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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 63, No. 389, March 1848
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 63, No. 389, March 1848" ***

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  MR COBDEN ON THE NATIONAL DEFENCES                        261

  ROMANISM IN ROME                                          281


  SIR SIDNEY SMITH                                          309

  MY ROUTE INTO CANADA                                      328


  GREENWICH TIME                                            354


  HUDSON'S BAY                                              369

  THE BUDGET                                                383


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




It is popularly averred by our Southern neighbours that the house of
every Englishman is his castle. No doubt to a certain extent this may
be true. In the modern mansion, as in the ancient fortalice, the
victualing department is always a matter of prime importance, and
Chubb's patent safety lock may be accepted as a convenient substitute
for the portcullis. Yet, after all, we suspect that the resemblance,
if the matter be closely investigated, will turn out to be rather
imaginary than real. A castle, according to the ideas which we have
imbibed from an early course of miscellaneous and feudal reading, must
have been a sort of earthly paradise, and the possessors of it wholly
exempt from that never-ending series of daily persecution to which we,
unhappy moderns, are subjected. With a good eight-foot thick wall of
solid masonry around, a moat broad enough to baffle the leap of Flying
Childers, and deep enough to have drenched the scalping-lock of
Goliath of Gath, and a few falconets and patereroes symmetrically
arranged along the parapets, a man might afford to enjoy a quiet
night's rest without dread of duns, or any fear of the visits of that
most malignant of unexecuted ruffians, the tax-gatherer. He might give
a jocular rejoinder to the summons of the pursuivant who appeared
before his gates with the intelligence of a further railway call; and
dismay any invading snip by the apparition of a scarecrow dangling
from a gallows on the summit of the donjon-keep. Nay, if currency were
absolutely indispensable for the purpose of paying the garrison,
Castle Dangerous would be more effective than the bank parlour has
shown itself in late times under the operation of Sir Robert Peel's
Act for the perpetuation of national bankruptcy. A simple announcement
in the neighbouring town of a large assortment of cast-off uniforms
and rusty armour for sale, would infallibly attract to the stronghold
a collection of Caucasians who adhere to the Jewish persuasion. Once
within the guard-room, we should deal summarily, and after the manner
of Sir Reginald Front-de-Bœuf, with these infidels. The forceps
should be produced, and no ether or chloroform, upon any pretext
whatever, allowed. We should negotiate with Moses or Mephibosheth at
the rate of units for a stump, tens for a decayed, and hundreds for an
unimpeachable grinder; and may we never shake shekel again if we do
not think we could extract a reasonable amount of ransom from the jaws
of the Princes of the Captivity! As to the advent of many enemies, we
should be utterly and entirely fearless. Cohorn and Vauban might come
with their lines, and mines, and battering-trains without disturbing
our equanimity, or causing the slightest tremor in our hand as we
filled out our post-prandial bumpers of Bordeaux. So long as powder
lasted and shot was plentiful, we should reciprocate the hostile
compliments by all manner of shell and canister; and, if the metal of
the rogues proved, in the long run, too heavy for us, they should have
our full permission to pound away until they were tired; and, on
entering the citadel, they would find us smoking our pipe in the
cartridge-room, as cool as a cucumber, or as Marius at Carthage, or
General Chassé at Antwerp, or any other warrior and hero of antiquity

Now take that picture--compare it with the state of your present
domicile--and tell us whether, in effect, the fortalice is not an
Eden? What kind of existence do you lead in that Heriot Row house, for
which, last year, when shares were up, you were ass enough to pay some
two or three thousand pounds? You cannot go into your room after
breakfast to write an article for Blackwood, or to draw a
condescendence, without hearing every five minutes the dissonance of
that ceaseless bell. Not unearned are poor Grizzy's eleemosynary
Christmas shoes, for fully one-half of the day is that most weary
wight occupied in flitting from the regions beneath to answer the
summons which _may_ bring an invitation or a fee, but which, in nine
cases out of ten, is the announcement of a gaping creditor. First, in
comes a document wafered, according to that beastly practice, which,
for the credit of Tyre and Sidon, we hope is a modern invention.
_That_, of course, goes into the waste basket without more remark than
a passing objurgation. Then follow the prospectuses of three insurance
companies, you being nearly ruined already with the amount which you
are compelled to pay annually, in virtue of your marriage contract, to
the Scottish Widows' Fund. Next appears a long slip, purporting to be
the intimation of a police assessment. You swear savagely, having
ascertained the fact, by dint of a spirited correspondence in the
newspapers, that the available force of that esteemed body in the
metropolis of Scotland is not much over a dozen, and having accurate
personal corroboration of the statistics by walking the other day into
an unmolested bicker, from which you emerged with a broken hat, and a
head phrenologised by a blacking bottle. Before you have recovered
from this, you receive another missive with a charge for cleaning the
streets--an operation which you know, to your cost, has been performed
throughout the last thaw exclusively by the petticoats of the females;
and upon the back of this appear mulctures touching gas and water. A
huge oblong missive, the envelope whereof bears on a corner the
letters O. H. M. S., and which is sealed with a most imposing and
royal escutcheon, deludes you for a moment into the belief that Lord
John Russell has at last exhibited a gleam of common-sense, and has
recommended you to her Majesty either for a commissionership or for a
reasonable place on the pension list, in consequence of your balaamite
contributions to the unsaleable Edinburgh Review. You open it, and
behold, it contains nothing but a warning that you have not paid the
last quarter of your compounded and thrice confounded income-tax! A
gentleman next requests the honour of a moment's interview. In the
hope that he may prove a Writer to the Signet, you weakly yield; and
incontinently an individual with a strong Israelitish countenance, a
fetid breath, and an odour of stale tobacco floating around his
person, solicits the honour of your custom for a packet of
sealing-wax, a gross of steel pens, or a new edition of the
Pentateuch. You eject him in a tornado of wrath; but the cup of your
misery is not full. Aaron is succeeded by Mendizabel--an expatriated
Spanish grandee, who bears a strong recommendation from an individual
whose handwriting seems to be attached to every begging petition in
the country. This fellow won't choose to understand you, however
frantic you may appear; so that, for the sake of peace, you violate
your conscience and get rid of him at the expenditure of a shilling.
Grizzy is called up, and severely reprimanded for her want of
discrimination in admitting the illustrious stranger; and the
consequence is that, on the very next summons, she peremptorily denies
you to a Glasgow agent who has come through by special train for a
consultation on a case of emergency. Last of all, just as you are
settling steadily to your work, and turning over the third sheet of
foolscap, in walks your friend THE HAVERIL, on no earthly errand
whatever, except to inquire how you are getting on. Of all social
pests, this kind of animal is undoubtedly the worst. In intellect he
is singularly weak: in disposition curious and prying. He hops about
your study like a magpie, eying every letter, as though he longed to
make himself master of its contents; and, notwithstanding that you
believe the creature to be strictly honest, you would on no account
leave him for a couple of minutes in undisturbed possession of the
sanctum. He peeps into every book, indulges you with a quantity of
small literary swipes, and finally fastening upon a volume of prints,
entreats you to go on with your occupation, as he, the Haveril, is
perfectly competent to the task of entertaining himself. Culpable
homicide, say our law-books, ranges from a crime of great enormity to
the smallest possible fraction of imputed guilt; and if, under such
aggravating circumstances, you were to toss your acquaintance out of
the window, it is not likely that your subsequent sentence would be
severe. But you have at the bottom of your heart a sort of attachment
to the nincompoop, whom you know to be utterly harmless, and who,
moreover, to do him justice, invariably stands up for you, whenever
you are assailed in your absence. Therefore you abstain from violence,
and the penance which you heroically undergo is but one degree short
of martyrdom. Under the visitation of these Egyptian plagues, the
morning wears insensibly away; and the imp of darkness, when he calls
for copy about dinner-time, is summarily exorcised, and dispatched,
empty-handed, to the solitudes of his awful den! Is there, then, any
feasible case of resemblance between the fortress and the modern

We have been led into this train of thought by a perusal of the
speeches lately delivered at Manchester on the subject of our national
defences. The question is one of undoubted interest to us all, and it
is well that it should be brought forward and thoroughly discussed in
time. If there is danger, either immediate or impending, let us know
it, and then, to a certain extent, we shall be forwarned if not
forearmed. The Duke of Wellington--a tolerable military authority, as
times go--has already given us his opinion on the point, and that
opinion has been immediately met and contradicted by the sapient Mr
Richard Cobden. We have yet to learn the exact amount of Mr Cobden's
attainments in the arts of strategy and fortification; but as he is
undoubtedly a "myriad-minded" gentleman, of fair average conceit, and
more than average effrontery, and as we have hitherto abstained from
making special mention of him in our columns, it may, perhaps, be
worth while to see how he has acquitted himself in the lists against
the veteran conqueror of Napoleon. Our old friend Tomkins--he of the
Ten Tumblers--used to be, if we recollect aright, rather eloquent upon
this weighty topic. Tomkins, in early life, had sustained an amatory
disappointment, in competition with a thwacking drum-major; and
therefore always looked upon the army with somewhat of a jaundiced
eye. The sound of the fife, clarion, and trumpet was ever after
distasteful to his ear; and he never trotted his mare past a marching
regiment of these scarlet locusts, without a spasm of righteous
indignation. "They eat our bread, sir!" he would say, "and drink of
our cup, and do absolutely nothing in return. The sooner we get rid of
them the better. An Englishman, sir, needs no hired supernumeraries to
protect his home. When was our soil ever invaded? Let the French come,
and we will give them graves!" And having delivered himself of this
sublime sentiment, Tomkins would incontinently ring for another
tumbler. It always struck us, however, as a singular proof of the
eccentricities or rather inconsistencies of genius, that our
distinguished friend, when in his cups, and towards the close of the
evening, invariably began to glorify himself upon his length of
lineage and descent. In support of these heraldic claims, he was wont
to cite the case of his great progenitor, "the founder of the family,"
who just about a century ago had the condescension to hold the stirrup
of Lord George Murray, as he alighted from his horse when the clans
marched into Derby. Tomkins, on the strength of this anecdote, had
rather a kindly feeling towards the Jacobites, and would never allow
that the enterprise had at any time the character of an invasion. "We
were ready, sir," he would exclaim, "to have marched up, in the Reform
year, from Birmingham to London; and who can doubt that, had we done
so, we should have driven the household troops before us as the chaff
flies out from the fanners?"

We have often deeply regretted that Tomkins did not survive to witness
the consummation of the triumphs of free-trade--a cause which he
contributed materially by his efforts and his writings to advance. The
leading feature of his character was the total absence of every kind
of prejudice or bigotry. He held it to be a fundamental principle, as
old as Magna Charta, that England was to be governed mainly through
the influence of cotton: that all other interests were immeasurably
inferior to this, and that the settlement and maintenance of our
colonies was a gross instance of reckless and frantic extravagance.
"Let us thrive," he would say, "through the arts of universal peace.
Let us set a bright example to the world by opening our ports to the
free admission of all foreign produce, without any kind of reciprocity
whatever. If our artisans and workmen cannot maintain their ground,
let them go to the comfortable Unions we have provided, and pick oakum
in return for their rations of wholesome bone-soup! Let us hear no
more nonsense about humanity or short-time! Cram the children into the
factories so soon as they can walk. Early habits are the surest means
of promoting and fostering industry. Let us look to our imports, and
the exports will look after themselves. Disband the army. Reduce the
navy. Do away with Church establishments. Contract the currency.
Flabbergast the colonies; and Great Britain must go ahead!" Such were
the expressed opinions of that great and good man, who now sleeps in a
premature sepulchre at Staley Bridge: and we need hardly add, that in
matters of revenue, he was an uncompromising advocate of the sponge.
Had his valuable existence been prolonged for a few years, he would
doubtless have been at the head of the onward movement, and might have
shared in the rewards which are gratefully accorded to the patriots of
this latter age. Andrew Marvell, sitting incorruptible in his garret
with a shoulder-blade of mutton, has ceased to be a favourite example
with the new democratic school. They affect ovations and banquets,
perform continental reforming tours, and demean themselves after the
manner of our able correspondent, Mr Dunshunner, who, we are glad to
observe, has been lately invited to a free-trade demonstration on the
banks of the Bosphorus, by several of the leading Muftis of
Constantinople. Dunshunner writes in great spirits, and has promised
us an early paper, on the advantage of our establishing free-trade
relations with the domestic Circassian market.

Failing Tomkins, we have every reason to be proud of his disciple and
successor, Mr Cobden. In fact, the mantle of our lamented friend has
fallen most gracefully upon his shoulders; and in nothing is the
genuine likeness more displayed, than in the contempt which both of
them have exhibited for the standing army of Great Britain. Yet,
perhaps, in this we may be doing Mr Cobden some little wrong. Tomkins,
we know, had just and natural reason for abhorring the sight of a
red-coat; Cobden, so far as we are aware, has no such motive for
dislike. Of the two, he is the calmer and the cooler man, and very
naturally looks sedulously about him for the means of substantiating
his theories. After all the fine words which Sir Robert Peel bestowed
upon him, to no visible improvement of his parsnips, Mr Cobden very
naturally felt a little uneasy at the non-fulfilment of several of his
prophecies. It is a pity that a man cannot vaticinate in this country
without undergoing a certain risk of subsequent stultification; and
yet, if he does not affect the gift of prophecy, your patriot is
usually at a discount. Our memory is not a very good one, and yet we
have hardly forgotten certain flourishes by Mr Cobden, regarding the
immense amount of employment which was to accrue to this country,
immediately after the passing of his favourite measures. Bread was to
be as cheap as dirt, common luxuries within the reach of every one,
and the whole British nation, through its length and breadth, was to
hold a perpetual jubilee and jollification, to the music of the
engine and the shuttle.

              "Wild dreams! but such
    As Plato loved; such as, with holy zeal,
    Our Milton worship'd. Blessed hopes! awhile
    From man withheld, even to the latter days!"

and, were we to add, in the words of Mr Canning's imitation of the
above passage, the concluding line,

        "Till France shall come, and all laws be repeal'd,"

it would not, we apprehend, be entirely foreign to the subject. The
result, however, so far as we have yet seen, has by no means justified
the experiment. Trade, instead of improving under the stimulus of
free-trade, has fallen off, and a year of commercial panic and misery
has been the result of the liberal nostrum. This, no doubt, is very
galling to our friends of the billy-roller. Old stagers like us, who
are sometimes represented as prosy, because we reverence time-honoured
principles, love the constitution of our country, and defend the
memory of those who were the true founders of its greatness, are
supposed to feel some triumph at the aspect of the present depression,
and to exult over the slough of despond in which the Whigs are left to
flounder. If there be any who, judging from their own mean nature, so
think of us, it is hardly worth our while to undeceive them. Bitterly
indeed have we mourned over the spectacle of fraud and imbecility
which the last two years have disclosed in the higher places of the
land, and most earnestly do we hope that, ere long, the true-hearted
people of this country will awake to a full sense of their present
perilous and by no means creditable position. All the difficulties
which are just now pressing upon ministers, and which, for a longer
period than we can venture to calculate, must continue to environ
them, are of their own creating, and are the natural effects of that
unconstitutional policy which would sacrifice every thing for the mere
possession of power. Do we speak truth or not? Let the Chancellor of
the Exchequer answer us. What but free-trade and its concomitant
schemes has lessened the revenue and increased the pauperism of the
country? What but the vicious and yet invincible desire of change,
consequent on a contest for popularity, has struck a blow at the
prosperity, and even the existence, of our colonies, which has already
reacted with fearful effect within the centre of the mother-country?

Mr Cobden, on being twitted with the failure, or, at all events, the
non-realisation of his unqualified prophecies, very naturally, but not
very wisely, flies into a passion. He fixes, of course, upon the
failure of the harvest of 1846 as the prime element of justification.
Can I control the elements?--says he--can I regulate the seasons?
Certainly not, Mr Cobden. We presume that no one, not even the
stupidest operative that used to bellow in your congregation, and who
believed every one of the golden promises which you were hardy enough
to enunciate, ever dreamed that you were in possession of that power.
Several of us, moreover, are of opinion that, upon the whole, you have
been rather overrated as a conjurer, and that, having failed in your
endeavours to get into an empty quart bottle, you are not a whit more
likely to succeed when you come to experiment upon a pint. But let us
whisper in your ear that this excuse will hardly serve your turn, and
that it is wholly irreconcilable with the arguments which you used to
advance. A copious supply of foreign grain was the very thing for
which you and your associates primarily clamoured. You wanted an
import to a prodigious extent, and you flattered yourselves that, for
each quarter of American wheat, you would be able to send in exchange
so many yards of that calico which you fondly maintain to be the
principal fabric of the world. You were content, and you have said it
over and over again, to take your chance of the home market, provided
the other ones were opened to you. Now that you have them open, and
now that wheat has come in such abundance as even your most sanguine
anticipations could not have conceived, you have the coolness and
effrontery to turn round and throw the blame upon Providence, for
having speedily brought about the very thing which every charlatan in
Great Britain has been shouting for since the anti-corn-law league
began! Do you really think that this will go down with any portion of
the community? that such deplorable wriggling will not insure you,
throughout the country, the contempt of every man of average and
common understanding? or that the labourer on short time, and the
artisan whom you have deprived of his employment, will put up with
such miserable excuses? The plain state of the fact is,--and you know
it,--that your theories are crumbling beneath your feet. You cannot
expect that your gross and egregious error will escape a speedy
detection. You, without any previous qualification for the task, save
your natural talent, which is not much, have thrust yourself forward
to a prominence which you never were entitled to occupy. You may fancy
yourself, if you choose, the people's man; but so were Jack Cade, and
Wat Tyler, and several others, who, mistaking energy for knowledge,
and ill-regulated enthusiasm for calm deliberate judgment, took upon
themselves the task of misleading the English people, and either
perished amidst the ruin they had caused, or sank back into their
pristine obscurity. There is a favourite cant phrase very current just
now, to the effect that "we are living in new times." The same thing
might have been said by our common progenitor Adam, the day after his
expulsion from Paradise. It is the most trite truth of the world.
Every new day brings its change, but every new day does not obliterate
the memory of those which have gone before. All the "new times" which
this universe has seen, have not sufficed to alter in the slightest
iota the original character of mankind. Human nature still remains the
same; and the man who does not acknowledge and adopt this as a
principle, is a crazed and dangerous visionary. Never, under any
circumstances, ought such a one to gain ascendancy in the state, or to
be allowed to reduce his unsound theories to practice. If he does so,
woe be to the country which countenances him in the rash attempt!

History and its philosophy are the true studies for a statesman in
every age. In that educational point of view, we strongly suspect that
the present ministerial cabinet is sorely deficient. The Whigs, as a
body, are conversant with a very small space of history indeed. They
are constantly jabbering about the fundamental principles of the
constitution, which they date back no further than the advent of
William of Orange. Their pet historian, and the ablest man among them,
cannot make a single speech without dragging in, neck and heels, some
vapidity about the Revolution Settlement of 1688; and they try to be
profound in their criticisms upon the policy of Walpole and of Bute.
Charles James Fox, of course, still continues to be their principal
fetish, and they cling to antiquated party toasts with a superstition
that would disgrace a Mussulman. But of the freer and bolder regions
of history--of all that is great and elevating--of the numerous
lessons to be gleaned, and the examples to be gathered from the grand
old records of kingly and loyal England, or of the fall and fate of
nations through the imbecility of their rulers, or the ambition of
ignorant demagogues, they either know nothing practically, or they
fail to acknowledge their importance. Whiggery is a small machine
which works according to conventional rules of its own, and will not
make allowance for the great springs of human action. A cabinet of
Whigs is admirably adapted for the control and legislation of the
sovereign state of Pumpfernickel, or some analogous German
principality; but they never can assume their place at the helm of
affairs in a great empire such as that of Britain, without landing the
whole of us in dangerous difficulties, and sneaking off at the last
hour under a humiliating sense of their own impotence and presumption.

The case is still worse when men like Mr Cobden come forward to try
their hand either as pilots or as coadjutors. We presume that Mr
Cobden, if the question were put to him, would candidly admit the
narrowness of the range of his peculiar historical studies. We
understand that he does not pretend to be a scholar, and that the
amount, of the information which he possesses, however great that may
be, is limited to modern facts and premises, upon which he usually
reasons. A worse kind of education for a statesman, or for the leader
of a popular movement, cannot be found than this. It was this kind of
partial knowledge, unilluminated by the clear lucid light which bygone
history alone can shed authoritatively upon passing events, which, in
the recollection of many still alive, led to the dark catastrophe and
horrors of the French Revolution. There is hardly one social change,
hardly one political experiment now making, for which a prototype
cannot be furnished from the pages of history. And of what possible
use, it may be well asked, is history, if we are not to recur to it
for a solution of the difficulties which may arise in our onward
progress? Are we to gain no confidence, nor take any warning from the
rise and decline of nations, not much less powerful than our own,
whose checkered career and the causes of it are open to our view? Is
the world behind us a blank, that we should go stumbling on at the
instigation of every reckless adventurer, more culpable in his
attempts to guide us, than the ship-captain who should presume to
thread the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean without consulting the
authoritative chart? Are we always to derive our information, not from
what has been done and acted in the globe before--not from an
attentive examination of men and their motives, and the countless
springs of action which stir them, but from statistical tables and
long columns of figures, compiled by rusty officials in their dens,
and brought forth for the first time to be cited as overwhelming
testimony by some premier who is meditating apostasy, or seeking some
palliative to cover his shameful abandonment of a party? The features
of the so-called statesmanship of the present day are essentially
those of bureaucracy. A drudging arithmetical clerk, with whom a unit
is every thing, and who would be nearly driven to despair by the
discovery of a misquoted fraction, is a leading authority with our
statesmen; and his vamped-up tables of export and import are
considered sounder expositions of the destinies of the human race,
than all the accumulated wisdom, learning, and experience which the
annals of the world can afford.

The "tables," however, are now turned, and therefore we shall not say
any more for the present about the blue-book and ledger system. Let us
go back to Mr Cobden, whom we still find rather uselessly employed in
protesting his total inability to command the clemency of the seasons.
We have already shown, by papers published in this Magazine in
December last and January of the present year, that our exports have
lamentably fallen off, and that the balance of trade is against us.
Such, we maintained, and we continue still to maintain, must be the
effect of the new theories, especially under the restricted operation
of the currency. We are glad to see that upon this latter point, at
all events, we are supported by a large majority of the press. Mr
Cobden, however, denies the evils of the currency; so that he must
fall back upon something else to account for the unexpected

Such is our position at home and abroad; and if we have been guilty of
a digression, which we cannot altogether deny, we shall plead our
motive in justification. When Mr Cobden comes forward with his views
of foreign policy, with his ideas of the social progress of the
universe, and with his notions as to the policy which hereafter may be
adopted by great and ambitious foreign states,--when, after delivering
his opinion upon these very weighty matters, he arrives at the
inference, not only that we require no addition to our national
defences, but that our present establishment of a standing army and
navy is absurd, extravagant, and superfluous, we are entitled to
inquire into the success with which his first experiment in
legislative agitation has been crowned. Of the abundance of good
things which he promised, how many have been realised, how many are
like to emerge from the dark experimental gulf? If writhing colonies,
diminished exports, want of employment, distress at home, enormous
failures, monetary restriction, and vast depreciation of property,
have followed in the wake of free-trade--if ministry are at present
racking such brains as they possess to discover some means of keeping
up the revenue to its ordinary level, and if they are forced to lay on
a direct additional war-tax in times of the profoundest peace,--surely
we shall not incur a charge of fickleness or ingratitude, if we should
receive this new oracle of the free-trading Mokanna with some symptoms
of dubiety and distrust.

The whole question arose thus. It appears that the Duke of Wellington,
whose illustrious reputation and great services entitle him to be
heard with the deepest and most reverential respect, has long
entertained great uneasiness on account of the undefended state of
this country in the case of a hostile invasion. That such an event is
likely to take place, no one supposes or has said--that it possibly
might take place, very few will venture to deny. The idea is not a new
one; for within the range of the present century, preparations have
been actually made for that purpose, and that whilst the wonderful
power and facilities of steam-navigation were unknown. Fulton--we have
seen men who knew him when he was a humble artisan in the West of
Scotland--had, despairing of success at home, submitted his models to
the French government, who, fortunately for us, did not then
appreciate the merits of the invention. Three years afterwards, he
started his first steamer on the Hudson in America. The power which
our French neighbours had once so nearly within their grasp, at a time
when it might have been used to the exceeding detriment of England,
became generally known and adopted, and we need not speak of its
progress. It has altogether changed the tactics of naval warfare. It
can conquer the old difficulties of wind and tide, and it has
immensely shortened the period of transit from the continental coast
to our own. The security, therefore, of our insular barriers has been
materially weakened, and thus far the possibility of an invasion from
abroad has been increased. We are not now speaking of the
_probability_, which is matter for subsequent consideration.

This open and admitted fact is the foundation of the whole argument of
the Duke of Wellington. In the evening of a glorious life, the greater
part of which has been spent in the active service of his country, the
veteran soldier has thought it his duty to remind us, for our own
guidance and that of our children, of the actual existing state of our
national defences, which he deems to be insufficient. It is one of the
last, but not, we think, the least important of the services which the
venerable Duke has rendered to the nation, with whose proudest history
his name will be eternally associated. We take it--or at least we
ought to take it--from his lips, as a solemn warning; as the
disinterested testimony of a man alike pre-eminent in war and in
council; as the deliberate opinion of the GREAT PACIFICATOR OF EUROPE.
For notwithstanding the irreverent, mean, and scurrilous taunts of the
Manchester gang of demagogues, it is undeniable that the Great Duke
has been the chief instrument in procuring for us the blessing of that
peace which for two and thirty years we have enjoyed. It was his
conquest at Waterloo which hushed the world. The tranquillity of
Europe was the stake for which he fought, and he nobly won it. And
now, when, at the last hour, this illustrious man comes forward to
offer us his advice, and to warn us against the folly of trusting too
implicitly to the continuance of that tranquillity, is it wise that we
should scorn his counsel?

And what is the proposal which has excited such wrath, and so sorely
roused the choler of the bilious Cobden? Simply this--that the British
nation should at all times maintain at home a military force
sufficient to repel an invasion, should such be attempted, from our
shores. The Duke believes and maintains that we cannot now, as
formerly, rely solely and implicitly upon our navy for defence, but
that, in the event of a war, we must provide against the contingency
of an enemy's landing. Our arsenals, he thinks, and our dockyards,
should be supported by a military force, and at least we ought to
exhibit such a front as will hold out no temptation to a hostile
attempt. These are not aggressive, but precautionary measures; and
without them, according to the Duke, we cannot consider ourselves

Such are the proposals which Cobden and his clique--we are sorry to
observe a gentleman like Sir William Molesworth among them--are
prepared to resist to the last. They want no defences at all. They are
opposed to any augmentation of the army. They would rather do without
it, or reduce the establishment so as to make the national saving
equivalent to the diminished amount of revenue consequent upon their
commercial experiments. They look upon free-trade as a universal
panacea which is to cure all national and social ailments, and to
remedy every grievance. War is to be no more--territorial aggressions
unknown--and the advent of the millennium is to be typified by an
unbounded exportation of calico!

These are the views which have been lately propounded at Manchester,
and the parties are therefore at issue. Cobden has matched himself
against Wellington, and Quaker Bright has volunteered to be his
bottle-holder. We really wish that it had been permitted us to
approach the argument without mingling with it any asperity. But this
is now totally out of the question. The disgusting and vulgar language
which Mr Cobden has thought fit to use towards the greatest historical
character of the age--the low-minded scurrility which pervades the
whole of his egotistical discourse,--put him beyond the pale of
conventional courtesy, or even of dignified rebuke. The man who could
stand up in his place--no matter what audience was before
him--stigmatise the Duke of Wellington as being in his old age a
whetter and fomenter of discord, and finally insinuate _dotage_ as the
only intelligible excuse, deserves, if there is a spark of national
feeling left, to be publicly pilloried throughout Britain. "Would it
not," says this disloyal prater, "have been a better employment for
him to have been _preaching forgiveness for_, and oblivion of the
past, than in reviving the recollection of Toulon, Paris, and
Waterloo?" Forgiveness! and for what? For having vindicated the rights
of the nations, terminated the insatiable career of Napoleon's rapine,
and restored to us that peace which he is still desirous to preserve
by maintaining Britain invulnerable, secure, and free!

But let us pass from a matter so deeply discreditable both to the
speaker, and to the audience that applauded his sentiments. Meanly as
we think of the latter, we are yet to believe that the next morning
brought to many some feelings of compunction and of shame. Not so the
former, who, wrapped up in the panoply of his own ridiculous conceit,
a would-be Gracchus, must remain a Thersites for ever.

Irrespective of the purse argument, which, as a matter of course, is
the chief motive of these gentry, the free-traders attempt to brand
the Duke of Wellington with a charge of attempting to raise a hostile
feeling between this country and the continental states. The
accusation is as false as it is frivolous. The attitude of Britain is
not, and never will be, aggressive. She is at this moment in the proud
position of the mighty mediator of Europe; and it is to her strong
right arm, and not to her powers of producing calico, that she owes
that ascendency. Our interest clearly and incontestibly is to maintain
peace, but that we cannot hope to maintain, if we abandon the power to
enforce it. Among nations as among individuals, the weak cannot hope
to prosper in active competition with the strong--nay, they are even
in a worse position, because the law will protect individuals, whilst
to nations there exists no common Court of Appeal. If we are content
to renounce our position, and to give up our foreign possessions--a
consummation which the free-trade theorists appear abundantly to
desire--if we are to confine ourselves simply to our insular
boundaries, and advertise as the workshop of the world--then, indeed,
we shall surrender our supremacy, and with it the hope of maintaining
peace. Can these men read no lessons from history? Does the sight of
what is daily acting around them justify their anticipations of a
millennium? What is the real state of the fact? Russia, having
absorbed Poland, is now engaged in a territorial war with the
Circassians, upon which she has already expended an enormous amount of
treasure and of men; and she is prepared for a double sacrifice, if by
such means she can gain possession of the passes which are the keys
to southern Asia. Austria is hanging upon the skirts of Italy,
concentrating her forces upon the frontier, and menacing an immediate
invasion. Very lamb-like and pacific has been the conduct of America
to Mexico. As for the French, whom Cobden eulogises as the most
"affectionate and domesticated race on the face of the earth"--did the
man ever hear of the Revolution?--they are notoriously the most
aggressive of all the European nations. Did domestic feelings excite
them to the conquest of Algeria? Did affection lead them to Tahiti?
Was it a mania for free-trade that brought about the Montpensier
marriage? Really it is difficult to know for which palm, that of
ignorance or effrontery, this Manchester manufacturer is contending.
Has he forgot the Joinville letter, which was hailed with such rapture
on the other side of the Channel? Was Paris fortified without a
purpose? Is he blind to the fact that the peace of Europe at this
moment depends upon the life of a man now in his seventy-fifth year?
We maintain that there never was a period, at least within our
recollection, when the maintenance of general tranquillity throughout
Europe was more precarious. And yet, this is the very moment which Mr
Cobden selects for a crusade, or rather a tirade, against our military

Our feelings are any thing but those of dislike towards the
"affectionate and domesticated" French. We admire their genius, and
read their novels,--and we have a peculiar affection for their wine.
In one point alone we agree with Mr Cobden. We still retain the
ancient Caledonian predilection for claret in competition with port,
and we should be sorry to be deprived of champagne. Still sorrier
should we be to lose our annual spring trip to Paris; to be banished
from the Boulevards and the Palais Royal, and to enjoy only in memory
those delicious dinners at the Rocher de Cancale. We have no wish to
run the risk of a compulsory detention at Verdun. Nay, we shall go
further, and apprise Mr Cobden, that had our lot been cast a few
centuries back, we should in all probability have been fervent
maintainers of the ancient bond of alliance between King Achaius of
Scotland and the Emperor Charlemagne; and nothing would have given us
greater pleasure than to have visited Manchester along with a few
thousand lads who swore by Saint Andrew, whilst the partisans of Denis
were amusing themselves in the neighbourhood of Portsmouth. But times
have changed. We have contracted an alliance with the nation of which
Mr Cobden is so creditable a representative; and upon the whole, we
are not altogether dissatisfied with the arrangement. We can now look
upon the French with an eye undimmed by affection; and we must confess
that we have very little, if any, faith in that marvellous change of
their character which is sworn to by the Manchester spouters. They may
be very excellent fellows, but we would rather not trust them with our
keys. The tone and temper of a nation do not alter quite so rapidly as
Mr Cobden seems to suppose. The history of Algeria is a very
significant hint that the old ideas of the French on the score of
conquest are not yet wholly obliterated; and we should rather imagine
that they have not quite forgotten their pristine appetite for
plunder. They deserve, however, considerable credit for the dexterous
manner in which they have thrown dust into the eyes of Mr Cobden. You
would think, to hear the man, that he is an inoculated Frenchman.
Presume to criticise their character, and his scream is like that of a
railway engine. Just hint that you consider them unscrupulous, and our
calico-printer overboils "with horror and shame and indignation." We
have no doubt that he considers it a great pity that history cannot be
annihilated--that is, supposing he has ever condescended to notice any
thing so trivial as history. Will he not favour the world with a new
version of the French Revolution? We are anxious to hear his grounds
for supposing the French to be an "affectionate and domestic people;"
and since we are, to fraternise with them altogether, it would be
comfortable to know our brethren as they really are. We want to have a
true account of the Noyades. Were these really wholesale drownings, or
a mere ebullition of national fun? Doubtless, there is much
humour--though we have not yet been able to see it--in the clanking of
the guillotine; and the expeditions to Moscow and Madrid, with their
accompanying tales of rapine and butchery, may possibly be
demonstrated by Mr Cobden as instances of a practical joke. Davoust,
as the Hamburgians know, was a fine fellow; and so, upon examination,
may prove Robespierre and Marat. Perhaps, too, he will come down a
little later, and tell us the particulars of the gallant and
gentleman-like behaviour of M. Dupetit-Thouars towards Queen Pomare.
Or will he undertake to prove that Abd-el-Kader is an infamous
scoundrel, utterly beyond the pale or security of national faith and
of plighted honour?

It is plain, either that Mr Cobden has been egregiously humbugged by
the acute foreigners, or that he has subsided into a state of calm,
settled, and imperturbable idiocy. It is too cruel in Bright to parade
in such a way his former friend and master, and to quote from his
private correspondence. We wonder what is Sir Robert Peel's present
opinion of the man whom he chose to bespatter with his praise, and for
whose sake he was content to forfeit the elaborate reputation of a
life-time. But bad as Cobden may be, he is fairly surpassed in Gallic
enthusiasm by the notorious George Thompson, whose patriotism may be
gathered from the tone of the following paragraph:--"Why, what were
the toasts given at the sixty reform banquets of France? This has been
one of their toasts at least, 'Fraternity, liberty, equality.' Let us
echo from these shores the shouts that have been raised there, and I
am sorry to say, stifled, so far as Paris is concerned, for the
banquet did not come off there. Let us send back the echo, fraternity,
liberty, equality!" And this pestilential raving has been applauded to
the echo in Manchester.

Let us have peace with the French by all means, and with all the world
beside; but let us not fall into the despicable and stupid blunder of
supposing that human passion and human prejudice, the lust for power,
and the cravings of ambition, can ever be eradicated by any system of
commercial arrangement. Britain is naturally an object of envy to all
the continental states. It is her strength and position which have
hitherto maintained the balance of power--and of that the European
states are fully and painfully aware. Every step which can tend to
weaken the fidelity of her colonies, is regarded with intense interest
abroad, and more especially in France. The people of that country envy
us for our wealth, and dislike us for our power; and war with Britain,
could the French afford it, would at any time find a host of
advocates. We are not believers in the probability of such an event,
if we keep ourselves reasonably prepared; but the very first
relaxation upon our part would inevitably tend to accelerate it. It is
quite possible that France may yet have to undergo another dynastic
convulsion. The death of Louis Philippe may be the signal for
intestine disorder. The Count of Paris is a mere boy, and popularity
is not on the side of his uncle and guardian. A powerful party still
exists, acknowledging no king save the rightful heir of St Louis; and
the fanatical republican section is still strong and virulent. These
are things which it would be imprudent to disregard, and of which no
man living can venture to predict the result. The death of the Queen
of Spain would, according to all appearances, give rise to a rupture
with France, and possibly test, within a shorter period than we could
have believed, the sufficiency of our national defences. There is at
this moment every reason why our real strength and power should be
made apparent to the world, and our weakness, where it does exist,
immediately remedied and repaired.

Had the Duke of Wellington proposed, like Friar Bacon in Greene's old

         "To girt fair England with a wall of brass,"

the outcry could not have been greater. An iron wall might perhaps
have been rather popular in the mining districts. But his Grace
proposes no such thing. He only suggests the propriety of a small
augmentation of the regular forces at home, the strengthening of our
neglected fortifications, and the gradual reimbodiment of the militia.
It is for the British nation, or rather its representatives, to adopt
or reject the proposal. Now, it is worth while that we should keep in
mind what is our actual disposable force at present.

According to the most recent authorities, the armies of the principal
European powers would rank as follows:

  Russia,                         568,000
  Austria,                        414,000
  France,                         340,000
  Prussia, Bavaria,
    and other German States,      268,128
  Britain,                        138,895

The disproportion of force exhibited by this list is sufficiently
obvious; but when we descend to particulars, it will in reality be
found much greater. Abroad, the majority of the male population are
trained to the use of arms: with us it is notoriously the reverse.
France, in the course of one week, could materially increase the
amount of her regular army; whilst here that would be obviously
impossible. Beyond Algeria, France has almost no colonies as stations
for her standing force. We have to provide for the East and West
Indies, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Cape, Ceylon, Hong Kong,
the Mauritius, Gibraltar, Malta, the Ionian Islands, and others. The
profession of the British soldier is any thing but a sinecure. A great
portion of his life must be spent abroad; he may be called upon to
undergo the most rapid vicissitudes of climate, to pass from one
hemisphere to another in the discharge of his anxious duty. There is
no service in the world more trying or severe; and it very ill becomes
Mr Cobden, or any of his class, to sneer at that establishment, which
is kept up for the direct promotion of our commerce. So large a
portion of the territorial surface of the world is nowhere defended at
so little cost either of money or of men. Indeed, as recent events
have shown, we are but too apt to save the one at the expense of the
other. No doubt, if the free-trade policy is carried out to the
uttermost--if our colonies are to be thrown away as useless, and our
foreign stations dismantled, we might submit to a still further
reduction. France will be too happy to receive Gibraltar or Malta from
our hands, and will cheerfully free us from the expense of maintaining
garrisons there. Let us but make over to that affectionate and
domesticated people the keys of the Mediterranean, and we shall soon
see with what eagerness they will co-operate in the dissemination of
Mr Cobden's free-trade dogmas.

Apart from the colonies, we have a serious difficulty at home.
Ireland--that most wretched and ungrateful country, which no
experience can improve--is as far from tranquillity as ever. The
hard-working population of Britain submitted last year without a
murmur to an exorbitant taxation, for the purpose of relieving the
distress occasioned by the failure of the potato crop. The return is a
howl of defiance from the brutal demagogue, and an immediate increase
of murder and of crime. Notwithstanding every kind of remedial
measure--notwithstanding their exemption, which is an injustice to us,
from many of the heaviest burdens of the state--notwithstanding the
mistaken policy which fostered their institutions and their schools,
the Roman Catholics of Ireland stand out in bad pre-eminence, as the
most cold-blooded, unthankful, and cowardly assassins of the world. In
order to repress that outrage, which is so villanously rife among
them, and which nothing but physical force can restrain from breaking
out into open rebellion, we are compelled at all times to keep the
largest portion of our remanent disposable force quartered in Ireland.
The consequence is, that a mere handful of our standing army is left
in Great Britain.

If Mr Cobden should like to see a little terrestrial paradise, in
which few birds, with that gaudy plumage which is so offensive to his
eyes, can be found, he had better come down to Scotland, and pay us
another visit. He is kind enough, we observe, to make himself the
mouthpiece of our sentiments upon this matter of the defences; and,
certainly, if there be any truth in the adage that we are entitled at
least to see what we are paying for, Scotland has no reason to be
peculiarly warlike in her sentiments. Mr Cobden will find us quite as
affectionate and domesticated a people as the French; and he may rely
upon it, that he will not be shocked by any over-blaze of scarlet.
From a turbulent, we have gradually settled down to be a quiet race;
and as a natural consequence, we share in none of those benefits which
are heaped so liberally upon the "persecuted Irish." Our only
excitements are a Church squabble, which does not require the
interference of the military, but exhausts itself in the public
prints; or a bread row, which is always over, long before a detachment
can be brought from the nearest station, it may be at the distance of
some hundred miles. We are never noticed in Parliament, except to be
praised for our good behaviour, or to have some remaining fragment of
our national establishments reduced. We pay for an army and a navy
which we never see; indeed, of late years the French and Danish flags
have been far more frequently displayed upon our coasts than the broad
pendant of Great Britain. In many of our counties a soldier is an
unknown rarity; and the only drum that has been heard for the last
thirty years, is in the peaceable possession of the town-crier.
England, we apprehend, except in the immediate neighbourhood of the
metropolis and of Manchester, is not much better supplied: in short,
so far as Britain is concerned, we have a remarkably insufficient
force, and one which has been declared by the highest military
authority alive, wholly incompetent for our protection in the case of
an attempted invasion. Cobden, who has no veneration for successful
warriors, having feathered his nest very pleasantly otherwise, admits
that he has not the slightest practical knowledge of the trade of war.
We therefore demur to his position that this is a question for
civilians to determine, and that military and naval men have nothing
to do with it. His previous admission involves an inconsistency. He
might as well say, that, having no acquaintance whatever with
engineering, he is entitled to deliver his opinions in opposition to
Walker or Stephenson, on the construction of a skew bridge, or the
practicability of boring a tunnel. If one of those vessels in the
Tagus, which, according to Cobden, are kept there for the sole purpose
of instructing our seamen in the culture of the geranium, was to
spring a leak, we should assuredly apply to Jack Chips, the carpenter,
to stop it, before invoking the aid of the peripatetic apostle of
free-trade. And just so is it with the state of our national defences.
Manchester must excuse us, if we prefer the testimony of the Duke of
Wellington upon this point to the more dubious experiences of Cobden.
It is, of course, quite another question, whether the leak shall be
stopped, or the vessel permitted to founder peaceably. Mr Cobden may
be heard upon that point, under special reference to the magnitude of
the stake which he hazards, but we decline receiving his opinion on
the subject of military fortifications. He can no more pronounce a
judgement on the adequate state of our defences, than he can parse a
paragraph of Xenophon; and therefore, by approaching the subject, he
has been guilty of presumption and impertinence.

Mr Cobden proposes that we should rely upon the maintenance of peace
by removing all obstacles to invasion. He admits, indeed, that for the
present he is in a minority, but he hopes very soon to change it to a
majority, and until that time comes he is content to remain in the
following position:--"I say this, I am for acting justly and fairly,
and holding out the olive branch to the whole world; and I will then
take upon myself, _so far as my share goes_, all the risk of any thing
happening to ME, without paying for another soldier or another
sailor." This is good! What a glorious insurance is here offered to
the nation against the risk of foreign aggression! If every man,
woman, and child in this mighty empire will remain satisfied without
the means of repelling foreign invasion, the magnanimous Cobden will
take his risk, _so far as his share goes_, of all that may happen to
HIM! Why, who the deuce cares what happens to him or his? Are we all
engrossed in Cobden's weal or woe? Would it matter one straw to us, or
to the universe, if he and his calico print-works were wrapped in
universal conflagration to-morrow? This is, without exception, the
most impudent offer of guarantee which we ever remember to have heard
of; and it justifies us in remarking that, if all accounts be true,
Mr Cobden would be no very great loser by the immediate advent of the
French. If any thing happens to him, he may be assured of this, that
notwithstanding his cautious salvo, he will have no claim for damage
and loss, and little commiseration from any quarter whatsoever. Is the
man insane enough to suppose, that he, armed with his olive branch,
stands forth as prominently in the eyes of the world as if he were a
sign of the Zodiac? Curtius, who leaped into the gulf in the Forum,
which would not close until the most precious thing of Rome was thrown
into it, shrinks into insignificance, and becomes absolutely bashful,
when compared with the emulous Cobden. According to the
Man-in-the-Moon, Curtius was pronounced by the Flamen to be the most
precious fool of his day, but in point of conceit he is fairly trumped
by the honourable member for the West Riding of Yorkshire. In his
opinion there is nothing worth protecting save an inland mill, and he
does not care what becomes of our arsenals so long as there is an
immunity for calico!

If there are no armaments, thinks Mr Cobden, there can be no wars; and
for once he is tolerably right. If iron did not exist there could be
no swords; and without gunpowder, or its modern substitute cotton, a
discharge of musketry is impossible. But unfortunately there are other
armaments besides ours, and no symptom whatever of their reduction.
Here the reciprocity theory is once more brought into play. Let
Britain be the first to set the example, and every other nation will
follow in her wake. Cannons, by unanimous consent, will be spiked,
banners handed over to the respectable fraternity of Odd Fellows, and
the soldier condemned to the stiffing walls of the factory, never more
to stand at ease. Such are the dreams of Cobden; and if he really
believes in them, and in the actual regeneration of human nature by
means of free-trade instead of religion, we should like to see him try
the experiment on a minor scale. Let him, after having collected
within his premises as much plate as he can conveniently acquire, and
as much cash as he is worth, dispense with the unnecessary precautions
of lock and key; let him dismiss the watchmen from his works, and put
up an advertisement that the whole public are welcome to enter at any
hour they please, and that not the slightest attempt at resistance
will be offered. We presume that the Manchester operatives are at
least as affectionate and domesticated as the French; but,
notwithstanding that, we should entertain some apprehension as to the
fate of Mr Cobden's spoons. The temptation would really be too great.
The seeming solidity of the albata plate or purified nickel-silver
would infallibly tempt the cupidity of some affectionate artisan. A
midnight visit would be paid, and on the morrow there would be wail
for the missing tureen! To be consistent, we should begin with
municipal reforms. Let us proclaim honesty as a universal principle,
do away with the police, abolish Chubb, and keep our doors wide open
for ingress as well as for ventilation. If our greatcoats disappear
not, if umbrellas are not less, and if the tale of our forks is
complete after a reasonable lease of the experiment, we shall then
have acquired some data for making a further trial, and intrusting the
wealth of Great Britain to the forbearance of our foreign neighbours.

When Blucher, on his visit to this country after the war, rode through
the streets of London, he was observed, amidst all the shouts of
acclamation, to be peering curiously at the windows of the shops,
which then, as now, exhibited a tempting and valuable display. When
asked what he thought of the metropolis, the worthy veteran replied
with a deep sigh, whilst a tear rolled down his venerable cheek--"Mein
Gott! What a city for to sack!" Such were the first impressions of old
Marshal Forwards; and, with all deference to Cobden's sagacity, we
suspect that the amiable French, if they had it in their power, would
not be slow to realise the sentiments. Indeed, his Royal Highness the
Prince of Joinville, being of an open and candid nature, does not
hesitate to acknowledge it in as many words. We do not think a whit
the worse of Joinville for saying so: on the contrary, we are obliged
to him, and, if wise, we shall treasure the hint. He merely speaks the
sentiments of a large portion of his countrymen, who very probably
have no abstract wish for war, and would rather let things rest as
they are. Of all nations in the world, the French have the best
possible excuse for reducing their armaments, since France is
inundated with troops, and they have few foreign territorial
possessions. As compared with Britain proper, France could afford to
shake off nearly three-fourths of her establishment, and yet remain
upon an equality; but although Algeria may now be considered as safe
and tranquil, there are no demonstrations of the kind. The French army
is organised and ready to act upon any emergency: ours is too small,
is dispersed, and we have not an adequate reserve at home.

Whilst, therefore, the possibility of an invasion remains, we are
bound on every consideration of prudence and of policy, to act as if
the probability were likewise at hand. The youngest of us has seen too
many changes and revolutions--too many political disagreements and
jarrings among the European family, to prophesy with confidence that
these shall never be renewed. Even in commerce we have not got
reciprocity, and we cannot expect to get it in the more abstract point
of armaments. Woodburne House was better fortified by Dominie
Sampson's folios, than Britain possibly could be by bales of Cobden's
cotton. Our sincere belief is, that the surest method of accelerating
a war is to take the advice of the Manchester demagogues, repudiate
the ideas of the Duke of Wellington, and remain in stupid inactivity.
It was necessary for public safety that this matter should be laid
before the country; and the Duke for doing so may yet deserve a debt
of gratitude, which will amply recompense him for the vulgar contumely
of a host of disloyal bagmen. But it would be preposterous to suppose
that the discussion which has arisen at home has not attracted deep
observation abroad. The eyes of Europe are upon us, watching what
course we are to adopt; and France in particular is waiting, with
indrawn breath and tremulous anxiety, the result of the coming
discussion. Our weakness at home is now apparent to the world; we
cannot conceal it; the sole question is, whether we shall apply the

Admit the possibility, and the question is a serious one indeed! Let
us suppose that, from some unforeseen accident, some stoppage in the
wheels of diplomacy, or some untoward casualty, war was declared
between Great Britain and France, or even any other continental power.
Such an event could not happen without dividing the nations of Europe.
We could not afford to withdraw our forces from the colonies, because
these would probably be made the earliest points of attack,--nor from
Ireland, except at the immediate and imminent risk of a rebellion.
Even should it be thought prudent to leave the colonies to their fate,
the transport of the garrisons would involve a considerable period of
time--a fact of which our enemy must be aware, and of which he would
be foolish not to take advantage. We should be compelled to recruit
immediately, and upon a large scale; and it would take some time to
metamorphose Mr Cobden's operatives, or even that respectable senator
himself, into any thing like the semblance of soldiers. If fifty
thousand armed men were to be landed on the southern coast--and no one
seems to doubt the possibility of such an occurrence--we should like
to know what are our means of resistance? We have read a good many
letters upon the subject, in the daily prints--some of them apparently
by ex-military men, and some by politicians of the school of Tomkins
and Cobden--but not one of them has been able to make out a decent
case of opposition. The best, and, indeed, the only rational letters,
proceed upon the supposition that there would be a general rising _en
masse_ of the English population--that every hawbuck would turn out
with a musket to repel the invaders, and that the railways from London
would vomit forth a cloud of intrepid musketeers. Every hedge, they
think, would be manned, and every farm-house a sort of minor fortress.
Now, with all submission, this is downright deplorable drivel. Ever
since the English people--and that is now a very old story--have given
up the use and exercise of arms, and agreed to be mulcted in purse,
rather than undergo the personal fatigue and annoyance of exercise,
there has been no martial spirit at all exhibited by the bulk of the
population. No doubt, when an invasion was actually threatened by
Napoleon, and three hundred thousand men were assembled at Boulogne,
there were large demonstrations of volunteer activity; but then, it
must be remembered that we were in the very height and fever of a
war--the belligerent spirit and strong antipathy to France had
prepared us for such a crisis, and we had not been besotted and
enfeebled by more than thirty years of peace, and almost as many of
gradual but sure demoralisation. We had not then adopted such men as
the Manchester Jacobins for our teachers; we were then content to be
national and not cosmopolitan in our ideas. We were fighting for our
faith and our freedom--not truckling for calico or for yarn. The same
crisis is not likely to occur again, and we cannot--dare not venture
to calculate upon a similar demonstration of energy. Free-trade and
liberal measures have put that utterly beyond our power. We have no
more doubt than we have of our own existence, that a body of men of Mr
Cobden's way of thinking could be found in this country, ready to
contract with the French government for conveying over to Britain an
invading army at the rate of eight shillings a-head, victuals
included; and, if the weather was stormy, they would unquestionably
clear a handsome profit by the speculation. Morals have nothing
earthly to do with free-trade--patriotism is opposed to it--and why
make any distinction between the freightage of Frenchmen and of
bullocks? The contractors, of course, would take care that their own
premises were sufficiently far removed from the scene of immediate
action; and we cannot pitch upon a fitter locality than that which is
exhibited in Manchester.

We would ask any or all of those gentlemen who depend upon a general
rising, to take the trouble, for some half hour or so, to revert to
history. If they do so, and seriously think over the matter, they will
speedily be convinced that an invasion is by no means a difficult
matter, and that no reliance whatever can be placed upon the
co-operation of the undisciplined people, either of the country or the
metropolis, in the event of an actual invasion. In fact, judging from
history, Paris is literally impregnable compared with London, and yet
it has been occupied by the Allies. In 1688, William of Orange, a
foreign prince, having no claim to the crown, and against the will of
the people of England, whatever may be said of the aristocracy, landed
in Britain, advanced to London, and took the throne, without the
slightest demonstration of hostility. The population were perfectly
quiescent. It was not their business to fight: they paid for an army;
and accordingly they allowed the Orangeman to march on, just as they
would do to Joinville, provided he desired his troops to be reasonably
accommodating and civil. Sack and rapine might undoubtedly provoke
resistance; but if ordinary courtesy were used, and more especially if
the French proclaimed that they came upon a free-trade errand, and a
friendly visit to Mr Cobden, there would be far fewer shots fired,
than at the present moment are resounding from the peaceful hedgerows
of Tipperary.

The next instance we select--omitting minor efforts--is the enterprise
of 1745, which peculiarly concerns Scotland, and of which we are by no
means ashamed. The heir of the Stuarts landed in the North, supported
by no force at all. The clans, to their immortal honour, and a portion
of the best Lowland blood of Scotland, maintaining those principles of
loyalty which free-trade cannot comprehend, assumed the white cockade,
and after thrashing the English army effectually at Prestonpans,
marched south, on the desperate errand of displacing the reigning
dynasty. And how were they received? It is important to note the idea
which the English people had, at that time, of the Highlanders. They
considered them a race of cannibals who ate children; so that it was
no uncommon matter, when a Highland officer entered a house, to find
the mistress on her knees, praying for a Lenten diet, whilst the
terrified urchins were all the while concealed beneath the bed. Such
is the positive fact; and yet we will venture to say, that there
never was, in the history of the world, an instance of a more
blameless or more humane invasion. Donald, though quite ready to
cleave a bearded Hanoverian to the chin, had an extreme weakness for
children, and would not, on any provocation, have insulted a
defenceless woman. Had Mr Cobden fallen into his hands, the
Highlander, after a due estimate of his physical capabilities, would
probably have put him to ransom for a quarter of a pound of tobacco.
The feeling in England was not in favour of the exiled family, the
antipathy to the Highlanders was extreme, and yet an irregular and
ill-disciplined host of about six thousand men, with no artillery, no
commissariat, and a mere handful of cavalry, penetrated into the heart
of England without any show of popular opposition, and reached Derby
without the loss of a single man. It is not difficult to understand
why Manchester is so uproarious against the military, when we recall
to mind the splendid instance of poltroonery exhibited by the
manufacturing capital on that memorable occasion. The town of
Manchester was captured by a Scots sergeant of the name of Walter
Dickson, who, supported by a drummer and a wench, took possession of
it in name of Prince Charles, four-and-twenty hours before the clans
came up! Not a magistrate was to be found bold enough to issue his
warrant against the intruder, nor a constable to execute it, nor a
single operative to support it. There was no talk then about finding
graves for the invaders: the invaded were quite content with finding
cellars for their own particular shelter. Gentlemen who had talked big
enough when the danger was at a distance, recoiled at the idea of
personal peril, whenever the danger drew nigh; and, being unsupported
by a regular force, very prudently abstained from opposing their
persons to the terrible sweep of the claymore. But for internal
dissensions and some infirmity of purpose, it is now beyond a doubt
that the clans might have penetrated, without any opposition, to
London. So little martial spirit was exhibited in the capital, that
parties were actually made and carriages engaged for Caxton, to see
the Highlanders march by; and George the Second was in full
preparation for removing, and had stowed away his valuables in his
yachts. As it was, the invaders returned back to their own country
almost as scaithless as they came, without any experience of that
fiery and patriotic spirit which the correspondents of the newspapers
profess to discover blazing within the bosom of every Briton at the
mere idea of an invasion.

