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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 368, June 1846
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 59, No. 368, June 1846" ***

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  BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCLXVIII.   JUNE, 1846.   VOL. LIX.



THE LITERATURE OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.[1]


Lord Brougham has resumed his memoirs of the eminent writers of England;
and every lover of literature will feel gratified by this employment of
his active research and of his vigorous pen.

One of the most striking distinctions of English public life from that
of the Continent, is in the condition of statesmen after their casual
retirement from power. The Foreign statesman seems to exist only in
office. The moment that sees him "out of place," sees him extinguished.
He is lost as suddenly to the public eye, as if he were carried to the
tomb of his ancestors. He retires to his country-seat, and there
subsides into the garrulous complainant against the caprices of fortune,
or buries his calamities in the quiet indulgence of his appetites;
smokes away his term of years, subsides into the lean and slippered
pantaloon, occupies his studies with the _Court Gazette_, and his
faculties with cards; and is finally deposited in the family vault, to
continue the process of mouldering which had been begun in his
arm-chair, to be remembered only in an epitaph. France, at the present
day, alone seems to form an exception. Her legislature affords a new
element in which statesmanship in abeyance can still float: the little
vessel is there at least kept in view of mankind; if it makes no
progress, it at least keeps above water; and, however incapable of
reaching the port by its own means, the fluctuations of the national
surge, sometimes so powerful, and always so contemptuous of calculation,
may at some time or other carry the craziest craft into harbour. But the
general order of continental ministers, even of the highest rank, when
abandoned by the monarch, are like men consigned to the dungeon. They go
to their place of sentence at once. The man who to-day figured in the
highest robe of power, to-morrow wears the prison costume. His rise was
the work of the royal will--his fall is equally the work of the royal
will. Having no connexion with the national mind, he has no resource in
the national sympathies. He has been a royal instrument: when his edge
becomes dull, or the royal artificer finds a tool whose fashion he likes
better, the old tool is flung by to rust, and no man asks where or why,
his use is at an end, and the world and the workman, alike, "knoweth it
no more."

But, in England, the condition of public life is wholly different. The
statesman is the creation of the national will, and neither in office,
nor in opposition, does the nation forget the product of its will. The
minister is no offspring of slavery, no official negro, made to be sold,
and, when sold, separated from his parentage once and for ever. If he
sins in power, he is at worst but the Prodigal Son, watched in his
career, and willingly welcomed when he has abjured his wanderings.
Instead of being extinguished by the loss of power, he often more than
compensates the change, by the revival of popularity. Disencumbered of
the laced and embroidered drapery of office, he often exhibits the
natural vigour and proportion of his faculties to higher advantage;
cultivates his intellectual distinctions with more palpable success;
refreshes his strength for nobler purposes than even those of ambition;
and, if he should not exert his renewed popularity for a new conquest of
power, only substitutes for place the more generous and exalted
determination of deserving those tributes which men naturally offer to
great abilities exerted for the good of present and future generations.

We must allude, for the national honour, to this characteristic of
English feeling, in the changes of public men. On the Continent, the
hour which deprived a statesman of office, at once deprived him of every
thing. All the world ran away from him, as they would from a falling
house. The crowded antechamber of yesterday, exhibited nothing to-day
but utter solitude. The fallen minister was a leper; men shrank from his
touch; the contagion of ill-luck was upon him; and every one dreaded to
catch the disease. It was sometimes even worse. The loss of power was
the ruin of fortune. The Dives had been suddenly transformed into the
Lazarus; the purple and fine linen were "shreds and patches," and not
even the dogs came to administer to his malady. But, among us, the
breaking up of a cabinet often only gives rise to a bold and brilliant
opposition. It is not like the breaking up of a ship, where the wreck is
irreparable, and the timbers are shattered and scattered, and good for
nothing; it is often more like the breaking up of a regiment in one of
our colonies, where the once compact mass of force, which knew nothing
but the command of its colonel, now takes, each man his own way,
exhibits his own style of cleverness; instead of the one manual exercise
of musket and bayonet, each individual takes the axe or the spade, the
tool or the ploughshare, and works a new fertility out of the soil,
according to his own "thews and sinews."

The moral of all this is, that the distinguished author of these Memoirs
is now devoting himself to a career of literature, to which even his
political services may have been of inferior utility. He is recalling
the public memory to those eminent achievements, which have so
powerfully advanced the mental grandeur of our era; and, while he thus
gives due honour to the labours of the past, he is at once encouraging
and illustrating the nobleness of the course which opens to posterity.
But Lord Brougham's influence cannot be contented, we should hope, with
merely speculative benefits; it is for him, and for men like him, to
look with interest on the struggles of literary existence at the hour;
to call the attention of government and the nation to the neglects, the
narrowness, and the caprices of national patronage; to demand protection
for genius depressed by the worldliness of the crowd; to point out to
men of rank and wealth a path of service infinitely more honourable to
their own taste, and infinitely more productive to their country, than
ribands and stars; than the tinkling of a name, than pompous palaces, or
picture galleries of royal price; to excite our nobles to constitute
themselves the true patrons of the living genius of the land, and
disdain to be content with either the offering of weak regrets or the
tribute of worthless honours to the slumberers in the grave. A tenth
part of the sums employed in raising obelisks to Burns, would have
rescued one half of his life from poverty, and the other half from
despair. The single sum which raised the monument to Sir Walter Scott in
Edinburgh, would have saved him from the final pressure which broke his
heart, elastic as it was, and dimmed his intellect, capable as he still
was of throwing a splendour over his native soil.

This neglect is known and suffered in no other province of public
service. The soldier, the sailor, the architect, the painter, are all
within sight of the most lavish prizes of public liberality. Parliament
has just given titles and superb pensions to the conquerors of the
Sikhs. The India Company has followed its example. We applaud this
munificent liberality in both instances. Two general officers have thus
obtained the peerage, with £7000 and £5000 a-year. They deserved those
rewards. But the whole literary encouragement of the British empire,
with a revenue of fifty-two millions sterling, is £1200, little more
than the tenth part of the pensions allotted to those two gallant men.
£1200 for the whole literary encouragement of England! There can be no
greater scandal to the intellectual honour of the country. The pettiest
German principality scarcely limits its literary encouragement to this
sum. We doubt whether Weimar, between literary offices and pensions, did
not give twice the sum annually. But named in competition with the
liberality of the leading sovereigns, it is utterly mean. Louis XIV.,
two hundred years ago, allotted 80,000 francs a-year to his forty
members of the Academy, a sum equivalent in _that day_, and in _France_,
to little less than £5000 a-year in our day, and in England. Frederic
II. gave pensions and appointments to a whole corps of literary men. At
this moment, there is scarcely a man of any literary distinction in
Paris, who has not a share in the liberal and wise patronage of
government, either in office or public pension.

But if we are to be answered by a class, plethoric with wealth and rank;
that literature ought to be content with living on its own means; must
not the obvious answer be--Is the author to be an author, down to his
grave? Is there to be no relaxation of his toil? is there to be no
allowance for the exhaustion of his overworked faculties? for the
natural infirmities of years? for the vexations of a noble spirit
compelled to submit to the caprices of public change? and with its full
share of the common calamities of life, increasing their pressure at
once by an inevitable sense of wrong, and by a feeling that the delight
of his youth must be the drudgery of his age? When the great Dryden, in
his seventieth year, was forced, in the bitterness of his heart, to
exclaim, "Must I die in the harness!" his language was a brand on the
common sense, as well as on the just generosity, of his country. We now
abandon the topic with one remark. This want of the higher liberality of
the nation has already produced the most injurious effects on our
literature.

All the great works of our ancestral literature were the works of
leisure and comparative competence. All the great dramatic poetry of
France was the work of comparative competence. Its writers were not
compelled to hurry after the popular tastes; they followed their own,
and impressed its character upon the mind of the nation. The plays of
Racine, Corneille, Molière, and Voltaire, are nobler trophies to the
greatness of France than all the victories of Louis the XIV., than
Versailles, than all the pomps of his splendid reign. Louis Philippe has
adopted the same munificent policy, and it will be followed by the same
honour with posterity. But, in England, the keeping of a stud of
racehorses, the building of a dog-kennel, or the purchase of a foreign
picture, is ignominiously and selfishly suffered to absorb a larger sum
than the whole literary patronage of the most opulent empire that the
sun ever shone upon. We recommend these considerations to Lord Brougham:
they are nobler than politics; they are fitter for his combined
character of statesman and philosopher; they will also combine with that
character another which alone can give permanency to the fame of any
public man--that of the philanthropist. His ability, his knowledge of
human nature, and his passion for public service--qualities in which his
merits are known to Europe--designate him as the founder of a great
system of public liberality to the enterprise of genius. And when party
is forgotten, and cabinets have perished; when, perhaps, even the
boundaries of empire may have been changed, and new nations rise to
claim the supremacy of arts and arms; the services of the protector of
literature will stand out before the eye with increased honour, and his
name be rescued from the common ruin which envelopes the memory of
ostentatious conquerors and idle kings.

The present volume contains biographies of Johnson, Adam Smith,
Lavoisier, Gibbon, Sir Joseph Banks, D'Alembert. We shall commence with
the lives less known to the generality of readers than those of our
great moralist and great political economist, reserving ourselves for
sketches of their career, as our space may allow.

       *       *       *       *       *

Lord Brougham commences his life of Sir Joseph Banks by a species of
apology, for placing in the ranks of philosophers a man who had never
written a book. But no one has ever doubted that a man may be a
philosopher, without being an author. Some of the greatest inventions of
philosophy, of science, and of practical power, have been the work of
men who never wrote a book. In fact, the inventor is generally a man of
few words; his disciples, or rivals, or imitators, are the men of
description. The inventor gives the idea, the follower gives the
treatise; but the inventor is the philosopher after all. The question,
however, with Sir Joseph Banks is, whether he was any more an inventor
than a writer. It does not appear that he was either. Of course, he has
no right to rank among men of science. But he had merits of his own, and
on those his distinctions ought to have been placed. He was a zealous,
active, and influential friend of philosophers. He gave them his time,
he received them in his house, and he assisted their progress. He
volunteered to be the protector of their class; he sympathised with
their pursuits; and, while adding little or nothing to their
discoveries, he assisted in bringing those discoveries before the world.
He loved to be thought the patriarch of British science; and, like the
patriarch, he retained his authority even when he was past his labour.
If he filled the throne of science feebly, none could deny that he
filled it zealously. The true definition of him was, an English
gentleman occupying his leisure with philosophical pursuits, and
encouraging others of more powerful understanding to do the same.

Sir Joseph Banks was of an old and wealthy family, dating so far back as
Edward III.; first settled in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and
afterwards in the county of Lincoln. He was born in London in January
1743. At the age of nine he was sent to Harrow, and at thirteen to Eton,
where the tutors observed, as has happened in many other instances, that
he was fonder of play than of books. In about a twelvemonth, however, he
became studious, though not to the taste of his schoolmasters. The
origin of this change was described by himself, in a letter to Sir
Everard Home, as accidental. One afternoon he had been bathing with some
of the Eton boys, and, on returning to dress himself, found that they
had left him alone. Walking down a green lane, whose sides exhibited the
wild-flowers of the season, the thought occurred to him, how much more
natural and useful would be the knowledge of plants, than of Greek and
Latin. From this time he devoted himself to the study of botany, though
still continuing that of the classics. On returning to his father's
house, he found a copy of Gerard's _Herbal_, which fixed his taste. He
now added to his collecting of plants that of butterflies and other
insects. Lord Brougham mentions that his father was one of Banks's
associates at this period, and that they employed themselves together in
natural history.

Natural history has been so frequently the pursuit of studious triflers,
that it is difficult to exempt it from the charge of trifling. To gather
plants which have been gathered a thousand times before, to ascertain
their names from an herbal, and classify them according to its list,
seems to be little more than a grave apology for playing the fool. A
determination to gather all the butterflies and blue-bottles within the
limits of the realm, certainly has nothing that can dignify it with the
name of scientific pursuit. The collecting of pebbles and shells, or
even the arranging of animals in the cases of a museum, are
accomplishments of so easy an order, and of so little actual use, that
they serve for little else than to wile away the time. But this trifling
assumes a more important shape when it rises to the acquisition of
actual knowledge; when, instead of classifying plants, it develops their
medicinal virtues, and, instead of embalming animals, it examines their
structure, as throwing light on the conformation or diseases of man.

But Sir Joseph Banks was fortunately relieved from subsiding into this
foppery, by circumstances which forced him into vigorous and useful
exertion. An approaching transit of Venus had been long looked to, as
giving an opportunity for ascertaining the distance of the sun from the
earth. It was recommended, that observations on this phenomenon should
be made from different stations on the globe. Accordingly, in 1761, the
British government sent out two observers, one to the Cape and the other
to St Helena. The French government at the same time sent out three--to
Pondicherry, Siberia, and the Mauritius. But the weather was
unfavourable, and the observations were to be regarded as a failure. But
there was a second transit in 1769, and the leading powers of Europe
sent out observers; England sending a vessel to the South Seas, an
observer to India, and two to Hudson's Bay. Captain Wallace having
lately made several discoveries in the Pacific, public attention had
been strongly drawn to that hitherto scarcely known portion of the
globe. The celebrated Captain Cook was appointed commander, and Sir
Joseph Banks, stimulated by an honourable zeal and a rational desire of
knowledge, obtained leave from his friend, Lord Sandwich, to join the
expedition. He took with him Dr Solander the botanist, and two
draughtsmen.

On the 25th of August 1768, Cook's vessel, the Endeavour, sailed from
Plymouth Sound, and the first point of land at which they touched was
the Terra del Fuego, the southern extremity of the American continent.
There they encountered such severity of cold, that, although it was the
summer of those regions, Banks and Solander, in one of their botanical
excursions, had nearly shared the fate of three of their attendants, who
perished from the intensity of the cold. The effect of this excess of
low temperature has been often felt and often described. It was a
general torpor of the frame, producing an almost irresistible propensity
to sleep. Every exertion was painful, and the strongest desire was to
lie down in the snow and give way to slumber. Solander, who had acquired
his experience in botanizing among the Swedish mountains, warned the
party of their danger. "Whoever," said he, "sits down, will sleep;
whoever sleeps, will wake no more." Yet he himself was one of the first
to yield; he insisted on lying down, fell asleep before he could be
brought to the fire which Banks had kindled, and was restored with
difficulty. His companion had felt a similar inclination, but resisted
it, by the greater energy of youth, and probably of a more vigorous
mind.

Cook then sailed for Otaheite, which he reached in April. The contrast
of the luxurious climate with the inclement region which they had left
behind them, was doubly striking to men who, for upwards of half a year,
had seen nothing but the ocean or the deserts of Cape Horn. They now
proceeded vigorously to the chief purposes of their voyage. The captain
and his officers prepared their instruments to observe the transit,
while Banks and his botanical attendants ranged the island, made
themselves acquainted with its natural productions, and conciliated the
natives. The effect of his intelligence and intrepidity was conspicuous
on an occasion which might have involved the scientific fate of the
expedition. The quadrant, though under charge of a sentinel, had been
stolen by the adroitness of some of the natives. But without it no
observation could be taken. Banks volunteered to go in search of it into
the woods, made himself master of it, and conveyed it in safety to the
observatory; though followed by parties of the natives, and occasionally
compelled to keep them at bay by exhibiting his pistols.

The transit was successfully observed, but it took six hours for the
operation. As the period approached, even the crew had felt the
strongest anxiety for its success. The state of the sky was reported
every half hour during the night before, and their spirits rose and fell
as the report gave its answer, clear or cloudy. But at dawn the sky was
brilliant, and the day passed without a cloud. Four other observations
had been simultaneously made, in Siberia, Lapland, Hudson's Bay, and
California. The general result gave the sun's distance at nearly
ninety-four millions of miles.

The next object of the voyage was a search for the great southern
continent, which the philosophers of the day had conceived to exist, as
a "necessary balance" to the mass of land in the northern hemisphere.
But conjectural philosophy is often at fault, and necessary as this
terrestrial balance was asserted to be, no "great" southern continent
has yet been found. For a while, even Cook's sagacity seems to have been
deceived by the mountains of New Zealand, which had been discovered, in
1620, by Tasman. Cook sailed round it, and explored its shores for six
months. He then, on his homeward voyage, examined the east coast of New
Holland. Of course, it is not the intention of this paper to trace a
career so well known as that of the celebrated navigator. We refer to
its incidents, merely as connected with Sir Joseph Banks. They had run
about thirteen hundred miles of the coast, when, after having received
some alarm from the neighbourhood of coral reefs, the vessel suddenly
struck. It was Cook's sagacious habit, nightly, to give all his orders
and precautions before he went to rest; and thus, after having done all
that prudence could do, he undressed, went to bed, and such was the
composure of his mind that he instantly fell asleep. But immediately on
the vessel's striking, the captain was on deck, and giving his orders
with his characteristic coolness. The light of the moon showed the
sheathing boards of the ship floating all round, and at last her false
keel. Their fate appeared imminent, but it was only when the day broke,
that they became fully sensible of their forlorn condition. The land was
at eight leagues' distance. There were no intermediate islets on which
the crew might be saved, and the boats were wholly insufficient to take
them all at once. To lighten the ship was their first object. Guns,
ballast, stores, every thing was thrown over. After two tides they were
enabled to get the ship afloat. To their great relief, the leak did not
seem to gain upon them, though to keep it down required the labour of
the men night and day. At length a midshipman fortunately suggested an
expedient which he had once seen adopted at sea. This was to draw under
the ship's bottom a sail, to which were fastened oakum, flax, and other
light substances. The sail thus covered the leak, and enabled the ship
to swim. On pursuing their voyage, and reaching a river, in which they
attempted to repair the ship, they found that her preservation, in the
first instance, was owing to the extraordinary circumstance of a large
fragment of rock which had stuck into the vessel, and thus partially
stopped up the leak. In this most anxious emergency Sir Joseph Banks and
his party exhibited all the coolness and intrepidity which were
required; and in the subsequent account of the voyage, received from
Cook himself well-merited praises.

Another peril likely to be attended with still more certain ruin, now
assailed the crew. The scurvy began to make its appearance. The
devastations of this dreadful disease, in the early history of our
navigation, fortunately now appear almost fabulous. It was a real
plague; it seemed almost to dissolve the whole frame; teeth fell out,
limbs dropped off, and the sufferer sank into a rapid, and, as it was
once thought, an inevitable grave. It is a remarkable instance of the
powers which man possesses to counteract the most formidable evils, that
this terrible disease is now scarcely known. It has been overpowered
solely by such simple means as fresh meat and vegetables, and a drink
medicated with lemon-juice. Simple as those expedients are, they have
saved the lives of thousands and tens of thousands of the sea-going
population of England.

But new hazards, arising alike from the imperfect condition of the
vessel and their ignorance of the coast, continued to pursue them. Never
was a voyage attempted with greater difficulties to surmount, or
achieved with more triumphant success; after having explored two
thousand miles of this perilous coast, Cook took possession of it in the
name of his king, giving it the title of New South Wales.

At length he arrived at Batavia, where, on laying up his ship to repair,
it was discovered that their preservation throughout this long voyage
had been little less than miraculous, her planks having been in many
instances worn "as thin as the sole of a shoe." But their trials were
not yet over: the marsh fever quickly laid up the crew; the captain,
Banks, and Solander, were taken seriously ill. They set sail from this
pestilential island as soon as possible; but before they reached the
Cape, three-and-twenty had died, including Green the astronomer, and the
midshipman whose suggestion had saved the ship. At length, on the 12th
of July 1771, they cast anchor in the Downs, and Cook and his companions
were received with national acclamation.

The triumph of the navigation was naturally due to Cook, but the most
important part of the knowledge which had been communicated to the
empire was due to the labours of Banks. It was from his journals, that
the chief details of the habits, manners, and resources of the natives
were derived. The vegetable, mineral, and animal products of the Society
Islands, and of New Holland, New Zealand, and New Guinea, had been
explored, and a vast quantity of general intelligence was obtained
relative to countries, which now form an essential portion of the
British empire. The novelty of those possessions has now worn off, their
value has made them familiar. We are fully acquainted with their
products, however we may be still ignorant of their powers. But, at the
period of this memorable voyage, the Southern Hemisphere was scarcely
more known than the hemisphere of the moon. Every league of the coasts
of New Holland, and the islands of the Great Southern Ocean, abounded
with natural perils, heightened by the necessary ignorance of the
navigator. Even to this day, many a fearful catastrophe attests the
difficulties of the navigation; the coral rocks were a phenomenon wholly
new to nautical experience; and, in all the modern improvements of
nautical science, full room is left for wonder, at the skill, the
intelligence, and the daring, which carried Cook and his companions safe
through the perils of this gigantic navigation.

A new expedition was soon demanded at once by the curiosity of the
people and the interests of science. The dream of a great southern
continent was still the favourite topic of all who regarded themselves
as philosophers in England, although Cook had sailed over an
unfathomable ocean, in the very tract where he ought, according to this
adventurous theory, to have found a continent. Sir Joseph Banks again
gallantly volunteered to join the expedition which was equipped for the
discovery. His large fortune enabled him to make unusual preparations;
but such was his zeal, that he even raised a loan for the purpose. He
engaged Zoffani, the painter, with three assistant draughtsmen. He
selected two secretaries and nine attendants, instructed in the art of
preserving plants and animals; he also provided books, drawings, and
instruments. But his natural ambition was suddenly thwarted by the
opposition of Sir Hugh Palliser, controller of the navy. For whatever
reason--and it is now difficult to imagine any, except some jealousy too
contemptible to name--so many obstructions were thrown in the way, that
Banks relinquished the pursuit, and turned his attention to a voyage to
Iceland. His suite, seamen and all, amounting to forty persons, reached
the island in 1772, examined its chief natural phenomena, Hecla and its
hot springs, and furnished its historian, Von Troil, with the materials
for the most accurate history of this outpost of the northern world.

On his return to England, he commenced the career, natural to an opulent
man of a cultivated mind, but yet so seldom followed in England by
individuals of even higher means than his own. He fitted up a large
house in Soho Square with all the preparatives for a life of literary
association--a copious library, collections of natural history, and
philosophical instruments. He held frequent conversaziones, gave
dinners, and easily and naturally constituted himself the leader of the
men of science in London. In Lincolnshire, where his chief property
lay, he performed the part of the liberal and hospitable country
gentleman on a large scale; while in London, he was the first person to
whom scientific foreigners were introduced, and the principal patron and
protector of ingenious men.

On the resignation of Sir John Pringle as President of the Royal
Society, Sir Joseph Banks was placed in the chair, in 1778, almost by
acclamation. He had some obvious qualifications for the office, but he
as obviously wanted others. His opulence, his hospitality, and his zeal
for science, were valuable, and are nearly indispensable in the
president of a body which concentrates the chief intellectual force of
the community. But his favourite pursuit, botany, has never deserved the
name of a science, and inevitably bears a character of triviality in the
eyes of the mathematician and the philosopher. The distinction given to
a comparatively young man, known to the world only as a voyager, and a
collector of plants and animals, not unnaturally tended to breed
scoffing among the professors of the severe sciences. The feeling
spread, and the opportunity for its expression was soon found. Dr
Hutton, the mathematical professor at Woolwich, happened to be secretary
for foreign correspondence. His residence at Woolwich was said to
produce some inconvenience in his intercourse with the president; and
the council passed a resolution, in 1783, recommending that "the foreign
secretary should reside in London." The secret history of this
transaction is, that Hutton was one of the mathematical party; though we
cannot distinctly ascertain whether he had actually gone so far as to
sneer at the president. Upon this Hutton resigned the office; to accept
which, the emolument could not have been his object, the salary being
but L.20 a-year--a sum that cannot be mentioned without a sense of
disgrace to a society reckoning among its members some of the wealthiest
men of England.

Hutton's resignation, or rather dismissal, produced an open war in the
society. The mathematicians ranged themselves on the Huttonian side; the
cultivators of natural history, and the cultivators of nothing, ranged
themselves on the side of the president. The mathematicians were headed
by Horsley, afterwards the bishop--a man whom Lord Brougham
characterizes as extremely arrogant, of violent temper, and intoxicated
with an extravagant sense of his own scientific merits, which his noble
biographer pronounces to be altogether insignificant, heading this
charge with the unkindest cut of all, namely, that he was "a priest."
Horsley was certainly no great mathematician, as his publication of the
_Principia_ unluckily shows; but the picture is high coloured, which
represents him as a hot-tempered, loud-tongued, bustling personage--a
sort of bravo of science and theology, who took up the first opinion
which occurred to him, scorned to rectify it by any after-thought, and
plunged from one absurdity into another, for the sake of consistency.
The eloquence of his attacks upon the chair, of whose possession he was
supposed to be foolishly ambitious, was vaunted a good deal by his
partisans. But, as the only evidence of his rhetoric in these squabbles
ever quoted, is one sentence, it is like the pretension to wit on the
strength of a single pun, and may be easily cast aside. This boasted
sentence was uttered, in threatening the secession of the mathematical
party. "The president will then be left with his train of feeble
amateurs, and that toy (the mace) upon the table--the ghost of the
Society in which Philosophy once reigned, and Newton officiated as her
minister."

Horsley's theology was too nearly on a par with his mathematics--he
_was_ harsh and headlong. The fortunate folly of Priestley in
challenging the English clergy to a trial of strength in the old arena
of Unitarianism, gained him an opportunity of crushing an antagonist
whose presumption was in proportion to his ignorance. Accordingly, the
Unitarian was speedily put _hors-de-combat_, and Horsley was rewarded
with a mitre.

The president had long felt that the purpose of this violent lover of
parallelograms was, to unseat him. The question was therefore brought to
a decision, in the shape of a resolution "approving of Sir Joseph Banks
as president, and resolving to support him in his office." This
resolution was carried by 119 to 43.

Honours began now to gather upon him. In 1788 he had been made a
baronet. In 1795 he received the order of the Bath, then generally
restricted to soldiers and diplomatists. In two years after, he was
called to the Privy Council. On the death of the Duke of Ancaster he was
chosen recorder of Boston; but, though often solicited to stand an
election, he was never a member of Parliament. Though professing himself
a Tory, he seems never to have taken any active part in politics,
preserving a curious practical neutrality in Lincolnshire, and giving
his interest to Mr Pelham, a Whig, and Mr Chaplin, a Tory. This, which
his noble biographer curiously seems to consider as a happy proof of the
absence of all party feelings, we should be apt to look upon as a proof
of a degenerate wish to consult his own ease, and of a sluggish
neutrality discreditable to the character of an Englishman.

However, he had more honourable distinctions. In the furious
Revolutionary war--a war of principles and passions, not less than of
public interests, the president of the Royal Society largely exerted his
interest with both governments, to alleviate the sufferings of
scientific men who happened to fall into the hands of the belligerents,
and to effect the restoration of scientific property captured by our
ships of war. In 1802 he was chosen one of the foreign members of the
Institute of France; and his letter of thanks, a little too ardent in
its gratitude, was said to have involved the baronet in some vexations
peculiarly felt by his courtly temperament. He was instantly attacked
for his Gallican panegyric, by a portion of the Royal Society. Cobbett,
who was then looking out for a victim, and whose loyalty was at that
period peculiarly glowing, flew at him like a tiger-cat; and, last and
most dreaded of all, he was said to have received at Windsor some of
those frowns, which to a courtier are a total eclipse of the sun. But
the nation soon had higher things to think of than a slip of the
President's pen, or a little betrayal of his vanity. Napoleon ascended
the throne; and, when the thunderbolts began to fall, the squibs and
crackers flung from hand to hand of little men are of necessity
forgotten.

His latter years were signalized by acts of unequivocal public service.
He is designated by Lord Brougham, and no one can have a better right to
be informed of the fact, as the real founder of the African
Association.--His lordship also regards him as the real founder of the
colony of Botany Bay.--He was the first to suggest the transfer of the
tropical fruits to the West India islands.--British horticulture owed
him great services.--And the British Museum, during forty-two years of
his trusteeship, was the object of his peculiar care, and finally
received the bequest of his excellent library and of all his
collections.

His career, however, was now, by the course of nature, drawing to its
close. Yet, he had lived seventy-eight years in this anxious and
disappointing world, in opulence, in peace, and in public estimation.
But his lot had been singularly fortunate. Few men are without their
share of those troubles which characterize the general condition of
human nature. Sir Joseph Banks had _his_ trial, in physical suffering.
In the first portion of his life he had been remarkable for robust
health and activity; but, from about his fortieth year, he suffered
severely from attacks of gout, which increased so much, that for his
last fourteen years he was scarcely able to walk. His robust mind,
however, enabled him to encounter his disease by increased and extreme
temperance. He gave up all fermented liquors and animal food. He seems
to have derived considerable benefit from D'Huisson's medicine. But his
hour was come; and on the 19th of June 1820, in the seventy-eighth year
of his age, he died--just one year after his honoured and royal friend,
George III.

Thus passed through the world one of those men who are among the most
useful in their generation. It would be idle to pronounce him a genius,
a discoverer, or a profound philosopher. But he served an important
purpose in society; he suggested philosophical enterprise, he protected
the honourable ambition of men whose career, without that protection,
might have closed in obscure suffering: he gave the philosophy and
literature of his time a leader, and formed it into a substantial shape.
In this spirit he employed his life; and he accomplished his purpose
with the constancy and determination of a sagacious and systematic mind.
He might not be a pillar of the philosophical temple of his country, nor
its architrave; but he performed the office of the clamp--he bound
together the materials of both pillar and architrave, and sustained the
edifice alike in its stateliness and in its security.

Lord Brougham's biography of D'Alembert commences with a brief
dissertation on the interest which the mind takes in the study of
mathematics. This study he regards as superior in gratification to every
other, from its independence of external circumstances. In all other
studies, he observes truly, that a large portion of the researches must
depend upon facts imperfectly ascertained from the reports of others,
and upon knowledge impeded by the capricious chances of things; while in
pure science, the principles, the premises, and the conclusions, are
wholly within our own power.

In a passage exhibiting the affluence of the noble lord's language, he
says, "The life of a geometrician may well be supposed an uninterrupted
calm, and the gratification which is derived from its researches, is of
a pure and also of a lively kind--whether he contemplates the truths
discovered by others, with the demonstrative evidence on which they
rest, or carries the science further, and himself adds to the number of
the interesting truths before known. He may be often stopt in his
researches by the difficulties that beset his path; he may be frustrated
in his attempts to discover relations, depending on complicated data,
which he cannot unravel or reconcile; but his study is wholly
independent of accident, his reliance is on his own powers. Contestation
and uncertainty he never can know; a stranger to all controversy, above
all mystery, he possesses his mind in unruffled peace. Bound by no
authority, regardless of all consequences as of all opposition, he is
entire master of his conclusions as of his operations, and feels even
perfect indifference to the acceptance or objection of his doctrines,
because he confidently looks forward to their universal and immediate
admission the moment they are comprehended."

All this is strikingly expressed, yet it is after all but a showy
hypothesis. That pure mathematics have nothing to do with external
existence, may be easily granted; but that mathematicians are exempt
from controversy, is no more a matter of experience than that all
mathematical assertions are self-evident. The history of science is a
direct contradiction of this halcyon hypothesis. The bitterest
controversies, and the most ridiculous too, have been raised on
mathematical opinions. Universal experience tends strongly to the proof,
that no exclusive exertion of the mind is more fatal to its general
vigour, more apt to narrow its range of conception; more distinctly
operative, by its very exclusiveness, and by its making minute truths
the especial object of the mind, in rendering it incapable of those
loftier and broader truths on which depend all the great concerns of
society, all the efficient progress of civilisation, and all the nobler
growth of human powers--than the mere study of mathematics. A spider
drawing his web out of his own fibres, and constructing his little lines
and circles in his dusty corner, is the fittest emblem of the mere
mathematician. In this language, we acknowledge the use of the science;
we protest only against its pretence of superiority. Every man's
experience of college studies may supply him with examples; but we have
room but for one, and that of a sufficiently high order.

When Napoleon assumed the French throne, in his ambition of being
regarded as the universal patron of science he appointed the author of
the _Méchanique Céleste_ a member of his privy council. But La Place,
then and since, the first scientific name of France, was found utterly
inadequate to even the almost sinecure duties of his office. Napoleon
soon found that he could make no use of him. He accordingly consulted
him no longer. "I found his mind," said he, "like his book, full of
_infiniments petits_." Or if we look for further illustration among the
French geometers--the only men among whom the trial can be made, from
their opportunities of power in the Revolution--there was not one of
them who exhibited any qualification for the higher duties of public
life. Bailly, Condorcet, and their tribe, proved themselves utterly
feeble, helpless, and trifling, where manliness, activity, and
intelligence of mind were required. The Savans were swept away like a
swarm of mice, or crushed like musquitoes, when they dared to buzz in
the presence of the public. That they were first-rate mathematicians
there can be no question; that they quarrelled about their mathematical
theories with the bitterness, and not a little in the style of village
gossips, is equally certain; and that, though the Encyclopedists had
chiefly died off before the Revolution, their successors and imitators
were extinguished by their preposterous combination of an avarice of
power, and of an inadequacy to exertion, is a fact written unanswerably
in the history of their trifling career, and of their early scaffolds.
The ridiculous figure made in politics by the first astronomer of
France, at this moment, only strengthens the conclusion.

The life of D'Alembert is, however, one of the happiest illustrations of
the use to which science may be applied, in raising an obscure
individual into public fame. Yet, it is not to be forgotten, that
D'Alembert's European celebrity commenced only when he had laid aside
the exclusive study of mathematics, and devoted himself to general
literature, and, shaking off the dust of his closet, he became a man of
the world.

Jean le Rond d'Alembert was born in November 1717, and was exposed as a
foundling near the church of St Jean le Rond in Paris, and thus called
by the name of the parish. The commissary of the district, taking pity
upon the infant's apparently dying condition, instead of sending it to
the hospital, where it would have inevitably died, gave it to be nursed
by the wife of a poor glazier. In a few days, however, a person named
D'Estouches, a commissary of artillery, came forward, acknowledged the
child, and made provision for its support. The habits of foreign life
are generally so scandalous, that they can scarcely be alluded to
without offending our sense of delicacy. The mother of this infant was
an unmarried woman, living in the very highest circles of Paris, the
sister of Cardinal Tencin, archbishop of Lyons. This woman thus added to
her vice the cruelty of exposing her unfortunate offspring to die of
cold and hunger in the streets. It does not appear that her profligacy,
though notorious, ever affected her position in society. Her coteries
were as gay, her circle was as complete, and her rank as high, as ever.
In the Paris of those days, "throwing the first stone" was unheard of;
its reaction would have been an avalanche; there was no scandal where
there was no concealment; there was no crime where there was no
conscience; and thus danced the world away, until the scourge of a
higher power swept the whole noblesse of France into beggary and exile.

D'Alembert seems to have taken his surname from that of his nurse, and
was sent, when twelve years old, to the College of La Nation, then in
the possession of the Jansenists. There he learned mathematics. On
leaving the college, he returned to the glazier's house, there had one
room for his bedroom and study, lived on the family fare, supported
himself on a pension of £50 a-year left to him by his father, and in
that house lived for forty years. He once made an abortive attempt to
study the law and medicine, but soon grew weary of both, and returned to
mathematics, for which he had a decided predilection. His application to
this study, however, by no means pleased the homely sense of his old
nurse. "You will never be any thing better than a philosopher," was her
usual saying. "And what's a philosopher?--a fool, who wears out his
life, to be spoken of after he is dead."

But D'Alembert had evidently a passion for science; and in his
twenty-third year he sent to the Academy of Sciences an analytical
paper, which attracted general notice. This was followed by his
admission into the society, at the unusually early age of twenty-four.
From this period, he proceeded for eighteen years, constantly furnishing
the Academy with papers, which added greatly to its reputation and his
own. In a note on the presumed discovery of Taylor's Theorem by
D'Alembert, the noble biographer alludes to what he regards as a similar
event, the discovery of the "Binomial Theorem" by himself. We must
acknowledge, that we cannot easily comprehend how any student, within
the last hundred years, could have had this "discovery" to make--the
Binomial Theorem being one of the very first which meets the eye of the
algebraist, in Newton's, and every other treatise on analysis. It seems
to us very like an English reader's "discovery" of the alphabet, or, at
least, of the recondite art of spelling words of two syllables. But
D'Alembert was at length to find, that if he was to obtain either fame
or fortune, he must seek them in some other road. At this period,
infidelity had become the distinction of all who arrogated to themselves
intellectual accomplishment. The power of the crown, and the power of
the clergy, had hitherto made its expression dangerous; but the new
liberalism of the throne having enfeebled its power, the reign of the
libeller, the rebel, and the sceptic openly commenced. The opulence of
the clergy increased the bitterness of their enemies; and the blow which
was intended to lay the throne in the dust, was nominally aimed at
religion. Voltaire had commenced this crusade half a century before; but
the arch-infidel lived beyond the dominion of France, possessed an
independent income, had acquired the reputation of the wittiest man in
Europe, and had established a species of impunity by the pungency of his
perpetual sneers. During this period, French infidelity had been silent
through fear, but it was not the less virulent, active, and general. It
appeared in the result, that almost the whole of the French higher
orders were either deists or total unbelievers. All the literary men of
France followed the example of Voltaire, and a scoff at religion was
always accepted as an evidence of wit. France loves extremes; and, as
the poplar literature of Paris is now plunged in impurity, fifty years
ago it was characterized by outrageous blasphemy. The only religion
which France knew, was certainly not calculated to repress the evil. Its
fantastic exhibitions and grim formalities, were equally obnoxious to
the human understanding. Its persecuting spirit insulted the growing
passion of the people for liberty; while its fierce dogmas, contrasting
with its ridiculous traditions, supplied the largest materials at once
for horror and ridicule.

At length the storm broke forth. The infidelity which had danced and
smiled, and made _calembourgs_ and scoffed, in the full-dress circles of
the nobles; made its appearance in the streets and highways, in rags and
riot, with the axe for the pen, and blood for the ink, and trampled the
whole polished race of scoffers in the mire of Revolution.

The _Encyclopédie_ was the great text-book of the literary faction, and
Diderot and D'Alembert were the editors of its first seven
volumes--D'Alembert writing the preliminary discourse upon the progress
of the sciences. But the latter mixed caution with his courage; for on
the issue of the government prohibition of the work, he abandoned the
editorship and left it to Diderot.

At length, in 1752, the King of Prussia, who, with all his fame, had the
weakness of being emulous of French flattery, offered him an appointment
at Berlin, with an allowance of five hundred pounds a-year, and the
reversionary office of president of the academy. But this royal offer he
refused, on the ground of his reluctance to quit Paris, and the fear
that the employment would be inconsistent with his freedom. At this
period his fixed income seemed to be about seventy pounds a-year; yet,
when we suffer ourselves to be astonished at the apparent magnanimity of
the refusal, we are to remember that this sum, a hundred years ago, and
in Paris, would be about equivalent to two hundred pounds a-year in
England at the present day; that, like all Frenchmen, he hated Germany;
that Frederic's dealings with Voltaire gave by no means a favourable
specimen of his friendships; and that, to a Frenchman of that day,
Paris was all the world. But, ten years after, the Empress Catharine
made him the much more tempting offer of the tutorship of her son,
afterwards the unfortunate Emperor Paul. The salary was to be
magnificent, no less than four thousand pounds a-year; still he refused
the offer, and preferred remaining in Paris.

Whether we are to applaud his magnanimity, or blame his habits, on this
occasion, may fairly be a question. The possession of the four thousand
pounds a-year, even if it were limited to the period of tuition, would
have made him opulent; and his opulence would undoubtedly have given him
the means of extensive benevolence, of relieving private distress, of
assisting his less fortunate literary brethren, of promoting public
objects, and ultimately, perhaps, of founding some valuable institution
which might last for ages. But D'Alembert, and men like him, seem to
live only for themselves. It would have cost him an absence from Paris
for a certain period to have obtained this power of public good; and he
preferred living without it, and haunting, night after night, the
coteries of the old blue-stockings who kept open house for the evening
gossipry of the capital.

Nothing can form a stronger contrast to the general passion of the
French character for change, than its devotion to the same coterie for
half a century together. In the middle of the eighteenth century two
houses in Paris were especially the rendezvous of the talkers, idlers,
and philosophers of Paris. That some of those visitants were men of
remarkable ability, there can be no doubt. But this perpetual haunting
of the same coffee-cups, this regularity of trifling, this wretched
inability to remain at home for a single evening, is so wholly
irreconcilable with our English sense of domestic duties, of the
attachment of parents to their families, and of the exercise of the
natural affections, that we find it utterly impossible to attach any
degree of respect to the perpetual lounger at another's fire-side.
Madame Geoffrin had now succeeded to Madame de Tencin, as the receiver
of the coterie. Madame du Deffand held a kind of rival, but inferior,
coterie. The former had a house, the latter had only a lodging; the
former was good-humoured, amiable, and kind--the latter satirical and
cold; but both were clever, and, at all events, both received the
gossips, wise and foolish, of Paris. At the lodging of Madame du
Deffand, D'Alembert met Mademoiselle de l'Espinasse, a species of
companion to Madame. She was the illegitimate daughter of a woman of
fashion, as D'Alembert was the son. The circumstance was too common in
Parisian high life, to involve any censure on the parents, or any
disgrace on the children; but it may have produced a degree of sympathy,
which suddenly rose to its height by their taking a lodging together!
Those things, too, were so frequent in France, that, except the laugh of
the moment, no one seems to have taken notice of the connexion; and they
continued to carry it on, as well received as ever, and holding their
evening coterie with undiminished applause.

"No one," observes the noble biographer, "whispered a syllable of
suspicion, respecting a connexion which all were fully convinced could
be only of the most innocent kind." This French credulity is too simple
for our credence. That a he and she philosophic pair should have lived
in the same apartments for a dozen years with perfect innocency, may
have been the case in Paris; but the story would not be believed in any
less immaculate region on the face of the earth. The plain truth seems
to be, that the general looseness of Parisian society saw nothing gross
in the grossest connexion. Even where they affected virtue, they
palpably preferred their having an evening lounge open to them, to any
consideration grounded on common propriety and a sense of shame.

But the philosopher was a dirty fellow after all, and it only does
credit to his noble biographer's sense of propriety to admit, that "his
conduct must seem strange to all men of right and honourable feelings."
In fact, the philosopher seems to have lent his aid very zealously to a
correspondence carried on by his sensitive fellow-lodger! with a view to
a marriage with a Spanish Marquis Mora. Among other proofs, he went
every morning to the post-office to receive the Spaniard's letters for
the lady. "I confess," says Lord Brougham, "I am driven, how reluctantly
soever, to the painful conclusion, that he lent himself to the plan of
her _inveigling_ the Spaniard into a marriage." And this was not the
only instance of his by-play. Mademoiselle professed also to have fallen
in love with a M. Guibert, known as a military writer. Guibert exhibited
his best tactics, in keeping clear of the lady. "All this time, she
continued," says his lordship, "to make D'Alembert believe, that she had
no real passion for any one but himself." No one can easily suppose that
they were not connected in a plan of obtaining for her a settlement in
life by marriage. But, if this marriage-intrigue was in every sense, and
on all sides, contemptible; what are we to think of the nature of the
connexion existing between this sensitive lady and D'Alembert, living
for years under the same roof? The whole matter would be too repulsive
for the decorums of biography, if it were not among the evidences of
that utter corruption of morals, and callousness of feeling, which were
finally avenged in the havoc of the Revolution.

D'Alembert's income had been increased by his appointment to the office
of secretary to the Academy, in 1772. Unfortunately for his literary
fame, it became a part of his duty to write the _éloges_ of the deceased
members, an office which he fulfilled with equal diligence and
unproductiveness; for, of those unfortunate performances he wrote no
less than eighty-three. But the French are fond of fooleries of this
kind; a few sounding sentences with them are biography; a few rambling
sketches fill up the outline to their taste; and the whole forms a
specimen of that eloquence which men are content to admire on the other
side of the Channel.

At length his career drew to a close. Towards his sixty-fourth year, his
health began to decline. It had never been robust, though his habits had
been temperate; but feebleness of stomach, and an organic disease,
predicted the approach of his dissolution. He died on the 29th of
October 1783, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. Notwithstanding his
feebleness of body, his intellectual vigour remained--thus adding one to
the many proofs of the distinct natures of mind and body. In his
intervals of ease, he continued to occupy himself with mathematical
investigations. With a deplorable want of feeling, he talked with levity
of his approaching departure--an event awful to the best, and, to the
wisest, solemn in proportion to their wisdom. He died in the fulness of
that scientific reputation which he deserved, and of that literary
reputation which he did not deserve; but, by the combination of both,
ranking as the most distinguished intellectual name of Europe in his
day.

The life of a later philosopher, the unfortunate Lavoisier, gives Lord
Brougham an opportunity of rendering justice to an eminent foreigner,
and of vindicating the claims of his own still more memorable
countrymen, Black and Watt. Chemistry is especially the science of the
eighteenth century, as geometry was of the seventeenth. It is a
characteristic of that great, however slow, change, which is now
evidently in progress through Europe, that those sciences which most
promote the comforts, the powers, and the progress of the multitude,
obviously occupy the largest share of mental illustration. Of all the
sciences, chemistry is that one which contributes most largely to the
dominion of man over nature. It is the very handmaid of Wisdom,
instructing us in the properties of things, and continually developing
more and more the secrets of those vast and beneficent processes by
which the physical frame of creation is rendered productive to man. It
must thus be regarded as the most essential instrument of our physical
well-being. It takes a part in all that administers to our wants and
enjoyments. Our clothing, our medicine, our food; the cultivation of the
ground, the salubrity of the atmosphere; the very blood, bone, and
muscle of man, all depend on chemical evolutions. But it has its still
loftier secrets; and the experimental philosopher is constantly
stimulated and delighted by his approach to at least the borders of
discoveries which promise to give a nobler insight into the laws of
matter; to exhibit more fully the mechanism formed and moved by the
Divine hand; and to develop the glories of the universe on a scale
continually enlarging, and continually more luminous.

A matchless source of interest in this most effective and essential of
all the sciences, is, that it seems capable of an infinite progress. The
chemical philosopher cannot even conceive any limit to its variety,
multitude, or utility of purpose. The more he discovers, the more he
finds is still to be discovered. Every new property awakens him to the
existence of some other property, more capacious and more profound.
Every difficulty mastered, only leads him towards some deeper and more
tempting problem. And, in addition to the ardour derived from this
triumph of our intellectual ambition--as if all the incentives that can
act upon man were expressly accumulated upon this pursuit--there is no
science in which the actual triumphs are more directly connected with
personal opulence. The invention of a new acid or alkali might create
unbounded wealth. The discovery of a new principle of the most vulgar
use--for tanning leather, for extracting oils, for strengthening soap,
for purifying tallow, might place the discoverer in possession of wealth
beyond the dreams of avarice. But a loftier ambition may still find its
field in this science. A chemical discovery might change the face of the
world. Gunpowder had already changed the whole form of European society.
A chemical discovery might give us the power of managing at our will the
storm and the lightning, of averting the pestilence, or of ensuring the
fertility of the soil, and the regularity of the seasons. The Divine
intention in placing us here, was evidently the perpetual exercise of
the human understanding. For that purpose were given the wants, and the
remedies of the wants, of man; for that purpose all sciences are perhaps
inexhaustible; but of all, the most palpably inexhaustible, the most
teeming with immediate results, and the most remedial as to human
necessities, is Chemistry--fitted by its extent to supply the largest
proportion of human objects, by its power to excite the most eager
inquiry, and by its richness to reward the intelligent labour of man, to
the last ages of the world.

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier was born in Paris in 1743, the son of one of
the "farmers-general." As the office was nearly hereditary, and was
proverbially connected with great opulence, the son of the rich
functionary was highly educated. But science soon attracted all his
study, and, devoting himself especially to chemistry, he made himself
conspicuous among the leading philosophers of his time.

At the age of twenty-two, he presented to the Academy of Sciences an
analysis of gypsum. At twenty-five he was admitted a member of the
Academy, an unusually early age. In his next year he succeeded his
father in his lucrative office. He then married the daughter of another
farmer-general, and having made this provision for a life of luxury or
public employment, with all that political ambition might offer in the
old _régime_ of France, he collected his books about him, shut himself
up in his study, and gave up his time, fortune, and energy to the
advancement of science.

After occupying himself for a brief period with geology, he commenced
his chemical career by refuting the theories alike of Margraff and Stahl
on the conversion of water into earth. The chemistry of the gases had
made rapid progress in England; and the names of Black, Priestley, and
Cavendish, had already attracted the attention of scientific Europe.
Lavoisier followed in their track by a series of experiments in the
calcination of metals, pursued with remarkable intelligence and
industry. The biographer observes that he was now on the verge of two
dazzling discoveries--the composition of the atmosphere, and the
identity of the diamond with carbon. But he stopped short, and left the
glory to more fortunate investigators.

We hasten from the controversies to which the claim of priority in those
distinguished discoveries gave rise, and come to the more authentic
services of Lavoisier. He was appointed by the minister to superintend
the royal manufacture of gunpowder, which his chemical knowledge enabled
him greatly to improve. He next, by appointment of the National
Assembly, drew up his laborious and valuable memoir on the _Territorial
Wealth of France_. He was now appointed one of the commissioners of the
treasury, and introduced an unexampled regularity into the public
accounts. He aided the formation of the metrical system, the security of
the assignats against forgery, and seems to have borne an active part in
every public matter in which practical science was concerned. In the
mean time he employed himself in scientific agriculture, and set apart a
tract of land on his estate for experimental farming. His style of
living in Paris was at once rational and splendid. His house was open
twice a-week for the reception of distinguished persons, both foreigners
and natives, and especially if they brought with them the recommendation
of scientific ability. With the finest philosophical apparatus in the
possession of any individual in France, he was constantly carrying on
experiments on his own account, or performing them for others whose
means could not meet their expense. This conduct, united to remarkable
amiability of manners, made him popular, and placed him at the head of
French science in his day. But the evil time had come when opulence was
to be a crime, and virtue was to be no longer a safe-guard. The
democratic triumvirate of 1794 issued an order for the seizure of
twenty-seven individuals who had been farmers-general before the
Revolution. The true charge was the crime of being opulent. The popular
and ridiculous charge was, their having mixed deleterious ingredients
with the tobacco. Lavoisier having received information that the order
was about to be executed, fled, and remained for some days in
concealment. On understanding that his flight might injure the other
prisoners, and as his father-in-law was among them, he, with a rash
reliance on the public justice, yet with manly generosity, returned to
Paris, and gave himself up to his oppressors. The course of the
Revolution had been so palpably that of general plunder, that he had
long expected the loss of fortune, and proposed, in case of ruin, to
begin the world again, and live by the profession of medicine.

But, by a furious act of violence, he was condemned to die. He asked
only a few days to complete some experiments which were going on during
his imprisonment. The scoffing answer of this merciless tribunal was,
that the Republic had no need of philosophers; and on the day after this
sentence, the 8th of May 1794, he was hurried to the guillotine with no
less than one hundred and twenty-three other victims, who all died
within a few hours.

On this melancholy and desperate atrocity of republicanism, Lord
Brougham makes the following remark, which, though natural in the lips
of any human being, has double force as coming from one who has seen the
operation of the revolutionary spirit on so large a scale, and during so
extended a portion of his public career.

"The lustre," he observes, "which the labours of Lavoisier had shed over
the scientific renown of France, the valuable services which he had
rendered her in so many important departments of her affairs, the
virtues which adorned his character and made his philosophy beloved as
well as revered, were all destined to meet the reward with which the
tyranny of _vulgar faction_ is sure to recompense the good and the wise,
as often as the _base unlettered multitude_ are permitted to bear sway,
and to place in the seat of dominion their idols, who _dupe_ to
_betray_, and finally punish them."

Lord Brougham justly reprobates the suspicious silence of the celebrated
Carnot on this occasion, and the still more scandalous apathy of
Fourcroix, who had been the pupil and panegyrist of the great chemist
during many years. He acquits him of the deadly imputation, that he had
even been instrumental in sending his master to the guillotine. But he
praises, in contradistinction, M. Hallé, who had the honest courage to
proclaim Lavoisier's public services before the dreadful tribunal,
while he consigns the pupil to perpetual scorn. He was murdered in his
fifty-first year.

Lord Brougham's French predilections do credit to his sense of
cosmopolitism; but he appears to us somewhat more disposed to conciliate
the jealousy of his very irritable French _confrères_, than to deal
rigorous justice. No man deserves the reputation of science but a
discoverer. To know all that has been hitherto known on a subject,
deserves the character of diligence; to promote the progress of a
science by largeness of expenditure, or steadiness of exertion, deserves
the praise of liberality and labour; but the man who adds to the science
by original invention, who enlarges its boundaries, and detects new
principles, is the man alone to whom the name of genius can be applied.
Lavoisier was, unquestionably, an important minister of science; he
possessed singular assiduity, unwearied zeal, and remarkable sagacity.
What these could do, he did; what knowledge could accomplish, he
performed; but the inventors were of another country, and of a higher
order, and he must be content with the honours due to imitation. Yet he
had considerable happiness in the difficult art of communicating his
knowledge. His _Treatise on Chemistry_, though now superseded by
subsequent arrangements, is singularly clear; and no great teacher of
chemistry has hitherto given the world a more striking example of
exactness in detail, and clearness in conception.

His cruel death, too, may be almost said to have continued his services
to society. It proved, with irresistible force, the true character of
Infidel Revolution. It showed a noble-minded and benevolent man the
victim of revolutionary rage; an intelligent, studious, and retired man,
obnoxious to the rabble love of ruin; a mild, generous, and patriotic
man, the instant prey of revolutionary government, which boasted of its
superiority to the vices of kings, of its homage to intellect, and of
its supreme value for the virtues of private life. Yet it murdered
Lavoisier without a moment's hesitation, or a moment's remorse, and
flung the first philosopher of France into a felon's grave.

The biography of Adam Smith gives Lord Brougham an opportunity of
pouring out, at the distance of nearly half a century, that knowledge of
Political Economy which first brought him into notice. His _Colonial
Policy_, a remarkable performance for a student of eighteen, exhibited
in miniature the principles and propensities which his long career has
been expended in maturing and moulding. Adam Smith was the idol of all
Scottish worship in the last century; and his originality of conception,
the weight of his subject, and the clearness of his judgment, made him
worthy of the elevation.

Adam Smith's birth was of a higher order than is often to be found in
the instance of men destined to literary eminence. He was the son of a
comptroller of the customs, who had been private secretary to Lord
Loudoun, secretary of state, and keeper of the great seal.

An accident in infancy had nearly deprived the age of its first
philosopher, even if it had not trained him to be hanged. At three years
of age he was stolen by travelling tinkers, a race resembling the
gipsies, and which in that day formed a numerous population in Scotland.
But a pursuit being speedily set on foot, he was fortunately recovered.
He was well educated, and, after the routine of school, was sent to
Glasgow for three years, where he obtained an Exhibition to Baliol
College. At Oxford he remained for seven years, chiefly addicted to
mathematics--a study, however, which he subsequently wholly abandoned.
He had been intended for the Church of England; but whether from dislike
of its discipline, or from disappointment in his views, he retired to
Scotland, to take his chance of employment in its colleges. In 1748 he
settled in Edinburgh, and, for three years, read a course of lectures on
rhetoric. His contemporaries, then obscure, became, in some instances,
conspicuous; for among them were Hume, Robertson, and Wedderburne. In
1751, Smith was elected to the professorship of Logic in the University
of Glasgow, which he soon after exchanged for that of Moral Philosophy.

