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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 401, March 1849
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, No. 401, March 1849" ***

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generously made available by The Internet Library of Early
Journals.)



           BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

     NO. CCCCI.      MARCH, 1849.      VOL. LXV.



CONTENTS.


    SCIENTIFIC AND PRACTICAL AGRICULTURE,           255

    THE SYCAMINE. BY [Delta],                       274

    AFTER A YEAR'S REPUBLICANISM,                   275

    THE CAXTONS. PART XI.,                          287

    M. PRUDHON.--CONTRADICTIONS ECONOMIQUES,        304

    THE GREEN HAND.--A "SHORT" YARN. PART II.,      314

    MÉRIMÉE'S HISTORY OF PETER THE CRUEL,           337

    THE OPENING OF THE SESSION,                     357


                     EDINBURGH:
   WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET;
          AND 37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

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

 SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

  PRINTED BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH.



    BLACKWOOD'S
    EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

    NO. CCCCI.      MARCH, 1849.      VOL. LXV.



SCIENTIFIC AND PRACTICAL AGRICULTURE.[1]


There are three reasons why the second edition of a good book, upon an
advancing branch of knowledge, should be better than the first. The
author, however conversant he may have been with the subject when he
wrote his book, is always more thoroughly read in it--supposing him a
worthy instructor of the public--his opinions more carefully digested,
and more fully matured, when a second edition is called for. Then he
has had time to reconsider, and, if necessary, remodel his
plan--adding here, retrenching there--introducing new subject-matter
in one place, and leaving out, in another, topics which he had
previously treated of with more or less detail. And, lastly, the
knowledge itself has advanced. New ideas, which in the interval have
established themselves, find a necessary place in the new issue; facts
and hypotheses which have been proved unsound drop naturally out of
his pages; and, on the whole, the later work exhibits a nearer
approach to that truthful summit, on which the eyes of all the
advancers of knowledge are supposed evermore to rest.

For all these reasons, the second edition of the _Book of the Farm_ is
better than the first. The opinions of the author have been
reconsidered and materially improved--especially in reference to
scientific points; the arrangement has been simplified, and the whole
book condensed, by the exclusion of those descriptions of machinery
which properly belong to the department of agricultural mechanics, and
which we believe are about to be published as a separate work; and the
strides which practical agriculture has taken during the last ten
years, and the topics which have chiefly arrested attention, are
considered with the aid of the better lights we now possess.

Of all the arts of life, there is none which draws its knowledge from
so great a variety of fountains as practical agriculture. Every branch
of human knowledge is mutually connected--we may say interwoven
with--and throws light upon, or is enlightened by, every other. But
none of those which largely contribute to the maintenance of social
life, and conduce to the power and stability of states, is so varied
in its demands upon the results of intellectual inquiry, as
husbandry,--or rural economy in its largest sense.

Look at that magnificent ship, which cleaves the waters, now trusting
to her canvass and wafted by favouring breezes; now, despite the
fiercest gales, paddling her triumphant way over hill and valley,
precipice and ravine, which the raging sea, out of her fertile
materials, is every moment fashioning beneath her feet. Is there any
product of human art in which more intellect is embodied than in this
piece of living mechanism? The timber can tell of the axe of the
woodman on far-distant hills, and of the toils of many craftsmen in
fitting it for its present purpose. The iron of the researches of the
mineralogist, the laborious skill of the miner, the alchemy of the
smelter, the wonders of the tilt-hammer, the ingenuity of the
mechanist, and the almost inconceivable and mathematical nicety by
which its various portions are fitted to each other, and, like the
muscles and sinews of the human body, made to play together for a
purpose previously contemplated--an uninstructed man might almost say,
previously agreed upon among themselves. The steam, of what hidden
secrets of nature!--the mysteries of heat, which could not hide
themselves from the searching genius of Black,--the chemistry of
water, which the ever-pondering mind of Watt compelled from unwilling
nature,--the endless contrivances by which its fierce power was tamed
to most submissive obedience in the workshops of Soho. The compass may
for a moment carry us back to the fabled mountains of our infancy, in
which the hidden loadstone attracted the fated vessel to its ruin; but
it brings us forward again to the truer marvels of modern magnetism,
and to the intellect which has been expended in keeping the needle
true to the pole-star in the iron boat, where, surrounded by metallic
influences, countless attractions are incessantly soliciting it to
deviate. And when, as the mid-day sun mounts to the zenith, the
sextant and the quicksilver appear, how does it flash upon us that
modern navigation is the child of astronomy; and that the mind
embodied in the latest Rossian telescope is part and parcel of the
inappreciable mass of thought to which, "walking the waters as a thing
of life," that huge steam-frigate owes its being!

What a concentration of varied knowledge is seen in this single work
of art! From how many sources has this knowledge come!--how many
diverse pursuits or sciences have yielded their necessary quota to the
common stock!--how many varied talents have been put under
contribution to contrive its many parts, and put them fittingly
together!

But, to the pursuits of the humble farmer, more aids still contribute
than to those of the dauntless navigator. His patient and quiet life
on land is as dependent upon varied knowledge, draws its instruction
from as many sources, and is more bound up in visible union with all
the branches of human science, than even the active and stirring life
of the dweller on the sea.

Some of our journal writers are accustomed to ridicule the results of
agricultural skill; to undervalue our successful field improvements;
to laugh at Smithfield Christmas cattle, and at the exhibitions of our
great annual shows. In thoughtlessness, often in ignorance, they
write, and always for a temporary effect, which our progressing
agriculture can well afford to pass by.

But we ask our rural reader to turn up the first volume of the _Book
of the Farm_, and to cast his eye for a moment on the triad of
beautiful shorthorns represented in the sixth plate; or on the
magnificent stallion of the fourth plate, or on the graceful sheep of
the seventh. We pass over the _points_ in which, to the educated eye,
their beauty consists; we dismiss, for the present, all consideration
of their perfection as well-bred animals, and their fitness for the
special purposes for which they have been reared. We wish him to tell
us, if he can, how much mind has gone to the breeding, rearing, and
feeding of these animals--how many varied branches of knowledge have
lent their aid to this apparently simple and un-imposing result.

The food on which they have been brought up has been gathered from the
soil--the grass, the hay, the root crops, the linseed, the barley, the
oats. And how much intellect, from the earliest dawn of civilisation,
has been lavished upon the soil!--how many branches of knowledge are
at this moment uniting their strength to develop its latent
capabilities! Geology yields the raw materials upon which, in after
ages, the toils of the husbandman are expended. She explains what are
the variations in the natural quality of these materials; how such
variations have arisen; where they lead to increased, and where to
diminished fertility; how and where the still living rocks may
contribute to the improvement of the dead earth which has been formed
from them; and how, in some apparently insecure regions, the
unsleeping volcano showers over the land, at varying periods, the
elements of an endless fertility. Mineralogy lends her aid to unravel
the origin, and nature, and wants, and capabilities of the soil; and,
as the handmaid and willing follower of geology, dresses and classes
the fragments which geology has let fall from her magnificent
formations. But chemistry, especially, exhausts herself in the cause
of the husbandman. No branch of rural art, as we shall see, is beyond
her province and control. All that the soil originally derives from
geologic and mineral materials, chemistry investigates; all that these
substances naturally become, all that they ought to yield, how they
may be persuaded to yield it; by what changes this is to be brought
about; by means of what agencies, and how applied, such changes are to
be induced:--chemistry busies herself with all this, and labours in
some sense to complete, for the purposes of rural art, the information
which geology and mineralogy had begun.

Upon the soil the plant grows. What a wonder and a mystery is the
plant! A living, and growing, and breathing existence, that speaks
silently to the eye, and to the sense of touch, and to the sense of
smell--speaks kindly to man, and soothingly, and appeals to his
reasoning powers--but is mute to the most open and wakeful of all his
senses, and by no verbal speech reveals the secrets with which its
full vessels are bursting. How many wise heads have watched, and
tended, and studied it--the humble plant--interpreting its smallest
movements, the meaning of every change of hue upon its leaves and
flowers, and gathering profoundest wisdom from its fixed and voiceless
life! To what new sciences has this study led the way! Botany never
wearies in gathering and classifying; and of modern giants, Linnæus,
and Jussieu, and Decandolle, and Brown, and Lindley, and Hooker, and
Schleiden, have given their best years to unfold and perfect it.
Alongside of descriptive and systematic botany has sprung up the
allied branch of Structural Physiology, and the use of the microscope
has added to this the younger sister Histology; while these two
together, calling in the aid of chemistry, have built up the further
departments of Chemical Physiology and Chemical Histology--departments
too numerous, too profound in their research, and too special in their
several niceties of observation, for one head clearly to comprehend
and limit them.

And on the plant as it grows, and as a perfect whole, chemistry
expends entire and most gifted intellectual lives. Of what the plant
consists, whence it draws its subsistence, how it takes it in--in what
form, in what quantity, at what period of the day--how the air feeds
it, how the soil sustains it, why it grows well here and badly
there--what are the nature, composition, action, and special
influences of manures--where and when, and of what kind, they should
be applied to the plant--how this or that effect is to be produced by
them, and this or that defect remedied.

But the life of the plant is an unravelled thread. The steam-frigate
appears to live, and thunders as she moves, breathing fire and smoke.
But the still life of the plant awes and subdues more than all this.
Man may forcibly obstruct the path of the growing twig, but it turns
quietly aside and moves patiently on. The dead iron and wood, and the
forceful steam, all obey man's will--his intellect overmasters their
stubbornness, and tames them into crouching slaves--but the life of
the plant defies him. That life he can extinguish; but to use the
living plant he must obey it, and study its wants and tendencies. How
vastly easier to achieve a boastful triumph over the most stubborn
mineral matter, than to mould to man's will the humblest flower that
grows!

And each new plant brings with it new conditions of life, new wants,
new virtues, new uses, new whims, if we may so speak, to be humoured.
The iron, and the timber, and the brass are always one and the same to
the mechanist; but with the constitution of each new plant, and its
habits, a new series of difficulties opens up to the cultivator, which
only time and experience, and much study, can overcome.

But mechanics also exert much influence upon the culture of the soil,
and the rearing of useful plants. And though the greatest achievements
of mechanical skill were not first made on her behalf, yet even the
steam-engine may be said to have become auxiliary to agriculture; and
the thousand ingenious implements which Northampton and York exhibited
at their recent anniversaries, showed in how many quarters, and to how
large an extent, the purely mechanical and constructive arts are
expending their strength in promoting her cause.

On meteorology, which studies the aërial meteors--registers,
tabulates, and gives even a local habitation and a form to winds,
hurricanes, and typhoons--the progress of the navigator much depends.
They hinder or hasten his progress; but he overcomes them at last. But
atmospheric changes are vital things to the plant and to the soil.
Where no rain falls, the plant withers and dies. If too much falls, it
becomes sickly, and fails to yield a profitable crop. If it falls too
frequently, though not in too large quantity on the whole, one plant
luxuriates and rejoices in the genial season, while another with
difficulty produces a half return. If it falls at unseasonable times,
the seed is denied admission into the ground in spring, or the harvest
refuses to ripen in the autumn.

So the warmth and the sunshine, and the evening dews and the fogs, and
the electric condition of the air--its transparency and its varying
weight--and prevailing winds and hoar-frosts, and blights and
hail-storms, and the influence of the heavenly bodies on all these
conditions--with all these things the interests of the plant and the
soil demand that scientific agriculture should occupy herself. On
every single branch of knowledge to which we have alluded, the power
and skill profitably to influence the plant are dependent.

And for what purpose does the plant spring up, the soil feed and
nourish it, and the blessed sun mature its seeds? To adorn, no doubt,
the surface of the beautiful earth, and to keep alive and propagate
its species; but principally to nourish the animal races which supply
food and yield their service to man. And, upon the study of this
nurture and feeding of the animal races, how much intellect has been
expended! Has the stoker who heaps coals upon the engine fire, and
turns one tap occasionally to maintain the water-level in the boiler,
or another to give passage to the steam--and thus keeps the
pile-driver, or the coal-drawer, or the tin mine, or the locomotive,
or the steam-boat, or the colossal pumps of the Haarlem lake, in easy
and continuous operation--has he, or has the man who curiously watches
his operations--have either of them any idea of the long days of
intellectual toil--of the sleepless nights, during which invention was
on the rack--of the mental dejection and throes of suffering, under
which new thoughts were born--of the lives of martyred devotion which
have been sacrificed, while, or in order that the machine, which is so
obediently simple and easily managed, was or might be brought to its
present perfection? Yet all this has been, and has been suffered by
men now gone, though the ignorance of the humble workman, little more
thoughtful than the iron he works with, fails either to feel or to
understand it.

And so too often it is with you who feed, and with you who look at the
simple process of feeding stock. As the turnip and the barley, and the
oats and the linseed, and the beans, are placed before the almost
perfect short-horn, or the graceful Ayrshire, or the untamed West
Highlander, or the stately stallion, or the well-bred Leicester or
Cheviot ram, or the cushioned and padded Berkshire porker--how little
do you know or think of the science, and long skill, and intellectual
labour, which have been expended in preparing what is to you so
simple! It is not without and beyond the ranks of the agricultural
community only that we need look for those who lessen the intellectual
character of rural industry, and of the rural life. Too many of our
practical men, even of high pretensions, are themselves only the
stokers of the agricultural machine; and, like ungrateful and
degenerate children, in their ignorance deny the head of the mother
that bred and fed them.[2]

What are the functions of the animals you rear--what the composition
of their several parts--what the nature of the food they require--what
the purposes it serves--what the proportions in which this or that
kind of food ought to be given--what the changes, in the kind and
proportion, to adapt it to the special habits and constitution of the
animal, and the purposes for which it is fed? Are these questions
deep? Yet they have all been thought over and long considered, and
discussed and disputed about, and volumes have been written upon them;
and the chemist, and the physiologist, and the anatomist have, unknown
to you, all laboured zealously and without wearying, in your service.
And what you now find so simple only proves how much their sciences
have done for you. _They_ have fitted the machinery together, _you_
but throw in the fuel and keep up the steam.

With the rearing of stock, and the improving of breeds, practical men
are, or fancy themselves, all more or less conversant. How much warm
and persevering genius, guided by purely scientific principles, has
been expended upon our improved shorthorns and Leicesters! Are the
whole lives of a Collins, or a Bakewell, or a Bates, nothing to have
been devoted to pursuits like this? That these were practical men, and
not scientific, and that what they have done is not a debt due by
agriculture to science, is the saying of many. Men who have never read
a book can do, by imitation, what the patient services and skill of
other men discovered, and perfected, and simplified. But in this they
are only stokers. The improvers were sound and cautious experimental
physiologists, guided by the most fixed and certain principles of
animal physiology; and it is the results at which these men arrived
that have become the household words of the stokers of our day, who
call them _practice_ in opposition to _science_. If science could
forget her high duties to the Deity, and to the human race, she might
leave you and your art to your own devices.

Need we allude to the conditions of animal life--in a state of health,
and in a state of disease; to the varied constitutions of different
races and varieties; to the several adaptations of food, warmth, and
shelter which these demand; and to the extensive course of study which
is now required to furnish the necessary resources to the accomplished
veterinary surgeon? Yet would any breeder be safe for a moment to
invest his money in stock, in a country and climate like ours, had he
not, either in books, or in his own head, or in that of a neighbouring
veterinarian, the results at which the long study of these branches of
knowledge, in connexion with animal health, had discovered and
established?

We pursue this topic no further at present. We fearlessly assert--we
believe that we have shown--that as much intellect has been
scientifically expended in elucidating and perfecting the various
operations of rural life, by which those magnificent cattle have been
produced by art, as has gone to the elaboration of that wonderful
wave-subduing ship. The vulgar mind, awed by bulk and sound, and
visible emblems of thought, may dissent--may say that we have not so
much to show for it. But the laws of life are sought for and
studied--they are not made by science. The Deity has forbidden human
skill to develop a sheep into an elephant. Living materials, as we
have said, are not plastic like wood and iron; and to change the
constitution and character of a breed of animals may require as great
and as long-continued an exercise of inventive thought as to perfect
an imposing piece of machinery. The real worth of a scientific result
is the amount of mind expended in arriving at it, as the real height
of an animal in the scale of organisation is measured by the
proportionate size of its brain.

But we have our more palpable and sense-satisfying triumphs too. Look
at that wide valley, with its snow-clad summits at a distance on
either hand, and its glassy river flowing, cribbed and confined, in
the lowest bottom. Smiling fields, and well-trimmed hedge-rows, and
sheltering plantations, and comfortable dwellings, and a busy
population, and abundant cattle, cover its undulating slopes. For
miles industrious plenty spreads over a country which the river
formerly usurped, and the lake covered, and the rush tufted over, and
bog and mossy heath and perennial fogs and drizzling rains rendered
inhospitable and chill. But mechanics has chained the river, and
drained the lakes, and bogs, and clayey bottoms; and giving thus scope
to the application of all the varied practical rules to which science
has led, the natural climate has been subdued, disease extirpated, and
rich and fertile and happy homes scattered over the ancient waste.

Turn to another country, and a river flows deeply through an arid and
desolate plain. Mechanics lifts its waters from their depths, and from
a thousand artificial channels directs them over the parched surface.
It is as if an enchanter's wand had been stretched over it--the green
herbage and the waving corn, companied by all the industries of rural
life, spring up as they advance.

Another country, and a green oasis presents itself, busy with life, in
the midst of a desert and sandy plain. Do natural springs here gush
up, as in the ancient oasis of the Libyan wilderness? It is another of
the triumphs of human industry, guided by human thought. Geology, and
her sister sciences, are here the pioneers of rural life and fixed
habitations. The seat of hidden waters at vast depths was discovered
by her. Under her directions mechanics has bored to their sources, and
their gushing abundance now spreads fertility around.

Such are more sensible and larger triumphs of progressing rural
economy--such as man may well boast of, not only in themselves, but in
their consequences; and they may take their place with the gigantic
vessel of war, as magnificent results of intellectual effort.

But it is after these first ruder though more imposing conquests over
nature have been made, that the demand for mind, for applied science,
becomes more frequent, and the results of its application less
perceptible. And it is because, in ordinary husbandry, we have not
always before us the striking illustrations which arrest the vulgar
eye, that prevailing ignorance persists in denying its obligations to
scientific research.

The waters which descend from a chain of hills become a striking
feature in the geography of a country, when they happen to unite
together into a large and magnificent river: they escape unseen and
unnoticed if, keeping apart, they flow in countless tiny streamlets to
the sea. Yet, thus disunited, they may carry fertility over a whole
region, like the Nile when it overflows its banks, or as the river of
Damascus straying among its many gardens; while the waters of the
great river may only refresh and fertilise its own narrow margins, as
the Murray and the Darling do in South Australia, or the deep-bedded
rivers of Southern Africa.

Thus much we have devoted to the introductory portion of the _Book of
the Farm_. Those of our readers who wish to follow up farther these
scientific views may study _Johnston's Lectures, and Elements, of
Agricultural Chemistry and Geology_: and by the way we would commend,
for applied science, these works of Johnston's, and for practical
knowledge, the book of Stephens, to the special attention of our
emigrating fellow-countrymen, of whom so many in their foreign homes
are likely to regret the overflowing sources of information on every
conceivable topic with which their home literature and home neighbours
supplied them.

Let us now take a look at the body of Mr Stephens' work. These are the
days of pictorial embellishment--of speaking directly, and plainly,
and palpably to the eye. We have accidentally opened the book at the
217th page. What letterpress description could--so briefly we do not
say, for that is out of the question--but so graphically and fully,
explain the practice of eating off turnips with sheep, and all its
appliances of hurdles and nets, and turnip shears, and feeding
troughs, and hay racks, as the single woodcut which this page
exhibits? And so the practice of bratting and of stelling sheep is
illustrated, and all the forms and fashions of stells in high and low
countries (pp. 231 to 236;) the pulling, dressing, and storing of
turnips, (190 to 195;) the various modes of ploughing, with their ups
and downs, and turnings, and crossings, and gatherings, and feerings,
and gore furrows, and mould furrows, and broad furrows, and cross
furrows, and samcastings, and gaws, and ribs, and rafters, and slices,
and crowns, and centres, and a host of other operations and things
familiar to the farmer, but the very names and designations of which
are Greek to the common English reader. All these the woodcuts explain
beautifully and familiarly to the uninitiated readers, and most
usefully to the incipient farmer. How is the rural economy of Great
Britain and Ireland, in its best forms, stored up, not only for modern
and immediate use, but for the understanding of future ages, by these
illustrations! We would specify, in addition to those already referred
to, the steam-boiling apparatus in page 320; and the taking down of a
stack of corn in page 401; and the feeding of the threshing machine in
page 406; and the hand-sowing of corn in page 553; and the pickling of
wheat, (_chaulage_ of our Gallic neighbours,) page 536; and the
measuring of the grain in the barn, &c., page 419; and the full sacks,
_as they should be_, in the barn, in page 423. To the foreigner, how
do these pictures speak of English customs, costumes, and usages; to
our Trans-atlantic brethren, of the source of those modes and manners
which have at once placed them on an elevation in agricultural art, to
which 800 years of intellectual struggle had barely sufficed to lift
up their fathers and cousins at home; and to the still British
colonial emigrant the precise practices, and latest rural
improvements, which it will be his interest, at once, and his pride,
to introduce into his adopted land!

How would the _Scriptores Rei Rusticæ_ have gained in usefulness in
their own time, how immensely in interest in ours, had they been
accompanied by such illustrations as these! The clearness of Columella
would have been made more transparent, the obscurity of Palladius
lessened; and Cato and Varro would have preserved to us the actual
living forms, and costumes, and instruments of the ancient Etruscan
times, more clearly than the painted tombs are now revealing to the
antiquarian the fashions of their feasts, and games, and funereal
rites. We have before us the singularly, richly, and extravagantly,
yet graphically and most instructively illustrated book of Georgius
Agricola, _De Re Metallica_ (Basil, 1621.) The woodcuts of the _Book
of the Farm_ have induced us to turn it up, and it is with ever new
admiration that we turn over its old leaves. It has to us the interest
of a child's picture-book; and though, as a _chef-d'oeuvre_ of
illustrative art, the three hundred woodcuts of Stephens do not
approach the book of Agricola, yet what a treasure would the work of
Ausonius Popma on the rural implements of the ancients--their
_instrumenta_ in its widest sense--have been to us, could it have been
illustrated when he wrote (1690) in the style of Agricola, and with
the minuteness and fulness of Stephens!

The same desire to render minutely intelligible the whole subject
treated of, which these woodcuts show, is manifested in the more solid
letterpress of the book. It was said of Columella, by Matthew Gessner,
that he discoursed "non ut argumentum simplex quod discere amat,
dicendo obscuret, sed ut clarissimâ luce perfundat omnia." Such, the
reader feels, must have been the aim of the author of this book. In
his descriptions, nothing appears to be omitted; nothing is too minute
to be passed over. His book exposes not merely the every-day life, but
the very inmost life--the habits, and usages, and instruments of the
most humble as well as the most important of the operations of the
domestic, equally with the field economy of rural life. We do not
know if its effects upon our town population will ever be such as Beza
ascribes to that of Columella--

    Tu vero, Juni, silvestria rura canendo,
    Post te ipsas urbes in tua rura trahis;

but certainly, with a few more woodcuts, it would, in minute and
graphic illustration, by prints and letterpress be a most worthy
companion to the work of Agricola.

The plan of the book is to give a history of the agricultural year,
after the manner of the Roman Palladius and our own old Tucker; and
the present volume embraces the operations of the skilful farmer in
every kind of husbandry during the winter and spring. But, before we
come to the heart of the book, hear what Mr Stephens says about the
agricultural learning of our landed gentry:--

     "Even though he devote himself to the profession of arms or
     the law, and thereby confer distinction on himself, if he
     prefer either to the neglect of agriculture he is rendering
     himself unfit to undertake the duties of a landlord. To
     become a soldier or a lawyer, he willingly undergoes
     initiatory drillings and examinations; but to acquire the
     duties of a landlord before he becomes one, he considers it
     quite unnecessary to undergo initiatory tuition. These, he
     conceives, can be learned at any time, and seems to forget
     that the conducting of a landed estate is a profession, as
     difficult of thorough attainment as ordinary soldiership or
     legal lore. The army is an excellent school for confirming,
     in the young, principles of honour and habits of discipline;
     and the bar for giving a clear insight into the principles
     upon which the rights of property are based, and of the
     relation betwixt landlord and tenant; but a knowledge of
     practical agriculture is a weightier matter than either for a
     landlord, and should not be neglected.

     "One evil arising from studying those exciting professions
     before agriculture is, that, however short may have been the
     time in acquiring them, it is sufficiently long to create a
     distaste to learn agriculture afterwards practically--for
     such a task can only be undertaken, after the turn of life,
     by enthusiastic minds. But as farming is necessarily _the
     profession_ of the landowner, it should be learned,
     theoretically and practically, before his education is
     finished. If he so incline, he can afterwards enter the army
     or go to the bar, and the exercise of those professions will
     not efface the knowledge of agriculture previously acquired.
     This is the proper course, in my opinion, for every young man
     destined to become a landowner to pursue, and who is desirous
     of finding employment as long as he has not to exercise the
     functions of a landlord. Were this course invariably pursued,
     the numerous engaging ties of a country life would tend in
     many to extinguish the kindling desire for any other
     profession. Such a result would be most advantageous for the
     country; for only consider the effects of the course pursued
     at present by landowners. It strikes every one as an
     incongruity for a country gentleman to be unacquainted with
     country affairs. Is it not strange that he should require
     inducements to learn his hereditary profession,--to become
     familiar with the only business which can enable him to
     enhance the value of his estate, and increase his income?
     Does it not infer infatuation to neglect becoming well
     acquainted with the condition of his tenants, by whose
     exertions his income is raised, and by which knowledge he
     might confer happiness on many families, and in ignorance of
     which he may entail lasting misery on many more? It is in
     this way too many country gentlemen neglect their moral
     obligations.

     "It is a manifest inconvenience to country gentlemen, when
     taking a prominent part in county matters without a competent
     knowledge of agriculture, to be obliged to apologise for not
     having sufficiently attended to agricultural affairs. Such an
     avowal is certainly candid, but is anything but creditable to
     those who have to make it. When elected members of the
     legislature, it is deplorable to find so many of them so
     little acquainted with the questions which bear directly or
     indirectly on agriculture. On these accounts, the tenantry
     are left to fight their own battles on public questions. Were
     landowners practically acquainted with agriculture, such
     painful avowals would be unnecessary, and a familiar
     acquaintance with agriculture would enable the man of
     cultivated mind at once to perceive its practical bearing on
     most public questions."

And what he says respectively of the ignorant and skilful factor or
agent is quite as deserving of attention. Not merely whole estates,
but in some parts of the island, whole counties lag in arrear through
the defective education and knowledge of the agents as a class:--

     "A still greater evil, because less personal, arises on
     consigning the management of valuable estates to the care of
     men as little acquainted as the landowners themselves with
     practical agriculture. A factor or agent, in that condition,
     always affects much zeal for the interest of his employer.
     Fired by it, and possessing no knowledge to form a sound
     judgment, he soon discovers something he considers wrong
     among the poorer tenants. Some rent perhaps is in arrear--the
     strict terms of the lease have been deviated from--the
     condition of the tenant seems declining. These are favourable
     symptoms for a successful contention with him. Instead of
     interpreting the terms of the lease in a generous spirit, the
     factor hints that the rent would be better secured through
     another tenant. Explanation of circumstances affecting the
     actual condition of the farm, over which he has, perhaps, no
     control,--the inapplicability, perhaps, of peculiar covenants
     in the lease to the particular circumstances of the farm--the
     lease having perhaps been drawn up by a person ignorant of
     agriculture,--are excuses unavailingly offered to a factor
     confessedly unacquainted with country affairs, and the result
     ensues in disputes betwixt him and the tenant. To
     explanations, the landlord is _unwilling_ to listen, in order
     to preserve intact the authority of the factor; or, what is
     still worse, is _unable_ to interfere, because of his own
     inability to judge of the actual state of the case betwixt
     himself and the tenant, and, of course, the disputes are left
     to be settled by the originator of them. Thus commence
     actions at law,--criminations and recriminations,--much
     alienation of feeling; and at length a proposal for the
     settlement of matters, at first perhaps unimportant, by the
     arbitration of practical men. The tenant is glad to submit to
     an arbitration to save his money; and in all such disputes,
     being the weaker party, he suffers most in purse and
     character. The landlord, who ought to have been the
     protector, is thus converted into the unconscious oppressor
     of his tenant.

     "A factor acquainted with practical agriculture would conduct
     himself very differently in the same circumstances. He would
     endeavour to prevent legitimate differences of opinion on
     points of management from terminating in disputes, by skilful
     investigation and well-timed compromise. He would study to
     uphold the honour of both landlord and tenant. He would at
     once see whether the terms of the lease were strictly
     applicable to the circumstances of the farm, and, judging
     accordingly, would check improper deviations from proper
     covenants, whilst he would make allowances for inappropriate
     ones. He would soon discover whether the condition of the
     tenant was caused more by his own mismanagement than by the
     nature of the farm he occupies, and he would conform his
     conduct towards him accordingly--encouraging industry and
     skill, admonishing indolence, and amending the objectionable
     circumstances of the farm. Such a factor is always highly
     respected, and his opinion and judgment are entirely confided
     in by the tenantry. Mutual kindliness of intercourse,
     therefore, always subsists betwixt such factors and the
     tenants. No landlord, whether acquainted or unacquainted with
     farming, especially in the latter case, should confide the
     management of his estate to any person less qualified."

These extracts are long, but we feel we are rendering the public a
service by placing them where they are likely to be widely read.

We have mentioned above that the _Book of the Farm_ is full of that
kind of clear home knowledge of rural life which the emigrant in
foreign climes at all resembling our own will delight to read and
profit by; but it will not supply the place of previous agricultural
training. There is much truth and sound practical advice in the
following observations:--

     "Let _every_ intending settler, therefore, _learn agriculture
     thoroughly_ before he emigrates; and, if it suits his taste,
     time, and arrangements, let him study in the colony the
     necessarily imperfect system pursued by the settlers, before
     he embarks in it himself; and the fuller knowledge acquired
     here will enable him, not only to understand the colonial
     scheme in a short time, but to select the part of the country
     best suited to his purpose. But, in truth, he has much higher
     motives for learning agriculture here; for a thorough
     acquaintance will enable him to make the best use of
     inadequate means--to know to apply cheap animal instead of
     dear manual labour,--to suit the crop to the soil, and the
     labour to the weather;--to construct appropriate dwellings
     for himself and family, live stock, and provisions; to
     superintend every kind of work, and to show a familiar
     acquaintance with them all. These are qualifications which
     every emigrant may acquire here, but not in the colonies
     without a large sacrifice of time--and time to a settler thus
     spent is equal to a sacrifice of capital, whilst eminent
     qualifications are equivalent to capital itself. This
     statement may be stigmatised by agricultural settlers who may
     have succeeded in amassing fortunes without more knowledge
     of agriculture than what was picked up by degrees on the
     spot; but such persons are incompetent judges of a statement
     like this, never having become properly acquainted with
     agriculture; and however successful their exertions may have
     proved, they might have realised larger incomes in the time,
     or as large in a shorter time, had they brought an intimate
     acquaintance of the most perfect system of husbandry known,
     to bear upon the favourable circumstances they occupied."

The early winter is spent in ploughing, which we pass over, and
mid-winter chiefly in feeding stock, in threshing out the corn, and in
attending to composts and dunghills. Preparing and sowing the seed is
the most important business of the spring months, to which succeeds
the tending of the lambs and ewes, and the preparation of the land for
the fallow or root crops. These several operations are treated of in
their most minute details, and the latest methods adopted in reference
to every point are fully explained.

In the husbandry of the most advanced portions of our island, the
turnip occupies a most important place in the estimation of the
skilful farmer, whether his dependence for the means of paying his
rent be placed upon the profits of his corn crops or of his cattle.

Of the turnip we have now many varieties--though it is only seventy or
eighty years since it was first introduced into field culture--at
least in those districts of the island in which its importance is most
fully recognised. The history of its introduction into Scotland is
thus given by Mr Stephens--

     "The history of the turnip, like that of other cultivated
     plants, is obscure. According to the name given to the swede
     in this country, it is a native of Sweden; the Italian name
     _Navoni di Laponia_ intimates an origin in Lapland, and the
     French names _Chou de Lapone_, _Chou de Suède_, indicate an
     uncertain origin. Sir John Sinclair says, 'I am informed that
     the swedes were first introduced into Scotland _anno_ 1781-2,
     on the recommendation of Mr Knox, a native of East Lothian,
     who had settled at Gottenburg, whence he sent some of the
     seeds to Dr Hamilton.' There is no doubt the plant was first
     introduced into Scotland from Sweden, but I believe its
     introduction was prior to the date mentioned by Sir John
     Sinclair. The late Mr Airth, Mains of Dunn, Forfarshire,
     informed me that his father was the first farmer who
     cultivated swedes in Scotland, from seeds sent him by his
     eldest son, settled in Gottenburg, when my informant, the
     youngest son of a large family, was a boy of about ten years
     of age. Whatever may be the date of its introduction, Mr
     Airth cultivated them in 1777; and the date is corroborated
     by the silence preserved by Mr Wight regarding its culture by
     Mr Airth's father when he undertook the survey of the state
     of husbandry in Scotland, in 1773, at the request of the
     Commissioners of the Annexed Estates, and he would not have
     failed to report so remarkable a circumstance as the culture
     of so useful a plant, so that it was unknown prior to 1773.
     Mr Airth sowed the first portion of seed he received in beds
     in the garden, and transplanted the plants in rows in the
     field, and succeeded in raising good crops for some years,
     before sowing the seed directly in the fields."

The weight of a good turnip crop--not of an extraordinary crop, which
some persons can succeed in raising, and the accounts of which others
only refuse to credit--is a point of much importance; and it is so,
not merely to the farmer who possesses it, but to the rural community
at large. The conviction that a certain given weight is a fair average
crop in well-farmed land, where it does not exceed his own, will be
satisfactory to the industrious farmer; while it will serve as a
stimulus to those whose soil, or whose skill, have hitherto been
unable to raise so large a weight. According to our author--

     "A good crop of swede turnips weighs from 30 to 35 tons per
     imperial acre.

     "A good crop of yellow turnips weighs from 30 to 32 tons per
     imperial acre.

     "A good crop of white globe turnips weighs from 30 to 40 tons
     per imperial acre."

Of all kinds of turnips, therefore, from 30 to 40 tons per imperial
acre are a good crop.

The readers of agricultural journals must have observed that, of late
years, the results of numerous series of experiments have been
published. Among those that have been made upon turnips, he will have
noticed also that the crop, in about nine cases out of ten, is under
twenty tons; that these crops vary, for the most part, between nine
and sixteen tons; and that some farmers are not ashamed to publish to
the world, that they are content with crops of from seven to ten tons
of turnips an acre. Where is our skill in the management of turnip
soils, if, in the average of years, such culture and crops satisfy any
considerable number of our more intelligent tenantry? We know that
soil, and season, and locality, and numerous accidents, affect the
produce of this crop; but the margin between the _actual_ and the
_possible_ is far too wide to be accounted for in this way. More
skill, more energy, more expenditure in draining, liming, and
manuring--a wider diffusion of our practical and scientific
agricultural literature--these are the means by which the wide margin
is to be narrowed; by which what is in the land is to be brought _out_
of the land, and thereby the farmer made more comfortable, and the
landlord more rich.

The subject of sheep and cattle feeding is very important, and very
interesting, and our book is rich in materials which would provoke us
to discuss it at some length, did our limits admit of it. We must be
content, however, with a few desultory extracts.

The following, in regard to sheep feeding upon turnips, is curious,
and, in our opinion, requires repetition:--

     "A curious and unexpected result was brought to light by Mr
     Pawlett, and is thus related in his own words,--'Being aware
     that it was the custom of some sheep-breeders to wash the
     food,--such as turnips, carrots, and other roots,--for their
     sheep, I was induced also to try the system; and as I usually
     act cautiously in adopting any new scheme, generally bringing
     it down to the true standard of experience, I selected for
     the trial two lots of lambs. One lot was fed, in the usual
     manner, on carrots and swedes _unwashed_; the other lot was
     fed exactly on the same kinds of food, but the carrots and
     swedes were _washed_ very clean every day: they were weighed
     before trial, on the 2d December, and again on the 30th
     December, 1835. The lambs fed with the unwashed food gained
     each 7-1/2 lb., and those on the washed gained 4-3/4 lb.
     each; which shows that those lambs which were fed in the
     usual way, without having their food washed, gained the most
     weight in a month by 2-3/4 lb. each lamb. There appears to me
     no advantage in this method of management--indeed animals are
     fond of licking the earth, particularly if fresh turned up;
     and a little of it taken into the stomach with the food must
     be conducive to their health, or nature would not lead them
     to take it.'"

Another experiment on the fattening properties of different breeds of
sheep, under similar treatment, quoted from the _Journal of the Royal
Agricultural Society of England_, is also deserving the attention of
our readers:--

     "Experiments were made in 1844-5 on the Earl of Radnor's farm
     at Coleshill, on the comparative fattening properties of
     different breeds of sheep under the same treatment. The sheep
     consisted of Leicesters, South-downs, half-breds,--a cross
     between the Cotswold and South-down--and Cotswolds. The
     sheep, being then lambs, were divided into lots of three each
     of each breed, and were grazed four months, from 29th August
     1844 to 4th January 1845, when they were put on hay and
     swedes for three months, from 4th January to the 31st of
     March following. While on grass, the different breeds gained
     in weight as follows:--

                              lb.                 lb.
     The Leicesters being     46    each, gained  10-1/2 each.
         South-downs          47         "        11
         Half-breds           44-1/2     "        12
         Cotswolds            56-1/2     "        10-1/2"

It is one of the most delicate qualifications connected with the
stock-feeder's art to be able to select that stock, and that variety
of it, which, under all the circumstances in which he is placed, will
give him the largest return in money--hence every experiment like the
above, if well conducted, is deserving of his close attention. At the
same time, in rural experiments, more almost than in any other, the
number of elements which interfere with the result, and may modify it,
is so great, that too much confidence ought not to be placed upon
single trials. Repeated results _of one kind_ must be obtained, before
a farmer can be justified in spending much money on the faith of them.

In turning to the winter feeding of cattle upon turnips and other
food--a subject important enough to justify Mr Stephens in devoting
forty of his closely printed pages to it--we are reminded of a
character of this book which we like very much, which squares
admirably with our own idea of neatness, order, and method, and which
we heartily commend to the attention of our farming friends: this is
the full and minute description he gives of the duties of every class
of servants upon the farm, of the necessity of having these duties
regularly and methodically performed, and of the way in which the
master may bring this about.

The cattle-man is an important person in the winter feeding of cattle;
he therefore commences this section with an account of the duties and
conduct of this man. Even his dress he describes; and the following
paragraph shows his reason for drawing the young farmer's attention to
it:--

     "The _dress_ of a cattle-man is worth attending to, as
     regards its appropriateness for his business. Having so much
     straw to carry on his back, a bonnet or round-crowned hat is
     the most convenient head-dress for him; but what is of more
     importance when he has charge of a bull, is to have his
     clothes of a sober hue, free of gaudy or strongly-contrasted
     colours, especially _red_, as that colour is peculiarly
     offensive to bulls. It is with red cloth and flags that the
     bulls in Spain are irritated to action at their celebrated
     bull-fights. Instances are in my remembrance of bulls turning
     upon their keepers, not because they were habited in red, but
     from some strongly contrasted bright colours. It was stated
     that the keeper of the celebrated bull Sirius, belonging to
     the late Mr Robertson of Ladykirk, wore a red nightcap on the
     day the bull attacked and killed him. On walking with a lady
     across a field, my own bull--the one represented in the plate
     of the Short-horn Bull, than which a more gentle and generous
     creature of his kind never existed--made towards us in an
     excited state; and for his excitement I could ascribe no
     other cause than the red shawl worn by the lady, for as soon
     as we left the field he resumed his wonted quietness. I
     observed him excited, on another occasion, in his hammel,
     when the cattle-man--an aged man, who had taken charge of him
     for years--attended him one Sunday forenoon in a new red
     nightcap, instead of his usual black hat. Be the cause of the
     disquietude in the animal what it may, it is prudential in a
     _cattle_-man to be habited in a sober suit of clothes."

Then, after insisting upon _regularity of time_ in everything he does,
following the man through a whole day's work, describing all his
operations, and giving figures of all his tools,--his graip, his
shovel, his different turnip choppers, his turnip-slicer, his
wheel-barrow, his chaff-cutters, his linseed bruisers, and his
corn-crushers,--he gives us the following illustration of the
necessity of regularity and method, and of the way to secure them:--

     "In thus minutely detailing the duties of the cattle-man, my
     object has been to show you rather how the turnips and fodder
     should be distributed relatively than absolutely; but
     whatever hour and minute the cattle-man finds, from
     experience, he can devote to each portion of his work, you
     should see that he performs _the same operation at the same
     time every day_. By paying strict attention to time, the
     cattle will be ready for and expect their wonted meals at the
     appointed times, and will not complain until they arrive.
     Complaints from his stock should be distressing to every
     farmer's ears, for he may be assured they will not complain
     until they feel hunger; and if allowed to hunger they will
     not only lose condition, but render themselves, by
     discontent, less capable of acquiring it when the food
     happens to be fully given. Wherever you hear lowings from
     cattle, you may safely conclude that matters are conducted
     there in an irregular manner. The cattle-man's rule is a
     simple one, and easily remembered,--_Give food and fodder to
     cattle at fixed times, and dispense them in a fixed routine_.
     I had a striking instance of the bad effects of irregular
     attention to cattle. An old staid labourer was appointed to
     take charge of cattle, and was quite able and willing to
     undertake the task. He got his own way at first, as I had
     observed many labouring men display great ingenuity in
     arranging their work. Lowings were soon heard from the stock
     in all quarters, both in and out of doors, which intimated
     the want of regularity in the cattle-man; whilst the poor
     creature himself was constantly in a state of bustle and
     uneasiness. To put an end to this disorderly state of things,
     I apportioned his entire day's work by his own watch; and on
     implicitly following the plan, he not only soon satisfied the
     wants of every animal committed to his charge, but had
     abundant leisure to lend a hand to anything that required his
     temporary assistance. His old heart overflowed with gratitude
     when he found the way of making all his creatures happy; and
     his kindness to them was so undeviating, they would have done
     whatever he liked."

And the money profit which this attention to regularity will give, in
addition to the satisfaction which attends it, is thus plainly set
down:--

     "Let us reduce the results of bad management to figures.
     Suppose you have three sets of beasts, of different ages,
     each containing 20 beasts--that is, 60 in all--and they get
     as many turnips as they can eat. Suppose that each of these
     beasts acquires only half a pound less live weight every day
     than they would under the most proper management, and this
     would incur a loss of 30 lbs. a-day of live weight, which,
     over 180 days of the fattening season, will make the loss
     amount to 5400 lbs. of live weight; or, according to the
     common rules of computation, 3240 lbs., or 231 stones, of
     dead weight at 6s. the stone, £69, 6s.--a sum equal to more
     than five times the wages received by the cattle-man. The
     question, then, resolves itself into this--whether it is not
     for your interest to save this sum annually, by making your
     cattle-man attend your cattle according to a regular plan,
     the form of which is in your own power to adopt and pursue?"

We must pass over the entire doctrine of prepared food, which has
lately occupied so much attention, and has been so ably advocated by
Mr Warner, Mr Marshall, Mr Thompson, and which, among others, has been
so successfully practised by our friend Mr Hutton of Sowber Hill in
Yorkshire. We only quote, by the way, a curious observation of Mr
Robert Stephenson of Whitelaw in East-Lothian:

     "'We shall conclude,' he says, 'by relating a singular
     fact'--and a remarkable one it is, and worth
     remembering--'that _sheep_ on turnips will consume nearly in
     proportion to _cattle_, weight for weight; that is, 10 sheep
     of 14 lbs. a-quarter, or 40 stones in all, will eat nearly
     the same quantity of turnips as an ox of 40 stones; but turn
     the ox to grass, and 6 sheep will be found to consume an
     equal quantity. This great difference may perhaps,' says Mr
     Stephenson, and I think truly, 'be accounted for by the
     practice of sheep cropping the grass much closer and oftener
     than cattle, and which, of course, prevents its growing so
     rapidly with them as with cattle.'"

The treatment of farm horses in winter is under the direction of the
ploughman, whose duties are first described, after which the system of
management and feeding of farm and saddle horses is discussed at a
length of thirty pages.

Among other pieces of curious information which our author gives us is
the nomenclature of the animals he treats of, at their various ages.
This forms a much larger vocabulary than most people imagine, and
comprises many words of which four-fifths of our population would be
unable to tell the meaning.

Thus, of the sheep he informs us--

     "A new-born sheep is called a _lamb_, and retains the name
     until weaned from its mother and able to support itself. The
     generic name is altered according to the sex and state of the
     animal; when a female it is a _ewe-lamb_, when a male
     _tup-lamb_, and this last is changed to _hogg-lamb_ when it
     undergoes emasculation.

     "After a lamb has been weaned, until the first fleece is
     shorn from its back, it receives the name of _hogg_, which is
     also modified according to the sex and state of the animal, a
     female being a _ewe-hogg_, a male a _tup-hogg_, and a
     castrated male a _wether-hogg_. After the first fleece has
     been shorn, another change is made in the nomenclature; the
     ewe-hogg then becomes a _gimmer_, the tup-hogg a
     _shearling-tup_, and the wether-hog a _dinmont_, and these
     names are retained until the fleece is shorn a second time.

     "After the second shearing another change is effected in all
     these names; the gimmer is then a _ewe_ if she is _in lamb_,
     but if not, a _barren gimmer_ and if never put to the ram a
     _eild gimmer_. The shearling tup is then a _2-shear tup_, and
     the dinmont is a _wether_, but more correctly a _2-shear
     wether_.

     "A ewe three times shorn is a _twinter ewe_, (_two-winter
     ewe_;) a tup is a _3-shear tup_; and a wether still a
     _wether_, or more correctly a _3-shear wether_--which is an
     uncommon name among Leicester sheep, as the castrated sheep
     of that breed are rarely kept to that age.

     "A ewe four times shorn is a _three winter ewe_, or _aged
     ewe_; a tup, an _aged tup_, a name he retains ever after,
     whatever his age, but they are seldom kept beyond this age;
     and the wether is now a _wether_ properly so called.

     "A _tup_ and _ram_ are synonymous terms.

     "A ewe that has borne a lamb, when it fails to be with lamb
     again is a _tup-eill_ or _barren ewe_. After a ewe has ceased
     to give milk she is a _yeld-ewe_.

     "A ewe when removed from the breeding flock is a _draft ewe_,
     whatever her age may be; gimmers put aside as unfit for
     breeding are _draft gimmers_, and the lambs, dinmonts or
     wethers, drafted out of the fat or young stock are
     _sheddings_, _tails_, or _drafts_.

     "In England a somewhat different nomenclature prevails. Sheep
     bear the name of _lamb_ until eight months old, after which
     they are _ewe_ and _wether teggs_ until once clipped. Gimmers
     are _theares_ until they bear the first lamb, when they are
     _ewes of 4-teeth_, next year _ewes of 6-teeth_, and the year
     after _full-mouthed ewes_. Dinmonts are called _shear hoggs_
     until shorn of the fleece, when they are _2-shear wethers_,
     and ever after are _wethers_."

The names of cattle are a little less complicated.

     "The _names_ given to cattle at their various ages are
     these:--A new-born animal of the ox-tribe is called a _calf_,
     a male being a _bull-calf_, a female a _quey-calf_,
     _heifer-calf_, or _cow-calf_; and a castrated male calf is a
     _stot-calf_, or simply a _calf_. Calf is applied to all young
     cattle until they attain one year old, when they are
     _year-olds_ or _yearlings_--_year-old bull_, _year-old quey_
     or heifer, _year-old stot_. _Stot_, in some places, is a bull
     of any age.

     "In another year they are _2-year old bull_, _2-year-old
     quey_ or _heifer_, _2-year-old-stot_ or _steer_. In England
     females are _stirks_ from calves to 2-year-old, and males
     _steers_; in Scotland both young male and females are
     _stirks_. The next year they are _3-year-old bull_, in
     England 3-year-old female a _heifer_, in Scotland a
     _3-year-old quey_, and a male is a _3-year-old stot_ or
     _steer_.

     "When a quey bears a calf, it is a _cow_, both in Scotland
     and England. Next year the _bulls_ are _aged_; the _cows_
     retain the name ever after, and the _stots_ or _steers_ are
     _oxen_, which they continue to be to any age. A cow or quey
     that has received the bull is _served_ or _bulled_, and is
     then _in calf_, and in that state these are in England
     _in-calvers_. A cow that suffers abortion _slips_ its calf. A
     cow that has either _missed_ being in calf, or has _slipped_
     calf, is _eill_; and one that has gone dry of milk is a
     _yeld-cow_. A cow giving milk is a _milk_ or _milch-cow_.
     When two calves are born at one birth, they are _twins_; if
     three, _trins_. A quey calf of twins of bull and quey calves,
     is a _free martin_, and never produces young, but exhibits no
     marks of a hybrid or mule.

     "_Cattle_, _black cattle_, _horned cattle_, and _neat
     cattle_, are all generic names for the ox tribe, and the term
     _beast_ is a synonyme.

     "An ox without horns is _dodded_ or _humbled_.

     "A castrated bull is a _segg_. A quey-calf whose ovaries have
     been obliterated, to prevent her breeding, is a _spayed
     heifer_ or _quey_."

Those of the horse are fewer, and more generally known--

     "The names commonly given to the different states of the
     horse are these:--The new-born one is called a _foal_, the
     male being a _colt foal_, and the female a _filly foal_.
     After being weaned, the foals are called simply _colt_ or
     _filly_, according to the sex, which the colt retains until
     broken in for work, when he is a _horse_ or _gelding_ which
     he retains all his life; and the filly is then changed into
     _mare_. When the colt is not castrated he is an _entire
     colt_; which name he retains until he serves mares, when he
     is a _stallion_ or _entire horse_; when castrated he is a
     _gelding_; and it is in this state that he is chiefly worked.
     A mare, when served, is said to be _covered by_ or _stinted
     to_ a particular stallion; and after she has borne a foal she
     is a _brood mare_, until she ceases to bear, when she is a
     _barren mare_ or _eill mare_; and when dry of milk, she is
     _yeld_. A mare, while big with young, is _in foal_. Old
     stallions are never castrated."

Those of the pig are as follows--

     "When new-born, they are called _sucking pigs_, or simply
     _pigs_; and the male is a _boar pig_, the female _sow pig_. A
     castrated male, after it is weaned, is a _shot_ or _hog_. Hog
     is the name mostly used by naturalists, and very frequently
     by writers on agriculture; but, as it sounds so like the name
     given to young sheep, (hogg,) I shall always use the terms
     pig and swine for the sake of distinction. The term _hog_ is
     said to be derived from a Hebrew noun, signifying 'to have
     narrow eyes,' a feature quite characteristic of this species
     of animal. A spayed female is a _cut sow pig_. As long as
     both sorts of cut pigs are small and young, they are
     _porkers_ or _porklings_. A female that has not been cut, and
     before it bears young, is an _open sow_; and an entire male,
     after being weaned, is always a _boar_ or _brawn_. A cut boar
     is a _brawner_. A female that has taken the boar is said to
     be _lined_; when bearing young she is a _brood sow_; and when
     she has brought forth pigs she has _littered_ or _farrowed_,
     and her family of pigs at one birth form a _litter_ or
     _farrow_ of pigs."

The diseases of cattle, horses, pigs, and poultry, are treated
of--their management in disease, that is, as well as in health. And it
is one of the merits of Mr Stephens that he has taken such pains in
getting up his different subjects--that he seems as much at home in
one department of his art as in another; and we follow him with equal
confidence in his description of field operations, of servant-choosing
and managing, of cattle-buying, tending, breeding, feeding,
butchering, and even cooking and eating--for he is cunning in these
last points also.

His great predecessor Tucker prided himself, in his "_Five hundred
points_," in mixing up huswifry with husbandry:--

    "In husbandry matters, where _Pilcrow_[3] ye find,
    That verse appertaineth to Huswif'ry kind;
    So have ye more lessons, if there ye look well,
    Than huswif'ry book doth utter or tell."

Following Tucker's example, our author scatters here and there
throughout his book much useful information for the farmer's wife; and
for her especial use, no doubt, he has drawn up his curious and
interesting chapter on the treatment of fowls in winter. To show how
minute his knowledge is upon this point, and how implicitly therefore
he may be trusted in greater matters, we quote the following:--

"Every yellow-legged chicken should be used, whether male or
female--their flesh never being so fine as the others." "Young fowls
may either be roasted or boiled, the male making the best roasted, and
the female the neatest boiled dish." "The criterion of a fat hen, when
alive, is a plump breast, and the rump feeling thick, fat, and firm,
on being handled laterally between the finger and thumb."

"Of a fat goose the mark is, plumpness of muscle over the breast, and
thickness of rump when alive; and in addition, when dead and plucked,
of a uniform covering of _white_ fat under a fine skin on the breast."
"Geese are always roasted in Britain, though a boiled goose is not an
uncommon dish in Ireland; and their flesh is certainly much heightened
in flavour by a stuffing of onions, and an accompaniment of apple
sauce."

We suppose a boiled goose must be especially tasteless, as we once
knew an old schoolmaster on the North Tyne, whose very stupid pupils
were always christened _boiled geese_.

The threshing and winnowing of grain, which forms so important a part
of the winter operations of a farm, naturally lead our author to
describe and figure the different species of corn plants and their
varieties, and to discuss their several nutritive values, the
geographical range and distribution of each, and the special uses or
qualities of the different varieties.

Widely spread and known for so many ages, the home or native country
of our cereal plants is not only unknown, but some suppose the several
species, like the varieties of the human race, to have all sprung from
a common stock.

     "It is a very remarkable circumstance, as observed by Dr
     Lindley, that the native country of wheat, oats, barley, and
     rye should be entirely unknown; for although oats and barley
     were found by Colonel Chesney, apparently wild, on the banks
     of the Euphrates, it is doubtful whether they were not the
     remains of cultivation. This has led to an opinion, on the
     part of some persons, that all our cereal plants are
     artificial productions, obtained accidentally, but retaining
     their habits, which have become fixed in the course of ages."

Whatever may be the original source of our known species of grain, and
of their numerous varieties, it cannot be doubted that their
existence, at the present time, is a great blessing to man. Of wheat
there are upwards of a hundred and fifty known varieties, of barley
upwards of thirty, and of oats about sixty. While the different
species--wheat, barley, and oats--are each specially confined to large
but limited regions of the earth's surface, the different varieties
adapt themselves to the varied conditions of soil and climate which
exist within the natural geographical region of each, and to the
different uses for which each species is intended to be employed.

Thus the influence of variety upon the adaptation of the oat to the
soil, climate, and wants of a given locality, is shown by the
following observations:--

     "The Siberian oat is cultivated in the poorer soils and
     higher districts, resists the force of the wind, and yields a
     grain well adapted for the support of farm-horses. The straw
     is fine and pliable, and makes an excellent dry fodder for
     cattle and horses, the saccharine matter in the joints being
     very sensible to the taste. It comes early to maturity, and
     hence its name."

The Tartarian oat, from the peculiarity of its form, and from its
"possessing a beard, is of such a hardy nature as to thrive in soils
and climates where the other grains cannot be raised. It is much
cultivated in England, and not at all in Scotland. It is a coarse
grain, more fit for horse-food than to make into meal. The grain is
dark coloured and awny; the straw coarse, harsh, brittle, and rather
short."

The reader will see from this extract that the English "food for
horses" is, in reality, not the same thing as the "chief o' Scotia's
food;" and that a little agricultural knowledge would have prevented
Dr Johnson from exhibiting, in the same sentence, an example of both
his ignorance and his venom.