In fact, it is mere trash to maintain that raw levies or extempore
guerilla resistance can be of the slightest use in opposition to a
disciplined force. For ourselves, we do not believe that such
resistance would be attempted. Men require to be brought together and
trained before their individual stanchness can be relied on; and we
know perfectly well that a mob has no chance, at any time, against an
immeasurably smaller body, if properly organised and directed. Let the
people of this country be disciplined and accustomed to the use of
arms, and you may search the world in vain for braver or better
soldiers. But the power is still latent, and, according to Cobden, it
never must be called forth. This is mischievous and stupid folly. If
any thing is to be done at all, it must be done regularly and
effectively. Let us have the knowledge, the certainty that, at a few
hours' notice, a formidable body of troops, well disciplined and
prepared, can be concentrated at any given point of the island,--let
this fact be made known to the world, and we have a far better
security for the maintenance of peace than if we were to adopt the
stupid and pragmatical notions of Mr Cobden. Mr Disraeli took a sound
view of the case, when he reminded the honourable member, "that
although the profound peace which he had announced might come within
the time of those who heard him, still there was something in the
catastrophes of nations _sœvior armis_,--catastrophes from other
causes leading to their decay. Happily in those causes the limited
experience of the Roman empire had not included the rapacity of rival
industry, and the quackery of economic science." We are afraid that
the lesson which Mr Disraeli attempted to inculcate--one which, of
late years, we have repeatedly insisted on in these pages--was
somewhat thrown away upon his pupil. Gentlemen of the Cobden school
set little store upon the philosophy of history, and prefer to reason
within the limits of their own experience. They can as little explain
the causes of the decline of ancient empires, as they can account for
the palpable falling off in the amount of our exports; and it is idle
to remind men of things which they have never heard. It is not to
them, but to the intelligent classes of the community, that we would
fain address our argument. There is a remarkable and striking analogy
between the present state of the country, and the position of England
at the time of the Highland descent in 1745. The nation had become
accustomed to peace at home, and was therefore proportionally
enervated. The use of arms, and the training of the militia had been
abandoned; a false economy had reduced the numbers of the regular
forces; and the greater proportion of those which remained were
abroad. Under those circumstances the expedition took place: the
weakness of the front exhibited by England was the temptation, and we
have already seen the consequences. It is now seriously proposed that
we shall remain liable to a similar assault, when the stake at issue
is incomparably greater. What would be the result of a swoop upon
London according to the published Joinville plan? and yet there is
hardly another capital in Europe, which has not during the last fifty
years been occupied by a hostile force.

We have all an interest in this question, for a descent may be made
any where. We have not even the benefit of ships to protect us here in
the North; and three or four French frigates would, we apprehend, find
little difficulty in effecting a landing in the Forth. Will Mr Cobden
be good enough to favour us with his opinion as to the course we
should pursue, supposing such a calamity to happen? A simultaneous
attack may be made on the south of England, and the Castle and
Piershill barracks emptied for the purpose of reinforcing Portsmouth,
too weak to maintain itself without their aid. Would he advise us to
resist or succumb? Shall we throw ourselves under the protection of
our friend George M'Whirter, W.S., and the Edinburgh squadron of the
Royal Mid-Lothian Yeomanry? Shall we sound the tocsin of war, and call
out Captain Haining with his reserved band of twenty police, all
fierce and furious for battle? Shall we persuade the Archers to string
their bows, and compete for the Goose medal with a fire-eating
Frenchman as the butt? Shall we barricade Leith Walk, block up the
Granton Railway in the teeth of a suspension and interdict, and
contest, to the last drop of our blood, the possession of every house
in Inverleith Row? May we calculate upon any support from the middle
districts of England in the event of such a calamity? Will Mr Bright
array himself in drab armour, and come to our rescue, with Welford the
flower of chivalry, who has a special objection to guns? Can we depend
upon Cobden himself? Will he pledge himself to back us at our need
with an overpowering army from the factories, clad in calico, and
armed with the tremendous and invincible billy-roller? Will George
Thompson, chief of a thousand wordy fights, be there,--or Wilson,
ex-monarch of the league? Shall we send them the beacon blaze,
or--faster still--the telegraphic signal to the south imploring
immediate succour? Or shall we trust to their own noble impulses, and

    Ye need not warn the Cobden clan,
    That ever are stout and true;
    And when they see the blazing bale,
    The Brights and Thompsons never fail!

Indeed, if we are to believe the last mentioned gentleman, we have
that assurance already, for he has spoken as follows:--"I may venture
to foretell that the Free-Trade Hall, of Manchester will be more than
a match for Apsley House and the Horse Guards put together;"--a highly
satisfactory account of the town which was whilom captured by a

Upon the whole, unless we can come to a serious understanding with
Manchester, we have grave doubts as to the propriety of offering any
very obstinate resistance. If we are to do it, we must send off all
the women to the Trosachs by the Scottish Central Railway, and
perhaps it would be as well for all of us to join the Celtic Society,
and fight the battles of our country in the pass of Roderick Dhu. An
honourable capitulation, on the understanding that the French were to
behave themselves, would probably be the wisest course we could pursue
under the circumstances. We love George M'Whirter, and have every
confidence in his valour, but we could not bear to see him gasping in
his gore; and therefore, unless the regulars are forthcoming, or the
Manchester legion on their way, he had better fall back with his
comrades upon the western warriors of Dalmahoy. The number of our
guardians of the night is at present so small, that we positively
cannot afford to spare even one of them as food for powder. It would,
we fear, be imprudent to risk the fate of the Scottish capital upon
the issue of a combat between our dashing Toxophilites and a body of
French artillery, and we are reluctantly compelled to admit that there
was some truth in Major Dalgetty's sarcasm against bows and arrows.
And now, having gone over the catalogue of our available native
forces, which is not quite so long as the Homeric muster-roll of the
ships, will any body tell us what we are to do? It would be a sore
humiliation were we compelled to illuminate Holyrood, and give a grand
ball in honour of the Duc D'Aumale, and our other ancient and now
redintegrated allies. But if you abolish the British uniform, and
allow the French to supersede it, what else can you expect? We want to
be loyal if you will only tell us how--if not, we see nothing for it
but the illumination and the ball.

Mr Cobden is pleased to be especially bitter upon the "horrid trade"
of soldiering. He characterises it as barbarous and damnable, and
would be rid of it at all risks. Now, setting aside the idiocy of his
remarks, there is a monstrous deal of ingratitude in this language of
the free-trade apostle. Had it not been for our arms, where would our
market have been? If we had succumbed to France instead of humbling
her at Waterloo--and we presume that Mr Cobden would have preferred
the former alternative, since he thinks that the Duke should now be
preaching forgiveness for the past--where would have been our trade,
and where our exportations of calico? Hindostan is an acquired
country, and British arms have opened up the markets of China; and are
these commercial evils? Really it is throwing away language to attempt
enforcing a point so clear as this. Commerce owes every thing to the
exertions and protection of that military power which these purblind
theorists complain of; and were our armaments abolished to-morrow, we
should look round us in vain for a customer.

And pray what does the arrogant upstart mean by characterising the
honourable profession of a soldier as a damnable trade? Does he intend
to disgorge his contempt and contumely upon the graves of those who
fell on the field of battle fighting nobly for their king and country?
Are we now to be told that the names which we have written in our
annals, and embalmed in our memories, are detestable and odious as
those of homicides and of robbers? If it has come to this, and if
public scorn is not roused to overwhelm the man who can conceive and
utter such ignoble sentiments, then indeed we may believe that
demoralisation has partially done its work, and that the mean ethics
of Manchester are henceforward to influence the nation. Not damnable
nor horrid, unless justice and freedom be so, is the profession of
those who have drawn the sword in the service of Britain, and died for
the maintenance of order, liberty, and religion. Other trades there
are far more liable to such epithets, but with these, thank heaven! we
have but little practical acquaintance. The trade of the greedy
taskmaster, who rears infants for his mills, and grinds them to their
task until the sinews shrivel up and the limbs are warped into early
decrepitude--of him who will not recognise the existence of an
imperishable soul within the tender framework of the children whom he
makes the victims of his avarice--of the advocate of long hours,
because thereby he may keep his human machinery under the complete
control of exhaustion,--the trade of that man, we say, though it may
be tolerated in a Christian land, is but one shade less horrid, and
not a whit less damnable, than that of the slave-trader, who is now
chuckling over his living cargoes on the African coast--cargoes for
which he is indebted to the enlightened legislation of Mr Cobden and
his liberal confederates! Are these the men who are to revile and
traduce our army? Faugh! The leprosy of mammon is upon them, and our
nature recoils from their breath.

In conclusion, let us express a fervent hope that we have heard the
last of this dull and deplorable drivelling. It is to the credit of
the Whigs, that, far as they have been led astray by adopting the
newfangled 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
attempt to lower the position and diminish the influence of Great
Britain. The chiefs of that party know full well how much we have at
stake, and what a responsibility would rest upon their heads, were
they to reject the advice of the great captain who has already saved
his country, and who again comes forward at the close of life to warn
that country of its danger. Mr Cobden likewise is furious with the
public press, and charges a large portion of it for refusing to be
dragged through the Manchester mire, with having abrogated their
duties on this question. We apprehend that the editors of the journals
to which he alludes are perfectly competent to the discharge of their
duties, without submitting to the dictatorial interference of this
very much over-rated and extremely shallow personage. As for the Duke
of Wellington, he is not likely to suffer in health or reputation from
any want of respect or veneration on the part of Mr Cobden. His fame
is too bright to be polluted by such dirty missiles; and the veriest
vagabond who broke the windows of Apsley House would shrink from
repeating the insults which fell from the lips of the calico-printer.

In short, our impression in rising from the perusal of this notable
speech, is deep surprise that such a man should ever have been made
the leader of a popular party, or the representative of a fixed
opinion. That it should have been so, is a reflection that cannot be
flattering to many of his followers, and least of all to those who
threw aside their opinions to undertake the advocacy of his. But the
spell is now broken, the mask removed, and we behold the egotist, the
railer, and the fanatic. Let us sum up in a few words, for the benefit
of posterity, the great free-trader's opinion of the Duke of
Wellington, and then take leave of the most discreditable subject
which for a long time we have been called upon to notice.


After this we need add nothing more. Our opinion of Mr Cobden could be
thoroughly expressed in a much shorter sentence.



  "Occidit miseros crambe repetita magistros."--JUVENAL.

  "Et qui parlant beaucoup ne disent jamais rien."--BOILEAU.

Visitors to Rome are ofttimes puzzled and surprised at hearing the
very unusual affix, _della Minerva_, applied to one of the Christian
churches of that city; more especially when they find it also
familiarly known to the common people, not so well read as their
priests in the calendar of the saints, as LA STA. MINERVA; but the
apparent misnomer originates in an ellipsis of the full title, which
runs thus, _Sta. Maria sopra Minerva_--the church in question having
supplanted a temple formerly dedicated to Pallas, upon the ruins of
which it has been reared. But though the goddess of wisdom still
retains a _nominal_ interest in the edifice, certainly, to judge from
the catechetical exercises of which we are about to give a specimen,
her reign is past, and there remains but the _nominis umbra_ in lieu
of it. Exorcised the church, she has been fain to accept such a
humiliating asylum in the library adjoining, as inquisitorial
Dominicans would be likely to afford a heathen goddess, whose
proceedings they must narrowly watch. There she has the mortification
of hearing, from year to year, some new relay of "gray-hair'd synods
damning books unread," and, club-fashion, blackballing all _her_
friends in order to make way for their own; just as old Pope Gregory
is said to have burned a whole library of Pagan literature, that the
Christian Fathers and Roman Catholic Saints might have more
elbow-room; and also that, in the absence of rivals, their authority
might not be disputed. "_Fertur beatus Gregorius bibliothecam
combussisse gentilum, quo divinæ paginæ gratior esset locus et major
auctoritas et diligentia studiosior._"[A]

  [A] _Vide_ Notes to Pope's _Dunciad_, book iii.

At Easter-tide, those who have any curiosity on the subject may hear
Bellarmine's Catechism, as it is squealed, bawled, or otherwise
intonated by the young children of the different _Riones_, and
commented on and explained for their edification by the pedagogue
priest of the district. He is generally surrounded at such times by a
bevy of from forty to fifty scholars, _gamins_ or _gamines_ as the
case may be; and to work they set with such earnestness of
vociferation that all Bedlam and Parnassus, raving and reciting
together, could not well surpass the discord: the shrill diapason,
peeling through nave and aisle, shakes the floating _Baldaquino_, and
makes the trembling walls bellow again, furnishing an apt and lively
illustration of the "_convulsaque marmora clamant_" of the poet.

Though we had often frequented the churches at this season, and had
scores of times heard questions both asked and answered therein, yet,
generally intent on the marbles or monuments of the edifice, we had
not hitherto given ear to the proceedings of these obstreperous young
bull-calves: but, before leaving Rome definitely, it seemed fair to
give them an hour's attention on some convenient opportunity, in order
to form an unbiassed judgment of how their early religious education
was carried on. One soon presented itself in the above-named church of
the Minerva; for, chancing to be there at the right hour on an
examination-day, in crossing in front of the black-columned chapel of
St Dominick, we came suddenly upon a covey of little girls nestling in
one of its corners, under the sumptuous tomb of the thirteenth
Benedict, and waiting, all primed, for their instructor. Some,
absorbed in the contemplation of the silver crown and faded finery of
St Philomel--we trust, at so tender an age, without infringement of
the tenth commandment--were delighting themselves in anticipating the
day when they too might become saints, and wear similar decorations;
others, too young for such speculations, were staring with intense
vacancy at the flickering of a tiny lamp, in front of a very
dingy-looking madonna, to which one or two, in baby simplicity, were
repeating _Latin_ creeds, paternosters, and aves. Not knowing exactly
how long the preceptor of these small folk might keep them waiting, we
left them, and proceeded to the body of the building, where a
detachment of boys was already drawn up for action, with their _padre_
in the midst. Approaching as softly as might be, we stood against a
neighbouring pilaster to hear what might be required of such young
pupils, and how they were prepared to acquit themselves. Their
incessant movements did not promise a very sustained attention,
whatever might be the business in hand: many of them were evidently
plagued with fleas--all with fidgets; some shrugged up their
shoulders, others swung themselves by their hands on the form; these
were buttoning, those unbuttoning their dress; and not a few warmed
their feet by kicking the sounding pavement, and then listening to the
echoes from the vaults. Every boy carried a book in his hand; but on
these no wandering eye ever looked, not even for an instant, in its
numerous glancings round. As soon as the additional commotion,
occasioned by the approach of a stranger, had subsided, the priest,
harking back to what he had just been saying, and not quite sure of
his whereabouts, asks his class touching the last question. "You asked
that boy," said one, pointing to a comrade near him, "how he supposed
he ought to come to church." "Well," said the priest, resuming his
cue, and reverting to the last examinee; "and how did you tell me you
were to come?" "_Colle mani giunte così_," said the boy, locking his
hands, and standing up as he did so. "_Niente avanti?_" said the
priest, glancing at two very dirty paws. "Oh yes! I was to wash them."
"_Poi?_" "I was to cross myself as I came out of my room, and to cast
down my eyes, like the _Mater Indolorata_ yonder." "And then?" "As I
came to church, besides looking grave, I was to walk, not _così_"--and
he walked a few paces as he ought _not_ to walk,--"but _così_"--changing
the rhythm of his march--"as if I were following my brother's funeral.
_E poi finalmente_," (as he resumed his place with a jerk,) "I was to
be seated _so_, and hold my tongue till the _padre_ should address
me." "Well, my little man," (to another of the motley class,) "were we
not talking about the sacrament?" "Oh yes! no one may receive _that_
who has been guilty of any mortal sin." "_Bene_, that's quite right;
but _why_ not?" The following gabble, to which it was quite obvious
that none were of an age to attach _any_ meaning, served for a reply,
and was received as perfectly satisfactory by the priest:--"_Siccome
il pane naturale non può dare vita ad un corpo morto; così il pane
della Santissima, Eucaristia non può dare vita ad un anima morta._"
"And what may mortal sins be?" turning to the next scholar. "_Eh! chi
lo sa_; who is to tell you that?" said a young butcher's boy, turning
off the question, and freely offering it to any one who would take it
up. Upon this the boys made much noise, and laughed out lustily, not
encountering any reprimand from the _padre_, or so gentle a one as to
prove no check to their mirth. At length, quiet being partially
restored, he resumed his task, and asked a child of _six_ years old to
give him an example of mortal sin! Not receiving an answer, this
question travelled nearly to the end of the first line before any one
would take upon himself to venture even a random response; then, at
last, by dint of prompting, one boy suggested, that the tasting food
before receiving the sacrament was of such a kind; and having been
first much commended for his erudition, was next subjected to a long
list of _suppositions_ from the examiner; such as, "Suppose I were to
drink a little water merely?" "_Niente!_ no, you mus'nt." "Well; but
suppose I only took a small piece of consecrated wafer?" "_Ne anchè_;
not that neither." "What! would even these small indulgences be
infringing the rule?" But as the boy had received an approving
"_bene_" for his first negative, he had no difficulty in keeping to
his text; and at last the whole class, enjoying the joke of punishing
their _padre_ by cutting him off from all supplies at every fresh
demand, roared out _in chorus_, "_Niente, niente_--you mus'nt touch a
bit;" till, tired of the shouting, the good man proceeded to the next
interrogatory. We were tiring too; but being really desirous of
hearing, if possible, something more to the purpose, remained,
notwithstanding, yet another half hour at our post--indeed quite long
enough to be sure that "_niente_" was all we were likely to get for
our pains. Some of the questions were simply frivolous, many
jesuitical, others deeply profound; and whatever their character, all
were answered in the same careless and irreverent tone; _à tort et à
travers_, according to the fancy of the young respondent. In a word, a
more complete waste of time for both teacher and taught could not have
been easily devised. The instruction of this and similar classes--for
we have no reason to suppose that others differ from it--seems about
as intellectual and useful (and no more so) than that of an aviary of
parrots in the town of Havre, where the young French _psittaci_
chiefly learn their χαιρης, and their "_petits dejeuners_."
Alike in quality, it is not very dissimilar neither in the mode of its
administration. The shopman proposes the first word of a sentence to
the whole community, and the greater or less accuracy with which it is
taken up and completed, evinces the relative aptitudes of his tyros;
and though great allowance is always made, in the case of both boy and
bird, for transpositions or leavings out, yet the priest, like the
parrot-merchant, keeps an eye on the pupil who promises to do most
credit to his training, and brings him forward on every public
occasion. "In all labour," says Solomon, "there is profit, but the
_talk of the lips_ tendeth only to poverty." It requires no Solomon to
see how completely this is the case here; but there is one particular
in which the _padre_ really deserves praise, and we cheerfully accord
it. The forbearance, the patience, meekness, and _bonhomie_ which he
exercises in proposing the dull routine of questions, and in listening
while the pupils "ring round the same unvaried chimes" in reply,
cannot be too much admired. Like the patient schoolmaster in Juvenal,
he puts up with all their idleness and inattention--in the very
doubtful proficiency of many of his scholars, gives them the favour of
the doubt--and, above all, never loses his temper! This drilling and
preparation of the district classes has for ulterior object a general
field-day,[B] which occurs once a-year; when the congregated schools,
in the presence of the canons and other dignitaries of the church,
being now supposed fully supplied

    "With stores of spiritual provision,
    And magazines of ammunition,"

for the warfare, are expected

    "To rise and start the ready wherefore,
    To all that sceptic may inquire for;
    Then raise their scruples dark and nice,
    And solve them after in a trice;
    As if divinity had catch'd,
    The itch, on purpose to be scratch'd!"

  [B] _Italian Sketches_, No. V., August 1843.

In short, these living _fantoccini_ are taught to expose heresies, and
expound the dogmas of their faith, in words found for them by their
priests; and he who best retains the lesson, and proves himself most
loud and overbearing in the exercise, receives, for reward, a crown
and royal robe, and is metamorphosed out of the _imp_, which he was an
hour before, into the _imperator_; more fortunate by half, in the
undisputed tenure of his title for a twelvemonth, than many of his
Roman predecessors in the laurel. The little girls have an exhibition
somewhat similar, but still more theatric in its character. At
Christmas they assemble in the churches, dressed out by their parents
(who delight in making them as fine as possible) very much, it must be
admitted, like ballet-dancers; but supposed to represent, in their
habiliments, youthful Christian virgins and martyrs. Thus apparelled,
they hold forth on a platform in front of some favourite _Præsepe_,
and sustain, with Pagan rivals, long dialogues on the Nativity,
syllogising, in the shrill thin voice of childhood, upon all the
sublime mysteries of our faith, till the Pagans abandon the scornful
air with which they are taught to commence the discussion, and
confess themselves vanquished by the arguments brought against them.
The chief spokeswoman is then rewarded, like the head-boy, with robe
and crown, and retains her regal dignity for the same period. Of all
such education, what shall we say? Why, truly, in Hudibrastic
plainness of speech, that it is

    "More fitted for the cloudy night
    Of Popery, than Gospel light."

Are our British _infant_ schools quite free from participation in the
defects just noticed? By no means; and though the subject is far too
important to be dismissed with a few words at the end of a slight
sketch like the present, (especially since we hope to return to it
later,) yet, even here, we must glance at one or two blemishes, that
lie so immediately on the surface as to strike even the most casual
observer, when once his attention is called to them. In such
seminaries, it is known, the ages of the children usually vary from
eighteen months to six years, at which tender period of life it is
almost impossible to exercise too much discretion not to over-burden
the memory, or to obscure the dawning reason; but alas! in the always
well-meant, but certainly not always judicious, zeal for beginning
education betimes, how often is it begun too early and pushed too far!
In an over-anxiety to prevent, by pre-occupation of the ground, the
arch-enemy of mankind from sowing his tares, how often is the good
seed thrown in before it can have a chance of quickening! _Festinare
lente_ should be the motto, in moral and religious, as it is in all
other branches of education; since neither in religion nor morals can
we hope to arrive at the full stature of perfection, but by slow
degrees and long training. The Bible, to be sure, (the only true
source of either,) is _the_ Book for all mankind; but as it contains
"strong meat for men," as well as "milk for babes," great judgment is
necessary, in separating these diets, to give to each age the food
particularly adapted for it. We have the apostolic injunction for such
discrimination,--"Every one that uses milk is unskilful in the word of
righteousness: for he is a babe. But _strong meat_ belongeth to them
that are _of full age_; even those who _by reason of use have their
senses exercised_ to discern both good and evil."[C] It is further
obvious, from St Paul's catalogue of the armour which is to resist
_all_ the attacks of the world, the flesh, and the devil, that it
comprises many pieces of which young children can neither be made to
comprehend the design, nor, at their time of life, to require the use.
How unskilful, then, and abortive must be the attempt to put into the
hands of _instinct_ the weapons of mature _reason_; to seek to explain
the "beauty of holiness" to a child who does not "know his right hand
from his left," and to invest an unbreeched urchin in the whole
Christian panoply at once! With all due respect, too, to the
pains-taking compilers of some of the _manuals_ used in these classes,
we cannot help thinking that their labour has been at times worse than
thrown away; and it has excited our surprise to hear really
judicious[D] persons speak of these lesson-books as "perfectly suited"
to the purpose of infant education, and as requiring no amendment.
Surely they cannot have read them; or they must have forgotten, when
doing so, the _age_ and _condition_ of those for whom they are
intended. Not to be thought captious for nothing, we will let that
"_farrago libelli_"--that sausage of all the sciences--that "Teacher's
Assistant," speak for itself. It has gone through we know not how many
editions, and continues to perpetuate in each succeeding one all the
blunders of its predecessors. To begin at the beginning,--The scholars
have to learn therefrom as many alphabets as there are letters; a
historical, a geographical, a profane, and a biblical alphabet, &c.,
&c., not to attempt an enumeration of the whole. In the biblical, each
letter is put opposite to some proper or _improper_ person mentioned
in Scripture, for whom it is said to stand representative--(leaving it
to be supposed that it has been called into existence for no other
purpose.) By this means the _written_ character of course becomes
associated in the child's mind with the _moral_ character of the
individual whose initial it is; and thus a certain prejudice is apt to
arise against certain letters. For instance, the letter _H_ is
rendered fearfully significant,--

      "_H_ stands for Herod, who spilt _infants'_ blood!"

  [C] Epistle to the Hebrews, v. 13, 14.

  [D] In an otherwise admirable lecture on schools, which was lately
  delivered by Professor Blount, at Cambridge, we were surprised to hear
  a general commendation passed on these books. We feel persuaded, that
  neither the gravity of the class nor the approval of the Professor
  would have held out long against the recital of a few extracts.

A theorist might, perhaps, trace the absence of the aspirate in the
speech of maturer years to the awe created by that dread tetrarch's
name in infancy, when it is first feebly articulated, then dropped,
and not recovered afterwards.[E] But we are not theatrical; in proof
whereof, we observe that a child's natural aspirations are for tarts,
dolls, or marbles; while, to counteract such propensities, these
little hypocrites, before their time, are taught to sing out, among
other _Scripture wishes_, the following formulary, which must, of
course, act as a specific:--

    "May Isaiah's _hallow'd_ fire,
    _All_ my _fervent_ heart inspire;
    Joseph's _purity_ impart!
    Isaac's _meditative_ heart!!!"

A rhythmical dispute between two children, entitled a "Sabbath
Dialogue," brings to our mind a similar farce at Ferrara, which we
have formerly described. In this lively piece of absurdity, the
naughty boy invites the good one to play instead of going to church,
and, waxing warm as the other proves intractable, at length becomes
absolutely abusive on finding he is not to prevail.

Once again. Behold a class of children with the picture of a sheep
before them--to be taught, one would have supposed, the natural
history of that animal, and to learn something about the material of
which their little flannel petticoats and worsted stockings are made;
when lo! in place of this, they are informed that "though their sins
are red as crimson, they shall be as _wool_!!" If it were necessary to
use any interjection here, surely a loud ovine _bah!_ would be the
most appropriate and natural. But _revenons à nos moutons_, for
presently afterwards occurs this question--"What does the Bible tell
us about wool?" Answer: "Gideon wrung a fleece!" Bah! again, for what
other _commentary_ can be made on such _instruction_ as this? Why,
Jason filched one; and the Lord Chancellor sits upon a woolsack; and
either of these answers would convey as much useful knowledge to a
child's mind, though they are not to be met with in the Bible.

  [E] Notwithstanding their number, we would suggest one more, the
  "corrective alphabet," in which all the symbols should stand
  representative for objects agreeable to babes, and, _ex._ _gr._, after
  their innocent lips have been made to falter out Herod's formidable
  name, we would point to ours, where--

  _H_ stands for honey, so sweet and so good.

These unfortunate babes are to know a little of every thing: so, after
going through _versified_ weights and measures--arithmetic, including
the higher branches--geometry--we hardly know what is _omitted_ in
this most comprehensive miscellany--they arrive at philosophy, and
learn a great deal to the tune of "Miss Bailley." We give one stanza
out of many, as an example:--

    "The wondrous globe on which we live,
    Is close surrounded every where
    By something quite invisible,
    And callèd _atmospheric air_!

    This air is fluid, light and thin,
    And formed of _gases_ well _combined_!
    It carries sound and odour well,
    But put in motion it is _wind_!"

At the end of each verse, the infant chorus repeats with enthusiasm,
not "Poor Miss Bailley! unfortunate Miss Bailley!" &c., but--

    "Oh how curious,--wonderfully curious,
    The _laws of nature_ are indeed
    Most wonderfully curious!"

The geography is as good as the physics:--

    "A _channel_ is a passage wide
    That flows from sea to sea;
    When narrow it is call'd a _strait_,--
    _Thanks to Geography_!"

          .    .    .    .    .

    "When wise and older I am grown,
    I'll try and tell you more,
    But Teacher says _enough is known_
    An infant's mind to _store_!"

No doubt of it! enough and to spare! This is a fine specimen of the
class of truths called _unquestionable_. There is, moreover, a
pleasing _enjouement_ about this last line, which recommends it to our
regard. The teacher seems to be expostulating with her young charge,
and saying, "My dear little four-year-old, eager for instruction
beyond your years, but fearful of _learning up_ every thing at
school,--don't be frightened; the world will always find science
sufficient to employ all good little boys like you." But though this
_truth_ be unquestionable, we doubt whether the line which conveys it
be genuine; and rather fancy, should the original manuscript turn up,
it would be found to run--

       "_Enough's enough_ an infant's mind to store!"

which, though somewhat harsh to the ear, conveys an excellent meaning.
Should this be thought to make the verse too rugged, we have yet a
second various reading to propose, and that is simply to change the
last word into _bore_, by which means the easy flow of the verse is
preserved, and the _significatio prœgnans_ of the original, though
somewhat modified, is maintained.

Notwithstanding these blemishes--which, after our strictures on
foreign classes, we felt bound to point out--our English schools are
very far superior to the Italian for the same rank. With us, the
attention of government and of the public is roused, and directed to
their improvement; laymen join with the clergy in forwarding the same
scheme; great part of the tuition devolves upon females--and who so
fitted as woman to form the mind at an early age? It is no small
advantage, too, that authoresses of talent and judgment should have
devoted their time to the composition of exclusively moral and
religious tales and histories for the young. Lastly, with us, there is
none of that masquerading and display, which we reprobate as forming
so prominent a part in all Italian tuition. In these schools, women
are excluded from their natural office of teaching; there are no books
adapted to infant minds; the whole business is vested in the hands of
the priests; and they, in strict compliance with the spirit of their
Church, train the pupils in passive obedience to authority, and teach
them very little besides. We fear it will be long before any
revolution can reach these seminaries. The sense of personal
importance attaching--not only to the children themselves, but to
their parents--from these contemptible yearly exhibitions, added to
the interested motives which induce the Church to foster such vanity,
would render any considerable alteration for the better extremely
difficult, even were the evil more generally _felt_ than we fear it is
likely to be under the present system of things. We state this opinion
with regret; for what is the tendency of such education? Can it
inculcate that real humility, not abasement of mind, which should
characterise the true disciples of our blessed Saviour? Nay, must it
not rather, by holding out, as it does, a premium to natural quickness
and a superficial acquaintance with the dogmas of theology, tend to
foster pride and selfishness--those monster evils which it is the
prime object of religion to eradicate--whilst the heart remains
untouched and the moral sense unexercised? and will not the poor
children, who are its victims, learn to prize a few dry leaves from
the Tree of Knowledge, beyond the fair fruit of the Tree of Life?

                        LA CARA VITA.

    "Mais où sont les vertus qui dementent les tiennes?
    Pour éclipser ton jour quel nouveau jour parait?
    Toi qui les remplaças,[F] qui te remplacerait?"

  [F] (Les faux dieux.)

    DE LAMARTINE, _Harmonies, Hymne au Christ_.

The Cara Vita is a small church situated in the Corso, and not
possessing within itself any thing to attract the stranger's
particular attention. It is interesting, however, from the solemn
services which take place there every Friday in Lent. On these
occasions, after an exciting harangue from the officiating priest, the
lights are extinguished, knotted scourges are handed round by the
sacristan, and each individual of the congregation takes one and
begins to flagellate himself. We have been told--for we were never
present at these exhibitions--that the noise and excitement are
terrible--every penitent seeking to ease his inner at the expense of
his outer man, and proportioning the amount of his physical suffering
to that of the moral evil which it is intended to counteract. But all
the ceremonies in the Cara Vita are not of this character; and the
same friend who described the above, informed us that the preaching
there was often eloquent, and the music always fine; so, when we read
in the _Diario di Roma_, that at twelve o'clock on Good Friday there
was to be a solemn _funzione_, or Service in commemoration of our
Saviour's Passion, and that in all probability the church would be
crowded, we repaired thither on that day an hour before the time
mentioned in the paper, in order to secure a place. Doubtful of the
propriety of witnessing, as a pageant, a representation of the most
awful and affecting scene that the mind of man can contemplate, yet
fearing, from some experience in Roman ceremonies, that our visit
might issue merely in _that_, we lingered some time about the porch;
then, pushing aside the heavy curtain, irresolutely entered; and what
a contrast presented itself between the two sides of that matted door!
It seemed the portal between life and death: light, noise, confusion,
reigned without; within, all was dark, solemn, still. The ear that had
been stunned by the babel of the streets, was startled at the unwonted
calm; and the eye, dazzled by the splendour of the meridian sun upon
the pavement, experienced a temporary blindness, and required some
time before it could accommodate its powers to the obscurity of the
interior. By degrees, however, it was, apparent that the church,
notwithstanding the voiceless quiet which prevailed, was full. The
whole assembly sat as if spell-bound; not a whisper was to be heard;
an awful curiosity tied every tongue. The business and pleasures of
life were forgotten; the sexes exchanged no furtive glances; men and
women, alike unobservant of their neighbours, counted their beads and
bent their eyes upon the ground; while each new comer, awed by the
deep silence, entered with cautious tread, and took his seat
noiselessly. When our eyes had become somewhat familiarised with the
artificial light, they were attracted to two elevated extempore
side-boxes, brilliantly illuminated with wax, and filled with
choristers in full costume. Between them was stretched a voluminous
curtain, not so opaque but that a number of tapers might be seen
faintly glimmering through it; and before this curtain a dark
temporary stage was erected. The, religious calm that prevailed around
was at length gently broken by some soft and plaintive notes,
proceeding from the white-robed choir. In a few minutes these died
away again upon the ear, and a figure, suddenly rising from the stage,
exclaimed in a voice of strenuous emotion--"Once again, ye faithful
ones! ye are assembled here to accompany me to Calvary! Yes! another
Good Friday has come round, another anniversary of the day announced
by God himself for man's deliverance from the wages of his sin; this
is the great day when typical sacrifice was done away with, and our
blessed Lord made of 'himself a full and sufficient sacrifice for the
sins of the' _faithful_. But in order to triumph, my brethren, we must
conquer--to conquer we must contend; there is no warfare without
wounds, and our Saviour, while in the flesh, must partake of our
infirmities: he must be 'the man of sorrows and acquainted with
grief,' before he can 'lead captivity captive, and receive gifts' _for
his holy Church_; the ransom of his faithful followers must be at the
expense of his own blood. He bled, as you know, on Good Friday; and
accordingly, we are met here--not to celebrate a triumph, but to learn
humility, patience, and forgiveness of injuries at the foot of the
cross, in order that _we_, like our great Head, may become perfect
_through suffering_. Permit me, then, to ask you, with the Psalmist,
'Are your hearts set upon righteousness, O ye congregation?' and are
your minds prepared to follow the Lord to Calvary? Have you, for
instance, been studying lately his sufferings at _the different
stations of the cross_? have you been thinking at all upon his
passion? thinking what it must have been to be hooted at, spit upon,
reviled, buffeted, and friendless upon earth? If not, ponder well
these things now; _now_, at _this moment_; for are we not arrived at
the most sacred _hour_ of this most sacred but sad and solemn day?
About this hour was the Saviour condemned by his unjust judge,
delivered up to the rabble to be crucified. Go back in your minds to
that moment; see him crowned with thorns, and bearing the cross upon
his shoulder, till, lo! he faints under its weight, and his
persecutors compel a stranger to carry it to the fatal spot. Then see
him toiling onward, surrounded by his deadly enemies; his chosen
friends have forsaken him and fled! a few women follow him afar off,
bewailing his fate; he turns and speaks; listen to his words--'Daughters
of Jerusalem! weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and _for your
children_!' Well might the merciful Saviour speak thus, when he had
just heard the mad shout of the multitude, 'his blood be upon us and
_upon our children_.' The crowd approaches Golgotha! they halt to rear
the fatal tree; methinks I hear the exulting outcries of his
vindictive murderers as they fix it in the ground!" Here the curtain
drawn between the preacher and the back of the stage fell, revealing
three wooden crucifixes lit up by a lurid red light from above. The
effect was startling, and produced a shudder of horror throughout the
whole auditory. After a breathless pause, the preacher, turning
towards the cross, exclaimed, "What! are we too late for the beginning
of this tragedy! Is the Redeemer of mankind already nailed to the
cross? Oh, cruel and fiendlike man, is this your triumph! surely he
who came to save will reject you now! Such might be our feelings, but
they were not Christ's. No, my brethren, far from it. Oh, let us
contemplate, for our own future guidance, the behaviour of Jesus to
his murderers, not _after_ but at the _moment_ of his extreme torture;
and may the Holy Spirit give us grace to profit by the exercise. Look
on your crucified Redeemer writhing and maddened with suffering; and
listen to the first words uttered in the depth of his agony: he
imprecates no curse upon these guilty men, but exclaims, 'Father,
forgive them; they know not what they do!' _Caro Jesu!_" Here there
was much emotion both in the preacher and in the congregation; when it
had subsided, he added persuasively, "You have heard Christ pray that
his _murderers_ may be forgiven, and shall you hesitate to forgive one
another?" Then, taking the words of our Saviour for a text, he
delivered a short animated sermon upon the forgiveness of injuries;
after which came a prayer for grace to perform this duty; the pause
which succeeded being filled with music and chanting. Then again the
dark form of the preacher rose up. "What, my brethren! did not Christ
pass _three hours_ in his agony, and shall we leave him in the midst?
He has still more gracious words in store. My dear brethren and fellow
sinners, now hear his dying address to the penitent thief, 'Verily I
say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise!' _Ladro
felice!_ but was _he_ then _predestinated_ to salvation, and his
companion to be the victim of God's wrath? _Niente, niente_; believe,
not a word of this false and heretical creed." Then followed a second
discourse, with a diatribe against Calvin (who deserved it!) and
_all_ heretics (who might not deserve it), with an anathema against
heresy in general, and a prayer for the pardon and acceptance of the
true Catholic, _id est_ ROMAN, Church. In like manner the preacher
continued to set before his hearers all the circumstances of our
Saviour's passion; pronouncing a short discourse upon every sentence
uttered by him in his agony. Each sermonette was succeeded by prayer;
and that by an interlude of music and chanting, which enabled him to
recover himself, and proceed with undiminished energy during a three
hours' service. We had listened attentively, not always agreeing with
his doctrine, but without any great shock to our Protestant
principles, when, in conclusion, he exclaimed, "Now, brethren, before
we disperse, let us do homage to the blessed Virgin, and sympathise
with the afflicted and inconsolable Mother of our Lord. Think of her
sufferings to-day; think and weep over them; and forget not the
worship due to her holy name; whom Christ honoured, shall not we
honour too? Sons of the blessed Virgin! is not your brother Christ her
son also? make her then your friend; propitiate her, in order to
obtain pardon from him! Let us all, then, fall down upon our knees
before the _Indolorata_." A long prayer to the Madonna followed, then
a hymn in her honour; and after a last glorious outburst of the organ,
accompanying the ardent and sustained Hallelujahs of both choir and
congregation, the curtain falls, the doors are thrown open, daylight
rushes in through the no longer darkened windows; and presently the
thronged and noisy Corso has absorbed the last member of the much
moved, slowly dispersing crowd.

A heartfelt and affecting ceremony was that we had just witnessed;
every body had shed tears, and there had been evidently great
_at_trition, and probably some _con_trition also. The strong appeals
of the priest had _told_, though they were not legitimate; for what
could be less so than, in the end, his misdirecting the thoughts from
the _true_ object of worship, to _her_, who was, after all, but a mere
mortal like ourselves?

Yet devotional feelings had been called forth, and in this it was
unlike, and surely better than, the ordinary cold, formal, glittering,
shifting pantomimic service of Te-Deums, and high masses, which,
instead of "filling the hungry with good things," send all "empty
away;" or worse, _satisfied_ with "that which is not bread." Could
piety really be appealed to through the senses, then might the
ceremonies of the Romish Church hope to reach it, captivating as they
are to most of them. The ear is pleased with exquisite music; the eye
is dazzled with pictures, processions, scenic representations,
glittering colours, gorgeous robes, rich laces, and embroidery; and
even the nostril is propitiated by the grateful odour of frankincense;
but the only address to the heart and intellect is a barbarous Latin
prayer, unintelligible (were it to be heard) to most of the
congregation, and rendered so to all by the mode in which it is gone
through. On returning from such exhibitions as these, we feel more
forcibly than ever, how much reason we have to thank those pious
compilers of our expurgated English prayer-book, who, renouncing an
_unknown tongue_, and rejecting all unscriptural interpolations, drew
from the rich stores of Rome herself, and from the primitive Church,
an almost faultless Liturgy,[G] where every desire of the human heart
is anticipated, and every expression so carefully weighed, that not an
unbecoming phrase can be found in it.

  [G] "We were not" (says Jeremy Taylor) "like women and children when
  they are affrighted with fire in their clothes; we shook off the coal,
  indeed, but not our garments; lest we should expose our Church to that
  nakedness which the excellent men of our sister Churches complained to
  be among themselves."

It is impossible for any one who has been much in Roman Catholic
countries, to avoid drawing comparisons between the two services; and
especially at this time, when many of our countrymen are halting
between two opinions, and almost persuading themselves that there was
no need of a Reformation, it behoves those not under the influence of

    "That dark lanthorn of the Spirit
    Which none see by but those that bear it;"

nor yet led away

    "By crosses, relics, crucifixes,
    Beads, pictures, rosaries, and pyxes;
    Those tools for working out salvation
    By mere _mechanic_ operation,"

to protest against the return of Popery to this land, to the surrender
of our consciences and our Bibles again into the hands of a fellow
sinner.[H] "Quis custodet custodem?"--who shall watch our
watcher?--was a question that men had been asking themselves for many
years in England, but hitherto without result; till our pious
Reformers, addressing themselves to the study of the Scriptures,
received the sword of the Spirit, with which they were enabled to wage
successful war against that wily serpent, coiled now for centuries
round the Church of Christ, and waiting but a little further
_development_ to crush her in his inextricable folds. Alike unallured
by concessions and unterrified by threats, they boldly denounced the
_heretical_ usurpation of Rome; opposing an honest conscience, and
Christ the only mediator, to the caprice of councils, and the false
unity of a pseudo-infallible head;[I] refusing to purchase their lives
by rendering homage to any Phalaris of the Triple Crown.

  [H] Bellarmine asserts (and who but a heretic shall dispute it with
  him?) that men are bound so far to submit their consciences to the
  Pope, as even to believe _virtue_ to be _bad_ and _vice_ to be _good_,
  if it shall please his Holiness to say so. (BELLAR. _de Rom. Pontif_,
  lib. iv. cap. v.) When things came to this pass, were we not justified
  in the insertion of that rough deprecatory clause that stood in our
  Litany--"From the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome, and all his
  detestable enormities, Good Lord deliver us!"

  [I] "We must seek to enter into the real divine unity; if not, the
  _pseudo_ unity to which Mr Newman would bring us back will be
  attempted once more among us; only to be followed, when its
  hollowness, its nothingness, its implicit infidelity, is laid bare, by
  an explicit infidelity, an anarchical unity, without a centre, without
  a God." (MAURICE'S _Lectures on the Epistle to the Hebrews_, p. 111.)

      Their perjured faith, though zealot Popes command,
      Point to _their_ Bull, and raise the threatening hand:
      They deem'd those souls consummate guilt incurr'd,
      At conscience' fearful price, who life preferr'd:
      No length of days for bartered peace can pay,
      And what were life, take life's great end away?[J]

  [J] Imitated from JUVENAL, _Satire_ viii.

                THE BEATIFICATION.

  "_Sanctis_ Roma, suis jam tollere gestit ad astra,
  Et cupit ad _superos_ evehere usque deos."

                                   MILTON'S _Sonnets_.

To receive Beatification, which is the first step towards
Canonisation, and may in time lead to a fellowship with the
saints,--to be pronounced "blessed" by him who arrogates to himself
the title of _Holy_, and must therefore know the full value of the
dignity he confers--_sic laudari a laudato_, and that too in the
finest church in Christendom, before the eyes of a countless assembly
of all the nations of Europe,--is an honour indeed! No wonder, then,
that every promotion should be jealously canvassed, and that sometimes
the rumour of "unfairness," or "favouritism," should be heard among
the people, when each fresh brevet comes out. For example--"Who's this
third St Anthony? Are not two enough in the Calendar? The great St
Antonio, and he of the pig!--(_del porco_,)--another will only create
confusion;" or else, "Surely the _Beata_ _Ernestina_ has not been
long enough dead to have attained to such an 'odour of sanctity;'" or,
"Though the good Pasquale might deserve the title, the pious Teodoro's
miracles are as well attested, and much more numerous, and should
therefore have been first recognised." Of such sort are the comments
of the crowd. All this grumbling, however, is at an end, when once the
_Festa_ comes round; the Church, by the brilliancy of her exhibitions,
wins over her discontented children, and the installation is sure to
be well attended. Sometimes the saint expectant stops short of true
canonisation; and, having gained one step, finds himself like a yellow
admiral, placed on the shelf without chance of further promotion.
(This by the way.) No one can say precisely what entitles the dead to
these honours. Large bequests alone are not always sufficient; witness
the rejection of a certain distinguished Begum, who left much of her
enormous wealth to the Pope, with a well-known view to this
distinction. Some imagine that eminent piety is a necessary condition;
but no! there is very little talk of religion. It seems chiefly to be
the attestation of a sufficient number of miracles at a tomb, which
confers the title of Beatus on its tenant, and converts it into a
shrine, sure ever after to be profusely hung with glass eyes, wax
fœtuses, silver hearts, discarded crutches, votive shipwrecks, &c.,
&c.,[K] in token of cures and deliverances which have emanated from
it. Next to miracles, perhaps, we may reckon _dates_--_seniores
priores_--first buried, first beatified, and no superannuation here:
on the contrary, holiness, like many other good things, requires time
to ripen its virtues and to bring it to perfection; and it is a rule
of the Church that chemistry must disintegrate the mortal before she
can build up the saint. Thus it happens of two candidates of equal
merit; he whose dissolution took place half a century or so before his
rival, obtains the preference. The first steps are taken by the
lawyers; one being retained to advance the merits of the aspirant
saint, another to asperse them if possible. Should the election be
contested, much special pleading is then resorted to. Both sides are
paid by the Church, but he who opposes the nomination is termed the
_devil's_ counsel. This title, however, is a legal or rather a
theological fiction; the miracles alleged to have been performed by
the defunct being only more triumphantly established and set off by
the apparent disposition of the rival pleader to deny their reality;
who, after a proper show of resistance and incredulity, allows himself
to be foiled. This is indeed beating Satan with his own weapons; but
the advocates of saints belong to that party who

    "E'en to the Devil himself will go,
    If they have motive thereunto;
    And think, as there is war between
    The Devil and them, it is no sin
    If they by subtle stratagem
    Make use of him as he does them."

  [K] It is singular to observe how the "_votiva paries_," in the
  churches of Papal Rome, are hung with similar offerings to those which
  formerly ornamented her temples in Pagan times. We possess several of
  these ancient offerings; _inter alia_--a _uterus_ and a _mamma_, in
  _terra cotta_, from the Temple of _Elvina Ceres_ at Aquinum, and an
  _abortion_, in lead, from the same source.

We had never witnessed a Beatification: so, when the Pope, in his
character of umpire, had pronounced his fiat in favour of "good sister
Frances," and all that remained to be done was the church ceremonial
necessary to admit her to piety's peerage, we procured one of the many
thousand tickets printed for the occasion, and followed the crowd to
St Peter's. Here all was prepared to give due effect to the scene: the
interior was studiously darkened, that the rich upholstery might be
set off by a grove of countless wax lights, thick and tall as young
pine trees. The workmen, after a whole fortnight of bustle and
activity, had done their part well. Curtains had been hung and carpets
spread; organs wheeled up towards the throne of St Peter; and a whole
gallery of villanously painted historical pictures, blasphemous and
absurd, were suspended round, representing the miracles for which the
new "beatified" was to receive her first degree towards sainthood;
and showing amongst other wonders, how in one case her blood, in
another her image, restored a blind man to sight, and so completely
cured the palsy of one Salvator di Sales, that he is dancing a
hornpipe on his recovery, while a priest is looking on approvingly. We
were too early for the ceremony; and after curiously scanning these
preparations, our attention was attracted to a group near, eagerly
listening to the recital of a bare-footed Capuchin. On approaching, we
found that he was discoursing on the virtues of a picture of the
Virgin, known by the name of _Sta Maria del Pianto_, a fresco daub,
painted in a very dirty back street. He was affirming that it had
lately taken to _winking_, and had also been seen to shed tears over
the body of a man recently found murdered under the lamp. "Who saw her
weep?" inquired one of his hearers. "Do you doubt the miracle, my
son?" said the friar. "No indeed, father," returned he; "but why did
she not call out to the assassin; and what is the use of weeping over
a dead man?" "It was owing to the gentleness of her sex," said
another, who appeared interested in proclaiming the notoriety of the
shrine: he proceeded, therefore, to inform the attentive listeners,
that he had the face newly painted some months back, since which
operation there was no end to the miracles performed by it. Several
persons round hereon testified to having heard repeatedly of these
wonders. "Ah!" said a sceptical craftsman, "I dare say you live in
another quarter of the city, for it is well known that those at a
distance see these things more clearly than the neighbours, unless,
like our friend here," nodding to the restorer of the shrine, "they
hope to attract customers to the shop by drawing votaries to the
shrine." "I don't believe a word of it," said we, taking part in the
colloquy. "_Caro lei_--who can help that? we can only pity your
unbelief," said the good-humoured Capuchin, offering us, however, a
pinch out of his snuff-box. "_You_," continued he, "should call to
mind '_in dubiis fides_;' and _we_, in compassion to your being a
heretic, will remember '_in omnibus caritas_.'" We accepted the good
man's courtesy, albeit no snuff-taker; and he was resuming the
interrupted narrative, when a stir among the crowd outside announced
the near approach of the procession, and every one hastened to secure
a good seat. Presently the Swiss guards enter, the choristers take
their places, in come priests, bishops, cardinals, all sumptuously
arrayed; at length the Pope himself arrives and assumes his throne.
Mass commences.

And here the reader doubtless expects, if not a full description of
the ceremony of canonisation, at least an accurate detail of the
various steps of the process by which it was effected; but, as we have
stated above, the incubation had been completed six weeks before in a
private Eccaleiobion, and the pageant to-day was merely to give
publicity to the metamorphosis--to read in, and to enrol among the
saints the Beata Francesca. As we cannot give a particular account of
the _funzione_, we give a general one of all masses:--

    High mass! The stall'd and banner'd quire--
    White canons--priests in quaint attire--
        The unfamiliar prayer:
    The fumes that practised hands dispense,
    The tinkling bells, the jingling pence,
        The tax'd but welcome chair:
    The beams from ruby panes that glow,
    Of rhythmal chant the ebb and flow:
    The organ, that from boundless stores
    Its trembling inspiration pours
        O'er all the sons of care;
    Now joyous as the festal lyre,
    When torch and song and wine inspire;
    Now tender as Cremona's shell,
    When hush'd orchestras own the spell
        And watch the ductile bow--
    Now rolling from its thunder-cloud,
    Dark peals o'er that retiring crowd,
        And now has ceased to blow.



The sunshine and the green leaves embrace not all that we should know
of physical nature. Storm and darkness have their signs, which we do
well to study; and in the tempests of the tropics, or the long winter
darkness of the poles, we have types of the character of different
sections of the globe, more marked than the varying warmth of the sun,
or the character of the vegetation--but not perhaps so pleasing. Even
so, the storm and darkness of the human soul--the criminal nature of
man, provide their peculiar food for the thinker and inquirer. The
annals of virtue have their own elevations and delights; but those of
vice are no more to be passed over than the dark and stormy hours in
the history of each revolution round the sun. "While some affect the
sun, and some the shade," there may even be those whose most deeply
cherished associations are with these unlit hours--who prefer the
night thoughts to the day dreams. But to all, the crimes peculiar to
different nations are a large part of the knowledge which man may
profitably have of his race. In the history of its great criminals, a
nation's character is drawn, as it were, colossally, with the broadest
brush, and in the deepest shadows. National virtues have delicate and
subtle tints, and exquisitely minute shadings, inviting to a nearer
view--like Carlo Dolci's Madonnas, or Constable's forest landscapes:
the crimes of a nation present the character of its people, as they
rise from the dead in Michael Angelo's Last Judgment. The _ordinary_
vices of men have a certain vulgar air of uniformity; but each great
crime is a broad dash of the national character of the people among
whom it was committed. The Cenci, and Joanna of Naples were of Italy.
It was in Holland that two great and virtuous statesmen were torn to
pieces by the mob. The dirk, long buried beyond the Grampians, has
re-appeared across the Atlantic in the shape of the bowie-knife. The
country of Woldemar and the sorrows of Werther produced that most
amiable and sentimental of murderesses, Madame Zwanziger, who loved
and was beloved wherever she went; so sensitive, so sympathising, so
sedulous, so studious of the wants of those by whom she was
surrounded, so disinterestedly patient; she had but one peculiarity to
distinguish her from an angel of light--it was an unfortunate
propensity to poison people! We read in the _Causes Célèbres_, of a
Bluebeard who slew a succession of wives by tickling them till they
died in convulsions; and at once we are reminded of that populace who
are said to partake of the natures of the ape and the tiger. The
people who, for more centuries than are included in the events of
European history, have been resolved into the mysterious
classification of castes, produced those equally mysterious criminals
the Thugs, for whose deeds our so utterly different habits and ideas
are quite incapable of finding or conceiving a motive. Our own country
produced the assassinations of Rizzio, Regent Murray, and Archbishop
Sharpe--all pregnant with marked national characteristics;
aristocratic pride, revenge of wrong, and fanatical fury. We propose
to offer for the amusement or instruction--which he pleases--of our
reader, a few more records of Scottish crimes, not probably all so
conspicuously known to the general reader as the three we have just
alluded to, yet not, we trust, without something to commend them to
notice, as characteristic of the country and the age in which they
were respectively enacted.

The raw materials from which we propose to work out our little groups,
are the records of our criminal trials; and yet we feel an insuperable
inclination to begin with a name not certainly unknown, yet not to be
found in the proceedings of the Court of Justiciary--Macbeth, King of
Scotland. Perhaps we might consider it a sufficient reason for holding
his case equivalent to a trial, that before a tribunal called the
Public Opinion, he has been tried, and that at the instance of such a
public prosecutor as never opened his lips in any court of law--one
whose accusation has carried a conviction deep into the very heart of
literature, whence no archæological evidence, and no critical pleading
will ever eradicate it. Nor would we desire to touch it: let Macbeth
the murderer remain to all time the most powerful picture of
temptation, leading its victim through crime into the hideous shadows
of remorse, that human pen has ever drawn. But there was an actual
prose Macbeth, as different from the ideal as the canvass bought by
Raphael of some respectable dealer in the soft line, was from the
Transfiguration which he afterwards painted on it. With _him_, being
but a simple historical king, we may take liberties; and the liberty
we propose to take on the present occasion is that of vindicating his
character. Vindications are fashionable; and since Catiline and
Machiavelli, Richard III., and Philip II. have been vindicated, why
not Macbeth? We shall say 'tis our humour to whiten him, and no man
can say it is a criminal or mischievous one.