Thus far we run on smoothly with Lord Brougham; but when he comes to
discuss religion, we must occasionally doubt his guidance. For example,
in speaking of Smith's lectures on Natural Theology, he denounces the
jealousy of those who regard it as other than "the very foundation
essential to support its fabric." From this opinion we totally dissent.
It is perfectly true that natural religion and revelation are consistent
with each other, as must be presumed from their being the work of the
same Divine wisdom. But their foundations are wholly distinct. Why did
the Jew believe the Mosaic revelation? Simply and solely, because it was
delivered to him with such evidences of supernatural origin, in the
thunders of Sinai, and substantiated at subsequent periods by miracle
and prophecy, that he must receive it as divine. Why did the early
converts receive Christianity? Simply on the same direct evidence
supplied to their senses. No apostle sent them to examine their notions
of the Godhead, or left them to inculcate the doctrines of the gospel by
their reason. But he declared his doctrine as a new truth, and gave
proof of its truth being divine, by working wonders palpably beyond the
power of man. Of course, unless man knew what was meant by the power of
the Deity, he could not have comprehended the simplest communication of
the apostle. But we are speaking of the foundation of a belief--not the
intelligibility of a language. We are entitled to go further still, and
say, that the first idea of the being of a God was itself a
revelation--a much plainer solution of the extraordinary circumstance,
that so lofty and recondite a conception should have existed in the
earliest and rudest ages of society; than to suppose that the
antediluvian shepherd, or the postdiluvian hunter, should have ever
thought of tracing effects and causes up to that extreme elevation,
where a pure and supreme Spirit creates and governs the whole. We are
entitled even to doubt whether the idea of Spirit was ever _naturally_
conceived in the mind of any human being, difficult as is the conception
to a creature surrounded with materiality, with every thought derived
from his senses, and with the total incapacity of defining to this hour,
or even imagining, the nature of Spirit. It will be fully admitted, that
when the idea was once communicated, its reality was substantiated by
the frame of nature, by the regularity, the extent, and the beneficence
of the great physical system. But the origin was revelation. Lord
Brougham quotes Tillotson; but the archbishop had earned his mitre by
other means than the vigour of his understanding, and often trifles like
other men.

In 1759, Smith published his _Theory of Moral Sentiments_--a work of
skill and invention, but which has long since fallen into disuse with
the intelligent world. It, however, had the rare good fortune of
attracting the notice of an individual, possessed at once of the taste
to honour, and the will to befriend, a man of original ability. This
volume fell into the hands of the celebrated Charles Townsend, who
proposed that the author should take charge of the young Duke of
Buccleuch, whose mother, the dowager-duchess, he had married. Nothing in
the life of Townsend was more honourable to him than this choice, not
only for its judgment but for its rarity. The generality of men in
possession of affluence think only of themselves, and would value the
most common-place gratification more highly than the encouragement of
the obscure genius, which wanted only that encouragement to shed a new
lustre on its generation. The man of power in general feels its
possession the primary object of his patronage, and sees no purpose in
the immense opportunity given to him by his rank, but to obtain
adherents, and make his power impregnable. Though there may be
exceptions, such is the rule; and with this recollection of the
established course of things, we give all honour to the memory of the
man, without whose patronage the world would probably have lost the
ablest work of its century, the immortal _Wealth of Nations_.

In 1763, Smith was appointed tutor to the young nobleman, resigned his
professorship, and went with his pupil to France. After a residence of a
year and a half at Toulouse, he travelled in Switzerland, and then,
returning to Paris, spent ten months there. His French residence was
peculiarly fortunate. It rubbed off the rust of his seclusion; it
introduced him to the best society of courtly life; and it brought him
into direct intercourse with that whole circle of active intellect and
novel philosophy, which made the Parisian coteries at once the most
bustling and brilliant of Europe. However the horrid profligacy of the
court, and the contemptuous infidelity of high life, might have either
disgusted the morals, or startled even the scepticism of the stranger,
there can be no doubt of the interest which he felt in the society of
such men as Turgot, Necker, D'Alembert, and Quesnay. Smith, some fifteen
or twenty years before, had drawn up a sketch of the principles which he
afterwards developed in his _Wealth of Nations_. Political economy was
then beginning to take a form in French science. Whether it ever
deserved the name of science, or will ever deserve it, may be a grave
question. It depends upon such a multitude of facts, and the facts
themselves vary so perpetually, the "principles" derived from those
facts are so feeble and fluctuating, and common experience so
provokingly contradicts, from day to day, the most laboured conclusions,
that every new professor has a new theory, and every new theory turns
the former into ridicule, itself to be burlesqued by the next that
follows. This at least is known, that Fox declared his suspicion of the
whole, saying, that it was at once too daring to be intelligible, and
too indefinite to be reducible to practice. Even in our day, no two
authors on the subject agree; all the successful measures of revenue and
finance have been adopted in utter defiance of its dogmas; while all the
modern attempts to act upon what are called its principles, have only
convulsed commerce, shaken public credit, and substituted fantastic
visions of prosperity for the old substantial wealth of England. No
occupation could have been fitter for the half-frivolous, half-factious
spirit of France. A revolution in revenue was openly regarded as the
first step to revolution in power; the political economists indulged
themselves in a philosophic conspiracy, and vented their sneers against
the government, under pretext of recognising the rights of trade. It
took but a little more than twenty years to mature this dexterous
contrivance, and the meek friends of free trade had the happiness of
seeing France in a blaze.

Smith, on his return, shut himself up in his study in Kirkcaldy for ten
years. His friends in vain attempted to draw him from his solitude to
Edinburgh: he steadily, we may almost say magnanimously, refused; and at
the end of the tenth year, in 1776, he explained the mystery, by the
publication of the two quarto volumes of his _Enquiry into the Nature
and Causes of the Wealth of Nations_. The work was received with general
congratulation; it was regarded as a new science, although it is
well-known, as stated in the introduction to the biography, that many
others had previously discussed the same subjects. Smith's views,
however, were so much more comprehensive, his division so much more
distinct, and his remarks so much more practical, that he deserved all
the credit of the architect who combines in beauty and utility the beams
and pillars which he finds scattered on the ground. And here we advert
to the obvious benefit of that patronage which had been extended to this
very able man by Townsend. The annuity which had been settled on him as
tutor, had enabled Smith to give up the whole of his time, and the whole
powers of his mind, during those ten years, to this great work. During
nearly twenty years of lecturing, on the other hand, in which his pen
was necessarily employed without ceasing, he seems to have published but
one work, _The Theory of Moral Sentiment_. That he constantly formed
ingenious conceptions, may be easily admitted; but that he wanted either
time or inclination to complete them, is evident from the fact, that he
never suffered them to appear in print, and that one of his dying
directions was, that they should be destroyed by his executors.

He was now a man of fame, and to enjoy it came up to London, where he
resided for two years in the midst of the best society, political and
literary, to be found in England. He was now to be a man of fortune as
well as of fame; he was appointed a commissioner of the customs in
Scotland. He returned to Edinburgh, and commenced the agreeable life of
a man at once distinguished, and opulent to the full extent of his
simple desires, in a society whose names are still regarded as the
lights of Scotland. He lived hospitably, and entertained good society,
but he wrote no more; he was growing old, and Lord Brougham evidently
thinks that the duties of his office exhausted his spirits and occupied
his time. But those duties always partook largely of the nature of a
sinecure; and there is every reason to doubt whether they could have
worn down a man of regular habits, and who had been trained to the
routine of daily business by an apprenticeship of a quarter of a
century. The greater probability is, that Smith felt that he had done
enough for fame; that, knowing the world, he was unwilling to expose
himself to the caprices of critical applause; and that he even felt how
inadequate the early theories which found admirers in the lecture-room,
might be to sustain a character already brought into full publicity by
his own volumes. The fact is certain, that he produced nothing more. In
July 1790, he died, at the age of sixty-seven. It was his custom to give
a supper on the Sunday evening to a numerous circle of friends. How far
this entertainment, which was more consistent with the latitude of his
Paris recollections, was reconcilable with the decorums of Scotland, we
cannot say. But on one evening, after having destroyed his manuscripts,
finding himself not so well as usual, he retired to bed before supper,
and as he went, said to his friends, "I believe we must adjourn this
meeting to some other place." He died in a very few days afterwards.

Lord Brougham has obviously expended his chief labour on the life of
this favourite philosopher, of whom, fifty years ago, every Scottish
economist was a devoted pupil. Times are changed, yet this intelligent
biographer has given a very ample and accurate, so far as we can judge,
analysis of the _Enquiry_. But he would have greatly increased the
obligations of the reader, by giving some portion of his treatise to the
questions which modern artifice has devised, and modern infatuation has
adopted.

An interesting "memoir" of Johnson commences the volume; but the topic
would lead us too far. The biographer gives that literary Samson full
applause for the strength of his understanding, the boldness of his
morality, and the pungency of his wit. Rather to our surprise, he pours
out an eloquent panegyric on Boswell. That we are indebted to this
versatile personage for one of the most amusing and instructive
collections of reminiscences in the history of authorship, will be
readily conceded. But this is the first time of our hearing a demand
that we should pay him any more peculiar homage. But Lord Brougham is
himself the head of a school: his _ipse dixit_ demands acquiescence, and
none can doubt that, if he is singular in his dogmas, he deserves
attention for the vigour of his advocacy.



REYNARD THE FOX.[2]


The natural history of the Cockney has been frequently illustrated, and
never so successfully as in time past in the pages of Maga. But nature
is inexhaustible in all her creations. You might study a lifetime, and
yet not fully master the properties of one of those little Infusoria
that wriggle or spin about in a phial of foul or fair water, and a still
wider subject of study is of course supplied by any larger animal, such
as a Cockney, placed as he is a little lower than the angels, and
half-way down, or there abouts, between a man and a chimpanzee.

Upon careful inquiry it would probably be found, that in most nations
the population, though all purporting to be men and women, consists in a
good measure of beings that stand several degrees below the point of
humanity. France, among several specimens of a higher order, has
occasionally shown that a considerable proportion of its inhabitants was
a hideous cross between the tiger and the baboon. Holland has had its
Grotius and its Erasmus, but the otter and the beaver breed make up the
mass of those who go by the name of Dutchmen. There has been no want in
Germany of clear-sighted men, but the mole, the bat, and the owl furnish
a large contingent to the ranks of its _literati_. In other nations we
see a greater or less preponderance of the wolf or the bear, the goat or
the goose, the ass, the hog, or the hippopotamus. Such being the
universal condition of the world, we should rather be proud than
otherwise, that, in England, we can boast of a secondary tribe, made,
perhaps, by some of nature's journeymen, but that yet imitate humanity
so respectably, so amiably, and so amusingly, as the Cockney must be
admitted to do.

A Cockney is by locality very much what a tailor is by trade. Though a
remote sub-multiple of a man, he is enterprising, indefatigable, cutting
his way to his object through every thing with a ready tongue and a
quick wit. Yet he is deficient in some qualities indispensable to the
species _homo_. Courage the Cockney undoubtedly possesses, because he is
always among those who are said to rush in where others fear to tread.
But veneration is utterly wanting in his composition; and here the
resemblance to the tailor is conspicuous; as we never knew a single snip
that had the slightest reverence for any thing under heaven--if, indeed,
the assertion should not be made in still broader terms. In the tailor
this effect, defective, comes by an obvious cause. The intolerable
liberties which the vulgar fraction is permitted to take with people's
persons, divesting the best and bravest of us of the halo of heroism
that surrounds us at a distance; and the fact that the great mysteries
of dress, the paraphernalia of our dignity and decency, and the chief
emblems of our manhood and domestic authority, emerge exclusively from
the hands of this insignificant but indispensable maker of men, are
enough to extinguish within him all sentiment of respect for any thing
human or divine. The Cockney arrives at a similar state of easy and
impudent _non-chalance_ by a different process. Littered in London, and
living there all his life, he is proud of its position among cites; and
he comes, by a natural process of reasoning, to ascribe its importance
to its connexion with his own person and people, and to see nothing
better or greater in the universe than himself and what belongs to him.
The feeling grows with his growth, and is fed by a full indulgence in
all the good things with which the land of Cockayne abounds, and which
the most morose of mortals must admit to be eminently conducive to
self-complacency.

The Cockney, thus devoid of all diffidence in himself, is prepared for
every thing in the scale of human thought or action; pleasuring or
politics, theatricals or theology, an Epping hunt or an Epic poem. In
literature we may say of him, nearly in the words applied by Dr Johnson
to Goldsmith, that there is scarcely any kind of composition that he
does not handle, and none that he handles which he does not adorn with
graces all his own.

It is wonderful, however, to see with what success a Cockney can
sometimes disguise himself. He will write you a book, in which, several
pages on end, you think you are reading the thoughts of some ordinary
mortal. But the cloven foot always appears before you are done with him.
In poetry, indeed, you can go but a short way till the cat is let out of
the bag. That unfortunate letter R! No lessons in elocution, no change
of climate, can eradicate the deep-seated mischief of its
mispronunciation in a Cockney whose years of pupilarity have been passed
on the spot of his birth.

These remarks have been elicited by a disappointment we have recently
suffered, in being led to purchase the book referred to at the
commencement of this article. We saw it advertised by an alluring
title--"REYNARD THE FOX--a renowned Apologue of the Middle Ages
reproduced in Rhyme." We bought the book, and were delighted with its
appearance. A quaint, antique, cream-coloured binding--a golden vignette
on the outside, of the fox making his obeisance to Noble the king of the
beasts, and the lioness his spouse--a beautiful paper and type within,
with red and blue illuminations interspersed at the heads of chapters
and paragraphs;--all this combined to whet our appetite for a delicious
treat. We read the preface and introduction, if not with pleasure, at
least with patience, and with wonderfully few misgivings as to the
truth, the worst feature in them being the tendency to Carlyleism, to
which, however offensive in itself, custom has made us somewhat callous.
But we had not perused a page or two of the reproduction in rhyme
itself, when we discovered that we were wandering in the regions of
Cockneyland, with one of its most distinguished natives for our guide.

Our immediate purpose is to offer an exposition, not of the old Reynard,
but of its present "reproduction." We may say, however, that we think
the original work is one peculiarly ill-suited to be appreciated or
reproduced by one of Mr Naylor's compatriots. It is a product of true
genius, humour, and sagacity. The author must have looked at beasts and
men with a keen eye, and from the vantage ground of a contemplative
mind; and he has worked out his thoughts in a plain and simple style of
illustration, and embodied them in easy and natural language. There is
much merriment in his work, but no straining after wit. There is all the
knowledge of the day that an accomplished man could be expected to
possess, but no parade of learning. There is no quaintness in the style,
and no effort in the verse. The age of _Hudibras_ had not come; and that
of the _Ingoldsby Legends_, or _Miss Kilmansegg_, was still further off.
The old Flemish writers of Reynard exhibit judgment as well as talent,
and their Low Saxon successor, though himself a reproducer, has asserted
a claim both to freedom and originality. The quiet, sensible, unaffected
treatment of their subject, which these old versifiers exhibit, where
the topics offered so much temptation to burlesque and extravagance, is
the thing of all others least likely to be comprehended or relished in
the meridian of Bow Bells.

But, then, Goethe has successfully translated the book; and, therefore,
Mr Naylor must do the same. This is a common mode of syllogising in
Cockayne. Homer, Dante, Milton, Goethe, Wordsworth, have done such and
such things, and therefore a Cockney is to do them also. Whatever may be
the precise minor premise involved in this argument, we venture to
suggest a doubt of its soundness. Mr Naylor tells us he has followed
Alkmar's and Goethe's example, "mindful ever of the requisitions
insisted on by Novalis in all paraphrastic translations, that they
should convey accurately an idea of the first type, whilst, at the same
time, the translator made his author speak after that appreciation of
his work which exists in his own mind, no less than according to the
poet's original conception." Mr Naylor may have succeeded in making his
author speak after that appreciation of his work which exists in his own
mind; but if the "first type" of Reynard had been no better than the
reproduction gives us an idea of, the shapeless and sickly cub would not
have lived an hour into the thirteenth century.

Before Mr Naylor resolved on reproducing Reynard in English rhyme, he
should have inquired whether it was not already as well done as he was
likely to do it. In his elaborate enumeration of his predecessors in the
task of translation, he thus writes:--"There is also _said_ to be a
translation of Reynard into English _doggerel_, by _one_ Soltau, a
German"--"known," as he adds in a note, "as the translator of _Hudibras_
into German." We have now before us the translation so slightingly
alluded to, published at Hamburg in 1826. In all external and physical
recommendations, this homely volume is far inferior to the London
reproduction; but we shall immediately give our readers an opportunity
of judging whether the doggerel of "one Soltau, a German," is not at
least as good as that of "one Naylor, a Cockney."

Take the opening of the poem, which, in the original, is full of
freshness and spirit, with all the joyousness of a holiday scene.

SOLTAU.

    "It happen'd on a Whitsunday,
  When woods and fields look'd green and gay,
  When balmy flow'rs and herbs were springing,
  And feather'd folks were sweetly singing;
  The morn was fine, the weather clear,
  And fragrant odours fill'd the air,
  When Noble, sov'reign king of beasts,
  Proclaim'd a court and public feasts.
  His loyal subjects, lords and commons,
  Obey'd their master's royal summons;
  And many a valiant knight and squire
  To court repair'd in grand attire,
  With their attendants, great and small--
  'Twas difficult to count them all."

NAYLOR.

    "Now Pentecost, the feast, by some
  Call'd 'merry Whitsuntide,' was come!
  The fields show'd brave, with kingcups dight,
  And hawthorns kercheft were in white:
  Her low-breathed lute the fresh'ning rill
  Unto the waken'd woods 'gan trill;
  Whilst, hid in leafy bower remote,
  The cuckoo tuned his herald-note;
  The meads were prankt in gold and green,
  And 'leetel fowles' of liveried sheen,
  Their pipes with JUBILATE! swelling,
  From bush and spray were philomelling--
  The breeze came balmy from the west,
  And April, harness'd in her best,
  The laughing sun led forth to see--
  When Noble (lion-king was he,
  And sceptre sway'd o'er bird and beast,)
  Held ancient ways, and kept the feast,
  The trumpets clang'd loud proclamation--
  The couriers coursed throughout the nation--
  Full many a Brave and many a Bold
  Came hastening in troops untold."

The German translator here keeps precisely within the same compass of
fourteen lines with his "first type," while the Londoner has one-half
more. But this is not the main difference. The German is neater and more
natural, and nearer the spirit as well as the letter of his model. All
the trash in the new reproduction about hawthorns "kercheft in white,"
the low-breathed lute of the rill trilling, the cuckoo and his herald
note, the 'leetel fowles' swelling and philomelling, and April harnessed
in her best, are mere frippery sewed on by the reproducer, to make the
venerable old garment look finer in the eyes of his co-Cockneys.

We next give the two translations of that part of the poem which
represents the Cock's complaints against Reynard, for killing his
daughter, and which is supposed to give so accurate a representation of
the form of process in the Middle Ages in an accusation of murder.

SOLTAU.

    "Gray scarce had done, when Chanticleer
  The Cock in mourning did appear;
  Two sons accompanied their sire,
  Like him in funeral attire,
  With hoods of crape and torches lighted,
  And doleful lays they both recited.
  Two others follow'd with a bier;
  Mournful and slowly they drew near,
  With heartfelt sighs and deepest groan,
  Their fav'rite sister to bemoan.
    "The Cock in tears the throne approach'd,
  And thus his sad harangue he broach'd:
  'My Liege, have pity on a man,
  The most distressed of his clan,
  Who, with his children here before You,
  Is come, for vengeance to implore You
  On Reynard, who, with fell design,
  Hath done great harm to me and mine.
  When hoary Winter left the plain,
  And Spring smiled on the world again,
  When leaves were budding, daisies springing,
  And tuneful birds in thickets singing,
  The sun at dawn of morning found me
  With my young family around me;
  Ten sons and fourteen daughters fair,
  Breathing with joy the genial air,
  All of one breed, and full of life,
  Brought up by my good prudent wife.
  Protected by a massy wall
  And six bold mastiffs, stout and tall,
  They lived, in spite of Reynard crafty,
  Within a cloister-yard in safety.
    "But lo! our enemy contrived
  Our joy, alas! should be short-lived.
  In hermit's garb the traitor came,
  With letters, written in your name,
  Where strictest orders were express'd,
  To keep peace between bird and beast.
  He said, he scorn'd the joys of sense,
  And led a life of penitence,
  To expiate his former guilt,
  And streams of blood, which he had spilt;
  He vow'd, in future he would eat
  No poultry, nor forbidden meat.
    "All joyful, to my little crew,
  To tell the happy news I flew,
  That Reynard friar's garments wore,
  And was our enemy no more.
  Now for the first time we did venture
  Out of our gate. A dire adventure
  Awaited us; for whilst we stray'd
  And sported on a sunny glade,
  Reynard, conceal'd below a bush,
  Upon us suddenly did rush;
  One of my hopeful sons he slew,
  And of my fairest daughters two.--
  Five only out of twenty-four
  Are left; the rest he did devour.
  My daughter Rake-up, on this bier,
  Slain by the murderer, lies here;
  He bit her neck off yesterday--
  Revenge her death, my liege, I pray.'
    "'Sir Gray,(quoth Noble,) did you hear?
  Fine things of th' hermit-fox appear.
  Was't thus, that with his fasts he meant it?
  Sure as I live he shall repent it!
    "'Good Cock, we've heard your mournful tale,
  And we your daughter's fate bewail;
  Thus, first of all, we'll see the honour
  Of funeral rites bestow'd upon her;
  Next with our Council we shall further
  Consult, how to revenge this murther.'"

NAYLOR.

    "He ceased; and scarce a sand had run
  When Chanticleer and all his clan
  Appear'd in court: right in the van
  A pullet's corse accompanied,
  'Clept Dem'selle Scratchclaw ere she died;
  By Reynard's bite decapitated--
  This wise the tidings were related.
  Close to the throne the Cock drew nigh:
  Deep anguish dimm'd his upturn'd eye:
  Two little Bantams, right and left,
  Wept bitter tears, as birds bereft.
  Sir Flapwing was of high degree,
  As fine a bantling as you'd see
  'Twixt Amsterdam and Paris, he.
  Sir Strain-neck was the other 'clept,
  And, like the first one, proudly stept.
  Before them each a torch they bear,
  Alike the same; for twins they were.
  Young Cocks yet twain bare up the pall,
  And help'd the wail with voices small.
  Then Chanticleer, before the King
  Commenced, in tones deep harrowing:
  'Ah, gracious Lord and King! give ear
  To my disastrous tale! The tear
  Of pity shed on us who stand
  For justice, suppliants at your hand.
  Sire! thus it chanced;--The frosted beard
  Of Winter scarce had disappear'd;
  Scarce had the thorny brake put by
  Its hosiery of fleece, and I
  As happy felt as though a chicken;
  About me, strutting, crowing, picking,
  In comeliness my little ones:
  I counted up ten stalwart sons;
  Of daughters, too, a wondrous store,--
  Plump Ortolans, and full a score.
  My dame, the thoughtful prudent Hen,
  Had train'd their youth beneath her ken
  All virtues cardinal to practise,
  Best learned from mothers, as the fact is.
  Our house was in the convent yard,
  High wall'd around: six dogs stood guard;--
  All kept for our peculiar care,
  By night and day to shield us there.
  Now, gracious Liege! mark what I tell.
  Reynard, (the knave!) with cockle-shell
  And pilgrim's staff, wellworn, appears,
  Bearing a packet: as he nears,
  I note your royal seal, and read
  Announcement of the truce decreed:
  No more, he said, he played the royster,
  But sought repentance in a cloister:
  Observed the rule o' th' strictest sect,
  His sins to purge with sure effect;
  Whereby myself might to the end
  My life secure and fearless spend.
  Said he, 'flesh diet I have sworn
  Never to touch from night to morn.'--
  Unto my children all, I stated
  The royal message, then related
  How Reynard had assumed the cowl,
  And left off hankering after fowl.
  Myself I led them far and wide,
  When lo! the Fox's guile defied
  My anxious cares: in that same hour
  He'd mark'd a victim for his power!
  Perdu behind a bush he lay,
  And took, before mine eyes, his prey!
  The best of all my brood he seized,
  And ate her up. The morsel pleased
  His scoundrel maw--'twas dainty meat--
  And soon he sought another treat.--
  Full four-and twenty hopeful chicks
  As e'er peck'd corn from out fresh ricks
  Were mine,--and now, as I'm alive,
  The villain's kill'd them all but five!
  Pity, O King! my sorrowing tale:
  Grant succour in this hour of wail!
  But yesterday, the huntsman's cry
  Surprised him in the act to fly
  With Scratchclaw's body, which you see
  Kill'd by his murd'rous tooth--ah me!
  'Tis here as witness of my woe--
  Oh that my hardhap to your heart may go!'
  Enraged, the King: 'Sir Badger, ho!
  The monk your uncle (troth!) doth know
  To keep his fast,--the holy man!--
  Match me the like of this who can?
  What need of further question here?
  Draw nigh and listen, Chanticleer!
  Ourself your daughter dead will see
  Entomb'd with all solemnity
  Of dirge and mass, in her last slumber,
  And vigils also without number.
  This done, from these our lieges true
  We'll crave their help and counsel too,
  Touching the murder and the vengeance due.'
  To Bruin then the King thus spake:
  'Bruin! look well you undertake
  This journey with dispatch--'Tis I,
  Your Sov'reign, calls upon you--fly!
  Be wise and wary: Reynard's guile
  Is practised in each crafty wile.'"

Neither of the translators is here very good, and Naylor is perhaps as
near hitting the nail on the point (to use the phrase of a friend of
ours of the Fogie Club) as his competitor. He still gives us, however, a
great many silly superfluities, though some of them we have ventured to
cut out.

Finally, as our readers may begin to think they have enough of this, we
shall close our comparative view by some quotations from the Wager of
Battle, by which the Wolf and the Fox ultimately terminate their
disputes.

SOLTAU.

    "The trumpets then began to sound,
  And next the wardens did appear,
  And call'd the champions forth, to swear.
  Growler advanced, his oath to take;
  He swore, that Reynard was a rake,
  A murd'rer, and a treach'rous wight,
  For which assertion he would fight.
    "Then Reynard in his turn did swear,
  That Growler was a perjurer;
  To prove his charge, he did defy him,
  Because he basely did belie him.
    "The wardens then admonish'd both,
  To fight with honour and good troth.
  This being done, the lists were clear'd,
  Where both the combatants appear'd.
    "The combatants with equal rage
  And fury now began t'engage.
  The Wolf, by dint of strength and art,
  Attack'd the Fox with leap and start;
  But Reynard, being shrewd and light,
  Avoided him by cunning flight,
  And while he ran, he did not fail
  To water well his rugged tail.
  When Growler meant to hold him fast,
  He nimbly veer'd about at last,
  And with his tail the dust and dirt
  He full into his face did flirt.
  Whilst Growler rubb'd his eyes with pain,
  Reynard his flirts renew'd again,
  Till Growler was quite spent at last,
  And by the throat he held him fast.
  'Sir Wolf,(he said,)if heretofore
  Poor lambs and kids you oft have tore,
  It is high time now to repent,
  Before your last breath you have spent,
  And with contrition to behave,
  If you would wish your soul to save.'
    "In this provoking style he spoke,
  Striving his enemy to choke;
  But Growler was for him too strong,
  And broke loose from his hold erelong;
  Though ere he got out of his jaws,
  Reynard gall'd him with teeth and claws;
  One of his eyes was almost out,
  And streams of blood ran down his snout.
    "As soon as he his blood did view,
  At Reynard in a rage he flew;
  He got him under, and his paw
  He seized, and held it in his jaw.
  'You caitiff, your last hour has come,
  (Said he,) and you'll meet with your doom.
  'T shall not avail you now, to shear,
  To flirt, kick up a dust, and smear.
  I'll make you pay for all your lies,
  And for the damage of my eyes.'
    "Whilst Growler kept hold of the paw,
  Sly Reynard with his other claw
  Seiz'd him in such a tender part,
  That it made Growler howl with smart,
  And forced him soon to ope his jaw,
  And to let go the imprison'd paw.
  Reynard now tugg'd, and pull'd, and tore,
  And made the Wolf spit blood and gore;
  He brought him senseless to the ground,
  And dragg'd him through the lists around.
    "When this his wife and friends perceived,
  They were much terrified and grieved.
  Then pray'd the king to use his right,
  And to suspend the bloody fight.
    "The king took their request to heart,
  And bade the champions straight to part,
  To whom the leopard and the ounce,
  As wardens, did his will announce.
  "Reynard," they said, "the king has sent
  To let you know 'tis his intent
  To put an end to all your strife.
  He bids you to spare Growler's life;
  For 'twould be a pity after all,
  If either of you both should fall.
  Meantime all, who are present, say
  That you at last have won the day.'"

NAYLOR.

  "Hark! hark! the tuckets sound on high!
  'He comes! Sir Isengrim!' they cry.
  The Wolf and all his kith and kin
  Approach in long array! The din
  Their multitudinous trampling made
  Resounded like a cavalcade
  Of mailèd warriors on the march,
  Or winds that, through a wood of larch,
  The groaning branches swing and sway,
  And thunder out and roar alway.
  Still forward they their course observe,
  Neither to right nor left they swerve;
  But onward to the lists the band
  March up, then halt, and take their stand.
  When first the Wolf--'I here repeat
  The Fox a villain is, and cheat!
  I brand him murderer to boot!
  Adulterer! with heart, as soot
  Is, black! that solemn truth do I
  Wager on hazard of this die!'
  Then Reynard--'What the Wolf alleges
  Are lies! I'll prove it! and my pledge is
  The victory, which I by battle,
  This day will gain o'er yon _base cattle_!'
  The marshal of the lists then cried:
  'The right shall by the might be tried,
  What fair and fetis is, that do!
  The god of battles prosper you!'
  He said, then towards the side withdrew.
  The rest soon follow'd; save the two,
  Who occupied alone the space,
  And stood for action face to face!
  The marshal now, with plumed hat on,
  Beside the barrier stood; his baton
  Of office thrice he whirled aloft;
  And not a soul or spake or _cough'd_.
  'Oyez! oyez! oyez!' he cried,
  'Will each of ye the issue bide?'
  'We will!' they answer. 'Are ye ready?'
  'Yes!' 'Yes!'--'Then LAISSEZ ALLER!' said he.
  Reynard address'd him then to fight;
  And Isengrim commenced to bite
  The air, and show'd his teeth, by way
  Of prelude to the coming fray;
  Next, rear'd his snout, and brought the jowl
  To Reynard's level; one loud howl
  He utter'd, ere he crouch'd, then bounded
  To where the Fox, no whit astounded
  By noises so unknightly, stood;
  For raising lofty as he could
  His voice, the foe the terms defied.
  'Come on,' he resolutely cried.
  The struggle was commenced! The sternest
  There present felt it was right earnest;
  The Fox, as smaller of the two,
  Was favourite; and when he drew
  '_First claret_,' at that _tapping_ action
  The mob express'd their satisfaction;
  Exclaiming, '_go it! ten to one
  Upon the varmint little 'un!'_
  By this time had Dan Phoebus clomb
  The summit of his glowing dome,
  And Isengrim his power to feel
  Began, which made the Wolf to reel.
  He mourn'd his hapless want of claws,
  His teeth, too, batter'd by the paws
  Of Reynard, woefully he miss'd;
  For grasp'd within his well-clench'd fist,
  The Fox a flint stone firmly held,
  With which he deftly aim'd and fell'd
  One after t'other every fang,
  Till down his weasand, at each bang,
  Successively they flew. This thing
  To Isengrim _so punishing_,
  Set him forthwith to calculate
  The odds on his _superior weight_,
  How best it might the foeman tell on--
  Which done, he threw himself pêle-mêle on
  The Fox, to bear him down intending.
  But Reynard saw: instead of spending
  His strength in any vain endeavour
  'Gainst Isengrim, he waited ever
  Upon the Wolf--so this time he
  Perceived the rushing enemy,
  And as he near'd him slipp'd aside.
  The Wolf came on with awful stride,
  But meeting not with Reynard there,
  He buffeted the yielding air
  Instead, found no impediment,
  His force him to the barrier sent,
  Where toppling heels o'er head he went
  With emphasis--a heavy _flop_,
  '_My eyes,' the mob cry, 'what a whop!_'
  Then Reynard to the Wolf stepp'd close,
  And said aloud, 'How lik'st the dose?
  Friend Isengrim, there yet may be
  For pardon opportunity
  Ere thou departest, only speed ye,
  Or else the wandering ghosts, I rede ye,
  Of all the lambs and kids thou'st slain
  Will haunt thee through the wide champain
  Whither thou'rt ebbing fast, down yonder;
  But softly, is he kill'd I wonder?'
  For so it seem'd. Through that vast crowd
  A pin drop had resounded loud.
  Thought Reynard, he has got it now!
  I'll rest awhile, for any how
  If he the fight again begin
  I'll try the trick upon his shin.
  Stunn'd lay the prostrate Wolf quite still
  And stiff, nor moved a peg until
  His squires, much fearing for his life,
  Rush'd in, preceded by his wife;
  And lifting him upon their knees,
  They gave him _salts to make him sneeze_,
  Which thirteen times he did repeat,
  Then started lively to his feet.
  A feeling of relief ran through
  The crowd, whose visages look'd rue,
  To think their fun forestall'd and spent
  By that untoward accident.
  Again the tuckets sound--again
  The dauntless heroes give the rein
  To their revenge. The Fox now charges
  The Wolf, and both his eyes enlarges,
  With _right and lefters planted well_,
  And _punches on the nob that tell_;
  So hard and fast the bangs and thumps,
  You'd thought that firemen at their pumps
  Were working--
          ----crafty Reynard quick
  Deliver'd him a villain kick
  Right in the midriff--down he dropp'd!
  Like some tall forester when lopp'd
  By stroke of woodman's axe. 'Twas all
  He spake, not groaned in his fall,
  Outstretch'd upon the ground there lay
  The Wolf--he'd fainted clean away.
  No herald's voice, no tucket's cheer,
  The noble Isengrim could hear;
  An all but victor lately, now
  Prostrated, palsied by one blow;
  Nay, not so, by a kick unknightly,
  Foul aim'd, yet for the mark too rightly,
  Alas, its only merit that!
  But what cared Reynard, it was pat,
  And told, and did its business well;
  'Twas every thing desirable.
  The fight was o'er--the Wolf dragg'd out
  More dead than living, 'mid the shout
  Of rabble, whilst the heralds cry
  'Largesse,' the others 'Victory.'
  The air with noise and din resounded.
  The friends of Isengrim, confounded,
  Slunk off, whilst Reynard's stay'd; indeed
  The very people who agreed
  The Fox's death a public good
  Had been, now 'mong the foremost stood,
  By acclamations to attest
  Regard outheroding the rest!"

We have not the heart to criticise this last and greatest effort of the
reproducer. Its slang speaks for itself, and certainly carries along
with it an undeniable "certificate of origin".

A good translation of any thing is perhaps an impossibility. But it must
be confessed, that the attempt of the German foreigner is highly
creditable to him, and, with a little amendment, would probably afford
our countrymen as fair an idea of the original as they are ever likely
to see. Certain it is, that Mr Naylor has not improved upon it.

If our readers think, that in the samples we have given of Mr Naylor's
beauties, we have not sufficiently brought forward some of the more
striking peculiarities of the Cockney school, we shall meet this
complaint by presenting them with the subjoined anthology, the fragrance
of which we think will satisfy their highest anticipations.

  "The first in consequence at _court_,
  As foremost in the public _thought_."

  "Your cap and gloves you've left in _pawn_,
  Thus adding ribaldry to _scorn_."

  "What visitors had been? they _tell her_
  How Reynard call'd, and said, 'nice _fellow_.'"

  "Malkin should fall! and now the _fork_
  By Martin turn'd to toma_hawk_."

  "No sooner had the foe with_drawn_
  To howl around the priest for_lorn_."

  "Besides, he must have more than _thought once_
  Upon the very vast _importance_."

  "Of solemn asses half-a-_score_,
  Who kick, when tickled with a _straw_!"

  "I left him trapp'd, and then made _sheer off_:
  His sufferings you can't form _idea of_."

  "From underneath the frame I _draw_
  The pin that propp'd it: with a _roar_."

  "Their eggs upon a heap of _straw_,
  Then loitering hindermost, the _more_."

  "When it was bruited round the _court_
  How Reynard was by greybeard _brought_."

  "Grimalkin there one eye had _lost_,
  His scalp from Bruin's head been _forced_."

  "With any thing, in short, to _fasten_
  Guilt on him--burglary--e'en _arson_!"

  "Than at the words the Queen, _alarm'd_,
  Nigh swoon'd before her fears were _calm'd_."

  "The son dishonour'd: not a _straw_
  It weigh'd with him, to think how _sore_."

  "There dwelt my father; him they _sought_,
  And plotted, whilst they soak'd his _port_."

  "To practise after my pa_pa_--
  Through life my light and exem_plar_!"

  "Another life to lead he's _sworn_:
  And will to-morrow at the _dawn_."

  "Then, turning to the Queen, _besought_
  Her majesty in merry _sport_."

  "Quoth Reynard, as with sudden _thought_
  Before the portal stopping _short_."

  "We have so many a sally-_port_,
  And _cul-de-sac_, we can't be _caught_."

  "Send far and near the heralds _forth_,
  By blast of trump to tell my _wrath_."

  "At Rome, I on our banker _draw_,
  And when that's gone, I send for _more_."

  "That none dared venture! This he _saw_
  And felt his pluck return once _more_."

                  "But I've no _claws_
  And therefore am not fit for _wars_."

  "By envy eaten up, they _saw_
  Me prosper; looking all _before_."

  "And ever, when they walk'd _abroad_
  Each arm'd with hunting-whip and _cord_."

If any of our readers doubt the authenticity of some of the rhymes above
set down, we are willing that they should buy the book, as we have done,
and ascertain for themselves.

Merciful as we are by nature, and growing more and more so every day by
age, we yet feel that the enormities we have now denounced are beyond
endurance. Such poetry as this, neither gods, men, nor booksellers
should tolerate; and with the highest respect for the very excellent
publishers who have assisted in the birth of this production, and to
whom we owe so many useful and admirable contributions to knowledge and
literature, we do venture humbly to submit, that their peculiar duty
makes them somewhat more responsible for what is thus brought forth,
than ordinary obstetrical practitioners can be for what they may help
into the world. There is no reason that such a bantling should be born
at all, and at least we would recommend the continuance of gestation for
nine times the Horatian period. Seriously speaking, we always regret to
miss the general security which the title-page should give us, that in
what we buy, we shall have something for our money. A bad or inferior
book may, inadvertently, issue from the most respectable quarter. But
when a work is ushered into the light with such pomp and pageantry of
paper, printing, and getting up, as are here lavished, we hold that the
public have a right to expect that it has received the imprimatur of
some discerning judge, and to enforce the implied warranty that the
inside, as well as the outside, is a merchantable commodity in the
market of Parnassus.

But the publisher's part of it is the least of the evil. It is obvious
that the natives of Cockneyland are forgetting themselves. A new
generation has sprung up that do not remember the castigations bestowed
on their fathers of yore, and which for a time kept them in tolerable
subjection. A young Londoner, who happens to have enthusiasm, or
industry, or information, on a particular subject, may deserve
commendation for the laudable direction of his private studies; but is
he, therefore, entitled to _haspire_ to write, and not to write merely,
but to write poetry, and to disfigure a venerable old poem under
pretence of reproducing it? That is a different question, which needs to
be seriously and decidedly dealt with. This is not the first time,
within a brief period, that we have been compelled to make an example of
similar delinquencies; and, as sure as the crutch is in yonder corner,
it shall not be the last, if the nuisance be not speedily and completely
abated.



THE AMERICANS AND THE ABORIGINES

A TALE OF THE SHORT WAR. PART II.


The conclusion of our first notice of "The Americans and the
Aborigines," saw Hodges, the midshipman, on his way to the Mississippi,
and, if he could find it, to his ship; whilst Tokeah and his Indians
returned to their village upon the banks of the Natchez. There, upon the
day after the arrival of the warriors, we find the Indians assembled and
deliberating in their council-house. Some important matter is evidently
in agitation: an ominous gloom hangs over the village; and Canondah, to
whom her father has not spoken since his return, and who is in complete
ignorance of what passed between him and Hodges, is shut up in her
wigwam with Rosa. The absence of one of the Indians, sent as a guide
with the Englishman, the silence of Tokeah, and their state of
semi-captivity, render the two girls sad and anxious, and they busy
themselves with a thousand conjectures as to what has occurred, when a
shrill whistle attracts them to the window. The sight that there
presents itself chases the blood from the cheeks of Rosa, and causes her
to sink, terrified and half-fainting, into the arms of her friend.

A large boat, of similar build to the one in which Hodges had arrived,
ascended the river, impelled by the strokes of six vigorous rowers.
Besides these, two other men were seated in the skiff, which now entered
the creek where the canoes were moored. The Englishman's boat was
amongst the latter, and seemed to attract the particular notice of one
of the two men; he glanced sharply at it, and then made a remark to his
companion, who nodded his head, as if assenting to his observation. The
man who had spoken stepped on shore. He was of the middle height and
slightly made, with a sunburnt complexion, hollow cheeks, in which the
smallpox had left black, unpleasant-looking scars, and a pointed and
rather red nose. The expression of his eyes, which were sunken and of a
dark-grey colour, and his enormous whiskers and mustaches, gave him any
thing but an agreeable physiognomy. There was an air about him as if he
strove to appear natural and unassuming, but at times his false
side-glances and malicious smile more than neutralized all his efforts.
His dress was a short blue frock, buttoned up to the chin, trousers of
the same colour, and a cap. After addressing a few words to his
companion, who had also come ashore, he walked with a quick step and
military gait towards the Miko's wigwam. Just then the Indian council
broke up; the old chief strode slowly and gravely towards his dwelling;
whilst the warriors hurried in various directions to their respective
wigwams. It seemed as if they avoided the new-comer; for not one of them
crossed his path, although he evidently expected them so to do. He gazed
silently after the receding groups, shook his head, and entered the
Miko's hut.

"Here I am, friend Tokeah!" cried he, with a forced smile, stretching
out his hand to the Miko, who was seated upon his couch, calm, and with
his head bowed upon his breast. "I'm a man of my word, you see. Arrived
only last night in the bay; but the devil take me if I could keep quiet:
started off again, and rowed all night and all day; and here you see me,
old friend, as hungry as a sea-lawyer, and as dry as a dolphin." He
spoke in English, fluently enough, but with a strong French accent.

Tokeah knocked with his finger upon the table, and Canondah came out of
her room.

"Canondah!" cried the man, stepping forward with an air of gallantry to
salute her. The young girl avoided his embrace, and with the single
word, "Welcome!" slipped out at the door. Our guest appeared
thunderstruck.

"What does this mean, friend Miko?" cried he. "Am I in disgrace? Should
really be sorry for it. As I came across the meadow, your people made
all sail from me, as if I had been a privateer; and now you are as cold
as a nor'-wester, and your daughter as stiff as a frozen cable.
Apropos--you have had a visit. The young Englishman, I see, has been
amongst you."

As he spoke these last words, the stranger cast a lowering glance at the
old man.

"Of whom does my brother speak?" said the chief.

"Of a prisoner--a young fellow who escaped whilst I was at sea."

"My young brother has been here and is gone," replied Tokeah, dryly.

"Gone!" repeated the other; "you probably did not know that he had
escaped from me. But it matters not," added he, indifferently.

"The Miko knew," replied the old man in a firm tone, "that his young
brother had escaped from the chief of the Salt Lake. My brother ought
not to have made him prisoner."

"What! would not the Miko of the Oconees seize the Yankee who came as a
spy into his wigwam?"

"And was my young brother a Yankee?" inquired Tokeah, with a penetrating
glance.

"Not exactly; but an enemy"--

"My brother," interrupted the Miko, "has too many enemies--the Yankees,
and the warriors of the great father of the Canadas."

The man bit his lips. "Pshaw!" said he; "you have the Americans on the
wrong side of your heart, and I have both. That's all the difference."

"The Miko," said the old chief, "lifts the war-hatchet to protect his
people against the palefaces, and to avenge his slain brethren. But my
brother has lifted the tomahawk against every one, and, like a thief,
steals women and children."

A burning crimson overspread the countenance of Tokeah's visitor, and
his teeth chattered with rage. "Truly, Miko," said he, "you say things
which I can hardly stomach;" and with gleaming eye he measured the old
man from head to foot. Suddenly, however, resuming his former
smile--"Nonsense," said he; "we won't quarrel about trifles. Let every
man do what he likes, and answer for what he does."

"When the Miko of the Oconees gave his right hand to the chief of the
Salt Lake, and welcomed him to his wigwam, he held him for a friend and
a brother, who had declared war against the Yengheese. Had he known that
he was a thief"----

"Monsieur Miko!" interrupted the pirate, threateningly.

"He would not have taken him for his friend. Tokeah," continued the
Indian with dignity, "lifted the tomahawk against the palefaces as the
Miko of his people, but the chief of the Salt Lake has made him a
robber. What shall he, the chief of the Oconees, say to the Yengheese
warriors when he falls into their snares? They will hang him on a tree."

The truth, thus fearlessly and decidedly spoken, made an impression upon
the pirate. He walked several times hastily up and down the room, and
then again stopped opposite to the old man.

"We'll say no more about that, friend Tokeah," said he. "I do not count
the scalps that you have stripped from the skulls of the Yankees, and
you must not reckon too severely with me. What is done is done; but the
future will be very different. I am fully decided to abandon my wild
course of life, and then we'll sit down quietly, and live together in a
little paradise, half à l'Indienne, half à la Francçaise. Jovial and
joyous."

"The Miko of the Oconees," replied Tokeah, "has never stained his hand
with the blood of his friends. He is poor, but his hand has never
touched what belonged not to him. His fathers would look down on him
with grief, if he lived in friendship with a thief; the Great Spirit
would hide his face, if he disgraced his people by an alliance with the
robber."

The Frenchman had listened to these words more tranquilly than might
have been expected, but with a slight twitching of his features, that
showed they touched him to the quick. Suddenly he turned away.

"Is that your way of thinking?" said he. "You fancy you can get on
better without Lafitte? I've no objection. If I had known it sooner, I
would have spared myself the trouble of listening to your insolence, and
you that of uttering it. Adieu! Monsieur Miko."

"My brother is hungry," said the Indian, starting up, and greatly
shocked. "He must eat. Canondah has prepared his favourite repast."

"And after he has eaten, he may make himself scarce?" said the pirate,
surlily.

"My brother is welcome in the wigwam of the Miko. His hand never closes
when it has once been opened," said the old nan, soothingly.

"Come, that sounds like reason. I thought my old friend had only caught
a fit of spleen from the Englishman. I trust it will soon be over.
Meanwhile, we'll see what the ladies are doing."

He stepped up to the curtain, and tried to open it, but in vain.

"Is it not allowed?" said he to the old man.

"My brother must seek another squaw. Rosa shall not enter his wigwam."

In the adjoining chamber a sound was heard. It resembled a cry of joy,
but presently subsided into a gentle murmur, of one in prayer.

The pirate stood stupefied opposite to the curtain. "Our alliance broken
off, the door shut in my face!" muttered he. "_Eh bien! nous verrons._"
And so saying, he left the hut. The next minute he again put his head in
at the door.

"I suppose I may make use of my own boat?" said he. "It is likely that I
may have unwelcome visitors during my absence."

"When the chief of the Salt Lake is on the war-path, he knows how to
meet his foes."

"Sensibly spoken for once," said the pirate.

"My brother is hungry," said the Miko, pointing to his daughter, who now
entered the room with several dishes.

"We'll come directly. Duty before pleasure."

And so saying, the bucanier hurried down to the shore, and approached
his companion, a short square-built man, who was walking up and down
with folded arms, and whose dark olive countenance was so buried in an
enormous beard, that scarcely any part of it, except a long fiery
Bardolphian nose was visible. This man, so soon as he saw the pirate,
assumed a less _nonchalant_ attitude, and his hands fell by his side
into the position proper to a subordinate.

"Nothing happened, lieutenant?" said Lafitte.

"So little, that I should almost doubt this to be the Miko's village,
did not my eyes convince me of it. Beg pardon, captain, but what does it
all mean?"

"I might ask you the same question," replied the other, sulkily.

"On our former visits," continued the lieutenant, "it was like a fair;
but to-day not a creature comes near us. The squaws and girls seemed
inclined to come down, but the men prevented them."

The lieutenant paused, for his commanding-officer was evidently getting
more and more out of humour.

"How many hands have we below on Lake Sabine?"

"Thirty," was the reply. "To-morrow, the others will have finished
clearing out."

"Giacomo and George," said the pirate, in a sharp peremptory tone, "will
go back and take them orders to come up here. Let every man bring his
musket and bayonet, pistols and hanger, and let them wait instructions
in the great bend of the river, two miles below this place. Don't look
down stream, and then at me," said he angrily to the lieutenant, who had
cast a glance down the river. "The young Englishman has been here, and
the old savage has let him go."

"That's what you did with his companions, captain. I wouldn't have done
it."

"There are many things that Monsieur Cloraud would not have done,"
replied the pirate, sarcastically. "But this younker has made an
infernal confusion."

"Any thing else happened, captain?"

"Nothing particular, except that the old man is tired of our alliance."

"Pshaw! we don't want him any more, and may well indulge the people with
a merry hour."

The bucanier glanced at his subordinate with unspeakable scorn.

"And therefore, as Monsieur Cloraud thinks, do I send for the men. The
hour's pleasure would be dearly bought. I hate such folly. You shall
learn my intentions hereafter."

The lieutenant's low bow showed that the lawless pirate was on no very
familiar footing even with his first officer, and that he well knew how
to make his captain's dignity respected. Monsieur Cloraud now turned to
the rowers, and communicated to them the orders he had received. In a
few seconds, the boat, in which the Englishman had come, was pushed off,
and glided swiftly down the stream.

"Now then, to dinner. Have some wine brought up, lieutenant."

The person addressed made a sign to one of the sailors; the man took up
several bottles, and followed his officers to the wigwam of the chief.

"Take no notice, lieutenant," said Lafitte; "be as cheerful and natural
as possible. We must try and find out what the old fellow has got upon
his mind."

The two men entered the wigwam, and took their places at the table. A
buffalo hump, that most delicious of all roast-beef, which Canondah had
carefully cooked under the embers, was smoking upon it.

"You won't refuse to drink with me?" said the pirate, filling three
glasses, and offering one to the chief.

"Tokeah is not thirsty," was the reply.

"Well, then, rum?" said Lafitte. "Have a bottle brought, lieutenant."

"Tokeah is not thirsty," repeated the chief in a louder tone.

"As you please," said the pirate, carelessly. "Isn't it strange,"
continued he to his lieutenant, "that the whole juice and strength of
the beast should centre in this hump? If this is to be the food of the
Indians in their happy hunting-grounds, it would be almost worth while
turning Indian. Enjoyments of this kind are rather more substantial than
the lies of our hungry priests."

As in duty bound, the lieutenant laughed heartily at the facetiousness
of his commander. The Miko, who was sitting in his usual attitude, his
head sunk upon his breast, looked up, gazed for a few seconds at the
pirate, and then relapsed into his previous brooding mood.

"Make the most of it, lieutenant," said the pirate. "We shall not enjoy
many more such tit-bits. The Great Spirit would hide his face from us if
we despised his gifts. But come, friend Miko, you must empty a glass to
the health of your guests, unless you wish to see them depart this very
night. I like a little pride, but too much is unwholesome."

"My brother," said the Miko, "is welcome. Tokeah has never raised his
tomahawk against the stranger whom he received in his hut, nor has he
counted the suns that he dwelt with him."

"I am certain," said the Frenchman, "that Tokeah is my friend; and, if
an evil tongue has sown discord on the path between us, the wise Miko
will know how to step over it."

"The Oconees are men and warriors," said the chief; "they listen to the
words of the Miko, but their hands are free."

"Yes, yes, I know that. Yours is a sort of republic, of which you are
hereditary consul. Well, for to-night let the matter rest. To-morrow we
will discuss it further."

The lieutenant had left the wigwam; night had come on, and the moon's
slender crescent sank behind the summits of the western trees. The old
Indian arose, and with his guest stepped silently out before the door.

"My brother," said he, with emotion in his voice, "is no longer young;
but his words are more silly than those of a foolish girl, who for the
first time hangs glass beads around her neck. My brother has foes
sufficient; he needs not to make an enemy of the Great Spirit."

"Oh!" said the pirate laughing, "we won't bother our heads about him."

"My brother," continued the Indian, "has long deceived the eyes of the
Miko; but the Great Spirit has at last opened them, that he may warn his
people. See," said he, and his long meagre form seemed to increase to a
gigantic stature as he pointed to the moon swimming behind the topmost
branches of the trees; "that great light shines on the shores of the
Natchez, and it shines in the villages of the whites; neither the chief
of the Salt Lake nor the Miko of the Oconees made it; it is the Great
Spirit who gave it brightness. Here," said he, pointing to the palmetto
field, whose soft rustle came murmuring across the meadow, "here is
heard the sighing of the Miko's fathers; in the forest where he was born
it howls in the storm; both are the breath of the Great Spirit, the
winds which he places in the mouths of the departed, who are his
messengers. Listen!" he continued, again drawing up his weather-beaten
form to its utmost height; "the Miko has read your book of life; when
yet a young man he learned your letters, for he saw that the cunning of
the palefaces came from their dead friends. That book says, what the
wise men of his people have also told him, that there is one Great
Spirit, one great father. The Miko," he resumed, after a moment's pause,
"was sent from his people to the great father of the palefaces, and when
he came with the other chiefs to the villages where the whites worship
the Great Spirit in the lofty council wigwams, he found them very good,
and they received him and his as brothers. Tokeah spoke with the great
father--see, this is from him"--he showed a silver medal with the head
of Washington. "He asked the great father, who was a wise father and a
very great warrior, if he believed in the Great Spirit of his book, and
he answered that he did believe, and that his Great Spirit was the same
whom the Red men worship. When the Miko returned to his wigwam and came
towards the setting sun, his soul remembered the words of the great
father, and his eyes were wide open. So long as he saw the high walls of
the council wigwams, where the palefaces pray to their Great Spirit, the
Red men were treated as brothers; but when they approached their own
forests, the countenances of the white men grew dark, because the Great
Spirit no longer lighted them up. Tokeah saw that the men who did not
worship the Great Spirit were not good men. And my brother scoffs at the
Great Spirit, and yet would be a friend of the Oconees? He would be a
friend of the Miko, who would already have sunk under his burden had not
his fathers beckoned to him from the happy hunting-grounds! Go," said
the old man, turning away from the pirate with a gesture of disgust;
"you would rob the Miko and his people of their last hope."

"Good-night," said Lafitte, yawning. "There's been a good Methodist
parson spoilt in you." And so saying he turned towards the council
wigwam, his usual dwelling when at the village. Tokeah stepped back into
his hut. No night-song soothed the oppressed spirit of the old chief;
and only the shrill whistle of the watch, repeated every two hours from
the shore and before the wigwam of the pirate, told of the presence of
living creatures in the village.

Upon the following morning Lafitte's lieutenant rouses him from his
sleep, and informs him that there is an unusual stir and bustle amongst
the Indians. The pirate hastily dresses, and repairs to the wigwam of
the Miko, whom he finds restless and excited. The cause of this soon
becomes apparent.

On a sudden the village resounded with a long joyous shout, which,
spreading like wildfire from hut to hut, swelled at last into one wild
and universal chorus, in which men, women, and children united their
voices. The Miko had betaken himself in haste to the council wigwam, and
the whole village was in an uproar. From behind each hedge, from out of
every hut, the Oconees emerged and rushed towards the council-house;
even the presence of Tokeah was insufficient to keep them within bounds.
On the further side of the Natchez was seen a party of thirty Indians,
all on horseback. Some of them were seeking a ford; but presently a
young man, impatient of the delay, plunged with his horse into the
water, and all thirty followed him, in the same order in which they had
approached the river. The breadth of the stream, opposite to the wigwam,
was about five hundred feet, and the depth considerable. Nevertheless
the gallant little troop seemed in their element, and, almost without
breaking their ranks, they swam their steeds across. Meanwhile the
pirate stood upon the shore, watching their approach with the most
uncontrolled fury depicted on his countenance.

