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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 67, No. 411, January 1850
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 67, No. 411, January 1850" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: titlepage]





  [Illustration: Buchanan]





  NO. CCCCXI.       JANUARY, 1850.       VOL. LXVII.


  THE YEAR OF REACTION,                           1

     PART III.,                                  15

  AMERICAN ADVENTURE,                            34

  HOWARD,                                        50

  THE DARK WAGGON. BY DELTA,                     71





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





  NO. CCCCXI.       JANUARY, 1850.       VOL. LXVII.


If the year 1848--"THE YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS" was one pre-eminent
among all others for the magnitude and interest of the events
it brought forth, the year which has just expired--THE YEAR OF
REACTION--is still more worthy of serious reflection, and affords
subjects for more cheering meditation. If the first exhibited the
whirlwind of anarchy let loose, the second showed the power by
which it is restrained; if the former filled every heart with dread
at the fierce passions which were developed, and the portentous
events which occurred in the world, the latter afforded reason for
profound thankfulness, at the silent but irresistible force with
which Omnipotence overrules the wickedness of men, and restrains the
madness of the people.

                "Celsâ sedet Æolus arce,
    Sceptra tenens, mollitque animos, et temperat iras.
    Ni faciat, maria ac terras coelumque profundum
    Quippe ferant rapidi secum, verruntque per auras.
    Sed Pater Omnipotens speluncis abdidit atris,
    Hoc metuens; regemque dedit qui foedere certo
    Et premere et laxas sciret dare jussus habenas."[1]

  [1] _Æneid_, i. 56.

The history of the world during those periods of convulsion, happily
of very rare occurrence, when an eruption of popular passions
takes place--when thrones are overturned, and the long-established
order of things is subverted--is nothing else but the folly and
wickedness of man warring against the wisdom of nature. All history
demonstrates that there is a certain order of things which is
favourable to human felicity--under which industry flourishes,
population increases, the arts are encouraged, agriculture improves,
general happiness is diffused. The basis of such a state of things
is the _security of property_; the moving power which puts in
motion the whole complicated machine of society, is the certainty
that every man will enjoy the fruits of his toil. As clearly do
past events demonstrate, that there is a state of things wherein
the reverse of all this takes place; when industry is paralysed,
population arrested, the arts languish, agriculture decays, general
misery prevails. The chief cause of such a state of things is to
be found in the insecurity of property, the dread that industry
will not reap its appointed reward; but that external violence
or domestic spoliation may interfere between the labourer and
the fruits of his toil. When such a state of things arises from
internal commotion, it is generally preceded by the warmest hopes,
and the most unbounded anticipations of felicity. It is universally
characterised by a resolute disregard of experience, and a universal
passion for innovation in all the institutions of society, and
all the relations of life. It constantly appeals to the generous
affections: speaks of humanity, justice, and fraternity; proclaims
mankind as brothers; and professes the warmest desire for general
felicity, and the diminution of the sources of human suffering. It
veils the advance of selfishness under the guise of generosity.
Revolutions demonstrate that the homage which vice pays to virtue is
not confined to individuals. The maxim of Rochefoucault applies also
to nations. Its truth is never seen with such brightness as during
the intensity of a revolution; and this demonstrates at once the
wisdom which governs, and the selfishness which desolates the world.

So prone, however, are the bulk of mankind to delusion; so easily
are they led away by expressions which appeal to their passions, or
projects which seem to forward their interests; so little are the
lessons of experience either known to, or heeded by, the immense
majority of men, that we should be led to despair of the fortunes of
the species, and dread in every age a repetition of the seductive
passions which had desolated the one that had preceded it, were it
not that a provision is made for the extinction of popular passion
in the very first effects of its ebullition. It is in its _effect
upon property_ that the curb is found which restrains the madness of
the people; by the insolvency it induces that the barrier is formed,
which as a matter of necessity forces back society to its habitual
forms and relations. In the complicated state of social relations in
which we live, it is by the capital of the rich that the industry
of the poor is put in motion; by their expenditure that it is
alimented. However specious and alluring the projects may be which
are brought forward by the popular leaders, they involve in them one
source of weakness, which inevitably ere long paralyses all their
influence. Directly or indirectly, they all tend to the destruction
of property. To excite the passions of the working classes, they are
obliged to hold out to them the prospect of a division of property,
or such a system of taxation as practically amounts to the same
thing: the immediate effect of which is a cessation of expenditure
on the part of the affluent classes; a hoarding of capital; a run
upon the banks for specie; universal scarcity of money, general
distrust, and a fearful decrease of employment. These evils are
first felt by the working classes, because, having no stock, they
are affected by any diminution in their daily wages; and they
are felt with the more bitterness that they immediately succeed
extravagant hopes, and highly wrought expectations. Invariably the
effects of revolutions are precisely the reverse of the predictions
of its supporters. No man is insensible to his own suffering,
however much he may be so to that of his predecessors; and thence
the universal and general reaction which, sooner or later, takes
place against revolutions.

That this reaction would take place to a certainty, in the end,
with the French revolution of 1848, as it had done with all similar
convulsions since the beginning of the world, could be doubted by
none who had the least historical information: and in our first
article on that event, within a few weeks of its occurrence, we
distinctly foretold that this would be the case.[2] But we confess
we did not anticipate the _rapidity_ with which the reaction has
set in. Not two years have elapsed since the throne of Louis
Philippe was overturned, and a republic proclaimed in Paris amidst
the transports of the revolutionary party over all Europe, and the
gaze in astonishment of all the world; and already the delusion is
over, the transports are at an end, the Jacobins are silent, and
the convulsed commonwealth is fast sinking back to its pristine
monarchical form of government. Every country in Europe felt the
shock. The passions were universally let loose; sanguinary wars
arose on every side; and while the enlightened Free-traders of
England were dreaming, amidst their cotton bales, of universal
and perpetual peace, which should open to them the markets of the
world, hostilities the most terrible, contests the most dreadful,
dissensions the most implacable, broke out in all quarters. It was
not merely the war of opinion which Mr Canning long ago prophesied
as the next which would desolate Europe: to it was superadded the
still more frightful contest of races. The Lombard rose against
the German, the Bohemian against the Imperialist, the Hungarian
against the Austrian; the Celt and the Saxon stood in arms against
each other. Naples was rent in twain; a revolutionary state was
established in Sicily; the supreme pontiff was dethroned at Rome;
Piedmont joined the innovating party; Lombardy rose up against
Austria, Bohemia was in arms against Vienna, the Magyars revived
against the Germans the fierce hostility of five centuries; Prussia
was revolutionised, Baden ravaged, Denmark invaded; the Poles could
with difficulty be restrained amidst the general effervescence; the
Irish openly made preparations for rebellion and separation from
Great Britain. England itself was shaken: the gravity and practical
tendency of the Anglo-Saxon character in part yielded to the general
contagion. London was threatened with a revolutionary movement; the
Chartists in all the manufacturing towns were prepared to follow the
example; treasonable placards, calling on the people to rise, were
to be seen on all sides; and the mighty conqueror who had struck
down Napoleon exerted his consummate skill in baffling the rebellion
of his own countrymen, and won a victory over anarchy not less
momentous than that of Waterloo, and not the less memorable that it
did not cost a drop of human blood.

  [2] See "The Fall of the Throne of the Barricades," April 1, 1848.

What a contrast, within the short period of eighteen months, did
Europe afterwards exhibit! France, the centre of impulsion to the
civilised world, was restrained; the demon of anarchy was crushed in
its birthplace; the visions of the Socialists had been extinguished
in the blood of the barricades. Dispersed, dejected, in despair,
the heroes of February were languishing in exile, or mourning in
prison the blasting of their hopes, the ruin of their prospects, the
unveiling of their sophistries. Revolution had been crushed without
the effusion of blood in Berlin: law had regained its ascendency;
rebellion had quailed before the undaunted aspect of the defenders
of order and the throne. Naples had regained the dominion of Sicily;
the arms of France had restored the Pope at Rome; the Eternal City
had yielded to the assault of the soldiers of Louis Napoleon.
Austria had regained her ascendency in Italy; the perfidious
aggression of Charles Albert had been signally chastised by the
skill and determination of the veteran Radetsky; Milan was again the
seat of Imperial government; the dream of a Venetian republic had
passed away, and the Place of St Mark again beheld the double-headed
eagle of Austria at the summit of its domes. Baden was conquered,
Saxony pacified; the fumes of revolutionary aggression in Schleswig
had been dissipated by the firmness of Denmark, and the ready,
although unexerted, support of Russia. Poland was overawed by the
Colossus of the North; and even the heroic valour of the Magyars,
so often in happier days the bulwark of the Cross, had yielded to
that loyalty and tenacity of purpose which has so long distinguished
the Austrian people, joined and aided by the support which, on this
as on many previous occasions, Russia has afforded to the cause of
order in Europe. Though last, not least, Great Britain was pacified:
the dreams of the Socialists, the treason of the Chartists, had
recoiled before the energy of a people yet on the whole loyal
and united. Ireland, blasted by the triple curse of rebellion,
pestilence, and famine, had ceased to be an object of disquietude
to England, save from the incessant misery which it exhibited; and
its furious patriots, abandoning in multitudes the land of their
birth, were carrying into Transatlantic regions those principles of
anarchy, and deathless hatred at civilisation, which had so long
laid waste their own country.

Acknowledging, as all must do, with devout thankfulness, that
it is to the Great Disposer of events that we are to ascribe so
marvellous a DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL--so blessed an escape from a fate
which would have renewed, in Europe, a devastation as wide-spread,
and darkness as thick, as occurred during the middle ages--it may
yet, humanly speaking, be discerned how it is that our salvation
has been effected. The days of miracles are past; the law is not
now delivered amidst the thunders of Mount Sinai; the walls of
fortresses do not fall down at the sound of the Lord's trumpet;
there is no longer a chosen people, over whose safety the eye of
Omnipotence watches, and whom, in the last extremity, the destroying
angel rescues from their enemies. The direction of human affairs by
Supreme Wisdom; the coercion of wickedness; the support of virtue;
the ceaseless advance of the race of man, amidst all the folly and
selfishness with which its concerns are conducted, have not, indeed,
passed away: all these are in as complete operation now as when
the Red Sea opened to the retreating Israelites, or the walls of
Jericho fell before the blast of Joshua's trumpet, or the rending
of the vail of the Temple announced that the era had commenced when
the whole human race was to be admitted to the sanctuary of the
temple. But it is by human means alone that Providence now acts; it
is by general laws that the affairs of men are regulated. The agents
of Omnipotence are the moving principles of the human heart: the
safeguards against ruin are to be found in the barriers which, in
injured interests or counteracting passions, are raised up amidst
the agitated multitude, against the further progress of devastation.
It is not from oblivion, therefore, but with a constant recognition
of Divine superintendence, that we shall now endeavour to trace out
the means by which the most alarming moral pestilence which ever
appeared in modern times has been arrested; the happiness of Europe
saved, for the time at least, from the destruction by which it was
menaced--from the earthquake in its own bosom; and the progress of
real freedom throughout the world prevented from being blasted by
the selfish ambition or insane delusions of the demagogues who, for
a time, got possession of its current.

The first circumstance which must strike every observer, in the
contemplation of the terrible crisis through which we have passed,
is, that the destruction with which we were threatened was mainly,
if not entirely, owing to _want of moral courage_ on the part of
the depositaries of power. The Revolution in Paris, it is well
known, owed its success entirely to the pusillanimity of the _men_
of the royal family. Louis Philippe, old and enfeebled by disease,
was paralysed by a still more fatal source of weakness--the
consciousness of a throne won by treason--the terror inspired by
the sight of the barricades, behind which his own government had
been constructed. His sons who were present showed that the Orleans
family had lost, with the possession of a usurped throne, the
courage which, for several generations, had constituted the only
virtue of their race. The King of Prussia abandoned the contest
in Berlin in the moment of victory--a nervous reluctance to the
shedding of blood paralysed, as it had done in the days of Louis
XVI., the defenders of the throne. In Austria, the known imbecility,
physical and moral, of the emperor, rendered him wholly unequal
to the crisis in which he was placed--delivered over the empire,
undefended, to a set of revolutionary murderers, and rendered a
change in the reigning sovereign indispensable. In Rome, the Pope
himself began the movement--he first headed the reform crusade;
and whatever his unhappy subjects have since suffered is to be
ascribed to his blind delusion and weak concessions. Such was the
conduct of the kings of Europe--such the front which our sex in
high places opposed to the revolutionary tempest. But women often,
in the last extremity, exhibit a courage which puts to shame the
pusillanimity of the men by whom they are surrounded; and never was
this more signally evinced than in the present instance. The Queen
of France tried in vain, at the Tuileries, to inspire her husband
with her own heroic spirit; the Duchess of Orleans showed it in
front of levelled muskets in the Chamber of Deputies; and, that
order is still preserved in our country, is to be ascribed in no
small degree to the firm conduct of the sovereign on the throne, and
the determination with which she inspired her government to risk
everything rather than concede one iota to the revolutionists.