The main question is, did Macbeth murder Duncan? It was an older story
in Shakspeare's time than the murder of Darnley is now, and he may
have taken a false view of it. We shall approach the question by an
inquiry who Duncan and Macbeth were, and in what relation they stood
to each other. About the end of the eleventh century, there reigned in
Scotland a king called Kenneth III. Like all the other Scottish
monarchs of the period, the chroniclers have given him his own
peculiar tragic history, in this wise: he was induced to poison the
young prince Malcolm Duff, who might possibly show a title to the
throne enabling him to compete with Kenneth's own offspring. This
troubled his conscience. He "ever dreaded in his mind," in the
expressive words of old Bellenden, that it "should come some time to
light: and was so full of suspicion, that he believed when any man
rounded to his fellow, that they spake evil of him; for it is given by
nature to ilk creature, when he is guilty of any horrible crime, by
impulsion of his conscience, to interpret every thing that he sees to
some terror of himself." He was one night appalled by a terrific
vision, and next morning making his confession, he was sentenced to a
pilgrimage to the tomb of St Palladius at Fordun. When the pilgrimage
was over, he was invited to partake of the hospitalities of a lady
named Fenella--a very neat name for a romance--at her fortalice of
Fettercairn. In the civil conflicts or the administration of justice
during his reign, some of the relations of this lady had been slain;
among the rest her son. Having got the king into her toils, she
resolved to put him to death; and the method which the chroniclers
make her adopt, shows a superfluous ingenuity ridiculous enough to
strip a murder of all its horrors. Kenneth was taken to see a tower of
the castle "quhilk was theeket with copper, and hewn with maist subtle
mouldry of sundry flowers and imageries, the werk so curious, that it
exceeded all the stuff thereof." In the middle of this tower stood an
image of Kenneth himself, in brass, holding in his hand a golden apple
studded with costly gems. "That image," said the lady, "is set up in
honour of thee, to show the world how much I honour my king; the
precious apple is intended for a gift for the king, who will honour
his poor subject by taking it from the hand of the image." Now matters
were so arranged, that the removal of the apple caused certain springs
to touch the triggers of a series of bent cross-bows pointed to the
spot, and so, when the unsuspecting monarch went to take the gift, a
whole sheaf of arrows penetrated to his heart. On the death of this
king, though he left a son called Malcolm, the succession went to a
rival line. His immediate successor was Constantine, who was killed by
another Kenneth, called IV., who in his turn was killed by Malcolm,
who thus regained the throne his father had filled. "The gracious
Duncan" was the son of a daughter of this Malcolm. His father,
strangely enough, appears to have been a priest; he is called in the
old dry chronicles, which are the only ones to be depended on, Duncan
the son of Trini, or Trivi, abbot of Dunkeld. Now the Kenneth IV. of
the rival line, who had been slain by Duncan's grandfather, left
behind him a son, and that son left a daughter, whose name was Gruach,
and in whom the reader, though certainly in an unusual shape, must
welcome Lady Macbeth herself. There being thus two rival races,
alternately seizing the throne: while Duncan was the son of a daughter
of one king, _she_ was the daughter of the son of another. This gave
her no contemptible title to the throne, and when she married Macbeth,
or Machaboedth, as he is called by the chroniclers, she had a husband
who, possessing the almost independent principality of Ross, might be
able to fight her battles. It is somewhat remarkable that, in an
ecclesiastical record still preserved, in which a royal grant is made
to a religious house, dedicated to St Servanus, Macbeth's wife appears
along with himself, as granter of the deed; and they are called,
"Machabet filius Finlach, et Gruach filia Bodhae--Rex et Regina
Scotorum;"[L] an equal juxtaposition, only to be accounted for by the
supposition that Macbeth was king in right of his wife. As to Macbeth
himself, his origin, save in the supernatural legend we shall
hereafter notice, appears not to have been known; but Fordun seems to
intimate, that he was a descendant of that same Fenella who had so
curiously murdered Duncan's great-grandfather. If we were disposed,
indeed, to take a proper antiquarian partisanship of the one dynasty
against the other, we might speak of Duncan as a treacherous usurper,
and Lady Macbeth as an injured and insulted queen, whose cause is
heroically adopted and vindicated by a true knight, who, while
redressing her wrongs, wins her heart and hand.

  [L] _Registrum Prioratus Sancti Andreæ_, 114.

Let us now look to the manner in which the death of Duncan is spoken
of by the most ancient authorities. Old Andrew Wyntoun, Prior of St
Serfs on Lochleven, who has never yet, to our great wonder, been
upheld as one of the greatest poets of his own or any other
age,--perhaps we may undertake the task some day, let our readers
judge by the extracts on the present occasion with what prospect of
success:--Wyntoun narrates the event with the true simplicity of
genius, in these two lines:--

    "He murthrified him in Elgyne,
    His Kynrik he usurped syne."

This is distinct enough, in all truth: there is no ambiguity, or room
for critical doubt; nor is his fellow annalist, Fordun, less distinct,
for he speaks of the slain monarch as _occisus scelere_. But these
chroniclers wrote between three and four centuries after the event
they commemorate, standing chronologically almost as near our own day
as Macbeth's; and when we look into those far older, if not
contemporary, annals, which narrate successive events in the briefest
possible shape, we find that they contain nothing to indicate that
Duncan's death took place in any more atrocious manner than the
multitudinous slaughters of kings, with which their narratives are
often as crowded as a Peninsular campaign gazette with killed
officers. Thus, the register of the Priory of St Andrews simply
states, that Duncan _interfectus est_. It is true that the Latin
language is deficient in any word to express murder as distinguished
from other kinds of slaughter. _Trucido_ is the verb we have been
accustomed to associate most nearly with the idea of assassination;
but in one of the most circumspect and prosaic of the old annals, that
of Tighernac, this very word is applied to the death of Macbeth
himself. Blackstone notices the circumstance that the English lawyers
had to coin, for their own special use, the substantive _murdrum_ and
the verb _murdrare_; equally creditable to their good taste in
Latinity and to the social condition of their country. In fact, the
Romans looked upon death, in any form, as so bad a business, that they
cared little for making nice distinctions about the motive that had
occasioned it, or the manner in which it was effected; and it was a
condition so generally disliked, that, if any man was absurd enough
voluntarily to place himself in it, neither the law nor public opinion
troubled itself to express disapproval, either by driving a stake
through the body or in any other way. Undoubtedly there were
justifiable slaughters and unjustifiable; but the practice of single
combat had not arisen to draw a strong and distinct line between death
in a fair tournament or duel, and secret assassination. A recollection
that this was also the social state of Scotland in the days of
Macbeth, will help us far better towards the truth than a criticism on
the ambiguous Latin words. It was between that age and the period of
Wyntoun and Fordun that single-combat chivalry and the laws of honour
had grown up; so, while the older chroniclers had simply to say that
the man was killed, without troubling themselves about the manner,
those of later date were moved to divide the deaths into two
departments--the killed in combat and the murdered. More, probably, by
chance than design, the fate of Duncan was put into the latter
category; and then a super-structure of particulars was raised upon
it--for it must be observed, that the romantic incidents of the
slaughter were added at a still later period than that of Fordun or
Wyntoun--by Boece and Hollinshed. Here, then, is our case, as lawyers
say: Macbeth, in right of his wife, was a claimant of the crown. He
kills the existing holder; but there is nothing in the older accounts
of the affair to show that he did so otherwise than in the fair course
of war. It was what the old civilians would have called a _casus
belli_,--an expression which, by the way, we find some accomplished
editors using as the Latin for a justification of war. The murder is
found only in the later chronicles, which, in all parts of their
narrative, have covered their more sober predecessors with a coating
of fabulous details like the stalactites of a dripping cave. However
the real fact may have stood, we have no _statement_ of Macbeth having
murdered Duncan until between three and four centuries after the
event. Why,--the case looks vastly better than we thought it did when
we began with it; we have some thoughts of believing our own theory,
which is more than ever we knew a historical critic do, within the
range of our personal observation.

Having so disposed of this question, we are inclined to amuse our
readers with some further notices--real and unreal--about Macbeth.
Wyntoun gives us a strange wild legend of his supernatural parentage,

    "Bot, as we fynd be some stories,
    Gotten he was in fairly wys;
    His modyr to woods made oft repaire,
    For the delyte of halesome air;
    Swa sho passed upon a day
    'Til a wood her for to play,
    Scho met of cas with a fair man
    (Never nane so fair as sho thought than
    Before than had sho seen with sight)
    Of beauty pleasand, and of hycht
    Proportioned wele in all measure,
    Of limb and lyth a fair figure."

Such is the description of the putative father of Macbeth. In the
sententious explanation of Wyntoun, who scorned expletives, "he the
devil was;" and so he told the wandering damsel--

    "And bade her nought fleyed to be of that,
    But said that her son should be
    A man of great state and bounty;
    And na man sould be born of wife
    Of power to reve him of his life.
    And of that deed in taknyng,
    He gave his leman then a ring,
    And bade her that sho sould keep that wele,
    And hald for his love that jewel."

Wyntoun's melodious verses were lying in a dusty parchment manuscript
when Shakspeare wrote; we know not if he had access to the volume, nor
have we any strong reason for presuming that he would have perused it
if he had. It would be too adventurous to predict whether, knowing the
legend, he would have considered any reference to it as consistent
with the character of his drama; but it is curious to observe, that
the tale appears to have been in the eye of Sir Walter Scott, when he
wrote the history of Brian the Hermit, in the _Lady of the Lake_,

    "Of Brian's birth strange tales were told:
    His mother watch'd a midnight fold."

We shall now indulge our readers with a glance at a totally different
feature in the career of Macbeth. It appears that he was a very able
financier. We presume that he was his own First Lord of the Treasury
and Chancellor of the Exchequer: yet in his days there was no pressure
on the money-market; there was no drain of gold; there was no
restriction of issue; no great houses suspended payment; there were
no rumours of turns-out and distress in the manufacturing districts;
there was no Highland destitution. Our proof of this position lies in
two lines of our illustrious poet Wyntoun, which contain as much as a
smaller genius could have crowded into a volume on "The state and
progress of Scotland during the reign of Macbeth; with an account of
the arts, industry, and manufactures of the country; returns of the
exports and imports, and of the goods entered for home consumption,
with the annual gross and net revenue from customs and excise,
post-office, assessed taxes, hereditary revenue, and other
miscellaneous sources, during that reign: dedicated, by permission, to
the Statistical Society." Wyntoun's simple statement is--

    "All his time was great plenté,
    Abundant both by land and sea."

What more is necessary? It is true, that on another occasion we have
repudiated Wyntoun as an authority; but it is the privilege of the
antiquarian speculator to found on an author when he is right, and
repudiate him when he is wrong.

We now come to a subject on which really, jocularity apart, we stand
upon firm and secure ground--the spot where Macbeth fell. All the
chroniclers with one voice state that it was at a place called
Lunfanan. Even Raphael Hollinshed, whose version, it is universally
admitted, was the one perused by Shakspeare,--after he tells how the
beleaguered fugitive beheld the miraculous forest with which his doom
was involved approaching him, continues to say--"Nevertheless, he
brought his men in order of battle, and exhorted them to do valiantly:
howbeit, his enemies had scarcely cast from them their boughs, when
Macbeth, perceiving their numbers, betook him straight to flight, whom
Macduff pursued with great hatred, even till he came to Lunfannane."
Perhaps Shakspeare, not knowing precisely where Lunfanan lay, supposed
that it was some spot close to Dunsinane, and did not wish to burden
his action with the particularity of an unimportant movement. Lunfanan
is, however, north of the Dee, and distant full fifty miles in a
straight line from Dunsinane, the rough mountains of the Braes of
Angus lying between the two places; so that the two parties must have
had a pretty long running fight, and Macbeth stood out even harder
game than he has generally credit for. Our favourite poet describes
the chase across the broad valley of Strathmore, through the rocky
glens of Clova, over the Isla and the Esk, down through the hoary
forest of Glentanner, across the raging Dee, and up again through
mountain and forest, in this sententious and emphatic couplet,

    "And our the Month they chaised him than
    'Till the wood of Lunfanan."

When the victory was completed, we are told that they cut off his
head, and bore it to King Malcolm at Kincardine--a pleasant village on
the banks of the Dee, about ten miles from Lunfanan.

This same Lunfanan is a spot which it requires particular taste to
love, and yet we have perambulated it not without interest. The
Chroniclers speak of it as a forest, but the highest elevations are
now generally bare of trees, save where in a few sheltered hollows the
birches cling to the rocks. The hills are of considerable height, but
round and bare, with few precipices, and little character of outline;
but the glens between the hills are sheltered and well cultivated,
each is enlivened by a small stream, and still more enlivened by the
scanty population seeking the shelter of the recesses of the glen, and
making it populous amid the waste. But we shall afford a better
description than our own, in a few lines from "The Fortunate
Shepherdess," by a poet who lived in a glen not far distant--Alexander
Ross. It will be admitted, by the way, that our poetical quotations
to-day are not of a hackneyed kind, whatever other censure they may

    "The water keely on a level sleed,
    Wi' little din, but couthy what it made:
    On ilka side the trees grew thick and strang,
    And wi' the birds they a' were in a sang;
    On ev'ry side, a full bow-shot and mair,
    The green was even, gowany, and fair;
    With easy sklent, on ev'ry hand, the braes,
    To right well up, wi' scattered busses raise,
    Wi' goats and sheep aboon, and ky below,
    The bonny braes a' in a swarm did go."

Occasionally, when the new earth is turned up, strange uncouth warlike
instruments are found in this district--remnants of ancient strife, so
unlike any weapons recorded in the genuine history of the military
art, that it were hard to say whether they belong to the age of
Macbeth, or to unknown anterior centuries. Flint arrow-heads, stone
hammers and axes,--such is their general character, though we have
also seen among these mysterious discoveries, such a thing as a long
flat mass of decomposed iron, which may have once been the blade of a
dagger, or short sword. Here the knowing reader, who has been induced,
on the field of Waterloo, to purchase a ball-perforated cuirass and
helmet, which he afterwards discovers to have been made at a
manufactory of Waterloo relics, will curl his lip in scorn; but he is
wrong. Lunfanan is no relic-collecting district. We question if the
inhabitants ever made a shilling of any one, the present company
excepted, by the military stores discovered by them when ploughing
their tough peat soil. We did not require there to practise the method
of self-defence which we adopted on a visit to the field of Waterloo;
and by the way--as we are inclined to recommend it strongly to our
friends, as an effectual preservative from the main annoyance to which
the hero-worshipper is subjected--we may here describe our method. On
hiring our guide, we desired him to procure for us a fragment of an
old kettle. Carrying this conspicuously in our hard, to each band of
relic-sellers who came up, we stated that we were in the trade
ourselves, that we had just acquired a very valuable article, and were
willing to part with it at a moderate price. The cuirassiers did not
look more ridiculous, when they attempted to storm the squares, than
our assailants, when we fortified ourselves behind this piece of
defensive armour. But to return to Lunfanan.

In one of the narrow glens, near the old parish-church, there is an
oblong solid turf bank, or mound, of considerable height, and regular
construction, as clean and sharp in its outline as the glacis of a
modern fortification. A neighbouring stream has been diverted round
it, or rather the waters have been divided and distributed on either
side, so as to surround it with a fosse. This curious antiquity is
called "the Peel Bog," or Castle Bog. "The course," says the author of
the statistical account of the parish, "by which the water was
conveyed from the burn of Lunphanan may still be traced; the measure
of the circumvallation by which the water was confined may still be
made; the situation of the drawbridge is still discernible; the path
leading from the fosse to the top of the mound may still be trodden;
and the sluice by which the water issued from the moat, was laid bare
by the flood of 1829."[M] Even the sceptical Lord Hailes ventured to
associate Macbeth's name with the spot; "as no remains of buildings,"
he says, "are to be seen, it is probable that the fortress was
composed of timber and sod. In this solitary place, we may conjecture
that Macbeth sought an asylum." At some distance from the Peel Bog, a
low thin rampart of earth and stone encircles the summit of a conical
hill; it is an inferior specimen of the old British hill-fort, well
known both in Scotland and the north of England. But on the brow of
one of the hills, there is a still more emphatic memorial of the
monarch's fate. There a heap of gray stones, considerably larger than
many others surrounding it, is still called, and is represented in the
county maps as _Cairn Beth_. We must admit that, were it in a
tourist's district, or were it the spot which popular literature, of
any kind had marked as the grave of Macbeth, this would be suspicious.
But no tourist's footstep seeks the quiet uninviting wilds of
Lunfanan. There is no railway line, not even a stage-coach
communication, between it and the world. You have but to see the
rough, primitive, granitic air of the Lunfananers assembled at the
parish church, to know that they are incapable of any imposition.
Legends we always distrust, especially when they are connected with
any spot sanctified by poetry. At Dunsinane, we believe, some
vestiges are shown as marking the spot of the usurper's death, the
"genuine" spot, "all others being spurious imitations;" but we suspect
this legend is not even so old as Shakspeare's day, that it is no
older than the revival of Shakspearean literature, and the rise of a
general public interest in the spots illuminated by his genius.[N] For
more than one castle, Cawdor included, has the merit been claimed of
being the identical edifice in which Duncan was slain, and undoubted
four-posted bedsteads have been shown in actual existence to put
scepticism to scorn. But any popular association of the actual events
of Macbeth's career with quiet remote Lunfanan has been barred by the
silence of Shakspeare, and the unwillingness of topographical critics
to break the spell of the accepted localities. Though legends spring
up like rumours, with a breath, the _names_ of places which they have
received from historical incidents are generally of long standing,
and, indeed, a large proportion of the lowlands of Scotland is full of
places which to this day bear Celtic names, given them by tribes who
cannot have inhabited the districts for a thousand years at least. The
old chroniclers, without exception, lay Macbeth's death in Lunfanan;
the people of the spot, who never read these chronicles, and never,
perhaps, heard of Macbeth, or if they did, heard the popular account
of his death in Dunsinane, call a certain monumental tumulus Cairn
Beth--this, we think, is very nearly conclusive.[O] And yet, sitting
on that Cairn, with the fresh breeze blowing round one, and the blue
heavens above, and the blooming heather-bells around, or reclining on
the smooth green turf of the Peel Bog, on a summer day, with the sun
shining hot upon the hills, and the babbling brook singing its "quiet
tune," it is not easy to associate the spot with that history of blood
and horror, or to feel that its features are ancient, or that they
ever were connected with warfare. In the gloomy, galleries of Glammis
or Cawdor, with their grim old portraits, their armour, their secret
staircases, their mysterious hidden chambers, and iron hooks in the
wall--the idea of the haggard murderer, and all the associations of
his deeds and his remorse creep more vividly on that imaginative
conscience, which more or less makes cowards of us all in such places.
Yet the history of the arts tells us that not one stone of these
edifices, ancient though they be, can have stood upon another till the
history of Macbeth was as old as that of Queen Mary is now. Why, then,
should they retain their hold on us? They are contemporary with
Shakspeare's Macbeth, though not with the historians', and are the
style of edifice in which he cast his tragedy. It must be a feudal
stronghold, heavily arched, buttressed, fortified, and gloomy,--where
the lady in a vaulted half-lighted chamber may say:

              "The raven himself is hoarse
    That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
    Under my battlements."

  [M] New Statistical Account, Aberdeenshire, 1089.

  [N] Of the many spots traditionally connected with Ossian, we have no
  doubt that the association is no older than the days of James
  Macpherson. Yet, to show how fearlessly we adopt our theory, we shall
  here state a circumstance appearing to establish a genuine Ossianic
  tradition of no common interest, which we wonder never to have seen
  introduced in the controversy. The wild glen running from the
  neighbourhood of Crieff towards Loch Tay, called Glen Almond or Glen
  Almain, is the traditional resting-place of the bones of Ossian. The
  reader will remember it from Wordsworth's lines:--

      "In this still place remote from men
      Sleeps Ossian in the narrow glen,
      In this still place where wanders on
      But one lone streamlet, only one," &c.

  Early in last century, a military road was carried through this glen,
  by a set of men brought up in the stiff formal engineering of the
  period, who went straight to their end, caring neither for scenery,
  nor for legends, for the graves of bards, nor for big stones, as one
  of their number--Captain Burt, a very matter-of-fact but clear
  narrator, who was present--shows.

  "A small part of the way through the glen had been marked out by two
  rows of camp colours, placed at a good distance one from another,
  whereby to describe the line of the intended breadth and regularity of
  the road by the eye. There happened to lie directly in the way, an
  exceedingly large stone, and, as it had been made a rule from the
  beginning, to carry on the roads in straight lines, as far as the way
  would permit, not only to give them a better air, but to shorten the
  passengers' journey, it was resolved the stone should be removed, if
  possible, though, otherwise, the work might have been carried along on
  either side of it.

  "The soldiers by vast labour, with their levers and picks, or
  hand-screws, tumbled it over and over till they got it quite out of
  the way, although it was of such enormous size, that it might be
  matter of great wonder how it could ever be removed by human strength
  and art, especially to such who had never seen an operation of that
  kind; and upon their digging a little way into that part of the
  ground, where the centre of the base had stood, there was found a
  small cavity about two feet square, which was guarded from the outward
  earth, at the bottom, tops, and sides, by square flat stones. This
  hollow contained some ashes, scraps of bones, and half burned ends of
  stalks of heath; which last we concluded to be a small remnant of a
  funeral pile."

  Burt, returning to the spot after a short absence, asked the officer
  in charge "what had become of the sarcophagus." "He answered that he
  had intended to preserve it in the condition I left it, till the
  commander-in-chief had seen it, as a curiosity, but that it was not in
  his power so to do; for soon after the discovery was known to the
  Highlanders, they assembled from distant parts, and, having formed
  themselves into a body, they carefully gathered up the relics, and
  marched with them in solemn procession to a new place of burial, and
  there discharged their fire-arms over the grave, as supposing the
  deceased had been a military officer."--BURT'S _Letters_, ii. 188. The
  engineer officer, desirous to account for so unaccountable a
  proceeding naturally drew on the etiquette of his own profession. We
  make the supporters of Ossian a free gift of this anecdote, not
  doubting that they will appreciate our liberality.

  [O] Alas! it is a world of change. While correcting the press, we have
  just heard that some learned antiquary has enlightened the
  Lunfananers, and that they have set up a tavern called "The Macbeth

The timber edifice on such an eminence as the Peel Bog--probably, as
the sagacious Lord Hailes imagines, the true character of the edifices
possessed by Macbeth--would no more fill up the true architectural
wants of the drama, than a marble Grecian temple, or a Canadian
settler's log-house.

Crimes briefly told without details have no interest, unless they can
be put in the shape of statistics--some people will be inclined to
deny that the exception is the reverse of the rule. We are not writing
history, and if we were, the historical details which go no further
than that A stabbed B, and C poisoned D, and E mutilated F, are not
such as we are inclined to believe our readers would thank us for. It
is very clear that the death of Duncan, if we had no more than
authentic annals to deal with--if it had been a question merely of
history, and not in some measure incidentally connected with the
highest rank of human intellectual effort--would have formed a very
meagre object of comment. The society of antiquaries might have
endured a paper on it--for such endurance is the martyrdom they have
chosen--but no other person would. In looking, then, down through
Scottish history from the accession of Macbeth's successor, we find
little that can be noticed with any applicability to our particular
purpose, until we reach the time when the records provide us with some
of the details.

Yet there is one very early tragic incident, which appears to us to
have considerable interest, as one of the first striking instances
where the fierce spirit of clan animosity--the burning desire to
avenge the wrongs of the chief--was exhibited by the Highlanders. It
occurred about the year 1242. A tournament was held on the English
Border, at which two young knights, Patrick Earl of Athole, and Walter
de Bysset, a cadet of the family who were lords of the great northern
districts, subsequently the patrimony of Lord Lovat, encountered each
other. Bysset was unhorsed. Not long afterwards, the building in which
the Earl of Athole lived, in Haddington, was burned to the ground, and
he, with several of his followers, died in the flames. By some
accounts the Earl was previously murdered, and the house was burned to
conceal the deed. Let us here have recourse to the distinct and
considerate account of the incident in our favourite poet:--

    "Whether it was of recklessness,
    Or it of forethought felony was,
    Into the Inns, lang ere day,
    Quhare that the Earl of Athole lay
    A fell fire him to coals brynt,
    Thus suddenly was that Earl tynt.
    And with him mony ma
    There houses and men were brunt alswa."

Some Highland gillies from Bysset's country had been seen in the
neighbourhood, and suspicion immediately fell upon the head of that
house. He tried to prove an alibi--that he was, at the time of the
tragedy, in Forfar, some eighty miles distant from Haddington, doing
the honours of hospitality to the Queen. As our historical poet says:

    "But this Sir William at Forfar
    That night was late at the supper
    With the Queen, and her to chamber led,
    And in his own chamber yhed till his bed,"

like a good old country gentleman. But an alibi went for little in a
Highland feud.

    "To purge him for this the Queen
    Profered her to swear bodily,
    But that assythed not the party,
    That was stout and of great might,
    They said--Wherever he was that night
    Bathe his armouries and his men
    Intil Haddington were seen then,
    When this earl was brynt with fire:
    They said the Byssets in their ire
    Of auld feud and great discord
    That was between them and that lord,
    Did that in forethought felony."

It was still the age of ordeals. The hot ploughshares were, perhaps,
obsolete, but single combat was in full practice; and even jury trial
was considered a species of ordeal rather than a deliberate judgment
upon evidence. The accused party in the one case appealed to the
chances of war--or, taking the reference in its more solemn aspect, he
left his cause to be vindicated by the God of battles: in the other,
he threw himself upon the suffrages of his peers. Both ordeals were
considered about equally reasonable and fair; and if the man who
preferred the ordeal of battle were a gigantic warrior, unconquered,
and terrible in the lists, he was, to the true believer in ordeals,
not more formidable than the feeblest of his contemporaries, for a
just Deity might wither his uplifted arm; and if he retained the
physical superiority he had previously indicated, it was because the
All-seeing Eye knew of the justice of his cause. Now Bysset, who seems
to have been somewhat of a sceptic in ordeals, had no objection to
trust the issue to single combat, and challenged whomsoever would dare
to stand forth against him. But he would not submit to an assize or
jury, for he said the whole country had prejudged him. His opponents
had, somehow or other, greater faith in the ordeal of an assize than
that of battle, and would not accept his challenge. In the meantime,
to show his sincerity, he requested the northern clergy to curse and
excommunicate the perpetrators of the deed.

    "Sir William Bysset gert for thi,
    His chaplain in his chapel,
    Denounce cursed with book and bell,
    All they that had part
    Of that brynnin, or any art.
    The Bishop of Aberdeen alswa,
    He gart cursed denounce all tha
    That either by art or part, or swike,
    Gart burn this time that Earl Patricke,
    In all the kirks halely
    Of Aberdeen's diocesy.
    Sir William Bysset this process
    Gart be done."

Wild justice began to be enforced in the country of the Byssets, which
was overrun by their enemies: in the pathetic language of our poet--

            "His landis quite,
    Was for that burning all herryet,
    Bathe of nowt, and sheap, and kye,
    And all other goods halely."

At length, the Byssets agreed "to come into the king's will," or abide
by his arbitration. They came under an obligation to depart to the
Holy Land, and there for the remainder of their days pray for the soul
of the murdered man. Their broad estates were forfeited, and a portion
of them coming into the hands of a family named Frezelier or Frazer,
they planted the roof-tree of the great chiefship of that name in the
northern Highlands.

There is little doubt that the murder of Athole was a piece of
clannish vengeance over which the chief had no control. His wild
Highland followers saw him unhorsed: it was enough. Into such puerile
refinements as the law of chivalry, which bound him to take the
unhorsing with the meekness of those who turn the left cheek when the
right is smitten, they could not enter. The more they believed in the
high spirit of their chief, the more they would be confident, that he
would exult in a signal vengeance for the insult. Of course, when the
vengeance was accomplished, it would rouse an unquenchable desire of
retaliation in the men of Athole; and indeed it may be conjectured
from the circumstances of the whole proceeding, that the king believed
the Byssets personally innocent, but dared not, for the peace of the
country, allow them to remain in Scotland. And yet, what is on the
whole the most remarkable feature of the Highland feuds of the
day,--neither the Athole nor the Bysset family were old hereditary
patriarchs of the people. They were foreign adventurers, but recently
rooted in the country. The Celtic races seem to have at once rallied
round such intruders, in the strongest and fiercest spirit of
devotion. When a chief had descendants, his race held, of course,
generally a position which a stranger could not shake. But if the
people had quarrelled with their chief, or if from other circumstances
the headship were vacant, they clung with instantaneous tenacity to
the first Norman adventurer to whom the monarch assigned their
territory; and the descendants of these refined sons of chivalry by
degrees assimilated themselves to the people among whom they were
cast; becoming ostensibly of the same race as that over which they
held rule.

The banishment of Bysset was connected with important historical
results. Instead of going to Palestine, per agreement, to pray for the
soul of the slaughtered Earl of Athole, he went, according to Matthew
Paris, to a nearer and more agreeable place, the court of England.
There he fostered in Henry III., those notions of the feudal vassalage
of the Scottish kings to England, which produced the invasion of his
successor, Edward I. Bysset had a considerable personal interest in
this question; for, if the king of England had a paramount superiority
over Scotland, his banishment and forfeiture might be reversed. Such
conduct shocks all historical notions of patriotism; but what better
claim had Scottish nationality on the Norman adventurer, than the
respectability of Juggernaut has on a member of the supreme council of
Calcutta? The ancestors of the house probably came over with William,
a century and a half earlier; the banished lord was perhaps brought
over from England with his father or grandfather, to accept the
chiefship of a portion of the Highland wastes, over which the King of
Scots professed to hold sovereignty. Aggrandisement was the sole
object among the barbarians of the north; and when they ceased to
derive a territorial revenue within Scotland, their connexion with the
country where they lived was as completely closed, as that of the
governor of a colony when he is recalled.

The subsequent history of this race was as strange and eventful as
their first appearance in the Scottish annals. They became great lords
in Ulster; and early in the fifteenth century they were again
represented by a Scotsman, Donald Balloch, the hero of the battle of
Inverlochy, whose mother was the heiress of the Byssets. For some time
after this, we might trace their descent, like the track of a wild
beast, by the marks of rapine and disorder; and at a later period we
finally lose sight of the pedigree of the Byssets, in Montrose's
celebrated ally, Kilkittoch.

Few of the incidental notices connected with those minor offences
which mark the general character of the people, can be found anterior
to the commencement of the criminal records. Hector Boece and our
friend the poet occasionally tell wondrous incidents; but they are not
to be depended on, and few of them have enough of dramatic spirit to
be interesting as fables. We are inclined, however, to mention, in
passing, the judicial feats of stout old Regent Randolph, whom the
poet maintains to have been the greatest of law reformers; in
testimony whereof, he adduces a case in point, far beyond the nicety
of modern juridical philosophy. The regent hanged a man for stealing
his own property. There was a law, that the community should make good
every theft, the perpetrator of which could not be discovered.
Founding on this law, a husbandman secreted his plough-irons, and
received compensation.

    "A gready earl soon after was,
    Burnin' in sik greediness,
    That his plough irons himself stall,
    And hid them in a peet pot all.
    He playned to the sheriff sare,
    That stolen his plough irons were;
    The sheriff than paid him shillings twa,
    And after that he done had sa,
    Soon a great court he gart set,
    Wytting of that stelth to get."

The fraud was discovered, and the perpetrator of it hanged.

The murder of James I. is one of the few crimes anterior to the
commencement of the records, of which a contemporary account,
circumstantial and truthlike, has been preserved.[P] Few historical
tragedies bear comparison with this, either in the audacity with which
the assassination was planned, or the relentless atrocity with which
it was perpetrated. Nothing can afford so lively an illustration of
the perilous tenure of the Scottish crown in the fifteenth century. We
would fain have had the telling of this story, and of that part,
especially, where, after the household traitor had removed the great
iron bolt, a young damsel, a daughter of the house of Douglas, thrust
her arm in the socket. "She was but young," says Hector Boece, "and
her bones not solid, and therefore her arm was soon broken in sunder,
and the door dung open by force." Poor child! few have been the acts
of loyal devotion so heroic as hers; but the whole narrative has been
so fully and minutely incorporated with history, as to afford us no
excuse for here repeating it.[Q]

  [P] It may be found at the end of vol. i. of Pinkerton's _History of
  Scotland_, and in vol. ii. of the collection of reprints called
  _Miscellanea Scotica_.

  [Q] See Tytler's History, iii. 307, _et seq._

There are, on the other hand, among the early criminal records, two
instances of conspiracy against the life of the monarch, of which the
particulars are not sufficiently ample to give them the interest of
mystery. To excite curiosity, we must see a certain way, while we are
unable to see so far as we desire: but in these cases we have little
more than the accusation and the condemnation. One of the sufferers
was Janet Lady Glammis, condemned to be burned on the 17th of July
1537; we find her name in the criminal record five years earlier,
charged with "art and part of the intoxication of John Lord Glammis
her husband." The charge has not a very formidable sound, but it
doubtless meant either poisoning or sorcery or both; for they were
then held to be one concern, as the Romans showed that they deemed
them by the title they conferred on the witch, "venefica." This trial
is remarkable from the circumstance of a number of gentlemen having
preferred paying a penalty to acting on the jury. Perhaps they were
inclined, as a later bulwark of our constitution is said to have done,
to find a verdict of 'sarved him right.' It was through the
instrumentality of poison that the unfortunate lady was charged with
intending to effect her design against the life of the king; but of
her motive, or ultimate object there is no indication, beyond her
relationship to the Douglas family, and probable connexion with their
intrigues. The other charge of treason occurred so closely at the same
juncture, that for this reason alone historians have supposed that
they had both some untraced connexion with a common plot. The culprit
in this instance was John Master of Forbes, who was charged with a
design to shoot the king as he passed through the town of Aberdeen. It
was a service which he was likely to have performed as successfully as
Bothwellhaugh, for he had already shown his abilities in the murder of
his neighbour, Seton of Meldrum. In those days, the people who took
upon them to fire at kings--very different from the maudlin wretches
whose diseased brains conceive such horrid projects in a civilised
age--knew what they were about, and were generally successful. They
were well accustomed to "break into the bloody house of life;" and the
attempt on a crowned monarch was merely a higher range of practice,
tasking their best abilities. The simple truth is this: that in the
present age we are not accustomed to shooting people, and therefore,
when any wretch takes into his frenzied brain a design to fire at a
Louis Philippe, he gets confused and makes a bungle of it. It is not a
practice suited to the age, and no man of any sense would adopt it.

The earliest of the Scottish criminal records that have been preserved
begin in the reign of James IV., about the year 1488. Mr Pitcairn, who
has generously laid these early records before the public, not at the
expense of the record commission but at his own, says of them,--"The
books of adjournal and minute books of the supreme criminal tribunal
of Scotland, as well as the records of the Justice Aires, &c. at these
remote periods, were kept in an obscure forensic Latin. This
circumstance, added to the well-known difficulty of deciphering the
ordinary MSS. of these centuries, and the fact of the books now
preserved being generally mere scrolls and memoranda, written with
many contractions and evidently during the hurry of the court
proceedings, have hitherto rendered the task of examining them, and
presenting the public with the more important cases, a labour of a
peculiarly irksome and repulsive kind." We do not doubt it, and hence
our gratitude to Mr Pitcairn, for not only deciphering these
discouraging manuscripts, but translating the Latin into English.
Those indeed who, like ourselves, have perused his volumes--if any
other person _has_ perused them--owe a double debt of gratitude to Mr
Pitcairn; for he has enabled us to read, in excellent type, what we
would otherwise have had to decipher in distressing MS., and he has
given us the means of pursuing the task of research by our own
fireside, instead of in the interior of the Register House; while we
have the satisfaction to feel, in perusing his quartos, that the
number of people to whom, in common with ourselves, they have laid the
field open, is a very limited one indeed--so limited, that we shall
consider every quotation we make from his volumes as select and
valuable as if we were able to subjoin MS. _penes auct._ to it.

The earliest of these translations from the old Latin records contain
the minutes of circuit courts on the Borders. The entries are as like
each other as those of a police charge book. Plunder of cattle is the
perpetual theme, and the quantity of business done by individuals is
sometimes startling. Here is an ordinary specimen:--

"Walter Scott of Howpaslot, allowed to compound for treasonably
bringing in William Scott, called _Gyde_, John his brother, and other
traitors of Levyn, to the Hereship of Harehede. Item, for theftuously
and treasonably resetting of Henry Scott and other traitors of Levyn:
item, for the treasonable stouthrief of forty oxen and cows, and two
hundred sheep, from the tenants of Harehede, at the same time. Robert
Scott of Quhitchester became surety for his entry at the next Justice

Such were the gentry who, in the words of the namesake of Howpaslot,

    "Drove the beeves that made their broth,
    From England and from Scotland both."

Another entry like the former, containing more names that will sound
not unfamiliar, may be given as a further specimen. The two, from
their similarity, will satisfy the reader that it would tend little to
edification to make a more extensive selection.

"John Scott of Dalloraine, allowed to compound for art and part of the
resetting of John Rede and John Scott in Tushielaw in his theftuous
deeds; and especially the time that the said John Scott stole a
'drift' of sheep from Thomas Johnson forth of Quhithop. _Item_, for
treasonably resetting Hector Armstrong, a traitor of Levyn, in his
theftuous deeds and treasons, &c. &c. _Item_, for common oppression of
the lieges, in taking and plundering them of their horses and goods by
his own authority. _Item_, for intercommuning with the English in
treasonable manner. _Item_, for common reset of the thieves of
Liddesdaile, Eskdale, and Ewesdale. _Item_, for slaughter of one
called Colthride, &c. &c. Robert Scott of Quhitchester became surety
to satisfy the parties."

The reader of Scottish history knows that, in the year 1530, James V.,
finding that by Circuit Courts of Justiciary he produced little more
effect upon these Border depredators than if he had made a gratuitous
distribution of _Cicero de Officiis_ among them, made war on them, by
leading an army through their country, and destroyed their
strong-holds, as the German free cities destroyed the castles of their
professional brethren on the Rhine. It was on this occasion that
Johnny Armstrong visited him with twenty-four armed "gentlemen,"
according to Pitscottie, "very richly apparelled," and that the king,
turning haughtily round from the freebooter's proffered courtesy said,
"What wants yon knave that a king should have?" There is something sad
in Armstrong's fate. He appears almost to have considered the king one
of his own class,--a leader of men, but a greater leader. Somewhat
pompous and conceited he appears to have been;--somewhat too trustful
in the effect of his hearty hail-fellow-well-met way of approaching
the royal presence. In fact, Johnny Armstrong "did not know his
place," and treated the king too much like a brother freebooter, of a
higher standing than himself. But, in his apprehension and execution,
there is something that makes the nearest possible approach to
treachery; and we can imagine a blush rising in the royal cheek, when
the robber captain turned haughtily round and said, "I am but a fool
to seek grace at a graceless face." The entry regarding the redoubted
leader, in these records, is as brief as it is humiliating, for the
lion had not the telling of the tale;--"John Armstrong, alias BlakJok,
and Thomas his brother, convicted of common theft, and reset of theft,
&c., hanged."

During the same reign, outbreaks in the Highlands assumed a somewhat
similar character to those of the Border rievers; but the Celts
conducted their operations on a much larger scale, and we intend to
devote to them a separate paper.

The disturbances connected with the Reformation are essentially a part
of the history of the kingdom, and in that shape too well known to
have a place here: but a considerable time before these great
convulsions, some smaller offences occasionally connected themselves
with the priesthood, and their relation to the rest of the community.
Even in the days when the church of Rome was so far Catholic as to be
almost co-extensive with Christianity, Scotland was not without
occasional ebullitions, in which the savage nature burst the spiritual
bonds that, in its ordinary moments, held it in subjection. Boece
relates an affair of this sort, and its consequences, with a rapidity
almost unmatched, when we consider the quantity and the serious
character of the business transacted. It was in the reign of Alexander
III. that, according to his translator, "The men of Caithness burnt
Adam, their bishop, after that he had cursed them for non-payment of
their teinds. King Alexander hearing sic terrible cruelty done to this
noble prelate, ceased not till four hundred of the principal doers
thereof were hanged." "King Alexander," continues the chronicler, "for
this punition was gretumly beloved by the Pope." No wonder! Nearly
contemporary with the crusade of James V. against the Border rievers,
was the murder of James Inglis, abbot of Culross, by Blacater baron of
Tullyallan, and William Lothian, a priest, both of whom were found
guilty and beheaded, while others were acquitted. The trial seems to
have excited much interest, for Bishop Leslie tells us that the
ceremony of the degradation of the priest, previously to his being
handed over to the civil power, took place upon "ane public scaffold
in the toun of Edinburgh," "the King, the Queen, and a great multitude
of people being present." A year or two afterwards we find the
somewhat singular circumstance of a whole list of priests charged with
an act of violence;--"John Roull, prior of Pittenweem; Patrick and
Bartholomew Forman, and six other canons; Mr Alexander Ramsay, rector
of Muckart; Sir John Ramsay, and three other chaplains, and John
Blackadder, parish clerk of Sawling." They were re-pledged to be tried
by their own ecclesiastical court. It appears that, in the course of a
dispute regarding the right to the produce of the land of Pittenweem,
an officer of the court was appointed to reap the crop. When he
repaired to the spot, the sub-prior and an assemblage of followers
threatened him with violence. He found himself placed in a very
curious position, and made an equally curious request. When a
messenger is deforced, those who have used violence are liable to
damages. The messenger on this occasion, being a shrewd and
calculating man, surveyed the forces of his opponents before making a
"return of deforcement." To his mortification he perceived that, to
use an expression of modern origin, "they were not worth powder and
shot." There were none among them "but religious men and priests,
hinds' wives and bairns, which were not responsal to our sovereign
lord gif he had taken deforce." He made a request that they should
"send for Andrew Wood in Pittenweem, John Brown of Anstruther, the
laird of Balcasky, or some other responsal persons, to stop him, so
that he might indorse his deforcement and depart, which they plainly
refused." The request was about as reasonable as if a gentleman,
knocked down by a ragged ruffian, were to ask him to get some
capitalist, able to pay respectable damages, to come and aid in the
operation. The prior, meanwhile, came to the assistance of his
subordinates, and put himself at the head of a truly formidable array:
three hundred men, who "with hagbuts, culverings, cross-bows,
hand-bows, spears, halberts, axes, and swords, came in arrayed battle,
with convocation and ringing of their common bell," and, falling on
the messenger's party, "shot divers pieces of artillery at them." The
ecclesiastical people were removed to their own court, so that we lose
trace of the proceedings against them. Some of the laymen were charged
with the slaughter of the messenger's followers, and others outlawed
for failing to appear.

The same Spartan brevity that characterises the early portions of the
criminal records, sometimes reduces the history of bloody family
feuds, the particulars of which might fill volumes of romance, to the
most tantalising dimensions. They are rather inventoried or enumerated
by head-mark, than even recorded, and generally present no more
satisfactory detail than the following:--

     "1554, Oct. 26.--Robert Henry, alias _Deill amang us_,
         convicted of art and part of the cruel slaughter of Thomas
         Bissate, young laird of Querrel. Beheaded."

     "1532, July 3.--Rolland Lindesay, Alan Lokhart of Lee, and
         William Mosman, convicted of art and part of the cruel
         slaughter of Ralph Weir. Beheaded."

That one of the parties might be a magistrate administering the law,
was no impediment to the prosecution of a feud, but rather served to
give solemnity and importance to the perpetration of some act of
vengeance: thus--

     "1527, October 8.--George Ramsay of Clatty, John Betoune of
         Balfour, James Betoune Of Melgum, John Grahame of
         Claverhouse, and others, found caution to underly the law at
         the first Justice Aire of Fife, for convocation of the
         lieges, to the number of 80 persons, and in warlike manner
         invading John Lord Lindesay, Sheriff of Fife, in the
         execution of his office, in a fenced court within the
         Tolbooth of Cowper, the doors being shut, and the assize
         inclosed; and for breaking up the said doors."

The meagreness of these entries whets one's appetite for some detail
of the stirring and tragical events of which they form the bare
indexes. With the exception of the great Highland feuds, which burned
on so large a scale as to be in a manner historical, the earliest
detailed account of a crime arising in family animosity is connected
with the feud between the Drummonds and the Blairs in the year 1554.
The crime which brought the feud within the notice of the law, was the
murder of George Drummond of Leadcrieff and William his son. The
perpetrators, besides a long list of Blairs, include several other
names still known in the Braes of Perthshire--such as Chalmers,
Butter, Smyth, and Robertson. They were charged with assembling to the
number of eighty, "with jacks, coats of mail, steel bonnets,
lance-staffs, long culverings with lighted lints, and other weapons
invasive." The day on which this tumultuous assembly proceeded to
their work of vengeance was a Sunday, and the place chosen for the
perpetration was the church of Blair. Being apparently afraid of the
number of friends and retainers by whom their victims happened to be
surrounded during the performance of divine worship, it is stated that
they were obliged to postpone their purpose, and that "they passed to
the Laird of Gormok's place, and their dyned with him:" a pretty large
dinner-party, certainly. Leaving spies to watch the enemy's motions,
they were soon afterwards summoned to their task, and their victims
became an easy prey. The occupation of Drummond and his son--when we
remember that it was a Sabbath afternoon--might, perhaps, be scarcely
considered so characteristic of Scottish habits as their
assassination. They were "alane, at their pastime-play, at the
row-bowles, in the high market-gate, beside the kirk of Blair, in
sober manner, trusting na trouble nor harm to have been done to them,
but to have lived under God's peace."

The retribution on the offenders is certainly not the least curious
part of the affair. That eighty armed men should seize, and put to
death, two individuals, either in or out of a church, appears to have
been a matter with which the law and the public were under no
obligation to interfere, if the parties immediately interested could
come to terms. Accordingly, we find on the record some fragments of a
negotiation between the head of the Drummonds and the murderers. Some
of them, among other more substantial offers, agree "to gang, or cause
to gang," the four head pilgrimages of Scotland; to do penance for the
souls of the dead for any reasonable number of years; and, thirdly,
"to do honour to the kin and friends" by kneeling and offering the
handle of a naked sword held by the point. These offers are treated
with some disdain, as too "general and simple" to require an answer. A
further offer of a thousand merks is treated with more attention; but
the kin declare that it is far too small a fine "for the committing of
so high, cruell, and abominable slaughters and mutilations of set
purpose." To heighten the picture, the deed of the murderers is set in
contrast with the peaceable and inoffensive conduct of the deceased,
whose great merit was his "never offending them, neither by drawing of
blood, taking kirks, tacks, steadings, or rooms, over any of their
heads, or their friends'." Thus the murder would have been considered
less unjustifiable, if the victim had ever been concerned in ejecting
his assailants from their holdings, or offering to take them "over
their head:" a doctrine of the sixteenth century in Scotland, which
events of the nineteenth, in other parts of the empire, have made only
too intelligible. The negotiation was not quite successful, for some
of the parties were beheaded. One of them, Chalmers of Drumlochie,
along with an offer to let his son marry Drummond's daughter, and his
cousin marry his sister, "without any tocher,"--an arrangement which
he seems to have thought might be equivalent to "lands, goods, or
money," of none of which was he possessed,--proclaimed himself "ready
to do any other thing quhilk is possible to him, as please my lord and
friends to lay to his charge, except his life and heritage." He bound
himself to Lord Drummond as a personal vassal and follower, by a "band
of man-rent:" an instrument well-known in old Scottish jurisprudence,
and perpetually cropping out in connexion with any historical
events--such as the murder of Rizzio,--in which many persons united
themselves together for the perpetration of a great crime. It was a
curious feature of national character,--the form of law running down
through every thing, even to the very document framed for setting law
at defiance. Chalmers' bond was merely one of general partisanship and
following, and he bound himself to the Drummonds, and their heirs, to
"take their true and one-fold part, in all and sundry their actions
and causes, and ride and gang with them therein upon their expenses,
when they require me or my heirs thereto, against all and sundry
persons, our sovereign lady and the authority of this realm alanerly
excepted. And hereto I bind and oblige me and my heirs to the said
noble and mighty lord and his heirs in the straitest form and sicker
stile of band of manrent that can be devised, no remeid nor exception
of law to be proponed nor alleged in the contrair." It might be no
small consolation to the chief who had lost a vassal to get a slave in
his stead; but the public peace would not be much benefited by this
method of settlement.

Some of the precautions against turbulent offences are not less
curious than this method of dealing with them when they were
committed. An heiress might be compelled to find security, or enter
into recognisances that she shall not give her hand and fortune to an
outlaw or scapegrace. Thus, on the 13th of September 1563, Mariene
Carruthers, being "ane of the twa heretrixes of Moweswald," produced
two landed proprietors who became bound that she "shall not mary ane
chief traiter nor other broken man of the country, nor join herself
with any sic person, under the pain of ane thousand pounds."

Whatever it may have been in England, there was little divinity
hedging a Scottish king of the sixteenth century. Perhaps, as a rich
peer and a poor peer are very different things in popular estimation,
though equal in the Lord Chamberlain's list of precedence, so it may
have been with kings. The Scottish king was poor, ill-housed,
parsimoniously served, meagerly guarded. His pulse might beat with the
blood of a hundred monarchs; but the far-stretching palaces, the long
gorgeous trains of attendants, the wealth at command, were wanting,
and divine right was but a theory, that could neither give parasites
rich offices, nor dazzle the eyes of worshippers. Thus it happens
that, side by side with the most magnificent theoretical assumptions
of regal prerogative, stand the most ludicrous instances of the
crown's weakness and smallness. On the 11th July 1526, Robert Bruce of
Airth and others are respited for having committed a highway robbery
on his Majesty's artillery--"for art and part of the stouthrief of
certain manganels and artillery coming from the castle of Stirling to
the king's Majesty, at his burgh of Edinburgh, for the defence of his
person; and for art and part of the stouthrief of the king's letters
from his officers, and laying violent hands on them." We have not far
to wander for like instances, making the monarch a simple human being,
against whom one commits, not the majestic crime of high treason, but
the vulgar offences of theft and robbery. Thus, in the very next
entry, we find "Walter Drummond acquitted by an assize of art and part
of the theft and concealment of the king's crown from his crown-room,
with the precious stones therein contained, forth of the palace and
monastery of Holyrood."

Every petty laird dined and slept within the walls of his thick square
tower; isolated by moat or precipice, by long dark passages and iron
grated door. In an age when individuals thus protected themselves, it
naturally astonishes one to observe how accessible the royal person
generally appears to have been--how slightly protected from contact
with the people, how easily approached by the assassin. One man was
able to remove all the impediments which stood in the way of the
Highland band who slew James I. at Perth. The murder of Rizzio, with
all its circumstances of cool premeditation, and calm, steady, bitter
insult, need not be recalled to the reader, among the other incidents,
which show how thin a partition separated the sovereign from rude
violence. The various forms in which that turbulent and most
pertinacious of rebels, Francis Earl of Bothwell, assailed King James,
are fraught with a ludicrous versatility in the art of haunting and
tormenting a king. The official act of forfeiture characterised it as
"invading, assieging, and persuing of his Majesty's most noble person,
by fire and sword, breaking up his chalmer doors with fore hammers,
and cruelly slaying his Highness' servants coming to his Majesty's
rescue." "Ane treason and cruelty," continues the indignant document,
"not heard nor seen committed by subjects so highly obliged to their
native king and prince." The contemporary chronicler, Birrel,
characterised the outrage as "a stoure," which the rebel created by
striking "with ane hammer at his Majesty's chamber door." In his more
renowned and successful attempt, the pathway to the person of royalty
was so completely cleared for him by a courageous female, the Duchess
of Athole, whose house was next door to the palace, that the weapons
of the guard were removed; the queen's bed-room, to which the
beleaguered monarch might have fled, was locked; and the prime
conspirator and his assistant were comfortably lodged behind the arras
of the ante-room to the king's sleeping apartment. What might not a
boy Jones have accomplished in those days? Should we, however, pursue
this subject further, we would be trespassing on that ground of
established history which it is our desire on the present occasion to


  [R] _The Life and Correspondence of Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith,
  G. C. B._ By T. BARROW, Esq. F. R. S. Two vols. Bentley, London.

A glance at the history of European fleets would give, perhaps, the
highest conception of human powers in the whole progress of mankind.
Philosophy, literature, and legislation, of course, have attained
illustrious distinctions. But the naval service combines every thing:
personal intrepidity, the strongest demand upon personal resources,
the quickest decision, the most vigorous exertion of manual and
mechanical skill, the sternest hardihood, and the most practical and
continual application of science.

The unrivalled triumph of human invention is the instrument by which
all those powerful qualities are brought into play: a ship of the
line, with all its stores, its crew, and its guns on board, is the
wonder of the world. What must be the dexterity of the arrangement by
which a thousand men can be victualled, at the rate of three meals
a-day, for four months; a thousand men housed, bedded, clothed, and
accoutred; a battery of a hundred and twenty guns--the complement of
an army of fifty thousand men, and two or three times the weight of
field-guns--fought; this mighty vessel navigated through every
weather, and the profoundest practical science applied to her
management, through night and day, for years together? No combination
of human force and intellectual power can contest the palm with one of
those floating castles, of all fortresses the most magnificent, the
most effective, and the most astonishing.

The history of the British navy, in its present form, begins with that
vigorous and sagacious prince, Henry VII., who was the first builder
of ships, calculated not merely for the defence of the coast, but as
an establishment of national warfare. The strong common-sense of his
rough, but clear-headed son, Henry VIII., saw the necessity for
introducing order into the navy; and he became the _legislator_ of the
new establishment. He first constructed an admiralty, a Trinity-board
for the furtherance of scientific navigation; appointed Woolwich,
Deptford, and Portsmouth as dockyards, and declared the naval service
a _profession_.

Elizabeth, who had all the sagacity of Henry VII., and all the
determination of his successor, paid especial attention to the navy;
and the national interest was the more strongly turned to its efficacy
by the preparations of Spain, which was then the paramount power of
Europe. When the Armada approached the English shores, she met it with
a navy of one hundred and seventy-six ships, manned with fourteen
thousand men. And in that spirit of wise generosity, which always
marked her sense of public service, she doubled the pay of the sailor,
making it ten shillings a-month. The defeat of the Armada gave a still
stronger impulse to the popular feeling for the sea; signals were
formed into a kind of system, and all the adventurous spirits of her
chivalric court sought fame in naval enterprise.

From that period a powerful fleet became an essential of British
supremacy; and the well-known struggle of parties, in the time of the
unfortunate Charles, began in the refusal of a tax to build a fleet.
In the early part of his reign, Charles had built the largest ship of
his time, "The Sovereign of the Seas," carrying one hundred guns.

The civil war ruined every thing, and the navy was the first to
suffer. Cromwell found it dilapidated, but his energy was employed to
restore it. Blake, by his victories, immortalised himself, and raised
the name of the British fleet to the highest point of renown; and
Cromwell, at his death, left it amounting to one hundred and
fifty-four sail, of which one-third were of the line. The Protector
was the first who proposed naval estimates, and procured a regular
sum for the annual support of the fleet.

The Dutch war, in the reign of Charles, compelled further attention to
the navy; and when William ascended the throne, he found one hundred
and fifty-four vessels, carrying nearly six thousand guns; but the
French still exceeded us by one thousand guns.

In the reigns of George I. and II. the fleet continued to increase in
size, strength, and discipline. Much of this was owing to the Spanish
and French wars. In the war of 1744 we had taken thirty-five sail of
the French line! But the incessant treachery of French politics was
soon to be still more strikingly exhibited, and more severely

The revolt of the American colonies stimulated the French government
to join the rebels. The hope of doing evil to England has always been
enough to excite the hostility of foreigners. France was in alliance
with us; but what was good faith to the temptation of inflicting an
injury on England? An act of intolerable treachery was committed;
France, unprovoked, suddenly sent a fleet and army to the aid of
America, and the French war began, to the utter astonishment of

But there is sometimes a palpable retribution even here. In that war,
which was wholly naval on the part of France, her fleets were
constantly beaten; and the defeat of De Grasse, in the West Indies,
finished the naval contest by the most brilliant victory of the
period. Another vengeance was reserved for England in Europe. The
siege of Gibraltar, if not undertaken directly at the suggestion of
France, at least a favourite project of hers, and attended by French
officers and princes, became one of the most gallant and glorious
defences on record; the besiegers were defeated with frightful loss,
and the war closed in a European acknowledgment of English

But the retribution had not yet wrought its whole work. Rebellion
broke out in France. The French troops returning from America had
brought back with them republican views and vices. The treaty-breaking
court was destroyed at the first explosion; the treaty-breaking
ministers were either slain, or forced to take refuge in England: the
treaty-breaking king was sent to the scaffold; and the treaty-breaking
nation was shattered by civil and foreign war; until, after a quarter
of a century of fruitless blood, of temporary successes, and of
permanent defeats, the empire was torn in pieces; France was
conquered, Paris was _twice_ seized by the Allies, and Napoleon died a
prisoner in English hands.