"Had we but ten good marksmen," muttered he to the lieutenant.

"_Pardon, capitaine_, they are not Oconees, but those devils of
Comanches. I made their acquaintance in my Mexican campaigns."

The little squadron had now reached the creek. Swinging their legs over
their horses, they sprang upon shore, drew the animals after them, and
again flung themselves upon their backs with a swiftness and dexterity
that recalled the fable of the centaur. The foremost of the strangers
had arrived within a few paces of the Oconees, who, with the Miko at
their head, were assembled in front of the council-house, when the
circle opened, and Tokeah stepped forward, his hand outstretched.

"The great chief of the mighty Comanches, and of the Pawnees of the
Toyask, is welcome," said he, gravely.

The young Indian to whom these words were addressed, halted and listened
attentively, and with head reverently bowed, to the greeting. When the
old chief had spoken, he sprang from his horse and advanced towards him,
his right hand extended. Coming close up to Tokeah, he again bowed
himself, took the Miko's hand, and placed it upon his own head. The
interchange of greetings was remarkable for dignity, and derived a
peculiar interest from the contrast between the two chiefs. Nothing
could be in stronger opposition than the gaunt meagre form of the Miko,
who stood like the weather-beaten trunk of some gigantic tree, stiff,
mute, and melancholy, and the open, manly, dignified and yet gentle
aspect of the young chief of the Comanches. His oval-shaped head was
covered with a picturesque head-dress of fur and feathers; his high,
arched forehead, and blooming complexion of a light copper colour,
scorned the wild war-paint of his companions; the expressive black eyes
and aquiline nose were in admirable harmony with the manly contour of
his person, which his style of dress and equipment showed off to the
greatest advantage. A doublet of blue fox fur covered his breast, and
from his shoulders, on which it was fastened by golden clasps, hung the
skin of a panther, draping a form that would have enchanted Thorwaldsen
or Canova. It was a magnificent model of manly beauty, that had grown up
untrammelled and without blemish in the enchanting prairies of Mexico,
and in the midst of a mighty people owning no master but the Great
Spirit. A dagger, with a hilt of wrought gold, a short rifle, and a
lance nine feet long, decorated with a horse-tail, completed an
equipment which for richness and utility combined could scarcely be
surpassed. The young chief's horse, of extraordinary beauty, was almost
covered with a panther skin, secured on its back and shoulders by four
golden buckles. It had neither saddle nor stirrups, but on either side,
at the end of a strap, hung a small leathern bucket, in which the muzzle
of the rifle and butt of the lance reposed.

Similar to those above described were the dress and arms of other four
of the warriors, also belonging to the powerful Indian tribe of the
Comanches. They wore their hair combed back on either side of the
forehead; their complexion was a mixture of olive and copper-colour.
Their bearing was proud, and they seemed almost to look down upon the
Pawnees who accompanied them. Round the necks of their steeds hung the
lasso, that terrible weapon with which the Mexican riders capture, with
wonderful skill and dexterity, the horse, the buffalo, or a human foe.

The remainder of the troop were Pawnees of the Toyask tribe. Their heads
were clean shaven, excepting of one carefully plaited tuft upon the
crown. Upon their shoulders were buffalo skins, the leather dyed red,
the hair worn inwards; and similar hides served them for saddles. They
wore broad girdles, to which their calico under-garment was fastened.
About half of them were armed with muskets and rifles, but all had
lances, a long knife, or rather hanger, and the tomahawk. They were
well-made and powerful men, compared with whom the thin-armed,
narrow-shouldered Oconees had the appearance of children.

"My brother is thrice welcome," repeated the Miko after a pause, during
which his eyes dwelt with an expression of the purest satisfaction upon
his stately guest and his companions. "Has the great El Sol reflected on
the words which Tokeah sent him through his runners?"

"His ears are open and his heart large," replied the young chief
gravely. "Are the words of the great Miko for El Sol alone, or may the
warriors of the Comanches and Pawnees also hear them?"

"The chiefs and warriors of the Comanches and Pawnees are welcome in the
council wigwam of the Oconees. They are their brothers."

When the Miko had spoken these words, the four Comanches and a like
number of Pawnees dismounted from their horses, and followed the chiefs
to the council wigwam. The others also dismounted, and forming a
semi-circle, stood leaning against their horses' shoulders. Nearer to
the council-house were ranged the Oconee warriors, armed only with their
long scalping-knives; and behind them, at a respectful distance, the
young men of the village had stationed themselves, also in a half
circle. Again, far behind these, were the squaws and children, to whom
the strict rules of Indian etiquette did not allow a nearer approach.
The village had gradually assumed the appearance of a little camp, with
various corps of troops formed up in it. On the shore stood the four
pirates leaning on their muskets, whilst their captain and lieutenant
paced up and down among the bushes. With the exception of a sharp quick
glance occasionally cast towards the groups of Indians, they appeared to
take no particular interest in what was passing.

El Sol, the young chief of the Comanches, is the affianced husband of
Canondah, whom he has come to make his bride. In the council now held,
it is decided that the alliance between Tokeah and the pirate shall be
broken off, and that the remnant of the Oconees shall be incorporated
with the powerful tribes of the Comanches and Pawnees. The former part
of this decision is communicated to Lafitte who makes violent but
unsuccessful claim upon the hand of Rosa, and finally enters his boat
and descends the stream. El Sol, who greatly distrusts him, advises
Tokeah to be on his guard against treachery; but the Miko denies the
possibility of danger, on account of the distance of the pirate's haunt,
and because, on the following morning, the village is to be abandoned,
and the Oconees and their visitors are to proceed together to the
country of the Comanches. He either forgets that the pirate had sent off
a boat on the preceding morning, or thinks it unnecessary to increase
the uneasiness of his guest by adverting to so unimportant a
circumstance. In spite of what he has recently learned, he still
entertains a feeling of kindness for Lafitte, with whom he has so long
been on terms of friendship, and thinks him incapable of acting towards
him in a base or hostile manner.

That evening the nuptials of Canondah and El Sol are celebrated; but the
Indian maiden, although fondly attached to the young chief, is weighed
down by a foreboding of evil which she finds it impossible to shake off.
On her marriage day she is sad and in tears.

"And does Canondah," said the bridegroom mildly, "enter the wigwam of El
Sol with a sorrowful heart?"

"El Sol," replied the maiden, "is dearer to Canondah than her own life;
his voice is music in her ears, and his love the limit of her wishes;
but Canondah's heart is heavy to bursting. The Great Spirit whispers to
her, and she has no words to express his whisperings." She clasped Rosa
in her arms, and pressed a long and feverish kiss upon her lips. "Rosa,"
said she, in a stifled voice, "will you be a daughter to the Miko when
Canondah is no more?"

"I will," sobbed Rosa.

"Will you promise, by the Great Spirit, not to forsake him?"

"I promise it," replied Rosa, her tears flowing fast.

The Miko, who stood silent, and sunk in thought, now made a sign; El Sol
threw his arm round Canondah, and led her away in the direction of the
council wigwam.

The wedding has been celebrated with great rejoicings; the Indians, who
have indulged largely, many of them to excess, in the fire-water of the
palefaces, retire to their huts, to sleep off the effects of their
libations, and soon the village is sunk in silence and repose. We
extract the chapter that follows:--

It was past midnight, and the village and its environs were buried in
profound repose, when a man, carrying a naked sabre under his arm,
advanced with stealthy steps from the shore, towards the Miko's wigwam.
He reached the trees in front of the dwelling; and after casting a
cautious and searching glance around him, was about to retrace his
steps, when, with the quickness of light, a noose of buffalo hide
encircled his neck, and he was thrown to the ground with a shock so
sudden and irresistible, that it seemed caused by a supernatural rather
than a human power. His sabre fell from his hand, before he had time to
raise it to his neck and sever the noose; and so rapidly and silently
did all this take place, that a group of armed men, stationed between
the creek and the cottage, at scarcely forty paces from the latter, were
perfectly unaware of what occurred. Now, however, a yell that might have
roused the dead from their graves was heard; the door of the council
wigwam, in which the bridal-bed of Canondah and El Sol had been spread
was burst furiously open; and by the flash of several muskets, just then
fired from the shore, a powerful figure, bearing something heavy in its
arms, was seen to rush out and plunge into the neighbouring thicket.
Other cries, proceeding apparently from a thousand throats, multiplied
themselves in every direction, behind hedge and bush, over land and
water, in accents as wild and fierce as if the demons of hell had been
unchained, and were rejoicing in a nocturnal revel. Simultaneously with
this uproar, a regular platoon fire commenced upon the shore, and blue
flames issued from various cottages of the peaceful Indian hamlet,
rapidly increasing till they burst out into a bright red blaze, that
spread hissing and crackling over wall and roof. In the midst of this
frightful tumult another shout was uttered, resembling the roar of the
lion when he rages in his utmost fury. It was the war-whoop of El Sol.

The noble Mexican had been lulled to sleep by the night-song of his
bride, when the well-known yell of his tribe awakened him. Clasping his
beloved wife with one arm, he grasped his knife and rifle, and darted
through the door of the wigwam. A discharge of musketry greeted his
appearance. The chief felt his left arm pierced by a ball; he trembled,
and a slight shudder came over him. "Canondah!" cried he, in a hoarse
tone, leaping the hedges like a wounded deer, and hurrying towards the
forest; "Canondah, fear nothing--you are in the arms of El Sol!"

She answered not; her head had sunk upon her breast, her body writhed
with a convulsive spasm, and then again stretched itself out. For one
moment a horrible thought paralysed the very soul of her husband;--but
no--it was impossible; his arm had received the bullet, her silence was
the result of sudden terror, the blood that flowed over him was from his
own wound. He was still flying from his treacherous and invisible foe,
when his howling warriors came almost instinctively to join him; and,
before he reached the forest, he found himself surrounded by the most
trusty of his followers. "It is the pirate," he whispered to his wife;
and then, pressing a kiss upon her lips, he laid her softly upon the
grass, stepped forward into the midst of his warriors, and uttered his
terrible war-cry. "Behold," cried he, pointing to the blazing cottages,
"the faith of the white thief!"

It was a wildly beautiful, almost an awful sight. Already more than
thirty huts were converted into blazing piles, lighting up the whole of
that glorious shore, reflected in ruddy brilliancy from the still
surface of the water, and illuminating the avenues of cypress and
mangroves with long streaks of flame. Scattered shots were still heard,
and after each report another hut began to blaze. In the group of
Indians assembled round El Sol a deep silence now reigned, only broken
by the tardy arrival of some yelling Pawnee or Oconee, who, roused out
of his drunken slumber, was scarcely even yet aware of the cause of the
uproar.

"Where is the Miko?" fifty voices suddenly demanded.

There was no reply. Just then a woman's scream was heard, proceeding
from the brink of the water. El Sol had stood silent, his eyes fixed
upon the burning huts, beyond which, near to the crest of the shore, the
polished musket-barrels of the pirates gleamed in the firelight. Not
more than five minutes had elapsed since the first yell proclaimed the
presence of a foe, but already the young warrior had combined his plan,
and he now gave his orders in a short decided tone, betraying the habit
of command, and the certainty of prompt and implicit obedience. One of
the Comanches, followed by the majority of the Pawnees and Oconees,
glided away through the thick bushes; whilst El Sol himself, with the
three remaining Comanches, and a troop of chosen Pawnees, hurried
rapidly along the skirt of the forest.

The broad belt of land over which the village was scattered, rose near
the shore, as already mentioned, into a sort of crest overgrown with
mangroves and myrtle bushes, through the middle of which ran a broad
footpath. The elevation of this ridge was about twenty feet, and it
continued along the whole length of the hamlet, excepting opposite to
the creek, where nature had broken it down into a small harbour. Near
this the glitter of arms betrayed the presence of a strong picket,
placed there doubtless to guard the boats. This picket was each moment
strengthened by the return of one or other of the pirates who had been
detached to fire the wigwams. Along the bush-crowned ridge several
advanced posts were stationed, intended to maintain the communication
between the picket at the creek, and a second party which had pressed
forward to the habitation of the Miko, and to support either, as need
might be. From the whole arrangement, it was evident that the pirate had
planned the carrying off the Miko and his adopted daughter; and this he
might possibly have accomplished before creating an alarm, had not two
of the Comanches taken upon themselves, according to the custom of their
nation, to keep guard during the bridal night in front of the wigwam of
their chief. These warriors, it is true, had partaken largely of the
Miko's extravagant hospitality; but their senses, although duller than
usual, were not sufficiently deadened to prevent their overhearing the
step of the white men, a sound so easily recognised by Indian ears.

During his two years' intercourse with the Oconees, the pirate had
become too well acquainted with their habits, not to appreciate the
danger of attacking them in broad daylight, when each of his men would
furnish an easy target for the Indians, who, on their side, would be
sheltered behind trees and in the brushwood. He had therefore chosen the
night for his attack; and, in order to ensure himself as much as
possible against a counter-surprise in the darkness, and at the same
time to spread terror amongst the assailed, he had caused the huts to be
fired. Three practised marksmen were posted at a short distance from the
council wigwam, for the express purpose of shooting the young Mexican
chief, whom Lafitte justly deemed the most formidable of his opponents.
The pirate himself, with a party of picked men, pressed forward to the
Miko's dwelling, surrounded it, and seized its two inmates. Tokeah,
usually so abstemious, had probably upon this festive occasion
overstepped the bounds of sobriety, and he fell unresisting into the
hands of his foe. So well arranged, indeed, and rapid had all the
movements been, that the first call to arms had hardly died away, when
the Miko and Rosa were in the power of the bucaniers. Lafitte then
formed his men into a small square, and retreated steadily but in double
quick time towards the shore. Not an Indian was to be seen. The little
phalanx was already in the neighbourhood of the creek, and at only a few
yards from the picket; another dozen paces and they would be in their
boats, which a very few strokes of the oar would send into the middle of
the stream, and out of bullet range. A pursuit by canoes, in which each
Indian would offer an easy mark, was not to be thought of. Such had been
the pirate's calculation, and his plans seemed likely to be crowned with
complete success. He was within a step of the shore, when suddenly there
was a movement in the bushes immediately opposite to him, and glimpses
were caught of the copper-coloured forms of the Indians, glowing redly
in the firelight.

"Steady!" cried the pirate to his men, who marched firmly and calmly
onwards, gazing in a sort of wonderment at the bushes, which waved to
and fro as if hundreds of anacondas had been winding their way through
them. The pirates joined the picket and opened their square.

Lafitte threw Rosa into the arms of a sailor, and then pushed the Miko
over the edge of the bank into the boat. The old man sank down like a
lifeless mass in the bottom of the skiff, and Lafitte again turned to
his men. The picket had already retired behind the ridge, where they
were sheltered from the enemy's fire; the square alone was stationary,
and seemed destined to observe the movements of the Indians, and to
cover the retreat. It was a small but desperate looking band of about
four-and-twenty-men, to the composition of which nearly every nation and
quarter of the globe, every colour and language, contributed its quota.
Thirst of blood gleamed in their eyes as they stood formed in column, in
deep silence, and with fixed bayonets, waiting the signal to fire.

Suddenly the Indian warwhoop burst from a hundred throats. A second time
the frightful yell was repeated, rendered more hideous by the shrill
tones of the squaws and maidens, who struck up the death-song, and were
seen running and dancing like demons round the blazing huts. The next
instant, with brandished arms and shouts of fury, the Indians rushed
towards the creek.

A malicious smile played over the hard features of the pirate as the Red
men came charging down upon his band.

"Reserve, forward!" cried he, turning to the picket. The order was
obeyed. In profound silence Lafitte allowed the howling Indians to
advance to within ten paces of the musket muzzles, and then uttered a
hoarse "Fire!" A deadly volley was poured in, and the first rank of the
assailants fell to a man. Their comrades started back, but instantly
returning to the charge, threw themselves with a desperate leap upon the
pirates. The latter coolly tossed their muskets into the hollow of their
left arms, and drew their pistols; a second volley in which the fire of
the reserve picket mingled, threw the Red men into utter confusion. The
slope of the shore was covered with killed and wounded, and the
survivors fled howling to the cover of the thicket.

"March!" commanded Lafitte. The picket again approached the boat,
followed by the main body.

At that moment, when to all appearance the retreat of the pirates was
ensured, four heavy splashes in the water were heard, and Lafitte saw
the four men who had been in charge of the boats, rise to the surface of
the water and then disappear for ever. At the same time the boats
themselves, impelled by some invisible power, shot, with the swiftness
of an arrow, into the centre of the stream.

"'Tis the Mexican!" exclaimed the pirate, gnashing his teeth with fury,
and firing a brace of pistols at the boat. A hollow laugh replied to the
shots. The pirates looked around them, saw that their boats had
disappeared, and for a moment stood thunderstruck, but speedily
recovering themselves, they reloaded their muskets, and, firm as rocks,
awaited a fresh assault. They had not long to wait. A volley from the
river warned them of the proximity of a new foe; a second, still better
directed, stretched a third of them upon the ground. And now once more
the terrible war-cry resounded along the shore, and the Indians, roused
to madness by their previous repulses, rushed for a third time upon
their enemy. Another volley from the boats, and then the Mexican and his
companions sprang like tigers upon the terrified pirates. The struggle
was short. Unable to resist the furious attack upon their front and
rear, the pirates threw away their weapons, and flung themselves
headlong into the river to escape the tomahawks of their raging foes.

Lafitte was the only one who stood firm, and seemed determined to sell
his life dearly. His back against the bank, his sabre in his right hand,
a pistol in his left, he parried a blow dealt him by an Oconee, who
fell, the next instant, with his head nearly severed from his shoulders.
A bullet finished another of his assailants, and he was raising his
sabre for the second time, when a lasso was flung over his head, and he
fell helpless to the ground. The long and terrible yell that now rang
along the shore, and was re-echoed from the adjacent forest, proclaimed
the complete and bloody triumph of the Red men.

The bullet that grazed the arm of El Sol pierced the heart of Canondah,
and the day subsequent to the sanguinary conflict above described,
witnesses her interment, and that of the Indians who fell in the fight.
At the funeral a difference of opinion arises between the Oconees and
Comanches. The number of slain pirates is insufficient to furnish a
scalp to be buried with each of the dead Indians, and, to supply the
deficiency, the Oconees are anxious to immolate Lafitte and twelve of
his companions who have fallen alive into their hands. To this El Sol
and his warriors, free from many of the barbarous prejudices of their
new brethren, object. Two of the pirates are sacrificed to an outbreak
of Indian fury, but the others are saved by El Sol, and it then becomes
a question how they are to be disposed of. It is proposed to deliver
them over to the Americans, that they may deal with them according to
their laws; but Tokeah, with a refinement of hatred towards the white
men, devises an amendment upon this plan. Sooner or later, he says, they
will come to the tree upon which they are to hang. Meanwhile let them go
at large, and cause the blood of the palefaces to flow, as that of the
Oconees has done.

This singular proposition at first startles the vindictive and
bloodthirsty Oconees, but when they fully understand it, they receive it
with a burst of applause. Lafitte and his companions are unbound, and
allowed to depart.

The funeral over, the Indians set out for the hunting-grounds of the
Comanches, but Tokeah does not accompany them. He has had a dream,
enjoining him to disinter his father's bones, which lie buried several
hundred miles within the limits of the United States, in a district
formerly possessed by the Oconees. He wishes Rosa to accompany the tribe
to their new residence; but the young girl, mindful of her promise to
Canondah, insists upon encountering with him the perils of the long and
wearisome journey he is about to undertake. Whilst the main body of the
Indians set off in a westerly direction, Rosa, a young Indian girl,
Tokeah, El Sol, and four warriors, turn their steps towards the country
of the white men. Thither we will now precede them.

It was a bright cool December morning, and the sunbeams had just
sufficient power to disperse the fog and mist which at that season
frequently hang for a week together over the rivers and lakes of
Louisiana. In the county town of Opelousas there was a great and unusual
crowd. It seemed astonishing how so many people could have been got
together in that thinly populated neighbourhood, and a person who had
suddenly arrived in the midst of the concourse would have been sorely
puzzled to conjecture its occasion. To judge from the drinking, dancing,
fighting, and pranks of all sorts that went on, a sort of festival was
celebrating; but weapons were also to be seen; men were formed up by
companies and nearly every body had something more or less military in
his equipment. Some wore uniforms that had served in the revolutionary
war, and were consequently more than thirty years old; others, armed
with rifles, ranged themselves in rank and file, and, by a lieutenant of
their own election, were manoeuvred into a corner, out of which no
word of command that he was acquainted with was sufficient to bring
them. Another corps had got a band of music, consisting of one fiddler,
who marched along at the side of the captain, sawing his catgut with
might and main. Those individuals who had not yet attached themselves to
any particular corps, shouldered rifles, fowling-pieces, or, in some
instances, an old horse-pistol, with nothing wanting but the lock; and
the few who had no fire-arms, had provided themselves with stout
bludgeons.

These, however, were merely the outposts. In the centre of the town the
flower of the citizens was assembled, divided into two groups. One of
them, consisting of the younger men, had fixed its headquarters in front
of a tavern, the destination of which was indicated by a sign, whose
hieroglyphics, according to our firm belief, neither Denon nor
Champollion could have deciphered. Under these was written, for those
who could read it, the customary announcement of "Entertainment for Man
and Beast." In the interior of the establishment a second fiddle was to
be heard; the performer upon which, of a less martial turn than his
rival, was performing a lively jig for the benefit of a crowd of
dancers.

The other group, more gravely disposed, had chosen a more respectable
parade-ground, and established itself in front of a store, containing a
miscellany of earthen jugs, rolls of chewing tobacco, felt hats, shoes,
knives, forks, and spoons, and (the most essential of all) a cask of
whisky and a keg of lead and powder. Above the door was a board, with
the inscription, "New Shop--Cheap for Cash;" and on the wall of the
crazy frame-house was written in chalk--"Whisky, Brandy, Tobacco,
Post-office."

On the stump of a tree stood a man who, to judge from his new beaver
hat, clean shirt-collar, and bran-new coat and breeches of a pompadour
red, was a candidate for some one of the offices in the gift of the
sovereign people. Near him were several other men of equally elegant
exterior, to all appearance also aspirants to the vacant post, and who
seemed to wait with some impatience for the termination of his harangue.
Comparatively speaking, tranquillity and order reigned here, only
excepting the noise of the dancers, and the occasional bellowing of some
noisy toper stumbling about through the mud, with which the single
street of the little town was covered knee-deep. Such interruptions,
however, the orator seemed totally to disregard, and he continued in
stentorian tones to inform his auditors how he would whip them damned
British, whom he hated worse than skunks. This he was setting forth in
the clearest possible manner, when the attention of his hearers was in
some degree distracted by a loud "Hallo!" proceeding from two boon
companions, who, after having for some time floundered about the street,
had at last rambled towards the edge of the forest, and now suddenly
began to shout violently, and to run as fast as their unsteady condition
would allow. Amongst their vociferations, the words, "Stop, you cussed
Redskin!" were clearly distinguishable--sounds far too interesting not
to create a sensation amongst backwoodsmen. A dozen of the orator's
audience slipped away, just to see "what was the matter with the d----d
fools, and why they made such a devil of a row." The example found
imitators, and presently not above thirty listeners remained collected
round the speaker. Insubordination also broke out in the different corps
that were exercising, and a full third of the men left their ranks and
scampered towards the wood. Only the group in front of the chandler's
store remained grave and steady in the midst of the general excitement.

From out of the dark cypress forest that stretches southwards from the
shore of the Atchafalaya, a figure had emerged which judging from its
dress, belonged to the Indian race. The savage had crept along the edge
of the forest in order to get near the town; but alarmed perhaps by the
crowd and noise in the latter, he had not ventured to take the road
leading to it, but had struck into a side-path across a cotton field. He
was about to climb over the fence, when he was descried by the two
idlers already mentioned, who no sooner saw him than, although their
heads were tolerably full of whisky, they commenced a rapid pursuit. One
of the first took the precaution to place his pint glass in safety
behind a hedge, and then followed his companion, a swift-footed son of
the west, who already had the Indian in his clutches. The Redskin was so
exhausted that he would evidently not have been able to proceed much
further. The staggering and unsteady state of his captor, however, did
not escape him, and he gave him a sudden push, which stretched him at
full length in the mud.

"Stop!" shouted the backwoodsman, no way disconcerted by his fall;
"Stop! or I will so maul your ugly face that you sha'n't be able to eat
for a week."

The Indian seemed to understand, and stopped accordingly, at the same
time assuming an attitude indicative of a firm resolution to defend
himself. He grasped his knife, and boldly confronted his pursuers, who
on their part examined him with looks of curiosity and of some
suspicion. The appearance of an Indian in this neighbourhood was nothing
very unusual, seeing that they had a village scarcely a hundred miles
off to the north-west, and that they continually made excursions of
several hundred miles into the States in all directions, and even to the
capital. For a long time past their diminished numbers had not allowed
then to attempt any thing hostile against their white neighbours, who
each year drew nearer to them: and their increasing wants, particularly
their insatiable greed after the precious fire-water, had reduced them
to be, _de facto_, little better than slaves to fur-dealers and
storekeepers, for whom they hunted, and who paid the poor wretches in
whisky scarcely the tenth part of the value of their skins.

In the present instance the two backwoodsmen had no evil intention
against the Indian; all they wanted was to give him a glass of
Monongahela, and to amuse themselves a little at his expense. So at
least it appeared from the words of the one who had been knocked down,
and who, without taking his tumble at all in ill part, now roared out,
that "he must drink a half-pint of whisky with him, or he would put him
in his pocket."

"Come, young Redskin," cried the other; "come along. You shall help us
to fight the cussed Britishers, and drink, ay, drink like a fish."

By this time the little group was surrounded by deserters from the
parade-ground, examining the Indian with a rude and unceremonious, but
not an ill-natured, curiosity. Without permission or apology they
inspected his wardrobe, tried the edge of his scalping-knife, examined
his mocassins, and one of them even made an attempt to remove the cap
from his head. By these various investigations the stranger seemed more
surprised than gratified. His exterior was, it must be confessed,
somewhat singular. A foxskin cap covered his head and extended down over
his ears, concealing his light brown hair, an attempt at disguise which
the long fair down upon his upper lip rendered tolerably unsuccessful.
His deerskin doublet denoted the Indian, but his trousers were those of
a white man. One of his mocassins--the other he had left in some
swamp--was of Indian workmanship; one of his cheeks was still daubed
with the red and black war-paint, which had been nearly rubbed off the
other; his hands, although burnt brown by the sun, were those of a white
man. If any doubt could have remained, his features would have settled
it; the bold blue eye could no more have belonged to an Indian than
could the full rosy cheek and the well-formed mouth. The crowd stared at
him with the same sort of stupefaction which they might have shown had
they entered a thicket expecting to find a fat deer, and encountered in
its stead a growling bear.

"I should think you've looked at me enough," said the stranger at last,
in good English, and in a sort of half-humorous, half-petulant tone; at
the same time delivering a blow, with the flat of his knife, upon the
horny hand of a backwoodsman, who had again attempted to lift his cap
with a view to examine his hair.

It was, as the reader will already have conjectured, our young
Englishman, who, having been guided by the Indian runner into the path
to the Coshattoes, had at last succeeded in making his way over and
through the innumerable swamps, rivers, and forests with which that
district is so superabundantly blessed. The comparative coolness of the
season, and the shallowness of the swamps and rivers, of the former of
which many were entirely dried up and converted into meadows, had
favoured his journey, or else he would scarcely have succeeded in
reaching the banks of the Atchafalaya. For the preceding three weeks he
had lived upon wild-geese and ducks, which he had killed and roasted as
the Indians had taught him. He had now just emerged from the wilderness,
and, however great his wish undoubtedly was to find himself once more in
civilized society, the grim aspect of the Goliath-like backwoodsmen,
their keen eyes and sunburnt visages, and long horn-handled knives, were
so uninviting, that he was almost tempted to wish himself back again.
Nevertheless, he seemed rather amused than disconcerted by the frank,
forward familiarity of the people he had come amongst.

"And d--n it!" exclaimed one of the men after a long pause, during which
Hodges had been the observed of all eyes, "who, in the devil's name, are
you? You are no Redskin?"

"No, that I'm not," replied the young man, laughing; "I am an
Englishman."

He spoke the last words in the short decided tone, and with all the
importance of a baron or count, who, having condescended to arrive in
disguise amongst his dependents, on a sudden thinks proper to lay aside
his incognito. There was in his look and manner, as he glanced over the
crowd, a degree of self-satisfaction, and a curiosity to see the
impression made by the announcement, mingled with the feeling of
superiority which John Bull willingly entertains, and which he at that
time was wont to display towards Brother Jonathan, but which has since
entirely disappeared, and given place to a sort of envious uneasiness--a
certain proof, in spite of the scorn in which it disguises itself, of
his consciousness of the superiority of the detested Brother Jonathan,
aforesaid.

"An Englishman!" repeated twenty voices.

"A Britisher!" vociferated fifty more, and amongst these a young man in
a grass-green coat, who had just come up with an air of peculiar haste
and importance.

"A Britisher!" repeated the gentleman in green; "that's not your only
recommendation, is it?"

The person addressed glanced slightly at the speaker, who was measuring
him with a pair of lobster-eyes of no very friendly expression, and then
carelessly replied--

"For the present, it is my only one."

"And d--n it, what has brought you to Opelousas?" demanded the green
man.

"My legs!" replied Hodges. But the joke was not well taken.

"Young man," said an elderly American, "you are in Louisiana state, and
see before you citizens of the United States of America. That man
there"--he pointed to green-coat--"is the constable. Jokin' is out of
place here."

"I come from on board my ship, if you must know."

"From on board his ship!" repeated every body, and every brow visibly
knit, and a low murmur ran through the crowd.

The news of the landing of British troops had just reached the town, and
the same courier had brought the unwelcome intelligence of the capture
of the American gunboats on the Mississippi. Trifling as this disaster
was, compared with the brilliant victories achieved on Lakes Champlain
and Erie, and on the ocean, at every meeting, by American ships over
British, it had, nevertheless, produced a general feeling of
exasperation.

The constable stepped aside with several other men, and talked with them
in a low voice. When they returned, and again surrounded the Englishman,
their conference had produced a marked change in their manner. Their
rough familiarity and friendly inquisitiveness had given place to a
repulsive coldness; the humorous cheerfulness of their countenances was
exchanged for a proud, cold earnestness, and they measured Hodges with
keen distrustful glances.

"Stranger," said the constable, in a tone of command, "you are a
suspicious person, and must follow me."

"And who may you be, who take upon yourself to show me the way?"
demanded the midshipman.

"You have already heard who I am. These men are citizens of the United
States, presently at war with your country, as you probably know."

The green-clad functionary spoke these words with a certain emphasis,
and even dignity, which caused the young man to look with rather less
disdain at his shining beaver-hat, and verdant inexpressibles.

"I am ready to follow," said he; "but I trust I am in safety amongst
you."

"That you will soon see," replied the constable, dryly.

And so saying, he, his prisoner, and the crowd, set off in the direction
of the town.

If, as appears from the preceding extract, our author is ready enough to
expose the peculiarities and failings of the English, whose foibles, in
various parts of this book, he sets forth with at least as much severity
as justice, he, on the other hand, and although his sympathies are
evidently American, gives some curious specimens of their deficiency in
military organization and discipline, and of the loose manner in which
public affairs were carried on in the then newly formed state of
Louisiana. The young midshipman is taken before our old acquaintance,
Squire Copeland, who, with the restlessness characteristic of his
countrymen, has emigrated some three years before from Georgia to the
infant town of Opelousas, and holds the double office of justice of the
peace and major of militia. Hodges is examined on suspicion of being an
emissary from the British, sent to stir up the Indian tribes against the
Americans. He scrupulously observes his promise, made to Tokeah and
Canondah, not to reveal their place of abode; and, hampered by this
pledge, is unable to give a clear account of himself. Suspicion is
confirmed by his disguise, and by certain exclamations which he
imprudently allows to escape him on hearing Major Copeland and his wife
make mention of Tokeah, and of Rosa, their foster-child, of whom they
now for seven years have heard nothing. The result of his examination,
of which the good-natured and unsuspicious squire, having his hands full
of business, and being less skilled in the use of the pen than the
rifle, requests the prisoner himself to draw up the report, is, that
Major Copeland, the constable, and Hodges, set off for a town upon the
Mississippi, then the headquarters of the Louisianian militia. What
occurs upon their arrival there, we will relate in a third and final
notice of the book before us.



THE FALL OF ROME.

ITS CAUSES AT WORK IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE.


The Rise and Fall of the Roman empire is by far the most remarkable and
memorable event which has occurred in the whole history of mankind. It
is hard to say whether the Rise or the Fall is most worthy of profound
study and anxious examination. The former has hitherto most strongly
attracted the attention of men, from the extraordinary spectacle it
exhibited of human fortitude triumphing over every obstacle, and human
perseverance at length attaining universal dominion. It was the
spectacle most likely to rivet the attention of strenuous and growing
nations--of men in that stage of existence when national ambition is
strong and the patriotic passions ardent, and the selfish interests have
not yet become so powerful as to have generally extinguished the
generous affections. But it may be doubted whether the events that
occurred in the later stages of the Roman empire, are not fraught with
more valuable and important information than those of its earlier
annals. Less interesting to the soldier, less animating to the citizen,
less heart-stirring to the student, they are more instructive to the
philosopher, more pregnant with warning to the statesman. They contain
the only instance yet exhibited among men of a nation sinking from no
external shock, but from the mere influence of internal decay; and point
alone, of all passages in the annals of the species, to the provision
made by nature, in the passions and selfishness of men, against the
possibility of universal dominion.

To any one who attentively considers this all-important subject, two
things must be apparent, of the very highest consequence in arriving at
correct ideas on it. The first is, that the Roman empire did not sink
under the external violence of the barbarians, but under the weakness
and decline which had arisen in its own bosom. The second, that the
causes hitherto assigned by historians and philosophers for this
internal decay, are either vague generalities, having no definite
meaning, and incapable of any practical application, or can be easily
shown, even to the most superficial reader, not to have been the real
causes of the phenomenon.

There can be no doubt that some of the irruptions of the
barbarians--particularly those of the Goths into Romelia, which led to
the fatal battles of Thessalonica and Adrianople; and of Alaric into
Italy, which terminated in the capture of the Eternal City--were very
formidable inroads, and might, in the best days of the empire, have
taxed its strength and resolution to repel. But a little consideration
must be sufficient to show, that, formidable as these invasions were,
they could without much difficulty have been withstood, if the empire
had possessed the strength which it did in the days of the republic, or
in the first two centuries of the Cæsars. The Cimbri and Teutones, whom
Marius combated and destroyed on the Rhone and in the north of Italy,
were at least as formidable a body of barbarians as those which four
centuries afterwards overturned the western empire. The forces whom
Cæsar conquered in Gaul, Trajan on the Danube, were to the full as
powerful as those which carried the standards of the Goths and Vandals
to Athens and Carthage. Ætius, in the decline of the empire, and with
the mingled Roman and barbarian force of Gaul alone, defeated Attila in
the plenitude of his power, at the head of three hundred thousand men,
on the field of Chalons.

Belisarius, with fifteen thousand men, recovered Africa from the
Vandals; thirty thousand legionary soldiers did the same by Italy under
Narses, and overthrew the whole power of the Goths. So high did the
Roman soldiers still stand even in the estimation of their enemies, that
Totila, the warlike monarch of the Goths, strove to bribe them into his
service by offers of high pay. None had yet been approved equal to these
legionary soldiers in battle; and the manner in which, with infinitely
inferior forces, they repelled the barbarians on all sides, decisively
demonstrates this superiority. The vigour and ability of Heraclius so
restored the empire, when wellnigh sinking under the might of its
enemies, that for a century it was regarded with awe by the barbarous
nations all round its immense frontier. The five provinces beyond the
Euphrates were conquered by the Romans from the Parthians during the
decline of the empire. Nothing is so remarkable, in the last three
centuries of Roman history, as the _small number_ of the forces which
combated around the Eagles, and the astonishing victories which, when
led by ability, they gained over prodigious bodies of their enemies. The
legions had dwindled into battalions, the battalions into cohorts. The
four hundred and fifty thousand men who under Augustus guarded the
frontiers of the empire, had sunk to one hundred and fifty thousand in
the time of Justinian.[3] But this hundred and fifty thousand upheld the
Eastern empire for a thousand years. So feeble were the assaults of the
barbarians, that for above two centuries of that time the single city of
Constantinople, with the aid of the Greek fire, defended itself with
scarce any territory from which to draw support. It was not the strength
of its enemies, therefore, but the weakness of itself, which, after an
existence in the West and East of _two thousand years_, at length
extinguished the Roman empire.

What, then, were the causes of decay which proved fatal at length to
this immense and enduring dominion? Philosophers in all ages have
pondered on the causes; but those hitherto assigned do not seem adequate
to explain the phenomenon. Not that the causes of weakness are baseless
or imaginary; on the contrary, many of them were most real and
substantial sources of evil. But what renders them inadequate to explain
the fall of Rome is, that they had _all existed, and were in full
operation, at the time when the commonwealth and empire were at their
highest point of elevation_, and centuries before either exhibited any
symptoms of lasting decay. For example, the ancient historians, from
Sallust downwards, are loud in their denunciation of the corruption of
public morals, and the selfish vices of the patrician classes of
society, as being the chief source of the decay which was going forward,
while the growth of the republic had been mainly owing to the
extraordinary virtue and energy of a small number of individuals.[4] But
the very circumstance of these complaints having been made by Sallust in
the time of Augustus, and the fact of the empire of the West having
existed for four hundred, that of the East for fourteen hundred years
afterwards, affords decisive evidence that this cause cannot be
considered as having been mainly instrumental in producing their fall.
How is the unexampled grandeur and prosperity of the empire under Nero,
Adrian, Trajan, and the two Antonines, whose united reigns extended over
eighty years, to be explained, if the seeds of ruin two centuries before
had been sown in the vices and corruption of the rich patricians? In
truth, so far was general luxury or corruption from being the cause of
the ruin of the empire, the cause of its fall was just the reverse. It
was the excessive _poverty_ of its central provinces, and their
inability to pay the taxes, which was the immediate cause of the
catastrophe. The nobles and patricians often were luxurious, but they
were not a thousandth part of the nation. The people was miserably poor,
and got more indigent daily, in the later stages of its decay.

Modern writers, to whom the philosophy of history for the first time in
the annals of mankind has become known, and who were aware of the
important influence of general causes on social prosperity, independent
of the agency of individual men, have assigned a different set of causes
more nearly approaching the truth. Montesquieu says, the decay of the
Roman empire was the natural consequence of its extension. This sounds
well, and looks like an aphorism: but if the matter be considered with
attention, it will be found that it is _vox et præterea nihil_. Those
who, with so much complacency, rest in the belief that the fall of the
Roman empire was the natural result of its extension, forget that its
_greatest prosperity was coexistent with that very extension_. It is
impossible to hold that the decay of the empire was the consequence of
its magnitude, when the glorious era of the Antonines, during which it
numbered a hundred and twenty millions of inhabitants under its rule,
and embraced nearly the whole known habitable globe within its dominion,
immediately succeeded its greatest extension by the victories, unhappily
to us so little known, of Trajan.

More recent writers, seeing that Montesquieu's aphorism was a vague
proposition which meant nothing, have gone a step further, and
approached much nearer to the real explanation of the phenomenon.
Guizot, Sismondi, and Michelet have concurred in assigning as the real
cause of the decay of the Roman empire, the prevalence of slavery among
its working population, and the great and increasing weight of taxes to
support the imperial government. There can be no doubt that these were
most powerful causes of weakness; and that they stand prominently forth
from the facts recorded by contemporary annalists, as the immediate and
_visible_ causes of the decline of the empire. The history of these
melancholy periods is full of eternal complaints, that men could not be
got to fill the legions, nor taxes to replenish the treasury; that the
army had to be recruited from the semi-barbarous tribes on the frontier;
and that vast tracts of fertile land in the heart of the empire relapsed
into a state of nature, or were devoted only to pasturage, from the
impossibility of finding cultivators who either would till the land, or
could afford to pay the taxes with which it was charged. Doubtless the
large proportion--at least a half, perhaps nearly two-thirds--of the
people who were slaves, must have weakened the elements of strength in
the empire; and the enormous weight of the direct taxes, so grievously
felt and loudly complained of,[5] must have paralysed, to a very great
degree, both the industry of the people and the resources of government.
But a very little consideration must be sufficient to show, that these
were not the real sources of the decline of the empire; or rather, that
if they had not been aided in their operation by other causes, which
truly undermined its strength, it might have been great and flourishing
to this hour.

Slavery, it must be recollected, was _universal_ in antiquity, and is so
over two-thirds of the human race at this hour. Much as we may feel its
evils and deprecate its severities, we ourselves, till within these
three centuries, were entirely fed by serfs; and a few years only have
elapsed since the whole of our colonial produce was raised by slave
labour. America and Russia--the two most rising states in
existence--are, the former in part, the latter wholly, maintained by
slaves. It was an army, in a great measure composed of men originally
serfs, which repelled Napoleon's invasion, survived the horrors of the
Moscow retreat, and carried the Russian standards to Paris, Erivan, and
Adrianople. Alexander the Great conquered Asia with an army of freemen
wholly fed by slaves. The Athenians, in the palmy days of their
prosperity, had only 21,000 freemen, and 400,000 slaves. Rome itself, in
its great and glorious periods, when it vanquished Hannibal, conquered
Gaul, subdued the East--in the days of Scipio, Cæsar, and Trajan--was to
the full as dependent on slave labour as it was in those of its
decrepitude under Honorius or Justinian. Cato was a great dealer in
slaves; the Sabine farm was tilled by the arms of slaves; Cincinnatus
and Regulus worked their little freeholds entirely by means of slaves.
Rome was brought to the verge of destruction, nearer ruin than it had
been by the arms of the Carthaginians, by the insurrection of the slaves
shortly after the third Punic contest, so well known under the
appellation of the Servile war. It is perfectly ridiculous, therefore,
to assign as a cause of the destruction of Rome, a circumstance in the
social condition of its people which coexisted with their greatest
prosperity, which has prevailed in all the most renowned nations of the
earth in a certain stage of their progress, and is to be found, in our
own times, in states the most powerful, and the most likely to attain
vast and long-continued dominion.

Equally futile is it to point to the weight of the taxes as the main
cause of the long decline and final overthrow of Rome. Taxes no doubt
are an evil; and if they become excessive, and are levied in a direct
form, they may come in the end to ruin industry, and weaken all the
public resources to such an extent as to render a nation incapable of
defending itself. But a very little consideration must be sufficient to
show that it was not, in the case of Rome, the increase of the taxes
taken as a whole, _but the decline in the resources of those who paid
them_, which rendered them so oppressive. If, indeed, the national
establishment of the Roman empire had gone on increasing as it advanced
in years, until at length their charges became excessive and crushing to
industry, the theory would have been borne out by the fact, and afforded
perhaps satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon. But the fact was
_just the reverse_. The military establishment of the Roman empire was
so much _contracted_ as it advanced in years that whereas it amounted to
450,000 men in the days of Augustus, in those of Justinian it had sunk,
as already noticed to 150,000.[6] So far were the forces of Rome from
being excessive in the later stages of the empire or disproportioned to
an empire still, after all its losses, holding so large and fair a
portion of the earth under its dominion, that on the other hand they
were miserably small; and the disasters it underwent were mainly owing
to the government of the Cæsars never being able to equip an adequate
army to repel the attacks of the barbarians. The force with which
Belisarius reconquered Africa and recovered Italy, never mustered
_seventeen thousand men_; and the greater part of his successes were
achieved by _six thousand_ legionary followers. It was not the weight of
the national establishments, therefore, but the diminished resources of
those who were to pay them, which really occasioned the destruction of
the empire.

There are two other facts of vital importance in considering the real
causes of the gradual decay and ultimate ruin of the dominion of the
legions.

The first of these is, that the extent of the decay was, in the latter
stages of Rome, _very unequal_ in the different provinces of the empire;
and that while the central provinces, and those in the neighbourhood of
the metropolis, were in the most wretched state of decrepitude, the
remote districts were _in the highest state of affluence and
prosperity_. This important fact is abundantly proved by unquestionable
authority, and it sheds a flood of light on the real causes of the ruin
which ultimately overtook them all.

The state of agriculture in the Italian plains under the Cæsars, is thus
set forth by Gibbon:--

     "Since the age of Tiberius, _the decay of agriculture had been felt
     in Italy_; and it was a just subject of complaint that the life of
     the Roman people depended on the accidents of the winds and the
     waves. In the division and decline of the empire, the _tributary
     harvests of Egypt and Africa_ were withdrawn; the numbers of the
     inhabitants continually diminished with the means of subsistence;
     and the country was exhausted by the irretrievable losses of war,
     pestilence, and famine. Pope Gelasius was a subject of Odoacer, and
     he affirms, with strong exaggeration, that in Emila, Tuscany, and
     the adjacent provinces, the human species was almost
     extirpated."[7]

Of the progress and extent of this decay, Gibbon gives the following
account in another part of his great work:--

     "The agriculture of the Roman provinces was _insensibly ruined_;
     and in the progress of despotism, which tends to disappoint its own
     purpose, the emperors were obliged to derive some merit from the
     forgiveness of debts, or the remission of tributes, which their
     subjects were utterly incapable of paying. According to the new
     division of Italy, the fertile and happy province of Campania, the
     scene of the early victories and of the delicious retirements of
     the citizens of Rome, extended between the sea and the Apennines,
     from the Tiber to the Silarius. Within sixty years after the death
     of Constantine, and on the evidence of an actual survey, an
     exemption was granted in favour of 330,000 English acres _of desert
     and uncultivated land, which amounted to one-eighth of the whole
     surface of the province_. As the footsteps of the barbarians had
     not yet been seen in Italy, the cause of this amazing desolation,
     which is recorded in the laws, (Cod. Theod. lxi. t. 38, l. 2,) can
     be ascribed only to the administration of the Roman emperors."[8]

Michelet observes, in his late profound and able History of France:--

     "The Christian emperors could not remedy the growing depopulation
     of the country, any more than their heathen predecessors. All their
     efforts only showed the impotence of government to arrest that
     dreadful evil. Sometimes, alarmed at the depopulation, they tried
     to mitigate the lot of the farmer, to shield him against the
     landlord; upon this the proprietor exclaimed he could no longer pay
     the taxes. At other times they abandoned the farmer, surrendered
     him to the landlord, and strove to chain him to the soil; but the
     unhappy cultivators perished or fled, _and the land became
     deserted_. Even in the time of Augustus, efforts were made to
     arrest the depopulation at the expense of morals, by encouraging
     concubinage. Pertinax granted an immunity from taxes to those who
     could _occupy the desert lands of Italy, to the cultivators of the
     distant province and the allied kings_. Aurelian did the same.
     Probus was obliged to transport from Germany men and oxen to
     cultivate Gaul.[9] Maximian and Constantius transported the Franks
     and Germans from Picardy and Hainault into Italy; but the
     depopulation in the towns and the country alike continued. The
     people surrendered themselves in the fields to despair, as a beast
     of burden lies down beneath his load and refuses to rise. In vain
     the emperor strove, by offers of immunities and exemptions, to
     recall the cultivator to his deserted fields. Nothing, could do so.
     _The desert extended daily._ At the commencement of the fifth
     century there was, _in the Happy Campania, the most fertile
     province of the empire, 520,000 jugera_ (320,000 acres) in a state
     of nature."[10]

So general, indeed, was the depopulation of the empire in the time of
Justinian, that it suggested to many of the emperors the project of
repeopling those favoured districts by a fresh influx of inhabitants.
"Justinian II. had a great taste for these emigrations. He transported
half the population of Cyprus to a new city near Cyzicus, called
Justinianopolis after its founder. But it was all in vain. The
desolation and ruin of the provinces continued, and up to the very gates
of Constantinople, which was maintained entirely by grain _imported at a
low price from Egypt, and cattle from the Tauric Chersonesus_."[11]

As a natural consequence of this entire or principal dependence of Rome
on foreign or provincial raising of grain, there was, on any
interruption of these foreign supplies, the greatest scarcity and even
famine in the metropolis. All the vigilance of the emperors, which was
constantly directed to this object, could not prevent this from taking
place. Tacitus says, that in the scarcity under Claudius, there only
remained a supply of fifteen days for the city.[12] Famine in Rome was
frequent under Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero. Claudian laments,
that after Egypt had been assigned to Constantinople, Rome had come to
derive its subsistence solely from Lybia, and depended on the _double_
chances of the seasons and the winds.

      ----"Nunquam secura futuri,
  Semper inops, ventique fidem poscebat et anni."[13]

"When Africa revolted under Gildo, in the reign of Honorius, Rome," says
Gibbon, "was on _the brink of starvation_, from which she was only saved
by large importations _from Gaul_."[14] She still depended on her
provinces; domestic agriculture was ruined. Claudian represents the
genius of ancient Rome bewailing, in pathetic and eloquent terms, her
dependence for food on the nations she had conquered, in words which all
governments rendering their people dependent on foreign supplies would
do well to bear in mind. "Formerly," says the poet, "my prayers used to
be that my legions might triumph on the banks of the Araxes, or that the
consul might display his eagles at Susa; _now all I ask is a supply of
food to avert the extremities of hunger_. The province of Africa, which
furnishes corn to my people, is under the power of Gildo. _He intercepts
our supplies, and our food is at his mercy._ He sells the harvests which
belong to the descendants of Romulus; he possesses the fields purchased
by my blood. The warrior people which conquered the world, now
dishonoured and in want, endures the miserable punishment of peace;
_blockaded by no enemy, they are like the inhabitants of a besieged
town_. Death impends at every moment; there remain only doubtful
supplies for a few days. _My greatness has been my ruin_; I was safer
when my territory was more limited; would that its boundaries were once
more at my gates! But, if I am doomed to perish, at least let me have a
different fate; let me be conquered by another Porsenna; let my city be
burnt by a second Brennus. All things are more tolerable than
hunger."[15]

Nor was the state of Greece, in the later stages of the empire, more
favourable.

"No description could exaggerate the miseries of Greece in the later
stages of the empire. The slave population, which had formerly laboured
for the wealthy, had then disappeared, and the free labourer had sunk
into a serf. The uncultivated plains were traversed by bands of armed
Sclavonians, who settled in great numbers in Thessaly and Macedonia. The
cities of Greece ceased to receive the usual supplies of agricultural
produce from the country; and even Thessalonica, with _its fertile
territory and abundant pastures, was dependent on foreign importation
for relief from famine_. The smaller cities, destitute of the same
advantages of situation, would naturally be more exposed to
depopulation, and sink more rapidly to decay. The roads, after the
seizure of the local funds of the Greek cities by Justinian, were
allowed to go to ruin, and the transport of provisions by land became
difficult. When the Byzantine writers, after the time of Heraclius,
mention the Greeks and Peloponnesus, it is with feelings of aversion and
contempt."[16]

Nor was Asia Minor in a more prosperous condition in the later stages of
the empire. In Asia Minor the decline of the Greek race had been rapid.
This decline, too, must be attributed rather to bad governments than to
hostile invasions; for from the period of the Persian invasion, in the
time of Heraclius, the greater part of that immense country had enjoyed
almost a century of uninterrupted peace. The Persian invasions had never
been very injurious to the sea-coast, where the _Greek cities were
wealthy and numerous_; but the central provinces were entirely ruined.
The fact that extensive districts, once populous and wealthy, _were
already deserts_, is proved by the colonies which Justinian II. settled
in various parts of the country. Population had disappeared even more
rapidly than the agricultural resources of the country."[17]

But while this was the state of matters in Italy, Asia Minor, and
Greece--that is, the heart of the empire--its remoter provinces, Spain,
Lybia, and Egypt, not only exhibited no symptoms of similar decay, but
were, down to the very close of the reigns of the Cæsars, in the highest
state of wealth, prosperity, and happiness. Listen to Gibbon on this
subject in regard to Spain:--

"The situation of Spain, separated on all sides from the enemies of Rome
by the sea, the mountains, and intermediate provinces, had secured the
long tranquillity of that _remote and sequestered country_; and we may
observe, as a sure symptom of domestic happiness, that in a period of
four hundred years, Spain furnished very few materials to the history of
the Roman empire. The cities of Merida, Cordova, Seville, and Tarragona,
were numbered among the most illustrious of the Roman world. The various
plenty of the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, was improved and
manufactured by the skill of an industrious people; and the peculiar
advantages of naval stores contributed to support an extensive and
profitable trade. Many particulars concerning the fertility of Spain may
be found in Huet's _Commerce of the Ancients_, c. 40."[18]

The state of Lybia was equally characteristic of the highest and most
general prosperity, especially in relation to agricultural industry, at
the time when Italy and Greece were thus languishing in the last stage
of decrepitude and decay.

"The long and narrow tract," says Gibbon, "of the African coast was
filled, when the Vandals approached its shores, with frequent monuments
of Roman art and magnificence; and the respective degrees of improvement
might be accurately measured by the distance from Carthage and the
Mediterranean. A simple reflection will impress every thinking mind with
the clearest idea of its fertility and cultivation. The country was
_extremely populous_; the inhabitants reserved a liberal supply for
their own use; _and the annual exportation, particularly of wheat_, was
so regular and plentiful, that Africa _deserved the name of the common
granary of Rome and of mankind_."[19]

Nor was the state of Egypt less prosperous in the last ages of the Roman
empire; nor was its condition a less striking contrast to the miserable
and languishing condition of the Italian and Grecian plains. It is thus
described by Mr Finlay,[20] whose recent work has thrown so much light
on the social condition of the inhabitants of the Roman empire in their
later days:--"If the accounts of ancient historians can be relied on,
the population of Egypt had suffered less from the vicious
administration of the Roman empire, and from the Persian invasion, than
any other part of their dominions; for at the time of its conquest by
the Romans it contained seven millions and a half of inhabitants,
exclusive of Alexandria; and in the last days of the empire it nourished
almost as great a number. The Nile spread its fertilizing waters over
the land; the canals were kept in a state sufficient for irrigation; and
the vested capital of Egypt suffered little diminution, whilst war and
oppression annihilated the accumulation of ages over the rest of the
world. The immense wealth and importance of Alexandria, the only port
which Egypt possessed for communicating with the empire, still made it
_one of the first cities in the universe for riches and population_,
though its strength had received a severe blow from the Persian
conquest."[21]

Sicily was another exception from the general decrepitude and ruin of
the Roman empire in the latter reigns of the Cæsars. "In the island of
Sicily, the great bulk of the population was Greek, and few portions of
the Greek race _had succeeded so well in preserving their wealth and
property uninjured_."[22]

But in the other parts of the empire, to the north of the Mediterranean,
the agricultural population was, in the time of Heraclius, _absolutely
destroyed_. "The imperial armies," says Finlay, "which, in the time of
Maurice, had waged an active war in Illyria and Thrace, and frequently
invaded the territories of the Avars, had melted away during the
disorders of the reign of Phocas. The loss was irreparable; for in
Europe _no agricultural population remained to supply the means of
forming a body of local militia, or even a body of irregular
troops_."[23]

It may readily be supposed, that so entire a destruction of the rural
population in Europe, as thus took place under the Emperors in the Roman
empire, must have been attended with the most fatal effects to their
means of defence and national power. The inhabitants of towns,
accustomed to sedentary occupations, and habituated to the luxury of
baths, the excitement of theatres, the gratuitous distributions of food,
could not endure the fatigue, privations, and hardships of the military
life. Substitutes were almost universally sought for, and they, amidst
the desolation of the country, could be found only in the semi-barbarous
tribes on the frontier. Thus the defence of the empire came to be
intrusted almost entirely to the arms of the barbarians, and it was hard
to say whether they were most formidable to their friends or foes.
Nothing could supply the place of the rural population on the shores of
the Mediterranean. The legions gave a master to the Roman world, and the
legions were recruited from Gaul, Germany, Britain, and Pannonia. Thus
the dominion of the Capitol was really at an end long before it was
formally subverted; and Rome had received a master from the barbarians
long before the days of Alaric.

