformation--books were held in slender esteem. Nevertheless, there
was a library in Gottmar castle, consisting of numerous manuscripts,
the production of monks, and chiefly on religious subjects. The lords
of the castle, engaged in the chase, in fishing, and other knightly
pastimes, had not, from time out of mind, disturbed the repose of
their written treasures. They lay piled one upon another, covered with
dust, mildewed, and worm-eaten. Hubert, in the prosecution of his
purpose, did not fail to examine the neglected documents; and he had
reason to rejoice at his labours, when he found amongst the rolls a
learned treatise on astrology, a science which he himself had studied
with unwearied industry and ardour. His joy and astonishment, however,
were not complete, until he found himself master of a decaying
parchment, which, in almost obsolete characters, expounded to his
eager senses the mysterious destiny of the house of Gottmar. He hugged
the knowledge to his soul, deciphered the ancient syllables in his own
quiet cell, and waited for the proper hour to communicate the
marvellous secret to his lord and pupil. He heard the complainings of
the youthful Bolko, and he recognised in them a hint from heaven. He
now approached him with tenderness, and pressed his pupil's hand.

"'Courage, my son!' said he. 'The veil is withdrawn.'

"Bolko drew a heavy sigh.

"'I have spoken the truth, my child!' continued Hubert. 'Believe and

"'Thanks for thy kind words, good Hubert,' replied the youth. 'I
revere thy wisdom, I esteem thy love. How shall I believe that it has
been permitted thee to break open the gloomy vaults of the past?'

"'And yet if this were so! If an auspicious--a heaven-sent chance'--


"'Hast thou courage, Bolko, to penetrate into the past?--Then read
this roll attentively. It offers us the means, as I most solemnly
believe, to weaken, if not annihilate, the curse which has so long
persecuted thy unhappy race.'

"Hubert drew a parchment from the folds of his garment, and placed it
in the hands of the astounded Bolko. The priest immediately withdrew.
The youthful noble as quickly drew a chair to the window; and by the
vanishing light of the evening sky, he read the following history:--

     "'_This is the last Confession of Walter, baron of Gottmar, which
     I, his Confessor, write down by his command, that it may be
     preserved in everlasting remembrance, by all who are Descendants
     of the House of Gottmar._

     "'My great-uncle Herbert, the tenth inheritor of this territory,
     was a passionate lover of the chase. In all seasons of the year,
     in good weather and in bad, by day and night, he scoured the
     boundless forests which he called his own. In his time, the
     hunting of the boar was a noble and especial sport, and hence
     the breeding of these beasts was diligently fostered and
     encouraged. The immense forests of beech and fir upon the slopes
     of the mountain which bears our name, attracted to their
     neighbourhood an extraordinary number of these boars; so that at
     all times my ancestor could indulge his passion to the full.
     During one of his grand expeditions, two remarkable events had
     place. A gigantic boar dug open with his tusks a marvellously
     clear spring, which bubbled forth so vigorously, and purled so
     bright and cool along the mossy fields, that a brook was formed
     from it immediately. This discharged itself into the low grounds
     with rare turns and windings; so that Herbert was fain to fix a
     village there, and to name it after the boar, and the brook which
     his ferocity had brought to light. Whilst this was happening on
     the western declivity of the mountain, a similar accident took
     place upon the slope projecting to the eastward. Here, in like
     manner, a considerable bed of turf was discovered, and close upon
     it, beneath granitic sand, another powerful spring. This Herbert
     caused empty itself into large ponds; and the turf-pit he had
     worked by skilful men, over whom he placed as chief Wittehold his
     page. The profit from this turf was so large that the wealth of
     Herbert grew more and more, and the population of the
     newly-founded village rose as rapidly; since every new settler
     was suffered to take on the turf-bed as much fuel as he needed
     for firing during the space of five years.

     "'Wittehold, too, the overseer, was well contented with his post.
     He enjoyed the confidence of his lord, and became independent. He
     married; and, after the lapse of a year, had the happiness to
     press a lovely child to his fond bosom. But the birth of the
     child cost him the life of her mother. Herbert promised to
     provide for the orphan, and maintained his word. My great-uncle
     was a bachelor, who had never been able to meet with a maiden
     possessing all the qualities which he demanded in a wife. He
     postponed the all-important step of marriage from year to year,
     without suffering any inconvenience from the delay.

     "'In the mean time the beautiful daughter of Wittehold--who had,
     I know not why, been christened AURIOLA--grew to womanhood, and
     unfolded a sweetness and grace that fascinated all beholders.
     Herbert, whose heart had so long resisted the attacks of love,
     was not proof against the beauty, ingenuousness, and innocence of
     Auriola. He confessed his affection to the maiden, and petitioned
     Wittehold for his child. With the last, contrary to expectation,
     he found but little favour. Wittehold submitted that his daughter
     was not born to be the consort of so great and rich a lord, and
     respectfully declined the honour of her advancement. Moreover, he
     had already promised her to a faithful comrade, a worthy overseer
     at the turf-works. Herbert expostulated, appealed to his
     protection of Auriola, to her affection for him, but in vain. He
     plied the obstinate Wittehold with threats. In spite of them the
     latter held out: he did more; he bore his child with his own hand
     from the castle, and carried her to his cottage near the pit,
     hoping, by such a step, and by sound remonstrance, to lead his
     fascinated master on to other and to better thoughts.

     "'The conduct of Wittehold threw Auriola into a deep melancholy.
     She hurried to the cottage door a hundred times a-day, and looked
     with straining eye towards the lofty castle of her lover. Her
     father being absent, she would bound, swift as a fawn, through
     the silvery grass that trembled and sparkled in the sunny light,
     and seat herself upon the high margin of the spring, feeding her
     vision with the pearly drops that bubbled from the bottom. The
     spot, visited by few, was rendered almost sacred by a cluster of
     broad-armed beech-trees that overshadowed it. Herbert encountered
     his Auriola in this retreat. Who shall tell their joy? Herbert
     urged his suit--Auriola followed him through bush and thicket,
     and was powerless before his ardent supplications. Wittehold
     surprised the pair. His fury and indignation were ungovernable.
     Herbert, in self-defence, had recourse to his good sword, but
     this was as a lath against the ire of his assailant. Wittehold
     slew his lord. Not yet satisfied, the madman pursued his
     fugitive child, whose screams for aid only brought her to a
     speedier end. He met her at the spring--there seized the
     trembling creature, and mercilessly cast her in. The maiden
     struggled for an instant; but, the short conflict over, she
     uttered a piteous wail, and sank for ever beneath the
     softly-rippling water. Even whilst she struggled, the inhuman
     father raised his clenched fist, and pointed with it towards
     Gottmar's castle. 'God of heaven!' he exclaimed, 'hear my curse;
     and may it fall like the unerring bolt upon this execrated race.
     May no male offspring take to his arms a bride, or brighten his
     hearth with her presence, until a Gottmar restore my daughter's
     virgin honour. Until this happen, let the poor victim be
     accursed, and evil work with the posterity of her betrayer!' The
     miserable murderer invoked the infernal powers to assist in the
     fulfilment of his curse, and then, as if beside himself, ran to
     the turf-pits. Here he procured a shovel and an axe. With their
     help he choked up the crystal grave of his daughter, and diverted
     the strong current into the pit, which it soon flooded. This
     done, he fled into the woods, and has not since been heard of.
     But his curse has been fulfilled with frightful regularity in the
     family of Gottmar. Not one has married with impunity. Bridegroom
     and bride have fallen. Auriola, crying for vengeance, hovers
     above the turf-pit, which since that hour has become a wide
     unfathomable moor.

         Heinrich Wendelin, _Chaplain_.'

"The hand of Bolko dropped as he finished the narrative. The evening
twilight thickened before his eyes. He sank into a solemn musing. When
he awoke from it, Hubert was again at his side.

"'Hast thou read?' enquired the teacher.

"Bolko slowly raised his head, and looked full in the face of his

"'Canst thou vouch for this, Hubert?' he asked in his turn. 'Is it
genuine, is it true?'

"'Since when hast thou learned to suspect me of deception?' replied
the old man calmly.

"'Forgive me, Hubert. This narrative confounds me. I am unable to
distinguish truth from falsehood. But do thou advise me. What dost
thou think of it? Can a curse such as this is represented to have
been--can it have retained its force so long?'

"'Universal nature is one tremendous mystery,' replied the priest;
'who shall decide wherein her power consists? At the best we can but
conjecture at her connexion with the world of man--her weaving and
working. No one can deny that a solemn curse, spoken with a determined
and haughty purpose, has often, on the very instant, accomplished its
fulfilment. If this be so, why may it not work again and again? The
disregarded belief of the people--that a curse floats in the air until
it finds its victim, and then drops down upon him--is not so worthless
as men would have us think. There is at least expressed in it, dimly
and perhaps unconsciously, the inseparable union that subsists between
the spirit of man and the all-governing spirit of nature.'

"The youth had risen from his chair, and was pacing the apartment to
appease his agitated soul.

"'Well, well!' said he, drawing a heavy breath; 'it is a decree which
we must receive without a murmur, and suffer patiently.'

"'And who says that?' replied the priest with quickness. 'The wisdom
of nature has created an antidote for every poison.'

"'Art thou serious?' asked Bolko earnestly.

"'Heaven is merciful!' continued Hubert. 'Pardon is unlimited where
repentance is sincere.'

"'Who shall repent in this case?' answered Bolko. 'The criminal is
long since dead. Can another atone for his offence?'

"'Dost thou yet doubt, and art thou my pupil?' said Hubert. 'The WILL
can kill and also vivify.'

"The eyes of Bolko sparkled in the gloomy chamber. He grasped the hand
of his aged teacher, and drew him to the casement.

"'Speak!' he exclaimed. 'I will hear thee, and do thy bidding--do all
that thou holdest lawful and right.'

"Hubert directed his countenance, over which a few hoary locks still
lingered, towards the landscape before them.

"'You have often heard, my son,' said he, 'that yon desolate spot,
called to this day the _Gold Spring_, is the deadliest spot on earth
to those who bear your name. Far as the wood extends on either side,
extended formerly the turf-pit. The deep moor is covered now by an
unsteady earth-crust, overgrown with pale red sedge, and from its
centre, as from a grotto, the beautiful rivulet ripples forth that
irrigates and renders fruitful all your land. I doubt not that this
grotto, with its golden vault of granite, is the very spring into
which the furious Wittehold cast his daughter. The place is to this
hour deemed unholy. No one willingly sets foot there; no man ventures
to draw water from the fount. Temerity has already been punished for
the attempt. Strange sights have met the eyes of the daring one, and
he has fled like a coward from the spot. Have not many seen--have not
I myself beheld that fairy-like, almost transparent form, with her
unearthly pitcher, drawing water from the spring, then pouring it over
the moor in curious arches by sun and moonlight; and ever so, that the
rays of light kindled therein the most huey gleamings? Is it not well
attested, that when at such times mortals have addressed her, the
delicate creature has grown o' the sudden pale--paler and more
transparent, until, melting into silvery cloud, she has glided
pillar-like along the moor, and vanished at length into the cool and
wondrous grotto?'

"'You describe the Maiden of the Moor,' said Bolko, interrupting him.

"'So she is called!' returned Hubert. 'It was her apparition which
drew my attention to the neighbourhood, and to the tales that are
current respecting it. When I had discovered the manuscript, I saw at
once in the Maiden of the Moor the complaining spirit of the unhappy

"'And the spirit, as you deem, may be appeased?'

"'Assuredly, my son; and thou art he who must perform the expiation.'

"'I!--Father Hubert?--I'----

"'Thou art guileless, sound of heart, leading a life of innocence and
nature. To a pure spirit, a determined will, a feeling heart--much is

"'But how, father?--how?'

"Hubert remained silent for a few minutes. He then proceeded--

"'Thy heart is still free, but it yearns for love--for the mysterious,
magical response of another--a _womanly_, heart. It may be that
Auriola will afford thee thy delight, if thou couldst once behold

"'What! The Moor Maiden! Father, thou mockest me. What can this female
be to me, appearing as a vision to man, a creature of air?'

"'And if she appear to _thee_, hast thou courage to address her?'

"'Father, a lovely form shall hardly frighten me,' said Bolko, with a

"'I exact thy promise,' said Hubert quickly. 'From this day forward,
shun the Gold Spring no more. Thou art a lover of nature and her
creations. I have seen thee for hours lost in admiration of the form
and colour of choice butterflies. That spot abounds in the rarest.
Thou mayst find them at any hour of the day. It would seem, indeed,
that the delicate insects of peace had retreated thither to find
security from the tumult of busy money-lusting men. The realm of the
Moor Maiden is the paradise of these tenderest of winged beauties.
Bolko, thou wilt visit them!'

"The baron gave his right hand to his preceptor without uttering one
word of assurance or affirmation. Hubert had done. He left his young
lord to his own meditations.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Bolko passed some days in restless suspense. Now he was a wanderer in
the woods, now a prisoner in the apartment that looked upon the moor,
watching intently during the day every slight phenomenon that arose
there. The morning and evening mist and the yellow vapour of noon were
his best discoveries. Not a human being approached a place shunned, as
it appeared, by every living thing. The conversation, however, with
Hubert had proved a secret spur to him, and he found no rest until he
visited the dreary moor in person. It was late in the afternoon, when,
furnished with a hunting-knife and insect-net, he set out on his
adventure. Bolko had never before visited the spring, and his surprise
was naturally great when he beheld the peculiar condition of the soil
around him. Along the entire surface of the notorious moor--and its
extent was considerable--there appeared a singularly-coloured sedge.
It was not red, or yellow, or brown, but a mixture of all three, and
it marked, by the sharpest line, the confines of the moor from the
green turf of the remaining country. At every step, the ground,
although very strong, yielded, as it threatening to give way. Towards
the centre of the moor there was an elevation surrounded with bushes.
This was the source of the silvery water that took its serpentine
course along the moor, and through the luxuriant woods beyond.

"Bolko made his way towards this point, and, reaching it, his eye
rested with delight upon the basin and its border of golden granite.
The water ascended noiselessly from its immeasurable depths in
countless glistening pearls. Over the refreshing fountain, and far
away upon the nodding blades of grass, and bearded turf-flowers,
hovered, in giddy graceful sport, a variegated troop of gorgeous
butterflies. The majestic and solemn _Silver-mantle_, the cherub of
these winged dwellers of the air, the soft and exquisite
_Peacock's-eye_, the burning _Purple-bird_, were here assembled. Bolko
was ravished with the sight, and thought of nothing but a glorious
capture. Delicate and lovely as the creatures were, his cruel hand
robbed them of their gladsome life; and he pursued them further and
further across the moor, and with such ardour and desire, that he
forgot all other things, and suffered the very object of his visit to
escape from his remembrance. Suddenly, and in the act of imprisoning a
multitude of these illuminated beings, he perceived a Maiden sitting
at the extremity of the moor, her back towards him. Her form was
slender, and her hair, golden as the sun, travelled in burnished
tresses from her shoulders to the earth, where it curled along the
moor-grass like rays of the divine orb itself. After the manner of
Sclavonian girls, the stranger wore a closely-fitting snow-white cap,
or rather frontlet, from which, as from a chaplet, the beautiful hair
streamed down. Bolko had approached the maiden unperceived, near
enough to discern a butterfly of rare magnitude and unequaled beauty
oscillating about her marble forehead. The youth stole cautiously
behind the fair one, and tried to catch the flutterer. He touched the
maiden in his eager movement, and she turned round immediately.

"'Forgive me, lovely child!' said he. 'I'----The words died upon his
tongue. He could say no more. The butterfly escaped from his hands,
and flew slowly towards the Gold Spring, changing its brilliant
colours with every motion of its wing.

"The singular beauty of the maiden had struck the baron dumb. From a
soft transparent countenance of the purest form, there beamed upon him
a pair of eyes which had derived their holy light from the very
fountain-head of Love. She wore an uncommon but most becoming dress.

"To a party-coloured gown, scarcely reaching to her ankle, was
attached a sky-blue boddice in front, united by perfect silver clasps,
and not so closely as to prevent the sweetest glimmering of a
snow-white virgin bosom. Her arms, round, delicate, and pure as
marble, were uncovered to the shoulders. Her small feet were bare, yet
protected partly by fairy-looking slippers profusely ornamented. The
beauteous object smiled upon the youth, and answered him in a voice
that dropped like melody upon his ear.

"'Thou art the robber then,' said she; 'the merciless purloiner of my
fairest thoughts! Can I wonder now that I have been so destitute of

"'How?' stammered Bolko, more astonished than ever.

"'Strange man!' continued the maiden, in the same ravishing voice,
'thou revelest with thy fancies, and dost thou wonder that I, too,
love to dally with my thoughts and dreams? The tiny creatures whom
thou hast taken from me were, and still are, threads of my heart,
which I permit at times to issue into the sunny light of day. Restore
them, living, and beautiful as thou hast found them, or I accuse thee
of breaking this poor heart!'

"'Who art thou, sweetest child?'

"'They call me AURIOLA. I know thee well. Thou art Bolko of
Gottmar--Bolko, the accursed!'

"'Yes--the accursed!' repeated the youth, pressing his hands to his
eyes as if he would forget his doom. When he removed them, Auriola had
risen, and was standing before him. Her lovely countenance, her
matchless eyes were turned full upon him. At her feet he perceived an
earthen pitcher of a peculiar and not ungraceful form. It bore a
strong resemblance to the sacrificial pitchers which are still
discovered in places once inhabited by Sclavonians.

"'What wilt thou, poor child?' said Bolko in a tone of kindness. 'Can
I help thee?'

"Auriola smiled.

"'Thou hast come to me at thine own bidding. I invited thee not, for I
invite none. Yet he who visits me must do my will. Thou hast wrought
me pain in stealing away the thoughts which were soaring in mid air
decked in their brightest robes. Thou must be punished for thy
misdeed. Come!'

"The marvellous creature took Bolko's hand, and drew him after her
towards the Gold Spring. Before her, and above her head, the
butterflies formed with their magnificent wing-shells a glowing arched
pavilion. The youth was allured by an irresistible attraction, and
would not, if he could, have dragged himself away from the celestial
being; albeit, he still regarded her as a mere apparition. Every
feeling, every thought, every desire of his heart, streamed towards
Auriola. Fleeting shadow that she was, he loved her already to

"At the margin of the spring, Auriola released her companion,
descended the grotto with her pitcher, and filled it with the purest
water. In a few minutes she was again at his side. She placed the
pitcher on the ground, and her two hands upon the shoulders of the
youth. In this trustful, graceful, loving posture, fixing her wondrous
eyes upon the boy, the maiden spoke.

"'And canst thou love, too?'

"He answered not; but he pressed the beauteous Auriola to his heart,
and passionately kissed her forehead. But Bolko started back
affrighted, for he had kissed a forehead colder than ice.

"'Note me well!' said she, and her voice sounded more melancholy than
before. She seated herself upon the high ledge of the spring, drew
Bolko beside her, and placed the pitcher of water between herself and
him. The butterflies stood now in the full light of the sun over the
rippling spring. A scattered few only still hovered about the moor.

"'We must tarry yet awhile,' said Auriola, 'until my heart is quite my
own again!' As she spoke, her ecstatic eyes glanced to the single
flutterers on the moor. As if caught by a magnet, they directed their
flight instantly towards the Gold Spring.

"'Now I am myself--for what is yet wanting rests in thee. Take heed!'

"Auriola now poured from the pitcher into her small left hand as much
water as this would hold, and extended the right to her companion. He,
surprised by love, encircled the maiden's waist, brought his ear close
to her delicate cheek, and watched with eagerness her strange
performance. Auriola blew at first softly, then more vehemently, into
the hollow of her hand, so that the water, bubbling up, ran to the
slender rosy fingers, and, in glittering drops, sprinkled from the

"'Look!' she exclaimed, 'look! Tell me what thou see'st?'

"The pearly drops had scarcely touched the air before they joined,
when, on the instant, a vision rose before the sight. There was a
bright green meadow, edged by waving beech-trees, through whose
foliage the evening sun shed burnished gold. A youth was on his knees
before a maiden, in the act of offering her a golden ring. The picture
was, in the beginning, dim and indistinct, but it grew clearer and
clearer, until by degrees it dissolved again, and was lost in the

"'What means this, Auriola?' enquired the ravished Bolko. 'Chain not
my unguarded heart to thine with such witchery. Misery and death will
be the penalty.'

"'Dream and listen,' replied Auriola. 'Hearts and souls have nothing
better to do. We do but speak into the future, to catch back the tones
which strike in unison with our desires.'

"'_Our_ future?' whispered Bolko.

"'Say _thine_, if it likes thee better,' answered Auriola, filling her
hand anew with water, and once more urging the sparkling fluid towards
her finger-ends. Bolko perceived a horseman galloping across a gloomy
heath, and looking back with horror. This apparition, like the former,
shone distinctly for a time, and then, in the same manner, vanished by
degrees, and expired.

"'And what is this?' asked Bolko.

"Auriola shook her head in silence, poured water again into her hand,
and blew it again along her fingers into the air. A lofty,
many-towered castle was visible. A rope-ladder was fastened to a
gallery. A man was climbing up. As soon as he reached the gallery, the
vision was lost.

"'It is the castle of my ancestors!' cried Bolko.

"'Thou art mistaken,' answered Auriola. 'But tell me--canst thou

"Her voice was again mournful.

"The youth drew the fair questioner to his heart. His lips fastened on
hers, and hallowing fire streamed through his frame.

"Auriola heaved a melancholy sigh, and once more filled her hand with
water. At the usual signal there arose a brilliantly illuminated hall.
Dancers, gaily dressed, were in happy motion. Music was heard, and
then the strains and the colours died away in the twilight.

"'I smart!' exclaimed Bolko. 'I am tortured! My soul is gnawed with

"'Hush, and listen,' said Auriola, in a tone of command--filling her
hand, and impelling the crystal water into the air, as before. A
roaring was heard, like the course of a hurricane sweeping through a
forest. The air grew black. Then the moon broke through night and
mist, and lit up a hilly region, surrounded by wood and cliff. Out of
the wood issued a carriage and four, making at full speed for a
solitary open space, that looked dismal and deserted. The form of a
maiden floated before the carriage, her painfully smiling countenance
ever turned towards it until she evaporated, like a cloud, in the
wood. A flash of lightning from the murky sky struck a beech-tree,
near whose flames the carriage slowly disappeared into the ground.

"This vision at an end, Auriola bent her head, and tears fell upon her

"'Lovely enchantress,' said Bolko, 'why perform these miracles if they
afflict thee?'

"'Because there is no longer love upon the earth.'

"'Say not so!' exclaimed the youth. 'Love still exists--deep, eternal,
holy love. I feel it now. Auriola, I, whose arms never encircled
maiden yet--I love thee, Auriola, with every fibre of my body--with
every faculty of my soul. I will be thine--thine for ever; be thou
mine, my Auriola!'

"'BE CONSTANT!' The words were uttered in the clear voice of Auriola;
as if from the air. Bolko saw the lovely form grow pale, felt her
vanishing, at his heart. The brilliant cloud of butterflies arose from
the spring, and flew towards heaven by a hundred roads. A thin misty
streak sank into the grotto. Bolko was alone upon the barren moor.
Sultry vapours were exhaling in the twilight. Indescribable sensations
preyed on the soul of Bolko, as he remembered that he had given his
heart to one who was no longer a dweller upon earth--that he had
plighted his faith to the Maiden of the Moor. He hurried from the
scene of his unhallowed engagement, to seek from the wisdom of his
Hubert consolation for the peace of mind which had been so sadly
disturbed, if not for ever taken from him.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The priest listened to the account of Auriola's appearance with
secret delight, and did not fail to comfort the unhappy youth. Bolko,
restored to peace, passed the night in blissful dreams. Once more the
sweet form of the Moor Maiden floated before him--once more the
magical pictures gleamed, ravishing his senses. With sunrise he
quitted the castle, and obeyed the sorcery that allured him to the
moor. All fear and alarm had disappeared. Solitude, erewhile so
hateful to him, was now enchanting! The stony, brown, and barren
plain, the gloomy confines of the wood, the vapours of the boggy soil,
united to create an earthly paradise. He took his seat upon the
margin of the limpid spring, and, gazing on the charmed waters,
invoked the presence of the fair magician. Auriola, however, appeared
not. At noon he quitted the moor unsatisfied, but the approach of
evening found him there again. Still she came not, and nothing
remained to assure him of the reality of his former interview but the
illuminated winged cloud of butterflies which, like a living rainbow,
overarched the spring. Impatient and distressed, the ardent lover
scoured the extensive moor, and at last approached the borders of the
forest. Suddenly he saw--scarce twenty paces from him--the wished-for
figure gliding through the rustling grass, the earthen pitcher
drooping from her hand. Auriola regarded him not, but waved the vessel
gracefully around her head, scattering its contents in glittering
jets, that leaped about her like garlands of the precious diamond.

"'Auriola!' exclaimed the boy, rushing forward as he spoke. 'My own
Auriola--mine, now and for ever!' He threw himself before her, seized
her hand, and in an instant fixed a golden ring upon her taper finger.

"The maiden offered no resistance. But when the passionate Bolko rose
from the ground, and was about to embrace his beloved, she lifted the
ring-decked hand, and, in a voice of touching melancholy, exclaimed--


"Bolko followed the direction of her finger. Over the live and
swarming cloud there appeared, now here, now there, the apparition of
the previous evening; only that to-day it was larger and more
distinct, and continued longer to the view.

"Bolko recognised, to his astonishment, the forms of Auriola and

"'What does this mean?' said Bolko. 'Is it reality or illusion?'

"'Thou beholdest!' answered Auriola. 'The air abhors falsehood, and
reflects nothing but truth.'

"Bolko advanced. Auriola waved the pitcher, and the vision was lost.

"'Wilt thou be constant?' asked the maid. 'Misery is mine if thou
canst forget this day and its betrothal.'

"The eyes of Bolko were fixed in amazement on the air where the
picture had shone so palpable a moment before. He saw not, he heard
not, Auriola, and the agony of the preceding evening tortured his
whole frame. When he recovered his suspended faculties, Auriola was
gone. The usual tranquil, solemn repose, the old desolate gloom,
universally prevailed. The low-lying meadows breathed out their thin
vapours, the more distant ponds were enveloped in mist, and the grey
shadows vanished by degrees from hill and thicket.

"Bolko arrived, agitated and breathless, at his castle gate. He went
at once to the library, where he found, as he expected, his friend and

"'Save me, save me, father!' cried the young lord. 'Thou hast beguiled
me into a compact with a being of another world. Womanly love has
cozened and betrayed me. Passion has overmastered me. I have bound
myself to the Moor Maiden, and am eternally made over to her sorcery.'

"'And wherefore should this frighten you?' replied the hoary chaplain.
'Thou hast done my bidding; and since thou art permitted to destroy a
curse which threatens to annihilate thy race, gratitude, not fear,
should move thee. Yonder Moor Maiden contents herself with the sweet
semblance, and will not ask for dull reality. Auriola never looks to
wed thee--never to possess thee--body and soul.'

"'But I love her--love her to madness!' cried Bolko, furiously.

"'Love her still; always love her with a spiritual and pure affection.
This will not hinder thee from bestowing the other half of thy
affection upon some fair daughter of Eve, worthy of thy heart.'

"'And is this to be spiritually faithful?' said Bolko, in a
reproachful tone.

"'No earthly passion, my son,' continued Hubert, 'can either break or
abolish the spiritual faith which thou hast vowed to Auriola. When
thou hast loved a daughter of Eve, thou wilt see, feel, and be
satisfied, that between the love of thy earthly bride and of the
enchanting Auriola, there is a difference as wide as heaven from

"Bolko heaved a bitter sigh, and shook his head in doubt.
Nevertheless, he meditated long and seriously upon all that Hubert
said. By degrees, even, he acknowledged to himself, that the kernel,
the pure light of a deep truth, glimmered in his words, although in a
manner veiled. He began to question his own heart; the more probable,
nay, the more desirable seemed the consummation of Hubert's promises.
For reasons, which he could scarcely explain to himself, he studiously
avoided another visit to the moor. But in the meanwhile, that which
originally had been a half-formed wish, and scarcely that, ripened
into absorbing passion, vehement desire. Incessant thought nourished
the ever-glowing flame, which burned the brighter, the more the
spiritual love of Auriola receded and grew faint. Remembrance, it is
true, still clung with a devout aspiration upon that beauteous image,
but it resembled rather the placid feeling of a holy friendship, than
the impetuous throbbing of a young and passionate love. 'Hubert is
right!' said the youth; 'I will follow his direction. Auriola, lovely
and rapturous being, angelic, spiritual, and human, will rejoice with
the Accursed, when he carries to his desolate home the mistress of his
castle--the wife of his bosom.'

"Opportunity is seldom wanting when inclination needs its service.
About three miles from Gottmar, amongst the mountains, majestically
rose the battlements of a proud castle. Baron T----, its wealthy
master, had already visited Bolko upon his accession to the family
estates, and Bolko now determined to acknowledge his neighbour's act
of kindness. Had the baron been childless, it is very likely that
Bolko would still have remembered what was due to society, and to his
own station in the world; and it is equally true, that the fact of his
possessing a young and lovely daughter, did not diminish the youthful
noble's desire to act conformably to usage and propriety.
Unfortunately for the intention of his visit, Bolko learned, on his
arrival at the castle, that the baron was from home. In his stead,
however, a maiden greeted him, slender of figure, noble in bearing. It
was very strange, but it is certain, that the tumultuous feelings
which of late had stirred within him unrestrained--were suddenly
chained and riveted upon an object that afforded them a sweet
tranquillity. Emma was gentle, frank, and beauteous as the blushing
rose. In Bolko's frame of mind, could she fail to make a deep
impression upon his young and too susceptible soul? He lingered at her
side hour after hour, and was himself astonished to find the darkness
of night creeping over the earth, and he not more prepared for
departure than he had been on entering the castle-gates some hours
before. However, the knight did not make his appearance, and good
breeding suggested to unwilling ears that it was time to retire. Bolko
said farewell--more tenderly, perhaps, than he supposed or meant; and
as the delicate hand of Emma lay involuntarily in his own, he
flattered himself that he felt his pressure softly returned, and that
he could perceive a smile of contentment escaping from her lips as he
promised to pay a second visit 'shortly.'

"The night was very dark: a few stars only twinkled through the thin
veil which covered the heavens. Bolko madly spurred his steed, and the
high-spirited animal, who needed no such incitement, bounded like a
deer towards home. The thoughts of the baron were no longer with him,
but imprisoned in the happy room in which he had passed so many
blissful hours. Trusting to the instinct of the horse, the master took
no heed of the road: and the trustworthy servant, scenting the
vicinity of his stable, found easily for himself the best and shortest
paths towards that wished-for spot. The trees became thinner and
thinner, falling back on either side, whilst a flat and barren region
lay before horse and rider. The former snorted and pranced, and the
latter could not distinguish the locality through the blackness. Bolko
coaxed the steed, and gently urged him forwards. But the animal
trembled, and, in spite of bridle and spur, struck to the side, and
swept along the skirts of the forest, without touching so much as with
a hoof the gloomy-looking heath. Accustomed to the surrounding
darkness, the eye of Bolko was at length able to discern--not without
a creeping of horror--the ruddy and unsteady reed-grass. The moor and
the Gold Spring were on one side of him. Pale stripes of fog, like
ribbed vaults, were spread above him, giving a sacredness to the air,
with which all other things strangely contrasted. The mind of Bolko,
against his will, reverted to Auriola; his heart beat, as though he
were conscious of a heavy fault--of some inhuman crime. He turned his
gaze from the moor, and, with an effort, directed it towards the dark
forest, to which the horse galloped at full speed.

"The words, 'BE CONSTANT!' fell loudly and articulately upon the ears
of Bolko--uttered in a tone rather of supplication than of demand or
threatening. He turned his horse's head in terror, and--oh amazement!
sitting at the edge of the fountain, covered with a bright veil,
hemmed with diamonds, was--Auriola! Her fair and loosened hair,
encompassed, as at their first meeting, her entire body, and
glittering, curled along the ground. Her right hand was stretched high
above her lovely head, holding between forefinger and thumb the ring
with which the already inconstant Bolko had espoused her.

"'BE CONSTANT!' The words re-echoed from the moor: the streaks of fog
descended. Over the maiden's head beamed forth a shining spot--gaining
in size, and forming itself into a picture. Bolko, shuddering, beheld
the second vision of Auriola's enchantment, and looked upon himself as
he had burst a few minutes before upon the moor.

"Auriola beckoned to the youth, and pointed to the picture. Then once
again, more melancholy, more mournfully, more entreatingly upon the
distracted ears of Bolko came--the repeated cry of admonition--'BE

"The youth galloped for his life. He reached his home paler than
death, and refused to be comforted even by the wisdom of his

"From this time, Bolko ceased to visit the moor in search of Auriola.
The daughter of earth had inspired him with a love that admitted of no
commingling of affection. Memory however, refused to lose sight of
her. It obtruded her form upon him, the more determinedly he
endeavoured to thrust it from his mind by dwelling upon the charms of
his Emma. He repeated his visit at the castle, and was soon a constant
guest there. He confessed his love to Emma, and she did not rebuke
him. Her father was less tender. He roundly refused his daughter's
hand. 'He had no desire,' he said, 'to make his child unhappy. He knew
well enough how every Lord of Gottmar was obliged to harbour an evil
Kobold in his house, who couldn't endure the sight of women, and no
sooner met one than he mercilessly strangled her. No, sir baron,' he
continued, 'it cannot be. Take not unkindly the answer which I give
thee. It touches not thy noble person, which pleases me right well,
but simply thy house and castle Kobold. Remove the creature, or at
least its power of doing harm, and thou art welcome here. But before
that time, I pray thee come not again, lest I should forget myself,
and do that which both of us would be sorry for.'

"The lovers protested against the decision, and Bolko tried hard to
convince the old baron that the mysterious power which had so long and
so fatally reigned over the house of Gottmar, was propitiated, and no
longer hurtful. Hubert attested the repeated asseverations of his
pupil, but nothing could bring conviction to the stubborn veteran. He
swore they were all in a league, or building castles in the air, and
he persisted in his resolution.

"It was autumn. The days were declining. Showers and tempests swept
through the forest. Upon a night, brightened by no moonbeam or
glittering star, Emma sat melancholy and alone in her apartment. The
heavy embroidered curtains were drawn across the high windows of the
balcony, which jutted out as a point of observation from the
castle-wall. At intervals, the maiden applied her delicate ear to the
window, catching eagerly at every strange sound muttered forth by the
growing storm. She had resumed her seat many times, when the
castle-bell tolled eleven, and almost at the same moment the cry of a
screech-owl was distinctly heard. The expectant damsel glided on
tiptoe to the window, and listened eagerly. The cry was repeated.
Emma's eye sparkled at length with joy, a deep blush overspread her
cheeks, and she produced from an aperture a ladder of twine, which she
fastened to the casement. The cry of the owl was heard for the third
time. The ladder was dropped, and in another instant a vigorous youth
had mounted it.