Variety affects appearance and quality; and how these are to be
consulted in reference to the market in which the grain is to be sold,
may be gathered from the following:--

     "When wheat is quite opaque, indicating not the least
     translucency, it is in the best state for yielding the finest
     flour--such flour as confectioners use for pastry; and in
     this state it will be eagerly purchased by them at a large
     price. Wheat in this state contains the largest proportion of
     fecula or starch, and is therefore best suited to the
     starch-maker, as well as the confectioner. On the other hand,
     when wheat is translucent, hard, and flinty, it is better
     suited to the common baker than the confectioner and starch
     manufacturer, as affording what is called _strong_ flour,
     that rises boldly with yeast into a spongy dough. Bakers
     will, therefore, give more for good wheat in this state than
     in the opaque; but for bread of finest quality the flour
     should be fine as well as strong, and therefore a mixture of
     the two conditions of wheat is best suited for making the
     best quality of bread. Bakers, when they purchase their own
     wheat, are in the habit of mixing wheat which respectively
     possesses those qualities; and millers who are in the habit
     of supplying bakers with flour, mix different kinds of wheat,
     and grind them together for their use. Some sorts of wheat
     naturally possess _both_ these properties, and on that
     account are great favourites with bakers, though not so with
     confectioners; and, I presume, to this mixed property is to
     be ascribed the great and lasting popularity which Hunter's
     white wheat has so long enjoyed. We hear also of '_high
     mixed_' Danzig wheat, which has been so mixed for the
     purpose, and is in high repute amongst bakers. Generally
     speaking, the purest coloured white wheat indicates most
     opacity, and, of course, yields the finest flour; and red
     wheat is most flinty, and therefore yields the strongest
     flour: a translucent red wheat will yield stronger flour than
     a translucent white wheat, and yet a red wheat never realises
     so high a price in the market as white--partly because it
     contains a larger proportion of refuse in the grinding, but
     chiefly because it yields less fine flour, that is, starch."

In regard to wheat, it has been supposed, that the qualities referred
to in the above extract, as especially fitting certain varieties for
the use of the confectioner, &c., were owing to the existence of a
larger quantity of gluten in these kinds of grain. Chemical inquiry
has, however, nearly dissipated that idea, and with it certain
erroneous opinions, previously entertained, as to their superior
nutritive value. Climate and physiological constitution induce
differences in our vegetable productions, which chemical research may
detect and explain, but may never be able to remove or entirely
control.

The bran, or external covering of the grain of wheat, has recently
also been the subject of scientific and economical investigation. It
has been proved, by the researches of Johnston, confirmed by those of
Miller and others, that the bran of wheat, though less readily
digestible, contains more nutritive matter than the white interior of
the grain. Brown, or household bread, therefore, which contains a
portion of the bran, is to be preferred, both for economy and for
nutritive quality, to that made of the finest flour.

Upon the economy of mixing potato with wheaten flour, and of home-made
bread, Mr Stephens has the following:--

     "It is assumed by some people, that a mixture of potatoes
     amongst wheaten flour renders bread lighter and more
     wholesome. That it will make bread whiter, I have no doubt;
     but I have as little doubt that it will render it more
     insipid, and it is demonstrable that it makes it dearer than
     wheaten flour. Thus, take a bushel of 'seconds' flour,
     weighing 56 lbs. at 5s. 6d. A batch of bread, to consist of
     21 lbs., will absorb as much water, and require as much yeast
     and salt, as will yield 7 loaves, of 4 lbs. each, for 2s.
     4d., or 4d. per loaf. 'If, instead of 7 lbs. of the flour,
     the same weight of raw potatoes be substituted, with the hope
     of saving by the comparatively low price of the latter
     article, the quantity of bread that will be yielded will be
     _but a trifle more than would have been produced from 14 lbs.
     of flour only_, without the addition of the 7 lbs. of
     potatoes; for the starch of this root is the only nutritive
     part, and we have proved that but one-seventh or one-eighth
     of it is contained in every pound, the remainder being water
     and innutritive matter. Only 20 lbs. of bread, therefore,
     instead of 28 lbs., will be obtained; and this, though white,
     will be comparatively flavourless, and liable to become dry
     and sour in a few days; whereas, without the latter addition,
     bread made in private families will keep _well_ for 3 weeks,
     though, after a fortnight, it begins to deteriorate,
     especially in the autumn.' The calculation of comparative
     _cost_ is thus shown:--

     Flour, 14 lbs., say at 1-1/4d. per lb., =  1s. 5-1/2d.
     Potatoes, 7 lbs., say at 5s. per sack,  =  0   2
     Yeast and fuel,                         =  0   4-1/2
                                                ------
                                                2s. 0d.

     The yield, 20 lbs., or 5 loaves of 4 lbs. each, will be
     nearly 5d. each, which is dearer than the wheaten loaves at
     4d. each, and the bread, besides, of inferior quality.

     "'There are persons who assert--for we have heard them--that
     there is no economy in baking at home. An accurate and
     constant attention to the matter, with a close calculation of
     every week's results for several years--a calculation induced
     by the sheer love of investigation and experiment--enables us
     to assure our readers, that a gain is invariably made of from
     1-1/2d. to 2d. on the 4 lb. loaf. If _all_ be intrusted to
     servants, we do not pretend to deny that the waste may
     neutralise the _profit_; but, with care and investigation, we
     pledge our veracity that the saving will prove to be
     considerable.' These are the observations of a lady well
     known to me."

In the natural history of barley the most remarkable fact is, the high
northern latitudes in which it can be successfully cultivated. Not
only does it ripen in the Orkney and Shetland and Faroe Islands, but
on the shores of the White Sea; and near the North Cape, in north
latitude 70°, it thrives and yields nourishment to the inhabitants. In
Iceland, in latitude 63° to 66° north, it ceases to ripen, not because
the temperature is too low, but because rains fall at an unseasonable
time, and thus prevent the filling ear from arriving at maturity.

The oat is distinguished by its remarkable nutritive quality, compared
with our other cultivated grains. This has been long known in practice
in the northern parts of the island, where it has for ages formed the
staple food of the mass of the population, though it was doubted and
disputed in the south so much, as almost to render the Scotch ashamed
of their national food. Chemistry has recently, however, set the
matter at rest, and is gradually bringing oatmeal again into general
favour. We believe that the robust health of many fine families of
children now fed upon it, in preference to wheaten flour, is a debt
they owe, and we trust will not hereafter forget, to chemical science.

On oatmeal Mr Stephens gives us the following information:--

     "The portion of the oat crop consumed by man is manufactured
     into _meal_. It is never called flour, as the millstones are
     not set so close in grinding it as when wheat is ground, nor
     are the stones for grinding oats made of the same material,
     but most frequently only of sandstone--the old red sandstone
     or greywacke. Oats, unlike wheat, are always kiln-dried
     before being ground; and they undergo this process for the
     purpose of causing the thick husk, in which the substance of
     the grain is enveloped, to be the more easily ground off,
     which it is by the stones being set wide asunder; and the
     husk is blown away, on being winnowed by the fanner, and the
     grain retained, which is then called _groats_. The groats are
     ground by the stones closer set, and yield the meal. The meal
     is then passed through sieves, to separate the thin husk from
     the meal. The meal is made in two states: one _fine_, which
     is the state best adapted for making into bread, in the form
     called oat-cake or bannocks; and the other is coarser or
     _rounder_ ground, and is in the best state for making the
     common food of the country people--porridge, _Scottice_,
     parritch. A difference of custom prevails in respect to the
     use of these two different states of oatmeal, in different
     parts of the country, the fine meal being best liked for all
     purposes in the northern, and the round or coarse meal in the
     southern counties; but as oat-cake is chiefly eaten in the
     north, the meal is there made to suit the purpose of bread
     rather than of porridge; whereas, in the south, bread is made
     from another grain, and oatmeal is there used only as
     porridge. There is no doubt that the round meal makes the
     best porridge, when properly made--that is, seasoned with
     salt, and boiled as long as to allow the particles to swell
     and burst, when the porridge becomes a pultaceous mass. So
     made, with rich milk or cream, few more wholesome dishes can
     be partaken by any man, or upon which a harder day's work can
     be wrought. Children of all ranks in Scotland are brought up
     on this diet, verifying the poet's assertion--

     "The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food."

                 BURNS.

     Forfarshire has long been famed for the quality of its brose
     and oat-cake, while the porridge of the Borders has as long
     been equally famous. It is so everywhere, the sharp soil
     producing the finest cake-meal, and clay land the best meal
     for boiling. Of meal from the varieties of the oat
     cultivated, that of the common Angus oat is the most thrifty
     for a poor man, though its yield in meal is less in
     proportion to the bulk of corn."

Much valuable information is given on the management of manure-heaps,
and the forming of composts in winter. We especially recommend to the
reader's attention section 2043, which is too long to extract.
Railways have done much to benefit the farmer: in speaking of
composts, our author gives us the following example of a local injury
produced by them:--

     "In the vicinity of villages where fish are cured and smoked
     for market, refuse of fish heads and guts make an excellent
     compost with earth. Near Eyemouth and Burnmouth, on the
     Berwickshire coast, 30 barrels of fish refuse, with as much
     earth from the head-ridges as will completely cover the heap,
     are sufficient for an imperial acre. The barrel contains 30
     gallons, and 4 barrels make a cart-load, and the barrel sells
     for 1s. 6d. From 400 to 600 barrels may be obtained for each
     farm in the neighbourhood, in the course of the season. Since
     the opening of the North British railway, the curing of the
     fish is given up, much to the loss of the farmers in that
     locality; and the fishermen now send, by the railway, the
     fish in a fresh state to the larger towns at a distance.
     Thus, railways produce advantage to some, whilst they cause
     loss to others. In the northern counties of Scotland, fish
     refuse is obtained in large quantities during the herring
     fishing season. On the coast of Cornwall, the pilchard
     fishing affords a large supply of refuse for composts."

In regard to the calving of cows, to milking, and to the rearing of
calves, we have information as full, as minute, and as easily
conveyed, as on any of the other subjects which have hitherto engaged
our attention. When treating of the diseases to which cows, on
calving, are subject, we have been interested with the following
case:--

     "I may here mention an unaccountable fatality which overtook
     a short-horn cow of mine, in Forfarshire, immediately after
     calving. She was an extraordinary milker, giving not less
     than thirty quarts a-day in summer on grass; but what was
     more extraordinary, for two calvings the milk never dried up,
     but continued to flow to the very day of calving, and after
     that event returned in increased quantity. In the third year
     she went naturally dry for about one month prior to the day
     of reckoning; every precaution, however, was taken that the
     milk should dry up without giving her any uneasiness. She
     calved in high health, the milk returned as usual in a great
     flush after calving, but it was impossible to draw it from
     the udder; not a teat would pass milk, _all the four being
     entirely corded_. Quills were first introduced into the
     teats; and then tubes of larger size were pushed up into the
     body of the udder. A little milk ran out of only one of
     them--hope revived; but it soon stopped running, and all the
     art that could be devised by a skilful shepherd proved
     unavailing to draw milk from the udder; rubbing and softening
     the udder with goose-fat, making it warmer with warm
     water--all to no purpose. To render the case more
     distressing, there was not a veterinary surgeon in the
     district. At length the udder inflamed, mortified, and the
     cow died in the most excruciating agony on the third day,
     from being in the highest state of health, though not in high
     condition, as her milking propensity usually kept her lean.
     No loss of the kind ever affected my mind so much--that
     nothing _could_ be done to relieve the distress of an animal
     which could not help itself. I was told afterwards by a
     shepherd, to whom I related the case, that I should have cut
     off all the teats, and although the horrid operation would,
     of course, have destroyed her for a milk cow, she might have
     been saved for feeding. He had never seen a _cow_ so operated
     on; but it suggested itself to him in consequence of having
     been obliged at times to cut off the teats of ewes to save
     their lives. The suggestion I think is good. The cow was bred
     by Mr Currie, when at Brandon in Northumberland."

Is there really no remedy for so distressing a case as this but that
which his shepherd recommended? He might, for the benefit of his
readers, have consulted our friend Professor Dick, whose opinions he
so frequently and so deservedly quotes.

The following paragraph is very striking, as showing the cruel
absurdities which ignorance will sometimes not only perpetrate, but
actually establish, as a kind of custom in a country.

     "_Tail-ill or Tail-slip._--A very prevalent notion exists in
     Scotland amongst cattle-men, that when the tail of an ox or
     of a cow feels soft and supple immediately above the tuft of
     hair, there is disease in it; and it is called the tail-ill,
     or tail-slip. The almost invariable remedy is to make large
     incision with the knife along the under side of the soft
     part, stuff the wound full of salt and butter, and sometimes
     tar, and roll it up with a bandage for a few days, and when
     the application is removed, the animal is declared quite
     recovered. Now, this notion is an absurdity. There is no such
     disease as that imputed; and as the poor animal subjected to
     its cure is thus tormented, the sooner the absurd notion is
     exposed the better. The notion will not soon be abandoned by
     the cattle-men; but the farmer ought to forbid the
     performance of such an operation on any of his cattle without
     his special permission, and the absurd practice will fall
     into desuetude."

We have not space for the remainder of this paragraph, which contains
Professor Dick's _demonstration_ that no such disease exists as the
so-called _Tail-ill_. Mr Stephens' narrations are more like a tale
from the times of witchcraft, when old women were supposed to have the
power of bringing disease upon cattle, than of those days of general
enlightenment.

In sections 2268 and 2269, there is a recipe for making a cow which
has once calved give a _full_ supply of milk all the rest of her life,
and which recipe is said to be infallible. This is a _bon-bouche_,
however, which we shall leave our readers to turn up for themselves;
and we hope the desire to learn it will induce many of our dairy
friends to buy the book.

The following is the mode adopted in fattening calves at Strathaven,
in Scotland, where the famous veal has been so long grown, chiefly for
the Glasgow market:--

     "Strathaven in Scotland has long been famed for rearing good
     _veal_ for the Glasgow and Edinburgh markets. The dairy
     farmers there retain the quey calves for maintaining the
     number of the cows, while they feed the male calves for veal.
     Their plan is simple, and may be followed anywhere. Milk only
     is given to the calves, and very seldom with any admixture,
     and they are not allowed to suck the cows. Some give milk,
     but sparingly at first, to whet the appetite, and prevent
     surfeit. The youngest calves get the first drawn milk, or
     _fore-broads_, as it is termed, and the older the
     _afterings_, even of two or three cows, being the richest
     portion of the milk. After being three or four weeks old,
     they get abundance of milk twice a-day. They get plenty of
     dry litter, fresh air, moderate warmth, and are kept nearly
     in the dark to check sportiveness. They are not bled during
     the time they are fed, and a lump of chalk is placed within
     their reach. They are fed from 4 to 6 weeks, when they fetch
     from £3 to £4 a-piece; and it is found more profitable to
     fatten the larger number of calves for that time, to succeed
     each other, of from 25 lb. to 30 lb. per quarter, than to
     force a fewer number beyond the state of marketable veal."

The Caledonian Railway now puts this choice veal within the reach of
English mouths; and we hope it will, at the same time, add to the
prosperity and profits of the Strathaven breeders.

The lambing of ewes, the care of the mothers and offspring, the
diseases to which they are subject, as well as the other operations
which demand the farmer's care in the months of spring, we must pass
by. We could go on commenting and quoting from this book, as we have
already done, till an entire number of Maga was filled up. But as this
would be preposterous, we stop, earnestly pressing upon our readers to
place a copy of this storehouse of rural information in the hands of
every practical husbandman, in whose professional skill they are at
all interested.

Those who, like ourselves, take an interest in the diffusion of
improved agriculture, scientific, and practical--and especially of our
own agricultural literature in other countries--will be pleased to
learn, not only that the work of which the title is prefixed to the
present article, as well as the others upon agricultural chemistry to
which we have referred, have made their way into the common stock of
the book-stores of the United States, but that the editing of the
American reprint of the second edition of the _Book of the Farm_ has
been undertaken by our friend Professor Norton, of Yale College, (may
his shadow never be less!) so well known and esteemed in Scotland,
where he obtained the Highland Society's £50 prize for a chemical
examination of our native oat, which was published in their
Transactions. He is a worthy representative of the "country of steady
habits" to which he belongs; and we hope his countrymen will be
discriminating enough to appreciate his own character and scientific
labours, as well as the value of the books he undertakes to bring
before them.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Stephens' _Book of the Farm_, Second Edition, vol. I.

[2] In a recent number of the _North British Agriculturist_, it is
stated that an agricultural stoker, who thought himself qualified to
discourse on the uses of science to agriculture, had astonished a late
meeting of the Newcastle Farmers' Club by telling them that the only
thing science had yet done for agriculture was to show them how to
dissolve bones in sulphuric acid; and that chemistry might boast of
having really effected something if it could teach him to raise long
potatoes, as he used to do, or to grow potato instead of Tartary oats,
as his next-door neighbour could do. No wonder the shrewd Tyne-siders
were astonished.

[3] Where ¶ (_pilcrow_,) or paragraph, is placed at the side of the
verse.



THE SYCAMINE.


    I.

    The frail yellow leaves they are falling
      As the wild winds sweep the grove;
    Plashy and dank is the sward beneath,
      And the sky it is gray above.

    II.

    Foaming adown the dark rocks,
      Dirge-like, the waterfall
    Mourns, as if mourning for something gone,
      For ever beyond its call.

    III.

    Sing, redbreast! from the russet spray;
      Thy song with the season blends:
    For the bees have left us with the blooms,
      And the swallows were summer friends.

    IV.

    The hawthorn bare, with berries sere,
      And the bramble by the stream,
    Matted, with clay on its yellow trails,
      Decay's wan emblems seem.

    V.

    On this slope bank how oft we lay
      In shadow of the sycamine tree;
    Pause, hoary Eld, and listen now--
      'Twas but the roaring of the sea!

    VI.

    Oh, the shouts and the laughter of yore--
      How the tones wind round the heart!
    Oh, the faces blent with youth's blue skies--
      And could ye so depart!

    VII.

    The crow screams back to the wood,
      And the sea-mew to the sea,
    And earth seems to the foot of man
      No resting-place to be.

    VIII.

    Search ye the corners of the world,
      And the isles beyond the main,
    And the main itself, for those who went
      To come not back again!

    IX.

    The rest are a remnant scatter'd
      Mid the living; and, for the dead,
    Tread lightly o'er the churchyard mounds;
      Ye know not where ye tread!

                [Delta]



AFTER A YEAR'S REPUBLICANISM.


The revolutionary year has almost closed; the anniversary of the days
of February is at hand. A Year's Republicanism has run the course of
its unchecked experience in France: to believe its own boast, it has
ridden boldly forward, seated upon public and popular opinion, in the
form of the widest, and, upon republican principle, the honest basis
of universal suffrage; it has been left to its own full career,
unimpeded by enemies either at home or abroad. And what has been the
result of the race?--what has been the harvest which the republican
soil, so carefully turned over, tilled, and manured, has produced?

It would be a useless task to recapitulate all the different stages of
the growth of the so-called fair green tree of liberty, and enumerate
all the fruits that it has let drop from time to time, from the
earliest days of last spring, to the tempestuous summer month of June;
and then, through the duller, heavier, and gloomy months of autumn, to
those of winter, which brought a president as a Christmas-box, and
which have shown a few scattered gleams of fancied sunshine, cold at
the best, and quickly obscured again by thick-coming clouds of
dis-accord, misapprehension, and startling opposition of parties. All
the world has had these fruits dished up to it--has handled them,
examined them, tasted them; and, according to their opinions or
prejudices, men have judged their savour bitter or sweet. All that can
be said on the subject, for those who have digested them with
pleasure, is, that "there's no accounting for tastes." In calculating
the value of the year's republicanism which France has treasured up in
its history, it is as well, then, to make no further examination into
the items, but to look to the sum-total as far as it can be added up
and put together, in the present aspect of affairs. In spite of the
openly expressed detestation of the provinces to the capital--in spite
of the increasing spirit of decentralisation, and the efforts made by
the departments to insure a certain degree of importance to
themselves--it is still Paris that reigns paramount in its power, and
as the influential expression, however false in many respects it may
be, of the general spirit of the country. It is upon the aspect of
affairs in Paris, then, and all its numerous conflicting elements,
that observation must still be directed, in order to make a _résumé_,
as far as it is practicable, of this sum-total of a year's republican
rule. The account must necessarily be, more or less, a confused one,
for accounts are not strictly kept in Republican Paris--are
continually varying in their results, according as the political
arithmeticians set about their "casting up"--and are constantly
subject to dispute among the accountants: the main figures, composing
the sum-total, may, however, be enumerated without any great error,
and then they may be put together in their true amount, and according
to their real value, by those before whom they are thus laid.

One of the most striking figures in the row, inasmuch as the lateness
of the events has made it one of the most prominent, is to be derived
from the position and designs of those who declare themselves to be
the only true and pure republicans in the anomalous Republic of
France, as exemplified by that revolutionary movement which, although
it led to no better result than a _révolution avortée_, takes its date
in the history of the Republic beside the more troublous one of May,
and the more bloody one of June, as "the affair of the 29th of
January." Paris, after the removal of the state of siege, had done its
best to put on its physiognomy of past years, had smeared over its
wrinkles as best it might, and had made sundry attempts to smile
through all this hasty plastering of its poor distorted face. Its
shattered commerce still showed many rags and rents; but it had pulled
its disordered dress with decency about it, and set it forth in the
best lights; it had called foreigners once more around it, to admire
it; and they had come at the call, although slowly and with mistrust.
It had some hopes of mending its rags, then, and even furbishing up a
new fresh _toilette_, almost as smart as of yore; it danced and sang
again, although faintly and with effort. The National Assembly
clamoured and fought, it is true; but Paris was grown accustomed to
such discordant music, and at most only stopped its ears to it:
ministers held their portfolios with ticklish balance, as if about to
let them fall; but Paris was determined not to care who dropped
portfolios, or who caught them: there were clouds again upon the
political horizon, and distant rumblings of a crisis-thunderstorm; but
Paris seemed resolved to look out for fine weather. All on a sudden,
one bright morning, on the 29th of January, the smile vanished: the
troubled physiognomy was again there; the revolutionary air again
pervaded it; and foreigners once more, not liking the looks of the
convulsed face, began to start back in alarm. The _rappel_ was again
beaten, for the turning out of the national guards at the earliest
hour of the morning: that drumming, which for many months had filled
the air incessantly, again deafened sensitive ears and harassed
sensitive nerves. The streets were thronged with troops, marching
forwards in thick battalions; while before them retreated some
hundreds of those nameless beings, who come no one knows whence, and
go no one knows whither--those mysterious beings, peculiar to
revolutionary cities, who only appear like a cloud of stinging dust
when the wind of the revolution-tempest begins to blow, and who in
Paris are either brigands or heroes of barricades, according as the
language of the day may go--back, back, grumbling and threatening,
into the faubourgs, where they vanished until the gale may blow
stormier again, and meet with less resistance. The garden of the
Tuileries was closed to the public, and exhibited an armed array once
more among its leafless trees; the Champs Elysées had again become a
camp and a bivouac; cannon was again posted around the National
Assembly. Formidable military posts surrounded every public building;
the streets were crowded with the curious; thick knots of men again
stood at every corner; people asked once more, "What's on foot now?"
but no one at first could answer: they only repeated from mouth to
mouth the mysterious words of General Changarnier, that "he who should
venture to displace a paving-stone would never again replace it;" and
they knew what that meant. Paris was, all at once, its revolutionary
self again; and, in some degree, so it remained during the ensuing
weeks--with cannon displayed on hazardous points, and the great
railway stations of the capital filled with battalions of soldiers,
bivouacking upon straw in courts and _salles d' attente_; and huge
military posts at every turn, and thick patrols parading gloomily at
night, and palaces and public buildings closed and guarded, just as if
retrograde monarchy were about to suppress fervent liberalism, and a
"glorious republic" had not been established for a country's happiness
wellnigh a year already; just as if republicans, who had conspired
darkly a year before, had not obtained all they _then_ clamoured
for--a republic based upon institutions resulting from universal
suffrage--and were conspiring again. And so it was. A deep-laid
conspiracy--a conspiracy of republicans against a republic, which they
chose to call deceptive and illusory--was again on foot. They had
possessed, for nigh a year, the blessing for which they had conspired,
intrigued, and fought; and they conspired, intrigued, and would have
fought again. One of the figures, then, to form the total which has to
be summed up as the result of a year's republicanism, is--conspiracy;
conspiracy more formidable than ever, because more desperate, more
bloody-minded in its hopes, more destructive in its designs to all
society.

In spite of the denegations of the Red-republican party, and the
counter-accusations of their allies the _Montagnards_ in the Assembly,
the question of all Paris, "What's on foot now?" was soon answered; and
the answer, spite of these same denegations, and counter-accusations,
was speedily understood and believed by all France. A conspiracy of the
ultra-democrats, Red republicans and Socialists, (all now so shaken up
together in one common dark bag of underhand design, that it is
impossible to distinguish the shades of such parties,) was on the
point of breaking out in the capital: the 29th of January had been
fixed upon by the conspirators for their general insurrection. The Red
republicans (to include all the factions of the anarchist parties under
that title, in which they themselves rejoice, although the designation
be derived from "blood") had felt how strong and overpowering had
become the clamour raised throughout the land against that National
Assembly which had run its course, and was now placed in constant
opposition, not only to the president of the republic, as represented
by his ministers, but to the general spirit and feeling of the country
at large; they were aware, but too feelingly, that, should the Assembly
give way before this clamour, in spite of its evidences of resistance,
and decree its own dissolution, the elections of a new Legislative
Assembly by that universal suffrage which had once been their idol, and
was now to be scouted and despised, would inevitably produce what they
termed a reactionary, and what they suspected might prove, a
counter-revolutionary and monarchic majority; and they had determined,
in spite of their defeat in June, to attempt another revolution, in the
hope of again surprising the capital by a _coup-de-main_, and seizing
the reins of power into their own hands at once. This conspiracy was
affiliated together, in its various branches, by those formidable
_sociétés secrètes_, which, long organised, had been again called into
service by the persevering activity of the party, not only in Paris,
but in all the larger provincial towns, and for which fresh recruits
had been zealously drummed together. A general outbreak all over the
country was regulated to explode simultaneously on the 29th of January,
or during the following night: that monomania, which has never ceased
to possess the minds of the frantic chiefs of the Red-republican party,
and which still entertains the vain dream that, if they rise, all the
lower classes, or what they call "the people," must rise at their call,
to fight in their wild cause, gave them support in their designs.
Pretexts for discontent, at the same time, were not wanting. The
project of the government for a general suppression of the clubs--a
measure which they declared unconstitutional, gave a colour to
disaffection and revolt; and hopes that fresh allies would join the
insurrection gave the party a bold confidence, which it had not
possessed since the days of June. The _garde mobile_, in fact, had been
tampered with. The spirit of these young janissaries of the capital,
for the most part but a year ago the mere _gamins de Paris_, always
vacillating and little to be relied upon, spite of their deeds in June,
had already been adroitly worked upon by the fostering of that jealousy
which subsisted between them and the regular army into a more decided
hatred, when a decree of the government for the reorganisation of the
_corps_ was interpreted by the designing conspirators into an insult
offered to the whole institution, and a preparatory measure to its
total dissolution. Such insinuations, carefully fomented among these
young troops, led to tumultuous demonstrations of disaffection and
discontent. This ferment, so opportune for the designs of the Red
republicans, induced them to believe that their hour of struggle and of
approaching triumph was at hand: they counted on their new allies; all
was ready for the outbreak. But the government was alive to the tempest
rising around it; it was determined to do its duty to the country in
_preventing_ the storm, rather than in suppressing it when once it
should have broken forth. Hence the military preparations which, on the
morning of the 29th of January, had once more rendered all Paris a
fortress and a camp; hence the warning sound of the _rappel_, which at
an early hour had once more roused all the citizens from their beds,
and called alarmed faces forth at windows and upon balconies in the
gloom of the dawn; hence the stern commanding words of General
Changarnier, and the orders to the troops and the national guards, that
any man attempting to raise a stone from the streets should be shot
forthwith, and without mercy; hence the consternation with which the
outpost allies of the Red republicans hurried back growling to their
mysterious dens, wherever such may exist. Prevention was considered
better than cure, in spite of the misinterpretations and
misapprehensions to which it might be exposed, and by which it was
subsequently assailed by the disappointed faction. Arrest then followed
upon arrest; upwards of two hundred of the suspected chiefs of the
conspiracy were hurried off to prison. Among them were former delegates
to the once famous committee of the Luxembourg, whose conduct gave
evidence of the results produced by the dangerous utopian theories set
forth under the lectureship of M. Louis Blanc, and his noble friend the
_soi-disant ouvrier_ Albert. Chiefs of the clubs bore them company in
their incarceration; and the ex-Count D'Alton Shee, the _ex-élégant_ of
the fashionable _salons_ of Paris, but now the socialist-atheist and
anarchist, suffered the same penalty of his actions as leading member
of the club "_De la Solidarité Républicaine_." Turbulent officers of
the Garde Mobile underwent a similar fate. Even the national guard was
not spared in the person of one of its superior officers, whose
agitation and over-zealous movements excited suspicion; and, by the
way, in the general summing up, arrest, imprisonment, restriction of
liberty, may also take their place in the row as another little figure
in the total.

The conspiracy, however, was suppressed; the insurrection failed
entirely for the time; and Paris was told that it might be perfectly
reassured, and doze quietly again upon its pillow, without any fear
that Red-republicanism should again "murder sleep." But Paris, which
has not learned yet to recover its old quiet habit of sleeping calmly,
and has got too much fever in its system to close its eyes at will, is
not to be lulled by such mere sedatives of ministerial assurance. Once
roused in startled hurry from its bed again, and seeing the opiate of
confidence which was beginning to work its effect in very small doses
snatched from its grasp, it cannot calm its nerves at once. It will
not be persuaded that the crisis is over, and has passed away for
ever; like a child awakened by a nightmare, it looks into all sorts of
dark holes and corners, thinking to see the spectre lurking there. It
knows what it had to expect from the tender mercies of its pitiless
enemies, had they succeeded in their will; what was the _programme_ of
a new Red-republican rule--a _comité du salut public_, the _régime_ of
the _guillotine_, the _épuration_ of suspected aristocrats, the
confiscation of the property of emigrants, a tax of three _milliards_
upon the rich, a spoliation of all who "possess," the dissolution of
the national guard, the exclusive possession of all arms by the
_soi-disant_ people, and--but the list of such new-old measures of
ultra-republican government would be too long; it is an old tale often
told, and, after all, only a free translation from the measures of
other times. Paris, then, knows all this; it knows the fanatic and
inexpressible rage of its antagonist, to which the fever of madness
lends strength; it allows itself to be told all sorts of fearful
tales--how Socialists, in imitation of their London brethren, have
hired some thousand apartments in different quarters of the capital,
in order to light a thousand fires at once upon a given signal. It
goes about repeating the old vague cry--"_Nous allons avoir quelque
chose_;" and, however foolishly exaggerated its alarm, the results it
experiences are the same--again want of confidence arising from
anxiety, again suspension of trade, again a renewal of misery. The
fresh want of confidence, then, with all the attendant evils in its
train, may again, as the year of republicanism approaches to its
close, be taken as another figure in the sum-total that is sought.

In the midst of this sudden ferment, which has appeared towards the end
of the republican year like a _tableau final_ at the conclusion of an
act of a drama--hastily thrust forward when the interest of the piece
began to languish,--how stands the state of parties in that Assembly
which, although it is said--and very correctly, it would appear--no
longer to represent the spirit of the country at large, must still be
considered as the great axis of the republic, around which all else
moves? Always tumultuous, disorderly, and disdainful of those
parliamentary forms which could alone insure it the aspect of a
dignified deliberative body, the National Assembly, as it sees its
last days inevitably approaching--although it retards its dissolution
by every quack-doctoring means within its grasp--seems to have plunged,
in its throes, into a worse slough of triple confusion, disorder, and
uncertainty than ever. Jealous of its dignity, unwilling to quit its
power, unwilling--say malicious tongues--to quit its profit, and yet
pressed upon by that public opinion which it would vainly attempt to
deny, to misinterpret, or to despise, it has shown itself more
vacillating, capricious, and childish than ever. It wavers, votes
hither and thither, backwards and forwards--now almost inclined to fall
into the nets spread for it by the ultra-democratic party, that
supports its resistance against all attempts to dissolve it, and upon
the point of throwing itself into that party's arms; and now, again,
alarmed at the allies to whom it would unite itself, starting back from
their embrace, turning round in its majority, and declaring itself
against the sense of its former decisions. Now, it offers an active and
seemingly spiteful opposition to the government; and now, again, it
accepts the first outlet to enable it to turn back upon its course. Now
it is sulky, now alarmed at its own sulkiness; now angry, now begging
its own pardon for its hastiness. It is like a child that does not know
its own mind or temper, and gives way to all the first vagaries that
spring into its childish brain: it neglects the more real interests of
the country, and loses the country's time in its service, in its
eternal interpellations, accusations, recriminations, jealousies,
suspicions, and offended susceptibilities; it quarrels, scratches,
fights, and breaks its own toys--and all this in the midst of the most
inextricable confusion. To do it justice, the Assembly, as represented
by its wavering majority, is placed between two stools of apprehension,
between which it is continually coming to the ground, and making
wofully wry faces: and, between the two, it is not very easy to see how
it should preserve a decent equilibrium. On the one hand, it suspects
the reactionary, and perhaps counter-revolutionary designs of the
moderate party on the right, whose chiefs and leaders have chosen to
hold themselves back from any participation in the governmental posts,
which they have otherwise coveted and fatally intrigued for, as if they
had an _arrière-pensée_ of better and more congenial opportunities in
store, and whose reliance in this respect seems equivocal; and it looks
upon them as monarchists biding their time. On the other hand, it
dreads the _Montagnards_ on the extreme left, with their frantic
excesses and violent measures, however much it has looked for their
support in the momentous question of the dissolution of the Assembly.
It bears no good-will to the president, whose immense majority in the
elections has been mainly due to the hopes of the anti-republicans that
his advent might lead to a total change of government: it bears still
less good-will to the ministers of that president's choice. Between its
two fears, then, no wonder that it oscillates like a pendulum. The
approach of its final dissolution, which it has at last indefinitely
voted, and yet endeavours to retard by fresh obligations for remaining,
gives it that character of bitterness which an old coquette may feel
when she finds her last hope of conquest slipping indubitably away from
her. Without accusing the majority of that desperate clinging to place
from interested motives--which the country, however, is continually
casting in its teeth--it may be owned that it is not willing to see
power wrested from it, when it fears, upon its return to its
constituents, it may never find that power placed in its hands again,
and seeks every means of prolonging the fatal hour under the pretence
of serving the best interests of that country to which it fears to
appeal: and to this state of temper, its waspishness, uncertainty, and
increasing disorder, may be in some degree attributed.

Of the hopes and designs of the extreme moderate and supposed
reactionary party, little can be said, inasmuch as it has kept its
thoughts to itself, and not permitted itself to give any open
evidences whatever upon the point. But the ardent and impetuous
_Montagnards_ are by no means so cautious: their designs, and hopes,
and fears, have been clearly enough expressed; and they flash forth
continually, as lightnings in the midst of the thunder of their
incessant tumult. The allies and representatives, and, if all tales be
true, the chiefs of the Red-republican party out of the Assembly--they
still cherish the hope of establishing an ultra-democratic republican
government, by some means or other--"by foul if fair should fail"--a
government of despotic rule by violence--of propagandism by
constraint--of systematic anarchy. They still form visions of some
future Convention of which they may be the heroes--of a parliamentary
tyrannical oligarchy, by which they may enforce their extravagant
opinions. Driven to the most flagrant inconsistencies by their false
position, they declare themselves also the true and supreme organ--not
only of those they call "the people," but of the nation at large;
while, at the same time, they affect to despise, and they even
denounce as criminal, the general expression of public opinion, as
evidenced by universal suffrage. They assume the attitudes of
_sauveurs de la patrie_; and in the next breath they declare that
_patrie traitre_ to itself. They vaunt themselves to be the _élus de
la nation_; and they openly express their repugnance to meet again, as
candidates for the new legislative assembly, that majority of the
nation which they now would drag before the tribunal of republicanism
as counter-revolutionary and reactionary. In short, the only universal
suffrage to which they would appeal is that of the furious minority of
their perverted or hired bands among the dregs of the people. They
have thus in vain used every effort to prolong to an indefinite
period, or even to render permanent, if possible, the existence of
that Assembly which their own party attacked in May, and which they
themselves have so often denounced as reactionary. It is the rock of
salvation upon which they fix their frail anchor of power, in default
of that more solid and elevated foundation for their sway, which they
are well aware can now only be laid for them by the hands of
insurgents, and cemented by the blood of civil strife in the already
blood-flooded streets of Paris. With the same necessary inconsistency
which marks their whole conduct, they fix their hopes of advent to
power upon the overthrow of the Assembly of which they are not
masters, together with the whole present system of government; while
they support the principle of the inviolability and immovability of
that same Assembly, under such circumstances called by them "the holy
ark of the country," when a fresh appeal is to be made to the mass of
the nation at large. During the waverings and vacillations of the
majority--itself clinging to place and power--they more than once
expected a triumph for themselves in a declaration of the Assembly's
permanence, with the secret hope, _en arrière pensée_, of finding fair
cause for that insurrection by which alone they would fully profit, if
a _coup-de-main_ were to be attempted by the government, in obedience
to the loudly-expressed clamour of popular opinion, to wreck that
"holy ark" in which they had embarked their lesser hopes. When,
however, they found that the crew were disposed to desert it, on
feeling the storms of public manifestation blowing too hard against
it--when they found that they themselves must in a few weeks, or at
latest months, quit its tottering planks, their rage has known no
bounds. Every manoeuvre that can be used to prolong life, by
prolonging even the daily existence of the Assembly, is unscrupulously
put into practice. They clamour, they interrupt discussion--they
denounce--they produce those daily "_incidents_" of French
parliamentary tradition which prevent the progress of parliamentary
business--they invent fresh interpellations, to create further delays
by long-protracted angry quarrel and acrimony. Part of all this system
of denunciation, recrimination, and acrimonious accusation, belongs,
it is true, to their assumed character as the _dramatis personæ_ of an
imaginary Convention. They have their cherished models of old, to copy
which is their task, and their glory; the dramatic traditions of the
old Convention are ever in their winds, and are to be followed in
manner, and even costume, as far as possible. And thus Ledru Rollin,
another would-be Danton, tosses back his head, and raises his nose
aloft, and pulls up his burly form, to thunder forth his angry
Red-republican indignation; and Felix Pyat, the melodramatic
dramatist, of the _boulevard du crime_--fully in his place where
living dramas, almost as extravagant and ranting as those from his own
pen, are to be performed--rolls his large round dark eyes, and swells
his voice, and shouts, and throws about his arms, after the fashion of
those melodrama actors for whose noisy declamation he has afforded
such good stuff, and because of his picturesque appearance, fancies
himself, it would seem, a new St Just. And Sarrans, _soi-disant_ "the
young," acts after no less melodramatic a fashion, as if in rivalry
for the parts of _jeune premier_ in the drama, but cannot get beyond
the airs of a provincial groundling; and Lagrange, with his ferocious
and haggard countenance, and his grizzled long hair and beard, yells
from his seat, although in the tribune he affects a milder language
now, as if to contradict and deny his past deeds. And Proudhon shouts
too, although he puts on a benevolent _air patelin_, beneath the
spectacles on his round face, when he proposes his schemes for the
destruction of the whole fabric of society. And Pierre Leroux, the
frantic philosopher, shakes his wild greasy mane of hair about his
heavy greasy face, and raves, as ever, discordantly; and old
Lammenais, the renegade ex-priest, bends his gloomy head, and snarls
and growls, and utters low imprecations, instead of priestly
blessings, and looks like another Marat, even if he denies the moral
resemblance to its full extent. And Greppo shouts and struggles with
Felix Pyat for the much-desired part of St Just. And gray-bearded
Couthons, who have not even the ardour of youth to excuse their
extravagancies, rise from their curule chairs to toss up their arms,
and howl in chorus. And even Jules Favre, although he belongs not to
their party, barks, bites, accuses, and denounces too, all things and
all men, and spits forth venom, as if he was regardless where the
venom fell, or whom it blistered; and, with his pale, bilious face,
and scrupulously-attired spare form, seems to endeavour to preserve,
as far as he can, in a new republic, the agreeable tradition of
another Robespierre. And let it not be supposed, that malice or
prejudice attaches to the _Montagnards_ these names. The men of the
last republican era, whom history has execrated, calumniously and
unjustly they will say, are their heroes and their demi-gods; the sage
legislators, whose principles they vaunt as those of republican
civilisation and humanity; the models whom they avowedly, and with a
confessed air of ambition, aspire to copy in word and deed. Part,
however, of the systematic confusion, which it is their evident aim to
introduce into the deliberations of the Assembly, is, in latter days,
to be attributable to their desire to create delays, and lead to
episodical discussions of angry quarrel and recrimination, which may
prolong the convulsive existence of the Assembly to an indefinite
period, or by which they may profit to forward their own designs. Thus
the day is rare, as a ray of sunshine in a permanent equinoctial
storm, when the _Montagnards_ do not start from their seats, upon the
faintest pretext for discontent or accusation of reactionary
tendencies; and, either _en masse_ or individually, fulminate,
gesticulate, clamour, shout, denounce, and threaten. The thunder upon
the "Mountain's" brow is incessant: if it does not burst forth in
heavy peals, it never ceases to growl. Each _Montagnard_ is a Jupiter
in his own conceit, and hurls his thunderbolt with what force he may.
Not a word can be spoken by a supposed reactionary orator without a
murmur--not a phrase completed without a shout of denegation, a
torrent of interruptions, or peeling bursts of ironical laughter. The
"Mountain" is in perpetual labour; but its produce bears more
resemblance to a yelping pack of hungry blood-hounds, than to an
innocent mouse: it is in perpetual movement; and, like crushing
avalanches from its summit, rush down its most energetic members to
the tribune, to attempt to crush the Assembly by vehemence and
violence of language. These scenes of systematic tumult have
necessarily increased in force, since the boiling spite of
disappointment has flowed over in hot reality, in place of the
affected and acted indignation: the rage and agitation no longer know
the least control. The affair of the abolition of the clubs had
scarcely lent an excellent pretext for this violence, when the
suppression of the insurrection, and the arrests consequent upon the
discomfiture of the conspiracy on the 29th of January, gave a wide
field for the exercise of the system of denunciation commonly pursued.
To be beforehand with accusation by counter-accusation, has been
always the tactics of the party: when the party-chiefs find themselves
involved in the suspicion of subversive attempts, they begin the
attack. The _Montagnards_ have burst forth, then, to declare that the
military precautions were a systematic provocation on the part of the
ministry and General Changarnier, to incite the population of Paris to
civil discord; that the only conspiracy existed in the government
itself, to suppress liberty and overthrow the republic--at least to
cast a slur upon the only true republicans, and have an excuse for
tyrannical oppression towards them. They closed their eyes to the fact
that the insurrection, of the proposed reality of which no doubt can
remain, spite of these angry denegations, would have produced a crisis
to which the real reactionary anti-republicans looked as one that
_must_ produce a change in the detested government of the country,
should the moderate party triumph in the struggle, as was probable;
and that by the suppression of the insurrection the crisis was
averted, and the republic evidently consolidated for a time, not
weakened. With their usual inconsistency, and want of logical
deduction, at the same time that they accused the minister of a
useless and provocative display of the military force, they denounced
the conspiracy as real, but as proceeding from "infamous royalists,"
and not anarchist Red republicans. And then, to follow up this
pell-mell of self-contradictions--while, on the one hand, they denied
any insurrectionary movement at all, and, on the other, attributed it
to royalists--they called, in their language at the rostrum, the
commencement of the street demonstration on the morning of the 29th of
January--which could not be denied, and which had come down as usual
from the faubourgs, ever ripe for tumult--"the sublime manifestation
of the heroic people." Propositions couched in furious language, for
"_enquêtes parlementaires_," and for the "_mise en accusation des
ministres_"--every possible means of denunciation and intimidation
were employed, to increase the agitated hurly-burly of the Assembly,
and subvert, as far as was possible, the few frail elements of order
and of confidence that still subsisted in it. In marking thus, in
hasty traits, the position of parties in the Assembly, called together
to establish and consolidate the republic upon a basis of peace and
order, what are the figures which are so noted down as forming part of
the sum-total, as the approaching conclusion of the revolutionary year
is about to make up its accounts? As regards the Assembly, increased
confusion, disunion, bitter conflict of exasperated parties,
suspicion, mistrust, disaffection, violence.

How stands the government of the country after the year's
republicanism? At its head is the Republican President, elected by the
immense majority of the country, but elected upon a deceptive
basis--elected neither for his principles, which were doubtful; nor
for his qualities, which were unknown or supposed to be null; nor even
for his name, (although much error has been founded upon the subject,)
which, after all, dazzled only a comparatively small minority--but
because he was supposed to represent the principle opposed to
republicanism--opposed to the very _régime_ he was elected to
support--opposed to that spirit of which the man who had once saved
the country from anarchy, and had once received the country's
blessings, was considered to be the type--because hopes were founded
on his advent of a change in a system of government uncongenial, and
even hateful, to the mass of the nation; whether by the _prestige_ of
his name he attempted to re-establish an empire, or whether, as
another Monk, he formed only a stepping-stone for a new monarch.
Elected thus upon false principles, the head of the government stands
in an eminently false position. He may have shown himself moderate;
inclined to support the republic upon that "honest" basis which the
better-thinking republicans demand; firm in the support of a cabinet,
the measures of which he approves; and every way sincere and
straightforward, although not in all his actions wise: but his
position remains the same--placed between the ambitious hope of a
party which might almost be said to exist no longer, and which has
become that only of a family and a few old adherents and connexions,
but which attempts to dazzle a country vain and proud of the word
"glory," like France, by the somewhat tarnished glitter of a name, and
the prospect of another which calls itself legitimate;--the _point de
mire_ of the army, but, at the same time, the stalking-horse of a
nation miserably wearied with the present hobby, upon which it has
been forced unwillingly to ride, with about as much pleasure and
_aplomb_ as the famous tailor of Brentford--and, on the other hand,
suspected, accused, and denounced by those who claim to themselves the
only true and pure essence of veritable republicanism. It is a
position placed upon a "see-saw"--placed in the centre, it is true,
but liable, in any convulsive crisis, to be seriously compromised by
the violent and abrupt elevation of either of the ends of the plank,
as it tosses up and down: for the feet of the president, instead of
directing the movements of this perpetually agitated "see-saw," and
giving the necessary steadiness, without which the whole present
republican balance must be overturned, seem more destined to slip
hither and thither in the struggle, at the imminent risk of losing all
equilibrium, and slipping off the plank altogether. As yet, the
president, whenever he appears in public, is followed by shouting and
admiring crowds, who run by his horse, clap their hands, call upon his
name, greet him with noisy cries of "_vive_," grasp his hands, and of
course present some hundreds of petitions; but these demonstrations of
respect must be attributed far less to personal consideration, or
popular affection, or even to the _prestige_ of the name of Napoleon,
than to the eagerness of the Parisian public, even of the lowest
classes--spite of all that may be said of their sentiments by their
would-be leaders, the ultra-democrats--to salute with acclamation the
personage who represents a head, a chief, a _point d'appui
quelconque_--a leading staff, a guiding star, a unity, instead of a
disorderly body--in one word, a resemblance of royalty. It is the
_president_, and not the _man_, who is thus greeted. The usual
curiosity and love of show and parade of the Parisian _badauds_, at
least as "cockney" as the famed Londoner, may be much mixed up again
in all this, but the sentiment remains the same; nor do these
demonstrations alter the position of the man who stands at the head of
the government of France. The ministry, supported in _principle_ by
the country, although not from any personal respect or liking, stands
in opposition to an Assembly, elected by that country, but no longer
representing it. The army shows itself inclined to protect the
government, on the one hand, and is said to be ready, on the other, to
follow in the cry of "_vive l'Empereur!_" should that cry be raised.
The _garde mobile_, although modified by its late reorganisation, is
suspected of versatility and unsoundness, if not exactly of
disaffection: it stands in instant collision with the dislike and
jealousy of the army, and, spite of its courageous part in June, is
looked upon askance by the lovers of order. What aspect, then, have
the figures which may be supposed to represent all this in the
sum-total of the year's republicanism? They bear the forms of
instability, suspicion, doubt, collision, want of confidence in the
future, and all the evils attendant upon the uncertainty of a state of
things which, spite of assurances, and spite of efforts, the greater
part of France seems inclined to look upon merely as provisionary.

Under what form, then, does the public spirit exhibit itself in
circumstances of so much doubt and instability? The attitude of the
working classes in general, of the very great majority, in fact--for
those still swayed by the delusive arguments, and still more delusive
and destructive promises of the Socialists and Republicans are
comparatively few, although formidable in the ferocity of their
doctrines and their plans, and in the active restlessness of their
feverish and excited energies, which resemble the reckless,
sleepless, activity of the madman--the attitude of the working classes
in Paris is calm, and even expectant; but calm from utter
weariness--calm from the convictions, founded on the saddest
experience, in the wretched results of further revolutions--calm from
a sort of prostrate resignation, and almost despair, in the midst of
the miseries and privations which the last fatal year has increased
instead of diminishing, and written with a twofold scourge upon their
backs: an attitude reassuring, inasmuch as it implies hatred and
opposition to the subversive doctrines of the anarchists, but not
without its dangers, and, to say the least, heartrending and
afflicting--and expectant in the hope and conviction of change in the
cause of stability and order. The feeling which, after a few months of
the rule of a reckless provisionary government, was the prevailing one
among the _majority_ of the working classes--the feeling, which has
been already noted, that king Log, or even king Stork, or any other
concentrated power that would represent stability and order, would be
preferable to the uncertainties of a vacillating republican rule--has
ever gained ground among them since those hopes of re-established
confidence, and a consequent amelioration of their wretched position,
which they first founded upon the meeting of the National Assembly,
and then upon the election of a president, have twice deceived them,
and left them almost as wretched as ever in the stagnation of trade
and commercial affairs. The feeling thus prevalent among the working
classes in the capital, is, at the same time, the feeling of the
country at large, but to an even far wider extent, and more openly
expressed. The hatred of the departments to Paris, as the chief seat
of revolution and disorder, has also increased rather than diminished;
and everywhere the sentiments of utter weariness, disaffection to the
Republic, and impatience under a system of government of which they
are no longer inclined to await the promised blessings, are displayed
upon all possible occasions, and by every possible organ. The upper
classes among moneyed men, and landed proprietors, remain quiet and
hold their tongue. They may be expectant and desirous of change also,
but they show no open impatience, for _they can afford to wait_. It is
they, on the contrary, who more generally express their opinions in
the _possibility_ of the establishment of a prosperous republic--a
possibility which the working classes in their impatience deny. In
spite of all that ultra-democratic journals may say, in their raving
denunciations, borrowed of the language of another Republic, some of
the most eager and decided of those they term "reactionary," and
denounce as "aristocrats," are thus to be found among the lower
working classes. To do justice to the truth of the accusations brought
by the Red republican party, in another respect, it is in the
_bourgeois_ spirit that is to be found the strongest and most openly
avowed reactionary feeling. It is impossible to enter any shop of the
better order in Paris, and speak upon the position of affairs, without
hearing not only the hope, but the expectation openly expressed, of a
monarchic restoration, and that restoration in favour of the elder
branch of the Bourbons. The feeling is universal in this class: the
name of "Henri V.," scarce mentioned at all, and never under this
title, during the reign of Louis Philippe, except in the exclusive
circles of the Faubourg St Germain, is now in every shopkeeper's
mouth. Louis Philippe, the Regency, all the members of the Orleans
family, the Empire, a Bonapartist rule--all are set aside in the minds
of these classes for the now-desired idol of their fickle choice, the
Duke of Bordeaux. In these classes a restoration in favour of Henri V.
is no longer a question of possibility; it is a mere question of time:
it is not "_L'aurons-nous?_" that they ask; it is "_Quand
l'aurons-nous?_" In this respect the real and true republicans, in the
"honest" designation of the term, have certainly every reason to raise
an angry clamour; if sedition to the existing _régime_ of the country
is not openly practised, it is, at all events, openly and generally
expressed. Nor are their accusations brought against the government
entirely without justice; for while, on the one hand, a measure of a
nature altogether arbitrary, under the freedom of a republican rule,
is exercised against a well-known artist, by seizing in his _atelier_
the portraits of the Duke of Bordeaux, or, as he is called, the Count
of Chambord, and of the Countess, as seditiously exhibited,
lithographed likenesses of the Bourbon heir are to be seen on all
sides at print-shop windows, and in popular temporary print-stalls; in
galleries, arcades, and upon street walls; in _vignettes_, upon
ballads, with such titles, as "_Dieu le veut_," or "_La France le
veut_," or in busts of all dimensions. Again, the _Henri-quinquiste_
feeling, as it is called, is universal among the fickle _bourgeoisie_
of Paris--the rock upon which Louis Philippe founded his throne, and
which sank under him in his hour of need: and the _bourgeois_, eager
and confident in their hopes, wilfully shut their eyes to the fact
that, were their detested republic overthrown, there might arise
future convulsions, and future civil strife, between a Bonapartist
faction--which necessarily grows, and increases, and flourishes more
and more under the rule, however temporary, of a chief of the
name--and the legitimist party: for the Orleanists, whether fused by a
compromise of their hopes with the Legitimists, as has been said, or
fallen into the obscurity of forgetfulness or indifference in the
majority of the nation, hold forth no decided banner at the present
moment. In regarding, then, the public spirit among the majority of
all classes in Paris, without consulting the still more reactionary
feeling of the departments, the figures to be added to the sum-total
of the year's republican account will be again found similar to those
already enumerated, in the shape of disaffection, abhorrence of the
republican government, want of confidence in its stability,
expectation and hope of a change, however it may come, and although it
may be brought about by a convulsion.

Meanwhile the uncertainty and anxiety are increased by the continued
expectation of some approaching crisis, which the explosion of the
insurrection, destined for the 29th of January, would have hastened,
and which the precautions taken for the suppression of the outbreak
have evidently averted for the time. But what confidence can be
expressed in the stability of this temporary state of order in a
country so full of excitement and love of change, and in a state of
continual revolution, in which such conspiracy ceases not to work in
darkness, with the hope of attaining despotic power, and in which
disaffection to the state of things is openly expressed? Events have
run their course with such fearful rapidity, and the unexpected has
been so greatly the "order of the day," in the last year's history of
France, that who can answer for the future of the next months, or even
weeks? Political prophets have long since thrown up the trade of
oracle-giving in despair; and the tripod of the oracle has been left
to the occupation of the chances of the _imprévu_. In spite, then, of
the temporary reassurance of peace given by the last measures of the
government, which have been denounced by the ultra-democrats as
arbitrary, subversive, and unconstitutional, the underground agitation
still continues. Paris dances once more, repeating to itself, however,
the often-repeated words, "_Nous dansons sur un volcan_." The carnival
pursues its noisy pleasures, under the protection of the forests of
bayonets that are continually glittering along the gay sunlit streets,
and to the sound of the drum of the marching military, who still give
Paris the aspect of a garrison in time of war. Gay _salons_ are
opened, and carriages again rattle along the streets on moonlit
nights; but the spirit of Parisian gaiety reposes not upon confidence,
and is but the practical application of the epicurean philosophy that
takes for its maxim, "_Carpe diem_."

Whatever may be the reality of an approaching crisis, which, however
feeble the symptoms at present, the Parisians insist upon regarding as
near at hand,--whatever may be the hopes of some that the crisis,
however convulsive, must produce a desired change, and the fears of
others of the civil strife,--whatever thus the desires of the
sanguine, the expectations of the hopeful, the apprehensions of the
peaceful, and the terrors of the timorous, the result is still the
same--the uncertainty, the want of confidence, the evils attendant
upon this feeling of instability, so often already enumerated. The
violence and struggling rage of the ultra-democratic and socialist
journals, increasing in denunciation to the death, and positively
convulsive in their rage, as the anti-republican reactionary spirit
grows, and spreads wider, and every day takes firmer root, and even
dares to blossom openly in the expression of public opinion, are
looked upon as the throes of dying agony by the bold, but are regarded
with dread by the less courageous, who know the force of the party's
exaggerated violence, and have already felt the miseries of their
fanatic subversive attempts. Meanwhile, the moderate or honest
republic, which vainly attempts a _juste milieu_ of republicanism,
between extravagance and disaffection, limps sadly forwards; or, as
one of the late satirical pieces, which openly attack the republic on
the stage, expresses it--amidst the applause and shouts of deriding
laughter, which hail it nightly in crowded houses, not so much from
the boxes as from the galleries thronged with types of the
"people"--"_Elle boîte! elle boîte!_" Republicans may thus clamour
against the culpable laxity of a government, which permits these
much-applauded attacks upon the Republic, in accordance with the
principle of freedom of opinion, and in pursuance of the abolition of
a theatrical censorship which they themselves condemned: but so it is;
and therein may be sought and found one of the strongest popular
evidences of popular disaffection. And satires too, and caricatures,
abound, in which the unhappy Republic is still more soundly
scourged--demonstrations not less lively, although they call not forth
the evident approbation of a congregated multitude. Now, then, that
the revolutionary year has almost closed there--now that the
anniversary of the days of February is at hand--let people take the
figures enumerated, and justly enumerated, as they will, and place
them as they fancy in the sum-total, and cast them up as they please,
or deduce what value they may from the amount of the first year of new
republicanism in France. Another question. What _fêtes_ are to greet
the anniversaries of the "glorious" days of the "glorious" revolution
which established a "glorious" Republic? Assuredly the _fête_ will not
be in the people's hearts: no, not even in the hearts of those whom
their mis-named, self-appointed friends choose to call, _par
excellence_, "the people."