The naval combats of the American war had a remarkable result. They
formed a preparation for the still more desperate combats of the
French naval war. They trained the English officers to effective
discipline; they accustomed the English sailors to victory, and the
French to defeat; and the consequence was, a succession of English
triumphs and French defeats in the war of 1793, to which history
affords no parallel.

The French republican declaration of war was issued on the memorable
first of February 1793. Orders were instantly sent to the ports for
the fleet to put to sea. Such was its high state of preparation, that
almost immediately fifty-four sail of the line, and a hundred and
forty-six smaller vessels, were ready for sea. The republican activity
of France had already determined on contending for naval empire; and a
fleet of eighty-two sail of the line were under orders, besides nearly
as many more on the stocks. But all was unavailing. The defeats
suffered in the ten years previous to the peace of Amiens in 1803,
stripped France of no less than thirty-two ships of the line captured,
and eleven destroyed; and her allies, Holland, Spain, and Denmark, of
twenty-six of the line, with five hundred and nineteen smaller ships
of war taken or destroyed, besides eight hundred and seven French
privateers also taken or destroyed. The French had become builders for
the English. Of their ships of the line fifty were added to the
English navy.

On the recommencement of the war in 1804, the British fleet numbered
nearly double that of the enemy; but the French ships were generally
larger and finer vessels. It is difficult to understand from what
circumstance the French, and even the Americans, seem always to have
the superiority in ship-building. Our mechanical skill seems always to
desert us in the dockyard.

During the war, our naval armament continued to increase from year to
year, until, in 1810, it had reached the prodigious number of five
hundred pennants, of which one hundred were of the line, with one
hundred and forty-five thousand seamen and marines!

Since the peace, a good deal of attention has been paid to the
construction of ships of war. But it appears to have been more
successful in the economical arrangement of the interior than in the
figure, which is the essential point for sailing. The names of
Seppings, Symonds, Hayes, Inman, and others, have attained some
distinction; but we have not yet obtained any certain model of a good
sailing ship. Some vessels have succeeded tolerably, and others have
been total failures, though built on the same stocks and by the same
surveyor. Yet the strength, the stowage, and the safety, have been
improved. It is rather extraordinary that government has never offered
a handsome reward for the invention of the best sailing model; as was
done so long since, and with such effect, in the instance of the
time-keepers. Five thousand pounds for a certain approach to the
object, and five thousand more for complete success, would set all the
private builders on the pursuit; and it can scarcely be doubted that
they would ultimately succeed. Even now, the private yacht-builders
produce some of the fastest sailing vessels in the world; the merchant
ship-builders send out fine ships, of the frigate size, and the
private steam-ship builders are unrivalled; while we have continual
complaints of the deficiencies of the vessels built in the royal

Some of those complaints may be fictitious, and some ignorant; but the
constant changes in their structure, and their perpetual repairs,
imply inferiority in our naval schools of architecture. The chief
attention of the royal dockyards, within these few years, has been
turned to the building of large steam-ships, armed with guns of the
heaviest calibre. But the attempt is evidently in a wrong direction.
The effort to make fighting ships of steamers, ruins them in both
capacities. It destroys their great quality, speed; and it exposes
them with an inadequate power to the line-of-battle ship. They are
incomparable as _tugs_ to a fleet, as conveying troops, as outlying
vessels, as every thing but men-of-war. A shot would break up their
whole machinery, and leave them at the mercy of the first frigate that
brought its broadside to bear upon them in their helpless condition.
In all the trials of the fleet during the last two years, the heavy
armed steamers were invariably left behind in a gale, while one of the
light steamers ran before every frigate.

We have now two fleets on service, one in the Tagus, and another at
Malta; but both are weak in point of numbers, though in a high state
of equipment. A few rasee guardships are scattered round the coast.
Some large steamers remain at Portsmouth and Plymouth ready for
service; but, from all accounts, there is nothing of that active and
vigorous preparation which ought to be the essential object of the
country, while France is menacing us from day to day, while she has an
immense naval conscription, is building powerful ships, is talking of
invasion, and hates us with all the hatred of _Frenchmen_. In such
emergencies, to think of sparing expense is almost a public crime; and
no public execration could be too deep, as no public punishment could
be too severe, if neglect of preparation should ever leave us at the
mercy of the most mischievous of mankind. But no time is to be thrown

Whether we shall be prepared to meet and punish aggression, ought no
longer to be left dependent on the will of individuals. The _nation_
must bestir itself. It must have meetings, and subscriptions, and
musters. We must be ready to give up a part of our superfluities to
save the rest. Whether France intends to attack us, without
provocation, and through a mere rage of aggression, we know not; but
the language of her journals is malignant, and it is the part of wise
and brave men to be prepared.

We shall now give an outline of the gallant career of one of those
remarkable men, who, uniting courage and conduct, achieved an
imperishable name in our naval annals.

William Sidney Smith was born on the 21st of June 1764. He began his
naval career before he was twelve years old. All his family, for four
generations, had been naval or military. His great-grandfather was
Captain Cornelius Smith. His grandfather was Captain Edward Smith, who
commanded a frigate, in which he was severely wounded in an attack on
one of the Spanish settlements in the West Indies, where he died
shortly after. His father was the Captain Smith of the Guards, whose
name became so conspicuous on the trial of Lord George Germaine, to
whom he was aide-de-camp at the battle of Minden, and who after that
trial retired from the army in disgust. Sir Sidney's uncle was a
general, and his two brothers were Lieut.-Colonel Douglas Smith,
governor of Prince Edward's Island, and John Spencer Smith, who held a
commission in the Guards, but afterwards exchanged the service for
diplomacy, in which his name became distinguished as an envoy to
several Continental courts during the war of the Revolution. Sir
Sidney's mother was the daughter of a Mr Wilkinson, an opulent London
merchant, who, however, seems to have disinherited his daughter from
discontent at her match, and left the chief part, if not the entire,
of his property to her sister, who was married to Lord Camelford. Sir
Sidney was for a few years at Tunbridge School, from which, however,
he was withdrawn at an age so early that nothing but strong natural
talent could have enabled him to exhibit in after-life the fluency,
and even the occasional eloquence, which distinguished his pen. His
first rating on the books of the Admiralty was in the Tortoise, in
June 1777. In the beginning of the next year he was appointed to the
Unicorn, and began his career by a gallant action, in which his ship
captured an American frigate. He was then but fourteen. In 1779 he
joined the Sandwich, the flag-ship of Rodney, in which he was present
at the victory obtained over the Spaniards in the next year.

Those were stirring times. In the same year he was appointed
lieutenant of the Alcide. And in this ship he was present at Graves'
action with the French, off the Chesapeake.

In the following year he was in the greatest naval action of the
war--the famous battle of the 12th of April 1782, off the Leeward
Islands, when Rodney defeated the French fleet, commanded by the Comte
de Grasse. In the following May, he was appointed to the command of
the Fury sloop, by Rodney; and in the October following was promoted
to the rank of captain into the Alcmene, having been on the list of
commanders only five months.

Thus he was a captain at the age of eighteen! The war was now at an
end; his ship was paid off, and he went to reside at Caen, for the
purpose of acquiring a knowledge of the French language. There he
spent a well-employed and agreeable time. Many of the French families
of condition resided in the neighbourhood; and the young captain,
having brought letters to the Duc de Harcourt, governor of the
province, was hospitably received. The French were then a polished
people; they knew nothing of republicanism, and were not proud of
their ferocity; they had none of that frantic hatred of England which
is the folly and the fashion of our day, and might be regarded as a
civilised people. The duke invited him to his country-seat, and there
showed him the improvements in his grounds, and introduced him to his

Like most men destined to distinction, Sir Sidney Smith was constantly
preparing himself for useful service, by the acquisition of knowledge.
The Mediterranean is naturally presumed to be the great theatre of
naval exploits. He obtained leave of absence, and went to the
Mediterranean. While at Gibraltar, thinking, from the violent language
of the Emperor of Morocco, that there might be a Moorish war, he made
a journey along the coast of Morocco, for the purpose of acquainting
himself with the condition of its naval force and harbours. Having
obtained the necessary information, which obviously required
considerable exertion and no slight expense, he stated its results in
a manly and intelligent letter to the Admiralty, offering his
services in case of hostilities, and suggesting the appointment of a
squadron to be stationed outside the Straits, for the prevention of
any naval enterprise on the part of the Moors.

Among the most accessible ports, he mentions Mogadore, which, as not
being a bar harbour, is easily approachable by ships of force; and
though the works contained many guns, yet they were so ill-placed,
that in all probability they could not resist an attack. We recollect
that the cannonade of this town was one of the exploits on which the
Prince de Joinville plumed his heroism, and of which all France talked
as if it were the capture of a second Gibraltar.

The same spirit of inquiry and preparation for probable service led
him to Sweden, during the war of the brave and unfortunate Gustavus
with the Empress Catherine.

We may pause a moment on the memory of one of the most remarkable
princes of his time. Gustavus, born in 1746, in 1771 ascended the
throne of Sweden, on the death of his father Frederic.

The Swedish nobility were poor, and affected a singular habit of
following the fashions of France, of whose government, probably, the
chiefs of their body were pensioners. The lower orders were ignorant,
and probably not less corrupted by the gold of Russia. Gustavus found
his throne utterly powerless between both,--a States-General
possessing the actual power of the throne, and even that assembly
itself under the control of a Russian and a French faction, designated
as the hats and caps. Gustavus, a man of remarkable talent, great
ardour of character, and much personal pride, naturally found this
usurpation an insult, and took immediate means for its overthrow. He
lost no time; his first efforts were exerted to attach the national
militia to his cause. When all was ready, the explosion came. The
governor of one of the towns suddenly issued a violent diatribe
against the States-General. The king was applied to to punish the
contumacious rebel. He instantly sent a large military force, with his
brother at its head, to punish the governor. By secret instructions it
joined him. The plan was now ripening. In all that follows, we are
partly reminded of Charles I., of Cromwell, and of Napoleon. Like
Charles, the king entered the assembly of the States and demanded some
of the members. Like Napoleon, he had the regiments of the garrison
ready on parade, and rushing out of the assembly, he was received by
the troops with shouts. The oath of allegiance was renewed to him with
boundless acclamation. Several of the chiefs of the States-General
were immediately put under arrest, and the whole body were completely
intimidated. On the next day, the States-General were once more
invited to assemble. The king, at the head of his military staff, like
Cromwell, entered the hall, and presented them with the "new
constitution." The troops had already settled the question. On its
being put to the vote of the assembly, a majority appeared in its
favour. The States-General sank into a cipher, and the revolution was

The new constitution had given great joy to the people, long disgusted
with the arrogance of the States-General. But the nobles, whose powers
had been curtailed, nourished a passion for vengeance. The war of 1788
with Russia, in which the finances of the kingdom began to be severely
pressed, gave them the opportunity. The States still existed; and the
disaffected nobles, influenced their votes, to the extent of refusing
the supplies, though the Danes were in the Swedish territory, and
actually besieging Gothenburg at the moment. The king must have been
undone, but for the patriotism of the mountaineers of Dalecarlia; who,
if they could not give him money, gave him men. Gustavus, indignant at
his palpable injuries, now determined on extinguishing the power which
had thus thwarted him in his career. In 1788, he suddenly arrested the
chiefs of the opposition, and introduced a law, still more controlling
the power of the nobles. But this act was regarded as doubly
tyrannical, and deserving of double vengeance.

On the conclusion of the war within two years after, the malcontents,
fearful that the leisure of peace would produce further assaults on
their privileges, resolved to take the decision into their own hands.

The period began to be troubled. The French revolution had just broken
out, and it had at once filled all the Continental sovereigns with
alarm, and all the population with vague theories of wealth,
enjoyment, and freedom. The king of Sweden, known for his talents,
distinguished in war, and loud in his hatred of France and her furies,
had been chosen by the allied monarchs to head the invasion of the
republic. Whether the councils of the nobles partook more of fear, or
hatred, or the hope of political overthrow, can now be scarcely
ascertained; but they issued in an atrocious conspiracy against the
royal life.

It is remarkable that there is scarcely an instance of conspiracy
against the lives of eminent personages, in which the design was not
previously discovered, and was successful only through an unwise and
contemptuous disregard of the intelligence. This seems to have been
the course of things, from the days of Cæsar. The King of Sweden was
informed of his danger; and even that the attempt was deferred only
until the period of some _fêtes_, to be given at court. But the king,
accustomed to danger, and probably refusing to believe in the
existence of a crime rare among his countrymen, disdained all measures
of precaution, and even appears not to have taken any further notice
of the conspiracy. This might have been the conduct of a brave man,
but the consequence showed that it was not the conduct of a wise one.

On the 16th of March 1792, the ball was given: the king appeared among
the maskers: he was evidently careless of all hazard, and was
conversing with a group, when, Ankerstrom, the intended assassin,
entered the Salle. This traitor had been a captain in the service, but
had been dismissed, or had conceived himself to be insulted by the
king. Gustavus was pointed out to him by one of the conspirators: he
stole behind the king, and fired at his back a pistol loaded with
slugs and nails. Gustavus fell mortally wounded, and was carried to
his chamber in agony. The assassin coolly walked out of the Salle,
unobserved in the confusion, but was arrested next day. He was brought
to trial, and died the death of a regicide. The chief conspirators
were banished. The king languished until the end of the month, when he
died, with great firmness and resignation.

On the pistol of Ankerstrom may have turned the fortunes of the French
Revolution. Gustavus, a king, a man of military genius, and ardent in
all that he undertook, would have escaped all the errors of the Duke
of Brunswick. His personal rank would have rendered him independent of
the wavering politics of the allies; his talent would have rectified
the obsolete notions of their statesmen; and his spirit of enterprise
would have rescued his army from the most fatal of all dangers to an
invader--delay. He would have overruled the prejudices of the Aulic
Council, and the artifices of the Prussian cabinet; and hoisted the
allied flag in Paris, before the first levy of the Republic could have
taken the field.

France can scarcely be regarded as having an army until 1795. The old
royal army, though consisting of 180,000 men, was scattered in
position and doubtful in principle. The Republican levies were yet but
peasantry. The King of Sweden, at the head of 150,000 Prussians and
Austrians, then the first troops in Europe in point of equipment and
discipline, would have walked over all resistance; and France would
have been spared the most miserable, and Europe the bloodiest, page of
its annals.

The fall of Gustavus was also fatal to his dynasty. His son, Gustavus
IV., inheriting his passions without his talents, and quarrelling with
his allies without being able to repel his enemies, was expelled from
the throne, after a series of eccentricities almost amounting to
frenzy. He was arrested in the streets by General Alderkreutz, by
order of the Diet. His uncle, the Duke of Sudermania, was appointed
regent; and, on the king's subsequent abdication, was proclaimed king,
by the title of Charles XIII.

On his death, Bernadotte was elected to the throne, which he retained
through life;--the solitary instance of permanent power among all the
generals of the French empire; but an instance justified by high
character, by his acquirement of the throne without crime, and by its
possession without tyranny.

There may be no royal road to fame, but there are some habits which
naturally lead to it; one of those, activity of spirit, Sir Sidney
Smith possessed in a remarkable degree. Wherever any thing new or
exciting in his profession was to be seen, there he was certain to be.
In 1789, the Swedish and Russian fleets were fighting in the Baltic.
England was at peace,--his ship had been paid off; relaxation, the
London balls, the Parisian theatres, rambles through the German
watering-places, were before him. Ten thousand idlers of the navy
would have enjoyed them all without delay. But the young captain was
determined to rise in his profession; and, as the time might come when
a Swedish or a Russian war might be on the hands of England herself,
he felt that it might be advantageous for an English officer to have
some knowledge of the Baltic.

Unluckily, the chief portion of his correspondence in Sweden has been
lost. It was very voluminous; but, with all his documents on the
subject of his Swedish service, it had been left in Camelford House,
to the care of its proprietor, Lord Grenville. The house was
subsequently let for the residence of the Princess Charlotte, and the
papers were removed to the care of a tradesman near Cavendish Square,
whose premises were destroyed by fire, and the MSS. were almost wholly
consumed. If there is no other moral in the story, it should at least
be a warning to diplomatic and warlike authorship, to apply to the
press as speedily as possible.

But, from his Swedish expedition is certainly to be dated the whole
distinction of his subsequent career. He might otherwise have lingered
through life on half-pay, or have been suffered merely to follow the
routine of his profession, and been known only by the Navy List.

In 1789, he applied for six months' leave of absence to go to the
Baltic, but without any intention to serve. There he was introduced to
the King of Sweden, and attracted so much interest by his evident
ability and animation of manner, that the king was desirous of fixing
him in his service, and of giving him an important command. The
temptation was strong, but we need scarcely say, that even if leave
were given, it _ought not_ to have been accepted. No man has a right
to shed the blood of man but in defence of his own country, or by
command of his own sovereign. But in the next year he received the
following flattering request from the king.

"Captain Sidney Smith,--The great reputation you have acquired in
serving your own country with equal success and valour, and the
profound calm which England enjoys not affording you any opportunity
to display your talents at present, induce me to propose to you to
enter into my service during the war, and principally for the
approaching campaign.

"To offer you the same rank and appointments which you enjoy in your
own country, is only to offer you what you have a right to expect; but
to offer you opportunities of distinguishing yourself anew, and of
augmenting your reputation, by making yourself known in these northern
seas as the _élève_ of Rodney, Pigot, Howe, and Hood, is, I believe,
to offer you a situation worthy of them and yourself, which you will
not resist; and the means of acquitting yourself towards your masters
in the art of war, by extending their reputation, and the estimate in
which they are held already here.

"I have destined a particular command for you, if you accept my offer,
concerning which I will explain myself more in detail when I have your
definitive answer. I pray God to have you in his holy keeping. Your
very affectionate


"Haga, January 17, 1790."

This showy offer overcame Sir Sidney's reluctance at once; but as he
could not enter into the Swedish service without leave from home, he
took advantage of the opportunity of bringing home despatches from the
minister in Stockholm, and thus became the bearer of his own request.
The Duke of Sudermania, the king's second in command, also wrote to
him a most friendly letter, entreating of him to return as speedily
as possible, and bidding him bring some of his brave English friends
along with him.

The offer to him had been the command of the light squadron. Sir
Sidney set out on the wings of hope accordingly, and expected to be
received with open arms by the ministers; but he was seriously
disappointed in the expected ardour of his reception. It was with
extreme difficulty that he could find any one to listen to him. At
last he obtained an audience of the Duke of Leeds, who, however, would
give no answer, until the whole matter had been laid before a cabinet
council. The gallant sailor now began to experience some of those
trials to which every man in public life is probably subjected, at one
time or another. He now determined to wait with patience, and his
patience was amply tried. In this state he remained for six weeks,
until at last he determined to write to the King of Sweden, proposing
to give up his appointment, but stating that he was determined to
return to join the Duke of Sudermania as a volunteer. Sir Sidney now
offered to be the bearer of despatches to Sweden, but the offer was
declined with official politeness. He immediately sailed for Sweden,
when the King placed him on board a yacht which followed the royal
galley in action.

We must now take leave of this war of row-boats, in which, however,
several desperate actions were fought; but though row-boats or galleys
were the chief warriors, both fleets exhibited a large number of heavy
frigates or line-of-battle ships. Those, however, were scarcely more
than buoys, among the narrow channels of the Baltic, obstructed as
they were by islands, headlands, and small defensible harbours. Sir
Sidney was active on all occasions. In one instance, where an attack
on the Russian fleet was proposed, and the objection made by the
captains was the difficulty of proceeding by night through an
intricate channel, he rode across a neck of land, took a peasant's
boat from the shore, sounded the channel during the night, and made
himself master of the landmarks, settling the signals with the
advanced post on shore.

He was soon after engaged in a desperate action, in which he, with his
little troop, having been abandoned by the divisions ordered to attack
on other points, was beaten, after a most gallant resistance.

But the King knew how to feel for brave men, however unlucky, and sent
him a complimentary letter, on the gallantry and zeal which "he had
the faculty of communicating to those who accompanied him." The King,
in several communications, remarks on this quality of exciting the
spirit of activity and enterprise in others, which seems to have been
Sir Sidney's characteristic in almost every period of his naval
career; and which doubtless proceeded from peculiar ardour and
animation in himself.

The war closed by an armistice and treaty, in 1792. But Sir Sidney
then received the reward of his gallant zeal, in his investiture with
the Grand Cross of the Swedish Order of the Sword, by George III.
himself; which we believe to have been an unusual distinction in the
instance of foreign orders, and to have been at the request of the
late King of Sweden.

Though Sir Sidney Smith had apparent reason to complain of the
coldness of his reception on his first return to England, it is
evident that his conduct in Sweden had attracted the attention of
ministers. As a simple English captain, attracting the notice of the
most warlike monarch of Europe, evidently holding a high place in his
confidence, offered a distinguished command, and receiving one of the
highest marks of honour that could be conferred by Gustavus, he was
regarded as having done honour to his country. But we have heard from
those who were intimate with him in early life, that he was also a
remarkably striking personage in person and manners; his countenance
singularly expressive, his manner full of life, and his language vivid
and intelligent. His person was then thin and active, which in
after-life changed into heaviness and corpulency--a most complete
transformation; but if the countenance had lost all its fire, it
retained its good sense and its good nature.

From an early period of the Revolutionary war, the eyes of France had
been turned on Egypt, a country which the extravagant descriptions of
Savary had represented as capable of "being turned into a terrestrial
paradise, if in possession of France." There her men of science were
to reveal all the mysteries of the Pyramids, her philosophers were to
investigate human nature in its most famous cradle, her soldiers were
to colonise in patriarchal ease and plenty; and even her belles and
beaux were to luxuriate in gilded galleys on the waters of the
inscrutable Nile, and revel in painted palaces in the shade of
tropical gardens, and bowers that knew no winter! Further collision
with England led to further objects; and in time, when the Republic
had assumed a shape of direct hostility with all Europe, with England
at its head, the seizure of Egypt tempted France in another form, as
the first step to the conquest of India.

But long before this period, the sagacity of the English cabinet had
seen the probable direction of French enterprise, and felt the
necessity of obtaining all possible information relative to the coasts
of Asiatic Turkey and Syria. For this important purpose Sir Sidney
Smith was chosen, and sent on a secret mission to Constantinople;
partly, perhaps, from the circumstance that his brother, Mr Spencer
Smith, who was then our ambassador there, would communicate with him
more advantageously than with a stranger; but undoubtedly much more
for his qualifications for a service of such interest and importance.

Nothing is left of those memorials, further than a few notes of the
expenses of his journeys; from which he appears to have examined the
coasts of the Black Sea, the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles, the
Archipelago, and the Ionian Islands. But he was now to distinguish
himself on a higher scene of action.

In September 1793, the officers of the French navy at Toulon, and the
chief inhabitants, disgusted with the Revolution, and alarmed by the
cruelties of the Revolutionary tribunals; hoisted the white flag, and
proposed to Lord Hood, commanding the British squadron off the coast,
that he should take possession of the city and shipping, in the name
of Louis XVII.

It must be confessed, that there never was a great military prize,
more utterly thrown away, nor an effort of loyalty more unlucky. The
whole transaction only gives the lesson, that what the diplomatists
call "delicacy" is wholly misplaced when men come to blows, and that
in war promptitude is every thing. The first act of Lord Hood ought to
have been to remove the fleet, strip the arsenals, and send the whole
to England, there to be kept secure for its rightful king. The next
ought to have been, to give every inhabitant the means of escaping to
some safer quarter, with his property. The third ought to have been,
to garrison the forts with every soldier who could be sent from
Gibraltar and England; from which we could have sent 50,000 men within
three weeks. Toulon then might have been made the stronghold of a
loyal insurrection in the south, and the garrison of all the foreign
troops, which the French princes could muster.

Not one of these things was done. The ships were left until the last
moment, through "delicacy" to the people; the people were left to the
last moment, through a perilous confidence in the chances of war; and
Toulon was lost by an attack of ragamuffins, and the battery of
Lieutenant Buonaparte, which an English regiment would have flung into
the sea, and sent its commandant to an English prison.

But, even in the midst of these instances of ill-luck, Sir Sidney
Smith made himself conspicuous by his services. When returning from
his Mediterranean survey, he happened to stop at Smyrna; and there
observing a number of British sailors loitering about the streets, he
offered them service; and purchasing a small lateen-rigged vessel,
about forty feet long, which he manned with forty sailors, and
steering for Toulon, he turned over his little vessel and its crew to
Lord Hood.

This was another example of that activity of mind and ready attention
to circumstances, which characterised his career. A hundred other
officers might have seen those sailors wandering about Smyrna, without
thinking of the purchase of a vessel to make them useful to their
country; or might have been too impatient to return to England, for a
_detour_ to Toulon.

Lord Hood, though a brave man, was a dull one, and had all the
formality of a formal time. Sir Sidney's gallant volunteering was
forgotten, and the defence of Toulon was carried on under every
possible species of blundering. At length the enemies' guns began to
play from the heights, and the order was given for the fleet to
retire. Whether even this order was not premature may still be
doubted; for the French batteries, few and weak, could scarcely have
made an impression on so powerful a fleet; and the British broadsides
might have made it impossible for the enemy to hold the town,
especially after all its works had been dismantled. But the order was
given, and was about to be executed, when Sir Sidney asked the
question which seems to have occurred to no one else: "What do you
mean to do with all those fine ships: do you mean to leave them
behind?" Some one called out,--"Why, what do you mean to do with
them?" The prompt answer was,--"Burn them, to be sure." By some
chance, the answer reached Lord Hood's ears; he immediately sent for
Sir Sidney, and to him, though on half pay, and then irregularly
employed, was given this important duty.

The employment was highly perilous, not only from the hazards of being
blown up, or buried in the conflagration, but from the resistance of
the populace and galley-slaves, besides that of the troops, who, on
the retreat of the English, were ready to pour into the town. His
force, too, was trifling, consisting only of the little vessel which
he had purchased at Smyrna, three British gun-boats, and three
Spanish. But the operation was gallantly performed. The stores of the
arsenal were set on fire; a fireship was towed into the middle of the
French fleet, and all was soon one immense mass of flame: perhaps war
never exhibited a scene more terribly sublime. Thirteen sail of the
line, with all the storehouses, were blazing together. The French,
too, began to fire from the hills, and the English gun-boats returned
the fire with discharges of grapeshot on the troops as they came
rushing down to the gates of the arsenal. All was uproar and

The most melancholy part of the whole narrative is the atrocious
vengeance of the Republicans on gaining possession. An anecdote of
this scene of horror, and of the especial treachery of Napoleon, is
given on the authority of Sir Sidney.

"The Royalist inhabitants, or the chief portion of them, had been
driven into the great square of the town, and compressed there into
one huge mass. Napoleon then discharged his artillery upon them, and
mowed them down. But as many had thrown themselves on the ground to
escape the grapeshot, and many were only wounded, this villain of
villains cried out aloud,--'The vengeance of the Republic is
satisfied, rise and go to your homes.' But the wretched people no
sooner stood up than they received another discharge of his guns, and
were all massacred. If any one act of man ever emulated the work of
the devil, this act, by its mingled perfidy and cruelty, was the one."

It is impossible to read the life of this intrepid and active officer,
without seeing the encouragement which it holds forth to enterprise.
In this sense it ought to have a part in the recollections of every
soldier and sailor of England. Sir Sidney had perhaps rivals by the
thousand in point of personal valour and personal intelligence; but
the source of all his distinctions was, his never losing sight of his
profession, and never losing an opportunity of service. On this
principle we may account for every step of his career, and on no
other. He appears to have had no parliamentary interest, no
ministerial favour, no connexion of any kind which could essentially
promote his interest, and even to have been somewhat neglected by
admirals under whom he served. But he never lost an opportunity of
being present where any thing was to be done, and of doing his best.
It was this which produced even from the formal English admiral a note
of this order, written on the evening of the conflagration,--

"My dear Sir Sidney,--You must burn every French ship you possibly
can, and consult the governor on the proper method of doing it, on
account of bringing off the troops.

  "Very faithfully yours,

This was written at three in the afternoon. It would appear that Sir
Sidney, in his answer, made some observation with reference to the
smallness of the force put under his command. His Lordship, in a note
dated at six in the evening, thus replied:--

"I am sorry you are so apprehensive of difficulty in the service you
volunteered for. It _must_ be undertaken; and if it does not succeed
to my wishes, it will very probably facilitate the getting off the
governor and the troops in safety, which is an object. The
conflagration may be advantageous to us. No enterprise of war is void
of danger and difficulty; both must be submitted to.

  "Ever faithfully yours,

The remonstrance of Sir Sidney must evidently have been with respect
to the inadequacy of preparation, for he remarks,--"I volunteered the
service under the disadvantage of there being no previous preparation
for it whatever;" and the only failure arose from the want of force;
for he was unable to burn the ships in the basin; while it argues
extraordinary skill and daring, to have effected the burning of the
rest with a few gun-boats and a felucca.

But this service, executed at the right time, and in the right spirit,
immediately fixed upon him the eyes of the fleet; and the admiral, on
sending home the despatches from Toulon, made Sir Sidney their bearer.
He was received with great attention by ministers; and Lord Spencer,
then at the head of the Admiralty, particularly complimented him on
the promptness and energy of his services at Toulon.

As it was now determined to fit out a light squadron for the purpose
of disturbing the enemy's coasts on the Channel, Sir Sidney Smith was
selected for the command; and he was appointed to the Diamond frigate,
with which he immediately made sail for the coast of Holland. This
little fleet consisted of thirty-two vessels of various sizes, from
the frigate to the gun-boat. With this fleet he kept watch on the
enemy's harbours, hunted privateers, made landings on the shore,
carried off signal-posts, and kept the whole coast in perpetual alarm.
One of those services shows the activity and intelligence required on
this duty. It being rumoured that a French expedition had sailed from
Brest, Sir Sidney was ordered to execute the difficult task of
ascertaining the state of the harbour. He disguised his ship so as to
look like a French vessel, hoisted French colours, and ran into the
road. Unluckily, a large French ship of war was working in at the same
time, but which took no notice of him, probably from the boldness of
his navigation. At sunset the Frenchman anchored, as the tide set
strong out of the harbour, and Sir Sidney was compelled to do the
same. He had hoped that, on the turning of the tide, she would have
gone up the harbour, but there she lay in the moonlight, a formidable
obstacle. The question was now whether to leave the attempt
incomplete, or to run the hazard of passing the French line-of-battle
ship. The latter course was determined on, and she was fortunately
passed. As they advanced up the road, two other ships, one of which
was a frigate, were seen at anchor. Those, too, must be passed, and
even the dawn must be waited for before a good view of the road could
be obtained. The crew were ordered to be silent: the French ships were
passed without notice. As morning broke, a full view of the road was
obtained, and it was evident that the enemy's fleet had put to sea.
The task was performed, but the difficulty was now to escape. On the
first attempt to move towards the sea, a corvette, which was steering
out in the same direction, began to give the alarm by making signals.
The two vessels at anchor immediately prepared to follow, and the
line-of-battle ship made a movement so as completely to obstruct the
course. There seemed to be now no alternative but to be sunk or taken.
These are the emergencies which try the abilities of men, and the
dexterity on this occasion was equal to the difficulty. As resistance
was hopeless, Sir Sidney tried stratagem. Running directly down to the
line-of-battle ship, which he now perceived to be in a disabled
state, pumping from leaks and under jury topmasts, he hailed the
captain in French, which he fortunately spoke like a native, offering
him assistance. The captain thanked him, but said that he required
none, as he had men enough; but on this occasion Sir Sidney exhibited
a feeling of humanity which did him still higher honour than his
skill. As he lay under the stern of the Frenchman he might have poured
in a raking fire, and, of course, committed great slaughter among the
crew, who were crowded on the gunwale and quarter, looking at his
ship. The guns were double loaded, and his crew were ready and
willing. But, considering that, even if the enemy's vessel had been
captured, it would be impossible to bring her off, and that the only
result could be the havoc of life; and, to use the language of his
despatch, "conceiving it both unmanly and treacherous to make such
havoc while speaking in friendly terms and offering our assistance, I
trusted that my country, though it might be benefited in a trifling
degree by it, would gladly relinquish an advantage to be purchased at
the expense of humanity and the national character; and I hope, for
these reasons, I shall stand justified in not having made use of the
accidental advantage in my power for the moment."

And even then this act of generosity may not have been without its
reward; for the other ships, seeing that he was spoken to by the
French vessel, discontinued the pursuit. The exploit was finished, and
the harbour was left behind. If he had fired a shot into the exposed
line-of-battle ship, he would inevitably have been chased by the
others and probably taken. From this period scarcely any of the
smaller convoys, conveying ammunition or provisions to the enemy's
ports, could escape.

Yet, in the midst of this warlike vigilance and vigour, humanity was
not overlooked; the British vessels were forbidden to fire at patrols
on shore, and were ordered to spare fishing-boats, villages, and
private dwellings.

The winter was spent in hunting along the shore every French flotilla
that ventured to peep out. But one action deserves peculiar
remembrance, from its mingled daring and _perseverance_. A convoy,
consisting of a corvette of 16 guns, four brigs, and two sloops, had
been chased into, Herqui. As they, of course, were likely to take the
first opportunity to escape, Sir Sidney determined not to wait for the
rest of his squadron, but to attempt their capture in the Diamond
frigate alone. While he was preparing for this adventure, two other
armed vessels joined him. The attempt was hazardous, for the bay was
fortified. Two batteries were placed on a high promontory, and the
coast troops were ready to oppose a landing.

The Diamond dashed into the bay, but the fire from the batteries began
to be heavy, and could be returned only with slight effect, from the
commanding nature of their position. It was, therefore, necessary to
try another style of attack. This was done by ordering the marines and
boarders into the boats, and sending them to attack the batteries in
the rear. This movement, however, was met by a heavy fire of musketry
on the boats, from the troops drawn up to oppose their landing. The
frigate, too, was suffering from the fire of the batteries, and the
navigation was intricate. At this critical moment Sir Sidney pointed
out to Lieutenant Pine, one of his officers, that it might be possible
to climb the precipice in front of the batteries! The gallant officer
and his men started immediately, landed under the enemy's cannon,
climbed the precipice, and made themselves masters of the guns, before
the troops on the beach could regain the heights. The frigate
continued her fire to check the advance of the troops. The guns were
spiked, and the re-embarkation was effected. It might have been
expected that this brilliant little assault could not have been
effected without serious loss; but such is the advantage of
promptitude and gallantry, that the whole party returned safe, with
the exception of one officer wounded.

But the enemy's vessels still remained. To get them out was
impossible, for the rocks around were covered with troops, who kept up
an incessant fire of musketry. It was, therefore, determined to burn
them. The corvette and a merchant ship were set on fire: but the tide
falling, the troops poured down close to the vessels, and the party in
possession of them returned on board.

Here Sir Sidney might have stopped. He had done enough to signalise
his own talent and the bravery of his people. But this success was not
enough for him. The convoy were still before him, though still under
the protection of the troops. He determined on attacking them again.
The boats were manned and rowed to the shore. The troops poured in a
heavy fire. But the vessels were finally all boarded and burnt, with
the exception of one armed lugger.

Enterprises of this order are the true school of the naval officer.
They may seem slight, but they call out all the talent and activity of
the profession. They might also have had an important influence on the
naval war, for these convoys generally carried naval stores to the
principal French dockyards, and the loss of a convoy might prevent the
sailing of a fleet.

Lieutenant Pine was sent to the Admiralty with the colours which he
had captured on the heights, and with a strong recommendation from his
gallant captain. The whole affair was regarded in England as
remarkably well conceived and well done. The exploits of the Diamond
were the popular theme, and Sir Sidney rose into high favour with the
Admiralty and the nation.

These are the opportunities which distinguish the frigate service. An
officer in a line-of-battle ship must wait for a general engagement.
An officer on land must wait for the lapse of twenty years at least
before he can expect the command of a regiment, or the chance of
seeing his name connected with any distinguished achievement. But the
youngest captain, in command of a frigate, may bring the eyes of the
nation upon him. The young lieutenant, even the boy midshipman, by
some independent display of intrepidity, may fix his name in the
annals of the empire.

But the caprices of fortune are doubly capricious in war. While the
captain of the Diamond was receiving plaudits from all sides, the
mortifying intelligence arrived, that he had fallen into the enemy's

The origin of this casualty was his zeal to capture a lugger, which
had done considerable damage among our Channel convoys. Its stratagem
was, to follow the convoys, until it could throw men on board, then to
let the prize continue her course, to avoid attracting the vigilance
of the escorting frigate, and, when night fell, to slip off to a
French port. Sir Sidney determined to cut short the lugger's career.
At length the opportunity seemed to have come. The vessel was
discovered at anchor in the inner fort of Havre under a ten-gun
battery. The Diamond's boats were instantly manned and armed; but, on
the inquiry who was to command, it was found that the first lieutenant
was ill and in bed, and the second and third lieutenants were on
shore. Sir Sidney then took the command himself. The attacking party
proceeded in four boats and a Thames wherry, in which was Sir Sidney,
to the pier of Havre, where the lugger lay. It was night, and the
vessel was gallantly boarded on both sides at once, the crew of the
wherry boarding over the stern. The Frenchmen on deck were beaten
after a short struggle. Sir Sidney, rushing down into the cabin, found
the four officers starting from their sleep and loading their pistols.
He coolly told them that the vessel was no longer theirs; ordered them
to surrender, and they gave up their arms.

But the flood-tide was running strong, and it drove the vessel above
the town, there being no wind. At day-light the lugger became the
centre of a general attack of the armed vessels of the port. The
Diamond could not move from want of wind; and, after a desperate
resistance of three quarters of an hour, Sir Sidney and his companions
were forced to surrender. Six officers and nineteen seamen were taken.

Sir Sidney's capture was a national triumph, and he was instantly
ordered to be sent to Paris. No exchange could be obtained; his name
was too well known. He was charged with incendiarism for the burning
of Toulon; and it was even hinted that his being found so close to
Havre was for the purpose of burning the town.

Sir Sidney's imprisonment was at first in the Abbaye, which had been
made so infamously memorable by the slaughters of September 1793. He
was afterwards placed in the prison of the Temple. In all probability,
the first object was to exhibit him to the Parisians. An English
captain as a prisoner was a rare exhibition, and his detention also
saved them from the most active disturber of their Norman and Breton
navigation. But his confinement was not strict, and he was even
suffered occasionally to walk about Paris on giving his parole to the
jailer. At length, after various British offers of exchange, which
were all rejected by the French, he escaped by a counterfeit order of
liberation; and, encountering several hair-breadth hazards, reached
Havre, seized a boat, put off, and was taken up at sea by the Argo
frigate, commanded by Captain Bowen, who landed him at Portsmouth, and
he arrived in London in April 1798, having been in France about two
years and a month.

It is sometimes difficult to know, respecting any event, peculiarly in
early life, whether it is a misfortune or the contrary. Sir Sidney's
capture must have been often felt by him as the severest of
calamities, by stopping a career which had already made him one of the
national favourites, and had given him promise of still higher
distinction. From the command of the Diamond to the dreary chambers of
the Temple was a formidable contrast; yet the event which placed him
there may have been an instance of something more than what the world
terms "good luck." If he had remained in command of his frigate, he
might have fallen in some of those fights with the batteries and
corvettes which he was constantly provoking. But in his French prison
he was safe for the time, and yet not less before the public eye. In
reality, the sympathy felt for him there, and the fruitless attempts
of the Admiralty to effect his exchange, kept him more the _Lion_ than
before; and he returned just in time, to be employed on a service of
the first importance, and which, by its novelty, adventure, and
romantic peril, seemed to have been expressly made for his genius.

The French expedition, under Napoleon, had taken possession of Egypt;
the Turks were a rabble, and were beaten at the first onset. The
Mamelukes, though the finest cavalry in the world as individual
horsemen, were beaten before the French infantry, as all irregular
troops will be beaten by regulars. At this period, the object of the
ministry was to excite the indolence of the Turkish government to
attempt the reconquest of Egypt, and Sir Sidney was appointed to the
command of _Le Tigre_, a French eighty gun-ship, which had been
captured by Lord Bridport three years before. If it be said that he
owed this command in any degree to his having been sent on a mission
to Turkey some years before, which is perfectly probable; let it be
remembered, that that mission itself was owing to the gallantry and
intelligence which he had displayed in his volunteer expedition to
Sweden. Sir Sidney's present appointment was a mixture of diplomacy
with a naval command; for he was appointed joint-plenipotentiary with
his brother Spencer Smith, then our minister at Constantinople. But
this junction of offices produced much dissatisfaction in both Lord St
Vincent and Nelson; and it required no slight address, on the part of
Sir Sidney, to reconcile, those distinguished officers to his
employment. However, his sword soon showed itself a more effectual
reconciler than his pen, and the siege of Acre proved him a warrior
worthy of their companionship. After the siege, Nelson, as impetuous
in his admiration as he was in his dislikes, wrote, to Sir Sidney the
following high acknowledgment:--

"MY DEAR SIR,--I have received, with the truest satisfaction, all your
very interesting letters, to July. The immense fatigue you have had in
defending _Acre_ against such a chosen army of French villains, headed
by that arch-villain Buonaparte, has never been exceeded; and the
bravery shown by you and your brave companions is such as to merit
every encomium which all the civilised world can bestow. As an
individual, and as an admiral, will you accept of my feeble tribute of
praise and admiration, and make them acceptable to all those under
your command?


"Palermo, Aug. 20, 1799."

Sir Sidney found the Sultaun willing to exert all the force of his
dominions, but wretchedly provided with the means of exertion--a
disorganised army, an infant navy, empty arsenals, and all the
resources of the state in barbaric confusion. Two bomb-vessels and
seven gun-boats were all that he could procure for the coast service.
He ordered five more gun-boats to be laid down, waiting for guns from
England. But he was soon called from Constantinople. Advice had been
received by the governor of Acre, Achmet Pasha, that Buonaparte, at
the head of an army of twelve or thirteen thousand men, was about to
march on Acre. The position of this fortress renders it the key of the
chief commerce in corn at the head of the Levant, and its possessor
has always been powerful. Its possession by the French would have
given them the command of all the cities on the coast, and probably
made them masters of Syria, if not of Constantinople. Buonaparte,
utterly reckless in his cruelties, provided they gained his object,
had announced his approach by the following dashing epistle to the
Pasha:--"The provinces of Gaza, Ramleh, and Jaffa are in my power. I
have treated with generosity those of your troops who placed
themselves at my discretion. I have been severe towards those who have
violated the rights of war. I shall march in a few days against Acre."
His severity had already been exhibited on an unexampled scale. Having
taken Jaffa by assault, and put part of the garrison to the sword, he
marched his prisoners, to the number of three thousand seven hundred,
to an open space outside the town. As they were disarmed in the town,
they could make no resistance; and, as Turks, they submitted to the
will of Fate. There they were fired on, until they all fell! When this
act of horrid cruelty was reported in Europe by Sir Robert Wilson, its
very atrocity made the honourable feelings of England incredulous; but
it has since been acknowledged in the memoir by Napoleon's commissary,
M. Miot, and the massacre is denied no longer. The excuse which the
French general subsequently offered was, that many of the Turks had
been captured before, and liberated on parole; that having thus
violated the laws of war, he could neither take them with him, nor
leave them behind. But the hollowness of this excuse is evident. The
Turks knew nothing of our European parole; they felt that it was their
duty to fight for their Pasha; they might have been liberated with
perfect impunity, for, once deprived of arms, and stript of all means
of military movement, they must have lingered among the ruins of an
open town, or dispersed about the country. The stronger probability
is, that the massacre was meant for the purposes of intimidation, and
that on the blood of Jaffa the French flag was to float above the
gates of Acre.

It is satisfactory to our natural sense of justice, to believe that
this very act was the ruin of the expedition. Achmet Pasha was an
independent prince, and might have felt little difficulty in arranging
a treaty with the invader, or receiving a province in exchange for the
temporary use of his fortress. But the bloodshed of Jaffa must have
awakened at once his abhorrence and his fears. The massacre also
excited Sir Sidney's feelings so much, that he instantly weighed
anchor, and arrived at Acre two days before the French vanguard. They
were first discovered by _Le Tigre's_ gun-boats, as the heads of the
column moved round the foot of Mount Carmel. There they were stopt by
the fire of the boats, and driven in full flight up the mountains.

But another event of more importance occurred almost immediately
after. A flotilla was seen from the mast-head of _Le Tigre_,
consisting of a corvette and nine sail of gun-vessels. The flotilla
was instantly attacked, and seven struck, the other three escaped, it
being justly considered of most importance to secure the prizes, they
containing the whole battery of artillery, ammunition, &c., intended
for the siege. Previously to his arrival, Sir Sidney had sent Captain
Miller of the _Theseus_, a most gallant officer, and Colonel
Phelypeaux, to rebuild the walls, and altogether to put the place in a
better defensive order. Nothing could be more fortunate than this
capture, for it at once gave Sir Sidney a little fleet, supplied him
with guns and ammunition for the defence of the place, and, of
course, deprived the French of the means of attack in proportion. But
it is not to be supposed that Napoleon was destitute of guns. He had
already on shore four twelve-pounders, eight howitzers, a battery of
thirty-two pieces, and about thirty four-pounders. The siege commenced
on the 20th of March, and from that day, for sixty days, was a
constant repetition of assaults, the bursting of mines, and the
breaching of the old and crumbling walls.

At length Buonaparte, conscious that his character was sinking, that
he was hourly exposed to Egyptian insurrection, that the tribes of the
Desert were arriving, and that every day increased the peril of an
attack on his rear by an army from Constantinople, resolved to risk
all upon a final assault. After fifty days of open trenches, the
Turkish flotilla had been seen from the walls. The rest deserves to be
told only in the language of their gallant defender.

"The constant fire of the besiegers was suddenly increased tenfold.
Our flanking fire from afloat was, as usual, plied to the utmost, but
with less effect than heretofore, as the enemy had thrown up
epaulements of sufficient thickness to protect them from the fire. The
French advanced, and their standard was seen at daylight on the outer
angle of the town, which they had assaulted. Hassan Bey's troops were
preparing to land, but their boats were still only halfway to the

It was at this moment that the spirit and talents of Sir Sidney had
their full effect. If he had continued to depend on the fire of his
boats, the place would have been taken. The French were already
masters of a part of the works, and they would probably have rushed
into the town before the troops of Hassan Bey could have reached the

"This," says the despatch, "was a most critical point, and an effort
was necessary to preserve the place until their arrival. I accordingly
landed the boats at the mole, and took the crews up to the breach,
armed with pikes. The enthusiastic gratitude of the Turks, men, women,
and children, at the sight of such a reinforcement, at such a time, is
not to be described; many fugitives returned with us to the breach,
which we found defended by a few brave Turks, whose most destructive
weapons were heavy stones.

"Djezzar Pasha, hearing that the English were on the breach, quitted
his station, where, according to ancient Turkish custom, he was
sitting to reward such as should bring him the heads of the enemy, and
distributing musket cartridges with his own hands. The energetic old
man, coming behind us, pulled us down with violence, saying, that if
any thing happened to his English friends, all was lost.

"A _sortie_ was now proposed by Sir Sidney, but the Turkish regiment
which made it was repulsed. A new breach was made, and it was evident
that a new assault in superior force was intended.

"Buonaparte, with a group of generals, was seen on Cœur-de-Lion's
Mount, and by his gesticulation, and his despatching an aide-de-camp
to the camp, he showed that he only waited for a reinforcement. A
little before sunset, a massive column was seen advancing to the
breach with solemn step." The Pasha now reverted to his native style
of fighting, and with capital effect. "His idea was, _not_ to defend
the breach this time, but to let a certain number in, and then _close
with them_, according to the Turkish mode of war. The column thus
mounted the breach unmolested, and descended from the rampart into the
Pasha's garden, where, in a very few minutes, the most advanced among
them lay headless; the sabre, with the addition of a dagger in the
other hand, proving more than a match for the bayonet. In this attack,
General Lannes, commanding the assault, was wounded, and General
Rambaut, with a hundred and fifty men, were killed. The rest retreated

"Buonaparte will, no doubt, renew the attack, the breach being
perfectly practicable for fifty men abreast! Indeed, the town is not,
nor ever has been, defensible by the rules of art. But, _according to
every other rule, it must and shall be_ defended. Not that it is worth
defending, but we feel that it is by this breach Buonaparte means to
march to further conquest.

"'Tis on the issue of this conflict that depends the opinion of the
multitude of spectators on the surrounding hills, who wait only to see
how it ends, to join the victor. And with such a reinforcement for the
execution of his well-known projects, Constantinople, and even Vienna,
must feel the shock."

The siege continued, perhaps as no other siege ever continued before;
it was a succession of assaults, frequently by night. From the 2d of
May to the 9th, there were no less than nine of those assaults! In
another letter he writes:--

"Our labour is excessive; many of us, among whom is our active,
zealous friend, Phelypeaux, have died of _fatigue_. I am but half
dead; but Buonaparte brings fresh troops to the assault two or three
times in the night, while we are obliged to be always under arms. He
has lost the flower of his army in these desperate attempts to storm,
as appears by the certificates of service which they had in their
pockets, and eight generals."

From this period the desperation of Buonaparte was evident. Besides
the eight generals killed, he had lost eighty officers, all his
guides, carabineers, and most of his artillerymen,--in all, upwards of
four thousand soldiers. But the desperation was in vain. All the
assaults were repulsed with slaughter. The French grenadiers mounted
the breach, only to be shot or sabred. At length, the division of
Kleber was sent for. It had gone to the fords of the Jordan to watch
the movements of the Turkish army, and had acquired distinction in the
Egyptian campaign by the character of its general, and by its
successes against the irregular horse of the Desert. On its arrival,
it was instantly ordered to the assault. But the attempt was met with
the usual bravery of the garrison; and Kleber, after a struggle of
_three hours_, was repulsed. All was now hopeless on the part of the
enemy. The French grenadiers absolutely refused to mount to the
assault again. Buonaparte was furious at his failure, but where force
was useless, he still had a resource in treachery. He sent a flag of
truce into the town to propose an armistice for the burial of the
dead, whose remains were already poisoning the air. This might
naturally produce some relaxation of vigilance; and while the proposal
was under consideration, a volley of shot and shells was fired. This
was the preliminary to an assault. It, however, was repulsed; and the
Turks, indignant at the treachery, were about to sacrifice the
messenger who bore the flag. But Sir Sidney humanely interposed,
carried him to his ship, and sent him back to the French general with
a message of contempt and shame.

Retreat was now the only measure available, and it began on the night
of the 20th of May. The battering-train of twenty-three pieces was
left behind. The wounded and field-guns had been suddenly embarked in
country vessels, and sent towards Jaffa. Sir Sidney put to sea to
follow them, and the vessels containing the wounded, instead of
attempting to continue their flight, steered down at once to their
pursuers, and solicited water and provisions. They received both, and
were sent to Damietta. "Their expressions of gratitude were mingled
with execrations against their general, who had thus," they said,
"exposed them to perish."

As the garrison was without cavalry, the pursuit of the flying enemy
could not be followed with any decisive effect. But the gun-boats of
the English and Turks continued constantly discharging grapeshot on
them, so long as they moved within reach of the shore, and the Turkish
infantry fired on them when their march turned inland. Their loss was
formidable; the whole tract, between Acre and Gaza, was strewed with
the bodies of those who died either of fatigue or wounds. At length
two thousand cavalry were put in motion by the Turkish governor of
Jaffa, making prisoners all the French who were left on the road, with
their guns; and nothing but the want of a strong body of fresh troops
to fall on the enemy seems to have prevented the capture of every
battalion of that army, which, but two months before, had boasted of
marching to Constantinople.

It ought to be remembered, as the crowning honour to his human
honours, that the man who had gained those successes, was not
forgetful of the true source of all victories which deserve the name.
Sir Sidney had gone to Nazareth, and there made this expressive

"I am just returned from the Cave of the Annunciation, where,
_secretly_ and _alone_, I have been returning thanks to the Almighty
for our late wonderful success. Well may we exclaim, 'the race is not
always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.' W. S. S."

It may naturally be presumed that the whole progress of the siege had
interested the fleet and army of England in the highest degree. There
had been nothing like the defence of Acre in all the history of
European war. A siege is pronounced, by military authorities, to be
the _most certain_ operation in war; with a fixed number of troops,
and a fixed number of guns in the trenches, the strongest place _must
fall_ within a prescribed time. But here was a town almost open, and
with no other garrison, for the first six weeks of the siege, than a
battalion of half-disciplined Mussulmans, headed by such men as could
be spared from two British ships of war.

The whole defence was justly regarded by the nation, less as a bold
military service, than as an _exploit_--one of those singular
achievements which are exhibited from time to time, as if to show _how
far_ intrepidity and talent combined can go; a splendid example and
encouragement to the brave never to doubt, and to the intelligent
never to suppose that the resources of a resolute heart can be

But the siege of Acre did more. It certainly relieved the Sultaun from
a pressure which might have endangered his throne. It _may_ have saved
India from an expedition down the Red Sea, for which the native
princes looked, with their habitual hatred of their British masters;
and above all, it told England that her people were as invincible on
shore as on the waves, and prepared her soldiery for those triumphs
which were to make the renown of the Peninsular war imperishable.

On the meeting of parliament in September 1799, George III. opened the
session with an energetic speech, in which the siege of Acre held a
prominent part. The speech said--"The French expedition to Egypt has
continued to be productive of calamity and disgrace to our enemies,
while its ultimate views against our Eastern possessions have been
utterly confounded. The desperate attempt which they have lately made
to extricate themselves from their difficulties, has been defeated by
the courage of the Turkish forces, directed by the skill, and animated
by the courage of the British officer, with the small portion of my
naval force under his command."

In the discussion, a few days after, the thanks of the Lords to Sir
Sidney Smith, and the seamen and officers under his command, were
moved by Lord Spencer, the first Lord of the Admiralty, in terms of
the highest compliment.

His lordship said, that he had now to take notice of an exploit which
had never been surpassed, and had scarcely ever been equalled;--he
meant the defence of St Jean d' Acre by Sir Sidney Smith. He had no
occasion to impress upon their lordships a higher sense than they
already entertained of the brilliancy, utility, and distinction of an
achievement, in which a general of great celebrity, and a veteran and
victorious army, were, after a desperate and obstinate engagement,
which lasted almost without intermission for sixty days, not only
repulsed, but totally defeated by the heroism of this British officer,
and the small number of troops under his command.

Lord Hood said, that he could not give a vote on the present occasion
without bearing his testimony to the skill and valour of Sir Sidney
Smith, which had been so conspicuously and brilliantly exerted, when
he had the honour and the benefit of having him under his command (at

Lord Grenville said, that the circumstance of so eminent a service
having been performed with so inconsiderable a force, was with him an
additional reason for affording this testimony of public gratitude,
and the highest honour which the House had it in its power to confer.

His Lordship then adverted to his imprisonment in the Temple. "In
defiance of every principle of humanity, and of all the acknowledged
rules of war, Sir Sidney Smith had been, with the most cold and cruel
inflexibility, confined in a dungeon of the Temple; but the French, by
making him an exception to the general usages of war, had only
manifested their sense of his value, and how much they were afraid of
him." In the House of Commons, Mr Dundas, the Secretary of State,
after alluding to the apprehensions of the country, the expedition to
Egypt, and the memorable victory of Aboukir, said, "that the conduct
of Sir Sidney Smith was so surprising to him, that he hardly knew how
to speak of it. He had not recovered from the astonishment which the
account of the action had thrown him into. However, so it was; and the
merit of Sir Sidney Smith was now the object of consideration, and to
praise or to esteem which sufficiently, was quite impossible."