As it was the opposite conduct from this, and the moral weakness of
the depositaries of power, which mainly induced the revolutions
of 1848, and rendered them so formidable, so those causes which
have at length arrested that terrible convulsion seem to have been
no other but the moral laws of nature, destined for the correction
of wickedness and the coercion of passion, when they have risen to
such a pitch as seriously to endanger the existence of society. And,
without presuming to scan too deeply the intentions of Providence,
or the great system by which evil is brought out of good, and an
irresistible power says to the madness of the people, as to the
storms of the ocean, "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther, and
here shall thy proud waves be staid," we may probably discover,
humanly speaking, the means by which the evil has been arrested.

The first circumstance which has produced the reaction, and arrested
the progress of evil so much more rapidly than was the case in the
former great convulsion, is the memory of that convulsion itself.
It is no doubt true, that every generation is taught by its own
and none by its predecessors' sufferings; but, in the case of the
first French Revolution, the suffering was so long-continued and
dreadful, that the memory of it descended to the next generation. It
was impossible that the sons of the men who had been guillotined,
exiled, or mown down by the conscription, who had seen their estates
and honours torn from them by the ruthless hand of Revolutionary
violence, should not retain a vivid sense of the sufferings they had
experienced, and the wrongs they had undergone. All classes, not
excluding even those who had been most ardent and active in support
of the first Revolution, had writhed alike under the calamities
and exactions of the latter years of the war, and the ignominious
conquest in which it had terminated, which was only felt the more
keenly from the unparalleled triumphs to which the nation had so
long been habituated. Add to this, that the attention of all the
intelligent classes of society in Europe generally, and in France in
particular, had been long, and to an extent of which in this country
we can scarcely form an idea, riveted on the events of the first
Revolution. The Reign of Terror was not forgotten; the prophecy
of the historian[3] proved true:--"A second French Revolution, of
the same character as the former, and the age in which it is to
arise must be ignorant of the first." Its heartstirring incidents,
its mournful catastrophes, its tragic events, its heroic virtue,
its appalling wickedness, its streams of blood, were indelibly
engraven on the hearts of a considerable, and that too the most
influential, part of the people. The revolutionists, indeed,
in every country--the Red Republicans in France, the Chartists
in England, the Rebels in Ireland, the Carbonari in Italy, the
_Illuminés_ in Germany, were perfectly prepared to renew for their
own profit the same scenes of spoliation, bloodshed, and massacre.
But such extreme characters form, even in the most depraved society,
but a small part of the whole inhabitants. It is the delusion or
timidity of the great body, not the absolute strength or numbers of
the violent party, which is the principal danger. The force of the
first Revolution consisted in its novelty; in the enchantment of its
visions, the warmth of its professed philanthropy, the magnitude of
its promises. But time had dispelled these, as it does many other
delusions. The mask had fallen from the spectre which had charmed
the world, and the awful form of DEATH had appeared.

  [3] ALISON.

The second circumstance which tended to coerce, more rapidly than
could have been hoped for, the progress of the revolution of 1848,
was the firmness and loyalty of the soldiers. It is historically
known that it was the defection of the troops which brought on,
and rendered irresistible the march of the first Revolution: which
induced, in rapid succession, the Reign of Terror, the assignats,
the conscription, the capture of Paris, the subjugation of the
kingdom. But here, too, experience and suffering came to the aid of
deluded and wandering humanity. It was seen that what is unjust and
dishonourable is _never_ expedient: that the violation of their
oaths by the sworn defenders of order is not the commencement of
the regeneration, but the first step in the decline of society: and
that to fear God and honour the king is the only way to insure,
not only the preservation of order, but the ultimate ascendancy of
freedom. On the foundation of the revolt of the Gardes Françaises
in 1789, were successively built the despotism of the Committee of
Public Salvation, the blood of Robespierre, the carnage of Napoleon.
The awful example was not lost on the next generation. The throne
of Charles X. was overthrown by the defection of the troops of the
line; but it was again found that the glorious fabric of civil
liberty was not to be erected on the basis of treachery and treason.
None of the troops revolted on the crisis of February 1848. The
Guards and the line were alike steady. Marshal Bugeaud, when he
received the command, speedily passed the whole barricades, and in
six hours would have extinguished the revolt. The throne was lost
not by the defection of the troops, but by the pusillanimity of
the princes of the blood; and accordingly, when the next contest
occurred--as occur it ever will in such cases--the troops were
resolutely led, the revolution was put down under circumstances ten
times more formidable, though not without a frightful loss of human

We are so accustomed to the loyalty and steadiness of the English
army, that the possibility of their wavering never enters into our
imagination. But still all must admit that we too, with all our
boasted safeguards of popular representation, general information, a
free press, and centuries of freedom, stood on the edge of an abyss;
and that, not less than Austria or Prussia, our salvation had come
to depend chiefly, if not entirely, on the fidelity of the soldiers.
If the six thousand men who garrisoned London on the 10th April
1848 had wavered, and one-half of them had joined the insurgents,
where would now have been the British constitution? Had a hundred
thousand men from Kennington Common crossed Waterloo Bridge, headed
by a regiment of the Guards, and three regiments of the line, where
would now have been the British liberties? Where would have been all
the safeguards formed, all the hopes expressed, all the prophecies
hazarded, as to its being perpetual? But in that dread hour, perhaps
the most eventful that England ever knew, we were saved by the
courage of the Queen, the firmness of the government, the admirable
arrangements of the Duke of Wellington, and the universal steadiness
and loyalty of our soldiers. We are quite aware of the special
constables, and the immense _moral_ influence of the noble display
which the aristocracy and middle classes of England made on that
occasion. But moral influence, often all-powerful in the end, is not
alone sufficient at the beginning; physical force is then required
to withstand the _first assault_ of the enemy: and, highly as we
respect the civic force with batons in their hands; and fully as we
admit the immense importance of that citizen-demonstration in its
ultimate effects, we ascribe our deliverance from the instant peril
which threatened, entirely to the steadiness of the British army,
and the incomparable arrangements of their chief.

In the Continental states, order succeeded in regaining the
ascendency over anarchy entirely in consequence of the fidelity of
the soldiers. On that memorable day, when the Prussian army marched
into Berlin playing the old airs of _the monarchy_, and formed in
a circle around, distant only twenty-five paces from the insurgent
host, and there tranquilly loaded their pieces, the opposing forces
were directly brought into collision; it was seen that, in a few
seconds, law or rebellion would be victorious. Law prevailed, as
it generally does where its defenders are steady and resolutely
led--and what has been the result? Is it that freedom has been
extinguished in Prussia, that liberty has sunk under the pressure of
tyrannic power, and that a long period of servitude and degradation
is to close the bright meridian of her national splendour? Quite
the reverse: anarchy has been extinguished in Prussia only to make
room for the fair forms of order and liberty, which cannot exist but
side by side; the revolutionists are overawed, but the lovers of
real freedom are only the better confirmed in their hopes of the
ultimate establishment of a constitutional monarchy, such as Prussia
has been sighing for for thirty years. It is ever to be recollected
that the prospects of freedom are never so bright as when they are
in the inverse ratio to those of revolution; liberty is never so
safe as where anarchy is most thoroughly repressed; despotism is
never so near at hand as immediately after the greatest triumphs of

In AUSTRIA a different and more melancholy prospect has been
exhibited. That great and noble country has been the victim,
not merely of the passions of revolution, but of those of race.
It has been torn asunder, not only by the ambition of the
revolutionists, and the ardent zeal of a people yet inexperienced
in social dissensions sighing after freedom, but by the force and
inextinguishable rivalry of different and discordant races. The
Lombard has risen up against the German, the Bohemian against
the Austrian; the Magyars have buckled on their armour against
both, and, animated alike by revolutionary zeal and national
jealousy, have striven to obtain what they deem the first of
blessings--national independence--by revolting against the
government of Austria, in the moment of its utmost need. That
strange compound of races and nations, the Austrian monarchy,
in which it is hard to say whether the Slave, the Magyar, the
Teuton, the Lombard, or the old Roman had the preponderance, and
the union of which, for so long a period, had been a subject of
astonishment to all observers, at length revealed its inherent
weakness. Worse than the war of opinion, the war of races began.
Like the Lacedemonian confederacy, after the defeat of Leuctra, or
the Athenian after the catastrophe of Aigos Potamos, or the Roman
republic after the disaster of Cannæ, the Austrian aggregate of
kingdoms threatened to fall to pieces on the dreadful shock of
opinion which resulted from the success of the French revolution.
The contest of nations did not now intervene, to bar the spread
of democratic ideas; the military passions were not arrayed in
opposition to the civic. Lamartine was perfectly right in his
prognostic: the pacific French revolution of 1848 achieved greater
conquests, in three months, than the warlike republic of 1793 had
gained in ten years. Prussia was apparently revolutionised; Austria
was all but won to the democratic side; Vienna, Prague, and Milan
were in the hands of the insurgents. Never, in the darkest periods
of the revolutionary war, was Austria in such desperate straits,
as when Radetsky retreated behind the Mincio, and the treacherous
assault of Charles Albert was aided by the whole strength of
revolutionary Italy, and the tacit support or lukewarm indifference
of France and England.

But in that awful hour, by far the most perilous which Austria
ever knew, and which threatened with immediate and irrevocable
destruction the whole balance of power in Europe, she was saved by
the fidelity of her native soldiers, and the incomparable spirit of
her German nobility. Then appeared in its highest lustre what is
the principle of life and the tenacity of purpose which exist in an
aristocratic society, not yet wholly debilitated by the pleasures
and the selfishness of a court. Although the Hungarian nobles,
for the most part, sided with the Magyar insurgents; although the
whole Lombard troops had passed over from the standards of Radetsky
to those of Charles Albert, and all the Hungarians in his service
sullenly wended their way back to their native places; although
Prague was wrested from the crown by the Bohemian insurgents, and
Vienna by a vehement urban tumult in the capital; although Hungary
was not only lost, but arrayed in fierce hostility against the
monarchy--the noble Austrian leaders never lost heart--they realised
the dream of the Roman poet--

    "Si fractus illabatur orbis,
     Impavidum ferient ruinæ."

Windischgratz in Bohemia, Radetsky in Italy, Jellachich in Austria,
stood forth as the saviours of the monarchy, and, with it, of the
cause of European freedom. Though deserted by their sovereign, who
had bent before the revolutionary tempest, they fronted, sometimes,
it is believed, in opposition to constrained orders, the dangers
with which they were assailed--they acted in conformity with the
maxim of a noble people not yet debased by democratic selfishness:
VIVE LE ROI QUAND-MEME! Slowly, but steadily, the forces of order
regained their ascendant over the assaults of anarchy. The Tyrol,
ever steadfast in its loyalty, first offered an asylum to the
emperor, when driven from his capital; Prague was next recovered,
and Bohemia coerced by the moral courage and skilful dispositions
of Prince Windischgratz; Radetsky, shortly after, reinforced by
the loyalty of Austria, regained his ascendant on the Mincio,
routed the revolutionary rabble of Italy, and restored Milan to the
Imperial government; Vienna, after a desperate conflict, was won by
the forces of Order; and Jellachich and Windischgratz enjoyed the
proud triumph of having restored his capital to their discrowned
sovereign. Hungary, inhabited by a bolder and more numerous race,
actuated by stronger passions, held out longest, and was only
subdued after a sanguinary conflict, by the aroused vigour and
national passions, aided by the support of the Colossus of the
North, which has so often sent forth its battalions as the last
resource of order and religion, when all but vanquished by the
forces of anarchy and infidelity. Yet, though thus constrained,
in the last extremity, to call in the aid of the Czar, and array
a hundred thousand Muscovites on the plains of Hungary, the stand
thus made by the Austrian monarchy is not the less glorious and
worthy of eternal remembrance. It demonstrates what so many other
passages in the history of that noble people indicate, how great is
the strength, and unbounded the resources, of a brave and patriotic
nation, even when afflicted by the most terrible disasters; and how
uniformly Providence, in the end, lends its protection to a people
who have shown themselves worthy of its blessings, by faithfully
discharging their duty in a period of disaster. The year 1849 will
ever rank with the glories of Maria Theresa, the triumph of Aspern,
the devotion of Wagram, as the brightest periods in the long and
glorious Austrian annals.