THE CAXTONS--PART XI.


CHAPTER LII.

The next day, on the outside of the Cambridge Telegraph, there was one
passenger who ought to have impressed his fellow-travellers with a
very respectful idea of his lore in the dead languages; for not a
single syllable, in a live one, did he vouchsafe to utter from the
moment he ascended that "bad eminence," to the moment in which he
regained his mother earth. "Sleep," says honest Sancho, "covers a man
better than a cloak." I am ashamed of thee, honest Sancho! thou art a
sad plagiarist; for Tibullus said pretty nearly the same thing before
thee,--

    "Te somnus fusco velavit amictu."[4]

But is not silence as good a cloak as sleep?--does it not wrap a man
round with as offusc and impervious a fold? Silence--what a world it
covers!--what busy schemes--what bright hopes and dark fears--what
ambition, or what despair! Do you ever see a man in any society
sitting mute for hours, and not feel an uneasy curiosity to penetrate
the wall he thus builds up between others and himself? Does he not
interest you far more than the brilliant talker at your left--the airy
wit at your right, whose shafts fall in vain on the sullen barrier of
the silent man! Silence, dark sister of Nox and Erebus, how, layer
upon layer, shadow upon shadow, blackness upon blackness, thou
stretchest thyself from hell to heaven, over thy two chosen
haunts--man's heart and the grave!

So, then, wrapped in my greatcoat and my silence, I performed my
journey; and on the evening of the second day I reached the
old-fashioned brick house. How shrill on my ears sounded the bell! How
strange and ominous to my impatience seemed the light gleaming across
the windows of the hall! How my heart beat as I watched the face of
the servant who opened the gate to my summons!

"All well?" cried I.

"All well, sir," answered the servant, cheerfully. "Mr Squills,
indeed, is with master, but I don't think there is anything the
matter."

But now my mother appeared at the threshold, and I was in her arms.

"Sisty, Sisty!--my dear, dear son!--beggared, perhaps--and my
fault,--mine."

"Yours!--come into this room, out of hearing--your fault?"

"Yes, yes!--for if I had had no brother, or if I had not been led
away,--if I had, as I ought, entreated poor Austin not to--"

"My dear, dearest mother, _you_ accuse yourself for what, it seems,
was my uncle's misfortune--I am sure not even his fault! (I made a
gulp _there_.) No, lay the fault on the right shoulders--the defunct
shoulders of that horrible progenitor, William Caxton the printer;
for, though I don't yet know the particulars of what has happened, I
will lay a wager it is connected with that fatal invention of
printing. Come, come,--my father is well, is he not?"

"Yes, thank Heaven."

"And you too, and I, and Roland, and little Blanche! Why then, you are
right to thank Heaven, for your true treasures are untouched. But sit
down and explain, pray."

"I cannot explain. I do not understand anything more than that he, my
brother,--mine!--has involved Austin in--in--" (a fresh burst of
tears.)

I comforted, scolded, laughed, preached, and adjured in a breath; and
then, drawing my mother gently on, entered my father's study.

At the table was seated Mr Squills, pen in hand, and a glass of his
favourite punch by his side. My father was standing on the hearth, a
shade more pale; but with a resolute expression on his countenance,
which was new to its indolent thoughtful mildness! He lifted his eyes
as the door opened, and then, putting his finger to his lips, as he
glanced towards my mother, he said gaily, "No great harm done. Don't
believe her! Women always exaggerate, and make realities of their own
bugbears: it is the vice of their lively imaginations, as Wierus has
clearly shown in accounting for the marks, moles, and hare-lips which
they inflict upon their innocent infants before they are even born. My
dear boy," added my father, as I here kissed him and smiled in his
face, "I thank you for that smile! God bless you!" He wrung my hand,
and turned a little aside.

"It is a great comfort," renewed my father, after a short pause, "to
know, when a misfortune happens, that it could not be helped. Squills
has just discovered that I have no bump of cautiveness; so that,
craniologically speaking, if I had escaped one imprudence, I should
certainly have run my head against another."

"A man with your development is made to be taken in," said Mr Squills,
consolingly.

"Do you hear that, my own Kitty! and have you the heart to blame Jack
any longer--a poor creature cursed with a bump that would take in the
Stock Exchange? And can any one resist his bump, Squills?"

"Impossible!" said the surgeon authoritatively.

"Sooner or later it must involve him in its airy meshes--eh, Squills?
entrap him into its fatal cerebral cell. There his fate waits him,
like the ant-lion in its pit."

"Too true," quoth Squills. "What a phrenological lecturer you would
have made!"

"Go, then, my love," said my father, "and lay no blame but on this
melancholy cavity of mine, where cautiveness--is not! Go, and let
Sisty have some supper; for Squills says that he has a fine
development of the mathematical organs, and we want his help. We are
hard at work on figures, Pisistratus."

My mother looked broken-hearted, and, obeying submissively, stole to
the door without a word. But as she reached the threshold she turned
round, and beckoned to me to follow her.

I whispered to my father, and went out. My mother was standing in the
hall, and I saw by the lamp that she had dried her tears; and that her
face, though very sad, was more composed.

"Sisty," she said, in a low voice which struggled to be firm, "promise
me that you will tell me all,--the worst, Sisty. They keep it from me,
and that is my hardest punishment; for when I don't know all that
he--that Austin suffers, it seems to me as if I had lost his heart.
Oh, Sisty! My child, my child, don't fear me! I shall be happy
whatever befalls us, if I once get back my privilege--my privilege,
Sisty, to comfort, to share!--do you understand me?"

"Yes, indeed, my mother! And with your good sense, and clear woman's
wit, if you will but feel how much we want them, you will be the best
counsellor we could have. So never fear, you and I will have no
secrets."

My mother kissed me, and went away with a less heavy step.

As I re-entered, my father came across the room and embraced me.

"My son," he said in a faltering voice, "if your modest prospects in
life are ruined--"

"Father, father, can you think of me at such a moment! Me!--Is it
possible to ruin the young, and strong, and healthy! Ruin me, with
these thews and sinews!--ruin me, with the education you have given
me--thews and sinews of the mind! Oh no! there, Fortune is harmless!
And you forget, sir,--the saffron bag!"

Squills leapt up, and, wiping his eyes with one hand, gave me a
sounding slap on the shoulder with the other.

"I am proud of the care I took of your infancy, Master Caxton. That
comes of strengthening the digestive organs in early childhood. Such
sentiments are a proof of magnificent ganglions in a perfect state of
order. When a man's tongue is as smooth as I am sure yours is, he
slips through misfortune like an eel."

I laughed outright, my father smiled faintly; and seating myself, I
drew towards me a paper filled with Squills' memoranda, and said, "Now
to find the unknown quantity. What on earth is this? 'Supposed value
of books, £750.' Oh, father! this is impossible. I was prepared for
anything but that. Your books--they are your life!"

"Nay," said my father; "after all, they are the offending party in
this case, and so ought to be the principal victims. Besides, I
believe I know most of them by heart. But, in truth, we are only
entering all our effects, to be sure (added my father proudly) that,
come what may, we are not dishonoured."

"Humour him," whispered Squills; "we will save the Books." Then he
added aloud, as he laid finger and thumb on my pulse, "One, two,
three, about seventy--capital pulse--soft and full--he can bear the
whole: let us administer it."

My father nodded--"Certainly. But, Pisistratus, we must manage your
dear mother. Why she should think of blaming herself, because poor
Jack took wrong ways to enrich us, I cannot understand. But, as I have
had occasion before to remark, Sphinx and Enigma are nouns feminine."

My poor father! that was a vain struggle for thy wonted innocent
humour. The lips quivered.

Then the story came out. It seems that, when it was resolved to
undertake the publication of the _Literary Times_, a certain number of
shareholders had been got together by the indefatigable energies of
Uncle Jack; and, in the deed of association and partnership, my
father's name figured conspicuously as the holder of a fourth of this
joint property. If in this my father had committed some imprudence, he
had at least done nothing that, according to the ordinary calculations
of a secluded student, could become ruinous. But, just at the time
when we were in the hurry of leaving town, Jack had represented to my
father that it might be necessary to alter a little the plan of the
paper; and, in order to allure a larger circle of readers, touch
somewhat on the more vulgar news and interests of the day. A change of
plan might involve a change of title; and he suggested to my father
the expediency of leaving the smooth hands of Mr Tibbets altogether
unfettered, as to the technical name and precise form of the
publication. To this my father had unwittingly assented, on hearing
that the other shareholders would do the same. Mr Peck, a printer of
considerable opulence, and highly respectable name, had been found to
advance the sum necessary for the publication of the earlier numbers,
upon the guarantee of the said act of partnership, and the additional
security of my father's signature to a document, authorising Mr
Tibbets to make any change in the form or title of the periodical that
might be judged advisable, concurrent with the consent of the other
shareholders.

Now it seems that Mr Peck had, in his previous conferences with Mr
Tibbets, thrown much cold water on the idea of the _Literary Times_,
and had suggested something that should "catch the moneyed
public,"--the fact being, as was afterwards discovered, that the
printer, whose spirit of enterprise was congenial to Uncle Jack's, had
shares in three or four speculations, to which he was naturally glad
of an opportunity to invite the attention of the public. In a word, no
sooner was my poor father's back turned than the _Literary Times_ was
dropped incontinently, and Mr Peck and Mr Tibbets began to concentre
their luminous notions into that brilliant and comet-like apparition
which ultimately blazed forth under the title of _The Capitalist_.

From this change of enterprise the more prudent and responsible of the
original shareholders had altogether withdrawn. A majority, indeed,
were left; but the greater part of those were shareholders of that
kind most amenable to the influences of Uncle Jack, and willing to be
shareholders in anything, since as yet they were possessors of
nothing.

Assured of my father's responsibility, the adventurous Peck put plenty
of spirit into the first launch of _The Capitalist_. All the walls
were placarded with its announcements; circular advertisements ran
from one end of of the kingdom to the other. Agents were engaged,
correspondents levied _en masse_. The invasion of Xerxes on the Greeks
was not more munificently provided for than that of _The Capitalist_
upon the credulity and avarice of mankind.

But as Providence bestows upon fishes the instrument of fins, whereby
they balance and direct their movements, however rapid and erratic,
through the pathless deeps, so to the cold-blooded creatures of our
own species--that may be classed under the genus MONEY-MAKERS--the
same protective power accords the fin-like properties of prudence and
caution, wherewith your true money-getter buoys and guides himself
majestically through the great seas of speculation. In short, the
fishes the net was cast for were all scared from the surface at the
first splash. They came round and smelt at the mesh with their shark
bottle-noses, and then, plying those invaluable fins, made off as fast
as they could--plunging into the mud--hiding themselves under rocks
and coral banks. Metaphor apart, the capitalists buttoned up their
pockets, and would have nothing to say to their namesake.

Not a word of this change, so abhorrent to all the notions of poor
Augustine Caxton, had been breathed to him by Peck or Tibbets. He ate,
and slept, and worked at the great Book, occasionally wondering why he
had not heard of the advent of the _Literary Times_, unconscious of
all the awful responsibilities which _The Capitalist_ was entailing on
him;--knowing no more of _The Capitalist_ than he did of the last loan
of the Rothschilds.

Difficult was it for all other human nature, save my father's, not to
breathe an indignant anathema on the scheming head of the
brother-in-law who had thus violated the most sacred obligations of
trust and kindred, and so entangled an unsuspecting recluse. But, to
give even Jack Tibbets his due, he had firmly convinced himself that
_The Capitalist_ would make my father's fortune; and if he did not
announce to him the strange and anomalous development into which the
original sleeping chrysalis of the _Literary Times_ had taken
portentous wing, it was purely and wholly in the knowledge that my
father's "prejudices," as he termed them, would stand in the way of his
becoming a Croesus. And, in fact, Uncle Jack had believed so heartily
in his own project, that he had put himself thoroughly into Mr Peck's
power, signed bills in his own name to some fabulous amount, and was
actually now in the Fleet, whence his penitential and despairing
confession was dated, arriving simultaneously with a short letter from
Mr Peck, wherein that respectable printer apprised my father that he
had continued, at his own risk, the publication of _The Capitalist_, as
far as a prudent care for his family would permit; that he need not say
that a new daily journal was a very vast experiment; that the expense
of such a paper as _The Capitalist_ was immeasurably greater than that
of a mere literary periodical, as originally suggested; and that now,
being constrained to come upon the shareholders for the sums he had
advanced, amounting to several thousands, he requested my father to
settle with him immediately--delicately implying that he himself might
settle as he could with the other shareholders, most of whom, he
grieved to add, he had been misled by Mr Tibbets into believing to be
men of substance, when in reality they were men of straw!

Nor was this all the evil. The "Great Anti-Bookseller Publishing
Society,"--which had maintained a struggling existence--evinced by
advertisements of sundry forthcoming works of solid interest and
enduring nature, wherein, out of a long list, amidst a pompous array
of "Poems;" "Dramas not intended for the Stage;" "Essays by
Phileutheros, Philanthropos, Philopolis, Philodemus, and Philalethes,"
stood prominently forth "The History of Human Error, Vols. I. and II.,
quarto, with illustrations,"--the "Anti-Bookseller Society," I say,
that had hitherto evinced nascent and budding life by these
exfoliations from its slender stem, died of a sudden blight, the
moment its sun, in the shape of Uncle Jack, set in the Cimmerian
regions of the Fleet; and a polite letter from another printer (O
William Caxton, William Caxton!--fatal progenitor!) informing my
father of this event, stated complimentarily that it was to him, "as
the most respectable member of the Association," that the said printer
would be compelled to look for expenses incurred, not only in the very
costly edition of the History of Human Error, but for those incurred
in the print and paper devoted to "Poems," "Dramas, not intended for
the stage," "Essays by Phileutheros, Philanthropos, Philopolis,
Philodemus, and Philalethes," with sundry other works, no doubt of a
very valuable nature, but in which a considerable loss, in a pecuniary
point of view, must be necessarily expected.

I own that, as soon as I had mastered the above agreeable facts, and
ascertained from Mr Squills that my father really did seem to have
rendered himself legally liable to these demands, I leant back in my
chair, stunned and bewildered.

"So you see," said my father, "that as yet we are contending with
monsters in the dark--in the dark all monsters look larger and uglier.
Even Augustus Cæsar, though certainly he had never scrupled to make as
many ghosts as suited his convenience, did not like the chance of a
visit from them, and never sate alone _in tenebris_. What the amount
of the sums claimed from me may be, we know not; what may be gained
from the other shareholders is equally obscure and undefined. But the
first thing to do is to get poor Jack out of prison."

"Uncle Jack out of prison!" exclaimed I: "surely, sir, that is
carrying forgiveness too far."

"Why, he would not have been in prison if I had not been so blindly
forgetful of his weakness, poor man! I ought to have known better. But
my vanity misled me; I must needs publish a great book, as if (said Mr
Caxton, looking round the shelves,) there were not great books enough
in the world! I must needs, too, think of advancing and circulating
knowledge in the form of a journal--I, who had not knowledge enough of
the character of my own brother-in-law to keep myself from ruin! Come
what will, I should think myself the meanest of men to let that poor
creature, whom I ought to have considered as a monomaniac, rot in
prison, because I, Austin Caxton, wanted common sense. And (concluded
my father resolutely) he is your mother's brother, Pisistratus. I
should have gone to town at once; but, hearing that my wife had
written to you, I waited till I could leave her to the companionship
of hope and comfort--two blessings that smile upon every mother in the
face of a son like you. To-morrow I go."

"Not a bit of it," said Mr Squills firmly; "as your medical adviser, I
forbid you to leave the house for the next six days."


CHAPTER LIII.

"Sir," continued Mr Squills, biting off the end of a cigar which he
pulled from his pocket, "you concede to me that it is a very important
business on which you propose to go to London."

"Of that there is no doubt," replied my father.

"And the doing of business well or ill entirely depends upon the habit
of body!" cried Mr Squills triumphantly. "Do you know, Mr Caxton, that
while you are looking so calm, and talking so quietly--just on purpose
to sustain your son and delude your wife--do you know that your pulse,
which is naturally little more than sixty, is nearly a hundred? Do you
know, sir, that your mucous membranes are in a state of high
irritation, apparent by the _papillæ_ at the tip of your tongue? And
if, with a pulse like this, and a tongue like that, you think of
settling money matters with a set of sharp-witted tradesmen, all I can
say is, that you are a ruined man."

"But--" began my father.

"Did not Squire Rollick," pursued Mr Squills--"Squire Rollick, the
hardest head at a bargain I know of--did not Squire Rollick sell that
pretty little farm of his, Scranny Holt, for thirty per cent below its
value? And what was the cause, sir?--the whole county was in
amaze!--what was the cause, but an incipient simmering attack of the
yellow jaundice, which made him take a gloomy view of human life, and
the agricultural interest? On the other hand, did not Lawyer Cool, the
most prudent man in the three kingdoms--Lawyer Cool, who was so
methodical, that all the clocks in the county were set by his
watch--plunge one morning head over heels into a frantic speculation
for cultivating the bogs in Ireland, (his watch did not go right for
the next three months, which made our whole shire an hour in advance
of the rest of England!) And what was the cause of that nobody knew,
till I was called in, and fund the cerebral membranes in a state of
acute irritation, probably just in the region of his acquisitiveness
and ideality. No, Mr Caxton, you will stay at home, and take a
soothing preparation I shall send you, of lettuce leaves and
marshmallows. But I," continued Squills, lighting his cigar and taking
two determined whiffs--"but _I_ will go up to town and settle the
business for you, and take with me this young gentleman, whose
digestive functions are just in a state to deal safely with those
horrible elements of dyspepsia--the L. S. D."

As he spoke, Mr Squills set his foot significantly upon mine.

"But," resumed my father mildly, "though I thank you very much,
Squills, for your kind offer, I do not recognise the necessity of
accepting it. I am not so bad a philosopher as you seem to imagine;
and the blow I have received has not so deranged my physical
organisation as to render me unfit to transact my affairs."

"Hum!" grunted Squills, starting up and seizing my father's pulse,
"ninety-six--ninety-six if a beat! And the tongue, sir!"

"Pshaw!" quoth my father, "you have not even seen my tongue!"

"No need of that, I know what it is by the state of the eyelids--tip
scarlet, sides rough as a nutmeg grater!"

"Pshaw!" again said my father, this time impatiently.

"Well," said Squills solemnly, "it is my duty to say, (here my mother
entered, to tell me that supper was ready,) and I say it to you, Mrs
Caxton, and you, Mr Pisistratus Caxton, as the parties most nearly
interested, that if you, sir, go to London upon this matter, I'll not
answer for the consequences."

"Oh! Austin, Austin!" cried my mother, running up and throwing her
arms round my father's neck; while I, little less alarmed by Squills'
serious tone and aspect, represented strongly the inutility of Mr
Caxton's personal interference at the first moment. All he could do on
arriving in town would be to put the matter into the hands of a good
lawyer, and that we could do for him; it would be time enough to send
for him when the extent of the mischief done was more clearly
ascertained. Meanwhile Squills griped my father's pulse, and my mother
hung on his neck.

"Ninety-six--ninety-seven!" groaned Squills in a hollow voice.

"I don't believe it!" cried my father, almost in a passion--"never
better nor cooler in my life."

"And the tongue--look at his tongue, Mrs Caxton--a tongue, ma'am, so
bright that you could see to read by it!"

"Oh! Austin, Austin!"

"My dear, it is not my tongue that is in fault, I assure you," said my
father, speaking through his teeth; "and the man knows no more of my
tongue than he does of the mysteries of Eleusis."

"Put it out then," exclaimed Squills, "and if it be not as I say, you
have my leave to go to London, and throw your whole fortune into the
two great pits you have dug for it. Put it out!"

"Mr Squills!" said my father, colouring--"Mr Squills, for shame!"

"Dear, dear Austin! your hand is so hot--you are feverish, I am sure."

"Not a bit of it."

"But, sir, only just gratify Mr Squills," said I coaxingly.

"There, there!" said my father, fairly baited into submission, and
shyly exhibiting for a moment the extremest end of the vanquished
organ of eloquence.

Squills darted forward his lynx-like eyes. "Red as a lobster, and
rough as a gooseberry-bush!" cried Squills, in a tone of savage joy.


CHAPTER LIV.

How was it possible for one poor tongue, so reviled and persecuted, so
humbled, insulted, and triumphed over--to resist three tongues in
league against it?

Finally, my father yielded; and Squills, in high spirits, declared
that he would go to supper with me, to see that I eat nothing that
could tend to discredit his reliance on my system. Leaving my mother
still with her Austin, the good surgeon then took my arm, and, as soon
as we were in the next room, shut the door carefully, wiped his
forehead, and said--"I think we have saved him!"

"Would it really, then, have injured my father so much?"

"So much!--why, you foolish young man, don't you see that, with his
ignorance of business, where he himself is concerned--though, for any
other one's business, neither Rollick nor Cool has a better
judgment--and with his d--d Quixotic spirit of honour worked up into a
state of excitement, he would have rushed to Mr Tibbets, and exclaimed
'How much do you owe? there it is!'--settled in the same way with
these printers, and come back without a sixpence; whereas you and I
can look coolly about us, and reduce the inflammation to the minimum!"

"I see, and thank you heartily, Squills."

"Besides," said the surgeon, with more feeling, "your father has
really been making a noble effort over himself. He suffers more than
you would think--not for himself, (for I do believe that, if he were
alone in the world, he would be quite contented if he could save fifty
pounds a-year and his books,) but for your mother and yourself; and a
fresh access of emotional excitement, all the nervous anxiety of a
journey to London on such a business, might have ended in a paralytic
or epileptic affection. Now, we have him here snug; and the worst news
we can give him will be better than what he will make up his mind for.
But you don't eat."

"Eat! How can I? My poor father!"

"The effect of grief upon the gastric juices, through the nervous
system, is very remarkable," said Mr Squills, philosophically, and
helping himself to a broiled bone; "it increases the thirst, while it
takes away hunger. No--don't touch Port!--heating! Sherry and water."


CHAPTER LV.

The house-door had closed upon Mr Squills--that gentleman having
promised to breakfast with me the next morning, so that we might take
the coach from our gate--and I remained alone, seated by the
supper-table, and revolving all I had heard, when my father walked in.

"Pisistratus," said he, gravely, and looking round him, "your
mother!--suppose the worst--your first care, then, must be to try and
secure something for her. You and I are men--_we_ can never want,
while we have health of mind and body; but a woman--and if anything
happens to me"--

My father's lip writhed as it uttered these brief sentences.

"My dear, dear father!" said I, suppressing my tears with difficulty,
"all evils, as you yourself said, look worse by anticipation. It is
impossible that your whole fortune can be involved. The newspaper did
not run many weeks; and only the first volume of your work is printed.
Besides, there must be other shareholders who will pay their quota.
Believe me, I feel sanguine as to the result of my embassy. As for my
poor mother, it is not the loss of fortune that will wound her--depend
on it, she thinks very little of that; it is the loss of your
confidence."

"My confidence!"

"Ah yes! tell her all your fears, as your hopes. Do not let your
affectionate pity exclude her from one corner of your heart."

"It is that--it is _that_, Austin,--my husband--my joy--my pride--my
soul--my all!" cried a soft, broken voice.

My mother had crept in, unobserved by us.

My father looked at us both, and the tears which had before stood in
his eyes forced their way. Then opening his arms--into which his Kitty
threw herself joyfully--he lifted those moist eyes upward, and, by the
movement of his lips, I saw that he thanked God.

I stole out of the room. I felt that those two hearts should be left
to beat and to blend alone. And from that hour, I am convinced that
Augustine Caxton acquired a stouter philosophy than that of the
stoics. The fortitude that concealed pain was no longer needed, for
the pain was no longer felt.


CHAPTER LVI.

Mr Squills and I performed our journey without adventure, and, as we
were not alone on the coach, with little conversation. We put up at a
small inn at the city, and the next morning I sallied forth to see
Trevanion--for we agreed that he would be the best person to advise
us. But, on arriving at St James's Square, I had the disappointment of
hearing that the whole family had gone to Paris three days before, and
were not expected to return till the meeting of Parliament.

This was a sad discouragement, for I had counted much on Trevanion's
clear head, and that extraordinary range of accomplishment in all
matters of business--all that related to practical life--which my old
patron pre-eminently possessed. The next thing would be to find
Trevanion's lawyer, (for Trevanion was one of those men whose
solicitors are sure to be able and active.) But the fact was, that he
left so little to lawyers, that he had never had occasion to
communicate with one since I had known him; and I was therefore in
ignorance of the very name of his solicitor; nor could the porter, who
was left in charge of the house, enlighten me. Luckily, I bethought
myself of Sir Sedley Beaudesert, who could scarcely fail to give me
the information required, and who, at all events, might recommend me
some other lawyer. So to him I went.

I found Sir Sedley at breakfast with a young gentleman who seemed
about twenty. The good baronet was delighted to see me; but I thought
it was with a little confusion, rare to his cordial ease, that he
presented me to his cousin, Lord Castleton. It was a name familiar to
me, though I had never before met its patrician owner.

The Marquis of Castleton was indeed a subject of envy to young idlers,
and afforded a theme of interest to gray-beard politicians. Often had
I heard of "that lucky fellow Castleton," who, when of age, would step
into one of those colossal fortunes which would realise the dreams of
Aladdin--a fortune that had been out to nurse since his minority.
Often had I heard graver gossips wonder whether Castleton would take
any active part in public life--whether he would keep up the family
influence. His mother (still alive) was a superior woman, and had
devoted herself, from his childhood, to supply a father's loss, and
fit him for his great position. It was said that he was clever--had
been educated by a tutor of great academic distinction, and was
reading for a double first class at Oxford. This young marquis was
indeed the head of one of those few houses still left in England that
retain feudal importance. He was important, not only from his rank and
his vast fortune, but from an immense circle of powerful connections;
from the ability of his two predecessors, who had been keen
politicians and cabinet-ministers; from the _prestige_ they had
bequeathed to his name; from the peculiar nature of his property,
which gave him the returning interest in no less than six
parliamentary seats in Great Britain and Ireland--besides that
indirect ascendency which the head of the Castletons had always
exercised over many powerful and noble allies of that princely house.
I was not aware that he was related to Sir Sedley, whose world of
action was so remote from politics; and it was with some surprise that
I now heard that announcement, and certainly with some interest that
I, perhaps from the verge of poverty, gazed on this young heir of
fabulous El-Dorados.

It was easy to see that Lord Castleton had been brought up with a
careful knowledge of his future greatness, and its serious
responsibilities. He stood immeasurably aloof from all the
affectations common to the youth of minor patricians. He had not been
taught to value himself on the cut of a coat, or the shape of a hat.
His world was far above St James's Street and the clubs. He was
dressed plainly, though in a style peculiar to himself--a white
neckcloth, (which was not at that day quite so uncommon for morning
use as it is now,) trowsers without straps, thin shoes and gaiters.
There was nothing in his manner of the supercilious apathy which
characterises the dandy introduced to some one whom he doubts if he
can nod to from the bow-window at White's--none of such vulgar
coxcombries had Lord Castleton; and yet a young gentleman more
emphatically coxcomb it was impossible to see. He had been told, no
doubt, that, as the head of a house which was almost in itself a party
in the state, he should be bland and civil to all men; and this duty
being grafted upon a nature singularly cold and unsocial, gave to his
politeness something so stiff, yet so condescending, that it brought
the blood to one's cheek--though the momentary anger was
counterbalanced by something almost ludicrous in the contrast between
this gracious majesty of deportment, and the insignificant figure,
with the boyish beardless face, by which it was assumed. Lord
Castleton did not content himself with a mere bow at our introduction.
Much to my wonder how he came by the information he displayed, he made
me a little speech after the manner of Louis XIV. to a provincial
noble--studiously modelled upon that royal maxim of urbane policy
which instructs a king that he should know something of the birth,
parentage, and family, of his meanest gentleman. It was a little
speech, in which my father's learning, and my uncle's services, and
the amiable qualities of your humble servant, were neatly
interwoven--delivered in a falsetto tone, as if learned by heart,
though it must have been necessarily impromptu; and then, reseating
himself, he made a gracious motion of the head and hand, as if to
authorise me to do the same.

Conversation succeeded, by galvanic jerks and spasmodic starts--a
conversation that Lord Castleton contrived to tug so completely out of
poor Sir Sedley's ordinary course of small and polished small-talk,
that that charming personage, accustomed, as he well deserved, to be
Coryphæus at his own table, was completely silenced. With his light
reading, his rich stores of anecdote, his good-humoured knowledge of
the drawing-room world, he had scarce a word that would fit into the
great, rough, serious matters which Lord Castleton threw upon the
table, as he nibbled his toast. Nothing but the most grave and
practical subjects of human interest seemed to attract this future
leader of mankind. The fact is that Lord Castleton had been taught
everything that relates to _property_--(a knowledge which embraces a
very wide circumference.) It had been said to him "You will be an
immense proprietor--knowledge is essential to your self-preservation.
You will be puzzled, bubbled, ridiculed, duped every day of your life,
if you do not make yourself acquainted with all by which property is
assailed or defended, impoverished or increased. You have a vast stake
in the country--you must learn all the interests of Europe--nay, of
the civilised world--for those interests react on the country, and the
interests of the country are of the greatest possible consequence to
the interests of the Marquis of Castleton." Thus the state of the
Continent--the policy of Metternich--the condition of the Papacy--the
growth of Dissent--the proper mode of dealing with the general spirit
of Democracy, which was the epidemic of European monarchies--the
relative proportions of the agricultural and manufacturing
population--corn-laws, currency, and the laws that regulate wages--a
criticism on the leading speakers of the House of Commons, with some
discursive observations on the importance of fattening cattle--the
introduction of flax into Ireland--emigration--the condition of the
poor--the doctrines of Mr Owen--the pathology of potatoes; the
connexion between potatoes, pauperism, and patriotism; these, and
suchlike stupendous subjects for reflection--all branching, more or
less intricately, from the single idea of the Castleton property--the
young lord discussed and disposed of in half-a-dozen prim, poised
sentences--evincing, I must say in justice, no inconsiderable
information, and a mighty solemn turn of mind. The oddity was, that
the subjects so selected and treated should not come rather from some
young barrister, or mature political economist, than from so gorgeous
a lily of the field. Of a less man, certainly, one would have
said--"Cleverish, but a prig;" but there really was something so
respectable in a man born to such fortunes, and having nothing to do
but to bask in the sunshine, voluntarily taking such pains with
himself, and condescending to identify his own interests--the
interests of the Castleton property--with the concerns of his lesser
fellow-mortals, that one felt the young marquis had in him the stuff
to become a very considerable man.

Poor Sir Sedley, to whom all these matters were as unfamiliar as the
theology of the Talmud, after some vain efforts to slip the
conversation into easier grooves, fairly gave in, and, with a
compassionate smile on his handsome countenance, took refuge in his
easy-chair and the contemplation of his snuff-box.

At last, to our great relief, the servant announced Lord Castleton's
carriage; and with another speech of overpowering affability to me,
and a cold shake of the hand to Sir Sedley, Lord Castleton went his
way.

The breakfast parlour looked on the street, and I turned mechanically
to the window as Sir Sedley followed his guest out of the room. A
travelling carriage, with four post-horses, was at the door; and a
servant, who looked like a foreigner, was in waiting with his master's
cloak. As I saw Lord Castleton step into the street, and wrap himself
in his costly mantle lined with sables, I observed, more than I had
while he was in the room, the enervate slightness of his frail form,
and the more than paleness of his thin, joyless face; and then,
instead of envy, I felt compassion for the owner of all this pomp and
grandeur--felt that I would not have exchanged my hardy health, and
easy humour, and vivid capacities of enjoyment in things the slightest
and most within the reach of all men, for the wealth and greatness
which that poor youth perhaps deserved the more for putting them so
little to the service of pleasure.

"Well," said Sir Sedley, "and what do you think of him?"

"He is just the sort of man Trevanion would like," said I, evasively.

"That is true," answered Sir Sedley, in a serious tone of voice, and
looking at me somewhat earnestly. "Have you heard?--but no, you cannot
have heard yet."

"Heard what?"

"My dear young friend," said the kindest and most delicate of all fine
gentlemen, sauntering away that he might not observe the emotion he
caused, "Lord Castleton is going to Paris to join the Trevanions. The
object Lady Ellinor has had at heart for many a long year is won, and
our pretty Fanny will be Marchioness of Castleton when her betrothed
is of age--that is, in six months. The two mothers have settled it all
between them!"

I made no answer, but continued to look out of the window.

"This alliance," resumed Sir Sedley, "was all that was wanting to
assure Trevanion's position. When parliament meets, he will have some
great office. Poor man! how I shall pity him! It is extraordinary to
me," continued Sir Sedley, benevolently going on, that I might have
full time to recover myself, "how contagious that disease called
business is in our foggy England! Not only Trevanion, you see, has the
complaint in its very worst and most complicated form, but that poor
dear cousin of mine, who is so young, (here Sir Sedley sighed) and
might enjoy himself so much, is worse than you were when Trevanion was
fagging you to death. But, to be sure, a great name and position, like
Castleton's, must be a very heavy affliction to a conscientious mind.
You see how the sense of its responsibilities has _aged_ him
already--positively, two great wrinkles under his eyes. Well, after
all, I admire him, and respect his tutor: a soil naturally very thin,
I suspect, has been most carefully cultivated; and Castleton, with
Trevanion's help, will be the first man in the peerage--prime-minister
some day, I dare say. And, when I think of it, how grateful I ought to
feel to his father and mother, who produced him quite in their old
age; for, if he had not been born, I should have been the most
miserable of men--yes, positively, that horrible marquisate would have
come to me! I never think over Horace Walpole's regrets, when he got
the earldom of Orford, without the deepest sympathy, and without a
shudder at the thought of what my dear Lady Castleton was kind enough
to save me from--all owing to the Ems waters, after twenty years'
marriage! Well, my young friend, and how are all at home?"

As when, some notable performer not having yet arrived behind the
scenes, or having to change his dress, or not having yet quite
recovered an unlucky extra tumbler of exciting fluids--and the green
curtain has therefore unduly delayed its ascent--you perceive that the
thorough-bass in the orchestra charitably devotes himself to a prelude
of astonishing prolixity, calling in _Lodoiska_ or _Der Freischutz_ to
beguile the time, and allow the procrastinating histrion leisure
sufficient to draw on his flesh-coloured pantaloons, and give himself
the proper complexion for a Coriolanus or Macbeth--even so had Sir
Sedley made that long speech, requiring no rejoinder, till he saw the
time had arrived when he could artfully close with the flourish of a
final interrogative, in order to give poor Pisistratus Caxton all
preparation to compose himself, and step forward. There is certainly
something of exquisite kindness, and thoughtful benevolence, in that
rarest of gifts,--_fine breeding_; and when now, remanned and
resolute, I turned round and saw Sir Sedley's soft blue eye shyly, but
benignantly, turned to me--while, with a grace no other snuff-taker
ever had since the days of Pope, he gently proceeded to refresh
himself by a pinch of the celebrated Beaudesert mixture--I felt my
heart as gratefully moved towards him as if he had conferred on me
some colossal obligation. And this crowning question--"And how are all
at home?" restored me entirely to my self-possession, and for the
moment distracted the bitter current of my thoughts.

I replied by a brief statement of my father's involvement, disguising
our apprehensions as to its extent, speaking of it rather as an
annoyance than a possible cause of ruin, and ended by asking Sir
Sedley to give me the address of Trevanion's lawyer.

The good baronet listened with great attention; and that quick
penetration which belongs to a man of the world enabled him to detect,
that I had smoothed over matters more than became a faithful narrator.

He shook his head, and, seating himself on the sofa, motioned me to
come to his side; then, leaning his arm over my shoulder, he said in
his seductive, winning way--

"We two young fellows should understand each other, when we talk of
money matters. I can say to you what I could not to my respectable
senior--by three years; your excellent father. Frankly, then, I
suspect this is a bad business. I know little about newspapers, except
that I have to subscribe to one in my county, which costs me a small
income; but I know that a London daily paper might ruin a man in a few
weeks. And as for shareholders, my dear Caxton, I was once teased into
being a shareholder in a canal that ran through my property, and
ultimately ran off with £30,000 of it! The other shareholders were all
drowned in the canal, like Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea. But
your father is a great scholar, and must not be plagued with such
matters. I owe him a great deal. He was very kind to me at Cambridge,
and gave me the taste for reading, to which I owe the pleasantest
hours of my life. So, when you and the lawyers have found out what the
extent of the mischief is, you and I must see how we can best settle
it.

"What the deuce! my young friend--I have no 'encumbrances,' as the
servants, with great want of politeness, call wives and children. And
I am not a miserable great landed millionnaire, like that poor dear
Castleton, who owes so many duties to society that he can't spend a
shilling, except in a grand way and purely to benefit the public. So
go, my boy, to Trevanion's lawyer: he is mine too. Clever
fellow--sharp as a needle. Mr Pike, in Great Ormond Street--name on a
brass plate; and when he has settled the amount, we young scapegraces
will help each other, without a word to the old folks."

What good it does to a man, throughout life, to meet kindness and
generosity like this in his youth!

I need not say that I was too faithful a representative of my father's
scholarly pride, and susceptible independence of spirit, to accept
this proposal; and probably Sir Sedley, rich and liberal as he was,
did not dream of the extent to which his proposal might involve him.
But I expressed my gratitude, so as to please and move this last relic
of the De Coverleys, and went from his house straight to Mr Pike's
office, with a little note of introduction from Sir Sedley. I found Mr
Pike exactly the man I had anticipated from Trevanion's
character--short, quick, intelligent, in question and answer;
imposing, and somewhat domineering, in manner--not overcrowded with
business, but with enough for experience and respectability; neither
young nor old; neither a pedantic machine of parchment, nor a jaunty
off-hand coxcomb of West End manners.

"It is an ugly affair," said he, "but one that requires management.
Leave it all in my hands for three days. Don't go near Mr Tibbets, nor
Mr Peck; and on Saturday next, at two o'clock, if you will call here,
you shall know my opinion of the whole matter." With that Mr Pike
glanced at the clock, and I took up my hat and went.

There is no place more delightful than a great capital, if you are
comfortably settled in it--have arranged the methodical disposal of
your time, and know how to take business and pleasure in due
proportions. But a flying visit to a great capital, in an unsettled,
unsatisfactory way--at an inn--an inn in the city, too--with a great
worrying load of business on your mind, of which you are to hear no
more for three days; and an aching, jealous, miserable sorrow at the
heart, such as I had--leaving you no labour to pursue, and no pleasure
that you have the heart to share in--oh, a great capital then is
indeed forlorn, wearisome, and oppressive! It is the Castle of
Indolence, not as Thomson built it, but as Beckford drew in his Hall
of Eblis--a wandering up and down, to and fro--a great awful space,
with your hand pressed to your heart; and--oh for a rush on some
half-tamed horse, through the measureless green wastes of Australia!
That is the place for a man who has no home in the Babel, and whose
hand is ever pressing to his heart, with its dull, burning pain.

Mr Squills decoyed me the second evening into one of the small
theatres; and very heartily did Mr Squills enjoy all he saw, and all
he heard. And while, with a convulsive effort of the jaws, I was
trying to laugh too, suddenly, in one of the actors, who was
performing the worshipful part of a parish beadle, I recognised a face
that I had seen before. Five minutes afterwards, I had disappeared
from the side of Squills, and was amidst that strange world--BEHIND
THE SCENES.

My beadle was much too busy and important to allow me a good
opportunity to accost him, till the piece was over. I then seized hold
of him, as he was amicably sharing a pot of porter with a gentleman in
black shorts and a laced waistcoat, who was to play the part of a
broken-hearted father in the Domestic Drama in Three Acts, that would
conclude the amusements of the evening.

"Excuse me," said I apologetically; "but, as the Swan pertinently
observes,--'Should auld acquaintance be forgot?'"

"The Swan, sir!" cried the beadle aghast--"the Swan never demeaned
himself by such d--d broad Scotch as that!"

"The Tweed has its swans as well as the Avon, Mr Peacock."

"St--st--hush--hush--h--u--sh!" whispered the beadle in great alarm,
and eyeing me, with savage observation, under his corked eyebrows.
Then, taking me, by the arm, he jerked me away. When he had got as far
as the narrow limits of that little stage would allow us, Mr Peacock
said--

"Sir, you have the advantage of me; I don't remember you. Ah! you need
not look!--by gad, sir, I am not to be bullied,--it was all fair play.
If you will play with gentlemen, sir, you must run the consequences."

I hastened to appease the worthy man.

"Indeed, Mr Peacock, if you remember, I refused to play with you; and,
so far from wishing to offend you, I now come on purpose to compliment
you on your excellent acting, and to inquire if you have heard
anything lately of your young friend, Mr Vivian.

"Vivian?--never heard the name, sir. Vivian! Pooh, you are trying to
hoax me; very good."

"I assure you, Mr Peac"--

"St--st--How the deuce did you know that I was once called Peac--that
is, people called me Peac--A friendly nickname, no more--drop it, sir,
or you 'touch me with noble anger!'"

"Well, well; 'the rose, by any name, will smell as sweet,' as the
Swan, this time at least, judiciously observes. But Mr Vivian, too,
seems to have other names at his disposal. I mean a young, dark,
handsome man--or rather boy--with whom I met you in company by the
roadside, one morning."

"O--h!" said Mr Peacock, looking much relieved, "I know whom you mean,
though I don't remember to have had the pleasure of seeing you before.
No; I have not heard anything of the young man lately. I wish I did
know something of him. He was a 'gentleman in my own way.' Sweet Will
has hit him off to a hair!--

    'The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, sword.'

Such a hand with a cue!--you should have seen him seek 'the bubble
reputation at the _cannon's_ mouth!' I may say, (continued Mr Peacock,
emphatically,) that he was a regular trump--trump!" he reiterated with
a start, as if the word had stung him--"trump! he was a BRICK!"

Then fixing his eyes on me, dropping his arms, interlacing his
fingers, in the manner recorded of Talma in the celebrated "Qu'en
dis-tu?" he resumed in a hollow voice, slow and distinct--

"When--saw--you--him,--young m--m--a--n--nnn?"

Finding the tables thus turned on myself, and not willing to give Mr
Peac-- any clue to poor Vivian--who thus appeared, to my great
satisfaction, to have finally dropped an acquaintance more versatile
than reputable--I contrived, by a few evasive sentences, to keep Mr
Peac--'s curiosity at a distance, till he was summoned in haste to
change his attire for the domestic drama. And so we parted.


CHAPTER LVII.

I hate law details as cordially as my readers can, and therefore I
shall content myself with stating that Mr Pike's management, at the
end, not of three days, but of two weeks, was so admirable that Uncle
Jack was drawn out of prison, and my father extracted from all his
liabilities, by a sum two-thirds less than was first startlingly
submitted to our indignant horror--and that, too, in a manner that
would have satisfied the conscience of the most punctilious formalist,
whose contribution to the national fund, for an omitted payment to the
Income Tax. the Chancellor of the Exchequer ever had the honour to
acknowledge. Still the sum was very large in proportion to my poor
father's income; and what with Jack's debts, the claims of the
Anti-Publisher Society's printer--including the very expensive plates
that had been so lavishly bespoken, and in great part completed, for
the _History of Human Error_--and, above all, the liabilities incurred
on _The Capitalist_; what with the _plant_, as Mr Peck technically
phrased a great upas-tree of a total, branching out into types, cases,
printing-presses, engines, &c., all now to be resold at a third of
their value; what with advertisements and bills, that had covered all
the dead walls by which rubbish might be shot, throughout the three
kingdoms; what with the dues of reporters, and salaries of writers,
who had been engaged for a year at least to _The Capitalist_, and
whose claims survived the wretch they had killed and buried; what, in
short, with all that the combined ingenuity of Uncle Jack and printer
Peck could supply for the utter ruin of the Caxton family--even after
all deductions, curtailments, and after all that one could extract in
the way of just contribution from the least unsubstantial of those
shadows called the shareholders--my father's fortune was reduced to
little more than £8000, which being placed at mortgage, at 4 per cent,
yielded just £372, 10s. a-year--enough for my father to live upon, but
not enough to afford also his son Pisistratus the advantages of
education at Trinity College, Cambridge. The blow fell rather upon me
than my father, and my young shoulders bore it without much wincing.

This settled, to our universal satisfaction, I went to pay my farewell
visit to Sir Sedley Beaudesert. He had made much of me, during my stay
in London. I had breakfasted and dined with him pretty often; I had
presented Squills to him, who no sooner set eyes upon that splendid
conformation, than he described his character with the nicest accuracy
as the necessary consequence of such a development for the rosy
pleasures of life, and whose philosophy delighted and consoled Sir
Sedley. We had never once retouched on the subject of Fanny's
marriage, and both of us tacitly avoided even mentioning the
Trevanions. But in this last visit, though he maintained the same
reserve as to Fanny, he referred without scruple to her father.

"Well, my young Athenian," said he, after congratulating me on the
result of the negotiations, and endeavouring again in vain to bear at
least some share in my father's losses--"well, I see I cannot press
this farther; but at least I _can_ press on you any little interest I
may have, in obtaining some appointment for yourself in one of the
public offices. Trevanion could of course be more useful, but I can
understand that he is not the kind of man you would like to apply to."

"Shall I own to you, my dear Sir Sedley, that I have no taste for
official employment? I am too fond of my liberty. Since I have been at
my uncle's old tower, I account for half my character by the
Borderer's blood that is in me. I doubt if I am meant for the life of
cities, and I have odd floating notions in my head, that will serve to
amuse me when I get home, and may settle into schemes. And now, to
change the subject, may I ask what kind of person has succeeded me as
Mr Trevanion's secretary?"

"Why, he has got a broad-shouldered, stooping fellow, in spectacles
and cotton stockings, who has written upon 'Rent,' I believe--an
imaginative treatise in his case, I fear, poor man, for rent is a
thing he could never have received, and not often been trusted to pay.
However, he is one of your political economists, and wants Trevanion
to sell his pictures, as 'unproductive capital.' Less mild than Pope's
Narcissa, 'to make a wash,' he would certainly 'stew a child.' Besides
this official secretary, Trevanion trusts, however, a good deal to a
clever, good-looking young gentleman, who is a great favourite with
him."

"What is his name?"

"His name?--oh, Gower--a natural son, I believe, of one of the Gower
family."

Here two of Sir Sedley's fellow fine gentlemen lounged in, and my
visit ended.


CHAPTER LVIII.

"I swear," cried my uncle, "that it _shall_ be so;" and with a big
frown, and a truculent air, he seized the fatal instrument.

"Indeed, brother, it must not," said my father, laying one pale,
scholar-like hand mildly on Captain Roland's brown, bellicose, and
bony fist; and with the other, outstretched, protecting the menaced,
palpitating victim.

Not a word had my uncle heard of our losses, until they had been
adjusted, and the sum paid; for we all knew that the old tower would
have been gone--sold to some neighbouring squire or jobbing
attorney--at the first impetuous impulse of Uncle Roland's
affectionate generosity. Austin endangered! Austin ruined!--he would
never have rested till he came, cash in hand, to his deliverance.
Therefore, I say, not till all was settled did I write to the Captain,
and tell him gaily what had chanced. And, however light I made of our
misfortunes, the letter brought the Captain to the red brick house the
same evening on which I myself reached it, and about an hour later. My
uncle had not sold the tower, but he came prepared to carry us off to
it _vi et armis_. We must live with him, and on him--let or sell the
brick house, and put out the remnant of my father's income to nurse
and accumulate. And it was on finding my father's resistance stubborn,
and that hitherto he had made no way,--that my uncle, stepping back
into the hall, in which he had left his carpet-bag, &c., returned with
an old oak case, and, touching a spring roller, out flew--the Caxton
pedigree.

Out it flew--covering all the table, and undulating, Nile-like, till
it had spread over books, papers, my mother's work-box, and the
tea-service, (for the table was large and compendious, emblematic of
its owner's mind)--and then, flowing on the carpet, dragged its slow
length along, till it was stopped by the fender.

"Now," said my uncle solemnly, "there never have been but two causes
of difference between you and me, Austin. One is over; why should the
other last? Aha! I know why you hang back; you think that we may
quarrel about it!"

"About what, Roland?"

"About it, I say--and I'll be d--d if we do!" cried my uncle,
reddening, (I never heard him swear before.) "And I have been thinking
a great deal upon the matter, and I have no doubt you are right. So I
brought the old parchment with me, and you shall see me fill up the
blank, just as you would have it. Now, then, you will come and live
with me, and we can never quarrel any more."

Thus saying, Uncle Roland looked round for pen and ink; and, having
found them--not without difficulty, for they had been submerged under
the overflow of the pedigree--he was about to fill up the _lacuna_, or
hiatus, which had given rise to such memorable controversy, with the
name of "William Caxton, printer in the Sanctuary," when my father,
slowly recovering his breath, and aware of his brother's purpose,
intervened. It would have done your heart good to hear them--so
completely, in the inconsistency of human nature, had they changed
sides upon the question--my father now all for Sir William de Caxton,
the hero of Bosworth; my uncle all for the immortal printer. And in
this discussion they grew animated: their eyes sparkled, their voices
rose--Roland's voice deep and thunderous, Austin's sharp and piercing.
Mr Squills stopped his ears. Thus it arrived at that point, when my
uncle doggedly came to the end of all argumentation--"I swear that it
shall be so;" and my father, trying the last resource of pathos,
looked pleadingly into Roland's eyes, and said, with a tone soft as
mercy, "Indeed, brother, it must not." Meanwhile the dry parchment
crisped, creaked, and trembled in every pore of its yellow skin.

"But," said I, coming in, opportunely, like the Horatian deity, "I
don't see that either of you gentlemen has a right so to dispose of my
ancestry. It is quite clear that a man has no possession in posterity.
Posterity may possess him; but deuce a bit will he ever be the better
for his great great-grandchildren!"

SQUILLS.--Hear, hear!

PISISTRATUS--(_warming_.)--But a man's ancestry is a positive property
to him. How much, not only of acres, but of his constitution, his
temper, his conduct, character, and nature, he may inherit from some
progenitor ten times removed! Nay, without that progenitor would he
ever have been born--would a Squills ever have introduced him into the
world, or a nurse ever have carried him _upo kolpo_?

SQUILLS.--Hear, hear!

PISISTRATUS--(_with dignified emotion_)--No man, therefore, has a
right to rob another of a forefather, with a stroke of his pen, from
any motives, howsoever amiable. In the present instance, you will say,
perhaps, that the ancestor in question is apocryphal--it may be the
printer, it may be the knight. Granted; but here, where history is in
fault, shall a mere sentiment decide? While both are doubtful, my
imagination appropriates both. At one time I can reverence industry
and learning in the printer; at another, valour and devotion in the
knight. This kindly doubt gives me two great forefathers; and, through
them, two trains of idea that influence my conduct under different
circumstances. I will not permit you, Captain Roland, to rob me of
either forefather--either train of idea. Leave, then, this sacred void
unfilled, unprofaned; and accept this compromise of chivalrous
courtesy--while my father lives with the Captain, we will believe in
the printer; when away from the Captain, we will stand firm to the
knight."

"Good!" cried Uncle Roland, as I paused, a little out of breath.

"And," said my mother softly, "I do think, Austin, there is a way of
settling the matter which will please all parties. It is quite sad to
think that poor Roland, and dear little Blanche, should be all alone
in the tower; and I am sure that we should be much happier
altogether."

"There!" cried Roland, triumphantly. "If you are not the most
obstinate, hardhearted, unfeeling brute in the world--which I don't
take you to be--brother Austin, after that really beautiful speech of
your wife's, there is not a word to be said farther."

"But we have not yet heard Kitty to the end, Roland."

"I beg your pardon, a thousand times, ma'am--sister," said the
Captain, bowing.

"Well, I was going to add," said my mother, "that we will go and live
with you, Roland, and club our little fortunes together. Blanche and I
will take care of the house, and we shall be just twice as rich
together as we are separately."

"Pretty sort of hospitality that!" grunted the Captain. "I did not
expect you to throw me over in that way. No, no; you must lay by for
the boy there,--what's to become of him?"

"But we shall _all_ lay by for him," said my mother simply; "you as
well as Austin. We shall have more to save, if we have both more to
spend."

"Ah, save!--that is easily said: there would be a pleasure in saving,
then!" said the Captain mournfully.

"And what's to become of me?" cried Squills, very petulantly. "Am I to
be left here, in my old age--not a rational soul to speak to, and no
other place in the village where there's a drop of decent punch to be
had! 'A plague on both your houses'! as the chap said at the theatre
the other night."

"There's room for a doctor in our neighbourhood, Mr Squills," said the
Captain. "The gentleman in your profession who _does for us_, wants, I
know, to sell the business."

"Humph!" said Squills--"a horrible healthy neighbourhood, I suspect!"

"Why, it has that misfortune, Mr Squills; but with your help," said my
uncle slily, "a great alteration for the better may be effected in
that respect."

Mr Squills was about to reply, when ring--a-ting--ring--ting! there
came such a brisk, impatient, make-one's-self-at-home kind of
tintanabular alarum at the great gate, that we all started up and
looked at each other in surprise. Who could it possibly be? We were
not kept long in suspense; for, in another moment, Uncle Jack's voice,
which was always very clear and distinct, pealed through the hall; and
we were still staring at each other when Mr Tibbets, with a bran-new
muffler round his neck, and a peculiarly comfortable, greatcoat--best
double Saxony, equally new--dashed into the room, bringing with him a
very considerable quantity of cold air, which he hastened to thaw,
first in my father's arms, next in my mother's. He then made a rush at
the Captain, who ensconced himself behind the dumb waiter with a "Hem!
Mr--sir--Jack--sir--hem, hem!" Failing there, Mr Tibbets rubbed off
the remaining frost upon his double Saxony against your humble
servant; patted Squills affectionately on the back, and then proceeded
to occupy his favourite position before the fire.

"Took you by surprise, eh?" said Uncle Jack, unpeeling himself by the
hearth-rug. "But no--not by surprise; you must have known Jack's
heart: you at least, Austin Caxton, who know everything--you must have
seen that it overflowed, with the tenderest and most brotherly
emotions; that, once delivered from that cursed Fleet, (you have no
idea what a place it is, sir,) I could not rest, night or day, till I
had flown here--here, to the dear family nest--poor wounded dove that
I am!" added Uncle Jack pathetically, and taking out his
pocket-handkerchief from the double Saxony, which he had now flung
over my father's arm-chair.

Not a word replied to this eloquent address, with its touching
peroration. My mother hung down her pretty head, and looked ashamed.
My uncle retreated quite into the corner, and drew the dumb waiter
after him, so as to establish a complete fortification. Mr Squills
seized the pen that Roland had thrown down, and began mending it
furiously--that is, cutting it into slivers--thereby denoting,
symbolically, how he would like to do with Uncle Jack, could he once
get him safe and snug under his manipular operations. I leant over the
pedigree, and my father rubbed his spectacles.

The silence would have been appalling to another man: nothing appalled
Uncle Jack.