"Bolko and Emma, happy and blessed, were in each other's arms, and
they forgot all but the delicious present. Vows of love and constancy
were exchanged, and rings were given, in remembrance of the blissful
hour. But strange to say, as Bolko was about to adorn the hand of Emma
with the pledge of his affection, a fearful gust of wind burst the
window open, and blew into the room a little glistening object that
rolled to Bolko's feet and settled there. Emma raised it from the
ground, and discovered in her hand a broken ring.

"Bolko saw and trembled. It was his gift to Auriola. He fixed his eyes
upon the broken symbol, and there glared before them the third charmed
picture created from the waters. The rope-ladder, the balcony Emma and
himself, all grouped, and taking the shape and form of that bright
vision. Bolko glanced at the window, dreading to meet the reproachful
look of Auriola; but instead of this, he heard with no less horror the
approaching footsteps of his Emma's father.

"'Fly, Bolko, fly!' exclaimed the maiden. 'My father! We are lost!'

"Bolko hurried to the recess, and would have escaped, had not the
malicious wind already carried away the rope-ladder. A prisoner and
unarmed, he expected nothing short of death at the hands of the baron.
The latter entered the apartment, stood for a few seconds in silence
at the door, and measured the criminals with looks of stern severity.

"'My aged eye did not deceive me, then!' he said, at length, advancing
to the trembling lovers.

"'Baron!' said Bolko, hesitatingly.

"'Silence, sir!' continued the old knight. 'If I should act now as my
fathers would have done, I should fling you through that very window
which helped you, like a robber, into this room; but I charge myself
with blame already in this business, and I am more disposed to mercy.
Come hither, young man. I know the fire and boldness of our youth.
Give my child your hand; you are her future husband. May God prosper
you both, and send his blessing on your union!'

"Bolko quaffed with the sturdy Baron of T---- until an early hour of
the morning. The happy Emma acted the part of Hebe, and presented the
flagons to the merry carousers.

       *       *       *       *       *

"'Why have you withheld this from me?' asked Hubert, when Bolko
related to him the unaccountable restoration of the ring. 'Oh, youth,
youth! inconsiderate even to madness, and only content to listen to
the voice of wisdom when they can of themselves find no outlet from
difficulty and danger.'

"Bolko stood with folded arms at the window, gazing into the forest,
and upon the lofty turrets of Castle T---- peeping in the grey
distance above it.

"'Thou hast not visited the moor of late?' asked Hubert, after a

"'What should I do there?' answered Bolko peevishly. 'Why should I
spend my days in chasing an apparition, the mere creation of an
over-heated fancy?'

"'Beware whom thou calumniatest!' said Hubert solemnly. 'Beware of the
mysterious being that can deal out weal or woe to thee and all thy
race! One whom thou mightest have appeased hadst thou been obedient
and followed my instructions.'

"'Thy instructions!' repeated Bolko hastily. 'It is because I have
listened too patiently to thy advice, because I have connected myself
with thy aërial and capricious schemes, that I am the most miserable
of men. But for thy persuasion and thy childish parchment, I should
never have dreamed of making love to a ghost.'

"Hubert disregarded the youth's reproaches.

"'Rage avails not here,' he said calmly. 'Wisdom alone can save thee.
Listen to me. Women are women ever, even such as we call
supernatural--easy to anger, easy to persuade--before flattery the
weakest of the weak. Praise the ugliest for her beauty, and she smiles
graciously, yea, with the mirror before her eyes. Speak the plain
truth, and you are a rough uncouth companion. They thrive best upon
the sugary food of delusion--therefore, delude them. It is the rattle
of these eternal glorious children!'

"'What wouldst thou have me do?'

"'Cast the ring into the Spring, and pray to Auriola for forgiveness.'

"'And if she prove obstinate?'

"'Have no fear; she will forgive you. Here is the ring; take it; it is
once more united!'

"Bolko took the pledge from Hubert, and hastened to the moor. The high
grass was already withered by storm and cold; it lay bent down upon
the marshy earth-crust, which now breathed out its vapour more
abundantly than ever, wrapping the Gold Spring in one enduring mist.
If this spot looked barren and deserted in summer, the abandonment was
increased a hundred-fold in autumn. Even the butterflies were gone.
The damp and chilly fog only was visible; nothing could be heard but
the monotonous current of the rippling water.

"The boggy ground yielded to the foot more readily than ever, and
Bolko trod it with a faltering step. He approached the spring, and,
suing for reconciliation, dropped the ring into the charmed element.
As though he feared some extraordinary result from the act, he covered
his eyes with his hands, and could with difficulty summon courage to
remove them. When he did so, he perceived the fog receding by degrees
from the confines of the moor, and the graceful form of Auriola
standing before him at a little distance. As at their first meeting,
her countenance was averted. She waved the earthen pitcher as was her
wont, and bathed the ground on which she went with flashes of the
brilliant water.

"'Auriola!' cried Bolko, in a voice that carried the tenderness of
love, the sorrow of repentance, to the ear of the listener--'gentle
Auriola!' She turned her face towards the imploring youth, placed the
pitcher at her side, and beckoned him to approach.

"'My father was right!' said the Moor Maiden. 'No Gottmar but is
fickle and inconstant. Well it is for thee, youth, that thou art here
of thy own free-will, and didst not tarry for my summons. Thou hast
kept thy promise badly, and thou wilt keep it so again, if I give thee
no monitor to aid thee. Take this, and carry it, henceforward, in thy
bosom; it will protect thee from harm, and keep thee faithful in
_spirit_, albeit in heart thou art already estranged from me.'

"With these words, the enchantress placed upon the neck of Bolko a
chain braided of her own golden hair, to which was attached a small
box wrought of the shards of the Peacock's eye and Purple-bird. In the
tiny case, trembling with its ever-changing light, was one pearly drop
from the spring.

"'Lose or give away this jewel,' proceeded Auriola--'this jewel, which
is a portion of my heart, and thy ruin and the destruction of thy
house is certain. Love, or at least its symbol, can and must avert the
curse of my father!'

"Bolko looked into the earnest and marvellously bright eyes of
Auriola, as she pronounced his doom. His heart belonged once more to
the Maiden of the Moor, and his gaze made known his passion. She
touched his forehead with her transparent fingers, poured the last
drops of water into the hollow of her hand, and in her usual manner
blew the little curling waves into the misty air. A multitude of
images arose, but in scarcely finished outline. The moist atmosphere
seemed to hinder their accomplishment.

"'Now, farewell!' said Auriola. 'Thou hast beheld. Thy life is
troubled, as are the feelings which sway thy heart. Love truly and
wholly, as aforetime thou lovedst me, and the mirror of thought will
again display its clear bright pictures.

"Auriola took the pitcher, and her bare feet, scarcely disturbing the
faded blades of grass, glided towards the margin of the spring, where
she melted into air.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Emma and Bolko were united in holy matrimony. The halls of Castle
T---- overflowed with joyous guests. Music delighted the noble
visitors during the marriage-feast, and a happier scene could not be
imagined. All hearts joined in wishing prosperity to the bridal pair,
and the latter seemed to entertain no fears for their bright future.
The banquet over, the guests, preceded by the newly-married couple,
withdrew to the adjoining saloon. The old knights seated themselves in
the niches of the windows, having still many goblets to empty over the
dice-box, whilst the younger spirits disposed themselves for dancing.
Bolko, with his high-born bride, commenced the ball. If they were
happy before, they were now at the very porch of a terrestrial heaven.
They made but short pauses in their pleasure, and these only that they
might mingle again the more intensely in the delightful measure.

"It was during the jocund dance that Bolko's doublet suddenly opened,
and the mysterious little box flew out. The bridegroom was made aware
of the accident by the exclamations of his partner.

"'Oh! look, look, Bolko! See that magnificent butterfly! How singular
at this season of the year!'

"Emma caught at the little beauty, and Bolko discovered his fault.

"'Hold, hold!' said he, in a whisper. 'That is no butterfly for thee,
my love! Its colours play for me alone!'

"Emma looked enquiringly at her husband, then more closely at the
little box, glowing in a fire of colours, and she beheld the golden
hair chain to which it was attached.

"'A chain too! and what beautiful hair!' The maiden caught at the
prize, and continued, 'Who gave thee this hair and the sweet case!
Dearest Bolko, to whom does it belong? Why have you never mentioned
this? What need was there of secresy?'

"Emma sobbed, and Bolko hardly knowing what excuse to offer, withdrew
her to a neighbouring room.

"'Promise me, dearest Emma,' said he, 'to be calm and patient, and you
shall know every thing.'

"The young wife looked at him distrustfully.

"'Make known to me the history and contents of the little box, and I
will restrain my curiosity until----to-morrow.'

"'Content, my beloved, so let it be; as we return to Gottmar all shall
be cleared up.'

"'Oh, I unhappy!' exclaimed the girl, bursting into tears.

"'Say rather _happy_, dearest. Since all our happiness flows from the
history of this chain; from this alone. Sweetest, let us return to the

"Emma resigned her arm to her young lord with a sullen resignation. As
the latter opened the folding-doors of the saloon, and gazed for a few
seconds upon the dancing throng, he seemed to possess a distant
remembrance of the scene. The Gothic arches, the window niches, the
gaily-attired musicians, the groups of dancers--the whole scene had
once before been present to his eyes. He taxed his memory until his
thoughts carried him to the bleak and barren moor. Had not the
dazzling vision flowed into the sunny evening air over the white
transparent fingers of the ethereal Auriola? He acknowledged it, and

"The dance was at an end. The guests had departed. In the eyes of the
newly-married Emma a tear of troubled joy trembled, as she sank upon
the bosom of her young and doating husband.

"Upon the following morning, Bolko already repented him of his hasty
promise, and delayed his departure by every means in his power. The
weather favoured him, for hail and storm were pouring down upon the
earth. As the day declined, Bolko found it impossible to conceal his
disquietude; and Emma, when she perceived his anxiety, attributed it
at once to conscious guilt. This conviction on her part only made her
urge their departure with greater perseverance. There remained at last
no good ground for refusal, and Bolko silently acquiesced in her wish.

"For some time the young couple sat side by side, and were very
sparing of their speech. Bolko, indeed, was dumb. The inquisitive
Emma, however, had not so powerful an excuse for silence. In a few
kind words she reminded her lord of his pledged word, and begged him
to confide in her.

"'Emma,' said Bolko in reply, and in a serious tone, 'if I comply with
thy request, I risk the eternal happiness of both. I have promised
that which I cannot perform without a breach of faith. Thou canst
gain nothing by my communication, and I pray thee, therefore, give me
back my promise.'

"Bolko could not have preferred a more untimely suit. Emma,
inquisitive, suspicious, and jealous, would rather have been put to
death in torture than have given up her claim. She refused his
petition at once; implored, threatened, implored again; and, finding
all such efforts only darkened Bolko's humour, proceeded to flattery
and coaxing. She promised the most perfect secresy, and used, in
short, every artifice by which woman knows how to overcome the
strongest resolutions of weak man. Bolko grew tender-hearted, and then
related to his wife all that he had to tell;--the history of the
malediction that rested on his family, and the singular manner in
which he had effected the expiation.

"Emma listened to the narrative not without an inward pique and lively

"'I thank thee, Bolko, for thy confidence,' said she. 'Fear not my
prudence. But for the charm, thou wilt not surely wear it so near thy

"'Next my heart, beloved--since there it shields us both from ruin.'

"Emma bit her lips with womanly vexation.

"'Thou canst not wish,' continued Bolko, 'that I should take it

"'I do, I do!' replied the jealous wife. 'I wish it. I insist upon
it--now--this very instant.'

"The storm increased in fury. The fir-trees were beating together as
if in battle.

"'It is impossible!' cried Bolko. 'Thou art mad to ask it.'

"'Then shall I mistrust thy love,' continued Emma, 'or canst thou hope
for my affection whilst that ghostly gift divides us? Never! Inhuman
man, thou wilt teach me to hate thee.'

"The carriage drove rapidly through the hurricane into the midst of
the forest. The wind bellowed, the yellow lightning glared, and
thunder crashed and resounded fearfully from the distant valleys.

"'It is the warning voice of heaven!' said Bolko. 'Its lightnings will
reach us if I yield to thy entreaty.'

"'Heaven has nothing in common with enchanters and sorcerers,' replied
Emma; 'nature is uttering a summons to thee, and--whilst a devoted
wife embraces thee--protects and defends thee against demoniac powers,
bids thee renounce all witchcraft, and put aside the unholy gift.'

"Bolko answered not, but peered through the door carriage windows to
learn his exact situation. The dark pinnacles of Gottmar lay
immediately before him. Above his head the tempest lowered, hurling
its lightnings on every side.

"'Art thou angry with me?' enquired Emma sorrowfully, leaning her
ringleted head upon the bosom of her husband. Bolko pressed her
forehead to his lips. Emma threw her arms about his neck. She wept,
she kissed, she coaxed him; they were the fondest lovers, as in the
earliest days of their attachment. The heart of Bolko was melted. In
the intoxication of happiness he forgot his danger; and reposing on
Emma's bosom, did not perceive that she untied his doublet, and
heedfully but eagerly searched for the amulet. She was mistress of it
before Bolko could suspect her intention.

"'It is mine, it is mine!' almost shrieked the young wife in her
delight, snatching away both chain and box. The next moment the
carriage window was drawn down and the precious objects thrown into
the storm. Bolko caught at them, but too late. A gust of wind had
already clutched them, and carried them away.

"A flash of lightning struck a beech-tree, that blazed, awfully
illuminating the whole neighbourhood. The horses took fright, plunged
aside, then tore with the carriage towards a treeless melancholy-looking
plain. Bolko recognised the spot at the first brief glance.

"'The moor! the moor!' he screamed to the driver; but the latter had
lost all power over the snorting steeds, who bore the fated carriage
in a whizzing gallop towards the marsh. The blazing beech-tree
rendered the surrounding objects fearfully distinct. Bolko could
descry the figure of Auriola at the margin of the spring. Between her
fingers glittered the ring, and words of lamentation issuing from her
lips, dropped into the soul of Bolko and paralysed it."

"'Auriola, Auriola!' exclaimed the youth, supporting the pale and
quivering Emma--'forgive me! forgive me!'

"The Moor Maiden dropped the ring into the well, and it vanished like
an unearthly flame. Auriola herself, slowly and like a mist, descended
after it. She held her hand above her head, and it seemed to point to
the onward-dashing carriage.

"Horror upon horror! the carriage itself began to sink into the
earth--quicker and quicker.

"'We are sinking! Heaven help us!' cried the driver. Bolko burst the
carriage door open, but escape was impossible. The moor had given way
around him. The horses were already swallowed up in the abyss. The
pale earth-crust trembled and heaved like flakes of ice upon a
loosening river. It separated, and huge pieces were precipitated and
hurled against each other. In a few seconds horses and carriage, bride
and bridegroom, had disappeared for ever. As the moor closed over
them, the hand of Auriola vanished.

"The Curse of her father was accomplished.

"On the same night, Gottmar castle was struck by lightning. It burned
to the ground, and there the aged Hubert found his grave."


  "Careful and troubled about many things,"
  (Alas! that it should be so with us still
  As in the time of Martha,) I went forth
  Harass'd and heartsick, with hot aching brow,
  Thought fever'd, happy to escape myself.

  Beauteous that bright May morning! All about
  Sweet influences of earth, and air, and sky,
  Harmoniously accordant. I alone,
  The troubled spirit that had driven me forth,
  In dissonance with that fair frame of things
  So blissfully serene. God had not yet
  Let fall the weight of chastening that makes dumb
  The murmuring lip, and stills the rebel heart,
  Ending all earthly interests, and I call'd
  (O Heaven!) that incomplete experience--Grief.

  It would not do. The momentary sense
  Of soft refreshing coolness pass'd away;
  Back came the troublous thoughts, and, all in vain,
  I strove with the tormentors: All in vain,
  Applied me with forced interest to peruse
  Fair nature's outspread volume: All in vain,
  Look'd up admiring at the dappling clouds
  And depths cerulean: Even as I gazed,
  The film--the earthly film obscured my vision,
  And in the lower region, sore perplex'd,
  Again I wander'd; and again shook off
  With vex'd impatience the besetting cares,
  And set me straight to gather as I walk'd
  A field-flower nosegay. Plentiful the choice;
  And, in few moments, of all hues I held
  A glowing handful. In a few moments more
  Where are they? Dropping as I went along
  Unheeded on my path, and I was gone--
  Wandering again in muse of thought perplex'd.

  Despairingly I sought the social scene--
  Sound--motion--action--intercourse of _words_--
  Scarcely of mind--rare privilege!--We talk'd--
  Oh! how we talk'd! Discuss'd and solved all questions:
  Physics and metaphysics--books and authors--
  Fashion and dress--our neighbours and ourselves.
  But even as the senseless changes rang,
  And I help'd ring them, in my secret soul
  Grew weariness, disgust, and self-contempt;
  And more disturb'd in spirit, I retraced,
  More cynically sad, my homeward way.

  It led me through the churchyard, and methought
  There entering, as I let the iron gate
  Swing to behind me, that the change was good--
  The unquiet living, for the quiet dead.
  And at that moment, from the old church tower
  A knell resounded--"Man to his long home"
  Drew near. "The mourners went about the streets;"
  And there, few paces onward to the right,
  Close by the pathway, was an open grave,
  Not of the humbler sort, shaped newly out,
  Narrow and deep in the dark mould; when closed,
  To be roofed over with the living sod,
  And left for all adornment (and so best)
  To Nature's reverential hand. The tomb,
  Made ready there for a fresh habitant,
  Was that of an old family. I knew it.--
  A very ancient altar-tomb, where Time
  With his rough fretwork mark'd the sculptor's art
  Feebly elaborate--heraldic shields
  And mortuary emblems, half effaced,
  Deep sunken at one end, of many names,
  Graven with suitable inscriptions, each
  Upon the shelving slab and sides; scarce now
  Might any but an antiquarian eye
  Make out a letter. Five-and-fifty years
  The door of that dark dwelling had shut in
  The last admitted sleeper. She, 'twas said,
  Died of a broken heart--a widow'd mother
  Following her only child, by violent death
  Cut off untimely, and--the whisper ran--
  By his own hand. The tomb was ancient _then_,
  When they two were interr'd; and they, the first
  For whom, within the memory of man,
  It had been open'd; and their names fill'd up
  (With sharp-cut newness mocking the old stone)
  The last remaining space. And so it seem'd
  The gathering was complete; the appointed number
  Laid in the sleeping chamber, and seal'd up
  Inviolate till the great gathering day.
  The few remaining of the name dispersed--
  The family fortunes dwindled--till at last
  They sank into decay, and out of sight,
  And out of memory; till an aged man
  Pass'd by some parish very far away
  To die in ours--his legal settlement--
  Claim'd kindred with the long-forgotten race,
  Its sole survivor, and in right thereof,
  Of that affinity, to moulder with them
  In the old family grave.

                        "A natural wish,"
  Said the authorities; "and sure enough
  HE WAS of the old stock--the last descendant--
  And it would cost no more to bury him
  Under the old crack'd tombstone, with its scutcheons,
  Than in the common ground." So, graciously,
  The boon was granted, and he died content.
  And now the pauper's funeral had set forth,
  And the bell toll'd--not many strokes, nor long--
  Pauper's allowance. He was coming home.
  But while the train was yet a good way off--
  The workhouse burial train--I stopp'd to look
  Upon the scene before me; and methought
  Oh! that some gifted painter could behold
  And give duration to that living picture,
  So rich in moral and pictorial beauty,
  If seen arightly by the spiritual eye
  As with the bodily organ!

                            The old tomb,
  With its quaint tracery, gilded here and there
  With sunlight glancing through the o'er-arching lime,
  Far flinging its cool shadow, flickering light--
  Our greyhair'd sexton, with his hard grey face,
  (A living tombstone!) resting on his mattock
  By the low portal; and just over right,
  His back against the lime-tree, his thin hands
  Lock'd in each other--hanging down before him
  As with their own dead weight--a tall slim youth
  With hollow hectic cheek, and pale parch'd lip,
  And labouring breath, and eyes upon the ground
  Fast rooted, as if taking measurement
  Betime for his own grave. I stopp'd a moment,
  Contemplating those thinkers--youth and age--
  Mark'd for the sickle; as it seem'd--the _unripe_
  To be first gather'd. Stepping forward, then,
  Down to the house of death, in vague expectance,
  I sent a curious, not unshrinking, gaze.
  There lay the burning brain and broken heart,
  Long, long at rest: and many a Thing beside
  That had been life--warm, sentient, busy life--
  Had hunger'd, thirsted, laugh'd, wept, hoped, and fear'd--
  Hated and loved--enjoy'd and agonized.
  Where of all this, was all I look'd to see?
  The mass of crumbling coffins--some belike
  (The undermost) with their contents crush'd in,
  Flatten'd, and shapeless. Even in this damp vault,
  With more completeness could the old Destroyer
  Have done his darkling work? Yet lo! I look'd
  Into a small square chamber, swept and clean,
  Except that on one side, against the wall,
  Lay a few fragments of dark rotten wood,
  And a small heap of fine, rich, reddish earth
  Was piled up in a corner.

                       "How is this?"
  In stupid wonderment I ask'd myself,
  And dull of apprehension. Turning, then,
  To the old sexton--"Tell me, friend," I said,
  "Here should be many coffins--Where are they?
  And"--pointing to the earth-heap--"what is that?"

  He raised his eyes to mine with a strange look
  And strangely meaning smile; and I repeated--
  (For not a word he spoke)--my witless question.

  Then with a deep distinctness he made answer,
  Distinct and slow, looking from whence I pointed,
  Full in my face again, and what he said
  Thrill'd through my very soul--"_That's what we are!_"

  So I was answer'd. Sermons upon death
  I had heard many. Lectures by the score
  Upon life's vanities. But never words
  Of mortal preacher to my heart struck home
  With such convicting sense and suddenness
  As that plain-spoken homily, so brief,
  Of the unletter'd man.

                            "That's what we are!"--
  Repeating after him, I murmur'd low
  In deep acknowledgment, and bow'd the head
  Profoundly reverential. A deep calm
  Came over me, and to the inward eye
  Vivid perception. Set against each other,
  I saw weigh'd out the things of time and sense,
  And of eternity;--and oh! how light
  Look'd in that truthful hour the earthly scale!
  And oh! what strength, when from the penal doom
  Nature recoil'd, in _His_ remember'd words:
  "_I am the Resurrection and the Life_."

  And other words of that Divinest Speaker
  (Words to all mourners of all times address'd)
  Seem'd spoken to me as I went along
  In prayerful thought, slow musing on my way--
  "_Believe in me_"--"_Let not your hearts be troubled_"--
  And sure I could have promised in that hour,
  But that I knew myself how fallible,
  That never more should cross or care of this life
  Disquiet or distress me. So I came,
  Chasten'd in spirit, to my home again,
  Composed and comforted, and cross'd the threshold
  That day "a wiser, _not_ a sadder, _woman_."



Burke died in 1797, and yet, after the lapse of almost half a century,
the world is eager to treasure every recollection of his name. This is
the true tribute to a great man, and the only tribute which is worth
the wishes of a great man. The perishable nature of all the memorials
of human hands has justly been the theme of every moralist, since
tombs first bore an image or an inscription. Yet, such as they are,
they ought to be given; but they are all that man can give. The nobler
monument must be raised by the individual himself, and must be the
work of his lifetime; its guardianship must be in the hands, not of
sacristans and chapters, but in those of the world; his panegyric must
be found, not in the extravagance or adulation of his marble, but in
the universal voice which records his career, and cherishes his name
as a new stimulant of public virtue.

We have no intention of retracing the steps by which this memorable
man gradually rose to so high a rank in the estimation of his own
times. No history of intellectual eminence during the latter half of
the nineteenth century--the most troubled, important, and productive
period of human annals since the birth of the European kingdoms--can
be written, without giving some testimonial to his genius in every
page. But his progress was not limited to his Age. He is still
progressive. While his great contemporaries have passed away, honoured
indeed, and leaving magnificent proofs of their powers, in the honour
and security of their country, Burke has not merely retained his
position before the national eye, but has continually assumed a
loftier stature, and shone with a more radiant illumination. The great
politician of his day, he has become the noblest philosopher of ours.
Every man who desires to know the true theory of public morals, and
the actual causes which influence the rise and fall of thrones, makes
his volumes a study; every man who desires to learn how the most
solemn and essential truths may not merely be adorned, but
invigorated, by the richest colourings of imagination, must labour to
discover the secret of his composition; and every man who, born in
party, desires to emancipate his mind from the egotism, bitterness,
and barrenness of party, or achieve the still nobler and more
difficult task of turning its evils into good, and of making it an
instrument of triumph for the general cause of mankind, must measure
the merits and success of his enterprise by its similarity to the
struggles, the motives, and the ultimate triumph of Edmund Burke.

The present volumes contain a considerable portion of the
correspondence which Burke carried on with his personal and public
friends during the most stirring period of his life. The papers had
been put in trust of the late French Lawrence the civilian, and
brother to the late Archbishop of Cashel, with whom was combined in
the trust Dr King, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, both able men and
particular friends of Burke. But Lawrence, while full of the intention
of giving a life of his celebrated friend, died in 1809, and the
papers were bequeathed by the widow of Burke, who died in 1812, to the
Bishop of Rochester, the Right Hon. W. Elliot, and Earl Fitzwilliam,
for the publication of such parts as had not already appeared. This
duty chiefly devolved upon Dr King, who had been made Bishop of
Rochester in 1808. Personal infirmity, and that most distressing of
all infirmities, decay of sight, retarded the publishing of the works;
but sixteen volumes were completed. The bishop's death in 1828, put an
end to all the hopes which had been long entertained, of an authentic
life from his pen.

On this melancholy event, the papers came into the possession of the
late Earl Fitzwilliam, from whom they devolved to the present Earl,
who, with Sir Richard Bourke, a distant relative of the family, and
personally intimate with Burke during the last eight years of his
life, has undertaken the present collection of his letters. Those
letters which required explanation have been supplied with intelligent
and necessary notes, and the whole forms a singularly important

       *       *       *       *       *

Many of Burke's earliest letters were written to a Richard Shackleton,
the son of a Quaker at whose school Burke with his two brothers had
been placed in 1741. In 1743, he was placed in the college of Dublin,
and then commenced his correspondence with Shackleton. Even those
letters exhibit, at the age of little more than fifteen, the
sentiments which his mature life was spent in establishing and
enlarging. He says of sectaries, and this was to a sectary himself, "I
assure you, I don't think near so favourably of those sectaries you
mentioned, (he had just spoken of the comparative safety of virtuous
heathens, who, not having known the name of Christianity, were not to
be judged by its law,) many of those sectaries breaking, as they
themselves confessed, for matters of indifference, and no way
concerned in the only affair that is necessary, viz. salvation; and
what a great crime schism is, you can't be ignorant. This, and the
reasons in my last, and if you consider what will occur to yourself,
together with several texts, will bring you to my way of thinking on
that point. Let us endeavour to live according to the rules of the
Gospel; and he that prescribed them, I hope, will consider our
endeavours to please him, and assist us in our designs.

"I don't like that part of your letter, wherein you say you had the
testimony of well-doing in your breast. Whenever such notions rise
again, endeavour to suppress them. We should always be in no other
than the state of a penitent, because the most righteous of us is no
better than a sinner. Read the parable of the Pharisee and the
Publican who prayed in the temple."

We next have a letter exhibiting the effect of external things on the
writer's mind, and expressed with almost the picturesque power of his
higher days. He tells his friend, that he will endeavour to answer his
letter in good-humour, "though every thing around," he says,
"conspires to excite in him a contrary disposition--the melancholy
gloom of the day, the whistling winds, and the hoarse rumbling of the
swollen Liffey, with a flood which, even where I write, lays close
siege to our own street, not permitting any to go in or out to supply
us with the necessaries of life."

After some statements of the rise of the river, he says, "It gives me
pleasure to see nature in those great though terrible scenes; it fills
the mind with grand ideas, and turns the soul in upon herself. This,
together with the sedentary life I lead, forced some reflections on
me, which perhaps would otherwise not have occurred. I considered how
little man is, yet, in his own mind, how great. He is lord and master
of all things, yet scarce can command any thing. What well laid, and
what better executed scheme of his is there, but what a small change
of nature is entirely able to defeat and abolish. If but one element
happens to encroach a little upon another, what confusion may it not
create in his affairs, what havoc, what destruction: the servant
destined to his use, confines, menaces, and frequently destroys this
mighty, this feeble lord."

One of those letters mentions his feelings on the defeat of the
luckless Charles Edward, whose hopes of the British crown were
extinguished by the battle of Culloden, (April 16, 1746.) "The
Pretender, who gave us so much disturbance for some time past, is at
length, with all his adherents, utterly defeated, and himself (as some
say) taken prisoner. 'Tis strange to see how the minds of the people
are in a few days changed. The very men who, but a while ago, while
they were alarmed by his progress, so heartily cursed and hated those
unfortunate creatures, are now all pity, and wish it could be
terminated without bloodshed. I am sure I share in the general
compassion. It is, indeed, melancholy to consider the state of those
unhappy gentlemen who engaged in this affair, (as for the rest, they
lose but their lives,) who have thrown away their lives and fortunes,
and destroyed their families for ever, in what, I believe, they
thought a just cause." Those sentiments exhibit the early propensity
of Burke's mind to a generous dealing with political opponents. He was
a Protestant, a zealous admirer of the constitution of 1688, as all
Irish Protestants were in his day, whether old or young; and yet he
feels an unequivocal, as it was a just compassion for the brave men,
who, under an impulse of misapplied loyalty, and in obedience to a
mistaken sense of duty, went headlong to their ruin, for a prince who
was a Papist, and thus would have been, like his father, a most
hazardous sovereign to the liberties and religion of England.

In allusion to his collegiate career, he describes himself as having
taken up every successive subject, with an ardour which, however,
speedily declined.

"First, I was greatly taken with natural philosophy, which, while I
should have given my mind to logic, employed me incessantly, (logic
forming a principal part of the first year's studies.) This I call my
_furor mathematicus_. But this worked off as soon as I began to read
it in the college. This threw me back to logic and metaphysics. Here I
remained a good while, and with much pleasure, and this was my _furor
logicus_--a disease very common in the days of ignorance, and very
uncommon in these enlightened times. Next succeeded the _furor
historicus_, which also had its day, but is now no more, being
absorbed in the _furor poeticus_, which (as skilful physicians assure
me) is difficultly cured. But doctors differ, and I don't despair of a
cure." Fortunately, he at last accomplished that cure, for his early
poetry gives no indications of future excellence. His prose is much
more poetic, even in those early letters, than his verse. A great poet
unquestionably is a great man; but Burke's greatness was to be
achieved in another sphere. It is only in the visions of prophecy that
we see the Lion with wings. Burke entered his name at the Middle
Temple in April 1747, and went to London to keep his terms in 1750. He
was now twenty-two years old, and his constitution being delicate, and
apparently consumptive, he adopted, during this period of his
residence in England, a habit to which he probably owed his strength
of constitution in after-life. During the vacations, he spent his time
in travelling about England, generally in company with a friend and
relative, Mr William Burke. Though his finances were by no means
narrow--his father being a man of success in his profession--Burke
probably travelled the greater part of those journeys on foot. When he
found an agreeable country town or village, he fixed his quarters
there, leading a regular life, rising early, taking frequent exercise,
and employing himself according to the inclinations of the hour. There
could be no wiser use of his leisure; exercise of the frame is health
of the mind, open air is life to the student, change of scene is
mental vigour to an enquiring, active, and eager spirit; and thus the
feeble boy invigorated himself for the most strenuous labours of the
man, and laid the foundation for a career of eminent usefulness and
public honour for nearly half a century of the most stirring period of
the modern world.

Some of his letters touch, in his style of grave humour, on these
pleasant wanderings.--"You have compared me, for my rambling
disposition, to the sun. Sincerely, I can't help finding a likeness
myself, for they say the sun sends down much the same influences
whenever he comes into the same signs. Now I am influenced to shake
off my laziness, and write to you at the same time of the year, and
from the same west country I wrote my last in. Since I had your letter
I have often shifted the scene. I spent part of the winter, that is
the term time, in London, and part in Croydon in Surrey. About the
beginning of the summer, finding myself attacked with my old
complaints, I went once more to Bristol, and found the same benefit."
Of his adventures at Monmouth, he says they would almost compose a
novel, and of a more curious kind than is generally issued from the
press. He and his relative formed the topic of the town, both while
they were there and after they left it. "The most innocent scheme,"
said he, "they guessed, was that of fortune-hunting; and when they saw
us quit the town without wives, the lower sort sagaciously judged us
spies to the French king. What is much more odd is, that here my
companion and I puzzled them as much as we did at Monmouth, [he was
then at Turlaine in Wiltshire,] for this is a place of very great
trade in making fine cloths, in which they employ a great number of
hands. The first conjecture, for they could not fancy how any other
sort of people could spend so much of their time at books; but finding
that we receive from time to time a good many letters, they conclude
us merchants. They at last began to apprehend that we were spies from
Spain on their trade." Still they appeared mysterious; and the old
woman in whose lodgings they lived, paid them the rather ambiguous
compliment of saying, "I believe that you be gentlemen, but I ask no
questions." "What makes the thing still better," says Burke, "about
the same time we came hither, arrived a little parson equally a
stranger; but he spent a good part of his time in shooting and other
country amusements, got drunk at night, got drunk in the morning, and
became intimate with every body in the village. But he surprised
nobody, no questions were asked about him, because he lived like the
rest of the world. But that two men should come into a strange
country, and partake of none of the country diversions, seek no
acquaintance, and live entirely recluse, is something so inexplicable
as to puzzle the wisest heads, even that of the parish-clerk himself."