This continued splendour and population of the towns, amidst the ruin of
the country, in the declining periods of the Roman empire, has attracted
the particular notice of one of the greatest historians of modern times.
"In the midst," says Sismondi, "of the general desolation of the
country, the continued existence and splendour of the great towns is not
so easily explained; but the same thing is now to be witnessed in
Barbary and Turkey, and in the whole Levant. Wherever despotism
oppresses insulated man, he seeks refuge from its outrages in crowds.
The great Roman towns, in the first three centuries of the empire, were
in great part peopled by artisans, and freedmen, and slaves; but they
contained also a number far greater than in our days of men who,
limiting their wants to the mere support of existence, spent their
lives in indolence. All that population was alike unarmed, unpatriotic,
incapable of defence against a foreign enemy; but as it was collected
together, and at hand, it always inspired fear to domestic authority.
Accordingly, to keep it quiet, there was always a regular gratuitous
distribution of corn in the larger towns, and numerous spectacles in the
theatres, the amphitheatres, and the circus, maintained at the public
expense. The carelessness of the future, the love of pleasure and
indolence, which have always characterised the inhabitants of great
towns, characterised the Roman provincials even to the latest days of
the empire, and in the midst of their greatest calamities. Treves, the
capital of the northern prefecture of Gaul, was not the only city of the
empire which was surprised and pillaged by the barbarians, at the moment
when its citizens, their heads crowned with garlands, were applauding
with enthusiasm the victors in the games of the circus."[24]

The frequent custom of recruiting the legions by means of slaves, in the
later period of the empire, which was wholly unknown in the days of the
Republic, reveals, in the clearest manner, the weakness to which, in
respect of military resources, it had arrived, long before the external
symptoms of decay were visible in its fortunes. Even in the time of
Marcus Aurelius, the legions which were to combat the Quadi and
Marcomanni, on the Danube, were recruited from the servile class.
Justinian went so far as to declare, by a public edict, every slave free
who had served in the army.[25] "At last the army came to be composed
entirely," says Finlay, "of the rudest and most ignorant peasants, of
_enfranchised slaves, and naturalised barbarians_. This increased the
repugnance, already sufficiently great, felt by the better class of
citizens to enter the military life. The mercenaries formed the most
valued and brilliant portions of the army, and it became the fashion to
copy and admire the dress and manners of the barbarian cavalry."[26]

All the ancient historians concur in representing this impossibility of
finding native soldiers in its central provinces, as the main cause of
the overthrow of the empire. And that this, and not the power of the
barbarians, was the real cause of the destruction of the empire, is
proved by the fact, that whenever they were well directed, the
superiority of the legions was as clearly evinced as in the days of
Marius or Cæsar. "Whenever the invaders," says Finlay, "met with a
steady and well-combined resistance, they were defeated without much
difficulty. The victorious reigns of Claudius II., Aurelian, and Probus,
prove the immense superiority of the Roman armies when properly
commanded; but the custom which was constantly gaining ground, _of
recruiting the legions from among the barbarians_, reveals the
deplorable state of _depopulation and weakness_ to which three centuries
of despotism and bad administration had reduced the empire."[27]

But amidst this general prostration of the political and military
strength of the Roman empire, in consequence of the decline and
desolation of the _country_, the _great towns_ still continued
flourishing, and wealth to an extraordinary and unparalleled extent
existed among the chief families, some of patrician, some of plebeian
origin. That was the grand characteristic of Rome in its later days. The
country, in the European part of the empire at least, was daily growing
poorer; the cultivation of the fields was neglected; and the provinces,
crushed under the weight of the direct taxes, which had become
unavoidable, had in most cases sunk to half their former number of
inhabitants. But the metropolis, whether in Italy or on the shores of
the Bosphorus, was still the seat of opulence, luxury, and prosperity.
The strength of Constantinople was sufficient to repel the barbarians,
and prolong the life of the empire of the east, for many centuries after
it had ceased to derive effective support from any of its provinces. It
is recorded by Ammianus Marcellinus, that when Rome was taken by the
Goths under Alaric, it was still inhabited by 1,200,000 souls, who were
maintained chiefly by the expenditure of seventeen hundred and sixty
great families, many of whom had £160,000 of yearly income, equal to at
least £300,000 a-year of our money.[28] And of the flourishing condition
of the cities of the empire, especially those which were on the shores
of the Mediterranean, even so late as the eighth century, Mr Finlay
gives the following account:--

"The strongest proof of the _wealth and prosperity of the_ CITIES _of
Greece_, even in the last days of the empire, is to be found in the
circumstance of their being able to fit out the expedition which
ventured to attempt wresting Constantinople from the grasp of a soldier
and statesman such as Leo the Isaurian was known to be, when the Greeks
deliberately resolved to overturn his throne. The _rural_ districts, in
the eighth century, were reduced to a _state of desolation_, and the
_towns were flourishing in wealth_. _Agriculture was at the lowest ebb,
and trade in a prosperous condition._"[29] Sismondi gives his valuable
testimony to the same effect:--"It was at this very time, _when industry
in the country was declining_, that the _towns_ of the provinces arrived
_at their highest degree of opulence_. Adrian excited the emulation of
their rich citizens, and he extended to the furthest extremities of the
empire the luxury of monuments and decorations, which had hitherto been
reserved for the illustrious cities which scorned to be the depots of
the civilisation of the world."[30] Such, in a few words, was the
condition, generally speaking, of all the part of the empire to the
north of the Mediterranean, in the decaying period of its existence. The
towns were every where flourishing; but it was in Africa, Sicily, and
Spain alone that agriculture was undecayed. And the decay and ruin of
rural industry, and of the inhabitants of the country to the north of
the Mediterranean, left them no adequate means of resisting the attacks
of the brave but artless barbarians, who there pressed upon the yielding
frontiers of the empire.

Coexistent with this fatal decline in the rural population and
agricultural industry, was the increase of _direct taxation_, which was
so keenly felt and loudly complained of in all the later stages of the
Roman history. This is a branch of the subject of the very highest
importance, because it leads to precisely the same conclusions, as to
the real causes of the fall of Rome, as the others which have been
already considered.

It is well known that when the Romans first conquered Macedonia, the
senate proclaimed a general liberation from taxes and imposts of every
kind to the Roman citizens, as the reward of their victories. This state
of matters, however, could not long continue in an old state charged
with the duty, and under the necessity of keeping up, a large
establishment to maintain its dominion over its subject provinces. For
some time, indeed, the wealth brought by the conquest of Asia and Egypt
into the Roman treasury was so considerable, that the necessity of taxes
levied on its own citizens was not felt; and as long as the people had a
direct share in the government, they took care to uphold an exemption in
their own favour. But when one master was given to the whole Roman
world, this invidious system of one class living upon another class was
erelong abandoned. "Augustus," says Gibbon, "had no sooner assumed the
reins of government, than he frequently intimated the insufficiency of
the tributes from the provinces, and the necessity of throwing an
equitable proportion of the public burdens upon Rome and Italy. In the
prosecution of this unpopular design, however, he advanced with slow and
cautious steps. The introduction of customs was followed by the
establishment of an excise; and the scheme of taxation was completed by
an artful assessment of the real and personal property of the Roman
citizens, who had been exempted from every kind of contribution for
above a century and a half."[31]

Customs on foreign goods imported into Italy was the first species of
taxation attempted on the Roman people. "In the reign of Augustus and
his successor," says the same historian, "duties were imposed on every
kind of merchandise, which, through a thousand channels, flowed to the
great centre of opulence and luxury; and in whatever manner the law was
expressed, it was the Roman purchaser, and not the provincial merchant,
who paid the tax. The rate of the customs varied from the eighth to the
fortieth part of the value of the commodity. There is still extant a
long, but imperfect, catalogue of Eastern commodities, which, about the
time of Alexander Severus, were subject to the payment of duties.
Precious stones, Parthian and Babylonian leather, cottons, silks, raw
and manufactured, ebony, ivory, and eunuchs, were among the taxed
articles. An excise also was introduced by Augustus, of one _per cent_
on whatever was sold in the markets or by public auction; and this
extended from the most considerable purchase of lands or houses, to
those minute objects which commonly derive their value from their
infinite multitude and daily consumption."[32]

But erelong these indirect taxes proved unproductive, and recourse was
had to the lasting scourge of _direct taxes_. One of 5 per cent on
legacies and inheritances was first imposed by Augustus, and adhered to
by him, in spite of the indignant murmurs of the Roman nobles and
people. The rate was raised by Caracalla to a tenth of all inheritances;
and, when the privilege of Roman citizenship was extended to the whole
provincials of the empire, they were subjected at once both to the
former burdens which they had paid as provincials, and the new tax
levied on them as Roman citizens.[33] From that time, the direct burdens
became daily more oppressive, and at length proved an almost
insurmountable bar to industry. "The noxious weed," says Gibbon, "sprung
up with the most luxuriant growth, and in the succeeding age darkened
the Roman world with its deadly shade. In the course of this history, we
shall be too often summoned to explain the land-tax, the capitation, and
the heavy contributions in corn, wine, oil, and meat, which were exacted
from the provinces for the use of the court, the army, and the
capital."[34]

These direct taxes soon became fearfully oppressive, and it is proved,
by the clearest evidence, that they were among the leading causes of the
decline of the empire. "The whole landed property of the empire," says
Gibbon, "without excepting the patrimonial estates of the monarch, was
the object of ordinary taxation, and every new purchaser contracted the
obligations of the former proprietor. An accurate survey was made of
what every citizen should contribute to the public service, and this was
made anew every fifteen years. The number of slaves and cattle
constituted an essential part of the report; _an oath was administered
to the proprietors, which obliged them to disclose the true state of
their affairs_; and any attempt to prevaricate or elude the vigilance of
the legislature, was severely watched, and punished as a capital crime,
which included the double guilt of treason and sacrilege. A large
portion of the tribute was paid in money; and, of the current coin of
the empire, _gold alone could be legally accepted_. The remainder of the
taxes, according to the proportion observed in the annual indiction, was
levied in a manner still more direct and still more oppressive.
According to the different value of lands, their real produce, in the
various articles of wine or oil, corn or barley, wood or iron, was
transported by the labour, or at the expense of the provincials, to the
imperial magazines, from whence they were occasionally distributed for
the use of the court, the army, and the two capitals, Rome and
Constantinople. The commissioners of the revenue were so frequently
obliged to make _considerable purchases_, that they were strictly
prohibited from allowing any compensation, or from receiving in money
the value of those articles which were exacted in kind."[35]

"Either from accident or design, the mode of assessment seemed to unite
the substance of a land to the form of a capitation-tax. The return
which was sent from every province and district expressed the number of
tributary subjects, and the amount of the public impositions. The latter
of these sums was divided by the former; and the estimate, that each
province and each head was rated at a certain sum, was universally
received not only in the popular but the legal computation. Some idea of
the weight of these contributions _per head_ may be formed by the
details preserved of the taxation of Gaul. The rapacious ministers of
Constantine had exhausted the wealth of that province, by exacting
twenty-five gold pieces (£12, 10s.) for the annual tribute of every
head. The humane policy of his successor reduced the computation to
seven pieces. A moderate proportion between these two extremes of
extravagant oppression and transient indulgence, therefore, may be fixed
at sixteen gold pieces, or about _nine pounds_ sterling, as the common
standard of the impositions of Gaul. The enormity of this tax is
explained by the circumstance, that, as the great bulk of the people
were slaves, the rolls of tribute were filled only with the names of
citizens in decent circumstances. The taxable citizens in Gaul did not
exceed 500,000; and their annual payments were about £4,500,000 of our
money; a fourth part only of the modern taxes of France."[36] The
ordinary land-tax in the eastern provinces was a tenth, though in some
cases it rose by the operation of the survey to a fifth, in others fell
to a twentieth of the produce. It was valued for a term of years, and
paid, unless when exacted in kind, commonly in money.[37]

There was one circumstance which rendered the direct taxes peculiarly
oppressive in the declining periods of the Roman empire, and that was
the _solid_ obligation, as the lawyers term it, which attached to the
municipalities, into which the whole empire was divided, of making good
the amount of their fixed assessment to the public treasury. Of course,
if the municipality was declining, and the same quota required to be
made up from its assessable inhabitants by the magistracy, who were
responsible for its amount, it augmented the burden on those who
remained within its limits; and if they dwindled, by public calamities
or emigration, to a small number, it might, and often did become of a
crushing weight. This system is general over the East; and its
oppressive effect in the declining stage of states, is the chief cause
of the rapid decay of Oriental empires. There is a remarkable authentic
instrument, which attests the ruinous influence of this system in the
later stages of the Roman dominion. This is a rescript of the Emperior
Majorian, which sets forth:--"The municipal corporations, the lesser
senates, as antiquity has justly styled them, deserve to be considered
as the heart of the cities, and the sinews of the Republic. And yet so
low are they now reduced, by the injustice of magistrates and the
venality of collectors, that many of their numbers, renouncing their
dignity and their country, have taken refuge in distant and obscure
exile." He strongly urges, and even ordains their return to their
respective cities; but he removes the grievances which had forced them
to desert the exercises of their municipal functions, by directing that
they shall be responsible, not for the _whole sum_ assessed on the
district, but only for the payments they have actually received, and for
the defaulters who are still indebted to the public.[38] But this humane
and wise interposition was as shortlived as it was equitable. Succeeding
emperors returned to the convenient system of making the municipal
corporations responsible for the sum assessed on their respective
districts, and it continued to be the general law of the empire down to
its very latest day. Sismondi, in his _Décadence de l'Empire Romaine_,
and Michelet, in his _Gaule sous les Romains_, concur in ascribing to
this system the rapid decline and depopulation of the empire in its
later stages.

But although there can be no question that the conclusions of these
learned writers are in great part well founded, yet this system of
taxation by no means explains the decline and fall of the Roman empire.
It requires no argument, indeed, to show, that such a system of solid
obligations, and of levying a certain sum on districts without any
regard to the decline in the resources or number of those who were to
pay them, must, in a _declining_ state of society, be attended with the
most disastrous, and it may be in the end fatal consequences. But it
does not explain how society should be declining. _That_ is the matter
which it behoves us to know. When the reverse is the case--when industry
and population are _advancing_, the imposition of fixed tributes on
districts is not only no disadvantage, but the greatest possible
advantage to a state--witness the benefit of the perpetual settlement to
the ryots of Hindostan--or of a perpetual quit-rent to English
landholders. And that, bad as this system was when applied to a
declining state of society, it was not the cause of the ruin of the
Roman empire, and would not have proved injurious if the state had been
advancing, is decisively proved by several considerations.

1. In the first place, the taxes and system of municipalities, being
responsible for a fixed sum, was not confined to the European provinces
of the Roman dominion, viz.--Italy, Greece, Gaul, Macedonia, and
Romelia, where the progress of decay was so rapid, but it was the
general law of the empire, and obtained equally in Spain, Lybia, Egypt,
and Sicily; as in the provinces which lay to the north of the
Mediterranean. But these latter provinces, it has been shown, were, when
overrun by the barbarians about the year 400, not only nowise in a state
of decrepitude, but in _the very highest state of affluence and
prosperity_. They had become, and deserved the appellation of, "the
common granary of Rome and of the world." They maintained the
inhabitants of Italy, Greece, Rome, and Constantinople, by the export of
their magnificent crops of grain. Spain was at least twice as populous
as it is at this time, Lybia contained twenty millions, Egypt seven
millions of inhabitants. Sicily was in affluence and prosperity, while
the adjoining plains of Italy were entirely laid out in pasturage, or
returned to a state of desolation and insalubrity. It is in vain,
therefore, to seek a solution of the decline of the empire in a system,
which, _universally_ applied, left some parts of it in the last stages
of decrepitude and decay, and others in the highest state of prosperity
and affluence.

2. In the next place, the taxes of the empire were by no means at first
of such weight as to account, if there had been nothing else in the
case, for the decay of its industry. The tax on inheritances, it has
been shown, was at first five, afterwards ten _per cent_; and the
land-tax was ten _per cent_ on the produce. The former tax of ten _per
cent_ on successions, is the present legacy-tax on movable succession to
persons not related to the deceased, in England; and ten _per cent_ on
the produce, is the tithe, and no more than the tithe, which has so long
existed in the European monarchies, and even when coexisting with many
other and more oppressive burdens, has nowhere proved fatal to industry.
Income of every sort paid ten _per cent_ in Great Britain during the
war--the land paid the tithe and poor's-rate in addition--and the other
taxes yielded a sum four times as great; yet industry of every kind
flourished to an extraordinary degree during that struggle. Ever since
the termination of the Revolution, the land-tax in France has been far
heavier than it was in Rome, varying, according to the _Cadastre_, or
valuation, from fifteen to twenty-five _per cent_; but yet it is well
known public wealth and agricultural produce have increased in an
extraordinary degree during that period. It was not, therefore, the
weight of the impositions, but the simultaneous circumstances, which
rendered the northern provinces of the empire _unable to bear them_,
which was the real cause of the ruin of its industry.

3. In the _third_ place, whether the magnitude of the naval and military
establishments, or the absolute amount of its public revenue, is taken
into consideration, it is equally apparent that the Roman empire was at
first not only noways burdened with heavy, but was blessed with
_singularly light_ government impositions. Gibbon states the population
of the whole empire, in the time of Augustus, at 120,000,000, or about
half of what all Europe, to the westward of the Ural mountains, now
contains; and its naval and military establishments amounted to 450,000
armed men--"a force," says the historian, "which, formidable as it may
seem, was equalled by a monarch of the last century, (Louis XIV.)
_whose kingdom was confined within a single province of the Roman
empire_."[39] Compared with the military and naval forces of the
European powers in time of peace, this must seem a most moderate public
establishment. France, in the time of Napoleon, with 42,000,000
inhabitants, had 850,000 regular soldiers in arms, besides 100,000
sailors; and Great Britain, in its European dominions alone, with a
population of 18,000,000 souls, had above 500,000 regular soldiers and
sailors in the public service. France has now, in peace, with a
population of 32,000,000 souls, about 360,000 men, between the army and
navy, in the public service; and England, with a population of
28,000,000, upwards of 150,000, besides double that number in India.
Russia, with 62,000,000 inhabitants, has 460,000 soldiers in the public
service. Austria, with 33,000,000, has 260,000. All these peace
establishments are twice as heavy in proportion to the numbers of the
people, as that of Rome was in the time of Augustus; and, in subsequent
reigns, the number of armed men maintained by the state, was so far from
increasing, that it was constantly diminishing, and, in the time of
Justinian, had sunk down to 140,000 soldiers, maintained by an empire
more extensive than that of Russia at this moment.

4. The same conclusion results from the consideration of the absolute
amount of the public revenue levied in the Roman empire, compared with
what is extracted from modern states. Gibbon estimates the public
revenue of the whole empire in the time of Augustus, at "fifteen or
sixteen millions sterling;"[40] and in the time of Constantine the
revenue derived from Gaul was £4,500,000 a-year.[41] The first of these
sums is less than a _third_ of what is now levied in time of peace on
Great Britain, with less than thirty millions of souls, instead of the
hundred and twenty millions who swelled the population rolls of the
Roman empire: the last is little more than an _eighth_ of what is now
extracted from France, having nearly the same limits as ancient Gaul.
Supposing that the value of money has declined, from the discovery of
the South American mines, a half, (and at _this_ time, owing to the
decline of those mines, it has not sunk more,) still it is apparent that
the public burdens of modern times are at least three times as heavy as
they were in the Roman empire in the highest period of its greatness. As
its strength and military establishment constantly declined after that
period, there is no reason to suppose that the absolute amount of the
public taxes was at any subsequent time greater, although
unquestionably, from the decline in the resources of those who were to
bear them, they were felt as infinitely more oppressive. And that these
taxes were not disproportioned to the strength of the empire, when its
resources were unimpaired, and its industry flourishing, is decisively
proved by the extremely prosperous condition in which it was during the
eighty years when Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, and the two Antonines filled
the imperial throne. "At that period," says Gibbon, "notwithstanding the
propensity of mankind to exalt the past and depreciate the present, the
tranquil and prosperous condition of the empire was warmly felt and
honestly confessed by the provincials as well as the Romans."[42] "They
affirm," says a contemporary writer, "that, with the increase of the
arts, the human species has visibly multiplied. They celebrate the
increasing beauty of the cities, the beautiful face of the country,
cultivated and adorned like an immense garden, and the long festival of
peace which was enjoyed by so many nations, forgetful of their ancient
animosities, and delivered from the apprehension of future danger."[43]

Ancient as well as modern historians are full of complaints, in the
later periods of the Roman empire, of the prodigious increase of wealth
in the hands of the rich, and decline in the remuneration of industry to
the poor. Their complaints on this subject are so numerous, and
supported by such an array of facts, as to leave no room for doubt that
they are well founded. Indeed, it seems to have been generally true of
the whole empire north of the Mediterranean, what Mr Finlay shows was
the case down to the very latest periods in Greece, that while industry
and population in the country were ruined, the towns were in a state of
affluence and prosperity. Even so early as the time of Plutarch, the
accumulation of _debts_ had come to be complained of as an extensive
evil.[44] "These debts," says Finlay, "were generally contracted to
Roman money-lenders. So injurious did their effects become to the
provinces, that they afforded to one class the means of _accumulating
enormous fortunes by forcing others into abject poverty_. The property
of the provincial debtors was at length transferred to a very great
extent to Roman creditors. Instead of invigorating the upper classes, by
substituting an industrious timocracy for an idle aristocracy, it had a
very different effect. It introduced new feelings of rivalry and
distrust, by filling the country with foreign landlords. The weight of
debts seems to have been the chief cause of revolutions in the ancient
world. The Greeks could not long maintain the struggle, and they sunk
gradually lower in wealth, until their poverty introduced an altered
state of society, in which they learned the prudential habits of small
proprietors, and escape not only from the eye of history but even of
antiquarian research."[45]

This constant tendency of wealth, in the later periods of the Roman
empire, to accumulate in the hands of the great capitalists, accompanied
by the progressive deterioration of the condition of the middle and
working classes, is amply proved and forcibly illustrated by Sismondi,
in his admirable work on the Decline of the Roman Empire. "During the
long peace," says he, "which followed the victories of Trajan and Marcus
Aurelius, those colossal fortunes were accumulated, which, according to
Pliny, ruined Italy and the empire.[46] A single proprietor, by degrees,
came to buy up whole provinces, the conquest of which had in former days
furnished the occasion of many triumphs to the generals of the Republic.
While this huge capitalist was amassing riches, wholly disproportioned
to the capacity of man, the _once numerous and respectable, but now
beggared, middle class, disappeared from the face of the earth_. In
districts where so many brave and industrious citizens were to be seen
in former times, alike ready to defend or cultivate their fields, were
to be found nothing but slaves, who rapidly declined in number as the
fields came to be exclusively devoted to pasturage. The fertile plains
of Italy ceased to nourish its inhabitants; Rome depended entirely for
its subsistence on the harvests which its fleets brought it from Sicily,
Africa, and Egypt. From the capital to the farthest extremity of the
provinces, _depopulation and misery in the country coexisted with
enormous wealth an the towns_. From this cause the impossibility of
recruiting the legions with native Romans was experienced even in the
time of Marcus Aurelius. In his war against the Quadi and the
Marcomanni, which had been preceded by a long peace, he was obliged to
recruit the legions with the slaves and robbers of Rome."[47] It is
impossible to give a stronger proof of the extent to which this enormous
evil of the vast fortunes accumulated in the towns, and the entire ruin
of industry in the country, had gone in the last days of the empire,
than is to be found in the fact already mentioned, that when Rome was
taken by Alaric, in the year 404 after Christ, while Italy could furnish
no force to resist the invaders, the capital itself contained seventeen
hundred and sixty great families, many of them with incomes of £160,000
a-year, equal to £300,000 of our money, whose expenditure maintained an
urban population of 1,200,000 souls.[48]

It may readily be conceived, that when this prodigious concentration of
wealth in the hands of the great proprietors of towns, and ruin of
industry in the country, came to coexist with the _solid_ obligations of
the rural municipalities for the sum assessed on their districts, the
burden of the public taxes, though light at first, compared with what is
little complained of in modern times, came to be altogether
overwhelming. This accordingly was the case in all the Northern
provinces of the empire in its later stages. What every where preceded
their ruin, was the desertion of the inhabitants in consequence of the
crushing weight of the public burdens. From the entire failure of the
indirect taxes amidst the ruin of agricultural, and the imposition of
taxation on urban industry, it had become necessary to make progressive
additions to the direct taxes till they became exterminating. "Three
great direct taxes," says Sismondi, "alike ruinous, impended over the
citizens. The first was the Indictions or Land-Tax, estimated in general
at a tenth of the produce, or a third of the clear revenue, and often
doubled or tripled by the _Super indictions_ which the necessities of
the provinces compelled them to impose. Secondly: the Capitation-Tax,
which sometimes rose as high as 300 francs (£12) ahead on the free and
taxable citizens; and, third, the Corvées, or forced contributions in
labour, which were for the service of the imperial estates, or the
maintenance of the public roads. These direct imposts in the declining
days of the empire, so entirely ruined the proprietors of rural estates,
that they abandoned them in all quarters. Vast provinces in the interior
were deserted; the enrolment for the army became daily more difficult
from the disappearance of the rural population; the magistrates of
municipalities in town or country, rendered responsible for the
assessment of their districts and the levy of their quota of soldiers,
fled the country, or sought under a thousand pretexts to escape the
perilous honour of public office. So far did the desertion of the
magistracy go in the time of Valentinian, (364-375, after Christ,) that
when that cruel tyrant ordered the heads of three magistrates of towns
in a particular province to be brought to him for some alleged offences,
'Will your Imperial Majesty be pleased to direct,' said the prefect
Florentius, 'what we are to do in those towns _where three magistrates
cannot be found_?' The order was upon this revoked."[49]

The disastrous state of the rural districts amidst this accumulation of
evils is thus forcibly described by Mr Finlay:--"In many provinces, the
higher classes had been completely exterminated. The loss of their
slaves and serfs, who had often been carried away by the invaders, had
reduced many to the humble condition of labourers. Others had emigrated,
and abandoned their land to the cultivators, from being unable to obtain
any revenue from it in the miserable state to which the capture of the
stock, the loss of a market, and the destruction of the agricultural
buildings had reduced the country. In many of the towns, the diminished
population was reduced to misery by the ruin of the rural districts in
their neighbourhood. The higher classes in the country disappeared under
the weight of the municipal duties they were called upon to perform.
Houses remained unlet; and even when let, the portion of rent which was
not absorbed by the imperial taxes was insufficient to supply the
demands of the local expenditure. The labourer and the artisan alone
could find bread; the walls of cities were allowed to fall into ruins;
the streets were neglected, public buildings had become useless;
aqueducts remained unrepaired; internal communications ceased; and with
the extinction of the wealthy and educated classes in the provincial
towns, the local prejudices of the lower orders became the law of
society."[50]

Such, on a nearer survey, was the condition of the Roman empire which
preceded its fall. From it may be seen how widely the real causes of its
decline differed from the vague generalities of Montesquieu, that the
ruin of the empire was the necessary consequence of its extension; or
the still vaguer declamations of the scholars, that it was the
corruption incident to great and long-continued wealth which enervated
the people, and rendered them incapable of defending themselves against
the Northern nations. In truth, both these causes did operate, and that
too in a most powerful manner, in bringing about the ruin of the empire;
but they did so, not in the way supposed by these authors, but in an
_indirect way_, by inducing a new set of evils, which destroyed industry
in the most important of its provinces, by depriving the industrious of
a market for their industry, and rendering the public burdens
overwhelming, by changing the value of money. The operation of these
causes can now be distinctly traced by us, because we feel them working
among ourselves: their existence has not hitherto been suspected, or
their effects traced by philosophers, because no state in modern Europe
but our own, in recent times, had come within the sphere of their
influence. And to see what these causes really were, it is only
necessary to recall, in a few propositions, to the reader's mind, the
general result of the foregoing deduction:--

I. During the Republic, and till the commencement of the empire,
agriculture was in the most flourishing state in Italy; and it was in
its sturdy, free cultivators, that the legions were recruited which
conquered the world.

II. _From the time of Tiberius_, cultivation declined in the Italian and
Grecian plains, and continued to do so to the fall of the empire.
Pasturage came to supersede agriculture; population disappeared in the
fields; the race of free cultivators, the strength of the legions, were
ruined; the flocks and herds were tended only by slaves; the small
proprietors became bankrupt, or fled the country; and the whole land in
the European provinces of the empire fell into the hands of a limited
number of territorial magnates, who resided at Rome or Constantinople,
and mainly upheld, by their profuse expenditure, the prosperity of those
capitals of the empire.

III. In the midst of the general decline of rural industry in all the
provinces to the north of the Mediterranean, the wealth and prosperity
of the great cities remained undecayed. The small provincial towns were
in great part ruined; but the great cities, especially such as were on
the sea-coast, continued flourishing, and received in their ample bounds
all the refluent population from the country. Rural industry languished
and expired, but commerce was undecayed; the fortunes of the great
capitalists were daily accumulating; and in no period in the history of
mankind, were urban incomes so great as in the city of Rome, on the eve
of its capture by the Goths.

IV. While this was the state of matters to the north of the
Mediterranean, that is, in the heart of the empire, the remoter
agricultural provinces of Spain, Sicily, Lybia, and Egypt, were in the
very highest state of prosperity; they fed all the great cities of the
Roman world by their immense exportations of grain, and yet enough
remained, down to their conquest by the Vandals under Genseric, to
maintain a vast population at home, greater than has ever since existed
in those countries, in a state of affluence and comfort.

V. Taxation, from the time of its first introduction under Augustus, was
at first chiefly indirect, and by no means oppressive. Gradually,
however, the produce of the indirect taxes failed, or became inadequate
to the wants of the empire, and recourse was had to direct taxes,
levied chiefly on landed property and successions. But these direct
taxes were at first light, and not a third part of those levied on
Britain or France during the war; and the public establishments of the
Roman government were not a fourth, in proportion to the population, of
those now maintained by the great European monarchies during peace.

VI. In process of time, however, the resources of the people, in the
principal provinces of the empire, and especially those to the north of
the Mediterranean, declined to such a degree, that though the military
and naval establishments of the empire were reduced to a third of their
former amount, and became inadequate to defend its frontiers against its
enemies, the direct taxes required to be continually increased, till
they became so oppressive as to destroy industry, and prove the
immediate cause of the depopulation and ruin of the empire.

Such are the _facts_, as established by the unanimous and concurring
testimony of all the best informed historians; and now for the causes
which produced these facts. They are set forth and supported by an
equally clear and undisputable array of authorities.

       *       *       *       *       *

Even so early as the latter days of the Republic, the system was
introduced of feeding the Roman people with grain derived by tribute
from the provinces. In the time of Augustus, the annual quantity
distributed to the poorer citizens of Rome was 1,200,000 _modii_, or
35,156 quarters. But _Tiberius went a step further, and actually gave
bounties on the importation of foreign grain_. "An enormous quantity,"
says Finlay, "of grain was distributed in this way, which was received
as tribute from the provinces. Cæsar found 320,000 persons receiving
this gratuity. It is true he reduced the number to one-half. The greater
part of this grain was drawn from Sicily, Africa, and Egypt. In the time
of Alexander, generally 75,000 _modii_ was distributed daily. This
distribution enabled the poor to live in idleness, and was itself
extremely injurious to industry; but another arrangement was adopted by
the Roman government, which rendered the _cultivation of land around
Rome unprofitable to the proprietors_. A large sum was annually employed
by the state _in purchasing grain in the provinces_, and in transporting
this supply to Rome, where it was _sold at a fixed price to the bakers_.
Augustus appointed an officer, styled _Prefectus Annonæ_, whose duty was
to provide by government purchases for the subsistence of the people. An
allowance was also made _to the private importers of grain_, in order to
ensure a constant supply.[51] In this way, a very large sum was expended
_to keep grain cheap in a city_ where a variety of circumstances tended
to make it dear. This singular system of annihilating capital, _and
ruining agriculture and industry_, was so deeply rooted in the Roman
administration, that similar gratuitous distributions of grain were
established at Antioch and Alexandria, and introduced into
Constantinople when that city became the capital of the empire."[52]

The necessary effect of this system was the cessation of agriculture in
Italy, the ruin of the small proprietors, and the engrossing of the land
in the provinces by a few great landholders, who cultivated their
extensive estates by means of slaves. "Riches, far exceeding the wealth
of modern sovereigns, flowed into the hands of the great proprietors;
villas and parks were formed over all Italy on a scale of the most
stupendous grandeur; and land _became more valuable as hunting-ground
than as productive farms_. The same habits were introduced into the
provinces. In the neighbourhood of Rome, agriculture was ruined by the
public distribution of grain received as tribute from the provinces,
and by the bounty granted to merchants importing to secure a maximum
price of bread. The same system proceeded in the provinces; and similar
distributions at Alexandria and Antioch must have been equally
injurious."[53] When Constantine established his new capital on the
shores of the Bosphorus, he was under the necessity of adopting, and
even extending, the same ruinous system. "Wealthy individuals from the
provinces were compelled to keep up houses at Constantinople, pensions
were conferred upon them, and a right to distributions of provisions to
a considerable amount was annexed to those dwellings. These rations
consisted of bread, oil, wine, meat, and formed an important branch of
revenue even to the better class of citizens. These distributions were
entirely different from the public ones at Rome, which were established
as a gratification by the state to the poor citizens who had no other
means of livelihood. The tribute of grain from Egypt was appropriated to
supply Constantinople, and that of Africa was left for the consumption
of Rome. This was the tie which bound the capital to the emperors, and
the cause of the toleration shown to its factions. They both felt they
had a common interest in supporting the despotic power by which the
provinces were drained of money to support the expenditure of the court,
and supply provisions for the people."[54]

Although, however, these public distributions of grain in the chief
towns of the empire had some effect in checking the cultivation of corn
in Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor, by depriving its cultivators of their
best market, yet _the private importation of grain_ from these great
corn countries must have been a far more serious and general evil.
Gibbon states the number who received rations at Constantinople daily in
the time of Constantine at 80,000, and in Rome in the time of Tiberius
it was 180,000. Supposing the other great towns were fed in the same
proportion, perhaps a million of persons in the Roman world were
nourished at the expense of the state on Egyptian or African grain. But
a million of persons consume annually a million of quarters of grain;
not a sixtieth part of the annual consumption of the British empire at
this time, and probably not a two-hundredth part required by the
120,000,000 souls who composed the Roman empire in the days of the
Antonines. But though the state paupers were thus but a small fraction
of the whole consumers of foreign grain, yet the _general importation
was immense_, and became erelong so great as to constitute the entire
source from which the population of Italy, as well as Constantinople and
the adjacent provinces of Romelia, Macedonia, and Greece, were fed. It
was this _general importation_, not the gratuitous distributions, which
ruined Italian agriculture; for it alone was on a scale commensurate
with the population of the Italian peninsula, and could alone account
for its general ruin. Tacitus expressly says, it was the _preference_
given to African agriculture, not the gratuitous distributions, which
destroyed Italian cultivation. "At, Hercule, olim ex Italia legionibus
longinquas in provincias commeatus portabantur: nec nunc infecunditate
laboratur; _sed Africam_ POTIUS _et Egyptum excercemus, navibusque et
casibus vita populi Romani permissa est_.[55]" The supply of grain for
the Roman world was entirely obtained from Spain, Sicily, Africa, and
Egypt, while Greece was maintained by corn imported from Poland.[56] It
was not that the Italian and Grecian fields had become sterile: Tacitus
expressly says the reverse,--"_nec_ nunc infecunditate laboratur." But
the country in which grain produced fifteen fold, as Italy did, could
not compete with that which produced sixty or eighty fold, on the banks
of the Nile. Nor could the industry of the centre of the empire, where
money was plentiful, comparatively speaking, and labour was therefore
dear, stand against the competition of the remoter provinces, where it
was scarce, and labour was therefore cheap.

The ruin of Italian and Grecian agriculture from this cause is so
evident, that it is admitted by the ablest advocates of an unlimited
freedom in the corn trade. "The first effect of this system," says a
late able and learned writer on the liberal side, "_was the ruin of
Italian agriculture_. The natural market for the corn of the Italian
farmer was, to a great extent, destroyed by the artificial supplies
obtained from the provinces. Hence, as Dureau de la Malle has remarked,
(ii. 218,) the history of the seventh and eighth centuries of Rome
presents this singular contrast--that the agriculture, the population,
and products of Italy, diminish progressively as she extends her
conquests and power. The fatal influence which the gratuitous supplies
from the provinces would exercise upon the native agriculture, was
perceived by Augustus; but he abandoned his intention of altering the
system, from a conviction it would be restored by his successor. The
result was, that southern and central Italy, instead of being tilled by
a race of hardy active farmers, themselves freemen, and working on their
own land, was divided into plantations cultivated by slaves."[57] This
explains how it came to pass that Spanish agriculture took such a start
from _the time of Tiberius_; and how, in the general ruin of the empire,
Spain, Africa, and Egypt, were the only provinces which retained their
prosperity. It will be recollected that it was in the reign of Tiberius
that bounties were first given by the Roman government to the private
importers of foreign grain.

Of the main dependence of the Western empire in its declining days on
Africa, not merely for the necessary supply of food, but even for the
chief resources and strength of the state in the midst of the desolation
of its European fields, Sismondi gives a striking account--"The loss of
Africa was at this period, (439 after Christ,) perhaps the greatest
calamity which the empire of the West could have undergone. It was its
only province the defence of which cost no trouble; the only one from
which _they drew money, arms, and soldiers, without its ever requiring
any back_. It was at the same time the granary of Rome and of Italy. The
gratuitous distributions of grain at Rome, Milan, and Ravenna, had, over
the whole Italian peninsula, destroyed the cultivation of grain.
Experience had proved that the return could not pay its expense; and the
reason was, that the more fertile fields of Africa furnished a part of
the harvest destined for the nourishment of the people of Italy. The
sudden stoppage of that supply by the conquest of Africa by the Vandals,
caused a cruel famine in Italy; which still further reduced its wretched
inhabitants."[58] And so entirely did Constantinople become dependent on
foreign importation of sea-borne grain from Egypt and the Ukraine for
its support, that "when the Persians, in the year 618, overran Egypt,
and stopped the usual supplies of grain from that province, the famine
became so alarming, that the government determined upon transferring
_the seat of empire to Carthage_ in Africa, as the most likely point
from whence the dominion of Syria and Egypt might be regained."[59] The
latter of these had long been regarded as _the most valuable province of
the empire_.[60]

When this entire dependence of the great cities in the northern parts of
the empire, for centuries together, on Spain, Sicily, Africa, and Egypt,
is considered, it must with every rational mind cease to be a matter of
surprise that its west and northern provinces declined in industry and
population; that these grain provinces to the south of the Mediterranean
alone retained their numbers and prosperity; and that under the constant
decline, in the European provinces, in the market for agricultural
produce, the rural population disappeared, and the recruiting of the
army in the country became impossible. It is not surprising that while
they were enrolling slaves in Italy, and enlisting barbarians on the
Danube and the Rhine, to defend the frontiers, from Africa and Spain
alone they drew supplies both of money and soldiers, without requiring
to send back any. The latter provinces were the granary and garden of
the empire; the only part of it where rural industry met with
remunerating prices or adequate encouragement. And the same
circumstances explain in a great degree how it happened, that while the
_rural_ districts of Italy, Greece, Asia Minor, and Romelia, were
continually declining in population, rental, and revenue, their _towns_,
especially on the sea-coast, were, down to the last days of their
existence, in a flourishing condition. These towns were the seat of
manufactures and commerce. It was by their capital that the vast corn
trade by which all the cities of the empire were fed was carried on. It
was their fabrics which mainly furnished the means of purchasing the
immense proportion of this grain, which, being imported by private
importers, required to be paid for in some species of manufactured
produce. And the reason why grain was raised so much cheaper, and
therefore profitably, in Egypt, Lybia, and Spain, than in Italy and
Greece, was, partly, that the former of these countries were by nature
blessed with a more prolific soil and a warmer sun than the latter; and,
partly, that as Rome and Constantinople were the two capitals of the
empire, the greater part of its wealth was attracted, either by taxes,
tribute, or the concourse of the rich, to them, and, consequently, the
abundance of riches rendered money cheap, labour dear, and cultivation,
when exposed to foreign competition, unprofitable.

But there was more in the case than this. Simultaneously with the vast
and increasing importation of foreign grain, which at length destroyed
cultivation in all the northern provinces of the empire, a _continual
diminution of its circulating medium_ was going forward; and it was to
the combined and cotemporaneous operation of these two causes, that the
ruin of the empire is beyond all question to be ascribed.

So early as the days of Tiberius, the abstraction of the gold and silver
currency of the empire by the incessant drain of foreign commerce, was
loudly complained of by the Roman writers; and there is the most
decisive proof, that in the course of time the supply of the precious
metals on the empire became so inadequate to the wants of its
inhabitants, that their value was enhanced to a great and ruinous
degree. It was the commerce of the East which first induced this
destructive drain upon the metallic treasures of the empire. "The
objects," says Gibbon, "of oriental traffic were splendid and trifling;
silk--a pound of which was esteemed worth a pound of gold--precious
stones, and a variety of aromatics, were the chief articles. The labour
and risks of the voyage were rewarded with almost incredible profit; but
it was made on Roman subjects, and at the expense of the public. As the
nations of Arabia and India were contented with the produce and
manufactures of their own country, silver, on the side of the Romans,
was the principal, if not the only instrument of commerce. It was a
complaint worthy of the gravity of the senate, that in the pursuit of
female ornaments, the wealth of the state was irrecoverably given away
to foreign and hostile nations. The annual loss is computed by a writer
of an inquisitive but censorious temper, (Pliny,) at £800,000 sterling.
Such was the style of discontent brooding over the dark prospect of
approaching poverty."[61] Eight hundred thousand pounds a-year,
equivalent to about two millions of our money, must have been a severe
drain upon the supply of the precious metals in the Roman empire; and
we, who have seen in 1839 the Bank of England reel, and the United
States bank fall, under the effect of an exportation of six or seven
millions of sovereigns to buy foreign grain in a single year, can
appreciate the effect of such a constant drain upon a state, the
metallic resources of which were much less considerable than those of
England at this time.

The immense importation also of African and Egyptian grain, which
continued from the time of Tiberius down to the very close of the
empire, must have occasioned a great additional abstraction of the
precious metals from the Roman world. It has already been shown that a
very small proportion of the grain imported from these distant provinces
was remitted in the shape of tribute. By far the greater part, probably
nineteen-twentieths of the whole supply, was imported by private
merchants for sale, as it could be got from them cheaper than it could
be raised at home. This imported corn, of course, required to be paid
for in something. But the inhabitants of the countries from which it
came--Spain, Sicily, Africa, and Egypt--for the most part slaves,
blessed with a fine climate, requiring little covering, and nearly
destitute of artificial wants, did not require, and could not consume,
any considerable amount of Italian or Grecian fabrics. Thus, by far the
greatest part of the price of the imported grain was paid in gold and
silver, for which there is a constant demand in all countries, savage or
civilized. A nation which imports foreign grain largely, _must_ in all
ages export the precious metals as largely; because the corn, of course,
is brought from those countries where it is raised the cheapest--and the
countries where this is the case, are those where labour is cheap, money
scarce, and artificial wants unknown. Money is what these countries
want, and money is what their surplus produce is nearly all exchanged
for. And this explains how it happened, that in the decline of the
empire, Spain, Africa, and Egypt, alone retained their flourishing
aspect, and were the only provinces from which money and soldiers could
be obtained, while they required none. The whole commerce between them
and Italy, or Greece, was one in which grain was exchanged for the
precious metals; and when they once got these, great part was hoarded,
as it now is in the East, and very little ever returned.

In addition to this, the mines which supplied the Roman world failed to
a considerable extent under the emperors. "The poverty of Greece, as of
the whole empire," says Finlay, "was further increased _by the gradual
rise in the value of the precious metals_; an evil which began to be
generally felt about the time of Nero, and affected Greece with great
severity, from the altered distribution of wealth in the country with
which it was attended. Greece had once been rich in mines, which had
been a source of wealth and prosperity to Siphnos and Atticus, and had
laid the foundation of the power of Philip of Macedon. The fiscal
measures of the Romans soon rendered it a _ruinous speculation for
individuals to attempt working mines of the precious metals_; and, in
the hands of the state, they soon proved unprofitable. Many mines were
exhausted; and even _though the value of the precious metals was
enhanced_, some mines beyond the sphere of the Roman power _were
abandoned_ from those causes which, after the second century of the
Christian era, produced a sensible diminution in the commercial
transactions of the Old Hemisphere.[62] Greece shared in the general
decay: her commerce and manufactures, being confined to supplying the
consumption of a diminished and impoverished population, sunk into
insignificancy. _An accumulation of debts became general throughout the
country_, and formed an extensive evil, as already observed, in the time
of Plutarch."[63]

As this great diminution on the supply, and drain upon the treasures of
the precious metals in the time of the emperors, lowered the value of
every species of produce, so it proportionally augmented debts, and
swelled the already overgrown fortunes of the capitalists. What Finlay
says of Greece was true of the whole European provinces of the
empire:--"_The property of the Grecian debtors was at last transferred
to a very great extent to the Roman creditors._"[64] The gradual
diminution in the supply of, or abstraction of the precious metals, by
contracting the currency, lowered prices, and thus diminished the
returns of industry; while it proportionally augmented debts, and added
to the fortunes of the great capitalists and landholders. This again
produced another effect upon the manners of the inhabitants of the great
cities, which had an equally powerful effect in increasing the drain
upon that portion of the precious metals which was employed in the
public currency. The rich patricians of Rome, Antioch, and
Constantinople, possessed of colossal fortunes to which nothing in
modern times will bear a comparison, and nursed in habits of luxury and
expense beyond any thing we can even conceive, daily augmented the
amount of their immense incomes, which was devoted to the purposes of
extravagance. "The historians of the second and third centuries," says
Finlay, "are filled with lamentations on this subject."[65] It is not
surprising that it was so. Men possessed, in private stations, of as
much as three or four hundred thousand pounds a-year of modern money,
could not get through their incomes without indulging in the habitual
purchase of the most costly articles. Society in this way had come to
verify the saying of Bacon--"Above all things, good policy is to be used
that the treasure and money in a state _be not gathered into few hands_.
For otherwise, a state may _have a great stock and yet starve_. And
money is like muck, not good unless it be spread."

Hence the consumption and permanent fixing of gold and silver in the
form of plate and costly ornaments, increased in the great families down
to the very close of the empire; and while the currency was constantly
declining, and prices in consequence falling in the provinces, the
colossal capitalists of Rome and Constantinople were daily absorbing
more of the precious metals in these beautiful but unproductive objects.
The quantity of gold and silver moulded into the form of vases, statues,
tripods, and personal ornaments, which was accumulated in Rome at the
time it was taken by the Goths, would exceed belief if not attested by
the unanimous testimony of all the contemporary writers. Great part of
it was thrown into the Tiber, where it still remains covered by the
alluvial deposits of fourteen centuries; the most precious of the spoils
were buried with Alaric in the bed of a stream in Calabria, where that
redoubtable conqueror was overtaken by the common fate of mortality. The
place where he was interred was kept a profound secret, and the slaves
who dug his grave in the bed of the river, of which the course had been
turned aside for the purpose, were put to death, and buried with him and
his treasures; and the river itself was immediately let into its old
channel, that its ceaseless flow might secure, as it since has done, the
grave of the mighty chief from disturbance, and enable him to present
himself loaded with his earthly spoils in the land of spirits.[66]

The concurring operation of these causes produced, in the three last
centuries of the Roman empire, a very great scarcity in the supply of
the precious metals for the purposes of the public currency, and
consequently a most distressing fall in prices, and diminution in the
remuneration of industry, accompanied by a proportional increase in the
weight of debt and taxes. And the progressive effect of these changes
appeared in the clearest manner, in the repeated changes which were made
by successive emperors in the value of the gold and silver coins which
passed current in the empire. Gold became progressively so scarce in
proportion to silver, that the proportion between the two, which at
first had been 1 to 10 in the time of Augustus, rose in time to 1 to
12-1/2, and was fixed by Constantine the Great at 1 to 14-2/5ths.[67] In
consequence of this rise in the value of gold--the precise counterpart
of what was experienced in Great Britain in the later years of the war,
when a _light_ guinea sold for 25s.--the quantity of gold in the
_aureus_, or chief gold Roman coin, was progressively diminished, till
it came to contain little more than _half_ its former weight of that
precious metal. The learned Greaves has shown, after diligent inquiry,
that while in the time of the Antonines the _aureus_ weighed 118, in the
time of Majorian, in the fifth century, it had come to weigh only 68
grains.[68] This is a clear indication, that 68 grains of gold were now
equal in value to what 118 grains had been three centuries before; for
Majorian, by a special decree, ordered all _aurei_ of whatever reign,
the Gallic _solidus_ alone excepted, to pass, not according to weight
but standard.[69] That is the most decisive proof to what a grievous
extent the currency had, from the operation of the causes which have
been mentioned, come to be contracted; for as gold constitutes, from its
superior value, at least nine-tenths of the circulating medium of every
civilized state, so great a rise in its value could only have been
occasioned by a very great contraction of the whole currency. We know in
what state the metallic currency of Great Britain was when the _light_
guinea was selling for twenty-five shillings.

In the latter days of the empire, when the invasions of the barbarians
began, and its provinces were liable to be pierced through and overrun
by columns of their predatory hordes, the universal and well-founded
terror produced a general _hoarding_ of the precious metals, which
entirely withdrew them from circulation, until they were forced from the
trembling inhabitants by threats of massacre or conflagration. The
effect of this, in contracting the currency, and causing the little that
remained to disappear altogether from the circulation, of course was
prodigious. It lowered to almost nothing the money-price of every
species of industry, and proportionally augmented the weight of public
and private debts--the subject of such loud and constant complaints from
ancient historians. Nor was this evil confined to the latest periods of
the empire of the West--the years which immediately preceded its fall.
From the time of Commodus, who succeeded Marcus Antoninus, the
incursions of the barbarians into the northern provinces of the empire
had been severely felt; and from the time of the separation of the
empires of the East and West, they were almost perpetual, and sometimes
extended far into its interior provinces. The effect of these alarms and
dangers, in producing a universal disposition to hoard, and consequently
rendering money every where scarce, prices cheap, and debts and taxes
oppressive, was very great, and may be regarded as one of the chief
causes of the excessive and crushing weight which the direct burdens of
the state acquired in the later periods of the empire.

The resource so well known, and so often had recourse to with the
happiest effects, in modern times, to supply the void produced by a
temporary or permanent drain of the precious metals, was unknown in
antiquity. _They had no paper currency._ Even bills of exchange were
unknown. They, as is well known, were a contrivance of the Jews, in the
middle ages, to transport their wealth in a commodious form, when
threatened with persecution, from one country to another. To what an
extent paper of these various kinds has come to supply the place of gold
and silver, may be judged of by the fact, that during the war, the paper
currency of Great Britain and Ireland rose to £60,000,000 sterling; and
that, at the present time, the private bills in circulation in it are
estimated at £132,000,000 sterling. But this admirable resource, by
which an accidental or temporary dearth of the precious metals is
supplied by a paper currency, circulating at par with it, and fully
supplying, as long as credit lasts, its place, was unknown in the
ancient world. Gold, silver, and copper were their sole circulating
mediums; and consequently, when they were progressively withdrawn, by
the causes which have been mentioned, from the currency, there was
nothing left to supply their place. Instantly, as if by the stroke of a
fell necromancer, disasters of every kind accumulated on the wretched
inhabitants. Credit was violently shaken; money disappeared; prices
fell to a ruinous degree; industry could obtain no remuneration; the
influence and ascendancy of realized capital became irresistible; and
the only efficient power left in the state was that of the emperor, who
wrenched his taxes out of the impoverished hands of his subjects, or of
the creditors and landlords, who, by legal process, exacted their debts
from their debtors, and drove them to desperation. This was exactly the
social state of the empire in its declining days. We can appreciate its
horrors, from having had a foretaste of them during the commercial
crises with which, during the last twenty-five years, this country has
been visited.

From what has now been said, it is evident that the two circumstances
which occasioned the fall of the Roman empire, were _the destruction of
its domestic agriculture, by the importation of grain from its distant
provinces, and the accumulation of debts and taxes, arising from the
contraction of the currency_. If these causes be attentively considered,
it will be found that they not only afford a perfect solution of its
fall, but explain how it happened at the period it did, and had not
occurred at an earlier period. They show what it was which, slowly but
steadily, wasting away the vitals of the empire, successively destroyed
its rural population and agricultural industry, and at length crushed
its property under the increasing load of debts and taxes. They explain
how it happened that the indirect taxes, which at first were sufficient,
with a moderate imposition of five per cent on inheritances, to support
the large military and naval establishments of Augustus, became
gradually unproductive, and were at length succeeded by direct taxes on
land, of severe, and in the end destructive amount. They show what every
page of contemporary history demonstrates, that it was neither the
superior military power of the barbarians, nor the diminished skill and
courage of the legions, which occasioned the overthrow of the mighty
fabric, but the _wasting away of its internal resources_--which was the
real cause of its decay. They tell us that it was not the timidity of
the legions, but _the inability of government to array them in
sufficient strength_, which rendered them unequal to the contest with an
enemy whom, during the vigour of the state, they had so often repelled.
They explain how it happened that Italy and Greece had become deserts in
their rural districts, before one of the barbarians had crossed either
the Alps or the Hæmus and how Africa, Spain, and Egypt, alone of the
provinces, retained their prosperity, when rural industry was wellnigh
extinct in all the other parts of the empire. Lastly, they explain how
it happened, that while the rural districts to the north of the
Mediterranean were so generally relapsing into a state of desolation,
the great cities of Greece and Italy long retained their prosperity, and
the wealth of the capitalists and great proprietors who inhabited them,
was continually increasing, while all other classes were ground to the
earth under the weight of public or private burdens.

It must appear, at first sight, not a little extraordinary that the very
causes which thus evidently led to the destruction of Rome, viz., the
unlimited importation of foreign grain and contraction of the currency,
are those which have been most the object of the policy of the British
government, for the last quarter of a century, by every possible means
to promote in this country. They were imposed upon Rome by necessity.
The extension of the empire over Spain, Africa, and Egypt, as well as
the magnanimous policy of its government towards all its subjects,
rendered a free trade in grain with the provinces, and large
importations from the great corn countries, unavoidable. Public
misfortunes, the increasing luxury of the rich, that very great
importation of grain itself, the failure of the Spanish and Grecian
mines, and the entire want of any paper currency to supply the place of
the metals thus largely abstracted, necessarily and unavoidably forced
this calamitous contraction of the currency upon the Roman empire. But
the British policy has adopted the same principles, and done the same
things, when _no necessity_ or external pressure rendered it
unavoidable. A free trade in grain is to be introduced, not in favour of
distant provinces of the empire, but of its neighbours and its enemies.
The currency has been contracted, not by public calamities, or any
deficiency in the means of supplying the failure of the ordinary sources
of gold and silver, but by the fixed determination of government,
carried into execution by repeated acts of Parliament in 1819, 1826, and
1844, to abridge the paper circulation, and deprive the nation of the
benefit of the great discovery of modern times, by which the calamitous
effects of the diminution in the supply of the precious metals
throughout the world have been so materially prevented.