The thanks of both Lords and Commons were voted unanimously; the
thanks of the Corporation of London and the thanks of the Levant
Company were voted, with a piece of plate. The king gave him a pension
of £1000 a-year for life; and the Sultaun sent him a rich pelisse and
diamond aigrette, both of the same quality as those which had been
sent to Nelson.

We now hasten over a great deal of anxious and complicated
correspondence, explanatory of a convention entered into with the
French for the evacuation of Egypt. Kleber, indignant at Buonaparte's
flight, and his army disgusted with defeat, proposed a capitulation,
by which they were to be sent to France. The distinction which Sir
Sidney had now attained even with the French army, had made him the
negotiator, and all was preparation to embark, when Lord Keith
informed him, by orders from home, that the French must surrender as
prisoners of war.

The armistice was instantly at an end. The Turks, who with their usual
indolence had remained loitering in sight of Cairo, were attacked in
force and broken, and all was war again. Sir Sidney's letters
deprecate the measure in the strongest terms. And nothing can be
clearer than that, though our expedition under Abercrombie was
glorious, Sir Sidney's treaty would have saved us the expenditure of a
couple of millions of money, and, what was more valuable, have spared
the lives of many brave men on both sides; while the result would have
been the same, as it was not our purpose to retain Egypt. Eventually,
the French army capitulated in Egypt to Lord Hutchinson, on nearly the
terms of the convention of the year before; and to the amount of about
twenty thousand men were sent home in British vessels.

Sir Sidney's reception in England was by acclamation. But we must
conclude. He was immediately employed in the defence of the coast, as
the threats of invasion came loudly from France. He afterwards sailed
to the defence of the Neapolitan territories. He was then sent to the
protection of the King of Portugal during the French invasion, and
conveyed him and his nobles to the Brazils. Where-ever any thing bold,
new, or active, was required, the public eyes were instantly fixed on
him, and they were never disappointed.

After the peace of 1815, he resided chiefly on the Continent, and died
in Paris on the 26th of May 1840, aged 76.

The essential merit of this distinguished officer's character was,
that his whole heart was in his profession; that all his views, his
acquirements, his leisure, and his active pursuits, were directed
towards it; and that he never lounged or lingered, or lay on his
laurels, or thought that "any thing was done while any thing remained
to be done."

It is observable, that all his successes arose out of his
indefatigable activity and sincere zeal. If he had stayed dancing or
gaming or feasting, a week longer, in Constantinople, he would have
only seen Acre in possession of the French. The same principle and the
same result existed in every instance of his career. He had his
oddities and his fantasies in later life, but all were covered by the
knightly spirit, romantic bravery, and public services of his early
days. He was the _chevalier_ of the noblest navy in the world!


The sources of the Hudson must be sought in those wilds of the state
of New York which lie in the interior between Lake Ontario and Lake
Champlain. The tide of immigration setting westward through the valley
of the Mohawk, or eddying about the shores of those lakes, has
insulated that region of country, and it remains to this day almost a
wilderness. Within a morning's ride from the springs of Saratoga,
where luxury and fashion keep holiday from June to September, one can
find oneself in a solitude that would become the Rocky Mountains. The
amateur Daniel Boone may there roam through the primeval forest, and
even yet snap his trigger at the wild buck, or engage the panther and

Starting from such a cradle, the Hudson, like a young Hercules playing
with serpents, catches up a hundred little tributary brooks, and goes
leaping and brawling through the woods till it finds itself a river.
Then, gathering size and strength through every curve of its way, it
turns eastward to seek its fortunes in the big world. As if on purpose
to try its strength and power, it comes roaring to the rocks at
Glenn's falls, and there flings itself down in a froth, with the air
of a stripling who signalises his majority by a terrible outbreak from
parental restraint. Then, with a graceful sweep that seems the result
of society upon the young forester's impetuosity, it turns its full
tide into a picturesque valley, and, bending southward, begins its
bright and prosperous career. Awhile it loiters along, now winding
through meadows, now murmuring through glens; and then, catching to
its strong embrace the lovely Mohawk that comes down with her roar of
waters to meet it, the espoused Hudson, with a new dignity, that soon
swells into majesty, takes its straight and glorious course through
sloping uplands and mountain passes, to lose itself in the sea.

From the point where it receives the Mohawk, full a hundred and fifty
miles above New York, the Hudson becomes navigable for vessels with
keels. Higher up, it floats only the flat-boat and canoe. Ascending
its banks till they turn abruptly westward, you have but twenty miles
of land-travel to the head of Lake Champlain; from which a delightful
trip through a hundred miles of mountain scenery brings you fairly
into Canada. Or, if you follow up the river to Glenn's falls, 'tis
only a rambbler's walk to the head of Lake George, whose quiet and
unburdened waters are out of the thoroughfare, but, lying parallel
with Lake Champlain, return you to the direct line of travel through
the ravines of its romantic outlet at Ticonderoga. Thus, from the
Mohawk to the St Lawrence, through this charming section of America,
you have every where a profusion of interest in the natural scenery;
and whether you would see lake, mountain, river, or cataract, you may
find them all to your taste, in a wilderness that retains somewhat of
that fresh beauty which fancy attributes to the world before the

So long ago as the summer of 18--, I was a traveller in these regions,
making my way into Canada. In those days there were no railways in
America. By the steamer, _Chancellor Livingston_, I had ascended the
Hudson to Albany in something less than twenty-four hours. From Albany
to Lake Champlain I was one of a party chartering a post-coach, and
permitted by the terms of our contract to make as easy stages as might
suit our pleasure or convenience. At Whitehall we took a small
sailing-craft down the lake a hundred miles and more, to Plattsburgh;
and thence, resuming the land route, made our way into Canada.
Compared with the more modern rate of travel, we went at a snail's
pace; but with all its inconveniences, our way of making the journey
had its peculiar benefits and charms. We were less superficial
observers of men and things than railway passengers can possibly be.
We were intelligent persons; we conversed with the men of the soil; we
asked questions of plain farmers and sailors, and heard with pleasure
their long stories of ancient battles in those parts, from the days of
the Iroquois to the days of General Brock. We stopped by the roadside
and examined places of interest, and took views of beautiful
landscapes from commanding heights. And now I can say of my route into
Canada what Wordsworth says of the Wye:--

                  "Those beauteous scenes,
    Through a long absence, have not been to me
    As is a landscape to a blind man's eye;
    But oft in lonely rooms, and mid the din
    Of towers and cities, I have owed to them,
    In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
    Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart."

In many such hours I have refreshed my memory by recurring also to
such books of tourists as I have at hand, but especially in the later
authors of this kind I have found little satisfaction. They all seem
to have hurried over their journey without stopping to take breath;
and I am inclined to believe that I was lucky in beginning my travels,
while as yet the spirit of the nineteenth century was only just
putting on its seven-leagued boots, and still permitted the good habit
of hastening slowly. Let me, then, go over my former stages, at least
in fancy; and while I interweave my histories with the personal
adventures of an old-fashioned traveller, let me be met also by some
of the indulgence humanely accorded to narrative old age.

Our travelling party had been thrown together less by choice than
accident; and for our commander-in-chief we had unfortunately selected
as wild a young Irish officer as was ever turned loose from Cork to
fight his fortunes in the world. Fitz-Freke, as he called himself, had
no single qualification for being our "guide, philosopher, and
friend," except a boasted familiarity with the way. He had travelled
it very often, and indeed seemed to hang somewhat loosely to his
regiment, which was stationed at Montreal. Before we had half finished
our first day's drive, we had begun to wish furloughs and half-pay had
never been invented; and I am sorry to add, that his affectionate
recollections of his family in Cork led him quite too frequently to
the bottle. Poor Freke! we profited by his good-humour, yet abused his
forbearance under rebuke; and I must own in justice, that when we at
last parted company, and were to see no more of him, we were all ready
to protest that he was, after all, as downright a worthy as ever
buttoned an Irishman's heart beneath a buff waistcoat.

Leaving Albany before the day began to be hot, we went rapidly through
the green levels upon its right bank, and crossed the river at Troy.
Here we were conducted to Mount Ida, and by a geographical miracle
made an easy transition to Mount Olympus, from which the view is
extensive, but by no means celestial. Freke seemed to think there was
some reason to suspect a hoax; but as his classical information was
not of the most accurate description, I am not sure but he still
labours under the impression that he has stood where the three
goddesses displayed their charms to Paris; and smoked a cigar where
that botheration siege was as interminably contested, as were ever
those consequent hexameters of Virgil and Homer, which he adorned with
dog's-ears and thumb-prints, under the diurnal ferule of his tutor. In
passing through the streets, we were gratified to observe that, in
spite of Diomede and Ulysses, Troy still retains its "Palladium of
liberty, and independent free press;" and though we could discover no
relics of the famous wooden-horse, I notice in the accounts of later
tourists that an "iron horse" may now be found there in harness, which
daily brings strangers into the heart of the city without any
incendiary effect. Such is the change of manners and times since the
days of the pious Æneas!

We rattled over a bridge, and had a fine view of the mouths of the
Mohawk. Here are numerous islands, with steep sides and piny summits,
to which the American General Schuyler retreated before Burgoyne, and
prepared to sustain an investment. While arranging his defences, he
was unjustly deprived of his command, at the very moment when, by the
arrival of additional force, he would have been enabled to turn upon
his pursuers; and thus the laurels of the subsequent victory were put
into the hand of General Gates, while the worst effects of the
expedition fell upon the estates of Schuyler, which were ravaged by
the advancing foe. Gates appears to have been in all respects
inferior to the gallant officer whom he superseded; and as he had the
full advantage of Schuyler's preparatory measures, there is a deep
jealousy of his fame, which must account for the fact noticed by the
author of "Hochelaga," that he is by no means credited by his
countrymen with the vastly important consequences of the capture of
Burgoyne. "Gates has been called the hero of Saratoga,"--says an
American biographer,--"but it has a sound of mockery."

The county of Saratoga through which we were now passing, if not in
these parts remarkable for scenery, is nevertheless full of
interesting places, as having been the field of some of the warmest
contests of the American Revolution. Traditions also still linger
among its inhabitants of the earlier battles with the Indians and
French; and authentic anecdotes are frequently reviving upon the road,
which those who are familiar with the romances of Cooper will
recognise, at once, as the ground-work of some of his fictions. So far
as is possible, therefore, in America, we were now on historical
ground. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, the valley of the
Mohawk was filled with those fierce nations of savages called the
Iroquois. The shores of the St Lawrence harboured their deadly
enemies, the Adirondachs, who belonged to the powerful race of
Algonquins. At the same time, the advance-guard of English adventure
was pressing up through the Hudson; and from Quebec, the pioneers of
New France were pushing their way towards the Mohawk. The inveterate
foes of two continents thus encountered one another in the passes of
Lake George and Lake Champlain; and these natural channels of
reciprocal invasion became, of course, the scenes of frequent
collision and deadly strife. When these preliminary feuds were ended,
and the power of England reposed on both banks of the St Lawrence, the
earliest and fiercest affrays of the war of Independence found here
their inevitable fields. The first years of the present century were
again disgraced by war between England and America, and instinctively
the tide of battle returned to its old channels; and if ever--which
God forefend--the mother and the daughter should fall out again, it
cannot be doubted that the same passes must echo once more to the
tread of martial men, and the same waters be crimsoned with the blood
of brethren. They are the very breeding-places of border-feud; and
Nature has furnished them with that wild luxuriance of beauty with
which she loves to prepare for history, and by which she seems to
challenge her to do as much again, in adorning it with romantic

For several miles between the towns on the left bank of the river, we
had nothing else in view more interesting than a dull canal connecting
Lake Champlain with the Hudson, at Albany. But the river itself is
always beautiful. Even here it is a fine wide stream, and seems to
scorn the beggarly ditch that drudges like a pack-horse by its side.
But at certain seasons it is too low for boating, and at all seasons
is rendered unfit for navigation by numerous rocks. It was a relief to
shut my ears to the perpetual humour of Freke, and watch the course of
the stream through the broad meadows; sometimes refreshing us with
cool sounds where it foamed over shelving shoals, and then dazzling
our eyes with the reflected sunbeam, glancing from its deep smooth
breast, on which the blue heavens looked down without a cloud.

We came to Stillwater, which deserves its name, if it has any
reference to the Hudson. A ridge of hills stretching inland, in this
neighbourhood, is the memorable scene of the two engagements which
sealed the fate of Burgoyne's expedition, and which are thought to
have been the decisive blow in the revolutionary struggle of America.
Here also is shown the miserable wooden shed of a house in which the
gallant and accomplished General Frazer died of his wound. It stands
near the river, and at the foot of a hill, on the top of which the
General was buried. Though the remains have long since been
disinterred, and returned to England, the spot is marked by several
pines, and is constantly visited by tourists. The house is a mere
tap-room, and must, at any time, have been a miserable hovel to die
or live in. Yet it once was dignified as the temporary abode of
high-born and elegant women. During the battles, it was the receptacle
of the dying and wounded British officers, and the scene of many of
those tender acts of self-denying mercy, by which woman, in the hour
of suffering and extremity, becomes transfigured into a ministering

Several miles above, we crossed the Fishill, a little river by which
the Lake of Saratoga discharges its waters into the Hudson; and
shortly after we passed the domain of General Schuyler, and the site
of his mansion, which was burned by a foraging-party during the
advance of Burgoyne. Of the adventures of a single night spent at
Saratoga, it is not necessary to say any thing here, as in less than
twenty-four hours we were again on our immediate route. At Fort Miller
the road crosses the river, and from thence we went along the eastern
shore of the Hudson, eight miles, to Fort Edward. It was here that
Burgoyne began to encounter those difficulties of his situation, which
rapidly increased upon him, till they became insurmountable. He had
forced his way from Whitehall to this place, through an obstinate
fight, and over bad roads, encumbered by all the mischief that a
retreating foe could leave behind them. Here, falling short of stores
and ammunition, his only resource was to transport them from the head
of Lake George, where one of his officers had captured a fort. This
occasioned that fatal delay of more than a month, during which the
American army changed commanders, was recruited with fresh troops, and
returned from the Mohawk to show fight. As he was roundly censured for
his sluggishness in the British parliament, and pleaded in excuse the
extraordinary face of the country, over which he was forced almost to
construct a road; it is but justice to his memory to quote, on this
point, the corroborative evidence of an eminent American geologist. "I
was much struck," says Professor Silliman, "with the formidable
difficulties which General Burgoyne had to encounter in transporting
his stores, his boats, and part of his artillery over this rugged
country: at that time, without doubt, vastly more impracticable than
at present."

But Fort Edward is chiefly memorable for the horrible murder of Miss
M'Crea, by a party of Indians, in circumstances peculiarly tragic and
affecting. It was an event which not only spread horror and alarm
throughout America, but was related with thrills of indignation in
England, and particularly in the debates of parliament. The vehement
remonstrance of Burke against Indian alliances seems to have been in a
measure inspired by the sensation which it produced; and it was
doubtless fuel to the fire of old Lord Chatham, when, a few months
after the butchery of Fort Edward, he blazed out in that fierce
philippic against Lord Suffolk, who had spoken of savages as
instruments "which God and nature had put in our hands." Detestable as
was a confederacy with Indians, however, and instinctively as the
English conscience recoiled from the alliance, it must be remembered
that in America it was at least no novelty. It is remarked by Silliman
that the French, the English, and the Americans themselves had all
partaken in this sin, in the various early wars of the continent.

About half a mile from Fort Edward, and hard by the road-side, still
stands a venerable pine-tree, from a mound at whose roots gushes a
clear crystal spring. This is pointed out as the spot where the
mangled corpse of Miss M'Crea was found. The tree is scored with the
scars of bullets, and marked with the lady's name, and the date 1777.
To this tree her body is said to have been bound, and pierced with
nearly a score of wounds, which crimsoned the spring with her blood.
On the same day were massacred a young officer, and a party of
soldiers under his command, whose bodies were left in the same place,
covered only with some brushwood and ferns.

At Sandyhill, where we paused for an hour, we encountered traditions
of Indian barbarities, in the history of the old French war of 1758,
which, without any romance, were singularly revolting. Fort Anne, at
the end of our next stage, was the scene of a hot action, in the
advance of Burgoyne, in which the Indians were thought to have
contributed something to his success, but even this is doubtful. We
had now an easy stage of ten miles to Whitehall, during which we
debated with Freke on the merits of the unfortunate general, whose
history we had retraced on the road.

The moon was rising over the ravine in which Whitehall appears to be
built, when we reached it, and were set down at our inn. This place is
the Skenesborough of Burgoyne's despatches, and must have changed its
name soon after the close of the war. It so happened that we were
detained at this place somewhat longer than we desired to be, and when
we got under weigh down the lake, we seemed to have begun a new
journey. If I may be allowed to make a similar pause in my story, I
will venture, before going further, to recur to the history of
Burgoyne's expedition, which, with the knowledge of places that I have
endeavoured to impart, may possibly be as interesting to others, as it
has proved to myself.

These places, and the incidents at which I have rapidly glanced, were,
at the close of the last century, as familiarly known in England as
those of the Peninsular war are at present. While the issue of the
revolt was yet undecided, the eloquence of Parliament, and the
conversation of fashionable circles, kept them continually before the
world: and long after the termination of the contest, mutual
recriminations and impassioned self-defence would not suffer their
memory immediately to die. Succeeding events enabled men to forget
America for a long while; and when they again recurred to her affairs,
it was with no disposition to contend with the award of Providence
which had made her a nation. The history of America was English
history no more. Yet there is a period in her history up to which an
Englishman should be familiar with it; for he who reads the speeches
of Burke and Chatham, or reverts to the Johnsonian age of literature,
will otherwise be often at a loss how to regard events and facts to
which the men of those days always referred with the warmth of
political party, but which we can now examine with candour, and judge
without prejudice or passion.

No man of that day is more entitled to the candid retrospect of
posterity than General Burgoyne, for no one suffered more than he from
the heat of contemporaries. I have no other interest in his memory
than what has been inspired by my visit to the scenes of his
misfortunes, and by the observation that he is respectfully remembered
in America, while no one ever hears of him in England. I have,
therefore, nothing to present in his defence, but the narrative of his
expedition, as illustrating the journey I have described.

The war of the American Revolution opened with some dashing exploits
in the north, among which those of Allen and his mountaineers of
Vermont are memorable, as well for their eccentricity as for their
consequences. Accompanied by the crack-brained adventurer Benedict
Arnold, he made a descent upon Lake Champlain, took Ticonderoga by
surprise, and reduced the fort at Crown Point. Elated by success, and
conceiving it probable that the invasion of Canada would be attended
with a rising of the French in favour of the colonies, Arnold obtained
a commission from the Congress to attempt it, and actually succeeded
in leading a small force to Quebec, through incredible difficulties.
Emulous of Wolfe, he would stop at nothing short of scaling the
heights of Abraham; and by indomitable perseverance he accomplished
thus much of his enterprise, and found himself on the scene of Wolfe's
death and renown, before Quebec, with less than four hundred men. But
there the achievement ceases to bear any resemblance to the event of
sixteen years before. Arnold was not wanting in courage, nevertheless;
and after an ineffectual attempt to provoke a sortie, finding himself
in a condition which would make a siege ridiculous, he was obliged to
make a mortifying descent. He returned again, in the depth of winter,
with a larger force, under the brave General Montgomery, and was
wounded in a daring attempt to storm the city, while Montgomery
himself fell in forcing a barrier at Cape Diamond. Arnold now made a
desperate retreat, closely followed by Sir Guy Carleton, the governor
of Canada, who had repulsed the attempt on Quebec. As soon as the
spring opened, Carleton, who had been joined by Burgoyne, pursued him
to Lake Champlain, and, with extraordinary energy, built and fitted a
fleet to chase him up the lakes, and regain the forts which had been
taken, intending afterwards to press on towards the Hudson. Arnold,
with equal activity, prepared a flotilla to meet him, and seems to
have commissioned himself as its admiral. It was but small, yet, such
as it was, he brought it up to the neighbourhood of Cumberland Bay,
where is now situated the town of Plattsburgh. The fleet of Sir Guy
must have presented a beautiful appearance as it appeared around
Cumberland Head, the cape which creates the bay, for it was of no less
formidable a force than forty-four transports, twenty gunboats, a
radeau, two schooners, and one three-masted ship. Of these, however,
only a part could be rendered of service, for the wind was in favour
of Arnold, who had also taken an advantageous position with his little
squadron, consisting of but one sloop, three schooners, and several
gondolas or galleys. For six hours he stood fire like a salamander,
and then, favoured by a dark night and a wind which sprang up from the
north, he escaped with his shattered fleet, and made his way up the
lake unperceived. Pursued by Carleton the next day, he maintained a
running fire until his leaky and disabled vessels could do no more; on
which, driving them aground, and landing his marines, he set them on
fire, escaped to the shore, and so made his way through the woods to
Crown Point, and thence to Ticonderoga. Carleton lost no time in
reducing the former fortress; but his delay in building the squadron
had made it now too late to carry out his projected advance to the
Hudson, and he did no more, but returned to Canada, apparently
satisfied with having destroyed all hopes of exciting a revolt among
the French, or of shutting out the royal troops from the St Lawrence.

In the spring of the following year, Burgoyne, who had been to England
in the mean time, superseded Carleton as governor of Canada, who,
though an efficient officer and an accomplished gentleman, seems to
have given some momentary dissatisfaction to the ministry. It was the
ambition of the new governor to force a passage to the Hudson, and, by
the aid of Sir Henry Clinton, to open a direct communication with New
York, seizing the intermediate posts, and so cutting off all connexion
between New England and the army in the south. This plan, had it been
successful, would probably have put an end to the war; and as nothing
less than so splendid a result was the object of Burgoyne's
expedition, it may be imagined with what anxiety it was watched by the
Congress, and prepared for by the vigilance of Washington.

In June 1777, the new governor ascended Lake Champlain. He was
attended by a powerful armament, consisting, besides the regular
troops, of Canadian rangers, German mercenaries, and a ferocious
retinue of savages. He immediately invested the fort at Ticonderoga,
by land and water, bringing his gun-boats and frigates to a point just
beyond the range of the guns of the fort, and sending part of his
troops to the eastern shore of the lake. Over against the fortress, a
little to the south, and hardly a thousand yards distant, rises the
inaccessible sugar-loaf summit of Mount Defiance, and with great
energy the British general immediately commenced the construction of a
road up the rough sides of this mountain. St Clair, who was in command
of the fort, and prepared to defend it vigorously, having received
special instructions from Congress, and knowing himself to be watched
with the deepest anxiety by the whole country, looked up one morning,
and found the summit occupied by a strong battery, under command of
Burgoyne himself, who had dragged his cannon up the precipitous
ascent, with an activity and enterprise worthy of Wolfe. It was now
planted where it could, at any moment, pour death and destruction into
the fort, from which not a ball could be returned with any effect. The
heights of Mount Defiance, as the name imports, had been supposed to
defy escalade; and the dismay of St Clair may be imagined when he thus
beheld his garrison not only exposed to the fire, but also to the
jeers of the enemy, who could observe his every manœuvre, and count
every man within his walls. The astounded general did all that
remained for him to do. He contrived to start a flotilla up the lake,
with some stores and baggage, towards Skenesborough, and, crossing to
the eastern shore, commenced his retreat through Vermont, pursued by a
detachment under Generals Frazer and Reidesel, who brought him to
action next day at Castleton, from whence he further retreated to Fort
Edward. General Phillips, on the other shore, ascended Lake George,
and captured the fort at its head, forcing Schuyler to Fort Edward,
where St Clair joined him, and both together continued the retreat
down the Hudson. Burgoyne himself pursued the flotilla to
Skenesborough, destroyed it, and followed the American troops, who had
evacuated the place, retreating to the Hudson. Before he could reach
Fort Edward, he was obliged to clear the roads of innumerable trees
which had been felled and thrown in his way; and, besides contending
with other obstacles, to fight one obstinate battle at Fort Anne. It
was August before he arrived, and then came the unavoidable and fatal
delay which I have noticed, in transporting supplies from Lake George.

It was while he was advancing towards Fort Edward, that the
ungovernable ferocity of his Indian mercenaries became so painfully
apparent, by the butchery of Miss M'Crea, and the massacre, of which
the tragically dramatic particulars are these:--As he approached the
Hudson, he was met by an American loyalist of the name of Jones, whose
adhesion to the royal standard he rewarded by an appointment to a
command. The gentleman was betrothed to a young lady of great beauty,
residing a few miles below Fort Edward; and, becoming alarmed for her
safety, he begged permission to have her brought into the British
camp, which was already graced by the presence of two elegant women,
the Baroness Reidesel and the Lady Harriet Ackland. He contrived to
send her word to repair to the house of a relative near Fort Edward,
and there to await a convoy which he would send to conduct her
farther. What the unhappy gentleman deemed a convoy, or what prevented
his going in person for his affianced bride, does not now appear: but
at the set time he despatched a party of savages on the gallant
errand, promising them a barrel of rum as an incentive to their
fidelity. With some misgivings, perhaps, as to the wisdom of their
commission, he seems almost immediately afterwards to have sent off a
second party of Indians, with promise of a like reward. The lady was
at the appointed place when the first party arrived, and, with her
entertainer, was not a little alarmed at their appearance. Their
conduct, however, was friendly, and they delivered a letter from her
lover, assuring her that she might safely confide in their respectful
behaviour and diligent care. With the heroism of her sex, in
circumstances so trying, she obeyed without hesitation, suffered
herself to be placed upon horseback, and set off with her savage
attendants. Just at this time a picket, under one Lieut. Van Vechten,
had been surprised near the spring which I have described in my
journey, by the second party of Indians, who massacred and scalped the
officer and several of his men. The convoy approached the spring with
Miss M'Crea just as the horrid tragedy had concluded, and immediately
began to dispute with the other party, with furious outcries and
ferocious gestures. The horrors of the unfortunate young lady, as she
saw the rising passions of her conductors, must be imagined; but she
could not have understood the nature of their quarrel, which was as to
which party should have the custody of her person, and so secure the
promised reward. The defenceless creature remained a passive spectator
of the combatants, who began to belabour each other with their
muskets. The alarm which had been given by the picket, had caused the
officer in command of Fort Edward to send a company of soldiers to the
aid of Van Vechten, and as these were now seen approaching, one of the
chiefs, to terminate the strife, discharged his musket at Miss M'Crea,
who instantly fell. Then, seizing her by her hair, which was long and
flowing, he cut the scalp, and dashed it into the face of his
antagonist with a fiendish yell. After inflicting several additional
wounds, both parties retreated towards Fort Anne, and tradition
reports that on their way they so far compromised their quarrel as to
divide their trophy; so that, on arriving at the fort, and meeting
their impatient employer, each of the chiefs exhibited half of the
scalp, and claimed a proportionate payment. That Jones's own scalp was
so far affected as to turn white in a single night we may readily
believe, and that he soon died of a broken heart is a still more
credible part of the story. Who can wonder that such an event rendered
the name of Burgoyne a bugbear to scare babies in all the neighbouring
country; or that the massacre of Fort Edward, after inspiring the
indignation of Burke, and rekindling the expiring ardour of Chatham,
was cast into the teeth of Burgoyne himself, when he took his seat as
a senator in the British parliament! That such an attack was unjust
and unmerciful, the facts of the case, which were long misrepresented,
sufficiently prove; yet, as Cardinal de Retz said of the Parisians,
that he who convoked them made an _emeute_,--so it is true
historically that whoever armed the American Indians made them
"hell-hounds of war."

It was at Fort Edward that the disasters of the expedition began to
present themselves to the British general as formidable. A detachment
of Germans who had made a circuit into Vermont, after the reduction of
Ticonderoga, had been defeated in a battle at Bennington, and now with
great difficulty rejoined the army, diminished in numbers, deprived of
their commander, who had been killed, and stripped of their baggage
and artillery. Another excursion under St Leger had been but partially
successful; and as the result of both these unfortunate episodes,
Burgoyne found himself shorn of one-sixth part of his troops. While he
was sending his baggage-waggons to Lake George, moreover, the American
army, now recruited to a force of ten thousand men, began to come back
from the Mohawk, desirous of bringing him to an engagement. It would
have been prudent, perhaps, had he fallen back upon Skenesborough, and
awaited further supplies from Canada; but _vestigia nulla retrorsum_
is a pardonable motto for the pride of an English general. As soon as
he was able, therefore, he set forward; crossed the Hudson on a bridge
of boats; foraged on the estates of General Schuyler, and burned his
seat at Schuylerville, and so advanced to Stillwater, where he drew up
his line before the American intrenchments on the 18th of September.
The next day a manœuvre of some of the troops seeking a better
position, was mistaken by General Gates for an intended assault. A
counter movement was made by the Americans, which produced a
collision, and the engagement soon became general. It was desperately
maintained, and continued through the day, the battle ending where it
had begun, when it was too dark to see. Burgoyne claimed a victory,
and the American general, Wilkinson, confesses a drawn game: but it
was such a victory as rendered another battle almost sure defeat. "It
was one of the largest, warmest, and most obstinate battles," says
Wilkinson, "ever fought in America."

Burgoyne found himself weakened by this conflict, but Gates was daily
receiving new accessions to his strength. The decisive action was
postponed, on both accounts no doubt, till the 7th of October. In the
afternoon of that day a strong detachment of the British troops,
advancing towards the American left wing with ten pieces of artillery,
for the purpose of protecting a forage party, was furiously attacked,
and the action almost immediately involved the whole force of both
armies. The right wing of the English was commanded by General Frazer,
the idol of the army, and admired by none more heartily than by his
foes. The first shock of the battle was sustained by him, and by the
grenadiers under Colonel Ackland, who were terribly slaughtered, while
the Colonel fell dangerously wounded. Frazer, exposing himself in the
hottest of the fight, and conspicuously mounted on an iron-gray,
seemed the very soul of the battle, and showed himself every where,
bringing his men into the action. His extraordinary efficiency, and
the enthusiasm with which he inspired the ranks, was noticed by the
Americans; and Colonel Morgan, of the Virginia riflemen, to whom he
was immediately opposed, smitten with the incomparable generalship of
his antagonist, is said to have resolved upon his fall. Drawing two of
his best marksmen aside, he pointed to his adversary and said, "Do you
see yonder gallant officer? It is General Frazer. I admire and esteem
him, _but it is necessary that he should die_: take your places, and
do your duty." In a few minutes he fell from his horse mortally

Burgoyne commanded the whole line in person, directing every movement,
and did all that valour and heroism could do to supply the places of
the brave officers whose destruction he observed with anguish. Twice
he received a bullet, either of which might have been fatal--one
passing through his beaver, and the other grazing his breast. The Earl
of Balcarres distinguished himself in rallying the disheartened
infantry; and Breyman, commanding the German flank, fell dead on the
field. The Brunswickers scattered like sheep, before a man of them had
been killed or wounded, and some German grenadiers, who served with
more spirit behind a breast-work, were driven from their stockade at
the point of the bayonet. The American general remained in camp,
overlooking the field; but his officers fought bravely, and none more
so than Benedict Arnold, who hated him, and was smarting under
disgrace. This hot-brained fellow, however, had no business to be
there. He was not only disobeying orders, but actually at this time
had no command in the army; and yet, being in rank the first officer
on the field, he flew about issuing orders, which were generally
obeyed. Gates, indignant at his presumption, despatched a messenger
after him; but Arnold, understanding the design, evaded the message by
dashing into a part of the fight where no one would follow him. He
seemed to court death, acting more like a madman than a soldier, and
driving up to the very muzzles of the artillery. It is singular that
to this execrable traitor, as he afterwards showed himself, was owing
the whole merit of the manœuvre which closed the day, and decided
in favour of America a battle upon which her destinies hung suspended.
Flourishing his sword, and animating the troops by his voice and
reckless contempt of danger, he brought them up to the Hessian
intrenchment, carried it by assault, and, while spurring into the
sally-port, received a shot in his leg, which killed his horse upon
the spot. It was this crowning exploit that forced Burgoyne back to
his camp, from which, during the night, he made a creditable movement
of his troops to higher grounds without further loss. In the morning,
the abandoned camp was occupied by the Americans, who played upon his
new position with an incessant cannonade.

The anecdotes of this battle are full of interest, and some of them
worthy of perpetual remembrance. Soon after the decisive turn of the
action, Wilkinson, the American officer whom I have already quoted,
was galloping over the field to execute some order, when he heard a
wounded person cry out--_Protect me, sir, against that boy_. He turned
and saw a British officer wounded in both legs, who had been carried
to a remote part of the field, and left in the angle of a fence, and
at whom a lad of about fourteen was coolly aiming a musket. Wilkinson
was so fortunate as to arrest the atrocious purpose of the youngster,
and inquiring the officer's rank, was answered--"I had the honour to
command the grenadiers." He of course knew it to be Colonel Ackland,
and humanely dismounted, helped him to a horse, and, with a servant to
take care of him, sent him to the American camp.

In his own narrative, Burgoyne did ample justice to the rest of this
story; but it will bear to be told again to another generation. The
Lady Harriet Ackland, as I have already said, was in the British camp.
She had accompanied her husband to Quebec, and in the campaign of 1776
had followed him to a poor hut at Chambly, where he had fallen sick,
and there, exposing herself to every fatigue and danger, had
assiduously ministered to his comfort. She was left at Ticonderoga,
under positive injunctions to remain there; but her husband receiving
a wound in the affair at Castleton, while pursuing St Clair, she again
followed him, and became his nurse. After this, refusing to return,
she was transported in such a cart as could be constructed in the
camp, to the different halting-places of the army, always
accompanying her husband with the grenadiers, and sharing the peculiar
exposures of the vanguard. At Stillwater she occupied a tent,
adjoining the house in which Frazer expired, and which was the lodge
of the Baroness Reidesel, who with a similar fidelity had followed the
fortunes of her husband, accompanied by her three little children.
Lady Ackland is described by Burgoyne as one of the most delicate, as
well as the most lovely of her sex. She was bred to all the luxuries
and refinements incident to birth and fortune, and while thus enduring
the fatigues of military life, was far advanced in the state in which
the hardiest matron requires the tenderest and most particular

If, notwithstanding the inconveniences of such a presence, the
residence of these ladies in the British camp had thrown additional
radiance on the sunniest days of hope and success, it may well be
imagined that they seemed as angels in the eyes of wounded and dying
men, to whom they ministered like sisters or mothers. The Baroness
herself has left a touching account of the scenes through which she
passed, in that rude shed on the Hudson. "On the 7th of October," she
says, "our misfortunes began." She had invited Burgoyne, with Generals
Phillips and Frazer, to dine with her husband; but, as the hour
arrived, she observed a movement among the troops, and some Indians,
in their war finery, passing the house, gave her notice of the
approaching battle by their yells of exultation. Immediately after,
she heard the report of artillery, which grew louder and louder, till
the skies seemed coming down. At four o'clock, her little table
standing ready, instead of the cheerful guests for whom she had
prepared, General Frazer was brought in helpless and faint with his
wound. Away went the untasted banquet, and a bed was set in its place,
on which the pale sufferer was laid. A surgeon examined the wound, and
pronounced it mortal. The ball had passed through the stomach, which
was unfortunately distended by a bountiful breakfast. The general
desired to know the worst, and, on learning his extremity, simply
requested that he might be buried on the hill, beside the house, where
a redoubt had been erected, at the hour of six in the evening; but the
Baroness afterward heard him sigh frequently,--"Oh, fatal
ambition--poor General Burgoyne,--oh, my poor wife!" The wounded
officers were continually brought in, till the little hut became an
hospital. General Reidesel came to the house for a moment, towards
nightfall, but it was only to whisper to his wife to pack up her
movables, and be ready at any moment to retreat. His dejected
countenance told the rest. Soon after, Lady Ackland was informed of
her husband's misfortune, and that he was a prisoner in the American

Consoling her distressed companion, and ministering to the wounded
gentlemen--hushing her little ones lest they should disturb General
Frazer, and collecting her camp-furniture for the anticipated
remove--thus did the fair Reidesel spend the long dark night that
followed. Towards three in the morning, they told her that the General
showed signs of speedy dissolution; and, lest they should interfere
with the composure of the dying man, she wrapped up the little ones
and carried them into the cellar. He lingered till eight o'clock,
frequently apologising to the lady for the trouble he caused her. All
day long, the body in its winding-sheet lay in the little room among
the sufferers, the ladies moving about in their charitable ministries,
with these lamentable sights before them, and the dreadful cannonade
incessantly in their ears. General Gates, now in possession of the
British trenches, was assailing the new position of the troops, which,
with the house occupied by the Baroness, was becoming every hour more
untenable. Burgoyne had decided upon a further retreat; but,
magnanimously resolved to fulfil General Frazer's request to the
letter, would not stir till six o'clock. This was the more noble, as
the enemy was now advancing, and had set fire to a house not far off,
which was building for the better accommodation of the Reidesel. At
the hour, the corpse was brought out, amid these impressive scenes of
fire and slaughter, and under the constant roar of artillery. It was
attended by all the generals to the redoubt. The procession not being
understood, and attracting the notice of the American general, was
made the mark of the cannon, and the balls began to fall thick and
heavy around the grave. Several passed near the Baroness, as she stood
trembling for her husband at the door of the lodge. Burgoyne himself
has described this remarkable funeral, to which, owing to the
intrepidity of the priest, the rites of the Church were not wanting.
The balls bounded upon the redoubt, and scattered the earth alike upon
the corpse and the train of mourners; but, "with steady attitude, and
unaltered voice," says Burgoyne, the clergyman, Mr Brudenel, read the
burial service, rendered doubly solemn by the danger, the booming of
the artillery, and the constant fall of shot. The shades of a clouded
evening were closing upon that group of heroes, and they seemed to be
standing together in the shadow of death; but some good angel waved
his wing around the holy rite, and not one of them was harmed.

That night the army commenced its retreat, leaving the hospital with
three hundred sick and wounded to the mercy of General Gates, who took
charge of them with the greatest humanity. Lady Ackland demanded to be
sent to her husband; but Burgoyne could only offer her an open boat in
which to descend the Hudson, and the night was rainy. Nothing daunted,
she accepted the offer, to the astonishment of Burgoyne, who on a
piece of dirty wet paper scrawled a few words, commending her to
General Gates, and suffered her to embark. What a voyage, in the storm
and darkness, on those lone waters of the Hudson! The American
sentinel heard the approach of oars, and hailed the advancing
stranger. Her only watchword was--a woman! The sentinel may be
forgiven for scarce trusting his senses, and refusing to let such an
apparition go on shore, till a superior officer could be heard from;
but it was a cheerless delay for the faithful wife. As soon, however,
as it was known that Lady Ackland was the stranger, she was welcomed
to the American camp, where, "it is due to justice," says Burgoyne,
"to say that she was received with all the humanity and respect that
her rank, her merits, and her fortunes deserved."

The Hudson girdled the forlorn intrenchments to which the British
general now retired, and its fords were all in possession of the
American forces. By means of these fords they had regained the forts
on Lake George, and the road to Skenesborough, and all retreat was cut
off--even the desperate retreat which Burgoyne had proposed, of
abandoning artillery and baggage and carrying nothing away but bodies
and souls. Yet for six days his proud soul stood firm, unable to
endure or even face the thought of surrender. The American batteries
were constantly at play upon his camp. Blood was the price of the
water which they were forced to bring from the river. The house which
contained the Baroness and her children, hiding in the cellar, was
riddled with shot. A soldier, whose leg was under the knife of the
surgeon, had the other carried off by a ball as he lay upon the table.
After six such days, even Burgoyne saw that there was no hope. He
signed "the articles of Convention," and the next day surrendered in
the field of Saratoga. "From that day," says a British writer,
"America was a nation."

After the surrender, the Baroness Reidesel went to join her husband in
the American camp. Seated in a calash with her children, she drove
through the American lines, presenting such a touching picture of
female virtue, as awed even the common soldiers, and moved them to
tears as she passed along. She was met by a gentleman who had once
enjoyed the command of the army in which she thus became a guest; one
whose patriotism no injury from his country could disaffect, and whose
gallantry and politeness no severity from his foes could disarm.
Taking the children from the calash, he affectionately kissed them,
and presenting his hand to their mother, said pleasantly,--"You
tremble, madam! I beg you not to be afraid." She replied,--"Sir, your
manner emboldens me; I am sure _you must be a husband and a father_!"
She soon found that it was General Schuyler: and he afterwards had the
happiness of entertaining both her and General Reidesel, with Lady
Ackland, her husband, and Burgoyne himself, at his hospitable mansion
in Albany, "not as enemies," says the Baroness, "but as friends."
While thus entertained, Burgoyne said one day to his host,--"You show
me much kindness, though I have done you much harm." "It was the
fortune of war," answered Schuyler; "let us say no more on the
subject." The author of "Hochelaga" adds the following painful story,
with reference to Colonel Ackland. On a public occasion in England, he
heard a person speaking of the Americans as cowards. "He indignantly
rebuked the libeller of his gallant captors; a duel ensued the next
morning, and the noble and grateful soldier was carried home a

Of poor General Burgoyne, we have partially anticipated the subsequent
history. His military career closed with this defeat; and though, on
his return to England, he took a seat in parliament, his chief
business, as a senator, appears to have been his own defence against
repeated assaults from his enemies. Though he is said to have carried
to his grave the appearance of a discouraged and broken man, he amused
himself with literary pursuits, and in 1786 was the popular author of
a successful play, entitled "The Heiress." About six years later, he
was privately committed to his grave, in Westminster Abbey.

At this distance of time, I see no reason why the field of Saratoga
may not be regarded by Englishmen, as well as by Americans, with
emotions as near akin to pleasure as the horrors of carnage will
allow. It is a field from which something of honour flows to all
parties concerned, and in the singular history of which even our holy
religion, and the virtues of domestic life, were nobly illustrated. On
the one side was patriotism, on the other loyalty; on both sides
courtesy. If the figures of the picture are at first fierce and
repulsive--the figures of brethren armed against brethren, of
mercenary Germans and frantic savages, Canadian rangers and American
ploughmen, all bristling together with the horrid front of war--what a
charm of contrast is presented, when among these stern and forbidding
groups is beheld the form of a Christian woman, moving to and fro,
disarming every heart of every emotion but reverence, softening the
misfortunes of defeat, and checking the elation of victory! The
American may justly tread that battle-ground with veneration for the
achievement which secured to his country a place among the nations of
the world, but not without a holy regard for the disasters, which were
as the travail-throes of England, in giving her daughter birth. And
the Briton, acknowledging the necessity of the separation, as arising
from the nature of things, may always feel that it was happily
effected at Saratoga, where, if British fortune met with a momentary
reverse, British valour was untarnished; and where History, if she
declines to add the name of a new field to the ancient catalogue of
England's victories, turns to a fairer page, and gives a richer glory
than that of conquest to her old renown, as she records the simple
story of female virtue, heroism, fidelity, and piety, and inscribes
the name of Lady HARRIET ACKLAND.



The green slope of a hill, at the base of a southern spur of the
Pyrenees, presented, upon a spring night of the year 1837, a scene of
unusual life. The long grass, rarely pressed save by some errant
mountain-goat, or truant donkey from the plain, was now laid and
trodden beneath the feet and hoofs of a host of men and horses; the
young trees, neglected by the woodcutter in favour of maturer timber,
resounded beneath the blows of the foraging-hatchet. Up the centre of
the hill, an avenue, bare of wood, but not less grass-grown than the
other portions of the slope, communicated with the steep and rocky
path that zigzagged up the face of the superior mountain. On either
side of this road--if such the track might be called, that was only
marked by absence of trees--several squadrons of cavalry, hussars,
lancers, and light dragoons, had established their bivouac. There had
been hard fighting over that ground for the greater part of the
afternoon; but with this the horsemen had little to do. On the other
hand, the fragments of smoked paper strewing the grass showed that
musketeers had been busy, and many cartridges expended, amongst those
very trees, where the enemy had made a vigorous stand before he was
driven up and finally over the mountain by the Queen's troops. A
little higher, where less cover was to be had, dead bodies lay thick;
and there had been a very fair sprinkling of the same, in great part
despoiled of clothes by the retiring Carlists, upon the luxuriant
pasture the Christino cavalry now occupied. From the immediate
vicinity of the bivouac, however, these offensive objects had, for the
most part, been dragged away. The infantry were further in advance up
the mountain, and on the right and left. The enemy having vacated the
plain on the approach of a superior force, the cavalry had scarcely
got a charge, but had had, upon the other hand, a large amount of
trotting to and fro, of scrambling through rugged lanes, and toiling
over heavy fields. They had also had a pretty view of the fighting, in
which they were prevented taking a share, but which their brass bands
frequently encouraged by martial and patriotic melodies; and they had
received more than one thorough drenching from the heavy showers that
poured down at brief intervals from sunrise till evening. The sun had
set, however, in a clear blue sky; the stars shone brightly out; the
air was fresh rather than cold; and, but for the extreme wetness of
the grass, the night was by no means unfavourable for a bivouac. This
inconvenience the men obviated, in some measure, by cutting away the
long rank herbage with their sabres, in circles round the fires, made
with some difficulty out of the green moist branches of oak and
apple-trees; and which, for a while, gave out more smoke than flame,
more stench than warmth.

It chanced to be my turn for duty that night; and this prevented my
following the example of most of my brother-officers, who, after
eating their share of some Carlist sheep, (the lazy commissariat mules
were far behind,) wrapped themselves in their cloaks, with logs or
valises under their heads, and with the excellent resolution of making
but one nap of it from that moment till the reveillée sounded. I was
not prevented sleeping, certainly; but now and then I had to rouse
myself and go the round of the portion of the encampment occupied by
my regiment, to see that the horses were properly picketed, the
sentries at their posts, and that all was right and conformable to
regulation. Then I would lie down again and take a nap, sometimes at
one fire, sometimes at another. At last, a couple of hours before
daybreak, I was puzzled to find one to lie down at; for the bivouac
was buried in sleep, and the neglected fires had been allowed to die
out, or to become mere heaps of smouldering ashes. I betook myself to
the one that gave the greatest symptoms of warmth, and on which, just
as I reached it, a soldier threw an armful of small branches. Then,
falling on his knees and hands, and lowering his head till his chin
nearly touched the ground, he blew lustily upon the embers, which
glowed and sparkled, and finally blazed up, casting a red light upon
his brown and mustached countenance. I recognised a German belonging
to my troop. We had several Germans and Poles, and one or two Italians
and Frenchmen, in the regiment; some of them political refugees,
driven by want to a station below their breeding; others, scamps and
deserters from different services, but nearly all smart and daring
soldiers. This man, Heinzel by name, was rather one of the scampish
sort; not that he had ever suffered punishment beyond extra guards or
a night in the black hole, but he was reckless and unsteady, which
prevented his being made a sergeant, as he otherwise assuredly would
have been; for, in spite of a very ugly physiognomy of the true Tartar
type, he was a smart-looking soldier, a devil to fight, and a good
writer and accountant. He had been a corporal once, but had been
reduced for thrashing two Spanish peasants, whilst under the influence
of _aguardiente_. He said they had tried to make him desert; which was
likely enough, for they had certainly furnished him with the liquor
gratis,--an improbable act of generosity without an object. But he
could not prove the alleged inveiglement; the civil authorities, to
whom the boors had complained, pressed for satisfaction; and it was
necessary to punish even an appearance of excess on the part of
mercenary troops, often too much disposed to ill-treat the inoffensive
peasantry. I had a liking for Heinzel, whom I fancied above his
station. He spoke tolerable French; had rapidly picked up English in
our regiment; and expressed himself, in his own language, in terms
showing him to spring from a better class than that whence private
soldiers generally proceed. Moreover, he had a mellow voice, knew a
host of German songs, and although not a tithe of the squadron
understood the words, all listened with pleased attention when he sang
upon the march Arndt's dashing ditty in honour of Prince
Blucher,--every note of which has a sound of clashing steel and
clanging trumpet, Hauff's milder and more sentimental

              "Steh' ich in finstrer Mitternacht,"

and other popular _Soldaten-lieder_. Not very frequently, however,
could he be prevailed upon to sing; for he was of humour taciturn, not
to say sullen. He would drink to excess when the chance was afforded
him; and although he could bear an immense deal either of wine or
brandy without its affecting his head, he was oftener the worse for
liquor than any other foreigner in the squadron, with the exception of
one infernal Pole, who seemed to enjoy the special protection of
Bacchus, and would find means to get drunk as the sow of Davy when the
rest of the regiment were reduced to the limpid element.

Having got up a respectable blaze, Heinzel produced from his schapska
a small wooden pipe and a bag of tobacco; filled the former, lit it at
the fire, and with an "_Erlauben Sie, Herr Lieutenant_," (he usually
spoke German to me,) seated himself at a respectful distance upon a
fallen tree-trunk, on one end of which I had taken my station.

"A cold morning, Heinzel," said I.

"Very cold, _Herr Lieutenant_; will you take a _schnapps_, sir?"

And from the breast of his jacket he pulled out a leather-covered
flask, more than half full, from which I willingly imbibed a dram of
very respectable Spanish brandy. Considering the absence of rations,
and our consequent reduction, since the preceding morning, from beef,
bread, and wine, to quivering mutton and spring water, I at first gave
Heinzel infinite credit for having husbanded this drop of comfort. But
I presently discovered that I was indebted for my morning glass to no
excess of sobriety on his part, but to his having fallen in with a
Spanish canteen-woman, whom he had beguiled of a flaskful in exchange
for two lawful reals of the realm.

The cordial had invigorated and refreshed me, and I no longer felt
inclined to sleep. Neither to all appearance did Heinzel, who sat in
an easy soldierly attitude upon his end of the log, gazing at the fire
and smoking in silence. It occurred to me as a good opportunity to
learn if my suspicions were well-founded, and if he had not once been
something better than a private dragoon in the service of her Catholic
majesty. We were alone, with the exception of one soldier, who lay at
length, and apparently asleep, upon the other side of the fire,
closely wrapped in his red cloak, whose collar partially concealed his

"Who is that?" said I to Heinzel.

The German rose from his seat, walked round the fire, and drew the
cloak collar a little aside, disclosing a set of features of mild and
agreeable expression. The man was not asleep, or else the touching of
his cloak awakened him, for I saw the firelight glance upon his eyes;
but he said nothing, and Heinzel returned to his place.

"It is Franz Schmidt."

I knew this young man well, although he belonged to a different
squadron, as an exceedingly clean well-behaved soldier, and one of the
most daring fellows that ever threw leg over saddle. In fact, from the
colonel downwards, no man was better known than Schmidt. He was a
splendid horseman, and had attracted notice upon almost the first day
he joined, by a feat of equitation. There was a horse which had nearly
broken the heart of the riding-master, and the bones of every man who
had mounted him. The brute would go pretty quietly in the
riding-school, but as soon as he got into the ranks, he took offence
at something or other--whether the numerous society, the waving of
pennons, or the sounds of the trumpet, it was impossible to
decide--and started off at the top of his speed, kicking and capering,
and playing every imaginable prank. The rough-riders had all tried
him, but could make nothing of him. Still, as he was a showy young
horse, the colonel was loath to have him cast; when one day, as we
went out to drill, and Beelzebub, as the men had baptised the
refractory beast, had just given one of the best horsemen in the
regiment a severe fall, Schmidt volunteered to mount him. His offer
was accepted. He was in the saddle in a second; but before his right
foot was in the stirrup, or his lance in the bucket, the demon was off
with him, over a stiff wall and a broad ditch, and across a dangerous
country, at a slapping pace. Schmidt rode beautifully. Nothing could
stir him from his saddle; he endured the buck-leaps and other wilful
eccentricities of his headstrong steed with perfect indifference, and
amused himself, as he flew over the country, by going through the
lance-exercise, in the most perfect manner I ever beheld. At last he
got the horse in hand, and circled him in a large heavy field, till
the sweat ran off his hide in streams; then he trotted quietly back to
the column. From that hour he rode the beast, which became one of the
best and most docile chargers in the corps. Beelzebub had found his
master, and knew it.

The attention Schmidt drew upon himself by this incident, was
sustained by subsequent peculiarities in his conduct. The captain of
his troop wished to have him made a corporal; but he refused the
grade, although he might be well assured it would lead to higher ones.
He preferred serving as a private soldier, and did his duty admirably,
but was more popular with his officers than with his comrades, on
account of his reserved manner, and of the little disposition he
showed to share the sports or revels of the latter. Before the enemy
he was fearless almost to a fault, exposing his life for the mere
pleasure, as it seemed, of doing so, whenever the opportunity offered.
He did not cotton much, as the phrase goes, with any one, but in his
more sociable moments, and when their squadrons happened to be
together, he was more frequently seen with Heinzel than with any body
else. In manner he was very mild and quiet, exceedingly silent, and
would sometimes pass whole days without opening his lips, save to
answer to his name at roll-call.

To return, however, to Master Heinzel. I was resolved to learn
something of his history, and, by way of drawing him out, began to
speak to him of his native country, generally the best topic to open a
German's heart, and make him communicative. Heinzel gave into the
snare, and gradually I brought him to talk of himself. I asked him if
he had been a soldier in his own country--thinking it possible he
might be a deserter, from some German service; but his reply was
contradictory of this notion.

"All my service has been in Spain, sir," he said; "and it is not two
years since I first put on a soldier's coat, although in one sense, I
may say, I was born in the army. For I first saw light on the
disastrous day of Wagram, and my father, an Austrian grenadier, was
killed at the bridge of Znaym. My mother, a sutler, was wounded in the
breast by a spent ball whilst supporting his head, and trying to
recall the life that had fled for ever; and although she thought
little of the hurt at the time, it occasioned her death a few months

"A melancholy start in the world," I remarked. "The regiment should
have adopted and made a soldier of the child born within sound of
cannon, and deprived of both father and mother by the chances of war."

"Better for me if the regiment had, I dare say," replied Heinzel; "but
somebody else adopted me, and by the time I was old enough to do
something for myself, fighting was no longer in fashion. I might think
myself lucky that I was not left to die by the road-side, for in those
days soldiers' orphans were too plenty for one in a hundred to find a

"And who acted as yours?"

"An elderly gentleman of Wurzburg, at whose door my mother, overcome
by fatigue and sickness, one evening fell down. Incapacitated by
ill-health from pursuing her former laborious and adventurous
occupation, she had wandered that far on her way to Nassau, her native
country. She never got there, but died at Wurzburg, and was buried at
the charges of the excellent Ulrich Esch, who further smoothed her
dying pillow by the promise that I should be cared for, and brought up
as his child. Herr Esch had been a shopkeeper in Cologne, but having
early amassed, by dint of industry and frugality, the moderate
competency he coveted, he had retired from business, and settled down
in a snug country-house in the suburbs of Wurzburg, where he fell in
love and got married. Since then several years had elapsed, and the
union, in other respects happy, had proved childless. It was a great
vexation to the worthy man and to his meek sweet-tempered spouse, when
they were finally compelled to admit the small probability of their
ever being blessed with a family. Herr Esch tried to draw consolation
from his pipe, his wife from her pet dogs and birds; but these were
poor substitutes for the cheering presence of children, and more than
once the pair had consulted together on the propriety of adopting a
child. They still demurred, however, when my mother's arrival and
subsequent death put an end to their indecision. The kind-hearted
people received her into their house, and bestowed every care upon
her, and, when she departed, they took me before the justice of peace,
and formally adopted me as their child. For some months my situation
was most enviable. True, that old Hannchen, the sour housekeeper,
looked upon me with small favour, and was occasionally heard to
mutter, when my presence gave her additional trouble, something about
beggar's brats and foundlings. True also that Fido, the small white
lapdog, viewed me with manifest jealousy, and that Mops, the big
poodle, made felonious attempts to bite, which finally occasioned his
banishment from the premises. I was too young to be sensible to these
small outbreaks of envy, and my infancy glided happily away; when
suddenly there was great jubilee in the house, and, after eight years
of childless wedlock, Madame Esch presented her husband with a son.
This event made a vast difference in my position and prospects,
although I still had no reason to complain of my lot. My worthy
foster-parents did their duty by me, and did not forget, in their gush
of joy at the birth of a child to their old age, the claims of the
orphan they had gathered up at their door. In due time I was sent to
school, where, being extremely idle, I remained unusually late before
I was held to have amassed a sufficient amount of learning to qualify
me for a seat on a high stool in a Wurzburg counting-house. I was a
desperately lazy dog, and a bit of a scapegrace, with a turn for
making bad verses, and ridiculous ideas on the subject of liberty,
both individual and national. My foster-father's intention was to
establish me, after a certain period of probation, in a shop or small
business of my own; but the accounts he got of me from my employers
were so unsatisfactory, and one or two mad pranks I played caused so
much scandal in the town, that he deferred the execution of his plan,
and thinking that absence from home, and a strict taskmaster, might be
beneficial, he started me off to Frankfort-on-the-Maine, where a
clerk's place was ready for me in the office of the long-established
and highly respectable firm of Schraube & Co."