The people of England, ever ready to sympathise with even the name
of freedom, and prone beyond any other nation to delusions springing
from generous feelings, acting on erroneous information, were at
one time much disposed to sympathise with the Hungarian insurgents.
They enlisted the wishes of a considerable part, especially of
the citizens of towns, on their side. Never were generous and
estimable feelings more misapplied. The contest in Hungary, it is
to be feared, was not in the slightest degree a struggle for public
freedom: it was an effort only to establish the _domination of a
race_ in opposition to a lawful government. Like the Sikhs or Ameers
in India at this moment, the Normans in England in former times,
or the "insane plebeian noblesse" of Poland, whom John Sobieski
denounced as the authors of the ruin of his country, the Magyars
were a proud and haughty dominant race, not a fourth part of the
whole inhabitants of Hungary, but brave and ambitious, and animated
with the strongest desire of establishing an independent oligarchy
in their wide-spread country. They took the opportunity for
asserting their principles when Austria was pierced to the heart,
and its provinces, apparently all falling asunder, had the fairest
prospect of establishing separate dominions, as in the ancient Roman
empire, on the ruins of the Imperial authority. Had they succeeded,
they would have established the same monstrous tyranny of a dominant
race, which has so long blasted the happiness, and at length
destroyed the independence of Poland.

That the contest in Hungary was one for the domination of a race,
not the freedom of people, is evident from two circumstances
which have been studiously kept out of view by the Liberal party,
both on the Continent and in England. The first is that _after_
the emperor had conceded to Hungary the most extreme liberal
institutions, based on universal suffrage, the Magyar leaders sent
private orders to all the Hungarian regiments in Radetsky's army
to leave his banners, and return to Hungary; thus rendering to
all appearance the dismemberment of the monarchy inevitable, and
surrendering the Italian provinces, the brightest jewel in the
Imperial crown, to the tender mercies of Charles Albert. The second
is, that, in the contest which ensued, the Hungarians were in the
end overthrown. Possessing, as Hungary does, fourteen millions of
inhabitants--nearly a moiety of the whole Austrian empire, and four
times more than Upper and Lower Austria, with the Tyrol, which
alone could be relied on in that crisis--it is evident that, if the
_whole_ Hungarian people had been united, they must have proved
victorious, and have decided the contest long before the distant
Muscovite battalions could have appeared on the theatre of war. The
Hungarian insurrection broke out in April 1848, and was aided by
contemporaneous revolts in Prague, Lombardy, Venice, and Vienna. To
all appearance the Austrian monarchy was torn in pieces. Muniments
of war they had in abundance: Comorn, with its vast arsenal and
impregnable walls, opened its arms to receive them. When Georgey
capitulated, he had one hundred and thirty-eight guns, besides
those in the hands of Kossuth and Bem. Fully half the military
stores of Austria fell into the hands of the Hungarians, the moment
the insurrection broke out. Yet, with all these advantages, they
were overcome. This demonstrates that the war was not a national
one, in the proper sense of the word: that is, it did not interest
the _whole_ people. It was an effort of a gallant and ambitious
race, forming a small minority of the population, to establish a
domination over the whole remainder of the inhabitants, and sever
themselves from the Austrian empire; and a greater calamity than
such a separation, both to the Hungarians themselves and the general
balance of power in Europe, cannot be imagined.

How was the balance of power to be maintained in Europe, especially
against Russia, if the Austrian monarchy had been broken up?
Experience had long ago proved that no coalitions for the
preservation of the independence of central Europe, either against
Russia on the one side or France on the other, had the least chance
of success, in which Austria did not take a prominent part. Even the
disasters of the Peninsular campaigns, and the awful catastrophe
of the Moscow retreat, could not enable Europe to combat Napoleon,
till Metternich, at the Congress of Prague, threw the weight of
Austria into the scale. It was by an alliance of Austria, France,
and England that, at the Congress of Vienna, a curb was put on the
ambition of Russia: by a similar alliance that the Turkish empire
was saved from ruin, when the Muscovite standards were advanced to
Adrianople, and the Pacha of Egypt was encamped on Scutari. It was
a coalition of Austria, England, Russia, and Prussia, which in 1834
coerced the ambition of France, when M. Thiers had sent orders to
the French admiral to attack and burn the English fleet in the bay
of Vourlas, at dead of night. But if Austria had been broken up into
a Hungarian, a Lombard, and a Bohemian republic, how was such an
alliance to be formed? What central power could, in such an event,
have existed under such circumstances, to oppose a mid impediment to
the grasping ambition of Russia on the one side, and France on the
other? Prussia, it is well known, is entirely under the influence
of Russia, and does not, except in the first fervour of revolution,
venture to deviate from the policy which it prescribes. Sweden and
Denmark are mere subsidiary states. Austria alone is so strong as
to be able, with the aid of England, to bid Russia defiance; and
is situated so near to its southern provinces, as to be actuated
by a ceaseless dread of its encroachments. The breaking up of the
Austrian empire would have been a fatal blow to the balance of
power, and with it to real liberty in Europe. It would have left the
field open to the Cossacks on the one side, and the Red Republicans
on the other.

It is deeply to be regretted that Austria was not able to regain its
dominion over its rebellious Hungarian subjects, without the aid
of the Muscovite arms. Although the Czar has recalled his troops
after the vast service was rendered, and no projects of immediate
aggrandisement are apparent, yet it is impossible to doubt--it is
fruitless to attempt to disguise--that the influence of Russia in
the east of Europe has been immensely extended by this intervention.
So weighty an obligation as saving an empire from dismemberment is
too great to be easily forgotten; and supposing, what is probably
the case, that gratitude is a feeling unknown to cabinets--and
that the recollection of salvation from ruin is likely to produce
no other sentiment but that of dislike--still the contest, which
was adjourned, rather than decided, on the Hungarian plains, has
for a very long period, it is to be feared, thrown Austria into
the arms of Russia. They are united by the common bond of enduring
interest. The Magyars in Hungary, the Poles in Sarmatia, are the
enemies of both; and each feels that it is by a close alliance
of the cabinets, that the evident dangers of an insurrection of
these powerful and warlike races can be provided against. It is
more than probable that a secret treaty, offensive and defensive,
already unites the two powers; that the crushing of the Magyars was
bought by the condition, that the extension of Muscovite influence
in Turkey was to be connived at; and that the Czar will one day
advance to Constantinople without fear, because he knows that his
right flank is secure on the side of Austria. Certain it is, that
the _joint_ demand made by Austria and Russia, for the extradition
of the Hungarian refugees, and which, as all unwarrantable stretch
against the independence of Turkey, was resisted with so much spirit
and wisdom by England and France, looks very like the first-fruits
of such an alliance. And observe, now, the immediate effects on the
balance of power of the revolution of 1848. This invasion of the
independence of Turkey was made by Russia and Austria in concert,
and was only resisted by France and England! Woful, indeed, for the
interests of real freedom, has been the result of those convulsions
which have ended in transplanting Austria from its natural position,
and have converted the jealous opponent of Muscovite power into its
obsequious ally. Nothing could have effected such a metamorphosis,
but the terrible convulsion which almost tore out the entrails of
the Austrian empire. But that is ever the case with revolutionists.
Blinded by the passions with which they are actuated, they rush
headlong on their own destruction; and destroy, in their insane
ambition, the very bulwarks by which alone durable freedom is to be
secured in their own or any other country.

It is commonly thought in this country that the war in Hungary was
a contest for national independence, and that it bears a close
analogy to the memorable conflicts by which, in former times,
the independence of Scotland was maintained, or the liberties
of England purchased. There never was a more unfounded opinion.
_After_ the Hungarian insurrection had taken place, indeed, and
when the Austrian empire had been wellnigh torn to pieces in the
shock, Hungary was formally incorporated with Austria, just as
the grand-duchy of Warsaw was with Russia after the sanguinary
revolt of 1831, and Ireland with England after the rebellion of
1798. But _anterior_ to the revolution, what step had the cabinet
of Vienna taken which was hostile to the independence of Hungary?
Not one. The constitution which the Austrian government had given
to the Hungarians, if it erred at all, did so on the liberal side:
for it conceded to a people, scarcely emerged from barbarism, a
constitution founded on universal suffrage, such as England, with
its centuries of freedom, could not withstand for three months. It
was the Hungarian insurgents who are responsible for the loss of
their national independence; because they first put it in issue by
joining Lombardy and the revolutionists of Prague and Vienna, in
their assault upon the Imperial government, at a time when nothing
whatever had been done which menaced their separate existence. The
truth is, they thought, as many others did, that the Austrian empire
was breaking up, and that now was the time to become a separate
power. Having voluntarily, and without a cause, committed high
treason, they cannot complain with reason, if in a mitigated form
they incur its penalties by forfeiting their national existence.

The ultimate suppression of the revolt in Hungary has been attended
with a most distressing amount of bloodshed on the scaffold, and the
occurrence of several mournful scenes, in which courage and fidelity
have asserted their wonted superiority, in the supreme hour, over
all the storms of fate. God forbid that we should either justify or
approve of such severity, or deprive the heroic Hungarian leaders of
the well-earned praise which some of them deserve, for their noble
constancy in misfortune! But while fully admitting this on the one
hand, we must, in justice to the Austrian government on the other,
recall to recollection the circumstances in which they were placed
at the close of the contest, the dangers they had undergone, and
the dreadful devastation which the Hungarian war had brought upon
their country. When Georgey capitulated and Comorn surrendered,
Austria was wellnigh exhausted by the conflict: she had owed her
salvation in part at least to foreign intervention. She had been
forced to proclaim her weakness in the face of Europe, and to bring
down the hated Muscovite battalions into the heart of the empire. In
judging of the course which her rulers, when victorious, pursued,
we must in justice recall to mind the perils they had escaped, and
the humiliations to which they had been reduced. We must recollect
also the state of civilisation which Hungary has attained, and go
back, in imagination, to what we ourselves did in a similar stage of
national progress. Hungary is hardly more advanced in civilisation
than England was during the Wars of the Roses, when the prisoners on
both sides were put to death without mercy, and eighty princes of
the blood or nobles were massacred in cold blood; or than Scotland
was when the Covenanters murdered all the Irish in Montrose's army,
with their wives and children. What did the English government do
at Carlisle after the advance of the Pretender to Derby, or in
Ireland after the rebellion of 1798? What has she recently done in
the Ionian islands, after the insurrection in Cephalonia? Nay, would
we have been less rigorous than the Austrians, even at this time,
if we had been reduced to similar extremities? It is very easy to
be lenient after an insurrection which has been extinguished in a
cabbage garden, and rendered the insurgents ridiculous in the eyes
of all the world; but what should we have done, and how would we
have felt, if Smith O'Brien at the head of the Irish rebels had
invaded England, taken London, nourished for a year and a half a
frightful civil war in the heart of the empire, and compelled us to
call in the legions of France into the midland counties to save the
nation from ruin? We do not mean, by these observations, to justify
the executions of Haynau and the other Imperial generals: God knows,
we deplore them as much as any one can do, and yield to none in
admiration of the heroism of the Hungarian leaders, who have shown
themselves so worthy of the noble nation to which they belong. But
we extenuate, if we cannot justify, the severity of the Austrians,
by the recollection of their sufferings; and reserve the weight of
our indignation for those insane and selfish demagogues who, for
their own elevation, lighted so terrible a conflagration, and caused
so much noble blood to be shed, alike on the part of those who
fanned and those who sought to extinguish the flames.