Uncle Jack turned to the fire, and warmed first one foot, then the
other. This comfortable ceremony performed, he again faced the
company--and resumed musingly, and as if answering some imaginary
observations--

"Yes, yes--you are right there--and a deuced unlucky speculation it
proved too. But I was overruled by that fellow Peck. Says I to
him--says I--'_Capitalist!_ pshaw--no popular interest there--it don't
address the great public! Very confined class the capitalists; better
throw ourselves boldly on the people. Yes,' said I, 'call it the
_anti_-Capitalist.' By Jove, sir, we should have carried all before us!
but I was overruled. The _Anti-Capitalist_!--what an idea! Address the
whole reading world then, sir: everybody hates the capitalist--everybody
would have his neighbour's money. The _Anti-Capitalist_!--sir, we should
have gone off, in the manufacturing towns, like wildfire. But what could
I do?"--

"John Tibbets," said my father solemnly, "capitalist or
anti-capitalist, thou hadst a right to follow thine own bent, in
either--but always provided it had been with thine own money. Thou
see'st not the thing, John Tibbets, in the right point of view; and a
little repentance, in the face of those thou hast wronged, would not
have misbecome thy father's son, and thy sister's brother!"--

Never had so severe a rebuke issued from the mild lips of Austin
Caxton; and I raised my eyes with a compassionate thrill, expecting to
see John Tibbets gradually sink and disappear through the carpet.

"Repentance!" cried Uncle Jack, bounding up, as if he had been shot.
"And do you think I have a heart of stone, of pummy-stone!--do you
think I don't repent? I have done nothing but repent--I shall repent
to my dying day."

"Then there is no more to be said, Jack," cried my father, softening,
and holding out his hand.

"Yes!" cried Mr Tibbets, seizing the hand, and pressing it to the heart
he had thus defended from the suspicion of being pummy--"yes--that I
should have trusted that dunder-headed, rascally, curmudgeon Peck: that
I should have let him call it _The Capitalist_, despite all my
convictions, when the _Anti_----"

"Pshaw!" interrupted my father, drawing away his hand.

"John," said my mother gravely, and with tears in her voice, "you
forget who delivered you from prison,--you forget whom you have nearly
consigned to prison yourself,--you forg--"

"Hush, hush!" said my father, "this will never do; and it is you who
forget, my dear, the obligations I owe to Jack. He has reduced my
fortune one half, it is true; but I verily think he has made the three
hearts, in which lie my real treasures, twice as large as they were
before. Pisistratus, my boy, ring the bell."

"My dear Kitty," cried Jack, whimperingly, and stealing up to my
mother, "don't be so hard on me; I thought to make all your
fortunes--I did, indeed."

Here the servant entered.

"See that Mr Tibbets' things are taken up to his room, and that there
is a good fire," said my father.

"And," continued Jack, loftily, "I _will_ make all your fortunes yet.
I have it _here_!" and he struck his head.

"Stay a moment," said my father to the servant, who had got back to
the door. "Stay a moment," said my father, looking extremely
frightened; "perhaps Mr Tibbets may prefer the inn?"

"Austin," said Uncle Jack with emotion, "if I were a dog, with no home
but a dog-kennel, and you came to me for shelter, I would turn out--to
give you the best of the straw!"

My father was thoroughly melted this time.

"Primmins will be sure to see everything is made comfortable for Mr
Tibbets," said he, waving his hand to the servant. "Something nice for
supper, Kitty, my dear--and the largest punch-bowl. You like punch,
Jack?"

"Punch, Austin!" said Uncle Jack, putting his handkerchief to his
eyes.

The Captain pushed aside the dumb waiter, strode across the room, and
shook hands with Uncle Jack; my mother buried her face in her apron,
and fairly ran off; and Squills said in my ear, "It all comes of the
biliary secretions. Nobody could account for this, who did not know
the peculiarly fine organisation of your father's--liver!"

FOOTNOTE:

[4] Tibullus, iii. 4, 55.



M. PRUDHON.--CONTRADICTIONS ECONOMIQUES.[5]


If we wished to convert some inveterate democrat--some one of those
eternal agitators of political and social revolutions--whose
reasonings, though perhaps unconsciously to themselves, are all based
on a far too sanguine view of the probable destinies of human
society--there is no text-book we should more willingly select than
this mad and apparently destructive work of M. Prudhon's. The bold
development of those fundamental truths which have hitherto determined
the framework of society, and, still more, the display it presents of
the utter impotence of the wit of man, and all his speculative
ingenuity, to reshape and reorganise the social world, must have, on
every mind accustomed to reflection, a most sobering and
_conservative_ influence. What it was intended to teach is another
matter; but to a mind well constituted it would convey this grave
lesson--to recognise and submit to the inevitable; to be content to
labour for partial remedies and limited results; to be satisfied with
doing good, though it be something short of organic change; to think
it sufficient ambition to be of that "salt of the earth" which
preserves whatever is pure and excellent, without aspiring to be that
consuming flame which is to fuse and recast the world.

Such was the reflection with which we closed the perusal of the
_Contradictions Economiques_; and this reflection has led us to the
present notice of a work which was not originally taken up with the
intention of bringing it before our readers. We were referred to it as
the work in which a man who has obtained unenviable notoriety had most
systematically developed his ideas. Whether it is so, or not, we do
not pledge ourselves to decide: we have had enough of _Prudhonerie_.
But after a perusal, induced by mere curiosity, it occurred to us that
some brief account of the book, and of the train of thought which it
had suggested to us, and would probably suggest to most English
readers, would not be unacceptable.

It is worthy of remark, that it is not uniformly from the most perfect
works that we derive the greatest stimulant to thinking, or the
largest supply of food for reflection. Many an important step in
intellectual progress has been due to an author, not one of whose
views have been finally adopted, or would have borne perhaps a
searching examination. The startling effect of paradox--the conflict
with it--the perplexing entanglement of known truth with manifest
error,--all this has supplied a more bracing and vigorous exercise for
the mind, than lucid tenets lucidly set forth by writers of
unimpeachable good sense. God forbid that any one should accuse us of
saying, that it is better to read a bad book than a good one; this
would be the greatest of all absurdities; but there are eras in our
mental progress when much is gained by the contest with bold and
subtle fallacies. There is not a book in our own language more replete
with paradox and sophistry, with half truths and tortuous reasonings,
than Godwin's _Political Justice_; yet we doubt not there are those
living who would acknowledge that the perusal of that once, and for a
short time, celebrated treatise, did more, by the incessant combat it
provoked, to make evident to them the real constitution of human
society, than the smooth sagacity of a hundred Paleys could have done.

Indeed, when we compare the _Political Justice_ with the reveries of
Communism, so rife amongst our neighbours, we feel proud of our
English dreamer. Godwin's scheme was somewhat as if one of the ancient
stoics, not content with imposing upon his wise man rules of conduct
quite independent of all human passions and affections, had resolved
that the whole multitude of the species should demean themselves
according to the same impracticable rules, and should learn to live,
and labour, and enjoy, like reasoning automata. Under the light
diffused upon them by the author of the _Political Justice_, men were
to set aside all selfishness--all their natural, and even kindly
affections--and to act in unceasing conformity to certain abstractions
of the reasoning faculty; were, in short, neither to love nor to hate;
but, sitting in eternal judgment over themselves, were simply to
reason and to act. Like the iron figures that formerly stood elevated
above the living crowd of Fleet Street, on either side of the
venerable clock of St Dunstan's, they were to keep their eye fixed on
the dial-plate of a most well-regulated conscience; and ever, as the
hour came round, they were to rise and strike, and then subside into
their metallic repose. Still, however, the great sentiment of justice,
to which Godwin made his appeal, afforded him a far more noble and
manly topic than the affected philanthropy on which so many Frenchmen
have been descanting. Justice, though not understood after the manner
of Mr Godwin, is a sentiment which really lives and moves in the very
heart of society. Men respond to an appeal to their sense of justice;
they become ungovernable if that sense of justice is long outraged;
they work upon this sentiment; they can labour and endure according to
its dictates: but for this philanthropy, or fraternity, of which we
hear so much--what has it ever done? It never regulated the
transactions of a single day; never produced a grain of corn, or a
shred of apparel; produces nothing but theories. It is a vain,
importunate, idle, and clamorous sentiment: it is justice all on one
side; it demands incessantly, it gives never; it has hands to petition
with, to clutch with, to rob with, to murder with, but not to work
with; it has no hand that holds the plough, or strikes upon the anvil.

The _Système des Contradictions Economiques_ may lay claim to the same
sort of praise we have accorded to the _Political Justice_: it prompts
reflection; and a man of intellect sufficiently robust to profit by
such rude gymnastics, will not regret its perusal. It also avoids,
like the work of Godwin, the pernicious cant of universal
philanthropy--pernicious when brought forward as a general motive of
human actions--and looks for a renovation of society in a more
enlightened sentiment of justice--determining anew the value of each
man's labour, and securing to him that value--property being
legitimate only (so far as we can understand our author) when it
contains in it the labour of the proprietor. How Justice is to execute
the task which M. Prudhon, in very vague and mysterious terms, imposes
upon her, we have not the least idea; nor has an attentive perusal of
his book given us the remotest conception of any practical scheme that
he would even make experiment of. But, at all events, it is better to
descant on the energetic sentiment of justice, which desires to earn
and keep its own, than on the idle sublimities of a universal
fraternity--a sentiment which relaxes the springs of industry, by
teaching every man to expect everything from his neighbours, or from
an omnipotent abstraction he calls the state. It is a difference of
some importance, because all these schemes for the renovation of
society do, in fact, end in a sort of moral or immoral preachment.

When we have said thus much, and added that M. Prudhon attacks the
Communists, of all shades and descriptions, in a quite overwhelming
manner, utterly crushing and annihilating them,--we have said the
utmost that can be admitted, or devised, in praise of his work. It
would require a much longer paragraph to exhaust all that might be
justly said in its condemnation. It is strewed over, knee-deep, with
metaphysical trash. It is steeped in atheism, or something worse, and
infinitely more foolish; for there is a pretence of sustaining "the
hypothesis" of a God, for no other ostensible reason than to provide
an object for the blasphemy that follows. The rudest savages, in their
first conception of a God, regard him as an enemy, and offer
sacrifices to propitiate an unprovoked and wanton anger--the reflected
image of their own wild passions. M. Prudhon's philosophy has actually
brought him, in one respect, back to the creed of the savages. He
proves, by some insane process not worth following, that the Creator
of man is essentially opposed to the progress of human society, and is
to be utterly deserted, desecrated, defied. He does not, indeed,
sacrifice, like the savage; he rather talks rebellion, like Satan. No
one would believe, who had not read the book, with what a mixture of
outrage and levity he speaks of the most sacred of all beings: it is
the doctrine of the rebel-fiend taught with the gesticulation of a
satyr.

We shall not quote a single passage to justify this censure, for the
same reason that we should not extract the indecencies of a volume in
order to prove the charge of obscenity. Why should the ear be wounded,
or the mind soiled and disgusted, when no end is answered except the
conviction of an offender who, utterly dead to shame, rejoices to see
his impurities or impieties pitched abroad?

Notwithstanding that formidable appearance of metaphysics to which we
have alluded--his Kant and his Hegel, his thesis, antithesis, and
synthesis, and all his pretensions to extraordinary profundity--it so
happens that the very first elements of that science of political
economy, which he affects to look down upon as from a higher level,
are often miserably misapprehended; or--what is certainly not more to
his credit--they are thrown, for a season, into a wilful oblivion. If
he is discoursing upon the division of labour, and its effect upon the
remuneration of the workman, he ignores, for the time being, the
manifest relation between population and wages, and represents the
wages as decreasing only because the nature of the work required
becomes more and more simple and mechanical. If he is discoursing upon
population, and its pressure upon the means of subsistence, he can
venture to forget the very laws of nature. "You state," he says, "that
population increases in a geometrical ratio--1, 2, 4, 8, 16; well, I
will show that capital and wealth follow a law of progression more
rapid still, of which each term may be considered as the square of the
corresponding number of the geometrical series, as 1, 4, 16, 64,
256."[6] Since all our wealth is derived originally from the soil, man
must, therefore, have it in his power to increase the fertility of the
soil according to the above ratio. It will be something new to our
farmers to learn this.

In compensation, we presume, for this occasional oblivion of the
truisms of political economy--truisms, in fact, of common sense--we
have, here and there, strange and novel definitions and explanations,
ushered in with that pomp which an egotistical Frenchman can alone
display, and turning out to be as idle verbiage as was ever penned.
Take, as the first specimen we can call to mind, the following
definition of labour. We cannot attempt to translate it: the English
language does not easily mould itself to nonsense of this
sort:--"Qu'est-ce donc que le travail? Nul encore ne l'a défini. Le
travail est l'émission de l'esprit. Travailler, c'est dépenser sa
vie; travailler, en un mot, c'est se dévouer, c'est mourir. Que les
utopistes ne nous parlent plus de dévoûment: c'est le travail, exprimé
et mesuré par ses oeuvres."--(Vol. ii., p. 465.) Labour needed to be
defined, it seemed; and this is the definition, "L'émission de
l'esprit!" And in play, then, as well as in work, is there no emission
of the spirits, or mind, or life of the man? Did M. Prudhon never run
a race, or handle a bat at cricket, or ride with the hounds? or can he
not remember that such things _are_, though not in his philosophy? But
dear, inexpressibly dear to M. Prudhon, is every idea of his own that
savours of paradox; and the more it violates common sense, the more
tenderly he clings to it, cherishes, and vaunts it. This, doubtless, is
one of his favourite children. His celebrated aphorism, "La Propriété
c'est le vol,"--he contradicts it himself in every page of his
writings, yet boasts and cherishes it as his greatest possession, and
the most remarkable discovery of the age. "La définition de la
propriété," he says, in answer to a sarcasm of M. Michelet, "est
mienne, et toute mon ambition est de prouver que j'en ai compris le
sens et l'étendue. _La propriété c'est le vol!_ il ne se dit pas, en
mille ans, deux mots comme celui-là. Je n'ai d'autre bien sur la terre
que cette définition de la propriété: mais je la tiens plus précieuse
que les millions des Rothschild, et j'ose dire qu'elle sera l'évènement
le plus considérable du gouvernement de Louis-Philippe."--(Vol. ii., p.
328.)

Even in that tenebrous philosophy which he has imported from Germany,
and which he teaches with such caustic condescension to the political
economists, he is very much at fault. It is always, we know, an
adventurous matter to accuse any one who deals in the idealistic
metaphysics of modern Germany of obscurity, or of imperfect knowledge
of the theories taught in his own school. The man has but to dive into
deeper mud to escape from you. Follow him you assuredly cannot; he is
out of sight, and the thick sediment deters; and thus, in the eyes of
all who are not aware what the capture would cost to any hapless
pursuer, the fugitive is sure of his triumph. Nevertheless, we venture
to assert that M. Prudhon is but a young, and a not very promising
scholar in the philosophy of Kant and of Hegel. Two very manifest
blunders it will be enough to indicate: he assimilates his
_Contradictions Economiques_ to the _Antinomies of the Pure Reason_
developed by Kant; and he confounds Kant with Hegel in a matter where
they are widely opposed, and speaks as if the same law of
contradiction were common to both.

After alluding to some of his own "contradictions," he says, "Tel est
encore le problème de la divisibilité de la matière à l'infini, que
Kant a démontré pouvoir être nié et affirmé, tour-à-tour, par des
arguments également plausibles et irréfutables."--(Vol. i. p. 43.) It
is the object of Kant, in one of the most striking portions of the
_Critique of Pure Reason_, to show that, in certain problems, the mind
is capable of being led with equal force of conviction to directly
opposite conclusions. The pure reason, it seems, gets hold of the
forms of the understanding, and can extract nothing from them but a
series of antinomies, like that which M. Prudhon has alluded to, where
the infinite divisibility of matter is both proved and disproved with
equal success. Now what analogy is there between the contradictions
which M. Prudhon can develop, in any one of our social laws, and the
antinomies of Kant? In these last, two opposite conclusions of
speculative reason are arrived at, which destroy each other; in the
_Contradictions Economiques_, the good and evil flowing from the same
law may very easily co-exist. They affect different persons, or the
same persons at different times. Free competition, for instance, in
trade or manufacture, may be viewed on its bright side as the promoter
of industry and invention; on its dark side as the fomenter of strife,
and the inflicter of injury on those who lose in the game of wealth.
But the benefit and injury arising from this source do not destroy
each other, like the yes and no of an abstract proposition; they can
be balanced against each other; they co-exist, and, for aught we see,
will eternally co-exist. Let them be as strikingly opposed as you
will, they can have nothing in common with the antinomies of Kant. M.
Prudhon proves that there is darkness and brightness scattered over
the surface of society: he does not prove that the same spot, at the
same moment, is both black and white.

From Kant he slides to Hegel, as if their tenets on this subject at
all resembled each other. Kant saw in his contradictions an arrest of
the reason, Hegel the very principle and condition of all thought.
Thought involves contradictions. In the simplest idea, that of being,
is involved the idea of no-being; neither can we think of no-being
without having the idea of being. Now as _thought_ and _thing_ are
identical in the absolute, (this every one knows,) whatever may be
said of the thought may be said of the thing, and hence the celebrated
formula, Being = no being--_sein_ = _nicht sein_--something and
nothing are identical.

As thought and thing are identical in the absolute, logic is a
creation and creation is a logic; thus the metaphysics of Hegel became
a cosmogony in which all things proceed according to the laws of
thought, and are therefore developed in a series of contradictions.
Now let M. Prudhon be as thorough master of the Hegelian logic, or the
Hegelian cosmogony, as he desires to be esteemed, how, in the name of
common sense, can he hope to clear up the difficulties of political
economy by mixing them with a philosophy like this? How will his
thesis and his antithesis help us to adjust the claims between labour
and capital? If he has any adjustment to propose--if he has found what
he calls his synthesis--let us hear it. If the synthesis is only to be
developed in those future evolutions of time, which neither he nor we
can divine, of what use all this angry exposition of the inevitable
_Contradictions_ that mark and constitute the progress of humanity?

Enough of these metaphysics. It was necessary to say this much of the
peculiar form into which M. Prudhon has chosen to cast his thoughts;
but there will be no occasion to allude to it again. Whatever there is
of truth or significance in his work, may easily be transferred into a
language familiar and intelligible to all.

We have eaten, says one, of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, and the taste of them has been thenceforth
invariably blended together. There is a law of compensation--thus
another expresses it--throughout the world, both moral and physical,
by which every evil is balanced by its good, and every good by its
besetting evil. Humanity, says a third, progresses without doubt, and
obtains at each stage a fuller and a higher life; but there is an
original proportion of misery in its lot, from which there is no
escape: this also swells and darkens as we rise. To use the language
of chemistry, you may increase the volume of this ambient life we
breathe, but still, to every one-hundred part of vital air there shall
be added twenty-five of mephitic vapour. All these are different modes
of expressing the homely truth, that a shadow of evil falls even from
the best of things; and it is this truth which is really developed in
the _Contradictions Economiques_.

It is a truth which, at times, it may be very needful fully to
recognise. When men of sincere convictions are found agitating society
for some organic change, their errors may be always traced to an
over-sanguine and one-sided view of the capabilities of man for
happiness. The conservative and the movement parties, philosophically
considered, may be described as branching out of different opinions on
the probable or possible progress of society. The philosophical
conservative has accepted humanity as it is--as, in its great
features, it is exhibited throughout all regions of the earth, and in
the page of history: he hails with welcome every addition to human
happiness; he believes in progress, he derides the notion of
perfectibility,--it is a word he cannot use; he recognises much
happiness coming in to mankind from many and various sources, but
still believes that man will never find himself so content on earth as
to cease looking forward for the complement and perfection of his
felicity to another world. The philosopher of the movement party has
made a sort of religion of his hopes of humanity: he conceives some
ideal state, and anticipates its development _here_; he dismantles
heaven and immortality to furnish out his masquerade on earth; or,
with still vaguer notions, he rushes forward upon reforms that imply,
for their justification, the existence of what never yet was seen--a
temperate and enlightened multitude.

It follows that the conservative has allotted to him the ungracious
and invidious task of discouraging the hopes of a too eager
philanthropy; he is compelled to show, of certain evils, that they are
constantly to be contended against, but never can be eradicated.
Society has been often compared to a pyramid; its broad basis on the
earth, and towering high or not, according as circumstances were
propitious to its formation; but always the broad basis lying on the
earth. He accepts the ancient simile; he recognises the unalterable
pyramid. Without aid of priest or legislator, society assumes this
form; it crystallises thus; higher and higher, broader and broader, it
rises, and extends, but still the lowest stratum is lying close upon
the earth. Will you disguise the fact? It is fruitless, and the
falsehood only recoils upon yourself, rendering what truth you utter
weak and suspicious. Will you strive to make the pyramid stand upon
its apex? It will _not_ stand; and what god or giant have you to hold
it there? Or will you join the madman, who, because the lowest stratum
cannot be made the highest, nor any other but the lowest, would level
the whole pyramid to the ground, and make every part touch the earth?
No; you will do all in your power for that lowest stratum, but you
will not consent that, because all cannot be cultivated and refined,
no one shall have a chance of becoming so. You accept the pyramid.

When M. Prudhon criticises the laws which preside over the production
and distribution of wealth, and shows their twofold and antagonistic
influence, he is but illustrating the inevitable formation of our
pyramid. Let us follow him in a few instances.

_The Division of Labour._--This is the first topic on which our author
descants--the first of our economic laws in which he finds his
contradictions--his two poles of good and evil. On the advantages of
the division of labour, we have but to call to mind the earlier
chapters of Adam Smith, wherein these are so truthfully and vividly
described. Indeed, the least reflection is sufficient to show that, if
each man undertook by his own labour to provide for all his wants, it
would be impossible for society to advance beyond the very rudest form
of existence. One man must be tailor, another shoemaker, another
agriculturist, another artist; and these trades or occupations, to be
brought to perfection, must again be subdivided into different
departments of industry--and one man makes the coat, and another
weaves the cloth, one man makes the shoe, and another dresses the
leather. It is needless to say that these departments are again
divided into an almost infinite number of separate occupations; till,
at length, we find that a man employs his whole day in turning one
thread over another, or in manufacturing the eighteenth part of a pin.

But now, no sooner does this division of employments obtain in
society, than our pyramid begins to form. The man of manual labour
rests still at the basis; he of superior skill, the artist, or the
intellectual workman, rises permanently above him. The more minute
this division of labour, the more simple and mechanical becomes the
labour of the artisan; the education he receives from his employment
becomes more and more limited; he is wanted for so little; he is
esteemed, and, if other circumstances permit, remunerated accordingly.

"Although," says the celebrated economist, J. B. Say, "a man who
performs one operation all his life comes to execute it better and
more rapidly than any other man, yet at the same time he grows less
capable of every other occupation, physical and moral; his other
faculties are extinguished, and there results a degradation to the
human being considered individually. It is a sad account to give of
one's-self to have accomplished nothing but the eighteenth part of a
pin.... In conclusion, it may be said that the separation of labours
is a skilful employment of the force of man--that it increases
prodigiously the products of society--but it destroys something of the
capacity of the individual man."

That this inevitable division and subdivision of labour gives rise to,
and renders permanent, the distinction of classes in a community, is
clear enough. But we do not agree with M. Say, and other economists,
in representing that minute subdivision of labour which accompanies a
very advanced state of civilisation, as peculiarly injurious to the
workman. That degradation of the artisan, which might ensue from the
monotony and triviality of his employment, is counteracted by that
variety of interests which spring up in a civilised community. This
eighteenth part of a pin is not all that educates or engages his mind.
He is not a solitary workman. His file and his wire are not his sole
companions. He has the gossip of his neighbourhood, the politics of
his parish, of his town, of his country--whatever fills the columns of
a newspaper, or gives topic of conversation to a populous city--he
has, at least, all this for intellectual food. The man of handicraft
is educated by the city he lives in, not by his handicraft; and the
humblest artisan feels the influence of that higher civilisation from
which he seems at first to be entirely shut out. Hodge the countryman,
who can sow, and plough, and reap; who understands hedging and
ditching, and the management of sheep; who is accomplished in all
agricultural labours, ought to be, if his daily avocations alone
decided the matter, infinitely superior to the village cobbler, who
travels only from the sole to the upper leather, and who squats
stitching all day long. But the cobbler is generally the more knowing,
and certainly the more talkative man. Hodge himself is the first to
recognise it; for he listens to him at the ale-house, which sometimes
brings them together, as to an oracle of wisdom.

_Machinery._--The benefit derived from machinery needs no explanation.
The more simple order of machines, or instruments--as the plough, the
axe, and the spindle--have never been otherwise considered than as
precious gifts to human industry; and the more complicated machines,
which have been invented in modern times, have no sooner established
themselves, so to speak, in society--have no sooner, at the expense of
some temporary evils, secured themselves a quiet recognised
position--than they, too, have been welcomed in the same character as
signal aids to human industry. But while the machine has added
immensely to the products of labour, it has done nothing to diminish
the class of manual labours. It has done nothing, nor does it seem
probable that it will ever effect anything, towards rendering that
class less requisite or less numerous. On the contrary, it has always,
hitherto, multiplied that class. The machine will not go of itself,
will not manufacture itself, nor keep itself in repair. The human
labourer becomes the slave of the machine. He created it for his
service, and it serves him, but on condition only that he binds
himself to a reciprocal bondage. You spin by a steam-engine, and some
complicated system of reels and pulleys, but the human finger is not
spared--the human volition is still wanted. To manufacture this
machine, to tend it, to govern it--in short, to use it--far more
manual labour is called into requisition than ever turned the simple
spinning-wheel, or teased the flax from the distaff. You have more
garments woven, but the better clad are not exactly those who weave
them. The machine has called into existence, for its own service, an
immense population, ill fed and ill clothed. Our pyramid is extending
at the basis: as it rises higher it is growing broader.

_Money--Capital._--We class these together because they are intimately
connected. Capital is not money, but there would have been little
accumulation of capital but for the use of money.

The youthful student of political economy meets with no chapter in his
books of science so amusing, and so thoroughly convincing, as that
which shows him the utility of money, and the reasons which have led
almost all nations to prefer the precious metals for their instruments
of exchange. Without some such instrument, what is to be done? A man
has made a hat, and wants a pound of butter. He cannot divide his hat:
what would be half a hat? Besides, the man who has the butter does not
want the hat. But the precious metals come in marvellously to his aid.
They are divisible into the smallest portions; they are durable, will
not spoil by keeping; they are of steady value, and will not much
depreciate: if the man of butter does not want them, he can always
find somebody that does; no fear but that they will easily pass from
hand to hand, as each one wishes to barter them for whatever he may
want.

It is generally said, that it is the steadiness of their value that
constituted one chief reason for the selection of gold and silver for
the purposes of money. This is undoubtedly true; but it is also true
(and we do not remember to have heard this previously remarked) that
the use of the precious metals for money has tended to preserve and
perpetuate that steadiness of value. Had gold and silver remained as
simple articles of merchandise, they would probably have suffered
considerable fluctuations in their value from the caprice of fashion
and the altered taste of society. In themselves, they were chiefly
articles of luxury; the employment of them for money made them objects
of indispensable utility.

Money there must be. Yet mark how its introduction tends to destroy
equality, to favour accumulation, to raise the hill and sink the
valley. If men bartered article against article, they would generally
barter in order to consume. But when one of them barters for gold, he
can lay it by; he can postpone at his pleasure the period of
consumption; he can postpone it for the benefit of his issue. The
piece of gold was bought originally with the sweat of his brow; who
shall say that a year, ten years, fifty years hence, he may not
traffic it again for the sweat of the brow? The pieces of gold
accumulate, his children possess them, and now a generation appears on
the face of the earth who have not toiled, who do not toil all their
lives, who are sustained in virtue of the labours of their ancestor.
Their fathers saved, and they enjoy; or they employ a part of the
accumulation in the purchase of the labour of others, by which means
their riches still further increase. The pyramid rises. But the
descendants of those fathers who had consumed the product of their
labour, they bring no postponed claim into the market. These are they
who must sell their labour. They must work for the children of those
who had saved. Our pyramid broadens at the base. This perpetual value
given to money has enabled the man of one generation to tax all
ensuing generations with the support of his offspring. Hence much
good; for hence the leisure that permits the cultivation of the mind,
that fosters art, and refinement, and reflection: we have to notice
here only how inevitably it builds the pyramid.

And now two classes are formed, distinct and far asunder--the
capitalist, and he who works for wages. Comes the social reformer, and
he would restore the equality between them. But how? We will fuse,
says one, the two classes together: they shall carry on their
manufacture in a joint partnership: all shall be partners--all shall
be workmen. But even M. Prudhon will tell us that, if the profits of
the great capitalist were divided equally amongst all the artisans he
employs, each one would find his gains increased by a very little; and
it is morally certain that profits equal to those he had obtained
would never accrue from a partnership of many hundreds of workmen. The
wealth of the country would, therefore, be put in jeopardy, and all
the course of its industry and property deranged, for no end whatever.
At all events, exclaims another, we will reduce the inequality which
we cannot expunge, and put down the enormous and tyrannical
capitalist: we will have a law limiting the fortune of each individual
to so many hundreds or thousands; or, if we allow a man to earn and
appropriate unlimited wealth, we will take care that it shall be
dispersed at his death,--not even to his son shall he be permitted to
bequeath more than a certain sum. But all schemes of this kind can
tend only to equalise the fortunes of the first class--those who
employ labour; they do not affect, in the least, the condition of the
second class--the employed. These will not obtain better wages from
smaller capitalists than from larger. A third--it is M. Prudhon
himself--will have a new law of value established, and a new law of
property. It is labour only that shall give title to property, and the
exchangeable value of every article shall be regulated according to
the labour it may be said to contain: propositions, however, which do
not help us in the least degree, for capital is itself the produce of
labour; its claims, therefore, are legitimate; and the very problem
given is to arbitrate between the claims of capital and labour.

_Rent and Property in Land._--This is the last topic we shall mention.
The absolute necessity of property in land, in order that the soil
should be cultivated, (that is, under any condition in which humanity
has hitherto presented itself,) is a palpable truism. Yet property in
land leads to the exaction of rent--leads to the same division which
we have seen marked out by so many laws between two classes of
society--those who may enjoy leisure, and those who must submit to
labour; classes which are generally distinguished as the rich and
poor, never, we may observe in passing, as the happy and unhappy, for
leisure may be as great a curse as labour.

It is true that large estates in land exist before corresponding
accumulations of capital have been made in commerce, for land is often
seized by the mere right of conquest; but still these large
possessions would certainly arise as a nation increased its wealth.
The man who has cultivated land successfully will add field to field;
and he who has gained a large sum of money by commerce, or
manufacture, will purchase land with it. The fact therefore, that, in
the early period of a nation's history, the soil has been usurped by
conquest, or by the sheer right of the strongest, interferes not at
all with the real nature of that property; as, independently of this
accident of conquest, land would have become portioned in the same
unequal manner by the operation of purely economical causes. Just in
the same way, the fact that warlike nations have subjected their
captives to slavery--imposed the labours of life on slaves--cannot be
said to have had any influence in originating the existence, at the
present time, of a class of working people.

Thus every law of political economy, having, as it were, its two
poles, upwards and downwards, helps to erect our pyramid. Religion,
education, charity, permeate the whole mass, and labour to rectify the
apparent injustice of fortune. Admirable is their influence: but yet
we cannot build on any other model than this.

"Nay, but we can!" exclaim the Communists; and forthwith they project
a complete demolition of the old pyramid, and the erection of a series
of parallelogram palaces, all level with the earth, and palace every
inch of them.

We have said that M. Prudhon is a formidable adversary of these
Communists--the more formidable from the having himself no great
attachment to "things as they are." His exposition of the manifold
absurdities and self-contradictions into which they fall, may possibly
render good service to his countrymen. Especially we were glad to see,
that on the subject of marriage he is quite sound. No one could more
distinctly perceive, or more forcibly state, the intimate connexion
that lies between property and marriage. "Mais, c'est surtout dans la
famille que se decouvre le sens profond de la propriété. La famille et
la propriété marchent de front, appuyées l'une sur l'autre, n'ayant
l'une et l'autre de signification, et de valeur, que par le rapport
qui les unit. Avec la propriété commence le rôle de la femme. Le
ménage--cette chose toute idéale, et que l'on s'efforce en vain de
rendre ridicule--le ménage est le royaume de la femme, le monument de
la famille. Otez le ménage, otez cette pierre du foyer, centre
d'attraction des époux, il reste des couples, il n'y a plus de
familles."--(Vol. ii. 253.)

In this country, happily, it would be superfluous--a mere slaying of
the slain--to expose the folly of these Utopias. Utopias indeed!--that
would deprive men of personal liberty, of domestic affection, of
everything that is most valued in life, to shut them up in a strange
building which is to be palace, prison, and workhouse, all in one;
which must have a good deal of the workhouse, if it has anything of
the palace, and will probably have more of the prison in it than
either.

Briefly, the case may be stated thus:--The _cost_ of such a community
would be liberty, marriage, enterprise, hope, and generosity--for,
under such an institution, what could any man have to give or receive?
The _gain_ would be task-work for all, board and lodging for all, and
a shameless sensuality; the working-bell, the dinner-bell, and the
curfew. It would be a sacrifice of all that is high, ennobling, and
spiritual, to all that is material, animal, and vile.

But if men think otherwise of the fraternal community--if they think
that, because philanthropy presides, or seems to preside, over its
formation, that therefore philanthropy will continue to animate all
its daily functions--why do they not voluntarily unite and form this
community? They are fond of quoting the example of the early
Christians; these were really under the influence of a fraternal
sentiment, and _acted_ on it: let them do likewise, there is nothing
to prevent them. But no: the French Socialist sees in imagination a
whole state working for him; he has no idea of commencing by
practising the stern virtues of industry, and abstinence, and
fortitude. His mode of thinking is this--a certain being called
Society is to do everything _for him_--at the cost, perhaps, of some
slight service rendered upon his part. If he is poor, it is society
that keeps him so; if he is vicious, it is society that makes him
so--upon society rest all our crimes, and devolve all our duties.

There lies the great mischief of promulgating these impracticable
theories of Communism. All is taught as being done for the individual.
The egregious error is committed of trusting all to a certain
organisation of society, which is to be a substitute for the moral
efforts of individual man. Patience, fortitude, self-sacrifice, a high
sense of imperative duty, are supposed to be rendered unnecessary in a
scheme of things which, if it were possible, would require these
virtues in a pre-eminent degree. The virtuous enthusiast would find
himself, indeed, utterly mistaken--the stage which he thought prepared
for the exhibition of the serenest virtues, would be a scene given up
to mere animal life: but still, if he limited himself to the teaching
of these virtues--of a godlike temperance, and a perpetual
self-negation--it is not probable, indeed, that he would find many
disciples; neither is it easy to see that any great mischief could
ensue. Every community, where possessions have been in common, which
has at all succeeded, has been sustained by religious zeal--the most
potent of all sentiments, and one extraneous to the framework of
society. French Communism is the product of idleness and sensuality,
provoked into ferocity by commercial distress; clamouring for means of
self-indulgence _from the state_, and prepared to extort its claim by
any amount of massacre.

Thus we have shown that the work of M. Prudhon, with its
_contradictions_, or laws of good and of evil, tends but to illustrate
the inevitable rise and unalterable nature of our social pyramid. This
was our object, and here must end our present labours on M. Prudhon.
If our readers are disappointed that they have not heard more of his
own schemes for the better construction of society--that they have not
learned more of the mystery concealed under the famous paradox that
has been blown about by all the winds of heaven--_la propriété c'est
le vol!_--we can only say that we have not learned more ourselves.
Moreover, we are fully persuaded he has nothing to teach. All his
strength lies in exposing evils he cannot remedy, and destroying the
schemes of greater quacks than himself. That property itself is not
the subject of his attack, but the mode in which that property is
determined, is all that we can gather. The value of every object of
exchange is to be determined by the labour bestowed upon it; and the
property in it, we presume, is to be decreed to him whose labour has
been bestowed. But capital has been justly defined as accumulated
labour; he who supplies capital supplies labour. We are brought back,
therefore, to the old difficulty of adjusting (by any other standard
than the relative proportion which capital and labour bear at any time
in the market) the claims of capital and labour. Any such equitable
adjustment, by a legislative interference, we may safely pronounce to
be impossible.

FOOTNOTES:

[5] _Système des Contradictions Economiques; ou Philosophie de la
Misère._ Par J. P. PRUDHON.

[6] Vol. ii., p. 461.



THE GREEN HAND.

A "SHORT" YARN.--PART II.


We left the forecastle group of the "Gloucester" disappointed by the
abrupt departure of their story-teller, Old Jack, at so critical a
thread of his yarn. As old Jacobs went aft on the quarter-deck, where
the binnacle-lamp before her wheel was newly lighted, he looked in
with a seaman's instinct upon the compass-boxes, to see how the ship
headed; ere ascending to the poop, he bestowed an approving nod upon
his friend the steersman, hitched up his trousers, wiped his mouth
with the back of his hand in a proper deference to female society, and
then proceeded to answer the captain's summons. The passengers, in a
body, had left the grand cabin to the bustling steward and his boys,
previously to assembling there again for tea--not even excepting the
little coterie of inveterate whist-players, and the pairs of
inseparable chess-men, to whom an Indian voyage is so appropriately
the school for future nice practice in etiquette, war, and commerce.
Everybody had at last got rid of sea-sickness, and mustered for a
promenade; so that the lofty poop of the Indiaman, dusky as it was,
and exposed to the breeze, fluttered with gay dresses like the midway
battlement of a castle by the waves, upon which its inmates have
stolen out from some hot festivity. But the long heave from below,
raising her stern-end slowly against the western space of
clear-obscure, in the manner characteristic of a sea abaft the beam,
and rolling her to either hand, exhibited to the eyes on the
forecastle a sort of _alto-relievo_ of figures, amongst whom the male,
in their blank attempts to appear nautical before the ladies, were
distinguished from every other object by their variety of ridiculous
postures. Under care of one or two bluff, good-humoured young
mates--officers polished by previous opportunities of a kind unknown
either to navy-men or mere "cargo-fenders," along with several roguish
little quasi-midshipmen--the ladies were supported against the
poop-rail, or seated on the after-gratings, where their contented
dependence not only saved them from the ludicrous failures of their
fellow-passengers, but gained them, especially the young ones, the
credit of being better sailors. An accompaniment was contributed to
this lively exercise on the part of the gentlemen promenaders, which
otherwise, in the glimmering sea-twilight, would have been striking in
a different sense; by the efforts, namely, of a little band of amateur
musicians under the break of the poop, who, with flute, clarionet,
bugles, trombone, and violin, after sundry practisings by stealth, had
for the first time assembled to play "Rule Britannia." What, indeed,
with the occasional abrupt checks, wild flourishes, and fantastic
variations caused by the ship's roll; and what with the attitudes
overhead, of holding on refractory hats and caps, of intensely
resisting and staggering legs, or of sudden pausing above the slope
which one moment before was an ascent, there was additional force in
the designation quaintly given to such an aspect of things by the
fore-mast Jacks--that of "a cuddy jig." As the still-increasing
motion, however, shook into side-places this central group of cadets,
civilians, and planters adrift, the grander features of the scene
predominated: the broad mass of the ship's hull--looming now across
and now athwart the streak of sinking light behind--drawn out by the
weltering outline of the waters; the entire length of her white decks,
ever and anon exposed to view, with their parallel lines, their
nautical appurtenances, the cluster of hardy men about the windlass,
the two or three "old salts" rolling to and fro along the gangway, and
the variety of forms blending into both railings of the poop. High out
of, and over all, rose the lofty upper outline of the noble ship,
statelier and statelier as the dusk closed in about her--the expanse
of canvass whitening with sharper edge upon the gloom; the hauled-up
clues of the main-course, with their huge blocks, swelling and lifting
to the fair wind--and the breasts of the topsails divided by their
tightened bunt-lines, like the shape of some full-bosomed maiden, on
which the reef-points heaved like silken fringes, as if three sisters,
shadowy and goddess-like, trod in each other's steps towards the
deeper solitude of the ocean; while the tall spars, the interlacing
complicated tracery, and the dark top-hamper showing between, gave
graceful unity to her figure; and her three white trucks, far
overhead, kept describing a small clear arc upon the deep blue zenith
as she rolled: the man at the wheel midway before the doors of the
poop-cabin, with the light of the binnacle upon his broad throat and
bearded chin, was looking aloft at a single star that had come out
beyond the clue of the main-topsail.

The last stroke of "six bells" or seven o'clock, which had begun to be
struck on the ship's bell when Old Jack broke off his story, still
lingered on the ear as he brought up close to the starboard
quarter-gallery, where a little green shed or pent-house afforded
support and shelter to the ladies with the captain. The erect figure
of the latter, as he lightly held one of his fair guests by the arm,
while pointing out to her some object astern, still retained the
attitude which had last caught the eyes of the forecastle group. The
musical cadets had just begun to pass from "Rule Britannia" to "Shades
of Evening;" and the old sailor, with his glazed hat in his hand,
stood waiting respectfully for the captain's notice. The ladies,
however, were gazing intently down upon the vessel's wake, where the
vast shapes of the waves now sank down into a hollow, now rose
seething up into the rudder-trunk, but all marked throughout with one
broad winding track, where the huge body of the ship had swiftly
passed. From foaming whiteness it melted into yesty green, that became
in the hollow a path of soft light, where the sparks mingled like
golden seed; the wave-tops glimmered beyond: star-like figures floated
up or sank in their long undulations; and the broad swell that heaped
itself on a sudden under the mounting stern bore its bells, and
bubbles, and flashes, upwards to the eye. When the ship rose high and
steady upon it, and one saw down her massy taffrail, it looked to a
terrestrial eye rather like some mystic current issuing from the
archway under a tall tower, whose foundations rocked and heaved: and
so said the romantic girl beside the captain, shuddering at the
vividness of an image which so incongruously brought together the
fathomless deep and the distant shores of solid old England. The eye
of the seaman, however, suggested to him an image more akin to the
profession, as he directed his fair companion's attention to the
trough of the ship's furrow, where, against the last low gleam of
twilight, and by the luminous wake, could be seen a little flock of
black petrels, apparently running along it to catch what the mighty
ploughshare had turned up; while a gray gull or two hovered aslant
over them in the blue haze. As he looked round, too, to aloft, he
exchanged glances with the old sailor who had listened--an expression
which even the ladies understood. "Ah! Jacobs,"--said the captain,
"get the lamp lighted in my cabin, and the tea-kettle aft. With the
roll she has on her, 'twill be more ship-shape there than in the
cuddy." "Ay, ay, sir," said the old seaman. "How does she head just
now, Jacobs?" "Sou'-west and by south, sir." "She'd lie easier for the
ladies though," said the captain, knowing his steward was a favourite
with them, "were the wind a point or two less fair. Our old
acquaintance Captain Williamson, of the Seringapatam now, Jacobs,
old-fashioned as he was, would have braced in his lee-yards only to
steady a lady's tea-cup." "Ay, your honour," replied Jacobs, and his
weather eye twinkled, "and washed the fok'sle under, too! But ye know,
sir, he'd got a reg'lar-built Nabob aboard, and a beauty besides!"
"Ah, Mr Jacobs!" exclaimed the romantic young lady, "what was that? Is
it one of your stories?" "Well, your ladyship, 'tis a bit of a yarn,
no doubt, and some'at of a cur'ous one." "Oh!" said another of the
captain's fair protégées, "I _do_ love these 'yarns,' as you call
them; they are so expressive, so--and all that sort of thing!"
"Nonsense, my love," said her mother; "you don't understand them, and
'tis better you should not,--they are low, and contain a great many
bad words, I fear." "But think of the imagination, aunt," rejoined
the other girl, "and the adventures! Oh, the ocean of all places for
that! Were it not for sea-sickness, I should dote upon it! As for the
_storm_ just now, look how safe we are,--and see how the dear old ship
rises up from the billows, with all her sails so delightfully
mysterious one over another!" "Bless your heart, ma'rm, yes,"
responded Old Jack, chuckling; "you talks just like a seaman, beggin'
your pardon. As consarns the tea, sir, I make bould to expect the'll
be a shift o' wind directly, and a slant deck, as soon as we get fair
into the stream, rid o' this bit of a bubble the tail of it kicks up
hereabouts." "Bear a hand, then, Jacobs," said the captain, "and see
all right below for the party in the cabin,--we shall be down in a few
minutes." The captain stood up on the quarter-gallery, to peer round
into the dusk and watch the lifting of the main-royal; but the next
minute he called to the ladies, and their next neighbours, to look
towards the larboard bow, and see the moon rise. A long edge of gray
haze lay around the eastern horizon, on which the dark rim of the sea
was defined beyond the roll of the waves, as with the sweep of a soft
brush dipped in indigo; while to westward it heaved up, weltering in
its own watery light against the gloom. From behind this low fringe of
vapour was silently diffusing, as it were, a pool of faint radiance,
like a brook babbling from under ice; a thread of silver ran along the
line of haze, growing keener at one point, until the arch of the moon
shot slowly up, broad and fair; the wave-heads rising between were
crested here and there with light; the bow of the ship, the bellies of
her fore-canvass, her bowsprit with the jibs hanging idly over it, and
the figure-head beneath, were tinged by a gentle lustre, while the
hollow shadows stole out behind. The distant horizon, meanwhile, still
lay in an obscure streak, which blended into the dark side of the low
fog-bank, so as to give sea and cloud united the momentary appearance
of one of those long rollers that turn over on a beach, with their
glittering crest: you would expect to see next instant what actually
seemed to take place--the whole outline plashing over in foam, and
spreading itself clearly forward, as soon as the moon was free. With
the airy space that flowed from her came out the whole eastern
sea-board, liquid and distinct, as if beyond either bow of the lifting
Indiaman one sharp finger of a pair of compasses had flashed round,
drawing a semicircle upon the dull background, still cloudy,
glimmering, and obscure. From the waves that undulated towards her
stern, the ship was apparently entering upon a smoother zone, where
the small surges leapt up and danced in moonshine, resembling more the
current of some estuary in a full tide. To north-westward, just on the
skirts of the dark, one wing of a large, soft-gray vapour was newly
smitten by the moon-gleam; and over against it on the south-east,
where the long fog-bank sank away, there stretched an expanse of ocean
which, on its farthest verge, gave out a tint of the most delicate
opal blue. The ship, to the south-westward of the Azores, and going
large before the trade-wind, was now passing into the great Gulf
Stream which there runs to the south-east; even the passengers on deck
were sensible of the rapid transition with which the lately cold
breeze became warmer and fitful, and the motion of the vessel easier.
They were surprised, on looking into the waves alongside, to perceive
them struggling, as it were, under a trailing net-work of sea-weed;
which, as far as one could distinctly see, appeared to keep down the
masses of water like so much oil--flattening their crests,
neutralising the force of the wind, and communicating a strangely
sombre green to the heaving element. In the winding track of the
ship's wake the eddies now absolutely blazed: the weeds she had
crushed down rose to the surface again in gurgling circles of flame,
and the showers of sparks came up seething on either side amongst the
stalks and leaves: but as the moonlight grew more equally diffused it
was evident she was only piercing an arm of that local weed-bed here
formed, like an island, in the _bight_ of the stream. Farther ahead
were scattered patches and bunches of the true Florida Gulf-weed,
white and moss-like; which, shining crisp in the level moonlight, and
tipping the surges as it floated past, gave them the aspect of
hoary-bearded waves, or the garlanded horses of Neptune. The sight
still detained the captain's party on deck, and some of the ladies
innocently thought these phenomena indicative of the proximity of
land.

"I have seldom seen the Stream so distinct hereabouts," said Captain
Collins to his first officer, who stood near, having charge of the
watch. "Nor I, sir," replied the chief mate; "but it no doubt narrows
with different seasons. There goes a flap of the fore-topsail, though!
The wind fails, sir." "'Tis only drawing ahead, I think," said the
captain; "the stream _sucks_ the wind with its heat, and we shall have
it pretty near from due nor'-west immediately." "Shall we round in on
the starboard hand, then, sir, and keep both wind and current _aft_?"
"I think not, Mr Wood," said the captain. "'Twould give us a good three
knots more every hour of the next twenty-four, sir," persisted the
first officer eagerly--and chief mates generally confine their theories
to mere immediate progress. "Yes," rejoined the captain, "but we should
lose hold of the 'trade' on getting out of the stream again. I intend
driving her across, with the nor'wester on her starboard beam, so as to
lie well up afterwards. Get the yards braced to larboard as you catch
the breeze, Mr Wood, and make her course south-west by west." "Very
well, sir." "Ladies," said the captain, "will you allow me to hand you
below, where I fear Jacobs will be impatient with the tea?" "What a
pity, Captain Collins," remarked the romantic Miss Alicia, looking up
as they descended the companion--"what a pity that you cannot have that
delicious moonlight to shine in at your cabin windows just now; the
sailors yonder have it all to themselves." "There is no favour in these
things at sea, Miss Alicia," said the captain, smiling. "Jack shares
the chance there, at least, with his betters; but I can promise those
who honour my poor suite this evening both fine moonshine and a
steadier floor." On reaching the snug little after-cabin, with its
swinging lamp and barometer, its side "state-room," seven feet long,
and its two stern-windows showing a dark glimpse of the rolling waters,
they found the tea-things set, nautical style, on the hard-a-weather,
boxed-up table--the surgeon and one or two elderly gentlemen waiting,
and old Jacobs still trimming up the sperm-oil light. Mrs St Clair,
presiding in virtue of relationship to their host, was still cautiously
pouring out the requisite half-cups, when, above all the bustle and
clatter in the cuddy, could be heard the sounds of ropes thrown down on
deck, of the trampling watch, and the stentorian voice of the first
officer. "Jacobs!" said the captain, a minute or two afterwards; and
that worthy factotum instantly appeared from his pantry alongside of
the door--from whence, by the way, the old seaman might be privy to the
whole conversation--"stand by to _dowse_ the lamp when she heels," an
order purposely mysterious to all else but the doctor. Every one soon
felt a change in the movement of their wave-borne habitation; the
rolling lift of her stern ceased; those who were looking into their
cups saw the tea apparently take a decided inclination to larboard--as
the facetious doctor observed, a "tendency to _port_." The floor
gradually sloped down to the same hand, and a long, wild, gurgling wash
was suddenly heard to run careering past the timbers of the starboard
side. "Dear me!" fervently exclaimed every lady at once; when the very
next moment the lamp went out, and all was darkness. Captain Collins
felt a little hand clutch his arm in nervous terror, but the fair owner
of it said nothing; until, with still more startling effect than
before, in a few seconds there shot through both stern-windows the full
rays of the moon, pouring their radiance into the cabin, shining on the
backs of the books in the hanging shelves by the bulkhead, on the faces
of the party, and the bald forehead of old Jacobs "standing by" the
lamp,--lastly, too, revealing the pretty little Alicia with her hand on
the captain's arm, and her pale terrified face. "Don't be alarmed,
ladies!" said the surgeon, "she's only hauled on the starboard tack!"
"And her counter to the east," said the captain.

"But who the dev--old gentleman, I mean--put out the lamp?" rejoined
the doctor. "Ah,--I see sir!--'But when the moon, refulgent lamp of
night.'" "Such a surprise!" exclaimed the ladies, laughing, although
as much frightened for a moment by the magical illumination as by the
previous circumstances. "You see," said the captain, "we are not like
a house,--we can bring round our scenery to any window we choose."
"Very prettily imagined it was, too, I declare!" observed a stout old
Bombay officer, "and a fine compliment to the ladies, by Jove, sir!"
"If we had any of your pompous Bengal '_Quy hies_' here though,
colonel," said the doctor, "they wouldn't stand being choused so
unceremoniously out of the weather-side, I suspect." "As to the
agreeable little surprise I meant for the ladies," said Captain
Collins, "I fear it was done awkwardly, never having commanded an
_Indiaman_ before, and laid up ashore this half-a-dozen years. But
one's old feelings get freshened up, and without knowing the old
Gloucester's points, I can't help reckoning her as a lady too,--a very
particular old 'Begum,' that won't let any one else be humoured before
herself,--especially as I took charge of her to oblige a friend." "How
easily she goes now!" said the doctor, "and a gallant sight at this
moment, I assure you, to any one who chooses to put his head up the
companion." "Ah, mamma!" said one of the girls, "couldn't you almost
think this was our own little parlour at home, with the moonlight
coming through the window on both sides of the old elm, where we were
sitting a month ago hearing about India and papa?"

"Ah!" responded her cousin, standing up, "but there was no track of
moonshine dancing beyond the track of the ship yonder! How blue the
water is, and how much warmer it has grown of a sudden!"

"We are crossing the great Gulf Stream!" said the captain,--"Jacobs!
open one of the stern-ports." "'Tis the very place and time, this is,"
remarked a good-humoured cotton-grower from the Deckan, "for one of
the colonel's tiger-hunts, now!" "Sir!" answered the old officer,
rather testily, "I am not accustomed to thrust my _tiger-hunts_, as
you choose to call my humble experiences, under people's noses!"
"Certainly not, my dear sir," said the planter,--"but what do you say,
ladies, to one of the captain's sea-yarns, then? Nothing better, I'm
sure, here and now, sir--eh?" Captain Collins smiled, and said he had
never spun a yarn in his life, except when a boy, out of
matter-of-fact old junk and tar. "Here is my steward, however,"
continued he, "who is the best hand at it I know,--and I daresay he'll
give you one." "Charming!" exclaimed the young ladies; and "What was
that adventure, Mr Jacobs," said Miss Alicia, "with a beauty and a
Nabob in it, that you alluded to a short time ago?" "I didn't to say
disactly include upon it, your ladyship," replied old Jacobs, with a
tug of his hair, and a bow not just _à la maître_; "but the captain
can give you it better nor I can, seeing as his honur were the Nero on
it, as one may say." "Oh!" said the surgeon, rubbing his hands "a lady
and a rupee-eater in the case!" "Curious stories, there _are_, too,"
remarked the colonel, "of those serpents of nautch-girls, and rich
fools they've managed to entangle. As for beauty, sir, they have the
devil's, and they'd melt the 'Honourable John's' own revenue! I know a
very sensible man,--shan't mention his name,--but made of rupees, and
a regular _beebee-hater_,--saw one of these--" "Hush, hush, my dear
sir!" interrupted the planter, winking and gesticulating; "very good
for the weather poop,--but presence of ladies!"--"For which I'm not
fit, you'd say, sir?" inquired the colonel, firing up again. "Oh! oh!
you know, colonel!" said the unlucky planter, deprecatingly. "But a
_godown_[7] of best 'Banda' to a cowrie now, the sailor makes his
beauty a complete Nourmahal, with rose-lips and moon-eyes,--and his
Nabob a _jehan punneh_,[8] with a _crore_, besides diamonds. 'Twould
be worth hearing, especially from a lascar. For, 'twixt you and I,
colonel, we know how rare it is to hear of a man who saves his _lac_,
now-a-days, with Yankees in the market, no Nawaubs to fight, and
reform in _cutcheries_[9]!" "There seems something curious about this
said adventure of yours, my dear captain," said Mrs St Clair,
archly,--"and a Beauty too! It makes me positively inquisitive, but I
hope your fair lady has heard the story?" "Why, not exactly, ma'am,"
replied Captain Collins, laughing as he caught the doctor looking
preternaturally solemn, after a sly lee-wink to the colonel; who,
having his back to the moonlight, stretched out his legs and indulged
in a grim, silent chuckle, until his royal-tiger countenance was
unhappily brought so far _flush_[10] in the rays as to betray a
singular daguerreotype, resembling one of those cut-paper
phantasmagoria thrown on a drawing-room wall, unmistakably black and
white, and in the character of Malicious Watchfulness. The rubicund,
fidgety little cotton-grower twiddled his thumbs, and looked modestly
down on the deck, with half-shut eyes, as if expecting some bold
revelation of nautical depravity; while the romantic Miss Alicia
coloured and was silent. "However," said the captain, coolly, "it is
no matrimonial secret, at any rate! We both think of it when we read
the Church Service of a Sunday night at home, with Jacobs for the
clerk." "Do, Mr Jacobs, oblige us!" requested the younger of the
girls. "Well, Miss," said he, smoothing down his hair in the doorway,
and hemming, "'Tan't neither for the likes o' me to refuse a lady, nor
accordin' to rules for to give such a yarn in presence of a supperior
officer, much less the captain,--with a midship helm, ye know marm, ye
carn't haul upon one tack nor the other. Not to say but next forenoon
watch----" "I see, Jacobs, my man," interrupted Captain Collins,
"there's nothing for it but to fore-reach upon you, or else you'll be
'Green-Handing' me aft as well as forward; so I must just make the
best of it, and take the _winch_ in my own fashion at once!" "Ay, ay,
sir--ay, ay, your honour!" said Old Jack demurely, and concealing his
gratification as he turned off into the pantry, with the idea of for
the first time hearing the captain relate the incidents in question.
"My old shipmate," said the latter, "is so fond of having trained his
future captain, that it is his utmost delight to spin out everything
we ever met with together into one endless yarn, which would go on
from our first acquaintance to the present day, although no ship's
company ever heard the last of it. Without falling knowingly to
leeward of the truth, he makes out every lucky coincidence, almost, to
have been a feat of mine, and puts in little fancies of his own, so as
to give the whole thing more and more of a marvellous air, the farther
it goes. The most amusing thing is, that he almost always begins each
time, I believe, at the very beginning, like a capstan without a
paul--sticking in one thing he had forgot before, and forgetting
another; sometimes dwelling longer on one part--a good deal like a
ship making the same voyages over again. I knew, now, this evening,
when I heard the men laughing, and saw Old Jack on the forecastle,
what must be in the wind. However, we have shared so many chances, and
I respect the old man so much, not to speak of his having dandled my
little girls on his knee, and being butler, steward, and
flower-gardener at home, that I can't really be angry at him, in spite
of the sort of every man's rope he makes of me!" "How very amusing a
character he is!" said one young lady. "A thought too tarry, perhaps?"
suggested the surgeon. "So very original and like a--seaman!" remarked
Miss Alicia, quietly, but as if some other word that crossed her mind
had been rejected, as descriptive of a different variety, probably
higher. "_Original_, by Jove!" exclaimed the colonel; "if my
_Khansa-man_, or my _Abdar_,[11] were to make such a dancing dervish
and _tumasha_[12] of me behind back, by the holy Vishnu, sir, I'd
rattan him myself within an inch of his life!" "Not an unlikely thing,
colonel," put in the planter; "I've caught the scoundrels at that
trick before now." "What did you do?" inquired the colonel,
speculatively. "Couldn't help laughing, for my soul, sir; the
_puckree bund_[13] rascals did it so well, and so funnily!" The
irascible East-Indian almost started up in his imaginative fury, to
call for his palkee, and chastise his whole verandah, when the doctor
reminded him it was a long way there. "Glorious East!" exclaimed the
medico, looking out astern, "where we may cane our footmen, and
whence, meanwhile, we can derive such Sanscrit-sounding adjurations,
with such fine moonlight!"