Such a result must appear under all circumstances strange, and would be
inexplicable, if we did not reflect, that the same impulse which was
communicated to the measures of government in Rome by the influence of
the capitalists and the clamorous inhabitants of great towns, is equally
felt in the same stage of society in modern times. The people in our
great cities do not call out, as in ancient days, for gratuitous
distributions of corn from Lybia or Egypt; but they clamour just as
loudly for free trade in grain with Poland and the Ukraine, which has
the effect of swamping the home-grower quite as completely. The great
capitalists do not make colossal fortunes by the plunder of subject
provinces, as in the days of the Roman proconsuls; but they never cease
to exert their influence to procure a contraction of the currency by the
measures of government, which answers the purpose of augmenting their
fortunes at the expense of the industrious classes just as well.
Political writers, social philosophers, practical statesmen, fall in
with the prevailing disposition of _the most influential classes_; they
deceive themselves into the belief that they are original, and
promulgating important truths, when they are merely yielding to the
pressure of the strongest, or at least the most noisy, class at the
moment in society. The Reform Bill gave _three-fifths_ of the British
representation to the members for boroughs. From that moment the
eventual adoption of legislative measures favourable to the interests of
capital, and agreeable to the wishes of the inhabitants of towns, how
destructive soever to those of the country, was as certain as the daily
distribution of Egyptian grain to the inhabitants of Rome, Antioch, and
Constantinople was, when the mob of these cities became, from their
formidable numbers, an object of dread to the Roman government.

The only answer which the partisans of free trade in grain have ever
attempted to these considerations is, that the ruin of the agriculture
in the central provinces of the Roman empire was owing, not to the
importation of foreign corn as a mercantile commodity, but to its
_distribution gratuitously_ to the poorer citizens of Rome,
Constantinople, and some of the larger cities in the empire. They
_admit_, in its fullest extent, the decay of domestic agriculture, and
consequent ruin of the state, but allege it was owing to this gratuitous
distribution, which was in fact a poor-law, and not to the free trade in
grain.[70] But a very little consideration must be sufficient to show
that this is an elusory distinction; and that it was the unrestricted
admission of foreign wheat by purchase, which in reality, coupled with
the contraction of the currency, destroyed the dominion of the legions.

1. In the first place, the number who received these gratuitous
distributions was, as already shown, _so small_, when compared to the
whole body of the grain-consuming population, that they could not
materially have affected the market for agricultural produce in Italy.
Not more than 150,000 persons received rations in Rome daily, and
perhaps as many in the other cities of Italy. What was this in a
peninsula containing at that period sixteen or eighteen millions of
souls, and with 2,300,000 in its capital alone?[71] It is evident that
the gratuitous distributions of grain, taking those at their greatest
extent, could not have embraced a fiftieth part of the Italian
population. What ruined the agriculturists, who used to feed the
remaining forty-nine fiftieths? The unlimited importation of cheap grain
from Spain, Egypt, Sicily, and Lybia, and nothing else.

2. In the next place, even if the gratuitous distributions of grain had
embraced twenty times the number which they did, nothing can be clearer
than that the effect _on agriculture_ is the same, whether cheap foreign
grain is imported by the private importer, or bought and distributed by
the government. If the home-grower _loses his market_, it is the same
thing to him whether he does so from the effects of private importation
or public distribution; whether his formidable competitor is the
merchant, who brings the Lybian grain to the Tiber; or the government,
which exacts it as a tribute from Sicily or Egypt. The difference is
very great to the _urban_ population, whether they receive their foreign
grain in return for their own labour, or get it doled out to them from
the government store as the price of keeping quiet. But to the _rural_
cultivator it is immaterial, whether destruction comes upon him in the
one way or the other. It is the _importation of foreign grain_ which
ruins him; and the effect is the same, whether the price paid for is the
gold of the capitalist, or the blood of the legions.



ELINOR TRAVIS.

A TALE IN THREE CHAPTERS.


CHAPTER THE FIRST.

It is now forty years since I found myself, for the first time in my
life, in the once fashionable city of Bath. I had accompanied thither
from London a dear friend from whom I had parted two years before at
Oxford; a man as noble as ingenuous, as gentle as he was brave. Few men
could boast the advantages enjoyed by Rupert Sinclair. Born of noble
blood, of a family whose peerage had been raised upon the foundation of
a huge wealth, handsome in person, intellectual, well-informed,
enthusiastic and aspiring, he bred a fascination around his existence
which it was difficult to resist. I had already graduated when Rupert
Sinclair entered Christ Church as a gentleman commoner; I was, moreover,
his senior by five years, yet from the moment I saw him until the hour
of his decease--with one painful interregnum--we were firm and
unflinching friends. He was sent to the university, like others of his
rank, to acquire such knowledge of men and books as a temporary
residence--and that alone--in an atmosphere of mingled learning and
frivolity, is generally supposed to impart. His father looked upon all
book knowledge as superfluous, except in a parson or schoolmaster; his
lady mother would have been shocked to find him, whether at Oxford or
elsewhere, any thing but the gay and fashionable nonentity which her
taste and experience had taught her to regard as the perfection of God's
fair creation. Lord Railton was a courtier, and affected to be a
politician; her ladyship was a woman of fashion. It is surprising to me
that, with their views of a nobleman's duties at Oxford, they should
have thought it necessary to procure for their son the services of one
who had nothing better to offer for his amusement, than the poor
learning he had picked up at Eton and elsewhere, to dole out again to
the best advantage, for the support of himself and widowed mother. I
ought rather to say it was surprising to me _then_. I have grown wiser
since. A tutor was necessary to the position of Lord Railton's son, and
it was my happiness to be chosen the instructor of Rupert Sinclair.
Every possible pains had been taken to ruin the intellect and impair the
moral faculties of the youth. His earliest teachers had been strictly
enjoined to give him no tasks which should subject him to the slightest
inconvenience, and were forbidden, under pain of dismissal, to ruffle
the serenity of his temper, or intercept the slightest movement of his
mind, however cross or wayward. Rupert in his very cradle had been
taught, both by precept and example, that his equals in rank were his
fellow creatures, and that all below him were--creatures, it is true,
but the fellows of one another, and not of him and such as he; that the
men to whose virtue, discretion, and conduct he was confided--his
TEACHERS--were--oh, mockery of mockeries!--his dependents and inferiors,
and necessary to him as his nurse or footman, but not a whit more so!
Lord Railton was a tyrant, self-willed and imperious by nature, and as
cold-blooded and selfish as a superadded artistocratic education could
render him. He saw little of his children, whom he terrified when he did
see them, and busied himself in this world with little more than the
intrigues and plots of the political junto to whom he was bound by a
community of interests, rather than affectionately attached. It is my
firm belief that miracles have not ceased upon the earth. Invisible
angels interpose now, as did the living saints of old, to repair the
faults and infirmities of nature, and by a suspension of our ordinary
laws to proclaim the might and mercy of the Divinity. How but by a
miracle could the character of Rupert Sinclair have belied the natural
reasoning of all ordinary mortals, exhibiting the utter annihilation of
the intimate connexion of cause and effect, and the independence of the
infant soul, when God so wills it, of the machinations of the wicked,
and the vicious trifling of the foolish? The good sense of the youth had
strengthened and increased under the enervating system which would have
destroyed a weaker brain and a less honest heart. I was the tutor of
Sinclair, but I suffered him to sketch out his own plan of study. His
mother had not failed to forward me the usual instructions respecting
the treatment of her darling child; but had she been silent I should not
have insisted upon a strict adherence to the college system with one
who, neither in the university nor in the world, to which he was about
to be summoned, would be tasked to remember or repeat one syllable of
his lessons. Great is the temptation to dwell upon these early days of
our attachment; for, alas! a pang must wait upon the pen when it traces
the last record of a period unclouded by grief. An account of the
earliest springtime that promised so fair a summer and harvest, is, it
is true, not necessary to the main plot of the drama I have undertaken
to write; but one of its chief characters can hardly be thoroughly
understood without some reference to his conduct and pursuits previously
to the commencement of the action. To say that I was prepossessed in
favour of my pupil after my first conversation with him, is to say but
little. I was at once surprised, delighted, and charmed. I had expected
to receive a spoiled child of fortune; a giddy, self-willed, arrogant,
and overbearing boy. I met with one whose demeanour was gentle, modest,
and sedate. A childlike simplicity governed his manners; reflection and
sound judgment his discourse. Long before the close of my young friend's
academical career I had gained his entire confidence--he my heart; and
_at_ the close of it, I had not occasion to change one opinion or one
sentiment entertained for my charge at the commencement of our
friendship; so transparent are the minds of the ingenuous, and of those
whom nature shelters from the baleful influences of life. It must,
however, be stated, that in the all but perfect specimen of humanity
presented to the world in the person of Rupert Sinclair, there existed
one flaw to convict it of mortality, and to establish its relation with
universal error. The simplicity spoken of as characteristic of the man,
degenerated into weakness; faith in the goodness of his fellow-creatures
into glaring credulity. It is a singular fact, and one that must be
accounted for by those who have made the _Mind_ an especial study, that
whilst no man was quicker in detecting the slightest indication of his
own imperfection in another, no one could be less conscious of its
existence in himself, or less alive to imposition, the moment it was
practised under his own eye, and against his own good-nature. How many
times, during his residence in Oxford, Rupert Sinclair became the
victim of the unprincipled and the sharper, I will not venture to say,
prepared as I am to assert that no discovery of falsehood and imposture
ever convinced him of the folly of his benevolence, or of the
worthlessness of the objects upon whom his favours had been showered.
The world is said to be divided into two classes; into those who suspect
all men until they are proved honest, and those who believe all men
honest until they are proved to be false. The name of Rupert Sinclair
might be written in neither category. He not only believed the world to
be good prior to experience, but he denied it to be bad, let experience
succeed as it might in convicting it of evil.

It was exactly two years after Sinclair quitted Oxford, that I received
a letter from him, requesting me to meet him in London as soon after the
receipt of his letter as my engagements would permit. The long vacation
had again commenced. Rupert was no longer a student, or, to speak more
correctly, books had now become the solace and recreation of his leisure
hours, rather than the business of his life. To please his fond and very
foolish mother, he had accepted a commission in the Guards. The small
ambition of Lady Railton was consummated the moment her noble boy
appeared in her drawing-room "en grande tenue;" as for the peer, he was
too absorbed in his own diplomacy to interfere with that of her
ladyship, in whose knowledge of the world and sound discretion he placed
unbounded faith. I attended to the summons of Sinclair without delay.
Upon arriving in London I went to his hotel, and found him recovering
from a fit of illness which at one period had threatened his life, but
of which he had as yet kept his family in ignorance. He had been
recommended by his physicians to try the waters and mild temperature of
Bath; and he was willing to obey them, provided I would become his
companion. My time was my own, and I loved Sinclair too well to throw an
obstacle in his way, had not the offer itself been temptation enough to
one who had passed so many months of physical inactivity, without one
holiday, in the dusty gloominess of college rooms. In the course of two
days our preparations were made, and we quitted London.

A week glided by in happy idleness. The invalid, compelled to keep his
room for many hours of the day, was thrown upon his resources, and upon
such as I could command for his amusement. The past is always a pleasant
subject of discourse where the speakers are young, and the past is a day
of sunshine, still lingering and warm. The days we had seen were bright
enough, and to speak of them was to bring them back in all their recent
freshness. Rupert was twenty-one, and he wondered at the ingratitude of
man that called this world a scene of strife and misery. I was
twenty-six, and as yet without a calamity. I had never known my father;
and I had maintained my mother in comfort for many years. I had yet to
part with _her_.

Another week, and the invalid was convalescent. The walks were extended
and the prescriptions torn up. Invitations came and were accepted. A
distant relative of Lady Railton was in Bath. Sinclair visited her, and
was the next day a guest at her table. There was another guest there.
Her name was ELINOR TRAVIS.

Twenty times, on the day I speak of, had Sinclair resolved not to keep
his engagement, but to send an apology to Mrs Twisleton, and to return
to London on the following morning. He had become tired, he said, of
idleness, and the frivolities that surrounded us. One word of
encouragement from me, and Sinclair would _not_ have dined with Mrs
Twisleton, would _not_ have met with _her_ who gave the colouring to his
future life, would _not_ have blasted every----but I must not
anticipate.

General Travis and his family were amongst the most fashionable of the
gay multitude then resident at Bath. They lived in first-rate style, and
gathered about them all who aspired to a position in that upper world
peopled pre-eminently by the "ton." The general was reputed a man of
enormous wealth, and his banker's book procured for him the respect that
was denied him in Debrett. The general was the father of two
children--daughters--Elinor and Adela. His wife was also living. They
were all, according to report, essentially dashing people. So much I
knew of them at the period of Sinclair's first acquaintance with the
ill-fated Elinor.

After dining with Mrs Twisleton, Sinclair altered his mind. His
departure was delayed. Within a day or two he was again invited to Mrs
Twisleton's, and again he met the general and his family. Well, there
was nothing to excite suspicion in all this! Sinclair said nothing; no
observation escaped me. I concluded that a few days would put an end to
the new interest that had been raised, and that we should return to
London as quietly as we had left it. I was grievously mistaken.

Since our arrival in Bath we had been early risers, and our habits
generally somewhat primitive. Suddenly Sinclair took it into his head to
walk without me for an hour or so before breakfast. He invariably looked
flushed and confused on his return. At least I thought so. I was
puzzled, but still said nothing.

I had been favoured by Mrs Twisleton with one or two invitations to
dinner, but had never cared to accept them. I resolved, should
opportunity again offer, to accompany Sinclair to this lady's house.
Whilst waiting, somewhat impatiently and in vain, for another invitation
from Mrs Twisleton, a grand ball was announced at General Travis's, and
Sinclair was in the number of the favoured guests. He was requested to
bring his friend. "His friend" did not refuse.

There were in truth grandeur, profusion, and style sufficient in the
entertainments of that evening. No additional outlay could have added to
the sumptuous provision that was made for the gratification and delight
of every sense. Eye and ear were ravished by the luxuries set before
them, and the grosser appetites were not forgotten. What Indian wealth!
What princely hospitality! Well might the general be esteemed the most
royal of entertainers. Nobility lost none of its prerogative in mixing
in such a scene as this, upon which an emperor might have descended with
no dishonour to his ermine. I experienced for a time the full power of
the enchantment, and acknowledged, against my will, the sovereign
dominion of Mammon. I was presented to my hostess and the general. The
former was a woman of fifty or thereabouts, delicately formed, pale, and
somewhat sickly-looking; there were traces of feminine beauty on her
countenance, but, such as they were, retreating rapidly before disease
or care, or some ailment hidden from the looker-on. She seemed more like
a gentle handmaiden than the mistress of the happy feast. The general
was of another race of beings. He stood six feet two, but his extreme
height was modified by the admirable proportions of his frame. He was
firmly built, and but for a certain unsatisfactory expression in his
countenance, might have been considered one of the handsomest men of his
day. This expression it is not easy to describe. It proceeded from his
eye, and seemed to communicate with all his features, leaving the stamp
of low cunning upon every one. The eye was large and grey, and very
restless; always in motion; always attempting to convey more than the
inner man would answer for, or the observer take for granted. It had a
volubility of expression like his tongue, and both bespoke their owner
no efficient actor.

"You look magnificent to-night," said Sinclair, addressing the general
after my introduction.

"So, so, with slender opportunities!" said the general. "See us in
London, my young friend. No place in the world like London for the
exercise of a man's genius--a woman's it should be said, to-night, for
Elinor is the presiding genius here. Have you ever seen these flowers?
Pretty, eh? Her handiwork."

Sinclair trifled for a moment with an exquisite specimen of artificial
flowers, adorning an alabaster vase; but he gave no answer.

"Have you seen her to-night?" continued the general.

"Not yet."

"She's with the Indian Yahoo, no doubt. He arrived this afternoon, and
she will give him no rest. She has engaged him for the first four
quadrilles, that she may hear the natural history of the Chimpanzee
without interruption, which her cousin has promised to relate to her at
the first convenient opportunity."

"Her cousin has arrived then?" asked Sinclair, turning slightly pale.

"This very day. Our information is quite correct. His mother, the Begum,
is dead, and has left him enough in jewels to purchase an empire. The
specie found in chests is immense. A lucky dog, with that brown face of
his! If it were as black as soot, he might command a duchess. Elinor and
he are first cousins, and are much attached, although they haven't seen
each other for years."

As the general spoke, music struck up, and a movement in our immediate
neighbourhood announced the approach of dancers. Amongst them was a
young and lovely woman. Her arm was in that of a small man, with a
copper-coloured face and disgusting features. His beautiful partner,
more beautiful by the contrast, looked proud of her prize, which, if I
correctly interpreted the admiring gaze of the assembly, was coveted for
one reason or another by every dowager and unmarried woman in the room.
I felt an instinctive longing to smother the Yahoo.

Inexpressibly lovely looked Elinor Travis, as she gracefully led off the
merry dance. She had reached her twentieth year, and was in the full
glory of her womanhood. Tall, yet exquisitely moulded, she left nothing
for fancy to desire or imagination to create. Her dark and animated eye
sparkled with living joy, and her perfect features were illuminated by
its fire. I had never before beheld a creature so richly endowed with
natural gifts; one who united in her person so much grace, sculpture,
and expression; and yet, strange to say, the feeling all inspired was
the very opposite to that which might have been expected. The
consciousness of beauty was too definitely written upon that brow. That
melting eye had inherited too much of the worldliness that played about
the eager vision of her sire. Maidenly modesty and retirement were
wanting to elevate and dignify mere voluptuousness. I was repulsed
rather than attracted by a form, which, had it been more feminine, might
have served for an angel; and as it was, was not sufficiently divine for
a mortal woman. Such was my first impression, formed almost upon the
instant. It never was removed.

Sinclair and I looked on. The spirits of Elinor were exuberant. She
laboured as it seemed, under more than ordinary excitement. She laughed
and chatted with her tawny partner with a delight which it was
impossible for such a copper monster to create. The gaiety of the lady
had but one effect upon her partner. At short intervals he opened his
jaws and exhibited his teeth to the company. Having rivalled a hyena in
the hideousness of his grin, he closed the jaws and hid his molars. Far
different was the effect upon another. It took but a very little time to
discover that Rupert Sinclair had not been proof against the charms of
this darling of nature. His heart had felt her witchery, and his spirit
was enchained--not utterly and irretrievably, I fondly trusted, for I
knew his worth, and could not willingly entrust him to such doubtful
keeping. Elinor Travis was not the wife for Rupert Sinclair. Thanks to
the Yahoo, my fears at first were not alarming; still it was vexatious
enough to behold the pain with which Sinclair evidently regarded the
good fortune of the Indian, and the complacency with which the monster
received the favour of one of the loveliest of her sex. Once during the
dance, the change of the figure brought the lady within a few feet of
Sinclair. Her back was towards him, but, as if aware of his vicinity,
she turned round and cast the lustre of her full eye upon him. She
smiled, and archly nodded. Rupert shook like a leaf; the colour mounted
to his cheek, and his heart beat almost audibly. I grew alarmed. My
faith in the Yahoo was shaken, and I trembled for my friend. The
position of the dancers was again reversed. Elinor faced us. Her eye
once more was fixed upon Rupert, but this time, as I believed, exulting
in triumph. Could it be possible that she was aware of her influence,
and that she inhumanly trifled with this man's affection? What meant
that ardent gaze and that triumphant smile? As the general had informed
us, so it happened. The Yahoo danced four quadrilles with Elinor, and
then vouchsafed the loan of his blackness to other ladies for the rest
of the evening. Miss Travis being at liberty, I proposed to Rupert an
adjournment to our hotel. The gentleman, in answer, started up and
secured the hand of Elinor for the next dance. His chair at my side was
filled on the instant by the general himself. I listened and replied to
the questions of the latter as well as I could, watching every movement,
step, and gesture of the young sorcerer and her victim.

"Your friend, Mr Wilson, is not so gay as usual. What has happened?"

"Nothing."

"You return to London, I believe, in"----

The general paused.

"Mr Sinclair's leave of absence," I answered, "will soon expire."

"A gentle-spirited man, Mr Wilson. He does you credit."

"He owes me little, general," I answered. "Providence has been bountiful
to him."

"Strange! And his father, they say, is as great a brute."

"Lord Railton," I said, "is not so amiable as his son."

"Proud and overbearing! But a magnificent rent-roll though! His son does
not appear a man of the world. Vastly good-natured, but he wants fire
and character."

"Mr Sinclair does not do himself justice," I replied. "There is more in
him than meets the eye."

"You are a scholar, Mr Wilson," suddenly exclaimed the general, "and can
appreciate a literary curiosity. Do me the favour to accompany me to my
study. I have a Greek manuscript which I picked up in Samaria, and which
they tell me is invaluable."

Before I could reply, the general was on his legs, and conducting me to
his room. The dance was still proceeding.

"I am a simple man, sir," said the general when we reached the
apartment, "and very moderate in my desires. We are often called
avaricious when we are simply prudent. I despise wealth but for the sake
of my children. There," he exclaimed suddenly, showing me a
jewel-case--"there's stuff that would buy up Bath."

"Indeed!"

"What do you imagine this to be, Mr Wilson?" next inquired the general,
holding up a folded letter.

"I cannot guess!" said I.

"An offer of a peerage. Why should I accept it? I have no son, and am
without personal ambition. The world do not give men credit for such
self-denial. You are a constant visitor at Sackville Park, I presume?"

"No, in truth. I have been there but once."

"Lady Railton doats upon her son, I believe?"

"A very fond mother," I replied.

The general eyed me suspiciously, and went no further; but he produced
forthwith his manuscript from Samaria. It was really a curiosity in its
way, being a transcript of one of the gospels in a dialect which I had
never before seen, and of which, I think, but few specimens can remain.
But I had a fidgety desire to get back to the ball-room, which prevented
any thing like a satisfactory inspection of the precious document.

"Shall we return, general?" I asked.

"By all means," said the general, evincing at the same time no
disposition to budge. "I trust, Mr Wilson," he continued, "that you will
be no stranger at our house. We are humble people, as you see us, but we
have friends at court. A man of your talents should command preferment;
but these are sad times, and the best fare ill enough without a helping
hand. I stand well with the premier."

"No doubt, deservedly," said I. "You have probably seen much service,
general?"

"A little, a little;" replied the soldier with mock humility. "But as to
yourself, Mr Wilson, they must make a bishop of you."

"Oh, general!" said I with unnecessary modesty.

"Ah, but I say they must! Leave that to me. We want sound and good men
like yourself at the head of the church. Methodism must be put down. It
is increasing frightfully. Vigorous and learned men are required to
cope with it."

"Methodism," said I, with becoming warmth, "is undoubtedly a great curse
to the church at the present moment, and every honest churchman is
bound, to the extent of his ability, to oppose its further progress."

"My own words, Mr Wilson; and I beg you not to suspect me of flattery
when I tell you that half a dozen men like yourself would do more to
bring back a salutary state of things than any legal enactments they
could contrive. Sinclair has told me of your energy, high honour, and
attainments, and it would be a sin to suffer them to be inactive."

I confess I shall never forgive myself for having patiently, nay
somewhat greedily, swallowed such monstrous and glaring trash as that
above related, and for having been cajoled by it into spending one long
half hour with my wily general in his study. I left the room at length,
in a state of heroic excitement, and in time to discover that Rupert
Sinclair and his partner had quitted the apartment in which I had
previously left them.

There remained upon my mind no longer a doubt of Rupert's attachment to
this lovely woman, and I contemplated its issue with no feeling of
gratification or delight. Notwithstanding the agreeable communications
of the general, I could not thoroughly trust him; and as for the young
lady herself, as I have already hinted, she was as adapted to the mild
nature of Sinclair as a lioness to a lamb. What would Lord Railton say
to the match? What would Lady Railton do, with her sublimated notions of
marquises and dukes? I deplored the ill luck that had brought us to
Bath, and resolved to carry the youth back whilst he still remained
master of his actions. But where was he? I sought him in vain in every
public room of the house. Neither he nor the syren could be found. Vexed
and hurt, although I scarcely knew why, I determined to quit the place,
and to return to the hotel. Attached to the general's house was a
spacious pleasure garden, and upon the occasion of this fête it was
studded with a number of small lamps, which cast a picturesque and
oriental gleam in parts, leaving the remaining portion of the ground in
deeper shade. The night was lovely. Passing the door that led into the
garden, I turned into the latter, almost without a thought. Visitors
were there before me, and to escape them I retired into the gloom.
Within a few yards of me passed the pair of whom I had been in search.
The arm of Sinclair was twined around the waist of Elinor, and his head
was bent on the ground. They advanced, and were soon beyond my ken. I
still heard their steps; but suddenly these ceased. The lovers had
stopped, and to my great discomfort they spoke.

"You do not know him," said a voice that did no dishonour to the coral
lips through which it came. "His heart is fixed upon this hated match."

"You smiled upon him, Elinor," said Rupert, in a voice of emotion; "you
gave him hope."

"For your sake, Sinclair, I smiled upon the man I hated; for your dear
sake. The least suspicion of the truth, and we are ruined. I cannot have
you banished from me."

"What is to be done?" exclaimed Rupert in despair.

I could hear no more. The voices dissolved into whispers, and these soon
ceased. The fate of Rupert Sinclair was sealed.

Now, what was my course at this alarming crisis? What steps did it
behove me--the friend, tutor, and counsellor of Rupert Sinclair--to take
at such a moment as this, when the happiness of his whole life was about
to be decided? Was there, in fact, any thing to do? Had not Sinclair
already reached that point at which remonstrance is vain, and advice
impertinent? And why should I remonstrate at all? What had I to say
against a union with a lovely and accomplished woman, whose father had
perhaps wealth enough to buy off the prejudices of Lord and Lady
Railton, had they been ten times as bigoted as they really were? What
could I produce against the young lady herself but a prejudice formed at
first sight, and perhaps as unfounded as it had been hastily adopted?
Was not Sinclair old enough to select his partner for himself; and when
did interference in the delicate affairs of love ever lead to any thing
but the confusion of the intruder, and the acceleration of the mischief
he absurdly hoped to prevent? I was at the height of my perplexity when
Sinclair returned to me. I heard his footsteps at the door, and
immediately plunged into my bedroom.

Next morning I was awake betimes, but Rupert was up before me. Indeed,
when I beheld him, I doubted whether he had been to rest at all. He
looked haggard and distressed. I took my cue from his downcast
appearance.

"Rupert," said I, "it is my intention to quit Bath."

"When?" he inquired.

"Possibly to-day. To-morrow at the furthest."

Rupert sighed.

"We return together, I presume?" said I in continuation.

"Wilson," answered Rupert, in a tone of kindness, "I have never deceived
you yet; I will not deceive you now. Nor shall you suffer in any way
from acts of mine. I cannot leave this place. It is not expedient that
you should stay."

"Your leave of absence soon expires," I said.

"I shall not fail to be at my duty, Wilson," continued Sinclair. "But
there is important business to do before I leave this city."

"You have entered, Rupert, into some rash engagement."

"Into an engagement--yes; not rashly, I believe; for I have held
consultation with my heart--deep, earnest communings, that have
sanctioned my fondest inclination."

"Beware, Sinclair!" I answered. "In some cases, the heart is no safe
monitor; and inclination and conviction become convertible terms."

"You know my secret, Wilson."

"I can guess it."

"You saw her last night. I wished you to see her. I desired to hear from
your lips a confirmation of the regard she has inspired in one"----

I shook my head.

"You are right--you are right," proceeded Sinclair, hastily. "You shall
not speak. You shall not even tell me how divine a being Heaven has
placed within my reach. You shall not be involved in the calamity which
an irrevocable act may bring upon two whose crime it is to love too
well."

"Rupert," I replied, "I am not disposed to desert you at so critical a
period of our life. We are both young. You are enthusiastic; your good
opinion of mankind has before now led you into error. Have you well
pondered on this step? Can you rely on Elinor Travis."

"What do you mean?"

"Is she as brave as she is gentle--as faithful as she is fair?"

"I would answer for her with my life."

"Yes, or with twenty lives, if you had them, for the venture. Yet you
have not known her long."

"Long enough to value and to love her. Does it require an age to
discover truthfulness so palpable as hers?"

"I have done, Sinclair," said I. "God grant you may be happy!"

"You return to London, then?"

"Such is my intention."

"You do wisely. I would not have you stay with me. You must be clear
from all participation in this business, let it end as it may. I know my
father. His anger and his vengeance, however undeserved, would fall on
you."

"Would these were my greatest fears!" I answered, with a sigh.

"Fear not for _me_, Wilson. The happiness of your friend is bound up
with that of Elinor Travis. I tell you, in all sincerity, I cannot live
without her. Fate decrees our movements. No woman but she has made me
conscious of that great fountain of love which lies within the bosom of
us all--none has had power to direct the stream, and to enchain me,
heart and soul, to her will."

"And should that will," I quickly urged, "be found as evil as
resistless"----

"Prove it so, and its power ceases on the instant. No; it is resistless,
because virtuous and pure. I submit to an enchantment, but it is
practised by a fairy as good as she is beautiful."

It was useless to argue so abstruse a point with so interested and
impassioned a reasoner. I remained silent.

"One promise I must exact from you," continued Sinclair. "In passing
through London, you will not see my father."

"I shall not wait upon his lordship," I replied.

"Nor mention, if you please, one syllable of this affair, should chance
bring you together. For the present, I have sufficient reasons for
wishing you to keep my secret sacred. In good time all will be known."

"You shall be obeyed, of course."

"Thanks," said Sinclair, grasping my hand, and holding it
affectionately: "all will be well, I trust."

For the rest of the day, the subject was not revived. I begged Sinclair
to follow his own pleasure, without reference to me, and to leave me to
the few arrangements necessary before departure. He insisted, however,
upon spending the last day with me; and during many hours of
well-remembered intercourse, he evinced a friendliness and affectionate
regard such as I had never before experienced--even from him. We sat
together until the early hour of morning chid us to our beds.

"There is still one thing to say," said Sinclair, when we parted for the
night, "and it had better be communicated now. Heaven knows, Wilson,
when and where shall be our next meeting. It may be soon; it may be
never. Death to one of us--a hundred circumstances may interfere between
our hopes and their fruition. I have desired to tell you, many times,
what I am sure you will not hear unkindly, although the fear of
offending you has kept me silent. Yet, you ought to know it. I am sure
your peace of mind will be secured when you know that the present
enjoyments of your mother can, under no circumstances, ever be
decreased. I have taken care, should any thing happen to yourself or me,
that her latter days shall remain as peaceful as you, her faithful son,
have rendered them."

I would have spoken to my friend and benefactor, but could not. I shook
his hand cordially, and an honest tear told him my gratitude. So we
parted, as I half feared for ever; for his words and actions were full
of evil omen.

Upon reaching my bedroom on this eventful evening, the first thing that
caught my eye was a mysterious document lying on the table--a lady's
note. "A mistake," thought I, approaching the unusual visitor. Not so;
it was addressed to me. I opened it, and read. It ran as follows:--

     "Dear sir--Pardon my abruptness. As a friend of Mr Rupert Sinclair,
     I entreat five minutes' conversation. I shall be at home to-morrow
     at noon. Pray, come. His happiness depends upon your punctuality.
     Keep this communication secret.--Yours, &c.,

     "CHARLOTTE TWISLETON."

The plot was thickening with a vengeance. What could this mean? And what
was I to do? Clearly to wait upon the lady, as directed, to postpone my
departure, to forfeit my fare, and to mix myself deeper than ever in a
mystery, which, trusting to appearances, was likely to end in the ruin
of Mr Rupert Sinclair, and his more luckless tutor. Taking care to avoid
Sinclair in the morning, I directed his servant to acquaint him with my
change of views; and quitted the hotel some hour or two before the time
fixed for the anxious interview. Punctually at noon, I presented myself
at Mrs Twisleton's door. My alarm was intense when I reached that lady's
apartment. She had evidently been waiting my arrival with extreme
impatience. Before I could speak or bow, she rushed towards me, and
exclaimed--

"Is it over, sir? Is he gone?"

"What over, madam?" I answered. "Who gone?"

"Mr Sinclair. Is he married?"

"Married?"

"Yes. Married. They are to be, if they are not already. Take him to
town, sir. Drag him away. We shall be ruined."

I had thought so for the last four-and-twenty hours; but I had certainly
not included Mrs Twisleton in the calculation.

"Mr Thompson," continued the lady, forgetting my name in her anxiety,
"Lord Railton will go raving mad if this should come about. We shall all
be punished. I know him well. You, for having brought Mr Sinclair here;
I, for having introduced him to the impostors; and himself for having
been caught in their snares. And he is a powerful man, and has the means
to punish us."

He had certainly the means of punishing Mrs Twisleton; for her son, at
college, had been already promised the next presentation to a valuable
living in Yorkshire. Her fears on my account were hardly so well
founded.

"Look here, Mr Wilson," said Mrs Twisleton, hurrying to her
writing-desk, and taking from it a letter, which she placed in my hands.
"Read that."

I ran my eye over the document. It was from a female correspondent in
London and it conjured Mrs Twisleton to avoid all connexion whatever
with General Travis and his too fascinating family. The general was
described as a bold bad man, utterly ruined, involved beyond the
possibility of recovery, a mere hanger-on of fashion, an adventurer. His
wife was spoken of as a mere simple instrument in his hand; naturally
disposed to goodness, but perverted by the cruel necessity of her
position. But what said this timely--oh, if but timely!--informer
respecting _her_ whose name I greedily sought out in these disastrous
pages? I grew sick as I proceeded in the narrative. Elinor Travis--so
said the letter--was a clever, subtle, accomplished, and designing
woman. Numerous had been her flirtations, not few her conquests; but the
game she had brought down, it had never been worth the general's while
to bag. The general had been a great traveller. He had passed some years
in India. During his residence there, the fair fame of Elinor Travis had
been--oh, horror!--sullied; falsely so, some said; but still sullied.
She had loved an officer with whom, it was reported--I read no more.

"The writer of this letter, madam," I asked--"is she trustworthy?"

"Alas! alas! yes," exclaimed Mrs Twisleton, in despair.

"It must be prevented by all and every means," I continued.

"We are still safe then?"

"Yes, although I cannot answer for an hour. He must be spoken to,
remonstrated with"----

"Threatened," added Mrs Twisleton, stamping with her foot. "Any thing to
save us."

"I will appeal to his reason."

"Then we are lost," said the lady, emphatically. "That family never
listened to reason yet."

"Do you know," I enquired, "this great foreigner whom they call the
Yahoo?"

"Oh, no! no!" exclaimed Mrs Twisleton, shaking her head impatiently. "I
don't know any of them. I disown them all; they are all impostors. I
said so from the beginning. Oh, Mr Wilson, what _can_ he have to do with
it? How can you talk so idly?"

"Mrs Twisleton," said I, "have I your permission to communicate the
contents of this letter to Mr Sinclair?"

"Yes, but never mention my name in the matter. Take the address of the
writer, and communicate with her yourself. Save your friend, and make
your fortune. Get us all well out of the scrape, and then depend upon me
for speaking about you to his lordship. He shall know the part you have
played; and no man can be more generous than Lord Railton when the fit
is on him."

"Do not trouble yourself, madam, on my account," I replied. "This letter
I will borrow, with your leave, for awhile. There is not a moment to
lose. The next hour may prove fatal to the interests of our unfortunate
friend."

I had not spoken before Mrs Twisleton pulled the bell violently, shook
my hand eagerly, and urged me to the door. Within ten minutes, I was
face to face with Sinclair.

"Sinclair," said I, "you must return to London with me."

"What has happened, then?" he inquired.

"You stand on a precipice," I continued. "Advance but another step, and
you are lost."

"Translate your language, friend," said Rupert, "and suffer me at least
to understand you."

"You are mistaken, Sinclair--cruelly deceived."

"What, again?" he asked, with a smile.

"Yes, again and again. No experience teaches you. No conviction reaches
your judgment. Will you listen to me, and believe me?"

"I will listen to you."

"The family of General Travis are not what you suppose them. I can prove
them unworthy your confidence and affection. Will you link your fate
with that of one who"----

I hesitated.

"Go on," said Sinclair, calmly.

"Read, read for yourself!" I exclaimed, placing the letter I had
received from Mrs Twisleton, without further ceremony, in his hands.

He did read--every line, without the smallest surprise or
perturbation--and then folded the document, and gave it back to me. I
thought him mad.

"This is no news to me, Wilson," he said quietly. "I have been put on my
guard respecting these slanderers. Their baseness does not take me by
surprise. The trick is a poor one."

"The trick!"

"Yes; if it deserve no harsher name. What know you of the writer of that
letter?"

I had but one answer to give to that question--"Nothing." And the name
of Mrs Twisleton was sacred.

"I thought so," proceeded Rupert. "Every assertion contained in that
precious document has already met with a sufficient refutation. I know
_my_ informant, and can rely upon _my_ information; advantages of which,
dear Wilson, you cannot boast."

"Sinclair," I replied, with warmth, "remember what passed between us
yesterday. 'Prove,' said you, 'that Elinor Travis is less good than
beautiful and her influence ceases from that moment.' Give me time to
prove it, or to ask your pardon and hers for as much as I have said
already. I must exact this from you. It is all I ask. With this document
before me, I can demand no less."

"Do as you will. What do you propose?"

"To go at once to town; to seek out the writer of this letter, and to
obtain from her proofs of her allegations which even you must respect
and listen to. If I fail to secure them, you shall be pained no more by
interference of mine."

"Be it so," said Sinclair; "I await your return here."

Upon the evening of this day I was in London, and on the following
morning at the residence of the lady whom I sought. Ill luck attended my
steps. She was ill, and could not be seen. For a week I remained in
London, unable to gain an interview, or to communicate with her. I
obtained the name of her physician, waited upon him, and asked him to
convey a letter from me to his patient. It was impossible. It was of the
highest consequence to keep the lady tranquil. In every post I wrote to
Sinclair, informing him of my disappointment, and conjuring him to take
no steps until my mind, as well as his, was satisfied. He returned no
answer to my communications, but I relied upon his friendship. Upon the
eighth day of my absence, sick to death with impatience and idleness,
and no nearer to my object than on the first day of my arrival, I
resolved to return to Bath, and to remain with my friend until I should
receive intelligence of the lady's convalescence. Something might be
done by remonstrance and entreaty. To leave him to himself, was to give
up every chance of his salvation.

The coach in which I travelled halted at Marlborough for dinner. When I
alighted, I perceived, but took no particular notice of a post-chaise
standing at the door of the inn. I had scarcely set foot in the house,
however, before I encountered General Travis. The moment he caught sight
of me, he seemed to become agitated or alarmed. He approached me--took
me by the arm, and led me into the open air.

"Have you seen them?" he eagerly asked.

"Seen whom?" I asked in return.

"Your friend. He is a villain!"

"General Travis," I said indignantly, "I have no friend to whom that
term applies, nor must you couple it with any name that's dear to me."

"Forgive me, forgive me!" said the general with evident grief. "I have
been deceived, cruelly deceived; my house is deserted--my child is
stolen--they have eloped!"

"Eloped!"

"Yes; Mr Sinclair and my daughter. This very morning. Your friend, my
Elinor!"

The general stamped; then walked furiously about, whilst I stood
thunderstruck.

"He never spoke to me on the matter; as I am a living man, he never
hinted to me his attachment. Could I have suspected it--dreamed it? Oh,
my child, my child!"

I looked hard at the man, as intently as my agitation would permit, and
I believed his passion to be genuine and honest. Tears were in his eyes,
and he wrung his hands, and raved like men in deep affliction. Could I
be deceived?

"Whither have they gone?" I asked.

"God knows; I missed my child at breakfast. She had never been absent
before. I was alarmed, but looked for her return. At noon, we heard that
she had been seen at the distance of half a mile from the city, walking
quickly with Mr Sinclair. At Mr Sinclair's hotel, I learned that he had
quitted the city, and had ordered a chaise and four to meet him a mile
off, at ten o'clock precisely. I followed them at once, and traced them
for twenty miles, and then lost sight of them altogether."

"What is your intention now?"

"To take the north road, and, if possible, to overtake and recover her.
I am heart-broken and distracted. He has robbed me of a treasure, dearer
to me"----

Fresh horses had been put to the general's carriage, and the postilions
were already in the saddle; not a moment was to be lost. Before the
general could finish his speech, he was seated in the chaise, and
driving away at the rate of fifteen miles an hour.

My feelings may be imagined. What to do, I knew not; and there was
little time to consider. The dinner had been transacted during our
anxious conference, and the horses' heads were looking towards Bath. The
coachman mounted the box. I ascended the other side, and took my seat
next to him, quite mechanically.

"Knowing gentleman, that 'ere," said Jehu, "as you conwersed with."

"Do you know him then?" I asked with curiosity.

Jehu closed one eye; rubbed his chin against his comforter, and said,
"hexcessively!"

"What of him?"

"Werry deep and werry singular. I've druv him many a time."

"He's very rich," said I.

"Oh, werry! So they say. So I s'pose he is. For my part, I'm no judge of
mutton till it's cut up. Is he a werry pertickler friend of yours?"

"No friend at all. Scarcely an acquaintance. I have met him but once
before to-day."

"Then it won't break your heart to hear, that it wouldn't be quite as
safe as the bank of England to lend him twenty pounds. A box fare once
told me he wasn't worth a sixpence, and that he'd come down one of these
days like a crash in a china shop. My fare was an Injyman, as had known
the gentleman out in them parts, where he was obliged to cut with all
his family."

"Oh, did he say any thing about the family?"

"No; nothing about the family. Them, he said, was all right, especially
one beautiful girl as he had, that run the rigs with a hofficer, and
broke every body else's heart. My eye! wouldn't I have given my
top-boots to have been that 'ere hofficer!"

I changed the subject of discourse, and not once again did I revert to
it for the rest of that disastrous journey. Arriving at Bath, I
proceeded at once to the hotel in which I had left Sinclair. He was
gone--but no one could tell me whither. The account given by General
Travis was corroborated by the master of the house. Mr Sinclair had
ordered a chaise and four to wait for him at the distance of a mile from
the city--his order had been complied with, and nothing since had been
heard of him.

"It's very strange," said I.

"Yes, sir, very," replied mine host, "and strange things have happened
since. You knew General Travis, sir, I believe?"

"I have seen him in Bath; what of him?"

"Dreadful affair that of his. The whole family have vanished."

"Vanished!"

"Yes, sir. Three or four days ago the general's lady vanished with the
youngest daughter; this morning the eldest daughter vanished by herself;
and an hour or two afterwards, the general vanished with his own man,
having previously discharged every other servant in the establishment."

"Is any reason assigned?"

"Debt, they tell me. The family have gone abroad to recover themselves;
and, whilst they are recovering themselves, scores here will be ruined.
The house has been beset with creditors this afternoon, and one poor
fellow in the next street, a working upholsterer, with a family of ten
children, has been raving at the doors like a madman."

"You are mistaken," I said; "the general has not vanished after the
manner you describe. To-morrow every thing will be explained. I do not
feel myself at liberty to say more now. Let me entreat you, however, to
remove the absurd impression that has been made; and, above all, to
dispel the unfounded apprehensions of the unfortunate man you speak of."

"Glad to hear you say so," rejoined mine host; "but I doubt it."

He left me and I sallied forth; first to Mrs Twisleton's, who at first
was not at home, but, receiving my card, sent her servant running half a
mile, to assure me that she was. Poor Mrs Twisleton! sad and lugubrious
was she on that melancholy evening. Faithful visions of the unappeasable
wrath of the proud Lord Railton flickered before her eyes, and pierced
her very soul.

The next advowson was no advowson at all, as far as she was concerned,
and her hope and offspring were alike cut off by the terrible and
irrevocable act of the morning. I found the lady in tears.

"This is a shocking business, madam!" I began.

It was the signal for a flood.

"When did you arrive?" she sobbed.

"An hour since."

"And you have heard of it?"

"Of the elope"----

"Oh, don't, don't, don't speak of it!" shrieked the lady. "It turns me
sick. He has married a beggar--the daughter of an impostor and a
swindler."

"Can it be true?"

"Oh, you have been very dilatory and foolish, Mr Wilson," suddenly
exclaimed Mrs Twisleton in a clear sharp tone, which had nothing of the
softness of tears about it. "Had I been a man, I would have saved my
friend from certain infamy. Mr Wilson, I gave you full warning--ample
time. You cannot deny it."

I sighed.

"And now you have come to Bath again, what do you mean to do?"

I thought for a second or two, and then sighed again.

"Take my advice, sir; it's a woman's, but not the worse for that. If you
stay here till doomsday, you can't alter what is unalterable. The fool's
married by this time. The general has broken up his establishment and
has decamped!"

"Impossible!"

"That may be, but what I tell you is the truth, nevertheless. The mail
leaves Bath at eleven o'clock. Return by it to London. See Lord Railton
as soon as you arrive. Make the best you can of this wretched business,
and prepare him to meet his son without a curse. You need not tell him
all you know about the general. He will find that out quickly enough;
nor need you mention my insignificant name at all. The old man has
feeling left in him; and the mother doats upon her namby-pamby boy.
Obtain their pardon for your friend, and you will do that friend a
service which he will never forget, and can never sufficiently repay."

I reflected for a moment; the advice seemed sound. I determined to adopt
it. Bewildered and vexed, I quitted the lady's house, and walked
mechanically about the town, from street to street. An hour or two were
yet at my disposal--heavy, irritating hours, converted into ages by my
impatience and anxiety. Chance or fate conducted me to the abode of
General Travis. I stopped before the door, as purposeless as I had just
approached it. To curse the hour that had connected poor Sinclair with
the proprietor of that late magnificent and extravagant establishment,
was a natural movement. I cursed, and proceeded on my walk. I had not,
however, advanced a few steps, before, looking back, I became aware of a
light gleaming from one of the windows of the house. I returned. Some
information might be gained from the servant left in charge of the
place; possibly a clue to the mystery in which, without any valid
reason, I had myself become entangled. I found the door of the mansion
ajar. I knocked, but no one answered; I repeated the summons with as
little success, and then I walked boldly in--and up-stairs, in order to
place myself at once in communication with the apartment in which I had
perceived the faint illumination. Opening the drawing-room door, I
perceived, as much to my disgust as astonishment--the Yahoo!

That dark gentleman was drunk; there was no doubt of it. He was sitting
at a table that was literally covered with food, of which he had taken
to repletion. His coat was off, so was his cravat, and the collar of his
shirt unbuttoned. Perspiration hung about his cheeks, and his face
looked very oily. Decanters of wine were before him; a pewter jug of
ale; and bottles containing more or less of ardent spirits. There was a
wild expression in his eye, but the general glow of his visage was one
of fuddled sottishness. He saluted me with a grin.

"Who the debil are you?" he politely asked.

"I was looking," I answered, "for a servant."

"D--n him serbant," exclaimed the Yahoo, speaking in his drunkenness
like a very nigger. "I gib him a holyday. What are you got to say to
dat? What do you want?" he proceeded. "Sit down. Enjoy yerself. What do
you take? Deblish good rum, and no mistake."

_Hold a candle to the Devil_ is a worldly maxim, which I had never an
opportunity of practising to the letter until now. Much might be learned
by humoring the monster--nothing by opposing him. I sat down and drank
his health.

"Thankee, old boy," said he. "I'm deblish glad to see you, upon my soul.
Gib us your hand. How many are you got?"

"Two," said I.

"That's a lie," replied the nigger hastily. "I see four. But neber mind,
I'm not partickler. Gib us two of 'em. I say, old boy," he continued,
"don't you eat nothing? D----d sweet. Sure to make you sick. Him drink
much as him like."

"You wait the general's return, I presume?" said I, in the vain hope of
eliciting something from this black moving barrel.

The gentleman tried to look me full in the face; but his eyes rolled
involuntarily, and prevented him. He contrived, however, to effect what
he intended for a knowing wink, whilst he thrust out his cheek with the
end of his tongue.

"Oh yes, in course," he answered. "I wait till him come back. Him wait
d----d long while. He! he! he!"

"His departure was very sudden," I continued.

"Oh, bery! All them departure's bery sudden. Missy General go bery
sudden--Missy Elinor go bery sudden--rum go bery sudden," he concluded,
drinking off a glassful.

"I saw the general to-day. We met on the road. He told me every thing."

"Stupid old codger! Him can't keep his own counsel. Dat him business,
not mine. Deblish cleber old codger!"

"He was much affected," said I. "The elopement of his child is a serious
blow to him."

The nigger performed the same pantomime as before; winking his eye, and
enlarging his cheek.

"Blow not so bad as a punch on the head, old boy. Deblish cleber old
codger," repeated the Yahoo, laughing immoderately. "Deblish cleber
'Gustus too!"

"Who is he?" I inquired.

The nigger attempted to rise in his chair, and to make a profound bow,
but failed in both attempts.

"I'm 'Gustus!" said he, "at your sarvice--take a glass of wine with
you!"

I pledged the gentleman, and he continued.

"You know Massa Sinclair?"

"A little."

"Big jackass, Massa Sinclair. Awful big. He no run away with Missy
Elinor, Missy run away with him. Massa General run away with both.
'Gustus do it all."

I groaned.

"You ain't well? Take glass rum? Bery good rum!"

"And so you did it all, Augustus? You must be a clever fellow!"

"I think so. If you could but have seen us this morning. I and Massa
General looking over the banisters whilst Missy Elinor was running away;
and Massa Sinclair in de hall, trembling all over like a ninny, for fear
Massa General should see him--Massa General and me splitting sides all
the time. D----d good! like a play. He! he! he!"

I groaned again.

"Sure you are not well, old boy? Try the bitters."

"I have had enough," said I. "I must begone."

"Don't hurry, old fellow. Can't ask you again. Go to town to-morrow.
Meet General Travis to-morrow night. Him sewed up. 'Gustus neber desert
him."

"The general will not return then?"

"Him too good judge!"

"And Mr Sinclair and the lady?"

"They married by this time. I say, old boy, let's drink their health."

"No, no, no. Tell me whither do they go!"

"No, no, no!--I say yes, yes, yes," roared the intoxicated monster.
"Drink it, you rascal," he added, "or I'll kick you down stairs."

My blood was boiling in a moment. The nigger staggered to me, and
touched the collar of my coat. His hand was scarcely there, before I
took him by the neck, and flung him like a loathsome reptile from me. He
fell at the foot of the table, but in his passage to the ground he
grasped a decanter of wine, which he hurled at my head. It passed me,
met the door, and flew in a thousand pieces about the room. Sick at
heart, I took the opportunity to retire.

Never shall I forget the morning upon which I stood in Grosvenor Square,
knocker in hand, about to present myself before the father of Rupert
Sinclair, and to acquaint him with the disgrace that had come to his
family, by the alliance of the previous day. The feelings of the hour
return with all their painful vividness as I recall the time. A lazy
porter, richly attired, opened the door, and rang a bell in the hall,
which brought to me his lordship's valet. The latter received my card,
and after a quarter of an hour's absence, returned with the information,
that his lordship was particularly busy with the Director of the Opera,
and could not be seen by any one that morning. Every little circumstance
is indelibly imprinted on my memory, stamped there by the peculiar
anxiety under which I laboured. I respectfully submitted that my
business was even more important than that of the Director, and
requested the valet to return with my urgent request to his lordship for
one short interview.

"His lordship doesn't know you," said the valet.

"Not know me!" I exclaimed, forgetting at the moment how little it was
to his lordship's interest to remember me. "There," I exclaimed "take
this card to him." I had written upon it--_Late tutor to the Hon. Rupert
Sinclair._

Another quarter of an hour, and I was admitted. His lordship was
evidently angry at the interruption. My heart was fluttering. He
extended to me one finger, by way of compromise, which I reverently
touched, offered me no seat, but asked me my business.

I began--continued--and ended without the least hinderance on his
lordship's part. I spoke without reserve of my own share in the
unfortunate business, taking particular care, however, not to say one
word to the disparagement of Elinor, or that might unneccessarily excite
Lord Railton against his erring son. I told him of Rupert's illness, of
our having proceeded to Bath in company--of his recovery--his meeting
with Elinor--her beauty--his devotion. I pleaded his youth, his ardent
nature--referred to the past as irretrievable, to the future as full of
happiness for Mr Sinclair, provided his lordship would look with
forgiving kindness upon his act; and used all the eloquence I could
command to move what I conceived to be at least a heart of flesh to pity
and sympathy for its own blood and offspring.

Lord Railton heard me to the end, with a knitted brow and closed lips.
When I had finished, he asked me sternly if I had any thing more to say.

"Nothing," I replied.

Whereupon his lordship rang the bell.

The valet again appeared.

Lord Railton again held out his finger, as at our meeting. I was about
to take it, when his lordship moved it quickly--pointed to the door--and
said--"Show that person out!"

For a second I stood astounded and confused. In another second I found
myself breathing on the sunny side of Grosvenor Square. How I reached
it, I no longer remember.



THE PEOPLE.[72]


Mr Cobden, in the House of Commons, has given us a definition of the
term which heads this article:--THE PEOPLE _are the inhabitants of
towns_. "I beg to tell the honourable member for Limerick," said the
arch-leaguer, a few evenings since, "and the noble lord, the member for
Lynn, and the two hundred and forty members who sit behind him, that
there are other parties to be consulted with regard to their
proposition--that there are THE PEOPLE; I don't mean the country party,
but the people living in the towns, and who will govern this country."

"What is the city," says Shakspeare, "but the People?"----"True, the
people are the city."

Against Mr Cobden we pit Mr D'Israeli, who defines the people to be the
country gentlemen. Against Shakspeare, we bring M. Michelet, who, in an
affectionate dedication of his latest work to his fellow-labourer and
friend, M. Edgar Quinet, modestly acquaints the said M. Edgar, that THE
PEOPLE are neither more nor less than the author of the book and the
gentlemen to whom it is inscribed:--

"Recevez-le donc, ce livre du Peuple, parce qu'il est vous, parce qu'il
est moi. Par vos origines militaires, par la mienne, industrielle, nous
représentons nous-mêmes, autant que d'autres peut-être, les deux faces
modernes du Peuple, et son récent avénement."

There is, in truth an extensive amount of cant afloat just now, both
here and elsewhere, on this subject of THE PEOPLE. It is the staple
commodity of your newspaper-mongers, and the catchpenny song of the
streets. Agitators feed upon it, politicians play upon it, our needy
brethren of the quill pay outstanding debts with it. It is one of the
few things that pay at all in an age of fearful competition, and one
that always will pay whilst poor human nature holds the purse-strings.
The wretched beggarman of Ireland famishes for a crust, yet he has his
farthings to spare for the greedy hypocrite who flatters his vanity, and
heaps laudations on his social importance. JOHN HOWARD made four
pilgrimages to Germany, five to Holland, three to France, two to Italy,
with the simple object of mitigating the physical sufferings of his
fellow creatures; he visited Spain, Portugal, the United States, and
Turkey, with the same practical and praiseworthy purpose. He passed days
in pest-houses and lazarettos, and finally laid down his life in the
blessed work of charity at Cherson in the Crimea. _Nous avons changé
tout cela._ Philanthropy is a luxurious creature now-a-days. She is
passive rather than active; she does not work--she _talks_. Her
disciples take no journeys, unless it be to Italy for their own
pleasure; they sit at home in satin dressing-gowns, supported on velvet,
feeding on turtle. They tell the labouring classes--whom they style the
bone and sinew of the land--that though they talk prose, and lead
prosaic lives, they are nevertheless first-rate poets, that though rough
at the surface, they are the gentlest of creation "at the core;" that
though dull, they are quick; though ugly, handsome; though stupid,
vastly clever; though commoners in the last degree, yet nobles of God,
and nature's grandees of the very first class. It is gratifying to
believe all this, and the charge is only threepence a-week, or a
shilling a-month. Open as we all are to flattery, who would not pay so
trifling a sum for the pleasure of so sweet a dream? If you cannot
relieve our sufferings, it is something to create an inordinate
self-esteem. If you cannot afford us a shilling from your pockets, it is
much that your goose-quill can convert us into birds of Paradise. The
successful writers of the day are those who have nauseously fawned upon
the million for the sale of their "sweet voices" and their halfpence.