The third circumstance which seems to have mainly tended to stop
the progress of revolution in Europe, has been the great amount of
_interests_ in France which could not fail to be injured, either
by foreign warfare or domestic Socialist triumph. This is mainly
owing to France having already undergone fusion in the revolutionary
crucible. Scarcely anything remains to melt, but the dross which
had flowed out of the first furnace. The great estates and church
lands were divided; two-thirds were cut off from the national debt.
Nobody remained to despoil but the _tiers état_ and revolutionary
proprietors. They stood shoulder to shoulder in defence of their
all, which they saw was seriously menaced; and thence the stoppage
of the revolution at Paris, and the rapid retrograde movement of
opinion on the subject, in the majority, over all France. Foreign
war was not less an object of apprehension than internal spoliation.
The peasants recollected the conscription and the Cossacks, and
the weighty contributions of the Allies; the bourgeois dreaded
the cessation of foreign travelling in their country, and the
termination of the prolific shower of English gold. It was a general
terror that the best interests of society were in danger which
produced the determined resistance to the insurgents in Paris on the
23d of June, and formed the majority of four millions who elected
Prince Louis Napoleon to the president's chair. Beyond all doubt,
the greater part of the electors, when they recorded their suffrages
for him, understood they were really voting for an emperor, and
opposing the barrier of force to the revolution.

This circumstance suggests a very important consideration, on which
it well becomes the people of this country to ponder, in reasoning
from the example of France to themselves. It is not unusual now to
hear the opinion advanced, that the result of universal suffrage in
France proves that the apprehensions entertained on this subject, on
this side of the Channel, are unfounded; and that, in truth, there
is no such effectual barrier against revolution as universal, or, at
least, a very low suffrage. America is frequently referred to, also,
in confirmation of the same opinion. But under what circumstances
has universal suffrage been forced to uphold property in these two
countries? Recollect that both are overspread with a host of small
proprietors: in France no less than 6,000,000 persons, for the most
part in very indigent circumstances, being holders of land; and in
America, the whole soil, from its having been so recently reclaimed
from the forest, and the law of equal succession, _ab intestato_,
being in the hands of the actual cultivators. But can any opinion
be formed from this as to what would be the effect of a change in
the electoral law, which created 6,000,000 of voters in a country
where there are not 300,000 holders of land, and not above an equal
number of proprietors in the funds? It is evident that we can never
argue from a country which _has been revolutionised_, and where
property _has been divided_, to one where neither of these events
has taken place. Doubtless the robber will make a fight before he
allows his prey to be torn from him; and when there are six millions
of persons, for the most part possessed of the fruits of robbery,
the rendering these back will not be very easily effected. But
if we would see the effect of an extended suffrage, in a country
which has not been revolutionised, and where the strong curb-chain
of individual interest does not exist to restrain the majority,
we have only to look to what the electors of France in 1793 did
with the estates of the church and the nobility; to what the
American freeholders did in 1837, when they destroyed five-sixths
commercial wealth of the country, by raising the cry "Bank, or no
Bank:" or what the British ten-pounders have done with the other
classes of society, and, eventually, though they did not intend it,
with themselves, by their measures of free trade and a restricted
currency. Beyond all doubt, _these_ measures would at once be
repealed by an extended constituency; but are we sure they would
stop there? What security have we they would not apply the sponge to
the National Debt, confiscate the church property, and openly, or by
a graduated assessment on land, divide the estates of the nobility?

But perhaps the most powerful agent, which has been at work, in
stopping the progress of revolution in Europe, has been the public
and private INSOLVENCY which in an abandoned state of society
inevitably and rapidly follows such convulsions. This is the great
check upon the government and the madness of the people. That
France, ever since the revolution of February 1848, has been in a
state of almost hopeless monetary embarrassment, is well known to
all the world. In fact, nothing but the most consummate prudence,
and the adoption of the wisest measures on the part of the Bank of
France, has saved them from a general public and private bankruptcy.
What those measures were, will immediately be explained. In the mean
time, to show the magnitude of the difficulties against which they
had to make head, it is sufficient to observe, that in twenty-one
months the Revolutionary Government has incurred a floating debt
of £22,000,000; and that the deficiency for the year 1849, wholly
unprovided for--and which must be made good by Exchequer bills, or
other temporary expedients--is no less than _eleven millions and a
half sterling_. It is not surprising it should have swelled to this
enormous amount; for the very first demand of revolutionists, when
they have proved victorious, is to diminish the public burdens and
increase the public expenditure. And they did this so effectually
in France, that in one year after the revolution of 1848, they had
increased the public expenditure by 162,000,000 francs, or about
£6,500,000; while they had caused the public revenue to fall by
248,000,000 francs, or nearly £10,000,000!

The dreadful prostration of industry which such a state of the
public revenue implies, would have proved altogether fatal to
France, had it not been rescued from the abyss by the surpassing
wisdom with which, in that crisis, the measures of the Bank of
France were conducted. But the conduct of that establishment, at
that trying crisis, proved that they had taken a lesson from the
archives of history. Carefully shunning the profuse and exorbitant
issue of paper which, under the name of assignats, effected
so dreadful a destruction of property in France in the first
revolution, they imitated the cautious and prudent policy by which
Mr Pitt surmounted the crisis of 1797, and brought the nation
triumphant through the whole dangers of the war. They obtained an
act from the legislature authorising the issue, not of £600,000,000
sterling of notes, as in 1793 and 1794, but of 400,000,000 francs,
or £16,000,000 sterling, not convertible into gold and silver.
This, and this alone, it was that brought France through the crisis
of the Revolution. Specie, before this aid was obtained, was fast
disappearing from circulation; the Bank of France had suspended cash
payments; three of the principal banks in Paris had become bankrupt;
the payment of all bills was suspended by act of government--for
this plain reason, that no debtor could find cash to discharge his
engagements. But this wise measure gave the French people that most
inestimable of all blessings in a political and monetary crisis--a
currency which, without being redundant, is sufficient, and, being
not convertible into the precious metals, neither augments the
strain on them, nor is liable to be swept away by foreign export. In
consequence of this seasonable advance, the crisis was surmounted,
though not without most acute general suffering; and industry, since
a government comparatively stable was established, in the person
of Prince Louis Napoleon, has revived to a surprising degree over
the whole country. Indeed, it may be doubted whether the general
misery which prevailed in France, desolated by a revolution, but
sustained by a moderate inconvertible paper currency, was greater
than was felt in the manufacturing cities of Great Britain, saved
by the firmness of government and the good sense of the nation
from a political convulsion, but withering under the fetters of
a contracted currency, and unrestricted admission of foreign

  [4] In Paris, after the Revolution in April and May, it was
  stated there were 300,000 persons out of employment, including
  the dependants of those without work. This number was, doubtless,
  fearfully great out of a population of 1,200,000 souls. But it was
  exceeded in some parts of Great Britain. In April 1848, the number
  of unemployed persons in and around Glasgow was so excessive, that
  an examination of them was made, by order of the magistrates of that
  city, with a view to an application to government for assistance.
  The men out of work were found, in that city and its vicinity, to
  be 31,000, which, allowing two and a half dependants to each male,
  implies 93,000 persons destitute of employment, out of a population
  at that time estimated at 360,000; being somewhat more than 300,000
  out of 1,200,000 in Paris.

One thing is perfectly apparent from the result of the revolution in
Italy, that the establishment of either civil liberty or political
independence is hopeless in that beautiful peninsula. The total
and easy rout of the Piedmontese and Tuscan forces by Radetsky is
a proof of this. Venice was defended by its Lagunæ--Rome not by
the descendants of the ancient masters of the world, but by the
revolutionary mercenaries of Poland, Hungary, and Germany, whom the
Austrian victories drove back from the banks of the Po to those
of the Tiber. On the other hand, the example of Naples, where the
firmness of the king has preserved in the end his dominions entire,
though Sicily for a time was severed from the kingdom, and Naples
itself was the theatre of a bloody convulsion, proves alike of what
flimsy materials revolution is composed in the south of Europe, and
through what a perilous crisis a nation can be safely conducted,
when the depositaries of power are not unworthy of the elevated
duties with which they are entrusted.

Still more important is the lesson read to the world by the
attempted revolution in England and Ireland. That Great Britain was
threatened with the convulsions, in the throes of which France and
Germany were labouring, is universally known. The Chartists openly
declared that monarchy could not stand two months in England or
Scotland; the Repealers were counting the hours till the Saxon was
expelled from the Emerald Isle, and a Hibernian republic proclaimed
in Dublin, in close alliance with the great parent democracy in
Paris. Where are these boasters now? The English revolutionists
were morally slaughtered in London on the 10th April: the Irish
rebels were blown into the air by the fire of the police in the
cabbage garden. They have been more than vanquished; they have been
rendered ridiculous. In despair, they are now leaving in crowds
their wo-stricken isle; and it is to be hoped a better race, more
industrious habits, and a more tractable people, will gradually be
introduced into the deserts which Celtic improvidence and folly has
made. It is a glorious spectacle to see an attempted revolution
which broke out in both islands suppressed almost without the
effusion of blood; and England, the first-born of freedom in modern
times, reasserting, in its advanced period of existence, at once the
order and moderation which are the glorious inheritance of genuine

Would that we could say that our foreign policy during the two last
eventful years has been as worthy of praise, as the conduct of our
government in combating our internal enemies has been. But here the
meed of our approbation must fail. Contrary alike to our obvious
interests and to our real and long-established principles, we have
apparently been guided by no other principle but that of fomenting
revolution, after the example of France, in every country which the
contagion had reached. We all but severed Sicily from Naples, and
openly assisted the Sicilian insurgents with arms and ammunition.
We once stopped, for "humanity's sake," the Neapolitan expedition
from sailing to combat the rebels: we more than once interposed
in favour of Charles Albert and the Piedmontese revolutionists:
we have alienated Austria, it is to be feared, beyond redemption,
by our strange and tortuous policy in regard to the Hungarian
insurrection: we, without disguise, countenanced the revolutionary
Germans in their attack upon the Danes. What object Ministers had
in that, or how they thought the interests of England, a great
commercial and exporting nation, were to be forwarded by throwing
its whole customers into confusion and misery, we cannot divine.
Apparently, their sympathy with revolution anywhere but at home,
was so strong, that they could not abstain from supporting it all
around them, though to the infinite detriment of their own people.
And it is a most curious circumstance, that, while the Chancellor of
the Exchequer constantly told us--no doubt with a certain degree of
truth--that the failure of our exports, and the general distress of
the country, was, in a great degree, to be ascribed to the European
revolutions, the whole policy of the Foreign Office, during the
same period, was directed to countenance and support these very

But from the painful contemplation of the follies and aberrations
of man, let us turn, with thankfulness, to the contemplation of the
great moral lessons which the events of the two last years teach
us as to the wisdom and beneficence of Nature. It is now clear
beyond the possibility of doubt, that the wisdom of Providence has
provided barriers against the passions, vices, and follies of men;
and that if the leaders in thought and station fail in their duty,
an invisible bulwark against the progress of anarchy is provided
in the general misery which is the consequence of their excesses.
Pre-eminent above all others in the history of mankind, THE YEAR
OF REACTION, immediately succeeding THE YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS, is
fraught with the demonstration of these great and consoling moral
and religious truths. From it the patriot will derive consolation
and hope, amidst the darkest periods which may yet be in store for
the human race: for never was a darker period than that through
which we have passed; and from its checkered scenes the virtuous
and upright will draw the conclusion that there are limits to human
wickedness even in this scene of trial; and that the safest, not
less than the most honourable course, for all classes, from the
throne to the cottage, in periods of danger, is to be found in the
fearless discharge of DUTY.