About the year 1756, Burke, still without a profession--for though he
had kept his terms he was never called to the bar--began to feel the
restlessness, perhaps the self-condemnation, natural to every man who
feels life advancing on him without an object. He now determined to
try his strength as an author, and published his _Vindication of
Natural Society_--a pamphlet in which, adopting the showy style of
Bolingbroke, but pushing his arguments to the extreme, he shows the
fallacy of his principles. This work excited considerable attention at
the time. The name of the author remained unknown, and the imitation
was so complete, that for some time it was regarded as a posthumous
work of the infidel lord. Burke, in one of his later publications,
exclaims--Who now reads Bolingbroke? who ever read him through? We may
be assured, at least, that one read him through; and that one was
Edmund Burke. The dashing rhetoric, and headlong statements of
Bolingbroke; his singular affluence of language, and his easy
disregard of fact; the boundless lavishing and overflow of an
excitable and glowing mind, on topics in which prejudice and passion
equally hurried him onward, and which the bitter recollections of
thwarted ambition made him regard as things to be trampled on, if his
own fame was to survive, was incomparably transferred by Burke to his
own pages. The performance produced a remarkable sensation amongst the
leaders of public opinion and literature. Chesterfield pronounced it
to be from the pen of Bolingbroke. Mallet, the literary lord's
residuary legatee, was forced to disclaim it by public advertisement;
but Mallet's credit was not of the firmest order, and his denial was
scarcely believed until Burke's name, as the author, was known. But
his _Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of the Sublime and
Beautiful_, brought him more unequivocal applause. His theory on this
subject has been disputed, and is obviously disputable; but it was
chiefly written at the age of nineteen; it has never been wholly
superseded, and, for elegance of diction, has never been equaled. It
brought him into immediate intercourse with all that may be called the
fashion of literature--Lyttleton, Warburton, Soame Jenyns, Hume,
Reynolds, Lord Bath, Johnson, the greatest though the least
influential of them all, and Mrs Montague, the least but the most
influential of them all. There must have been a good deal of what is
called fortune in this successful introduction to the higher orders of
London society; for many a work of superior intelligence and more
important originality has been produced, without making its author
known beyond the counter of the publisher. But what chance began his
merits completed. The work was unquestionably fit for the hands of
blue-stockingism; the topic was pleasing to literary romance; the very
title had a charm for the species of philosophy which lounges on
sofas, and talks metaphysics in the intervals of the concert or the
card-table. It may surprise us, that in an age when so many manly and
muscular understandings existed at the same time in London, things so
infinitely trifling as conversaziones should have been endured; but
conversaziones there were, and Burke's book was precisely made to
their admiration. It is no dishonour to the matured abilities of this
great man, that he produced a book which found its natural place on
the toilet-tables, and its natural praise in the tongues of the Mrs
Montagues of this world. It might have been worse; he never thought it
worth his while to make it better; the theory is worth nothing, but
the language is elegant; and the whole, regarded as the achievement of
a youth of nineteen, does honour to the spirit of his study, and the
polish of his pen.

A change was now to take place in Burke's whole career. He might have
perished in poverty, notwithstanding his genius, except for the chance
which introduced him to Fitzherbert, a graceful and accomplished man,
who united to a high tone of fashionable life a gratification in the
intercourse of intelligent society. Partly through this gentleman's
interference, and partly through that of the late Earl of Charlemont,
Burke was introduced to William Gerard Hamilton, who shortly after
went to Ireland as secretary to the lord-lieutenant, Lord Halifax.
However, this connexion, though it continued for six years, was
evidently an uneasy one to Burke; and a letter written by him in the
second year of his private secretaryship to Hamilton, shows how little
they were fitted for cordial association. A pension of L.300 a-year
was assigned to Burke as a remuneration for his services, which,
however, he evidently seemed to regard in the light of a retaining
fee. In consequence of this conception, and the fear of being fettered
for life, Burke wrote a letter, stating that it would be necessary to
give a portion of his time to publication on his own account.

"Whatever advantages," said he, "I have acquired, have been owing to
some small degree of literary reputation. It would be hard to persuade
me that any further services which your kindness may propose for me,
or any in which my friends may co-operate with you, will not be greatly
facilitated by doing something to cultivate and keep alive the same
reputation. I am fully sensible that this reputation may be as much
hazarded as forwarded by a new publication; but because a certain
oblivion is the consequence to writers of my inferior class of an
entire neglect of publication, I consider it such a risk as must
sometimes be run. For this purpose some short time, at convenient
intervals, and especially at the dead time of the year, it would be
requisite to study and consult proper books. The matter may be very
easily settled by a good understanding between ourselves, and by a
discreet liberty, which I think you would not wish to restrain, or I
to abuse."

However, it will be seen that Gerard Hamilton thought differently on
the subject. We break off this part of the correspondence, for the
purpose of introducing a fragment of that wisdom which formed so early
and so promising a portion of the mind of Burke. In writing of his
brother Richard to his Irish friend, he says--"Poor Dick sets off at
the beginning of next week for the Granadas, [in which he had obtained
a place under government.] He goes in good health and spirits, which
are all but little enough to battle with a bad climate and a bad
season. But it must be submitted to. Providence never intended, to
much the greater part, an entire life of ease and quiet. A peaceable,
honourable, and affluent decline of life must be purchased by a
laborious or hazardous youth; and every day, I think more and more
that it is well worth the purchase. Poverty and age suit very ill
together, and a course of struggling is miserable indeed, when
strength is decayed and hope gone. _Turpe senex miles!_"

Burke's quarrel with Hamilton ended in his resigning his pension. His
feelings appear to have been deeply hurt by Hamilton's superciliousness,
and his demand for the right to employ the whole time of his private
secretary. In a long explanatory letter to Hutchinson, a leading member
of the Irish parliament, and father of the late Lord Donoughmore, he
says, indignantly enough--"I flatter myself to let you see that I
deserved to be considered in another manner than as one of Mr Hamilton's
cattle, or as a piece of his household stuff. Six of the best years of
my life he took me from every pursuit of literary reputation, or of
improvement of my fortune. In that time he made his own fortune, a very
great one; and he has also taken to himself the very little one which I
had made. In all this time you may easily conceive how much I felt at
being left behind by almost all my contemporaries. There never was a
season more favourable for any man who chose to enter into the career
of public life; and I think I am not guilty of ostentation in supposing
my own moral character and my industry, my friends and connexions, when
Mr H. first sought my acquaintance, were not at all inferior to those of
several whose fortune is at this day upon a very different footing from

It is evident that Burke's mind was at this period turned to
authorship, and that his chief quarrel arose from the petty and
pragmatical demand of Hamilton, that he should abandon it altogether.
Burke soon had ample revenge, if it was to be found in the obscurity
into which Hamilton rapidly fell, and the burlesque which alone
revived his name from its obscurity. The contrast between the two must
have been a lesson to the vanity of the one, as pungent as was its
triumph. If ever the fate of Tantalus was realized to man, it was in
the perpetual thirst and perpetual disappointment of Hamilton for
public name. The cup never reached his lips but it was instantly dry;
while Burke was seen reveling in the full flow of public
renown--buoyant on the stream into which so many others plunged only
to sink, and steering his noble course with a full mastery of the
current. "Single-speech Hamilton" became a title of ridicule, while
Burke was pouring forth, night after night, speech after speech, rich
in the most sparkling and most solid opulence of the mind. He must
have been more or less than man, to have never cast a glance at the
decrepitude of the formal coxcomb whom he once acknowledged as his
leader, and compared his shrunk shape with the vigorous and athletic
proportions of his own intellectual stature. Hamilton, too, must have
had many a pang. The wretched nervousness of character which at once
stimulated him to pine for distinction, and disqualified him from
obtaining it, must have made his life miserable. If the magnificent
conception of the poet's Prometheus could be lowered to any thing so
trivial as a disappointed politician of the eighteenth century, its
burlesque might be amply shown in a mind helplessly struggling against
a sense of its own inferiority, gnawed by envy at the success of
better men, and with only sufficient intellectual sensibility
remaining to have that gnawing constantly renewed.

Burke's letters to the chief Irishmen with whom his residence in
Dublin had brought him into intercourse, long continued indignant.
"Having presumed," said he, in one of those explanatory letters, "to
put a test to me, which no man _not born in Africa_ ever thought of
taking, on my refusal he broke off all connexion with me in the most
insolent manner. He, indeed, entered into two several negotiations
afterwards, but both poisoned in their first principles by the same
spirit of injustice with which he set out in his first dealings with
me. I, therefore, could never give way to his proposals. The whole
ended by his possessing himself of that small reward for my services
which, I since find, he had a very small share in procuring for me.
After, or, indeed, rather during his negotiations, he endeavoured to
stain my character and injure my future fortune, by every calumny his
malice could suggest. This is the case of my connexion with Mr

If all this be true--and whoever impeached the veracity of Burke in
any thing?--the more effectually his enemy was trampled the better:
malice can be punished sufficiently only by extirpation.

A powerful letter to Henry Flood, then one of the leading members of
the Irish House of Commons, shows how deeply Burke felt the vexation
of Hamilton's conduct, and not less explicitly administers the moral,
of how much must be suffered by every man who enters into the
conflicts of public life. Flood, too, had his share of those
vexations; perhaps more of them than his correspondent. Henry Flood
was one of the most remarkable men whom Ireland had produced.
Commencing his career with a handsome fortune, he had plunged into the
dissipation which was almost demanded of men of family in his day; but
some accidental impression (we believe a fit of illness) suddenly
changed his whole course. He turned his attention to public life,
entered the House of Commons, and suddenly astonished every body by
his total transformation from a mere man of fashion to a vigorous and
brilliant public orator. He was the most logical of public speakers,
without the formality of logic, and the most imaginative, without the
flourish of fancy. For ten years, Flood was the leader of the House,
on whichever side he stood. He was occasionally in opposition, and the
champion of opposition politics in his earlier career; but at length,
unfortunately alike for his feelings and his fame, he grew indolent,
accepted an almost sinecure place, and indulged himself in ease and
silence for full ten years. A loss like this was irreparable, in the
short duration allotted to the living supremacy of statesmanship. No
man in the records of the English parliament has been at his highest
vigour for more than ten years; he may have been _rising_ before, or
inheriting a portion of his parliamentary distinction--enough to give
dignity to his decline; but his true time has past, and thenceforth he
must be satisfied with the reflection of his own renown. Flood had
already passed his hour when he was startled by the newborn splendour
of Grattan. The contest instantly commenced between those
extraordinary men, and was carried on for a while with singular
animation, and not less singular animosity. The ground of contest was
the constitution of 1782. The exciting cause of contest was the wrath
of Flood at seeing the laurels which he had relinquished seized by a
younger champion, and the daring, yet justified confidence of Grattan
in his own admirable powers to win and wear them. Flood, in the
bitterest pungency of political epigram, charged Grattan with having
sold himself to the people, and then sold the people to the minister
for prompt payment. (A vote of £50,000 had been passed to purchase an
estate for Grattan.) Grattan retorted, that "Flood, after having sold
himself to the minister, was angry only because he was interrupted in
the attempt to sell himself to the people." The country, fond of the
game of partizanship, ranged itself under the banners of both,
alternately hissed and applauded both, and at length abandoned both,
and in its new fondness for change, adopted the bolder banners of
revolution. Both were fighting for a shadow, and both must have known
it; but the prize of rhetoric was not to be given up without a
struggle. The "constitution" was rapidly forgotten, when Flood retired
into England and obscurity; and Grattan, who had been left, if not
victor, at least possessor of the field, grew tired of struggles
without a purpose, and plaudits without a reward. The absurdity of
affecting an independence which could not exist an hour but by the
protection of England, and the burlesque of a parliament into which no
man entered but in expectation of a job; the scandal of an Irish
slave-market, and the costliness of purchasing representatives, only
to be sold by them in turn, became so palpable to the national eye,
that the nation contemptuously cashiered the legislature. The gamblers
who had made their fortunes off the people, and had amused themselves
with building a house of cards, saw their paper fabric fall at the
first breath; and the nation looked on the fall with the negligent
scorn excited in rational eyes by detected imposture. The attempt is
once more prepared, but Ireland will have no house of cards, still
less will she suffer the building of an hospital for decayed fashion
and impotent intrigue--a receptacle for political incurables--and
meritorious, in the sight even of its projectors, simply for affording
them snug stewardships, showy governorships, and the whole sinecure
system of emolument without responsibility.

Burke again repeats to Flood his wrath at Hamilton's
provocation.--"The occasion of our difference was not any act
whatsoever on my part, it was entirely on his--by a voluntary, but
most insolent and intolerable demand, amounting to no less than a
claim of servitude during the whole course of my life." He then
alludes to the position of political parties, and gives a sketch of
the great Earl of Chatham which shows the hand of a master. "Nothing
but an intractable temper in your friend Pitt can prevent an admirable
and most lasting system from being put together; and this crisis will
show whether pride or patriotism be predominant in his character, for
you may be assured that he has it now in his power to come into the
service of his country upon any plan of politics he may choose to
dictate; with great and honourable claims to himself and to every
friend he has in the world, and with such a stretch of power as will
be equal to every thing but absolute despotism over the king and
kingdom. A few days will show whether he will take his part, or that
of continuing on his bank at Hayes, (his country-seat,) talking
fustian, excluded from all ministerial, and incapable of all
parliamentary service; for his gout is worse than ever, but his pride
may disable him more than his gout."

We then have an odd rambling letter from Dr Leland, the author of a
History of Ireland, a heavy performance but an honest one, and by far
the best and least unfortunate of the unfortunate attempts to
rationalize the caprices and calamities of that unhappy country.
Leland's letter is written in congratulation to the two brothers,
Edmund and William Burke, the former having been appointed private
secretary to the Marquis of Rockingham in July 1765, the latter one of
the under secretaries of state. In speaking of Ireland, this writer
says, sensibly enough, "Let who will come to govern us poor wretches,
I care not, provided we are decently governed. I would not have his
secretary a jolly, good-humoured abandoned profligate, (the most
dangerous character in society,) or a sullen, vain, proud, selfish,
cankered-hearted, envious reptile--though what matter who is either
lieutenant or secretary?"

Burke was not at this time in Parliament, nor until the 26th of
December in this year, when he was returned for the borough of
Wendover, through the influence of Lord Verney. A letter from Dr
Markham, afterwards archbishop of York, shows the degree of estimation
in which his abilities were held, and the expectations which he
excited among able men, at a period when his parliamentary faculties
were still unknown. He says to William Burke,--"I was informed of
Ned's cold by a letter from Skynner. I am very glad to hear it is so
much better. I should be grieved to hear he was ill at any time, and
particularly at so critical a time as this. I think much will depend
on his outset. I wish him to appear at once in some important
question. If he has but that confidence in his strength which I have
always had, he cannot fail of appearing with lustre. I am very glad to
hear from you that he feels his own consequence as well as the crisis
of his situation. He is now on the ground on which I have been so many
years wishing to see him. One splendid day will crush the malevolence
of enemies, as well as the envy of some who often praise him. When his
reputation is once established, the common voice will either silence
malignity or destroy its effect."

This was written three days after Burke's entrance into Parliament. It
is curious to see, in the letters of those early correspondents, most
of them accomplished and practical men, how fully they were possessed
with a sense of his promised superiority. "You are now, I am certain,"
says Leland, "a man of business, deeply immersed in public affairs,
commercial and political. You will show yourself a man of business in
the House of Commons, and you will not, I am certain, build your
reputation and consequence there upon a single studied manufactured
piece of eloquence, and then, like the brazen head, shut your mouth
for ever. I trust I shall hear of your rising regularly, though
rapidly; that I shall hear of ministers begging that you would be
pleased to accept of being vice-treasurer of Ireland, and then of your
soaring so high as to be quite out of view of such insects as I--and
so good-night, my dear Ned. If ever chance should bring us together,
we are quite ruined as companions. The saunterings, the readings, the
laughings, and the dosings in Mount Gallagher (his country-seat) are
all over. Your head is filled with questions, divisions, and
majorities. My thoughts are employed on Louth and Warburton."

Burke began his parliamentary triumphs with but little delay. The
colonies were the grand subject of the time, and Burke instantly
devoted himself to that subject with the whole force of his capacious
intellect. He was regarded by the House, on the first speech which he
made on this voluminous topic, as exhibiting extraordinary knowledge,
combined with a power of language unequalled save by Chatham himself.
One of the letters of congratulations is from Dr Marriott, who was
afterwards judge of the court of admiralty. "Permit me to tell you
that you are the person the least sensible of the members of the House
of Commons, how much glory you acquired last Monday night; and it
would be an additional satisfaction to you that this testimony comes
from a judge of public speaking, the most disinterested and capable of
judging of it. Dr Hay assures me that your speech was far superior to
that of any other speaker on the colonies that night. I could not
refrain from acquainting you with an opinion, which must so greatly
encourage you to proceed, and to place the palm of the orator with
those which you have already acquired of the writer and the
philosopher." Hay was afterwards judge of the admiralty. At his death
he was succeeded by Marriott. He was of the Bedford party, which, as
it was wholly opposed to the Rockingham, made the testimony more

Burke's second speech was equally the subject of admiration. A second
letter from Marriott, with whom he had had some conversation
expressive of his own diffidence, at least as to his manner, in
addressing the House, mentions once more the opinion of Dr Hay, for
whose taste Marriott seems to have had great deference. "His opinion,"
he writes, "is, that nothing could be more remote from awkwardness or
constraint than your manner; that your style, ideas, and expression,
were peculiarly your own; natural and unaffected, and so different
from the cant of the House, or from the jargon of the bar, that he
could not imagine any thing more agreeable; that you did not dwell
upon a point till you had tired it out, as is the way of most
speakers, but kept on with fresh ideas crowding upon you, and rising
one out of another, all leading to one point, which was constantly
kept in view to the audience; and, although every thing seemed a kind
of new political philosophy, yet it was all to the purpose and
well-connected, so as to produce the effect; and that he admired your
last speech the more as it was impromptu. I thought he was describing
to me a Greek orator, whose select orations I had translated four
times when I first went to the university, and therefore marked the
traits of this character. It was impossible for me not to communicate
to you a decision from so great a master himself, though differing
from you in party, that you may go on in a way you have begun, with
such glory to yourself, and to which you add so much by being so
little sensible of it."

In 1766 the Rockingham ministry was suddenly dashed to the ground, and
all its connexions, of course, went down along with it. The marquis
was a man of great estate and excellent intentions, but his ministry
realized the Indian fable of the globe being painted on a
tortoise--the merit of the political tortoise being, in this instance,
to stand still, while its ambition unfortunately was to move. The
consequence naturally followed, that the world took its own course,
and left the tortoise behind. But Burke had distinguished himself so
much that offers of office were made to him from the succeeding
administration. Those he declined, and commenced that neutral
existence which, with the majority of politicians, is worse than none.
There was a weakness in Burke's character which did him infinite
mischief for the first ten years of his political life. We shall not
call it an affectation in the instance of so great a man, but it paid
all the penalties of folly--and this was his propensity to feel, or at
least to express, a personal affection for the men whom he politically
followed. Even of Hamilton, the most supercilious and least loveable
of mankind, Burke speaks with a tenderness absolutely ridiculous
amongst politicians. Of Lord Rockingham he seldom speaks but in a tone
of romance, singularly inapplicable to that formal and frigid figure
of aristocracy. Of Fox, in latter days, he spoke in a sentimental tone
worthy only of a lover on the French stage; and, in all these
instances, he was doubtless laughed at, notwithstanding all his
sensibilities. With the highest admiration of his genius, we must
believe, for the sake of his understanding, that he adopted this style
merely for fashion's sake; for familiarity, which is akin to fondness,
as we are told by the poets that pity is akin to love, was much the
foolish fashion of the day. Men of the highest rank, and doubtless of
the haughtiest arrogance, were called Tom, and Dick, and Harry; and
this silliness was the language of high life, until the French
Revolution and the democratic war at home taught them, that if they
adopted the phraseology of their own footmen, their footmen would
probably take possession of their title-deeds. The hollowness of
public life is as soon discovered as the haughtiness of public men. A
man of heart like Burke ought to have disdained even the language of
courtiership, and while he observed the decorums of society, scorned
to stoop even to the phraseology of humiliation. But one of the most
curious features of this obsolete day is the manner in which the
country was disposed of. No game of whist, in one of the lordly clubs
of St James's Square, was ever more exclusively played. It was simply
a question whether his Grace of Bedford would be content with a
quarter or a half of the cabinet, or whether the Marquis of Rockingham
would be satisfied with two-fifths, or the Earl of Shelburne should
have all or should share power with the Duke of Portland. In all those
barterings and borrowings we never hear the name of the nation. No
whisper announces that there is such a thing in existence as the
people. No allusion ever proceeds from the stately lips, or offends
the "ears polite," of the embroidered conclave, referring to either
the interests, the feelings, or the necessities of the nation. All was
done as in an assemblage of a higher race of existence, calmly carving
out the world for themselves--a tribe of Epicurean deities, with the
cabinet for their Olympus, stooping to our inferior region only to
enjoy their own atmosphere afterwards with the greater zest, or shift
their quarters, like the poet's Jupiter, when tired of the dust and
clamour of war, moving off on his clouds and with his attendant
goddesses, to the tranquil realms of the Hippomolgi.

And this highbred condition of affairs was the more repulsive, from
the fact that the greater number of those disposers of office and
dividers of empire were among the emptiest of mankind. The succession
of ministers, from the days of Walpole, (unquestionably a shrewd,
though a coarse mind, and profligate personage,) with the exception of
Chatham, was a list of silken imbeciles; very rich, or very highborn,
or very handsomely supplied with boroughs, but, in all other senses,
the last men who should have been entrusted with power.

We have to thank the satirists, the public misfortunes, and even the
demagogues, for extinguishing this smooth and pacific system. Junius,
with his sarcastic pen, the American war, and even the gross impudence
of Wilkes, stirred the public mind to remember that it had a voice in
the state. A manlier period succeeded; and we shall no more hear of
the government being divided among the select party, like a twelfth
cake, nor see the interests of a nation which represents the interests
of the globe, compromised to suit the contending claims of
full-dressed frivolity.

As a specimen of this courtly affair, we give a few fragments from a
confidential letter of Burke to the Marquis of Rockingham. "Lord
Shelburne still continues in administration, though as adverse and as
much disliked as ever.--The Duke of Grafton continues, I hear, his
old complaints of his situation, and his genuine desire of holding it
as long as he can. At same time, Lord Shelburne gets loose too. I know
that Lord Camden, who adhered to him in these late divisions, has
given him up, and gone over to the Duke of Grafton. The Bedfords are
horridly frightened at all this, for fear of seeing the table _they
had so well covered_, and at which they sat down with so good an
appetite, kicked down in the scuffle. They find things not ripe at
present for bringing in Grenville, and that any capital move just now
would only betray their weakness in the closet and the nation." Thus,
those noble personages had it all to themselves. Again--

"If Grenville was peculiarly exceptionable, another middle person
might have the Treasury. I fancy their middleman to be the same they
had in their thoughts this time twelve-month--Lord Gower. They talked
of the Duke of Northumberland as a proper person for the Treasury, in
case of the Duke of Grafton's going out. The truth is, the Bedfords
will never act any part, either fair or amiable, with your lordship or
your friends, until they see you in a situation to give the law to
them." No doubt all this was perfectly true; the whole was selfish,
supercilious, and exclusive; one red riband matched against another,
one garter balanced against a rival fragment of blue; the whole a
court-ball, in which the nation had no more share than if it had been
danced in the saloon of Windsor; a masquerade in which the political
minuet was gravely danced by the peerage in character, and of which
the nation heard scarcely even the fiddles. But those times have
passed away, and, for the honour of common sense, they have passed
never to return.

The long contested authorship of "Junius's Letters" makes the subject
of a brief portion of his correspondence. A letter from Charles
Townshend, brother of Lord Sidney, says--"I met Fitzherbert last
night, and talked to him on the subject of our late conversation. I
told him that I had heard that he had asserted that you were the
author of 'Junius's Letters,' for which I was very sorry, because, if
it reached your ears, it would give you a great deal of concern. He
assured me, that he had only said that the ministry now looked upon
you as the author, but that he had constantly contradicted the report
whenever it was mentioned in his company, particularly yesterday and
the day before, to persons who affirmed that you were now fixed on as
the writer of those papers. He declared that he was convinced in his
own mind that you were not concerned in the publication, and that he
had said so." This letter was written in 1771. Burke replies to it, in
two days after, in a letter of thanks, unequivocally denying that he
had any share in those letters. "My friends I have satisfied; my
enemies shall never have any direct satisfaction from me. The
ministry, I am told, are convinced of my having written Junius, on the
authority of a miserable bookseller's preface, in which there are not
three lines of common truth or sense. I have never once condescended
to take the least notice of their invectives, or publicly to deny the
fact on which some of them were grounded. At the same time to you or
to any of my friends, I have been as ready as I ought to be in
disclaiming, in the most precise terms, writings that are as superior,
perhaps, to my talents, as they are most certainly different in many
essential points from my regards and my principles." Burke seems to
have been constantly bored on this subject, for he writes an angry
letter to Markham, then bishop of Chester. Charles Townshend writes to
him again to say that the Public require a more distinct disclaimer.
Burke answers, "I have, I daresay to nine-tenths of my acquaintances,
denied my being the author of Junius, or having any knowledge of the
author, whenever the thing was mentioned, whether in jest or earnest.
I now give you my word and honour that I am not the author of Junius,
and that I know not the author of that paper, and I do authorize you
to say so."

We believe that this is the first time in which Burke's disclaimer has
been made public; but our only surprise in the matter is, how he could
at any time have been considered as the author of Junius. We should
have rather said that he was the last man in the kingdom who ought to
have been suspected. The styles of Burke and Junius are totally
different: the one loose and flowing, the other terse and pungent; the
one lofty and imaginative, the other level and stern; the one taking
large views on every subject, and evidently delighting in the
largeness of those views, the other fixing steadily and fiercely upon
the immediate object of attack, and shooting every arrow point-blank.
Of course, we have no intention of wandering into a topic so
thoroughly beaten as that of the authorship of Junius; but we must
acknowledge, if Sir Philip Francis was not the man, no other nominal
candidate for the honour has been brought forward with equal claims.
The only objection which we have ever heard to his title as author is,
his not making it in person; for he was said to be a man of such
inordinate admiration of his own powers, that he could not have kept
the secret. It has been said, too, that no fear, after the lapse of
twenty years, could have prevented its being divulged. But there are
other motives than fear which might act upon a proud and powerful
spirit. The author of a work like Junius was clearly contemptuous of
mankind, and more contemptuous in proportion to the rank of his
victims. To such a man even the excitement produced by the general
enquiry into the authorship might be a triumph in itself. Though a
solitary, it might be a high gratification to a morbid spirit of
disdain, to see himself a problem to mankind, to hear perpetual
arguments raised on his identity, and see the puzzled pens of the
pamphleteering word all busy in sketching an ideal likeness which each
fancied to be the original. If we could imagine the shade of Swift or
Shaftesbury, of Scarron or Rabelais, to walk invisibly through the
world playing its bitter and fantastic tricks in the ways of men,
stinging some, astounding others, and startling all, we perhaps would
approach nearest to the feelings which might, now and then, have
indulged the habitual scorn and stimulated the conscious power of

It has also been said that Sir Philip Francis was not equal to the
composition of those masterly letters; and it must be acknowledged
that, though he made some very powerful and pointed speeches in the
House of Commons, they wanted the penetration and the polish of
Junius. But there are several letters by Sir Philip Francis in these
volumes, which, though evidently written in the haste and
desultoriness of private correspondence, exhibit conceptions strongly
resembling the sarcastic strength and high-wrought point of Junius.

The Hastings' trial brought Francis full before the public; and we
have a letter from Burke describing one of his speeches on this
subject, which, with his usual good nature, he sent to the orator's
wife. It is dated April 20, 1787.--"My dear madam, I cannot, with all
honest appetite, or clear conscience, sit down to my breakfast, unless
I first give you an account, which will make your family breakfast as
pleasant to you, as I wish all your family meetings to be. I have the
satisfaction of telling you, that, not in my judgment only, but in
that of all who heard him, no man ever acquitted himself, on a day of
great expectation, so well as Mr Francis did yesterday. He was clear,
precise, forcible, and eloquent, in a high degree. No intricate
business was ever better unravelled, and no iniquity ever placed so
effectually to produce its natural horror and disgust. * * * * All who
heard him were delighted, except those whose mortification ought to
give pleasure to every good mind. He was two hours and a half on his
legs, and he never lost attention for a moment."

We give a curious specimen of the daring criticism which this
applauded personage now and then ventured, even on the authorship of
Burke. In 1790, Burke had prepared his celebrated work on the French
Revolution for the press early in the year, and appears to have sent
fragments of it to several of his friends. Casual circumstances
delayed the work until October. Francis's letter was written in
February. It begins--"I am sorry you should have the trouble of
sending for the printed paper you lent me yesterday, though I own I
cannot much regret even a fault of my own, that helps to delay the
publication of that paper. [This was probably a proof sheet of the
_Reflections_.] It is the proper province, and ought to be the
privilege, of an inferior to criticise and advise. The best possible
critic of the Iliad, would be, _ipso facto_, and by virtue of that
very character, incapable of being the author of it. Standing as I do
in this relation to you, you would renounce your superiority, if you
refused to be advised by me. Remember that this is one of the most
singular, that it may be the most distinguished, and ought to be one
of the most deliberate acts of your life. Your writings have hitherto
been the delight and instruction of your own country. You now
undertake to correct and instruct another nation; and your appeal in
effect is to all Europe." After then objecting to Burke's exposure of
Price and his fellow pamphleteers, as beneath the writer and his
subject, he attacks him for his panegyric on the Queen of France. He
then sneeringly asks, "Pray, sir, how long have you felt yourself so
desperately disposed to admire the ladies of Germany?" This was an
allusion to Queen Charlotte, whom Burke's particular friends had long
regarded as one of their impediments to power. He proceeds--"The
mischief you are going to do yourself, is to my apprehension,
palpable. It is visible. It will be audible. I snuff it in the wind. I
taste it already. I feel it in every sense; and so will you
hereafter." This letter certainly wants the polish of Junius, but it
has the power of bitter thought, and it sneers with practised
piquancy. Of course, a broad line is to be drawn between a work of
study and the work of the moment--between the elaborate vigour which
prunes and purifies every straggling shoot away, and exhibits its
production for a prize-show, and the careless luxuriance which suffers
the tree to throw out its shoots under no direction, but that of the
prolific power of nature. Yet the plant is the same, and though we by
no means say, that even this letter gives demonstration, yet the
arrogant ease of the style is such, as we should have expected to find
in the familiar correspondence of Junius. His letter obviously excited
in Burke a mixture of pain and indignation.

He answered it the next day in a long and eloquent vindication which
was oddly enough inclosed in a letter from his son, scarcely less than
menacing. It begins--"My dear sir, You must conceive that your letter,
combating many old ideas of my father's, and proposing many new ones,
could not fail to set his mind at work, and to make him address the
effect of those operations to you. I must, therefore, entreat you not
to draw him aside from the many and great labours he has in hand, by
_any further written communications of this kind_, which would,
indeed, be very useful, because they are valuable, if they were
conveyed at a time when there was leisure to settle opinions." Those
are hard hits at the critic, but harder were still to come. "There is
one thing of which I must inform you. It is, that my father's opinions
are never hastily adopted, and that even those ideas which have often
appeared to me only the effect of momentary heat, or casual
impression, I have afterwards found, beyond a possibility of doubt, to
be the result of systematic meditation, perhaps of years. * * * * The
thing, I say, is a paradox, but _when we talk of things superior to
ourselves_, what is not paradox?"

He strikes harder still. "When we say, that one man is wiser than
another, we allow that the wiser man forms his opinions upon grounds
and principles which, though to him justly conclusive, cannot be
comprehended and received by _him who is less wise_. To be wise, is
only to see deeper, and further, and differently _from others_."

Yet this strong rebuke, which was followed by a long letter from Burke
himself, half indignant, half argumentative, does not seem to have
disturbed the temper of Francis, proverbially petulant as he was, if
it did not rather raise his respect for both parties. He tells Burke,
in a subsequent letter, that he has looked for his work, his
_Reflections on the Revolution_, with great impatience, and read it
with studious delight. He proceeds--"My dear Mr Burke, when I took
what is vulgarly called the liberty of opposing my thoughts and wishes
to the _publication_ of yours, on the late transactions in France, I
do assure you that I was not moved so much by a difference of opinion
on the subject, as by an apprehension of the personal uneasiness
which, one way or other, I thought you would suffer by it. I know that
virtue would be useless, if it were not active, and that it can rarely
be active without exciting the most malignant of all enmity, that in
which envy predominates, and which, having no injury to complain of,
has no ostensible motive either to resent or to forgive." (How like
Junius is all this! The likeness is still stronger as it proceeds.) "I
have not yet had it in my power to read more than one third of your
book. I must taste it deliberately. The flavour is too high--the wine
is too rich; I cannot take a draught of it." In another passage he
gives a powerful sketch of popery. In speaking of the French monarchy,
and its presumed mildness in the last century, he attributes the
cessation of its severities to the European change of manners. "We do
not pillage and massacre quite so furiously as our ancestors used to
do. Why? Because these nations are more enlightened--because the
Christian religion is, _de facto_, not in force in the world! Suspect
me not of meaning the Christian religion of the _gospel_. I mean that
which was enforced, rather than taught, by priests, by bishops, and by
cardinals; which laid waste a province, and then formed a monastery;
which, after destroying a great portion of the human species,
provided, as far as it could, for the utter extinction of future
population, by instituting numberless retreats for celibacy; which set
up an ideal being called the Church, capable of possessing property of
all sorts for the pious use of its ministers, incapable of alienating,
and whose property its usufructuaries very wisely said it should be
sacrilege to invade; that religion, in short, which was practised, or
professed, and with great zeal too, by tyrants and villains of every

These volumes show, in a strong light, the energy with which Burke
watched over his party in the House of Commons, and the importance of
his guardianship. He seems to have been called on for his advice in
all great transactions, and to have watched over its interests during
the period of Fox's absence. In 1788 the mental illness of George III.
became decided, and the prospect of a regency with the Prince of Wales
at its head, awoke all the long excluded ambition of the Whigs. Fox
was at that period in Italy, and he was sent for by express to lead
the party in the assault on office. He immediately turned his face to
England, and arrived on the 24th of November, four days after the
meeting of Parliament, which had, however, immediately adjourned to
the fourth of the following month, for the purpose of ascertaining the
health of his majesty. On this occasion Burke addressed to Fox a long
and powerful letter, marking out the line which the parties should
take, giving his opinion with singular distinctness, and expressing
himself in the tone of one who felt his authority. He begins--"My dear
Fox, If I have not been to see you before this time, it was not owing
to my not having missed you in your absence, or my not having much
rejoiced in your return. But I know that you are indifferent to every
thing in friendship but the substance, and all proceedings of ceremony
have, for many years, been out of the question between you and me." In
allusion to the probable formation of a new ministry, he observes--"I
do not think that a great deal of time is allowed you. Perhaps it is
not for your interest that this state of things should continue long,
even supposing that the exigencies of government should suffer it to
remain on its present footing; but I speak without book. I remember a
story of Fitzpatrick in his American campaign, that he used to say to
the officers who were in the same tent, before they were up, that the
only meals they had to consider how they were to procure for that day,
were breakfast, dinner, and supper. I am worse off; for there are five
meals necessary, and I do not know at present how to feel secure of
one of them. The king, the prince, the Lords, the Commons, and the
People." He then urges a bold line of policy--the public examination
of the physicians, the acting independently of the ministers, and a
movement on the part of the prince worthy of his station; but which,
unhappily for the Whigs, was neither adopted by Fox, nor was
consistent with the courtly indolence of the future king. "Might it
not be better," says Burke boldly, "for the prince at once to assure
himself, to communicate the king's melancholy state by a message to
the Houses, and to desire their counsel and support in such an
exigency? It would put him forward with advantage in the eyes of the
people; it would teach them to look upon him with respect, as a person
possessed of the spirit of command; and it would, I am persuaded,
stifle a hundred cabals, both in parliament and elsewhere, which, if
they were cherished by his apparent remissness and indecision, would
produce to him a vexatious and disgraceful regency and reign."