Here Heinzel broke off the narrative strain into which he had
insensibly fallen, and apologised for intruding upon me so commonplace
a tale. But he had got into the vein, I saw, and was willing enough to
go on; and, on my part, I was curious to hear his story out, although
I had already assigned to it, in my mind, the not unnatural
termination of flight from a severe employer, renunciation by the
adoptive father, and consequent destitution and compulsory enlistment.
I begged him to continue, and he did not need much pressing.

"Frankfort is a famous place for Jews," continued Heinzel, "and Jews
are notoriously sharp men of business; but the entire synagogue might
have been searched in vain for a more thorough Hebrew in character and
practice than that very Christian merchant, Herr Johann Schraube. He
was one of those persons who seem sent into the world for the express
purpose of making themselves as disagreeable as possible. A little,
bandy-legged, ill-made man, with small ferret's eyes, and a
countenance expressive of unbounded obstinacy and self-conceit; he had
a pleasant way of repeating his own words when he ought to have
listened to the answer, was never known to smile except when he had
made somebody miserable, or to grant a favour till he had surlily
refused it at least half-a-dozen times. His way of speaking was like
the snap of a dog. Every body about him hated and feared him; his wife
and children, his servants, his clerks, and even his partner, a tall
strapping fellow who could have crushed him with his foot like a
weasel, but who, nevertheless, literally trembled in presence of the
concentrated bile of his amiable associate. I anticipated a pleasant
time of it under the rule of such a domestic tyrant, especially as it
had been arranged that I was to live in the house. Accordingly, a
bed-chamber was allotted to me. I took my meals, with some others of
the clerks, at the lower end of the family dinner-table, and passed
ten hours a-day in writing letters and making out accounts. My scanty
moments of relaxation I was fain to pass either out of doors or
reading in the counting-house; for although nominally treated as one
of the family, I could see that my presence in the common
sitting-room, was any thing but welcome to Schraube and his circle.
Altogether I led a dog's life, and I make no doubt I should have
deserted my blotting book and fled back to Wurzburg, had I not found
one consolation amongst all these disagreeables. Herr Schraube had a
daughter of the name of Jacqueline--a beautiful girl, with golden
curls and laughing eyes, gay and lively, but coquettish and somewhat
satirical. With this young lady I fell in love, and spoiled
innumerable quires of post paper in scribbling bad poetry in praise of
her charms. But it was long before I dared to offer her my rhymes;
and, in the meantime, she had no suspicion of my flame. How could she
possibly suspect that her father's new clerk, of whose existence she
was scarcely conscious, save from seeing him twice or thrice a-day at
the furthest extremity of the dining-table, would dare to lift his
eyes to her with thoughts of love. She had no lack of more eligible
adorers; and, although she encouraged none of them, there was one
shambling lout of a fellow, with round shoulders and a sodden
countenance, whom her father particularly favoured, because he was
exceedingly rich, and whose addresses he insisted on her admitting.
Like every body else, she stood in much awe of old Schraube; but her
repugnance to this suitor gave her courage to resist his will, and,
for some time, the matter remained in a sort of undecided state;
stupid Gottlieb coming continually to the house, encouraged and made
much of by the father, but snubbed and turned into ridicule by the
vivacious and petulant daughter, both of whom, probably, trusted that
time would change each other's determination.

"Such was the state of things when, one evening as I sat in the
counting-house hard at work at an invoice, a servant came in and said
that Miss Jacqueline wished to speak to me. A summons to appear at the
Pope's footstool would not have surprised me more than this message
from a young lad who had long occupied my thoughts, but had never
seemed in the least to heed me. Since I had been in the house, we had
not exchanged words half-a-dozen times, and what could be the reason
of this sudden notice? Without waiting to reflect, however, I hurried
to her presence. She was seated at her piano, with a quantity of music
scattered about; and her first words dissipated the romantic dreams I
had begun to indulge on my way from the counting-house to the
drawing-room. She had heard I was clever with my pen, and she had a
piece of music to copy. Would I oblige her by doing it? Although I had
never attempted such a thing, I unhesitatingly accepted the task,
overjoyed at what I flattered myself might lead to intimacy. I sat up
all that night, labouring at the song, and after spoiling two or three
copies, succeeded in producing one to my satisfaction. Jacqueline was
delighted with it,--thanked me repeatedly,--spoke so kindly, and
smiled so sweetly that my head was almost turned, and I ventured to
kiss her hand. She seemed rather surprised and amused than angry, but
took no particular notice, and dismissed me with another piece of
music to copy. This was done with equal despatch and correctness, and
procured me another interview with Jacqueline, and a third similar
task. Thenceforward the supply of work was pretty regular, and took up
all my leisure time, and often a good part of my nights. But in such
service I was far from grudging toil, or lamenting loss of sleep.
Nearly every day I found means of seeing Jacqueline, either to return
music, to ask a question about an illegible bar, or on some similar
pretext. She was too much accustomed to admiration not at once to
detect my sentiments. Apparently they gave her no offence; at any rate
she showed no marks of displeasure when, after a short time, I
ventured to substitute, for the words of a song I copied, some
couplets of my own which, although doubtless more fervent in style
than meritorious as poetry, could not leave her in doubt of my
feelings towards her. I even thought, upon our next meeting at the
dinner-table, after she had received this effusion, that her cheek was
tinged with a blush when I caught her bright blue eye. With such
encouragement I continued to poetise at a furious rate, sometimes
substituting my verses for those of songs, at others writing them out
upon delicate pink paper, with a border of lyres and myrtles, and
conveying them to her in the folds of the music. She never spoke to me
of them, but neither did she return them; and I was satisfied with
this passive acceptance of my homage. Thus we went on for some time, I
sighing and she smiling; until at last I could no longer restrain my
feelings, but fell at her feet and confessed my love. A trifling but
significant circumstance impelled me to this decisive step. Going into
the sitting-room one afternoon, I beheld her standing at the window,
engaged in the childish occupation of breathing on the glass and
scribbling with her finger upon the clouded surface. So absorbed was
she in this pastime that I approached her closely before she seemed
aware of my presence, and was able to read over her shoulder what she
wrote upon the pane. To my inexpressible delight, I distinguished the
initials of my name. Just then she turned her head, gave a faint
coquettish scream, and hurriedly smeared the characters with her hand.
My heart beat quick with joyful surprise; I was too agitated to speak,
but, laying down the music I carried, I hurried to my apartment to
meditate in solitude on what had passed. I beheld my dearest dreams
approaching realisation. I could no longer doubt that Jacqueline loved
me; and although I was but her father's clerk, and he was reputed very
wealthy, yet she was one of many children--my kind foster parent had
promised to establish me in business--and, that done, there would be
no very great impropriety in my offering myself as Herr Schraube's
son-in-law. Upon the strength of these reflections, the next time I
found myself alone with Jacqueline, I made my declaration. Thrice
bitter was the disenchantment of that moment. Her first words swept
away my visions of happiness as summarily as her fingers had effaced
the letters upon the tarnished glass. But the glass remained
uninjured, whilst my heart was bruised and almost broken by the shock
it now sustained. My avowal of love was received with affected
surprise, and with cold and cutting scorn. In an instant the castle of
cards, which for weeks and months I had built and decorated with
flowers of love and fancy, fell with a crash, and left no trace of its
existence save the desolation its ruin caused. I had been the victim
of an arrant coquette, whose coquetry, however, I now believe, sprang
rather from utter want of thought than innate badness of heart. Her
arch looks, her friendly words, her wreathed smiles, the very initials
on the window, were so many limed twigs, set for a silly bird.
Jacqueline had all the while been acting. But what was comedy to her
was deep tragedy to me. I fled from her presence, my heart full, my
cheeks burning, my pulse throbbing with indignation. And as I
meditated, in the silence of my chamber, upon my own folly and her
cruel coquetry, I felt my fond love turn into furious hate, and I
vowed to be revenged. How, I knew not, but my will was so strong that
I was certain of finding a way. Unfortunately, an opportunity speedily
offered itself.

"For some days I was stupefied by the severity of my disappointment. I
went through my counting-house duties mechanically; wrote, moved, got
up and lay down, with the dull regularity, almost with the
unconsciousness, of an automaton. I avoided as much as possible the
sight of Jacqueline, who, of course, took no notice of me, and
studiously averted her eyes from me, as I thought, when we met at
meals; perhaps some feeling of shame at the cruel part she had acted
made her unwilling to encounter my gaze. My leisure time, although not
very abundant, hung heavily upon my hands, now that I had no music to
copy, no amorous sonnets to write. A fellow-clerk, observing my
dulness and melancholy, frequently urged me to accompany him to a kind
of club, held at a _kneipe_, or wine-house, where he was wont to pass
his evenings. At last I suffered myself to be persuaded; and finding
temporary oblivion of my misfortune in the fumes of canaster and Rhine
wine, and in the boisterous mirth of a jovial noisy circle, I soon
became a regular tavern-haunter; and, in order to pass part of the
night, as well as the evening, over the bottle, I procured a key to
the house-door, by means of which I was able to get in and out at
hours that would have raised Herr Schraube's indignation to the very
highest pitch, had he been aware of the practice.

"It chanced one night, or rather morning, as I ascended the steps, of
mingled wood and brick, that led to the door of my employer's spacious
but old-fashioned dwelling, that I dropped my key, and, owing to the
extreme darkness, had difficulty in finding it. Whilst groping in the
dusty corners of the stairs, my fingers suddenly encountered a small
piece of paper protruding from a crack. I pulled it out; it was folded
in the form of a note, and I took it up to my room. There was no
address; but the contents did not leave me long in ignorance of the
person for whom the epistle was intended. The first line contained the
name of Jacqueline, which was repeated, coupled with innumerable
tender epithets, in various parts of the billet-doux. It was signed by
a certain Theodore, and contained the usual protestations of unbounded
love and eternal fidelity, which, from time immemorial, lovers have
made to their mistresses. Whoever the writer, he had evidently found
favour with Jacqueline; for again and again he repeated how happy her
love made him. Apparently, he was by no means so certain of the
father's good-will, and had not yet ventured to approach him in the
character of an aspirant to his daughter's hand; for he deplored the
difficulties he foresaw in that quarter, and discussed the propriety
of getting introduced to Herr Schraube, and seeking his consent. He
begged Jacqueline to tell him when he might venture such a step. The
letter did not refer to any previous ones, but seemed written in
consequence of a verbal understanding; and the writer reminded his
mistress of her promise to place her answers to his missives in the
same place where she found these, twice in every week, upon appointed
days, which were named.

"The perusal of this letter revived in my breast the desire of revenge
which its possession gave me a prospect of gratifying. At that moment
I would not have bartered the flimsy scrap of paper for the largest
note ever issued from a bank. I did not, it is true, immediately see
in what way its discovery was to serve my purpose, but that, somehow
or other, it would do so, I instinctively felt. After mature
consideration, I quietly descended the stairs, and restored the letter
to the hiding-place whence I had taken it. That afternoon it had
disappeared, and on the following day, which was one of those
appointed, I withdrew from the same crevice Jacqueline's perfumed and
tender reply to her beloved Theodore. It breathed the warmest
attachment. The coquette, who had trifled so cruelly with my feelings,
was in her turn caught in Cupid's toils; and I might have deemed her
sufficiently chastised for her treatment of me by the anxieties and
difficulties with which her love was environed. She wrote to her
admirer, that he must not yet think of speaking to her father, or even
of getting introduced to him; for that, in the first place, Herr
Schraube had officers in peculiar aversion, and would not tolerate
them in his house; and, secondly, it had long been his intention to
marry her to Gottlieb Loffel, who was rich, ugly, and stupid, and whom
she could not bear. She bid Theodore be patient, and of good courage;
for that she would be true to him till death, and never marry the
odious suitor they tried to force upon her, but would do all in her
power to change her father's purpose, and incline him favourably to
the man of her choice. Whilst deploring old Schraube's cold-blooded
and obstinate character, she still was sanguine that in the main he
desired her happiness, and would not destroy it for ever by uniting
her to a man she detested, and by severing her from him with whom
alone would life be worth having, from her first and only love, her
dearest Theodore, &c., &c. And so forth, with renewed vows of
unfailing affection. This was a highly important letter, as letting me
further into the secrets of the lovers. So the lucky Theodore, who had
so fascinated Jacqueline, was an officer. That the old gentleman hated
military men, I was already aware; and it was no news to me that his
daughter entertained a similar feeling towards the booby Loffel. I had
long since discovered this, although fear of her father induced
Jacqueline to treat her unwelcome suitor with much more urbanity and
consideration than she would otherwise have shown him.

"The next day the lady's letter, which I carefully put back in the
nook of the steps, was gone, and the following Saturday brought
another tender epistle from the gentle Theodore, who this time,
however, was any thing but gentle; for he vowed implacable hatred to
his obnoxious rival, and devoted him to destruction if he persisted in
his persecution of Jacqueline. Then there were fresh protestations of
love, eternal fidelity, and the like, but nothing new of great
importance. The correspondence continued in pretty much the same
strain for several weeks, during which I regularly read the letters,
and returned them to the clandestine post-office. At last I grew weary
of the thing, and thought of putting a stop to it, but could not hit
upon a way of doing so, and at the same time of sufficiently revenging
myself, unless by a communication to Herr Schraube, which plan did not
altogether satisfy me. Whilst I thus hesitated, Jacqueline, in one of
her letters, after detailing, for her lover's amusement, some awkward
absurdities of which Loffel had been guilty, made mention of me.

"'I never told you,' she wrote, 'of the presumption of one of my
father's clerks; a raw-boned monster, with a face like a Calmuck, who,
because he writes bad verses, and is here as a sort of gentleman-volunteer,
thought himself permitted to make me, his master's daughter, the
object of his particular regards. I must confess, that when I
perceived him smitten, I was wicked enough to amuse myself a little at
his expense, occasionally bestowing a word or smile which raised him
to the seventh heaven, and were sure to produce, within the
twenty-four hours, a string of limping couplets, intended to praise my
beauty and express his adoration, but, in reality, as deficient in
meaning as they were faulty in metre. At last, one day, towards the
commencement of my acquaintance with you, dearest Theodore, he
detected me childishly engaged in writing your beloved initials in my
breath upon the window. His initials happen to be the same as yours,
(thank heaven, it is the only point of resemblance between you,) and
it afterwards occurred to me he was perhaps misled by the coincidence.
In no other way, at least, could I explain the fellow's assurance,
when, two days afterwards, he plumped himself down upon his knees,
and, sighing like the bellows of a forge, declared himself determined
to adore me till the last day of his life, or some still more remote
period. You may imagine my answer. I promise you he left off pestering
me with bad rhymes; and from that day has scarcely dared raise his
eyes higher than my shoe-tie.'

"This last assertion was false. My love and rejection were no cause
for shame; but she might well blush for her coquetry, of which I could
not acquit her, even now the incident of the window was explained. Her
injurious and satirical observations deeply wounded my self-love. I
read and re-read the offensive paragraph, till every syllable was
imprinted on my memory. Each fresh perusal increased my anger; and at
last, my invention stimulated by fury, I devised a scheme which would
afford me, I was sure, ample scope for vengeance on Jacqueline and her
minion. A very skilful penman, I possessed great facility in imitating
all manner of writing, and had often idly exercised myself in that
dangerous art. I was quite sure that, with a model beside me, I should
not have the slightest difficulty in counterfeiting the handwriting
both of Jacqueline and Theodore; who, moreover, unsuspicious of
deceit, would be unlikely to notice any slight differences. I resolved
in future to carry on their correspondence myself, suppressing the
real letters, and substituting false ones of a tenor conformable to my
object. I calculated on thus obtaining both amusement and revenge,
and, enchanted with the ingenuity of my base project, I at once
proceeded to its execution. It was fully successful; but the
consequences were terrible, far exceeding any thing I had

I could not restrain an exclamation of indignation and disgust at the
disclosure of this vindictive and abominable scheme. Heinzel--who told
his tale, I must do him the justice to say, not vauntingly, but rather
in a tone of humility and shame which I have perhaps hardly rendered
in committing the narrative to paper--Heinzel easily conjectured the
feeling that prompted my indignant gesture and inarticulate
ejaculation. He looked at me timidly and deprecatingly.

"I was a fiend, sir--a devil; I deserved hanging or worse. My only
excuse, a very poor one, is the violent jealousy, the mad anger that
possessed me--the profound conviction that Jacqueline had
intentionally trifled with my heart's best feelings. Upon this
conviction, I brooded till my blood turned to gall, and every kind of
revenge, however criminal, to me appeared justifiable."

He paused, leaned his head mournfully upon his hand, and seemed
indisposed to proceed.

"It is not for me to judge you, Heinzel," said I. "There is One above
us all who will do that, and to whom penitence is an acceptable
offering. Let me hear the end of your story."

"You shall, sir. You are the first to whom I ever told it, and I
scarce know how I came to this confidence. But it does me good to
unburden my conscience, though my cheek burns as I avow my infamy."

His voice faltered, and again he was silent. Respecting the unaffected
emotion of the repentant sinner, I did not again urge him to proceed;
but presently he recommenced, of his own accord, in a sad but steady
voice, as if he had made up his mind to drink to the dregs the
self-prescribed cup of humiliation.

"According to my determination, I kept back Jacqueline's next letter,
and replaced it by one of my own, whose writing the most expert judge
would have had difficulty in distinguishing from hers. In this
supposititious epistle I gave Theodore a small ray of hope. The
father, Jacqueline wrote, (or rather I wrote it for her,) was kinder
to her than formerly, and had almost ceased to speak of her union with
Loffel. Her hopes revived, and she thought things might still go
happily, and Theodore become her husband. To obviate all probability
of my manœuvres being discovered, I strictly enjoined the favoured
officer to abstain in future from speaking to her (as I knew from
previous letters he was in the habit of doing) on the promenade, or in
other public places. I gave as a reason, that those interviews,
although brief and guarded, had occasioned gossip, and that, should
they come to her father's ears, they would materially impede, perhaps
altogether prevent, the success of her efforts to get rid of Loffel.
Her lover was to be kept informed of the progress she made in bringing
Herr Schraube to her views, and to receive instant intimation when the
propitious moment arrived for presenting himself in the character of a
suitor. So far so good. This letter elicited a joyful answer from
Theodore, who swore by all that was sacred to be quiet, and take
patience, and wait her instructions. I suppressed this, replacing it
by one conformable to my arrangements. And now, in several following
letters, I encouraged the officer, gradually raising his hopes higher
and higher. At last I wrote to him that the day approached when he
need no longer sigh in secret, but declare his love before the whole
world, and especially before the hitherto intractable old merchant.
His replies expressed unbounded delight and happiness, and eternal
gratitude to the constant mistress who thus ably surmounted
difficulties. But in the meanwhile things progressed precisely in the
contrary direction. Herr Schraube, more than ever prepossessed in
favour of Loffel's well-stored coffers, was deaf to his daughter's
arguments, and insisted upon her marrying him. In one of Jacqueline's
letters, kept back by me, she mournfully informed her lover of her
father's irrevocable determination, adding that she would only yield
to downright force, and would never cease to cherish in her heart the
ill-fated love she had vowed to her Theodore. Then--and upon this, in
my vindictive wickedness, I prided myself as a masterly stratagem--I
caused the correspondence on the part of the officer to become
gradually colder and more constrained, until at last his letters
assumed a tone of ill-concealed indifference, and finally, some weeks
before the day appointed for the wedding, ceased altogether. Of course
I never allowed him to get possession of the poor girl's mournful and
heartbroken replies, wherein she at last declared that, since Theodore
deserted her, she would sacrifice herself like a lamb, obey her
father, and marry Loffel. Life, she said, had no longer any charm for
her: her hopes deceived, her affections blighted, the man she had so
dearly loved faithless to his vows, she abandoned the idea of
happiness in this world, and resigned herself to the lot imposed by a
parent's will. Instead of these notes of lamentation, I sent to
Theodore words of love and hope, and anticipations of approaching
happiness. And at last, to cut short this long and shameful story, I
wrote a concluding letter in Jacqueline's name, desiring him to
present himself on the following Sunday at her father's house, and
demand her hand in marriage. She had smoothed all difficulties, the
unacceptable wooer had been dismissed, her father had relented, and
was disposed to give the officer a favourable reception. Theodore's
reply was incoherent with joy. But the Sunday, as I well knew, was the
day fixed for Jacqueline's marriage with Gottlieb Loffel. The climax
approached, and, like a villain as I was, I gloated in anticipation
over my long-prepared revenge. The day came; the house was decorated,
the guests appeared. The bride's eyes were red with weeping, her face
was as white as her dress; repugnance and despair were written upon
her features. The priest arrived, the ceremony was performed, the
tears coursing the while over Jacqueline's wan face; when, just at its
close, the jingle of spurs was heard upon the stairs, and Theodore, in
the full-dress uniform of a Prussian officer, his face beaming with
hope and love, entered the apartment. The bride fell senseless to the
ground; the officer, upon learning what had just taken place, turned
as pale as his unhappy mistress, and rushed down stairs. Before
Jacqueline regained consciousness, I had thrown into the post-office a
packet to her address, containing the intercepted letters. It was my
wedding present to the wife of Gottlieb Loffel."

Since the interruption above recorded, I had listened in silence, with
strong but painful interest, to Heinzel's details of his odious
treachery. But the climax of his cruel revenge came upon me
unexpectedly. A hasty word escaped me, and I voluntarily sprang to my

"I deserve your contempt and anger, sir," said Heinzel: "but, believe
me, I have already been severely punished, although not to the extent
I merit. Not one happy hour have I had since that day--no moment of
oblivion, save what was procured me by this" (he held up his
dram-bottle.) "I am haunted by a spectre that leaves me no rest. Did I
not fear judgment there," and he pointed upwards, "I would soon leave
the world--blow out my brains with my carbine, or throw myself
to-morrow upon the bayonets of a Carlist battalion. But would such a
death atone for my crime? Surely not, with the blood of that innocent
girl on my head. No, I must live and suffer, for I am not fit to die."

"How! her blood?" I exclaimed.

"Yes, sir, as you shall hear. Jacqueline's fainting fit was succeeded
by hysterical paroxysms, and it was necessary to put her to bed and
send for a physician. He ordered great care and repose, for he feared
a brain fever. Her mother watched by her that night, but, towards
daybreak, retired to repose, leaving her in charge of a servant. I
heard that she was ill, but so obdurate was my heart rendered by the
vindictive feelings possessing it, that I rejoiced at the misery and
suffering I had occasioned her. Early the next morning I was entering
the counting-house when I met the postman with letters for the family;
and I chuckled as I perceived amongst them the packet containing the
correspondence between Jacqueline and Theodore. I betook myself to my
desk, next to a window that looked into the street, and commenced my
usual quill-driving labours, pursuing them mechanically, whilst my
mind dwelt upon Jacqueline's despairing regret on receiving the
packet, conjectured her exclamations of grief and indignation when she
discovered the bitter deception, her vain endeavours to guess its
author. Nearly half an hour passed in this manner, when a sudden and
momentary shade was cast upon my paper by an object passing before the
window. Almost at the same instant I heard a heavy thump upon the
pavement, and then a chorus of screams from the upper windows of the
house. Throwing up the one near which I sat, I beheld, not six feet
below me, the body of a woman attired in a long loose wrapper. She had
fallen with her face to the ground, and concealed by her hair; but my
mind misgave me who it was. I sprang into the street just as a
passer-by raised the body, and disclosed the features of Jacqueline.
They were livid and blood-streaked. She had received fatal injury, and
survived but a few moments.

"A servant, it appeared, during Madame Schraube's absence, had
delivered my letter to Jacqueline, who, after glancing at the address,
of which the handwriting was unknown to her, (I had taken good care to
disguise it,) laid the packet beside her with an indifferent air. A
short time afterwards a movement of curiosity or caprice made her take
it up and break the seal. The servant attending her saw her glance
with surprise at the letters it enclosed, and then begin to read them.
Seeing her thus occupied, the woman, unsuspicious of harm or danger,
left the room for a few minutes. She reopened the door just in time to
see Jacqueline, in her night-dress, her long hair streaming from her
uncovered head, precipitate herself headlong from the window, a height
of nearly thirty feet from the ground.

"The letters, scattered over Jacqueline's bed, served but partially to
disclose the real motive of her melancholy suicide, which was publicly
attributed to the delirium of fever. Old Schraube, who might well
have reproached himself with being, by his tyrannical conduct, its
indirect cause, showed no signs of remorse, if any he felt. His harsh
voice sounded perhaps a trifle more rasp-like; I fancied an additional
wrinkle on his low, parchment forehead, but no other changes were
perceptible in him. No one suspected (as how should they?) my share in
the sad business, and I was left to the tortures of conscience. God
knows they were acute enough, and are so still. The ghastly
countenance, of Jacqueline, as it appeared when distorted, crushed,
and discoloured by its fall upon the pavement, beset my daylight
thoughts and my nightly dreams. I was the most miserable of men, and,
at last, unable longer to remain at the place of the grievous
catastrophe, I pleaded bad health, which my worn and haggard
countenance sufficiently denoted, as a pretext for a journey to
Wurzburg, and bade adieu to Frankfort, fully resolved never to return
thither. The hand of a retributive Providence was already upon me.
Upon reaching home, I found the household in confusion, and Herr Esch
and his lady with countenances of perplexity and distress. They
expressed surprise at seeing me, and wondered how I could have got my
foster-father's letter so quickly. Its receipt, they supposed, was the
cause of my return, and they marvelled when I said I had not heard
from them for a month. An explanation ensued. By the failure of a
house in whose hands the greater part of his property was deposited,
Herr Esch found himself reduced nearly to indigence. He had written to
his son to leave the expensive university at which he was studying,
and to me to inform me of his misfortune, and of his consequent
inability to establish me as he had promised and intended to do. He
recommended me to remain with Schraube & Co., in whose service, by
industry and attention, I might work my way to the post of chief
clerk, and eventually, perhaps, to a partnership. With this injunction
I could not resolve to comply. Insupportable was the idea of returning
to the house where I had known Jacqueline and destroyed her happiness,
and of sitting day after day, and year after year, at the very window
outside of which she had met her death. And could I have overcome this
repugnance, which was impossible, I might still not have felt much
disposed to place myself for an indefinite period and paltry salary
under the tyrannical rule of old Schraube. I was unsettled and
unhappy, and moreover, I perceived or fancied that absence had
weakened my hold upon the affections of my adopted parents, who
thought, perhaps, now fortune frowned upon them, that they had done
unwisely in encumbering themselves with a stranger's son. And when,
after a few days' indecision, I finally determined to proceed
southwards, and seek my fortune in the Spanish service, Herr Esch,
although he certainly pointed out the risk and rashness of the scheme,
did not very earnestly oppose its adoption. He gave me a small sum of
money and his blessing, and I turned my face to the Pyrenees. My plan
was to enter as a cadet in a Spanish regiment, where I hoped soon to
work my way to a commission, or to be delivered from my troubles and
remorse by a bullet; I scarcely cared which of the two fates awaited
me. But I found even a cadetship not easy of attainment. I had few
introductions, my quality of foreigner was a grave impediment, many
difficulties were thrown in my way, and so much time was lost that my
resources were expended, and at last I was fain to enlist in this
regiment. And now you know my whole history, sir, word for word, as it
happened, except some of the names, which it was as well to alter."

"And the unfortunate Theodore," said I, "what became of him?"

"He resigned his commission two days afterwards, and disappeared from
Frankfort. No one could think how he intended to live, for he had
scarcely any thing beside his pay. I have sometimes asked myself
whether he committed suicide, for his despair, I was told, was
terrible, on learning the infidelity and death of Jacqueline. That
would be another load on my conscience. But if he lives, the facts you
have just heard must still be a mystery to him."

"They are no longer so," said a voice, whose strange and hollow tone
made me start. At the same moment Schmidt, who during all this time
had lain so still and motionless that I had forgotten his presence,
rose suddenly to his feet, and, dropping his cloak, strode through the
hot ashes of the fire. His teeth were set, his eyes flashed, his face
was white with rage, as he confronted the astonished Heinzel.

"Infernal villain!" he exclaimed, in German; "your name is not
Heinzel, nor mine Schmidt; you are Thomas Wolff, and I am Theodore

Heinzel, or Wolff, staggered back in consternation. His jaw dropped,
and his eyes stared with an expression of vague alarm. Grinding his
teeth with fury, Schmidt returned his gaze for a moment or two, then,
flashing his sabre from the scabbard, he struck his newly-found enemy
across the face with the flat of the weapon, and drew back his arm to
repeat the blow. The pain and insult roused Heinzel from his
stupefaction; he bared his sword, and the weapons clashed together. It
was time to interfere. I had my sheathed sabre in my hand; I struck up
their blades, and stood between them.

"Return your swords instantly," I said. "Stand to your horse, Schmidt;
and you, Heinzel, remain here. Whatever your private quarrels, this is
no time or place to settle them."

Heinzel dropped his sabre point, and seemed willing enough to obey,
but his antagonist glared fiercely at me; and pressed forward, as if
to pass me and get at his enemy, who had retreated a pace or two. I
repeated my command more imperatively than before. Still Schmidt
hesitated between thirst for revenge and the habit of obedience, when,
just at that moment, the trumpets clanged out the first notes of the
reveillée. The Spanish bands were already playing the _diana_; the sky
grew gray in the east, a few dropping shots were heard, exchanged by
the hostile outposts whom the first glimmer of day rendered visible to
each other. Heinzel hurried to his horse; and the instinct of
discipline and duty prevailing with Schmidt, he sheathed his sabre and
gloomily rejoined his squadron. The men hastily bridled up, and had
scarcely done so when the word was given for the left squadron (which
was mine) to mount. We were no sooner in the saddle than we were
marched away under the guidance of a Spanish staff-officer.

The day was a busy one; and it was not till we halted for the night
that I found an opportunity of speaking to Heinzel. I inquired of him
how it was that he had not recognised Theodore Werner in his comrade
Schmidt. He then informed me that he knew the lover of the unhappy
Jacqueline only by name, and by his letters, but had never seen him.
At the time of his abode in Frankfort, there were a large number of
Prussian officers in garrison there, in consequence of the
revolutionary attempt of 1833; and it was not till after Werner's
sudden appearance in Herr Schraube's house, upon the day of the
wedding, that Heinzel learned his surname. In the letters Theodore was
the only name used. Heinzel seemed to have been greatly shaken and
alarmed by that morning's unexpected meeting. He was a brave fellow in
the field; but I could see that he did not relish the idea of a
personal encounter with the man he had so deeply injured, and that he
would be likely to do what he could to avoid it. There was no
immediate necessity to think about the matter; for the squadron did
not rejoin the regiment, as we had expected, but was attached to a
Spanish brigade, and sent away in a different direction.

Two months elapsed before we again saw the main body of the regiment,
and the various changes and incidents that intervened nearly drove
from my memory Heinzel's story and his feud with Schmidt. At last we
rejoined headquarters, one broiling day in June, at a small town of
Old Castile. After so long a separation, in bustling times of war,
comrades have much to say to each other, and soon the officers of the
three squadrons were assembled at the posada, discussing the events
that had filled the interval. The trumpet-call to evening stables
produced a dispersion, at least of the subalterns, who went to
ascertain that the horses were properly put up, and the men at their
duty. My troop was quartered in half-a-dozen houses, adjacent to each
other, and on arriving there, the sergeant-major reported all present
except Heinzel. I was not very much surprised at his absence, but
concluded that the heat of the day, and the abundance of
wine,--particularly good and cheap in that neighbourhood,--had been
too much for him, and that he was sleeping off, in some quiet corner,
the effects of excessive potations. I mentally promised him a
reprimand, and an extra guard or two, and returned to my billet. The
next morning, however, it was the same story--Heinzel again absent,
and had not been at his quarters all night. This required
investigation. I could not think he had deserted; but he might have
got quarrelsome in his cups, have fallen out with the Spaniards, and
have been made away with in some manner. I went to the house where he
was billeted. The stable, or rather cowshed, was very small, only fit
for two horses, and consequently Heinzel and one other man, a Pole,
were the only troopers quartered there. I found the Pole burnishing
his accoutrements, and singing, in French most barbarously broken, the
burden of a _chanson à boire_. He could give no account of his comrade
since the preceding day. Towards evening Heinzel had gone out with
another German, and had not since made his appearance. I inquired the
name of the other German. It was Franz Schmidt. This immediately
suggested very different suspicions from those I had previously
entertained as to the cause of Heinzel's absence. On further
questioning, the Pole said that Schmidt came into the billet, and
spoke to Heinzel loudly and vehemently in German, of which language he
(the Pole) understood little, but yet could make out that the words
used were angry and abusive. Heinzel replied meekly, and seemed to
apologise, and to try to soften Schmidt; but the latter continued his
violence, and at last raised his hand to strike him, overwhelming him,
at the same time, with opprobrious epithets. All this was extracted
from the Pole by degrees, and with some difficulty. He could not, or
would not, tell if Heinzel had taken his sabre with him, but there
could be little doubt, for it was not to be found. The Pole was afraid
of getting himself, or Heinzel, into trouble by speaking openly; but
he evidently knew well enough that the two Germans had gone out to
fight. I immediately went to the captain of Schmidt's troop, and found
him in great anger at the absence of one of his best men. Several
foreigners had deserted from the regiment within the last few months,
and he suspected Schmidt of having followed their example, and betaken
himself to the Carlists. What I told him scarcely altered his opinion.
If the two men had gone out to fight, it was not likely that both were
killed; and if one was, the survivor had probably deserted to escape
punishment. The affair was reported to the colonel, and parties of
foot and horse were sent to patrol the environs, and seek the missing
men. At last they were found, in a straggling wood of willows and
alder-bushes, that grew on marsh land about a mile from the town.
Heinzel was first discovered. He lay upon a small patch of sandy soil,
which had manifestly been the scene of a desperate struggle, for it
was literally ploughed up by the heavy trampling and stamping of men's
feet. He had only one wound, a tremendous sabre-thrust through the
left side, which must have occasioned almost instant death. From his
corpse a trail of blood led to that of Schmidt, which was found about
a hundred yards off. The conqueror in this fierce duel, he had fared
little better than his victim. He had received three wounds, no one of
them mortal, but from which the loss of blood had proved fatal. He had
made an effort to return to the town, but had sunk down exhausted,
probably in a swoon, and had literally bled to death.

Both the deceased men being Protestants, the Spanish priesthood would
of course do nothing for them, and we had no chaplain. They were
buried soldier-fashion in the same grave, near the place of their
death, and the funeral service of the Church of England was read over
them. A rough block of stone, that lay near at hand, was rolled to the
grave, and partly imbedded in the earth; and I got a soldier, who had
been a stone-cutter, to carve on it a pair of crossed swords, a date,
and the letters T. W. None could understand the meaning of these
initials, until I told that evening, after mess, the story of the
Intercepted Letters.


"The time is out of joint--oh, cursed spite!"--_Hamlet._

We are no friends to modern miracles. Whether these be wrought at
Trêves, Loretto, or Edinburgh, we protest and make head against them
all; and we care not a farthing for the indignation of the
miracle-monger, be he pope, prelate, priest, potentate, protector, or
provost. The interference of modern town-councils, to which we have
all been long accustomed, has at last reached a point which borders
upon absolute impiety. Not content with poking their fingers into
every civic and terrestrial mess--not satisfied with interfering in
the functions of the superintendent of the city fulzie, and giving
gratuitous and unheeded advice to prime ministers--they have at last
aspired to control the sun, and to regulate the motions of the
heavenly bodies according to their delectable will. Pray, do these
gentlemen ever read their Bibles? Do they really think that they are
so many Joshuas? Do they know what they are doing when they presume to
interfere with the arrangements of Providence and of nature--to alter
times and seasons, and to confound the Sabbath with the week? Our
amazement at their unjustifiable proceedings is only surpassed by our
wonder at the apathy which prevails among the insulted population.
Beyond one or two feeble letters in the newspapers, there have been no
symptoms of resistance. Surely they have some respect left for their
beds and their religion--for their natural and their commanded rest.
It will not do to remain suffering under this last monstrous outrage
in apathy and indifference. The bailies shall not be permitted to
eclipse Phœbus, and proclaim false hours to us with impunity. We
are ready and willing to head a crusade upon this matter, and we call
upon all sorts and sundries of our fellow-citizens to join us in
insurrection against the nuisance.

How stand the facts of the case? Listen and perpend. At twelve of the
night of Saturday the thirteenth day of January, one thousand eight
hundred and forty-eight, the public clocks of the city of Edinburgh
were altered from their actual time by command of the Town Council,
and advanced by twelve minutes and a half. To that extent, therefore,
the clocks were made to lie. They had ceased to be regulated by the
sun, and were put under civic jurisdiction. The amount of the
variation matters little--it is the principle we contend for: at the
same time it is quite clear that, if the magistrates possess this
arbitrary power, they might have extended their reform from minutes to
hours, and forced us, under the most cruel of all possible penalties,
to rise in the depth of winter at a time when nature has desired us to
be in bed.

Now, we beg once for all to state that we shall not get up, for the
pleasure of any man, a single second sooner than we ought to do; and
that we shall not, on any pretext whatever, permit ourselves to be
defrauded, in the month of January, of twelve minutes and a half of
our just and natural repose. Life is bitter enough of itself without
enduring such an additional penalty. In our hyperborean regions, the
sacrifice is too hard to be borne; and one actually shudders at the
amount of human suffering which must be the inevitable consequence, if
we do not organise a revolt. For let it be specially remembered, that
this monstrous practical falsehood is not attended with any
alleviating relaxations whatever. It is a foul conspiracy to drag us
from our beds, and to tear us from connubial felicity. The law courts,
the banks, the public offices, the manufactories, all meet at the
accustomed matutinal hour; but that hour, be it six, eight, or nine,
is now a liar, and has shot ahead of the sun. Countless are the curses
muttered every morning, and not surely altogether unheard, from
thousands of unhappy men, dragged at the remorseless sound of the bell
from pallet and mattress, from bed of down or lair of straw, from
blanket, sheet, and counterpane, to shiver in the bitter frost of
February, for no better reason than to gratify the whim of a few
burgesses congregated in the High Street, who have a confused notion
that the motions of the sun are regulated by an observatory at

What, in the name of whitebait, have we to do with Greenwich more than
with Timbuctoo, or Moscow, or Boston, or Astracan, or the capital of
the Cannibal Islands? The great orb of day no doubt surveys all those
places in turn, but he does not do so at the same moment, or minute,
or hour. It has been ordained by Providence that one half of this
globe should be wrapped in darkness whilst the other is illuminated by
light--that one fraction of the town-councils of the earth may sleep
and be silent, whilst another is awake and gabbling. Not the music of
the spheres could be listened to by man or angel were the provision
otherwise. And yet all this fair order is to be deranged by the civic
Solons of the Modern Athens! It is small wonder if few of these
gentlemen have personally much appetite for repose. The head which
wears a cocked-hat may lie as uneasy as that which is decorated with a
crown; and there is many a malignant thought to press upon and disturb
their slumbers. They are men of mortal mould, and therefore it is fair
to suppose that they have consciences. They cannot be altogether
oblivious of the present disgraceful state of the streets. The
Infirmary must weigh upon them, heavy as undigested pork-pie; and
their recent exhibitions in the Court of Session have been by no means
creditable to their understanding. Therefore we can readily comprehend
why they, collectively, are early driven from their couches; but it is
not so easy to discover why they have no bowels of mercy towards their
fellow-citizens. The cry of the Parliament House is raised against
them, and we own that our soul is sorry for the peripatetics of the
Outer boards. An ancient and barbarous custom, which long ago should
have been amended, forces them to appear, summer and winter, before
the Lords Ordinary at nine o'clock; and we have heard more than one of
them confess, with tears in their eyes, that their fairest prospects
in life have been cruelly blighted, because the darlings of their
hearts could not think of marrying men who were dragged from bed,
throughout a considerable portion of the year, in the dark, who shaved
by candle-light, and who expected their helpmates to rise
simultaneously, and superintend the preparation of their coffee. If
these things occurred under the merciful jurisdiction of the sun, what
will be the result of the active cruelties of the magistracy? Why,
Advocate will become a word synonymous with that of bachelor, and not
a single Writer to the Signet be followed by a son to the grave!

And why, we may ask, has this unwarrantable alteration been made? For
what mighty consideration is it that the lives of so many of the
lieges are to be embittered, and their comforts utterly destroyed?
Simply for this reason, that there may be a uniformity of time
established by the railway clocks, and that the trains may leave
Edinburgh and London precisely at the same moment. Now, in the first
place, we positively and distinctly deny that there is any advantage
whatever, even to the small travelling fraction of the community, in
any such arrangement. There is no earthly or intelligible connexion
between the man who starts from Edinburgh and the other who starts
from London. They have each a separate rail, and there is no chance of
a collision because the sun rises in the one place later than it does
in the other. The men, we shall suppose, are not idiots: they know how
to set their watches, or, if they do not possess such a utensil, they
can desire the Boots to call them at the proper hour, and go to bed
like Christians who intend to enjoy the last possible moment of
repose. If they are particular about time, as some old martinets are,
they can have their watches reset when they arrive at the place of
their destination, or regulate them by the different railway clocks as
they pass along. They have nothing else to do; and it is as easy to
set a watch as to drink off a tumbler of brandy and water. Or if the
Fogies choose to be particular, why cannot the railway directors print
alongside of the real time a column of the fabulous Greenwich? John
Bull, we know, has a vast idea of his own superiority in every matter,
and if he chooses also to prefer his own time, let the fat fellow be
gratified, by all means. Only do not let us run the risk of being
late, in our endeavour to humour him, by forestalling the advent of
the sun. May his shadow never be less, nor ours continue to be
augmented, in this merciless and arbitrary manner!

But, in the second place, we beg leave to ask, whether the comforts of
our whole population, whose time has effectually been put out of
joint, are to be sacrificed for the sake of the passengers travelling
between this and London? Do the whole of us, or the half of us, or any
of us, spend a considerable portion of our lives in whirling along the
Caledonian or the North British railways? The Lord Provost may deem it
necessary to go up to London once a-year on Parliamentary business;
but surely it would be more decent in his Lordship to wait for the
sun, than to move off in the proud conviction that the course of that
luminary has been adjusted to suit his convenience. We are
irresistibly put in mind of an anecdote told by Sir Edward Bulwer
Lytton. A certain merchant, sleeping in a commercial hotel, had given
orders overnight that he should be called at a particular hour. Boots
was punctual. "The morning has broke, sir," said he, drawing the
curtain. "Let it break, and go to the mischief!" replied the sleepy
trader; "it owes _me_ nothing!" Now, whatever may be the opinion of
the provost and his subordinate senate, we, the people of Edinburgh,
do set a certain value upon the morning, which we hold to be appointed
by Providence, and not by the Town-Council; and we must have somewhat
better reasons than have yet been adduced in favour of the change,
before we consent to make ourselves miserable for life. Early rising
may be a very good thing, though, for our part, we always suspect a
fellow who is over-anxious to get out of bed before his neighbours;
but no man, or body of men, have a right to cram it as a dogma down
our throats. And it is quite preposterous to maintain that the
permanent comfort of many thousand people is to be sacrificed for the
sake of a dubious convenience to the few bagmen who, maybe travelling
with their samples to the southward. We protest in all sincerity,
that, rather than subject ourselves to this _bouleversement_ and
disordering of nature, we would be content to see every railway
throughout the kingdom torn up or battered down, and in every point of
view we should consider ourselves gainers thereby. We, like the Lord
Provost of Edinburgh, go once a-year to London, but then we rise from
our bed every morning of the year. We are far more likely now to miss
an early train than before; and yet, in order to secure that single
disadvantage, we are compelled in all time coming unnaturally to
anticipate the day.

It is probable that some of our sapient councillors think this a very
grand and clever scheme for securing uniformity of time. We consider
it neither grand nor clever, but simply stupid and idiotical; and we
beg to tell them that they have not secured thereby even what they
foolishly think to be an uniformity of time. They have merely, by
attempting to meddle with nature, introduced an element of ceaseless
and intolerable confusion. They have no jurisdiction beyond their
limited parliamentary bounds. They cannot decree that their time is to
be adopted by the county towns; and a glance at the map will show what
a small portion of the population of Scotland is located upon the line
of the railways. Then as to the country, where clocks are uncommon,
and usual reference for time is made to that great disc which is
flaring in the sky, are the people there also to submit to the
dictation of the magistrates of Edinburgh, and, if they want to
perform a journey, arrive too late for the coach or train, because
they trusted to the unerring and infallible index of the Almighty?
Then as to the dials, common on the terrace and garden, and not
uncommon on the older country steeples--what is to become of them? Are
they to be branded for ever as lying monitors by the decree of sundry
civic dignitaries, and broken up as utterly useless? Are all those who
pin their faith to them to be deceived? Really this is carrying
matters with a high hand, with a vengeance!

Uniformity is the hobby of the age, and, more than the nine of
diamonds, it has been the curse of Scotland. A certain set of people
have been trying for these thirty years to assimilate us utterly to
England, and in their endeavor to do so they have wrought incalculable
mischief. They are continually tampering with our laws, and they
would, if they dared, attempt to tamper with our religion. A man can
neither be baptised, married, nor buried after the fashion of his
forefathers. We are not allowed to trade with each other except upon
English currency principles; and they have thrust the English system
of jury trial in civil cases upon us, against the unanimous and
indignant remonstrance of the nation. Now, _Cæteris paribus_, we are
willing to admit that uniformity in the abstract may be a very good
thing, if you can only carry it out. Uniformity of property, for
example, upon principles of equal division, could hardly fail to be
popular; and we should like to see every acre of land throughout
Britain at a uniform rent of five pounds. But uniformity, in order to
perfect the system, should be cosmopolitan, not national--universal,
and not limited. It would, for example, be convenient, in a commercial
point of view, if all the nations of Europe--nay, of the world--could
be brought to speak a uniform language. Such a state of matters, we
know, once existed, but it was put a stop to by a miracle at the
building of the tower of Babel. It might possibly be convenient if the
four seasons of the year were equally and simultaneously distributed
throughout the world--if, when we are going to our beds, the huntsmen
were not up in Arabia, but lying amidst their camels beneath a tent in
some far oasis of the wilderness. But these matters have been
regulated by Divine Intelligence, and uniformity is no part of the
scheme. In a very few years we shall have direct railway communication
throughout Europe, from the west to the east--will it therefore be
advisable to adopt a common standard of time--say that of
Greenwich--for all the trains? Are the inhabitants of Paris to be
aroused from slumber some three hours before their wont, because the
early train from Moscow is to start at nine o'clock? If not, why is it
sought to apply the same principle here? Perhaps our excellent
councillors are not aware that there is no such thing as a universal
time. There is no peculiar virtue in the Greenwich time, any more than
in that which is noted at the observatory on the Calton Hill. We are
afraid that a gross misconception upon this point prevails in the High
Street, and that some of our friends have got hold of a legend, said
to be current in the Canongate, that the city clocks were put back
twelve minutes and a half by Charles Edward in the Forty-five--that
they have given out false time for upwards of a century--and that the
present is a patriotic and spirited move of the magistrates to restore
the hours to their pristine order and arrangement. If any of our civic
representatives have fallen into error on this account, and been led
astray by the cunning fable, we beg to assure them that it rests upon
no solid foundation. Our ancestors entertained an almost Persian
veneration for the sun, and would not have suffered any such
interference. The city clocks of Edinburgh were not set upon the
authority of the famous watch discovered at Prestonpans, of which it
stands recorded, that "she died the very night Vich Ian Vohr gave her
to Murdoch."

We are not aware that any regulation of the Lord Provost and
Magistrates of the city of Edinburgh has the force and authority of a
statute, or that their voice is potential in opposition to the
almanack. If we are right in this, then we beg to tell them that the
new arrangement is utterly in the teeth of the law, and may lead to
serious consequences. Suppose that any of us has granted a bill which
falls due at twelve o'clock. The hour peals from the steeple, and the
bill is straightway protested, and our credit damaged. Five minutes
afterwards we appear to satisfy the demand, but we are told that it is
too late. In vain do we insist upon the fact that the bill is dated at
Edinburgh, not at Greenwich, and appeal to the almanack and
observatory for the true state of the time. We proffer the sun as our
witness, but he is rejected as a suspicious testimony, and as one
already tried before the civic court and convicted of fraud,
falsehood, and wilful imposition. What is to become of us in such a
case? Are we to go into the Gazette, because the Provost has set the
clocks forward? Or suppose a man on deathbed wants to make his will.
It is Wednesday the ninth of February, close upon midnight, and the
sufferer has not a moment to lose. A few hasty lines are written by
the lawyer, and as he finishes them the clock strikes twelve. The
dying man signs and expires in the effort. The testing clause of that
deed would bear that it was signed on Thursday the tenth; but the fact
is that the man died upon Wednesday, and we know very well that
corpses cannot handle a pen. How is that affair to be adjusted? Are
people to be defrauded of their inheritance for a whim of the Town
Council, or the convenience of a few dozen commercial travellers? Or
take the case of an annuitant. Suppose an old lady, and there are
plenty of them in that situation, dies on the term-day exactly five
minutes after twelve according to Greenwich time in Edinburgh--who
gets the money? Is it a _dies inceptus_ or a _dies non_? If a new term
has begun, her representatives are undoubtedly entitled to finger the
coin, if not, the payer pockets it. By which arrangement--that of
Providence, or that of the Provost--shall such a question be decided?
Who is to rule the day, the term, and the season? We pause for a
reply. Or let us take another and not imaginary case. A good many
years ago we were asked to take shares in a tontine, and complied.
Twelve of us named a corresponding number of lives, whereof all have
evaporated, save that of which we are the nominee, and one other which
had been selected by an eminent vice-president of the Fogie Club. Our
man resides in Greenwich, is a pensioner, and we defy you to point out
a finer or livelier specimen of the Celtic race, at the advanced but
by no means exorbitant age of ninety-five. We are, from the best
possible motives, extremely attentive to the old man, whom we supply
gratuitously, but cautiously, with snuff and whisky; and his first
caulker every day is turned over to our health, a libation which we
cordially return. This year we were somewhat apprehensive, for his
sake, of the prevalent fever and influenza; but M'Tavish escaped both,
and is, at this moment, as hearty as a kyloe on the hills of Skye. The
vice-president, oddly enough, had backed a superannuated chairman who
is stated to be a native of Clackmannan. He is so extremely aged that
the precise era of his birth is unknown; but he is supposed to have
been, in some way or other, connected with the Porteous mob. With
accumulations, there are about five thousand pounds at stake upon the
survivorship of these two. Twice, in the course of the last ten years,
have each of them been seriously ill, and precisely at the same time;
and twice has the milk of human kindness been soured between the
worthy vice-president and ourselves.

Should the invisible and mysterious sympathy between M'Tavish and
Hutcheon operate again--should Celt and Lowlander alike be stricken
with sickness, the contested point between us will, in all
probability, be brought to an issue. Both have taken effectual
measures to have the death of his neighbour's nominee noted with
accuracy to a second. Now, if Hutcheon were to die to-day in Edinburgh
at twenty minutes past eleven according to the present regulation of
the clocks, and if the next post brought intelligence that M'Tavish
had given up the ghost at Greenwich precisely five minutes sooner,
which of us two would be entitled to the stakes? On the twenty-ninth
of January, when the old and true time was in observance, there could
have been no doubt about the question. We should have been the winner
by seven minutes and a half. Hutcheon would have died, like his
forefathers, at seven and a half minutes after eleven, and M'Tavish at
the quarter past. But, as it is, the life of M'Tavish has been cut
short, or what is the same thing, that of Hutcheon has been
preposterously prolonged. And so, if the alteration made by the Town
Council be legal, we may be defrauded of five thousand pounds--if not
legal, what pretext have they for making it?

We do not envy the situation of our civic representatives on the
unfortunate occasion of the next public execution in Edinburgh. In the
first place, should their present regulation be adhered to, every
subsequent culprit will be deprived of twelve minutes and a half of
his existence. So much shorter time will he have to repent of his
sins, and make peace with his Creator; for the arbitrary alteration of
the clocks will not alter the day of doom. The "usual hour" will be
indicated in the sentence, and the trembling felon launched into
eternity so much the sooner, that a few commercial travellers may be
saved the pains of regulating their watches! We dare not speak lightly
on such a subject; for who can estimate the value of those moments of
existence which are thus thoughtlessly, but ruthlessly cut off? In the
second place, whenever the like catastrophe shall occur, we have a
strong suspicion that the magistrates will be morally responsible
either for murder or for defeat of justice. It is in truth an
extremely unpleasant dilemma, but one entirely of their own creating.
For their own sakes, we beg their serious attention to the following
remarks. We shall suppose the ordinary case of a man sentenced by the
Justiciary Court, to be executed at the usual hour, which with us is
eight in the 'morning. Hitherto we knew precisely what was meant by
eight, but now we do not. But this we know, that if that man is
executed at eight, as the clocks now stand, HE IS MURDERED, just as
much as he would be, if, the evening before, he had been forcibly
strangled in his cell! The felon's life is sacred until the hour
arrives when justice has ordained him to die; and if the life be taken
sooner, that is murder. Who, we ask, would be the responsible parties
in this case, not perhaps to an earthly, but surely to a higher
tribunal? On the other hand, if the execution does _not_ take place at
eight, it is highly questionable whether the criminal can be executed
at all. The sentence must be fulfilled to the letter. Delay in such
matters is held by the clemency of our law to interpose a strong
barrier in favour of the criminal; and this at least seems certain,
that a man condemned to be executed on one day, cannot, without a new
sentence, be capitally punished upon another. Hours--nay, minutes--are
very precious when the question is one of life and death, and the
consideration is a very grave one.

In short, the magistrates have landed themselves, and will land us in
interminable confusion; and we foresee that not a little litigation
will result from their proceedings. In all legal matters--and there
are many in which punctuality is of the utmost moment--the clocks
cannot be held to regulate time. They vary from each other according
to their construction or their custody, and we have thrown away and
abandoned the true standard. The difference of a single degree may
prove as important as that of forty, and if there is to be a
uniformity between the Edinburgh and the Greenwich time, why not
extend it to the colonies? We warn the Town Council of Edinburgh that
they may have much to answer for from the consequences of their absurd

We understand that there are police statutes ordaining that all
taverns shall be shut up at twelve o'clock of a Saturday night, and
for breach of this rule people maybe taken into custody. The
magistrates have peremptorily altered twelve o'clock, and have made
that period arrive at forty-seven and a half minutes after eleven. Is
it lawful to conduct us to the watch-house, if we should chance to be
found at Ambrose's, lingering over a tumbler during the debatable
twelve minutes and a half--or are we not entitled to knock down the
ruffian who should presume to collar us during the interval? Whether
have we or the follower of Mr Haining the best legal grounds for an
action of assault and battery? We appeal to the heavenly bodies, and
indignantly assert our innocence: Dogberry walks by the rule of the
Right Honourable Adam Black, and accuses us of gross desecration.
Which of us is in the right? and how is the statute to be interpreted?
It is surely obvious to the meanest capacity that, if the magistrates
of Edinburgh have the power to proclaim Greenwich time within their
liberties, there is nothing to prevent them from adopting the
recognised standard of Kamschatka, or from ordaining our clocks to be
set by the meridian of Tobolsk. They may turn day into night at their
own good pleasure, and amalgamate the days of the week, as indeed they
have done already; and this brings us to a consideration, which, in
Scotland at least, deserves especial attention.