The presence of the first officer was now added to the party, who came
down for a cup of tea, fresh from duty, and flavouring strongly of a
pilot cheroot. "How does she head, Mr Wood?" asked the captain.
"Sou'-west by west, sir,--a splendid night, under everything that will
draw,--spray up to the starboard cat-head!"

"But as to this story, again, Captain Collins?" said Mrs St Clair, as
soon as she had poured out the chief mate's cup. "Well," said the
captain, "if you choose to listen till bedtime to a plain draught of
the affair, why I suppose I must tell it you; and what remains then
may stand over till next fine night. It _may_ look a little romantic,
being in the days when most people are such themselves; but at any
rate, we sailors--or else we should never have been at sea, you know:
and so you'll allow for that, and a spice to boot of what we used to
call at sea 'love-making;' happily there were no soft speeches in it,
like those in books, for then I shouldn't tell it at all.

By the time I was twenty-four, I had been nine years at sea, and, at
the end of the war, was third lieutenant of a crack twenty-eight, the
saucy Iris--as perfect a sloop-model, though over-sparred certainly, as
ever was cased off the ways at Chatham, or careened to a north-easter.
The Admiralty had learnt to build by that day, and a glorious ship she
was, _made_ for going after the small fry of privateers, pirates, and
slavers, that swarmed about the time. Though I had roughed it in all
sorts of craft, from a first-rate to a dirty French lugger prize, and
had been eastward, so as to see the sea in its pride at the Pacific,
yet the feeling you have depends on the kind of ship you are in. I
never knew so well what it was to be fond of a ship and the sea; and
when I heard of the poor Iris, that had never been used to anything but
blue water on three parts of the horizon at least, laying her bones not
long after near Wicklow Head, I couldn't help a gulp in the throat. I
once dreamt I had gone down in her, and risen again to the surface with
the _loss of something_ in my brain; while, at the same moment, there I
was, still sitting below on a locker in the wardroom, with the arms of
her beautiful figure-head round me, and her mermaid's tail like the
best-bower cable, with an anchor at the end of it far away out of
soundings, over which I bobbed and dipped for years and years, in all
weathers, like a buoy. We had no Mediterranean time of it, though, in
the Iris, off the Guinea coast, from Cape Palmas to Cape Negro: looking
out to windward for white squalls, and to leeward for black ones, and
inshore for Spanish cattle-dealers, as we called them, had made us all
as sharp as so many marlin-spikes; and our captain was a man that
taught us seamanship, with a trick or two beyond. The slavers had not
got to be so clever then, either, with their schooners and clippers;
they built for stowage, and took the chance, so that we sent in _bale_
after bale to the West India Admiral, made money, and enjoyed ourselves
now and then at the Cape de Verds. However, this kind of thing was so
popular at home, as pickings after the great haul was over, that the
Iris had to give up her station to a post-frigate, and be paid off. The
war was over, and nobody could expect to be promoted without a friend
near the blue table-cloth, although a quiet hint to a secretary's palm
would work wonders, if strong enough. But most of such lucky fellows as
ourselves dissipated their funds in blazing away at balls and parties,
where the gold band was everything, and the ladies wore blue ribbons
and anchor brooches in honour of the navy. The men spent everything in
a fortnight, even to their clothes, and had little more chance of
eating the king's biscuit with hopes of prize-money; I used to see
knots of them, in red shirts and dirty slops, amongst the fore-mast
Jacks in outwardbound ships, dropping past Greenwich, and waving their
hats to the Hospital. You knew them at once by one of them giving the
song for the topsail halliards, instead of the merchantmen's bull's
chorus: indeed, I could always pick off the dashing man-o'-war's men,
by face and eye alone, out from among the others, who looked as sober
and solitary, with their serious faces and way of going about a thing,
as if every one of them was the whole crew. I once read a bit of poetry
called the "Ancient Mariner," to old Jacobs, who by the bye is
something of a breed betwixt the two kinds, and his remark was--"That
old chap warn't used to hoisting all together with a run, your honour!
By his looks, I'd say he was bred where there was few in a watch, and
the watch-tackle laid out pretty often for an eke to drag down the
fore-tack."

As I was riding down to Croydon in Surrey, where my mother and sister
had gone to live, I fell in with a sample of the hard shifts the
men-o-war's-men were put to in getting across from harbour to some
merchant port, when all their earnings were chucked away. It was at a
little town called Bromley, where I brought to by the door of a tavern
and had a drink for the horse, with a bottle of cider for myself at
the open window, the afternoon being hot. There was a crowd of
townspeople at the other end of the street, country bumpkins and
boys--women looking out at the windows, dogs barking, and children
shouting--the whole concern bearing down upon us.

"What's all this?" said I to the ostler.

"Don't know, sir," said he, scratching his head; "'tis very hodd, sir!
That corner _is_ rather a sharp turn for the coach, sir, and she do
sometimes run over a child there, or somethink. But 'taint her time
yet! Nothink else hever 'appens 'ere, sir."

As soon as I could hear or see distinctly for the confusion, I observed
the magnet of it to be a party of five or six regular blue-jackets, a
good deal battered in their rig, who were roaring out sea-songs in
grand style as they came along, leading what I thought at first was a
bear. The chief words I heard were what I knew well. "We'll disregard
their tommy-hawks, likewise their scalping-knifes--and fight alongside
of our mates to save our precious lives--like British tars and
souldiers in the North Americay!"

On getting abreast of the inn-door, and finding an offing with good
holding-ground, I suppose, they hove to and struck up the "Buffalo,"
that finest of chaunts for the weather forecastle with a spanking
breeze, outward bound, and the pilot lately dropped--

    "Come all you young men and maidens, that _wishes_ for to sail,
    And I will let you hear of where you must a-roam!
    We'll embark into a ship which her taups'ls is let fall,
    And all unto an ileyand where we never will go home!
    Especiallye you _ladies_ that's inclined for to rove--
    There's _fishes_ in the sea, my love--likewise the buck an' doe,
    We'll lie down--on the _banks_--of yon pleasant shadye gro-ove,
    Through the wild woods we'll wander and we'll chase the
            Buffalo--ho--ho--we'll
    Chase the BuffalO!"

I really couldn't help laughing to see the slapping big-bearded
fellows, like so many foretopmen, showing off in this manner--one
mahogany-faced thorough-bred leading, the rest thundering in at the
chorus, with tremendous stress on the 'Lo-ho-ho,' that made the good
Bromley folks gape. As to singing for money, however, I knew no true
tar with his members whole would do it; and I supposed it to be merely
some 'spree ashore,' until the curious-looking object from behind was
lugged forward by a couple of ropes, proving to be a human figure
about six feet high, with a rough canvass cover as far as the knees.
What with three holes at the face, and the strange colour of the legs,
which were bare--with the pair of turned-up India shoes, and the whole
shape like a walking smoke-funnel over a ship's caboose--I was puzzled
what they would be at. The leading tar immediately took off his hat,
waved it round for a clear space, and gave a hem while he pointed to
the mysterious creature. "Now, my lads!" said he, "this here
wonderful bein' is a savitch we brought aboard of us from the Andyman
Isles, where he was caught one mornin' paddling round the ship in a
canoe made out of the bark of a sartain tree. Bein' the ownly spice of
the sort brought to this country as yet is, and we havin' run short of
the needful to take us to the next port, we expects every lady and
gemman as has the wherewithal, will give us a lift, by consideration
of this same cur'ous sight, and doesn't----" "Heave ahead, Tom, lad!"
said another encouragingly, as the sailor brought up fairly out of
breath--"Doesn't want no man's money for nou't d'ye see, but all fair
an' above board. We're not agoin' to show this here sight excep' you
makes up half-a-guinea amongst ye--arter that, all hands may see
shot-free--them's the articles!" "Ay, ay, Tom, well said, old ship!"
observed the rest; and, after a considerable clinking of coin amongst
the crowd, the required sum was poured, in pence and sixpences, into
Tom's hat. "All right!" said he, as soon as he had counted it,--"hoist
away the tarpaulin, mates!" For my part, I was rather surprised at the
rare appearance of this said savage, when his cover was off--his legs
and arms naked, his face streaked with yellow, and both parts the
colour of red boom-varnish; his red hair done up in a tuft, with
feathers all round it, and a bright feather-tippet over his shoulders,
as he stood, six feet in his yellow slippers, and looking sulkily
enough at the people. "Bobbery puckalow!" said the nautical
head-showman, and all at once up jumped the Andaman islander, dancing
furiously, holding a little Indian _punkah_ over his head, and
flourishing with the other hand what reminded me strongly of a ship's
top-maul--shouting "Goor--goor--gooree!" while two of the sailors held
on by the ropes. The crowd made plenty of room, and Tom proceeded to
explain to them very civilly, that "in them parts 'twas so hot the
natives wouldn't fight, save under a portable awning." Having
exhibited the points of their extraordinary savage, he was calmed
again by another uncouth word of command, when the man-o'-war's-man
attempted a further _traverse_ on the good Bromley folks, for which I
gave him great credit. "Now, my lads and lasses," said he, taking off
his hat again, "I s'pose you're all British subjects and Englishmen!"
at which there was a murmur of applause. "Very good, mates all!"
continued the foretopman approvingly.--"Then, in course, ye knows as
how whatsomever touches British ground is _free_!" "Britons never,
never shall be slaves!" sung out a boy, and the screaming and
hurrahing was universal. Tom stuck his tongue in his cheek to his
messmates, and went on,--"Though we was all pressed ourselves, and has
knocked about in sarvice of our king and country, an' bein' poor men,
we honours the flag, my lads!" "Hoorah! hoorah! hoorr-ray!" "So you
see, gemmen, my shipmates an' me has come to the resolve of lettin'
this here wild savidge go free into the woods,--though, bein' poor
men, d'ye see, we hopes ye'll make it up to us a bit first! What d'ye
say, all hands?--slump together for the other guinea, will ye, and off
he goes this minute,--and d---- the odds! Eh? what d'ye say,
shipmates?" "Ay, ay, Tom, sink the damage too!" said his comrades;
"we'll always get a berth at Blackwall, again!"

"Stand by to ease off his tow-lines, then," said Tom,--"now look sharp
with the shiners there, my lads--ownly a guinea!" "No! no!" murmured
the townspeople,--"send for the constable!--we'll all be scalped and
murdered in our beds!--no, no, for God's sake, mister sailors!" A
grocer ran out of his door to beg the tars wouldn't think of such a
thing, and the village constable came shoving himself in, with the
beadle. "Come, come," said the constable in a soothing style, while
the beadle tried to look big and blustering, "you musn't do it, my
good men,--not on no desideration, _here_,--in his majesty's name!
Take un on to the next parish!--I horder all good subjects to resist
me!" "_What!_" growled the foretopman, with an air of supreme disgust,
"han't ye no feelin's for liberty hereaway? Parish be blowed! Bill, my
lad, let go his moorings, and give the poor devil his nat'ral
freedom!" "I'm right down ashamed on my country," said Bill. "Hullo,
shipmates, cast off at once, an' never mind the loss,--I hasn't slept
easy myself sin' he wor cotched!" "Nor me either," said another, "but
I'm feared he'll play the devil when he's loose, mate."

I had been watching the affair all this time from inside, a good deal
amused, in those days, at the trick--especially so well carried out as
it was by the sailors. "Here, my fine fellows," said I at last, "bring
him in, if you please, and let me have a look at him." Next minute in
came the whole party, and, supposing from my dress that I was merely a
long-shore traveller, they put their savage through his dance with
great vigour. "Wonderful tame he's got, your honour!" said the
top-man; "it's nothing to what he does if you freshens his nip." "What
does he eat?" I asked, pretending not to understand the hint. "Why,
nought to speak on, sir," said he; "but we wonst lost a boy doorin'
the cruise, nobody know'd how--though 'twas thought he went o'board,
some on us had our doubts." "Curiously tatooed, too," I said; "I
should like to examine his arm." "A bit obstropolous he is, your
honour, if you handles him!" "Never mind," said I, getting up and
seizing the wrist of the Andaman islander, in spite of his grins; and
my suspicions were immediately fulfilled by seeing a whole range of
familiar devices marked in blue on the fellow's arm--amongst them an
anchor with a heart transfixed by a harpoon, on one side the word
"Sal," and on the other "R.O. 1811." "Where did you steal this
top-maul, you rascal?" said I, coolly looking in his face; while I
noticed one of the men overhauling me suspiciously out of his
weather-eye, and sidling to the door. "I didn't stale it at all!"
exclaimed the savage, giving his red head a scratch, "'twas Bill Green
there--by japers! whack, pillalew, mates, I'm done!" "Lord! oh Lord!"
said Bill himself, quite crestfallen, "if I didn't think 'twas him!
We're all pressed again, mates! It's _the_ leftenant!" "Pressed, bo'?"
said Tom; "more luck, I wish we was--but they wouldn't take ye now for
a bounty, ye know." Here I was fain to slack down and give a hearty
laugh, particularly at recognising Bill, who had been a shipmate of
Jacobs and myself in the old Pandora, and was nicknamed "Green"--I
believe from a little adventure of ours--so I gave the men a guinea
a-piece to carry them on. "Long life to your honour!" said they; and
said Tom, "If I might make so bould, sir, if your honour has got a
ship yet, we all knows ye, sir, and we'd enter, if 'twas for the North
Pole itself!" "No, my lad," said I, "I'm sorry to say I have not got
so far yet. Dykes, my man, can you tell me where your old messmate
Jacobs has got to?" "Why, sir," replied Bill, "I did hear he was
livin' at Wapping with his wife, where we means to give him a call,
too, sir." "Good day, your honour!" said all of them, as they put on
their hats to go, and covered their curiosity again with his
tarpaulin. "I'm blessed, Bill," said Tom, "but we'll knock off this
here carrivanning now, and put before the wind for Blackwall." "Won't
you give your savage his freedom, then," I asked. "Sartinly, your
honour," replied the roguish foretopman, his eye twinkling as he saw
that I enjoyed the joke. "Now, Mick, my lad, ye must run like the
devil so soon as we casts ye off!" "Oh, by the powers, thry me!" said
the Irishman; "I'm tired o' this cannible minnatchery! By the holy
mouse, though, I must have a dhrop o' dew in me, or I'll fall!" Mick
accordingly swigged off a noggin of gin, and declared himself ready to
start. "Head due nor'-east from the sun, Mick, and we'll pick you up
in the woods, and rig you out all square again," said the captain of
the gang, before presenting himself to the mob outside. "Now, gemmen
and ladies all," said the sailor coolly, "ye see we're bent on givin'
this here poor unfort'nate his liberty--an' bein' tould we've got the
law on our side, why, we means to do it. More by token, there's a
leftenant in the Roy'l Navy aboard there, as has made up the little
salvage-money, bein' poor men, orderin' us for to do it--so look out!
If ye only gives him a clear offing, he'll not do no harm. Steady,
Bill--slack off the starboard sheet, Jack--let go--all!" "Oh!
oh!--no! no!--for God's sake!" screamed the bystanders, as they
scuttled off to both hands--"shame! shame!--knock un down! catch
un!--tipstaff! beadle!" "Hurrah!" roared the boys, and off went Mick
O'Hooney in fine style, flourishing his top-maul, with a wild
"hullaloo," right away over a fence, into a garden, and across a field
towards the nearest wood. Everybody fell out of his way as he dashed
on; then some running after him, dogs barking, and the whole of the
seamen giving chase with their tarpaulins in their hands, as if to
drive him far enough into the country. The whole scene was extremely
rich, seen through the open air from the tavern window, where I sat
laughing, till the tears came into my eyes, at Jack-tars' roguishness
and the stupefied Kent rustics, as they looked to each other; then at
the sailors rolling away full speed along the edge of the plantation
where the outlandish creature had disappeared; and, lastly, at the
canvass cover which lay on the spot where he had stood. They were
actually consulting how to guard against possible inroads from the
savage at night, since he might be lurking near, when I mounted and
rode off; I daresay even their hearing that I was a live and real
lieutenant would cap the whole story.

Croydon is a pretty, retired little town, so quiet and old-fashioned
that I enjoyed the unusual rest in it, and the very look of the canal,
the marketplace, the old English trees and people--by comparison with
even the Iris's white decks, and her circumference of a prospect,
different as it was every morning or hour of the day. My mother and my
sister Jane were so kind--they petted me so, and were so happy to have
me down to breakfast and out walking, even to feel the smell of my
cigar,--that I hardly knew where I was. I gave them an account of the
places I had seen, with a few tremendous storms and a frigate-fight or
two, instead of the horse-marine stories about mermaids and flying
Dutchmen I used to pass upon them when a conceited youngster. Little
Jane would listen with her ear to a large shell, when we were upon sea
matters, and shut her eyes, saying she could fancy the thing so
perfectly in that way. Or was it about India, there was a painted
sandal-wood fan carved in open-work like the finest lace, which she
would spread over her face, because the seeing through it, and its
scent, made her feel as if she were in the tropics. As for my mother,
good simple woman, she was always between astonishment and horror,
never having believed that lieutenants would be so heartless as to
masthead a midshipman for the drunkenness of a boat's crew, nor being
able to understand why, with a gale brewing to seaward, a captain
tried to get his ship as far as he could from land. The idea of my
going to sea again never entered her head, the terrible war being
over, and the rank I had gained being invariably explained to visiters
as at least equal to that of a captain amongst soldiers. To the
present day, this is the point with respect to seafaring matters on
which my venerated and worthy parent is clearest: she will take off
her gold spectacles, smoothing down her silver hair with the other
hand, and lay down the law as to reform in naval titles, showing that
my captain's commission puts me on a level with a military colonel.
However, as usual, I got tired by little and little of this sort of
thing; I fancy there's some peculiar disease gets into a sailor's
brain that makes him uneasy with a firm floor and no offing beyond;
certainly the country about Croydon was to my mind, at that time, the
worst possible,--all shut in, narrow lanes, high hedges and orchards,
no sky except overhead, and no horizon. If I could only have got a
hill, there would have been some relief in having a look-out from it.
Money I didn't need; and as for fame or rank, I neither had the
ambition, nor did I ever fancy myself intended for an admiral or a
Nelson: all my wish was to be up and driving about, on account of
something that was _within_ me. I enjoyed a good breeze as some do
champagne; and the very perfection of glory, to my thinking, was to be
the soul of a gallant ship in a regular Atlantic howler; or to play at
long bowls with one's match to leeward, off the ridges of a sea, with
both weather and the enemy to think of. Accordingly, I wasn't at all
inclined to go jogging along in one of your easy merchantmen, where
you have nothing new to find out; and I only waited to hear from some
friends who were bestirring themselves with the Board, of a ship where
there might be something to do. These were my notions in those days,
before getting sobered down, which I tell you for the sake of not
seeming such a fool in this said adventure.

Well, one evening my sister Jane and I went to a race-ball at Epsom,
where, of course, we saw all the "beauty and fashion," as they say, of
the country round, with plenty of the army men, who were in all their
glory, with Waterloo and all that; we two or three poor nauticals being
quite looked down upon in comparison, since Nelson was dead, and we had
left nothing at the end to fight with. I even heard one belle ask a
dragoon "what uniform that was--was it the horse-artillery corps?"
"Haw!" said the dragoon, squinting at me through an eyeglass, and then
looking with one eye at his spurs and with the other at his partner,
"Not at all sure! I _do_ think, after all, Miss ----, 'tis the--the
marine body,--a sort of amphibious animals! They weren't with _us_,
though, you know,--_couldn't_ be, indeed, though it _was_ _Water_-loo!
Haw! haw! you'll excuse the joke, Miss ----?" "Ha! ha! how extremely
witty, Captain ----!" said the young lady, and they whirled away
towards the other end of the hall. But, had there been an opportunity,
by the honour of the flag, and nothing personal, I declare I should
have done--what the fool deserved,--had it been before all his brethren
and the Duke himself! It was not ten minutes after, that I saw what I
thought the loveliest young creature ever crossed my eyes, coming out
of the refreshment-room with two ladies, an old and an elderly one. The
first was richly dressed, and I set her down for an aunt, she was so
unlike; the other for a governess. The young lady was near sixteen to
appearance, dressed in white. There were many beauties in the ball-room
you would have called handsomer; but there was something about her
altogether I could compare to nothing else but the white figure-head of
the Iris, sliding gently along in the first curl of a breeze, with the
morning-sky far out on the bow,--curious as you may think it, ladies!
Her hair was brown, and her complexion remarkably pale notwithstanding;
while her eyes were as dark-blue, too, as--as the ocean near the line,
that sometimes, in a clear calm, gets to melt till you scarcely know it
from the sky. "Look, Edward!" whispered my sister, "what a pretty
creature! She can't be English, she looks so different from everybody
in the room! And such diamonds in her hair! such a beautifully large
pearl in her brooch! Who can she be, I wonder?" I was so taken up,
however, that I never recollected at all what Jane said till at night,
in thinking the matter over; and then a whole breeze of whisperings
seemingly came from every corner of the bedroom, of "Who is she!" "Who
can she be?" "Who's her father?" and so on, which I remembered to have
heard. I only noticed at the time that somebody said she was the
daughter of some rich East India Nabob or other, just come home. I had
actually forgot about the young dragoon I meant to find out again,
until a post-captain who was present--one of Collingwood's
flag-lieutenants--went up to the old _chaperone_, whom he seemed to
know, and got into talk with her; I found afterwards she was an
admiral's widow. In a little I saw him introduced to the young lady,
and ask her to dance; I fancied she hung back for a moment, but the
next she bowed, gave a slight smile to the captain's gallant
sea-fashion of deep respect to the sex, and they were soon gliding away
in the first set. Her dancing was more like walking with spread wings
upon air, than upon planks with one's arms out, as the captain did. I'd
have given my eyes, not to speak of my commission and chances to come,
to have gone through that figure with _her_. When the captain had
handed her to her seat again, two or three of the dragoons sauntered up
to Lady Somers's sofa: it was plain they were taken; and after
conversing with the old lady, one of them, Lord somebody I understood,
got introduced, in his turn, to the young beauty. As may be supposed, I
kept a look-out for his asking her to dance, seeing that, if she had
done so with one of the embroidered crew, and their clattering gear,
I'd have gone out that instant, found out the Waterloo fellow next day,
and, if not shot myself, shot him with an anchor button for a bullet,
and run off in the first craft I could get. The cool, easy, cursed
impertinent way this second man made his request, though--just as if he
couldn't be refused, and didn't care about it--it was as different from
the captain of the Diomede's as red from blue! My heart went like the
main-tack blocks, thrashing when you luff too much; so you may guess
what I felt to see the young lady, who was leaning back on the sofa,
give her head a pettish sort of turn to the old one, without a
word,--as much as to say she didn't want to. "My love!" I heard the old
lady say, "I fear you are tired! My lord, your lordship must excuse
Miss Hyde on this occasion, as she is delicate!" The dragoon was a
polite nobleman, according to his cloth; so he kept on talking and
smiling, till he could walk off without seeming as if he'd got his
sabre betwixt his feet; but I fancied him a little down by the head
when he did go. All the time, the young beauty was sitting with her
face as quiet and indifferent as may be, only there was a sparkle in
her blue eyes, and in nothing else but the diamonds in her hair, as she
looked on at the dancing; and, to my eye, there was a touch of the rose
came out on her cheek, clear pale though it was before the dragoon
spoke to her. Not long after, an oldish gentleman came out with a
gray-haired old general from the refreshment-room: a thin,
yellow-complexioned man he was, with no whiskers and a bald forehead,
and a bilious eye, but handsome, and his face as grand and solemn
looking as if he'd been First Lord, or had got a whole court-martial on
his shoulders for next day. I should have known him from a thousand for
a man that had lived in the East, were it nothing but the quick way he
looked over his shoulder for a servant or two, when he wanted his
carriage called--no doubt just as one feels when he forgets he's
ashore, like I did every now and then, looking up out to windward, and
getting a garden-wall or a wood slap into one's eyesight, as 'twere. I
laid down the old gentleman at once for this said Nabob; in fact, as
soon as a footman told him his carriage was waiting, he walked up to
the young lady and her companions, and went off with them, a steward
and a lady patroness convoying them to the break of the steps. The only
notion that ran in my head, on the way home that night with my sister,
was, "By heavens! I might just as well be in love with the bit of sky
at the end of the flying-jib-boom!" and all the while, the confounded
wheels kept droning it into me, till I was as dizzy as the first time I
looked over the fore-royal-yard. The whole night long I dreamt I was
mad after the figure-head of the Iris, and asked her to dance with me,
on which she turned round with a look as cold as water, or plain "No."
At last I caught firm hold of her and jumped overboard; and next moment
we were heaving on the blue swell in sight of the black old Guinea
coast--when round turned the figure, and changed into Miss Hyde; and
the old Nabob hauled us ashore upon a beautiful island, where I woke
and thought I was wanted on deck, although it was only my mother
calling me.

All I had found out about them was, that Sir Charles Hyde was the name
of the East Indian, and how he was a Bengal judge newly come home;
where they lived, nobody at the ball seemed to know. At home, of
course, it was so absurd to think of getting acquaintance with a rich
Indian judge and his daughter, that I said no more of the matter;
although I looked so foolish and care-about-nothing, I suppose, that
my mother said to Jane she was sure I wanted to go to sea again, and
even urged me to "take a trip to the Downs, perhaps." As for going to
sea, however, I felt I could no more stir _then_, from where I was,
than with a best-bower down, and all hands drunk but the captain.
There was a favourite lazy spot of mine near the house, where I used
to lie after dinner, and smoke amongst the grass, at the back of a
high garden-wall with two doors in it, and a plank across a little
brook running close under them. All round was a green paddock for
cows; there was a tall tree at hand, which I climbed now and then
half-mast high, to get a look down a long lane that ran level to the
sky, and gave you a sharp gush of blue from the far end. Being a
luxurious dog in those days, like the cloth in general when hung up
ashore, I used to call it "The Idler's Walk," and "The Lazy Watch,"
where I did duty somewhat like the famous bo'sun that told his boy to
call him every night and say the captain wanted him, when he turned
over with a polite message, and no good to the old tyrant's eyes.

Well, one afternoon I was stretched on the softest bit of this
retreat, feeling unhappy all over, and trying to think of nothing
particular, as I looked at the wall and smoked my cheroot. Excuse me
if I think that, so far as I remember, there is nothing so
consolatory, though it can't of course cure one, as a fine Manilla for
the "green sickness," as our fore-mast fellows would say. My main idea
was, that nothing on earth could turn up to get me out of this scrape,
but I should stick eternally, with my head-sails shivering aback, or
flapping in a sickening dead calm. It was a beautiful hot summer
afternoon, as quiet as possible, and I was weary to death of seeing
that shadow of the branch lying against the white wall, down to the
keyhole of the nearest door. All of a sudden I heard the sweetest
voice imaginable, coming down the garden as it were, singing a verse
of a Hindostanee song I had heard the Bengal girls chant with their
pitchers on their heads at the well, of an evening,--

    "'La li ta la, ta perisi,
    La na comalay ah sahm-rè,
    Madna, ca--rahm
    Ram li ta, co-ca-la lir jhi!
    La li ta la, vanga-la ta perisi.'"

"Coc-coka-cokatoo!" screamed a harsh voice, which I certainly could
distinguish from the first. "Pretty cockatoo!" said the other
coaxingly; and next minute the large pink-flushed bird itself popped
his head over the top-stones above the door, floundering about with
his throat foul of the silver chain fast to his leg, till he hung by
his beak on my side of the wall, half choked, and trying to croak out
"Pretty--pretty cocky!" Before I had time to think, the door opened,
and, by heavens! there was my very charmer herself, with the shade of
the green leaves showered over her alarmed face. She had scarcely seen
me before I sprang up and caught the cockatoo, which bit me like an
imp incarnate, till the blood ran down my fingers as I handed it to
its mistress, my heart in my mouth, and more than a quarter-deck bow
in my cap. The young lady looked at me first in surprise, as may be
supposed, and then, with a smile of thanks that set my brain all
afloat, "Oh, dear me!" exclaimed she, "you are hurt!" "_Hurt!_" I
said, looking so bewildered, I suppose, that she couldn't help
laughing. "Tippoo is very stupid," continued she, smiling, "because he
is out of his own country, I think. You shall have no sugar to-night,
cockatoo, for biting your friends."

"Were you--ever in India--madam?" I stammered out. "Not since I was a
child," she answered; but just then I saw the figure of the Nabob
sauntering down the garden, and said I had particular business, and
must be off. "You are very busy here, sir?" said the charming young
creature archly. "You are longing till you go to sea, I daresay--like
Tippoo and me." "You!" said I, staring at the keyhole, whilst she
caught my eye, and blushed a little, as I thought. "Yes, we are
going--I long to see India again, and I remember the sea too, like a
dream."

Oh heavens! thought I, when I heard the old gentleman call out, "Lota!
Lota _beebee-lee_! _Kabultah, meetoowah?_"[14] and away she vanished
behind the door, with a smile to myself. The tone of the Judge's
voice, and his speaking Hindoo, showed he was fond of his daughter at
any rate. Off I went, too, as much confused as before, only for the
new thought in my head. "The sea, the sea!" I shouted, as soon as out
of hearing, and felt the wind, as 'twere, coming from aft at last,
like the first ripple. "Yes, by George!" said I, "outward bound for a
thousand. I'll go, if it was before the mast." All at once I
remembered I didn't know the ship's name, or when. Next day, and the
next again, I was skulking about my old place, but nobody
appeared--not so much as a shadow inside the keyhole. At last one
evening, just as I was going away, the door opened; I sauntered slowly
along, when, instead of the charming Lota, out came the flat brown
turban of an ugly _kitmagar_, with a mustache, looking round to see
who was there. "_Salaam_, sah 'b," said the brown fellow, holding the
door behind him with one paw. "_Burra judge sahib bhote bhote salaam_
send uppiser[15] sah 'b--'ope not _dekhe_[16] after sahib cook-maid."
"_Joot baht, hurkut-jee_,"[17] said I, laughing. "Sah 'b been _my_
coontree?" inquired the Bengalee more politely. "_Jee_, yes," I said,
wishing to draw him out. "I Inglitch can is-peek," continued the dark
footman, conceitedly; "ver well sah 'b, but one _damned_ misfortune us
for come i-here. Baud _carry_ make--plenty too much _poork_--too much
graug drink. Turmeric--chili--banana not got--not coco-tree got--pah!
Baud coontree, too much i-cold, sah 'b?" "Curse the rascal's
impudence," I thought, but I asked him if he wasn't going back. "Yis,
sah 'b, _such baht_[18] A-il-alàh! Mohummud _burra Meer-kea_. Bote too
much i-smell _my_ coontree." "When are you going?" I asked carelessly.
"Two day this time, sah 'b." "Can you tell me the name of the ship?" I
went on. The Kitmagar looked at me slyly, stroked his mustache, and
meditated; after which he squinted at me again, and his lips opened so
as to form the magic word, "_Buckshish?_" "_Jee_," said I, holding out
a crown-piece, "the ship's name and the harbour?" "Se," began he; the
coin touched his palm,--"ring;" his fingers closed on it, and
"Patahm," dropped from his leathery lips. "The Seringapatam?" I said.
"_Ahn_, sah 'b." "London, eh?" I added; to which he returned another
reluctant assent, as if it wasn't paid for, and I walked off. However,
I had not got round the corner before I noticed the figure of the old
gentleman himself looking after me from the doorway; his worthy
Kitmagar salaaming to the ground, and no doubt giving information how
the "cheep uppiser" had tried to pump him to no purpose. The Nabob
looked plainly as suspicious as if I had wanted to break into his
house, since he held his hand over his eyes to watch me out of sight.

At night, I told my mother and sister I should be off to London next
day, for sea. What betwixt their vexation at losing me, and their
satisfaction to see me more cheerful, with talking over matters, we
sat up half the night. I was so ashamed, though, to tell them what I
intended, considering what a fool's chase it would seem to any one but
myself, that I kept all close; and, I am sorry to say, I was so full
of my love-affair, with the wild adventure of it, the sea, and
everything besides, as not to feel their anxiety enough. How it was to
turn out I didn't know; but somehow or other I was resolved I'd
contrive to make a rope if I couldn't find one: at the worst, I might
carry the ship, gain over the men, or turn pirate and discover an
island. Early in the morning I packed my traps, drew a cheque for my
prize-money, got the coach, and bowled off for London, to knock up Bob
Jacobs, my sea godfather; this being the very first step, as it seemed
to me, in making the plan feasible. Rough sort of confidant as he may
look, there was no man living I would have trusted before him for
keeping a secret. Bob was true as the topsail sheets; and if you only
gave him the course to steer, without any of the "puzzlements," as he
called the calculating part, he would stick to it, blow high, blow
low. He was just the fellow I wanted, for the lee brace as it were, to
give my weather one a purchase, even if I had altogether liked the
notion of setting off all alone on what I couldn't help suspecting
was a sufficiently hare-brained scheme as it stood; and, to tell the
truth, it was only to a straightforward, simple-hearted tar like
Jacobs that I could have plucked up courage to make it known. I knew
he would enter into it like a reefer volunteering for a cutting out,
and make nothing of the difficulties--especially when a love matter
was at the bottom of it: the chief question was how to discover his
whereabouts, as Wapping is rather a wide word. I adopted the expedient
of going into all the tobacco-shops to inquire after Jacobs, knowing
him to be a more than commonly hard smoker, and no great drinker
ashore. I was beginning to be tired out, however, and give up the
quest, when, at the corner of a lane near the docks, I caught sight of
a little door adorned with what had apparently been part of a ship's
figure-head--the face of a nymph or nereid, four times as large as
life, with tarnished gilding, and a long wooden pipe in her mouth that
had all the effect of a bowsprit, being stayed up by a piece of
marline to a hook in the wall, probably in order to keep clear of
people's heads. The words painted on its two head-boards, as under a
ship's bow, were "Betsy Jacobs," and "licensed" on the top of the
door; the window was stowed full of cakes of cavendish, twists of
negrohead, and coils of pigtail; so that, having heard my old shipmate
speak of a certain Betsey, both as sweetheart and partner, I made at
once pretty sure of having lighted, by chance, on his very dry-dock,
and went in without more ado. I found nobody in the little shop, but a
rough voice, as like as possible to Jacobs' own, was chanting the
sea-song of "Come, cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer," in the
back-room, in a curious sleepy kind of drone, interrupted every now
and then by the suck of his pipe, and a mysterious thumping sound,
which I could only account for by the supposition that the poor fellow
was mangling clothes, or gone mad. I was obliged to kick on the
counter with all my might, in competition, before an eye was applied
from inside to the little window; after which, as I expected, the head
of Jacobs was thrust out of the door, his hair rough, three days'
beard on his chin, and he in his shirt and trousers. "_Hisht!_" said
he, in a low voice, not seeing me distinctly for the light, "you're
not callin' the watch, my lad! Hold on a bit, and I'll sarve your
orders directly." After another stave of "Hearts of oak are our
ships," &c. in the same drawl, and a still more vigorous thumping than
before, next minute out came Bob again; with a wonderful air of
importance, though, and drawing in one hand, to my great surprise, the
slack of a line of "half-inch," on which he gave now and then a tug
and an ease off, as he came forward, like a fellow humouring a
newly-hooked fish. "Now, then, my hearty!" said he, shading his eyes
with the other hand, "bear a--" "Why, Jacobs, old ship," I said,
"what's this you're after? Don't you know your old apprentice, eh?"

Jacobs looked at my cap and epaulette, and gave out his breath in a
whistle, the only other sign of astonishment being, that he let go his
unaccountable-looking piece of cord. "Lord bless me, Master Ned!" said
he--"I axes pardon, Lieutenant Collins, your honour!" "Glad you know
me this time, Bob, my lad," said I, looking round,--"and a comfortable
berth you've got of it, I daresay. But what the deuce _are_ you about
in there? _You_ haven't a savage _too_, like some friends of yours I
fell in with a short time ago! Or perhaps a lion or a tiger, eh,
Jacobs?" "No, no, your honour--lions be blowed!" replied he, laughing,
but fiddling with his hands all the while, and standing between me and
the room, as if half ashamed. "'Tis ownly the tiller-ropes of a small
craft I am left in charge of, sir. But won't ye sit down, your honour,
till such time as my old 'ooman comes aboard to relieve me, sir?
Here's a _cheer_, and maybe you'd make so free for to take a pipe of
prime cavendish, your honour?" "Let's have a look into your cabin,
though, Bob my man," said I, curious to know what was the secret; when
all at once a tremendous squall from within let me sufficiently into
it. The sailor had been rocking the cradle, with a fine little fellow
of a baby in it, and a line made fast to keep it in play when he
served the shop. "All the pitch 's in the fire now, your honour,"
said he, looking terribly non-plussed; "I've broached him to, and he's
all aback till his mammy gets a hold of him." "A good pipe the little
rogue's got though," said I, "and a fine child he is, Jacobs--do for a
bo'sun yet." "Why, yes, sir," said he, rubbing his chin with a
gratified smile, as the urchin kicked, threw out his arms, and roared
like to break his heart; "I'm thinking he's a sailor all over, by
natur', as one may say. He don't like a calm no more nor myself; but
that's the odds of bein' ashore, where you needs to keep swinging the
hammocks by hand, instead of havin' it done for you, sir." In the
midst of the noise, however, we were caught by the sudden appearance
of Mistress Jacobs herself--a good-looking young woman, with a
market-basket full of bacon and greens, and a chubby little boy
holding by her apron, who came through the shop. The first thing she
did was to catch up the baby out of the cradle, and begin hushing it,
after one or two side-glances of reproach at her husband, who
attempted to cover his disgrace by saying, "Betsy, my girl, where's
your manners? why don't you off hats to the leftenant?--it's my wife,
your honour." Mrs Jacobs curtseyed twice very respectfully, though not
particularly fond of the profession, as I found afterwards; and I soon
quite gained her smiles and good graces by praising her child, with
the remark that he was too pretty ever to turn out a sailor; for,
sharp as mothers are to detect this sort of flattery to anybody else's
bantling, you always find it take wonderfully with respect to their
own. Whenever Jacobs and I were left to ourselves, I struck at once
into my scheme--the more readily for feeling I had the weather-hand of
him in regard of his late appearance. It was too ridiculous, the
notion of one of the best foretopmen that ever passed a weather-earing
staying at home to rock his wife's cradle and attend the shop; and he
was evidently aware of it as I went on. It was a little selfish, I
daresay, and Mrs Jacobs would perhaps have liked me none the better
for it; but I proposed to him to get a berth in the Indiaman, sail
with me for Bombay, and stand by for a foul hitch in something or
other. "Why, sir," said he, "it shan't be said of Bob Jacobs he were
ever the man to hang back where a matter was to be done that must be
done. I doesn't see the whole bearings of it as yet, but ounly you
give the orders, sir, and I'll stick to 'em." "'Tis a long stretch
between this and Bombay, Jacobs," said I, "and plenty of room for
chances." "Ay, ay, sir, no doubt," said he, "ye can _talk_ the length
of the best bower cable." "More than that, Bob my lad," said I, "I
know these Company men; if they once get out of their regular jog,
they're as helpless as a pig adrift on a grating; and before they grow
used to sailing out of convoy, with no frigates to whip them in,
depend upon it Mother Carey[19] will have to teach them a new trick or
two." "Mayhap, sir," put in Jacobs, doubtfully, "the best thing 'ud be
if they cast the ship away altogether, as I've seen done myself for
the matter of an insurance. Ye know, sir, they lets it pass at Lloyd's
now the war's over, seein' it brings custom to the underwriters, if so
be ounly it don't come over often for the profits. Hows'ever it needs
a good seaman to choose his lee-shore well, no doubt." "Oh!" answered
I, laughing, "but the chances are, all hands would want to be Robinson
Crusoe at once! No, no,--only let's get aboard, and take things as
they come." "What's the ship's name, sir?" inquired Jacobs, sinking
his voice, and looking cautiously over his shoulder toward the door.
"The Seringapatam,--do you know her?" I said. "Ay, ay, sir, well
enough," said he, readily,--"a lump of a ship she is, down off
Blackwall in the stream with two more--country-built, and tumbles home
rather much from below the plank-sheer for a sightly craft, besides
being flat in the eyes of her, and round in the counter, just where
she shouldn't, sir. Them Par_chee_ Bombay ship-wrights _does_ clap on
a lot of onchristien flummeries and gilt mouldings, let alone
quarter-galleries fit for the king's castle!" "In short, she's
tea-waggon all over," said I, "and just as slow and as leewardly, to
boot, as teak can make her?" "Her lines is not that bad, though, your
honour," continued Jacobs, "if you just knocked off her poop,--and
she'd bear a deal o' beating for a sea-boat. They've got a smart young
mate, too; for I seed him t'other day a-sending up the yards, and now
she's as square as a frigate, all ready to drop down river." The short
and long of it was, that I arranged with my old shipmate, who was
fully bent on the cruise, whether Mrs Jacobs should approve or not,
that, somehow or other, we should both ship our hammocks on board of
the Seringapatam--he before the mast, and I wherever I could get. On
going to the agent's, however--which I did as soon as I could change
my uniform for plain clothes--I found, to my great disappointment,
from a plan of the accommodations, that not only were the whole of the
poop-cabins taken, but those on the lower-deck also. Most of the
passengers, I ascertained, were ladies, with their children and
nurses, going back to India, and raw young cadets, with a few
commercial and civilian nondescripts; there were no troops or
officers, and room enough, except for one gentleman having engaged the
entire poop, at an immense expense, for his own use. This I, of
course, supposed was the Nabob, but the clerk was too close to inform
me. "You must try another ship, sir," said he, coolly, as he shut the
book. "Sorry for it, but we have another to sail in a fortnight. A.1,
sir; far finer vessel--couple of hundred tons larger--and sails
faster." "You be hanged!" muttered I, walking out; and a short time
after I was on board. The stewards told me as much again; but on my
slipping a guinea into the fingers of one, he suddenly recollected
there was a gentleman in state-room No. 14, starboard side of the main
skylight, who, being alone, might perhaps be inclined to take a chum,
if I dealt with him privately. "Yankee, sir, he is," said the steward,
by way of a useful hint. However, I didn't need the warning: at sight
of the individual's long nose, thin lips, and sallow jaw-bones,
without a whisker on his face, and his shirt-collar turned down, as he
sat overhauling his traps beside the carronade, which was tethered in
the state-room, with its muzzle through the port. He looked a good
deal like a jockey beside his horse; or, as a wit of a schoolboy cadet
said afterwards, the Boston gentleman calling himself Daniel Snout,
Esquire--like Daniel praying in the lion's den, and afraid it might
turn round or roar. I must say the idea didn't quite delight me, nor
the sight of a fearful quantity of luggage which was stowed up against
the bulkhead; but after introducing myself, and objecting to the first
few offers, I at last concluded a bargain with the American for a
hundred and twenty guineas, which, he remarked, was "considerable low,
I prognosticate, mister!" "However," said he, "I expect you're a
conversationable individual a little: I allowed for that, you know,
mister. One can't do much of a trade at sea--that's a fact; and I
calculate we'll swap information by the way. I'm water-pruff, I tell
you, as all our nation is. You'll not _settle_ at Bumbay, I reckon,
mister?" But though I meant to pay my new messmate in my own coin at
leisure afterwards, and be as frank and open as day with him--the only
way to meet a Yankee--I made off at present as fast as possible to
bring my things aboard, resolving to sleep at Blackwall, and then to
stow myself out of sight for sick, until there was somebody to take
off the edge of his confounded talk.

Next afternoon, accordingly, I found myself once more afloat, the
Indiaman dropping down with the first breeze. The day after, she was
running through the Downs with it pretty strong from north-east, a
fair wind--the pilot-boat snoring off close-hauled to windward, with
a white spray over her nose; and the three _dungaree_ topsails of the
Seringapatam lifting and swelling, as yellow as gold, over her white
courses in the blue Channel haze. The breeze freshened, till she
rolled before it, and everything being topsy-turvy on deck, the lumber
in the way, the men as busy as bees setting her ship-shape--it would
have been as much as a passenger's toes were worth to show them from
below; so that I was able to keep by myself, just troubling my
seamanship so much as to stand clear of the work. Enjoy it I did, too;
by Jove, the first sniff of the weather was enough to make me forget
what I was there for. I was every now and then on the point of fisting
a rope, and singing out with the men; till at length I thought it more
comfortable, even for me, to run up the mizen shrouds when everybody
was forward, where I stowed myself out of sight in the cross-trees.

About dusk, while I was waiting to slip down, a stronger puff than
ordinary made them clue up the mizen-royal from deck, which I took
upon myself to furl off-hand--quick enough to puzzle a couple of boys
that came aloft for the purpose, especially as, in the mean time, I
had got down upon the topsail-yardarm out of their notice. When they
got on deck again, I heard the little fellows telling some of the men,
in a terrified sort of way, how the mizen-royal had either stowed
itself, or else it was Dick Wilson's ghost, that fell off the same
yard last voyage,--more by token, he used always to make fast the
gaskets just that fashion. At night, however, the wind having got
lighter, with half moonlight, there was a muster of some passengers on
deck, all sick and miserable, as they tried to keep their feet, and
have the benefit of air,--the Yankee being as bad as the worst. I
thought it wouldn't do for me to be altogether free, and accordingly
stuck fast by Mr Snout, with my head over the quarter-deck bulwarks,
looking into his face, and talking away to him, asking all sorts of
questions about what was good for sea-sickness, then giving a groan to
prevent myself laughing, when the spray splashed up upon his
"water-pruff" face, he responding to it as Sancho Panza did to Don
Quixote, when the one examined the other's mouth after a potion. All
he could falter out was, how he wondered I could speak at all when
sick. "Oh! oh dear!" said I, with another howl. "Yes,--'tis merely
because I can't _think_! And I daresay you are thinking so much you
can't _talk_--the sea is so full of meditation, as Lord
Byron--Oh--oh--this water will be the death of me!" "I feel as if--the
whole--tarnation Atlantic was--inside of my bowls!" gasped he through
his nostrils. "Oh!" I could not help putting in, as the ship and Mr
Snout both gave a heave up, "and coming out of you!"

During all this time I had felt so sure of my ground as scarcely to
trouble myself about the Bengal judge and his fairy treasure of a
daughter; only in the midst of the high spirits brought up by the
breeze, I hugged myself now and then at the thought of their turning
out by degrees as things got settled, and my having such openings the
whole voyage through as one couldn't miss in four or five months.
Nobody would suspect the raw chap I looked, with smooth hair and a
high collar, of any particular cue: I must say there was a little
vanity at the bottom of it, but I kept thinking more and more how snug
and quietly I'd enjoy all that went on, sailing on one tack with the
passengers and the old Nabob himself, and slipping off upon the other
when I could come near the charming young Lota. The notion looks more
like what some scamp of a reefer, cruising ashore, would have hit
upon, than suits my taste now-a-days; but the cockpit had put a spice
of the imp in me, which I never got clear of till this very voyage, as
you shall see, if we get through with the log of it. 'Twas no use, as
I found, saying what one should have to do, except put _heart_ into
it,--with wind, sea, and a love affair to manage all at once, after
making a tangled coil instead of one all clear and above-board.

The first time I went down into the cuddy was that evening to tea,
where all was at sixes and sevens like the decks; the lamps ill
trimmed, stewards out of the way, and a few lads trying to bear up
against their stomachs by the help of brandy and biscuits. The main
figure was a jolly-looking East Indian, an indigo-planter as he turned
out, with a bald forehead, a hook nose, and his gills covered with
white whiskers that gave him all the cut of a cockatoo. He had his
brown servant running about on every hand, and, being an old stager,
did his best to cheer up the rest; but nothing I saw showed the least
sign of the party I looked after. I was sure I ought to have made out
something of them by this time, considering the stir such a grandee as
Sir Charles Hyde would cause aboard: in fact, there didn't seem to be
many passengers in her, and I began to curse the lying scoundrel of a
_Kitmagar_ for working "Tom Cox's traverse" on me, and myself for
being a greater ass than I'd fancied. Indeed I heard the planter
mention by chance that Sir Charles Hyde, the district judge, had come
home last voyage from India in this very Seringapatam, which no doubt,
I thought, put the Mahommedan rascal up to his trick.

I was making up my mind to an Indian trip, and the pure pleasure of
Daniel Catoson Snout, Esquire's company for two blessed months, when
all of a sudden I felt the ship bring her wind a-quarter, with a
furious plunge of the Channel water along her bends, that made every
landsman's bowels yearn as if he felt it gurgle through him. One young
fellow, more drunk than sick, gave a wild bolt right over the cuddy
table, striking out with both arms and legs as if afloat, so as to
sweep half of the glasses down on the floor. The planter, who was
three cloths in the wind himself, looked down upon him with a comical
air of pity as soon as he had got cushioned upon the wreck. "My dear
fellow," said he, "what do you feel--eh?" "Feel, you--old blackguard!"
stammered the griffin, "de--dam--dammit, I feel _everything_! Goes
through--through my vitals as if--I was a con--founded _whale_!
C--can't stand it!" "You've drunk yourself aground, my boy!" sung out
the indigo man; "stuck fast on the coral--eh? Never mind, we'll float
you off, only don't flounder that way with your tail!--by Jove, you
scamp, you've ruined my toe--oh dear!" I left the planter hopping
round on one pin, and holding the gouty one in his hand, betwixt
laughing and crying: on deck I found the floating Nab Light bearing
broad on our lee-bow, with Cumberland Fort glimmering to windward, and
the half moon setting over the Isle of Wight, while we stood up for
Portsmouth harbour. The old captain, and most of the officers, were on
the poop for the first time, though as stiff and uncomfortable from
the sort of land-sickness and lumber-qualms that sailors feel till
things are _in_ their places, as the landsmen did until things were
_out_ of them. The skipper walked the weather side by himself and said
nothing: the smart chief officer sent two men, one after another, from
the wheel for "cows" that didn't know where their tails were; and as
for the middies, they seemed to know when to keep out of the way. In a
little, the spars of the men-of-war at Spithead were to be seen as we
rose; before the end of the first watch, we were running outside the
Spit Buoy, which was nodding and plashing with the tide in the last
slant of moonshine, till at last we rounded to, and down went the
anchor in five fathoms, off the Motherbank. What the Indiaman wanted
at Portsmouth I didn't know; but, meantime, I had given up all hopes
of the Nabob being in her, and the only question with me was, whether
I should take the opportunity of giving all hands the slip here, even
though I left my Yankee friend disconsolate, and a clear gainer by
dollars beyond count.

Early next morning there were plenty of wherries looking out for
fares; so, as the Indiaman was not to sail before the night-ebb, when
the breeze would probably spring up fair again, I hailed one of them
to go ashore at the Point, for a quiet stroll over Southsea Common,
where I meant to overhaul the whole bearings of the case, and think if
it weren't better to go home, and wait the Admiralty's pleasure for a
ship. I hadn't even seen anything of Jacobs, and the whole
hotel-keeping ways of the Indiaman began to disgust me, or else I
should have at once decided to take the chance of seeing Lota Hyde
somehow or other in India; but, again, one could scarcely endure the
notion of droning on in a frigate without so much as a Brest lugger
to let drive at. It was about six o'clock; the morning gun from the
guard-ship off the Dockyard came booming down through the harbour, the
blue offing shone like silver, and the green tideway sparkled on every
surge, up to where they were flashing and poppling on the copper of
the frigates at Spithead. I noticed them crossing yards and squaring;
the farthest out hove up anchor, loosed fore-topsail, cast her head to
starboard, and fired a gun as she stood slowly out to sea under all
sail, with a light air freshening abeam. The noble look of her almost
reconciled me of itself to the service, were it for the mere sake of
having a share in driving such a craft between wind and water. Just
then, however, an incident turned up in spite of me, which I certainly
didn't expect, and which had more, even than I reckoned at the time,
to do with my other adventure; seeing that it made me, both then and
afterwards, do the direct opposite of what I meant to do, and both
times put a new spoke in my wheel, as we say at sea here.

I had observed a seventy-four, the Stratton, lying opposite the Spit
Buoy; on board of which, as the waterman told me, a court-martial had
been held the day before, where they broke a first lieutenant for
insulting his captain. Both belonged to one of the frigates: the
captain I had seen, and heard of as the worst tyrant in the navy; his
ship was called "a perfect hell afloat;" that same week one of the
boys had tried to drown himself alongside, and a corporal of marines,
after coming ashore and drinking a glass with his sweetheart, had
coolly walked down to the Point, jumped in between two boats at the
jetty, and kept himself under water till he was dead. The lieutenant
had been dismissed the service, and as I recognised the name, I
wondered whether it could actually be my schoolfellow, Tom Westwood,
as gallant a fellow and as merry as ever broke biscuit. Two
sail-boats, one from around the Stratton's quarter, and the other from
over by Gosport, steering on the same tack for Southsea, diverted my
attention as I sauntered down to the beach. The bow of the nearest
wherry grounded on the stones as I began to walk quicker towards the
town-gates, chiefly because I was pretty ready for an early breakfast
at the old Blue Posts, and also because I had a slight notion of what
these gentlemen wanted on Southsea Beach at odd hours. Out they
jumped, however--one man in naval undress, another, a captain, in full
fig, the third, a surgeon--coming right athwart my course to bring me
to. The first I almost at once remembered for the notorious captain of
the Orestes, or N'Oreste, as the midshipmen called her, from her
French build and her character together. "Hallo, you sir!" said the
other captain decidedly, "you must stand still." "Indeed!" said I;
"and why so, if you please?" "Since you _are_ here, we don't intend
allowing you to pass for some few minutes." "And what if I should do
as I choose, sir?" I asked. "If you stir two steps, sir, I shall shoot
you!" replied the captain, who was one of the bullying school. "Oh,
very well," I said, rather confounded by his impertinence, "then I
shall stay;" and I accordingly stood stock-still, with my arms folded,
until the other boat landed its party of two. They were in plain
clothes; nor did I give them any particular attention till the seconds
had stationed their men, when the captain of the Orestes had his back
to me, and his antagonist stood directly facing. As his pale resolved
features came out before me with the morning sun on them, his lips
together, and his nostrils large, I recognised my old friend Westwood.
The captain had broke him the day before, and now he had accepted his
challenge, being a known dead shot, while the lieutenant had never
fired a bullet in cold blood: there was, no doubt, a settled purpose
in the tyrant to crush the first man that had dared to thwart his
will. Westwood's second came forward and mentioned to the other that
his friend was still willing to withdraw the words spoken in first
heat, and would accordingly fire in the air. "Coward!" shouted the
captain of the Orestes immediately; "I shall shoot you through the
heart!" "Sir!" said I to his second, "I _will not_ look on; and if
that gentleman is shot, I will be witness against you both as
murderers!" I dropped down behind a stone out of the line of fire,
and to keep my eyes off the devilish piece of work, though my blood
boiled to knock the fellow down that I was speaking to. Another
minute, and the suspense was too great for me to help looking up: just
at that moment I saw how _set_ Westwood's face was: he was watching
his enemy with an eye that showed to me what the other's must
be--seeking for his life. The seconds gave the word to each other in
the middle, and dropped two white handkerchiefs at once with their
hands together; I caught the flash of Westwood's pistol, when, to my
astonishment, I saw the captain of the Orestes next moment jerk up his
arm betwixt me and the sky, fire in the air, and slowly fall back--he
was dead!--shot through the heart. One glance at his face gave you a
notion of the devilish meaning he had had; but what was my surprise
when his second walked up to Westwood, and said to him, "Sir, you are
the murderer of Captain Duncombe;--my friend fired in the air as you
proposed." "You are mistaken, sir," answered Westwood, coldly;
"Captain Duncombe sought my life, and I have used the privilege of
self-defence." "The surgeon is of my opinion," said the other; "and I
am sorry to say that we cannot allow you to depart." "I shall give
myself up to the authorities at once," said Westwood. "We have only
your word for that, which I must be permitted, in such a case, to
doubt," replied the captain, whose evident wish was to detain Westwood
by force or threats while he sent off his surgeon. The worst of it
was, as I now found, that since the court-martial and the challenge,
an admiralty order had arrived, in consideration of several gallant
acts during the war, as well as private representation, restoring him
to the service: so that he had in fact called out and shot his
superior officer. As for the charge now brought forward, it was too
absurd for any to believe it, unless from rage or prejudice; the case
was bad enough, at any rate, without it.