There is not one of these popular authors who has had the manliness to
suggest, supposing that he has the head to discover, a remedy for the
evils which every honest mind perceives in the social condition of the
humbler classes. The most they have done is to drag further into the
light miseries which every one saw without their aid--to point out
exultingly distinctions of rank, which have always been, and can never
cease to be--to remove bonds of sympathy, that united for mutual benefit
one class with another--and to widen as far as possible the breach that
has arisen between the governed and the governing of this great empire.
We do them injustice--they have accomplished more. In seasons of
difficulty and trial, in those periods of convulsion and danger, to
which all great societies are liable, and a large mercantile community
like our own is especially subject, they have assuaged alarm and
appeased hunger by writing books with a _moral_; such a moral as that
upon which THE CHIMES was founded, and which the snarling author of Mrs
Caudle's Lectures loves to inculcate: we mean the moral that teaches the
loveliness of all that lies in the hovel, the hatefulness of all that
dwells in the palace; the sublimity of vulgarity, and the ridiculousness
of high birth; the innate virtues of ignorance and poverty, and the
equally essential wickedness of wealth and rank. Such are the exertions
of modern philanthropy! Such are the self-denying, humble, and glorious
achievements of the successors of John Howard!

There are two classes of philanthropists very busy just now on this side
the English Channel: viz., that composed of men who are particularly
anxious that no laws whatever should be passed for the effectual
punishment of the midnight assassin in Ireland; and that which stands up
for the murderer in England, denying the right of the legislator to
punish any man with death, and the expediency of the punishment,
provided the right be conceded. Should society be restored to
tranquillity, and crime be expurgated by the success of these
gentlemen's endeavours, it is very clear that France will take the wrong
track, by following the counsel of the belligerent M. Michelet,
according to whose views, peace and order are to be obtained only by the
proclamation of war, and the shedding of blood for the glory of his
native country. "My only hope," says the valiant historian, "is in the
flag." Every time, he tells us, that he sees the bayonets of the French
army, his heart bounds within him. "Glorious army! pure swords! holy
bayonets!" upon which the eyes of the world are fixed, and which will
eventually save that world by--cutting the throats of all the enemies of
France.

M. MICHELET has obtained some celebrity in Europe: amongst the learned
and the reading public by his histories; amongst the masses by that
remarkable work styled _Priests, Women, and Families_, which met with
many readers and elaborate notices in this country, and was reviewed in
the pages of this Magazine as recently as August last. We paid our
tribute of respect to an effort which, whatever might be its faults--and
serious faults it had--was distinguished by a commanding eloquence, a
manly energy, and an uncompromising zeal worthy of the cause which the
historian had undertaken; viz., the restoration of _woman_ to her
spiritual and social rights--rights invaded by the stranger, trampled
upon by priestcraft. We did not stay to inquire into the motives by
which the indignant professor of the College of France had been
actuated. It may have been, that, to avenge a slight inflicted upon him
by the Jesuits, the learned teacher aimed a blow at the entire Roman
Catholic Church; that having repudiated the sentiments of his early
life--sentiments which attached him affectionately to the religion,
poetry, and traditions of the middle ages--he burned with the new fire
of a convert or an apostate, and sought to establish the sincerity of
his conversion by deadly home-thrusts at the party he had forsaken. It
was sufficient for us that a scholar and a Frenchman had manfully
advanced to the rescue of his fellow-countrywomen; that he had detected
the errors that lay at the heart of their social condition; that he had
noted the hindrances that affected domestic purity and peace; and
bravely undertook, if possible, to remove, at all events to expose and
brand them.

There is great peril attending the career of any man who acquires the
reputation of a reformer of abuses. It is easier to acquire that
reputation than to sustain it. It is well when the necessity gives birth
to the reformer; but it is ill when the reformer, in order to live, is
forced to create the necessity. There was ease and grace, simplicity and
truthfulness, honesty and ardour, in that defence of woman, to which the
champion was urged by the conviction that he entertained of her wrongs.
Few of these qualities remain in the work now before us--a work
suggested by any thing rather than the crying evils of the community to
which the author belongs; a work that may have been written for
money--with the mere object of book-making--to bamboozle the million, to
inspire it with cock-like crowing; certainly, with no hope of
regenerating France, of removing one feather's weight from the load of
calamity to which her people, in common with the people of all the
nations of the earth, are mysteriously doomed.

We do not pretend to understand the motives which have carried M.
Michelet to his task; neither can we distinctly discern the object which
it is his purpose to reach. His book is divided into three parts, which
are again subdivided into chapters. There is a great appearance of
connexion, and indeed an affectation of logical cohesion in the
structure, but there is really and essentially no union whatever of the
several divisions. Part I. is styled, "_Of Bondage and Hatred_;" Part
II., "_Enfranchisement by Love--Nature_;" and Part III., "_Friendship_."
Each part is an essay, complete, so to speak, in itself, more or less
distinct; intelligible at times, but as often vague, dark, and
paradoxical; most satisfactory where it treats of simple, well-known
facts--least successful where it deals in the crudest theories, which
are not tedious only because they are ridiculous and amusing.

The spirit that pervades the entire book is that of intolerable
conceit--individual and national. We can pardon the author of _The
History of France_ much, but we will never forgive in him a vice that
has ceased to be supportable in the most ignorant of his countrymen. It
is impossible to conceive a philosopher and scholar so irritated and
perverted by thin-skinned vanity as M. Michelet appears throughout this
volume; and indeed we cannot do his intellect the injustice of supposing
him to believe the jargon that has fallen from his pen. The heart, we
fear, rather than the intellect, is at fault, when he who has the ear of
the people approaches it with accents that inflame its lowest passions,
rather than correct and guide, and bring to usefulness and good, its
best and noblest instincts.

Every thing is perfect in France; nothing is perfect elsewhere. This is
the theme of the song which M. Michelet circulates throughout the
empire. The people are nevertheless wretched, in poverty, and in
bondage; they are doomed to evil government; their social state is one
of tyranny and cruel persecution. An historian, sprung from the people,
has deemed it his duty to proclaim these facts, and to write a book
which shall go far to remove the evils he complains of; yet, at the
outset of the work, he announces, to our astonishment, that France is
beyond all other lands the favoured land of heaven, the mistress of the
world, the paragon of countries. We turn back a page, and ask--Was it
for this that the student stepped from his retirement, or was it to
prove facts the very opposite to these? If France be indeed so
pre-eminently good and great, why write so many pages to prove that she
lies in bondage? If the literature of France be perfect, her army pure,
her people great, her religion the only true revelation of God's
purposes and will, wherefore complain and cry aloud, and seek to remedy
a condition already so enviable, to elevate a character already so
super-eminent? Is it that France is too self-loving to hear of her
faults even from her own offspring, or that she will not take her
wholesome medicine without the gilding that removes its flavour, and
hides its ugliness? Is she a child, and must the teacher flatter her as
a child; coax, pacify, and bribe her as a child, in order to work her
reformation and secure her happiness?

Let us for awhile follow the author of _The People_, as he traces
bondage and hatred throughout the social scheme of France, and gather
from him, as well as we may, the remedies he has for their destruction;
so shall we do him greater justice, and obtain, if they be within grasp,
the intention and the object of his undertaking.

"If we would know," says M. Michelet, "the inmost thought, the passion
of the French _Peasant_, it is very easy. Walk any Sunday into the
country, and follow him. Look! he is yonder before us! It is two
o'clock; his wife is at vespers, and he is in his Sunday's clothes. I
warrant you he is going to see his mistress!" His mistress! Yes; but
tropically. The peasant's mistress is his _Land_; he loves it with
intensest delight, with procreative love. Happy for France that it is
so; for let it once cease, and the land is barren from that instant. She
brings forth because she is loved. "_La terre le veut ainsi, pour
produire; autrement, elle ne donnerait rien, cette pauvre terre de
France, sans bestiaux presque et sans engrais._" By _Love_, the reader
will understand needful care and culture, but he will err in the
interpretation. It is something far more poetical and French. The
peasant having arrived face to face with his mistress, "folds his arms,
stops, looks serious and thoughtful; he looks a long, long time, and
seems to forget himself; at last, if he fancies himself overlooked, if
he perceives any body passing, he moves slowly away; after a few steps,
he stops, turns round, and casts upon his land one last profound and
melancholy look: but to the keen-sighted, that look is full of passion,
full of heart, full of devotion. If that be not love, (!) by what token
shall we know it in this world? It is love--do not laugh." It were
indeed very easy to laugh, but, thus intreated, we forbear, and proceed.
To love is to covet possession. To have a bit of land, means "you shall
not be a mercenary, to be hired to-day and turned off to-morrow. You
shall not be a serf for your daily bread. You shall be free!" To acquire
that land, the peasant will consent to any thing, even to lose sight of
it. To obtain it he will sell his life, and go to meet death in Africa.
The peasant is very aspiring; he has been a soldier; he believes in
impossibilities. The acquisition of land is for him a combat; "he goes
to it as he would to the charge, and will not retreat. It is his battle
of Austerlitz; he will win it; it will be a desperate struggle, he
knows, but he has seen plenty of these under his old commander;" and
accordingly this brave and warlike peasant borrows money of a usurer at
seven, eight, or ten per cent, to purchase a piece of earth that shall
bring him in two. "Heroic man--are you surprised, if, meeting him on
that land which devours him, you find him so gloomy?" Certainly not. "If
you meet him," says M. Michelet--heroic and sublime as he is--"do not
ask him your road; if he answers, he may perhaps induce you to turn your
back on the place you are going to." It is the way with atrabilious
heroes. What is to be done? "We must take serious measures for defending
the nobility;" that is to say--the peasantry who are in the hands of the
usurers. Alter the laws. This "vast and profound," but very much
involved "legion of peasant-soldier proprietors," are the People: the
people are France. France is a principle, "a great political principle.
It must be defended at any cost. As a principle, she must live. _Live
for the salvation of the world (!!)_ In the midst of his difficulties,
the peasant learns to envy the town workman. He sees him on Sunday
walking about like a gentleman, and thinks he is as free as a bird; he
believes that a man who carries his trade with him, not caring a straw
for the seasons, is a lord of the creation: he remembers his own
liabilities to the usurer--and, lo! we have arrived at bondage and
hatred, No. 1.

But the _Workman_, after all, is not so well off as he looks in his
Sunday's best. Work fluctuates, and at times there is a want of work
altogether: moreover, there are wicked _cabarets_ and _cafés_, that play
havoc with his four or five francs _per diem_. And, above all, there is
that tremendous rival, with lungs of iron that know no rest, and never
cease, whom men call MACHINERY, and who laughs the skill and strength of
man to scorn. "It is humiliating," says the historian, "to behold, in
presence of machinery, man fallen so low. The head is giddy, and the
heart oppressed, when, for the first time, we visit those fairy halls,
where iron and copper of a dazzling polish seem moving of themselves,
and to have both thought and will, whilst pale and feeble man is the
humble servant of those giants of steel." No reverie, no musing is
allowed in the temples of MACHINERY. The _Lollards_, those mystic
weavers of the middle ages, received their name, because, whilst
working, they _lulled_, or hummed in an under tone some nursery rhyme
that cheered then in their labour: for it is wisely said by our author,
who can speak like a prophet and a sage when he will--shame to him when
he speaks otherwise!--that "in the manual labours subject to our
impulse, our inmost thought becomes identified with the work, puts it in
its proper place; and the inert instrument, to which we impart the
movement, far from being an obstacle to the spiritual movement, becomes
its aid and companion. The rhythm of the shuttle, pushed forth and
pulled back at equal periods, associated itself (in the case of the
Lollards) with the rhythm of the heart; in the evening, it often
happened, that, together with the cloth, a hymn, a lamentation, was
woven to the self-same numbers." No human heart beats harmoniously with
the thunder of machinery, whose abode is the real hell of _ennui_. "It
seems, during those long hours, as if another heart, common to all, had
taken its place--a metallic, indifferent, pitiless heart." Pitiless,
indeed, if it degrade the human creature to the level of the brute. "The
manufactory is a world of iron, a kingdom of necessity and fatality. The
only living thing there is the severity of the foreman; there they often
punish, but never reward. There man feels himself so little man, that as
soon as ever he comes out, he must greedily seek the most intense
excitement of the human faculties, that which concentrates the sentiment
of boundless liberty in the short moment of a delicious dream. This
excitement is intoxication, especially the intoxication of love." The
workman becomes vicious; but extreme physical dependency, the claims of
instinctive life, which once more revert to dependency, moral impotency,
and the void of mind, are the causes of his vices. Talk of the bondage
of the peasant! What is his slavery to that of the workman! _He_ was at
least a happy _child_. He lived in the air and played. He was at
liberty, whilst his body and his strength were forming: the chains did
not gall him till his wrist was hard: he was not called upon to suffer,
before his spirit was sufficient to cope with life. Yes, there is
positive bondage here.

And the _Artisan_? Is he at liberty? As an apprentice-boy, he is already
in bondage. "Whatever annoys or irritates his master or his master's
wife, falls very often upon his shoulders. A bankruptcy happens, the
apprentice is beaten: the master comes home drunk, the apprentice is
beaten: the work is slack or pressing, he is beaten all the same."
Apprenticeship over, the artisan marries--has a wife, family; expense,
misery! His children grow up, and the mother (we are in France, and M.
Michelet speaks) is ambitious. Drawing will be serviceable, says the
mother, to her boy in his business. She pinches herself for a few sous
for _crayons_ and paper, and a miserable artist is made of one who would
have proved a good workman. Or an inspired artist, the child of labour,
is left an orphan and a beggar in the midst of his aspirations and
struggles towards distinction: to subsist, he must desert art, and
become a workman like his father. "All his life he will curse his fate;
he will work here, but his soul will be elsewhere." If he weds, and has
a family--that family will become less and less loved. "A man embittered
in such a struggle, and wholly intent on personal progress, considers
every thing else of little value. He weans himself even from his native
land imputing to it the injustice of fate." And so there is imprisonment
and hatred also here.

Look at the _Manufacturer_. The manufacturers of France have, generally
speaking, all been workmen. Six hundred thousand have become
manufacturers or tradesmen since the peace. "Those brave men, who,
returning from war, wheeled suddenly to the right-about towards
Industry, charged as for an onset, and without difficulty carried every
position." But they brought to commerce more of the violence of military
life than the sentiment of honour, and treated unmercifully two classes
of individuals, viz. the workman and the consumer. Towards the latter
they behaved as the female shopkeepers ransomed the Cossacks in 1815.
They sold at false weight, false die, false measure. With respect to the
former, they applied to industry the great imperial principle--sacrifice
men to abridge warfare. Men were _pressed_ in town and country, and the
conscripts of labour were placed at the pace of the machine, and
required to be, like it--indefatigable. The successors of these men, the
present manufacturers, pay the penalty of their fathers' misdeeds. Their
reputation is gone in the market--they cannot get on. "Most of them
would be heartily glad to retire if they could; but they are engaged,
they must go on--_march! march!_" Such men are not likely to be
tender-hearted. They are unfeeling to their workmen, for the
money-lender is unfeeling to them. To live, the manufacturer must
borrow. To get back his interest he has recourse to the workmen, for the
consumer is on his guard. The former present themselves in crowds, and
are obtained at any price. But a glut in the market compels the
manufacturer to sell at a loss; the lowness of wages, which is death to
the workman, is no longer profitable to the master, and the consumer
alone gains by it. May not bondage and hatred be discerned in the
present condition of the French manufacturer?

We come to the _Tradesman_. "The tradesman is the tyrant of the
manufacturer. He pays him back all the annoyance and vexations of the
purchaser." The purchaser of to-day wishes to buy for nothing: he
requires two things, a showy article and the lowest price. The tradesman
must deceive or perish. His life is made up of two warfares--one of
cheating and cunning against the purchaser; the other of vexations and
unreasonableness against the manufacturer. We have said that no one can
talk more wisely than the author of _The People_ when he is so disposed.
The picture of the tradesman is drawn with a masterly hand. The original
may be found here as well as in France, and is, in truth, the creation
of the unwholesome time in which we live rather than of any particular
city or state.

"The repugnance for industry exhibited by the noble republics of
antiquity, and the haughty barons in the middle ages, is doubtless
unreasonable, if by industry we understand those complicated fabrics
which require science and art, or a grand wholesale trade, which
requires such a variety of knowledge, information, and combination. But
this repugnance is truly reasonable when it relates to the ordinary
usages of commerce, the miserable necessity in which the tradesman finds
himself of lying, cheating, and adulterating.

"I do not hesitate to affirm, that, for a man of honour, the position of
the most dependent working man is free in comparison with this. A serf
in body, he is free in soul. To enslave his soul on the contrary and his
tongue, to be obliged, from morning till night, to disguise his
thoughts, this is the lowest state of slavery.

"It is singular that it is precisely for honour that he lies every day,
viz. to _honour_ his affairs. Dishonour for him is not falsehood, but
bankruptcy. Rather than _fail_, commercial honour will urge him on to
the point at which fraud is equivalent to robbery, adulteration to
poisoning; a gentle poisoning, I know, with small doses, which kill only
in the long run.

"The manufacturer, and even the artisan, have two things which, in spite
of work, render their lot better than that of the tradesman--

"First.--_The tradesman does not create_; he has not the important
happiness--worthy of a man--to produce something--to see his work
growing under his hand, assuming a form, becoming harmonious, responding
to its framer by its progress, and thus consoling his _ennui_ and his
trouble.

"Secondly.--Another awful disadvantage, in my opinion, is, _the
tradesman is obliged to please_. The workman gives his time, the
manufacturer his merchandise, for so much money: that is a simple
contract which is not humiliating, neither has occasion to flatter. They
are not obliged, often with a lacerated heart and tearful eyes, to be
amiable and gay on a sudden, like the lady behind the counter. The
tradesman, though uneasy, and tormented to death about a bill that falls
due to-morrow, must smile, and give himself up by a cruel effort to the
prating of some young fashionable lady, who makes him unfold a hundred
pieces, chats for two hours, and, after all, departs without a purchase.
He must please, and so must his wife. He has staked in trade, not only
his wealth, his person, and his life, but often his family."

We need not ask, is bondage here? or stay to inquire whether the
condition of the tradesman thus described is likelier to engender love
or hatred towards mankind.

The _Official_, too, is enslaved. A vast proportion of men on the
Continent are officials. Great efforts and great sacrifices are
undergone to make the hope of the humble house a government servant. And
in France what does this mean? It means to serve a hard master, and to
receive ill wages for the service, to be subject to instant dismissal at
the will of an arbitrary overseer, to pass a life of changes, journeys,
and sudden transportations. A baker's boy at Paris earns more than two
custom-house officers, more than a lieutenant of infantry, more than
many a magistrate, more than the majority of professions; _he earns as
much as six parish schoolmasters_.

"Shame! infamy! The nation that pays the least to those that instruct
the people (let us blush to confess it) is France. I speak of the France
of these days. On the contrary, the true France, that of the Revolution,
declared that teaching was a holy office, that the schoolmaster was
equal to the priest. I do not conceal it; of all the miseries of the
present day, there is not one that grieves me more. The most deserving,
the most miserable, the most neglected man in France is the
schoolmaster. The state, which does not even know what are its true
instruments and its strength, that does not suspect that its most
powerful moral lever is this class of men--the state, I say, abandons
him to the enemy of the state--bondage; heavy bondage! I find it among
the high and the low in every degree, crushing the most worthy, the most
humble, the most deserving!"

The _Rich Man_ and the _Bourgeois_ do not escape the curse that attaches
to every other class: they too are in bondage. The ancient _bourgeoisie_
was characterized by security, the present has no such characteristic.
It lives in timidity and fear. It has risen from the Revolution, aspires
to nobility, feels none, and is jealous of the advancing masses. The
ancient _bourgeois_ was consistent. "He admired himself in his
privileges, wanted to extend them, and looked upwards. Our man looks
downwards: he sees the crowd ascending behind him, even as he ascended;
he does not like it to mount; he retreats, and holds fast to the side of
power. Does he avow to himself his retrograde tendency? Seldom, for his
part is adverse to it; he remains almost always in this contradictory
position--a liberal in principle, an egotist in practice, wanting, yet
not willing. If there remain any thing French within him, he quiets it
by the reading of some innocently growling, or pacifically warlike
newspaper."

The rich man of to-day was poor yesterday. He was the very artisan, the
soldier, the peasant, whom he now avoids. He has the false notion, that
people gain only by taking from others. He will not let his companions
of yesterday ascend the ladder by which he has mounted, lest in the
ascent he should lose something. He does not know that "every flood of
rising people brings with it a flood of new wealth." He shuts himself up
in his class, in his little circle of habits, closes the door, and
carefully guards--a nonentity. To maintain his position, the rich man
withdraws from the people--is insulated--and, therefore, in bondage.

Here let us stop. What is it that we have seen? The peasant in fetters,
the workman oppressed, the artisan crippled, the manufacturers
embarrassed, the tradesman corrupted, the official in misery, the rich
man exiled--all in bondage, all hating one another, and all
constituting the life and marrow of the great and civilized country, to
whose deplorable condition M. Michelet especially invites our attention.
Deplorable, said we? Oh, far from it! The calamity that would crush any
other nation, has a far different effect upon France. Bondage and hatred
may exist, misery may eat like a canker-worm at the heart of the empire;
but France, great, glorious, military, and beautiful, is consumed only
to rise phoenix-like, fairer and younger, from her ashes. The French
peasant may be in fetters, but he is also the nobleman of the world--the
only nobleman remaining, "whilst Europe has continued plebeian." (!) "It
is said the Revolution has suppressed the nobility, but it is just the
reverse; it has made thirty-four millions of nobles. When an emigrant
was boasting of the glory or his ancestors, a peasant, who had been
successful in the field, replied, '_I am an ancestor_.'" "The strongest
foundation that any nation has had since the Roman empire, is found in
the peasantry of France." "It is by that that France is formidable to
the world, and at the same time ready to aid it; it is this that the
world looks upon with fear and hope. What, in fact, is it? The army of
the future on the day the barbarians appear." If such is the picture of
a peasantry in bondage, what must we expect from a peasantry at liberty?
The workmen, as we have seen, are vicious enough, yet they are the most
sociable and gentlest creatures in the universe. Nothing moves them to
violence; if you starve them, they will wait; if you kill them, they are
resigned; they are the least fortunate, but the most charitable; they
know not what hatred is; the more you persecute, the more they love you.
If in our haste we called these men degraded, we recall our words, for
M. Michelet says that they stand amongst the highest "in the estimation
of God." We told you just now, always upon the authority of our author,
what rascals the French manufacturers were; and how the unfeeling
masters of to-day are paying the penalty of their fathers' frauds and
evil practices. We hinted, too, at the symptoms of decay already visible
in their condition. But we did not tell you that France manufactures, in
a spirit of self-denial that cannot be too strongly commended, for the
whole world, who come to her, "buy her patterns, which they go and copy,
ill or well, at home. Many an Englishman has declared, in an inquiry,
that he has a house in Paris _to have patterns_. A few pieces purchased
at Paris, Lyons, or in Alsatia, and afterwards copied abroad, are
sufficient for the English and German counterfeiter to inundate the
world. It is like the book-trade. France writes and Belgium sells." It
was stated that the official is cruelly paid for his labour, and M.
Michelet further hints, that peculation is but too often the grievous
consequence. In England this would be fatal to a man's self-respect, and
subject him to _bondage_ in more ways than one. But, across the Channel,
Providence miraculously interposes, and even rescues the official in the
hour of difficulty, for the honour and glory of _la belle France_. "Yes,
at the moment of fainting, the culprit stops short without knowing
why----because he feels upon his face the invisible spirit of the heroes
of our wars, _the breath of the old flag_!!"

It is really very difficult to go on satisfactorily with such a writer
as this. If there be truth in the picture which he draws of his
country's misery, there must be falsehood in the language with which he
paints her pre-eminence, and battles for her unapproachable perfection.
If she be perfect, the vital sores that have been presented to us exist
not in her, but only in the imagination of the enthusiastic and deluded
writer. Upon one page it is written that the situation of France is so
serious, that there is no longer room for hesitation. France is "hourly
declining, engulfed like an Atalantis." Five minutes afterwards, "the
idea of our ruin is absurd, ridiculous. For who has a literature? Who
still sways the mind of Europe? We, weak as we are. Who has an army? We
alone." What is the conclusion which any unprejudiced reader would draw
from the painful details which M. Michelet has deemed it his paramount
duty to bring before the notice of mankind, and especially to the
consciences of the French nation itself? Simply this--that France,
disabled and diseased, is weak, and feebler than many other nations of
the world. The conclusion of M. Michelet is the very opposite one. "Let
France be united for an instant, she is strong as the world. England and
Russia, two feeble bloated giants, impose an illusion on Europe. Great
empires, weak people!" So it is throughout. M. Michelet leaves far
behind him the butcher, who would not suffer any man to call his dog an
ugly name but himself. You must not only utter no syllable of
condemnation against his glorious country, but you must be prepared to
regard the abuse of the author as so much panegyric.

The means of enfranchisement suggested by the poetic historian are as
fanciful as the bondage itself appears to be. Freedom for every class is
to be gained by LOVE. Love for the native country: in other words,
Frenchmen of every class are to believe that there never existed, that
there never will exist, a country so great as their own; and then, as if
by a charm, all their troubles will cease, their sorrow will be turned
into joy--their imprisonment to liberty, such as mankind have never yet
witnessed, such as no children of the great human family are capable of
enjoying, but the darlings and favourites of God--beloved France. In the
nursery, we do not correct the young by flattery and cajolery. The
surgeon does not hesitate to cut to the marrow, if the safety of the
patient depend upon the bold employment of the knife; but neither
monitor nor doctor in France may approach the faults and corruptions of
her people without doing homage to the one, and viciously tampering with
the other. What but insult is the following balderdash offered to a
great people as a remedy for physical suffering--cruelty--oppression--want?

"Say not, I beseech you, that it is nothing at all to be born in the
country surrounded by the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Rhine, and the ocean.
Take the poorest man, starving in rags, him whom you suppose to be
occupied solely with material wants. He will tell you it is an
inheritance of itself to participate in this immense glory, this unique
legend, which constitutes the talk of the world. He well knows that if
he were to go to the most remote desert of the globe, under the equator
or the poles, he would find Napoleon, our armies, our grand history, to
shelter and protect him; that the children would come to him, that the
old men would hold their peace, and entreat him to speak, and that to
hear him only mention those names, they would kiss the hem of his
garment."

Yes--the thing has come to pass in Africa, at Tahiti, on the coast of
Madagascar, whence the savages repulsed, with vindictive hatred, their
French invaders, and refused even to correspond with them save through
the medium of another nation. The feelings with which the natives of the
Marquesas regard at the present moment the embroidered gentry, who,
"protected by their grand history," and headed by that valiant fighting
man, Rear-Admiral Du Petit Thouars, took unwarrantable possession of
their shores, are of course faithfully described in the above
nonsensical outburst; and are not, as every body knows, those of fear
and utter detestation for a crew of wicked mountebanks and gold-laced
ruffians. Of course the children come to Du Petit Thouars, and the old
men hold their peace, and kiss the hem of his regimentals; and that's
the very reason why the said Du Petit points the fatal tubes of his
heavy, double-banked frigates and corvettes at the fragile bamboo sheds
that lie timidly and harmlessly in a grove of cocoa-nuts.

"For our part, whatever happens to us, poor or rich, happy or unhappy,
while on this side of the grave, we will ever thank God for having given
us this great France for our native land; and that not only on account
of the many glorious deeds she has performed, but because in her we find
especially at once the representative of the liberties of the world, and
the country that links all others together by sympathetic ties--the
initiation to universal love. This last feature is so strong in France,
_that she has often forgotten herself_(!!) We must at present remind her
of herself, and beseech her to love all the nations less than herself.

"Doubtless, every great nation represents an idea important to the human
race. But, gracious heaven! how much more true is this of France!
Suppose for a moment that she were eclipsed, at an end, the sympathetic
bond of the world would be loosened, dissolved, and probably destroyed.
Love, that constitutes the life of the world, would be wounded in its
most vital part. _The earth would enter into the frozen age, where other
worlds close at hand have already landed._"

We have never wittingly done injustice either to France or her people;
but we confess we had no notion of the claims of both upon our regard
and applause, until they were prominently put before us by her somewhat
Quixotic historian.

In the first place, if you would heap up all the blood, the gold, the
efforts of every kind, that each nation has expended for disinterested
matters that were to be profitable only to the world, France would have
a pyramid that would reach to heaven; "and yours, oh nations! all of you
put together--oh yours! the pile of your sacrifices would reach up to
the knee of an infant!"

And then God enlightens it more than any other nation, for she sees in
the darkest night, when others can no longer distinguish. "During that
dreadful darkness which often prevailed in the middle ages, and since,
nobody perceived the sky. France alone saw it."

Rome is nowhere but in France. Rome held the pontificate of the dark
ages--the royalty of the obscure; and France has been the pontiff of the
ages of light.

Every other history is mutilated. France's is alone complete. Take the
history of Italy, the last centuries are wanting; take the history of
Germany or of England, the first are missing; take that of France, _with
it you know the world_. Christianity has promised, France has performed.
"The Christian had the faith that a God-made man would make a people of
brothers, and would, sooner or later, unite the world in one and the
same heart. This has not yet been verified, but it will be verified in
us." The great and universal legend of France is the only complete one;
other nations have only special legends which the world has not
accepted. The natural legend of France, on the contrary, "is an immense,
uninterrupted stream of light, a true milky way, upon which the world
has ever its eyes fixed." An American once said, that for every man the
first country is his native land, and the second is France. This surely
was praise sufficient. But M. Michelet is very greedy of praise. "How
many," says he, "_like better_ to live here than in their own country!
As soon as ever they can break for a moment the thread that binds them,
they come, poor birds of passage, to settle, take refuge, and enjoy here
at least a moment's vital heat. They tacitly avow that this is the
universal country." Beau Brummel certainly avowed it; but then he, "poor
bird of passage," flew in a night from his own nest, to settle, take
refuge, and enjoy a moment's vital peace in France, away from duns and
creditors. Many, in similar circumstances, would unquestionably prefer
Paris to London, provided they could break the thread which attaches
them to their domestic responsibilities. France is the infant Solomon
sitting in judgment. Who, but she, has preserved the tradition of the
law? She has given her soul to the world, and the world is living on it
now; but, strange condition! "what she has left is what she has given
away. Come, listen to me well, and learn, oh nations! what without us
you would never have learned:--_the more one gives, the more one keeps_.
Her spirit may slumber within her, but it is always entire, and ever on
the point of waking in its might."

Now all this must be taught to the infant as soon as it can lisp, and he
will, no doubt, perfectly understand and appreciate it. The regeneration
of France (which is already so perfect, and is, besides, the great
exemplar of mankind) depends upon the child's proper appreciation of his
birthplace. If he will believe all that has been said, he is far on the
road, but by no means at the end of his journey. As soon as he is
breeched, his mother must become his instructor, and increase the dose
by some such foolish proceeding as the following:--

"Let her take him on St John's Day, when the earth performs her annual
miracle, when every herb is in flower, when the plant seems to grow
while you behold it; let her take him into the garden, embrace him, and
say to him tenderly, 'You love me, you know only me. Well, listen! I am
not all. You have another mother. All of us, men, women, children,
animals, plants, and whatever has life, we have all a tender mother, who
is ever feeding us, invisible, but present. Love her, my dear child; let
us embrace her with all our hearts.'

"Let there be nothing more. No metaphysics that destroy the impression.
Let him brood over that sublime and tender mystery, which his whole life
will not suffice to clear up. That is a day he will never forget.
Throughout all the trials of life and the intricacies of science, amid
all his passions and stormy nights, the gentle sun of St John's Day will
ever illumine the deepest recesses of his heart with the immortal
blossom of the purest, best love."

The little gentleman, however, is not done with yet. The dose is not yet
strong enough, although quite as strong as his mother, gentle creature,
could mix it. The early jacket is discarded in favour of the
swallow-tailed coat, and the youth passes into the hands of his
father:--

"His father takes him--'tis a great public festival--immense crowds in
Paris--he leads him from Notre Dame to the Louvre, the Tuileries, the
triumphal arch. From some roof or terrace, he shows him the people, _the
army passing, the bayonets clashing and glittering, and the tricolored
flag_. In the moments of expectation especially, before the _fête_, by
the fantastic reflections of the illumination, in that awful silence
which suddenly takes place in that dark ocean of people, he stoops
towards him and says, 'There, my son, look, there is France--there is
your native country! All this is like one man, one soul, one heart. They
would all die for one; and each man ought also to live and die for all.
Those men passing yonder, who are armed, and now departing, are going
away to fight for us. They leave here their father, their aged mother,
who will want them. You will do the same; you will never forget that
your mother is France.'"

The education is very nearly completed. The father suffers the
swallow-tail to wear out, the incipient mustache to take root, and then
he leads his second and better self to the mountain-side. This time he
does not stoop over him, for the youth is erect, and is as big a man as
his father. "Climb that mountain, my son," says the venerable gentleman,
"provided it be high enough; look to the four winds, you will see
nothing but _enemies_."

And so, by a very roundabout process, we reach the heart of the mystery.
M. Michelet loves fighting--remembers Waterloo--is game--is eager for
another round, and in his heart believes one Frenchman to be equal to at
least half a dozen Englishmen. He burns for one more trial of
strength--a last decisive tussle; and he writes a philosophical work to
prove the physical bout essential to the dignity, the grandeur, and the
redemption of his country. Every time, we repeat the words, that he
looks upon a bayonet, his heart bounds within him, and his only hope,
teacher and professor of the College of France though he be, rests in
trumpets, drums, swords, the epaulette, the sabredash, and the tricolor.

We have surely wasted ink enough upon this theme. In common with
ourselves, the reader will regard with due commiseration, a
manifestation of wicked folly, which will do no harm only because it
comes in an age not ripe for bloodshed, or happily too humanized for
unprovoked, gratuitous warfare; and because the French people
themselves, under a politic king and a peace-seeking ministry, have
learned a little to regard the blessings of undisturbed domestic
quietness. We quit the main subject of M. Michelet's book, to draw
attention to a few insulated passages worthy of the better days of the
author, and certainly out of place in the present volume. It were not
possible for M. Michelet to write four hundred pages that should not,
here and there, give evidence of his great genius--his general common
sense, and his touching sympathy for the suffering and the oppressed.
There are passages in the work under consideration that have universal
interest, and claim universal attention; his appeals on behalf of
children and women, the most neglected and oppressed of the community,
let them be found where they may, in England or in France, in Europe or
in Asia, are instinct with truthfulness and honest vigour; his
vindication of the _mission_ of the child, philosophical and just, is
beaming with the light that burns so steadily and clearly in the poems
of our own Wordsworth, which have especial reference to the holy
character of the "Father of the Man."

It is in one of the insulated passages of which we speak, that M.
Michelet bitterly and very sensibly complains of the exclusive regard
which modern romance writers have shown for the prisons and kennels, the
monsters and thieves of civilized societies; of the disposition every
where exhibited to descend rather than ascend for the choice of a
subject, or the selection of a hero. We have felt the inconvenience of
the same sickly taste in this country, and can understand the
complainings over productions similar to that of _The Mysteries of
Paris_, whilst we remember our own inferior and not less baneful _Dick
Turpins_ and _Jack Sheppards_. Hurtful to the morals of a nation, these
productions are equally unjust to the national character. We have drawn
our estimate of the present literature of France from what we have seen
and heard of her least healthy writers. As well might the novels of Mr
Ainsworth, or the miserable burlesques of Mr Albert Smith, be accepted
as the representatives of the Romance and Drama of the modern English
school. It is not one of the least crimes of which these unwholesome
writers are guilty, that they present to their own countrymen, and to
the world at large, only foul exceptions, hideously exaggerated, which
they would have us believe are faithful pictures of the mass; and in
their eager endeavours to interest and excite the unthinking many, rouse
the disgust and alarm of all well-constituted and thoughtful minds. The
perilous consequences of popular literature in France are finely pointed
out by M. Michelet. The timid take fright, when the people are
represented as monsters in the books which are greedily devoured, and
intensely applauded by the majority of their readers. "What!" cry the
citizens, "are the people so constituted? Then, let us increase our
police, arm ourselves, shut our doors, and bolt them." And all the alarm
has been occasioned by a conceited, and it may be clever, coxcomb, who,
descending from his drawing-room, has asked the first passenger in the
street where-abouts the People lived. He met with a fool, who directed
him to the galleys, the prisons, and the stews.

"One day," writes M. Michelet, "there came a man to the famous
Themistocles, and proposed to him an art of memory. He answered
bitterly, 'Give me rather the art of forgetfulness.' May God give me
this art, to forget from this moment all your monsters, your fantastic
creations, those shocking exceptions with which you perplex my subject!
You go about, spyglass in hand; you hunt in the gutters, and find there
some dirty filthy object, and bring it to us, exclaiming--'Triumph! we
have found the people!'

"To interest us in them, they show them to us forcing doors and picking
locks. To these picturesque descriptions they add those profound
theories, by which the People, if we listen to them, justify themselves
in their own eyes for this crusade against property. Truly, it is a
great misery, in addition to so many others, for them to have these
imprudent friends. These theories and these acts are by no means of the
people. The mass is, doubtless, neither pure nor irreproachable; but
still, if you want to characterise it by the idea which prevails in the
immense majority, you will find it occupied in founding by toil,
economy, and the most respectable means, the immense work which
constitutes the strength of this country, the participation of all
classes in property."

We believe it sincerely and heartily. The great writers of all ages have
believed it. Your low-minded scribblers have never doubted it; but it is
far easier to depict the limited class, with its violence and felony,
its startling incidents and painful murders--far less difficult to give
picturesque effect to its nauseous jargon and offensive situations, than
it is to work the simple portraiture of a whole community, who have
nothing to offer to the artist but the delicate and unobtrusive
material, such as Goldsmith could weave into a fabric whose colour and
texture shall endure and enchant for all time.

"I feel," continues M. Michelet, with great tenderness--"I feel I am
alone, and I should be sad indeed if I had not with me my faith and
hope. I see myself weak, both by nature and my previous works, in
presence of this mighty subject, as at the foot of a gigantic monument,
that I must move all alone. Alas! how disfigured it is to-day; how
loaded with foreign accumulations, moss, and mouldiness; spoilt by the
rain and mud, and by the injuries it has received from passengers! The
painter, the man of _art for art_, comes and looks at it; what pleases
him is precisely that moss. But I would pluck it off. Painter, now
passing by! This is not a plaything of art--this is our altar!"

"To know the life of the people, their toils and sufferings," he
continues, "I have but to interrogate my own memory." He has himself
sprung from the labouring population. Before he wrote books, he
_composed_ them in the literal sense of that term. He arranged letters
before he grouped ideas; the sadness of the workshop, and the
wearisomeness of long hours, are things known to his experience. The
short narrative of his early struggles forms another beautiful passage
in this singular and very unequal production. The great lesson which he
brought with him from his season of difficulty and affliction, is one
that authorizes him to approach the people as a teacher and a friend,
and ought to have inspired him with nobler aims than he puts forth
to-day. He has seen the disorders of destitution, the vices of misery;
but he has seldom found them extinguishing original goodness of heart,
or interfering with the noble sentiments that adorn the lowest as well
as the highest of mankind. There is nothing new, he tells us, in this
observation. At the time of the cholera in France, every body beheld one
class eager to adopt the orphan children. What class was that? _The
Poor._

Whilst in poverty himself, his soul was kept free from envy by noting
the unremitting devotedness, the indefatigable sacrifices of
hard-working families--a devotedness, he assures us, not even exhausted
in the immolation of one life, but often continued from one to another
for several generations.

The two families from which he descended were originally peasants. These
families being very large, many of his father's and mother's brothers
and sisters would not marry, in order that they might the better
contribute to the education of some of the boys, whom they sent to
college. This was a sacrifice of which he was early made aware, and
which he never forgot. His grandfather, a music-master of Laon, came to
Paris with his little savings after the Reign of Terror, where his son,
the author's father, was employed at the _Imprimerie des Assignats_. His
little wealth was made over to the same son, and all was invested in a
printing-office. To facilitate the arrangement, a brother and a sister
of the eldest son would not marry, but the latter espoused a sober
damsel of Ardennes. M. Michelet, the child of this industrious pair, was
born in the year 1798 in the choir of a church of nuns, then occupied by
the printing-office. "Occupied, I say, but not profaned; for what is the
Press in modern times but the holy ark?"

The printing-office, prosperous at first, fed by the debates of the
assemblies and the news of the armies, was overthrown in 1800 by the
general suppression of the newspapers. The printer was allowed to
publish only an ecclesiastical journal; and even this sanction was
withdrawn in favour of a priest whom Napoleon thought safe, but was
mistaken. The family of M. Michelet was ruined. They had but one
resource; it was to print for their creditors a few works belonging to
the printer. They had no longer any journeymen; they did the work
themselves. The father, who was occupied with his employment abroad,
could render no assistance, but the mother, though sick, turned binder,
cut and folded. The child--the future historian--was the compositor; the
grandfather, very old and feeble, betook himself to the hard work of
the press, and printed with his palsied hands.

The young compositor, at twelve years of age, knew four words of Latin
which he had picked up from an old bookseller, who had been a village
teacher, and doted on grammar. The scene of the lad's labors--his
workshop--was a cellar. For company he had occasionally his grandfather
who came to see them, and always, without interruption, an industrious
spider, that worked at the compositor's side, and even more assiduously
than he. There were severe privations to undergo, but there was also
much compensation.

"I had the kindness of my parents, and their faith in my future
prospects, a faith which is truly inexplicable, when I reflect how
backward I was. Save the binding duties of my work, I enjoyed extreme
independence, which I never abused. I was apprenticed, but without being
in contact with coarse-minded people, whose brutality, perhaps, would
have crushed the precious blossom of liberty within me. In the morning,
before work, I went to my old grammarian, who gave me a task of five or
six lines. I have retained thus much; that the quantity of work has much
less to do with it than is supposed; children can imbibe but a very
little every day; like a vase with a narrow neck, pour little or pour
much, you will never get a great deal in at a time."

We have said that in his struggles the aspiring boy knew nothing of
envy. It is to-day his solemn belief that man would never know envy of
himself, he must be taught it. The year 1813 arrived, and the home of
the historian, as well as France herself--it was the time of
Moscow--looked very cheerless. The penury of the family was extreme. It
was proposed to get the compositor a situation in the Imperial
printing-office. The parents, more fond than reasonable, refused the
offer, and strong in the belief that the child would yet save the
household, obtained an entrance for him in the college of Charlemagne.
The tale is told. From that hour he rose. His studies ended soon and
well. In the year 1821 he procured, by competition, a professorship in a
college. In 1827, two works, which appeared at the same time--_Vico_ and
_Précis d'Histoire Moderne_--gained him a professorship in the _Ecole
Normale_.

"I grew up like grass between two paving-stones; but this grass has
retained its sap as much as that of the Alps. My very solitude in Paris,
my free study, and my free teaching, (ever free and every where the
same,) have raised without altering me. They who rise almost always lose
by it; because they become changed, they become mongrels, bastards; they
lose the originality of their own class without gaining that of another.
The difficulty is not to rise, but in rising to remain one's self."

There is also another difficulty; one which, judging from the volume
before us, M. Michelet has yet to overcome: we mean the
difficulty--after education, and after achieving the heights to which
honourable ambition aspires--of forgetting the terrible and bitter
punishment of early penury and trouble; of cherishing no longer the
anger and hatred that were borne against the world, whilst the struggler
looked upon it as a world in arms against him. The author of THE PEOPLE
tells us, that in his saddest hours he knew no _envy_ towards mankind;
but he acknowledges also, that in his sufferings, he deemed all rich
men, all men, _bad_; that he pined into a misanthropic humour, and, in
the most deserted quarters of Paris, sought the most deserted streets.
"I conceived an excessive antipathy against the human species." The
writer, to use his own expression, "is raised, but not altered." The
antipathy, somewhat chastened by prosperity, is not removed. It takes a
bodily form in the volume that teaches France to regard the earth as her
enemy, and calls upon her to vindicate her pre-eminence and glory in the
field of battle and of blood.



THE ROSE OF WARNING

A LEGEND FROM THE GERMAN. BY A. LODGE.


  Where towering o'er the vale on high,
  Those ice-bound summits pierce the sky;
  And on the mountain flood amain,
  The giant oak, and dusky plane,
  Uptorn, with ever-deepening sound,
  Rush roughly 'mid the gorge profound:
  Behold--where horrors mark the scene,
  And loveliest Nature smiles between,
  Yon ivied arch and turrets gray,
  Mouldering in serene decay;
  Half choked, the scanty columns rise,
  Where the prone roof in fragments lies;--
  Of yore, so legends tell, the fane
  Was call'd, of sainted Bernard's train;
  Pious Brethren, self denying,
  Fill'd with thoughts of holy dying,
  Here, 'mid penance, prayer, and praise,
  Content they wore their tranquil days;
  Now the heavenly truths expounding,
  In the Lord's good work abounding;
  For deeds of love the dome was bless'd;
  The hungry fed, the faint had rest;--
  Thus they gave their light to shine,
  And the Bread of Life divine!

  These walls confess'd, long ages flown,
  Strange tidings of the world unknown;
  And dark the boding wonder fell,
  With signal of the midnight bell:
  For ever, as in solemn row,
  The Brotherhood, devout and slow,
  Paced the dim-lighted aisles along,
  Loud echoing to the choral song;
  To each--when the dread hour was nigh,
  Of man's appointed lot--to die,
  A sure forewarner told of doom,
  With silent summons to the tomb:
  As in the choir he knelt to pray,
  On the desk a white Rose lay!
  Prompt at the sign of awful power,
  The destined brother took the flower,
  "Thy will be done!" he cried, and press'd
  Death's pale memento to his breast;
  And straight retired, the Office o'er,
  He left his cloister'd cell no more;
  There, with due shrift and penance made,
  The last absolving rites were paid,
  And dead to thoughts of earth and time,
  The doom'd one soar'd on hope sublime!
  But first, with reverend hand, he placed
  The monitory emblem chaste
  On that dear pledge of pardon free,
  Christ on his redeeming tree!
  Then gazed, as the long hours crept by,
  With solemn thought, and musing eye,
  From early dawn to eve's repose,
  Steadfast on the warning Rose!

  And quick the shadow'd message came;
  To dust return'd the mortal frame;
  And with sad strains and funeral moan,
  They hymn'd the soul to Mercy's throne!
  Thus by mysterious high behest,
  Each holy brother sank to rest,
  Forewarn'd with supernatural power,
  By the Rose at midnight hour!

  It chanced, as once, for nightly prayer,
  They reach'd the choir--the Rose was there!
  Oh grief! before a youth it lay,
  Warning that his life's young day
  Must wither in its blooming May!
  With sudden mortal pang, dismay'd
  At thought, like the brief Rose to fade;
  While death and awful judgment near
  Made life's half-tasted charms more dear;
  The youth, with anxious, trembling haste,
  Unseen, the boding flower displaced;
  Thus might the signal'd doom betide,
  He deem'd, the brother at his side,
  Who, calm in age, his last repose
  Long waiting, hailed the welcome Rose!
  For him, by faith assured, to die--
  His birth of immortality!

  But on the morrow--hark! the sound
  Of sorrow's wailings echoes round:
  What means the tear--the plaint--the sigh?
  Why sits despair in every eye?
  Oh, dire presage! two souls had fled--
  The old man and the youth were dead!
  And with dumb wondering awe they view
  The White Rose tinged with purple hue!
  For this the ceaseless knell is rung,
  For this the choral Requiem sung:--
  And when, few summers past, once more
  They wept a brother gone before;
  No longer the White Rose was seen;
  It shunn'd the spot where crime had been!

  A pilgrim in the Alpine vale,
  I heard the legendary tale;
  And as at eve, by Fancy woo'd,
  Amid the dark'ning aisles I stood;
  O'er crumbling stone and grassy mound,
  I saw the White Rose blooming round!
  Death's flower, methought, fit emblem made
  To dwell in Ruin's silent shade!
  And may the youth--I breathed a prayer--
  Have owned the Saviour's pardoning care,
  Who, deaf to warnings from the sky,
  Tinged the White Rose with murder's dye!



GREEK FIRE AND GUNPOWDER.[73]


The traditional account of inventions and discoveries whose origin is
involved in the darkness of antiquity is generally short and summary. To
some fortunate individual, whose name, either from his having actually
taken the most prominent part in the progress of the discovery, or, as
is more generally the case, having with the greatest and most
persevering energy impressed it upon the public, the whole merit is
ascribed and the whole glory attached.

The world, active though its individual members be, as to their own
specialties, is inert as a mass, and glad to save itself the trouble of
entering into details by adopting the hypothesis which has been most
urgently forced upon its notice, or which has caught its attention at
one of its most wakeful periods. We thus find nearly every discovery
which has added to the permanent stock of human knowledge attributed to
a single individual, and to a single guess of that individual.

The traditional account of so recent a discovery as that of Galvani, is
the preparation of frog soup for his wife, and the accidental touching
one of them with the knife; while, in fact, he had been for years
employed in examining the convulsive action of frogs, and had presented
several memoirs to the Institute of Bologna on the subject, before its
general publicity; indeed, in the main fact he had been anticipated by
Swammerdam, and he possibly by others.

Schwartz, the monk of Cologne, probably had a real existence, probably
had something to do with the progress of pyrotechnic art; it is even
more probable that he invented gunpowder than that the public invented
him. The very accident which is reported to have happened, it is not
altogether improbable did happen; but if a mixture of saltpetre,
sulphur, and charcoal accidentally exploded, it was not accident which
brought together those particular three ingredients out of the whole
laboratory of nature and art.

It is indeed possible that the frequency of accidental explosions when
gunpowder was known, were reflected back as a plausible hypothesis to
account for its invention; but as the explosive power and utility of
gunpowder were not facts which could have been arrived at by _a priori_
reasoning, there is every likelihood of such an accident having
originally suggested the application of an explosive mixture as a means
of propulsion. The history of the invention then resolves itself into
the question, Were any admixtures of these three ingredients previously
known, what led to them, and what were the objects proposed by them?
This question is attempted to be answered by the book before us,
containing a very erudite inquiry into the progress of the invention of
Greek fire and gunpowder, which are, according to the author's view,
modifications of the same thing, _i.e._ pyrotechnic compositions,
differing only or mainly in the proportions or purity of their
ingredients. A mass of very curious information is given to the reader,
which, in addition to the general stock of knowledge or obscure
tradition on this subject, shows a gradual and generally diffused use of
sulphur, saltpetre, and charcoal in different proportions, and
occasionally mixed with other combustible substances. Among the Arabs of
the thirteenth century a vast number of receipts for such mixtures
existed; this is proved by some ancient Arabic MSS. preserved in the
Bibliothèque Royale. How the Arabs got possession of these arts is left
somewhat in obscurity, though our authors consider there are strong
grounds for conjecturing that they obtained then originally from the
Chinese about the ninth century; that they then proceeded slowly in
improving this knowledge for the three centuries during which they had
no intercourse with the Chinese; and that they again acquired further
information on these points after the Mongul irruption in the thirteenth
century.

The defect of the book before us is its inconclusiveness: from the
preface we are led to expect the solution of a theorem; after reading
the book through, we find ourselves not indeed as far at sea as ever,
but aided mainly by negations. The actual origin of gunpowder or Greek
fire is not traced; many of the connecting links in the chain of
pyrotechnic discovery are still deficient; and the conjectures, which
stand in the place of conclusions, are frequently founded upon what
appear to us insufficient data. On the other hand it must be admitted,
that on a subject so involved in obscurity, inasmuch as proof is
impossible, speculation is to a certain extent admissible as a link to
render isolated facts intelligible.

It may be well here if, before passing to the more immediate object of
this paper--viz. a sketch of the probable progress of pyrotechny--we
explain to those of our readers who are unacquainted with chemistry, the
philosophy of explosive combustibles.

Combustion is nothing else than rapid chemical union, taking place
between two dissimilar substances, which have what is called an affinity
for each other, _i.e._ a tendency to unite and form a new compound. When
a candle or lamp is burned, it is carbon and hydrogen, the principal
constituents of oil or fat, which combine with oxygen, one main
ingredient of the atmosphere. As it requires a certain temperature for
this union to take place, to prevent the cooling effect of mass, a wick
is used which can be readily heated, and where, as soon as chemical
action has once taken place, other portions of the oil or melted tallow
are absorbed, which ascend just as water through the pores of a sponge,
and supply the place of those burned. In this example, only a small
ignited surface is exposed to the influence of the oxygen: if, however,
this latter element could be obtained in a solid state, and mixed up
with the combustible, each particle throughout the whole mass would have
in contact with it a particle of oxygen; so that, if the whole were
raised to the necessary temperature for combustion, combustion would be
instantaneous--or if the temperature of a part were sufficiently
elevated, the combustion of this portion would communicate an intense
heat to the contiguous portions, and the whole would rapidly kindle as a
fuse does. In this case also, the access of the air being immaterial,
combustion might take place in a closed vessel, or even under water.

Nitre, or saltpetre, is one of a class of substances which contains a
large portion of oxygen in a combined and solid state; and, being mixed
with combustible matter such as charcoal, it causes rapid deflagration
when the temperature is raised. The whole class of pyrotechnic
compositions are reducible to this simple principle--they all consist of
combustible substances intimately mixed with substances containing
oxygen; or, to reduce the proposition to more general and simple terms,
they consist of two or more substances, having for each other a powerful
chemical affinity, and capable of rapidly uniting when the temperature
is elevated. When a projectile force is necessary, a further condition
is essential, viz., that they liberate by their chemical action gaseous
matter, whereby a sudden increase in volume is produced, the expansion
of which, augmented by the high temperature, produces the required
effect of propulsion.

This slight sketch will show that the purity and proportions of the
saltpetre, and the inflammable substances mixed with it, are the main
elements to be attended to in the improvement of self-burning
compositions: it is indeed far from improbable, that the substances used
in purifying saltpetre have first suggested such compounds. Wood ashes
were used at a very early period for purifying nitre; and at the end of
an Arabic receipt of the thirteenth century, for the preparation of
saltpetre, in which charcoal is used, is the expression, "guard against
sparks of fire."

The probabilities strongly favour the view, that incendiary compositions
of the nature we have been describing originated with the Chinese. China
snow, and China salt, are the names given by writers of the greatest
antiquity to saltpetre. In the Arabic MSS. to which we shall presently
allude, the words Chinese wheel, Chinese flower, Chinese dart, occur as
appellatives of different fireworks. It is very possible that the influx
of Chinese literature, which the result of the recent war with that
people promises us, will lead to the discovery of Chinese treatises upon
pyrotechny.

Other authors speak of fire-arms among the Chinese at a very early
period of our era, and even before Christ; but the interpretation which
they have put upon obscure passages--interpretations evidently derived
from their existing knowledge--makes these expressions and translations
of extremely doubtful import.

At a later period, however, we have the authority of Raschideddin,
(minister of the Tartar Khan of Persia,) and of Marco Polo, that the
machines of war employed at the siege of Siang Yang were constructed by
Arabian or European workmen, and that the Tartars were not at this
period themselves able to manufacture such machines. This would tend to
negative the belief which has been entertained by some, that the Chinese
then used gunpowder as a means of projection, but does not lessen the
possibility that the fuses and compositions projected by these machines
were of Chinese origin.

In the history of the dynasty of Sang, A.D. 1259, there is a distinct
account of a projectile by means of fire as follows:--"In the first year
of the period _Khaiking_, a kind of arms was manufactured called
_Tho-ho-tsiary_, that is to say, 'impetuous fire-lance.' A nest of
grains was introduced into a long tube of bamboo, to which fire was set.
A violent flame darted forth, and instantly the nest of grains was
projected with a noise similar to that of a peacock, which was heard at
a distance of about 150 paces."

Upon the whole, it would appear that the Chinese, although the character
of their claims to the knowledge of gunpowder has been exaggerated, were
in all probability the people among whom mixtures of combustibles with
oxygenated substances originated; and this will form one of the many
interesting fields of inquiry to be pursued by those skilled in the
literature of the Chinese, now that the field is so largely opened to
them.