The public mind has of late been much agitated by the question of
Sunday observance. We do not mean now to debate that point upon its
merits, nor is it the least necessary for our present argument that we
should do so. Every one, we are certain, wishes that the Lord's day
should be properly and decently observed. There are differences of
opinion, however, regarding the latitude which should be allowed--one
party being in favour of a total cessation from work, and founding
their view upon the decalogue; whilst the others maintain that, under
the Christian dispensation, a new order of things has been
established. There has been a good deal of discussion upon this topic,
and the practical subject of dispute has been, whether railway trains
should be permitted to run upon the first day of the week. On that
head we shall say nothing; but we maintain that both parties are alike
interested in having the limits of the Sunday accurately and
distinctly declared. Some observance, whatever be its limit, is
clearly due to the holy day, whether men hold it to be directly of
divine ordinance, or to have been set apart for divine worship by
ecclesiastical and conventional authority. By the present arrangement,
the feelings of both parties are outraged. Sabbath or Sunday--call it
which you will--has been changed by the Town Council, and is not the
same as before. It is easy to say that this is quibbling, but in
reality is it so? Can the Town Council compel us to accept any day
they may please to nominate instead of Sunday, and consecrate
Wednesday, for example, as that which is to be dedicated to pious
uses? We repeat that this is but a question of degree. No authority,
at least no such authority as that of a body of local magistrates, can
dovetail the Sabbath by making it begin earlier and end later than
before. There are stringent ancient Scottish statutes, some of them
not altogether in desuetude, against Sabbath desecration, and how are
these now to be interpreted or enforced? No true Sabbatarian can
support the present movement. His case is irretrievably lost if he
acquiesces in the change; for the day has unquestionably been
violated--and it may be violated as well in a minute as in an hour.
Those who take the other view cannot fail to be equally offended. The
order which they keenly advocate and maintain has been wantonly broken
and destroyed. The limits of Sunday are annihilated. Men do not know
when it commences or when it ends, and they may be gaming when they
ought to be at prayers. Churches and congregations of every kind have
a common interest in this. The individuality of the day must be
supported, and there must be no doubt, and no loophole left for
cavillers to carp at its existence.

Look at it in any light you please, the change is fraught with danger.
We have enlarged somewhat on the score of inconvenience--for we
thoroughly feel and resolutely maintain that the practical
inconvenience is great--but the other results we have referred to are
inevitable and are infinitely worse. Tampering with the laws of nature
is not permitted, even to the most sapient of town councils; and, as
they cannot wash the Ethiopian white, so neither need they try to
control the progress of the sun, and to prove that great luminary a
liar. Surely, they have plenty to do without interfering with the
planetary bodies? We really thought better of their patriotism; nor
could we have expected that they would falsify the host of heaven in
order to take their future time from some distant English clock. So
soon as the whole of the world is ripe for an uniformity of time, and
contented to adopt it, we may then possibly become acclimated to the
change, and rise at midnight, to go about our nightly, not daily
duties, without a murmur. But pray, in this matter, let us at least
secure reciprocity. If we are to be dragged from our beds at
untimeous hours, let the rest of the population of the globe suffer to
a similar extent; for in community of suffering there is always some
kind of dim and indefinite comfort. We are rather partial to bagmen,
and would endure something, though not this, to accelerate their
progress; but why should the whole Scottish nation be made a holocaust
and an offering for our weakness? Falstaff, who, whatever may be said
of his valour, was a remarkably shrewd individual, might give a lesson
to our civic dignitaries. He counted the length and endurance of his
imaginary combat with Percy, by Shrewsbury clock, and did not seek to
extend his renown by superadding to it the benefit which might have
been derived by a reference to Greenwich time. Let us do the like, and
submit to the ordinances of Providence--not try to oppose them by any
vain and extravagant alteration. Without the least irreverence,
because we hold that the whole profanity--though it may be
unintended--is on the other side, let us ask the Town Council of
Edinburgh, whether they consider themselves on a par with the great
leader of Israel, and whether they are entitled to say "Sun, stand
thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon?" And
yet, what is their late move, but something tantamount to this? They
have declared against the order of nature, and such a declaration must
imply a species of gross and unwarrantable presumption.

And now, Messieurs of the Town Council of Edinburgh, what have you to
say for yourselves? Are we right, or are we wrong?--have we failed, or
have we succeeded in making out a lease against you? We think we can
discern some symptoms of a corporate blush suffusing your
countenances; and, if so, far be it from us to stand in the way of
your repentance. We are willing to believe that you have done this
from the best of possible motives, but without forethought or
consideration. You probably were not aware Of the consequences which
might and must arise from this singular attempt at legislation. Be
wise, therefore, and once more succumb, as is your duty, to the
established laws and harmony of nature. Leave the planets alone to
their course, and be contented to observe that time which is indicated
and proclaimed from heaven. Recollect wherein it is written that the
sun, and moon, and stars were set in the firmament of heaven _to rule
over the day, and over the night, and to divide the light from the
darkness_. By no possible sophistry can you pervert the meaning of
that wholesome text. Why, then, should you act in opposition to it,
and introduce this element of disorder among us? Go to, then, and
retrace your steps. Put the clocks backward as before. Let the shadows
be straight at mid-day. Leave us our allotted rest, for it is sweet
and pleasant. Defraud us not of our inheritance. Let our children not
be born before their time. Let the miserable malefactor live until the
last moment of his allotted span. Preserve the Sunday intact, and let
us hear no more of such nonsense. Why should you be wiser than your
forefathers? If any man had told them to alter their time from
England, they would have collared the seditious prig, and thrust him
neck and heels into the Tolbooth. When grim old Archibald Bell-the-Cat
was Provost, no man durst have hinted at Greenwich time on pain of the
forfeiture of his ears; for, notwithstanding his performances at
Lauder Bridge, Bell-the-Cat was a Christian, the father of a bishop,
and knew his duties better than rashly to interfere with Providence.
Restore our meridian, and, if you are really anxious to do your duty,
occupy yourselves with meaner matters. It would much conduce to the
comfort of the lieges, if, instead of directing the course of the sun,
you were to give occasional orders for a partial sweeping of the


SCENE.--_A mess-room after dinner, from whence the members have
departed, except four, who draw round the fire._


  Major O'SHEEVO.                  Lieutenant and Adjutant PIPECLAY.
  Captain OLDHAM.                  Ensign LOVELL.

OLDHAM.--Well, Lovell, my boy, so you prefer the claret and the old
Fogies this time to the sparks in the barrack-rooms; we feel the
compliment, I assure you. There comes a clean glass: now, stir the
fire; that's a good fellow.--I'll do as much for you, when I'm your

LOVELL.--Why you see, Oldham, they say you old hands won't let out
while all the mess are here, and you keep your opinions and
experiences for these cosy little horse-shoe sittings. I should like
to pick up a little soldiering, if I could, and so have ventured to
outsit the rest of them.

O'SHEEVO.--Ye're right, ye're right. A man that comes to value his
claret early, has all the advantages of experience, without buying
them dear. An old head upon young shoulders, in fact.

PIPECLAY.--And, you see, the youngster has an eye to a little military
information: that's right.

LOVELL.--Why, these rumours of invasion make one look about him. If
the French come, of course we shall give 'em an infernal good licking;
but I am anxious to get an idea what sort of thing it will be, and I
daresay you talk a good deal of these matters.

O'SHEEVO.--Ah! them French! Oldham, ye don't expect they'll come to
spend next Christmas with us?

OLDHAM.--There's no saying what the rascals might be at; and as Lovell
has broached the subject, we may as well talk it over.

O'SHEEVO.--Bravo! so we will: how say you, Pipeclay?

PIPECLAY.--By all means. You know I mentioned last night how ill I
thought our formations adapted for manœuvring against a hostile
force on the coast.

OLDHAM.--My dear Pipeclay, it is the misfortune of a long peace, and a
theoretical education, that they narrow the mind to strain at matters
of detail, and to neglect the greater consideration, _what_ is to be
done--not how should we do it. Now, in the old second battalion of the
107th, the lads were more apt to talk of the work than the drill-book,
and a finer or more dashing set never wore scarlet.

O'SHEEVO.--Devil a doubt of it: not a man that wouldn't finish his
three bottles before he'd think of stirring; and as for the seasoned
files, the night was always too short for 'em. There's no saying what
those men might have achieved, if they could have found the time.

LOVELL.--But if the French--

OLDHAM.--Excuse me, Lovell,--I know something about the French, if
three years in the Peninsula could give knowledge; and I'll tell you,
for a fact, whatever you may hear said, that the organisation of the
French army--

PIPECLAY.--What! with that slovenly style of marching?

OLDHAM.--Never mind the style of marching: I say, that whether in the
field, in camp, or in quarters--

O'SHEEVO.--Devilish bad quarters they'd be sometimes, in them same
campaigns, eh, Oldham? Short commons, eh?

OLDHAM.--Short commons! sometimes no commons at all!

O'SHEEVO.--Thin claret?

OLDHAM.--Thin! the devil a drop. Sherry sometimes, of a quality
according to our luck; but for claret we had to keep our stomachs till
we got over the Pyrenees;--then, I may say, it ran in the rivers.

O'SHEEVO.--The devil it did! Then I hope the next Peninsular
expedition will sail direct for the coast of France.

LOVELL.--But if this invasion--

OLDHAM.--Well, now,--look here. Well, here's Cherbourg, this glass, do
you see? well then, this is Portsmouth, this other--and this dirty
one, if I can reach it--damn it, I've broke my own, stretching, across
the table.

O'SHEEVO--PIPECLAY.--Two for one! Two for one!

OLDHAM.--Well, never mind; 'twas awkward. We don't stand the jokes the
old 107th used to cut: there, if you only made the smallest chip in
the stem of a glass, you were stuck for your new pair, while the
damaged one did duty as well as ever. There wasn't a glass in the mess
that hadn't reproduced itself in double at least nine times.

O'SHEEVO.--By the powers! that beats the phaynix, who never became
twins, that I heard of. I'd not have stood it from any one. A glass
that I broke and paid for, I'd consider my own intirely.

PIPECLAY.--They had no right to put a glass on the table after it had
been paid for; the regulations wouldn't allow it.

OLDHAM.--Oh! nobody knew any thing about the regulations in the old
107th. The colonel was a trump, and the lads were trumps, so they
followed suit, and no lawyering.

PIPECLAY.--A colonel has no right to enforce an unjust charge.

OLDHAM.--Well, perhaps not; but in our days we never troubled our
heads about what was just or unjust. It's a bad sign of a corps when
men begin to talk of their rights.

LOVELL.--True, Oldham; you were saying, suppose that Cherbourg, the
other Portsmouth--here's a third glass for you to complete.

PIPECLAY.--I beg your pardon one minute, Lovell. I wish to convince
Oldham that there is some advantage in knowing how to assert your own

O'SHEEVO.--I deny that _in toto_. The Ballyswig estate would have been
in the O'Sheevo family to this day, if my great-aunt hadn't wished to
assert her right to a haycock, which brought the title in question,
and caused us to lose the whole property.

PIPECLAY.--But if another had a just claim?

O'SHEEVO.--Just humbug! The opposite side retained Counsellor Curran,
who'd have persuaded a jury out of their Sunday waistcoats, with a
five-shilling piece in the pocket of each.

OLDHAM.--Well, well. Now, look here, Lovell. This, as I said, is
Cherbourg--this Portsmouth. Ellis, of the staff corps, used always to
illustrate this way; did you ever meet him?

LOVELL.--What! the owner of May-Bee, who won the military
steeple-chase, two years ago? To be sure, I did: devilish sharp fellow
he was too.

PIPECLAY.--I don't know that: he broke down in some charges he
preferred against Sergeant O'Flinn of the Royal County Down, who was
acquitted by a general court-martial. A fellow who does that, may be a
very good fellow, but can't have much head-piece.

LOVELL.--May-Bee was a pretty piece of goods though. I saw the poor
thing break her back last spring, under Jack Fisher of the
carabineers: Jack nearly went out at the same time. Devilish sharply
contested thing, till poor May-Bee's accident. Jack was picked
up,--dreadful fall, as the papers said--gallant captain--small hopes
of recovery--be universally regretted through the regiment--popular
qualities--and that sort of thing; but somehow he marched to
Nottingham at the head of his troop, a fortnight after, worth fifty
dead men.

PIPECLAY.--What do you value a dead man at, Lovell?

O'SHEEVO.--If a thing's worth what it'll _fetch_, a dead man's value
wouldn't burst the Exchequer.

LOVELL.--Thank you, Major, for getting me out of that; the Adjutant
was going to bring me up rather straitly.

O'SHEEVO.--He's the very boy to do that. A bigoted ram's horn under
his hands, would be forced to relinquish its prejudices. Nobody stoops
to conquer in his academy. Send for another jug, and we'll go on with
our discussion. Smart letter that of the old Duke's.

OLDHAM.--Who'll be commander-in-chief when the old Briton dies?

PIPECLAY.--It'll depend upon the ministry of the day, which I hope
will be a distant one. If he could only anticipate his posthumous fame
now, how complete would be his glory.

O'SHEEVO.--Sure, he's got his posthumous fame already: he's not
obliged, like the ancients, to immortalise himself by committing

LOVELL.--Certainly not, Major. Well, you know the Duke sees the
necessity of defending our coasts--

PIPECLAY.--And of increasing the army. I have a plan of my own for
raising men, which I shall propose, some day or other, to the Horse

OLDHAM.--There's no difficulty in getting men; any quantity may be
raised in Ireland.

O'SHEEVO.--That's true, because any quantity are knocked over every
day there; but they, poor men! are beyond the skill of even an

PIPECLAY.--At any rate I should like to give my system a fair trial.

O'SHEEVO.--I have no opinion of systems; I've known many men entirely
ruined by them.

PIPECLAY.--How so, Major?

O'SHEEVO.--Why, I knew a man who used to get a little jolly two or
three times a-week, as occasion invited. Some well-meaning friends
reproached him with the irregularity of his life, and pestered him to
adopt a system, which, for the sake of peace and quietness, he at last
did, and got blazing drunk every night; his own spirit didn't like the
foreign invasion, and evacuated the place--that was system!

LOVELL.--We don't much relish the idea of foreign invasion ourselves.

PIPECLAY.--Let 'em come. If they intend to get a regular footing here,
they would probably make a dash at Portland island.

OLDHAM.--Now my idea is this. Suppose them embarked in steamers, and
starting for a point on our coast,--a few old fellows, who know what
Frenchmen are made of, are stationed at all the landing-places, while
a railway communication enables them to be quickly collected in one

PIPECLAY.--I should object to old fellows as unfit for such sharp
duties: active, intelligent young men would be better.

OLDHAM.--Pshaw! what's theory against Frenchmen? give me the old
second battalion of the 107th before all the boys in the service.

PIPECLAY.--And give me smart youngsters, who would move.

OLDHAM.--I'd like to see such Johnny Raws oppose a landing.

PIPECLAY.--It stands to reason they must be better than a parcel of
old worn-out sinners.

O'SHEEVO.--Bravo! I'd like to hear this question fairly handled. You
see, Lovell, that's the advantage of military breeding; we can discuss
these topics without the rudenesses that you observe in civil life.
Every man, young or old, may give his opinion, and be patiently
listened to at a mess table.

LOVELL.--It is certainly a great advantage.

OLDHAM.--I must maintain the superiority of veteran troops for all
important duties;--you see a parcel of recruits would play the
devil,--it's all stuff!

LOVELL.--But, if I may be allowed to remark--

OLDHAM.--You, sir! damme! what should you know about it? What are you,
eh? A stripling, a mere stripling. By Jove, sir, if you had been in
the 107th, you would have seen what they thought of such forwardness.

LOVELL.--You really mistake me,--I had no intention--

O'SHEEVO.--Well, well; but you mustn't be obstinate you know, my boy,
in matters that you can't possibly know much about; you can never
learn any thing that way.

PIPECLAY.--You should have a little modesty, Lovell.

O'SHEEVO.--We're a liberal set of fellows here; but, by Jove, Lovell,
I've known many a man that would have asked you to a leaden breakfast.
Young Spanker of the 18th was called out by old Mullins for only
asking him to repeat the number of oysters he said he ate in his great
bet with M'Gobble. They fired six shots without effect, and Mullins
was thought very lenient in not asking for an apology or the seventh.

OLDHAM.--Oh! the service would go to the devil if youngsters were
allowed to lay down the law.

PIPECLAY.--That would never do.

OLDHAM.--A strange file was that old Mullins you were talking of. Our
second battalion was quartered with the 18th once, in Chatham
barracks, when there were some memorable sittings.

PIPECLAY.--I saw old Mullins once only, and then I could form little
opinion of him, as he was half screwed.

O'SHEEVO.--Half screwed! you must be mistaken.

PIPECLAY.--I assure you I am rather under the mark in saying half

O'SHEEVO.--Ah! I knew he never made so near an approach to sobriety as
to be half screwed.

OLDHAM.--_He_ would have been the fellow to receive the French! Come,
now, Lovell, I'll show you, if you won't be obstinate and

LOVELL.--Upon my word, Oldham--

OLDHAM.--There you, fly out again now; it's impossible to do any thing
with a youngster unless he has a tractable disposition. Here now, as I
said, is Cherbourg,--here Portsmouth,--this little streak that I draw
with my finger, the Channel. Jersey is somewhere there by the devilled
biscuits; dy'e understand, Lovell?

LOVELL.--Thank you, I do.

OLDHAM.--Good. Then this is our coast well manned, throughout its
length, with troops: steady tried troops, mind, none of your gaping,
staring boys:--well protected.

PIPECLAY.--How protected?

OLDHAM.--How should I know? The engineers do that; of course they'd
protect 'em with glacis, or ravelins or tenailles, or some of those
damned jawbreaking named things;--well protected by works and cannon.

O'SHEEVO.--Did you see that extraordinary cannon that West made in the
mess-room this morning?

PIPECLAY.--Ah! yes,--not bad, but I've seen finer strokes than that.
You should have seen Legge of the 32d play.

LOVELL.--Or Chowse of the artillery; by Jove! how he knocks about the
balls! like an Indian juggler.

O'SHEEVO.--Both good hands; ye're not a bad fist at billiards
yourself, Oldham.

OLDHAM.--I seldom play now;--getting old;--played many a good match in
the 107th's mess-room; but I think I could astonish Master West.

PIPECLAY.--Well, if he'll play a match, I don't mind backing him
against you even.

O'SHEEVO.--And I'll go five to four on the youngster to make the thing
worth your while.

OLDHAM.--Oh! no, no; 'twouldn't do for me to be playing matches with a
raw recruit like that: 'twouldn't be dignified.

O'SHEEVO.--Would it be more dignified if I said three to two?

OLDHAM.--Say two to one and I don't mind a rubber;--one rubber,

O'SHEEVO.--Done then. Let's have it to-morrow, if we can. West comes
off guard in the morning, so there's the more chance of his being
steady and willing to play; when they get hold of him overnight, he's
always shaky and sulky next day till four or five o'clock. A bad
constitution is a sad tell-tale under a red coat; a bishop chokes, or
an anti-corn-law leaguer is attacked with pleurisy from his exertions
in the cause of humanity; a lawyer's nose gets red from having his
mind continually on the stretch; but if an ensign's colours only
tremble a little in a strong gale, he's set down for a hard goer.

PIPECLAY.--It's a great thing to be able to carry one's liquor well.

O'SHEEVO.--Rather it's a dreadful misfortune when you can't. I always
fancy that when a man can't show a bold face the morning after, he's
been a great sinner.

OLDHAM.--Or that his forefathers have been so; I believe that
posterity have to expiate the sins of their ancestors.

O'SHEEVO.--But, as a man can neither be his ancestors nor his
posterity, I don't see that he need mind that.

PIPECLAY.--His ancestors' posterity is surely his affair.

O'SHEEVO.--It's quite enough for a man to think of his own posterity
without minding that of his ancestors.

PIPECLAY.--He can't well help minding his ancestors when he daily and
hourly feels the effects of their indiscretions.

O'SHEEVO.--But d'ye mean to say that if all his ancestors were fast
men, the whole of their diseases would be accumulated on his

PIPECLAY.--Not exactly. These things wear out in time, or are got rid
of by crossing the breed; the nearer in time a man is to his
rollicking ancestor, the more plainly he shows the hereditary taint.

O'SHEEVO.--Then if he's his contemporary he's as bad as himself. I
don't think, though, that my father showed the want of the Ballyswig
estate a bit more than I do. Bad luck to my old aunt who forgot her
successors though her ancestors remembered her.

OLDHAM.--Buzza that jug, Lovell, and touch the bell for another; these
discussions make one thirsty.

O'SHEEVO.--Thirst is nothing here to what it is in the tropics. By
Jove! how I used to suffer at Jamaica.

LOVELL.--Nature is said to have there provided for the craving by a
bountiful supply of water. The name Jamaica signifies, I believe, the
"Isle of Springs." You had excellent water there, Major, had you not?

O'SHEEVO.--I always understood the water was very good, but I can't
exactly remember that I ever tasted it. Nature is an affectionate
mother, but there's no nourishment in her milk, so I put myself out to
nurse upon sangree and portercup.

PIPECLAY.--Nasty, unwholesome stuff; there's a yellow fever in every
glass of it.

O'SHEEVO.--It may be one of the ingredients; but that's no matter, if
it's well mixed, because the other things correct it.

OLDHAM.--Our old second battalion buried I don't know how many in the
seven years they spent out there. They always took the more intricate
mixtures in the day time;--madeira and champagne at dinner, claret
after, and topped up with brandy and water; after which they adjourned
to settle, in the morning light, any little affairs of honour that had
turned up in the evening.

LOVELL.--Were these of so regular occurrence?

OLDHAM.--Seldom missed a night. The old cotton tree outside the
mess-room, at Stoney Hill, was always one of the stations; and as full
of bullets as a pudding is of plums. It was settling every thing
before the meeting separated that made us such a united jolly set of

PIPECLAY.--How much better we do things in the present day!

OLDHAM.--Another of your modern prejudices. How can any man of spirit
think the investigations, explanations, and newspaper correspondence
as creditable as settling the matter off-hand and like gentlemen?

PIPECLAY.--But a duel does not always settle the right and wrong of an
affair; and surely the party in the wrong ought to be the sufferer.
Human life has a higher value than in old times; and, therefore, to
avoid the casualties caused by duels, the laws punish the duellist.

O'SHEEVO.--That's just it. In old times, if a man was killed there was
an end; but now, to show the value of human life, the law hangs the
survivor. The fact is, they find it necessary to thin the population,
and so they take two for one, as we do with the glasses.

OLDHAM.--I'm afraid, Pipeclay, you and I will never agree in these
matters. It's a pity you never had the advantage of seeing a little
active service, which would have enlightened you far more than all my
preaching. We'll hope better things for these youngsters before they
become irretrievably bigoted to these milk-and-water prejudices. Well
now, Lovell, d'ye think you understand all I said about the French
invasion? If you don't, ask, and I'll give you any explanation my
experience supplies, with pleasure.

LOVELL.--I don't exactly understand how you would proceed after
guarding your coast, and the enemy being off and on the shore.

OLDHAM.--Why, man, you never will understand if you don't attend. Here
have I been talking this hour and a half exactly on that point, and
you know no more about it than if I had not said a word. You must see,
Lovell, that if you are thinking about horses, and women, and all
sorts of nonsense, while I'm talking to you, you never can make a
soldier. You should have seen our boys in the 107th. They would sit
for hours and hold their breaths, while some old fire-eater told 'em
his adventures and gave 'em advice.

O'SHEEVO.--Then they must have been as long-winded as he was.

OLDHAM.--Pshaw! Nothing of that sort ever seemed long-winded: the
interest was thrilling, and every body was unhappy when a story was

O'SHEEVO.--Except the man that was going to tell the next.

OLDHAM.--But really I wish we could get these youngsters to think a
little more on professional subjects. I'm sure I'm always willing to
give 'em any instruction in my power; and I think, Major, you'd not be
behindhand in teaching the young idea how to shoot.

O'SHEEVO.--No, no, Oldham; every one to his trade,--that's the
adjutant's business.

OLDHAM.--I don't mean literally that you'd show them how to let off a
musket, but that you'd mould their dispositions, and guide their
ardour to the best advantage.

O'SHEEVO.--My maxims are all summed up in a short sentence which I
learnt from old Mullins himself, who found it carry him and his pupils
through with honour--"Fear God and keep your powder dry." It's pithy,
you see, and doesn't burden the memory.

PIPECLAY.--A liberal education for ingenuous youth.

O'SHEEVO.--I gave it for nothing, and so did old Mullins; so it's
liberal enough, and the youth will be devilish ingenious if they find
out any thing better.

OLDHAM.--I never, myself, see any good come of the hair-splitting and
lawyering of the new school; indeed, I don't know what could be better
than our second battalion was. Nowadays, by Jove! any whipper-snapper
jackanapes, with a pocket full of money and the grimaces of a
dancing-master, walks easily to the top of the tree, while an old
soldier's services go for nothing. What did the Duke himself say to me
thirty-five years ago? Never mind, damme!

LOVELL.--Indeed! what did he say?

OLDHAM.--Never you mind what he said; he'll never say it to you. An
infernal system when fellows sit at a desk and think they're soldiers.
I'm no office man, damme! leading on is my forte; let them promote
quill-drivers and milksops if they like, what does Dick Oldham care?
I've been bred among the right sort, and I'll go to my grave a real
soldier, if not a fortunate one.

O'SHEEVO.--That's true, Oldham; when they fire over you, old boy,
'twont be the first time you smelt powder.

LOVELL.--I hope Oldham will have another meeting or two with his old
friends over the water before that.

OLDHAM.--Oh! confound it! don't say a word about it; they'll soon
forget what a soldier used to be. It's sickening--by Jove! sickening.
I'd have been a colonel of infantry before now, if there'd been any
thing like justice. Never mind.

O'SHEEVO.--It's not too late yet. They must have soldiers where
there's danger; they'll restore the old second battalion of the 107th,
when the French come, and you'll command it yet.

OLDHAM.--Ugh! bother! (_Sleeps._)

PIPECLAY.--I thought so. The detail of his grievances, and a
lamentation over modern degeneracy, are generally the prelude to a
nap; fine old fellow, if he wasn't so sadly bigoted.

O'SHEEVO.--Yes, but when means are scarce, men are driven into
extremes; we sometimes overrate our capacities; if our friend here
were to be put into a colonel of infantry's shoes to-morrow, he'd not
find his position a bed of roses.

LOVELL.--I wish he'd gone on about the coast defences, that's what I
wanted to hear.

O'SHEEVO.--Sure, that's very ungrateful of you, when we've all been
talking for your edification.

PIPECLAY.--Patience, Lovell, patience; you can't learn all the art of
war in a minute; follow the thing up, and you'll know all about it
by-and-by. A death vacancy'll be giving me my step, some of these
days, and I should like to throw my mantle over you, I confess.

O'SHEEVO.--D'ye, mean that seedy old cloak that you've used these last
fifteen years? if any one was to throw such a thing over me, I should
consider it a personal affront.

PIPECLAY.--You're so literal, Major.

O'SHEEVO.--Ye're wrong there; I never composed any thing in my life,
more to be blushed for than punch or sangree, and there's nothing
literal in them except their being liquids.

PIPECLAY.--But I meant if Lovell could be eligible to succeed me in
the adjutancy.

O'SHEEVO.--Oh! Lovell'll do very well by-and-by; those duties of yours
are a little unpalatable at first; but by working at them they become
easier, and an effort beyond that will make you do them quite

PIPECLAY.--There's encouragement for you, Lovell; the Major thinks
you'll do, and I've great hopes of you myself.

LOVELL.--You're very good, I'm sure. Military discussions interest me
much; I'm only anxious to hear you go on.

PIPECLAY.--It's getting late now; another time we'll resume the

O'SHEEVO.--Yes, in a day or two. It's very good to rub up a little
military stuff occasionally, but it is bad taste to be always talking
shop. We've had a good dose for to-night, and to-morrow we must have a
little light, easy conversation. Touch Oldham's arm, will you,
Pipeclay, and let's jog. (_Pipeclay shakes Oldham._)

OLDHAM.--Damned forward young humbugs! what the devil do they know
about it? eh? what, going to mizzle?

O'SHEEVO.--Yes, the jug's empty, and I'm telling Lovell he must come
again, and he'll like it better, and we'll make a soldier of him at

OLDHAM.--Ah! I'm afraid you'll do no good with any of them nowadays;
he should have been in the 107th. Well, good-night, Lovell; we'll do
what we can.

O'SHEEVO--PIPECLAY.--Good-night, Lovell; sleep upon it.

(_Exeunt Pipeclay, O'Sheevo, and Oldham. Lovell remains to light a

LOVELL.--Good-night. Well, I don't know but I might have spent the
evening just as profitably if I'd gone to Jones's room, as he asked
me. These old fellows are devilish close. However, patience, as the
adjutant says. (_Exit._)


  [S] _Hudson's Bay; or, Snow-Shoe Journeys, Boat and Canoe Travelling
  Excursions, and Every-day Life in the Wilds of North America, during
  Six Years' Residence in the Territories of the Honourable Hudson's Bay
  Company._ With Illustrations. By ROBERT MICHAEL BALLANTYNE. Edinburgh,
  1847. Printed for Private Circulation.

How few school-boys, newly emancipated from the manual remonstrances
of their respective Cleishbothams, but would welcome with overflowing
delight the prospect of a distant and adventurous voyage, no matter
whither or on what errand! How few but would prefer a cruise in the
far Pacific, a broil amidst Arabian sands, or a freeze in the
Laplander's icy regions, to the scholastic toga, the gainful paths of
commerce, or even to the gaudy scarlet, so ardently aspired to by many
youthful imaginations! But to how very few, in this iron age of toil,
is it given to roam at the time of life when roaming is most
delightful--when the heart is light and the body strong, when the
spirits are high, and thoughts unclogged by care, and when novelty and
locomotion constitute keen and real enjoyment! A book by one of the
fortunate minority is now before us, and a very pleasant book it is,
but as yet unknown to the public; since, for some unexplained reason,
whose goodness we incline to doubt, it has been printed for the
perusal of friends, instead of being boldly entered to run for the
prize of popular approval. If timidity was the cause, the feeling was
groundless; the colt had more than a fair chance of the stakes. We
would have wagered odds upon him against nags of far greater
pretensions. To drop the equine metaphor, we daily see books less
meritorious, and infinitely less entertaining, than Mr Ballantyne's
"Hudson's Bay," confidently paraded before a public, whose suffrages
do not always justify the authors' presumption. Our readers shall
judge for themselves in this matter. Favoured with a copy of the
privately circulated volume, we propose giving some account of it, and
making a few extracts from its varied pages.

First, as regards the author. It is manifest, from various indications
in his book, that he is still a very young man; and although he does
not explicitly state his age, we conjecture him to have been about
fifteen or sixteen years old when, in the month of May 1841, he was
thrown into a state of ecstatic joy by the receipt of a letter,
appointing him apprentice-clerk in the service of the Honourable
Hudson's Bay Company. At first sight there certainly does not appear
any thing especially exhilarating in such an appointment, which to
most ears is suggestive of a gloomy office in the city of London, of
tall stools, canvass sleeves, and steel pens. A most erroneous notion!
There is not more difference between the duties of an African Spahi
and a member of the city police, than between those of a Hudson's Bay
Company's clerk and of the painstaking individual who accomplishes two
journeys _per diem_ between his lodging at Islington and his
counting-house in Cornhill. Whilst the latter draws an invoice,
effects an insurance, or closes an account-current, the Hudson's Bay
man shoots bears and rapids, barters peltry with painted Indians, and
traverses upon his snow-shoes hundreds of miles of frozen desert. We
might protract the comparison, and show innumerable points of
contrast, but these will appear as we proceed. Before we draw on our
blanket coats, and the various wrappers rendered necessary by the
awful severity of the climate, and plunge with Mr Ballantyne into the
chill and dreary wilds to which he introduces us, we will give, for
the benefit of any of our readers who may chance to have few definite
ideas of the Hudson's Bay Company, beyond stuffed carnivora and cheap
fur-shops, his brief account of the origin of that association.

"In the year 1669, a company was formed in London, under the direction
of Prince Rupert, for the purpose of prosecuting the fur trade in the
regions surrounding Hudson's Bay. This company obtained a charter
from Charles II., granting to them and their successors, under the
name of 'The Governor and Company of Adventurers trading into Hudson's
Bay,' the sole right of trading in all the country watered by rivers
flowing into Hudson's Bay. The charter also authorised them to build
and fit out men-of-war, establish forts, prevent any other company
from carrying on trade with the natives in their territories; and
required that they should do all in their power to promote discovery.
Armed with these powers, then, the Hudson's Bay Company established a
fort near the head of James's Bay. Soon afterwards, several others
were built in different parts of the country; and before long, the
company spread and grew wealthy, and extended their trade far beyond
the chartered limits."

Of what the present limits are, as well as of the state, aspect,
arrangements, and population of the Hudson's Bay territory, a very
clear and distinct notion is given by the following paragraph.

"Imagine an immense extent of country, many hundred miles broad and
many hundred miles long, covered with dense forests, expanded lakes,
broad rivers, and mighty mountains, and all in a state of primeval
simplicity, undefaced by the axe of civilised man, and untenanted save
by a few roving hordes of red Indians, and myriads of wild animals.
Imagine, amid this wilderness, a number of small squares, each
enclosing half-a-dozen wooden houses, and about a dozen men, and
between each of these establishments a space of forest varying from
fifty to three hundred miles in length, and you will have a pretty
correct idea of the Hudson's Bay territories, and of the number of,
and distance between, their forts. The idea, however, may be still
more correctly obtained, by imagining populous Great Britain converted
into a wilderness, and planted in the middle of Rupert's Land; the
company, in that case, would build _three_ forts in it--one, at the
Land's End, one in Wales, and one in the Highlands; so that in Britain
there would be but three hamlets with a population of some thirty men,
half a dozen women, and a few children! The company's posts extend,
with these intervals between, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean,
and from within the Arctic Circle to the northern boundaries of the
United States.

"Throughout this immense country, there are probably not more ladies
than would suffice to form half-a-dozen quadrilles; and these, poor
banished creatures! are chiefly the wives of the principal gentlemen
connected with the fur trade. The rest of the female population
consist chiefly of half-breeds and Indians--the latter entirely devoid
of education, and the former as much enlightened as can be expected
from those whose life is spent in such a country. Even these are not
very numerous; and yet without them the men would be in a sad
condition; for they are the only tailors and washerwomen in the
country, and make all the mittens, moccassins, fur caps, deer-skin
coats, &c., &c., worn in the land."

To these desolate and inhospitable shores was bound the good ship
Prince Rupert, on board of which Mr Ballantyne took his berth at
Gravesend, converted in his own opinion, and by the simple fact of his
appointment to the H. B. Company's service, from a raw school-boy into
a perfect man of the world, and important member of society. He writes
in a very lively style, and there is some quiet humour in his first
impressions of the new scenes and associates into which he suddenly
found himself thrust. He had not been many hours on board the Prince
Rupert, when he beheld a small steamboat approach, freighted with a
number of elderly gentlemen. He was enlightened as to who these were
by the remark of a sailor, who whispered to a comrade, "I say, Bill,
them's the great guns!" In other words, the committee of the
Honourable Hudson's Bay Company come to visit the three fine vessels
which were to sail the following morning for their distant dominions.
Of course this was too good a pretext for a dinner to be lost sight of
by Englishmen; and before the gentlemen of the committee left the
ship, they duly invited the captain and officers, and also, to the new
apprentice-clerk's astonishment and delight, begged him to honour them
with his company.

"I accepted the invitation with extreme politeness; and, from
inability to express my joy in any other way, winked to my friend
W----, with whom I had become, by this time, pretty familiar. He,
having been also invited, winked in return to me; and having disposed
of this piece of juvenile freemasonry to our satisfaction, we assisted
the crew in giving three hearty cheers as the little steamer darted
from us, and proceeded to the shore." At the dinner "nothing
intelligible was to be heard, except when a sudden lull in the noise
gave a bald-headed old gentleman, near the head of the table, an
opportunity of drinking the health of a red-faced old gentleman near
the foot, upon whom he bestowed an amount of flattery perfectly
bewildering; and, after making the unfortunate red-faced gentleman
writhe for half an hour in a fever of modesty, sat down amid thunders
of applause. Whether the applause, by the way, was intended for the
speaker or the _speakee_, I do not know; but, being quite indifferent,
I clapped my hands with the rest. The red-faced gentleman, now purple
with excitement, then rose, and, during a solemn silence, delivered
himself of a speech, to the effect, that the day then passing was
certainly the happiest in his mortal career, and that he felt quite
faint with the mighty load of honour just thrown upon his delighted
shoulders by his bald-headed friend. The red-faced gentleman then sat
down to the national air of Rat-tat-tat, played in full chorus, with
knives, forks, spoons, nutcrackers, and knuckles, on the polished
surface of the mahogany table."

The whole account of the voyage out is very pleasantly given; but such
voyages have often been described with more or less success; and we
therefore pass to dry land, and to men and manners in Hudson's Bay,
which have been far less frequently written about. In his preface Mr
Ballantyne affirms, and with reason, the novelty of his subject. "It
is true," he says, "that others have slightly sketched it in books
upon Arctic discovery, and in works of general information; but the
very nature of these publications prohibited their entering into a
lengthened or minute description of EVERY-DAY LIFE,--the leading
feature of the present work." To this "every-day life," strikingly
different from life in any other country of the world, we are first
introduced at York Factory, the principal depot of the Company's
northern department, the whole country being divided into four
departments, known by the distinctive names of North, South, Montreal,
and Columbia. At this factory, after a passage in a small craft up the
Hayes River, Mr Ballantyne landed. Any one less willing to rough it,
and less determined to encounter all disagreeables with perfect good
temper, would speedily have been disgusted with Hudson's Bay by a
residence in this establishment. Mr Ballantyne does not conceal its
disagreeables. "Are you, reader," he says, "ambitious of dwelling in
'a pleasant cot in a tranquil spot, with a distant view of the
changing sea?' If so, do not go to York Factory. Not that it is such
an unpleasant place--for I spent two years very happily there--but
simply (to give a poetical reason, and explain its character in one
sentence) because it is a monstrous blot on a swampy spot, with a
partial view of the frozen sea." Having given it this unfavourable
character, the counsel for the prosecution stands up for the defence,
and begins to prove York Factory better than it looks. But, argue it
as he may, the abominations of the place, and especially of the
climate, force themselves into prominence. Spring, summer, and autumn
are included in four months, from June to September, which leaves
eight months winter--and such winter! It is difficult for stay-at-home
people, who at the first ice-tree upon their windows creep into the
chimney corner and fleecy hosiery, to imagine such in execrable
temperature as that of Hudson's Bay, where, from October to April, the
thermometer seldom _rises_ to the freezing point, and frequently falls
from 30° to 40°, 45°, and even 49° below zero of Fahrenheit. Luckily,
however, this intense cold is less felt than might be supposed; for
the reason that, whilst it lasts, the air continues perfectly calm.
The slightest breath of wind would be destruction to noses, and,
indeed, no man could venture out in it. This dry, still cold is very
healthy, much more so than the heat of summer, which for a short time
is extreme, engendering millions of flies, mosquitoes, and other
nuisances, that render the country unbearable. It seems strange that,
in a region where spirit of wine is the only thing that can be used in
thermometers, because mercury would remain frozen nearly half the
winter, mosquito nets are, for a portion of the year, as necessary as
in the torrid zone. "Nothing could save one from the attacks of the
mosquitoes. Almost all other insects went to rest with the sun:
sandflies, which bit viciously during the day, went to sleep at night;
the large _bulldog_, whose bite is terrible, slumbered in the evening;
but the mosquito, the long-legged, determined, vicious, persevering
mosquito, whose ceaseless hum dwells for ever in the ear, _never_ went
to sleep! Day and night the painful tender little pimples on our
necks, and behind our ears, were being constantly retouched by these
villanous flies." Worse even than midges by a Scottish burn; and
those, heaven knows, are bad enough. The young gentlemen at York
Factory, however, thought it effeminate to combat the bloodsuckers
with the natural defensive weapon of a gauze canopy, and, in spite of
various ingenious expedients, such as rendering their rooms unbearable
by bonfires of damp moss and puffs of gunpowder, they were preyed upon
by the mosquitoes, until frost put a period to their sufferings, and
to the existence of their persecutors.

The account of York Factory, or Fort, (as all establishments in the
Indian country, whether small or great, are called,) gives a general
notion of the style and appearance of the more important of these
trading posts. Within a large square, of about six or seven acres,
enclosed by high stockades, nearly five miles above the mouth of Hayes
River, stand a number of wooden buildings, stores, dwelling-houses,
mess-rooms, and lodgings for labourers and tradesmen, as well as for
visitors and temporary residents. The doors and windows are all
double, and the houses heated by large iron stoves, fed with wood;
"yet so intense is the cold that I have seen the stove in places
_red-hot_, and a basin of water in the room _frozen_ solid." So
unfavourable is the climate to vegetation, that scarcely any thing can
be raised in the small plot of ground called by courtesy a garden.
Potatoes now and then, for a wonder, become the size of walnuts; and
sometimes a cabbage and a turnip are prevailed upon to grow. The woods
are filled with a great variety of wild berries, among which the
cranberry and swampberry are considered the best. Black and red
currants, as well as gooseberries, are plentiful, but the first are
bitter, and the latter small. The swampberry is in shape something
like the raspberry, of a light yellow colour, and grows on a low bush,
almost close to the ground. The country around the fort is one immense
level swamp, thickly covered with willows, and dotted here and there
with a few clumps of pine-trees. Flowers there are none, and the only
large timber in the vicinity grows on the banks of Hayes and Nelson
rivers, and is chiefly spruce-fir. On account of the swampy nature of
the ground, the houses in the fort are raised several feet upon
blocks, and the squares are intersected by elevated wooden platforms,
forming the inhabitants' sole promenade during the summer, at which
season a walk of fifty yards beyond the gates ensures wet feet. These,
and other details, give so pleasant an idea of York Factory, that one
wonders at and admires the philosophy exhibited by its residents; by
that portion of them, at least, inhabiting the "young gentlemen's
house." Bachelor's Hall, as the young gentlemen themselves call it,
was the scene, during Mr Ballantyne's abode there, of much hilarity
and frolic, and we get a laughable account of the high jinks carried
on there. The building itself, one storey high, comprised a large
hall, whence doors led to the sleeping apartments of the clerks,
apprentices, and other subalterns. The walls of this hall, originally
white, were smoked to a dirty yellow; the carpetless floor had a
similar hue, agreeably diversified by large knots; and in its centre,
upon four crooked legs, stood a large oblong iron box, with a funnel
communicating with the roof. This was the stove, besides which the
only furniture, consisted of two small tables and half-a-dozen chairs,
one of which latter being broken, and moreover light and handy, was
occasionally used as a missile upon occasion of quarrels. The sleeping
apartments contained a curtainless bed, a table, and a chest; they
were carpetless, chairless, and we should have thought supremely
comfortless, but for Mr Ballantyne's assurance that "they derived an
appearance of warmth from the number of great-coats, leather capotes,
fur caps, worsted sashes, guns, rifles, shot-belts, snow-shoes, and
powder-horns, with which the walls were profusely decorated." As we
have already intimated, the amount of wrappers required to resist the
cold out of doors is so great that it is difficult to conceive how the
wearers can have sufficient use of their limbs, when thus swaddled, to
follow field-sports, and go through exertion and exercise of various

"The manner of dressing ourselves was curious. I will describe C----
as a type of the rest. After donning a pair of deerskin trousers, he
proceeded to put on three pair of blanket socks, and over these a pair
of moose-skin moccasins. Then a pair of blue cloth leggins were hauled
over his trousers, partly to keep the snow from sticking to them, and
partly for warmth. After this he put on a leather capote edged with
fur. This coat was very warm, being lined with flannel, and overlapped
very much in front. It was fastened with a scarlet worsted belt round
the waist, and with a loop at the throat. A pair of thick mittens,
made of deerskin, hung round his shoulders by a worsted cord, and his
neck was wrapped in a huge shawl, over the mighty folds of which his
good-humoured visage beamed like the sun on the edge of a fog-bank. A
fur cap with ear-pieces completed his costume. Having finished his
toilet, and tucked a pair of snow-shoes, five feet long, under one
arm, and a double-barrelled fowling-piece under the other, C---- waxed
extremely impatient, and proceeded systematically to aggravate the
unfortunate skipper, (who was always very slow, poor man, except on
board ship,) addressing sundry remarks to the stove upon the slowness
of sea-faring men in general and skippers in particular." The
intention of these preparations was an onslaught upon the ptarmigan,
and upon a kind of grouse called wood-partridges by the Hudson's Bay
people. The game is for the most part very tame in those regions.
After nearly filling their game-bags, the sportsmen "came suddenly
upon a large flock of ptarmigan, so tame that they would not fly, but
merely ran from us a little way at the noise of each shot. The firing
that now commenced was quite terrific: C---- fired till both barrels
of his gun were stopped up; the skipper fired till his powder and shot
were done; and I fired till--_I skinned my tongue!_ Lest any one
should feel surprised at the last statement, I may as well explain
_how_ this happened. The cold had become so intense, and my hands so
benumbed with loading, that the thumb at last obstinately refused to
open the spring of my powder-flask. A partridge was sitting impudently
before me, so that, in fear of losing the shot, I thought of trying to
open it with my teeth. In the execution of this plan, I put the brass
handle to my mouth, and my tongue happening to come in contact with
it, stuck fast thereto,--or, in other words, was frozen to it. Upon
discovering this, I instantly pulled the flask away, and with it a
piece of skin about the size of a sixpence; and, having achieved this
little feat, we once more bent our steps homewards." Upon their way,
they were surprised by a storm; a tempest of hail and a cutting wind
catching up mountains of snow in the air and dashing them into dust
against their faces. Notwithstanding all the paraphernalia of wool and
leather above described, they felt as if clothed in gauze; whilst
their faces seemed to collapse and wrinkle up as they turned their
backs to the wind and covered their agonised countenances with their
mittens. On reaching Bachelor's Hall, like three animated marble
statues, snow from head to foot, "it was curious to observe the change
that took place in the appearance of our guns after we entered the
warm room. The barrels and every bit of metal upon them, instantly
became white, like ground glass. This phenomenon was caused by the
condensation and freezing of the moist atmosphere of the room upon
the cold iron. Any piece of metal, when brought suddenly out of such
intense cold into a warm room, will in this way become covered with a
pure white coating of hoar-frost. It does not remain long in this
state, however, as the warmth of the room soon heats the metal and
melts the ice. Thus, in about ten minutes our guns assumed three
different appearances. When we entered the house they were clear,
polished, and dry; in five minutes they were white as snow; and, in
five more, dripping wet."

The principal articles in which the Hudson's Bay Company trade, are
furs of all kinds, oil, dry and salt fish, feathers and quills. Of the
furs, the most valuable is that of the black fox, which resembles the
common English fox, but is much larger and jet black, except one or
two white hairs along the back bone, and a white tuft at the end of
the tail. This animal's skin is very valuable, worth twenty-five to
thirty guineas in the English market, but the specimens are very
scarce. Besides the black fox, there are silver foxes, cross foxes,
red, white, and blue foxes, whose hides are variously esteemed. The
black, silver, cross, and red, are often produced in the same litter,
the mother being a red fox. Beaver was formerly the grand article of
commerce, but Paris hats have killed the demand and saved the beavers,
which now build and fatten in comparative security. The marten fur is
the most profitable Hudson's Bay produces. All the animals above
named, and a few others, are caught in steel and wooden traps by the
natives. Deer and buffaloes are run down, shot, and snared. Mr
Ballantyne rather startles us by the statement, that the Indians can
send an arrow through a buffalo. "In the Saskatchewan, the chief food,
both of white men and Indians, is buffalo meat, so that parties are
constantly sent out to hunt the buffalo. They generally chase them on
horseback, the country being mostly prairie land; and, when they get
close enough, shoot them with guns. The Indians, however, shoot them
oftener with the bow and arrow, as they prefer keeping their powder
and shot for warfare. They are very expert with the bow, which is
short and strong, and can easily send an arrow quite through a buffalo
at twenty yards off." We almost suspect Mr Ballantyne of drawing a
longer bow than his Indian friends. We do not understand him, however,
to have himself seen any of these marvellous shots, (although he gives
a spirited little drawing of a buffalo hunt,) and perhaps some of the
wild fellows of the Saskatchewan brigade imposed upon his youthful
credulity. These "brigades" are flotillas of boats, manned by Canadian
and half-breed _voyageurs_, who take goods for barter to the interior,
and bring back furs in exchange. The men of the Saskatchewan "come
from the prairies and the Rocky Mountains, and are consequently
brimful of stories of the buffalo hunt, attacks upon grizzly bears,
and wild Indians; some of them interesting and true enough, but the
most of them either tremendous exaggerations or altogether inventions
of their own wild fancies." To return, however, to the buffaloes. Two
calves were wanted alive, to be sent to England, and a party was
ordered out to procure them.

"Upon meeting with a herd, they all set off full gallop in chase; away
went the startled animals at a round trot, which soon increased to a
gallop as the horsemen neared them, and a shot or two told they were
coming within range. Soon the shots became more numerous, and here and
there a black spot on the prairie told where a buffalo had fallen. No
slackening of the pace occurred, however, as each hunter, upon killing
an animal, merely threw down his cap or mitten to mark it as his own,
and continued in pursuit of the herd, loading his gun as he galloped
along. The buffalo-hunters are very expert at loading and firing
quickly while going at full gallop. They carry two or three bullets in
their mouths, which they spit into the muzzles of their guns after
dropping in a little powder; and, instead of ramming it down with a
rod, merely hit the but-end of the gun on the pummel of their saddles,
and, in this way, fire a great many shots in quick succession. This,
however, is a dangerous mode of shooting, as the ball sometimes sticks
half-way down the barrel and bursts the gun, carrying away a finger,
a joint, and occasionally a hand.

"In this way they soon killed as many buffaloes as they could carry in
their carts, and one of the hunters set off in chase of a calf. In a
short time he edged one away from the rest, and then, getting between
it and the herd, ran straight against it with his horse and knocked it
down. The frightened little animal jumped up and set off with
redoubled speed, but another butt from the horse again sent it
sprawling; again it rose and was again knocked down, and, in this way,
was at last fairly tired out; when the hunter, jumping suddenly from
his horse, threw a rope round its neck and drove it before him to the
encampment, and soon after brought it to the fort. It was as wild as
ever when I saw it at Norway House, and seemed to have as much
distaste to its thraldom as the day it was taken."

Buffalo-meat, however, although abundant in the prairies, is scarce
enough in other districts of the Hudson's Bay territory, and so,
indeed, is game of all kinds; so that at certain times and seasons,
both Indians and Company's servants are reduced to very short commons,
and amongst the former starvation is by no means uncommon. The
contrasts of diet are as striking as those of climate; the provender
varying from the juicy buffalo hump and rich marrow-bone, to miserable
dry fish and _tripe-de-roche_--a sort of moss or lichen growing on the
rocks, which looks like dried-up sea-weed, and which only the
extremity of hunger can render edible. From Peel's River, a post
within the Arctic circle, a chief trader writes that all the fresh
provisions he has seen during the winter, consisted of two squirrels
and a crow. He and his companions had lived on dried meat, and were
obliged to lock the gates to keep their scanty store from the Indians,
who were literally eating each other outside the fort; for cannibalism
is common enough amongst the Indians of that region, and Mr Ballantyne
was acquainted with some old ladies who, on more than one occasion,
had dined off their own children; whilst some, if report might be
believed, had made a meal of their husbands. It is justice to the
savages to say, that they do not eat human flesh by preference, but
only when urged by necessity, and by the absence of all other viands.
They will scrape the rocks bare of the _tripe-de-roche_--which,
however, only retards starvation for a time, without preventing it,
unless varied by more nutritious food--before cutting up a cousin. Now
and then an aggravated case occurs, and one of these we find cited. In
the middle of winter, Wisagun, a Cree Indian, removed his encampment
on account of scarcity of game. With him went his wife, a son eight or
nine years of age, two or three other children, and some
relations--ten souls in all. Their change of quarters did not improve
their condition. No game appeared, and they were reduced to eat their
moccasins and skin coats, cooked by singeing them over the fire. This
wretched resource expended, they were on the brink of starvation, when
a herd of buffaloes was descried far away on the prairie. Guns were
instantly loaded, and snow-shoes put on, and away went the men,
leaving women and children in the tent. But the famished Indians soon
grew tired; the weaker dropped behind; Wisagun, and his son Natappe,
gave up the chase and returned to the encampment. Wisagun peeped
through a chink of the tent, and saw his wife cutting up one of her
own children, preparatory to cooking it. In a transport of rage, he
rushed forward and stabbed her and a woman who assisted her in her
horrible cookery; and then, fearing the wrath of the other Indians, he
fled to the woods. When the hunters came in and found their relatives
murdered, they were so much exhausted by their fruitless chase, that
they could only sit down and gaze on the mutilated bodies. During the
night, Wisagun and Natappe returned to the tent, murdered the whole
party, and were met, some time afterwards, by another party of
savages, in _good condition_; although, from scarcity of game, every
body else was starving. They accounted for their well-fed appearance,
by saying they had fallen in with a deer, previously to which,
however, the rest of the family had died of hunger.

This horrible story was told to an Englishman in the Indian hall of a
faraway post in Athabasca, by a party of Chipewyan Indians, come from
their winter hunting-grounds to trade furs. They were the same men who
had met the two Crees wandering in the plains after getting up their
flesh by swallowing their family. The loathsome food had profited
them, however, but a short while; for the Chipewyans had hardly told
the tale, when "the hall door slowly opened, and Wisagun, gaunt and
cadaverous, the very impersonation of famine, slunk into the room with
Natappe, and seated himself in a corner near the fire. Mr C---- soon
learned the truth of the foregoing story from his own lips; but he
excused his horrible deed by saying that _most_ of his relations had
died before he ate them."