In the mean time I had exchanged a word or two with Westwood's friend;
after which, lifting up a second pistol which lay on the sand, I went
up to the captain. "Sir," said I, "you used the freedom, a little ago,
of forcing me into your concerns, and I have seen the end of it. I
have now got to tell you, having watched your conduct, that either you
must submit to be made fast here for a bit, else, by the God that made
me, I'll shoot you through the head!" The captain looked at me, his
surgeon sidled up to him, and, being a man near my own size, he
suddenly tried to wrench the pistol out of my hands: however, I had
him the next moment under my knee, while Westwood's second secured the
little surgeon, and took a few round sea-turns about his wrists and
ancles with a neckerchief. My companion then gave me a hand to do the
same with his superior officer--the medico all the time singing out
like a bull, and the captain threatening--while the dead body lay
stark and stiff behind us, the eyes wide, the head down, and the
breast up, the hand clenching a pistol, just as he had fallen.
Westwood stood quite unconscious of everything we did, only he seemed
to be watching the knees drawn up as they stiffened, and the
sand-flies hovering about the mouth. "Shall we clap a stopper between
their teeth?" said the second to me--he had been at sea, but who he
was I never knew--"the surgeon will be heard on the walls, he bellows
so!" "Never mind," said I, "we'll just drop them beyond tide-mark--the
lee of the stones yonder." In fact, from the noise the tide was
making, I question if the shots could have been heard even by the
watermen, who had prudently sheered out of sight round a point. I
couldn't help looking, when we had done this, from the captain's body
to his own frigate, as she was sluing round head on to us, at single
anchor, to the turn of tide, with her buoy dancing on the brisk blue
sweep of water, and her figure-head shining in the sunlight. As soon
as we covered over the corpse with dulse-weed, Westwood started as if
we had taken something away from him, or freed him of a spell.
"Westwood!" said I, laying my hand on his shoulder, "you _must_ come
along with me." He said nothing, but followed us quietly round to the
wherries, where I told the watermen that the other party had gone a
different way to keep clear, and we wanted them to pull for Gosport.
At Gosport we had Westwood rigged out in black clothes, his hair
cropped, and whiskers shaved off--as I thought it the fittest thing
for his case, and what he could best carry out, to go aboard of the
Indiaman with me as if he were a missionary. Poor fellow! he didn't
know _what_ he was. So, having waited till dusk, to let the watermen
lose our track, and his friend having posted off for Dover, he and I
both got safe over to the Seringapatam, where I had him stowed in the
first empty state-room I found. I had actually forgot, through the
excitement, all about my missing my first chase: from one hour to
another I kept watching the tide-marks ashore, and the dog-vane on the
ship's quarter, all impatience to hear the word given for "all hands
up anchor," and hoping our worthy friends on Southsea Beach were still
within hearing of the Channel flood. At last the order did come; round
went the capstan merrily enough, till she had hove short and up; the
anchor was catted, and off went the lumbering old craft through the
Solent about midnight, before a fine rattling breeze, in company with
six or seven others, all running for the Needles. They were loosing
the Indiaman's royals when I heard a gun from the guard-ship in
harbour; and a little after up went a rocket, signalling to some
frigate or other at Spithead; and away they kept at it, with lights
from the telegraph to her masthead, for several minutes. "All's up!"
thought I, "and both Westwood and myself are in for it!"

Next morning at daybreak, accordingly, no sooner did the dawn serve to
show us the Portland Light going out on the weather quarter, with a
whole fleet of Channel craft and Mediterranean brigs about us, we
surging through it as fast as the Indiaman could go,--than _there_ was
a fine forty-four standing off and on right in our course, in fact the
very identical Orestes herself! She picked us out in a moment--bore
up, stood across our weather-bow, and hailed. "What ship's that?" said
the first Luff in her mizen rigging.

"The Seringapatam, Honourable Company's ship, Captain Williamson!"
sung out our first officer, with his cap off. "Heave to, till I send a
boat aboard of you!" hailed the naval man, and there we bobbed to each
other with mainyards backed. In a few minutes a master's mate with
gig's crew was under our lee-quarter, and the mate came on deck.
"Sir," said he, "the Port Admiral will thank you to deliver these
despatches for Sir Charles Hyde, who I believe is aboard." "Certainly,
sir," said the first officer, "they shall be given to him in an hour's
time."

"Good morning, and a fine voyage," said the master's mate politely;
and I took the occasion of asking if Captain Duncombe were on board
the Orestes. "No, sir," answered the midshipman, "he happens to be
ashore at present." I have seldom felt so relieved as when I saw the
frigate haul round her mainyard, and go sweeping off to leeward, while
we resumed our course. By noon we had sunk the land about Start Point,
with a breeze which it was no use wasting at that season to take
"departures;" and as the afternoon set in hazy, we were soon out of
sight of Old England for good. For my part, I was bound Eastward at
last with a witness, and, like a young bear, again "all my troubles
before me."--"There is two bells though," interrupted the narrator,
starting. "Let us see what sort of night it is before the ladies
retire."

FOOTNOTES:

[7] Cellar for goods.

[8] Asylum of the world.

[9] District judicial courts.

[10] _Flush_--_i.e._, level.

[11] Steward and Butler.

[12] Sport.

[13] Turban-wearing.

[14] Little Girl! Do you hear, sweet one?

[15] Officer.

[16] Look.

[17] 'Tis a lie, you scoundrel.

[18] That is true.

[19] "_Mother Carey_,"--an obscure sea-divinity chiefly celebrated for
her "_chickens_," as Juno ashore for her peacocks. _Quere_,--a
personification of the providential _Care_ of Nature for her weaker
children, amongst whom the little stormy _petrels_ are conspicuous;
while, at the same time, touchingly associating the Pagan to the
Christian sea mythology by their double name--the latter, a diminutive
of Peter walking by faith upon the waters. In the nautical creed,
"Davy Jones" represents the abstract power, and "Mother Carey" the
practically developed experience, which together make up the life
Oceanic.



MÉRIMÉE'S HISTORY OF PETER THE CRUEL.[20]


The memoirs of a sovereign who had Alburquerque for a minister, Maria
Padilla for a mistress, Henry of Trastamare for a rival, and Edward
the Black Prince for an ally and companion in arms, must be worthy the
researches even of so elegant a scholar and learned an antiquarian as
Prosper Mérimée. When the nations are engrossed by their difficulties
and disasters, and the jarring discord of revolution and thundering
crash of monarchies on every side resound, the history of a
semi-barbarous period, and of a king now five hundred years in his
grave, should be set forth with surpassing talent to attract and
sustain attention. But M. Mérimée is the literary Midas of his day and
country: the subject he handles becomes bright and precious by the
magic of his touch. Though its interest be remote, he can invest it
with all the charm of freshness. Upon a former occasion[21] we noticed
his imaginative productions with well-merited praise; to-day, in the
historian's graver garb, he equally commands admiration and applause.
He has been happy in his selection of a period rich in dramatic
incident and fascinating details; and of these he has made the utmost
profit. In a previous paper, we quoted M. Mérimée's profession of
faith in matters of ancient and mediæval history. In his preface to
the _Chronique de Charles IX._, he avowed his predilection for
anecdotes and personal traits, and the weight he is disposed to attach
to them as painting the manners and character of an epoch, and as
throwing upon the motives and qualities of its prominent personages a
light more vivid and true, than that obtained from the tedious and
often partial narratives of grave contemporary chroniclers. In the
present instance, he has liberally supplied his readers with the fare
he himself prefers. His _History of Pedro the First of Castile_
abounds in illustrations, in anecdotes and legends of remarkable
novelty and interest; historical flowerets, most agreeably lightening
and relieving the solid structure of a work for which the archives and
libraries of Madrid and Barcelona, the manuscripts of the old Spanish
and Portuguese chroniclers, and the writings of more modern historians
of various nations, have been with conscientious diligence ransacked
and compared. The result has been a book equal in all respects to Mr
Prescott's delightful _History of Ferdinand and Isabella_, to which it
forms a suitable companion. As a master of classic and antiquarian
lore, the Frenchman is superior to the American, to whom he yields
nothing in the vigour of his diction and the grace of his style.

When Alphonso the Eleventh, king of Castile, died of the plague, in
his camp before Gibraltar, upon Good Friday of the year 1350, the
Iberian peninsula consisted of five distinct and independent
monarchies--Castile, Arragon, Navarre, Portugal, and Granada. The
first of the five, which extended from Biscay and Galicia to Tarifa,
the southernmost town in Europe, was by far the most extensive and
powerful; the second comprised Arragon, Catalonia, and Valencia;
Navarre, poor and scantily peopled, was important as commanding the
principal passes of the Pyrenees, which its monarch could throw open
to a French or English army; Portugal had nearly the same limits as at
the present day; the Moors, the boundary of whose European empire had
long been narrowing, still maintained a precarious footing in the
kingdom of Granada. Alphonso, upon his accession in 1308, had found
Castile a prey to anarchy, and groaning under feudal oppression. The
audacity of the _ricos hombres_, or nobles,[22] had greatly increased
during long minorities, and under the reign of feeble princes. Whilst
they fought amongst themselves for privilege of pillage, the peasantry
and inhabitants of towns, exasperated by the evils inflicted on them,
frequently rose in arms, and exercised bloody reprisals. A
contemporary author, quoted at length by M. Mérimée, represents the
nobility as living by plunder, and abetted by the king's guardians.
Certain towns refused to acknowledge these guardians, detained the
king's revenue, and kept men-at-arms to oppress and rob the poor.
Justice was nowhere in the kingdom; and the roads were impassable by
travellers, except in strong bodies, and well-armed. None dwelt in
unwalled places; and so great was the evil throughout the land, that
no one was surprised at meeting with murdered men upon the highways.
The king's guardians daily imposed new and excessive taxes; towns were
deserted, and the peasantry suffered exceedingly. Alphonso, a
courageous and intelligent prince, saw the evil, and resolved to
remedy it. Without a party of his own, he was compelled to throw
himself into the arms of one of the great factions desolating the
country. By its aid he destroyed the others, and then found himself
strong enough to rule in his own realm. Having proved his power, he
made an example of the most unruly, and pardoned the others. Then, to
give occupation to his warlike and turbulent nobility, he led them
against the Moors of Granada; thus turning to his glory, and to the
aggrandisement of his dominions, the arms which previously had been
brandished but in civil contest. The commons of Castile, grateful for
their deliverance from internal war, and from the exactions of the
rich men, sent him soldiers, and generously supplied him with money.
He compelled the clergy to make sacrifices which, at another period,
would have compromised the tranquillity of the kingdom.[23] But he was
valiant and generous, and had the love of the people; not a voice was
raised to oppose him. On the 29th October 1340, the army of Castile
encountered, near Tarifa, that of Granada, whose ranks were swelled by
prodigious reinforcements from the opposite shores of Barbary. The
battle of Rio Salado was fought; victory loudly declared herself for
the Christians: two hundred thousand Moors (it is said) remained upon
the field, and the power of the Mussulman in Spain was broken for
ever. Following up his success, Alphonso took Algesiras after a long
siege, and was besieging Gibraltar when he was carried off by the
famous black plague, which for several years had ravaged Europe. His
death was mourned by all Spain; and the mere terror of his name would
seem to have dictated the advantageous treaty of peace concluded soon
afterwards with the Saracen.

Alphonso, a better king than husband, left behind him one legitimate
son, Don Pedro--who at his father's death was fifteen years old, and
whose mother, Doña Maria, was a Portuguese princess--and ten bastards,
a daughter and nine sons, children of his mistress Leonora de Guzman.
In 1350, the first-born of this illegitimate progeny, Don Henry, was
eighteen years of age; he had the establishment of a prince of the
blood, the magnificent domain of Trastamare, and the title of count.
His twin-brother, Don Fadrique, was grand-master of the Knights of
Santiago. The two young men had won their spurs at Gibraltar, whilst
the Infante Pedro, rightful heir to the crown, had been kept in
retirement at Seville, a witness of his mother's daily humiliations,
and himself neglected by the courtiers, always prompt to follow a
king's example. Idle in a deserted court, he passed his time in
weeping over his mother's injuries and his own. Youthful impressions
are ineffaceable. Jealousy and hatred were the first sentiments
experienced by Don Pedro. Brought up by a feeble and offended woman,
the first lessons he imbibed were those of dissimulation and revenge.

The premature and unexpected death of Don Alphonso was the alarum of a
host of ambitions. Amongst the great patricians of Spain, two in
particular were designated, by public opinion, to take the chief
direction of affairs: these were--Juan Alonzo de Alburquerque, and
Juan Nuñez de Lara. The former, a Portuguese by birth, but holding
vast estates in Spain, had stood beside Don Alphonso during his
struggle with his nobles; had rendered him great, and, to all
appearance, disinterested services; and had been rewarded by the
king's entire confidence. Grand chancellor and prime minister, he had
also had charge of Don Pedro's education. He had great influence with
the queen-mother, and had always skilfully avoided collision with
Leonora de Guzman, who nevertheless feared and disliked him as a
secret and dangerous foe. All circumstances considered, Juan de Lara,
although connected by blood with the royal family, and possessing, as
Lord of Biscay, great power in the north of Spain, thought it
unadvisable to enter the lists with Alburquerque, who, on the other
hand, openly sought his alliance, and even offered to divide with him
the authority devolved upon him by the king's death. With all this
apparent frankness there was little real friendship; and it was well
understood that henceforward the leading characters on the political
stage divided themselves into two opponent parties. On the one hand
were the dowager-queen Maria, Pedro the First, and the astute and
prudent Alburquerque. Opposed to these, but with little union, and
with various views and pretensions, were Juan de Lara, his nephew,
(the lord of Villena)--whose sister was soon afterwards secretly
married to Henry of Trastamare--Leonora de Guzman, and her three
eldest sons. The third of these, Don Tello, was younger than Don
Pedro, but he was crafty and selfish beyond his years.

Alphonso had hardly given up the ghost, when the reaction commenced.
Leonora fled before the angry countenance of the injured queen-mother.
Refused protection by Lara, from whom she first sought it, she
repaired to her strong fortress of Medina-Sidonia, a gift from her
royal lover. Its governor, her relative, Don Alonzo Coronel, although
reputed a valiant and loyal knight, and, moreover, personally attached
to the faction of the Laras, resigned his command, and would not be
prevailed with to resume it. And amongst all the nobles and
chevaliers, who during Alphonso's life professed themselves devoted to
her, she now could not find one to defend her castle. She saw that her
cause was desperate. Vague accusations were brought against her, of
conspiracy against the new king; and from all sides alarming rumours
reached her of her sons' arrest and probable execution. She lost
courage, and gave up her castle to Alburquerque, in exchange for a
safe-conduct to Seville, which was not respected; for, on her arrival
there, she was shut up in the Alcazar, and treated as a prisoner of
state. Meanwhile her two eldest sons endeavoured to stir up civil war.
They were totally unsuccessful, and finally esteemed themselves
fortunate in being allowed to make their submission, and do homage to
the king. Alburquerque affected to treat them as refractory boys, and
reserved his wrath for their mother, who, even in captivity, proved
herself formidable. By her contrivance, the marriage of Don Henry and
of the niece of Juan de Lara was secretly celebrated and consummated,
in the palace that served her as a prison. When informed, a few hours
subsequently, of the trick that had been played them, the queen-mother
and Alburquerque were furious. Doña Leonora was sent into strict
confinement, in the castle of Carmona. "As to the Count Don Henry, he
was on his guard, and did not wait his enemies' vengeance: he left
Seville by stealth, taking with him a quantity of jewels received from
his mother, and accompanied by two faithful knights--all three having
their faces covered with leathern masks, according to a custom of the
times. By forced marches, and with great fatigue, they traversed the
whole of Spain unrecognised, and reached the Asturias, where they
trusted to find safety amongst devoted vassals."

The sudden and severe illness of Don Pedro gave rise to fresh
intrigues, and Juan de Lara and Don Fernando of Arragon stood forth as
pretenders to the crown in the event of the king's death. His recovery
crushed their ambitious hopes, but might not have prevented a civil
war between the factions of the two aspirants, had not Don Juan de
Lara and his nephew been suddenly carried off by the prevailing
epidemic. "At any other moment," M. Mérimée remarks, "the premature
death of these two men would doubtless have thrown odious suspicions
on their adversaries. But in no contemporary author do I find the
least insinuation against Alburquerque, thus rid in one day of the
chief obstacles to his ambition. This general respect for a man who
was the object of so many jealousies and hatreds, is an honourable
testimony, worthy of note, as a rare exception to the usage of the
times, and which it would be supremely unjust now to attempt to
invalidate." Alburquerque was now the virtual ruler of Castile: the
young king passed his time in hunting, and left all cares of state to
his sagacious minister, who worked hard to consolidate his master's
power. The Cortes were convoked at Valladolid, whither Pedro proceeded
to open them in person. He was accompanied by the queen-mother,
dragging in her train the unfortunate Leonora de Guzman. At Llerena,
in Estremadura, one of the principal commanderys of the Knights of
Santiago, Don Fadrique, grand-master of that powerful order, received
his half-brother Pedro with great respect, and offered him the
magnificent hospitality of his house. He then asked and obtained
permission to see his mother.

     "In presence of the jailers, mother and son, both so fallen
     from their high fortune, threw themselves into each other's
     arms, and during the hour to which their interview was
     limited, they wept, without exchanging a word. Then a page
     informed Don Fadrique that the king required his presence.
     After a last embrace he left his mother, never again to
     behold her. The unfortunate woman's doom was sealed. From
     Llerena, by Alburquerque's order, she was conducted to the
     castle of Talavera, belonging to the queen-mother, and
     governed by Gutier Fernandez of Toledo, one of her liege men.
     There Leonora did not long languish. A few days after her
     arrival, a secretary of the queen brought the governor an
     order for her death. The execution was secret and mysterious,
     and it is certain Don Pedro had no cognisance of it.
     Doubtless the queen had exacted from Alburquerque the
     sacrifice of her rival, who was no longer protected by the
     pity of Juan Nuñez de Lara. 'Many persons,' says Pero Lopez
     de Ayala, a Spanish chronicler whom M. Mérimée has taken as
     one of his principal authorities, and whose trustworthiness,
     impugned by modern authors, he ably vindicates in his
     preface, 'were grieved at this deed, foreseeing that from it
     wars and scandal would spring, inasmuch as Leonora had sons
     already grown up and well-connected.'

     "But the hour of vengeance was not yet come, and the sons of
     Leonora bowed their heads before her assassins."

One of them, whose youth might have been deemed incapable of such
dissimulation, went beyond mere submission. A few days after Leonora's
death, Don Pedro, during a progress through various provinces of his
kingdom, reached the town of Palencia, in whose neighbourhood Tello,
then hardly fifteen years old, and who, following the example of his
elder brothers, kept aloof from the court, had shut himself up in the
castle of Palenzuela.

     "As there was some fear he might prove refractory, Juan
     Manrique, a Castilian noble, was sent to assure him of the
     king's good will towards him, and at the same time to gain
     over the knights, his counsellors. Manrique succeeded in his
     mission, and brought Don Tello to Palencia. Instructed by his
     guide, the youth hastened to kiss his brother's hand. 'Don
     Tello,' said the king, 'do you know that your mother, Doña
     Leonora, is dead?' 'Sire,' replied the boy-courtier, 'I have
     no other mother or father than your good favour.'"

The royal bastards humbled and subdued for a time, Alburquerque turned
his attention to more powerful adversaries. The death of its two
chiefs had not entirely dissipated the Lara faction, now headed by Don
Garci Laso de la Vega--a puissant Castilian noble, and an inveterate
enemy of the minister. Garci Laso was in the rich and disaffected city
of Burgos; and on the king's approach he issued some leagues forth to
meet him, escorted by a little army of vassals and retainers. His
enemies took care to call Pedro's attention to this martial retinue,
as indicative of defiance rather than respect. And the Manrique above
mentioned, a creature of Alburquerque's, and a private enemy of Garci
Laso's, took opportunity to quarrel with the latter, and would have
charged him with his troop but for the king's interference. The
commons of Burgos, hearing of these quarrels, and standing in mortal
fear of Alburquerque, sent a deputation to represent to Don Pedro the
danger the city would be in from the presence of rival factions within
its walls, and begged of him to enter with only a small escort. They
added an expression of regret at the arrival of Alburquerque, whom
they knew to be ill-disposed towards them. Although the formula was
respectful and humble, the freedom of these remonstrances incensed the
king, who at once entered the city with his whole force, spears raised
and banners displayed. The citizens made no resistance; a few of those
most compromised fled. Manrique, who commanded the advanced guard,
established himself in the Jews' quarter, which, separated by a strong
wall, according to the custom of the time, from the rest of the town,
formed a sort of internal citadel. Garci Laso, confiding in his great
popularity, and in the fidelity of his vassals, remained in Burgos,
taking up his lodging in one of the archbishop's palaces, of which
another was occupied by the king and his mother. Alburquerque had
quarters in another part of the town. Thus Burgos contained four
camps; and it seemed, says M. Mérimée, as if all the factions in the
kingdom had taken rendezvous there, to settle their differences.

That night an esquire of the queen-mother secretly sought Garci Laso,
bearing him a strange warning from that princess. "Whatever invitation
he received, he was to beware of appearing before the king." The proud
noble despised caution, repaired next morning to the palace, was
arrested by the king's command, and in his presence, and suffered
death the same day.[24] This execution (murder were perhaps a fitter
word) was followed by others, and terror reigned in Burgos. "Whosoever
had lifted up his voice to defend the privileges of the commons, or
the rights of Don Juan de Lara, knew no retreat safe enough to hide
his head. Don Henry himself feared to remain in the Asturias, and took
refuge on Portuguese territory." The implacable Alburquerque was
determined utterly to crush and exterminate the faction of the Laras.
The possessions of that princely house were confiscated to the crown,
the orphan son of Don Juan de Lara died in Biscay, and his two
daughters fell into the hands of the minister, who detained them as
hostages. But the party, although vanquished, was not yet annihilated.
Alonso Coronel, the same who had abandoned Leonora de Guzman in her
misfortunes, and who had been rewarded with the banner and cauldron of
a _rico hombre_, with the vast lordship and strong castle of Aguilar,
aspired to become its leader. He opened a correspondence with Count
Trastamare and Don Fadrique, who, as enemies of Alburquerque, seemed
to him his natural allies. He attempted to treat with the King of
Granada, and even with the Moors of Africa. Alburquerque decreed his
ruin, assembled a small army round the royal standard, and marched
with Don Pedro to besiege Aguilar. Summoned to surrender, Coronel
replied by a volley of arrows, and was forthwith declared a rebel and
traitor. Leaving a body of troops in observation before Aguilar, which
was capable of a long defence, Alburquerque and his royal pupil set
out for the Asturias, seizing, as they passed, various castles and
fortified places belonging to Coronel, which surrendered without
serious resistance--excepting that of Burguillos, whose commander,
Juan de Cañedo, a liege man of Coronel, made an obstinate defence.
Taken alive, his hands were cut off by the cruel victors. Some months
afterwards, when the king and his vindictive minister, with a powerful
army and battering train, had effected, after a long siege, a breach
in the ramparts of Aguilar, "the mutilated knight, his wounds hardly
healed, suddenly appeared in the camp, and with incredible hardihood
demanded of Pedro permission to enter the fortress and die by the side
of his lord. His heroic fidelity excited the admiration of his
enemies, and the favour was accorded him. Many envied Coronel the
glory of inspiring such devoted attachment, and every one awaited with
thrilling interest the last moments of a man whom all Castile was
accustomed to consider as the model of an accomplished and valiant
knight." The assault was given, the castle taken, and Coronel was led
before Alburquerque. "What!" exclaimed the minister, on beholding his
foe, "Coronel traitor in a kingdom where so much honour has been done
him!" "Don Juan," replied Coronel, "we are sons of this Castile, which
elevates men and casts them down. It is in vain to strive against
destiny. The mercy I ask of you is to put me to a speedy death, even
as I, fourteen years ago to-day, put to death the Master of
Alcantara."[25] "The king, present at the interview, his visor
lowered, listened incognito to this dialogue, doubtless admiring
Coronel's coolness, but giving no orders, for he was unaccustomed to
interfere with his minister." Coronel and several distinguished
knights and gentlemen were led a few paces off, and there beheaded.

The Lara faction scattered and weakened, circumstances seemed to
promise Alburquerque a long lease of power, when a fatal mistake
prepared his downfall. Pedro grew restless--his high spirit gave forth
flashes; his minister saw that, to check the desire of governing for
himself, it was necessary to provide him with pursuits of more
engrossing interest than the chase.

     "The reign of Don Alphonso had shown what power a mistress
     might acquire, and the prudent minister would not leave to
     chance the choice of the woman destined to play so important
     a part. Fearing a rival, he wished an ally, or rather a
     slave. He chose for the king, and blundered egregiously. He
     thought to have found the person best suited to his designs,
     in Doña Maria de Padilla, a young girl of noble birth,
     brought up in the house of his wife, Doña Isabel de Meneses.
     She was an orphan, issue of a noble family, formerly attached
     to the Lara faction, and ruined by the last civil wars. Her
     brother and uncle, poor and ambitious, lent themselves, it
     was said, to the degrading bargain. Persuaded that Doña
     Maria, brought up in his family, would always consider him as
     a master, Alburquerque directed Don Pedro's attention to her,
     and himself facilitated their first interview, which took
     place during the expedition to the Asturias. Dona Maria de
     Padilla, was small in stature, like the majority of Spanish
     women, pretty, lively, full of that voluptuous grace peculiar
     to the women of Southern Spain, and which our language has no
     word exactly to express.[26] As yet the only indication of
     talent she had given was her great sprightliness, which
     amused the noble lady with whom she lived in an almost
     servile capacity. Older than the king, she had over him the
     advantage of having already mingled with the crowd, studied
     men and observed the court. She soon proved herself worthy to
     reign."

Maria Padilla made little opposition to Alburquerque's project. Her
uncle, Juan de Hinestrosa, himself conducted her to Don Pedro, and
placed her, it may almost be said, in his arms. The complaisance was
royally rewarded. Hinestrosa and the other relations of the favourite
emerged from their obscurity, appeared at court, and soon stood high
in their sovereign's favour, although the pliant uncle was the only
one who retained it till the end of his career. Subsequently, before
the Cortes of 1362, Don Pedro declared that he had been, from the
first, privately married to Maria Padilla--thus invalidating his
public union with Blanche of Bourbon, with whom he had never lived,
and after whose death the declaration was made. He produced three
witnesses of the marriage--the fourth, Juan de Hinestrosa, was then
dead--who positively swore it had taken place in their presence. M.
Mérimée, examines the question minutely, quoting various writers on
the subject, and discussing it _pro_ and _con_; one of his strongest
arguments in favour of the marriage, being the improbability that so
faithful, loyal, and valiant a knight as Hinestrosa proved himself,
would have consented, under any temptation, to play the base part of a
pander. It would not be difficult, however, to trace contradictions
nearly as great in the code of honour and morality of the chevaliers
of the fourteenth century; and, very much nearer to our own times, it
has frequently been seen how large an amount of infamy of that kind
the royal purple has been held to cloak.

In a very few months after the equivocal union he had brought about,
Alburquerque began to experience its bad effects. Maria Padilla
secretly incited the young king to shake off his leading-strings, and
grasp the reins of government. Afraid to do this boldly and abruptly,
Pedro conspired with the Padillas, and planned a reconciliation with
his brothers Henry and Tello, believing, in his inexperience, that he
could nowhere find better friends, or more disinterested advisers. The
secret of the plot was well kept: Alburquerque unsuspiciously accepted
a frivolous mission to the King of Portugal; during his absence, a
treaty of amity was concluded between the king and the two bastards.
Whilst these intrigues went on, Blanche of Bourbon, niece of the King
of France, waited at Valladolid, in company with the dowager queens of
Castile and Arragon, until it should please Pedro to go thither and
marry her. Pedro had established himself at Torrijos near Toledo,
holding tournaments and festivals in honour of his mistress, with whom
he was more in love than ever; and the French princess waited several
months, to the great indignation of her suite of knights and nobles.
Suddenly a severe countenance troubled the joy of Maria Padilla's
lover. It was that of Alburquerque, who, in grave and regretful words,
represented to the king the affront he put upon the house of France,
and the anxiety of his subjects, who awaited, in his marriage, a
guarantee of future tranquillity. It was of the utmost importance to
give a legitimate heir to the crown of Castile. Subjugated by the
voice of reason, and by the old ascendency of his austere counsellor,
Pedro set out for Valladolid, and was joined on his way by Count Henry
and Don Tello, who came to meet him on foot and unarmed; kissed his
foot and his right hand, as he sat on horseback; and were received by
him with all honour and favour, to the mortification of Alburquerque,
who saw in this reconciliation a proof of the credit of the Padillas,
and a humiliating blow to his authority. The mortification was all the
greater that he, a veteran politician, had been outwitted by mere
children. On the third day of June the king's marriage took place, the
royal pair being conducted in great pomp to the church, mounted upon
white palfreys, and attired in robes of gold brocade trimmed with
ermine--a costume then reserved for sovereigns. In their retinue,
Henry of Trastamare had the precedence of the princes of Arragon--an
honour held excessive by some, and attributed by others to the
sincerity of the reconciliation between the sons of Don Alphonso. A
tournament and bull-fight succeeded the ceremony, and were renewed the
next day. "But in the midst of these festivities, all eyes were fixed
upon the newly-married pair. Coldness, and even aversion for his young
bride, were visible upon the king's countenance; and as it was
difficult to understand how a man of his age, ardent and voluptuous,
could be insensible to the attractions of the French princess, many
whispered that he was fascinated by Maria Padilla, and that his eyes,
charmed by magic art, beheld a repulsive object in place of the young
beauty he led to the altar. Aversion, like sympathy, has its
inexplicable mysteries."[27]

Upon the second day after his marriage, Don Pedro being alone at
dinner in his palace, (the dinner hour in those days was at nine or
ten in the morning,) his mother and aunt appeared before him, all in
tears, and, having obtained a private audience, taxed him with being
about to desert his wife, and return to Maria Padilla. The king
expressed his astonishment that they should credit idle rumours, and
dismissed them, repeating that he thought not of quitting Valladolid.
An hour afterwards he called for mules, saying he would go visit his
mother; but, instead of doing so, he left the city, accompanied only
by the brother of his mistress, Don Diego Padilla, and by two of his
most confidential gentlemen. Regular relays were in waiting, and he
slept that night at sixteen long leagues from Valladolid. The next day
Doña Maria met him at Puebla de Montalvan. This strange and indecent
escapade was simultaneous with a complete transfer of the king's
confidence from Alburquerque to his brothers and the Padillas. The
minister preserved his dignity to the last, and sent a haughty but
respectful message to his sovereign, by the mouth of his majordomo.
"You know, sire," concluded this knight, Rui Diaz Cabeza de Vaca, "all
that Don Juan Alonzo has done for your service, and for that of the
queen your mother. He has been your chancellor from your birth. He has
always loyally served you, as he served the late king your father. For
you he exposed himself to great perils, when Doña Leonora de Guzman,
and her faction, had all power in the kingdom. My master is still
ignorant of the crimes imputed to him: make them known to him, and he
will refute them. Nevertheless, if any knight do doubt his honour and
his loyalty, I, his vassal, am here ready to defend him with my body,
and with arms in hand." Thus did the arrogant _ricos hombres_ of the
fourteenth century dare address their sovereign, by the mouth of
their knightly retainers. What a contrast between these bold-spoken,
strong-armed magnates, and the puny degenerate grandees of the present
day, sunk in vice, effeminacy, and sloth, and to whom valour,
chivalry, and patriotism are but empty sounds! Alburquerque is a fine
type of the feudal lord--noble as a crowned king, and almost as
powerful. Receiving a cold and discouraging reply to Cabeza de Vaca's
lofty harangue, he retired, followed by an army of adherents and
vassals, to his vast domains and strong castle in Portugal. On their
passage, his men-at-arms pillaged and devastated the country, that
being then the most approved manner for a feudal lord to testify his
discontent. Don Pedro ill concealed his joy at being thus easily rid
of an importunate mentor, whose faithful services to himself and his
father rendered a positive dismissal a most ungraceful act, the shame
of which was saved the king by Alburquerque's voluntary retreat. The
reaction was complete: all the ex-minister's friends were dismissed,
and their places filled by partisans of the Padillas. Many of his acts
were annulled, and several sentences he had given were reversed. Pedro
had no rest till he had effaced every vestige of his wise and prudent
administration. Ingratitude has too often been the vice of kings; in
this instance it brought its own punishment. A few months later we
find Henry of Trastamare, and his brother Tello, leagued with
Alburquerque against the sovereign who had disgraced him in great
measure on their account. This perfidy of the bastards was perfectly
in keeping with the character of the age. "To characterise the
fourteenth century in Spain by its most prevalent vice," says M.
Mérimée, "one should cite, in my opinion, neither brutality of
manners, nor rapacity, nor violence. The most prominent feature of
that sad period is its falseness and deceit: never did history
register so many acts of treason and perfidy. The century, rude in all
other things, shows itself ingenious in the art of deception. It
revels in subtleties. In all agreements, and even in the code of
chivalrous honour, it conceals ambiguities, by which interest knows
well how to profit. The oaths lavished in all transactions,
accompanied by the most solemn ceremonies, are but vain formalities
and matters of habit. He who plights his word, his hand upon the holy
Scriptures, is believed by none unless he deliver up his wife and
children, or, better still, his fortresses, as hostages for his truth.
The latter pledge is held to be the only safe guarantee. Distrust is
general, and every man sees an enemy in his neighbour." The fidelity
of this gloomy picture is fully confirmed by the events of Don Pedro's
reign. Alburquerque set the example to his royal pupil, who was not
slow to follow it, and who soon, in his turn, suffered from the
dominant vice of the time.

The necessity of pressing forward through a book whose every page
offers temptations to linger, prevents our tracing, in detail, the
subsequent events of Alburquerque's life. He died in the autumn of
1354, almost suddenly, at Medina del Campo, which he and his
confederates had taken by assault, and given up to pillage. His
physician, Master Paul, an Italian attached to the house of Prince
Ferdinand of Arragon, was suspected of having mixed a subtle poison in
the draught he administered to him for an apparently trifling
indisposition. Don Pedro, the person most interested in the death of
his quondam counsellor, and now bitter enemy, was accused of
instigating the deed, and magnificent presents subsequently made by
him to the leech, gave an air of probability to the suspicion. "In his
last moments, Alburquerque belied not the firmness of his character.
Near to death, he assembled his vassals, and made them swear to accept
neither peace nor truce with the king, till they had obtained
satisfaction for his wrongs. He ordered his body to be carried at the
head of their battalion so long as the war lasted, as if resolved to
abdicate his hatred and authority only after triumph. Enclosed in his
coffin, he still seemed to preside over the councils of the league;
and, when deliberations were held, his corpse was interrogated, and
his majordomo, Cabeza de Vaca, replied in the name of his departed
master." There is something solemn and affecting in this post-humous
deference, this homage paid by the living to the dead. Alburquerque
was unquestionably _the_ man of his day in the Peninsula: his grand
and haughty figure stands out upon the historical canvass, in imposing
contrast with the boy-brawlers and intriguing women by whom he was
surrounded.

Deserted by all--betrayed even by his own mother, who gave up his last
stronghold whilst he was absent on a visit to his mistress--the king
had no resource but to throw himself into the hands of the rebels,
trusting to their magnanimity and loyalty to preserve him his crown.
With Hinestrosa, Simuel Levi his Jew treasurer, and Fernand Sanchez
his private chancellor, for sole companions--and followed by a few
lackeys and inferior officers, mounted on mules and unarmed--he set
out for Toro, then the headquarters of the insurgent league. "Informed
of the approach of this melancholy procession, the chiefs of the
confederates rode out to meet him, well mounted and in magnificent
dresses, beneath which their armour was visible, as if to contrast
their warlike equipage with the humble retinue of the vanquished king.
After kissing his hand, they escorted him to the town with great cries
of joy, caracoling about him, performing _fantasias_, pursuing each
other, and throwing reeds in the Arab manner. It is said that when Don
Henry approached his brother to salute him, the unfortunate monarch
could not restrain his tears. 'May God be merciful to you!' he said;
'for my part, I pardon you.'" There was no sincerity in this
forgiveness; already, in the hour of his humiliation, Pedro had vowed
hatred and vengeance against its authors. At present, however,
artifice and intrigue were the only weapons at his disposal. By the
assistance of Simuel the Jew, who was sincerely attached to him, and
who rendered him many and great services, he gained over a portion of
the revolted nobility, concluded an alliance with the royal family of
Arragon, and finally effected his escape from the sort of
semi-captivity in which he was held. "Profiting by dense fog, Don
Pedro rode out of Toro very early in the morning, a falcon on his
wrist, as though he went a-hawking, accompanied by Levi, and by his
usual escort of some two hundred cavaliers. Either these were bribed,
or the king devised means of detaching them from him, for he soon
found himself alone with the Jew. Then, following the rout to Segovia
at full speed, in a few hours they were beyond pursuit." During the
short period of Pedro's captivity, a great change had taken place in
public feeling. The king's misfortunes, his youth and firmness,
interested many in his behalf. The Cortes, which he summoned at
Burgos, a few days after his escape, granted all his demands of men
and money. M. Mérimée thinks it probable the commons obtained from
him, in return, an extension of their privileges and franchises; but
this is mere conjecture, no records existing of the proceedings of
this Cortes, which was, in fact, rendered irregular by the absence of
the clerical deputies, the Pope having just excommunicated Don Pedro
for his adulteries. "The excommunication, fulminated by a papal legate
at Toledo, the 19th January 1355, does not appear to have altered, in
any degree, the disposition of the people towards the king. On the
contrary, it excited indignation, now that he was reconciled with his
subjects; for Spaniards have always disliked foreign interference in
their affairs." The thunders of Avignon lost not Pedro a single
partisan. He replied to them by seizing the possessions of Cardinal
Gilles Albornoz, and of some other prelates; and, returning threat for
threat, he announced his intention of confiscating the domains of all
the bishops who should waver between him and the Pope. The rebellion
of his nobles, the treason of his mother and friends, the humiliation
he had suffered, had wrought a marked change in the still plastic
character of the young sovereign. Hitherto we have seen him violent
and impetuous; henceforward we shall find dissimulation and cruelty
his most prominent qualities. He had prided himself on chivalrous
loyalty and honour; now all means were good that led to a triumph over
his enemies. Full of hatred and contempt for the great vassals who,
after having insolently vanquished him, basely sold the fruits of
their victory for fair promises and for Simuel Levi's gold, he vowed
to destroy their power, and to build up his authority upon the ruins
of feudal tyranny.

The angry king lost no time in commencing the work of vengeance. After
a fierce contest in and around Toledo, he routed the army of Count
Henry and Don Fadrique, slew all the wounded, put to death one of the
twenty leaguers, whom he caught in the town, (two had already been
massacred by his order at Medina del Campo,) imprisoned many nobles,
as well as the Bishop of Siguenza, whose palace was given up to
pillage. "Twenty burgesses of Toledo were publicly decapitated as
abettors of the rebellion. Amongst the unfortunate persons condemned
to death was a jeweller, upwards of eighty years old. His son threw
himself at the feet of Don Pedro, petitioning to die in place of his
father. If we may credit Ayala, this horrible exchange was accepted
both by the king and by the father himself." From Toledo, Pedro
marched on Toro, where the bastards, the queen-mother, and most of the
_ricos hombres_ and knights who adhered to the league, had
concentrated their forces, and prepared an obstinate resistance. He
established himself in a village near the town, but lacked the
engines, instruments, and stores necessary to invest the place
regularly. Money was scarce. Fortunately, Simuel Levi was at hand, the
pearl of finance ministers, compared to whom the Mons and Mendizabals
of the nineteenth century are bunglers of the most feeble description.

"Don Pedro, in his quarters at Morales, was amusing himself one day by
playing at dice. Before him stood open his military chest, which was
also his play-purse. It contained 20,000 doubloons. 'Gold and silver,'
said the king, in a melancholy tone,--'here is all I possess.' The
game over, Simuel took his master aside: 'Sire,' he said, 'you have
affronted me before all the court. Since I am your treasurer, is it
not disgraceful for me that my master be not richer? Hitherto, your
collectors have relied too much upon your easiness and indulgence. Now
that you are of an age to reign for yourself, that all Castile loves
and fears you, it is time to put an end to disorder. Only be pleased
to authorise me to treat with your officers of the finances, and
confide to me two of your castles, and I pledge myself that, in a very
short time, you shall have in each of them a treasure of greater value
than the contents of this casket.'" The king gladly gave what was
required of him, and the Jew kept his word. His manner of doing so
paints the strange immorality of the times. It was customary to pay
all court-salaries and pensions by orders on the royal receivers of
imposts. These usually paid only a part of the amount of such orders,
and unless the demand for the balance were backed by force, it was
never honoured. Simuel Levi, having men-at-arms, jailers, and
executioners at his orders, compelled these reluctant paymasters to
disgorge all arrears; then sending for the king's creditors, he
offered them fifty per cent of their due against receipts for the
whole. Most of them, never expecting to recover a real of the sums
kept back by the dishonest stewards, caught eagerly at the offer. This
clumsy fraud, against which none found anything to say, brought
considerable wealth into the king's coffers, and gave him the highest
opinion of his treasurer, by whose careful administration he soon
found himself the richest monarch in Spain.

Money removed the obstacles to the siege of Toro. Before the place was
invested, however, Henry of Trastamare, with his usual precocious
selfishness and prudence, found a pretext to leave it. A breach made,
and part of the exterior fortifications in the possession of the royal
troops, the Master of Santiago passed over to the king, who, from the
opposite bank of the Douro, had given him verbal promise of pardon.
The same night an officer of the civic guard opened the gates of the
town to Pedro and his army. At daybreak the garrison of the castle saw
themselves surrounded by overpowering forces, about to mount to the
assault. "None spoke of resistance, or even of capitulation; safety of
life was almost more than they dared hope. Fearing the king's fury,
all refused to go out and implore his clemency. At last a Navarrese
knight, named Martin Abarca, who in the last troubles had taken part
with the bastards, risked himself at a postern, holding in his arms a
child of twelve or thirteen years, natural son of King Alphonso and of
Doña Leonora. Recognising the king by his armour, he called to him and
said--'Sire! grant me pardon, and I hasten to throw myself at your
feet, and to restore to you your brother Don Juan!'--'Martin Abarca,'
said the king, 'I pardon my brother Don Juan; but for you, no
mercy!'--'Well!' said the Navarrese, crossing the ditch, 'do with me
as you list.' And, still carrying the child, he prostrated himself
before the king. Don Pedro, touched by this hardihood of despair, gave
him his life in presence of all his knights." This clemency was soon
obscured by the terrible scenes that followed the surrender of the
castle, when the robe of Pedro's own mother was stained with the blood
of the nobles struck down by her side. She fainted with
horror--perhaps with grief; for Martin Telho, a Portuguese, and her
reputed lover, was amongst the murdered; and, on recovering her
senses, "she saw herself sustained in the arms of rude soldiers, her
feet in a pool of blood, whilst four mangled bodies lay before her,
already stripped of their armour and clothes. Then, despair and fury
restoring her strength, she cursed her son, in a voice broken by sobs,
and accused him of having for ever dishonoured her. She was led away
to her palace, and there treated with the mockery of respect which the
leaguers had shown, the year before, to their royal captive."

It were quite incompatible with the necessary limits of this paper, to
give even the most meagre outline of the numerous vicissitudes of Don
Pedro's reign, and to glance at a tithe of the remarkable events and
striking incidents his biographer has so industriously and tastefully
assembled. M. Mérimée's work does not bear condensing in a review;
indeed, it is itself a condensation: an ordinary writer would have
spread the same matter over twice the space, and still have deemed
himself concise. The impression left on the reader's mind by this
spirited and admirably written volume is, that not one page could be
omitted without being missed. Sparing as we have been of detail, and
although confining ourselves to a glance at prominent circumstances,
we are still at the very commencement of Don Pedro's reign--the
busiest and most stirring, perhaps, that ever was comprised within the
space of twenty years. Not a few of this warlike, cruel, and amorous
monarch's adventures have been handed down in the form of ballads and
heroic legends, still current in southern Spain, where many of them
have the weight of history--although the license of poetry, and the
transmission through many generations, have frequently greatly
distorted facts. Amongst the numerous objects of his fickle passion
was Doña Aldonza Coronel, who, after some show of resistance, and
taking refuge for a while in a convent where her sister was nun,
showed herself sensible to the solicitations of royalty. Popular
tradition has substituted for Aldonza her sister Maria, widow of Juan
de la Cerda, whom Pedro had put to death. The people of Seville the
Beautiful still believe and tell how "Doña Maria, chaste as lovely,
indignantly repulsed the king's addresses. But in vain did she oppose
the gratings of the convent of St Clara as a bulwark against the
impetuous passion of the tyrant. Warned that his satellites were about
to drag her from the sanctuary, she ordered a large hole to be dug in
the convent garden, in which she lay down, and had herself covered
with branches and earth. The fresh-turned soil would infallibly have
betrayed her, had not a miracle supervened. Scarcely had she entered
this manner of tomb, when flowers and herbage sprang up over it, so
that nothing distinguished it from the surrounding grass. The king,
discrediting the report of his emissaries, went in person to the
convent to carry off the beautiful widow; this time it was not a
miracle, but an heroic stratagem, that saved the noble matron.
Abhorring the fatal beauty that thus exposed her to outrage, she
seized, with a steady hand, a vase of boiling oil, and poured it over
her face and bosom; then, covered with horrible burns, she presented
herself to the king, and made him fly in terror, by declaring herself
afflicted with leprosy. 'On her body, which has been miraculously
preserved,' says Zuñiga, 'are still visible the traces of the burning
liquid, and assuredly it may with good reason be deemed the body of a
saint.'[28] I have dwelt upon this legend, unknown to the contemporary
authors," adds M. Mérimée, "to give an idea of the transformation Don
Pedro's history has undergone at the hands of tradition, and of the
poetical colours imparted to it by the lively imagination of the
people of Spain. After the marvellous narrative, comes the simple
truth of history." Ballads and traditions are echoes of the popular
voice; and, in many of those relating to Don Pedro, we may trace a
disposition to extenuate his faults, extol his justice, and bring into
relief his occasional acts of generosity. The truth is, that, although
harsh and relentless with his arrogant nobles, he was affable with the
people, who beheld in him their deliverer from oppression, and the
unflinching opponent of the iniquities of the feudal system. Facility
of access is a great source of popularity in Spain, where the
independent tone and bearing of the lower orders often surprise
foreigners. In no country in the world is the character of the people
more free from servility. In the poorest peasant there is an air of
native dignity and self-respect, which he loves to see responded to by
consideration and affability on the part of his superiors. Don Pedro
was very accessible to his subjects. When he met his first Cortes at
Valladolid, in 1351, he promised the deputies of the commons that
every Castilian should have liberty to appeal from the decisions of
the magistrates to the king in person. This promise he kept better
than was his wont. In the court of the Alcazar at Seville, near the
gate known as that of the Banners, are shown the remains of a
tribunal, in the open air, where he sat to give his judgments. He had
another habit likely to conciliate and please the people. In imitation
of the Eastern caliphs, whose adventures had doubtless amused his
childhood, he loved to disguise himself, and to ramble at night in the
streets of Seville--to listen to the conversation of the populace, to
seek adventures, and overlook the police. Here was a suggestive text
for balladists and romance writers, who have largely availed
themselves of it. The story of Don Pedro's duel with a stranger, with
whom he quarrelled on one of these expeditions, is well known. An old
woman, sole witness of the encounter, deposed that the combatants had
their faces muffled in their cloaks, but that the knees of one of them
made a cracking noise in walking. This was known to be a peculiarity
of Don Pedro's. Justice was puzzled. The king had killed his
adversary, and had thereby incurred the punishment of decapitation.
Pedro had his head carved in stone, and placed in a niche in the
street where the duel had taken place. The bust, which was
unfortunately renewed in the seventeenth century, is still to be seen
at Seville, in the street of the Candilejo, which takes its name,
according to Zuñiga, from the lamp by whose light the duel was fought.
Condemned at his own tribunal, we need not wonder at the lenity of his
sentence, more creditable to the royal culprit's invention than to his
justice. He appears to have been frequently ingenious in his
judgments. A rich priest had seriously injured a poor shoemaker, and,
for sole punishment, was condemned by the ecclesiastical tribunal to a
few months' suspension from his sacerdotal functions. The shoemaker,
deeming the chastisement inadequate, waylaid his enemy, and soundly
drubbed him. Arrested immediately, he was condemned to death. He
appealed to the king. The partiality of the ecclesiastical judges had
excited some scandal; Don Pedro parodied their sentence by condemning
the shoemaker to make no shoes for one year. Whether this anecdote be
true, or a mere invention, it is certain that a remarkable law was
added, about that time, to the code of the city of Seville, to the
effect that a layman, injuring an ecclesiastic, should thenceforward
be liable only to the same punishment that the priest would have
incurred by a like offence against the layman.

The murder of the Grand-master of Santiago, slain by his brother's
order, and the death of the unfortunate French princess, who found a
tyrant where she expected a husband, are recorded in the Romances of
the Master Don Fadrique, and of Blanche de Bourbon. The fate of
Blanche, attributed by contemporary chroniclers and modern historians
to Don Pedro's orders, is one of the blackest of the stains upon his
character. The poor queen died in the castle of Jerez--some say by
poison, others by the mace of an arbalister of the guard. She had
lived but twenty-five years, ten of which she had passed in prison.
There is no appearance or probability that Maria Padilla instigated
her assassination. That favourite was kind-hearted and merciful, and
on more than one occasion we find her interceding with the king for
the lives of his enemies and prisoners, and weeping when her
supplications proved fruitless. The ballad makes free with fact, and
sacrifices truth to poetry. It was dramatically correct that the
mistress should instigate the wife's death. "Be not so sad, Doña Maria
de Padilla," says the king; "if I married twice, it was for your
advantage, and to show my contempt for this Blanche of Bourbon. I send
her to Medina Sidonia, to work me a banner--the ground, colour of her
blood, the embroidery, of her tears. This banner, Doña Maria, I will
have it made for you:" and forthwith the ruthless arbalister departs,
after a knight had refused to do the felon deed. "Oh France, my noble
country! oh my Bourbon blood!" cries poor Blanche; "to-day I complete
my seventeen years, and enter my eighteenth. What have I done to you,
Castile? The crowns you gave me were crowns of blood and sighs!" And
thus she laments till the mace falls, "and the brains of her head are
strewed about the hall." The song-writer, amongst other liberties, has
struck eight years off the victim's age, perhaps with the idea of
rendering her more interesting. The exact manner of her death seems
uncertain, although Ayala agrees with the ballad, and most subsequent
historians have followed his version. M. Mérimée is disposed to
exculpate Pedro, alleging the complete inutility of the murder, and
that ten years of captivity and ill treatment were sufficient to
account for the queen's death. Admitting the latter plea, we cannot
see in it a diminution of the crime. In either case Pedro was the
murderer of his hapless wife, who was innocent of all offence against
him; and his extraordinary aversion for whom might well give rise, in
that superstitious age, to the tales of sorcery and magic charms
already quoted. The details of Don Fadrique's death are more precise
and authentic, as it was also more merited. But, although the Master
of Santiago had been guilty of many acts of treason, and at the time
of his death was conspiring against the king, his execution by a
brother's order, and before a brother's eyes, is shocking and
repugnant. It was Don Fadrique's policy, at that moment, to parade the
utmost devotion to Pedro, the better to mask his secret plans.
Arriving one day at Seville, on a visit to the king, he found the
latter playing at draughts with a courtier. True to his habits of
dissimulation, Pedro, who only a few hours previously had decided on
the Master's death, received him with a frank air and pleasant smile,
and gave him his hand to kiss; and then, seeing that he was well
attended, bade him take up his quarters, and then return. After
visiting Maria Padilla, who gazed at him with tears in her
eyes,--knowing his doom, but not daring to warn him,--Fadrique went
down into the court, found his escort gone, and the gates shut.
Surprised and uneasy, he hesitated what to do, when two knights
summoned him to the king's apartments, in a detached building within
the walls of the Alcazar.

     "At the door stood Pero Lopez Padilla, chief of the
     mace-bearers of the guard, with four of his people. Don
     Fadrique, still accompanied by the Master of Calatrava (Diego
     Padilla) knocked at the door. Only one of its folds opened,
     and within appeared the king, who forthwith exclaimed, 'Pero
     Lopez, arrest the Master!'--'Which of the two, sire?'
     inquired the officer, hesitating between Don Fadrique and Don
     Diego de Padilla. 'The Master of Santiago!' replied the king
     in a voice of thunder. Immediately Pero Lopez, seizing Don
     Fadrique's arm, said, 'You are my prisoner.' Don Fadrique,
     astounded, made no resistance; when the king cried out,
     'Arbalisters, kill the Master of Santiago!' Surprise, and
     respect for the red cross of St James, for an instant
     fettered the men to the spot. Then one of the knights of the
     palace, advancing to the door, said: 'Traitors! what do you?
     Heard you not the king's command to kill the Master?' The
     arbalisters lifted the mace, when Don Fadrique, vigorously
     shaking off the grasp of Pero Lopez, sprang back into the
     court with the intention of defending himself. But the hilt
     of his sword, which he wore under the large mantle of his
     order, was entangled with the belt, and he could not draw.
     Pursued by the arbalisters, he ran to and fro in the court,
     avoiding their blows, but unable to get his sword out. At
     last one of the king's guards, named Nuño Fernandez, struck
     him on the head with his mace, and knocked him down; and the
     three others immediately showered their blows upon the fallen
     man, who lay bathed in his blood when Don Pedro came down
     into the court, seeking the knights of Santiago, to slay them
     with their chief."

In the very chamber of Maria Padilla, the assassin-king gave with his
own hand the first stab to his brother's esquire, who had taken refuge
there. Leaving the ensanguined boudoir, (Maria Padilla's apartments in
the Alcazar were a sort of harem, where much oriental pomp was
observed,) he returned to the Master, and finding he still breathed,
he gave his dagger to an African slave to despatch him. Then he sat
down to dinner in an apartment two paces distant from his brother's
corpse.

It is a relief to turn from acts of such unnatural barbarity to the
traits of chivalrous generosity that sparkle, at long intervals, it is
true, upon the dark background of Pedro's character. One of these,
connected with a singularly romantic incident, is attested by Alonzo
Martinez de Talavera, chaplain of John II. of Castile, a chronicler M.
Mérimée is disposed to hold in high esteem. In one of his campaigns
against his rebellious brethren and their Arragonese allies, the king
laid siege to the castle of Cabezon, belonging to Count Trastamare;
and whose governor, summoned to yield, refused even to parley.