Next morning, shortly after daybreak, we were all hurried out of
our berths by Joey, to come on deck, and take a first view of the
coast of Spain. We made the land to the north-east of Cape Villano,
and were not a little struck with the bare, black, scowling aspect
of that mountainous and iron-bound coast. Off Oporto we stood in,
with the design of entering the river. But a signal from the shore
announced the bar impassable, and we had nothing before us but
the delightful prospect of standing off and on, till the weather
permitted us to land the bags. Gingham, I observed, stood anxiously
peering with his telescope in the direction of the bar, where the
sea, for miles, was foam and fury. "Well," said I at last, "are you
looking for a cork in that yeast?"--"I am," replied Gingham, "and
there it is. See, they have passed the bar. We shall soon have them

I saw nothing, but at length was able to discern in the distance
a small speck, which was executing most extraordinary vagaries in
the midst of the surf. Now it was high, now low; now visible, now
lost. Its approach was indicated, not so much by any perceptible
change of position, as by an increase of apparent magnitude.
Gingham now handed me the glass, and I saw a large boat, full of
men, pulling towards us like Tritons. At length they reached the
ship. Smart fellows those Oporto boatmen--know how to handle those
clumsy-looking, enormous boats of theirs. What a scene was that
alongside! The wind high; the sea rough; the boat banging against
the ship's side; the men in her all talking together. Talking? Say
jabbering, shouting, screaming. I was in perfect despair. Where was
my Portuguese? Hadn't I studied it at Trinity College, Cambridge?
Couldn't I make out a page of my Portuguese Gil Blas? Hadn't I got
a Portuguese grammar and dictionary in my trunk? And hadn't I got
a nice little volume of Portuguese dialogues in my pocket? Yet not
one word could I understand of what those fellows in the boat were
bawling about. Their idiom was provincial, their pronunciation
Spanish. That I didn't know. It seemed to me, at the time, that all
my toil had been wasted. Never despair, man. If you want to learn a
language, and can't learn it in the country, why, learn it at home.
You may, you probably will, feel at a loss, when you first get among
the natives. But, after two or three days, all will begin to come
right: your ear, untutored hitherto, will begin to do its part; then
your stores of previously acquired knowledge will all come into use,
and you may jabber away to your heart's content. But mind, whatever
the language you learn--Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, or
High Dutch--go to work in a scholarlike, businesslike manner; learn
the verbs, study the syntax, master all the technicalities, or you
are doing no good. Doubtless, in your travels abroad, you will fall
in with lively old English residents, who "speak the language as
fluently as a native," and tell you it's all nonsense, _they_ never
looked into a grammar, nor into a book neither. But never mind that;
follow your own plan. Speak the language whenever you can--that of
course; hear it spoken; dine at the table d'hôte--that's worth a
five shilling lesson at any time, and you get your dinner extra;
but, all the while, read daily, work your grammar, turn out the
words in your dictionary, and mark the result. You, after a space,
can not only speak the language, but _write_ it; whereas those
intelligent individuals, let alone writing, can't _read_ it. Another
suggestion, which I--but where are we? What are we talking about?
While I am boring you with suggestions, the despatches have been
handed into the boat; the boat has shoved off, and is making for the
shore--plunging, ramping, tearing through the surf under a press
of sail: and, on the deck of the Princess Wilhelmina gun-brig,
stand three new and very rum-looking passengers--a Spaniard, a
Portuguese, and a nondescript--one deal box, one old leathern
portmanteau, one canvass bag, two umbrellas (blue,) one ditto
(red,) and a high-crowned Spanish hat, tied up in a faded cotton

Our new companions were all a little "indisposed" the first day;
but, the weather moderating in the night, they grew better the next,
and were able to take their places at the dinner table. The Spaniard
had come on board, assuming that he was to victual himself, or pay
extra. Under this impression, opening his box in the forenoon, he
produced with much gravity a bundle, consisting of half-a-dozen
oranges, some very coarse brown bread, a flask of wine, and a chump
of splendid garlick sausage, all tied up together, in a second
cotton pocket-handkerchief. Spreading said handkerchief on the cabin
table as a cloth, he next brought out from his pocket a formidable
cheese-toaster, and was preparing to do battle with the prog. The
Major, perceiving his mistake, addressed him in Spanish, politely
explaining that the passage-money covered everything, and that
he could call for whatever the ship afforded. The Hidalgo, thus
advised, and courteously thanking the Major, contented himself with
an orange, carefully tied up the remaining provender as before, and
restored it to the sky-blue deal box.

This act of the Major's, benignant reader, piqued my curiosity. The
Major was a very good fellow, as you have doubtless discovered ere
this; but he was not a man to do anything without a _motive_. I
couldn't feel easy, without getting to the bottom of it.

"Very kind of you, Major," said I, "to give the Don that information
respecting his rights _in transitu_."

"Kind?" said the Major indignantly; "what do you mean by kind? Had
he once attacked that sausage, we should have smelt garlic all the
way to Lisbon." I now appreciated the Major's urbanity.

"Close fellows, those Spaniards," added the Major. "I knew very well
he wouldn't give me part of his sausage. Didn't go for it."

"Why, if you had shared the feast," said I, "we should have smelt
garlic twice as bad."

"Yes," replied the Major "but _I_ shouldn't have smelt it _at all_."

Said hidalgo was a tall, kiln-dried attomy of a man--hair black
and lanky--forehead high and corrugated--eyebrows pencilled and
elevated--eyes almost closed by the dropping of the eyelids--nose
long, thin, and very inexpressive--mouth diminutive--chin
sharp--cheek-bones high and enormously prominent--cheeks hollow and
cadaverous, regular excavations; half one of his oranges, stuck in
each, would about have brought them to a level with his face. Of
course he was dubbed Don Quixotte. The Portuguese came on board
with his hair dressed as a wig, enormous white choker, no neck
(that's why I called him Punch,) _chapeau de bras_, short black
cock-tail coat, white silk waistcoat flowered green and gold, black
satin unmentionables, black silk stockings, and top-boots--the
tops a sort of red japan. As to the third visitor, no one could
assert who he was, or what he was. He obtained a passage without
any document from the Oporto authorities, on the plea that he was
a courier, and carried despatches from Oporto to Lisbon. This, the
Colonel remarked, was rather odd, as the bag generally went by
land. One said he was a Spaniard; another said he was a Jew. Gingham
pronounced him a Frenchman:--but what could a Frenchman be doing
there? The one index of his identity was a nose, which forthwith won
him the name of 'Hookey.' Hookey spoke French, Spanish, Portuguese,
lots besides--disclaimed English--yet seemed always listening while
we talked. He was constantly smiling, too; the habit had given him a
deep semicircular maxillary furrow--say trench if you will--on each
side of his ugly mug. There was something in his smile that I didn't
like. If he saw you looking at him, he put on a smile.

At dinner the Colonel, anxious to do the honours, took an early
opportunity of challenging Don Quixotte to a glass of wine. The Don
filled a bumper; the Colonel nodded: the Don, with majestic and
silent gravity, rose slowly from his seat, his glass in one hand,
the other on his heart; bowed profoundly to each of the company in
succession; tossed off the wine; melo-dramatically extended the
empty glass at arm's length; bowed again; sighed; squeezed his hand
very hard upon his heart, and sat down. The Major challenged Punch,
who half filled his tumbler, sipped, filled up with water, sipped
again, nodded then, not before, as if he would say "Now it will do,"
and drank off the whole. Captain Gabion challenged Hookey, who,
alone of the three, performed correctly. "Hookey, my boy," thought
I, "where did you learn that?"

Neither Punch nor Don Quixotte manifested the least disposition to
amalgamate with us. They kept themselves apart, replied civilly
when addressed--that was all. I must say, speaking from my own
observations, it is a slander which describes the English abroad as
exclusive. The exclusiveness, so far as I have seen, lies much more
with the Continentals.

But if, on the present occasion, the Spaniard and the Portuguese
kept their distance, it certainly was far otherwise with my friend
Hookey. I take the liberty of calling him my friend, because
I was particularly honoured by his attentions. I have already
said that he seemed interested in our conversation. The interest
extended to everything about us. He inquired respecting each and
every one; his name, his rank, his department, his destination:
asked me, in an off-hand way, if I could guess how many troops
the British general had--what was to be the plan of the ensuing
campaign--did our Government intend to carry on the war with
vigour? When, by inquiring elsewhere, he discovered that I was
attached to the military chest, he redoubled his attentions, and
eke his interrogatories. Had I bullion on board? How much? Should I
convey treasure from Lisbon to headquarters? On bullock-cars or on
mules? By what route? Of course I should have a guard--did I know?
Travelling up the country would be dangerous as the army advanced
into Spain--wouldn't it advance?--when?--he knew every part of the
Peninsula--was himself bound for headquarters after delivering his
despatches--would be happy to go with me--wouldn't mind waiting a
day or two in Lisbon--would assist me in obtaining a servant--a
horse--a mule--anything. I, communicative as he was inquisitive,
lavished information in floods; advised him as to the amount of
bullion on board, to go down into the hold, and see with his own
eyes; informed him, as a particular secret, that I shouldn't wonder
if I was sent to headquarters, unless it happened otherwise; and
hadn't the least doubt that I should have the conveyance of whatever
amount of treasure was placed under my charge for that purpose;
declined saying anything then about a servant, horse, or mule, as I
should probably find "Milord Vilinton" had thought of me, and had
everything of that kind ready against my arrival; begged to tell him
I was a person of great importance, but maintaining the strictest
incognito--hoped he wouldn't mention it. Presently he stole away to
the forecastle, where I got a sight of him. He was jotting down like

On the evening of our second day from Oporto, we made the Berlings;
been six weeks at sea, from leaving the Tagus. If, instead of
coasting it, which secured them a foul wind, they had struck out at
once, from the mouth of the river, two or three days' sail into the
Atlantic, they would probably have got the wind they wanted. That is
what Captain Nil did, when I came home, passenger from Lisbon, 1843,
in his clever little fruit-ship, the King Alfred. Didn't we give the
go-by to the northerly current which blows down the coast, and catch
a south-wester, which was just what we needed? Didn't we jockey two
other orangemen, that started in company, and thought to beat us by
working up along shore? And didn't we bring our prime oranges first
to market, and sell them off-hand at London Bridge, with an extra
profit of ten shillings a chest?

The morning after we passed the Berlings, we saw the Rock of Lisbon.
This, I suppose, is about the most striking object the mariner
beholds, in approaching any coast in the known world. Not more than
fifteen hundred feet above the level of the sea, it stands so dark
in tint, so grim in aspect, so ragged in outline, you fancy some
fresh earthquake has heaved it up, crude and pinnacled, from the
volcanic bowels of the soil, and there left it to frown above the
waves that thunder at its base, and spout up in unavailing froth and
fume. "There it stands," said Gingham, "the old Rock! Often have I
rounded it before; often have I viewed it; often have I ranged it:
worthy the attention of the naturalist; still more of the geologist;
but, above all, of the meteorologist: the Promontory of the Moon;

    The hill where fond Diana looked and loved,
    While chaste Endymion slept and dreamed of heaven:

the advanced guard of mountain ridges, that condense the
invisible vapours of the ocean; the medium and thoroughfare of
electric communication between Europe and the Atlantic! See how
the thin air of the tropics becomes mist, when it reaches those
thunder-splintered pinnacles--hem! _Lady of the Lake_. See how
it caps them with a perpetual cloud, which, though perpetual, is
constantly diminished by the moisture which it discharges, and
constantly replenished by fresh supplies of vapour from the sea.
Here, the wind is north: but there, in that elevated region, the
upper current is blowing steadily from the south-west. Take my
advice, Mr Y----. Don't leave Lisbon without visiting the Rock. Go
to Cintra. Inquire for Madam Dacey's hotel; and don't allow her to
charge you more than two dollars a-day, wine included, spirits and
bottled porter extra."

Gingham now drew out his telescope. "Ah!" said he, "there's Colares;
and there's Cintra, just at the base of the Penha. There goes a
donkey party, on a visit to the Cork Convent. My respects to the
old Capuchins. There's Madam Dacey herself, fat and rosy as ever,
scolding Francisco the cook for spoiling that omelet. How are you,
old lady?--Villain! He's making a _pâté_ with one hand, and taking
snuff with the other! Don't roast that hare, blockhead; it's dry
enough already. Make it into soup. That's the way to serve a Cintra
hare. Clap a thin slice of bacon on the breast of each of those red
partridges, before you put them down. What, boil that gurnet? Bake
it, bake it, stupid! Serve it up cold for supper: beats lobster,
and should be dressed the same way--oil, cayenne, vinegar, and a
modicum of salt. I say, Francisco; mind you send up the soup hot.
What an extraordinary fact, Mr Y----! You may get good soups, and
all the materials for good dinners, go where you will; but our
own countrymen are the only people in the world who know how a
dinner should be served up, and set on table. Why, sir, at those
hotels at Lisbon and Cintra, I've tasted most splendid soups,
magnificent!--but, positively, sent to table lukewarm--neither hot
nor cold--tepid, sir! what do you think of that?"