Lord Thurlow seems, in some way or other, to have given offence to
every remarkable man of his day. At once crafty and insolent, he
toiled for power with an indefatigable labour, as he indulged his
sense of authority by an intolerable arrogance. Among the multitude of
distinguished men whom this legal savage irritated, was Sir William
Jones, the Orientalist. He thus writes to Burke, "I heard last night,
with surprise and affliction, that the *Thêrion* (the wild-beast--Thurlow)
was to continue in office. Now, I can assure you, from my own positive
knowledge, and I know him well, that though he hates our species in
general, yet his particular hatred is directed against none more
virulently, than against Lord North, and the friends of the late
excellent marquis. He will, indeed, make fair promises, and enter into
engagements, because he is the most interested of mortals; but his
ferocity in opposing the Contractors' Bill, may convince you how
little he thinks himself bound by his _compacts_. He will take a
delight in obstructing all your plans, and will never say, 'Aha, I am
satisfied,' until he has overthrown you. In fact, you will not be
ministers, but tenants by copy of court-roll at the will of the lord.
If you remove him, and put the seal in commission, his natural
indolence is such, that he will give you little trouble, because he
will give himself none; but, if he continue among you, his great joy
will be, and you may rely upon my intelligence, to attack the reports
of your select committee, to support all those whom you condemn, and
to condemn all the measures which you may support. In a word, if
_Caliban_ remain in power, there will be no Prospero in this
fascinated island."

At this period, Jones was panting for an Indian judgeship, which he
obtained shortly after, and proceeded to Calcutta. It may be doubted,
whether his career would not have been happier and loftier had he
remained at home. His indefatigable diligence must have soon conquered
the difficulties of legal knowledge, and his early intercourse with
the leading men of his time, would, in the common course of things,
have raised him to distinction. He died at forty-seven, too early to
accomplish any work of solid utility, but not too early to spread his
reputation through Europe, for an extraordinary proficiency in the
languages of India. Later scholars speak lightly of this multifarious
knowledge, and nothing can be more probable, than that attainment of
_many_ languages, with any approach to their fluent use, is beyond the
power of man. But his diligence was exemplary, his memory retentive,
and his understanding accomplished by classical knowledge; with those
qualities, much might be done in any pursuit; and though modern
orientalists protest against the superficiality of his acquirements,
their variety has been admitted, and still remain unrivaled.

Jones had his fits of despondency, like less fortunate men, and
concludes his letter, by intimating a speculation, not unlike that of
Burke himself in his earlier time:--"As for me, I should either settle
as a lawyer at Philadelphia, whither I have been invited, or retire on
my small independence to Oxford; if I had not in England a very strong
attachment, and many dear friends."

One of Burke's most anxious efforts was to make his son Richard a
statesman. The efforts were unsuccessful. Richard was a good son, and
willing to second the desires of his father; but nature had decided
otherwise, and he remained honest and amiable, but without advancing a
step. Burke first sent him on a kind of semi-embassy to the
headquarters of the emigrant princes at Coblentz, and he there
carried on a semi-negotiation. But success was not to be the fate of
any thing connected with these unfortunate men, and failure was
scarcely a demerit, from its universality. The next experiment was
sending him as a species of private envoy to the Irish Roman
Catholics; but there his failure was even more conspicuous, though
perhaps it was equally inevitable. Burke's imagination was at once his
unrivaled gift and his perpetual impediment. Like a lover, his eye was
no sooner caught, than he invested its charmer with all conceivable
attractions. This susceptibility made him irresistible in a cause
worthy of his powers, but plunged him into difficulties where the
object was inferior to his capacity, and unworthy of his heart. His
early admiration of Fox, of Whiggism, and Reform, was the rapture of
an innamorato. He could discover no defects; he disdained all doubts
as a dishonourable scepticism, and challenged all obstacles, as
evidences of his energy, and trophies of his success. His prosecution
of Hastings, a bold piece of patriot honesty, rapidly fermented into a
splendid blunder. The culprit, who ought to have been tried at the Old
Bailey, was elevated into a national criminal; and the assembled
majesty of the legislature was summoned to settle a case in the lapse
of years, which would have been decided in a day by "twelve good men
and true," in a box in the city. It was in this ardour of spirit that
he adopted the Romish cause. No man knew more thoroughly the
measureless value of an established church, the endless, causeless,
and acrid bitterness of sectarianism, and the mixture of unlearned
doctrine and factious politics which constitute their creeds. Against
Popery in power, Italian, German, or French, in the days of Louis
Quatorze, he would have pledged himself on the ancestral altar to
perpetual hostility. But the romance of popery in Ireland struck his
fancy; he saw nothing but a figure drooping with long travel in
pursuit of privilege; a pious pilgrim, or exhausted giant. Sitting in
his closet at Beconsfield, he pictured the downcast eyes and
dishevelled hair; the limbs loaded with fetters, and the hands help up
in remediless supplication. He grew enamoured of his portraiture, and
without waiting a moment to enquire whether it in the slightest degree
resembled the reality, he volunteered the championship of Irish
popery. His son was commissioned to represent him in this disastrous
connexion. But Richard, once on the spot, was instantly and completely
undeceived. Instead of his "fair penitent," he found a brawny,
bustling Thalestris, wild as the winds, and fierce with the
intoxication of impunity. The mild temperament of the plodding
missionary was baffled, burlesqued, and thrown into fever: he laboured
with humble diligence, but laboured in vain; he talked of
conciliation, while popery talked of conquest; he proposed concession,
while faction shouted triumph; and, when he suggested the suppression
of the old and sharp acerbities of the sects, he was answered by
universal laughter.

Burke, awakened at last to the truth of things, recalled him, in a
long despatch, concluding in these words--"If you find the Roman
Catholics _irreconcilable with each other_, and that government is
resolved to side with them, or rather, to direct those who _would
betray the rest_, then, my clear opinion is, that you ought not to
wait the playing the _last card of a losing hand_. It would be
disreputable to you. But when you have given your instruction to the
_very few_ in whom you can place confidence for their _future
temperate_ and persevering proceeding, that you will then, with a
_cool_ and _steady dignity_, take your leave." So ended the attempt of
this man of genius and sensibility to guide an Irish faction in the
paths of public tranquillity. He had forgotten that clamour was their
livelihood, and grievance their stock in trade. In the simplicity of a
noble spirit, he had eloquently implored quacks to take their degrees
and follow practice, and solemnly advised travelling showmen not to
disturb the public ear by the braying of their cracked trumpets, and
he succeeded accordingly. Great as he unquestionably was, he could not
make bricks without straw; and after wondering at the perversity of
fortune, and lavishing his indignant soul on a hundred splendid
perplexities touching the nature of politicians in general, and of
Irish politicians in particular, he gave up Ireland as a problem too
profound for his analysis, and to be postponed till the discovery of
the philosopher's stone.

Richard remained in Ireland for a few months, until he saw the Romish
petition thrown out in the House of Commons by an immense majority. He
then returned to London, and with the rather forward air of an
accredited minister, applied for an interview with the ministry. He
was answered by a prompt note from Dundas, sarcastically informing him
that there was a viceroy in Ireland, whom his Majesty's government had
sent there for the purpose of transacting public business; that they
considered him a very proper person for the purpose, and that, in
consequence, they saw no positive necessity for managing Irish affairs
through any other. "If," says this quiet rebuff, "any of his Majesty's
Catholic subjects have any request or representation which they wish
to lay before his Majesty, they cannot be at a loss for the means of
doing so, in a manner _much_ more _proper_ and AUTHENTIC, than through
the channel of private conversation. Having stated this to you, I
shall forbear _making any observations on the contents_ of your

On the 2d of August, 1794, his favourite son died, and Burke received
the blow with the feelings of one, who regarded the hand of destiny as
uplifted against him. His excessive sensibility was agonized by an
event melancholy in its nature to all, but which a wise man will
regard as the will of the Great Disposer, and a religious man will
believe to be a chastisement in mercy.

Burke was both wise and religious, but his feelings habitually
bewildered him. All the images of desolation rushed across his
creative mind. He was "an uprooted tree," a stream whose course was
swallowed up by an earthquake, a wanderer in the wilderness of the
world, a man struck down by a thunderbolt! From those fearful
fantasies, however, the emergency of public affairs soon summoned him
to the exercise of his noble powers; and he gave his country and the
world, perhaps the most powerful, certainly the most superb and
imaginative, of all his works, the fiery pamphlets on the "regicide

On this unhappy occasion for the condolence of friendship, he received
many tributes; but we cannot help quoting one from the celebrated
Grattan, which, though characterized by the peculiarities of his
style, seems to us a model of tenderness and beauty.

                                                  "_August 26, 1794_.

     "My Dear Sir,

     "May I be permitted to sympathize where I cannot presume to

     "The misfortunes of your family are a public care. The late one
     is to me a personal loss. I have a double right to affliction,
     and to join my grief, and to express my deep and cordial concern
     at that hideous stroke which has deprived me of a friend, you of
     a son, and your country of a promise that would communicate to
     posterity the living blessings of your genius and your virtue.
     Your friends may now condole with you, that you should have now
     no other prospect of immortality than that which is common to
     Cicero and to Bacon; such as never can be interrupted while there
     exists the beauty of order, or the love of virtue, and can fear
     no death except what barbarity may impose on the globe.

     "If the same strength of reason which could persuade any other
     man to bear any misfortune, can administer to the proprietor a
     few drops of comfort, we may hope that your condition admits of
     relief. The greatest possible calamity which can be imposed on
     man, we hope may be supported by the greatest human
     understanding. For comfort, your friends must refer you to the
     exercise of its faculties, and to the contemplation of its
     gigantic proportions--_Dura solatia_--of which nothing can
     deprive you while you live. And, though death should mow down
     every thing about you, and plunder you of your domestic
     existence, you would still be the owner of a conscious
     superiority in life, and immortality after it.--I am, my dear
     sir, with the highest respect and regard,

                               "Yours most truly,
                                    "H. Grattan."

We must hastily conclude.

The threatened ruin of Europe awakened Burke from this reverie at the
tomb of his son. He required strong stimulants, and in the French
Revolution, and the shock of nations, he found them. He now put the
trumpet to his lips, and

  "Blew a blast so loud and dread,
  Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe."

His appeal pierced to the heart of the nation. England had never
_succumbed_, but an indefatigable faction had played every art of
quackery to set her faculties asleep, with the appearance of having
her eyes more open than ever. Whiggism, by its tricks, was
_mesmerising_ the common sense of the country. From this adventitious
torpor Burke recalled her to her natural temperament, restored sight
to her eyes, taught her to resume the sword, and sent her forth to
commence that career of victory which was consummated in the

His advocacy of the Popish question was one of his romances. Popery
was his "Jane Shore," fainting and feeble, wandering through the
highways with those delicate limbs which had once been arrayed in silk
and velvet, and soliciting the "charity of all good Christians" to her
fallen condition. His nature was chivalric, and he at once unsheathed
his sword for so affecting a specimen of penitence and pauperism; but
he soon recovered from this hazardous compassion, and left the pilgrim
to fitter protectors. But if he had lived till our day, what would
Burke have thought of his delusion now? with what self-ridicule must
he not have looked upon the burlesque grievances and the profitable
privations? what an instructive lesson must not his powerful scorn of
charlatanry have given to us, on the display of the whole system of
sleight-of-hand, the popular cups and balls, the low dexterity and the
rabble plunder? or, to sum all in one word, the reduction of all the
claims, the rights, and the efforts of a party pronouncing itself
national, to the collection of an annual tribute; the whole huge and
rattling machinery of popular agitation, grinding simply for the
"rint." How would this lion of the desert, shaking the forest with his
roar, have looked on Jackoo, going round, shaking the penny box! Woe
be to Jackoo if he had come within reach of his talons!

The volumes, of which we have given an account altogether too brief
and too rapid for their importance, deserve to be studied, as
containing some of the richest transcripts of the richest mind of
England. Letters from various eminent persons diversify them, but the
staple is Burke. If their style seldom rises to the elated ardour and
buoyant strength of his speeches and pamphlets, they exhibit all his
wisdom; they display the entire depth of that current which public
difficulties and obstructions swelled into a cataract. We have the
image of Burke reposing, but still we have all the proportion, all the
dignity, and all the colossal grandeur of the form, ruling senates,
and marshaling the mind of nations for the greatest of their fields.

Various notes illustrate the volumes, and the edition does every
credit to Lord Fitzwilliam and General Bourke.



A heavy snow-storm, which confined Chesterton and myself pretty much
to the walls of the college for the next few days, prevented us from
paying our friend Brown a visit in his new quarters so soon after his
installation as we intended. When we did succeed in wading there upon
the commencement of a thaw, we found him rather sulky. The sweets of
retirement had become somewhat doubtful; the Grange was certainly not
the place one would have deliberately chosen to be snowed up in; and
so far John was unfortunate in his first week of commencing hermit.

We found him in full possession of his easy chair, with Bruin extended
on the only piece of carpeting in the room, which did duty as a
hearth-rug. There was a volume of Sophocles open upon the table, with
a watch on one side of it; the Quarterly Review had not at that time
taken upon itself to enlighten undergraduates as to their real state
of mind, and the secrets of successful reading, or there would
doubtless have been the miniature of some fair girl on the other.
(What the effect of such "companions to the classics" may be in
general, I perhaps am no judge. I detest "fair girls," in the first
place; but I have not yet forgotten, if the reader has, that a pair of
_dark_ eyes were the ruin of three months' reading in my own case.)
However, there was no pictured face, except the watch-face, to cheer
the studies of John Brown; and, perhaps, for that reason, our friend
had evidently been asleep. How very glad he was to see us, was
betrayed immediately by the copious abuse which he showered on us for
not having come before.

"Why, what an unreasonable fellow you are!" said Chesterton; "If you
wanted to see us, why on earth could'nt you come up to college? We can
manage to keep the cold out there, quite as well as in your old castle
here, I fancy; and as neither of us are web-footed any more than
yourself, I don't really see why we are to do all the dabbling about
this precious weather."

"Oh! I forgot; you have not seen the little note of remembrance which
our darling dons were kind enough to send me before they broke up for
the vacation?"

"No--what do you mean?"

"Oh! I'll find it for you in a moment." And he produced a letter
sealed with the college arms, which ran as follows:--

                               "---- _Coll. Common Room_,
                                         _Dec_. --, 18--.

     "The principal and fellows regret to be under the unpleasant
     necessity of intimating to Mr Brown, that, although they do not
     feel called upon to notice his having fixed his residence in the
     immediate neighbourhood of Oxford--a step, which, under the
     circumstances, they cannot look upon as otherwise than
     ill-judged--he must consider himself strictly prohibited from
     appearing within the college walls at any time during the ensuing

"Now there's a civil card by way of P.P.C. Don't you call that a
spiteful concoction? Silver and Hodgett's last--and worthy of them. So
now, unless you want me to be rusticated for a term or two, you need
not be over-civil in your invitations. But I'll tell you what you
shall do: Hawthorne shall send over that box of Silvas he had just
opened, (if they are good, you shall order some more,) and I'll keep
that Westphalia you talked about here, if you like, Chesterton; and
then you may come here to breakfast, lunch, or supper, if you
please--but mind, I won't give you dinners; I'm not going to have Mrs
Nutt put upon--or myself either."

We agreed to the terms with some modifications, and proceeded with
some interest to inspect John's domestic arrangements. They were
comfortable, though in some points peculiar. A sort of stand in one
corner, covered with red baise, which supported a plaster bust of our
most gracious majesty, and gave an air of mock grandeur to the
apartment, proved, upon nearer inspection, to be nothing more or less
than a barrel of Hall and Tawney's ale, an old-fashioned cabinet,
once gay with lacquered gold and colours, which the industrious
rubbings of Mrs Nutt and her hand-maid were fast effacing--the
depository perhaps of carefully penned love-missives, and broidered
gloves, jewels, and perfumes, and suchlike shreds and patches of
feminine taste or trickery, in other times--now served as a
resting-place for the heterogeneous treasures of a bachelor's private
cupboard. Cigars and captain's biscuits, open letters and unpaid bills,
packs of cards and lecture note-books; odd gloves, odd pence, and odd
things of all kinds--these filled the drawers: while, from the lower
recesses, our friend, in course of time, produced a decanter of port
and a Stilton. There was an old-fashioned sofa, one of that
stiff-backed, hard-hearted generation, which no man thinks of sitting
down upon twice, and three or four of those comfortable high-backed
arm-chairs, in which, when once fairly seated, in pleasant company,
one never wishes to get up again; a round oak table occupied the space
opposite the fire, and another in one corner held the few books which
formed John Brown's studies at the present. One window looked into the
wet meadows by which the house was nearly surrounded, and the other
commanded a view of the square inclosure before mentioned as now
forming the farm-yard--in former days the inner court of the mansion.

"Why, Brown, old fellow, you're quite a lively look-out here," said
Chesterton, who had for some minutes been contemplating, apparently
with much interest, the goings on below. "I wish they kept pigs and
chickens in the college quadrangle. I declare, for the last three
days, in this horrid snow, I've watched for hours out of my window,
(that fellow Hawthorne has taken to reading, and sports oak against me
till luncheon time,) and I hav'n't seen a moving creature. I began to
fancy myself up in the Great St Bernard among the monks; and when that
brute of yours came up and howled at my door the other day, I almost
expected to find him carrying a frozen child on his back, and got out
the cherry brandy to be ready for the worst--didn't I, Hawthorne?"

"I found you one day with Bruin shivering before the fire, and the
cherry brandy on the table, certainly."

"Well, that's the explanation of it, I assure you. But you must have
found it precious dull shut up here by yourself, Brown?"

"Why, yes--rather--sometimes--in spite of the pigs and poultry. Their
proceedings are rather monotonous. I feed that brood of chickens,
which have taken upon themselves to come into the world this unnatural
weather, with bread-crumbs out of my window twice a-day. Ah! I see the
old hen has only four to-day; one is gone since yesterday, and one the
day before; there's consumption in the family, that's plain; and they
have always wet feet; I want Mrs Nutt to make them worsted socks, and
to let me put Burgundy pitch-plasters on their throats, but she

"But come," said Chesterton, "suppose you give us some lunch, Brown;
'_prome reconditum Cæcubum_'--(I'm getting desperately classical;)
that is, being freely translated--lift up that red baise drapery of
yours, and let's taste the tap."

The tap was tasted, and approved of; so was the Stilton: and then we
sat over the fire for an hour, and smoked some of the Silvas: then we
paid a visit to Mrs Nutt in her _penetralia_, and astonished her with
our acquaintance with dairy matters; hazarded a criticism or two upon
the pigs, which were well received, and were not so fortunate in our
attempts to cultivate an intimacy with the incorruptible Boxer; and
then set off on our return to Oxford, persuading Brown to start with
us, as the afternoon was fine, in order to freshen his faculties by a
stroll in the High Street.

Shorn, indeed, of all the glories of a full term, in which it had so
lately shone, and looking doubly cold, cheerless, and deserted, in all
the sloppy dirtiness of half-melted snow, was that never-equalled, and
never-to-be-forgotten street! which the stranger gazes on with
somewhat of an envious admiration, the freshman with an awful kind of
delight--which the departing bachelor of arts quits with a
half-concealed regret, and which the occasionally-returning master
re-enters with feelings which are perhaps a mixture of all these; a
stranger's admiration, an emancipated school-boy's delight, and a
regret, either mellowed by passing years into a tender recollection,
or blunted into indifference by altered habits, or embittered by
severed ties and disappointed hopes. We strolled once up and down its
long sweep, but there was nothing to invite a longer promenade.
Cigar-dealers stood at their shop-doors, or leaned over their
counters, with their hands in their breeches-pockets, smoking their
own genuine Havannahs in desperate independence: here a livery-stable
keeper, with a couple of questionable friends, rattled a tandem over
the stones, as if such things never were let out at two guineas a-day:
then a fishmonger, whose wide front, but a week before, teemed with
such quantity and quality, as spoke audibly to every passer-by of
bursary dinners and passing suppers, was now soliciting a customer to
take his choice of three lank cod-fish, ticketed at so much per lb.
Billiard-rooms were silent, save where a solitary marker practised
impossible strokes: print-shops exhibited a dull uniformity of stale
engravings; and the innumerable horde of mongrel puppies of all
varieties, that, particularly towards the end of term, are dragged
about three or four in a string, and recommended as real Blenheims,
genuine King Charles's, or "one of old Webb's black and tan, real good
uns for rats"--had disappeared from public life, to come out again,
possibly, as Oxford sausages.

In this kind of way the three first weeks of the vacation passed over
without any very notable occurences. We were quiet enough in
college--there is no fun in two men kicking up a row for the amusement
of each other; even in the eye of the law three are required to
constitute a riot; so, on the strength of our good characters, albeit
somewhat recent of acquisition, we dined two or three times with the
fellows who were still in residence, and who, to do them justice, sank
a point or so from the usual stiffness of the common room, and made
our evenings agreeable enough. We certainly flattered ourselves, that
if they found us in turbot and champagne, we contributed at least our
share to the more intellectual part of the entertainment; we kept
within due bounds, of course, and never overstepped that respect which
young men are usually the more willing to pay to age and station the
less rigidly it is exacted; but we made the old oak pannels ring with
such hearty laughter as they seldom heard; and the pictures of
founders and benefactors might have longed to come down from their
frames to welcome even the shadow of those good old times when sound
learning and hearty good fellowship were not, as now, hereditary
enemies in Oxford. If my graver companions, from the calm dignity of
collegiate office, deign to look back upon the evenings thus spent
with two undergraduates in a Christmas vacation, when, unbending from
the formal and conventional dulness of term and its duties, they
interchanged with us anecdote and jest, and mingled with the sparkling
imaginations of youth the reminiscences of riper years--I am sure they
will have no cause to regret their share in those not ungraceful
saturnalia, even though they may remember that the hour at which we
separated was not always what we used to call "canonical."

We paid our friend almost daily visits in his banishment. The history
of the expedition was generally the same; a walk out, a lunch, a cigar
or two, a chat with farmer Nutt or his wife, a review of the last
litter of pigs, or an enquiry as to the increasing muster-roll of
lambs. We did not make much progress in farming matters. Chesterton
was the most enterprising, and succeeded in ploughing a furrow in that
kind of line which heralds call wavy, and would, as he declared, have
made a very fair hand of thrashing, if he could but have hit the sheaf
oftener, and his own head not quite so often. The most important
events that took place during this time at the Grange, were the
installation of a successor to the barrel in the corner, and the
catching of an enormous rat, who had escaped poison and traps to be
snapped up in broad daylight, in an unguarded moment by Bruin. Still
John Brown declared that on the whole he got on very well; we all read
moderately; the examination was too near to be trifled with, and an
occasional gallop with the harriers made our only really idle days.

We had not, since our first visit, heard John recur at all to the
subject of the Dean; and to say the truth, we began to hope for his
sake, that he had given up a game which, however much longer it might
be contested, had evidently begun to be a losing one on his part. But
we were mistaken. We found him one morning in high spirits, and
evidently in possession of some joke which he was anxious to impart.

"Shut the door and sit down," said he, before we were fairly within
his premises. "I have a letter to show you."

"From the Dean?" (There was something in his manner, which made us
sure that personage was concerned in some way.)

"No; but from his good mamma--from dear old Mrs Hodgett; you didn't
know we were correspondents? Why, I wrote to her, you see, to ask
where she lived now that she had resigned business, as I would not on
any account have given up so valuable an acquaintance; and I begged
her, at the same time, to order me a dozen pair of stockings from
Mogg. (I assure you they were capital articles I had from him at
first, and he's a very honest fellow; if you've sent that sparkling
Moselle here to-day that you promised, Master Harry, we'll drink
Mogg's very good health.) Well, I wrote to her, and here is her
answer. You see Hodgett has been poisoning the old lady's mind."

I cannot give all John Brown's comments upon worthy Mrs Hodgett's
epistle, without doing him great injustice in the recital; but here
the contents are verbatim.

     "Dear Sir,--Your favour of last week came safe to hand, and was
     very glad to find you was well, as it leaves us at present.
     Concerning your calling here next journey, am sorry to say shall
     be from home at that time. Sir, I should have been very glad to
     see you, but my son says you are not of an undeniable character,
     which, in a widow woman's establishment, must be first
     consideration. That was what I said to Mr Spriggins. Betsy, my
     daughter, as you know, is to be married to him next month. I
     don't think he is quite so steady as some, in regard that he must
     have his cigar and his tilberry on Sundays--John Mogg never did;
     but we can't all be Moggs in this world, or there wouldn't be no
     _great failures_.

     "S. Hodgett, in declining business, returns thanks for all past
     favours, and remain, Dear Sir,

                    "Your obedient servant,
                           "J. Spriggins,
                           (late S. Hodgett.)

     "P.S.--I am afraid college is a sad place for such young men as
     is not steady. Mrs Hicks, our great butcher's lady, told me that,
     when her son, who was a remarkable good lad, came home from
     Cambridge college after being there only two months, they found a
     short pipe in his best coat pocket, and he called his father
     'governor,' which, as Mrs H. said, he never was, and he wouldn't
     wear his nightcap."

"Well," said Chesterton, when we had read this original document two
or three times over, "it doesn't seem quite usual for a man to sign
his own testimonials, especially when, as in Mr Spriggins's case, they
are not the most flattering. Do you suppose he really wrote this, or
signed it by mistake, or what is it?

"Neither one nor the other. Don't you see, the old lady, in declining
the linen-drapery, merges her own identity in that of her successor?
There's no such firm as 'Hodgett' now, it's 'Spriggins,' and she
thinks it necessary to sign accordingly. Here's the card enclosed."

"Well, there's one thing very certain, that Mrs Hodgett declines doing
business with you in future, John."

"Yes; and I'm rather annoyed at it. I meant to have got Mogg to come
down and see me at Oxford, and should have asked the Dean to meet him.
I don't see how he could have refused; any way, I think I could have
paid him in full for his late good offices. Well, I am not quite sure
now, when I've taken my degree, that I sha'n't go and see the old lady
again, and win her heart by paying a wedding-visit to the Spriggins's.
I'll take you with me, if you like, Hawthorne, and introduce you as
Lord some-body-or-other, an intimate friend of the dean's--or stay,
Chesterton will make the best lord of the two. Look with what supreme
disgust he is eyeing poor Mrs Nutt's best wine-glasses. Come now, I
think that vine-leaf pattern is quite Horatian; and if you turn up
your nose at that, Master Harry, you shall have your wine out of a
tea-cup next time you come here. Draw the cork of that Moselle, and
then I have something else to tell you. Do either of you men care
about shooting, or can you shoot?"

"Why, I flatter myself I can," said Chesterton. "I'll bet you I'll hit
two eggs right and left, nine tines out of ten, as often as you like
to throw them up."

"I don't call that shooting; and you had better not let Mrs Nutt hear
you talk of breaking eggs right and left in any such extravagant
manner. But what I was going to say is this, that some friend of old
Nutt's has some ground near here for which he has the deputation, and
I have been offered a day's shooting there, for myself and any friend
I like to bring. Now, I don't shoot--though I remember the days when I
was a dead pot-shot at a blackbird; but if either of you are
sportsmen, or fancy you are, which amounts to much the same thing,
why, you can have a day at this place if you like, and I will go with
you on condition you don't carry your guns cocked. Mind, I can't
promise what sort of sport you will have, as it is too near Oxford not
to be pretty well poached over; but you can try."

Shooting over a man's ground without leave (especially if in the face
of a "notice" to the contrary) is decidedly the best sport, but
unfortunately one of those stolen delights which only schoolboys and
poachers can with any sort of conscience enjoy. Shooting with leave
comes next, but is immeasurably inferior in point of piquancy.
Shooting in one's own preserves at birds which have been reared and
turned out, and cost you on the average about five guineas per brace,
is decidedly the most fashionable, and consequently--the dullest. A
day's shooting of any kind about Oxford, was a rare privilege,
confined chiefly to those who were fortunate enough to be fellows of
St ----, or to have an acquaintance among the surrounding squirearchy.
True, that there were some enterprising spirits, who would gallop out
some three or four miles to a corner of Lord A----'s preserves, give
their horses in charge to a trusty follower, and after firing half a
dozen shots, bag their two or three brace of pheasants, remount and
dash off to Oxford, before the keepers, whom the sound of guns in
their very sanctuary was sure to draw to the spot, could have any
chance of coming up with them. But such exploits were deservedly
rather reprobated than otherwise, even when judged by the
under-graduate scale of morality; and even in the parties concerned,
were the offspring rather of a Robin-Hood-like lawlessness than a
genuine spirit of poaching.

We of course were delighted with the proposition which would have had
quite sufficient attraction for us at any time; but coming in the
dulness of vacation, it was an offer to be jumped at. "What game is
there in this place?" said Chesterton. "Is there any cover shooting?"

"Oh, I can't tell you any thing about the place! It's about a mile
off, but I never saw it. There's a good deal of ground to go over, I

"What shall we do for dogs?"

"Mrs Nutt will lend you Boxer, I daresay; and Bruin is a capital hand
at putting up water-rats."

"Stuff! I can borrow some dogs, though. And now, what day shall it

The day was fixed, the dogs procured, the occupant of the property was
to send a man to meet us and show us the ground, and it was settled
that we were to come to breakfast at the farm at half-past seven
precisely, and make a long day of it. Much to his disgust, we roused
the deputy porter from his bed at seven on a raw foggy morning; and
with a lad leading the dogs, and carrying guns and ammunition, we made
our way to Farmer Nutt's. We were proceeding up-stairs, as usual, to
Brown's apartment, when we heard our friend's voice hailing us from
the "house," as the large hall was called which the farmer and his
wife used as a kind of superior kitchen. There we found him snugly
seated by a glorious fire, superintending his hostess in the slicing
and broiling of a piece of ham such as Oxfordshire and Berkshire
farm-houses may well pride themselves upon; while a large pile of
crisp brown toast was basking in front of the hearth, supported on a
round brass footman. It was a sight which might have given a man an
appetite at any time, but, after a two-mile walk on a cold winter's
morning, it was like a glimpse of paradise.

"Here," said Brown--"here's breakfast, old fellows. Come and make your
bows to Mrs Nutt, who is the very pattern of breakfast makers, and fit
to concoct tea for the Emperor of China. Ah! if ever I marry, Mrs
Nutt, it shall be somebody who is just like you."

Mrs Nutt laughed merrily, and welcomed us with many curtsies, and
hopes that we should find things comfortable; and when the worthy
farmer, after a brief apology, sat down with us, and the strong black
tea and rich cream were duly amalgamated, what a breakfast we did
make! There was not much conversation; but such a hissing and
frizzling of ham upon the gridiron, such a crumping of toast and
rattling of knives, forks, cups and saucers, surely five people seldom
made. We were hungry enough; and our hospitable entertainers were so
pressing in their attentions, that we caught ourselves eating
plum-cake with broiled ham, honey with fresh-laid eggs, and taking
gulps of strong tea and sips of raspberry-brandy alternately. We bore
up against it all, however, wonderfully; the prospect of a long day's
walk put headache and indigestion out of the question, and we were
beginning to think of moving when certain ominous preparations on the
part of our hostess attracted our attention. A hot slice of toast
having been saturated with brandy, she proceeded, to our undisguised
amazement, to pour upon it the richest and thickest cream her dairy
could produce, and to cover this again with sundry wavy lines of
treacle. This was the _bonne bouche_ with which, in her part of the
world, Devonshire I think she said, a breakfast to be perfect must
always conclude. Start not, delicate reader, until you have had an
opportunity of trying this remarkable compound; but take my word for
it, it only wants a French name to make it a first-rate sweetmeat. We
too regarded it at first with fear and trembling; tasted it out of
courtesy to the fair compoundress, and finally, like Oliver Twist,
asked for more.

"Now these gentlemen know what a breakfast is, Mr Nutt," said John;
"but I am afraid we can't introduce your good wife's receipt into
college; our cows give nothing but skim-milk. Well, now we had better
be off, if you mean to have any shooting."

Off we set accordingly, and had to trudge a mile or so before we got
into our preserves. There were some not unpromising covers; the lad
who was to be our guide professed some vague reminiscences of having
seen pheasants there "a bit ago;" and there was no question as to a
hare having been started so lately as yesterday morning. We began our
day, therefore, with somewhat sanguine expectations, which, however,
every subsequent half-hour's progress gradually dispelled. We tumbled
out of one deep ditch into another, scrambled perseveringly through
brambles and brushwood, saw places where pheasants _ought_ to have
been, and places where they had been, but never saw a bird except a
jack-snipe in the distance. The only sport we had was in the untiring
energy of the lad already mentioned, who, long after the dogs had
given it up as a bad job, continued to beat every bush as diligently
as at first starting, and kept up a form of hortatory interjections
addressed to the invisible game, with a hopeful perseverance which was
really enviable. One satisfaction we had; towards the close of the day
we started _the_ hare from a bush which had certainly been tried at
least twice before; she fell victim to a platoon fire of four barrels;
the second, I believe, brought her down, but we were anxious to have
all the shots we could get. And, in truth, there was some credit in
killing her, for Mr Nutt, to whom we presented her, declared that she
was so tough, he wondered how the shots ever got through her skin.

It takes something more serious than a bad day's sport to damp
youthful spirits; and upon our return we found the good farmer's wife
much more annoyed at our failure than ourselves. "Why, the chap as has
the deputation told my master he had killed ten brace of pheasants
there this season!" He killed the last he could find before he sent
us there, no doubt. Nothing dispirited, we sat down to a leg of
mutton, which Brown had so far departed from his household economy as
to order for us at six, and enjoyed our evening as thoroughly as if we
had been a triple impersonation of Colonel Hawker in point of
successful sportmanship. Nor was it until after the second bottle of
port that we began to accuse each other of being sleepy.

"Well," said I at last, "it is about time for us to be off; it wants
but three minutes of half-past eleven, and we shall have sharp work of
it now to get into college by twelve. What sort of a night is it?"

The shutters of the sitting-room were closed, and I stepped into the
bed-room adjoining in order to look out. The window opened into the
court-yard; the moon was shining pretty brightly in spite of the fog,
and I was just turning round to remark that we should have a dry walk
home, when I saw two figures steal quietly across the yard, apparently
from the gateway, and disappear in one of the outhouses. It was too
late for any of the men about the farm to be out, in all probability;
I was certain neither of the two figures was Farmer Nutt himself, so I
quietly closed the door between the sitting and bed rooms, in order
that no light might be seen, and watched the spot where I had lost
sight of them. In a few seconds, I distinctly saw a third man come
over the yard-gates, (which were secured inside at night,) and after
apparently reconnoitring for a moment or two, move in the same
direction as the others. I returned at once to the room where I had
left Brown and Chesterton, closing the bed-room door hastily and
noiselessly, and motioning them to be silent.