     "Yet the whole garrison of the castle consisted but of ten
     esquires, Castilian exiles; but behind thick and lofty walls,
     in a tower built on perpendicular rocks, and against which
     battering engines could not be brought, ten resolute men
     might defend themselves against an army, and need only yield
     to famine. The place being well provisioned, the siege was
     likely to be long. But the ten esquires, all young men, were
     better able bravely to repulse an assault than patiently to
     endure the tedium of a blockade. Time hung heavy upon their
     hands, they wanted amusement, and at last they insolently
     insisted that the governor should give them women to keep
     them company in their eyrie. Now, the only women in Cabezon
     were the governor's wife and daughter. 'If you do not deliver
     them to us, to be dealt with as we list,' said the garrison
     to the governor, 'we abandon your castle, or, better still,
     we open its gate to the King of Castile!' In such an
     emergency, the code of chivalrous honour was stringent. At
     the siege of Tarifa, Alonzo Perez de Guzman, summoned to
     surrender the town, under penalty of seeing his son massacred
     before his eyes, answered the Moors by throwing them his
     sword, wherewith to slay the child. This action, which
     procured the governor of Tarifa the surname of Guzman the
     Good, was a _fazaña_ (an exploit)--one of those heroic
     precedents which everyman of honour was bound to imitate.
     _Permittitur homicidium filii potius quam deditio castelli_,
     is the axiom of a doctor in chivalry of that epoch. The
     governor of Cabezon, as magnanimous in his way as Guzman the
     Good, so arranged matters that his garrison no longer thought
     of abandoning him. But two of the esquires, less corrupt than
     their comrades, conceived a horror of their treason, and
     escaped from the castle. Led before the king, they informed
     him of the mutiny they had witnessed, and of its
     consequences. Don Pedro, indignant, forthwith entreated the
     governor to let him do justice on the offenders. In exchange
     for those felons, he offered ten gentlemen of his army, who,
     before entering Cabezon, should take a solemn oath to defend
     the castle against all assailants, even against the king
     himself, and to die at their posts with the governor. This
     proposal having been accepted, the king had the traitors
     quartered, and their remains were afterwards burned. Through
     the colours with which a romantic imagination has adorned
     this incident, it is difficult to separate truth from
     fiction; but we at least distinguish the popular opinion of
     the character of Don Pedro--a strange amalgamation of
     chivalrous sentiments, and of love of justice, carried to
     ferocity."

There was very little justice, or gratitude either, in the king's
treatment of his Jew treasurer. Don Simuel el Levi,[29] Israelite
though he was, had proved himself a stancher friend and more loyal
subject than any Christian of Pedro's court. He had borne him company
in his captivity--had aided his escape--had renovated his
finances--had been his minister, treasurer, and confidant. Suddenly
Simuel was thrown into prison. On the same day, and throughout the
kingdom, his kinsmen and agents were all arrested. His crime was his
prodigious wealth. Pedro, ignorant of the resources of trade, could
not believe that his treasurer had grown rich otherwise than at his
expense. Simuel's property was seized; then, as he was suspected of
having concealed the greater part of his treasures, he was taken to
Seville and put to the torture, under which he expired. The king is
said to have found in his coffers large sums of gold and silver,
besides a quantity of jewels and rich stuffs, all of which he
confiscated. A sum of 300,000 doubloons was also found in the hands of
Simuel's relatives, receivers under his orders: this proceeded from
the taxes, whose collection was intrusted to him, and was about to be
paid into the king's exchequer. There is reason to believe, adds M.
Mérimée, that Levi, like Jacques Coeur a century later, was the victim
of the ignorance and cupidity of a master he had faithfully
served.[30]

We have dwelt so long upon the early pages of this history, and have
so often been led astray by the interest of the notes and anecdotes
with which they are thickly strewn, that we have left ourselves
without space for a notice of those portions of the bulky volume most
likely to rivet the attention of the English reader. When the _Grandes
Compagnies_--those formidable condottieri, who, for a time, may be
said to have ruled in France--crossed the Pyrenees to fight for Henry
of Trastamare, whilst the troops of England and Guyenne came to the
help of Pedro; when the great champions of their respective countries,
Edward the Black Prince and Bertrand du Guesclin, bared steel in the
civil strife of Spain,--then came the tug of war and fierce
encounter--then did the tide of battle roll its broad impetuous
stream. For even at that remote period, although Spain boasted a
valiant chivalry and stubborn men-at-arms, her wars were often a
series of skirmishes, surprises, treacheries, and camp-intrigues,
rather than of pitched battles in the field. The same sluggishness and
indolence on the part of Spanish generals, so conspicuous at the
present day, was then frequently observable. We read of
divisions--whose timely arrival would have changed the fate of a
battle--coming up so slowly that their friends were beaten before they
appeared; of generals marching out, and marching back again, without
striking a single blow; or remaining, for days together, gazing at
their opponents without risking an attack. Even then, the Spaniards
were a nation of guerillas.

     "Accustomed to a war of rapid skirmishes against the Moors,
     they had adopted their mode of fighting. Covered with light
     coats of mail, or with doublets of quilted cloth, mounted on
     light and active horses, their _genetaires_ (light horsemen)
     hurled their javelins at a gallop, then turned bridle,
     without caring to keep their ranks. With the exception of the
     military orders, better armed and disciplined than the
     _genetaires_, the Spanish cavalry were unable to offer
     resistance in line to the English or French men-at-arms."

The infantry of Spain, afterwards esteemed the best in Europe, was at
that time so lightly considered as to be rarely enumerated in the
strength of an army. The English footsoldiers, on the other hand, had
already achieved a brilliant reputation. "Armed with tall bows of
yew," says M. Mérimée, "they sheltered themselves behind pointed
stakes planted in the ground, and, thus protected against cavalry, let
fly arrows an ell long, which few cuirasses could resist." The
equipment of the English cavalry was far superior to that of the
Spanish horsemen. Ayala recapitulates, with astonishment, the various
pieces of armour in use amongst those northern warriors. Plates of
steel and forged iron were worn over jerkins of thick leather, and
even over shirts of mail. The bull-dog courage of the men was not less
remarkable than the strength of their defensive arms. It is
interesting to read of the exploits of a handful of English soldiers
on the very ground where, four hundred and forty-six years later, an
army of that nation crushed the hosts of France. Sir Thomas Felton,
seneschal of Guyenne, was attacked, when at a considerable distance
from the English army, near Ariñiz, two leagues from Vitoria, by more
than three thousand French gendarmes and Spanish light horse.

     "Felton had but two hundred men-at arms, and as many archers.
     He lost not courage, but dismounted his cavalry, and drew
     them up on a steep hillock. His brother, William Felton,
     alone refused to quit his horse. With lance in rest, he
     charged into the midst of the Castilians, and at the first
     blow drove his weapon completely through the body and iron
     armour of a foe; he was immediately cut to pieces. His
     comrades, closing round their banner, defended themselves,
     for several hours, with the courage of despair. At last the
     adventurers, headed by the Marshal d'Audeneham and the Bègue
     de Vilaines, dismounted, and, forming column, broke the
     English phalanx, whilst the Spanish cavalry charged it in
     rear. All were slain in the first fury of victory, but the
     heroic resistance of this scanty band of Englishmen struck
     even their enemies with admiration. The memory of Felton's
     glorious defeat is preserved in the province, where is still
     shown, near Ariñiz, the hillock upon which, after fighting an
     entire day, he fell, covered with wounds. It is called, in
     the language of the country, _Ingles-mendi_, the English
     Hill."

This gallant but unimportant skirmish comprised (with the exception of
a dash made by Don Tello at the English foragers, of whom he killed a
good number) all the fighting that took place at that time upon the
plain of Vitoria; although some historians have made that plain the
scene of the decisive battle fought soon afterwards, between Edward of
England and Don Pedro on the one hand, and du Guesclin and Henry of
Trastamare on the other. Toreno correctly indicates the ground of this
action, which occurred on the right bank of the Ebro, between Najera
and Navarrete. It is true that the Prince of Wales offered battle near
Vitoria, drawing up his army on the heights of Santo Romano, close to
the village of Alegria, just in the line of the flight of the French
when beaten in 1813. The Prince did this boldly and confidently,
although anxious for the coming up of his rear-guard, which was still
seven leagues off. "That day," says Froissart, "the prince had many a
pang in his heart, because his rear-guard delayed so long to come."
But the enemy were in no haste to attack. Only a day or two
previously, Don Henry had assembled his captains in council of war,
"to communicate to them," says M. Mérimée, "a letter the King of
France had written him, urging him not to tempt fortune by risking a
battle against so able a general as the Prince of Wales, and such
formidable soldiers as the veteran bands he commanded. Bertrand du
Guesclin, Marshal d'Audeneham, and most of the French adventurers,
were of the same opinion--frankly declaring that, in regular battle,
the English were invincible. Du Guesclin's advice was to harass them
by continual skirmishes," &c., &c.; and the result of the council was,
that Don Henry resolved to keep as much as possible on the defensive,
and in the mountains, where his light troops had a great advantage
over their enemies, who were heavily armed, and unaccustomed to a
guerilla warfare. It had been well for him had he adhered to this
resolution, instead of allowing himself to be carried away by his
ardour, and by the confidence with which a successful skirmish had
inspired him. In vain du Guesclin, and the other captains, tried to
detain him in rear of the little river Najerilla: declaring his
intention of finishing the war by one decisive combat, he led his army
into the plain. When the Black Prince, who little expected such
temerity, was informed of the movement--"By St George!" he exclaimed,
"in yonder bastard there lives a valiant knight!" Then he proceeded to
take up his position for the fight that now was certain to take place.
"At sunrise, Count Henry beheld the English army drawn up in line, in
admirable order; their gay banners and pennons floating above a forest
of lances. Already all the men-at-arms had dismounted.[31]... The
Prince of Wales devoutly offered up a prayer, and, having called
heaven to witness the justice of his cause, held out his hand to Don
Pedro: 'Sir King,' he said, 'in an hour you will know if you are King
of Castile.' Then he cried out, 'Banners forward, in the name of God
and St George!"

We will not diminish, by extract or abridgment, the pleasure of those
of our readers who may peruse M. Mérimée's masterly and picturesque
account of the battle, whose triumphant termination was tarnished by
an act of ferocious cruelty on the part of the Castilian king. Don
Pedro had proved himself, as usual, a gallant soldier in the fight;
and long after the English trumpets had sounded the recall, he spurred
his black charger on the track of the fugitive foe. At last, exhausted
by fatigue, he was returning to the camp, when he met a Gascon knight
bringing back as prisoner Iñigo Lopez Orozco, once an intimate of the
king's, but who had abandoned him after his flight from Burgos. In
spite of the efforts of the Gascon to protect him, Pedro slew his
renegade adherent in cold blood, and with his own hand. The English
were indignant at this barbarous revenge, and sharp words were
exchanged between Pedro and the Black Prince. Indeed, it was hardly
possible that sympathy should exist between the generous and
chivalrous Edward and his blood-thirsty and crafty ally, and this
dispute was the first symptom of the mutual aversion they afterwards
exhibited. From the very commencement, the Prince of Wales appears to
have espoused the cause of legitimacy in opposition to his personal
predilections. His admiration of Count Henry, and good opinion of his
abilities, frequently breaks out. After the signal victory of Najera,
which seemed to have fixed the crown of Castile more firmly than ever
upon Pedro's brow, Edward was the only man who judged differently of
the future. "The day after the battle, when the knights charged by him
to examine the dead and the prisoners came to make their report, he
asked in the Gascon dialect, which he habitually spoke: '_E lo bort,
es mort ó pres?_ And the Bastard, is he killed or taken?' The answer
was, that he had disappeared from the field of battle, and that all
trace of him was lost. '_Non ay res faït!_' exclaimed the prince;
'Nothing is done.'"

The Black Prince spoke in a prophetic spirit: the sequel proved the
wisdom of his words. The battle of Najera was fought on the 3d April
1367. Two years later, less eleven days, on the 23d March 1369--Edward
and his gallant followers having in the interim returned to Guyenne,
disgusted with the ingratitude and bad faith of the king they had
replaced upon his throne--the Bastard was master of Spain, where Don
Pedro's sole remaining possession was the castle of Montiel, within
whose walls the fallen monarch was closely blockaded. Negotiations
ensued, in which Bertrand du Guesclin shared, and in which there can
be little doubt he played a treacherous part. It is to the credit of
M. Mérimée's impartiality, that he does not seek to shield the French
hero, but merely urges, in extenuation of his conduct, the perverted
morality and strange code of knightly honour accepted in those days.
By whomsoever lured, in the night-time Pedro left his stronghold,
expecting to meet, outside its walls, abettors and companions of a
meditated flight. Instead of such aid, he found himself a captive, and
presently he stood face to face with Henry of Trastamare. The brothers
bandied insults, a blow was dealt, and they closed in mortal strife.
Around them a circle of chevaliers gazed with deep interest at this
combat of kings. Pedro, the taller and stronger man, at first had the
advantage. Then a bystander--some say du Guesclin, others, an
Arragonese, Rocaberti--pulled the king by the leg as he held his
brother under him, and changed the fortune of the duel. What ensued is
best told in the words of Lockhart's close and admirable version of a
popular Spanish ballad:--

    "Now Don Henry has the upmost,
    Now King Pedro lies beneath;
    In his heart his brother's poniard
    Instant finds its bloody sheath.

    Thus with mortal gasp and quiver,
    While the blood in bubbles well'd,
    Fled the fiercest soul that ever
    In a Christian bosom dwell'd."

FOOTNOTES:

[20] _Histoire de Don Pédre I^{er}, Roi de Castille._ Par PROSPER
MÉRIMÉE, de l'Académie Française. Pp. 586. Paris, 1848.

[21] _Blackwood's Magazine_, No. CCCLXXX.

[22] The _ricos hombres_, literally rich men, did not yet bear titles,
which were reserved for members of the royal family. Thus, Henry de
Trastamare was commonly designated as "the Count," he being the only
one in Castile. When crowned at Burgos, in 1366, he lavished the titles
of count and marquis, previously so charily bestowed, not only upon the
magnates of the land, but upon Bertrand Duguesclin, Sir Hugh Calverley,
Denia the Arragonese, and other foreign adventurers and allies. "Such
was the generosity, or rather the profusion of the new king, that it
gave rise to a proverbial expression long current in Spain: _Henry's
favours_ (_Mercedes Enriquenas_) was thenceforward the term applied to
recompenses obtained before they were deserved."--MÉRIMÉE, p. 451-2. A
_rico hombre_ was created by receiving at the king's hand a banner and
a cauldron (_Pendon y Caldera_)--the one to guide his soldiers, the
other to feed them. The fidalgos or hidalgos (from _hijodalgo_, the son
of somebody) were dependants of the _ricos hombres_, as these were of
the king. "Every nobleman had a certain number of gentlemen who did him
homage, and held their lands in fee of him. In their turn, these
gentlemen had vassals, so that the labourer had many masters, whose
orders were often contradictory. These mediæval institutions gave rise
to strange complications, only to be unravelled by violence.
Nevertheless, the laws and national usages directed the vassal,
whatever his condition, to obey his immediate superior. Thus, a mere
knight did not incur penalty of treason by taking arms against the king
by order of the rich-man to whom he paid homage."--MÉRIMÉE, p. 29. Some
curious illustrations are subjoined. In 1334, Alphonso took the field
against an insubordinate vassal, and besieged him in his town of Lerma.
Garcia de Padilla, a knight attached to the rebel, seeing an amicable
arrangement impossible, boldly demanded of Don Alphonso a horse and
armour, to go and fight under the banner of his liege lord. The king
instantly complied with his request, warning him, however, that if
taken, he should pay with his head for his fidelity to the lord of
Lerma. "I distinguish," says M. MÉRIMÉE, "in the action and words of
Don Alphonso, the contrast of the knight and the king united in the
same man. The one yields to his prejudices of chivalrous honour, the
other will have the rights of his crown respected. The customs of the
age and the dictates of policy contend in the generous monarch's
breast."--P. 30.

[23] "It were a great error to attribute to Spain, in the 14th
century, the religious passions and intolerant spirit that animated it
in the 16th. In the wars between Moors and Christians, politics had
long had a far larger share than fanaticism....  Although the
Inquisition had been established more than a century, its power was
far from being what it afterwards became. As to Jews and Moors, they
were subject to the jurisdiction of the Holy Office only when they
sought, by word or writing, to turn Christians from the faith of their
fathers; and even then, royal authorisation was necessary before they
could be prosecuted. And the kings showed themselves, in general,
little disposed to let the clergy increase their influence. In 1350,
Peter IV. of Arragon rigorously forbade ecclesiastics to infringe on
secular jurisdiction.... There was much lukewarmness in matters of
religion; and to this, perhaps, is to be attributed the very secondary
part played by the clergy in all the political debates of the 14th
century. The inferior clergy, living and recruiting its ranks amongst
the people, shared the ignorance and rudeness of the latter. Such was
the prevalent immorality, that a great number of priests maintained
concubines, who were vain of the holy profession of their lovers, and
claimed particular distinctions. The conduct of these ecclesiastics
occasioned no scandal, but the luxury affected by their mistresses
often excited the envy of rich citizens, and even of noble ladies.
Repeatedly, and always in vain, the Cortes launched decrees intended
to repress the insolence of the _damoiselles de prétres_, (_barraganas
de clérigos_,) who formed a distinct class or caste, enjoying special
privileges, and sufficiently numerous to require the invention of laws
for them alone."--MÉRIMÉE, p. 34 to 38. These passages tend to explain
what might otherwise seem incomprehensible--the passive submission of
the Spanish priesthood to encroachments upon their temporal goods.
Since then they have rarely shown themselves so enduring; and the mere
hint of an attack upon their power or opulence has usually been the
signal for mischievous intrigue, and often for bloody strife. It is a
question, (setting aside the _barraganas_, although these, up to no
remote date, may be said to have been rather _veiled_ than
suppressed,) whether the Spanish priests of the 14th century were not
nearly as enlightened as their successors of the 19th. They certainly
were far more tolerant. "Arab language and literature," M. Mérimée
tells us, "were cultivated in schools founded under ecclesiastical
patronage."

In the Cortes held at Valladolid, in 1351, we find Don Pedro rejecting
the petitions of the clergy, who craved restitution of the revenues
appropriated by the crown, to their prejudice, under his father's
reign.

[24] In various details of Don Pedro's life and character we trace
resemblance to the eastern despot, although there seems no foundation
for the charges of infidelity brought against him towards the close of
his reign, and which may partly have originated, perhaps, in his close
alliance with the Granadine Moors, a body of whose light cavalry for
some time formed his escort. Contiguity of territory, commercial
intercourse, and political necessities, had assimilated to a certain
extent the manners and usages of Spaniards and Saracens, and given the
former an oriental tinge, of which, even at the present day, faint
vestiges are here and there perceptible. Don Pedro's orientalism was
particularly perceptible in the mode of many of the executions that
ensanguined his reign. He had constantly about him a band of
cross-bowmen who waited on his nod, and recoiled from no cruelty.
Occasionally we find him sending one of them to some distant place to
communicate and execute the doom of an offending subject. This recalls
the Turkish mute and bowstring. These death-dealing archers seem to
have employed mace and dagger more frequently than axe or cord. They
were assassins rather than executioners. They officiated in the case
of Garci Laso. "Alburquerque, impatient of delay, warned the king that
it was time to give final orders. Don Pedro, accustomed to repeat
those of his minister, bade two of Alburquerque's gentlemen go tell
the prisoner's guards to despatch him. The arbalisters, blind
instruments of the king's will, mistrusted an order transmitted to
them by Alburquerque's people, and desired to receive it from their
master's mouth. One of them went to ask him what was to be done with
Garci Laso. 'Let him be killed!' replied the king. This time duly
authorised, the arbalister ran to the prisoner, and struck him down
with a blow of a mace upon his head. His comrades finished him with
their daggers. The body of Garci Laso was thrown upon the public
square, where the king's entrance was celebrated, according to
Castilian custom, by a bull-fight. The bulls trampled the corpse, and
tossed it upon their horns. It was taken from them for exhibition upon
a scaffold, where it remained a whole day. At last it was placed upon
a bier, which was fixed upon the rampart of Camparanda. It was the
treatment reserved for the bodies of great malefactors."--MÉRIMÉE, p.
73.

[25] "In 1339, Don Gonzalo Martinez, Master of Alcantara, having
rebelled against the king Don Alphonso, was besieged and taken in his
castle of Valencia, and Coronel presided at his execution."--_Chronica
de Don Alphonso XI._, p. 385.

[26] The Castilian tongue is rich in words descriptive of grace in
women. Spain is, certainly, the country where that quality is most
common. I will cite only a few of those expressions, indicative of
shades easier to appreciate than to translate. _Garbo_ is grace
combined with nobility; _donayre_, elegance of bearing, vivacity of
wit; _salero_, voluptuous and provocative grace; _zandunga_, the kind
of grace peculiar to the Andalusians--a happy mixture of readiness and
nonchalance. People applaud the _garbo_ or _donayre_ of a duchess, the
_salero_ of an actress, the _zandunga_ of a gipsy of Jerez.--MÉRIMÉE,
p. 110.

[27] The enchantment of Don Pedro by Maria Padilla is a popular
tradition in Andalusia, where the memory of both is vividly preserved.
It is further added, that Maria Padilla was a queen of the
gipsies--their _bari crallisa_--consequently consummate mistress of
the art of concocting philters. Unfortunately, the gipsies were
scarcely seen in Europe till a century later. The author of the
_Première Vie du Pape Innocent VI._ gravely relates that Blanche,
having made her husband a present of a golden girdle, Maria Padilla,
assisted by a Jew, a notorious sorcerer, changed it into a serpent,
one day that the king had it on. The surprise of the king and his
court may be imagined, when the girdle began to writhe and hiss;
whereupon the Padilla easily succeeded in persuading her lover that
Blanche was a magician bent upon destroying him by her arts.--MÉRIMÉE,
p. 120.

[28] ZUÑIGA, _Anales de Sevilla_.--"The people say, that Maria
Coronel, pursued by Don Pedro, in the suburb of Triana, plunged her
head into a pan in which a gipsy was cooking fritters. I was shown the
house in front of which the incident occurred, and I was desired to
remark, as an incontrovertible proof, that it is still inhabited by
gipsies, whose kitchen is in the open street."--MÉRIMÉE, p. 247.

[29] We have already adverted to the religious tolerance of the time,
and to the intermixture of Mussulmans and Christians: M. Mérimée gives
some curious details on this subject. The nobility of Castile made no
difficulty to grant the _Don_ to the Moorish cavaliers, and the rich
Jew bankers obtained the same distinction, then very rare amongst the
Christians themselves. Thus Ayala, the chronicler, speaks of Don
Farax, Don Simuel, Don Reduan, &c.; although of Spaniards he gives the
Don only to the princes of the blood, to a few very powerful _ricos
hombres_, to certain great officers of the crown, and to the masters
of the military orders of knights. The Andalusian Moors were
frequently treated as equals by the chevaliers of Castile; but this is
far less astonishing than that the Jews should have attained to high
honours and office. Pedro, however, seems always to have had a leaning
towards them, and the Israelites, on their part, invariably supported
him. He was more than once, in the latter part of his reign, heard to
say that the Moors and Hebrews were his only loyal subjects. At
Miranda, on the Ebro, in 1360, the populace, stirred up by Henry of
Trastamare, massacred the Jews, and pillaged their dwellings. The
object of the Count was to compromise the townspeople, and thus to
attach them indissolubly to his cause. When Pedro arrived, he had the
ringleaders of the riot arrested; and, in his presence, the unhappy
wretches were burned alive, or boiled in immense cauldrons. Obsolete
laws were revived, to justify these terrible executions; but the crime
of the offenders was forgotten in the horror excited by such barbarous
punishments. It was just after these scenes of cruelty that a priest,
coming from Santo-Domingo de la Calzada, craved private audience of
the king, 'Sire,' said he, 'my Lord Saint Dominick has appeared to me
in a dream, bidding me warn you that, if you do not amend your life,
Don Henry, your brother, will slay you with his own hand.' This
prophecy, on the eve of a battle between the brothers, was probably
the result of fanatical hatred, on the part of the priests towards a
king now generally accused of irreligion. Whatever dictated it, Pedro
was at first startled by the prophet's confident and inspired air, but
soon he thought it was a stratagem of his enemies to discourage him
and his troops. The priest, who persisted that his mission was from St
Dominick, was burned alive in front of the army.--MÉRIMÉE, pp. 35,
290, 299, &c.

[30] "According to the interpolator of the chronicle of the
_Despensero Mayor_, Simuel Levi, whose death he erroneously fixes in
the year 1366, was denounced to the king by several Jews, envious of
his immense riches. Simuel, on being put to the torture, died of
indignation, '_de puro corage_,' says the anonymous author, whom I
copy, since I cannot understand him. There were found, in a vault
beneath his house, three piles of gold and silver lingots, so lofty
'that a man standing behind them was not seen.' The king, on beholding
this treasure, exclaimed--'If Don Simuel had given me the third part
of the smallest of these heaps, I would not have had him tortured. How
could he consent to die rather than speak?' _Sumario de los Reyes de
España_, p. 73. Credat Judæus Apella."--MÉRIMÉE, p. 317.

Don Pedro was often accused of avarice, although it appears probable
that his fondness of money sprang from his experience of the power it
gave, and of its absolute necessity in the wars in which he was
continually engaged, rather than from any abstract love of gold. When,
after his flight from Spain in 1366, his treasures were traitorously
given up to his rival by Admiral Boccanegra, who had been charged to
convey them to Portugal, they amounted to thirty-six quintals of gold,
(something like fourteen hundred thousand pounds sterling--a monstrous
sum in those days,) besides a quantity of jewels.

[31] The custom of the time, according to Froissart and others. On the
march, most of the soldiers, sometimes even the archers, were on
horseback; but when the hour of battle arrived, spurs were removed,
horses sent away, and lances shortened. When the time came for flight
and pursuit, the combatants again sprang into their saddles.



THE OPENING OF THE SESSION.


The British Parliament has again been summoned to resume its labours.
The period which intervened between the close of the last, and the
opening of the present session, was fraught with great anxiety to
those who believed that the cause of order and peace depended upon the
check that might be given to the democratic spirit, then raging so
fearfully throughout Europe. France, under the dictatorship of
Cavaignac, had emerged a little from the chaotic slough into which she
had been plunged by the wickedness, imbecility, and treason of a junta
of self-constituted ministers--men who held their commissions from the
sovereign mob of Paris, and who were ready, for that sovereign's sake,
to ruin and prostrate their country. Foremost among these ministers
was Lamartine, a theorist whose intentions might be good, but whose
exorbitant vanity made him a tool in the hands of others who had
embraced revolution as a trade. Of this stamp were Ledru-Rollin, Louis
Blanc, and, we may add, Marrast,--men who had nothing to lose, but
everything to gain, from the continuance of popular disorder.
Fortunately, the daring attempt of June--which, if it had succeeded,
would have surrendered Paris to be sacked--was suppressed with
sufficient bloodshed. Military domination took the place of helpless
democratic fraternity; the barricades went down amidst the thunder of
the cannon, and the rascaldom of the Faubourg St Antoine found, to
their cost, that they were not yet altogether triumphant. Of the
subsequent election of Louis Napoleon to the presidentship we need not
speak. It would be in vain, under present circumstances, to speculate
upon the probable destinies of France. All that we have to remark now
is her attitude, which, we think, is symptomatic of improvement. The
socialist theories are wellnigh exploded. Equality may exist in name,
but it is not recognised as a reality. The provinces have suffered
enough from revolution to abhor the thought of anarchy; and they long
for any government strong and resolute enough to enforce the laws, and
to stamp with its heel on the head of the Jacobin hydra.

Austria, on the other side, has done her duty nobly. Astounded as we
certainly were at the outbreak of revolution in Vienna, we had yet
that confidence, in the spirit and loyalty of the old Teutonic
chivalry, that we never for a moment believed that the mighty fabric
of ages would be allowed to crumble down, or the imperial crown to
fall from the head of the descendant of the Cæsars. And so it has
proved. The revolt occasioned in the southern provinces by the
co-operation of Jacobinism, under the specious mask of nationality,
with the mean and selfish ambition of an intriguing Italian potentate,
has been triumphantly suppressed. Vienna, after experiencing the
horrors of ruffian occupation--after having seen assassination rife in
her streets, and the homes of her burghers delivered over to the lust
and pillage of the anarchists--has again returned to her fealty. The
insurrections in Bohemia and Hungary have been met by the strong arm
of power; the schemes of treason and of faction have been discomfited;
nor can modern history afford us nobler examples of heroism and
devotion than have been exhibited by Windischgrätz and Jellachich.
Whilst the democratic press, even in this country, was sympathising
with the insurgents--whilst treason, murder, and rapine were palliated
and excused, and fulsome and bombastic panegyrics pronounced upon the
leading demagogues of the movement--we have watched the efforts of
Austria towards the recovery of her equilibrium, with an anxiety which
we scarcely can express; because we felt convinced that, upon her
success or her defeat, upon the maintenance of her position as a
colossal united power, or her division into petty states, depended, in
a large measure, the future tranquillity of Europe. Most happily she
has succeeded, and has thereby given the death-blow to the hopes of
the besotted visionaries at Frankfort. The Central Power of Germany,
as that singular assemblage of mountebanks, with a weak old imbecile
at their head, has been somewhat facetiously denominated--that
pseudo-parliament, which, without power to enforce its decrees, or any
comprehensible scheme of action, has arrogated to itself the right of
over-riding monarchies--is gradually dwindling into contempt. Even
Frederick-William of Prussia, its chief supporter and stay, has found
out his vast mistake in yielding to the democratic principle as the
means of ultimately securing for himself the rule of a united Germany.
The attempt has already wellnigh cost him the crown which he wears. He
now sees, as he might have seen earlier, but for the mists of interest
and ambition, that the present movement was essentially a democratic
one, and that its leaders merely held out the phantom of resuscitated
imperialism in order to make converts, and to strike more effectually
at every hereditary constitution. The farce cannot, in the ordinary
nature of things, last much longer. Without Austria, Bavaria, and
Prussia, there is no central power at all. The Frankfort parliament,
as it at present exists, can be compared to nothing except a great
Masonic assemblage. In humble imitation of the brethren of the mystic
tie, it is solemnly creating grand chancellors, grand seneschals, and,
for aught we know, grand tylers also for an empire which is not in
existence; and, without a farthing in its treasury, is decreeing civil
lists and bounties to its imperial grand master! Unfortunately, the
state of Europe has been such that we cannot afford to laugh even at
such palpable fooleries. They tend to prolong excitement and disorder
throughout a considerable portion of the Continent; and already,
through such antics, we have been on the eve of a general war,
occasioned by the unjust attempts to deprive Denmark of her Schleswig
provinces. The sooner, therefore, that the parliament of Frankfort
ceases to have an existence the better. It hardly can exist if the
larger states do their duty, without jealousy of each other, but with
reference to the common weal.

But though the democratic progress, under whatsoever form it appeared,
has thus received a check in northern Europe, it is still raging with
undiminished violence in the south. British diplomatic relations with
the See of Rome have received the _coup-de-grace_, in the forcible
expulsion of the Sovereign Pontiff from his territories! The leading
reformer of the age--the propagandist successor of St Peter--has
surrendered his pastoral charge, and fled from the howling of his
flock, now suddenly metamorphosed into wolves. There, as elsewhere,
liberalism has signalised itself by assassination. The star of
freedom, of which Lord Minto was the delegated prophet, has appeared
in the form of a bloody and terrific meteor. Even revolutionised
France felt her bowels moved by some latent Christian compunction, and
prepared an armament to rescue, if needful, the unfortunate patriarch
from his children. More recently, the Grand-duke of Tuscany--a prince
whose mild rule and kindly government were such that democracy itself
could frame no articulate charge against him, beyond the fact of his
being a sovereign--has been compelled to abandon his territory, and to
take refuge elsewhere.

Such is the state of the continent of Europe at the opening of the new
session of Parliament--a state which, while it undeniably leaves great
room for hope, and in some measure indicates a return to more settled
principles of government, is very far from conveying an assurance of
lasting tranquillity. It is now just a year since the sagacious Mr
Cobden issued the second part of his prophecies to atone for the
failure of the first. The repeal of the corn laws, and the other
free-trade measures, having not only failed to enrich this country at
the ratio of a hundred millions sterling annually--the premium which
was confidently offered by the Manchester Association, as the price of
their experiment--but, having somehow or other been followed by a
calamitous deficit in the ordinary revenue, the member for the West
Riding bethought himself of a new agitation for the disbandment of the
British army, and the suppression of the navy, founded upon the
experiences which he had gathered in the course of his Continental
ovations. He told his faithful myrmidons that all Europe was in a
state of profound peace, and that war was utterly impossible. They
echoed the cry, and at once, as if by magic, the torch of revolution
was lighted up in every country save our own. Nor are we entitled to
claim absolute exemption. Chartism exhibited itself at home in a more
daring manner than ever before: nor do we wonder at this, since the
depreciation of labour in the home market, the direct result of Peel's
injudicious tariffs, drove many a man, from sheer desperation, into
the ranks of the disloyal. Ireland was pacified only by a strong
demonstration of military force; and, had that been withdrawn,
rebellion was the inevitable consequence. Still, though his promises
are thus shown to be utterly false, the undaunted Free-trader, in the
teeth of facts and logic, persists in maintaining his conclusions.
Again he shouts, raves, and agitates for an extensive military
reduction; and, lo! the next Indian mail brings tidings of the war in
the Punjaub!

Public attention, during the recess, has been very generally directed
to the state of the finances of the country. No wonder. Last year, in
proposing the first of his abortive budgets, Lord John Russell
distinctly calculated the probable excess of the expenditure over the
income at the sum of three millions and a quarter; to balance which he
asked for an augmentation of the income tax--a proposal which the
nation very properly scouted. But, whilst we state now, as we stated
then, our determined opposition to the increase of the direct taxation
of the country, we must remark that the free-trade party were hardly
justified in withholding their support from a minister who had played
their game with such unimpeachable docility, in an emergency directly
resulting from the operation of their cherished system. The statement
of Sir Charles Wood, to the effect that, during the last six years,
the nation had remitted seven and a half millions of annual taxation,
ought surely to have had the effect of an argument upon these
impenetrable men. Seven millions and a half had been sacrificed before
the Moloch of free trade. Good, benevolent, plain-dealing Sir Robert,
and profound, calculating Lord John, had each, in preparing their
annual estimates, lopped off some productive branch of the customs,
and smilingly displayed it to the country, as a proof of their desire
to lessen the weight of the national burdens. That our revenue should
fall was, of course, a necessary consequence. Fall it did, and that
with such rapidity that Sir Robert Peel dared not take off the income
tax, which he had imposed upon the country with a distinct and solemn
pledge that it was merely to be temporary in its duration, but handed
it over as a permanent legacy to his successor, who coolly proposed to
augment it! Now it really required no reflection at all to see that,
if our statesmen chose, for the sake of popularity or otherwise, thus
to tamper with the revenue, and to lessen the amount of the customs, a
deficit must, sooner or later, occur. Not the least baneful effect of
the policy pursued by Sir Robert Peel has been the system of
calculating the estimates so low, and adapting the income so closely
to the national expenditure, that a surplus, to be handed over to the
commissioners for the reduction of the national debt, is now a
tradition. We have abandoned the idea of a surplus, nor can it ever
again be realised under the operation of the present system. Instead
of a surplus we have a permanent income tax, and, more than that, a
fresh debt incurred by us, under Whig management, of no less than ten
millions.

Such being the state of our finances, the question naturally suggests
itself to the mind of every thinking man, how are we to find a remedy?
The Financial Reform Associations--which are nothing else than the
bastard spawn of the Anti-Corn-law League--are perfectly ready with
their answer. They see no difficulty about it at all. "Act," they say,
"upon the same principle which every man adopts in private life. Since
your income has fallen off, reduce your expenditure. Cut your coat
according to your cloth. Find out what are the most expensive items of
your estimates, and demolish these. If you can't afford to have an
army, don't keep one. Your navy is anything but a source of income;
put it down. In this way you will presently find that you can make
out a satisfactory balance-sheet."

This is the pounds, shillings, and pence view of the case, and its
supporters are determined to enforce it. Dull statistical pamphlets,
inveighing against the enormous expense of our establishments, are
compiled by pompous pseudo-economists, and circulated by the million.
Looking to the past, it requires no familiarity to predict, that, as
sure as winter follows autumn, so certainly will the Whigs yield to
the pressure from without. Nay, it is not a prediction; for already,
in the Queen's speech, an intimation to that effect has been given.
Now this is a matter of vital moment to every one of us. We are now
verging towards the point which we have long foreseen, when the
effects of unprincipled legislation will be wrested into an argument
against the maintenance of the national greatness. We have a battle to
fight involving a more important stake than ever. We must fight that
battle under circumstances of great disadvantage; for not only has
treachery thinned our ranks, but the abandonment of public principle
by a statesman whose hairs have grown gray in office, has given an
example of laxity most pernicious to the morals of the age. But not
the less readily do we go forward at the call of honour and duty,
knowing that our cause is truth, and confident, even now, that truth
must ultimately prevail.

In the first place, let us set ourselves right with these same
Financial Reform Associations, so that no charge may be brought
against us of factious opposition to salutary improvement. We have
perused several of their tracts with great care; but, being tolerably
familiar with their statistics already, we have not acquired any large
stock of additional information. They point, however, to many things
which are most undoubted abuses. That a reform is necessary in many
civil departments of the state, has long been our expressed opinion.
Money is not only misapplied, but the revenues which ought to be drawn
from some portions of the public property, find their way into private
pockets, and are not accounted for. We do not doubt that the dockyards
are largely jobbed, and that the nation suffers considerable loss by a
partial and nefarious system of private instead of public contracts.
We are no admirers of sinecures, of unnecessary commissionerships, or
the multiplication of useless offices. The department of Woods and
Forests is an Augean stable, which requires a thorough cleansing. It
is notoriously the most inefficient and the worst served of the public
boards, and it has permitted and winked at peculation to an extent
which is almost incredible. We desire to have the public accounts
better kept, and some security given that the officials will do their
duty. We wish to see patronage fairly and honourably exercised. We
wish to see abuse corrected, curbed, and abolished.

And why is this not done? Simply for this reason--that we are cursed
with a government in every way unfit for their charge. The present
ruling family party have not among them a vestige of a public virtue.
Jobbing with the Whigs is not an exceptional case--it is a living
principle. It is more to them than the liberty of the press: it is
like the air they breathe; if they have it not, they die. They keep
their adherents together solely by the force of jobbing. Look at their
Irish Trevellyan jobs, their commissions, their unblushing and
unparalleled favouritism! Never, in any one instance, have they
attempted to save a shilling of the public revenue, when, by doing so,
they would interfere with the perquisites of some veteran servitor of
their order. We know this pretty well in Scotland, where jobbing
flourishes all the better because we are denied the superintendence of
a separate Secretary of State--an office which is imperatively called
for. The present is undeniably a time for the exertion of strict
economy in every department, and yet ministers will not vouchsafe to
commence it in their own. During the last two years, various offices
which are not hereditary, which are notorious sinecures, and which are
nevertheless endowed with large salaries, have become vacant; and, in
every case, these have been filled up by Lord John Russell, on the
broad ground that the government could not afford to dispense with
such valuable patronage.

So far we are at one with the finance reformers. So long as their
object is to reform evident abuses, we are ready not only to applaud,
but to co-operate with them: but the correction of abuses is a very
different thing from that suicidal policy which has been over and over
again attempted in this country--that policy which, by saving
thousands, insures the loss of millions.

Because our revenue has fallen off, is that any reason why we should
part with our army and navy? Let us assume that the army and navy are
necessary for three purposes--first, for the defence of the country;
secondly, for the maintenance of internal order; and thirdly, for the
retention of our colonies. Let us further assume, that, keeping these
three necessary points in view, it is impossible to effect a numerical
reduction of the force: and we then ask the economists whether, these
premises being allowed, they would push their doctrine of cloth-cutting
so far as still to insist upon a reduction? Not one political tailor of
them all will dare to say so! They know the overwhelming storm of
contempt that would arise in every corner of Great Britain, if they
dared to give vent to such a traitorous sentiment; they leave it
unuttered, but they aver the non-necessity.[32] Here we meet at once
upon fair and open ground; and we ask, whether they mean to aver that
the present force is greater than is required for the three purposes
above mentioned, or whether they mean to aver that any one of these
purposes is unnecessary? This, as we shall presently have occasion to
see, is a very important distinction.

To the first question, as yet, we have only indefinite answers. We
hear a good deal about clothing allowances and abuses, with which we
have nothing whatever to do. It may be, that there exist some faults
in the army and navy department, and that these could be amended with
a saving of expense to the country: if so, let it be done. We
cordially echo the language of Lord Stanley, on moving his amendment
to the address: "I believe it is possible to effect some reductions in
the civil departments of the army, ordnance, and navy. I also think
that large reductions may be made by checking the abuses which exist
in the administration and management of the dockyards. But the
greatest security we could obtain for having the work well done in the
dockyards, would be the passing of an enactment to deprive all persons
in those yards from voting for members of parliament. I have heard at
least twenty naval officers express an opinion that, until persons
employed in the dockyards shall be prevented from voting for members
of parliament, it will be impossible to exercise efficient control
over the work performed in those establishments. If reductions can be
effected, in God's name let them be made; and, although one may wonder
how such a course has been so long delayed, I will applaud the
government which shall economise without prejudice to the permanent
interests of the empire. But when the country is in a position which
requires that she should have all her resources and powers at hand, I
cannot concur with those who, for the sake of economy, would largely
diminish the naval and military forces of the country."

Mr Cobden, so far as we can gather from his orations, advocates the
propriety of disbanding the army on the score of peace. He thinks
that, if we were to dismiss our forces, all the other nations of the
earth would follow the example. There is something positively
marvellous in the calm audacity of the man who can rise up, as Cobden
did at Manchester, on the last day of January, and enunciate to his
enraptured audience, that, "notwithstanding all that had been said on
that subject, he reiterated there never was a time when Europe was so
predisposed to listen to advances made by the people of England, on
that subject, as now!" Where, in the name of the Seven Sleepers of
Ephesus, has the man been during the last twelvemonths? What does Mr
Cobden understand by Europe? We should like to know this, for it is
very easy to use a general term, as in the present instance, without
conveying any definite meaning. Does he refer to the governments or
the mobs of Europe--to the well-affected, who wish for order, or to
the Jacobins whose cause he adores? If he meant the latter class to
signify Europe, we can understand him readily enough. He is right:
great indeed would be the joy of the clubs in Paris, Berlin, and
Vienna, if there were not a soldier left. What jubilee and triumph
there would be in every Continental capital! Not the suppression of
the police would excite deeper exultation in the hearts of the
denizens of St Giles', than would the abolition of standing armies in
those of the bearded patriots of the Continent. No need then of
barricades--no fighting for the partition of property--no bloodshed,
preparatory to the coveted rape and pillage! The man who can talk in
this way is beneath the average of idiots; or, otherwise, he is
somewhat worse. Not only during the last year, but within the last
five months, we have seen that the whole standing armies of Europe
have been employed in the task of suppressing insurrection, and have
not been able to do it. Under these circumstances, what state would be
"predisposed" to surrender its citizens to the tender mercies of
democracy? Ignorant indeed must be the audience that could listen to
such pitiable drivelling as this!

Until it can be shown or proved that our armaments, even in ordinary
times, are larger than are required for the purposes of defence, of
internal tranquillity, and of colonial occupation, there is no cause
for reduction at all. The troops at home are maintained for the first
two objects, since it would be as wise, in the time of peace, to
dismantle the fortifications of a town and to spike the cannon, as to
dispense with an army. Is there no necessity for the troops at home?
The experience of last year alone has shown us what we might expect if
Cobden's views were realised. Glasgow, the second largest city of the
empire, was for a time in the hands of the mob. We doubt whether the
stiffest free-trader in the West would now be disposed to renounce
military protection. Have the people of Liverpool already forgotten
that their shipping and warehouses were threatened with incendiarism,
and that such apprehensions of a rising were entertained, that, at the
earnest entreaty of the magistracy, a camp was established in their
vicinity? What would be the state of Ireland, at this moment, if the
troops were withdrawn, or their number so materially lessened as to
give a chance of success, however momentary, to insurrection? But it
is useless to ask such questions, for, in reality, there is hardly a
sane man in the British islands who does not know what the immediate
result would be, and the horrible penalty we should ultimately pay for
such weak and culpable parsimony.

It is a very favourite topic, with finance reformers, to refer to the
state of the army and navy as it existed previous to the French
Revolution. "In 1792," they say, "the whole cost of these departments,
including the ordnance, amounted only to five millions and a half--why
should we not now reduce our expenditure to the same amount?" It is
wearisome to enter into the task of explanation with these gentlemen,
who, after all, are but slenderly acquainted with statistics, else
they would at once divine the answer: nevertheless we shall undertake
it. According to the nearest approximation which can be made, the
British islands, in the year 1792, contained a population of about
_fifteen and a half millions_. The census in 1841 showed a population
of _twenty-seven millions_, and at the present moment the number is
probably not short of _thirty_. So that, on the reasonable principle
that military establishments should bear a certain ratio to the
population, and excluding every other consideration, the annual
estimates ought, according to the standard of the financial reformers,
to be at least eleven millions. But then, be it observed, our colonial
possessions were comparatively small compared with their present
extent. Since 1792, we have received accession of the following
colonies and settlements:--Ceylon, Trinidad, St Lucia, Malta,
Heligoland, British Guiana, the Falkland Islands, Hong-Kong, Labuan,
Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius, Van Diemen's Land, Western and Southern
Australia, New Zealand, and the Ionian Islands. The area of these new
possessions is considerably more than _six times_ that of the whole
extent of the British islands; the surface of the new colonies being,
in square miles, no less than 828,408, whilst that of Britain proper
is merely 122,823. We purposely abstain from alluding to the extent
and increment of our older colonies, as our object is simply to show
the difference of our position now, from what it was in the year
immediately preceding the outbreak of the first French Revolution.

In the mean time, however, let us keep strictly to our present point,
which is the necessity of maintaining a standing army at home. Within
the last fifty-seven years, the population at home has doubled--a fact
which, of itself, will account for many social evils utterly beyond
the reach of legislation. The enormous increase of the manufacturing
towns has not been attended with any improvement in the morals of the
people. The statistical returns of criminal commitments show that vice
has spread in a ratio far greater than the increase of population; and
along with vice has appeared its invariable concomitant, disaffection.
Every period of stagnation of trade is marked by a display of
Chartism: the example set by such associations as the League has not
been lost upon the greater masses of the people. Ireland is a volcano
in which the fires of rebellion are never wholly extinguished, and
every internal movement there is sensibly felt upon this side of the
Channel.

But it is needless, perhaps, to enlarge upon the point, because there
are very few persons who maintain that our home force is greater than
the occasion requires. That admitted, the question is very
considerably narrowed. The reductions demanded would then fall to be
made in that portion of our armaments which is used for colonial
occupation and defence.

First, let us see what we have to occupy and defend. In 1792, the area
of the British colonies which we still retain was about 565,700 square
miles. Subsequent additions have extended this surface to 1,400,000.
This calculation, be it remarked, is altogether exclusive of India.

The free-traders themselves do not aver that we maintain a larger
force than is compatible with their magnitude for the occupation of
the colonies. "I am quite aware," says Cobden, "that any great
reduction in our military establishments _must depend upon a complete
change_ in our colonial system; and I consider such a change to be the
necessary consequence of our recent commercial policy." We are glad at
last to arrive at the truth. That one sentence contains the key to the
present crusade against armaments, and it is very well that we should
understand and consider it in time. Our readers must not, however,
understand the word "change" in the literal sense; the following
extract from the Edinburgh tract will put the matter in a clearer
light. "The possession of the colonies is supposed to add lustre to
the crown; but it may be doubted whether the honour is not purchased
at a price considerably beyond its value. The colonies pay no taxes
into the exchequer: we keep them, they do not keep us. An Englishman
may be told that he belongs to an empire on which the sun never sets;
but, as he pays dearly for this in taxation, and gets nothing but
sentiment in return, he may be inclined to question the value of that
vast dominion on his connexion with which he is congratulated. But if
the Englishman makes nothing by the colonial possessions, neither does
the colonist. As things are managed, the union is mutually
embarrassing, while the expenses we incur for maintaining the colonies
are ruinous." Were we right or wrong when we said, two years ago, that
the tendency of free trade was a deliberate movement towards the
dismemberment of the British empire, and the separation of the
colonies from the mother country? Here you have the principle almost
openly avowed. The colonies are said to cost us about four millions
a-year, and this opens too rich a field for the penny-wise economist
to be resisted. Nor are we in the slightest degree surprised at these
men availing themselves of the argument. If they are right in their
premises, they are also right in their conclusion. If the people of
this country are deliberately of opinion that our commercial policy
is, henceforward and for ever, to be regulated upon the principles of
free trade, the colonies should be left to themselves, and Earl Grey
immediately cashiered. This is what Cobden and his followers are
aiming at; this is the ultimate result of the measures planned, and
proposed, and carried by Sir Robert Peel. It is no figment or false
alarm of ours. The free-traders do not take the pains to disguise it:
their main argument for the reduction of our forces is the uselessness
and expense of the colonies, and they seem prepared to lower the
British flag in every quarter of the globe. Our fellow-citizen who has
compiled the last Financial tract speaks to the point with a calm
philosophy which shows the thoroughness of his conviction: he says,
"As foreigners now trade with our colonies on the same terms with
ourselves, it is evident that the colonists prefer our goods, only
because they are better and cheaper than those of foreigners; _it
therefore seems reasonable to suppose that the colonies would continue
to buy from us were the connexion dissolved, or greatly changed in
character_. The United States of America once were our colonies, and
the trade with them has vastly increased since they became
independent." According to this view, it would appear that Papineau
was not only a disinterested patriot, but also, an enlightened
economist!

See, then, what great matters spring from petty sources!--how personal
ambition, and competition for power between two statesmen of no high
or exalted principle, can in a few years lead to a deliberate project,
and a large confederacy, for the dismemberment of the British empire!
To gain additional swiftness in the race for ascendency, Sir Robert
Peel and Lord John Russell alternately threw away, most uselessly and
recklessly, many of the surest items of the national income. They
sacrificed, until further sacrifice was no longer possible, without
conceding a broad principle. The principle was conceded; and the
bastard system of free trade, without reciprocity and without
equivalent, was substituted for the wiser system which had been the
foundation of our greatness. By this time, indirect taxation had been
reduced so low that the revenue fell below the mark of the
expenditure; the duties levied upon imports exhibited a marked
decline. Both Peel and Russell were committed to free trade, and
neither of them could, with any consistency, retrace their steps.
Russell, then in power, had no alternative except to propose
additional direct burdens, by augmenting the income-tax. This
proposition was rejected, and there was a dead-lock. Lord John was at
his wits' end. The free-traders now propose to relieve him from his
embarrassment, by cutting down the expenditure so as to meet the
diminished income. This can only be done by reducing the army and
navy, and the army and navy cannot be reduced except by sacrificing
the colonies; therefore, say the free-traders, get rid of the colonies
at once, and, the work is ready-done to your hands.

We defy any man, be he Whig, Peelite, Free-trader, or Chartist, to
controvert the truth of what we have stated above. We anticipated the
result from the first hour that Sir Robert Peel yielded, not to the
expressed will of the nation, but to the clamour of a selfish and
organised faction; and every move since has been in exact concordance
with our anticipations. Last year, Lord John Russell showed some
spirit of resistance to the power which was dragging him downward: he
refused to tamper with the army. In an article which appeared in this
Magazine just twelve months ago, we said--"It is to the credit of the
Whigs that, far as they have been led astray by adopting the
new-fangled political doctrines--rather, as we believe, for the sake
of maintaining power than from any belief in their efficacy--they have
declined all participation with the Manchester crew, in their recent
attempts to lower the position and diminish the influence of Great
Britain." The country knows, by this time, that we cannot repeat the
encomium. Last year, _before there was a single disturbance abroad_,
before insurrection had arisen in Ireland, Lord John Russell brought
forward his budget, and, with the support of the great majority of the
House, not only peremptorily refused to accede to a diminution of our
forces, but actually proposed an augmentation. _This year_, we find in
the royal speech the following paragraph--"The present aspect of
affairs has enabled me to make large reductions on the estimates of
last year."

"The present aspect of affairs!"--Go to, then--let us see what the
phrase is worth--how far the context of the whole speech will justify
the choice of the expression? This is no time for shuffling or
weakness--no time for party-tricks. The atmosphere is dark around us.
By the help of Heaven we have stood the pelting of the storm, and yet
stand unscathed; but the clouds are still black and threatening. We
cannot take a vague assertion, even though it proceeded from a
minister a thousand times more able and trustworthy than the present
premier. We must have proofs before we loosen our cloak, and lessen
the security of our position.

How stand we with regard to the Continental powers? For the first
time, for many years, the British Sovereign has been unable to state
"that she continues to receive from all foreign powers assurances of
their friendly relations." Instead of that we are simply told, what no
one doubts, that her Majesty is desirous to maintain the most friendly
relations with the other members of the European family.
Unfortunately, however, desire does not always imply possession. Are
we to attribute this omission of the usual paragraph to mere
inadvertence? or are we indeed to conclude that, abroad, there has
arisen a feeling so unfriendly that to hazard the assertion of former
relationship would really be equivalent to a falsehood? It is painful
to allow that we must arrive at the latter conclusion. The moral
weight and influence which Britain once exercised on the Continent has
utterly decayed in the hands of Whig administrations. Instead of
maintaining that attitude of high dignified reserve which becomes the
first maritime power of Europe, we have been exhibited in the light of
a nation of interfering intriguers, whose proffered mediation is
almost equivalent to an insult. Mediators of this kind never are, nor
can be, popular. The answer invariably is, in the language of holy
writ--"Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to
kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian?" and, in consequence, wherever
we have interfered we have made matters worse, or else have been
compelled to submit to an ignominious rebuff. Every one knows what
were the consequences of Lord Palmerston's impertinent and gratuitous
suggestions to the crown of Spain. "What," said Lord Stanley, "is the
state of our relations with that court? You have most unwisely,
through your minister, interfered in the internal administration of
the affairs of that country. That offence has been visited by the
Government of that country upon our ministers in a manner so offensive
that, great as was the provocation given by the British minister, no
man in your Lordship's House, with the information we possess, could
stand up and say that the Government of Spain was justified in the
course they had pursued, however much the magnitude of the offence
might have palliated it. But the state of affairs in Spain is this:
Your minister has been ignominiously driven from Madrid, and you have
quietly and tacitly acquiesced in the insult which the Spanish
Government have put upon you." The immediate consequences of Minto
negotiation in Italy have been assassination and rebellion, the flight
of the Pope from his dominions, and the surrender of the sacred city
to the anarchy of the Club propagandists. But perhaps the worst
instance of our interference is that with the Neapolitan and Sicilian
affairs. We have thus chosen openly to countenance rebellion: we have
gone the length of negotiating with insurgents, for securing them an
independent government. We held out a threat, which we did not dare to
fulfil. After menacing the King of Naples with a squadron off his own
shores, apparently to prevent the expedition then prepared from
setting sail for Sicily--and thereby encouraging the insurgents by the
prospect of British aid--we allowed the fleet to sail, the war to
begin, the city of Messina to be bombarded, and then, with a tardy
humanity, we interfered to check the carnage. In consequence, we are
blamed and detested by both parties. The Neapolitan Government feel
that we have acted towards them in a manner wholly inconsistent with
the character of an ally; that in negotiating with rebels, as we have
done, we have absolutely broken faith, and violated honour; and that
even our last interference was as unprincipled as our first. If the
plea of humanity were to be allowed in such cases, where would be the
end of interference? Durst we have said to Austria, after the
reoccupation of Vienna, "You have taken your city, and may keep it,
but you shall not punish the rebels. If you do, we shall interfere, to
prevent the horrors of military execution"? We think that even Lord
Palmerston, notwithstanding his itch for interposition, would have
hesitated in doing this. Lord Lansdowne, in touching upon the subject
of the Austrian and Hungarian relations, is positively conservative in
his tone. According to him, the British cabinet views rebellion in a
very different light, according as it appears in the centre or the
south of Europe--on the banks of the Danube, or on the shores of the
Mediterranean. "As regarded the administration of the internal affairs
of Austria and Hungary, the British Government had not been asked to
interfere, and had not desired to interfere. They contemplated, as all
Europe did, with that feeling which was experienced when men were seen
successfully struggling with difficulties, a contest which had led to
the display of so much lofty character on the part of individuals. Had
this been the place, he (the Marquis of Lansdowne) should have been as
ready as the noble lord to pay his tribute of respect to individuals
who had appeared in that part of the world, and had been most
successful in their efforts to restore the glories of the Austrian
army in her own dominions. _In the negotiations between the Emperor
and his subjects they had no right to interfere_, neither had they
been invited by either party." This is sound doctrine, we admit, but
why treat Naples otherwise than Austria? Had we any right to interfere
in the negotiations between the King of the Two Sicilies and _his_
subjects? Not one tittle more than in the other case; and we beg to
suggest to Lord Palmerston, whether it is creditable that this country
should be considered in the light of a bully who hesitates not, in the
case of a lesser power, to take liberties, which he prudently abstains
from doing where one more likely to resent such unwarrantable conduct
is concerned. As for the Sicilians, they feel that they have been
betrayed. But for the prospect of British support, certainly warranted
by our attitude, they might not have gone so far, nor drawn upon their
heads the terrible retribution which overtook them. Such are the
results of Palmerstonian interference, at once dangerous, despicable,
and humiliating.