There are obscure passages in writers of a very early period, which
speak of thunderbolts being shot from the walls of besieged towns upon
the enemy. Philostratus speaks of such; but the indefinite character of
these expressions makes their connexion with either Greek fire or
gunpowder extremely doubtful.

In the year 883, Nicetas, admiral of the Eastern empire, was sent by the
Saracens of Crete to assault Constantinople, and is stated to have
burned twenty of their ships with Greek fire.

One of the earliest accounts of its composition is that given by Anna
Comnena, who states it was composed of sulphur, bitumen, and naphtha;
but the most distinct early receipt for a composition analogous to
gunpowder, is that contained in the celebrated book of Marcus Græcus. In
the book called _Liber Ignium_, we have the following receipts:--

"Note. That the fire capable of flying in the air is of twofold
composition, of which the first is: One part of colophon and an equal
part of sulphur, two parts of saltpetre, and well pulverized, to be
dissolved in linseed or laurel oil. A case, or hollowed wood, is then to
be charged with it, and ignited. It will fly suddenly to whatever place
you wish, and burn up every thing by its fire."

The second sort of flying fire is prepared in this manner:--

"One pound of sulphur vivum, two pounds of charcoal of linden wood or of
willow, six pounds of saltpetre, which three things are minutely pounded
in a marble mortar. After that you will charge with it a sheath suitable
for flying, or for making thunder.

"Note. The sheath for flying ought to be slender and long, and filled
with the aforesaid powder well rammed.

"The sheath for making thunder ought to be short and large, and half
filled with the aforesaid powder, and well bound in every direction with
an iron band.

"Note. That in every sheath a small aperture is to be made, in order
that it may be ignited by the match when applied, which match is made
slender at the extremities, but in the middle large and filled with the
aforesaid powder."

Another receipt of Marcus for Greek fire is as follows:--

"Greek fire is made in the following manner. Take pure sulphur, tartar,
sarcocole, (a kind of resin,) pitch, fused saltpetre, and oil of
petroleum. Boil them well together. Dip tow in the mixture, and set fire
to it. This fire cannot be extinguished but with vinegar or sand."

The close analogy, or rather the identity, of these compositions with
gunpowder as at present made, requires no comment. The more important
question is the date at which this work was written. This is a matter of
great doubt. Messrs Reinaud and Favé, from the fact that the receipt for
the preparation of saltpetre to be found in this same book of Marcus is
much more imperfect than that in the Arabian MSS., place the date of his
book earlier than the thirteenth century. Again, Geber, an oriental
writer, the date of whose life is doubtful, but whom our authors fix at
the eighth century, has described the preparation of a salt which has
been translated _nitre_, but which our authors consider to have been a
sesqui-carbonate of soda, _natron_, not _nitrum_. They thence conclude
that nitre was unknown to Geber, and thus, because it was known to
Marcus, that he lived subsequently; and for this reason they place
Marcus between the ninth and twelfth century.

We have seldom seen an instance of more loose deduction than this. It is
required to find the date of Marcus. Geber, whose date is unknown, is
set down, upon rather weak data, as of the eighth century. Geber's
translator is corrected to prove that Geber did not know saltpetre.
Hassan Alrammah, an Arabian, is considered as more recent than Marcus, a
Greek, because his process for saltpetre is somewhat more perfect; and
from the cumulative effect of these data, each of which is very
insufficiently established, and which, if established, only go to prove
differences in the degrees of perfection of their respective receipts,
the date of Marcus is fixed: this certainly is pushing _incertum per
incertius_ very far. We fear that if no more accurate information be
brought to bear on it, the epoch of Marcus Græcus will be a subject of
as much controversy as ever.

The paragraph in the treatises _De Mirabilibus_ of Albert the Great is
so identical with that of Marcus Græcus, that there can be no doubt of
its being copied from it, or derived from the same source, and is a
strong additional instance of the general progress of inventions. A
received publication calls attention to a fact already disclosed but
forgotten, the knowledge acquired by the world since is brought to bear
on the old fact; and a consequent improvement results.

Roger Bacon, to whom the invention or knowledge of gunpowder has been
attributed by some, would stand a very poor chance among the men of
science of the present day: it is not now the man who conjectures a
possibility, but he who demonstrates a fact, that is hailed as the
discoverer.

The following series of possibilities are curiously interesting, both
from their partial subsequent realization, and from the simple credulity
with which Bacon gives us that which he had known "a wise man explicitly
excogitate."

"Instruments of navigation can be made, men being the propelling agents,
that the largest river and sea barks can be borne along (one man only
managing them) with greater speed than if they were full of navigators.
Carriages can also be constructed which may be moved without animals,
with an inestimable impetus; so that one would think that they were the
armed chariots with which they fought in ancient times. Instruments for
flying can also be made, so that a man sitting in the centre of the
machine, and turning an engine, by which artificial wings may strike the
air in the manner of a bird flying. An instrument also can be made,
small in magnitude, for elevating and lowering almost infinite weights,
than which nothing is more useful in mischances, for by an instrument of
the length of three fingers, and of the same breadth or less, a man may
extract himself and companions from all danger of prison, and elevate
and lower them. An instrument can also be made by which one man may
draw to himself a thousand men, by force and against their will.
Instruments for walking on the sea can also be made, and in rivers to
the bottom without corporal peril. For Alexander the Great used them
that he might see the secrets of the sea, according to the relation of
Ethicus the astronomer.

"These things, indeed, are of antiquity and of our times, and are
certain, except the instrument for flying, which I have not seen, nor
have I known a man who has, but I know a wise man who has explicitly
excogitated it; and an infinity of other things can be made, as bridges
over rivers, can be made without columns or any support, and machines or
unheard of engines."

The ultra admirer of the ancients will see in this, if not an accurate
relation of facts, which with the exception of the flying it purports to
be, at least a wonderful perception of practicabilities; and railroads,
diving-bells, suspension-bridges, &c., will be so many circumstantial
corroborations of the correctness of his view. We, however, are rather
disposed to regard them as ingenious extravagances. Predictions of the
success of science are always on the safe side. If in the present day
one were to say, that we shall be able to see the inhabitants of
Jupiter, or even converse with them, it would be a prophecy which could
never be negatived, which might be the case if we said such things were
impossible.

Bacon's obscure intimations of gunpowder are not so clearly derived from
the same source as the receipts of Marcus Græcus and Albertus Magnus
are; but they are apparently derivatives from what was then known to a
few, of nitre compositions, and are very analogous, though not quite so
extravagant as some of his other deductions.

Bacon also speaks of a child's toy (_ludicrum puerile_) which was made
with saltpetre, the explosion of which produced a report, "quod fortis
tonitrui sentiatur excedere rugitum."

As with this, so with the greater number of Bacon's observations; they
bear reference to facts, or relations received as facts, which were at
that time either generally or partially known, and do not profess to
give to the world his own inventions, though the theories deduced from
those asserted facts are frequently the produce of his own imaginative
brain. Upon the whole, we are fully disposed to agree with Messrs
Reinaud and Favé, that the invention of gunpowder is by no means due to
Bacon.

We now pass to the Arabian manuscripts of the 13th century, to which we
have before alluded, and which constitute the principal discovery of our
authors. The same word (_baraud_) which is now used by the Arabs as
signifying gunpowder, was originally used to signify saltpetre; and even
in this application had a secondary meaning, its more primitive meaning
being "hail." The whiteness and crystalline form of saltpetre presented
a sufficient analogy to attach to it a similar name, neology being in
those days not quite so common or so easy as at present.

Various salts were also included under the same name, their specific
differences not being then known. This fact had probably much influence
in retarding the pyrotechnic art, as accurate means of testing the
purity and chemical character of the salt were not distinctly
understood. A receipt successful in one case, because a proper salt was
used, failed in another, because the salt was totally unfit for
supporting combustion, though passing under the same name.

In these MSS. occur a vast number of receipts for pyrotechnic
compositions, of which we may here give one or two as specimens, and as
instances of the close approach made at that time to the composition of
gunpowder as manufactured at the present day:--

  _Proportions of the Sun's Rays._

  1st Composition.
  Saltpetre, 10--Sulphur, 1-1/8--Charcoal, 2-1/4.

  2nd Composition.
  Saltpetre, 10--Sulphur, 1-7/8--Charcoal, 2.


  _Proportions of the Garland of Golden Flowers._

  Saltpetre, 10--Sulphur, 1--Steel filings, 1/2--Bronze filings, 1/2.


  _Flashing Rocket._

  Saltpetre, 10--Sulphur, 1-3/8--Charcoal, 2-1/8.

Each substance to be separately pounded; the charcoal and saltpetre are
then mixed, and gently pounded; moisten with spittle, and then add the
sulphur.

  _White Rocket without sparks._

  Saltpetre, 10--Sulphur, 1-1/4--Charcoal, 2-1/4.
  To be mixed as before directed.


  _Egyptian Moonshine._

  Saltpetre, 10--Sulphur, 2-1/4--Charcoal, 1/4.
  Add 4 parts of Lead or Black Ointment.

These instances will be sufficient to show the general character of the
Arabic receipts. Saltpetre is used in all of them--in most of them
sulphur or charcoal; while arsenic, incense, camphor, iron and bronze
filings, are occasionally used to vary the colour and character of the
light produced. The Arabs were also in possession at this period of a
vast number of instruments of war in which similar combustible matters
were employed, such as lances and clubs, with fires at the extremity,
girdles for the waist with fires attached. We translate the description
of one of them:--

     _War Club._

     "Get the glass-maker to make a club, which shall be pierced at its
     extremity like an iron club. Get the turner to turn a stick, which
     you will fasten strongly to it. You may give it whatever form you
     please. Arrange on the sides three 'tubulures,' and at the bottom
     also three for the 'roses,' (one class of the compositions,) then
     make the usual compositions. When you wish to set fire to them,
     arrange them in the form of a segment, set fire to the club, and
     break it, for the love of God."

The termination of this receipt is a very usual one, and applied to
several other receipts--instruments of destruction being then, as now,
considered a most appropriate method of serving God.

Another ingenious weapon was called "the egg which moves itself and
burns;" and this consisted of two long fuses, which seemed to give force
and direction to the firework, and a shorter one, which was directed
forwards, the object of which was to burn the enemy. This projectile was
cast by the hand, and then, to use the quaint language of the receipt,
"it walks, it starts, and it burns extremely well."

Many other compositions were known to the Arabs, as appears from the two
curious MSS. above mentioned; such as compositions for covering the body
to protect from fire, others to emit a suffocating smoke.

The performances of these instruments were, doubtless, what we should
now consider very insignificant; but they must have produced upon the
excited imagination of the warrior of those days an effect which it is
very difficult to conceive in the present day.

Nothing, probably, has occasioned more frequent historical errors, than
forming deductions as to real effects from the exaggerated descriptions
of ancient writers.

When Musschenbroek (not a superstitious soldier, but an inductive
philosopher) first discovered the Leyden Phial, he declared he would not
take a second shock for the kingdom of France; and yet we well know that
a schoolboy would not now be frightened at a much more powerful shock
than he then experienced. Want of familiarity with a phenomenon, and
ignorance of its proximate cause, will ever make it terrible. We cannot
see any thing terrible in a sky-rocket, because we have been early
influenced by those on whom we rely to regard it as an amusement; but
had they brought us up in fear of it--had they magnified these accounts,
having some foundation in fact, as to its destructive power, we may well
understand what effects of terror it would produce.

Thus regarded, the _ignotum pro magnifico_ appears quite sufficient to
explain the narrated effects of the Greek fire. But there was also
another reason--viz. that all results, not of continual occurrence, and
within the range of ordinary experience, were attributed to magic, and
consequently spread a terror far disproportioned to the real effects;
for this reason, the means of producing then were prohibited by the
hierarchy, and, as they gradually acquired a more extensive use, were
then only permitted against the enemies of the religion of the people
who used them; hence the expression so frequent in the Arabian receipts,
"You shall burn your adversary for the service of God;" and similar
language is used by the Christian writers, when similar compositions
became used by Christian warriors.

A narration, taken from the Sieur Joinville's History of St Louis, will
place before our readers the contemporaneous description of the effects
of the pyrotechny of the Arabs.

The following is the account of Joinville of one of the skirmishes of St
Louis on the borders of the Nile. We should premise that Turk is the
term generally applied by Joinville to all Mussulman soldiers; and
though the army was generally recruited from Turkish slaves, yet the
country was possessed by Arabs, and the language and arts were theirs.

"One evening it happened that the Turks brought an engine called '_la
perriere_,' a terrible engine for doing mischief, and placed it opposite
the '_chaz chateils_,' (wooden towers to shelter the advanced guard,)
which Messire Gaultier de Carel and I were watching at night, by which
engine they cast at us Greek fire, which was the most horrible thing
that ever I saw. When the good Chevalier Messire Gualtier, my companion,
saw this fire, he exclaimed and said to us, Sirs, we are lost for ever
without any remedy; for if they burn our '_chaz chateils_' we are
broiled and burned, and if we leave our watch we are disgraced. From
which I conclude that there is no one can defend us from this peril,
except God our blessed Creator. So I counsel you all, that whenever they
cast at us the '_feu Grégeois_,' that each of us throw himself upon his
elbows and knees, and cry mercy to our Lord, in whom is all power; and
as soon as the Turcs threw the first charge of fire, we threw ourselves
upon elbows and knees, as we had been instructed. And the fire of this
first discharge fell between our two '_chaz chateils_,' in a space in
front which our people had made for damming the river; and immediately
the fire was extinguished, by a man whom we had for this purpose. The
manner of the Greek fire was such, that it came forth as large as a tun,
and the tail extended as long as '_une demye canne de quatre pans_.' It
made such a noise in approaching, that it seemed like thunder which had
fallen from heaven, and seemed to me a great dragon flying through the
air; and threw out such a blaze that it appeared as clear as the day, so
great a flame of fire was there. Three times during the night they threw
this Greek fire at us from the above-mentioned '_perriere_,' and four
times with the '_arbalesté_.' And every time that our good king Saint
Loys heard that they thus threw the fire, he cast himself upon the
ground, and stretched his hands to heaven, and cried with a loud voice
to our Lord, and said, shedding copious tears--'Good Lord Jesus Christ,
preserve me and all my people;' and, believe me, his good prayers and
orisons did us good service (_nous eurent bon mestier_)."

It is impossible to render, in literal translation, the quaint
simplicity of the old French; but the fact that this terrible fire was
extinguished by a single man, would tend very much to lessen our belief
in the marvels attributed to it by the narrator.

Be that as it may, we have, in the extract quoted, the expression Greek
fire, (_feu Grégeois_,) which will connect the effect then produced with
that known as pertaining to the Greek fire. There is every probability
that the compositions here used were the same or similar to those
generally known under that title, while the MSS. above quoted detail the
compositions used by the Arabs at that period: the evidence is,
therefore, very strong that the Greek fire was a composition closely
resembling, if not identical with, those indicated in the Arabian
receipts.

If we trace back the effects of the combustible compositions to the
period of the Crusades, anterior to the time when Joinville wrote, we
shall find a strong analogy with those described by him; but the use of
saltpetre appears to have been more rare, and that of bituminous
substances more frequent.

From an Arabian author of the middle of the 13th century, Casiri
translates a passage into Latin, which Reinaud somewhat alters. We
render it as nearly as we can in English. "It creeps along with
scorpions of nitre powder (_baraud_) placed in cases. These scorpions
take fire, and wherever they fall they burn; they spread abroad like a
cloud; they yell like thunder; they burn like a brazier; they reduce all
to cinders."

This passage is important, as showing the connexion of nitre or
_baraud_--a word, as we have before stated, applied to nitre and nitre
compositions--with a class of effects analogous to those attributed to
the Greek fire.

The passage of incendiary compositions into gunpowder is still involved
in much obscurity. Messrs Reinaud and Favé consider that a treatise,
printed at Paris A.D. 1561, entitled _Livre de Cannonerie_, throws much
light on the subject--"_vient de l'éclairer d'une lumière nouvelle_;"
but we cannot at all agree with them in this view, and for the simple
reason, that neither the names of the authors of the receipts contained
in it, nor the dates, nor the countries, are given. Without either of
these data, our readers, we think, will find it difficult to conceive
that much new light can be thrown on the subject. The treatise contains
a number of receipts for mixtures of oils, bitumens, sulphur, and nitre;
and, as appears to us, all the aid given by this work towards
elucidating the subject is, that these receipts are analogous to those
of Marcus and of the Arabs, and have some internal evidence of having
been written or copied from writings of an early date, though probably
subsequent to Marcus; and, secondly the term Greek fire (_feu Grégeois_)
being employed, and receipts for it given, would lead to the inference
that the compositions here used under the same title were analogous to
those which originally constituted the Greek fire. It is, however,
certainly open to the remark, that Greek fire having become, in a great
measure, a generic name for violent incendiary compositions, the term
may have been applied to compositions analogous in their effects, though
of more recent discovery. When, however, we find, in various distinct
quarters, similar receipts; when we find these appearing at different
epochs, and having different degrees of approximation to the explosive
compounds which a more matured experience has rendered certain in their
composition, the discovery of such a book as this becomes certainly a
corroborative circumstance in favour of that view which regards the
Greek fire as never having become extinct, and as having, by progressive
but unequal gradations, changed into gunpowder.

In discussing the treatise above mentioned, there is a naïve expression
of our authors, who, in remarking the necessary slow combustion of these
compounds from the imperfections of the processes of manufacturing
saltpetre, also given in the same book, say:--"One sees how much there
is that is providential in the progress of human invention. If man had,
in the first instance, a powder as strong as at present, he would
probably have been unable to master this force, or to use it with
suitable instruments, and the discovery would have remained without
application. We see that, thanks to the primitive impurity of the
saltpetre, man employed mixtures of it with sulphur and charcoal, which
produced a force suitable for throwing to short distances feeble parcels
of incendiary matter. This force increased little by little, as men
became better able to refine saltpetre, and ends by enabling them to
employ it for throwing projectiles."

We have frequently heard the word providential applied in a strange
manner; but this is one of the most novel views of providential
intervention we happen to have met with. The quiet gravity with which
Providence is assumed to have interfered in favour of the progress of
destructive implements, is about as instructive an instance of the
unconscious devotion of an author to his speciality as could easily be
selected.

In the treatise of 1561 are some receipts, assumed to be taken from
works of an earlier date, in which saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal, are
submitted to a considerable degree of heat. The following is one:--"Take
of saltpetre 100 lbs., sulphur, 25 lbs., charcoal, 25 lbs., put them
altogether, and make them boil well, until the whole be well united, and
then you will thus have a strong powder." Mixed in these proportions,
and submitted to such a temperature, the chance of explosion is very
great; and, as our authors observe, "the essential fact of the tradition
respecting the invention of gunpowder is confirmed;" or rather,
strictly speaking, the probability of its truth is strengthened. We
therefore do not see very clearly why they should be anxious to divest
Schwartz of the merit of its discovery, while they produce arguments to
show the probability of the discovery being so made. The results of
these arguments would only tend to show that the tradition is not
sufficiently explicit, in not stating why the three ingredients were
mixed together; and Schwartz would, according to this view, be regarded
as the first who remarked and applied, or suggested the application of
gunpowder, as supplying an explosive projective force.

Though the probabilities of the use of gunpowder, as an explosive
compound, being suggested by accidents occurring in the manufacture of
combustible compounds, are thus shown to be very great, the actual step,
if step it were, still remains in obscurity. Most probably, like many
other inventions, the fact was observed again and again with different
degrees of accuracy and different resulting suggestions; until, at
length, growing intelligence seized on it, and increasing facility of
publication rendered its development more rapid and general. The actual
date of its general introduction or use in war is still uncertain.
Schwartz's discovery is stated by Kircher at 1354; but gunpowder is
stated to have been used at the siege of Stirling in 1339; in Denmark in
1340; in Spain in 1343; at Cressy in 1346; at the siege of Calais in
1347.

Without entering into the critical discussions which the vagueness of
the historical records of these periods might tempt, we can scarcely be
far wrong in setting down the general introduction of gunpowder during
the first half of the fourteenth century, although any attempt to
specify, from existing data, the exact date of its invention, would be
vain. With regard to its connexion with Greek fire, we may sum up by
stating, that during different periods, extending from the eighth to the
fourteenth century, combustible matters, in which saltpetre was one
ingredient, have been used; and that the term Greek fire has been, at
various times within this period, applied to them. Although it does not
necessarily follow that the Greek fire alluded to in the more recent
works was identical with the Greek fire of an earlier period, yet the
probability is strong that there was at least a striking analogy in
effect, or the name would not have been used. There is, moreover, some
internal evidence of community of origin in these various receipts, when
we find that in different parts of the world, in China, in Arabia, and
Greece, one general characteristic ingredient is present, viz., nitre;
when also the history and progress of chemistry have taught us that no
substance, other than nitre or a salt of nitric acid, has ever been, or
is now known, which would produce similar effects, (for the
comparatively recent discovery of the chlorates would produce effects of
detonation by friction or percussion, of which we find no records,)
there can, we think, be little doubt that Greek fire was of the same
chemical character as gunpowder; that it passed by a transition, which
may have been in particular cases more or less sudden, but which upon
the whole was gradual, into gunpowder; and that the history of the
progress of one of these manufactures is, in fact, the history of the
progress of the other. In this history there are still many gaps to be
filled up, many errors to be rectified.

The book of Messrs Reinaud and Favé, though somewhat inartificially
arranged, has given to the public much valuable information; but there
is still room for an elaborate and well-digested treatise on the
subject, in which the whole progress of pyrotechnic invention may be
arranged in chronological order, and more lucidly expounded than are
antiquarian matters in general. This is a task, however, which few, if
any, are capable of undertaking, as it requires for its successful
execution a combination of extensive antiquarian, chemical, and
philological acquirements. In the mean time, our authors may say, and we
say with them,

          "Si quid novisti rectius istis,
  Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum."



HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE AND LIVE IN IT.


We're a true Boeotian people after all: that's a fact. We may talk
about Attic art and Doric strength; but in our habits, no less than in
our climate, we certainly belong to the wrong side of the hills. We're a
stuffing and guzzling race, if ever there was one; we doat on great
hunks of meat and flagons of strong drink; and as truly as every Paddy
has got a hot potato somewhere in his head, making him the queer, mad
chap he is, so have we got a national brain compounded of pudding, and
beef, and sausages, turning us into that stubborn and stolid people
which we know ourselves to be. Sidney Smith expressed the fundamental
idea of the English nation to a T, when he said that the ultimate end of
all good government was a hot chop and plenty of claret; but, in saying
so, he did no more than re-echo the burden of the old song, translated
into more modern and fashionable language--

  "Back and side go bare, go bare;
    Both foot and hand go cold;
  But belly, God send thee good ale enough,
    Whether it be new or old!"

Ah! he was a splendid fellow that indited this song, and so was that
other clerical wight who broached the idea--

  "When I go to bed, then of heaven I dream;
  But that is fat pullets and clotted cream;"--

A real Devonian or Somersettian parson; but they spoke from the
heart,--or rather from the stomach, jolly, good comfortable souls as
they were, and their words go right home to the stomachs and hearts of
all, wherever the British lion has the privilege of lashing his tail or
shaking his mane.

As to eating, _quoad comedendum constipandumque_, we keep up the
Boeotic charter to the very letter and spirit of all its provisions;
and in the moistening of our national clay, we certainly show a
praiseworthy diligence; we wet it like bricks--and that's a fact, too;
but as for doing these important matters in proper places and at proper
times, there, _selon nous_, we are lamentably behind-hand with the rest
of the unfledged, articulate-speaking, bipedal genus to which we have
the honour to belong. And as it has been lately shown in our pages, as
clear as the sun at noonday, (the truth of which beautiful and rare
simile, gentle reader, varies considerably with the place where you may
happen to use it--from Shoe Lane, London, to the Strada di Toledo at
Naples,) or as clear as--clear can be, that John Bull does not know how
to put a decent coat on his back when he goes out to dinner; so now it
is to be essayed to show, that for all he may think otherwise, John has
not got a comfortable, sensible house to go and eat his dinner in; that
he does not know what a regular, good, snug, and snoozy chimney-corner
is; and that, when he stumbles up-stairs to bed, he generally puts
himself into a hole, but not what can be called a room--a real
comfortable, respectable bed-room. We do not say that he might not have
done so once--we know, on the contrary, that he did; all we contend for
is, that he does not do so now, and we don't think he is in the right
way to mend; and, as John is a special friend of ours, and so is Mrs
Bull, and all the little Bulls, who will be big, full-grown Bulls some
day or other, and as we like to make ourselves useful to the present
generation, and hope to be agreeably remembered by posterity, therefore
do we intend to take the Bull by the horns, and see if we cannot
wheedle, coax, pull, push, or bully him into our way of thinking about
rooms and houses.

It is set down as a national axiom at the present day, that we are at
the very head of the world in arts, arms, manufactures, laws,
constitution, Church and State, literature, science--(any thing
else?--there must be something more; to be sure there is)--money and
railroads! and he's no true Englishman, Sir, he's not one of the
British public, if he does not think so. We see it in print every
day--it must be true; we've read as much in the _Times_, _Herald_,
_Chronicle_, _Post_, &c.--for the last twenty years, and what all the
world says must be so. Be it so, honest John, we honour your Boeotic
patriotism; it's a glorious principle, old boy, and 'twill carry you
bravely through all the thicks and thins of life--"sed audi alteram
partem"--do put your nose outside your own door a bit, now that
railroads are so plenty and cheap--do go abroad a little--just go and
look at some of those foreigners in their own outlandish countries, and
then think quietly over these matters again. Besides, who's afraid of
change now-a-days? Are we not making all these splendid inroads into the
country, ay, and into the constitution?--are we not going to have corn
and cattle, and silk and cotton, and butter and cheese, and brandy to
boot, all brought to our own doors for nothing? We'll leave these other
things alone--we will not argue about them now; let us talk about bricks
and mortar, and suchlike, and see if we cannot open your eyes to the
light of reason and common sense.

Now, what is the end, object, and use of all habitations, houses,
tenements, and premises whatsoever in this same united kingdom of our's,
and in this glorious nineteenth century, except to shelter a man from
the cold, or the heat, or the damp, or the frost, or the wind, whichever
may come upon him, or any part or parcel of the same; and further, to
give him room to hoard up, stow away, display, use, and enjoy all his
goods, chattels, and other appurtenances; and further, wherein to sit
down with a friend or friends, as the case may be, to any description of
meal that his purse can or cannot pay for, and then to give him room and
opportunity either to spatiate for the good of digestion, or to put his
India-silk handkerchief over his bald pate, and snore away till
tea-time? This being the very acme of comfort, the very object of all
labour, the only thing that makes life worth living for, in the opinion
of three-fourths of Queen Victoria's loving subjects, it follows, that
if they would spend that money they love so much in a rational and truly
economical way, they should bear such objects as these constantly in
sight. This brings us, therefore, to the enunciating, for the second
time, that great fundamental law of human operations--usefulness first,
ornament afterwards, or both together if you please; but not, as we see
the law interpreted now-a-days--ornament and show in the first place,
and usefulness and comfort put in the background. It is this backward
reading of the great rule of common sense, that makes men so uncommonly
senseless as we often find them to be; and when it comes in the way of
building, it turns us into the least architectural and worst built
nation of any in this part of Christendom. Taking into account the cost
of erecting buildings, and the relative value of money in different
countries, there are no towns in Europe where so little good building
and so small a degree of architectural effect are produced as in those
of "old England." Poets and home tourists have affected to fall into
rhapsodies of admiration at the beautiful neatness of our small country
towns, at the unparalleled magnificence of London, at the ostentatious
splendour of our commercial cities, Liverpool, Bristol, &c. This is all
very well for home readers, and for home reputation; for there is
nothing like a lot of people congregating themselves into a nation, and
then be-lauding themselves and their doings up to the skies--there is
nobody to say nay, and they can easily write themselves down the first
people on earth. The fault is not peculiar to England; that vapouring
coxcomb Crapaud is full of such nonsense; and that long-haired,
sallow-cheeked, quid-chewing Jonathan, is still more ridiculously fond
of indulging in it: but because it is one of the most offensive
weaknesses of human nature, it is not therefore the less worthy of
reprehension, and the sooner we try to throw off such false and morbid
patriotism the better. The three towns in Great Britain, which, taking
them in the general average of their common buildings, their citizens'
houses, can be called the best-looking ones, are these:--first and
fairest is dear Auld Reekie, next is Cheltenham, and last is Bath. The
great metropolis we put out of the comparison, for metropolitical cities
should be compared together; but Edinburgh is _facile princeps_ in the
list of all habitable places in this island; Cheltenham is at the head
of all watering-places, and pleasure-places--(Brighton, Leamington,
Clifton, &c., are certainly not equal to it in point of good
architecture and general effect;) and Bath, now that its fashionable
name has somewhat declined, may be looked on as the leader of our
second-rate quiet kind of towns. Were we to make a fourth class of
comparisons we would take our cathedral cities, and place Oxford at the
head, before Worcester, Exeter, and so forth. But we revert to our first
proposition; and were we about to show a foreigner those places
wherewith we could desire him to compare his own distant cities, we
should take him to the three above mentioned. It is in these three
places that the great essentials of use and ornament seem to us to be
the most happily combined; attempts are made at them in other quarters
with various degrees of success, but here their union has been the most
decided. Bear our opinion in mind, gentle reader; and, when next you go
upon your travels, see if what we assert be not correct.

The style of house we most object to is Johnson's--you don't know
Johnson? Why, don't you recollect the little bustling man that used to
live at the yellow house in the City-Road, and that you were sure to
meet every day, about eleven o'clock, in Threadneedle Street, or by the
Bank Buildings? Well, he has been so successful in the drug line that he
has left the City-Road, and has moved into the far west, Paragon Place,
Bryanstone Square; and, not content with this, has taken a house at
Brighton, on the Marine-Parade, for his "Sunday out," as he terms it. He
is a worthy fellow at bottom, but he has no more taste than the pump;
and while he thinks he inhabits the _ne plus ultra_ of all good houses,
lives in reality in ramshackle, rickety, ugly, and inconvenient dens.
The house in Paragon Place is built of brick, like all others; but the
parlour story is stuccoed to look like stone, the original brick tint
being resumed at the levels of the kitchen below and the drawing-room
above. There are two windows to the said drawing-room--one to the
dining-room; and so on in proportion for the four stories of which the
edifice consists: but the back is a curious medley of ins and outs, and
ups and downs; single windows to dark rooms, and a dirty little bit of a
back-yard, with a square plot of mud at the end of it, called "the
garden;" the cook says the "airey" is in front; and Johnson knows that
his wine-cellar is between the dust-bin and the coal-hole under the
street. If you knock at the door you are let in to a passage too wide
for one, but not wide enough for two, and you find at once the whole
penetralia of the habitation lying open to your vision; dining-room door
on right hand, parlour door behind it; kitchen door under the stairs,
and garden door at the end of the passage. You know the man's whole
household arrangements in a minute; and if he is not in the
drawing-room, (but Johnson never does sit there, his wife keeps it for
company,) it is of no use his pretending not to be at home, when you
have your hand within a few feet of the locks of each door on the
ground-story. And then, though the passage is dark, for there is only
the fan-light over the entrance, and the long round-headed window at the
first landing, all full of blue and orange glass, you know that dinner
is preparing; for you see the little mahogany slab turned up to serve as
a table near the parlour door, and such a smell comes up the kitchen
stairs, that were you at the cook's elbow you could not be more in the
thick of it. Well, they tell you he's in, and you walk up-stairs to the
drawing-room; one room in front and the best bed-room behind; and Mr and
Mrs Johnson's up-stairs again over the drawing-room; and the children's
room behind that--you can hear them plain enough; and above all, no
doubt, is the maid's room, and the servant-boy's who let you in; not so,
the boy sleeps in the kitchen, and the front attic is kept for one of
Johnson's clerks, for you might have seen him going up the second pair;
and if he wasn't going to his bed-room what business had he up-stairs at
all? So that, though you have been in the house only five minutes, you
know all about it as well as if Mortice the builder had lain the plans
on the table before you. Well, Johnson won a picture in the _Art-Union_
some time since, and determined to stick it up in the drawing-room,
against the wall fronting the windows; so up came the carpenter; and, as
the picture was large, away went a ten-penny nail into the wall; and so
it did go in, and not only in, but through the wall, for it was only
half a brick thick; and, what with repeated hammerings, the bricks
became so loose that the picture could not be safely hung there. So it
was ordered to be placed against the wall opposite the fireplace--the
wall of the next house in fact--and the same operation was going on,
when old Mrs Wheedle, the next door neighbour, sent in her compliments
to beg that Mr Johnson would have some regard for her hanging
bookshelves, the nails of which had been all loosened by his
battering-ram, and the books were threatening to fall on her tableful of
china--she called it "cheyney"--below. Again, on the other side lives,
or rather lodges, Signor Bramante, the celebrated violoncello, and he
practises in what he has made the back drawing-room, equivalent to
Johnson's best bed; but, the other day, when Smith came up from
Birmingham to see Johnson, he could get no sleep for the first half of
the night, Bramante having occasion to practise till nearly one o'clock,
for the _Stabat Mater_ of next morning's concert. So much for the
substantiality of Johnson's town-house. His rooms, too, to our mind, are
of bad proportions, and most inconveniently situated; they are so low
that it is impossible to ventilate them properly; he has always a flight
or two of stairs to go up when he retires to bed, and his servants might
as well live in a treadmill, for the quantity of step-treading that they
have to perform. There is no possibility of sitting in any one room out
of a draft from either door or window, and there is not a single good
cupboard in the whole house. As for ornament, there is none outside save
the brass-knocker on the street door, for the windows are plain oblong
holes in the walls; and, as for the inside, the only attempts at it are
the cheap and meagre stucco patterns of the cornices, and the somewhat
tawdry designs of the paper-hangings. He pays seventy pounds a-year rent
for it, however, and sets himself down as a lucky man, because with his
rates, &c., he comes within the hundred.

After all, when he goes to Brighton he is not much better off; though,
as he likes fresh air, he gets plenty of it there, through every window,
door, and chimney of the house--for there the bow-windowed projection in
front is made of wood, coated over with tiles, to look like bricks.
There he never attempted any picture-hanging fancies, the
partition-walls would stand no such liberties being taken with them;
there he cannot complain of not knowing what is going on in the town,
for he can hear all that is said in the next house, by merely putting
his ear to the wall. The most serious drawback, however, to his comfort
in his marine residence, is, that while there he can never have a
good-sized dinner-party, inasmuch as his landlord made it a stipulation
of the lease, that not more than twelve people should be allowed to meet
in the drawing-room at the same time, and that no dancing whatever
should be attempted within the dwelling. The Brighton man only built the
house for fifteen years; whereas the London one was more provident, he
guaranteed his for thirty.

Johnson's bed-rooms are, even the best of them, of moderate size, while
the small ones are very small indeed; and into these small rooms he has
stuck large four-post beds, that make them darker and more inconvenient
than they naturally are, and leave room for hardly any of the usual
evolutions of the toilette. What, indeed, with the big chests of
drawers, like the big sideboard in the dining-room, it is as much as you
can do to get about conveniently between the bed and the side walls;
though one good thing the builder and furnisher have certainly
effected--you can open the bed-room door, and you can stir the fire, and
you can almost pull up the window-blind, without quitting the protection
of the counterpane; and this on a cold morning is something.

Mrs Johnson says that the arrangement of the area gate in Paragon Place
is perfection itself; for she can see the butcher's boy as he comes for
his orders of a morning, while sitting at the breakfast-table, through
the green blinds, and that the policeman dares not stop there, during
daylight at least--she should be much too sharp upon him; so that the
cook is twice as punctual as when they lived in the city. True; these
are points of household management that have their weight; but then Mrs
J. forgets that the dustman rings his bell there at most inconvenient
hours, that the dirty coalheaver spoils the pavement once a month, and
that it is a perpetual running up and down those stone steps, to shut
the gate and keep dogs and beggars out, all day. However, the railings
and the gate are not part of the house; and, if people like to have
their back-doors under their eyes, why, there is no accounting for their
taste.

We could not help thinking, the last time we went over to Paris, that
our friend Dubois, the wine-merchant--him from whom we get our
Chambertin, and who has about the same relative income as Johnson--was
much better housed. His cellars are down at the Halle aux Vins, like
every body else's; and he is shut up there in his little box of a
counting-house nine hours every day of his life; but he lives, now that
he has moved from the Marais, in the Rue Neuve des Mathurins, which
leads out of the Chaussée d'Antin. Here he has a _premier_, as they call
it in Paris--or a first-floor, as we should term it in London; and he
pays 2000 francs, or £80 a-year for it, with about 100 francs of rates
and taxes. For this he has two drawing-rooms, a dining-room, a study,
six bed-rooms, kitchens, and cellars; some of the rooms look into the
street, the rest run round the ample court-yard of the house. To get at
him you go up a flight of stone stairs that four people can easily mount
abreast; when you enter his door, from the little hall paved with stone
and marble, you pass from the sitting-rooms one into the other--for they
all form a suite; while the bed-rooms lie mostly along a corridor, into
which they open. Once up the two flights of stairs that lead to the
doorway, and the mounting, whether for masters or servants, is done
with. The kitchen is at the furthest end, away from the other rooms, and
is approached by a back staircase from the court-yard. There are no
beggars nor dogs, nor butcher's boys, nor other bores, except what the
concierge at the gateway allows to come in; and though the street is
rather noisy, being in a fashionable quarter, yet the court-yard is
perfectly quiet, and free from all plagues of organs, singers, &c. The
rooms are, one and all, _twelve_ feet high; their Windows down to the
ground; the floors of solid oak, polished till you can slide on them;
the doors are in carved oak, painted white and richly gilt; the
chimney-pieces are all marble--none of the flimsy thin slabs of Paragon
Place, but good solid blocks, cut out from the red quarries of the
Pyrenees; with polished brass dogs in the fireplaces, and large logs of
flaming wood across then. The drawing-rooms are hung in silk on the
walls; the other rooms are tastefully papered. There is abundance of
good furniture, which, from the ample size of the apartments--the
principal room being thirty feet by twenty--sets off the proportions of
the dwelling without blocking it up. Dubois has not a four-post bed in
his house; no more has any man in France. They are all those elegant and
comfortable things which we know a French bed to be; and the long
sweeping folds of the red and white curtains that come down to the floor
from the ceiling, form a graceful contrast to the curves of the other
furniture. The walls are all of good solid stone, two feet thick on the
outside; the house has been built these fifty years, and is of a better
colour than when first put up; the windows are richly ornamented in
their frames without, and form commodious recesses for settees within.
You may dine twenty, and dance forty people here! or you may throw your
rooms open, give a soirée, (no boiled mutton affair, remember; but
music, dancing, and cards; coffee, ice, and champagne,) and cram each
room full of people, and the landlord will never fear for the safety of
his building.

Now, there are three other sets of apartments in the same house, and
above Dubois, not so lofty as his, but nearly as commodious, and all
with their proportionate degree of elegance and solid comfort. Dubois
has not got a house at Dieppe, it is true; but then, like all Frenchmen,
he is so absorbed in his dear Paris, that he hardly cares to stir out
from it. If ever he does, he runs off to Vichy or Mont Dor for a
fortnight in the _saison des eaux_, and he is contented.

But then, you will say, Dubois lives, after all, in another man's
house--he is only a lodger; whereas Johnson dwells in what the law calls
his "castle." Be it so; for the same money we would rather have the
positive advantages of the one, _en société_, than the tasteless and
inconvenient isolation of the other.

And, after all, is Johnson more decidedly at home in his own house, than
Dubois is in his "_appartement_?" What does it matter whether you have
people living on each side of you, with their street doors so close to
yours that their wives or their daughters pop up their noses above the
green blinds every time a cab or a jarvey drives up; or whether you have
people who come in at the same gateway with yourself, and go up the same
stairs, it is true, and who live either above or below you, and who can,
if they like, run out on their landings to see who is thumping at your
door panels? Upon our conscience as honest folks, who have lived in half
the capitals of Europe, to say nothing of those of our own islands, we
never found the slightest intrusion on privacy arising from the
collecting of several families in the same house, in Paris, Rome,
Florence, or Vienna. All we know is, and we often think of it agreeably,
that these continental houses seemed to us like so many social colleges,
and that the having a set of rooms with a common staircase, used to put
us in mind of our old Christ Church, and of Garden Court in the Temple.
'Tis true, that in the one set of rooms we had no fellow-inmates except
our dog, and every now and then a joyous set of fellows that would have
made any place tolerable; that in the other there was our old laundress
and bed-maker, and our "boy," and for a short time our "man," and
actually, upon our honour it is true, we did once see a client in them!
whereas, in our continental suites of chambers, we are _en famille_ with
wife, bairns, and "bounes" to boot, and that we did _parfois_ try the
elasticity or the stretching powers of our _camere_ pretty considerably,
and did cram therein no end of guests. But on the whole, we have fairly
made the experiment _in propriâ personâ_; we have weighed well friend
Johnson's castellated independence, and _l'ami_ Dubois's social
contiguation;--and, rent for rent, we prefer the latter. If we must live
with two neighbours within a few feet of us, we would rather have one
under us on the ground floor, and one above us on the second, and
ourselves in the midst on the first, and all three clubbing together to
live in a little palazzo:--we would rather have this, than be crammed in
between Mr A and Mr B, each of us in a third or fourth rate kind of
house, with poor thin walls, small low rooms, dirty areas, melancholy
gardens, shabby-genteel fronts, ugly backs, and little comfort.

It may be said, and justly, that the idea of a man living in his own
castle is applicable only to that state of society when large towns do
not exist, inasmuch as the idea can be nothing more than an idea, and
can hardly ever approach to a reality, the moment men begin to
congregate themselves together in cities. Doubtless, it is indispensable
to all our notions of comfort, and of the due independence of social
life--it is, indeed, one of the main elements of the constitution of a
family, that a certain degree of isolation should be maintained and
respected; but we submit to the candid observer, that the only
difference between English cities and continental ones in this respect
is, that Englishmen aim at "horizontal" independence, foreigners at
"vertical." Englishmen form their line of location every man shoulder to
shoulder, or rather, elbows in ribs; foreigners mostly get upon one
another's backs and heads, and form a living pyramid like the clown and
boys at Astley's. By this arrangement, however, it comes to pass, that
for the same number of inhabitants much more ground is occupied by an
English than by a continental town; and also, that each single dwelling
is of mean, or, at the most, moderate architectural appearance, the
great condition of elevation being wanting, and the power of
ornamentation being generally kept closely under by the limitation of
each individual's pecuniary resources. Practically, we contend, there is
quite as much comfort (we think, indeed, in many cases more) in the
continental manner of arranging houses as in the English one: while the
former allows of and encourages architectural display, and indeed
requires a much more solid system of construction; but the latter leads
to the running up of cheap, slight, shabby-genteel houses, and represses
all attempts at external ornament as superfluous from its expense. Upon
this subject, we appeal to the experience of all who have dwelt for any
length of time on the Continent, not to those who merely run across the
water for six weeks or so, and come back as blind as they went; but
rather to those who have given themselves time and opportunity enough
for the film of national prejudice to wear away from before their eyes,
and have been at length able to use that natural good sense with which
most Englishmen are blessed by Providence. To them we would say, that
the plan of several families tenanting one large dwelling, clubbing
together, as it were, for the erection of a handsome and commodious
edifice, and just so far sacrificing their independence as to consent
occasionally to run up against their neighbour in the common court-yard,
or perchance to see his coat-tails whisking by their door up or down
stairs, is the more sensible of the two. There is practically a great
saving of walls, of spaces of support, as the architects term it, in
this plan: great saving in roofing; and, from the mere dimensions of the
building, a certain degree of grandeur is necessarily given to it. This
plan requires the edifice to be built court-fashion, and sometimes will
admit of a good garden being appended: it also requires that a most
useful servant, a porter, in a suitable lodge, should be kept by the
little social community; and every body knows what an useful body the
porter, or _concierge_, as the French call him, may be made. Just as
bachelors join together in clubs to the great promotion of their
individual comfort, and certainly to the outward advantage of a city, so
should families join together for their civic residences; they would all
derive benefit from their mutual support, and the appearance of a town
would be immediately improved.

We do not say that any joining together of houses should take place in
country, nor even in suburban residences. No; there let every man have a
house to himself; the foundation of the whole system is quite different:
and there is also a certain class of persons who should always have
separate dwellings in a town; but to these subjects we will revert on
another occasion. We will only allude to one objection which the
fastidious Englishman will be sure to raise: if you live under the same
roof with one or more families he will say, you must necessarily be
acquainted with all the members of the same: you must, in fact, know
what they are going to have for dinner, and thus must be acquainted with
all the secrets of their household economy. Well, so one would
undoubtedly expect to be the case: unfortunately, however, for the
theory, the practical working of the thing is just the contrary: we do
not know of any town where so much isolation is kept up as in Paris,
though there men crowd together under the same roof like bees into the
common hive. We have lived ourselves, between the epochs of our bachelor
or embryo state, and that of our full-blown paternal maturity, on every
floor of a Parisian house, from the _entresol_ just over the stable,
where we could lean out of our window of a morning, smoke our hookah,
and talk to the "Jockey Anglais" who used to rub down our bit of blood,
up to the _Septième_, where in those celestial regions we could walk
about upon our little terrace, look over the gardens of the Tuileries,
('twas in the Rue de Rivoli, gentle reader!) all the way to St Cloud and
Meudon, one of the sweetest and gayest prospects in the world, by the
by, and hold soft communings either with the stars or our next
neighbours--(but thereon hangs a tale!) and yet never did we know the
name even of any other soul in the house, nor they ours. Oh! we have had
many an adventure up and down that interminable staircase, when we used
to skip up two hundred and twenty steps to get to our eyry; many a
blow-up with our old porter: she was a good soul, too, was old Madame
Nicaise; many a time have we seen flounces and redingotes coming in and
out of doors as we went up or down; but actually we cannot call to mind
the reality, the living vision of a single individual in that vasty
mansion. On the contrary, we used to think them all a set of unsociable
toads, and, in our days of raw Anglicism, we used to think that we might
be just as well called in to "assist" at some of the charming soirées
which we used to hear of from the porter: we did not then know that a
Parisian likes to be "chez lui" as he calls it, quite as much as an
Englishman. We should have lived on in that house, gentle reader, _ad
infinitum_; but one day on going up-stairs, we saw in ominous letters,
on a new brass plate, "au troisième, de la cour," LEGRAND, TAILLEUR.
Horror of horrors! 'twas our own man! we had not paid him for two years:
we gave _congé_ that evening, and were off to the Antipodes.



"ROGUES IN OUTLINE."


BIRBONE I.

SIGNOR RUSCA.

  "Rusca the lawyer, an exceeding knave."--POPE.

  "Currunt verba licet, manus est velocior illis
  Nondum linguâ suâ, dextra peregit opus."--MARTIAL.

A more knowing man in his way than Signor Avocato Rusca R---- it would
not be easy to find; so first-rate is he in his style, though his style
may not be quite first-rate! His father intended him for a lawyer,
whilst nature qualified him for a cheat; and, as there seemed to be
nothing absolutely incompatible in the prosecution of these two
professions,

  "He sought, without offence to either,
  How he might deal in both together;"

in doing which for a season, he accumulated much useful knowledge,
besides laying the foundation of his future fortune. Whether in his
earlier career he followed the practice of his learned predecessor,
Paulus, and sought, like him, to augment his fees by pleading in a hired
Sardonyx,[74] we have not heard; but his passion for jewels, none who
have seen him without his gloves (and we never saw him otherwise) can
for a moment doubt.

  "Tight girt with gems, in massive mountings set,
  Beneath their weight his tumid fingers sweat."

When he had come to find that his dealings as _dealer_ better repaid the
cost of his earlier education than the teasing uncertainties of the law,
a sense of filial duty perhaps, and of inclination certainly, led him
ultimately to give up all his time and talents, together with whatever
little money he had accumulated, _legally_ or _otherwise_, to the
acquisition of practical archæology. He had seen enough of antiquarian
transactions already, to convince him of the unlimited credulity of a
certain class of connoisseurs--this knowledge was important, and he
began to apply it presently. Having made himself a competent scholar,
(he could quote Horace, and had Seneca's[75] moral precepts at his
_finger-ends_;) being plausible in speech, and knowing the market-price
of every ancient relic by rote, he could not but succeed; he succeeded
accordingly--and is now considered throughout Italy as a _mezzo
galant'uomo_ of first-rate abilities and tact!

By putting himself early under efficient tutelage at _Rome_, and doing
as they did _there_, he soon outstripped most of his masters in his art;
the art, that is, of buying "uncertain merchandise," as low as duplicity
can buy of ignorance and want; and of re-selling at as high a price as
credulity will pay to cunning.[76] His unusual astuteness made it really
diverting, when you knew your man, to have dealings with him, otherwise
it was likely to turn out an expensive amusement. Our acquaintance with
him began in the full maturity of his powers, when his mode of
cross-questioning false witnesses who brought him _soi-disant_ antiques
to sell, and his lawyer-like mode of eliciting the truth, were capital.
How he would lie! and what lungs he had to lie with! _immensa cavi
spirant mendacia folles!_ What action! what volubility of tongue! what
anecdotes! and then only to see how he would look a _false_ Augustus in
the face, and discern that wily sovereign from a thousand counterfeits;
or when a sly forger brought him a modern gold coin, carefully coated in
mould--how he knew by _instinct_ that it was an imposture, and would not
condescend to exhume and expose the fraud. Like all knaves, he would
take incredible pains to prove that there was not a more honest man than
himself breathing--and when he considered himself to have quite
established _this_ on his own showing, he would sometimes speak with
"honest indignation" of men who were palpable rogues: assuring you all
the while, that it gave him pain thus to bear testimony against his
neighbour, but then every honest man owed it to his Pope and to the
people to expose Birbonism. On one occasion, when he had a large batch
of _silver Emperors_ for sale, we said we must see about their _prices_
in Mionnet.[77] Upon which, with a look of frightened honesty, he asked
us if "we really knew what we were talking of?" "Perfectly," we replied.
"Well, sir," continued he, "Mionnet was a Frenchman; did _you_ ever know
an honest Frenchman?" "Not as many as we could have wished to know; but
we had known _some_." "We had in that case," he confessed, "the
advantage over him--_he never had!_ As to Mionnet's book, it was
written, at least so thought Rusca, with a frightfully corrupt view,
being published during the French occupancy of Italy, for the joint
benefit of Mr M. and the _Bibliotheque du Roi_. I admit," quoth our
lawyer, "that the French only entertained a natural wish (nay, sir, as
far as the _mood_ was _optative_ merely I commend it as a highly
laudable one) in desiring to have the best monetary collection in
Europe; but was it honourable, or just, to pledge this Mionnet to affix
such prices for rare and better specimens, (such as I have the honour to
show you here!) when both they and he knew them to be preposterous, and
then to launch forth this misguiding book as a guide? This precious
book, sir, was in the hands of all M----'s myrmidons, and the only book
of appeal then extant; _this_--(thumping his fist, by way of emphasis,
upon our copy of it)--this, which has been the ruin of Italy, and is the
degradation of France! I only wish you could hear my friend _Sestini_
(quel _numen_ degli numismcatici) inveigh against this man and his
prices, with less reluctance, I assure you, than I feel in doing it, and
much more powerfully too, because he knows so much more; but come now,
if you _won't_ think me vain, I will show you the difference between
honesty and dishonesty. I wish it was of some one else I was about to
speak, but truth compels me here to introduce my own name. Last week
that pleasant countryman of yours, Lord X----,--do you know him? (we did
for a goose!)--comes to buy some gold coins of me; one of the lot he
fixed upon was a Becker, and so of course only worth what it weighed. He
had purchased it for fifty Napoleons of me, and we went to his bankers
together for the payment. There, having duly received the money, I
requested him to let me see once more the coins he had just purchased of
me--there might have been a dozen--and instantly picking out the Becker,
I pushed him over his fifty Napoleons again, and said, "Milord, I cannot
let you have that coin." "Why?" says he, alarmed and in anger. "Because
_it is false, Milord_!--and I was quite grieved," added our ingenuous
informant, "to see how much Lord X---- was disconcerted at this
disclosure." "You did not let so pretty a coin go a-begging, I dare say?"
said we with laudable curiosity and interest. "No, two days ago in comes
Coco--you know Coco?" we smiled. Know Coco! did we know St Peter's? did
we know the Pope? for whom did Rusca take us, we wonder? "He came,"
prosecuted Signor R----, "to see if I had by me any first-rate
imitations from the antique, for he knew a gentleman who might fancy
something of the sort; and, as soon as he had set eyes upon this Becker,
he must have _it_; _it_ was just the thing to tempt Lord X----; and so I
let him have it for _five times_ its supposititious value, but not for a
_tenth_ of what Lord X---- would, I knew, buy it for a second time as an
undoubted antique; and lest that rogue should at any time take liberties
with my name, (for he is capable of anything,) and say he had been duped
by Avocato Rusca into the purchase of a false thing for a true, here is
a document with his name to it, which I then and there caused him to
sign, which _proves_ the contrary. I met him to-day, and he seems much
pleased with Lord X----'s liberality, who has bought the coin!!" The
above is a sample of Avocato Rusca's _confessions_, and of his somewhat
original notions of honesty! Once, however, our honest friend forgot
himself in a purchase we made of him. And no wonder, for we had also
forgotten ourselves; for the time when we transacted business was the
gloaming, and the room being dark had lent its aid to the deception. We
had also an engagement to dine out, and it was getting late, and we were
in a hurry. But that same night, on returning from our party, we had
looked again at what we had bought, and then, first perceiving our
mistake, determined, if possible, to repair it by repairing early next
morning to the Minerva Hotel, there to surprise him in his
dressing-gown, by which bold _coup-de-main_ (having pre-arranged in our
own minds what we should take away with us in lieu _of_ what we brought
back) we carried our point at last!--and hardly carried it; for while
the _new_ batch and the _old_ confronted each other on his table, the
one being fair, the other like himself, ill-favoured in appearance, we
saw his restless glance move wistfully from the one to the other. Three
times in one minute his countenance fell; he coughed, he hesitated, he
_cospetto'd_ once, he wished we had made known our mind over night; he
_cospetto'd_ again, and finally was about to reconsider the affair,
when, not to be foiled by a rogue, we threw it upon _his honour_, (of
which he had not a particle,) and, by the extravagance of such a
compliment, prevailed. "He had never cheated us before," (which was
strictly true; but the reason, which the reader will have no difficulty
to guess, we did not think it necessary or prudent to assign;) would he,
after so long an acquaintance with us, change his tactics now?--we need
not ask him--we were "persuasissimi" that he would not, neither did he!
We removed the temptation out of his way as soon as we could, and felt,
as we went home, that we had achieved that morning as _great_ a piece of
diplomacy, and as difficult, as ever did Lord Palmerston when he was
minister for our foreign affairs; and grateful were we to Apollo, the
god of medicine, who had for once assisted us to overreach Mercury, the
god of rogues.


BIRBONE II.

COCO.

          ----"Adspice quantâ
  Voce negat quæ sit ficti constantia vultûs!"--JUV. _Sat._ vii.