I was thinking, just at that moment, that I should like to hear
more about Cintra. But Gingham had now got on the subject of
_la cuisine_; _la cuisine_ was one of his hobbies (he kept a
_stud_)--and, once mounted, there was no getting him off. Yet
Gingham, much as he delighted in dinner-giving, was not himself a
gourmand. In him the passion was disinterested--a matter of taste--a
sentiment. And ah! need I add how it enhanced the value of his

About noon we crossed the bar; by two P.M. were off Lisbon, and,
while I was all agape, admiring the surpassing beauties of the
scene, had dropped our anchor. Captain Gabion took me by the elbow,
and proposed that we should sojourn at the same hotel. The motive
transpired that afternoon. Gingham had his own quarters, in the Rua
d'Alecrim. We all landed together at the Yellow House, where our
luggage underwent an examination--in those days a very off-hand
business, the English, in fact, being in military occupation of the
country. My traps were despatched among the first; and I sat waiting
for the Captain, whose turn came later. Meanwhile Hookey's bag was
opened, and the contents turned out. Among them I expected to see a
letterbox; but there was nothing that looked like despatches. While
Hookey was engaged with his bag, he was joined by a shabby-genteel
personage, who had the look of a military man in plain clothes--an
Englishman, or, I rather thought, an Irishman. They recognised each
other at once, and seemed to meet by appointment--left the office
arm in arm, the new-comer carrying Hookey's bag. They passed without
observing me, as I sat in the background near the door, among bags
and boxes. _Both_ were speaking _English_: _i. e._, Hookey, English
as it is spoken by Frenchmen; his companion, English as it ought
to be spoken, the pure vernacular of the Sister Isle. "Kim, kim
away wid ye, now; isn't it aal krikt and wrigler?"--"Oh, yase;
now I sal comb vid you, presently." "Aha! Mister Hookey; so you
don't understand English," thought I. Not to be an eavesdropper,
I started up, and put out my paw, in tender of a parting shake.
Hookey, a little taken aback, clasped it fervently in both his; and,
repudiating disguise, laughed, and spoke English again, grasping
and shaking my fist with intense cordiality. I suppose it was his
surprise, that made him substitute greeting for leave-taking: "Ah,
how you do, sare? I hope you varraval."

Gingham took a kind but rather distant leave. The Captain and I
adjourned with our luggage, which was first cleverly laid together
and packed, and then borne, swinging by ropes from two bars, which
rested on the shoulders of four stout Gallegos, who walked two and
two, hugging each other round the neck, and stepping together in
admirable time. The Captain indicated the road; and we soon reached
our domicile, MacDermot's Hotel (as it was then called), Rua do
Prior, Buenos Ayres,--for air and prospect, the finest situation in
all Lisbon; and that is not saying a little.

I was for ordering dinner forthwith. The Captain, for reasons best
known to himself, wished an hour's delay. Reluctantly acceding, I
retired to my private apartment, and commenced operations in the
soap and dowlas line. Presently the Captain tapped at my door,
and entered. Wanted me just to walk down with him to the water's
side--wanted me particularly. Away we went. The Captain spoke
little--seemed to have some project. At length he opened: "I rather
think the skipper will catch a precious good hiding presently; serve
him right." All this was Greek to me, though I had heard something
of the skipper's bad conduct to the Major.

We now, having descended by a side street as steep as a ladder,
entered the main road, or broadway, which runs by the water's side.
Who should meet us there, but the Major? He was evidently on the
look-out for us, and joined forthwith. "Has the boat left the brig
yet?" said Captain Gabion.

"Not yet, I think," said the Major; "I saw her alongside, though.
Come down to the water's edge. That's the place."

We descended, through a passage between stone walls. Captain Gabion
now addressed me a second time: "Mr Y----, I have already undertaken
to officiate as the Major's friend. You must pick up the skipper."

"Well, but what's it all about?" said I. "Hadn't any idea of your
intention. You never told me."

"No time for explanation now," said the Captain. "Will you
officiate, or will you not?"

"Always ready to do the needful when the case requires," said
I. "But, if the Major feels himself aggrieved, is there no other
redress? Won't it be _infra dig._?"

"The fact is," said the Major, "I don't intend to give him a
_heavy_ licking--only just to polish him off a bit. As to redress,
if I lodged a complaint, it must come ultimately before our own
authorities. Now Englishmen abroad, when ill-treated, are always
ignored or deserted by their government. I've seen that often.
That rascal would get off scot-free; and the very fact of my
having applied would be remembered to my disadvantage, and perhaps
would injure me in my profession. If I was a Frenchman or a Yankee
travelling abroad, and had been oppressed or ill-treated, I would
apply to my government. But as I am an Englishman, what would be the

"Well," said I, "the skipper's conduct on board was very bad, I
admit; to you, I've heard, particularly. But it's all over now.
Come, let him off this time."

"Very well," said the Major. "In a fortnight he sails for
England--takes home a ship-load of British officers, sick, wounded,
invalided. If he ill treats such fine fellows as you and me, and
goes unpunished, how will he treat them, do you think? I'll tell you
what. All I fear is, after he has got a few taps, he'll go down;
then there'll be no getting him up again, and he'll escape with only
half his deserts. Now that's just what I want you to prevent."

"Well," said I; "if I am to officiate as the skipper's friend, of
course I must do him justice. I only tell you that."

"Very well," said the Major, between his teeth. "You pick him up;
that's all."

We reached the high bank by the water's edge, just above the
landing-place. A boat was seen approaching from the Princess
Wilhelmina: four men pulling, skipper steering. Captain Gabion
addressed the Major:

"I'll tell you what; it won't do here. First, there isn't room.
Secondly--don't you see?--when he gets more than he likes, he has
nothing to do but to roll down the bank, jump into the boat, and
shove off. Thirdly, the boat's crew might interfere; and then we
should get the worst of it."

Meanwhile the boat reached the jetty; the skipper landed; ascended
the bank by a zigzag path with Snowball at his heels; passed without
noticing us, as we stood among other lookers on; and walked up the
passage. The Major followed him. Captain Gabion and I followed the

Just as the skipper was emerging from the passage into the street,
the Major stepped smartly after him, and tapped him on the shoulder,
exclaiming, "Take that, you ruffian." _That_ was a sharp application
of the toe.

Like a caged lizard touched in the tail, the skipper sprang fiercely

"What's that for?" he cried, with a furious look.

"Ah, what's that for?" replied the Major, administering a stinging

The skipper, calm in an instant, and savage in cold blood, commenced
peeling. I stepped up to him, received his jacket, and handed it to
the nigger, thereby installing myself in office. The Major turned up
the cuffs of his coat-sleeves.

"Now, coolly, my man," said I, as the skipper went in like a mad

The first three rounds, like the Three Graces, had a
mutual resemblance. Superior to the Major in weight and
strength--formidable, too, as a hitter--the skipper did not succeed
in planting a single effective blow. Some were stopped, some were
dodged, some fell short, and one or two hit short. Still worse for
the skipper, he had no idea of guard. His antagonist, a first-rate
_artiste_, went on gradually painting his portrait. At the end of
the third round, "his mammy wouldn't a' knowed him." The Major, in
striking, did not throw in his weight, merely hit from the shoulder
and elbow. But his punishing told: he hit with a snap; he hit fast;
he had the faculty of rapidly hitting twice with the same hand.
In short, the skipper was evidently getting the worst of it. All
this time, the Major continued perfectly cool and fresh; and, like
Shelton, the navigator--whom I remember well, though you, perhaps,
do not--as often as he stopped a hit, he politely inclined his
head, as much as to say, "Well intended--try again." At the close of
the third round, however, in consequence of the skipper's attempting
a rush, the Major was constrained to put in a really hard blow as a
stopper. It not only answered that purpose, but nearly lifted the
skipper, and sent him reeling some paces backwards.

Instead of coming, as before, to my extended arms, and seating
himself, like a good child, on my knee till time was up, the skipper
now staggered towards Snowball, and began rummaging in his jacket. I
was too quick for him. Just as he extracted an enormous clasp-knife,
I whipped it out of his hand, and passed it to Captain Gabion. On
this demonstration, supposing that "legitimate war" was at an end,
and my "occupation gone," I was quietly walking away, with my hands
in my pockets. But the Captain, having first communicated with the
Major, met and stopped me, saying, "Come, we overlook that. The next

The fourth round presented no novelty. The painting went on; I may
say, this time, was pretty well finished. Never was an ugly monkey
more completely "beautified" than the poor skipper. He still had
his strength and wind, and there was as yet no reason why he should
not ultimately win--especially as he hit out like the kick of a
horse, and one of his blows, if it told, might have turned the day.
I began, however, to be apprehensive that he would soon be put _hors
de combat_, by losing the use of his peepers. When, therefore, I
sent him in the fifth time, I whispered, "You must try to close, or
you'll have the worst of it."

Suddenly rushing in, giving his head, and boring on with his right
arm extended, the skipper, at the commencement of the fifth round,
contrived to get his left about the Major's waist. This led to
a grapple, and a short but fierce struggle. The skipper had the
advantage in physical power; but the Major was his superior in
wrestling, as well as in the nobler science. They fell together, the
Major uppermost. On the ground, strength resuming its advantage,
the skipper soon rolled the Major over, and had the ascendency.
Supposing the round concluded, I was going to pull him off. "Let
alone, let alone," said the Major; "leave him to me." The Major, I
presumed, was waiting an opportunity for a "hoist."

The skipper now, with his right arm extended, held the Major's
extended left, pinned down by the wrist. The skipper's left arm and
shoulder were passed under the Major's right, so as completely to
put it out of commission. With his left hand, the skipper seemed to
be pulling the Major's hair. All this was so completely _hors des
règles_, that nothing but the Major's veto kept us from interposing.

At this juncture of the combat there was evidently something out of
the usual course, which particularly interested the nigger. Stooping
down almost to a squat, his face peering close over the heads of
the two combatants, his big eyes bulging and gloating with eager
expectation, his mouth open, his blubber lips projecting, and his
two hands uplifted and expanded with intense curiosity, he watched
the result. Just in time, I grasped the skipper's thumb! Half a
second more, and the Major's eye would have been out of its socket!

Captain Gabion, breathing the only execration I ever heard from his
lips, choked the skipper off.

The Portuguese bystanders, though much interested in the fray, had
not been thoroughly sensible of its character. To them, probably,
the fight had looked as if a man, in perfect possession of his
temper, had been merely playing with a very savage assailant, so
clean and easy was the Major's style of punishing. But now, when
they walked up, and looked in the miserable sufferer's face, they
perceived the serious nature of the castigo administered. Instead of
features they beheld--a mask, I was going to say, but that would be
incorrect; for in most masks, you have eyes, nose, and mouth. Here,
distinctness was obliterated; and as to eyes, why, you couldn't see
the eyelashes. I handed the skipper to Snowball, advising he should
be taken on board, and seen to. Snowball walked of, conducting him
down the passage. I thought of the knife, procured it from the
Captain, ran, and handed it to the nigger. "Tell him," said I,
"never to use that again, except for cheese-toasting, picking his
teeth, and so forth." "Yes, massa; me tell him you say so." "I say,
Snowball," added I, "hadn't you better put a little oil on his face,
to keep off the mosquitos? If they get at him as he is now, they'll
drive him mad." "Ah no, massa," said Blackey, regretfully; "no
muskitto here, dis tree, five week; dis place too cold, mosh very.
Let alone, no muskitto on de wottah here, nebber at no time."

I hurried back, and found Captain Gabion supporting the Major, who
stood with both hands spread out over his right eye, and, to all
appearance, suffering intense agony. Blood was visible between his
fingers, and on his cheek. The Captain, solicitous to ascertain the
amount of injury, made a gentle attempt to withdraw the Major's

"Don't! don't!" gasped the Major. "Has he--got my eye--in his

"All right, all right," replied the Captain; "you have still a spare
eye to wink with. Near thing, though."

"To-night I meant to have slept at Villa Franca," said the Major,
still speaking as if his agony was extreme. "My man is waiting just
by with the horses, at the _chafriz_."