We have read with much attention the speech of Lord John Russell, on
the first night of the Session, explanatory of the Italian
transactions; and we must say that his vindication of his
father-in-law is such as to inspire us with a devout hope that the
noble bungler may, in future, be forced to confine his talents for
intrigue to some sphere which does not involve the general
tranquillity of Europe. Considering the manner in which we are mulcted
for the support of the Elliots, we are fairly entitled to ask the
hoary chief of that marauding clan to draw his salary in peace,
without undertaking the task of fomenting civil discord between our
allied powers and their subjects. But even more important is the sort
of admission pervading the address of the Premier, that our
interference in the Sicilian business was regulated by the views
entertained by the French admiral. Sir W. Parker, it seems, did not
take the initiative; it was not his finer sense of humanity which was
offended; for, according to Lord John, "when that expedition reached
Messina, there took place, at the close of the siege of Messina,
events which appeared so horrible and so inhuman in the eyes of the
French admiral that he determined to interfere. It appeared to the
French admiral, that it was impossible such a warfare could continue
without an utter desolation of Sicily, and such alienation from the
Neapolitan Government, on the part of the Sicilians, that no final
terms of agreement could arise; he therefore determined to take upon
himself to put a stop to the further progress of such a horrible
warfare. _After he had so determined, he communicated_ with Sir W.
Parker. Sir W. Parker had a most difficult duty to perform; but,
taking all the circumstances into consideration, our former friendly
relations with the Sicilians--the accounts he had received from the
captain of one of her Majesty's ships then at Messina--the atrocities
he heard of, _and that the French admiral was about to act_--and that
it was important at that juncture that the two nations should act in
concert, his determination was to give orders similar to those which
had been given by the French admiral." Now, although we are fully
alive to the advantage of maintaining the best possible understanding
with the fluctuating French governments, and exceedingly anxious that
no untoward cause for jealousy should arise, we do not think that Lord
John's explanation will be felt as satisfactory by the country. It
appears by this statement, that, had there been no French fleet there,
Sir W. Parker would not have thought himself entitled to interfere. It
is _because_ the French admiral was about to move that he thought fit
to move likewise. If there was any honour in the transaction, we have
forfeited all claim to it by this avowal. If, on the contrary, there
was any wrong done, we excuse it only by the undignified plea, that we
were following the example of France. This is a new position for
Britain to assume--not, in our eyes, one which is likely to raise us
in Continental estimation, or to support the prestige of our maritime
supremacy. To quarrel with our allies is at all times folly; to
vindicate interference on the ground of maintaining a good
understanding with another power, is scarce consonant with principle,
and betrays a conscious weakness on the part of those who have no
better argument to advance.

See, then, how we are situated with the foreign powers. Spain is
alienated from us--Austria not fervid in her love, for there too, it
would seem, we have most unnecessarily interfered. We are detested in
Naples and Sicily, unpopular elsewhere in Italy, mixed up with the
Schleswig dispute, and on no diplomatic terms with Central Germany.
Our understanding with France has fortunately remained amicable, but
we neither know the policy of France, nor can we foresee under what
circumstances she may be placed in a month from the present time. Is
this a peaceful prospect? Let us hear Lord John Russell, whose
interest it is to make things appear in as favourable a light as
possible:--"I do not contend that there is not cause for anxiety in
the present state of Europe. I am far from thinking that the
revolutions which took place last year have run their course, and that
every nation in which they occurred can now be said to be in a state
of solid security. I rejoice as much as any man that the ancient
empire of Austria, our old ally, is recovering her splendour, and is
showing her strength in such a conspicuous manner. Still I cannot
forget that there are many questions not yet settled with regard to
the internal institutions of Austria--that the question of the
formation of what the honourable gentleman (Mr D'Israeli) has called
an empire without an emperor, is still in debate, and that we cannot
be sure what the ultimate result of these events may be. It is also
true that there may have been, during last year, an excess of
apprehension, caused by the great events that were taking place, and
by the rising up of some wild theories, pretending to found the
happiness of the state and of mankind on visionary and unsound
speculations, on which the happiness of no people or country can ever
be founded. We have seen these opinions prevail in many countries to a
considerable extent; and no one can say that events may not, at some
unforeseen moment, take an unfortunate turn for the peace and
tranquillity of Europe." These are sensible views, moderately but
fairly stated; and we ask nothing more than that his lordship's
measures should be framed in accordance with a belief which is not
only his, but is entertained by every man of ordinary capacity
throughout the country. Experience has shown us that war is almost
invariably preceded by revolution. These are not days in which
potentates can assemble their armies, march across their frontiers
without palpable cause of offence, and seize upon the territory of
their neighbours. But for the spirit of innovation, restlessness, and
lust of change, never more generally exhibited than now amongst the
people, the world would remain at peace. It is only when, as in the
case of Germany and Italy, the sceptre is wrenched from the hands of
the constitutional authorities, and when the rule of demagogues and
experimentalists commences, that the danger of war begins. At such a
time, there are no settled principles of polity or of action. Crude
theories are produced, and, for a time, perhaps, acted upon as though
they were sound realities. Men adopt vague and general terms as their
watchwords, and strive to shape out constitutions to be reared upon
these utterly unsubstantial foundations. Laws are changed, and the
executive loses its power. All is anarchy and confusion, until, by
common consent of those who still retain some portion of their senses,
military despotism is called in to strangle the new-born license. This
is a state of matters which usually results in war. The dominant
authorities feel that their hold of public opinion is most precarious,
unless they can contrive to give that opinion an impulse in another
direction, and, at the same time, to employ, in some way or other,
those multitudes whom revolution has driven from the arts and
occupations of peace, and who, unless so provided for, immediately
degenerate into conspirators at home. War is sometimes resorted to as
the means of avoiding revolution. The disturbed state of the north of
Italy furnished Charles Albert with a pretext for marching his army on
Milan, as much, we believe, on account of the revolutionary spirit
rife within his own dominions, as from any decided hope of territorial
aggrandisement. This was the policy of Napoleon, who perfectly
understood the character of the people he had to deal with, and who
acted on the thorough conviction that war was the necessary
consequence of revolution. We do not say that, in the present
instances, such calamitous results are inevitable--we have hope that
France may this time achieve a permanent constitution without having
recourse to aggression. At the same time, it would be folly to shut
our eyes to the fact that, throughout a great part of Europe, the old
boundaries have been grievously disturbed; and that the modern system
of intervention has a decided tendency to provoke war, at periods when
the popular mind is raised to a pitch of extraordinary violence, and
when the passions are so keenly excited as to disregard the appeals of
reason.

These considerations are not only directed towards the course of our
foreign policy; they are of vast moment in judging of the expediency
of reducing our forces at this particular time. Last year, with NO
revolutions abroad, the Whigs not only refused to lessen the amount of
our standing army, but increased it. This year, when the Continent is
still in a state of insurrection, and when war is pending in different
parts of Europe--when, moreover, an Indian contest, more serious in
its aspect than any other which we have recently seen, has
commenced--they propose to begin the work of reduction. Her Majesty is
made to say,--"The present aspect of affairs has enabled me to make
large reductions on the estimates of last year!"

We never have suspected Lord John Russell of possessing much
accomplishment in the art of logic; but, really, in the present
instance, he has the merit of inventing a new system. According to his
own showing, according to his recorded admissions, his doctrine is
this: In time of peace, when there is no occasion for armaments,
increase them; in time of threatened war and actual disturbance, when
there may be every occasion for them, let them be reduced. Yet perhaps
we are wrong: Sir Robert Peel may possibly be admitted as the author
of this vast discovery--in which case, Lord John can merely rank as a
distinguished pupil. The astute baronet, in his zeal for commercial
convulsions, has taught us to expand our currency when there is no
money-famine, and to contract it in the case of exigency. Whether
Californian facts may not hereafter get the better of Tamworth
theories, we shall not at the present moment stop to inquire. In the
mean time let us confine our attention to the proposed reductions.

We are therefore compelled--reluctantly, for we had hoped better
things from men styling themselves British statesmen--to adopt the
view of Lord Stanley, in his powerful and masterly estimate of the
policy of the present Government. "In the face of all this," said the
noble lord, after recapitulating the posture of affairs at home and
abroad, "ministers have had the confidence to place in the mouth of
their sovereign the astounding declaration, that the aspect of affairs
is such as to enable them to effect large reductions in the estimates.
I venture to state, openly and fearlessly, that it is not the aspect
of affairs abroad or in Ireland, but the aspect of affairs in another
place, which has induced the government to make reductions. _I believe
that they have no alternative but to do as they are ordered._" Here,
then, is the first yielding to the new movement--the first step taken,
at the bidding of the Leaguers, towards a policy which has for its
avowed end the abandonment of the colonies! The question naturally
arises--where is to be the end of these concessions? Are we in reality
ruled by a Manchester faction, or by a body of men of free and
independent opinions, who hold their commissions from the Queen, and
who are sworn to uphold the interests and dignity of their mistress
and of the realm? Let us see who compose that faction, what are their
principles, what are their interests, and what means they employ to
work out the ends which they propose. The splendid speech of Mr
D'Israeli, in moving his amendment to the address--a speech which we
hesitate not to say is superior to any of his former efforts, and
which displays an ability at the present time unequalled in the House
of Commons--a speech not more eloquent than true, not more glowing in
its rhetoric than clear and conclusive in its logical deductions--has
told with withering effect upon the new democratic faction, and has
exposed the ministry which bows before it to the contumely of the
nation at large. "I am told," said the honourable member, "that
England must be contented with a lesser demonstration of brute force.
I am not prepared to contradict that doctrine; but I should like to
have a clear definition of what brute force is. In my opinion, a
highly disciplined army, employed in a great performance--that of the
defence of the country, the maintenance of order, the vindication of a
nation's honour, or the consolidation of national wealth and
greatness--that a body of men thus disciplined, influenced and led by
some of the most eminent generals--by an Alexander, a Cæsar, or a
Wellesley--is one in which moral force is as much entered into as
physical. But if, for instance, I find a man possessing a certain
facility of speech, happily adapted to his cause, addressing a great
body of his fellow-men in inflammatory appeals to their passions, and
stirring them up against the institutions of the country, that is what
I call brute force--which I think the country would be very well
content to do without, and which, if there be any sense or spirit left
in men, or any men of right feeling in the country, they will resolve
to put down as an intolerable and ignominious tyranny! I have often
observed that the hangers-on of the new system are highly fond of
questioning the apothegm of a great Swedish minister, who said, 'With
how little wisdom a nation may be governed!' My observations for the
last few years have led me to the conclusion, not exactly similar, but
analogous to that remark; and if ever I should be blessed with
offspring, instead of using the words of the Swedish statesman, I
would rather address my son in this way, 'My son, see with how much
ignorance you can agitate a nation!' Yes! but the Queen's Ministers
are truckling to these men! That is the position of affairs. Her
Majesty's Ministers have yielded to public opinion. Public opinion on
the Continent has turned out to be the voice of secret societies; and
public opinion in England is the voice and clamour of organised clubs.
Her Majesty's Ministers have yielded to public opinion as a tradesman
does who is detected in an act of overcharge--he yields to public
opinion when he takes a less sum. So the financial affairs of this
country are to be arranged, not upon principles of high policy, or
from any imperial considerations, but because there is an unholy
pressure from a minority which demands it, and who have a confidence
of success because they know that they have already beaten two Prime
Ministers." No one who has perused the report of the proceedings at
the late free-trade dinner at Manchester can have failed to remark
that the League is still alive and active. It was not for mere
purposes of jubilation, for the sake of congratulating each other on
the accomplishment of their old object, that these men assembled.
Exultation there was indeed, and some not over-prudent disclosures as
to the nature and extent of the machinery which they had employed, and
the agencies they had used to excite one class of the community
against the other; their inveterate hatred towards the aristocracy and
landed gentry of Great Britain was shown in the diatribes of almost
every one of the commercial orators. "We cannot," says _The Times_,
"but regret that in those portions of the Manchester speeches which
refer to their corn-law achievements, the minds of the speakers appear
still imbittered with class hatred, and feelings of misplaced
animosity towards their fellow-countrymen." "As a people," quoth
Friend John Bright, "we have found out we have some power. We have
discovered we were not born with saddles on our backs, and country
gentlemen with spurs." Ulterior objects are not only hinted at, but
clearly and broadly propounded. The population of the towns is again
to be pitted against that of the counties, and the counties, if
possible, to be swamped by an inundation of urban voters. The banquet
of Wednesday was followed by the financial meeting of Thursday. George
Wilson, the ancient president of the Anti-Corn-Law League, occupied
the chair. Bright and Cobden, the Bitias and Pandarus of the
cotton-spinners, moved the first of a series of resolutions: and an
association was formed, "for maintaining an efficient care over the
registration of electors in boroughs and counties, and to promote the
increase of the county electors by the extension of the forty-shilling
freehold franchise." It was further agreed "that the association
should co-operate with similar associations throughout the country,
and that parties subscribing £10 annually shall be members of the
council, together with such persons, being members of the association,
as shall be elected by any vote of the council." We hope that these
announcements will open the eyes of those who thought that by yielding
to the former agitation they were adopting the best means of bringing
it to a close. Agitation never is so quieted. The experiment has been
made in Ireland until further yielding was impossible; and so will it
be in Britain, if a higher, a bolder, and a more steadfast line of
policy should not be adopted by future governments. From the present
Cabinet we expect nothing. Their invariable course is to yield; for
they neither have the ability to devise measures for themselves, nor
the public virtue to resist unconstitutional encroachments. For where
is the constitution of this country, if we are to be practically
governed by Leagues, by huge clubs with their ramifications extending,
as in France, throughout every town of the empire, and secretly worked
according to the will of an inscrutable and unscrupulous council?
Public opinion, as we understood the phrase in Britain, manifested
itself in Parliament; now, we are told, that it is something
else--that it is the voice of clubs and assemblies without. Very well,
and very powerfully did Mr D'Israeli allude to this system of
organisation in the close of his animated speech:--

     "I have noticed the crude and hostile speculations that are
     afloat, especially respecting financial reform, not only
     because I consider them to be very dangerous to the country;
     not only because, according to rumour, they have converted
     the Government; but because, avowedly on the part of their
     promulgators, they are only tending to ultimate efforts. This
     I must say of the new revolutionary movement, that its
     proceedings are characterised by frank audacity. They have
     already menaced the church, and they have scarcely spared the
     throne. They have denounced the constitutional estates of the
     realm as antiquated and cumbrous machinery, not adapted to
     the present day. No doubt, for the expedition of business,
     the Financial Reform Association presents greater facilities
     than the House of Commons. It is true that it may be long
     before there are any of those collisions of argument and
     intellect among them which we have here; they have no
     discussions and no doubts; but still I see no part of the
     go-a-head system which is likely to supersede the sagacity
     and matured wisdom of English institutions; and so long as
     the English legislature is the chosen temple of free
     discussion, I have no fear, whatever party may be in power,
     that the people of England will be in favour of the new
     societies. I know very well the difficulties which we have to
     encounter--the dangers which illumine the distance. The
     honourable gentleman, who is the chief originator of this
     movement, made a true observation when he frankly and freely
     said, that the best chance for the new revolution lay in the
     dislocation of parties in this House. I told you that, when I
     ventured to address some observations to the house almost in
     the last hour of the last session. I saw the difficulty which
     such a state of things would inevitably produce. But let us
     not despair; we have a duty to perform, and, notwithstanding
     all that has occurred, we have still the inspiration of a
     great cause. We stand here to uphold not only the throne, but
     the empire; to vindicate the industrial privileges of the
     working classes; to reconstruct the colonial system; to
     uphold the church, no longer assailed by appropriation
     clauses, but by vizored foes; and to maintain the majesty of
     parliament against the Jacobin manoeuvres of Lancashire. This
     is a stake not lightly to be lost. At any rate, I would
     sooner my tongue were palsied before I counselled the people
     of England to lower their tone. Yes, I would sooner quit this
     House for ever than I would say to the people of England that
     they overrated their position. I leave that delicate
     intimation to the fervid patriotism of the gentlemen of the
     new school. For my part, I denounce their politics, and I
     defy their predictions; but I do so because I have faith in
     the people of England, their genius, and their destiny!"

Our views therefore are simply these--that while it is the duty of
government to enforce and practise economy in every department of the
public service, they are not entitled, upon any consideration
whatever, to palter with the public safety. We cannot, until the
estimates are brought forward, pronounce any judgment upon the merits
of the proposed reductions--we cannot tell whether these are to be
numerical, or effected on another principle. Needless expenditure we
deprecate as strongly as the most sturdy adherent of the League, and
we expect and hope that in several departments there will be a saving,
not because that has been clamoured for, but because the works which
occasioned the outlay have been completed. For example, the
introduction of steam vessels into our navy has cost a large sum,
which may not be required in future. But to assign, as ministers have
done, the position of affairs abroad as a reason for reducing our
armaments, is utterly preposterous. It is a miserable pretext to cover
their contemptible truckling, and we are perfectly sure that it will
be appreciated throughout the country at its proper value. It remains
to be seen whether these estimates can be reduced so low as to meet
the expenditure of the country. Our own opinion is, that they cannot,
without impairing the efficiency of either branch of the service; and
we hardly think that ministers will venture to go so far.

Let us, at all events, hope that Lord John Russell and his colleagues
are not so lost to the sense of their duty, as to make the sweeping
reduction which the Manchester politicians demand--that they will not
consent to renounce the colonies, or to leave them destitute of
defence. Still the question remains--how are we to raise our revenue?
To this point we perpetually recur, for it is in this that the real
difficulty lies. What says her Majesty's Government to this? The
answer is quite short--Nothing. They have no scheme, so far as we are
given to understand. They cannot go back upon indirect taxation; the
country will not stand any increase of the direct burdens. The old
rule was, out of two evils choose the least: the new rule seems to be,
choose neither the one nor the other, but let matters go on as they
best can. We have that confidence in the good sense of the country,
that we cannot believe that this _laissez faire_ system will be much
longer tolerated. The family party, as the interwoven clique of
Russells, Mintos, Greys, and Woods, has not unaptly been designated,
was not placed in power merely to enjoy the sweets of office, or to
provide for their numerous kindred; they must either grapple with the
pressing difficulties of the state, or surrender their places to
others who are more confident and capable.

Confidence is not wanting in certain quarters, though capability may
be a matter of more dubiety. Mr M'Gregor, M.P. for Glasgow, and
concocter of the famous free-trade tables, is ready at a moment's
notice to produce a new financial scheme, founded upon unerring data,
and promising a large increase of the revenue. Cobden has another
scheme on the irons with the same view, benevolently proposing to lay
the land of Great Britain under further contribution. We believe that,
after the experience of the past, few people will be likely to accept
either budget without considerable hesitation. Both gentlemen have
committed a slight mistake in imitating Joseph's interpretation of the
dream of Pharaoh; they should have inversed the order, and given the
years of famine the precedence of the years of plenty.

The truth is, that it is a very simple matter to take off existing
taxes, but marvellously difficult to impose new ones. Granting that a
certain sum is required for the annual engagements and expenditure of
the country, no wise statesman would abolish any source of revenue,
without, at the same time, introducing another equivalent. Our error
has been abolition without any equivalent at all. It is all very well
to say, that by reducing import duties upon particular articles you
stimulate the power of production: that stimulus may be
given--individuals may in consequence be enriched--and yet still there
is a defalcation of revenue. This, however, is the best case which can
be pointed out for the reduction of duties, and can only apply, in any
degree, to imports of raw material. The greater part of Sir Robert
Peel's tariff is founded upon a principle directly opposite to this.
He removed import duties from articles which, so far from stimulating
the power of production at home, absolutely crushed that power, by
bringing in foreign to supersede British labour. Thus, in both cases,
there was a sacrifice. In the one there was, at all events, a direct
sacrifice of revenue; in the other, a sacrifice of revenue, and a
sacrifice of labour also. The imposition (and the word is appropriate
either in its plain or its metaphorical meaning) of the property and
income tax, which gave Sir Robert Peel the power of making his
commercial experiments, proved inadequate to replace the deficit. The
promised gain was as visionary as the dividends on certain railway
lines projected about the same period, and no new source of national
income has been opened to supply the loss.

Lord Brougham, no bad judge of human nature, observed the other night,
that "such was the extent of the self-conceit of mankind, such the
nature and amount of human frailty, that it became no easy matter to
induce a nation to retrace its steps." People are ever loath to accept
as facts the most pregnant evidences of their own deliberate folly.
Perfectly aware of this metaphysical tendency, we are not surprised
that, for the last two or three years, every remonstrance against the
dangers of precipitate commercial legislation should have been treated
with scorn, both by the older advocates of the abolition system, and
by the younger disciples who were converted in a body along with their
master. They have been kind enough, over and over again, to entreat
us to relinquish our defence of what they called an antiquated and
worn-out theory. Their supplications on this score have been so
continuous as to become absolutely painful; nor could we well
understand why and wherefore they should be so very solicitous for our
silence. Our worst enemies cannot accuse us of advocating any
dangerous innovations: our preachment may be tedious, but, at all
events, we do not take the field at the head of an organised
association. Neither can we be blamed for solitary restiveness, for we
do not stand alone in the utterance of such opinions. The public press
of this country has nobly fought the battle. We have had to cope with
dexterous and skilled opponents; but never, upon any public question,
has a great cause been maintained more unflinchingly, more
disinterestedly, and more ably, than that of the true Conservative
party by the free Conservative press. We are now glad to see that our
denunciations of the new system have not been altogether without their
effect. The temporary failure of free trade has been conceded even by
its advocates; but we are referred to accidental causes for that
failure, and the entreaty now is, to give the system a longer trial.
We have no manner of objection to this, provided we are not asked to
submit to any further experiments. We desire nothing better than that
the people of Great Britain, be they agriculturists, or be they
tradesmen, should have the opportunity of testing by experience the
blessings of the free-trade system. The first class, indeed, do not
require any probationary period of low prices to strengthen their
conviction of the fallacy of the anti-reciprocity system, or of the
iniquity of the arrangement which compels them to support the enormous
amount of pauperism engendered by the over amount of population,
systematically encouraged by the manufacturers. "The manufacturers,"
said Lord Brougham, "do not, perhaps, tell the world that they
manufacture other things besides cotton twist; but every one who knew
anything of them, knew that they _manufactured paupers_. Where the
land produced one pauper, manufacturers created half-a-dozen." Still
we can hardly expect to be thoroughly emancipated from the effects of
the great delusion, until men of every sort and quality are
practically convinced that their interests have been sacrificed to the
selfish objects of a base and sordid confederation. We have no wish to
hark back without occasion, or prematurely, to the corn laws: but, at
the same time, we are not of the number of those who think that
subsequent events have justified the wisdom of the measure. If the
loyalty of the people of Great Britain did really rest upon so very
narrow a point, that, even amidst the rocking and crashing of thrones
and constitutions upon the Continent, ours would have been endangered
by the maintenance of the former law, we should still have reason to
despair of the ultimate destinies of the country. Are we to understand
that, in such a case, the Jacobin faction would have had recourse to
arms--that the Manchester League would have preached rebellion, or
excited its adherents to insurrection? If not this, where would have
been the danger? Never was any question agitated in which the mass of
the operatives took less interest than in the repeal of the corn laws.
They knew well that no benefit was thereby intended to be conferred
upon them--that no philanthropic motives contributed to the erection
of the bazaars--that the millions of popular tracts were poured forth
from no cornucopia of popular plenty. The very fact, that the hard and
griping men of calico were so liberal with their subscriptions to
promote an agrarian change, was sufficient of itself to create a
strong suspicion in their minds; for when was the purse of the
taskmaster ever produced, save from a motive of selfish interest? We
will not do the masses of the British population the foul injustice to
believe that, under any circumstances, they would have emulated the
frantic example of the French. Cobden has not yet the power of his
friend and correspondent Cremieux: he is a wordy patriot, but nothing
more; and, even had he been inclined for mischief, we do not believe
that, beyond the immediate pale of his confederates, any considerable
portion of the nation would readily have rallied round the standard
of such a Gracchus, even though the tricolor stripes had been
displayed on a field of the choicest calico.

"The corn law is a settled question!" so shout the free-traders daily,
in high wrath and dudgeon if any one even ventures to allude to
agricultural distress. We grant the fact. It is a settled question,
like every other which has been decided by the legislature, and it
must remain a settled question until the legislature chooses to reopen
it. We do not expect any such consummation for a long time. We agree
perfectly with the other party, that it is folly to continue
skirmishing after the battle is over, and we do not propose to adopt
any such tactics. We are content to wait until the experiment is
developed, to see how the system works, and to accept it if it works
well; but not on that account shall we less oppose the free-traders
when they advance to further innovations. The repeal of the corn laws
was not the whole, but a mere branch of the free-trade policy. It was
undoubtedly the branch more calculated than any other to depress the
agricultural interest, but the trial of it has been postponed longer
than the free-traders expected. They shall have the benefit of that
circumstance; nor shall we say one word out of season upon the
subject. But perhaps, referring again to the Queen's speech, and
selecting this time for our text those paragraphs which stated that
"commerce is reviving," and that "the condition of the manufacturing
districts is likewise more encouraging than it has been for a
considerable period," we may be allowed to offer a few observations.

We do not exactly understand what her Majesty's ministers mean by the
revival of commerce. This is a general statement which it is very easy
to make, and proportionally difficult to deny. If they mean that our
exports during the last half year have increased, we can understand
them, and very glad indeed we are to learn that such is the case. For
although we have seen of late some elaborate arguments, tending, if
they have any meaning at all, to show that our imports and not our
exports should be taken as the true measure of the national prosperity,
we have that faith in the simple rules of arithmetic which forbids us
from adopting such reasoning. But our gladness at receiving such a
cheering sentiment from the highest possible authority is a good deal
damped by the result of the investigations which we have thought it our
duty to make. We have gone over the tables minutely, and we find that
the exports of the great staples of our industry--cotton, woollen,
silk, linen, hardware, and earthenware--were of less value than those
of 1847 by FOUR MILLIONS AND A HALF, and less than those of 1846 by a
sum exceeding FIVE MILLIONS AND A HALF. With such a fact before us, can
it be wondered at if we are cautious of receiving such unqualified
statements, and exceedingly doubtful of the good faith of the men who
make them?

But, perhaps, this is not the sense in which ministers understand
commerce. They are entitled to congratulate the country upon one sort
of improvement, which certainly was not owing to any efforts upon
their part. We have at last emerged from the monetary crisis, induced
by the unhappy operation of the Banking Restriction Act, and, in this
way, commerce certainly has improved. The fact that such a change in
the distribution of the precious metals should have taken place whilst
our exports were steadily declining, is very instructive, because it
clearly demonstrates the false and artificial nature of our present
monetary system. The consequences, however, may be serious, as the
price of the British funds cannot now be taken as an index of the
prosperity of the country, either in its agricultural or its
manufacturing capacity, but has merely relation to the possession of a
certain quantity of bullion. The rise of the funds, therefore, does
not impress us with any confidence that there has been a healthy
revival in the commerce of the country. We cannot consider the
question of commerce apart from the condition of the manufacturing
districts; and it is to that quarter we must look, in order to test
the value of the free-trade experiments.

We have already noticed the enormous decrease, during the last three
years, in the annual amount of our exports. This, coupled with the
immense increase of imported articles of foreign manufacture, proves
very clearly that the British manufacturer has as yet derived no
benefit from the free-trade measures. We do not, of course, mean to
say that free trade has had any tendency to lessen our exports, though
to cripple the colonies is certainly not the way to augment their
capabilities of consumption. We merely point to the fact of the
continued decrease, even in the staples of British industry, as a
proof of the utter fruitlessness of the attempt to take the markets of
the world by storm. We are told, indeed, of exceptional causes which
have interfered with the experiment; but these causes, even allowing
them their fullest possible operation, are in no way commensurate with
the results. For be it remarked, that the free-trade measures
contemplated this result,--that increased imports were to be
compensated by an enormous augmentation of exports: in other words,
that we were to meet with perfect reciprocity from every foreign
nation. Now, admitting that exceptional causes existed to check and
restrain this augmentation, can we magnify these to such an extent as
to explain the phenomenon of a steady and determined fall in our
staple exports, and that long before the occurrence of civil war or
insurrection on the continent of Europe? The explanation is just
this,--the exports fell because the markets abroad were glutted, and
because no state is disposed to imitate the suicidal example of
Britain, or to sacrifice its own rising industry for the sake of
encouraging foreigners. What inducement, it may be asked, has any
state in the world to follow in our wake? Let us take for example
Germany, to whose markets we send annually about six millions and a
half of manufactures. Germany has considerable manufactures of her
own, which give employment to a large portion of the population. Would
it be wise in the Germans, for the sake of reducing the price either
of linen, cotton, or woollen goods by an infinitesimal degree, to
throw all these people idle, and to paralyse labour in every
department, whenever they could be undersold by a foreign artisan?
Undoubtedly not. Germany has nothing whatever to gain by pursuing such
a course. The British market is open to her, but she does not on that
account relax her right of laying duties upon imports from Britain.
She shelters herself against our competition in her home market,
augments her revenue thereby, and avails herself to the very utmost of
our reduced tariffs, to compete in our country with the artisans of
Sheffield and Birmingham. Every new return convinces us more and more
that commercial interchange is the proper subject of international
treaty; but that no nation whatever, and certainly not one so heavily
burdened as ours, can hope for prosperity if it opens its ports
without the distinct assurance of reciprocity.

Let us try distinctly to ascertain the real amount of improvement
visible in the manufacturing districts. In order to do this, we must
turn to the last official tables, which bring down the trade accounts
from 5th January to 5th December 1848, being a period of eleven
months. We find the following ominous result in the comparison with
the same period in former years:--

  _Exports of British Produce and Manufactures from the United Kingdom._

              1846.          1847.          1848.

   Total,  £47,579,413   £47,345,354   £42,158,194

FIVE MILLIONS, TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS of decreased exports in
eleven months!--and the manufacturing districts are improving!

Let us see the ratio of decline on some of the principal articles
which are the product of these districts. We shall therefore omit such
entries as those of butter, candles, cheese, fish, soap, salt, &c.,
and look to the staples only. The following results we hardly think
will bear out the somewhat over-confident declaration of the
ministry:--

      _Export of Principal Manufactures from the United Kingdom._

                               1846.          1847.           1848.
    Cotton manufactures,   £16,276,465    £16,082,313     £15,050,579
      Do. yarn,              7,520,578      5,547,943       5,443,800
    Linen manufactures,      2,553,658      2,690,536       2,475,224
      Do. yarn,                797,640        615,550         440,118
    Silk manufactures,         768,888        912,842         520,427
    Woollen yarn,              858,953        941,158         712,035
      Do. manufactures,      5,852,056      6,424,503       5,198,059
    Earthenware,               742,295        773,786         651,184
    Hardwares and cutlery,   2,004,127      2,138,091       1,669,146
    Glass,                     241,759        272,411         216,464
    Leather,                   307,336        327,715         244,663
    Machinery,               1,050,205      1,186,921         779,759
                           -----------    -----------     -----------
                           £38,973,920    £37,913,769     £33,401,758

Looking at these tables, we fairly confess that we can see no ground
for exultation whatever; on the contrary, there is in every article a
marked and steady decline. Some of the free-trade journals assert
that, although in the earlier part of the last year there certainly
was a marked falling off in our exports, yet that the later months
have almost redeemed the deficiency. That statement is utterly false
and unfounded. In September last, we showed that the exports of the
first seven commodities in the above table, exhibited a decline of
£3,177,370, for the six earlier months of the year, as compared with
the exports in 1847. We continue the account of the same commodities
for eleven months, and we find the deficiency rated at £3,370,603; so
that we still have been going down hill, only not quite at so
precipitate a rate as before. Free-trade, therefore--for which we
sacrificed our revenue, submitted to an income-tax, and ruined our
West India colonies--has utterly failed to stimulate our exports, the
end which it deliberately proposed.

The diminution of exports implies of course a corresponding diminution
of labour. This is a great evil, but one which is beyond the remedy of
the statesman. You cannot force exports--you cannot compel the foreign
nations to take your goods. We beg attention to the following extract
from the speech of Mr D'Israeli, which puts the matter of export upon
its true and substantial basis:--

     "Look at your condition with reference to the Brazils. Every
     one recollects the glowing accounts of the late
     Vice-president of the Board of Trade with respect to the
     Brazilian trade--that trade for which you sacrificed your own
     colonies. There is an increase in the trade with the Brazils
     of 26,500,000 of yards in 1846 over 1845; and 18,500,000
     yards in 1847 over 1845; and this increase has so completely
     glutted that market, that goods are selling at Rio and Bahia
     at cost price. It is stated in the _Mercantile Journal_, that
     'It is truly alarming to think what may be the result of a
     continuance of imports, not only in the face of a very
     limited inquiry, but at a period of the year when trade is
     almost always at a stand. Why cargo after cargo of goods
     should be sent hither, is an enigma we cannot solve. Some few
     vessels have yet to arrive; and although trade may probably
     revive in the beginning of 1849, what will become of the
     goods received and to be received? This market cannot consume
     them. Stores, warehouses, and the customhouse are full to
     repletion; and if imports continue upon the same scale as
     heretofore, and sales have to be forced, we may yet have to
     witness the phenomenon of all descriptions of piece goods
     being purchased here below the prime cost in the country of
     production!' Such is the state of matters in these markets;
     and I do not see that your position in Europe is better.
     Russia is still hermetically sealed, and Prussia is not yet
     stricken. I know that there are some who, at this moment,
     think that it is a matter of no consequence how much we may
     export; who say that foreigners will not give their
     productions for nothing, and that, therefore, we must just
     manage things in the most favourable way we can for
     ourselves. There is no doubt that foreigners will not give us
     their goods without some exchange for them; but the question
     which the people of this country are looking at is, to know
     exactly what are the terms of exchange which it is beneficial
     for us to adopt. That is the whole question. You may glut
     markets, as I have shown you have succeeded in doing; but the
     only effect of your system, of your attempting to struggle
     against those hostile tariffs, by opening your ports, is
     that you exchange more of your labour every year and every
     month for a less quantity of foreign labour; that you render
     British labour or native industry less efficient; that you
     degrade British labour--necessarily diminish profits, and,
     therefore, must lower wages; while the first philosophers
     have shown that you will finally effect a change in the
     distribution of the precious metals that must be pernicious
     to this country. It is for these reasons that all practical
     men are impressed with the conviction that you should adopt
     reciprocity as a principle of your commercial tariff--not
     merely from its practical importance, but as an abstract
     truth. This was the principle of the negotiations at Utrecht,
     which was copied by Mr Pitt in his commercial negotiations at
     Paris, which formed the groundwork of the instructions to Mr
     Eden, and which was wisely adopted and upheld by the cabinet
     of Lord Liverpool; but which was deserted, flagrantly, and
     openly, and unwisely, in 1846. There is another reason why
     you can no longer defend your commercial system--you can no
     longer delay considering the state of your colonies. This is
     called an age of principles, and no longer of political
     expedients--you yourselves are the disciples of economy; and
     you have, on every occasion, enunciated it as a principle
     that the colonies of England were an integral part of this
     country. You ought, then, to act towards your colonies on the
     principle you have adopted, but which you have never
     practised. The principle of reciprocity is, in fact, the only
     principle on which you can reconstruct your commercial system
     in a manner beneficial to the mother country and advantageous
     to the colonies. It is, indeed, a great principle, the only
     principle on which a large and expansive system of commerce
     can be founded, so as to be beneficial. The system you are
     pursuing is one quite contrary--you go fighting hostile
     tariffs with fixed imports; and the consequence is that you
     are following a course most injurious to the commerce of the
     country. And every year, at the commencement of the session,
     you come, not to congratulate the House or the country on the
     state of our commerce, but to explain why it suffered, why it
     was prostrate; and you are happy on this occasion to be able
     to say that it is recovering--from what? From unparalleled
     distress."

The labour market in this country, so far from improving, is, we have
every reason to believe, in a pitiable state. Let us take the one
instance of silk manufactures. Of these we exported, during eleven
months of last year, an amount to the value of £912,842; this year we
have only sent out £520,427, or nearly £400,000 less. But this decline
does not by any means express the amount of the curtailment of labour
in this important branch of industry. The home market has been
inundated with foreign silks, introduced under the tariffs of 1846,
and that to a degree which is wholly without precedent. Let us see the
comparative amount of importations.

                                  1846.         1847.         1848.
  Silk or satin broad stuffs,  115,292 lbs.  147,656 lbs.  269,637 lbs.
  Silk ribbons,                180,375  "    182,978  "    217,243  "
  Gauze or crape broad stuffs,   6,536  "      5,588  "      8,243  "
  Gauze ribbons,                31,307  "     41,825  "     49,460  "
  Gauze mixed,                      18  "          8  "         39  "
  Mixed ribbons,                 1,842  "      3,094  "      2,466  "
  Velvet broad stuffs,          26,798  "     27,494  "     29,669  "
  Velvet embossed ribbons,      13,550  "     14,192  "     41,461  "
                               ------------  ------------  ------------
                               375,718 lbs.  422,835 lbs.  618,218 lbs.

Is there any commentary required on these figures? We should hope that
no one can be dull enough to misapprehend their import. In one year
our exportation of silk goods has fallen to little more than a half:
in two years our importations from the Continent have nearly doubled.
Where ninety British labourers worked for the exporting trade, only
fifty are now employed; and if we suppose that the consumpt of silk
manufactures in this country is the same in 1848 as in 1846, the
further amount of labour which has been sacrificed, by the increased
importations, must be something positively enormous. It is in this way
that free trade beggars the people and fills the workhouses; whilst,
at the same time, it brings down the national revenue to such an ebb,
that it is utterly insufficient to balance the necessary expenditure.
It would be well if politicians would constantly keep in view this one
great truth--That of all the burdens which can be laid upon a people,
the heaviest is the want of employment. No general cheapness, no class
accumulations of wealth, can make up for this terrible want; and the
statesman who deliberately refuses to recognise this principle, and
who, from any motive, deprives the working man of his privilege, is an
enemy to the interests of his country.

We cannot, and we do not, expect that men who have committed
themselves so deeply as Mr Cobden has done to the principles of free
trade in all its branches, should, under any development of
circumstances, be brought to acknowledge their error. No evidence
however overwhelming, no ruin however widely spread, could shake their
faith, or at any rate diminish the obstinacy of their professions.
They would rather sacrifice, as indeed they seem bent on doing, the
best interests of the British empire, than acknowledge the extent of
their error. Their motto avowedly is, _vestigia nulla retrorsum_. No
sooner is one interest pulled down than they make a rapid and
determined assault upon another, utterly reckless of the misery which
they have occasioned, and hopelessly deaf even to the warnings of
experience. They are true destructives; because they feel that they
dare not pause in their career of violence, lest men should have
leisure, to contemplate the ruin already effected, and should ask
themselves what tangible benefit has been obtained at so terrible a
cost. Mr Cobden knows better than to resume consideration of
free-trade principles, now that we have seen them in actual operation.
He is advancing on with his myrmidons towards the Moscow of free
trade; but, unless we are greatly mistaken, he may have occasion, some
day or other, to revisit his ancient battlefields, but not in the
capacity of a conqueror. There are, however, others, less deeply
pledged, who begin to perceive that in attempting to carry out free
trade without reciprocity, and in the face of hostile tariffs, we are
ruining the trade of Britain for the sole advantage of the foreigner.
Mr Muntz, the member for Birmingham, is not at one with ministers as
to the cheerful prospect of the revival among the manufacturers.

     "When I came here," said he characteristically, "I heard a
     great deal about the improvement of trade in the country. But
     I went home on Saturday, and there was not a man I met who
     had experienced any of this improvement in trade. On the
     contrary, every one said that trade was flat and
     unprofitable, and that there was no prospect of improvement
     because they were so much competed with by foreign
     manufacturers. This very morning I met with one of my
     travellers, who had just returned from the north of Germany;
     and I asked him what was the state of trade. 'Oh,' said he,
     'there is plenty of trade in Germany, but not trade with
     England. They manufacture goods so cheaply themselves, that,
     at the prices you sell, low as they are, you cannot compete
     with the Germans.' I will tell the House another curious
     thing. About three or four years ago, the glassmakers of
     Birmingham were very anxious for free trade, and, though I
     warned them that I did not think they could compete with
     foreigners, yet they were quite certain they could. Well, I
     introduced them to the minister of the day--the right
     honourable baronet the member of Tamworth--when, to my horror
     and astonishment, they asked, not for free trade, but for
     three years of protection. Why, I said to them, I thought you
     were for free trade? 'Yes,' they replied, 'so we are; but we
     want the three years of protection to prepare us for free
     trade.' Now, on Saturday last, I received a letter from one
     of the leading manufacturers, stating that the import duties
     on flint-glass would expire very soon, and with those duties
     the trade in this country, he feared, was also in great
     danger of expiring, owing to the produce of manufactures
     being admitted duty-free into this country, while they had
     protective duties in their own, thus keeping up the price at
     home by sending over the surplus stock here. The letter
     concluded by requesting that the protective duties, which
     were about to expire, might be renewed. The improvement in
     trade, which was so much talked of, is not an improvement in
     quality, but an improvement in quantity: there are half a
     dozen other trades which have vanished from Birmingham,
     because of the over-competition of the Continent. And,
     strangely enough, the manufactures that have been the most
     injured are those which last week were held up by the public
     press as in a most flourishing condition!"

This statement furnishes ample ground for reflection. The truth is,
that the whole scheme of free trade was erected and framed, not for
the purpose of benefiting the manufacturers at the expense of the
landed interest, but rather to get a monopoly of export for one or
two of the leading manufactures of the empire. Those who were engaged
in the cotton and woollen trade, along with some of the iron-masters,
were at the head of the movement. No influx of foreign manufactured
produce could by possibility swamp _them_ in the home market, for they
are not exposed to that competition with which the smaller trades must
struggle. The Germans will take shirtings, but they will not now take
cutlery from us. The articles which they produce are certainly not so
good as ours, but they are cheaper, and protected, and it is even
worth their while to compete with us in the home markets of Britain.
The same may be said of the trade in brass, gloves, shoes, hats,
earthenware, porcelain, and fifty others. They are not now exporting
trades, and at home, under the new tariffs, we are completely
undersold by the foreigners. As for the glass trade, no one who is
acquainted with the present state of that manufacture on the
Continent, can expect that it will ever again recover. This, in
reality, is the cause of the present depression; and until this is
thoroughly understood by the tradesmen who are suffering, there can be
no improvement for the better. What advantage, we ask, can it be to a
man who finds his profits disappearing, his trade reduced to
stagnation, and his capability of giving employment absolutely
annihilated, to know that, in consequence of some sudden impulse,
twenty million additional yards of calico have been exported from
Great Britain? The glass-blower, the brazier, and the cutler, have not
the remotest interest in calico. They may think, indeed, that part of
the profit so secured may be indirectly advantageous in the purchase
of their wares, but they find themselves lamentably mistaken. The
astute calico-master sells his wares to the foreigner abroad, and he
purchases with equal disinterestedness from the manufacturing
foreigner at home. This is the whole tendency of free trade, and it is
amazing to us that the juggle should find any supporters amongst the
class who are its actual victims. If they look soberly and
deliberately into the matter, they cannot fail to see that the
adoption by the state of the maxim, to sell in the dearest and buy in
the cheapest market, more especially when that market is the home one,
and when cheapness has been superinduced by the introduction of
foreign labour, must end in the consummation of their ruin. Can we
really believe in the assertion of ministers, that manufactures are
improving, when we find, on all hands, such pregnant assurances to the
contrary? For example, there was a meeting held in St James's, so late
as the 11th of January, "to consider the unprecedented number of
unemployed mechanics and workmen now in the metropolis, and to devise
the best means for diminishing their privations and sufferings, by
providing them with employment." Mr Lushington, M.P. for Westminster,
a thorough-paced liberal, moved the first resolution, the tendency of
which was towards the institution of soup kitchens, upon this
preamble, "that the number of operatives, mechanics, and labourers now
thrown out of employment is unusually great, and the consequent
destitution and distress which exist on all sides are painfully
excessive, and deeply alarming." And yet, Mr Lushington, like many of
his class and stamp, can penetrate no deeper into the causes of
distress, than is exhibited in the following paragraph of his
speech:--"The great majority of those whose cases they were now met to
consider, were the victims of misfortune, and not of crime, and, on
that account, they had a legitimate claim upon their sympathy and
commiseration. But private sympathy was impotent to grapple with the
gigantic evil with which they had to contend; isolated efforts and
voluntary alms-giving were but a mere drop in the ocean, compared with
the remedy that the case demanded. They must go further and deeper for
their remedy; and the only efficacious one that could effectually be
brought to bear upon the miseries of the people, was the reduction of
the national expenditure--the cutting down of the army, navy, and
ordnance estimates, and the removal of those taxes that pressed so
heavily upon the poorer portions of the community." This is about as
fine a specimen of unadulterated senatorial drivel as we ever had the
good fortune to meet with; and it may serve as an apt illustration of
the absurd style of argument so commonly employed by the members of
the free-trade party. Suppose that the army were disbanded to-morrow,
and all the sailors in the navy paid off, how would that give
employment to the unfortunate poor? Nay, would it not materially
contribute to increase the tide of pauperism, since no economist has
as yet condescended to explain what sort of employment is to be given
to the disbanded? As to the taxes spoken of by Mr Lushington, what are
they? We really cannot comprehend the meaning of this illustrious
representative of an enlightened constituency. Supposing there was not
a single tax levied in Britain to-morrow, how would that arrangement
better the condition of the people, who are simply starving because
they can get no manner of work whatever? It is this silly but
mischievous babbling, these false and illogical conclusions enunciated
by men who either do not understand what they are saying, or who,
understanding it, are unfit for the station which they occupy, which
tend more than anything else to spread disaffection among the lower
orders, to impress them with the idea that they are unjustly dealt
with, and to stimulate them in their periodical outcry for organic
changes. The remedy lies in restoring to the labouring man those
privileges of which he has been insidiously robbed by the operation of
the free-trade measures. It lies in returning to the system which
secured a full revenue to the nation, whilst, at the same time, it
prevented the minor trades from being swamped by foreign competition.
It lies in refusing to allow one class of the community to extinguish
others, and to throw the burden of the pauperism which it creates upon
the landed interest, already contending with enormous difficulties.
Until this be done, it is in vain to expect any real improvement in
the condition of the working-classes. Each successive branch of
industry that is pulled down, under the operation of the new system,
adds largely to the mass of accumulating misery; and the longer the
experiment is continued, the greater will be the permanent injury to
the country.

Not the least evil resulting from the free-trade agitation is the
selfishness and division of classes which it has studiously
endeavoured to promote. So long as the agriculturists alone were
menaced, the whole body of the manufacturers were against them. The
tariffs of 1846 struck at the small traders and artisans, and the
merchants looked on with indifference. Now the question relates to the
Navigation Laws, and the shipmasters of Britain complain that they
cannot rouse the nation to a sense of the meditated wrong. Every one
has been ready to advocate free trade in every branch save that with
which he was personally connected; and it is this shortsighted policy
which has given such power to the assailing party. Deeply do we
deplore the folly as well as the wickedness of such divisions. No
nation can ever hope to prosper through the prosperity of one class
alone. It is not the wealth of individuals which gives stability to a
state, but the fair distribution of profitable labour throughout the
whole of the community. In contending for the support of the
Navigation Laws, we are not advocating the cause of the shipmasters,
but that of the nation; and yet we feel that if the principle of free
trade be once fully admitted, no exception can be made, even in this
vital point. If we intend to retain our colonies, we must do justice
to them one way or another. We cannot deprive them of the advantages
which they formerly enjoyed from their connexion with the parent
country, and yet subject them to a burden of this kind, even although
we hold that burden necessary for the effectual maintenance of our
marine. We await the decision of this matter in parliament with very
great anxiety indeed, because we look upon the adoption or the
rejection of Mr Labouchere's bill as the index to our future policy.
If it receives the royal assent, we must perforce prepare for organic
changes far greater than this country has ever yet experienced. The
colonies may still, indeed, be considered as portions of the British
empire, but hardly worth the cost of retention. Free trade will have
done its work. The excise duties cannot be suffered to continue, for
they too, according to the modern idea, are oppressive and unjust; and
the period, thus foreshadowed by Mr Cobden at the late Manchester
banquet, will rapidly arrive: "It is not merely protective duties that
are getting out of favour in this country; but, however strong or weak
it may be at present, still there is firmly and rapidly growing an
opinion decidedly opposed, _not merely to duties for protection, but
to duties for revenue at all_. I venture to say you will not live to
see another statesman in England propose any customs-duty on a raw
material or article of first necessity like corn. I question whether
any statesman who has any regard for his future fame will ever propose
another excise or customs-duty at all." The whole revenue will then
fall to be collected directly: and how long the national creditor will
be able to maintain his claim against direct taxation is a problem
which we decline to solve. The land of Great Britain, like that of
Ireland, will be worthless to its owner, and left to satisfy the
claims of pauperism; and America, wiser than the old country, will
become to the middle classes the harbour of refuge and of peace.

We do not believe that these things will happen, because we have faith
in the sound sterling sense of Englishmen, and in the destinies of
this noble country. We are satisfied that the time is rapidly
approaching when a thorough reconstruction of our whole commercial and
financial policy will be imperatively demanded from the government--a
task which the present occupants of office are notoriously incapable
of undertaking, but which must be carried through by some efficient
cabinet. Such a measure cannot be introduced piecemeal after the
destructive fashion, but must be based upon clear and comprehensive
principles, doing justice to all classes of the community, and showing
undue favour to none.

Our observations have already extended to such a length, that we have
little room to speak of that everlasting topic, Ireland. "Ireland,"
says Lord John Russell, "is undergoing a great transition." This is
indeed news, and we shall be glad to learn the particulars so soon as
convenient. Perhaps the transition may be explained before the
committee, to which, as usual, Whig helplessness and imbecility has
referred the whole question of Irish distress. The confidence of the
Whigs in the patience of the people of this country must be boundless,
else they would hardly have ventured again to resort to so stale an
expedient. It is easy to devolve the whole duties of government upon
committees, but we are very much mistaken if such trifling will be
longer endured. As to the distress in Ireland, it is fully admitted.
Whenever the bulk of a nation is so demoralised as to prefer living on
alms to honest labour, distress is the inevitable consequence; and the
only way to cure the habit is carefully to withhold the alms.
Ministers think otherwise, and they have carried a present grant of
fifty thousand pounds from the imperial exchequer, which may serve for
a week or so, when doubtless another application will be tabled. This
is neither more nor less than downright robbery of the British people
under the name of charity. Ireland must in future be left to depend
entirely upon her own resources; situated as we are, it would be
madness to support her further; and we hope that every constituency
throughout the United Kingdom will keep a watchful eye on the conduct
pursued by their representatives in the event of any attempt at
further spoliation. From all the evidence before us, it appears that
our former liberality has been thrown away. Not only was no gratitude
shown for the enormous advances of last year, but the money was
recklessly squandered and misapplied, no doubt in the full and
confident expectation of continued remittances. And here we beg to
suggest to honourable members from the other side of the Channel,
whether it might not be well to consider what effect free trade has
had in ameliorating the condition of Ireland. If on inquiry at
Liverpool they should chance to find that pork is now imported direct
from America, not only salted, but fresh and preserved in ice, and
that in such quantities and at so low a rate as seriously to affect
the sale of the Irish produce, perhaps patriotism may operate in
their minds that conviction which reasoning would not effect. If also
they should chance to learn that butter and dairy produce can no
longer command a remunerative price, owing to the increased imports
both from America and the Continent, they will have made one further
step towards the science of political economy, and may form some
useful calculations as to the prospect of future rentals. Should they,
however, still be of opinion that the interests of the Irish people
are inseparably bound up with the continuance of free trade--that
neither prices nor useful labour are matters of any consequence--they
must also bear in mind that they can no longer be allowed to intromit
with the public purse of Britain. The Whigs may indeed, and probably
will, make one other vigorous effort to secure their votes; but no
party in this nation is now disposed to sanction such iniquitous
proceedings, and all of us will so far respond to the call for
economy, as sternly to refuse alms to an indolent and ungrateful
object.

In conclusion, we shall merely remark that we look forward with much
interest to the financial exposition of the year, in the hope that it
may be more intelligible and satisfactory than the last. We shall then
understand the nature and the amount of the reductions which have been
announced under such extraordinary circumstances, and the state of the
revenue will inform those who feel themselves oppressed by excise
duties, of the chances of reduction in that quarter. Meanwhile we
cannot refrain from expressing our gratitude to both Lord Stanley and
Mr D'Israeli for their masterly expositions of the weak and
vacillating policy pursued by the Whig government abroad, and of the
false colour which was attempted to be thrown upon the state and
prospect of industry at home. Deeply as we lamented the premature
decease of Lord George Bentinck at the very time when the value of his
public service, keen understanding, and high and exalted principle,
was daily becoming more and more appreciated by the country, we are
rejoiced to know that his example has not been in vain; that his noble
and philanthropic spirit still lives in the councils of those who have
the welfare of the British people at heart, and who are resolute not
to yield to the pressure of a base democracy, actuated by the meanest
of personal motives, unscrupulous as to the means which it employs,
impervious to reason, and utterly reckless of consequences, provided
it may attain its end. Against that democracy which has elsewhere not
only shattered constitutions but prostrated society, a determined
stand will be made; and our heartfelt prayer is, that the cause of
truth may prevail.

FOOTNOTE:

[32] We find that we have given the leaguers rather too much credit in
the above paragraph. Some of them appear to think that, whether
necessary or not, our forces should be dispensed with; at least so we
gather from the following expressions contained in a dull ill-written
tract, purporting to emanate from the "Edinburgh Financial Reform
Association," which has just come into our hands. Let us hear the
patriotic economists. "If there be any other cause for maintaining a
huge and expensive force, it must be found in the desire to provide
for the scions of the nobility and landed gentry, with a view to
secure votes in both houses of parliament. As is well known,
commissions in the army and navy are held almost entirely by these
classes. No doubt, officers in active service may be said to give work
for their pay, while their gallantry as soldiers is beyond dispute;
but this, unfortunately, does not mend the matter. Their services we
hold to be for the greater part unnecessary; _at all events, they are
services for which the nation cannot afford to pay any longer, and
they_ THEREFORE _ought to be relinquished_." This is intelligible
enough; but we hardly think there are many reasoners of this calibre.



_Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._


       *       *       *       *       *


Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious typographical errors have been repaired. Accepted older
spellings were retained (for example, "wofully," "bran-new," "lingot,"
etc.).

Text file only: [Delta] refers to the Greek letter, which was the
only signature for "The Sycamine."

Text file only: Footnote 20, ^{er} refers to superscript "er."

P. 287, "as offusc and impervious a fold"--unable to verify an
alternate spelling for "offusc."

P. 299, "the Income Tax. the Chancellor"--period after Tax present in
original; possibly an abbreviation for Taxation.

P. 321, last line of poem: "Chase the BuffalO!"--capitalization of
final "O" is true to original.





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