Notwithstanding this sanguinary tale, the Crees, who inhabit the woody
country surrounding Hudson's Bay, are the quietest and most
inoffensive of all the Indian tribes trading with the Company. They
never go to war, scalping is obsolete amongst them, and the celebrated
war-dance a mere tradition. But their pacific habits and intercourse
with Europeans seem as yet to have done little towards their
civilisation. Some of their customs are of the most barbarous
description. They have no religion, beyond the absurd incantations of
the medicine tent; and the amount of Christianity English missionaries
have of late years succeeded in introducing amongst them is
exceedingly small. They drink to excess when they can get spirits; and
formerly, when the Hudson's Bay Company, in order to contend
successfully with other associations, thought it necessary to
distribute rum and whisky to the natives, the use of the "fire-water"
was carried to a fearful extent. They smoke tobacco, mingled with some
other leaf; are excessively lazy, and great gamblers. Polygamists,
they ill-treat their wives, compelling them to severe toil, whilst
they themselves indulge in utter indolence, except when roused to the
chase. On the march, when old men or women are unable to proceed, they
are left behind in a small tent made of willows, in which are placed
firewood, provisions, and a vessel of water. Here, when food and wood
are consumed, the unfortunate, wretches perish. The habitual dwellings
of the Crees are tents, of conical shape, made of deerskin, bark, or
branches. The manner of construction is simple and rapid. Three poles
are tied together at the top, their lower extremities spreading out in
the form of a tripod; a number of other poles are piled around these
at half-a-foot distance from each other; and thus a space is inclosed
of fifteen to twenty feet in diameter. Over these poles are spread the
skin-tent, or the rolls of birch-bark. The opening left for a doorway
is covered with an old blanket, a deer-skin, or buffalo-robe; the
floor is covered with a layer of small pine branches, a wood fire
blazes in the middle; and in this slight habitation, which is far
warmer and more comfortable than could be imagined, the Indian spends
a few days or weeks, according as game is scarce or plentiful. His
modes of securing and trapping the beasts of the plain and forest are
curious, often as ingenious and effective as they are simple and
inartificial. Mr Ballantyne initiates us in many of them in the course
of a nocturnal cruise overland with Stemaw the Indian, which gives an
excellent insight into trapper-life at Hudson's Bay. We start with the
Cree from his tent, pitched in the neighbourhood of one of the
Company's forts, at the foot of an immense tree, which stands in a
little hollow where the willows and pines are luxuriant enough to
afford shelter from the north wind. We have no difficulty in realising
the scene, as graphically sketched by our young apprentice-clerk, who
is frequently very happy in his scraps of description:--"A huge chasm,
filled with fallen trees and mounds of snow, yawns on the left of the
tent, and the ruddy sparks of fire which issue from a hole in its top
throw this and the surrounding forest into deeper gloom. Suddenly the
deerskin that covers the aperture of the wigwam is raised, and a
bright stream of warm light gushes out, tipping the dark-green points
of the opposite trees, and mingling strangely with the paler light of
the moon; and Stemaw stands erect in front of his solitary home, to
gaze a few moments at the sky and judge of the weather, as he intends
to take a long walk before laying his head upon his capote for the
night. He is in the usual costume of the Cree Indians: a large
leathern coat, very much overlapped in front, and fastened round the
waist with a scarlet belt, protects his body from the cold. A small
ratskin cap covers his head, and his legs are eased in the ordinary
blue cloth leggins. Large moccasins, with two or three pair of
blanket-socks, clothe his feet, and fingerless mittens, made of
deerskin, complete his costume. After a few minutes passed in
contemplation of the heavens, the Indian prepares himself for the
walk. First, he sticks a small axe in his belt, serving as a
counterpoise to a large hunting-knife and fire-bag which depend from
the other side. He then slips his feet through the lines of his
snow-shoes, and throws the line of a small hand-sledge over his
shoulder. The hand-sledge is a thin flat slip or plank of wood, from
five to six feet long by one foot broad, and is turned up at one end.
It is extremely light, and Indians invariably use it when visiting
their traps, for the purpose of dragging home the animals or game they
may have caught. Having attached this to his back, he stoops to
receive his gun from his faithful squaw, who has been watching his
operations through a hole in the tent, and throwing it on his shoulder
strides off, without uttering a word, across the moonlit space in
front of the tent, turns into a small narrow track that leads down the
dark ravine, and disappears in the shades of the forest."

The snow-shoes above referred to, and which are in general use amongst
both Indians and Europeans at Hudson's Bay, are as unlike shoes as any
thing bearing the name well can be. A snow-shoe is formed of two thin
pieces of light wood, tied at both ends, and spread out in the centre,
thus making an oval frame filled up with network of deerskin threads.
The frame is strengthened by cross-bars, and fastened _loosely_ to the
foot by a line across the toe. The length of the machine is from
_four_ to _six_ feet; the width from thirteen to twenty inches. Being
very light, they are no way cumbersome, and without them pedestrianism
would be impossible for many months, of the year, on account of the
depth of the snow, which falls through the meshes of these shoes, as
the traveller raises his foot. That they are not fatiguing wear, is
manifest from the fact that an Indian will walk twenty, thirty, and
even forty miles a day upon them. Only in damp weather, the moist snow
clogs the meshes, and the lines are apt to gall the foot. Apropos of
this inconvenience, Mr Ballantyne avails himself of the traveller's
privilege, and favours us with a remarkable anecdote, told him by a
Highland friend of his, Mr B----, chief of the Company's post at

"On one occasion, he was sent off upon a long journey over the snow
where the country was so mountainous, that snow-shoe walking was
rendered exceedingly painful by the feet slipping forward against the
front bar of the shoe when descending the hills. After he had
accomplished a good part of his journey, two large blisters rose under
the nails of his great toes; and soon the nails themselves came off.
Still he must go on, or die in the woods; so he was obliged to _tie_
the nails on his toes each morning before starting, for the purpose of
protecting the tender parts beneath; and every evening he wrapped them
up carefully in a piece of rag, and put them into his waistcoat
pocket,--_being afraid of losing them if he kept them on all night_."
This Mr B---- had had a long and eventful career in North America, and
was rich in 'yarns,' more or less credible, with which he regaled Mr
Ballantyne during a journey they made together. A deep scar on his
nose was the memorial of a narrow escape he had made when dwelling at
a solitary fort west of the Rocky Mountains. He had bought a fine
horse of an Indian, one of the Blackfeet, a wild and warlike tribe,
notorious as horse-stealers. The animal had been but a short time in
his possession, when it was stolen. This was a very ordinary event,
and was soon forgotten. Spring came, and a party of Indians arrived
with a load of furs for barter. They were admitted one by one into the
fort, their arms taken from them and locked up--a customary and
necessary precaution, as they used to buy spirits, get drunk and
quarrel, but without weapons they could do each other little harm.
When about a dozen had entered, the gate was shut, and then Mr B----
beheld, to his surprise, the horse he had lost the previous year. He
asked to whom it belonged, and the Indian who had sold it him
unblushingly stood forward. "Mr B---- (an exceedingly quiet,
good-natured man, but like many men of his stamp, very passionate when
roused) no sooner witnessed the fellow's audacity than he seized a gun
from one of his men, and shot the horse. The Indian instantly sprang
upon him; but being a less powerful man than Mr B----, and withal
unaccustomed to use his fists, he was soon overcome, and pommelled out
of the fort. Not content with this, Mr B---- followed him down to the
Indian camp, pommelling him all the way. The instant, however, that
the Indian found himself surrounded by his own friends, he faced
about, and with a dozen warriors attacked Mr B----, and threw him on
the ground, where they kicked and bruised him severely; whilst several
boys of the tribe hovered around with bows and arrows, waiting a
favourable opportunity to shoot him. Suddenly a savage came forward
with a large stone in his hand, and, standing over his fallen enemy,
raised it high in the air and dashed it down upon his face. Mr B----,
when telling me the story, said that he had just time, upon seeing the
stone in the act of falling, to commend his spirit to God, ere he was
rendered insensible. The merciful God, to whom he thus looked for help
at the eleventh hour, did not desert him. Several men belonging to the
fort, seeing the turn things took, hastily armed themselves, and,
hurrying out to the rescue, arrived just at the critical moment when
the stone was dashed in his face. Though too late to prevent this,
they were in time to prevent a repetition of the blow; and, after a
short scuffle with the Indians, without any bloodshed, they succeeded
in carrying their master up to the fort, where he soon recovered. The
deep cut made by the stone on the bridge of his nose, left an
indelible scar."

To return to Stemaw the trapper, whom we left striding along with
confident step, as though the high road lay before him, although no
track or trail, discernible by European eye, is there to guide his
footsteps. After a walk of two miles, a faint sound a-head brings him
to a dead halt. He listens, and a noise like the rattling of a chain
is heard from a dark, wild hollow in his front. "Another moment, and
the rattle is again distinctly heard; a slight smile of satisfaction
crosses Stemaw's dark visage; for one of his traps was set in that
place, and he knows that something is caught. Quickly descending the
slope, he enters the bushes whence the sound proceeds, and pauses when
within a yard or two of his trap to peer through the gloom. A cloud
passes off the moon, and a faint ray reveals, it may be, a beautiful
black fox caught in the snare. A slight blow on the snout from
Stemaw's axe-handle kills the unfortunate animal; in ten minutes more
it is tied to his sledge, the trap is reset and again covered over
with snow, so that it is almost impossible to tell that any thing is
there; and the Indian pursues his way." And here we have a drawing of
Reynard the Fox, a fine specimen of his kind, black as coal, with a
white tuft to his tail, looking anxiously about him, his fore-paw fast
in the jaws of a trap, with which a heavy log, fastened by a chain,
prevents his making off. In the distance, the Indian, gun on shoulder,
his snow-shoes, which look like small boats, upon his feet--strides
forward, eager to secure his valuable prize. We give Mr Ballantyne all
credit for the unpretending but useful wood-cuts scattered through his
book, which serve to explain things whose form or nature would
otherwise be but imperfectly understood. They are an honest and
legitimate style of illustration, exactly corresponding to the
requirements of a work of this kind.

The steel trap in which the fox is caught resembles a common English
rat-trap, less the teeth, and is so set, that the jaws, when spread
out flat, are exactly on a level with the snow. The chain and weight
are hidden, a little snow is swept over the trap, and nothing is
visible but the bait--usually chips of frozen partridge, rabbit, or
fish, which are scattered all around the snare. Foxes, beavers,
wolves, lynx, and other animals, are thus taken, sometimes by a
fore-leg, sometimes by a hind one, or by two at once, and
occasionally by the nose. By two legs is the preferable way--for the
trapper, that is to say--for then escape is impossible. "When foxes
are caught by one leg, they often _eat it off_ close to the trap, and
escape on the other three. I have frequently seen this happen; and I
once saw a fox caught which had evidently escaped in this way, as one
of its legs was gone, and the stump healed up and covered again with
hair. When caught by the nose, they are almost sure to escape, unless
taken out of the trap very soon after capture, as their snouts are so
sharp and wedgelike, that they can pull them from between the jaws of
the trap with the greatest ease." We are tempted to doubt the ease, or
at any rate the pleasure, of such an operation, and to compassionate
the unfortunate quadrupeds, whose only chance of escape from being
knocked on the head lies in biting off their own feet, or scraping the
skin off their jaws between those of a trap. The poor brutes have no
chance of a fair fight, or even of a few yards' law and a run for
their lives. Their hungry stomachs and keen olfactories touchingly
appealed to by the scraps of frozen game, they eat their way to the
trap, and finally put their foot in it. The trapper's trade is a
sneaking sort of business; and one cannot but understand the feeling
of self-humiliation of Cooper's Natty Bumpo, upon finding himself
reduced from the rifle to the snare--from the stand-up fight in the
forest to the stealthy prowl and treacherous trap. And hence,
doubtless, do we find the occupation far more frequently followed by
Indians and half-breeds than by white men--at least at Hudson's Bay.
Nevertheless Mr Ballantyne, whilst enjoying dignified solitude in the
remote station of Seven Islands, his French-Canadian servant and his
Newfoundland dog Humbug for sole companions, received the visit of a
trapper, who was not only white, but a gentleman to boot. This
individual, who was dressed in aboriginal style, had been in the
employ of a fur company, had married an Indian girl, and taken to
trapping. He was a good-natured man, we are told, and had been well
educated--talked philosophy, and put his new acquaintance up to the
fact, that what he for some time had taken for a bank of sea-weed, was
a shoal of kipling, close inshore. He stopped a week at the station,
living on salt pork and flour-and-water pancakes, and telling his
adventures to his gratified host, to whom, in his lonely condition,
far worse society would have been highly acceptable.

The trapper's occupation is not always unattended with danger. So long
as he has only foxes and such small gear to deal with, whom a tap on
the snout finishes, it is mere child's play, barring the fatigue of
long walks and heavy loads; but now and then he finds an ugly customer
in one of his traps, and encounters some risk before securing him.
This we shall see exemplified, if we follow Stemaw to two traps, which
he set in the morning close to each other, for the purpose of catching
one of the formidable coast-wolves. "These animals are so sagacious,
that they will scrape all round a trap, let it be ever so well set,
and, after eating all the bait, walk away unhurt. Indians consequently
endeavour in every possible way to catch them, and, amongst others, by
setting _two_ traps close together, so that, whilst the wolf scrapes
at one, he may perhaps put his foot in the other. It is in this way
Stemaw's traps are set; and he now advances cautiously towards them,
his gun in the hollow of his left arm. Slowly he advances, peering
through the bushes; but nothing is visible. Suddenly a branch crashes
under his snow-shoe, and, with a savage growl, a large wolf bounds
towards him, landing almost at his feet. A single glance, however,
shows the Indian that both traps are on his legs, and that the chains
prevent his further advance. He places his gun against a tree, draws
his axe, and advances to kill the animal. It is an undertaking,
however, of some difficulty. The fierce brute, which is larger than a
Newfoundland dog, strains every nerve and sinew to break its chains;
whilst its eyes glisten in the uncertain light, and foam curls from
its blood-red mouth. Now it retreats as the Indian advances, grinning
horribly as it goes; and anon, as the chains check its further
retreat, it springs with fearful growl towards Stemaw, who slightly
wounds it with his axe, as he jumps backward just in time to save
himself from the infuriated animal, which catches in its fangs the
flap of his leggin, and tears it from his limb. Again Stemaw advances
and the wolf retreats, and again springs upon him, but without
success. At last, as the wolf glances for a moment to one
side--apparently to see if there is no way of escape--quick as
lightning the axe flashes in the air, and descends with stunning
violence on its head; another blow follows, and in five minutes more
the animal is fastened to the sledge."

Weary with this skirmish, and with the previous walk, Stemaw calls a
halt under a big tree, and prepares to bivouac. Having started with
him, we shall accompany him to the end of his expedition, the more
willingly that his proceedings are very interesting, and capitally
described by Mr Ballantyne, in whose words we continue to give them.

"Selecting a large pine, whose spreading branches covered a patch of
ground free from underwood, he scrapes away the snow with his
snow-shoe. Silently but busily he labours for a quarter of an hour;
and then, having cleared a space seven or eight feet in diameter, and
nearly four feet deep, he cuts down a number of small branches, which
he strews at the bottom of the hollow till all the snow is covered.
This done, he fells two or three of the nearest trees, cuts them up
into lengths of about five feet long, and piles them at the root of
the tree. A light is applied to the pile, and up glances the ruddy
flame, crackling among the branches overhead, and sending thousands of
bright sparks into the air. No one who has not seen it can have the
least idea of the change that takes place in the appearance of the
woods at night, when a large fire is suddenly lighted. Before, all was
cold, silent, chilling, gloomy, and desolate, and the pale snow looked
unearthly in the dark. Now, a bright ruddy glow falls upon the thick
stems of the trees, and penetrates through the branches overhead,
tipping those nearest the fire with a ruby tinge, the mere sight of
which warms one. The white snow changes to a beautiful pink; whilst
the stems of the trees, bright and clearly visible near at hand,
become more and more indistinct in the distance, till they are lost in
the black background. The darkness, however, need not be seen from the
encampment, for, when the Indian lies down, he will be surrounded by
the snowy walls, which sparkle in the firelight as if set with
diamonds. These do not melt, as might be expected: the frost is much
too intense for that; and nothing melts except the snow quite close to
the fire. Stemaw has now concluded his arrangements: a small piece of
dried deer's meat warms before the blaze, and meanwhile he spreads his
green blanket on the ground, and fills a stone calumet (a pipe with a
wooden stem) with tobacco, mixed with a kind of weed prepared by

His pipe smoked, his venison devoured, the trapper wraps him in his
blanket, and sleeps. We are then transported to a beaver-lodge at the
extremity of a frozen and snow-covered lake. Yonder, where the points
of a few bulrushes appear above the monotonous surface of dazzling
white, are a number of small earthy mounds, the trees and bushes in
whose vicinity are cut and barked in many places. It is a lively place
enough in the warm season, when the beavers are busy nibbling down
trees and bushes, to mend their dams and stock their storehouses with
food. Now it is very different: in winter the beaver stays at home,
and sleeps. His awakening is sometimes an unpleasant one.

"Do you observe that small black speck moving over the white surface
of the lake, far away in the horizon? It looks like a crow, but the
forward motion is much too steady and constant for that. As it
approaches, it assumes the form of a man; and at last the figure of
Stemaw, dragging his empty sleigh behind him, (for he has left his
wolf and foxes in the last night's encampment, to be taken up when
returning home,) becomes clearly distinguishable through the dreamy
haze of the cold wintry morning. He arrives at the beaver-lodges, and,
I warrant, will soon play havoc among the inmates.

"His first proceeding is to cut down several stakes, which he points
at the ends. These are driven, after he has cut away a good deal of
ice from around the beaver-lodge, into the ground between it and the
shore. This is to prevent the beaver from running along the passage
they always have from their lodge to the shore, where their storehouse
is kept, which would make it necessary to excavate the whole passage.
The beaver, if there are any, being thus imprisoned in the lodge, the
hunter next stakes up the opening into the storehouse on shore, and so
imprisons those that may have fled there for shelter on hearing the
noise of his axe at the other house. Things being thus arranged to his
entire satisfaction, he takes an instrument called an ice-chisel--which
is a bit of steel about a foot long by one inch broad, fastened to the
end of a stout pole, wherewith he proceeds to dig through the lodge.
This is by no means an easy operation; and although he covers the snow
around him with great quantities of mud and sticks, yet his work is
not half finished. At last, however, the interior of the hut is laid
bare, and the Indian, stooping down, gives a great pull, when out
comes a large, fat, sleepy beaver, which he flings sprawling on the
snow. Being thus unceremoniously awakened from its winter nap, the
shivering animal looks languidly around, and even goes the length of
making a face at Stemaw, by way of showing its teeth, for which it is
rewarded with a blow on the head from the pole of the ice-chisel,
which puts an end to it. In this way several more are killed, and
packed on the sleigh. Stemaw then turns his face towards his
encampment, where he collects the game left there, and away he goes at
a tremendous pace, dashing the snow in clouds from his snow-shoes, as
he hurries over the trackless wilderness to his forest home"--where,
upon arrival, he is welcomed with immense glee by his greedy Squaw,
whose lips water at the prospect of a good gorge upon fat beaver. We
are not informed what sort of eating this is; but we read of soup made
of beaver skins, which are oily, and stew well, resorted to by
Europeans when short of provender in the dreary wilds of Hudson's Bay.
Indeed all manner of queer things obtain favour as edibles in the
territory of the Honourable Hudson's Bay Company. A party of Canadian
_voyageurs_ or boatmen find a basket made of bark and filled with
bear's grease, which had been hidden away by Indians, who doubtless
entertained the laudable design of forwarding it, per next ship, to
the address of a London hairdresser. The boatmen preferred its
internal application to the external one usually made of the famous
capillary regenerator, and in less than two days devoured the whole of
the precious ointment, spread upon the flour-cakes which, with
_pemican_, form their usual provisions. Pemican is buffalo flesh,
dried in flakes and then pounded between two stones. "These are put
into a bag made of the animal's hide, with the hair on the outside,
and well mixed with melted grease; the top of the bag is then sewed
up, and the pemican allowed to cool. In this state it may be eaten
uncooked; but the voyageurs mix it with a little flour and water, and
then boil it; in which state it is known throughout the country by the
elegant name of _robbiboo_. Pemican is good wholesome food, will keep
fresh for a great length of time, and, were it not for its
unprepossessing appearance, and a good many buffalo hairs mixed with
it, through the carelessness of the hunters, would be very palatable."
The Indians, it has already been shown, are by no means particular in
their diet, and devour, with equal relish, a beaver and a kinsman.
Another unusual article of food in favour amongst them is a species of
white owl, which looks, we are told, when skinned, comically like very
young babies. They are large and beautiful birds, sometimes nearly as
big as swans. Mr Ballantyne shot one measuring five feet three inches
across the wings. "They are in the habit of alighting upon the tops of
blighted trees, and on poles of any kind, which happen to stand
conspicuously apart from the forest trees; for the purpose, probably,
of watching for birds and mice, on which they prey. Taking advantage
of this habit, the Indian plants his trap (a fox trap) on the top of a
bare tree, so that, when the owl alights, it is generally caught by
the legs." Owls of all sizes abound in Hudson's Bay, from, the
gigantic species just described, down to the small gray owl, not much
bigger than a man's hand.

Hudson's Bay not being a colony, but a great waste country, sprinkled
with a few European dwellings, dealings are carried on by barter
rather than by cash payments, and of money there is little or none.
But, to facilitate trade with the Indians, there is a certain standard
of value known as a castor, and represented by pieces of wood. We may
conjecture the term to have originated in the French word _castor_,
signifying a beaver--of which animal these wooden tokens were probably
intended to represent the value. It stands to reason that such a
coinage is too easily counterfeited for its general circulation to be
permitted, and it consequently is current only in the Company's
barter-rooms. "Thus an Indian arrives at a fort with a bundle of furs,
with which he proceeds to the Indian trading-room. There the trader
separates the furs into different lots, and valuing each at the
standard valuation, adds the amounts together, and tells the Indian,
who has looked on the while with great interest and anxiety, that he
has got fifty or sixty castors; at the same time handing him fifty or
sixty little bits of wood in lieu of cash, so that he may, by
returning these in payment of the goods for which he really exchanges
his skins, know how fast his funds decrease. The Indian then looks
around upon the bales of cloth, powder-horns, guns, blankets, knives,
&c., with which the shop is filled, and after a good while makes up
his mind to have a small blanket. This being given him, the trader
tells him that the price is six castors; the purchaser hands him six
of his little bits of wood, and selects something else. In this way he
goes on till the wooden cash is expended. The value of a castor is
from one to two shillings. The natives generally visit the
establishments of the Company twice a-year; once in October, when they
bring in the produce of their autumn hunts, and again in March, when
they come in with that of the great winter hunt. The number of castors
that an Indian makes in a winter hunt varies from fifty to two
hundred, according to his perseverance and activity, and the part of
the country in which he hunts. The largest amount I ever heard of was
made by a man named Piaquata-Kiscum, who brought in furs, on one
occasion, to the value of two hundred and sixty castors. The poor
fellow was soon afterwards poisoned by his relatives, who were jealous
of his superior abilities as a hunter, and envious of the favour shown
him by the white men."

Mr Ballantyne visits and describes Red River settlement, the only
colony in the extensive district traded over by the Hudson's Bay
Company. It contained in 1843 about five thousand souls--French
Canadians, Scotchmen, and Indians--and since then the population has
rapidly increased. In the time of the North-West Company, since
amalgamated, with that of Hudson's Bay, it was the scene of a smart
skirmish or two between the rival fur-traders, in one of which Mr
Semple, governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, lost his life, and a
number of his men were killed and wounded. We find some curious
particulars of the stratagems and manœuvres employed by the two
associations to outwit each other, and get the earliest deal with the
Indian hunters. But to this we can only thus cursorily refer; whilst
to many other chapters of equal novelty and interest we cannot even do
that. We are obliged to refuse ourselves the pleasure of a
piscatorical page, in which we would have shown the brethren of the
angle, roaming by loch and stream on trout and salmon intent, how in
the land of Hendrik Hudson silver fish are caught whose eyes are
living gold. All we can do, before laying down the pen, is to commend
Mr Ballantyne's book, which does him great credit. It is unaffected
and to the purpose, written in an honest, straightforward style, and
is full of real interest and amusement, without the unnecessary
wordiness and impertinent gossip with which books of this description
are too often swollen. We are glad to learn, whilst concluding this
paper, that the public will soon be enabled, by a second edition of
the volume, to form a better idea of its merits than it has been
possible for us to give by these few brief extracts.


The budget has just been produced, and the country has heard the
lamentable exposure which the prime minister of the United Kingdom has
been forced to submit to parliament. Such is the state of our
financial affairs and future prospects, under the operation of the
free-trade mania: and it is matter of congratulation that the
mischievous and anti-national doctrines of the Manchester school
should have been refuted at so early a period of their practice, and
that the results of democratic rule are already made apparent even to
the dullest understanding. Since warning has failed--or rather, let us
say, since deep and deliberate treachery has combined with ambition
and selfishness to alter the system through which Britain obtained and
maintained its greatness, it is well that the hard but wholesome
admonitions of experience should be felt. Better, surely, now than
hereafter; before we have become familiarised to the annual tale of a
declining revenue, and before we have lost heart and courage to meet
the danger with a front of defiance!

The balance-sheet of last year exhibits the deplorable fact, that
there is an excess of expenditure over income to the amount of very
nearly THREE MILLIONS. For such a result our readers must have been
perfectly prepared. We have pointed out, over and over again, the
disastrous effects which were certain to follow upon the adoption of
the new theories; the depreciation of property, and the depression of
industry, inevitable as the consequence of such measures: and the
defalcation of the revenue is the best proof of the soundness and
accuracy of our views. Not that such defalcation is to be taken in any
degree as the measure of our loss. It is a mere trivial fraction of
the injury sustained in consequence of misguided legislation; a little
proof, but a sure one, that we have entered upon the path which we
must retread, unless we are to move on deliberately towards ruin.
Three millions is of itself an inconsiderable sum to be provided for
by the British nation, if the exigency were only temporary, and the
resources of the country augmenting. But three millions may be a
serious matter, if the demand is to be annual and increasing, and if,
withal, our means are dwindling and notoriously on the wane.

We write at so late a period of the month, that our remarks must
necessarily be contracted. Before these sheets can issue from the
press, the debate will have commenced in earnest, and the proposed
financial measures be thoroughly discussed in parliament. We have no
wish at present to fall back upon the earlier question, or to resume
consideration of the causes which have led to this extraordinary
deficiency. We are content to take Lord John Russell's figures and
apology as we find them. His estimates may very possibly be within the
mark, and we believe he has been cautious in framing them. Warned by
the experience of last year, he has not ventured to calculate upon any
increase in the cardinal items of the customs and excise, thereby
tacitly renouncing his faith in the realisation of the Cobdenite
prophecies; and the result of the whole is, that the yearly revenue of
the country, even including the present income-tax, will be, short of
the expenditure by more than three millions. It may be right to
subjoin Lord John Russell's own calculations.


  Customs                       L.19,774,760
  Excise                          13,340,000
  Stamps                           7,150,000
  Taxes                            4,340,000
  Property-tax                     5,420,000
  Post-office                        923,000
  Crown Lands                         60,000
  Miscellaneous                      325,000


  Funded debt      L.27,778,000
  Exchequer bills       752,600
                   ------------ L.28,530,600
  Charges on Consolidated Fund     2,750,000
  Caffre War                       1,100,000
  Naval excess                       245,500
  Navy        L.7,726,610}
  Army          7,162,996}        21,820,441
  Ordnance      2,924,835}
  Miscellaneous 4,006,000}
        Add militia                  150,000


The calculated deficit will therefore amount to £3,263,781.

This is a lamentable enough exposition, more especially as it follows
upon a year of singular hardship and depression. Burdened as we are
already, both with state and with local burdens, we are now required
to submit to a further pressure: the credit of the nation must be
maintained, and in some way or other this additional impost must be
levied. And here we shall state, at once, that, all things considered,
we see no just grounds for charging Lord John Russell--or his
Chancellor of the Exchequer, who seems, on this occasion, to have been
superseded as incompetent--with any undue want of economy. An outcry
will, of course, be made by the furious and fatuous fanatics of the
League against the increase of the army and navy estimates, amounting
altogether to about £300,000. This charge, for reasons which we have
stated before, we believe to be just and reasonable, and it is
certainly nothing more than the situation of the country demands. But
supposing that not one additional shilling were to be laid out on the
strengthening of either service, there would still remain a sum of
nearly three millions to be provided for; and we have now to consider
the means by which that additional impost may be fairly and equitably

The system pursued of late years in this country, with regard to
revenue matters, has been cowardly, dangerous, and, in one instance at
least, deliberately deceptive. It has been cowardly, because ministers
have not chosen to abide by principles which they have acknowledged to
be just; but, on the contrary, for the sake of popularity and the
retention of power, they have invariably yielded to clamour, and
surrendered, one after another, many of the surest means of raising an
adequate revenue. All idea of reducing the amount of the national debt
has long since been abandoned. The moment any surplus appeared, some
minor tax was remitted. If the consumer did not gain thereby, as in
most instances has been the case, the ministry at least could claim
credit for their desire to remove burdens; and these reductions,
however profitless to the public, looked well in a financial
statement. It has been dangerous, because, as a natural consequence,
the remissions made in a prosperous year, when the revenue was full,
caused a corresponding defalcation in another when the scales had
turned against us. It is easy and popular to remove an existing tax;
but difficult and decidedly obnoxious to levy a new one. We had
gradually cut down our indirect taxation so far, that any further
reductions became impossible, without reverting to direct taxation,
which is the most grievous and oppressive, as it is usually the most
unequitable method of collecting a public revenue.

We were in this position when the great financial juggle of the age
was attempted; and, we are sorry to say, successfully carried through
by its schemer. The history of the imposition of the income-tax in
1842, must, hereafter, to the exclusion of all minor matters, be
considered the point upon which the posthumous reputation of Sir
Robert Peel will rest. No minister of this country ever assumed the
reins of office under auspices more favourable, if his practice had
been equal to his profession. In 1841--and the coincidence is
singular--the Whigs found themselves placed in nearly the same
financial difficulty as now. They had a deficit of about three
millions to provide for, and they fell in consequence. All eyes were
turned to Sir Robert Peel, whose prestige as a commercial minister was
then at its very height. He was at the head of a great, concentrated,
and enthusiastic party, whose chief fault was the consummate reliance
which they were disposed to place in their leader; and the destinies
of the nation were committed with extraordinary confidence into his
hands. He had but to dictate his course, and every one was ready to
obey. It was then that he came forward with the proposition of an
income and property tax--not, be it remarked, as a permanent measure,
but as the means of removing the temporary and pressing difficulty,
and of sustaining the revenue until the ordinary sources should
produce the necessary supply. It is needless, now, to recount the
process of persuasive rhetoric employed by the minister to ensure the
adoption of his scheme. The injustice of the tax was admitted; the
sacrifice lauded as an example of public patriotism; and that portion
of the community who were selected as the victims, so hugged, coaxed,
and wheedled, that it was almost beyond the power of human nature to
deny a boon which was implored in such terms of seducing endearment.
And, in truth, the scheme did involve a sacrifice; because it amounted
to nothing less than a partial confiscation of property. One class of
the community were to be directly taxed, whilst another was allowed to
go free. What was still worse, two of the united kingdoms were to be
subjected to a burden from which the third was altogether relieved. On
principle, the income-tax was indefensible, nor did Sir Robert Peel
attempt to place his measure so high. With much seeming candour he
anticipated all objections, and his scheme was carried on the faith of
its merely temporary endurance.

Instead of producing three millions, as was anticipated, the
income-tax returns amounted to considerably more than five; and, as
trade did revive, it was within the power of Sir Robert Peel to have
redeemed his pledge with honour, and to have relieved the class which
had been subjected, voluntarily, to this unusual burden, at the
termination of the first period of three years. It then, however,
appeared that the revenue so raised had been diverted from its proper
purpose. It was not used as the substitute for a temporary deficiency,
but as the means of making that deficiency absolutely permanent. More
indirect taxes were taken off, more duties repealed; so that, at the
end of three years, it was impossible to dispense with the income-tax.
In fact, the minister had broken his word. The horse, says Æsop, being
desirous to avenge himself on his old enemy the stag, allowed the man
to clap a saddle on his back, and to ride in pursuit. He had his
revenge, indeed, but the saddle has never been removed to the present
day. It would be well if, in this age, when prevarication and
disingenuity are so rife in high places, the fables of the shrewd
Phrygian were consulted more frequently, for the sake of the morals
which they convey.

Of all the gorgeous promises held out in 1842, and since repeated, not
only by ministers, but by the accredited organs of free-trade, not one
has been fulfilled. Instead of the Pactolus which was to flow in to
us, we find that the ordinary streams of commerce have shrunk
alarmingly in their channel: instead of being relieved from the
temporary income-tax, there is another deficit of three millions
staring us in the face. The statutory period of the income-tax expires
in April next: we are now asked to renew it for another period of five
years, and to augment it, for two of these years, from three to five
per cent. The income-tax, therefore, has changed its character. It is
no longer a voluntary grant, but has become part and parcel of our
national system of taxation. It is to be maintained and levied in
order to make up for the deficiencies occasioned by the late
commercial experiments; and Lord John Russell does not propose to
modify or alter its arrangements in any degree whatever. It is to be
drawn from the same class as before, with this difference, that
whereas we have hitherto paid seven-pence in the pound, we are now to
contribute a shilling.

This is, indeed, a most serious matter; and we shall look forward to
the financial debate with feelings of the greatest anxiety. This is no
ordinary crisis, and it must be met with corresponding fortitude and
promptness. A measure, admittedly unjust in its principle, is now to
be recognised as a law; and the faith which was plighted, a few years
ago, to the most important section of the community, is now to be
deliberately broken. Property is at last assailed, not covertly but
openly; and the worst anticipations of those who deprecated our
departure from the older system, are upon the eve of being realised.

Two considerations now arise, and each of them is of the utmost
importance. The first concerns the policy of this measure: the second
relates to its injustice. On both points we have a few words to say.

And first, as to its policy. A direct property or income-tax has
hitherto been considered and acknowledged by all governments of this
country as the very last which can be resorted to in cases of
extraordinary emergency. In the event of danger, of war or of
invasion, unusual imposts will be submitted to without a murmur: in
time of peace it has always been held as a principle, that the
ordinary expenditure should be met by the ordinary methods of
taxation; and these have been for the most part indirect. Of all our
sources of revenue, that derived from the customs, which has been most
tampered with, is the easiest of collection. It amounts to much more
than one-third of the whole, and in time of peace is capable of
contraction and of expansion. That is the mark at which the
free-traders have discharged the whole of their battery, and certainly
they have succeeded in effecting a notable reduction. In consequence,
we are now called upon in time of peace to submit to a war-tax, which
is in effect a sort of monetary conscription. By adopting it, we
sacrifice the power of falling back in any case of emergency upon a
strong existing reserve. It will be conceded on all hands, that in
time of war we cannot look to the customs and excise for any
additional support; and if we go on multiplying direct taxation in the
time of peace, to what source can we turn in the event of in
unforeseen emergency? This is perhaps the most mischievous result of
our adoption of the free-trade doctrines, because it leaves us utterly
fettered, at the moment when freedom of action is most necessary for
the safety of the whole state. We are extremely glad that on this
point we are corroborated by the opinions of Mr Francis Baring,
formerly Chancellor of the Exchequer under the Melbourne
administration, whose clear and forcible denunciation of the proposed
financial policy must have been listened to by his former colleagues
with feelings of considerable shame. "At a time," said Mr Baring,
"when we talk of preparing our defences, I deeply regret that we
should be throwing away that which is the most powerful financial
weapon in our whole armoury in the case of a war. If you now lay on a
tax of five per cent, in case of a war to what source of taxation
would you turn? Do you think you could raise the income-tax above five
per cent? or are you prepared, at a time when you shall be in
difficulty and distress, to have recourse to the taxes on customs and
excise which you have so lavishly thrown away? I opposed the
income-tax at its first introduction, because I thought it a dangerous
course to accumulate in direct taxation any very large amount of
taxation of a different kind." With these sentiments we entirely
coincide; nor could such a tax, we venture to say, have been
originally imposed, unless it had been broadly and explicitly stated
that it was only temporary in its duration. At every step we encounter
the effects of Sir Robert Peel's indefensible and cruel want of
candour. Had he acted in that noble and upright spirit which has
characterised British statesmen of a former age, we should have been
spared that distress and difficulty; but he chose to prefer the
crooked path to the straight one; he hatched and harboured commercial
designs which he did not dare to impart to his colleagues, and he
asked the support of a large body of the community on the strength of
representations which he never intended to fulfil. It is not
surprising that Lord John Russell should adopt without hesitation the
legacy of his predecessor, and attempt to profit by the income-tax
when he has the machinery ready to his hand. But we warn the people of
this country--we warn those who were betrayed into yielding by
specious promises, but who now find to their cost that they in reality
are to become the bearers of the burden of the state--we warn them
that the same game will be continued, and that, if they consent to
this augmentation, it will not be by any means the last. If the
proposals of the ministry should unfortunately be adopted, and if once
more the defalcation in the national revenue should be made good--if
trade again revives, and a surplus is exhibited in the balance sheet,
more indirect taxes will be repealed, more tampering with our ordinary
revenue be resorted to; free-trade will progress as it has begun,
crippling our native industry, destroying our means, and sacrificing
the British labourer even in the home market to the foreigner, until
the defalcation again arises, and another attack is made directly upon
property. When that time shall arrive--and unless prompt resistance is
now made, we do not think it is far distant--the limits of taxation
will have been reached. It will be no longer possible to go on. The
lesser confiscation will give way to the greater, and the sponge be
propounded as the remedy.

But the second point--that of the injustice of this measure--is most
glaring, and demands immediate attention. Opposed as we are to the
substitution of direct for indirect taxation, we can yet understand
the motives of a minister who comes forward with a distinct and
equable plan for an entire remodelment of the system. We believe that
no such scheme can possibly be reduced to practice; and that, if
attempted, it would prove utterly obnoxious and subversive of the
national interest: we think that it would be unwise, but at the same
time it might not be unjust as between man and man in the community.
There is a certain burden to be borne by the whole of the nation, and
the great problem is, to find out how every man can be made to
contribute his proper share. Laws are framed and institutions founded
for the protection of property and person; and, strictly speaking,
every one is bound to bear the expense according to his means. The
only effectual method which has ever yet been discovered for securing
this, is the system of indirect taxation. By that system each man
contributes to the revenue in proportion to the amount of taxed
articles which he consumes. Wealth, in the aggregate, superinduces
luxury, and the higher classes pay proportionably for the increased
comforts they enjoy. Such were the principles of indirect taxation
before Sir Robert Peel began to alter it, and even yet many of the
original features remain. But we cannot recognise in his tariffs any
thing of a consistent plan. That foreign luxuries, which cannot be
produced in this country, should be brought in at as low a rate of
duty as the state of the revenue will allow, is admitted on all hands.
Wine, for example, which is no product of ours, is a case in point.
But when we find him deliberately fostering foreign industry at the
expense of home manufactures--reducing or abolishing the duties upon
such articles as ornamental glass, boots, gloves, or made-up fancy
silks, which, from their natures, are consumed by the higher classes
only, our belief in his sagacity vanishes. The time is fast
approaching when the artisan will feel severely the effects of that
departure from our older system, which regarded home industry with
peculiar favour, and refused to sacrifice it for the sake of
increasing the yearly amount of our imports. Every curtailed or
superseded branch of employment in this overpeopled country is a
national loss and a misfortune.

Direct taxation might be accepted as a substitute if it only could be
adequately enforced. This, however, we know to be impossible. The
expense of collection below a certain limit would entirely swallow up
the profit; and besides, it is clearly beyond the power of human
ingenuity to ascertain, with any thing like accuracy, the means of the
whole population. The only approximation to the direct system which
has ever been suggested, is through a regulated house-tax; but even
that would fail in accomplishing its end, and the inequality would
still prevail. Direct taxation is liable to infinite abuse. It is
odious and inquisitorial in its nature, and no minister has been bold
enough to propound a plan for making it supersede the other.

If, therefore, this income-tax, palmed upon us through fraudulent
representation, and now proposed as perpetual on the plea of pressing
emergency, is to be continued for ever, it will be necessary for us to
consider how far it is levied on those benefited by the removal of
indirect taxes--how far it applies to all classes--and whether it is
one-sided and unjust, or fair and equitable, in its operation. Before
we consent to an impost which must affect us and our children, it is
well that we should thoroughly understand the nature of the obligation
we undertake. The income-tax was originally proposed to supply the
loss of revenue sustained in consequence of an over-reduction of the
indirect taxes; and as a matter of equity it follows, that the
supplies should be drawn, though in a different form, from the same
portion of the community.

Is this the case? Can any man venture to say that the income-tax, as
we have known it for the last five years, has been borne with equal
fairness by all classes of the community? Is it not, on the contrary,
the most unequal, the most unjust, and the most oppressive tax that
ever yet was levied? We hardly believe that on this point there can be
any difference of opinion: and we shall now proceed to notice the
separate considerations upon which our decided and determined
hostility to the measure is based.

By exempting from taxation all incomes below £150, a glaring act of
injustice is committed. There is no reason whatever why that amount
should be fixed upon as the lowest point--why the tradesman, clerk, or
rising professional man, who barely clears that amount of profit,
should be made to pay permanently for the others who are not so
industrious or so fortunate. It is not, however, difficult to
understand why Sir Robert Peel, in proposing the tax as a mere
temporary relief, should have been cautious to avoid any agitation of
the masses on a question so vitally important to their well-being, had
justice been the foundation of his plan. He probably thought that, by
exempting that portion of the middle classes whose incomes did not
reach the above amount, he would at all events secure their
neutrality, and perhaps purchase their support in any subsequent
attempt to render the tax perpetual. This view is fortified by the
exposition contained in the famous Elbing letter, and though we may
admire the ingenuity of the scheme, we cannot commend it for morality.
If this tax is to be continued and augmented, we are in justice
entitled to demand that it shall be carried down to the very lowest
point at which the amount of revenue drawn may exceed the cost of
collection. In 1798, according to Mr Porter, "an income tax was
imposed at the rate of ten per cent upon all incomes amounting to £200
and upwards, with diminishing rates upon smaller incomes, down to £60
per annum, below which rate the tax was not to apply." If we are to
persevere in this unwholesome style of taxation, there is no reason
whatever why some such arrangement as the above should not be adopted.
It is contrary to the constitution of a free country, that any class
should be selected as the subjects of isolated taxation, and doubly so
when the selection is made for the almost avowed purpose of relieving
some other class from the impost. Equal laws and equal rights can only
be maintained where there is a proper equality of burdens; and if it
be difficult to arrange the scale, as it undoubtedly is, the
difficulty must be met by those who propose to substitute this
unconstitutional mode of taxation for that which applied equally to
all classes of the community. Why should each and all of us, who
subsist by our own industry, and who are ready to pay our own share of
the national expenditure, be forced in addition to pay the quota of
others whose incomes do not amount to £150? Surely, there is less
difference in position between the man who clears £140 a-year by his
trade, and another whose gross profits amount to £155, than between
the latter and the possessor of a revenue of £10,000 per annum? And
yet, the two last are to be charged five per cent on their incomes,
whilst the other, who has the sense to moderate his industry, is to be
entitled to escape scot-free!

Another monstrous hardship of the income-tax is its pressure upon
professional men, and upon those whose incomes are precarious. No
distinction is made by the act of 1842, between profits accruing from
realised property, and those which are entirely the product of
individual and personal exertion; and yet, in every point of view,
there is a vast difference between the parties so situated. The man
who derives an income of £1000 a-year from landed property, or from
the funds, is in a far better position than the divine, the lawyer,
the physician, or the military officer, whose incomes perish with
their persons. That most pressing duty of life, the necessity of
laying by Some provision for a rising family, is in the one case
already fulfilled--in the other it is urgent; and yet no distinction
whatever is made between the two. The professional man is compelled
year after year to lay aside a large portion of his income, for the
sake of securing, by insurance or otherwise, the means of subsistence
for his family in the case of sudden death. He may not be able to
spend one half of his apparent income, and yet no deduction is
allowed on this account. He must pay for burdens not his own, and for
ministerial folly in which he was no participator, an amount equal to
that which is levied from the fund-holder or the man of acres, in the
full knowledge that, when he dies, his capital is buried with him,
whilst that of the other class remains tangible and available by
inheritance. This is another ground upon which we decidedly object to
the continuance and augmentation of the income-tax.

But the worst and most intolerable feature of the whole remains
behind. Unjustly apportioned as this tax undoubtedly is among
ourselves, the total exemption of Ireland from its operation is a
matter which cannot fail to excite throughout Great Britain a feeling
of universal and bitter indignation. Ireland, as we all know, is
already exempted from several of our heaviest burdens: she is by far
the greatest pensioner of the public purse; and the charities and
bounties which have been so indiscriminately lavished upon her, are
beyond all bounds disproportionate either to her wants or her
gratitude. But when it is seriously proposed to make this tax--which
is a class one--permanent, and to exempt from its operation all
persons of property and income in Ireland, it is full time that we
should speak out boldly, and declare, that at all hazards we shall not
submit to so gross and flagrant an injustice. This is no time for
puerile remonstrance. We have already borne and suffered more than we
are able to endure; and we must not permit ourselves to be sacrificed,
in order that Lord John Russell may command the Irish votes; we must
not be impoverished, in order to give a new impetus to the cause of
turbulence and sedition. In particular, let us impress upon our
representatives, that this is a matter in which Scotland is vitally
concerned. We have submitted very tamely and quietly to much neglect,
and to a good deal of palpable injustice; we have abstained from
making that outcry which the notorious neglect, by each succeeding
government, of our institutions and foundations rendered almost a
national duty. We have allowed ourselves, though the poorer country of
the two, to be taxed on the same scale with England; but we cannot,
and must not, be silent sufferers under this crowning act of
oppression. Ireland must not be permitted any longer to benefit by our
patience and our thrift. On this part of the subject, Lord John
Russell is peculiarly weak. He feels, and by implication admits, the
impropriety of the Irish exemption; and he took refuge from the
derisive cheering of the House in some general, but useless axioms, to
the effect that the prosperity of Ireland involved the prosperity of
the United Kingdom. All we can say upon that topic is, that if the
well-being of Britain depends upon the exertions and tranquillity of
Ireland, our existence as a great empire at the present day may be
counted as the most stupendous of modern miracles. But this, even in
the most favourable point of view, affords no argument at all. We
presume it is admitted, that the prosperity of Scotland has something
to do with the welfare of the United Kingdom; but are we on that
account entitled to demand that the people of England shall bear at
least one half of our proper fiscal burdens? The pretext is so flimsy,
that we wonder how any prime minister could find courage to state it
in his place. This is avowedly not a tax which is to affect the
working or pauper population: it does not wring the pence from the
hands of the peasant. It spares all incomes under £150; and are we now
to be deliberately told, when this impost is sought to be made
permanent, that the lawyers, physicians, and tradesmen of Dublin are
to be exempted from an assessment, occasioned by a general defalcation
of the revenue, to the gross injury of their professional brethren who
have the misfortune to reside in Edinburgh? But we go a great deal
further than this. We say, that if exemption is to be given to the
Irish landlords, a stronger case for the same immunity may be
preferred in behalf of the landowners throughout the greater part of
Scotland. The cruel suppression of the kelp manufacture has long ago
reduced a vast portion of the population located in the Western
Highlands and Islands to a state of pauperism. Poor-rates have been
enormously increased; and the failure of the potato-crop was felt in
those districts at least as severely as in Ireland. Very scanty indeed
was the relief doled out by government here, at the time when large
supplies were forced into the turbulent island; the burden of
maintaining the poor was thrown upon our proprietors; and their reward
is to be an augmented income-tax of five per cent, whilst the Irish,
as usual, are to go free! Really, when we consider this matter in its
broad and open bearing, the injustice appears so enormous, that we can
hardly bring ourselves to believe that it is seriously intended to
perpetrate it. At all events our course is clear. There can be no
party distinctions in such a matter as this. Whatever difference of
opinion may exist as to the policy of continuing the income-tax, there
can be none as to the propriety of its just and equal distribution
throughout the empire. The voice of Scotland must be heard upon this
point, and loudly too, else our fragmentary representation is nothing
more than a shadow and a dream. We trust that both the counties and
the towns will bestir themselves to oppose this meditated act of
spoliation; and by a ready and united resistance, compel the ministry
to remember that higher and weightier considerations than the command
of some Irish votes are involved in a question so momentous and so
vital to the whole community.

Indeed, if the income-tax is really to become permanent, it must be
placed upon an entirely different basis, and undergo a thorough
revision. It cannot be suffered to pass in that light and easy manner
which Lord John Russell seems to contemplate. His former colleague, Mr
Baring, feels this, and does not hesitate to say it. We quote from his
remarks upon the subject:--"It might be very well in times of great
difficulty, or in time of war, to do that under the pressing necessity
of the circumstances, which they were prepared to justify solely on
the grounds of such necessity, but which would not be justifiable
without it. When, then, they proposed for two or three years to lay on
an income-tax in time of war, they might not be very nice in seeing
that the tax pressed equally on all classes; but when they came to
raise all income-tax of five per cent, and made it part of the
permanent system of taxation, he thought they were bound to make it a
more equable and fair tax than it was at present. He alluded to the
different manner in which the tax pressed upon incomes derived from
property, and from those which depended on the exertions of
individuals. He did not think this tax, as it was at present imposed,
could long stand the test of fair reasoning." It may be very well for
the premier to state, with Whig glibness, that "we propose, therefore,
to take the tax exactly as it has been imposed in late years--on the
same principles on which it was proposed and defended by Mr Pitt, on
the principles on which it was increased by Lord Grenville and Lord
Lansdowne." He is utterly wrong, both in his history and in his
inference. The present tax is, in its most important features,
defencible upon no principle that ever was enunciated before; and he
is mistaken if he supposes that the British nation will consider a
permanent impost in the same light as one which was merely temporary.
We maintain that the measure, as a whole, is in the highest degree
dangerous and unconstitutional; but if we are compelled to submit to
it as the product of wild and reckless experiment, it is absolutely
necessary that it should be reconstructed in accordance to the
dictates of justice. The late act was neither so framed nor
administered. Upon what principle, we should like to know, is the
English landed proprietor assessed upon a rental from which all
parochial and other burdens are deducted, whilst in Scotland the
landlord is charged upon the gross amount? The Englishman is entitled
to deduction of poor, county, highway, church, and police rates;
whilst the Scotchman is very coolly handed over to the tender mercies
of the commissioners under schedule A, and assessed to the uttermost
farthing! This is but one instance of the inequality which pervades
the act of 1842; and although it might have been passed over without
much notice in a scheme of taxation which was only to last for a
limited time, it must not be suffered to remain unaltered when a
permanent burden is to be laid upon our aching shoulders. This
country, far more than Ireland, stands in need of a national
association to watch over and protect its interests.

We shall not venture to anticipate the reception of this most
deplorable financial statement when it is fully brought before
parliament. We fully agree with Mr Osborne, who said that, "had there
been a regularly organised Opposition, such a statement would never
have been made. In such a case, the fact of a minister under present
circumstances calling for an increase in taxation, would have signed
the deathwarrant of his cabinet. The present ministry, he believed,
would be the most unpopular and the most unfortunate who had ever sat
within these walls." Hard language this certainly, when addressed to
the prophets of unbounded prosperity following in the wake of
free-trade, but not more hard than true. Commercial distress,
unexampled bankruptcy, money at a minimum rate of eight per cent,
ruined colonies, and a war-tax made permanent and augmented, have been
the first-fruits of that glorious measure which was absolutely to
swamp us with an inundation of unexampled riches! How much further, we
may ask, is it proposed to carry the experiment? Are the navigation
laws to be repealed by a ministry which acknowledges the necessity of
increasing our armaments? Which interest is next to suffer?

        "Who else must be let blood--who else is rank?"

What other reductions are to be made--what further filching from the
customs effected, in order that, in another year or two, a fresh
direct demand may be made upon an isolated class of the community? We
have read over every part of Lord John Russell's financial statement
with the utmost attention; and, fully satisfied as we are that the
deficiency in the balance must be made good, we have arrived at the
conclusion that the proposed measures are upon no account whatever
justifiable. Are the Whigs sincere in their belief that the free-trade
experiment will prosper? If they are, why do they seek to make this
income-tax permanent?--why do they ask for five years as the shortest
nominal term? "Give us a fair time for the experiment!" shouts the
free-trader whenever he is reminded of the utter failure of his
scheme. But what is to be considered as a fair time? Are we to be
taxed directly, and exorbitantly, for five years, in the hope that
when these are over some ray of our former sunshine may revisit us? or
are we to wait in patience, with a revenue yearly dwindling, until
reciprocity shall arrive for the benefit of a future generation? The
effects of the potato failure are now over, railway speculation has
subsided, nothing stands in the way of free-trade to prevent us from
participating in all its blessings. If the ministry have confidence in
it, as they have over and over again professed to have, why do they
seek more than the prolongation of the present tax for another year?
They know why. In their hearts they are thoroughly aware, that they
have been led astray by a phantom; or rather, that they have fostered
a gross delusion for the mean purpose of obtaining power, and the tone
which they are now compelled to assume sufficiently proves it. There
is no vaunting this time--no gay and golden prophecy. All is black and
dreary before them; and they are trembling at the account which they
will be forced to render to the country. Weak in purpose, they have
not the courage to confess their former folly; to own that they have
been misled by the dangerous example of their predecessor; and that,
by deserting the older financial system which regulated the affairs of
this country, they are plunging the nation into unheard-of
difficulties, and preparing for themselves an early, and certainly an
inglorious fall.

Unhappy indeed is their position, for even the most discreditable
section of their allies is upon the eve of desertion. Mr Cobden of
course is frantic at the idea of the smallest addition to our
armaments. He wants the country party to join with him in a crusade
against the army and navy, and is kind enough to propose a coalition.
There is very small chance of the gentlemen of England being found in
any such dubious company. Betrayed as they have been, they form not
only a compact party, but they have high and patriotic principles from
which nothing will induce them to swerve; and they can well afford to
wait the time when the country, writhing under misgovernment, shall
demand the restitution of those principles through which it rose to
greatness, and by abandoning which, it has perilled its prosperity and
its power. They have no aspirations after office, merely for its sake.
Those who have left them, and deserted their early faith at the
bidding of a shifty leader, may now, perhaps, be mourning their folly,
when they see the precarious tenure of the Whigs, and the disgust
which they are universally exciting. The time is rapidly approaching
when the eyes of the people will be opened; and when, by deliberately
contrasting their present deplorable state with the prosperity which
they formerly enjoyed, they will arrive at the conclusion that they
have grossly erred in giving any credence to the doctrines of
fanatical demagogues, or in consenting to the schemes of their
abettors. In patience, but in confidence, let us abide the time. No
man knows better than Mr Cobden in which direction the popular opinion
is likely to set. He has had his period for delusion, and it is now
nearly over. He is pleased to state that it is impossible in any way
to recur to our older system; that even if we should be convinced of
the falsity of the move, it is in vain to retract it; that nothing
remains but a general attack upon the existing institutions of the
country. Such language is rather ominous of the sponge, but the moral
of it is unmistakable. It is Fagin's system. Once get a boy to pick a
pocket, and he must go on until his career terminates at the gallows.
There can be no relapse to honesty. Such an idea, to borrow Mr
Cobden's own elegant phraseology, "is all sham and fudge!" Once let a
woman lapse from virtue, and repentance becomes impossible; she must
pursue her destiny till she dies in a garret or the hospital. These
may be Mr Cobden's opinions, but they are not ours, and neither do we
believe that they have received the sanction of the country. He seems
at the present moment, to judge from the tone of his harangues, in the
same state of excitement as the sailor, who, when the vessel is in
danger, insists upon breaking open the spirit-room. He is determined
to have free-trade for ever, let the experiment cost what it may.

One thing, however, is remarkable, and that is, that even Mr Cobden
seems to have lost faith in the efficacy of his former nostrums.
Neither at Manchester nor in the House of Commons does he attempt to
explain the unaccountable absence of the vast benefits which he
proposed to confer upon the nation. Probably he is wise in abstaining
from any explanation which may draw attention to this subject. His
attempt to get up a false alarm on the score of increased
establishments, is not without adroitness, especially at the present
time: but after all, it is a mere prolongation of his existence; he
cannot hope to escape the penalty which is common to all false
prophets--that of standing before his dupes in the character of a
detected impostor.

However this matter may end, we have all a duty to perform. Those who
think with us will do it fearlessly and frankly: without faction, but
also without the compromise of a single principle. They will support
the independence and the credit of the country from motives which Mr
Cobden cannot understand, and which the leaders of the Whig party have
not the courage or the manliness to avow.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Archaic spelling and variations in spelling and hyphenation have been
retained except in obvious cases of typographical error.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 63, No. 389, March 1848" ***

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