"Nonsense, nonsense!" said Captain Gabion; "to-night you must sleep
at our quarters. Pledget is there, and will look at your eye. Mr
Y----, there's the _chafriz_; that stone fountain, where you see the
open space."

I stepped in that direction, and found an English servant, holding
two horses. The Major had intended to "polish off" the skipper,
mount forthwith, and away for Sacavem at a hand-gallop. So he might;
only that the skipper, according to his own ideas of manly combat,
having got his opponent undermost, and secured a grip of the Major's
love-lock with his four fingers, had hooked his thumb-nail, and eke
a portion of his thumb, in the ----but enough. I brought up the man
and horses, and with some difficulty we got the Major to the hotel.

Pledget was there, examined the eye, did not consider the injury
serious, but deferred giving any decided opinion. Ordered the Major
to bed, and prescribed leeches: wanted to apply a poultice, but
the patient couldn't bear the pressure. For a few days he remained
a prisoner. After that, I met him in the streets with a green
shade--eye doing well. Next spring, saw him on duty. No damage was
then visible, save and except a small scar at the inner corner of
the eye.

How soon, or how slowly, the skipper recovered from his polishing
I never learned. The skipper, it appears, a year or two before the
American war broke out, had put into the Tagus in a vessel from New
Orleans, damaged. She was detained for repairs; and he, not liking
an idle life, had procured employment in a Falmouth ship. After the
war commenced, he chose to continue in the packet line. The exact
nature of his offence, offered to the Major, I never ascertained.
But it was something connected with the pumping of bilge-water,
when the Major was suffering from sea-sickness, prostrate on the
deck. Some years after, I heard of the skipper again. He had left
Falmouth, and had obtained the command of a packet running between
Southampton and the coast of France. He still had a bad name for
insulting and ill-treating his passengers; and, what is curious,
he again received a polishing from an English officer, at Dieppe.
On this occasion, if I mistake not, the operator was an officer
of the engineers. Whether said officer came out of the _mêlée_ a
Cyclops--the little dog forgot to mention.


The morning after our landing from the packet, I sought out, and
with some difficulty discovered, my uncle's office; where I was very
cordially received by both uncles, and very politely by the other
gentlemen of the department. I announced myself prepared to start
forthwith for headquarters; fully expecting to be off that night, or
next day at latest. Uncle No. 1 told me I must go home with him to
dinner, and see my aunt and cousins. Uncle No. 2 advised me to look
out for a billet.

All this sounded ominous. The sympathising reader is already
advised, that my progress from Lisbon to headquarters was not quite
so expeditious as I had anticipated. The cause of the delay was this.

My dear mother, as I have already related, had overruled all
objections to my joining the Peninsular army; and through her
influence, my honoured father gave his reluctant consent. Shortly
after, he was ordered to sea: his ship left the Downs; and he did
not return, till after my departure from England. As the time of my
departure drew nigh, my dear mother, left to her own cogitations,
began to view the subject in a very different light. In short, she
was perfectly frightened at her own act; and, when it came to the
last, wrote off, without my knowledge, a letter to my uncle No. 2,
entreating him by all means to detain me at Lisbon, not for the
world to send me up the country--in short, to keep me far beyond the
sound, let alone the range, of hostile cannon. Her letter, posted at
Deal the very day I started thence for London, came out to Lisbon
by the same conveyance with myself; and was doubtless in my uncle's
hands, when I presented myself at the office. Many years after, in
looking over some old correspondence, I found a letter of hers to my
father at sea, revealing the whole plot.

Next morning, I again presented myself, still expecting to receive
my orders, and be off slick to headquarters. Uncle No. 2 was there;
hoped I had not been _much_ tormented with bugs and fleas; pointed
out a desk with a high seat; and informed me--that was my place!

The scene, which would have instantly appalled the whole department,
had I given expression to my feelings, was happily prevented by one
reflection, which struck me just in time; viz., that I was now an
_employé_, bound to obedience by military law, and that Nunky was my
commanding officer.

I sulkily took my seat; and Nunky left me for a few minutes, to the
pleasing process of mental digestion. Presently, he stood by my side
with a huge bundle of papers:--laid the papers on my desk.

"A fortnight," said he, "will probably elapse ere you can proceed to
headquarters. I wish, in the mean time, you would just see what you
can do, in arranging these convalescent accounts. We could not spare
a hand for them, and they have got sadly into arrear. Do try what
you can make of them."

I went to work;--worked hard for a fortnight. At the end of that
time, with occasional directions from my uncle, the confused mass
of accounts was reduced to something like order. Still nothing
was said about my journey to headquarters. Fresh work was given
me, which took another week. I began to get regularly savage--was
rapidly turning misanthrope--sympathised with George Barnwell. Nunky
requested my company in a private room.

"You came out," said he, "expecting to go up the country."

"Yes; and on that understanding I applied for the appointment, as
I expressed in my letter from England. On that understanding too,
unless I mistook the reply, my services were accepted."

"Well, G----," said he, "I put it to yourself. The fact is, those
plaguy convalescent accounts have given us more trouble than all
the business of the office besides. Till you came out, we never
have had a clerk that could do them. You do them excellently.
Of course, you are well aware the public service is the first
thing. The long and the short of it is, you perform this duty so
much to our satisfaction, your uncle J---- and I have come to the
determination--we must keep you with us at Lisbon."

This, my dear madam, with the exception of being crossed in
love--and to that, you know, we all are liable--was my first serious
disappointment in life. Baulked in my schemes of military glory--for
already, in imagination, I was a gentleman volunteer, had mounted a
breach, and won a commission--I had now but one remedy; to resign
my clerkship, and return forthwith to England. And this, under
other circumstances, I should doubtless have done. But the case, as
I then viewed it, stood thus. Here were my two dear uncles, with
enormous responsibility--that of dispensing and accounting for the
whole ready-money transactions of the Peninsular army; here was one
miserable branch of accounts, which gave them more trouble than all
the rest; and here was I, the only lad that could tackle it. Though
that, by the bye, was just so much soft solder; for there were at
least a dozen gentlemen, in our department, who could have made
up and kept the convalescent books quite as well as myself, and
probably far better.

Well; bad luck to the shilling. There was no remedy; so I settled
to my work; devoting my leisure hours, as a safety-valve, to the
furious study of Portuguese and Spanish. This blew off my wrath, and
in after years proved of good service.

But I rather suspect, gentle reader, you're a bloody-minded fellow,
and want to get away without further bother from Lisbon to the
seat of war, among shot and shells, grape, canister and congreves.
So, cutting it short, I shall just tell you how, at last, I
out-generalled my dear uncle, and broke from bondage. After that, if
you've no objection, we'll be off at once to join the army.

Please to bear in mind, then, that I was utterly unconscious
of any wish that I should remain at Lisbon, on the part of my
honoured parents, or either of them. Had I been aware, I would have
acquiesced. My position, according to the view which I now took of
it, was this. My parents had acceded to my scheme of joining the
army: my uncles had brought me out upon that understanding, and upon
no other: and yet, on my arrival, instead of forwarding me up the
country, had, for no earthly reason that I could discover, detained
me at Lisbon, to discharge a duty which, it was now perfectly clear,
might quite as well have been committed to other hands. This, I say,
being my actual view of the case, you will not think it strange,
that I deemed it perfectly fair to employ all lawful means for my
own enlargement and emancipation.

An opportunity presented itself, in the early part of 1814. The
Allied army was now in the Pyrenees and south of France. Convoys of
specie had been, from time to time, despatched to headquarters; and
were always accompanied by a clerk or conductor of our department,
who went in charge. While headquarters remained in Portugal, or were
not far advanced into Spain, this duty was considered an agreeable
change, and was rather sought than shunned. But, as the distance
lengthened, the departmental view of the subject became different.
The journey was now tedious, and began to be deemed unsafe. Reports
occasionally reached us of British officers ill treated, robbed, or
murdered on the road, by our brave Spanish allies. Our conductors,
who were for the most part natives, began to be very subject to the
fever of the country. Whenever their turn came to take the charge of
treasure to headquarters, they were sure to have it. Well; how could
they help that? You see, it was an _intermittent_ fever. In this
condition of affairs, another large amount of specie was counted
out, packed, and all ready for remittance: and--no conductor being
forthcoming--one of my fellow-clerks received directions to make
the usual preparations for attending it to headquarters. Obeyed, as
a matter of course; but didn't like it at all. Communicated to me
his secret sorrows--was really far from strong--would much prefer
remaining at Lisbon. My determination was taken: I volunteer, as his
substitute. Proposed my plan, to which he assented with hilarity.

Still, there, was need of management. Had I spoken to Nunky in
private, I knew full well I should be foiled. Combining persuasion
with authority, he would discourage the scheme, and I should have
no course but acquiescence. So, waiting till office-hours, I took
my usual place, expecting his appearance in the great room, where
half-a-dozen of us were seated together at our desks.

His step was heard in the passage. Half-a-dozen tongues ceased to
wag, and half-a-dozen pens went hard to work, while half-a-dozen
noses came into close contiguity to half-a-dozen official documents.
Nunky entered, took his seat, and commenced the perusal of a pile of
letters. I stood beside him.

"Well, G----?"

"I believe, sir, Mr N---- has received instructions to prepare for
a journey to headquarters. Not being in very good health, he would
be glad, with your permission, to remain at Lisbon. I therefore beg
leave to offer myself as his substitute."

Nunky gave me a look:--saw at once that he was beat. In private,
he might have urged his objections: but, before the whole office,
he could not appear to dissuade me from taking my turn at a duty,
now considered anything but agreeable. No course, then, remained
for him, but to signify his consent. "Oh, very well," said he, "if
that's the way you've settled it between yourselves. Of course,
_I_ can have no objection. Get the usual advance, then; draw your
allowance for a mule; and have all ready for starting the day after

Exchanging winks with my fellow-subs, right and left, I returned
triumphant to my seat. Nunky remained a few minutes at his desk,
evidently in a little bit of a fidget. How could I tell that,
do you think, when I sat with my back to him? Oh, I suppose you
never were a clerk in a public office. Else you wouldn't require
to be informed, that office-clerks have eyes in the back of their
heads. When the governor is present, his actions, each and all, are
seen and chronicled by every subordinate in the room. And a great
relief it is, let me tell you, to the tedium of public business, to
recount, criticise, and dramatise them, the moment he's off. Nunky
took up a letter, and began to read it--laid it down unread--took
up another--rose from his seat--sat down again--put on his hat--and

Dicky Gossip--a Portuguese clerk commonly so called--rushed
forthwith to the front office, and returned with equal rapidity.
"Ah, Mister Y----, you is doane. You no sall go up to de coantree
deece toim. Your oankle I vos see him git into him coashe. Ah, him,
gallop down de treet, faster as four mules can carry him. Ah, Mister
Y----, I sall tell you vot!"

In the course of the afternoon, I received a message to attend my
uncle in another apartment. He met me with a look of triumph, which,
I feared, boded no good.

"Well, G----," said he, "I wish you had mentioned that business this
morning in private. Then, you know, we would have talked it over
together. As, however, you chose to tender your services in the
public room, of course I was forced to view the thing officially,
and there's no remedy for it. You have volunteered for headquarters,
and to headquarters you must go."

"Oh, thank you, sir! thank you. That's just what I always wished."

"Just what you always wished? Of course I know that, as well as you
can tell me, Mr G----. Happy to say, though, I have effected one
arrangement, which will make matters far safer, and more agreeable

"I fear, sir, if you send me off without the treasure, you will have
some difficulty--"

"No, no, G----; you and the treasure will go together; that of
course. But the fact is, I've been thinking those Spanish fellows
behave so ill, I'm hardly justified in forwarding so large an amount
of specie by land, all the way from Lisbon to the Pyrenees. In
short, since you spoke to me this morning, I have been on board the
flag-ship--seen the admiral. You and the treasure go to Passages
in a frigate. Beautiful vessel--passed under her stern in coming

Alas, my object, then, was only half effected! I was to join the
army, but not to travel through Spain. Nunky saw my chagrin and

"Come, come, Mr G----," said he, "you beat me this morning; now I've
beat you. So make up your mind to a voyage by his Majesty's frigate
the M----. Be quick with your arrangements, for she's prepared to
sail at a moment's warning. We shall ship the treasure instanter. So
everything is ready, when you are."