"I say, Hawthorne, what's up?" said Harry Chesterton, pausing, with a
parting cigar half-lighted.

I confess I was somewhat flurried, and my account of what I had seen
was not the most distinct.

"Oh!" said Chesterton, "it's some of the girl's sweethearts, I dare
say; let's go down and have 'em out, Brown--shall we?"

Brown shook his head.

"Put out the lights," said I.

We did so, and then opened the shutters of the sitting-room window. We
had hardly done so when the bright flash of a lantern was visible from
the opposite side of the yard. For a few minutes we could see nothing
else, and were obliged to hide carefully behind the shutters to avoid
being noticed from below.

"Is that old Nutt?" said I.

Brown thought not. He never knew him carry a lantern.

At that moment the light disappeared, and in a few seconds we heard a
loud knocking at the back-door.

"That must be the farmer come home," said I.

"No," said Brown, looking carefully into the yard, where we could now
plainly distinguish at least three persons, and overhear voices in a
low tone--"No; old Nutt's brown greatcoat would cover all three of
those fellows."

"What stall we do," said Chesterton, seizing his double-barrel, which
stood in the corner. "Shall we open the window and threaten to fire?"

"With an empty gun?" said Brown: "no, no, that won't do. Not but what
they would run away fast enough, perhaps; but I think, if they really
are come to attack the house, we ought not to let them off so easily.
What say you, Hawthorne?"

"Certainly not; but they can hardly be housebreakers, or they would
not keep knocking at the door," said I, as the sounds were repeated
more loudly than before.

"I don't know that; every body about here is perfectly aware that old
Nutt is gone to Woodstock fair; and they might give a pretty good
guess, even supposing they did not watch him, that he would not be
home till late; and if Mrs Nutt or any of the servants are fools
enough to open the door, it's an easier way of getting in than
breaking it open. However, there's no time to be lost; here's a box of
lucifers; come into this dark passage, you two, and get a candle
lighted, while I go and try to get up Mrs Nutt. I can find my way in
the dark."

"By Jove, Brown," said Chesterton and myself in the same breath, "you
sha'n't go about the house by yourself--we'll come with you."

"And break your necks down some of the old staircases; or, at all
events, make row enough to let your friends below know that there's
somebody moving in this part of the house. No, just keep quiet where
you are--there's good fellows--and take care not to show the light."
And taking off his shoes, Brown proceeded along the old passages,
which seemed to creak more than usual out of very spitefulness, into
the unknown regions where lay the unconscious Mrs Nutt.

Having got a light, after the usual number of scrapings with the
lucifers, we were awaiting his return with some impatience, when a
third and more violent series of knocks at the door were followed by
the sound of a female voice. Concealing the light, we crept to the
window of the sitting-room, whence we could now distinguish only one
figure standing by the door, with whom Mrs Nutt appeared to be holding
a communication from a window above.

"Who's there? What do you want?"

"It's me with a note from Master Nutt, missus. I don't think he's
a-coming home to-night."

"Where did you bring it from? Where is he?"

"He were at the Bear at Woodstock when I saw him."

"Well, wait a bit till I get a light, and I'll come down."

In another minute we were joined by Brown; so quietly did he step,
that in our absorbing interest in the conversation in the yard, we
were both somewhat startled at his sudden appearance.

"Well, Brown," said Chesterton, "now what shall we do? I'll put a load
in this, however," and he proceeded to the passage, where there was
less risk of the light betraying us, in order to do so.

"Now," said Brown, "if we can but get that fellow once into the house,
we'll have him at all events. We had better all come down-stairs
quietly. If we can only persuade Mrs Nutt to come with us to speak to
him while we open the door, depend upon it we shall trap him; but
she's in a terrible way, poor soul! she wants me to let her call out
murder, and I am afraid now she'll spoil it all. But she has the
servant with her, who seems rather a plucky girl, and I hope she can
manage her. Now, come on quickly, Chesterton, and hide the light when
you get into the long passage, because there are no shutters to the
windows. The women will meet us at the bottom of the stairs."

My gun had been left in the kitchen; I seized the poker, and we all
proceeded cautiously along the passage, and down-stairs. Poor Mrs
Nutt, as pale as death, and scarcely able to stand, was waiting for
us, with the servant girl. But it was with the greatest difficulty we
could get her to listen to any such proposition as opening the door;
she was much more inclined to side with Chesterton, who wanted to
present the gun at the fellow from the window, and fire if he made any
attempt either to effect an entrance, or to run away.

At last, however, by the persuasion of the servant, who really was a
heroine in her way, we got her into the passage at the end of which
the door in question was situated; but as nothing could induce her to
speak to the fellow outside, beyond a very faint "Who's there?" the
girl took up the dialogue, and enquired the man's name.

"Tom Smith; I've got a note for the missus, and something to say to
her besides. Let's in--there's a good wench; I've been a-knocking here
this half hour already."

It had been agreed that I was to open the door, and shut and bolt it,
if possible, the instant the speaker had entered. Brown and Chesterton
stood just inside a small pantry, ready to secure their man as soon as
he was fairly inside, and the women were to make their escape out of
harm's way, as soon as their services as a decoy could be dispensed

It was a moment of breathless expectation while I withdrew the bolts.
Hardly had I done so, when the door flew violently open, and with a
silent but determined rush three men entered. I shut the door
instinctively, but it was evident that our plan was defeated, and we
had now only to fight it out. There was a scream from the women, whose
curiosity had not allowed them to retreat beyond the foot of the
staircase--a rush forward on the part of Brown and Chesterton--an oath
or two from the intruders at finding themselves so unexpectedly
confronted--and then, for a moment or two, an ominous pause on both
sides. It was broken by Chesterton, who clubbed his gun, and brought
the first man to the ground. Nearly at the same time I grappled with
the last who had entered, whilst a heavy crow-bar, in the hands of the
third, after describing an arc within an inch or two of my own head,
descended with a horrible dull sound (I hear it now) upon that of poor
Chesterton, who fell heavily, whilst in the act of springing forwards,
across his prostrate antagonist. Again the murderous weapon was
uplifted--I vainly endeavoured to fling my opponent and myself against
the striker--I heard a scream, and saw the poor servant girl rush
forward with a sort of desperate instinct, armed with no other weapon
than the candlestick--when a report, that sounded like a volley, shook
the whole passage--a bright flash threw out the whole scene vividly
for a moment--the robber with his back to me with his weapon poised,
and the blackened face of the other glaring savagely into my own--then
followed total darkness--the ringing of the iron-bar upon the
bricks--a stifled groan--and then a silence more horrible than all.

"Get a light!" said Brown at last; "get a light for heaven's sake, Mrs
Nutt, or somebody. Hawthorne, are you hurt?"

"No, no," said I; "it was you that fired, John?"

"Yes," said he; "we can do nothing now till we have a light."

The whole affair, from the unbolting the door to the firing the shot,
had not occupied nearly a minute; nor was it much longer before the
trembling women succeeded in relighting the candle from the embers of
the kitchen hearth; but they were moments into which one crowded
almost years of thought; and I remember now with astonishment how
every miserable consequence of poor Chesterton's probably fate came
vividly and irresistibly before my imagination during those few
hurried breathings of suspense--how his father could be told of
it--how desolate would be now the home of which he was the hope and
idol, (I knew his family)--how the college would mourn for him; nay,
even such wretched particulars as how we were to move him to
Oxford--whether he would be buried there--whether he would have a
monument in the chapel--and a thousand such trivial fancies, were
running through my mind with a distressing minuteness which those only
who have known such moments can understand.

At last the light came. In my eagerness to ascertain the state of poor
Chesterton, I quite forgot the villain with whom I had been
struggling. We had mutually relaxed our hold upon hearing the shot;
and he now took the opportunity of our whole attention being directed
elsewhere, to open the door and effect his escape. We had too much of
other business in our hands to think of following him.

The second man lay close to my feet. I stepped over him, and raised
Chesterton's head upon my arm; the eyes were half open, but I could
detect no sign of life. I told Brown I feared it was all over.

"I know it is," said he; "he is shot through the heart. I aimed there.
But what could I do?"

I turned round, and it was with somewhat of an angry feeling that I
saw Brown examining the breast of the man who had last fallen, utterly
indifferent, as it seemed, to the dreadful fate of our poor friend.

"For heaven's sake," said I, "let that villain alone, and help me to
move poor Harry: I believe he is gone."

"Ay, poor Harry!" said Brown somewhat vacantly: "I wish that blow had
fallen on me! And was that shot too late after all? Your gun hung
fire, Hawthorne--it did indeed. Poor Harry!"

I was so absorbed in anxiety for Chesterton that Brown's strange
manner made no great impression on me at the time. The first man, who
had been merely stunned by the blow from the but-end of the gun, was
now beginning to revive, and I begged Brown to get something to secure
him with.

"I don't think, sir," said Mrs Nutt who had recovered her terror
sufficiently to offer her assistance, and whose coarse red hands,
having removed Chesterton's neck-kerchief, and loosened his
shirt-collar, now showed in strong contrast with his fair skin, but
had nevertheless all a woman's sensibility about them--"I don't think
but what the poor young gentleman has life in him--I am sure I can
feel his heart beat."

"Oh yes, oh yes, Mrs Nutt--he cannot be dead--send for a surgeon!
Hawthorne, why don't you send for a surgeon?"

"There's none nigher than Oxford," said Mrs Nutt.

"I'll go for un," said the girl. "I ben't afear'd;" and she turned
pale and shook like a leaf; but the spirit was willing, and she
persisted she was ready to go. However it turned out that there was a
labourer's cottage about a quarter of a mile off, and she was finally
dispatched there for assistance.

Few people know the ready humanity which exists among the lower
orders: the man must have run all the way to Oxford, for he returned
in little more than half an hour, before the surgeon could dress and
mount his horse.

However, Chesterton was evidently still living; and when the surgeon
did arrive he gave some hopes of his recovery. The weight of the blow
had been in some degree broken by the gun which poor Harry had raised
in his hand, and this only could have saved the skull from fracture.

Of course we had soon plenty of volunteers who were ready to be useful
in any way; and when at last the police had made their appearance, and
removed both the living and the dead, and Chesterton had been laid in
Brown's room, and the surgeon, having applied the usual remedies, had
composedly accepted Mrs Nutt's offer to make up a bed for him, and
betaken himself thereto, as if such events were to him matters of
everyday occurrence--I suppose they were--it struck me, for the first
time, that there was a remarkable contrast between Brown's hurried
manner and disturbed countenance now, compared with his perfect
coolness and self-possession while the danger seemed most imminent,
which even Chesterton's dangerous state did not sufficiently account

"How lucky it was, Brown," said I, "my gun had a load of duck-shot in
it! Don't you remember I was going to have fired it off? And that you
should have laid your hand upon it in the kitchen! I looked for it as
we came by, but could not see it."

"I'll tell you what, Hawthorne: I almost wish I had not seen it: I
should not have had a man's life to answer for."

"Why, Brown," said I with some surprise, "surely you can have no
scruple about that poor wretch's death? Why, he has all but murdered
poor Harry--if, indeed, he ever gets over it."

"Very true, very true," replied Brown, looking at the bed where
Chesterton was lying in utter unconsciousness; "he seems to sleep very
quietly now. I don't think he knew any one just now when he opened his
eyes: did you see the blow, Hawthorne?"

"Yes," said I; "the lock of the gun is broken, and I fancy that saved
him; but he would have had little chance from a second: that shot came
just in time."

"I covered the man from the moment he first raised the bar: your head
was in a line with him, or I should have fired sooner. I hardly
thought you would have escaped some part of the charge as it was.
Well, if poor Harry lives, perhaps it is well as it is, if not"--

"You have but spared the hangman some trouble," said I. "Come, man,
don't give way to this morbid feeling. I don't say but what it does
you credit, Brown, to regret the necessity for taking a man's life,
even to save your friend's; but, depend upon it, your conduct to-night
is justifiable before a far higher inquest than the coroner's. Do you
think if I had been in your place I should have hesitated one instant?
No! nor have been half as scrupulous afterwards, I fear."

"You have not blood upon your hand," said Brown gloomily. "And
remember, if we had taken poor Chesterton's advice, and frightened
them off at first, all this might have been spared; it was my folly in
determining to take upon myself the office of thief-taker--cursed
folly it was!"

The impression which the events of the last hour had left upon my own
mind was any thing but a pleasant one; but I was obliged to assume an
indifference which I did not feel, and use a lighter tone than I
should willingly have done in speaking of the death of a
fellow-creature, however unavoidable, in order to keep up Brown's
spirits, and prevent him from dwelling upon his share in the
catastrophe with that morbid degree of sensitiveness, of the effects
of which I began to be really apprehensive. He wanted me to lie down
and try to sleep, saying that he would watch with Chesterton; but this
I was in no mood to agree to, even had I not been unwilling to leave
him to his present reflections; so we drew a small table close to the
fire in the sitting-room, leaving the door open that we might hear any
movement of the patient, and waited for daybreak with feelings to
which perhaps we had been too little accustomed. They were doubtless
wholesome for us in after life; but at the time those hours of
watching were painful indeed. It was a night which, then and since, I
wished could be blotted from my page of life, and be as if it had
never been. I have grown older and sadder, if not wiser, since, and
feel now that there are recollections in which I then took delight
which I could far more safely part with.

The danger in Chesterton's case, though at one time imminent, was soon
over; and a few days' quiet at the farm enabled him to be removed to
college. Reading was, of course, forbidden him for some time; and
before term began, he had left Oxford with his father, to keep
perfectly quiet for a few months in the country. The gratitude which
he and all his family expressed to Brown as having been undoubtedly
the means of saving his life, was naturally unbounded; and it did more
than all else to reconcile him to the idea which haunted him, as he
declared, day and night, of having that man's blood upon his head. I
knew that Chesterton had warmly pressed him to come home with him; but
as his name was down for the approaching examination, for which he was
quite sufficiently prepared, it was not without astonishment that I
heard him one morning, just before Chesterton's departure, announce
his intention of going down with him and his father.

"I think," said he, "the constant sight of poor Harry will do me good
just now; I am not given to romancing, Hawthorne, as you know; but
waking or sleeping, when I am by myself, I see that man standing with
the crow-bar uplifted just as he was when I shot him; and I think, if
I can but manage to get Harry Chesterton's figure between him and me,
as it was that night, and feel that pulling the trigger perhaps saved
his life, why then the picture will be something less horrible that it
is now."

"Well," said I, "John, I think you do right; but I can tell you this,
that the same sort of _tableau_ is very often before my eyes; and the
horror that I feel is what I did then--seeing Chesterton's brains
knocked out, as I thought, and struggling in vain to get near him;
sooner than feel that again in reality--the thought of it is bad
enough--I'd shoot that villain ten times running, if I only had the

"You never _had_ the chance, Hawthorne; pray God you never _may_."

Such was nearly my last interview, for some years, with my friend John
Brown; for I had taken my degree and left college before he came up
again to pass his examination. He was subpoenaed, with myself, as a
witness on the trial of the man whom we had secured, which took place
at the next assizes; but I was informed by the prisoner's attorney of
his intention to plead guilty, the case against him being such a
strong one; Brown was thus enabled without much risk to remain in the
country with Chesterton, and we were both spared being placed in the
painful position of important witnesses in a trial of life and death.

The man's confession was full, and apparently honest; and it was a
satisfaction to find that the wretch who had fallen was a man of
well-known desperate character, and probably, as the prisoner
asserted, the concocter of the whole business: while all were
murderers in intention. Had they succeeded in effecting their object
by plundering the house, Farmer Nutt, whose habits of staying somewhat
late from home on fair nights were well known to all the
neighbourhood, was to have been waylaid on the towing-path which led
to his house, and as, although a quiet man, there was a good deal of
resolute spirit about him, and he would have had a heavy purse with
him, the proceeds of stock sold at the fair, with which he would not
easily have parted, there was no question but that he would have found
a grave in the canal. Of Brown's lodging in the house the party were
well aware; but they had laid their plans so warily for effecting an
entrance without noise, and easily overpowering the women, that they
hoped either altogether to avoid disturbing his quarter of the house,
or making it evident to him that resistance was useless. Of course,
our appearance was wholly unexpected; they had watched for some time,
but we had been so quiet for the last hour (being in truth more than
half asleep) that they had no suspicion of there being any one
stirring in Brown's rooms.

I saw the unfortunate prisoner several times, and found him open and
communicative on every subject but one. Any information with regard to
his accomplice who had escaped, he always steadily refused; nor did a
single unguarded word ever drop from him in conversation with any one
by which the slightest clue could be obtained as to his identity. Even
the police inspector, the most plausible and unscrupulous of his
class, a perfect Machiavel among the Peelers, who could make a
prisoner believe he was his only friend while he was doing his best to
put the halter round his neck, even his practised policy was
unsuccessful here. There was little doubt, however, that it was some
person familiar with the premises, from the circumstance that poor
Boxer, whose silence on the night of the attack we had all been
surprised at, and who was not of a mood to be easily inveigled by
strangers, even with the usual attractions of poisoned meat, &c., had
disappeared, and was never heard of from that time forth. Suspicion of
course fell upon several; but the matter remains to this day, I
believe, a mystery. The prisoner, as I have said, pleaded guilty, and
received sentence of death; under the circumstances of the crime, and
its nearly fatal result, no other could be expected; nor did the judge
who tried him hold out the slightest hope of mercy. But his full
confession, with regard to himself and the man who had fallen, with
honourable silence as to their more fortunate companion, his youth,
(he was but a year older than myself,) and his whole bearing since his
imprisonment, had impressed myself and others deeply in his favour; a
memorial of the case was drawn up representing that justice might well
be satisfied with the violent death of one criminal already, and after
being signed by all parties of any influence in the neighbourhood, was
forwarded for presentation to the crown. But the judge declared that
he could not, consistently with his duty, back our application, and,
to our extreme disappointment, an answer was returned that the law in
this case must take its course. A private and personal interest was at
work, however, which for once proved more powerful than judges or home
secretaries. Brown had signed our memorial of course; but, dreading an
unfavourable reply, had forwarded through other channels a short but
strong remonstrance directly to the Queen. He spoke touchingly of his
own distressed state of mind at having so young in life been compelled
in defence of his friend to take the life of a fellow-creature, and
prayed her Majesty "to restore, as she only could, his peace of mind,
by giving him a life in exchange for that which he had taken away." A
letter accompanied a reprieve by return of post, addressed to John
Brown, which he preserves with a care almost superstitious; it
contains a few short lines, dictated by a royal spirit and a woman's
heart, and signed "VICTORIA." Victoria! mercy and humanity, the
victory was indeed yours!

Of John Brown I have little to add. Like others with whom I was at one
time so long and intimately allied, I have seen nothing of him now for
years. The Dean was relieved as if from an incubus when he left
college, though I believe there was a cessation of all open hostility
after his return from Chesterton's. At least the only authenticated
mention of any allusion to old grievances on my friend's part is, that
when he paid Mr Hodgett the usual fees which fall to the Dean's share,
upon taking his B.A., he asked him "whether he allowed discount for
ready money?"



The common idea of a sailor--whether with a commodore's broad pendant,
a lieutenant's wooden leg, or a foremast-man's pigtail--was, at one
time, a wild, thoughtless, rollicking man, with very broad shoulders
and a very red face, who talked incessantly about shivering his
timbers, and thought no more of eating a score or two of Frenchmen
than if they had been sprats. Such was the effect of the veracious
chronicles of our countryman Tobias, and the lifelike descriptions of
old Trunnion, and Tom Bowling, and the rest. The jack-tar, as
represented by him--with the addition, perhaps, of a few softening
features, but still the man of blood and 'ounds, breathing fire and
smoke, and with a constant inclination to luff helms and steer a point
or two to windward--has retained possession of the stage to the
present time; and Mr T. P. Cooke still shuffles, and rolls, and
dances, and fights--the beau-ideal and impersonation of the instrument
with which Britannia rules the waves. And that the canvass waves of
the Surrey are admirably ruled by such instruments, we have no
intention of disputing; nor would it be possible to place visibly
before the public the peculiar qualifications that constitute a
first-rate sailor, any more than those which form a first-rate lawyer.
The freaks of a young templar have as much to do with the triumphs of
Lord Eldon, as the dash and vivacity of any fictitious middy have to
do with the First of June. Sailors are made of sterner stuff; and of
all classes of men, have their highest faculties called earliest into
use, and kept most constantly in exercise. Let no man, therefore,
think of the navy as a last resource for the stupidest of his sons. He
will chew salt-junk, and walk with an easy negligence acquired from a
course of practice in the Bay of Biscay; and in due time arrive at his
double epaulettes, and be a blockhead to the end of the chapter. But
all this stupidity, we humbly conceive, might have found as fitting an
arena in Westminster Hall, or even in Westminster Abbey--with
reverence be it spoken--as on the quarter-deck of a man-of-war; for we
maintain it is of less consequence for a man to be a great pleader or
an eloquent divine, (where the utmost extent of evil resulting from
the absence of eloquence and acuteness is a law-suit lost or a
congregation lulled to sleep,) than that he should be active,
energetic, skilful, in one of the "leviathans afloat on the brine."
Science, zeal, courage, and self-reliance, are very pretty qualities
to find in the fool of the family--and without these, no man can ever
be a sailor. But what opportunity is there in the navy for the display
of the wonderful abilities of the fool of the family's antipode, the
genius? Nothing will do for the surpassing brightness of some Highland
star but law or politics; so Donald has Latin and Greek shovelled into
him out of the dignified hat of some prebendary or bishop, goes to
Oxford, talks on all manner of subjects as if his tongue had
discovered the perpetual motion, goes to the bar, where the said
motion is the only one he is called upon to make, forces himself into
high society, wriggles his way into Parliament--the true Trophonius's
cave of aspiring orators--and becomes a silent Demosthenes, as he has
long been a lawless Coke; an ends at last in a paroxysm of wonder that
his creditors are hard-hearted and his country ungrateful, so that,
instead of being promoted to a seat at the Admiralty, he is removed to
one in the Fleet--which brings him very nearly to the same position he
would have been placed in, if a true estimate had been formed of his
powers at first. Oh fathers! if Tom is a donkey, keep him at home or
make him an attorney--it is amazing how a few years in "the office"
will brighten him--but don't trust the lives of men, and the honour of
the flag, to any but the best and wisest of your sons. Such a school
for moral training has never been devised as one of the floating
colleges that carry guns. The youngest midshipman acquires habits of
command, the oldest captain practises the ennobling virtue of
obedience; and these, we take it, form the alpha and omega of man's
useful existence. Power gives self-respect, responsibility gives
caution, and subjection gives humility. With all these united, as they
are in every rank in the service, the character has little room left
for improvement; tenderness and generosity, in addition, make a man a
Collingwood or Pellew--genius and heroism make him a Nelson.

But not through flowery paths do genius and heroism tread on their
path to fame. What a length of weary way, with what antres vast and
deserts idle, and pathless wildernesses bestrown, lay between the
Raisonable of 1770 and the Victory of 1805! and yet through them all,
the traveller's eye was unalterably fixed on the great light that his
soul saw filling the whole sky with its radiance, and which he knew
the whole time was reflected from the Baltic, and the Nile, and
Trafalgar. The letters of Nelson just given to the public by the
industry of Sir Harris Nicolas, will hereafter be the manual of the
sailor, as the sister service has found a guide in the _Despatches of
the Duke of Wellington_. All that was to be expected from the
well-known talent of the editor, united to an enthusiasm for his hero,
which has carried him triumphantly through the extraordinary labour of
investigating and ascertaining every fact in the slightest degree
bearing upon his subject, is to be found in this volume, in which,
from the beginning to the end, by a continued series of letters,
Nelson is made his own historian; and we sincerely believe, divesting
ourselves as far as possible of all prejudice and partiality, that no
character ever came purer from the ordeal of unreserved
communication--where not a thought is concealed or an expression
studied--than the true friend, the good son, the affectionate brother,
Horatio Nelson. The correspondence in this volume only extends from
1777 to 1794, and no blot has yet occurred to mar the brightness of a
character where there is so much to like, that the reader finds it
difficult to dwell on the heroic parts of it which he is only called
upon to admire. When the volume ends, he is only thirty-six years old,
and is captain of the Agamemnon; but his path is clearly traced
out--his name is in men's mouths and his character established. And,
looking over the whole correspondence, nothing, perhaps, is so
striking as the early development of his peculiar qualities, and the
firm unswerving line he struck into from the beginning and continued
in to the last. A self-reliance, amounting in weaker and less
equally-balanced natures to doggedness and conceit--a clear perception
of the circumstances of a case almost resembling intuition--a
patriotism verging on the romantic, and a sense of duty never for a
moment yielding to the "whips and scorns that patient merit of the
unworthy takes," are displayed in every incident of his life, from the
time that he left the quiet parsonage-house at Burnham Thorpe, till he
finished his glorious career.

At twelve years of age, he joined his uncle in the Raisonable
sixty-four, and served in her as midshipman for five months; and few
people would have been able to discover the future hero in the feeble
boy he must have been at that time. Still less, perhaps, would they
have expected the future Bronte, a few months later, in the person of
a little fellow, no longer a midshipman in the Royal Navy, but a
working "youngster" on board a West India ship, as he informs us in
his "Sketch of my Life," belonging to the house of Hibbert, Purrier,
and Horton, from which he returned to the Triumph at Chatham, a good
practical seaman, but with a horror of the Royal Navy, and a firm
belief in a saying then constant with the seamen, "Aft the most
honour, forward the better man." The next situation we find him in,
will probably shock the delicate feelings of tender mammas, who expect
their sons to be admirals without any apprenticeship; for he is rated
on the books of the Triumph as "_captain's servant_" for one year, two
months, and two days. We may in some measure relieve their minds, by
assuring them, that he did not wear livery, and was never called upon
to brush the captain's coat. But the horrid man submitted even to
lower degradation, in order to get experience in his profession, which
our Reginald Augustus could never have thought of; for he tells us,
that "when the expedition towards the North Pole was fitted out,
although no boys were allowed to go in the ships--as of no use--yet
nothing could prevent my using every interest to go with Captain
Lutwidge in the Carcass, and as I fancied I was to fill a man's place.
I begged I might be his cockswain; which, finding my ardent desire for
going with him, Captain Lutwidge complied with."

And Cockswain Nelson "exerted himself, (when the boats were fitted out
to quit the two ships blocked up in the ice,) to have the command of a
four-oared cutter raised upon, which was given him, with twelve men;
and he prided himself in fancying he could navigate her better than
any other boat in the ship."

And we will back the cockswain to any amount, though he was then only
fifteen, and probably did not weigh more than five stone.

But the vulgarity of the fellow will be the death of us, and our Laura
Matilda will never listen without disgust to the "Death of Nelson"
again; for he tells us, that on the return of the Polar expedition, he
was placed in the Racehorse of twenty guns, with Captain Farmer, and
watched in the foretop!!! And it is probable, during all these
mutations, that he very seldom tasted venison, and drank very little
champagne. But even in the absence of those usual luxuries of the
cockpit, he made himself a thorough seaman; and when serving in the
Worcester sixty-four, with Captain Mark Robinson, he says, with
characteristic, because fully justified pride, "although my age might
have been a sufficient cause for not entrusting me with the charge of
a watch, yet Captain Robinson used to says, he felt as easy when I was
upon deck as any officer in the ship."

And this brings us to 1777, the date of his commission, and the
commencement of his correspondence. After the simple statement of his
course of life, we shall hardly be called upon to observe, that Nelson
was no great scholar, as we perceive that his school education was
finished when he was twelve years old. And we owe hearty thanks to Sir
Harris Nicolas for having restored the letters to their original
language, uncicerorian as it may be; for he informs us, that some of
those which had been formerly published in the different biographies
of the hero, were so improved and beautified that it was difficult to
recognise them. By proper clipping and pruning, altering some
sentences and exchanging others, an ingenious editor might
transmogriphy these simple epistles into the philippics of Junius; and
therefore we derive complete satisfaction from the conviction, that,
in this compilation, every sentence is exactly as it was written. With
one other observation, (which we make for the sake of the Laura
Matildas who are horrified at the "cockswain,") we shall proceed to
give such extracts from the letters as we consider the most
characteristic; and "that 'ere observation," as was said by Mr Liston,
"is this here," that Nelson was of what is usually called a very good
family--being nearly connected with the Walpoles, Earls of Orford, and
the Turners of Warham, in Norfolk. But for further information on this
point, we refer them to an abstract of the pedigree prefixed to the
letters. In the year 1777, and several following years, Nelson's
principal correspondents were his brother, the Rev. William Nelson,
who succeeded as second Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough,
and was created Earl Nelson--Captain William Locker, then in command
of the Lowestoffe, of whom very interesting memoirs have been
published by his son Edward Hawke Locker, Esq., late a commissioner of
Greenwich Hospital--the Rev. Edmund Nelson (his father)--besides the
secretary to the Admiralty, and the official personages to whom his
despatches were addressed.

To show the affectionate nature of the man, we shall quote his first
letter to Captain Locker, who was one of his dearest friends. The
address of the letter is wanting, but it would appear to have been
written during Captain Locker's temporary absence from his ship, in
consequence of ill health:--

                                               "Lowestoffe, at Sea,
                                                 _August 12, 1777_.

     "My most worthy Friend--I am exceedingly obliged to you for the
     good opinion you entertain of me, and will do my utmost that you
     may have no occasion to change it. I hope God Almighty will be
     pleased to spare your life for your own sake and that of your
     family; but should any thing happen to you (which I sincerely
     pray God may not) you may be assured that nothing shall be
     wanting on my part for the taking care of your effects, and
     delivering safe to Mrs Locker such of them as may be thought
     proper not to be disposed of. You mentioned the word consolation
     in your letter--I shall have a very great one, when I think I
     have served faithfully the best of friends, and the most amiable
     of women. All the services I can render to your family, you may
     be assured shall be done; and shall never end but with my life;
     and may God Almighty, of his great goodness, keep, bless, and
     preserve you and your family, is the most fervent prayer of your
     faithful servant,

                          "Horatio Nelson."

In 1781 he was appointed commander of the Albemarle, of twenty-eight
guns, and in the following year had a narrow escape from a strong
French force in Boston Bay. The sailing qualities of the Albemarle
beat the line-of-battle ships, and he immediately brought to for a
frigate that formed part of the chasing squadron, but his courtesy was
declined, and the frigate bore away. He dwells, in several of his
letters, on his good fortune in getting off; but, in the following one
to his father, he omits all mention of his challenge to the pursuer:--

                                       "Albemarle, Isle of Bic,
                                            River St Lawrence
                                                _October 19, 1782_.

     "My dear Father--I wrote to Mr Suckling when I was at
     Newfoundland, but I have not had an opportunity of writing to you
     till this time. I expected to have sailed for England on the
     first of November, but our destination is now altered, for we
     sail with a fleet for New York to-morrow; and from there I think
     it very likely we shall go to the _grand theatre_ of actions--the
     West Indies; but, in our line of life, we are sure of no one
     thing. When I reach New York you shall hear what becomes of me;
     but, while I have health, it is indifferent to me (were it not
     for the pleasure of seeing you and my brothers and sisters) where
     I go. Health, that greatest of blessings, is what I never truly
     enjoyed till I saw _fair_ Canada. The change it has wrought I am
     convinced is truly wonderful. I most sincerely wish, my dear
     father, I could compliment you the same way; but I hope Bath has
     done you a great deal of good this summer. I have not had much
     success in the prize way, but it is all in good time, and I do
     not know I ought to complain; for, though I took several, but had
     not the good fortune to get one safe into port, yet, on the other
     side, I escaped from five French men-of-war in a wonderful
     manner.... Farewell, my dearest father, and assure yourself I
     always am, and ever shall be, your dutiful son,

                          "Horatio Nelson."

In the following month he writes to his friend Locker--"I am a
candidate with Lord Hood for a line-of-battle ship; he has honoured me
highly by a letter, for wishing to go off this station to a station of
service, and has promised me his friendship. Prince William is with
him." And Sir Harris Nicolas adds in a note--"H. R. H. Prince William
Henry, third son of King George III, afterwards Duke of Clarence,
Admiral of the Fleet, (Lord High Admiral?) and King William IV." The
Prince honoured Nelson with his warmest friendship, and many letters
in this collection were addressed to his Royal Highness.

The following description of Nelson by the prince is extremely

     "I was then a midshipman on board the Barfleur, lying in the
     Narrows off Staten Island, and had the watch on deck, when
     Captain Nelson of the Albemarle came in his barge alongside, who
     appeared to be the merest boy of a captain I ever beheld; and his
     dress was worthy of attention. He had on a full laced uniform;
     his lank unpowdered hair was tied in a stiff Hessian tail of an
     extraordinary length, the old-fashioned flaps of his waistcoat
     added to the general quaintness of his figure, and produced an
     appearance which particularly attracted my notice, for I had
     never seen any thing like it before, nor could I imagine who he
     was or what he came about. My doubts were, however, removed when
     Lord Hood introduced me to him. There was something irresistibly
     pleasing in his address and conversation, and an enthusiasm, when
     speaking on professional subjects, that showed he was no common
     being. Nelson, after this, went with us to the West Indies, and
     served under Lord Hood's flag during his indefatigable cruize off
     Cape François. Throughout the whole of the American war the
     height of Nelson's ambition was to command a line-of-battle ship;
     as for prize-money, it never entered his thoughts; he had always
     in view the character of his maternal uncle. I found him warmly
     attached to my father, and singularly humane; he had the honour
     of the king's service and the independence of the British navy
     particularly at heart; and his mind glowed with this idea as much
     when he was simply captain of the Albemarle, and had obtained
     none of the honours of his country, as when he was afterwards
     decorated with so much well-earned distinction."

Nelson's opinion of the prince, as a seaman, was scarcely less high;
and it says not a little, in favour of both parties, that their
friendship appears to have been founded on mutual respect. In July,
1783, the Albemarle was paid off; and Nelson having finished the war,
as he expresses it in a letter to his friend Mr Ross, without a
fortune, but without a speck on his character, remained nine months on
half-pay. But as he determined to make use of his spare time in
mastering the French--a feat which he afterwards accomplished without
a grammar--he resolved to go to France with his friend Captain James
Macnamara for that purpose. There are some very Nelsonian sentences in
his correspondence while in the land of the Mounseers. His contempt
for epaulettes--which were not introduced into the English navy till
1795--is very amusing; and he little thought, that in one of the
dandified officers he despised so much, he should find one of his most
distinguished comrades, the gallant Sir Alexander Ball:--

                   To William Locker, Esq.
                          "St Omer, _Nov. 2, 1783_.