We cut our pen afresh to say a few words concerning that arch-impostor,
that "Fourbum imperator," Coco the coiner. Had it not been for the
_prosperity_ of the St Angelo ministry at Naples, that three-headed
Cerberus of iniquity, of whom the people,

  "Tre Angeli a noi più recan danno
  Che trenta orrendi Demoni non fanno,"

had it not been that _their_ success seemed to militate against such an
inference, we might have supposed that Coco, poor, starving, and in
utter disesteem, had been thus let to live, to prove by a sad contrast
the truth of the old adage--that "honesty is the best policy." Coco is
the very impersonation of wiliness and subtlety--a fox amongst
foxes--the Metternich of his craft;--he has cheated every dealer in
turn, and by turns has learnt to know the internal arrangements of every
prison throughout the kingdom. By sheer force of talent he has been
able, like Napoleon, to maintain his cause single-handed against a host
of rivals who would crush him, and cannot; and, whenever he is not
_closeted elsewhere_, he is either holding a privy council with St
Angelo, or transacting busines with his Serene Highness of Salerno,
against whom (_par parenthese_) we have not a word to say. Cicero's
oration for Milo is not better than Coco's oration for Coco; and to hear
him plead it personally for the first time, is certainly entertaining.
He seems to have taken _that_ oration for his model, setting out, as
Tully for that client did, with a staunch negation of the charges
alleged against him; but embarrassed, as he proceeds in his harangue, to
maintain himself strictly honest, he gradually throws off reserve,
converts your room into a court of justice, and, confronting imaginary
accusers, endeavours to shake their testimony by making out that they
are just as great rogues as himself! "Coco! say over again just half a
dozen of _those sentences_--you know where to begin--that you have so
often been the habit of indulging me with; not the _whole_ speech, Coco,
if you please." "Eccelenza, no! I was saying, then, that I was in
advance of my age, and that, if I had been born in France or England in
place of Naples, I should not now have been called Coco the cheat, the
thief, the _birbone_, but _Sir_ Coco--or Monsieur le Marquis de Cocon.
Look at the things I have done, sir, and see what they have done for
me. No sooner have I devised some new _galanteria_--elegant, classical,
and sure to take--when it is enough to whisper '_Coco's_,' to bring it
into discredit: a great outcry is raised against me as its author, and,
like a second Galileo, I am cast into prison! Knowledge is not power at
Naples; for my countrymen know that I have knowledge enough when I mulct
their ignorance, as I sometimes do. It is _too much_ knowledge that has
brought me into all my scrapes and difficulties! Do you doubt it,
signor? Why, then, was I _first_ sent to prison?--why, but because my
mint was frequently preferred to that of his majesty here, and he feared
lest _my_ Ferdinands should drive _his_ Ferdinands out of the market!
Had I done the same in England, I suppose they would, on discovering my
talent, have made me master of their mint, in place of sending me to
expiate my offence in a dungeon--_basta_ about that affair!--but when I
had given up making Ferdinands, and took to minting _Domitians_, what
business was that to the King of Naples, I wonder, unless indeed I had
put _his_ name to that tyrant's _head_? Yet he sent me a second time to
prison for it, notwithstanding for which in return I have taken the
liberty of sending him to a warmer place. See, here's a pretty
baioccho--Ferdinand's head on one side, and a '_concordia-Augustorum_'
on the other, where the devil and he are holding hands over a lighted
altar, he wanting to withdraw his hand,--but the devil's clutch is too
tight for that!--whilst a little imp is putting a bit of live coal into
his palm, and another is doing the same under his right foot! For four
elegant horses in bronze, of which _I forgot the age_, and sold them to
St Angelo as _antiques_, I was sent to prison again, and a third time.
Though, when it suited _him_ last year to sell off certain old
horseflesh that had been many years on his hands as _young_, _his_
purchaser of course got no redress. Out upon that old Birbone! with his
galleries, his harems, and his horses;--but he eats too much, and is
never well,--a great consolation to me, who might else have repined at
his successes; but when I compare my _health_ with his, I bless the good
St Januario who keeps me poor! Again, I ought to be grateful to our good
Saint that, though men may pretend that I lie and cheat, (which perhaps
I do a little,) you never heard any body say of _me_, what all the world
says of HIM, that I am _cruel_,--_mai_, you never heard that; and if I
make money occasionally in some way that it don't _sound_ well to speak
of, what then? I never hoard it up, the lottery office is my banker, and
it circulates again presently. And as to cheating, if we look it boldly
in the face, and see in what company we cheat, why should I be ashamed
of what all the world does here from King Ferdinand, to Beppo Tuzzi of
the Mergellina? Didn't Ferdinand try hard to cheat you last year in the
sulphur question? and would he not have succeeded, too, unless you had
thought of mixing up the sulphur with some nitre and charcoal, and of
converting it into a _question of gunpowder_!" "That's true, Coco! and
now tell us of your last device for raising the wind." "Here it is," and
Coco has presented us with a small opaque lachrymatory, glistening all
over in the exquisite irridescence of old glass. "Was it not beautiful?"
he enquired. "Yes; and ancient as well," replied we; "the decomposition
of the glass showed that, and the elegant and classical form of the
vessel showed it too." "Well! he would manufacture just such another
before us, if we would like to see it done!" "_Comè?_ we should be
delighted!" "_Dunque e fatto subito_, now that I have _shown how_ it is
to be effected--just as when that great sea-captain, _quel famoso
Cristoforo Colombo_"--"Yes, yes! Coco, never mind about _him_ just now."
"Ah, your excellency, I perceive, knows the story! Well, here you see is
a small clay vessel moulded from the antique; here a small packet which
I untie; and here a little gum-water in a phial." We require no other
materials--a child might do the rest. In the packet now open, we remark
a quantity of a beautiful, many-coloured glass-dust, in the midst of
which appear thousands of filmy flakes that have been scraped off from
the sides of old lachrymatories, and present every hue of colour. In a
twinkling Coco has _gummed_ the vessel all over, and in less than a
minute he has rolled round its sides a rainbow robe of the most rich and
glowing colours, while not a speck of clay remains visible by which to
make out the fraud! "_Eccolo!_" says he, placing the beautiful
fabrication in our hand; "_Eccolo!_ do you think that for such a work as
_that_ I ought to have been sent for the twentieth time to prison?"
Fearful of having our moral sense dazzled _by the glass_ into making
some indiscreet admission, we now change the theme. We had heard that
morning a good story; it was "the case of Coco _versus_ Casanuova," in
which the cleverness of the former rogue had prevailed against his
equally astute rival, who had himself been so obliging as to favour us
with the full particulars thereof, in words like the
following:--"Coco--(you know Coco?")--(Coco and I smiled, for we knew
each other perfectly,)--"Well, he presents himself one day before me in
a shop in the Piazza degli Orefici, bringing in a coin in his hand,
which he throws down carelessly on the counter, asking me what price he
should put upon it? On taking it up, I see '[Greek: Yeliôn],' which,
with the common type of the Velian Lion, as we all know, _vale poco_;
but, in place of a lion, this had the Athenian _diota_ (or two-eared
_amphora_) upon the field of the reverse. Knowing that the rogue was
eyeing me to see how I liked it, in order that he might charge for it
accordingly, I asked him doubtingly whether _he_ was quite sure it was
genuine, (_entertaining no doubt on that subject myself._) 'Rather an
ingenious question for a profound connossieur like Casanuova, to put to
a poor devil who has the good fortune for once in his life to buy
something good. _You_ have no doubt about it; but if you say you have, I
will take it to Tuzzi, and get his opinion first.' Fearing to lose it if
he did, I confessed that I believed it genuine, and then asked him his
price. 'He had _refused_ fifty; we might have it at seventy dollars.' Of
course I 'was astonished,' and offered 'forty--Would that do?' No!
_honest_ men had but one price; seventy he had said--seventy, he
repeated, was the price.' I bought it, and paid for it and took it home,
and consulted my books, and _there_ there was no such type to be
seen--learned friends who called upon me had never seen its fellow--it
was pronounced an _inedited_ coin, as indeed it turned out afterwards to
be! The annual meeting of our archæological society was at hand. I
determined to _memorialize_ my coin, and to read my memoir at the
meeting. In three weeks I had finished my labours. There were some
striking conjectures in the paper, which I went early to deliver. We had
waited half an hour for the Prince St Georgio. At last he came. 'Look!'
said I, putting the coin into his hands, (and I said not a word beyond
this.) Mightily pleased he seemed with it _at once_, looking from me to
it and from it to me. I thought he was going to propose for it. At last
he spoke--it was but a word; but his emphasis and accent made my ears
tingle. '_Excellent!_' said he; but I was reassured on hearing him add,
'Casanuova has the luck of St Angelo, and nobody ever took him in.'
Relieved by this announcement, I could now afford to be modest, and said
it was but by accident that I had _first_ seen the coin. '_Not first_,
Casanuova," said the prince--'but second, I _believe_. I saw it
_first_.' '_You!_' said I, aghast; 'you saw this coin, and did not buy
it?' '_Costava!_ it cost too much; besides, to tell you the truth,
_Coco, who had just made it_, told me it was expressly intended for the
cabinet of _quel dottissimo suo amico J. Battista Casanuova_.'" "'Tis
all true," said Coco, rubbing his hands; "and I believe I can do almost
any thing I _like_ with any of them." "Except not to tell lies, and not
to impose upon antiquaries?" "_Caro lei!_ these are the very things I
like to _do most_, and do accordingly."

"What has become of Coco?" asked we of an _orefice, three years later_,
on finding ourselves a second time in Naples, and nothing doubting, as
he had not been to visit us, that he was doing Baron Trenck, and
exercising his ingenuity in prison. We were surprised, therefore, to
learn that he now kept a smart shop, and was a sort of joint householder
with a respectable man, and that nothing particular had occurred to
tarnish his reputation for now nearly a year! The shop we had already
noticed as one of promise on the outside; for, as yet, we had not found
time to visit its interior. It stood half-way up the Toledo, on the left
hand side as you go to the Studii. Etruscan jars were painted on all the
shutters, and bits of statues and bas-reliefs _bossaged_ and projected
from the house front. In face of each window was an enormous shelving
tray, full of all sorts of odds and ends, from the Flood downwards, the
whole under protection of a strong iron _grillage_. In one corner of the
shop (we had _now_ gone forth to visit it) sat a pretty young woman, in
spectacles, reading Manzoni, or sleeping over him (the aforesaid
spectacles prevented our noticing which) as he lay open in her lap;
while on another chair, in the opposite corner, an old man, almost in
his dotage, looked wistfully round his shop, not suppressing an anxious
sigh when the scrutiny was done. In an inner room of _his_ palace--for
such, in derision of its owner, was the house called--busy in preparing
and cleaning the specimens that were about to be transferred into the
shop, lurked, like some keen-eyed tarantula, the industrious _Coco_
himself, with such an eye to business, and such an ear, that we were no
sooner turned in from the street than he, too, had turned in, and was
beside us.--"Well, Coco, _bon giorrio_, &c. &c. &c., 'tis said you have
become an _honest_ man at last; how does this _new_ trade answer?" "Not
at all," sighed the old man behind us. "Nonsense!" rejoined Coco;
"whoever heard of a man's making money all at once? Nothing stake,
nothing make--there's no mending where there's no spending. '_Necesse
est facere sumptum qui quærit lucrum_, dice bene il Plauto.'" "Allegro
though you be, Coco, I am not. With you nothing can go ill, for you have
nothing to lose, either in money or in character; but to me, who am old,
bankruptcy and a prison are not matters of jest." "Nonsense, again, you
are not going to prison _yet_!" "Not _at all_, I hope, Coco," said the
poor little lazy woman in the corner. "If I had my 5000 ducats, and my
vineyard, again, at Sorrento, that you persuaded me to sell for your
_Scavi_ at Calvi, which never brought me any thing but a few lamps, and
_lots of lachrymatories_!" "Basta, 'tis too late to talk about what you
_would do_ if you had it to do over again. Let bygones be bygones. Who
knows what this gentleman may come to buy of us? and he never would have
come to you but from his previous acquaintance with _me_. Isn't it so,
sir? Ah, there are some pretty things _there_," continued he, following
our eyes into a placarded recess. "Antichi Sono?" and we look into his
face; "I'd as lief sell my own flesh and blood, as any thing _here_ that
was not. Think, sir, of my position. I am the _responsible_ head of this
firm. That good old gentleman, having begun antiquities late in life,
does not know much about them. The signora there has taste, plenty; but
it is not a lady's business to know the prices of things she may value
or take an interest in; for suppose, now, she should wish to make money
by the sale of _Coco_, she would hardly know what to ask for him." The
old man fidgeted; Coco shot a glance at the blue spectacles, which were
raised at this sally. But the signora, who sat behind them, said
nothing. "Whence came these same things?" we inquire, for on going close
up to them, they seemed not unfamiliar to us. Before Coco could coin the
forthcoming lie, the old man had told us whence they came. "From
Baroni's shop!" adding that they had cost 700 ducats. This confirmed the
story we had heard from the beginning to its end. Our clever scoundrel
had contrived, it seems, to engage the old man in a speculative
excavation at Calvi; from which a few lachrymatories turning up, the old
man's cupidity was excited; and, on the false representations made to
him by Coco, he sold his estate; left the country; and hiring the
expensive shop in which we see him, _leaves Coco to stock it_! which he
does by the purchase of such merchandise as _his friends_ have to
dispose of--"When," says he, "they don't sell them too dear!" The old
man admits that his employer is very clever; but says quietly, that he
has not much _fiducia_ in his honesty. Coco says, on his side, that his
employer is mean in his conduct towards him, and pays his activity and
zeal in a very niggardly manner. Thus neither is satisfied with the
other. Meantime the public are saying, that in less than a year the shop
will be again for sale; that Coco will have bolted; and that the old
man, if he be alive, will be fretting his soul out in St Elmo! Nobody
speculates upon what is to become of the lady with the blue spectacles.
_We_ predict, that should she be alive, and the old man dead, in the
course of another year, she will have entirely given up her taste for
things old and curious, and have become curious to try something new and
comely; if, indeed, Coco shall have left her any money to indulge in
such a fancy.

On returning from this visit to our hotel, about an hour later, we found
Coco under the gateway, and on the look-out for us. _More solito_, he
had something to show us. The porter looked after us inquiringly, as we
bid him follow up-stairs; but was surprised by a counter look, and by
our calling him by his _name_. Even on the stairs, he could not forbear
sundry short ejaculations, by way of preparing us for what we were to
see presently. "_Ah! ché bella roba!_ Ah, what flowers of the mint I
have brought you to see to-day!--bought for a song--at three Carlini
a-piece! You shall have them at three and a half--I content myself with
small gains. But you, sir, who are discreet, and know the value of these
things, shall judge whether I have told you a falsehood or no." By this
time we were in our room. The dirty bag was untied; and there leaped out
of it, not indeed a cat, but a large heap of consular coins, with which
we seemed forthwith to be vastly familiar; and no wonder; since, on
inspecting them, we found that the whole had been ours not twelve hours
before, we having disposed of them to a refiner for their weight in
silver, to melt. "Take them all, sir, _tutti quanti_, at three Carlines
and a half a-piece." "No; nor yet for two Carlines, Coco," said we,
putting the paper from us. Upon which the cunning fellow hoped _he_ had
not been taken in; having certainly purchased them in the persuasion of
reselling them, as a catch, to us. "The _Italian marquis_, of whom he
had bought them, assured him, on his honour, that he had made a rare
bargain with him." "Are the coins your own, Coco?" "To my cost are they,
signor, unless you re-purchase them." "I sold them only this morning,
Coco, for the weight of the silver; you must try somebody else." Upon
which Coco, with admirable presence of mind, replaced them in his bag,
and said "he had made a _mistake_!" "We regretted that he had not
purchased them from us at the rate of one Carline and a-half per piece;
in place of having been duped into paying three and a-half." Though he
saw plainly, from our manner, that we were aware of his roguery, he was
not put out; but shrugging his shoulders, and twitching the angles of a
mouth remarkable for its mobility, he merely said--"Pazienza! a
bargain's a bargain; we grow wiser as we grow older," and speedily
withdrew.


BIRBONE III.

BASSEGGIO.

  "Unde habeas quærit nemo, sed oportet habere."
  "Fidarsi e bene, ma non fidarsi e meglio."--_Italian Proverb._

Near a fountain in one of the main streets of the west end of Rome, in
which a recumbent figure bends over his ever-gushing urn; his body half
hid from sight, and slowly dissolving in the water, under protection of
a dimly lit shrine of a gaily painted Madonna; a tarnished brass plate
with the word B---- engraved thereon, is inserted into the panels of a
dingy-looking door, out of which a long piece of dirty string dangles
through a hole. If you touch the electric cord, the shock is instantly
transmitted to the other end, and the importunate tinkling of a
well-hung bell is responded to by a clicking of the latch, when an
invisible arm pulls back the door, and your entrance is secured into a
passage encumbered with broken busts and bas-reliefs, tier above tier,
and a series of marble tablets, with _Dis manibus_ inscriptions, let
into the wall on either side. If, now, you pick your way amid the many
stumbling-blocks that beset it, till you have reached the stair, (a
narrow stair and dark, and encumbered like the passage, with numerous
relics of antiquity,) a female voice, loudly shrilling from above,
demands your business--"_Chi c'e?_"--you answer of course "_Amico_," and
are bid to mount accordingly. Arrived at the summit of the stair, that
same voice, the high-pitched key of which startled you from below,
sounds less disagreeable, now that you are close beside the fair
proprietress of it, who at once greets you affably, begs you to be
seated, has seated herself beside you, and, premising that her
"_marito_" will appear anon, has begun to ask you a hundred questions,
some of which you are relieved from answering by the actual advent of
Signor B----, who makes his politest bow, while Madame introduces you as
an old acquaintance. You see at a glance _this_ part of Signor B----'s
history, that he has bought a young and pretty wife out of many years'
traffic in antiquities. Whatever else he may at any other time have
purchased, was with intention to dispose of afterwards, a suitable
opportunity offering. But this pretty wife he keeps like an inedited
coin, or fancies that he keeps to himself entirely. Few antiquaries have
shown more enterprise than B----. Possessed of little, very little money
in his youth, he did not, like many other Roman youths of this day,
squander it away in cigars, and was under twenty when he undertook his
first commercial expedition. He went into Egypt, could not buy the
Pyramids, they were too large for his portmanteau; then into Greece;
then to Sicily. He sailed to Syracuse, landed at Naxos, sacked Taormina
and Catania; came back and sold his curiosities well; went abroad again,
and again returned like an industrious bee laden with spoils. Enriched
at length by these numerous journeys, he was able to purchase a
vineyard, and to plant it. His next step was to build a villa upon it,
and to marry an ancient dame, who, dying shortly, left him at liberty to
marry again. The lady whom he now calls his own being at the time poor,
his treasures soon won her heart, while his house flattered her
ambition, and so they made a match of it; and she now accompanies him in
most of his antiquarian prowling excursions during the summer; and the
_ménage_, on the whole, for an Italian ménage, goes on well enough.

One day--(this was when, by much frequentation of the premises, we had
become intimate with its inmates)--one day we had just been _ringing_ an
Etruscan vase, and liked the sound thereof; and examining the painting,
we liked that too; and therefore, agreeing as to price, completed the
purchase, and were sitting between old husband and young wife, round a
brazier mounted on an ancient tripod, with a handful of gems, _loculis
quæ custoditur eburnis_, talking carelessly, and taking our
_impressions_ of them, and of the stones, as we talked. It was a fête
day, and, now we came to notice it, Madame B---- was en _grande
toilette_, and had been hearing Padre S---- preach, as she informed us,
at St Carlo's in the Corso. When she heard we had not been there, she
sighed for our sakes--"Our friend _should_ have heard Padre S----
to-day, is it not so?" to her husband, who assented to this good opinion
of the Padre: "It was such a good sermon! all about doing as you would
be done by--no loophole for a self-deceiver to escape by. I only wish
A---- had been there to hear it." "Bagatello!" said Signor B----,
stirring the brazier, "Do you think he would not have cheated Lord V----
just the same in this head of Medusa, which he palmed off upon him for
an antique, knowing it was a Calandrelli? Good sermons are thrown away
upon some people." "Well," sighed the lady, looking up to the ceiling,
and then taking a second dose of it--"well, at least we may apply it _to
ourselves_." "Not a bit of it. _We_ never apply any thing to ourselves.
Do you think, for instance, when I married you, I sought to mate me with
a lark, or a nightingale--_risponde_." She had no difficulty in doing
so. "And was I not a lark till my poor sister died--_poverella_--eighteen
months ago?" "_Si, Signora!_ but _since_ that time you treat me with
coldness; are always looking up to the sky; and always telling me your
soul is with her soul in Paradise. No Paradise for me! What think you,
sir?" "We always sided with those who were suffering from the loss of
friends." "_Bene, bene_, for three months or so--'twas all very well,
natural. But beyond this? Besides, though it were ever so sincere--what
was the use of it?" "Oh! of _no use_, of course," said we. "I shall
never give over mourning for her, I promise you that," said the lady,
much moved. The husband shrugged his shoulders; said, "That all women
were more or less foolish;" and asked us if we were married? Before we
had time to answer, in came Padre S----, whose sermon had made such
impression on B---- and his wife. We now sit all around the brazier;
both wife and husband being, for some time, loud in their praises, which
were somewhat extravagant! "It was a divine sermon--St Paul could not
have preached a better"--when the good man hopes it may, by God's
blessing, do good, politely acknowledges the compliment implied in our
regrets that we had not been of the auditory, and then rises to look
round, Signor B---- doing the honours, at the curiosities of the shop;
at the sight of several objects of virtù, he expresses, somewhat
naïvely, great pleasure--would like to have seen more, but has another
sermon to deliver in St Jacomo--the bell is ringing!--he must say _idio_
at once. As he makes his exit, (Madame kisses his hand first,) two other
visitors present themselves; the one a young Roman, who comes to console
her; the other a young English nobleman, who comes to buy in haste, and
will have to repent at leisure afterwards. In five minutes, Madame seems
to have entirely forgotten her sister; B---- his wife! The one is
receiving comfort in compliment; the other, in cash! Hush! Surely we
heard Lord A---- ask if that vamped old vase, which will fall some day
to pieces, was _antique_; and B----assert that it was! Why, the paint is
scarcely dry on its sides! Lord A----'s unlucky eye lights upon a bust,
which, when he gets it over to England, he may match at the stone-mason's
in the New Road, and at half-price--_two_ words, _three_ syllables,
and the purchase is made "_Chi?_" Whose bust is it? "Cicero's," of course!
"Quanto," what's the price of it? "Twenty Napoleons!" You old rogue B----!
you are safe in sending it to Terny's, _packed_; for, if it should be
seen, you might have to refund the purchase-money. _Necdum finitus?_
Another bust tempts him; he inquires, and finds it is a _Jove_--a Jove!
and is

  "Jupiter, hæc nec labra moves, quum mittere vocem
  Debueras, vel _marmoreus_, vel aheneus?
  ... Quod nullum discrimen habendum est
  Effigies inter vestras, statuamque Bathylli?"

And this too, he buys for twenty Napoleons more; and having paid the
purchase-money, away goes the possessor of Jupiter, and at the same
juncture away goes the Cavaliere--each perfectly satisfied with his
visit.

"_Molto intelligente_, that countryman of yours," said B----, spelling
his card. "He seems to take things very much upon trust," said we. "'Tis
a pity he don't understand Italian or French better. Otherwise, I
_might_ have perhaps suggested better things than those he has actually
chosen. But after all," added he, "people don't like being put out of
conceit with their own opinions; and think you personally interested, if
you offer yours unasked." "I should have been sorry to have taken that
vase as antique, as he has done; or to have paid the tenth of the price
he has paid you for it." "Oh! don't be afraid; he can afford it--an
English gentleman!--and to _him_ it is worth what he paid for it; else,
if he did not think so, who forced him to take it?" "I _wonder_ now what
Father S---- would have said to it;" asked Madame of her husband,
looking up to the ceiling, and sighing. "Nothing, 'twas not in his
province to pronounce judgment in such a matter." We too _wondered_,
perhaps, what he might have said to Madame, touching her Cavaliere,
whose discourse seemed to have told almost as powerfully on her as
_his_ sermon at St Carlo's. We wondered, but _to ourselves_, and making
the common-place remark, that it seemed easier to _preach_ than to
_practise_, exchanged smiles with B---- and his wife, and withdrew, to
think over what we had seen; and to arrive at our own conclusions,
touching the general utility of fashionable and popular preaching!


BIRBONE IV.

HERR ASCHERSON.

"Rogare malo, quam emere."--SUIDAS.

Sly old fox, what pen shall do justice to thy cunning! Grave, venerable,
ancient cheat, who showest a _Bible_, left thee by some pious enthusiast
(the old family pew-book, morocco, in silver clasps--well thou lookest
to them at least) in return for many dealings with thee, and in
requital, so thou sayest, for thine incomparable disinterestedness and
honesty!

It would be no harder task to unwind a mummy, than to unroll and
unriddle _thee_, old rogue, in thy endless windings and detours! "Have
no dealings with A----," said that _timid_ rogue, the Florentine
attorney R----; "the man is so gigantic a cheat, that he frightens me!"
"and cunning to a degree" was D----'s account of him. "He is up to a
thing or two," said S----, looking knowing, and putting his finger, like
Harpocrates, to his mouth, that it went no further. A brother dealer
called him a Hebrew; another (himself as sly as any fox) admitted that
he had been overreached by him. His name, whenever mentioned, seldom
failed to call forth a smile, or a shrug, in those who had not dealt
with him; and a thundering oath against his German blood in those that
had. Mr A---- was therefore too remarkable a man for us, ourself an
incipient collector, not to visit; and so, as soon as we got to Naples,
we dispatched a note, and the next day followed it in person; rang at
the bell, and were ushered into his sanctum; where we beheld the old
_necromancer_ standing at his table, looking out for us. He put down his
eyeglass and his old coin; and said in answer to our question, which was
in English, "Ya! ya! mein name is A----." Forgetting at this moment what
R---- had said of him, and only recollecting that they were acquainted,
we began, by way of introducing ourselves to his best things, to say,
that we had lately seen his friend R---- at Rome--"Dat is not mein
friend, dat is mein enemy," said he, displeased at our mentioning the
name; and looking at us half suspiciously, half spitefully. "I hav notin
to say wit him more," and he took a huge pinch of snuff, and wasted a
deal on his snuffy waistcoat and shirt frill. We at once saw our
mistake, which indeed, but for our anxiety to get to business, we should
not, assuredly, have been guilty of. We had now to make the best of it.
"A mistake, Mr. A----, we assure you. Mr. R---- might say that, on _one_
occasion, you _had_ been _brusque_ with him; but advised us,
notwithstanding, to pay you a visit, regretting that, from some little
difference between you, _he_ could not give us the introduction, which,
under more favourable circumstances, he would have pressed upon us;" an
announcement which completely mollified the old rogue, who, in his heart
of hearts, was thinking that a new victim had turned up to him, and one
of Rusca's recommending. "It is pleasant to make peace between two
honest men," said we; "Rusca and you should not have quarrelled.
Ill-natured people take advantage of these disputes, and begin to
profess open distrust as to the age and genuineness of whatever you
sell." "For dis reason I hate not Mr Rusca; but he has too much
_strepitusness_ of voice--_il s'emporte trop facilement_." "Ah,"
interpose we in the mediatorial capacity we had assumed, "'tis the
character of the Italian to do so." "Ya, dat is true," assented he; and
then we went to look at his coins. "We are not blind friends of
Rusca's," said we, sitting down to the first tray which he gave us to
look at, and seeing, from the character of the coins therein exhibited,
that A---- had presumed we _might_ be. "We only buy from R---- when he
is discreet, and does not overcharge; which, _entre nous_, he is very
apt to do." The old man glanced at us approvingly, and trying hard to
look honest, said, "Ya, ya; when he can get _ein_ piastre he will not
take _ein halb_--but when I ask a piastre for any tings, (and he was
grave again,) it is tantamount as to say, 'dis is de _leastest_ preis to
give.'" "All here has a fixed price, has it?" "Ya, ya." "And what may
this pretty little figure be worth?" "I shall confess dat is dear; two
hundred piastres is de preis--Rusca would have said four hundred to
begin mit." We admitted its beauty; but said two hundred spread out upon
the table were also beautiful. "De good ting is de dear ting," said he,
and we admitted the truth of the proposition, both in the abstract and
in its application; took up a specious-looking coin, which he took as
abruptly out of our hand--"_Nein gewiss nicht_," we must not buy that.
"Why?" Because some people had not scrupled to tell him (though they
knew better) that it was a Rusca. "Rusca!" said we, "and what does that
mean?" "In Neapolitan _patois_," said he, "we call all our specious but
doubtful wares Ruscas! But dis," continued he, taking up a companion to
it--"dis I baptize in my own name, and offer for a true John A----."
"Ah!" sighed we, but without _emphasis_, as if it had only _just_
occurred to us "how difficult, now-a-days, _not_ to be deceived;" and we
replaced the J---- A---- in his box accordingly. "Ven all amateurs,"
said he, (following out his own thought, rather than replying to ours,)
"ven all amateurs were connoisseurs likewise, we might say goot-night to
dis bissnesse."

In the days of our novitiate, when we used to say, and think we knew (as
the phrase is) what would please us, and would buy according to our
means, we found (as indeed all purchasers in these matters find) that
time, while it brought with it a nicer appreciation in judging works of
art, diminished also our opinion of what we had formerly purchased; and,
to avoid fresh disappointments, we used to apply to an _antiquario_ to
give us his advice _pro re nata_;--as the reader will see by the
following note of Herr A----, which, as it prevented our making one or
two foolish purchases, was not without its value, and we preserved it
accordingly. It ran _verbatim_ thus--

     "Sir,--You may copy my catalogue, but on Montag ber sur I must hav
     back. The _botel_ is not good in such a manner. The _figure_ is of
     no great value; it is not antic, and not fair; so is the _bust_ in
     stone not antic, and not nice; and every thing that is neither
     antic nor fair I cannot give any worth. Your obedient servant,

     "A----.

     "Pray you must not tell to any one my estimation of any thing."

Neither did we, excepting to _Maga_, to whom we tell every thing.



INDEX TO VOL. LIX.


  Adams, Mr, on the Oregon Question, 443.

  Æschylus, tragedies of, 61, 65.

  Æsthetics of Dress
    --Military Costume, 114.

  Agriculture, decline of, in Italy, 339.

  Alamo, siege of the, 39.

  Alexander of Russia, accession, &c. of, 224.

  Alexander, Prince of Servia, 133, 146.

  Alfieri, tragedies of, 71.

  Aliwal, battle of, 639.

  Almanza, battle of, 200.

  America, specimens of the debates, &c. in, 439.

  Americans and the Aborigines, the, a tale of the short war, Part I., 554
    --Part II., 677.

  Amusements at Vichy, 309.

  Anacreon's grave, from Goethe, 121.

  Andreossi, the French ambassador, 466.

  Antigone of Sophocles, the, 64.

  Antonio Perez, sketch of the career of, 450.

  Apology for a review, an, 249.

  Arethusa, fountain of, 103.

  Assur, battle of, 491.

  Atheism, first public avowal of, in France, 393.

  Austin, Stephen F., 37.


  Baker, Mr, on the Oregon Question, 444.

  Banks, Sir Joseph, 648.

  Barclay of Ury, first feat of, 225.

  Barré, Colonel, death of, 463.

  Bedford, Duke of, death of, 227.

  Belgrade, town of, 133.

  Bells of Venice, the, 256.

  Bentinck, Lord George, on Ireland, 601.

  Berwick, Marshal, 211, 213.

  Birboniana, or Italian Antiquities and Antichitá
    --scene the first
    --the introduction, 543
    --Birboniana, 548
    --Birbone I., Signor Rusca, 765
    --II. Coco, 768
    --III. Basseggio, 772
    --IV. Herr Ascherson, 775.

  Borneo, the expedition to, 356.

  Bosniaks, character of the, 138.

  Boufflers, Marshal, 211, 213, 214.

  Breece, Captain, 38, 39.

  Bridge of Sighs at Venice, the, 254.

  Broadfoot, Major, on the state of the Punjaub, 628.

  Brooke, Mr, of Borneo, Sketch of the life, &c. of, 356.

  Brougham's lives of men of letters and science, &c., review of, 645.

  Bunkerhoff, M., on Oregon, 447.

  Burden of Zion, the, by Delta, 493.


  Camelford, Lord, anecdotes of, 217.

  Campagna of Rome, description of the, 252
    --causes, &c., of its present condition, 337.

  Campaign in Texas, a, 37.

  Campaign of the Sutlej, the, 625.

  Capucin convent at Syracuse, the, 106.

  Cass, Mr, on the Oregon question, 442.

  Cathedral service in England the, 181.

  Catholic emancipation, on, 387.

  Charles XII., character of, 195.

  Chipman, Mr, on Oregon, 447.

  Christie the auctioneer, anecdote of, 229.

  Christmas carol, 1845, 122.

  Clarke, Mr, murder of, 593.

  Clerks of counsel, duties of, 5.

  Coercion bill, the Irish, 572.

  Colonel O'Kelly's parrot, death of, 466.

  Colosseum, the, 252.

  Consultation, a; a Sicilian sketch, 109.

  Contrast, the, 307.

  Cook, General, 39
    --Captain, 649.

  Corn-law repeal, the proposed, 373.

  Corneille, tragedies of, 69.

  Cos, General, 37, 40.

  Crisis, the, 124.

  Crusades, the, and their effects on Europe, 475.

  Czabacz, town of, 135.


  D'Alembert, career of, 654.

  Darragh, Mr, on the Oregon question, 444.

  Darwin, Dr, death of, 228.

  Delta, burden of Zion by, 493.

  Despard, Colonel, conspiracy and trial of, 467.

  Devon, Lord, on the state of Ireland, 567.

  Dionysius, the ear of, 105.

  Distribution of grain in Rome, effects of, 340.

  Dorislaus, battle of, 484.

  Douglas, Mr, on the Oregon question, 443.

  Drama, remarks on the Greek and romantic, 54
    --Causes of the decline of, 58.

  Dramatic poet, qualifications necessary for the, 54.

  Dress, æsthetics of
    --Military costume, 114.

  Dyaks of Borneo, the, 359.


  Ear of Dionysius, the, 105.

  East and west, 248.

  Eboli, princess of, 454.

  Education in Servia, state of, 135.

  Ehrenberg's campaign in Texas, 37.

  Ejections in Ireland, 578.

  Elinor Travis; Chap. I., 713.

  Ellis, Wellbore, death of, 229.

  English hexameter, remarks on the, 259.

  Enriquez, narrative of the murder of Escovedo, by, 455.

  Epigrams from Goethe, 121.

  Epipolæ, excursion to, 110.

  Escovedo, the secretary, murder of, 452, 455.

  Eugene, Prince, 201, 206, 212.

  Eusebius, letter to, 408.

  Excursion to Epipolæ, an, 110.


  Fall of Rome, causes of the, 339
    --its causes at work in the British Empire, 692.

  Famine in Ireland, the, 599.

  Fanning, Colonel, 42, 43, 44.

  Faucit, Miss, 55.

  Ferozeshah, battle of, 635.

  Follett, Sir William, sketch of the career and character of, 1.

  Fountain of Arethusa, the, 103.

  Fox, conduct of, on the regency question, 389.

  Fragments of Italy and the Rhineland, review of, 249.

  French drama, characteristics of the, 68.

  French revolution, Wellesley on the, 394.


  Geddings, Mr, on the Oregon question, 443.

  Goethe, translation from
    --Goethe to his Roman love, 120
    --Epigrams
    --Anacreon's grave, 121
    --the warning, ib.
    --the Swiss alp, ib.
    --north and south, ib.

  Goliad, fort, massacre at, 43.

  Gordon, Mr, on the Oregon question, 447.

  Grain, importation of, into Rome, 340.

  Grant, Colonel, 41, 42.

  Greek and romantic drama, the, 54.

  Greek Fire and Gunpowder, 749.

  Griffiths, Mr, on Ireland, 586.

  Gunpowder, on the origin of, 749.


  Hamlin, Mr, on the Oregon question, 446.

  Heberden, Dr, 224.

  Herbert, Mr Sidney, on the state of Ireland, 572, 573.

  Hexameter, the English, remarks on, 259.

  His epitaph, by Ennius, 496.

  Holman, the blind traveller, 134.

  Homer's Iliad, twenty-fourth book of, translated into English
        hexameters, 259
    --book the first, 610.

  Horace, translations from, 411.

  Houston, General, notices of, 51.

  How they manage matters in the Model Republic, 439.

  How to build a house and live in it, 758.

  Hyder Ali, the war with, 398.


  Iliad, the twenty-fourth book of, in English hexameters, 251
    --the first, 610.

  India, Wellesley's administration in, 396.

  India bill, Pitt's, 391.

  Ingersoll, Mr, on the Oregon question, 444.

  Iphigenia in Aulis, the, 65.

  Ireland, state of, in 1780, 387.

  Ireland, present state of, and measures with reference to, 572.

  Italian antiquities and antichitá, 543, 765.

  It's all for the best, Chap. I, 230
    --Chap. II., 234
    --Chap. III., 238
    --Chap. IV., 242
    --Chap. V., 245
    --Chap. VI., 319
    --Chap. VII., 320
    --Chap. VIII., the squire's tale, 323
    --Chap. IX., 329
    --Chap. X., 334.


  Jack Robertson and the professor of eloquence, 104.

  Jenner, discovery of vaccination by, 230.

  Jerusalem, storming of, by the Crusaders, 486.

  John, Don, of Austria, 452.


  Kara George, the Servian leader, 143.

  Kemble, Stephen, 225.

  Kennedy, Mr, on Oregon, 446.

  Kopaunik mountain, the, 139.

  Krushevatz, town of, 139.


  Last hours of a reign; a tale in two parts
    --Part II., Chap. III., 17
    --Chap. IV., 24
    --Chap. V., 29
    --conclusion, 36.

  Lauriston, General, 223.

  Lavater the physiognomist, 221.

  Lavoisier, career of, 658.

  Leases, effects of, in Ireland, 584.

  Le Peuple, review of, 733.

  Let never cruelty dishonour beauty, 16.*

  Letter to Eusebius, 410.

  Lille, siege of, by Marlborough, 211.

  Literature of the eighteenth century, the, 645.

  Lodge, A., the Old Player by, 473
    --the Rose of Warning, by, 747.

  Lover of society, recollections of a, 215
    --Part II., 463.


  Mackintosh, Sir James, defence of Peltier by, 468.

  Maher, Mr, on the state of Ireland, 589.

  Malta, seizure of, by France, 467.

  Marlborough, No. III., 195
    --his interview with Charles XII., 197
    --difficulties with which he had to contend, 199
    --invades France, 201
    --returns to England, 202
    --resumes the command, 203
    --movements previous to Oudenarde, 204
    --defeats the French there, 207
    --besieges Lille, 211.

  Marquis Wellesley, sketch of the career of, 385.

  Martha Brown, by an ancient contributor, 184
    --Chap. II., 187.

  Martial, epigrams from, 496.

  Martin, General Claud, 226.

  Masham, Mrs, 202.

  Mendip, Lord, 229.

  Metastasio, dramas of, 70.

  Mexico, war between, and Texas, 37.

  Michaud's History of the Crusades, review of, 475.

  Michelet's Le Peuple, review of, 733.

  Mignet's Antonio Perez and Philip II., 450.

  Military costume, remarks on, 114, 219
    --Music, 175.

  Milosh, the Servian leader, 145.

  Ministerial measures, the, 373.

  Model Republic, how they manage matters in the, 439.

  Modern Pilgrim's Progress--the fragment of a dream
    --Chap. I., How Scapegrace first made acquaintance with Scrip, 604
    --Chap. II., How Scapegrace, losing sight of Premium, was mocked at
          Vanity Fair, 606.

  Moodkee, battle of, 633.

  Mornington, Earl of, 386.

  Moses and Son, a didactic tale
    --Chap. I., 294
    --Chap. II., 297
    --Chap. III., 299.

  Mother and her dead child, the, 53.

  Muda Hassim, rajah of Borneo, 358, 359.

  Music, something more about, 169.

  My College Friends, No. III.
    --Mr W. Wellington Hurst, 73.

  Mysore war, the, 397.


  Napoleon, epigram on, 220.

  Natural history of Vichy, the, 306.

  Naylor's Reynard the Fox, review of, 665.

  Naval costume, remarks on, 119.

  Nobility, re-establishment of, in France, 230.

  North and South, from Goethe, 121.

  Novibazar, town of, 138.


  O'Connell, Mr, condition of the tenantry of, 589.

  Old player, the, by A. Lodge, 473.

  On a bee, from Martial, 496.

  On Gellia, from Martial, 496.

  Oregon question, American speeches on the, 441.

  Orford, Lord, 470.

  Oudenarde, battle of, 207.

  Overkirk, General, death of, 214.


  Palmerston, Lord, on the Servian question, 147.

  Paton's Servia, review of, 129.

  Paul, the emperor, 216, 218, 219.

  Peace of Amiens, the, 223, 228.

  Pearce's life of Wellesley, review of, 385.

  Peel ministry, resignation of the, 124
    --their return to office, 128.

  Peel, Sir Robert, and his corn-law measure, 373.

  Peep into the Whig penny-post bag, a, 247.

  Peltier, trial of, 468.

  Peninsular war, opening of the, 402.

  People, the, 733.

  Perceval, Mr, death of, 403.

  Perez, Antonio, sketch of the career of, 450.

  Petronevich, M. 131, 134, 142.

  Petty, Sir William, 219.

  Philip II. sketches of, 450.

  Piper, Count, minister of Charles XII. 197.

  Pitt, retirement of, 227
    --Regency question, 389.

  Poetry:
    --Let never cruelty dishonour beauty, 16*
    --the mother and her dead child, 53
    --translations from Goethe, 120
    --Christmas carol, 1845, 122
    --the twenty-fourth book of Homer's Iliad, in English hexameters, 259
    --the Old Player, by A. Lodge, 473
    --the burden of Sion, by Delta, 493
    --rhymed hexameters, 496
    --the first book of Homer's Iliad, 610
    --Truth and Beauty, 624
    --the Rose of Warning, 747.

  Posharevatz, town of, 140.

  Potatoe failure, the, 382.

  Powell, Mr, murder of, 591.

  Prometheus Vinctus, the, 65.

  Prospectus, a, 621.


  Racine, remarks on, 69.

  Rassavatz, M. 140.

  Recollections of a Lover of Society
    --the Irish Union, 215
    --Challenge to George III. 216
    --anecdotes of Lord Camelford, &c. 217
    --death of Paul of Russia, 218
    --anecdotes of him, 219
    --epitaphs, 221
    --death of Lavater, Heberden, &c. _ib._
    --peace of Amiens, 223
    --coronation of Alexander of Russia, 224
    --first feat of Barclay of Ury, 225
    --appearance of Stephen Kemble, _ib._
    --on the peace, &c. 226
    --death of the Duke of Bedford, 227
    --retirement of Pitt, _ib._
    --conclusion of the peace, 228
    --death of Darwin, _ib._
    --and of Lord Mendip, 229
    --re-establishment of nobility in France, 230
    --Jenner and vaccination, _ib._
    --No. II.
    --ball in honour of the peace, 463
    --accident to George Rose, _ib._
    --death of Colonel Barré, _ib._
    --curious law action, &c. 464
    --measures of Napoleon, _ib._
    --Schinderhannes the robber, 465
    --Colonel O'Kelly's parrot, 466
    --Andreossi and the seizure of Malta, _ib._
    --image of our Lady of Loretto, 467
    --trial of Colonel Despard, _ib._
    --trial of Peltier, 468
    --Lord Orford, 470
    --frauds on the Stock Exchange, 471
    --declaration of war against France, 472.

  Reform, first agitation of, 390.

  Regency question, the, 389.

  Reign, last hours of, a tale in two parts, Part II., Chap. III., 17
    --Chap IV., 24
    --Chap. V., 29
    --Conclusion, 36.

  Reinaud on Greek Fire, 749.

  Rent, rates of, in Ireland, 586.

  Reynard the Fox, 665.

  Rhodes, description of, 130.

  Rhymed Hexameters and Pentameters, 496.

  Rogues in Outline, see _Birboniana_.

  Roman Campagna, the, 337.

  Romantic drama compared with the Greek, 54.

  Rome, sketches of, 250
    --causes of the decline and fall of, 340
    --the fall of
    --its causes at work in the British Empire, 692.

  Rose, George, accident to, 463.

  Rose of Warning, the, by A. Lodge, 747.

  Roustchouk, fortress of, 131.


  Sacred music, on, 181.

  St Antonio, siege of, 38.

  St Germans, Lord, coercion bill of, 572.

  Santa Anna, notices of, 37.

  Santa Lucia and the Capucin convent, 106.

  Schiller, dramas of, 72.

  Schinderhannes, the robber of the Rhine, 465.

  Scott's novels and poems, remarks on, 414.

  Serier, Mr, on the Oregon question, 442.

  Servia, and the Servian question, 129.

  Shabatz, town of, 135.

  Shakspeare and Æschylus, comparison of, 61
    --and the drama, 534.

  Sharks and fireflies, 108.

  Sheridan on the French Revolution, 395.

  Sicilian sketches
    --Syracusiana--the fountain of Arethusa, 103
    --Jack Robertson and the professor of eloquence, 104
    --Ear of Dionysius, 105
    --Santa Lucia and the Capucin convent, 106
    --sharks and fireflies, 108
    --a consultation, 109
    --excursion to Epipolæ, 110
    --addio, Sicilia, 111.

  Siddons, Mrs, 55.

  Sikhs, subjugation of the, 625.

  Simitch Stogan, 142.

  Sims, Mr, on the Oregon question, 415.

  Sir William Follett, sketch of the life and character of, 1.

  Small canals of Venice, the, 254.

  Smith, Adam, 661.

  Smith, Sir Harry, despatch of, 639.

  Smuggler's leap, the, a passage in the Pyrenees, 366.

  Sobraon, battle of, 642.

  Sokol or Szoko, fortress of, 136, 137.

  Soltau's Reynard the Fox, review of, 665.

  Something more about music, 169.

  Stanton, Mr, on the Oregon question, 447.

  State of Ireland, the, 572.

  Story of Periander, the, 417.

  Studenitza, convent of, 138.

  Student of Salamanca, the, Part III., 85
    --Part IV., 149
    --Part V., 273
    --Part VI., 419
    --Part the last, 513.

  Surveyor's tale, the, 497.

  Sutlej, campaign of the, 625.

  Suvaroff, anecdote of, 219.

  Svilainitza, town of, 140.

  Swindler, a female, 218.

  Swiss Alp, the, from Goethe, 121.

  Syracusiana, _see_ Sicilian sketches.


  Tariff, the new, 373.

  Texas, a campaign in, 37.

  Tickell, Mr, on the state of Ireland, 379.

  Tippoo Saib, the war with, 397.

  To Cecilianus, from Martial, 496.

  Toulon, siege of, by Eugene, 201.

  Tronosha, convent of, 136.

  Truth and beauty, 624.

  Twenty-fourth book of Homer's Iliad, attempted in English
        hexameters, 259.


  Union of Great Britain and Ireland, the, 215.

  Ushitza, town of, 137.


  Vaccination, discovery of, 230.

  Vendôme, Marshal, 205, 206, 212.

  Venice, sketches of, 254.

  Vichyana, natural history, &c., 406
    --the contrast, 307
    --miscellanea, 308
    --our amusements, 309
    --first table-d'hôte dinner, 315.

  Villa Borghese, the, 251.

  Voltaire, the tragedies of, 70.


  Wakefield, Gilbert, 222.

  Walls of Rome, the, 250.

  War in Texas, anecdotes of the, 37.

  Warning, the, from Goethe, 121.

  Wellesley, the Marquis, sketch of the career of, 385.

  Whyte's pilgrim's reliquary, review of, 249.

  Widdin, town of, 132.

  Wuczicz, M. 134, 142.


END OF VOL. LIX.

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



Footnotes:

[1] _Lives of Men of Letters and Science who Flourished in the Time of
George III._ By HENRY LORD BROUGHAM, with Portraits. London: Colburn.

[2] _Reynard the Fox--a renowned Apologue of the Middle Ages reproduced
in Rhyme._ By S. NAYLOR. Longman & Co. London: 1845.

[3] Finlay's _Greece under the Romans_, p. 250.

[4] "Mihi multum legenti multum audienti quæ populus Romanus domi
militiæque præclara facinora fecissent, forte lubuit attendere quæ res
maxime tanta negotia sustinuit. At mihi multa agitanti constabat,
paucorum civium egregiam virtutem cuncta patravisse: eoque factum ut
divitias paupertas, multitudinem paucitas, superaret."--Sallust, _Bell.
Cat._, 32.

[5] They were as high as L.9 sterling in the time of Constantine, a sum
probably equal to L.20 of our money. But the freemen were the higher
classes alone, and it is probable a similar class, both in France and
England, pay at least as much at this time.--See Gibbon, iii. 88.

[6] Gibbon, c. i. and c. xxxii. Agathias states the military
establishment in its best days at 675,000, which is much more likely its
real amount. Agathias, v. p. 157, Paris edition.

[7] Gibbon, vol. vi. c. xxxvi. p. 235.

[8] Ibid. vol. iii. c. xviii. p. 87. Edition in twelve volumes.

[9] "Arantur Gallicana rura _barbaris bobus_, et juga Germanica captiva
præbent colla nostris cultoribus."--_Probi Epist. ad Senatum, in
Vopesio._

[10] Michelet, _Histoire de France_, vol. i. p. 104-108.

[11] Finlay's _Greece under the Romans_.

[12] Tacitus, _Annal._, xii. 43.

[13] _De Bello Gild._, v. 64, 65.

[14] Gibbon, c. xxix.

[15]

  "Advenio supplex, non ut proculcet Araxen
  Consul ovans, nostræve premant pharetrata secures
  Susa, nec ut Rubris aquilas figamus arenis.
  Hæc nobis, hæc ante dabas.--Nunc pabula tantum
  Roma precor. Miserere tuæ, Pater Optime, gentis--
  Extremam defende famem.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Tot mihi pro meritis Lybiam Nilumque dedêre
  Ut _dominam plebem_ bellatoremque senatum
  Classibus astivis alerent.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Nunc inhonorus, egens, perfert miserabile pacis
  Supplicium, nulloque palam circumdatus hoste
  Obessi discrimen habet. Per singula letum
  Impendet momenta mihi, dubitandaque pauci
  Præscribunt alimenta dies."--CLAUD. _De Bello Gild._

[16] Finlay's _Greece under the Romans_, 435, 436.

[17] Ibid. 517.

[18] Gibbon, c. xxxi. p. 351.

[19] Ibid. c. xxxiii. vol. vi. p. 20.

[20] _Greece under the Romans_, 456, 467.

[21] Josephus, ii. 16.

[22] Finlay, 515.

[23] Ibid. 406.

[24] Sismondi, _Chute de l'Empire Romaine_, i. 36.

[25] Novell, 81.

[26] Finlay, 246, 247.

[27] Finlay, 117.

[28] Ammianus Marcellinus, c. xiv.

[29] Finlay, 544. Ammianus Marcellinus, c. xix.

[30] Sismondi, _Chute de l'Empire Romaine_, i. 50.

[31] Gibbon, i. 261, c. vi.

[32] Gibbon, c. vi. vol. i. p. 262.

[33] Ibid. c. vi. vol. i. p. 268.

[34] Ibid. p. 268.

[35] Ibid. c. xvii. vol. ii. p. 86.

[36] Gibbon, c. xvii. vol. iii. p. 92.

[37] Finlay, pp. 49-50.

[38] Novell Majorian, tit. iv. p. 34. Gibbon, c. xxxvi. vol. vi. p. 173.

[39] Gibbon, c. i. vol. i. p. 30.

[40] Ibid. c. i. vol. i. p. 37.

[41] Ibid. c. xvii. vol. iii. p. 93.

[42] Ibid. c. ii. vol. i. p. 91.

[43] Plin. _Hist. Nat._ iii. 5.

[44] [Greek: Peri tou mêdein Daneixeisthai.] "De Ære Alieno
vitando."--_Plutarch._

[45] Finlay, 90.

[46] "Verumque confitentibus latifundia perdidêre Italiam, immo ac
provincias."--Plin. _Hist. Nat._

[47] Sismondi, _Chute de l'Empire Romaine_, i. 51.

[48] Ammianus Marcellinus, c. xiv.

[49] Sismondi, _Chute de l'Empire Romaine_, i. 44.

[50] Finlay, 219, 220.

[51] It is curious to find Tacitus praising the establishment _of
bounties on_ the importation of foreign grain by Tiberius, without a
word on the evil effects of the system.--_Annal._ vi. 13. "Quibus _e
provinciis et quanto majorum, quam Augustus_ rei frumentariæ copiam
advectaret."

[52] Finlay, 53.

[53] Finlay, 105.

[54] Ibid. 137.

[55] Tacitus, _Annal._ xii. 43.

[56] Michelet, _Histoire de France_, i. 277.

[57] _Edinburgh Review._ April 1846. No. 168. Page 370-371.

[58] Sismondi, _Chute de l'Empire Romaine_, i. 233.

[59] Finlay, 389.

[60] Ibid. 392.

[61] Gibbon, chap. ii. vol. i. p. 90.

[62] Jacob's _Historical Inquiry into the Production and Consumption of
the Precious Metals_, i. 35, 42.

[63] Finlay, 88.

[64] _Ibid._ 90.

[65] Finlay, 89.

[66] Gibbon, v. 329.

[67] _Arbuthnott on Ancient Coins_, c. 5. Gibbon, i. 90, c. ii.

[68] _Greaves on Ancient Coins_, i. 229, 331.

[69] Gibbon, c. 36, vol. vi. 173.

[70] See _Edinburgh Review_. No. 168. April 1846.

[71] There are now 20,000,000 inhabitants in Italy, and it was certainly
as populous in the time of Augustus, when Rome alone, which now has
180,000, contained 2,386,000 souls.

[72] _Le Peuple._ Par J. MICHELET.

[73] _Du Feu Greçois, des Feux de Guerre, et des Origines de la
Poudre-à-Canon._ Par MM. REINAUD et FAVÉ.

[74] --------"Conductâ Paulus agebat Sardonyche."--JUV. _Sat._ vii.

[75] Poor Seneca, for a _moral_ philosopher, seems to have been somewhat
harshly handled: here patronised by cheats and gamblers, and here
censured by philosophy and dissent! Now invoked by Rusca to assist him
in his ingannations; now lugged on the stage to be commented on by the
valet of a gambler,[*] as he _debits_ him, for his master's consolation,
under his losses; here glanced at by Coleridge for his splendid
"inconsistencies;" and here by the sour _Dissenter_, who accuses our
Church's ministers of borrowing their sermons from his precepts.

  "Preaching the trash they purchase at the stalls,
  And more like _Seneca's_, than _HIS_!! or _Paul's_!"

And, as he could make no higher appeal for human virtue than the
authority of human wisdom for the plea of expediency, it was not to be
wondered at if he should have met with no better fate than to be praised
of fools, and neglected of the wise, who wisely deemed him an
insufficient, and therefore a dangerous guide.

     [*] Le Joueur.

[76] The name of "_half honest_" exactly suits this class of men, who,
adopting one _half_ of what our admirable Taylor lays down in his golden
"rules and measures of justice in bargaining," neglect the other half.
"In prices of bargaining concerning _uncertain_ merchandises, you may
buy as cheap, ordinarily, as you can, and sell as dear as you can;" so
far they and Taylor are of a mind. "Provided," continues he, "that you
contract on _equal terms_ with persons in _all senses_ (as to the matter
and skill of bargaining) _equal to yourself_; that is, merchants with
merchants, _wise men with wise men_, rich with rich"--and _here_ the
_mezzo galant'uomo_ gives up Taylor, to keep true to his name and
calling.

[77] Mionnet, _De la Rareté et du Prix des Medailles Romaines_, a very
useful work, which no amateur collector should fail to possess, and to
carry constantly about with him, _non obstant_ all the abuse heaped upon
it by all the dealers.



Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

The original text includes Greek characters. For this text version these
letters have been replaced with transliterations.

The original text contains several instances of unmatched quotation marks.
Obvious errors have been silently corrected while those requiring
interpretation have been left open.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "dveloping" corrected to "developing" (page 658)
  missing "a" added (page 684)
  "ancedote" corrected to "anecdote" (index)





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