     "My dear sir--Our travels, since we left you, have been extended
     to a much greater length then I apprehended; but I must do
     Captain Mac the justice to say it was all my doings, and in a
     great measure against his advice; but experience bought is the
     best; and all mine I have paid pretty dearly for. We dined at
     Canterbury the day we parted from you, and called at Captain
     Sandys' house, but he was just gone out to dinner in the country,
     therefore we did not see him. We slept at Dover, and next morning
     at seven o'clock put to sea with a fine north-west wind, and at
     half-past ten we were safe at breakfast in Monsieur Grandsire's
     house at Calais. His mother kept it when Hogarth wrote his _Gate
     of Calais_. Sterne's _Sentimental Journey_ is the best
     description I can give of our tour. Mac advised me to go first to
     St Omer, as he had experienced the difficulty of attempting to
     fix in any place where there are no English; after dinner we set
     off, intended for Montreuil, sixty miles from Calais; they told
     us we travelled _en poste_, but I am sure we did not get on more
     than four miles an hour. I was highly diverted with looking what
     a curious figure the postilions in their jack-boots, and their
     rats of horses, made together. Their chaises have no springs, and
     the roads generally paved like London streets; therefore you will
     naturally suppose we were pretty well shook together by the time
     we had travelled two posts and a half, which is fifteen miles, to
     Marquise. Here we were shown into an inn--they called it, I
     should have called it a pig-stye: we were shown into a room with
     two straw beds, and with great difficulty they mustered up clean
     sheets, and gave us two pigeons for supper, upon a dirty cloth,
     and wooden-handled knives. _Oh, what a transition from happy

     "But we laughed at the repast, and went to bed with the
     determination that nothing should ruffle our tempers. Having
     slept very well, we set off at daylight for Boulogne, where we
     breakfasted. This place was full of English; I suppose because
     wine is so very cheap. We went on after breakfast for Montreuil,
     and passed through the finest corn country that my eyes ever
     beheld, diversified with fine woods, sometimes for miles
     together, through noble forests. The roads mostly were planted
     with trees, which made as fine an avenue as to any gentleman's
     country-seat. Montreuil is thirty miles from Boulogne, situated
     upon a small hill, in the middle of a fine plain, which reached
     as far as the eye could carry you, except towards the sea, which
     is about twelve miles from it. We put up at the same house, and
     with the same jolly landlord that recommended Le Fleur to Sterne.
     Here we wished much to be fixed; but neither good lodgings or
     masters could be had here--for there are no middling class of
     people. Sixty noblemen's families lived in the town, who owned
     the vast plain round it, and the rest very poor indeed. This is
     the finest country for game that ever was; partridges
     twopence-halfpenny a couple, pheasants and woodcocks in
     proportion; and, in short, every species of poultry. We dined,
     supped, lay, and breakfasted next day, Saturday; then we
     proceeded on our tour, leaving Montreuil, you will suppose, with
     great regret.

     "We reached Abbeville at eight o'clock; but, unluckily for us,
     two Englishmen, one of whom called himself Lord Kingsland--I can
     hardly suppose it to be him--and a Mr Bullock, decamped at three
     o'clock that afternoon in debt to every shopkeeper in the place.
     These gentlemen kept elegant houses, horses, &c. We found the
     town in an uproar; and as no masters could be had at this place
     that could speak a word of English, and that all masters that
     could speak English grammatically attend at the places that are
     frequented by the English, which is, St Omer, Lisle, Dunkirk, and
     Boulogne, to the northward of Paris, and as I had no intention of
     travelling to the south of France till the spring, at any rate, I
     determined, with Mac's advice, to steer for St Omer, where we
     arrived last Tuesday; and I own I was surprised to find, that
     instead of a dirty, nasty town, which I had always heard it
     represented, to find a large city, well paved, good streets, and
     well lighted.

     "We lodge in a pleasant French family, and have our dinners sent
     from a _traiteur's_. There are two very agreeable young ladies,
     daughters, who _honour_ us with their company pretty often. One
     always makes our breakfast, and the other our tea, and play a
     game at cards in the evening. Therefore I must learn French, if
     'tis only for the pleasure of talking to them; for they do not
     speak a word of English. Here are a great number of English in
     this place; but we visit only two families; for, if I did, I
     should never speak French. Two noble captains are here--Ball and
     Shepard. You do not know, I believe, either of them. They wear
     fine epaulettes, for which I think them great coxcombs. They have
     not visited me; and I shall not, be assured, court their
     acquaintance. You must be heartily tired of this long epistle, if
     you can read it; but I have the worst pen in the world, and I
     can't mend it. God bless you; and, be assured, I am your sincere
     friend, and affectionate humble servant,

                          "Horatio Nelson."

In another letter from St Omer, he returns to the charge against Dandy
Ball and Shepard:--

     "Here are two navy captains, Ball and Shepard, at this place; but
     we do not visit. They are very fine gentlemen, with epaulettes.
     You may suppose, I hold them a little _cheap_ for putting on any
     part of a Frenchman's uniform."

And in a short time after, he seems to have made up his mind on two
very important points--politics and the French people.

           To his brother William.

     "... As to your having enlisted under the banners of the
     Walpoles, [Whigs,] you might as well have enlisted under those of
     my grandmother. They are altogether the merest set of cyphers
     that ever existed--in public affairs, I mean. Mr Pitt, depend
     upon it, will stand against all opposition. An honest man must
     always, in the end, get the better of a _villain_. But I have
     done with politics. Let who will get in, I shall be left out."

     "In about a week or fortnight, I think of returning to the
     Continent till autumn, when I shall bring a horse, and stay the
     winter at Burnham. I return to many charming women; but _no
     charming woman_ will return with me. I want to be a proficient in
     the language, which is my only reason for returning. I hate their
     country and their manners."

In March of this year, (1784,) he was appointed to the Boreas frigate
of twenty-eight guns; and had the honour (not very highly valued) of
carrying out Lady Hughes, the wife of the admiral on the Leeward
Island station, and a number of other people, who did not add much to
the efficiency of a man-of-war. It was on this station that he had
first an opportunity of showing the determination and fearlessness of
his character in maintaining what he thought the right--though ill
supported, as was to be expected, by the authorities at home--against
local interests, which any other man would not have ventured to
oppose. We are not about to enter into the history of Nelson's conduct
in defence of the Navigation Act, further than as the correspondence
on the subject brings out some of his peculiarities; and the result
shows, as usual, the policy of firmness, and the certainty of success
to those who are determined to obtain it.

The Americans, after the recognition of their independence, were by no
means willing to surrender some of the advantages they had enjoyed
when colonists of Great Britain. Among these was an unrestricted trade
with the West Indies. In order to retain this advantage, they stuck at
nothing in the way of oaths and declarations; and, as the American
trade was of great consequence to the islanders, their false pretences
were in all cases supported by the merchants, and even the
custom-house authorities were persuaded to encourage the frauds. A
captain of the navy, twenty-six years of age, undertook to put an end
to these operations; and, in the course of a very short time, he found
himself in as hot water as any gentleman can require.

               To William Locker, Esq.
                   "Boreas, Baseterre Road,
                        _January 15, 1785_.

     "The longer I am upon this station the worse I like it. Our
     commander has not that opinion of his own sense that he ought to
     have. He is led by the advice of the islanders to admit the
     Yankees to a trade--at least, to wink at it. He does not give
     himself that weight that I think an English admiral ought to do.
     I, for one, am determined not to suffer the Yankees to come where
     my ship is; for I am sure, if once the Americans are admitted to
     any kind of intercourse with these islands, the views of the
     Loyalists in settling in Nova Scotia are entirely done away. They
     will first become the carriers, and next have possession of our
     islands, are we ever again embroiled in a French war. The
     residents of these islands are Americans by connexion and by
     interest, and are inimical to Great Britain. They are as great
     rebels as ever were in America, had they the power to show it.
     After what I have said, you will believe I am not very popular
     with the people. They have never visited me, and I have not had a
     foot in any house since I have been on the station, and all for
     doing my duty by being _true to the interests of Great Britain_.
     A petition from the President and Council has gone to the
     Governor-general and admiral, to request the admission of
     Americans. I have given my answer to the admiral upon the
     subject--how he will like it I know not; but I am determined to
     suppress the admission of foreigners all in my power. I have told
     the Customs that I will complain if they admit any foreigner to
     an entry. An American arrives--sprung a leak, a mast, and what
     not--makes a protest--gets admittance--sells his cargo for ready
     money--goes to Martinico--buys molasses--and so round and round.
     But I hate them all. The Loyalist cannot do it, consequently must
     sell a little dearer."

His narrative to the admiral on the same subject is as follows:--

                                      "_January 11 or 12, 1785_.

     "Sir--I yesterday received your order of the 29th of December,
     wherein you direct me, in execution of your first order, dated
     the 12th of November, (which is, in fact, strictly requiring us
     to put the Act of Navigation, upon which the wealth and safety of
     Great Britain so much depends, in force,) to observe the
     following directions, viz, to cause foreigners to anchor by his
     Majesty's ship under my command, except in cases of immediate and
     urgent distress, until her arrival and situation, in all
     respects, shall be reported to his Majesty's governor, or his
     representative, at any of the islands where I may fall in with
     such foreign ships or vessels; and that if the governor, or his
     representative, should give leave for admitting such vessels,
     strictly charging me not to hinder them or interfere in their
     subsequent proceedings.

     "I ever have been, as in duty bound, always ready to co-operate
     with his Majesty's governors, or their representatives, in doing
     whatever has been for the benefit of Great Britain. No governor
     will, I am sure, do such an illegal act as to countenance the
     admission of foreigners into the ports of their islands, nor
     _dare_ any officer of his Majesty's Customs enter such
     foreigners, without they are in such distress that necessity
     obliges them to unlade their cargoes; and then only to sell such
     a part of it as will pay the costs. In distress, no individual
     shall exceed me in acts of generosity; and, in judging of their
     distress, no person can know better than sea officers, of which I
     shall inform the governors, &c., when they acquaint me for what
     reason they have countenanced the admission of foreigners.

     "I beg leave to hope, that I may be properly understood, when I
     venture to say, that, at a time when Great Britain is using every
     endeavour to suppress illicit trade at home, it is not wished
     that the ships on this station should be singular, by being the
     only spectators of the illegal trade, which I know is carried on
     at these islands. The governors may be imposed on by false
     declarations; we, who are on the spot, cannot. General Shirley
     told me and Captain Collingwood how much he approved of the
     methods that were carrying on for suppressing the illegal trade
     with America; that it had ever been his wish, and that he had
     used every means in his power, by proclamation and otherwise, to
     hinder it; but they came to him with protests, and swore through
     every thing, (even, as the sea-phrase is, through a nine-inch
     plank;) therefore got admittance, as he could not examine the
     vessels himself; and, further, by the Thynne packet, he had
     received a letter from Lord Sydney, one of his Majesty's
     principal secretaries of state, saying that Administration were
     determined that American ships and vessels should not have any
     intercourse with our West India islands; and that he had, upon an
     address from the Assembly, petitioning that he would relax the
     king's proclamation for the exclusion of Americans, transmitted
     it to Lord Sydney to be laid before the king. The answer to
     General Shirley was, that his Majesty firmly believed and hoped
     that all his orders which were received by his governors would be
     strictly obeyed.

     "Whilst I have the honour to command an English man-of-war, I
     never shall allow myself to be subservient to the will of any
     governor, nor co-operate with him in doing _illegal acts_.
     Presidents of council I feel myself superior to. They shall make
     proper application to me for whatever they may want to come by

     "If I rightly understand your order of the 29th of December, it
     is founded upon an opinion of the king's attorney-general, viz.
     'That it is legal for governors or their representatives to admit
     foreigners into the ports of their governments, if they think
     fit.' How the king's attorney-general conceives he has a right to
     give an illegal opinion, which I assert the above is, he must
     answer for. I know the navigation laws. I am, Sir, &c.

                          "Horatio Nelson."

But the troubles of the unfortunate Horatio were not over; for just at
this time arose another vexed and vexatious question, as to whether a
senior officer on half-pay--though holding a commissionership of the
navy--could be empowered by the admiral on the station to hoist a
broad pendant; and after a spirited correspondence, the point was
decided, though apparently in a very shilly-shally shabby way, in
Nelson's favour--for it is accompanied with a reprimand--the Admiralty
informing him, that he ought to have submitted his doubts to the
commander-in-chief on the station, instead of having taken on himself
"to control the exercise of the functions of his appointment"--whatever
that may mean.

Too much activity, even in a good cause, is apt to excite the enmity
of the idle drones who have got on without any activity at all, and
for some years the zeal of Nelson got him into disfavour with his
superiors in the service. And yet his whole conduct was regulated by
the strictest sense of duty, and his letters--even those in which he
shows most independence--never give the slightest occasion to suspect
that his actions arose from self-will and disobedience. On this point
he is very explicit.

He writes to the admiral--"This, sir, I hope you will transmit to my
lords commissioners, that they nor any other of my superior officers
may have the smallest idea that I shall ever dispute the orders of my

And to the Admiralty, on the same occasion--"I must beg their
lordships' indulgence to hear reasons for my conduct, that it may
never go abroad into the world I ever had an idea to dispute the
orders of my superior officer, neither admiral, commodore, or

The plot in the mean time thickens, and his anger increases against
the audacious swindling of the Yankees, aided by the islanders; and in
his own defence he goes, according to his custom, to the
fountain-head, and lays his complaint before the secretary of state.
"My name," he says, "most probably is unknown to your lordship," (Lord
Sydney,) "but my character as a man, I trust, will bear the strictest
investigation; therefore I take the liberty of sending enclosed a
letter, though written some few years ago, which I hope will impress
your lordship with a favourable opinion of me. I stand for myself, no
great connexion to support me if inclined to fall; therefore my good
name, as a man, an officer, and an Englishman, I must be very careful
of. My greatest pride is to discharge my duty faithfully; my greatest
ambition to receive approbation for my conduct."

The chicaneries of the law were brought to bear on the captain of the
Boreas, and by means of a writ for his arrest, (on the trumped-up plea
of detention and imprisonment of some fraudulent Americans--true
ancestors of the repudiators of the present day,) he was forced to
remain on board ship for several months, but was at last released from
durance by the tardy undertaking given by government to be answerable
for his defence.

The lukewarmness of his superiors, and the villanies of law, were not
enough to fill up his time, and, in the very midst of these agitating
matters, he adds a third: he met Mrs Nisbet, and fell in love. His
letters, however, are not entirely composed of sighs and lightning;
and it gives a high idea of the lady's sense to perceive the calm, yet
real, affection she inspired. We shall only quote one of his letters
to his lady-love, to show the style of them all, and also to show his
feelings towards Prince William Henry, (King William IV.,) who was at
this time under his command as captain of the Pegasus.

                                   "Off Antigua, _December 12, 1786_.

     "Our young prince is a gallant man; he is indeed volatile, but
     always with great good-nature. There were two balls during his
     stay, and some of the old ladies were mortified that H. R. H.
     would not dance with them; but he says he is determined to enjoy
     the privilege of all other men, that of asking any lady he

     "_Wednesday._--We arrived here this morning at daylight. His
     Royal Highness dined with me, and, of course, the governor. I can
     tell you a piece of news, which is, that the prince is fully
     determined, and has made me promise him, that he shall be at our
     wedding; and he says he will give you to me. His Royal Highness
     has not yet been in a private house to visit, and is determined
     never to do it except in this instance. You know I will ever
     strive to bear such a character as may render it no discredit to
     any man to take notice of me. There is no action in my whole life
     but what is honourable; and I am the more happy at this time on
     that account; for I would, if possible, or in my power, have no
     man near the prince who can have the smallest impeachment as to
     character; for as an individual, I love him, as a prince, I
     honour and revere him. My telling you this history is as to
     myself; my thoughts on all subjects are open to you. We shall
     certainly go to Barbadoes from this island, and when I shall see
     you is not possible for me to guess, so much for marrying a
     sailor. We are often separated, but I trust our affections are
     not by any means on that account diminished. Our country has the
     first demand for our services; and private convenience or
     happiness must ever give way to the public good. Give my love to
     Josiah. Heaven bless and return you safe to your most

                          "Horatio Nelson."

The attachment here professed for the prince seems to have been caused
not less by the loyalty of Nelson's nature than by the real good
qualities of the sailor king. It is probable he tried to form himself
(professionally) on the model of his young commodore, and a better
original it was impossible for him to study. A certain young
lieutenant, of the name of Schomberg, conceiving that he was
injuriously treated in an order of the day, issued by his Royal
Highness on board the Pegasus, applied to Nelson for a court-martial
to enquire into the charge alleged against him. Nelson granted the
court-martial, and placed the complainant in arrest till a sufficient
number could be collected for his trial, and expressed his opinion of
such frivolous applications in the following general order:--

     "By Horatio Nelson, Esquire, Captain of his Majesty's ship Boreas.

     "For the better maintaining discipline and good government in the
     king's squadron under my command.

     "I think it necessary to inform the officers, that if any one of
     them shall presume to write to the commander of the squadron
     (unless there shall be ships enough present to bring them to
     immediate trial) for a court-martial to investigate their
     conduct, on a frivolous pretence, thereby depriving his majesty
     of their services by obliging the commander of the squadron to
     confine them, that I shall and do consider such conduct as a
     direct breach of the 14th and part of the 19th articles of war,
     and shall order them to be tried for the same.

         "Given under my hand, &c.
                          "Horatio Nelson."

This probably had the desired effect, and the business was afterwards
adjusted without having recourse to a court-martial, though not
without bringing upon Nelson a rap over the knuckles on his return to
England. In order to obtain the proper court, he had directed the
prince to take his ship to the Jamaica station on his way to Halifax
in Nova Scotia, and the following paragraph contains their lordships'

     "My lords are not satisfied with the reasons you have given for
     altering the destination of the Pegasus, and for sending the
     Rattler sloop to Jamaica; and that, for having taken upon you to
     send the latter away from the station to which their lordships
     had appointed her, you will be answerable for the consequence, if
     the crown should be put to any needless expense upon that

We must close this account of the frivolous court-martial with an
admirable letter from Nelson to the prince.

                                      "Portsmouth _27th July, 1787_.

     "If to be truly great is to be truly good, (as we are taught to
     believe,) it never was stronger verified than in your Royal
     Highness in the instance of Mr Schomberg. You have supported your
     character, yet, at the same time, by an amiable condescension,
     have saved an officer from appearing before a court-martial,
     which ever must hurt him. Resentment, I know, your Royal highness
     never had, or, I am sure, ever will bear any one. It is a passion
     incompatible with the character of a man of honour. Schomberg was
     too hasty, certainly, in writing his letter, but now you are
     parted, pardon me, my prince, when I presume to recommend that
     Schomberg may stand in your royal favour as if he had never
     sailed with you; and that, at some future day, you will serve
     him. There only wants this to place your character in the highest
     point of view. None of us are without failings. Schomberg's was
     being rather too hasty; but that, put in competition with his
     being a good officer, will not, I am bold to say, be taken in the
     scale against him."

There is one characteristic circumstance in this collection, namely,
the number of letters written by Nelson in recommendation of all who
have behaved well under his command. He was desirous of acting to
others as, he boasts in one of his letters with pride and exultation,
he had been treated by Lord Howe. "You ask, by what interest did I get
a ship? I answer, having served with credit, was my recommendation to
Lord Howe, first lord of the admiralty."

The following is an application on behalf of a certain boatswain
called Joseph King, which we quote on account of the extraordinary
politeness,--owing, perhaps, to his study at St Omer--with which
Nelson designates his _protégé_.

     To Philip Stephens, Esq., Admiralty.

                                          "Boreas, _21st Sept. 1787_.

     "On the 20th, Charles Green, late acting boatswain, was entered
     as boatswain of his majesty's ship under my command, agreeable to
     a warrant dated at the Navy Pay-office, the 13th instant. I am,
     therefore, requested by Joseph King, to write to their lordships,
     to request they will be pleased to appoint him to some other
     ship, as he hopes he has done nothing deserving of being
     superseded; and I beg leave to recommend him as a most excellent
     _gentleman_.--I am, &c.

                          "Horatio Nelson."

Whether this application was successful or not, even the industry of
the editor has not discovered, but we fear that, at this point of his
history, Nelson's recommendation was of no great weight with the
Admiralty. His biographers, indeed, Clarke and M'Arthur, say, that at
this time the treatment he received disgusted him with his
profession, and that he had even determined never to set his foot
again on board a king's ship, but resign his commission at once. But
Sir Harris Nicolas very justly is sceptical as to the truth of this
anecdote, from the fact, that there is no allusion to any intention of
the kind in his correspondence. And from what we see of his
disposition in all his letters, we feel assured that a thought of
leaving the navy never entered his mind, and that he would have
considered the withdrawal of his services as little short of treason.
But there occurred now a long interval of idleness, or at least of
life ashore. The Boreas was paid off in December 1787, and he was only
appointed to the Agamemnon in January 1793.

The four years of peace passed happily away, principally at Burnham
with his father; and there is little to quote till we find him on his
own element again. He writes to Hercules Ross, a West India merchant,
with whom he had formed a steady friendship while on that station; and
we adduce the passage as a further corroboration of Sir Harris
Nicolas's doubts about the authenticity of Clarke and M'Arthur's

     "You have given up all the toils and anxieties of business,
     whilst I must still buffet the waves--in search of what? That
     thing called honour, is now, alas, thought of no more. My
     integrity cannot be mended, I hope; but my fortune, God knows,
     has grown worse for the service. So much for serving my country.
     But the devil, ever willing to tempt the virtuous, (pardon this
     flattery of myself,) has made me offer, if any ships should be
     sent to destroy his majesty of Morocco's ports, to be there; and
     I have some reason to think that, should any more come of it, my
     humble services will be accepted. I have invariably laid down,
     and followed close, a plan of what ought to be uppermost in the
     breast of an officer; that it is much better to serve an
     ungrateful country, than to give up his own fame. Posterity will
     do him justice; a uniform conduct of honour and integrity seldom
     fails of bringing a man to the goal of fame at last."

But in spite of the coolness of the jacks-in-office, and the cold
shoulder they turned to the little troublesome captain in the time of
peace, no sooner were we likely to come to loggerheads with the
French, than they turned their eyes to the quiet Norfolk parsonage,
and made the _amende_ to the _iracundus Achilles_.

War with France was declared on the 11th of February 1793, and on the
7th of January, Nelson writes as follows:--

     To Mrs Nelson.

     "_Post nubila Phoebus._ After clouds comes sunshine. The
     Admiralty so smile on me, that really I am as much surprised as
     when they frowned. Lord Chatham yesterday made many apologies for
     not having given me a ship before this time, and said, that if I
     chose to take a sixty-four to begin with, I should be appointed
     to one as soon as she was ready, and whenever it was in his
     power, I should be removed into a seventy-four. Every thing
     indicated war. One of our ships looking into Brest, has been
     fired into; the shot is now at the Admiralty. You will send my
     father this news, which I am sure will please him.--Love to
     Josiah, and believe me, your most affectionate

     "Horatio Nelson."

The appointment of Nelson to the Agamemnon, a name which he did nearly
as much to immortalize as Homer, is the great epoch of his
professional life. But though his letters, which now rise to the rank
of despatches, become more interesting to those who watch his progress
as an officer, there are comparatively fewer which let us into the
character of the man. Besides this, the incidents of his career after
this time are so well known, that little new can be expected. What
novelty, however, there was to be obtained has not escaped the
research of the editor, from whom (till we meet him in another volume,
when Nelson will again become interesting in his individual capacity,
as his secret and confidential letters in the Carraccioli and Lady
Hamilton's period, come to be laid before us) we part with feelings of
gratitude and respect.


Machiavel was the first historian who seems to have formed a
conception of the philosophy of history. Before his time, the
narrative of human events was little more than a series of
biographies, imperfectly connected together by a few slight sketches
of the empires on which the actions of their heroes were exerted. In
this style of history, the ancient writers were, and to the end of
time probably will continue to be, altogether inimitable. Their skill
in narrating a story, in developing the events of a life, in tracing
the fortunes of a city or a state, as they were raised by a succession
of illustrious patriots, or sunk by a series of oppressive tyrants,
has never been approached in modern times. The histories of Xenophon
and Thucydides, of Livy and Sallust, of Cæsar and Tacitus, are all
more or less formed on this model; and the more extended view of
history, as embracing an account of the countries the transactions of
which were narrated, originally formed, and to a great part executed,
by the father of history, Herodotus, appears to have been, in an
unaccountable manner, lost by his successors.

In these immortal works, however, human transactions are uniformly
regarded as they have been affected by, or called forth the agency of,
individual men. We are never presented with the view of society _in a
mass_; as influenced by a series of causes and effects independent of
the agency of individual man--or, to speak more correctly, in the
development of which the agency is an unconscious, and often almost a
passive, instrument. Constantly regarding history as an extensive
species of biography, they not only did not withdraw the eye to the
distance necessary to obtain such a general view of the progress of
things, but they did the reverse. Their great object was to bring the
eye so close as to see the whole virtues or vices of the principal
figures, which they exhibited on their moving panorama; and in so
doing they rendered it incapable of perceiving, at the same time, the
movement of the whole social body of which they formed a part. Even
Livy, in his pictured narrative of Roman victories, is essentially
biographical. His inimitable work owes its enduring celebrity to the
charming episodes of individuals, or graphic pictures of particular
events with which it abounds; scarce any general views on the progress
of society, or the causes to which its astonishing progress in the
Roman state was owing, are to be found. In the introduction to the
life of Catiline, Sallust has given, with unequalled power, a sketch
of the causes which corrupted the republic; and if his work had been
pursued in the same style, it would indeed have been a philosophical
history. But neither the Catiline nor the Jugurthine war are
histories; they are chapters of history, containing two interesting
biographies. Scattered through the writings of Tacitus, are to be
found numerous caustic and profound observations on human nature, and
the increasing vices and selfishness of a corrupted age: but, like the
maxims of Rochefoucault, it is to individual, not general, humanity
that they refer; and they strike us as so admirably just because they
do not describe general causes operating upon society as a body--which
often make little impression save on a few reflecting minds--but
strike direct to the human heart in a way which comes home to the
breast of every individual who reads them.

Never was a juster observation than that the human mind is never
quiescent; it may not give the external symptoms of action, but it
does not cease to have the internal action: it sleeps, but even then
it dreams. Writers innumerable have declaimed on the night of the
Middle Ages--on the deluge of barbarism which, under the Goths,
flooded the world--on the torpor of the human mind, under the combined
pressure of savage violence and priestly superstition; yet this was
precisely the period when the minds of men, deprived of external vent,
turned inwards on themselves; and that the learned and thoughtful,
shut out from any active part in society by the general prevalence of
military violence, sought, in the solitude of the cloister, employment
in reflecting on the mind itself, and the general causes which, under
its guidance, operated upon society. The influence of this great
change in the direction of thought at once appeared when knowledge,
liberated from the cloister and the university, again took its place
among the affairs of men. Machiavel in Italy, and Bacon in England,
for the first time in the annals of knowledge, reasoned upon human
affairs _as a science_. They spoke of the minds of men as permanently
governed by certain causes, and of known principles, always leading to
the same results; they treated of politics as a science in which
certain known laws existed, and could be discovered, as in mechanics
and hydraulics. This was a great step in advance, and demonstrated
that the superior age of the world, and the wide sphere to which
political observation had now been applied, had permitted the
accumulation of such an increased store of facts, as permitted
deductions, founded on experience, to be formed in regard to the
affairs of nations. Still more, it showed that the attention of
writers had been drawn to the general causes of human affairs; that
they reasoned on the actions of men as a subject of abstract thought;
regarded effects formerly produced as _likely to recur_ from a similar
combination of circumstances; and formed conclusions for the
regulation of future conduct, from the results of past experience.
This tendency is, in an especial manner, conspicuous in the _Discorsi_
of Machiavel, where certain general propositions are stated, deduced,
indeed, from the events of Roman story, but announced as lasting
truths, applicable to every future generation and circumstances of
men. In depth of view and justness of observation, these views of the
Florentine statesman never were surpassed. Bacon's essays relate, for
the most part, to subjects of morals, or domestic and private life;
but not unfrequently he touches on the general concerns of nations,
and with the same profound observation of the past, and philosophic
anticipation of the future.

Voltaire professed to elevate history in France from the _jejune_ and
trifling details of genealogy, courts, wars, and negotiations, in
which it had hitherto, in his country, been involved, to the more
general contemplation of arts and philosophy, and the progress of
human affairs; and, in some respects, he certainly effected a great
reformation on the ponderous annalists who had preceded him. But the
foundation of his history was still biography; he regarded human
events only as they were grouped round two or three great men, or as
they were influenced by the speculations of men of letters and
science. The history of France he stigmatized as savage and worthless
till the reign of Louis XIV.; the Russians he looked upon as bitter
barbarians till the time of Peter the Great. He thought the
philosophers alone all in all; till they arose, and a sovereign
appeared, who collected them round his throne, and shed on them the
rays of royal favour, human events were not worth narrating; they were
merely the contests of one set of savages plundering another.
Religion, in his eyes, was a mere priestly delusion to enslave and
benighten mankind; from its oppression the greatest miseries of modern
times had flowed; the first step in the emancipation of the human mind
was to chase for ever from the earth those sacerdotal tyrants. The
most free-thinking historian will now admit, that these views are
essentially erroneous; he will allow that, viewing Christianity merely
as a human institution, its effect in restraining the violence of
feudal anarchy was incalculable; long anterior to the date of the
philosophers, he will look for the broad foundation on which national
character and institutions, for good or for evil, have been formed.
Voltaire was of great service to history, by turning it from courts
and camps to the progress of literature, science, and the arts--to the
delineation of manners, and the preparation of anecdotes descriptive
of character; but, notwithstanding all his talent, he never got a
glimpse of the general causes which influence society. He gave us the
history of philosophy, but not the philosophy of history.

The ardent genius and pictorial eye of Gibbon rendered him an
incomparable delineator of events; and his powerful mind made him
seize the _general_ and characteristic features of society and
manners, as they appear in different parts of the world, as well as
the traits of individual greatness. His descriptions of the Roman
empire in the zenith of its power, as it existed in the time of
Augustus--of its decline and long-protracted old age, under
Constantine and his successors on the Byzantine throne--of the manners
of the pastoral nations, who, under different names, and for a
succession of ages, pressed upon and at last overturned the empire--of
the Saracens, who, issuing from the lands of Arabia, with the Koran in
one hand and the cimeter in the other, urged on their resistless
course, till they were arrested by the Atlantic on the one side, and
the Indian ocean on the other--of the stern crusaders, who, nursed
amid the cloistered shades and castellated realms of Europe, struggled
with that devastating horde "when 'twas strongest, and ruled it when
'twas wildest"--of the long agony, silent decay, and ultimate
resurrection of the Eternal City--are so many immortal pictures,
which, to the end of the world, will fascinate every ardent and
imaginative mind. But, not withstanding this incomparable talent for
general and characteristic description, he had not the mind necessary
for a philosophical analysis of the series of causes which influence
human events. He viewed religion with a jaundiced and prejudiced
eye--the fatal bequest of his age and French education, unworthy alike
of his native candour and inherent strength of understanding. He had
profound philosophic ideas, and occasionally let them out with
admirable effect; but the turn of his mind was essentially
descriptive, and his powers were such, in that brilliant department,
that they wiled him from the less inviting contemplation of general
causes. We turn over his fascinating pages without ever wearying; but
without ever discovering the general progress or apparent tendency of
human affairs. We look in vain for the profound reflections of
Machiavel on the permanent results of certain political combinations
or experiments. He has led us through a "mighty maze;" but he has made
no attempt to show it "not without a plan."

Hume is commonly called a philosophical historian, and so he is; but
he has even less than Gibbon the power of unfolding the general causes
which influence the progress of human events. He was not, properly
speaking, a philosophic historian, but a philosopher writing
history--and these are very different things. The practical statesman
will often make a better delineator of the progress of human affairs
than the philosophic recluse; for he is more practically acquainted
with their secret Springs: it was not in the schools, but the forum or
the palace, that Sallust, Tacitus, and Burke acquired their deep
insight into the human heart. Hume was gifted with admirable sagacity
in political economy; and it is the good sense and depth of his views
on that important subject, then for the first time brought to bear on
the annals of man, that has chiefly gained for him, and with justice,
the character of a philosophic historian. To this may be added the
admirable clearness and rhetorical powers with which he has stated the
principal arguments for and against the great changes in the English
institutions which it fell to his lot to recount--arguments far abler
than were either used by, or occurred to, the actors by whom they were
brought about; for it is seldom that a Hume is found in the councils
of men. With equal ability, too, he has given periodical sketches of
manners, customs, and habits, mingled with valuable details on
finance, commerce, and prices--all elements, and most important ones,
in the formation of philosophical history. We owe a deep debt of
gratitude to the man who has rescued these important facts from the
ponderous folios where they were slumbering in forgotten obscurity,
and brought them into the broad light of philosophic observation and
popular narrative. But, notwithstanding all this, Hume is far from
being gifted with the philosophy of history. He has collected or
prepared many of the facts necessary for the science, but he has made
little progress in it himself. He was essentially a sceptic. He aimed
rather at spreading doubts than shedding light. Like Voltaire and
Gibbon, he was scandalously prejudiced and unjust on the subject of
religion; and to write modern history without correct views on that
subject, is like playing Hamlet without the character of the Prince of
Denmark. He was too indolent to acquire the vast store of facts
indispensable for correct generalization on the varied theatre of
human affairs, and often drew hasty and incorrect conclusions from the
events which particularly came under his observation. Thus the
repeated indecisive battles between the fleets of Charles II. and the
Dutch, drew from him the observation, apparently justified by their
results, that sea-fights are seldom so important or decisive as those
at land. The fact is just the reverse. Witness the battle of Salamis,
which repelled from Europe the tide of Persian invasion; that of
Actium, which gave a master to the Roman world; that of Sluys, which
exposed France to the dreadful English invasions, begun under Edward
III.; that of Lepanto, which rolled back from Christendom the wave of
Mahometan conquest; the defeat of the Armada, which permanently
established the Reformation in Northern Europe; that of La Hogue,
which broke the maritime strength of Louis XIV.; that of Trafalgar,
which for ever took "ships, colonies, and commerce" from Napoleon, and
spread them with the British colonial empire over half the globe.

Montesquieu owes his colossal reputation chiefly to his _Esprit des
Loix_; but the _Grandeur et Decadence des Romains_ is by much the
greater work. It has never attained nearly the reputation in this
country which it deserves, either in consequence of the English mind
being less partial than the French to the philosophy of human affairs,
or, as is more probable, from the system of education at our
universities being so exclusively devoted to the study of words, that
our scholars never arrive at the knowledge of things. It is impossible
to imagine a work in which the philosophy of history is more ably
condensed, or where there is exhibited, in a short space, a more
profound view of the general causes to which the long-continued
greatness and ultimate decline of that celebrated people were owing.
It is to be regretted only that he did not come to modern times and
other ages with the same masterly survey; the information collected in
the _Esprit des Loix_ would have furnished him with ample materials
for such a work. In that noble treatise, the same philosophic and
generalizing spirit is conspicuous; but there is too great a love of
system, an obvious partiality for fanciful analogies, and, not
unfrequently, conclusions hastily deduced from insufficient data.
These errors, the natural result of a philosophic and profound mind
wandering without a guide in the mighty maze of human transactions,
are entirely avoided in the _Grandeur et Decadence des Romains_, where
he was retained by authentic history to a known train of events, and
where his imaginative spirit and marked turn for generalization found
sufficient scope, and no more, to produce the most perfect commentary
on the annals of a single people of which the human mind can boast.

Bossuet, in his _Universal History_, aimed at a higher object; he
professed to give nothing less than a development of the plan of
Providence in the government of human affairs, during the whole of
antiquity, and down to the reign of Charlemagne. The idea was
magnificent, and the mental powers, as well as eloquence, of the
Bishop of Meaux promised the greatest results from such an
undertaking. But the execution has by no means corresponded to the
conception. Voltaire has said, that he professed to give a view of
universal history, and he has only given the history of the Jews; and
there is too much truth in the observation. He never got out of the
fetters of his ecclesiastical education; the Jews were the centre
round which he supposed all other nations revolved. His mind was
polemical, not philosophic; a great theologian, he was but an
indifferent historian. In one particular, indeed, his observations are
admirable, and, at times, in the highest degree impressive. He never
loses sight of the divine superintendence of human affairs; he sees in
all the revolutions of empires the progress of a mighty plan for the
ultimate redemption of mankind; and he traces the workings of this
superintending power in all the transactions of man. But it may be
doubted whether he took the correct view of this sublime but
mysterious subject. He supposes the divine agency to influence
_directly_ the affairs of men--not through the medium of general laws,
or the adaptation of our active propensities to the varying
circumstances of our condition. Hence his views strike at the freedom
of human actions; he makes men and nations little more than the
puppets by which the Deity works out the great drama of human affairs.
Without disputing the reality of such immediate agency in some
particular cases, it may safely be affirmed, that by far the greater
part of the affairs of men are left entirely to their own guidance,
and that their actions are overruled, not directed, by Almighty power
to work out the purposes of Divine beneficence.

That which Bossuet left undone, Robertson did. The first volume of his
Charles V. may justly be regarded as the greatest step which the human
mind had yet made in the philosophy of history. Extending his views
beyond the admirable survey which Montesquieu had given of the rise
and decline of the Roman empire, he aimed at giving a view of the
_progress of society_ in modern times. This matter, of the progress of
society, was a favourite subject at that period with political
philosophers; and by combining the speculations of these ingenious men
with the solid basis of facts which his erudition and industry had
worked out, Robertson succeeded in producing the most luminous, and at
the same time just, view of the progress of nations that had yet been
exhibited among mankind. The philosophy of history here appeared in
its full lustre. Men and nations were exhibited in their just
proportions. Society was viewed, not only in its details, but its
masses; the _general causes_ which influence its progress, running
into or mutually affecting each other, and yet all conspiring with
more or less efficacy to bring about a general result, were exhibited
in the most lucid and masterly manner. The great causes which have
contributed to form the elements of modern society--the decaying
civilization of Rome--the irruption of the northern nations--the
prostration and degradation of the conquered people--the revival of
the military spirit with the private wars of the nobles--the feudal
system and institution of chivalry--the crusades, and revival of
letters following the capture of Constantinople by the Turks--the
invention of printing, and consequent extension of knowledge to the
great body of the people--the discovery of the compass, and, with it,
of America, by Columbus, and doubling of the Cape of Good Hope by
Vasco de Gama--the discovery of gunpowder, and prodigious change
thereby effected in the implements of human destruction--are all there
treated in the most luminous manner, and, in general, with the justest
discrimination. The vast agency of general causes upon the progress of
mankind now became apparent: unseen powers, like the deities of Homer
in the war of Troy, were seen to mingle at every stop with the tide of
sublunary affairs; and so powerful and irresistible does their agency,
when once revealed, appear, that we are perhaps now likely to fall
into the opposite extreme, and to ascribe too little to individual
effort or character. Men and nations seem to be alike borne forward on
the surface of a mighty stream, which they are equally incapable of
arresting or directing; and, after surveying the vain and impotent
attempts of individuals to extricate themselves from the current, we
are apt to exclaim with the philosopher,[16] "He has dashed with his
oar to hasten the cataract; he has waved with his fan to give speed to
the winds."

A nearer examination, however, will convince every candid enquirer,
that individual character exercises, if not a paramount, yet a very
powerful influence on human affairs. Whoever investigates minutely any
period of history will find, on the one hand, that general causes
affecting the whole of society are in constant operation; and on the
other, that these general causes themselves are often set in motion,
or directed in their effects, by particular men. Thus, of what
efficacy were the constancy of Pitt, the foresight of Burke, the arm
of Nelson, the wisdom of Wellington, the genius of Wellesley, in
bringing to maturity the British empire, and spreading the Anglo-Saxon
race, in pursuance of its appointed mission, over half the globe! What
marvellous effect had the heroism and skill of Robert Bruce upon the
subsequent history of Scotland, and, through it, on the fortunes of
the British race! Thus biography, or the deeds or thoughts of
illustrious men, still forms a most important, and certainly the most
interesting, part even of general history; and the perfection of that
noble art consists, not in the exclusive delineation of individual
achievement, or the concentration of attention on general causes, but
in the union of the two in due proportions, as they really exist in
nature, and determine, by their combined operation, the direction of
human affairs. The talent now required in the historian partakes,
accordingly, of this two-fold character. He is expected to write
philosophy and biography: skill in drawing individual character, the
power of describing individual achievements, with a clear perception
of general causes, and the generalizing faculty of enlarged
philosophy. He must combine in his mind the powers of the microscope
and the telescope; be ready, like the steam-engine, at one time to
twist a fibre, at another to propel an hundred-gun ship. Hence the
rarity of eminence in this branch of knowledge; and if we could
conceive a writer who, to the ardent genius and descriptive powers of
Gibbon, should unite the lucid glance and just discrimination of
Robertson, and the calm sense and reasoning powers of Hume, he would
form a more perfect historian than ever has, or probably ever will
appear upon earth.

With all his generalizing powers, however, Robertson fell into one
defect--or rather, he was unable, in one respect, to extricate himself
from the prejudices of his age and profession. He was not a
freethinker--on the contrary, he was a sincere and pious divine; but
he lived in an age of freethinkers--they had the chief influence in
the formation of a writer's fame; and he was too desirous of literary
reputation to incur the hazard of ridicule or contempt, by assigning
too prominent a place to the obnoxious topic. Thence he has ascribed
far too little influence to Christianity, in restraining the ferocity
of savage manners, preserving alive the remains of ancient knowledge,
and laying in general freedom the broad and deep foundations of
European society. He has not overlooked these topics, but he has not
given them their due place, nor assigned them their proper weight. He
lived and died in comparative retirement; and he was never able to
shake himself free from the prejudices of his country and education,
on the subject of Romish religion. Not that he exaggerated the abuses
and enormities of the Roman Catholic superstition which brought about
the Reformation, nor the vast benefits which Luther conferred upon
mankind by bringing them to light; both were so great, that they
hardly admitted of exaggeration. His error--and, in the delineation of
the progress of society in modern Europe, it was a very great
one--consisted in overlooking the beneficial effect of that very
superstition, then so pernicious, in a _prior age of the world_, when
violence was universal, crime prevalent alike in high and low places,
and government impotent to check either the tyranny of the great or
the madness of the people. Then it was that superstition was the
greatest blessing which Providence, in mercy, could bestow on mankind;
for it effected what the wisdom of the learned or the efforts of the
active were alike unable to effect; it restrained the violence by
imaginary, which was inaccessible to the force of real, terrors; and
spread that protection under the shadow of the Cross, which could
never have been obtained by the power of the sword. Robertson was
wholly insensible to these early and inestimable blessings of the
Christian faith; he has admirably delineated the beneficial influence
of the Crusades upon subsequent society, but on this all-important
topic he is silent. Yet, whoever has studied the condition of
European society in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, as it
has since been developed in the admirable works of Sismondi, Thierry,
Michelet, and Guizot, must be aware that the services, not merely of
Christianity, but of the superstitions which had usurped its place,
were, during that long period, incalculable; and that, but for them,
European society would infallibly have sunk, as Asiatic in every age
has done, beneath the desolating sword of barbarian power.

Sismondi--if the magnitude, and in many respects the merit, of his
works be considered--must be regarded as one of the greatest
historians of modern times. His "History of the Italian Republics" in
sixteen, of the "Monarchy of France" in thirty volumes, attest the
variety and extent of his antiquarian researches, as well as the
indefatigable industry of his pen: his "Literature of the South of
Europe" in four, and "Miscellaneous Essays" in three volumes, show how
happily he has blended these weighty investigations with the lighter
topics of literature and poetry, and the political philosophy which,
in recent times, has come to occupy so large a place in the study of
all who have turned their mind to the progress of human affairs. Nor
is the least part of his merit to be found in the admirable skill with
which he has condensed, each in two volumes, his great histories, for
the benefit of that numerous class of readers who, unable or unwilling
to face the formidable undertaking of going through his great
histories, are desirous of obtaining such a brief summary of their
leading events as may suffice for persons of ordinary perseverance or
education. His mind was essentially philosophical; and it is the
philosophy of modern history, accordingly, which he has exerted
himself so strenuously to unfold. He views society at a distance, and
exhibits its great changes in their just proportions, and, in general,
with their true effects. His success in this arduous undertaking has
been great indeed. He has completed the picture of which Robertson had
only formed the sketch--and completed it with such a prodigious
collection of materials, and so lucid an arrangement of them in their
appropriate places, as to have left future ages little to do but draw
the just conclusions from the results of his labours.

With all these merits, and they are great, and with this rare
combination of antiquarian industry with philosophic generalization,
Sismondi is far from being a perfect historian. He did well to abridge
his great works; for he will find few readers who will have
perseverance enough to go through them. An abridgement was tried of
Gibbon; but it had little success, and has never since been attempted.
You might as well publish an abridgement of Waverley or Ivanhoe. Every
reader of the _Decline and Fall_ must feel that condensation is
impossible, without an omission of interest or a curtailment of
beauty. Sismondi, with all his admirable qualities as a general and
philosophic historian, wants the one thing needful in exciting
interest--descriptive and dramatic power. He was a man of great vigour
of thought and clearness of observation, but little genius--at least
of that kind of genius which is necessary to move the feelings or warm
the imagination. That was his principal defect; and it will prevent
his great works from ever commanding the attention of a numerous body
of general readers, however much they may be esteemed by the learned
and studious. Conscious of this deficiency, he makes scarce any
attempt to make his narrative interesting; but, reserving his whole
strength for general views on the progress of society, or philosophic
observations on its most important changes, he fills up the
intermediate space with long quotations from chronicles, memoirs, and
state papers--a sure way, if the selection is not made with great
judgment, of rendering the whole insupportably tedious. Every
narrative, to be interesting, should be given in the writer's _own
words_, unless on those occasions, by no means frequent, when some
striking or remarkable expressions of a speaker, or contemporary
writer, are to be preserved. Unity of style and expression is as
indispensable in a history which is to move the heart, or fascinate
the imagination, as in a tragedy, a painting, or an epic poem.

But, in addition to this, Sismondi's general views, though ordinarily
just, and always expressed with clearness and precision, are not
always to be taken without examination. Like Robertson, he was never
able to extricate himself entirely from the early prejudices of his
country and education; hardly any of the Geneva school of philosophers
have been able to do so. Brought up in that learned and able, but
narrow, and in some respects bigoted community, he was early engaged
in the vast undertaking of the History of the Italian Republics. Thus,
before he was well aware of it, and at a time of life, when the
opinions are flexible, and easily moulded by external impressions, he
became irrevocably enamoured of such little communities as he had
lived in, or was describing, and imbibed all the prejudices against
the Church of Rome, which have naturally, from close proximity, and
the endurance of unutterable evils at its hands, been ever prevalent
among the Calvinists of Geneva. These causes have tinged his otherwise
impartial views with two signal prejudices, which appear in all his
writings where these subjects are even remotely alluded to. His
partiality for municipal institutions, and the social system depending
on them, is as extravagant, as his aversion to the Church of Rome is
conspicuous and intemperate. His idea of a perfect society would be a
confederacy of little republics, governed by popularly elected
magistrates, holding the scarlet old lady of Rome in utter
abomination, and governed in matters of religion by the Presbyterian
forms, and the tenets of Calvin. It is not to be wondered at, that the
annalist of the countries of Tasso and Dante, of Titian and Machiavel,
of Petrarch and Leonardo da Vinci, of Galileo and Michael Angelo,
should conceive, that in no other state of society is such scope
afforded for mental cultivation and the development of the highest
efforts of genius. Still less is it surprising, that the historian of
the crusade against the Albigenses, of the unheard-of atrocities of
Simon de Montfort, of the wholesale massacres, burnings, and
torturings, which have brought such indelible disgrace on the Roman
priesthood, should feel deeply interested in a faith which has
extricated his own country from the abominable persecution. But still,
this indulgence of these natural, and in some respects praiseworthy,
feelings, has blinded Sismondi to the insurmountable evils of a
confederacy of small republics at this time, amidst surrounding,
powerful, and monarchical states; and to the inappreciable blessings
of the Christian faith, and even of the Romish superstition, before
the period when these infamous cruelties began, when their warfare was
only with the oppressor, their struggles with the destroyers of the
human race.

But truth is great, and will prevail. Those just views of modern
society, which neither the luminous eye of Robertson, nor the learned
research and philosophic mind of Sismondi could reach, have been
brought forward by a writer of surpassing ability, whose fame as an
historian and a philosopher is for the time overshadowed by the more
fleeting celebrity of the statesman and the politician. We will not
speak of M. GUIZOT in the latter character, much as we are tempted to
do so, by the high and honourable part which he has long borne in
European diplomacy, and the signal ability with which, in the midst of
a short-sighted and rebellious generation, clamouring, as the Romans
of old, for the _multis utile bellum_, he has sustained his
sovereign's wise and magnanimous resolution to maintain peace. We are
too near the time to appreciate the magnitude of these blessings; men
would not now believe through what a crisis the British empire,
unconscious of its danger, passed, when M. Thiers was dismissed, three
years and a half ago, by Louis Philippe, and M. Guizot called to the
helm. But when the time arrives, as arrive it will, that the
diplomatic secrets of that period are brought to light; when the
instructions of the revolutionary minister to the admiral of the
Toulon fleet are made known, and the marvellous chance which prevented
their being acted upon by him, has become matter of history; it will
be admitted, that the civilized world have good cause to thank M.
Guizot for saving it from a contest as vehement, as perilous, and
probably as disastrous to all concerned, as that which followed the
French Revolution.

Our present business is with M. Guizot as a historian and philosopher;
a character in which he will be remembered, long after his services to
humanity as a statesman and a minister have ceased to attract the
attention of men. In those respects, we place him in the very highest
rank among the writers of modern Europe. It must be understood,
however, in what his greatness consists, lest the readers, expecting
what they will not find, experience disappointment, when they begin
the study of his works. He is neither imaginative nor pictorial; he
seldom aims at the pathetic, and has little eloquence. He is not a
Livy nor a Gibbon. Nature has not given him either dramatic or
descriptive powers. He is a man of the highest genius; but it consists
not in narrating particular events, or describing individual
achievement. It is in the discovery of general causes; in tracing the
operation of changes in society, which escape ordinary observation: in
seeing whence man has come, and whether he is going, that his
greatness consists: and in that loftiest of the regions of history, he
is unrivaled. We know of no author who has traced the changes of
society, and the general causes which determine the fate of nations,
with such just views and so much sagacious discrimination. He is not
properly speaking, an historian; his vocation and object were
different. He is a great discourser on history. If ever the philosophy
of history was embodied in a human being, it is in M. Guizot.

The style of this great author is, in every respect, suited to his
subject. He does not aim at the highest flights of fancy; makes no
attempt to warm the soul or melt the feelings; is seldom imaginative,
and never descriptive. But he is uniformly lucid, sagacious, and
discriminating; deduces his conclusions with admirable clearness from
his premises, and occasionally warms from the innate grandeur of his
subject into a glow of fervent eloquence. He seems to treat of human
affairs, as if he viewed them from a loftier sphere than other men; as
if he were elevated above the usual struggles and contests of
humanity; and a superior power had withdrawn the veil which shrouds
their secret causes and course from the gaze of sublunary beings. He
cares not to dive into the secrets of cabinets; attaches little,
perhaps too little, importance to individual character; but fixes his
steady gaze on the great and lasting causes which, in a durable
manner, influence human affairs. He views them not from year to year
but from century to century; and, when considered in that view, it is
astonishing how much the importance of individual agency disappears.
Important in their generation--sometimes almost omnipotent for good or
for evil while they live--particular men, how great soever, rarely
leave any very important consequences behind them; or at least rarely
do what other men might not have done as effectually as them, and
which was not already determined by the tendency of the human mind,
and the tide, either of flow or ebb, by which human affairs were at
the time wafted to and fro. The desperate struggles of war or of
ambition in which they were engaged, and in which so much genius and
capacity were exerted, are swept over by the flood of time, and seldom
leave any lasting trace behind. It is the men who determine the
direction of this tide, who imprint their character on general
thought, who are the real directors of human affairs; it is the giants
of thought who, in the end, govern the world--kings and ministers,
princes and generals, warriors and legislators, are but the ministers
of their blessings or their curses to mankind. But their dominion
seldom begins till themselves are mouldering in their graves.

Guizot's largest work, in point of size, is his translation of
_Gibbon's Rome_; and the just and philosophic spirit in which he
viewed he course of human affairs, was admirably calculated to provide
an antidote to the sceptical sneers which, in a writer of such genius
and strength of understanding, are at once the marvel and the disgrace
of that immortal work. He has begun also a history of the English
Revolution, to which he was led by having been the editor of a
valuable collection of Memoirs relating to the great Rebellion,
translated into French, in twenty-five volumes. But this work only got
the length of two volumes, and came no further down than the death of
Charles I., an epoch no further on in the English than the execution
of Louis in the French revolution. This history is clear, lucid, and
valuable; but it is written with little eloquence, and has met with no
great success: the author's powers were not of the dramatic or
pictorial kind necessary to paint that dreadful story. These were
editorial or industrial labours unworthy of Guizot's mind; it was when
he delivered lectures from the chair of history in Paris, that his
genius shone forth in its proper sphere and its true lustre.

His _Civilisation en France_, in five volumes, _Civilisation
Européenne_, and _Essais sur l'Histoire de France_, each in one
volume, are the fruits of these professional labours. The same
profound thought, sagacious discrimination, and lucid view, are
conspicuous in them all; but they possess different degrees of
interest to the English reader. The _Civilisation en France_ is the
groundwork of the whole, and it enters at large into the whole
details, historical, legal, and antiquarian, essential for its
illustration, and the proof of the various propositions which it
contains. In the _Civilisation Européenne_, and _Essays on the History
of France_, however, the general results are given with equal
clearness and greater brevity. We do not hesitate to say, that they
appear to us to throw more light on the history of society in modern
Europe, and the general progress of mankind, from the exertions of its
inhabitants, than any other works in existence; and it is of them,
especially the first, that we propose to give our readers some

The most important event which ever occurred in the history of
mankind, is the one concerning which contemporary writers have given
us the least satisfactory accounts. Beyond all doubt the overthrow of
Rome by the Goths was the most momentous catastrophe which has
occurred on the earth since the deluge; yet, if we examine either the
historians of antiquity or the earliest of modern times, we find it
wholly impossible to understand to what cause so great a catastrophe
had been owing. What gave, in the third and fourth centuries, so
prodigious an impulse to the northern nations, and enabled them, after
being so long repelled by the arms of Rome, finally to prevail over
it? What, still more, so completely paralysed the strength of the
empire during that period, and produced that astonishing weakness in
the ancient conquerors of the world, which rendered them the easy prey
of those whom they had so often subdued? The ancient writers content
themselves with saying, that the people became corrupted; that they
lost their military courage; that the recruiting of the legions, in
the free inhabitants of the empire, became impossible; and that the
semi-barbarous tribes on the frontier could not be relied on to uphold
its fortunes. But a very little reflection must be sufficient to show
that there must have been much more in it than this, before a race of
conquerors was converted into one of slaves; before the legions fled
before the barbarians, and the strength of the civilized was
overthrown by the energy of the savage world. For what prevented a
revenue from being raised in the third or fourth, as well as the first
or second centuries? Corruption in its worst form had doubtless
pervaded the higher ranks in Rome from the Emperor downward; but these
vices are the faults of the exalted and the affluent only; they never
have, and never will, extend generally to the great body of the
community; for this plain reason, that they are not rich enough to
purchase them. But the remarkable thing is, that in the decline of the
empire, it was in the lower ranks that the greatest and most fatal
weakness first appeared. Long before the race of the Patricians had
become extinct, the free cultivators had disappeared from the fields.
Leaders and generals of the most consummate abilities, of the greatest
daring, frequently arose; but their efforts proved in the end
ineffectual, from the impossibility of finding a sturdy race of
followers to fill their ranks. The legionary Italian soldier was
awanting--his place was imperfectly supplied by the rude Dacian, the
hardy German, the faithless Goth. So completely were the inhabitants
of the provinces within the Rhine and the Danube paralysed, that they
ceased to make any resistance to the hordes of invaders; and the
fortunes of the empire were, for several generations, sustained solely
by the heroic efforts of individual leaders--Belisarius, Narces,
Julian, Aurelian, Constantine, and many others--whose renown, though
it could not rouse the pacific inhabitants to warlike efforts, yet
attracted military adventurers from all parts of the world to their
standard. Now, what weakened and destroyed the rural population? It
could not be luxury; on the contrary, they were suffering under excess
of poverty, and bent down beneath a load of taxes, which in Gaul, in
the time of Constantine, amounted, as Gibbon tells us, to nine pounds
sterling on every freeman? What was it, then, which occasioned the
depopulation and weakness? This is what it behoves us to know--this it
is which ancient history has left unknown.

It is here that the vast step in the philosophy of history made from
ancient to modern times is apparent. From a few detached hints and
insulated facts, left by the ancient annalists, apparently ignorant of
their value, and careless of their preservation, modern industry,
guided by the light of philosophy, has reared up the true solution of
the difficulty, and revealed the real causes, hidden from the ordinary
gaze, which, even in the midst of its greatest prosperity, gradually,
but certainly, undermined the strength of the empire. Michelet, in his
_Gaule sous les Romains_, a most able and interesting work--Thierry,
in his _Domination Romaine en Gaule_, and his _Histoire des Rois
Merovingians_--Sismondi, in the three first volumes of his _Histoire
des Français_--and Guizot, in his _Civilisation Européenne_, and the
first volumes of his _Essais sur l'Histoire de France_--have applied
their great powers to this most interesting subject. It may safely be
affirmed, that they have got to the bottom of the subject, and lifted
up the veil from one of the darkest, and yet most momentous, changes
in the history of mankind. Guizot gives the following account of the
principal causes which silently undermined the strength of the empire,
flowing from the peculiar organization of ancient society:--

     "When Rome extended, what did it do? Follow its history, and you
     will find that it was everlastingly engaged in conquering or
     founding cities. It was with cities that it fought--with cities
     that it contracted--into cities that it sent colonies. The
     history of the conquest of the world by Rome, is nothing but the
     history of the conquest and foundation of a great number of
     cities. In the East, the expansion of the Roman power assumed,
     from the very outset, a somewhat dissimilar character; the
     population was differently distributed from the West, and much
     less concentrated in cities; but in the European world, the
     foundation or conquest of towns was the uniform result of Roman
     conquest. In Gaul and Spain, in Italy, it was constantly towns
     which opposed the barrier to Roman domination, and towns which
     were founded or garrisoned by the legions, or strengthened by
     colonies, to retain them when vanquished in a state of
     subjection. Great roads stretched from one town to another; the
     multitude of cross roads which now intersect each other in every
     direction, was unknown. They had nothing in common with that
     multitude of little monuments, villages, churches, castles,
     villas, and cottages, which now cover our provinces. Rome has
     bequeathed to us nothing, either in its capital or its provinces,
     but the _municipal character_, which produced immense monuments
     on certain points, destined for the use of the vast population
     which was there assembled together.

     "From this peculiar conformation of society in Europe, under the
     Roman dominion, consisting of a vast conglomeration of cities,
     with each a dependent territory, all independent of each other,
     arose the absolute necessity for a central and absolute
     government. One municipality in Rome might conquer the world: but
     to retain it in subjection, and provide for the government of all
     its multifarious parts, was a very different matter. This was one
     of the chief causes of the general adoption of a strong
     concentrated government under the empire. Such centralized
     despotism not only succeeded in restraining and regulating all
     the incoherent members of the vast dominion, but the idea of a
     central irresistible authority insinuated itself into men's minds
     every where, at the same time, with wonderful facility. At first
     sight, one is astonished to see, in that prodigious and
     ill-united aggregate of little republics, in that accumulation of
     separate municipalities, spring up so suddenly an unbounded
     respect for the sacred authority of the empire. But the truth is,
     it had become a matter of absolute necessity, that the bond which
     held together the different parts of this heterogeneous dominion
     should be very powerful; and this it was which gave it so ready a
     reception in the minds of men.

     "But when the vigour of the central power declined during a
     course of ages, from the pressure of external warfare, and the
     weakness of internal corruption, this necessity was no longer
     felt. The capital ceased to be able to provide for the provinces,
     it rather sought protection from them. During four centuries, the
     central power of the emperors incessantly struggled against this
     increasing debility; but the moment at length arrived, when all
     the practised skill of despotism, over the long _insouciance_ of
     servitude, could no longer keep together the huge and unwieldy
     body. In the fourth century, we see it at once break up and
     disunite; the barbarians entered on all sides from without, the
     provinces ceased to oppose any resistance from within; the cities
     to evince any regard for the general welfare; and, as in the
     disaster of a shipwreck, every one looked out for his individual
     safety. Thus, on the dissolution of the empire, the same general
     state of society presented itself as in its cradle. The imperial
     authority sunk into the dust, and municipal institutions alone
     survived the disaster. This, then, was the chief legacy which the
     ancient bequeathed to the modern world--for it alone survived the
     storm by which the former had been destroyed--cities and a
     municipal organization every where established. But it was not
     the only legacy. Beside it, there was the recollection at least
     of the awful majesty of the emperor--of a distant, unseen, but
     sacred and irresistible power. These are the two ideas which
     antiquity bequeathed to modern times. On the one hand, the
     municipal _régime_, its rules, customs, and principles of
     liberty: on the other a common, general, civil legislation; and
     the idea of absolute power, of a sacred majesty, the principle of
     order and servitude."--(_Civilization Européenne_, 20, 23.)

The causes which produced the extraordinary, and at first sight
unaccountable, depopulation of the country districts, not only in
Italy, but in Gaul, Spain, and all the European provinces of the Roman
empire, are explained by Guizot in his _Essays on the History of
France_, and have been fully demonstrated by Sismondi, Thierry, and
Michelet. They were a natural consequence of the municipal system,
then universally established as the very basis of civilization in the
whole Roman empire, and may be seen urging, from a similar cause, the
Turkish empire to dissolution at this day. This was the imposition of
a certain fixed duty, as a burden on each municipality, to be raised,
indeed, by its own members, but admitting of no diminution, save under
the most special circumstances, and on an express exemption by the
emperor. Had the great bulk of the people been free, and the empire
prosperous, this fixity of impost would have been the greatest of all
blessings. It is the precise boon so frequently and earnestly implored
by our ryots in India, and indeed by the cultivators all over the
East. But when the empire was beset on all sides with enemies--only
the more rapacious and pressing, that the might of the legions had so
long confined them within the comparatively narrow limits of their own
sterile territories--and disasters, frequent and serious, were laying
waste the frontier provinces, it became the most dreadful of all
scourges; because, as the assessment on each district was fixed, and
scarcely ever suffered any abatement, every disaster experienced
increased the burden on the survivors who had escaped it; until they
became bent down under such a weight of taxation, as, coupled with the
small number of freemen on whom it exclusively fell, crushed every
attempt at productive industry. It was the same thing as if all the
farmers on each estate were to be bound to make up, annually, the same
amount of rent to their landlord, no matter how many of them had
become insolvent. We know how long the agriculture of Britain, in a
period of declining prices and frequent disaster, would exist under
such a system.

Add to this the necessary effect which the free circulation of grain
throughout the whole Roman world had in depressing the agriculture of
Italy, Gaul, and Greece. They were unable to withstand the competition
of Egypt, Lybia, and Sicily--the storehouses of the world; where the
benignity of the climate, and the riches of the soil, rewarded seventy
or an hundred fold the labours of the husbandman. Gaul, where the
increase was only seven-fold--Italy, where it seldom exceeded
twelve--Spain, where it was never so high, were crushed in the
struggle. The mistress of the world, as Tacitus bewails, had come to
depend for her subsistence on the floods of the Nile. Unable to
compete with the cheap grain raised in the more favoured regions of
the south, the cultivators of Italy and Gaul gradually retired from
the contest. They devoted their extensive estates to pasturage,
because live cattle or dairy produce could not bear the expense of
being shipped from Africa; and the race of agriculturists, the
strength of the legions, disappeared in the fields, and was lost in
the needy and indolent crowd of urban citizens, in part maintained by
tributes in corn brought from Egypt and Lybia. This augmented the
burdens upon those who remained in the rural districts; for, as the
taxes of each municipality remained the same, every one that withdrew
into the towns left an additional burden on the shoulders of his
brethren who remained behind. So powerful was the operation of these
two causes--the fixity in the state burdens payable by each
municipality, and the constantly declining prices, owing to the vast
import from agricultural regions more favoured by nature--that it
fully equaled the effect of the ravages of the barbarians in the
frontier provinces exposed to their incursions; and the depopulation
of the rural districts was as complete in Italy and Gaul, before a
barbarian had passed the Alps or set his foot across the Rhine, as in
the plains between the Alps or the Adriatic and the Danube, which had
for long been ravaged by their arms.

Domestic slavery conspired with these evils to prevent the healing
power of nature from closing these yawning wounds. Gibbon estimates
the number of slaves throughout the empire, in its latter days, at a
number equal to that of the freemen; in other words, one half of the
whole inhabitants were in a state of servitude;[17] and as there were
120,000,000 souls under the Roman sway, sixty millions were in that
degraded condition. There is reason to believe that the number of the
slaves was still greater than this estimate, and at least double that
of the freemen; for it is known by an authentic enumeration, that, in
the time of the Emperor Claudius, the number of citizens in the empire
was only 6,945,000 men, who, with their families, might amount to
twenty millions of souls; and the total number of freemen was about
double that of the citizens.[18] In one family alone, in the time of
Pliny, there were 4116 slaves.[19] But take the number of slaves,
according to Gibbon's computation, at only half the entire population,
what a prodigious abstraction must this multitude of slaves have made
from the physical and moral strength of the empire! Half the people
requiring food, needing restraint, incapable of trust, and yet adding
nothing to the muster-roll of the legions, or the persons by whom the
fixed and immovable annual taxes were to be made good! In what state
would the British empire now be, if we were subjected to the action of
similar causes of ruin? A vast and unwieldy dominion, exposed on every
side to the incursions of barbarous and hostile nations, daily
increasing in numbers, and augmenting in military skill; a fixed
taxation, for which the whole free inhabitants of every municipality
were jointly and severally responsible, to meet the increasing
military establishment required by these perils; a declining, and at
length extinct, agriculture in the central provinces of the empire,
owing to the deluge of cheap grain from its fertile extremities,
wafted over the waters of the Mediterranean; multitudes of turbulent
freemen in cities, kept quiet by daily distribution of provisions at
the public expense, from the imperial granaries; and a half, or
two-thirds, of the whole population in a state of slavery--neither
bearing any share of the public burdens, nor adding to the strength of
the military array of the empire. Such are the discoveries of modern
philosophy, as to the causes of the decline and ultimate fall of the
Roman empire, gleaned from a few facts, accidentally preserved by the
ancient writers, apparently unconscious of their value! It is a noble
science which, in so short a time, has presented such a gift to

Guizot has announced, and ably illustrated, a great truth, which, when
traced to its legitimate consequences, will be found to go far towards
dispelling many of the pernicious innovating dogmas which have so long
been afloat in the world. It is this, that whenever an institution,
though apparently pernicious in our eyes, has long existed, and under
a great variety of circumstances, we may rest assured that it in
reality has been attended with some advantages which counterbalance
its evils, and that upon the whole it is beneficial in its tendency.
This important principle is thus stated:--

     "Independent of the efforts of man, there is established by a law
     of providence, which it is impossible to mistake, and which is
     analagous to what we witness in the natural world, a certain
     measure of order, reason, and justice, without which society
     cannot exist. From the single fact of its endurance we may
     conclude, with certainty, that a society is not completely
     absurd, insensate, or iniquitous; that it is not destitute of the
     elements of reason, truth, and justice--which alone can give life
     to society. If the more that society developes itself, the
     stronger does this principle become--if it is daily accepted by a
     greater number of men, it is a certain proof that in the lapse of
     time there has been progressively introduced into it more reason,
     more justice, more right. It is thus that the idea of political
     legitimacy has arisen.

     "This principle has for its foundation, in the first instance, at
     least in a certain degree, the great principles of moral
     legitimacy--justice, reason, truth. Then came the sanction of
     time, which always begets the presumption of reason having
     directed arrangements which have long endured. In the early
     periods of society, we too often find force and falsehood ruling
     the cradles of royalty, aristocracy, democracy, and even the
     church; but every where you will see this force and falsehood
     yielding to the reforming hand of time, and right and truth
     taking their place in the rulers of civilization. It is this
     progressive infusion of right and truth which has by degrees
     developed the idea of political legitimacy; it is thus that it
     has become established in modern civilization. At different
     times, indeed, attempts have been made to substitute for this
     idea the banner of despotic power; but, in doing so, they have
     turned it aside from its true origin. It is so little the banner
     of despotic power, that it is in the name of right and justice
     that it has overspread the world. As little is it exclusive: it
     belongs neither to persons, classes, nor sects; it arises
     wherever the idea of right has developed itself. We shall meet
     with this principle in systems the most opposite: in the feudal
     system, in the municipalities of Flanders and Germany, in the
     republics of Italy, as well as in simple monarchies. It is a
     character diffused through the various elements of modern
     civilization, and the perception of which is indispensable to the
     right understanding of its history."--(_Lecture_ iii. 9, 11;
     _Civilization Européenne_.)

No principle ever was announced of more practical importance in
legislating for mankind, than is contained in this passage. The
doctrine is somewhat obscurely stated, and not with the precision
which in general distinguishes the French writers; but the import of
it seems to be this--That no system of government can long exist among
men, unless it is substantially, and in the majority of cases, founded
in reason and justice, and sanctioned by experienced utility for the
people among whom it exists; and therefore, that we may predicate with
perfect certainty of any institution which has been generally
extended and long established, that it has been upon the whole
beneficial, and should be modified or altered with a very cautious
hand. That this proposition is true, will probably be disputed by none
who have thought much and dispassionately on human affairs; for all
human institutions are formed and supported by men, and unless men had
some reason for supporting them, they would speedily sink to the
ground. It is in vain to say a privileged class have got possession of
the power, and they make use of it to perpetuate these abuses.
Doubtless, they are always sufficiently inclined to do so; but a
privileged class, or a despot, is always a mere handful against the
great body of the people; and unless their power is supported by the
force of general opinion, founded on experienced utility upon the
whole, it could not maintain its ground a single week. And this
explains a fact observed by an able and ingenious writer of the
present day,[20] that if almost all the great convulsions recorded in
history are attentively considered, it will be found, that after a
brief period of strenuous, and often almost superhuman effort, on the
part of the people, they have terminated in the establishment of a
government and institutions differing scarcely, except in name, from
that which had preceded the struggle. It is hardly necessary to remark
how striking a confirmation the English revolution of 1688, and the
French of 1830, afford of this truth.

And this explains what is the true meaning of, and solid foundation
for, that reverence for antiquity which is so strongly implanted in
human nature, and is never forgotten for any considerable time without
inducing the most dreadful disasters upon society. It means that those
institutions which have descended to us in actual practice from our
ancestors, come sanctioned by the _experience_ of ages; and that they
could not have stood so long a test unless they had been recommended,
in some degree at least, by their utility. It is not that our
ancestors were wiser than we are; they were certainly less informed,
and probably were, on that account, in the general case, less
judicious. But time has swept away their follies, which were doubtless
great enough, as it has done the worthless ephemeral literature with
which they, as we, were overwhelmed; and nothing has stood the test of
ages, and come down to us through a series of generations, of their
ideas or institutions, but what had some utility in human feelings and
necessities, and was on the whole expedient at the time when it arose.
Its utility may have ceased by the change of manners or of the
circumstances of society--that may be a good reason for cautiously
modifying or altering it--but rely upon it, it was once useful, if it
has existed long; and the presumption of present and continuing
utility requires to be strongly outweighed by forcible considerations
before it is abandoned. Lord Bacon has told us, in words which can
never become trite, so profound is their wisdom, that our changes, to
be beneficial, should resemble those of time, which, though the
greatest of all innovators, works out its alterations so gradually
that they are never perceived. Guizot makes, in the same spirit, the
following fine observation on the slow march of Supreme wisdom in the
government of the world:--

     "If we turn our eyes to history, we shall find that all the great
     developments of the human mind have turned to the advantage of
     society--all the great struggles of humanity to the good of
     mankind. It is not, indeed, immediately that these efforts take
     place; ages often elapse, a thousand obstacles intervene, before
     they are fully developed; but when we survey a long course of
     ages, we see that all has been accomplished. The march of
     Providence is not subjected to narrow limits; it cares not to
     develope to-day the consequences of a principle which it has
     established yesterday; it will bring them forth in ages, when the
     appointed hour has arrived; and its course is not the less sure
     that it is slow. The throne of the Almighty rests on time--it
     marches through its boundless expanse as the gods of Homer
     through space--it makes a step, and ages have passed away. How
     many ages elapsed, how many changes ensued, before the
     regeneration of the inner man, by means of Christianity,
     exercised on the social state its great and salutary influence!
     Nevertheless, it has at length succeeded. No one can mistake its
     effects at this time."--(_Lecture_ i. 24.)

In surveying the progress of civilization in modern, as compared with
ancient times, two features stand prominent as distinguishing the one
from the other. These are the _church_ and the _feudal system_. They
were precisely the circumstances which gave the most umbrage to the
philosophers of the eighteenth century, and which awakened the
greatest transports of indignation among the ardent multitudes who, at
its close, brought about the French Revolution. Very different is the
light in which the eye of true philosophy, enlightened by the
experience of their abolition, views these great distinctive features
of modern society.

     "Immense," says Guizot, "was the influence which the Christian
     church exercised over the civilization of modern Europe. In the
     outset, it was an incalculable advantage to have a moral power, a
     power destitute of physical force, which reposed only on mental
     convictions and moral feelings, established amidst that deluge of
     physical force and selfish violence which overwhelmed society at
     that period. Had the Christian church not existed, the world
     would have been delivered over to the influence of physical
     strength, in its coarsest and most revolting form. It alone
     exercised a moral power. It did more; it spread abroad the idea
     of a rule of obedience, a heavenly power, to which all human
     beings, how great soever, were subjected, and which was above all
     human laws. That of itself was a safeguard against the greatest
     evils of society; for it affected the minds of those by whom they
     were brought about; it professed that belief--the foundation of
     the salvation of humanity--that there is above all existing
     institutions, superior to all human laws, a permanent and divine
     law, sometimes called Reason, sometimes Divine Command, but
     which, under whatever name it goes, is for ever the same.

     "Then the church commenced a great work--the separation of the
     spiritual and temporal power. That separation is the origin of
     liberty of conscience; it rests on no other principle than that
     which lies at the bottom of the widest and most extended
     toleration. The separation of the spiritual and temporal power
     rests on the principle, that physical force is neither entitled
     to act, nor can ever have any lasting influence, on thoughts,
     conviction, truth; it flows from the eternal distinction between
     the world of thought and the world of action, the world of
     interior conviction and that of external facts. In truth, that
     principle of the liberty of conscience, for which Europe has
     combated and suffered so much, which has so slowly triumphed, and
     often against the utmost efforts of the clergy themselves, was
     first founded by the doctrine of the separation of the temporal
     and spiritual power, in the cradle of European civilization. It
     is the Christian church which, by the necessities of its
     situation to defend itself against the assaults of barbarism,
     introduced and maintained it. The presence of a moral influence,
     the maintenance of a Divine law, the separation of the temporal
     and spiritual power, are the three great blessings which the
     Christian church has diffused in the dark ages over European

     "The influence of the Christian church was great and beneficent
     for another reason. The bishop and clergy erelong became the
     principal municipal magistrates: they were the chancellors and
     ministers of kings--the rulers, except in the camp and the field,
     of mankind. When the Roman empire crumbled into dust, when the
     central power of the emperors and the legions disappeared, there
     remained, we have seen, no other authority in the state but the
     municipal functionaries. But they themselves had fallen into a
     state of apathy and despair; the heavy burdens of despotism, the
     oppressive taxes of the municipalities, the incursions of the
     fierce barbarians, had reduced them to despair. No protection to
     society, no revival of industry, no shielding of innocence, could
     be expected from their exertions. The clergy, again, formed a
     society within itself; fresh, young, vigorous, sheltered by the
     prevailing faith, which speedily drew to itself all the learning
     and intellectual strength that remained in the state. The bishops
     and priests, full of life and of zeal, naturally were recurred to
     in order to fill all civil situations requiring thought or
     information. It is wrong to reproach their exercise of these
     powers as an usurpation; they alone were capable of exercising
     them. Thus has the natural course of things prescribed for all
     ages and countries. The clergy alone were mentally strong and
     morally zealous: they became all-powerful. It is the law of the
     universe."--(_Lecture_ iii. 27, 31; _Civilization Européenne._)

Nothing can be more just or important than these observations; and
they throw a new and consoling light on the progress and ultimate
destiny of European society. They are as original as they are
momentous. Robertson, with his honest horror of the innumerable
corruptions which, in the time of Leo X. and Luther, brought about the
Reformation--Sismondi, with his natural detestation of a faith which
had urged on the dreadful cruelties of the crusade of the Albigenses,
and which produced the revocation of the edict of Nantes--have alike
overlooked these important truths, so essential to a right
understanding of the history of modern society. They saw that the
arrogance and cruelty of the Roman clergy had produced innumerable
evils in later times; that their venality in regard to indulgences and
abuse of absolution had brought religion itself into discredit; that
the absurd and incredible tenets which they still attempted to force
on mankind, had gone far to alienate the intellectual strength of
modern Europe, during the last century, from their support. Seeing
this, they condemned it absolutely, for all times and in all places.
They fell into the usual error of men in reasoning on former from
their own times. They could not make "the past and the future
predominate over the present." They felt the absurdity of many of the
legends which the devout Catholics received as undoubted truths, and
they saw no use in perpetuating the belief in them; and thence they
conceived that they must always have been equally unserviceable,
forgetting that the eighteenth was not the eighth century; and that,
during the dark ages, violence would have rioted without control, if,
when reason was in abeyance, knowledge scanty, and military strength
alone in estimation, superstition had not thrown its unseen fetters
over the barbarian's arms. They saw that the Romish clergy, during
five centuries, had laboured strenuously, and often with the most
frightful cruelty, to crush independence of thought in matters of
faith, and chain the human mind to the tenets, often absurd and
erroneous, of her Papal creed; and they forgot that, during five
preceding centuries, the Christian church had laboured as assiduously
to establish the independence of thought from physical coercion, and
had alone kept alive, during the interregnum of reason, the sparks of
knowledge and the principles of freedom.

In the same liberal and enlightened spirit Guizot views the feudal
system, the next grand characteristic of modern times.

     "A decisive proof that, in the tenth century, the feudal system
     had become necessary, and was, in truth, the only social state
     possible, is to be found in the universality of its adoption.
     Universally, upon the cessation of barbarism, the feudal forms
     were adopted. At the first moment of barbarian conquest, men saw
     only the triumph of chaos. All unity, all general civilization
     disappeared, on all sides was seen society falling into
     dissolution; and, in its stead, arising a multitude of little,
     obscure, isolated communities. This appeared to all the
     contemporaries nothing short of universal anarchy. The poets, the
     chroniclers of the time, viewed it as the approach of the end of
     the world. It was, in truth, the end of the ancient world; but
     the commencement of a new one, placed on a broad basis, and with
     large means of social improvement and individual happiness.

     "Then it was that the feudal system became necessary, inevitable.
     It was the only possible means of emerging from the general
     chaos. The whole of Europe, accordingly, at the same time adopted
     it. Even those portions of society which were most strangers,
     apparently, to that system, entered warmly into its spirit, and
     were fain to share in its protection. The crown, the church, the
     communities, were constrained to accommodate themselves to it.
     The churches became suzerain or vassal; the burghs had their
     lords and their feuars; the monasteries and abbeys had their
     feudal retainers, as well as the temporal barons. Royalty itself
     was disguised under the name of a feudal superior. Every thing
     was given in fief; not only lands, but certain rights flowing
     from them, as that of cutting wood, fisheries, or the like. The
     church made subinfeudations of their casual revenues, as the dues
     on marriages, funerals, and baptisms."

The establishment of the feudal system thus universally in Europe,
produced one effect, the importance of which can hardly be
exaggerated. Hitherto the mass of mankind had been collected under the
municipal institutions which had been universal in antiquity, in
cities, or wandered in vagabond hordes through the country. Under the
feudal system these men lived isolated, each in his own habitation, at
a great distance from each other. A glance will show that this single
circumstance must have exercised on the character of society, and the
course of civilization, the social preponderance; the government of
society passed at once from the towns to the country--private took the
lead of public property--private prevailed over public life. Such was
the first effect, and it was an effect purely material, of the
establishment of the feudal system. But other effects, still more
material, followed, of a moral kind, which have exercised the most
important effects on the European manners and mind.

     "The feudal proprietor established himself in an isolated place,
     which, for his own protection, he rendered secure. He lived
     there, with his wife, his children, and a few faithful friends,
     who shared his hospitality, and contributed to his defence.
     Around the castle, in its vicinity, were established the farmers
     and serfs who cultivated his domain. In the midst of that
     inferior, but yet allied and protected population, religion
     planted a church, and introduced a priest. He was usually the
     chaplain of the castle, and at the same time the curate of the
     village; in subsequent ages these two characters were separated;
     the village pastor resided beside his church. This was the
     primitive feudal society--the cradle, as it were, of the European
     and Christian world.

     "From this state of things necessarily arose a prodigious
     superiority on the part of the possessor of the fief, alike in
     his own eyes, and in the eyes of those who surrounded him. The
     feeling of individual importance, of personal freedom, was the
     ruling principle of savage life; but here a new feeling was
     introduced--the importance of a proprietor, of the chief of a
     family, of a master, predominated over that of an individual.
     From this situation arose an immense feeling of superiority--a
     superiority peculiar to the feudal ages, and entirely different
     from any thing which had yet been experienced in the world. Like
     the feudal lord, the Roman patrician was the head of a family, a
     master, a landlord. He was, moreover, a religious magistrate, a
     pontiff in the interior of his family. He was, moreover, a member
     of the municipality in which his property was situated, and
     perhaps one of the august senate, which, in name at least, still
     ruled the empire. But all this importance and dignity was derived
     from without--the patrician shared it with the other members of
     his municipality--with the corporation of which he formed a part.
     The importance of the feudal lord, again, was purely
     individual--he owed nothing to another; all the power he enjoyed
     emanated from himself alone. What a feeling of individual
     consequence must such a situation have inspired--what pride, what
     insolence, must it have engendered in his mind! Above him was no
     superior, of whose orders he was to be the mere interpreter or
     organ--around him were no equals. No all-powerful municipality
     made his wishes bend to its own--no superior authority exercised
     a control over his wishes, he knew no bridle on his inclinations,
     but the limits of his power, or the presence of danger.

     "Another consequence, hitherto not sufficiently attended to, but
     of vast importance, flowed from this society.

     "The patriarchal society, of which the Bible and the Oriental
     monuments offer the model, was the first combination of men. The
     chief of a tribe lived with his children, his relations, the
     different generations who have assembled around him. This was the
     situation of Abraham--of the patriarchs: it is still that of the
     Arab tribes which perpetuate their manners. The _clan_, of which
     remains still exist in the mountains of Scotland, and the _sept_
     of Ireland, is a modification of the patriarchal society: it is
     the family of the chief, expanded during a succession of
     generations, and forming a little aggregation of dependents,
     still influenced by the same attachments, and subjected to the
     same authority. But the feudal community was very different.
     Allied at first to the clan, it was yet in many essential
     particulars dissimilar. There did not exist between its members
     the bond of relationship; they were not of the same blood; they
     often did not speak the same language. The feudal lord belonged
     to a foreign and conquering, his serfs to a domestic and
     vanquished race. Their employments were as various as their
     feelings and their traditions. The lord lived in his castle, with
     his wife, his children, and relations: the serfs on the estate,
     of a different race, of different names, toiled in the cottages
     around. This difference was prodigious--it exercised a most
     powerful effect on the domestic habits of modern Europe. It
     engendered the attachments of home: it brought women into their
     proper sphere in domestic life. The little society of freemen,
     who lived in the midst of an alien race in the castle, were all
     in all to each other. No forum or theatres were at hand, with
     their cares or their pleasures; no city enjoyments were a
     counterpoise to the pleasures of country life. War and the chase
     broke in, it is true, grievously at times, upon this scene of
     domestic peace. But war and the chase could not last for ever;
     and, in the long intervals of undisturbed repose, family
     attachments formed the chief solace of life. Thus it was that
     WOMEN acquired their paramount influence--thence the manners of
     chivalry, and the gallantry of modern times; they were but an
     extension of the courtesy and habits of the castle. The word
     _courtesy_ shows it--it was in the _court_ of the castle that the
     habits it denotes were learned."--(_Lecture_ iv. 13, 17;
     _Civilization Européenne._)

We have exhausted, perhaps exceeded, our limits; and we have only
extracted a few of the most striking ideas from the first hundred
pages of one of Guizot's works--_ex uno disce omnes_. The translation
of them has been an agreeable occupation for a few evenings; but they
awake one mournful impression--the voice which uttered so many noble
and enlightened sentiments is now silent; the genius which once cast
abroad light on the history of man, is lost in the vortex of present
politics. The philosopher, the historian, are merged in the
statesman--the instructor of all in the governor of one generation.
Great as have been his services, brilliant his course in the new
career into which he has been launched, it is as nothing compared to
that which he has left; for the one confers present distinction, the
other immortal fame.


[1] Little girl--or girl, merely.

[2] Mr O'Connell stated in his speech, after "the liberation," that
that most unexpected and miraculous event had been publicly prayed for
in all the churches of Belgium.

[3] Taken from Lewis's Statistics of the Four Reformed Parliaments.

[4] The following account of the number of freeholders on the
register, in 1837, when the number was largest, and in 1841, taken
from Lewis's tables, will show an immense decrease in those counties
completely under the control of the priests and agitators, and where
their power is unassailable.

                        1837.          1841.
  Clare,                3170           1785
  Cork,                 4180           3706
  Galway county,        3074           1990
  Galway town,          2084           1600
  King's county,        1520           1078
  Limerick city,        2813           1670
  Limerick county,      2850           1893
  Mayo,                 1569           1064
  Meath,                1850           1236
  Roscommon,            2077           1059
  Tipperary,            3460           2464
  Waterford,            1494            802
  Wexford,              3031           1739

All those counties and cities are, and always have been, represented
by Radicals and Repealers; so that it appears the Repeal party are
invariably best off where there are least freeholders, notwithstanding
their constant complaints of what they suffer by the domination of the

[5] Qualifying under the "solvent tenant test," (which was generally
adopted by the Conservative barristers,) the claimant was obliged to
swear and to prove that "he could obtain from a good and solvent
tenant a clear yearly rent of ten pounds over and above what he paid
himself," while the freeholder, qualifying under "the beneficial
interest test," (which was acted on by the Whig and Radical
barristers,) had only to prove that the crops and produce raised on
his land by his own labour, yielded him a surplus of ten pounds over
and above the amount of his rent.

[6] In England, the right to vote is given to tenants at will paying
£50 rent; it was proposed to grant it to those in Ireland who paid £30

[7] Two judges, who are _ex-officio_ members, may be Roman Catholics;
the numbers would then stand seven and six.

[8] _Bailly's Memoirs._

[9] The Rev. Gregory Lynch of Westland Row, openly charges the
agitating bishops with having _forged_ the signature of many priests
to the protest which they have published against the Charitable
Bequests Bill. See his letter, an extract from which is published in
the Irish correspondence of _The Times_, 27th October.

[10] Extract from the speech of the Rev. Mr Henebury, as reported in
the Irish correspondence of the _Times_ newspaper, July 3, 1844.

[11] _Kohl's Ireland_.

[12] The local newspaper.

[13] Irish correspondent of the _Times_, Nov. 1, 1844.

[14] _Correspondence of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke_. Edited by
Earl Fitzwilliam and Sir Richard Bourke, K.C.B. 4 vols. 8vo.
Rivingtons, London.

[15] _Nelson's Despatches and Letters, with Notes_. By Sir Harris

[16] Ferguson.

[17] Gibbon.

[18] _Ibid_.

[19] Plin. _Hist. Nat._, xxxiii. 47.

[20] Mr James's Preface to _Mary of Burgundy_.


  Affghanistan, 133
    general review of the question regarding, 135
    motives for the expedition to, 136
    means for effecting the objects sought, 141
    comparison of the competitors for the throne, 142
    resistance to taxation in, 148
    causes of the British disasters in, 150, 151.

  Agitation the cause of the evils of Ireland, 709.

  Alison, Archibald, Esq., speech of, at the Burns' festival, 390.

  Ancient canal between the Nile and the Red Sea, historical account
  of the, 182.

  Artist's morning song, the, from Goethe, 419.

  Auckland, Lord, review of his Affghanistan policy, 133.

  Aytoun, W. E., Esq., speech of, at the Burns' festival, 392.

  Banking System, the Scottish, 671*.

  Barrett, Elizabeth B., review of the poems of, 621.

  Bell, H. G., Esq., speech of, at the Burns' festival, 389.

  Blanc, M., his history of ten years reviewed, 265.

  Bossuet, character of, as a historian, 789.

  Braxfield, lord, letter relating to, 620.

  Brenn, the, a Gaulish chief, career of, 471.

  Bride of Corinth, the, from Goethe, 57.

  Bruce, heart of the, a ballad, 15.

  Burke, Edmund, review of the correspondence of, 745.

  Burns' festival, account of the, 370
    order of the procession, 373
    the banquet, 376
    speeches of Lord Eglinton, ib.
    Professor Wilson, 378
    Sir John McNeill, 388
    H.G. Bell, Esq., 389
    Archibald Alison, Esq., 390
    W. E. Aytoun, Esq., 392
    Colonel Mure, 393
    Sir James Campbell, the Lord Justice-General, &c., 395
    stanzas for, by Delta, 399.

  Cabul, the war with, 133.

  Campbell, Sir James, speech of, at the Burns' festival, 395.

  Canal between the Nile and Red Sea, historical account of the, 182.

  Castle on the mountain, the, from Goethe, 425.

  Catania, 33.

  Catharine of Russia, sketch of, 410.

  Causes of the increase of crime, on the, 1
    districts in which greatest, ib.
    in the manufacturing districts, 6
    strikes, 8.

  Cavalier, the old Scottish, a ballad, 195.

  Clarkson, sonnet to, 619.

  Commitments for crime, tables of, 1, 2.

  Cours de Littérature Dramatique, review of, 237.

  Crime, causes of the increase of, 1
    in the manufacturing districts, 6
    increase of, by strikes, 8
    by infant labour, 9
    inefficiency of the proposed preventives of, 13.

  Cupid as a landscape painter, from Geothe, 417.

  Delphi, defeat of the Gauls at, 472.

  Delta, stanzas for the Burns' festival by, 399
    the tombless man, a dream, by, 583.

  Doleful lay of the noble wife of Asan Aga, the, from Goethe, 67.

  Don John and the heretics of Flanders, 36
    Part II., 49.

  Dost Mohammed, character of, 142.

  Dunning, anecdotes of, 249, 264.

  Dwarf's well, the, a legend of Upper Lusatia, 196.

  Earthquake of Lisbon, the, 102.

  Education, effect of imperfect, in Ireland, 708.

  Eglinton, the Earl of, speeches of, at the Burns' festival, 376, 395,

  Eldon, Lord, sketch of the career of,
    his early life, 245
    his first struggles, 249
    and first success, 251
    enters parliament, 253
    becomes solicitor-general, 257
    attorney-general, 259
    chief-justice of the Common Pleas, 262
    and lord chancellor, ib.
    his subsequent career, 263.

  Emperor, week of an
    an account of the visit of the Emperor Nicholas, 127.

  Erl king, the, from Goethe, 63.

  Etched thoughts by the Etching Club, review of, 153.

  Execution of Montrose, the, a ballad, 289.

  Fairy tutor, the, a legend of Upper Lusatia, 83.

  Falkland islands, affair of the, 406.

  Finlay's Greece under the Romans, review of, 524.

  First love, from Goethe, 61.

  Fisher, the, from Goethe, 65.

  Fourier and his system, sketch of, 591.

  Frederick the Great, anecdotes of, 404, 409.

  French socialists, 588.

  Galatia, Gaulish kingdom of, 478.

  Gauls, Thierry's history of, reviewed, 466.

  Gibbon, character of, as a historian, 788.

  Girardin, M., 237.

  God, the, and the Bayaderé, from Goethe, 421.

  Goethe, Poems and Ballads of, No. I. Introduction, 54
    the bride of Corinth, 57
    first love, 61
    who'll buy a Cupid? 62
    second life, ib.
    the erl-king, 63
    Mignon, 64
    the fisher, 65
    the minstrel, ib.
    the violet, 66
    the doleful lay of the noble wife of Asan Aga, 67
    No. II. Cupid as a landscape painter, 417
    the artist's morning song, 419
    the god and the bayaderé, 421
    the treasure-seeker, 423
    the castle on the mountain, 425
    Philine's song, 426
    to my mistress, 427
    the wild rose, ib.
    a night thought, 428
    Prometheus, ib.
    new love, new life, 429
    separation, 430
    the magician's apprentice, ib.

  Great Britain, increase of crime in, 1.

  Great country's little wars, a, review of, 133.

  Great drought, the, 433
    Chap. II., 436
    Chap. III., 438
    Chap. IV., 440
    Chap. V., 442
    Chap. VI., 452.

  Greece under the Romans, review of, 524.

  Grievances of Ireland, examination of the alleged, 701
    the true, 708.

  Guizot, M., review of the historical works of, 786.

  Hardy, trial of, for high treason, 261.

  Harris, James, career of, 401.

  Heart of the Bruce, the, a ballad, 15.

  Hill, Mr Sergeant, anecdotes of, 247.

  Histoire des dix ans, review of, 265.

  Historical account of the ancient canal between the Nile and the Red
  Sea, 182.

  Hope, the Right Hon. Charles, letter from, 620.

  Hume, character of, as a historian, 788.

  Hydro Bacchus, 77.

  Increase of crime, causes of, 1
    districts in which greatest, ib.

  Infant labour, increase of crime attributable to, 9.

  Injured Ireland, 701.

  Introduction to his poems, from Goethe, 54.

  Ireland, increase of crime in, 1
    examination of the question as to the injuries of, 701
    its comparative freedom from taxation, 702
    its representation in parliament, 703
    municipal law, 706
    alleged debarring of Roman Catholics from office, 707
    true evils of, and their causes, 708.

  Irish state trials, reversal of the judgment, 539.

  It is no fiction, 364.

  Jesuits, expulsion of the, from Portugal, 109
    extinction of the order, 112.

  Johnson, Dr, anecdotes of, 247, 257.

  Knights, last of the
    Don John and the heretics of Flanders, 36
    Part II., 49.

  Lamartine, review of the travels of, 657.

  Last of the knights, the
    Don John and the heretics of Flanders, 36
    Part II., 49.

  Lee, J., anecdotes of, 249, 255.

  Letter to the editor, from the Right Hon. Charles Hope, 620.

  Life in Louisiana, Chap. I., a Voyage on the Red River, 507
    Chap. II., Creole life, 514
    Chap. III., quite unexpected, 518.

  Lines on the landing, of Louis Philippe, by B. Simmons, 654.

  Lisbon, the great earthquake of, 102.

  Louis Philippe, elevation of, to the throne, 272
    lines on the landing of, by B. Simmons, 654.

  Louisiana, life in, Chap. I., 507
    Chap. II., 514
    Chap. III., 518.

  Love chase, in prose, a, Chap. I., 164
    Chap. II., 166
    Chap. III., 170
    Chap. IV., 173
    Chap. V., 178.

  Lunatic asylum of Palermo, the, 20.

  Lusatia, traditions and tales of, No. II.,
    the fairy tutor, 83
    No. III., the dwarf's well, 196
    No. IV., the moor maiden, 726.

  Lushington on the Affghan war, 133.

  Luther, an ode, 80.

  Machiavel, character of, as a historian, 787.

  McNeill, Sir John, speech of, at the Burns' festival, 388.

  Magician's apprentice, the, from Goethe, 430.

  Maid of Orleans, remarks on the, 216.

  Malmesbury, life of the Earl of, reviewed, 401.

  Manufacturing districts, increase of crime in the, 2.

  Marston; or, Memoirs of a Statesman
    Part XII., 114
    Part XIII., 343
    Part XIV., 601.

  Martin Luther, an ode, 80.

  Memoirs of a Statesman--_see_ Marston.

  Memoirs of the Marquis of Pombal, review of, 100.

  Memoranda of a month's tour in Sicily
    the museum of Palermo, 20
    lunatic asylum, ib.
    miscellanea, 21
    journey to Segeste, 23
    Sicilian inns, 24
    approach to Messina, 28
    journey to Taormina, 30
    Catania, 33

  Messina, approach to, 28.

  Mignon, from Goethe, 64.

  Milkman of Walworth, the, Chap. I., 687
    Chap. II., 691
    Chap. III., 693
    Chap. IV., 696.

  Minstrel, the, from Goethe, 65.

  Montesquieu, character of, as a historian, 789.

  Montrose, execution of, a ballad, 289.

  Moor maiden, the, 726.

  Mure, Colonel, speech of, at the Burns' festival, 393.

  Museum of Palermo, the, 20.

  My college friends
    No. I. John Brown, 569
    No. II., the same concluded, 763.

  My first love, a sketch in New York, 69.

  My last courtship; or, life in Louisiana
    Chap. I. A voyage on the Red River, 507
    Chap. II., Creole life, 514
    Chap. III., quite unexpected, 518.

  Natural history of man, Prichard's, review of, 312.

  Nelson's dispatches and letters, review of, 775.

  New love, new life, from Goethe, 429.

  Nicholas, the Emperor, visit of, to Great Britain, 127.

  Night on the banks of the Tennessee, a, 278.

  Night thought, a, from Goethe, 428.

  Nile and the Red Sea, the, historical account of the ancient canal
  between, 182.

  North, Lord, anecdotes of, 255.

  O'Connell case, the
    Was the judgment rightly reversed? 539
    statement of the case, 541
    the indictment, 542
    verdict of the jury, 544
    the motion in arrest of judgment, 545
    the judgment, ib.
    the writ of error, ib.
    opinions of the judges, 548
    and of the peers, 553
    general remarks on the case, 561

  Old Scottish cavalier, the, a ballad, by W. E. A., 195.

  Oporto wine company, origin of the, 106.

  Palermo, sketches of, 20.

  Passages in the life of a Russian officer, 713.

  Patmore's poems, review of, 331.

  Philine's song, from Goethe, 426.

  Poems and ballads of Goethe, the
    No. I. Introduction, 54
    the bride of Corinth, 57
    first love, 61
    who'll buy a Cupid, 62
    second life, ib.
    the erl-king, 63
    Mignon, 64
    the fisher, 65
    the minstrel, ib.
    the violet, 66
    the doleful lay of the noble wife of Asan Aga, 67
    No. II. Cupid as a landscape painter, 417
    the artist's morning song, 419
    the god and the bayaderé, 421
    the treasure-seeker, 423
    the castle on the mountain, 425
    Philine's song, 426
    to my mistress, 427
    the wild rose, ib.
    a night thought, 428
    Prometheus, ib.
    new love, new life, 429
    separation, 430
    the magician's apprentice, ib.

    The heart of the Bruce, 15
    poems and ballads of Goethe, No. I., 54
    Hydro Bacchus, 77
    Martin Luther, an ode, 80
    the old Scottish cavalier, 195
    the execution of Montrose 289
    stanzas for the Burns' festival, by Delta, 399
    poems and ballads of Goethe, No. II., 417
    the tombless man, by Delta, 583
    sonnet to Clarkson, 619
    Westminster hall and the works of art, by B. Simmons, 652
    lines on the landing of Louis Philippe, by the same, 654
    "That's what we are," 741.

  Poland, the partition of, 405, 407.

  Pombal, Marquis of, sketch of the career of, 100.

  Portugal, history of, during the administration of the Marquis of
  Pombal, 100.

  Prichard's natural history of man, review of, 312.

  Prometheus, from Goethe, 428.

  Ptolemy, completion of the canal between the Nile and the Red Sea by,

  Radzivil, Prince, sketch of, 406.

  Red Sea and the Nile, history of the ancient canal between, 182.

  Remarks on Schiller's maid of Orleans, 216.

    Smith's memoirs of the Marquis of Pombal, 100
    Lushington's a great country's little wars, 133
    Etched thoughts by the Etching Club, 153
    M. Girardin's cours de littérature dramatique, 237
    Twiss's memoirs of the Earl of Eldon, 245
    Blanc's histoire de dix ans, 265
    Prichard's natural history of man, 312
    Poems by Coventry Patmore, 331
    Life of Lord Malmesbury, 401
    Thierry's history of the Gauls, 466
    Finlay's Greece under the Romans, 524
    Reybaud on French socialism, 588
    Poems by Elizabeth B. Barrett, 621
    Lamartine's travels, 657
    Burke's correspondence, 745
    Neson's despatches and letters, 775
    Guizot, 786.

  Reybaud on French socialism, review of, 588.

  Robertson, character of, as a historian, 790.

  Russian officer, passages in the life of a, 713.

  St Simon, sketch of, 273.

  Schiller's maid of Orleans, remarks on, 216.

  Scotland, increase of crime in, 1.

  Scott, Sir John _see_ Eldon.

  Scott, Sir William, sketches of, 246, 254.

  Scottish banking system, the, 671*.

  Scottish cavalier, the, a ballad, 195.

  Scottish peasantry, character of the, 370.

  Second life, from Goethe, 62.

  Segeste, journey to, 23.

  Separation, from Goethe, 430.

  Shah Soojah, character of, 143.

  Sicilian inns, 24.

  Sicily, memorandum of a month's tour in
    the museum of Palermo, 20
    the lunatic asylum, ib.
    miscellanea, 21
    journey to Segeste, 23
    Sicilian inns, 24
    approach to Messina, 28
    journey to Taormina, 30
    Catania, 33.

  Simmons, B., Westminster hall and the works of art by, 652
    lines on the landing of Louis Philippe by, 654.

  Sismondi, character of, as a historian, 792.

  Sketch in New York, a My first love, 69.

  Smith's memoirs of the Marquis of Pombal, review of, 100.

  Socialism in France, history of, 588.

  Some remarks on Schiller's maid of Orleans, 216.

  Sonnet to Clarkson, 619.

  Stanzas for the Burns' festival, by Delta, 299.

  Stolen child, the, a true tale of the Backwoods, 227.

  Stowell, Lord, sketches of, 246, 254.

  Strikes as a cause of the increase of crime, 8.

  Taormina, journey to, 30.

  Taxation, resistance to, in Affghanistan, 149
    comparative lightness of in Ireland, 702.

  Tender conscience, a, 454.

  Tennessee, a night on the banks of the, 278.

  "That's what we are," a poem, 741.

  Thierry's history of the Gauls, review of, 466.

  Thurlow, Lord, anecdotes of, 258, 259, 263.

  To my mistress, from Goethe, 427.

  Tombless man, the, a dream, by Delta, 583.

  Traditions and tales of Upper Lusatia, No. II., the fairy tutor, 83
    No. III., the dwarf's well, 196
    No. IV., the moor maiden, 726.

  Treasure seeker, the, from Goethe, 423.

  Twiss's life of Lord Eldon, review of, 245.

  Up stream; or steam-boat reminiscences, 64.

  Violet, the, from Goethe, 66.

  Voltaire, character of, as a historian, 787.

  W. E. A., Heart of the Bruce by, 15
    the old Scottish cavalier by, 195
    the execution of Montrose, by, 289.

  Walworth, the milkman of, 687.

  Week of an emperor, the, 127.

  Westminster hall and the works of art on a free admission day, by B.
  Simmons, 652.

  Who'll buy a Cupid, from Goethe, 62.

  Wild rose, the, from Goethe, 427.

  Wilson, Professor, speech of, at the Burns' festival, 378.

  Witchfinder, the Part I., 297
    conclusion, 487.

  Writ of error, proceedings on the, 545.


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

Transcriber's Notes:

  Passages in italics are indicated by underscore _italics_.

  The following misprints have been corrected:
    "corresspondence" corrected to "correspondence" (page 755)
    "headach" corrected to "headache" (page 768)
    "subsisttence" corrected to "subsistence" (page 798)

  The original text included Greek charcters. For this text version these
  letters have been replaced with *Greek* transliterations.

  Additional spacing after some of the block quotes is intentional to
  indicate both the end of a quotation and the beginning of a new
  paragraph as presented in the original text.

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