The next day, at noon, I stood on the deck of the M----, a silent
and admiring spectator of a grand, peristrephic panorama, as we
glided down the Tagus under easy sail.


No occurrence worthy of record signalised our voyage from Lisbon
to Passages. As you are a member of the Yacht Club, though, and
passionately fond of romantic scenery, follow my advice, and treat
yourself, some fine week in the summer, to a run along the north
coast of Spain--say from Cape Finisterre to the mouth of the
Bidassoa. By the bye, hadn't you better reverse it? An awkward thing
you'd find it, to catch an on-shore wind at the head of the Bay of
Biscay. What would become of you--ah, and what would become of that
clever little craft of yours, the Water Wagtail, with her dandified
rig, and her enormous breadth of beam, and her six pretty little
brass popguns as bright as candlesticks, should a stiff north-wester
surprise you on that horrid coast? Won't it be better, then, to
secure some safe roadstead--the Gironde for instance--make that your
starting-point; choose your weather; and, coasting along the shores
of Biscay and Asturias, have the pleasure of feeling that you are
running out of the Bay, and not running into it?

That I leave to you. But depend upon it, if you visit that coast,
you will see not merely rocks, not merely mountains, not merely
wild scenery; but scenery so peculiar in character, that you will
not easily find the like. Such was the scenery which, on a fine day
towards the beginning of March, 1814, I viewed one morning early,
standing by the side of the Hon. Mr Beckenham, third lieutenant
of the M----. Mr B., having the morning watch, and thinking it
dull alone, had persuaded me to turn out, long, long before
breakfast;--as he said the night before, "to view that magnificent
coast at daybreak;" but, as he obligingly informed me when I came on
deck, "that he might enjoy the pleasure of my agreeable society."

The scene, at a first glance, rather disappointed my expectations.
"Stupendous ridge of mountains those Santillanos, though," said Mr
B.; "equal, I should think, to the Pyrenees themselves--of which, in
fact, they are a continuation, though some maps of Spain don't show

The view, as I viewed it, had a threefold character. _First_, there
was the coast itself; a black line, occasionally diversified with
specks of white; this line a ledge of rocks, extending along shore
as far as the eye could reach, both east and west. The ocean-swell,
incessantly rolling in, though the morning was still, thundered on
this eternal sea-wall: and the surf, of which, at our distance, the
eye distinguished nothing but those white specks, visible from time
to time, presented, when viewed with a glass, every conceivable
variety and vagary of breaking waves: the foam now rushing up some
sloping shelf, like troops storming a breach; now arched sublime in
a graceful curve, that descended in a smoking deluge of spray; now
shooting vertically to a columnar height, as though the breaker had
first dashed downwards into some dark abyss, and then, reverberated,
flew sky-high in a pillar of froth. Beyond this line of rocks,
appeared, _secondly_, a ridge of low hills, presenting nothing very
remarkable, either in aspect or in outline. And beyond these again,
further up the country, appeared, _thirdly_, a very respectable and
loftier range--mountains, if you're a Lincolnshire man, and choose
to call them so.

"So, this is your ridge of mountains," said I. "Stupendous? I don't
call twelve or fourteen hundred feet stupendous, anyhow. And I'm
inclined to think you might look down on most of them, at that

"You don't see them," said he. "You are looking at the coast range.
Do you perceive nothing beyond?"

"Nothing but a few light clouds," said I, "in the sickly blue of the
morning sky."

"Well, look at them," replied Mr. B. "View those clouds attentively.
Watch whether they change their shape, as clouds usually do, when
seen near the horizon."

I watched, but there was no visible change. The clouds were
fixtures! Sure enough, those faint, pale streaks above the hills,
that gleamed like aerial patches of silver vapour, were no other
than the lofty summits of the distant Santillanos, capped with
snow, and touched by the beam of early morning. It was worth a
turnout, any day.

Well, at length we reached Passages. Night had closed in, before we
dropped our anchor off the harbour's mouth. The captain dreaded the
very disaster to which I have already alluded, that of being caught
by an on-shore wind in that ugly corner. It was settled, therefore,
that a boat should be sent at once to announce our arrival, and the
treasure landed next morning early, in order that the frigate might
be off with the least delay possible.

Next morning early, then, the treasure--dollars packed in boxes,
one thousand dollars in a bag, two bags in a box--was brought up
from the hold, and stowed in three boats alongside. Making my best
bow to the captain, and tendering both to him and to his staff, my
sincere and grateful acknowledgments for all the polite attentions,
&c., I stepped over the side, and seated myself in the boat destined
for my conveyance. In the largest boat, which also contained the
largest portion of the treasure, sat the Hon. Mr Beckenham; in the
next was a middy; in my own, which was the smallest, were only
about half-a-dozen boxes, and four sailors to pull ashore. Mr B.
requested me to steer. We pulled for the mouth of the harbour, which
was distinguishable, at the distance of a mile, by an abrupt and
narrow cleft, dividing two lofty hills; and by a line of foam, which
extended right across the entrance, without any visible opening.

Three boats leaving the ship in company, there was a race of
course. Mine was astern, having been brought close alongside for my
accommodation, and so getting the last start. The race was commenced
by middy, who, by the rules of the service, ought to have kept
astern of Mr B., and therefore tried to get ahead of him. My men,
seeing the contest, began pulling like mad; and, though outnumbered
by the crew of the other boats, yet ours being light, and the
weather moderate, soon overtook and passed them. We pulled away,
maintaining the lead, till a dull roar, like continued thunder,
reminded us that we were just upon the bar. There it was, right
ahead, crossing our course, not a hundred yards distant, and no
passage perceptible; the sea, elsewhere, comparatively tranquil,
there swelling and raging, like a mild-tempered man in a passion;
the breakers curling, flouncing, tumbling one over the other,
rolling in opposite directions, tilting as they crossed, and flying
up with the force of the shock. How were we to pass? or by what
dodge to give the go-by? My men, excited by the race, would have led
at that moment into Charybdis. Still they pulled, onward, onward,
to all appearance right upon the reef. The difficulty was solved,
like many other difficulties, just when we got into the thick of
it. The reef, single in appearance, was in reality double; that
is to say, it consisted of two ledges, one ledge overlapping the
other: so that, just at the instant when three strokes more of the
oars would have taken us into the midst of the tumblification, a
narrow opening, with comparatively smooth water, appeared at our
left; a turn of the rudder brought us cleverly round into that
friendly channel, and the next moment we floated on the tranquil
surface of the outer harbour. The luff-tackle and the reefer, as
if they had let me go ahead only to see how a landsman could turn
a corner, now seemed disposed to renew the race. Raising a shout,
which rang from hill to hill in the cleft of that narrow roadstead,
their crews gave way again with redoubled ardour. But, having gained
the precedence outside, we easily kept it in smooth water, and led
in, with a sweep, through the larger harbour to the town. There,
as we coasted along, I noticed a little jetty; and on it, in the
full uniform of our department, a little man, who was anxiously
watching our approach. I laid my boat alongside, jumped ashore,
and received a hearty welcome from Mr Deputy-Paymaster-General
Q----, whom I had previously known at Lisbon, and who was now in
charge of the military chest at Passages. Another individual whom
I had met at Lisbon, a gentleman holding office in a department
attached to the army--suppose, for want of a better name, we call
him "My Friend"--stepped up at the same time, as if he had come by
accident, was amazingly glad to see me, took my hand, and greeted
me with many smiles--begged I wouldn't think of troubling myself
about a billet--his quarters were quite roomy enough for two. Had
I a mule? Shouldn't be able to get one in all Passages. Must have
something. He would sell me a pony cheap.

A working party was at hand, to convey the boxes of specie from
the jetty to the office, which was established hard by, for the
convenience of landing remittances that came by sea. A guard was
now set, and the sailors turned to, handing the boxes smartly out
of the boats, and ranging them on _terra firma_; the shore party
began conveying them from the jetty into the office. The Hon. Mr
Beckenham was in a dreadful fuss to get back to the frigate. "The
skipper wants to be off while the wind is fair, and the men haven't
breakfasted,"--nor had he. Up came my commanding officer just at the
moment, and hoped Mr B. and the middy would favour us with their
company to breakfast, as soon as the boxes were stowed.

Mr B. glanced circularly at the horizon, looked at the clouds,
looked at the flags in the harbour, looked at the clouds again.
"Don't think there's any sign of a change of wind at present," said
he. "Blows very steady from the south, sir," said the middy. The
boxes were housed; they suffered themselves to be persuaded, and
walked with us into the office. "My friend" also received an invite,
and came in company.

The men in the boats were supplied with bread, butter, and cheese;
some enormous Spanish sausages, by way of a relish, delicious
Spanish onions, as mild as an apple, and a handsome allowance of
brilliant draught cider. By all means ship a barrel, if you touch at
Passages in the Water Wagtail. Mr Q---- conducted us to his private
apartment, where we found a substantial breakfast awaiting us. I
walked into the balcony, which looked towards the water; took a view
of the men in the boats. All had their knives out, each sat in an
attitude of his own, the cider evidently gave general satisfaction,
the prog was rapidly disappearing, and the subject of conversation
was twofold--the race, already accomplished, from the frigate to
the jetty; and the race, soon to come off, from the jetty to the
frigate. "My friend" stood at my elbow, saw me laughing at Jack,
laughed himself--laughed heartily. "When will you come and look at
the pony?" said he. Mr Q---- summoned us to breakfast.

Breakfast over, the lieutenant and his aide-de-camp took their
leave. I went to look after my baggage, of which "my friend" had
taken charge in the hurry of landing, promising to see it stowed
with the treasure, where it would be under a guard. There was the
guard, and there was the treasure; but there, was not my baggage.
Found him--demanded an explanation. "Why, to tell the truth, the
working party being there, he had embraced the opportunity, and
had sent off my things at once to his own billet. We might as well
go there at once. Could look at the pony by the way." Just as we
started, my commanding officer called after me, "Mr Y----, I shall
want you to give me a few particulars respecting the treasure. You
may as well do so before going out. Then you may consider yourself
at liberty for the rest of the day." I accompanied him into a small
room, on the door of which was wafered "Private." "My friend" waited
outside, in the street.

"Did you send any message to that gentleman last night," said Mr
Q----, "when the boat came ashore from the frigate?"

"None whatever, sir. I didn't even know he was at Passages."

"Wasn't he aware that you were coming from Lisbon?"

"I don't see how he could be, sir. For it wasn't mentioned there
till the day before I sailed; and of course no intelligence could
have come in that time by land."

"Then he didn't meet you this morning by appointment?"

"Certainly not, sir. The meeting was quite casual."

"Casual? He was waiting about here for an hour before you landed;
running into the office, out of the office, poking his nose into
every corner--couldn't think what he wanted. Oh, I suppose he must
have fallen in with the second lieutenant yesterday evening. That's
how he heard of you, no doubt. Old cronies, I suppose."

"Not at all, sir. We met twice at Lisbon. That's all that I ever saw
of him, till this morning."

"Indeed! Well, he seems very attentive. Does he appear to have any
object? What was he saying to you in the balcony?"

"Said something about a pony he wants to sell. That was all, sir."

"Oh!" said Mr Q----. The "oh" came out something like a groan
a yard long, first forte, then minuendo, with the forefinger
applied laterally to the apex of the nose, and one eye sapiently
half-closed. "Ay, ay; I see. That's what he's after, no doubt; he
wants you to buy Sancho. Well, perhaps you can't do better. I know
the pony well. Doubt whether you'll find anything else to suit you
in all Passages. A mule, indeed, would answer your purpose better;
but the price of mules is enormous. Have you drawn your allowance
for a horse?" "No, sir. As I came by water, and dollars are
cumbersome, I thought it best to defer that till I reached Passages."

"Oh, very well; it's all right, then. Mr Y----, I feel it my duty
to say this to you; let me know before you close the bargain. Till
then, the eighty dollars are as well in my hands as in yours.
Horses will soon be dog-cheap. Few to be had in Spain for love or
money; lots, though, in France. Once at headquarters, you may mount
yourself _ad libitum_; and the pony will do well enough to carry
you up. Well, Mr Y----, with regard to quarters, the town is so
full, I was thinking we must try and accommodate you here. But as Mr
what's-his-name has made the offer, I feel it my duty to say this to
you--you had better accept it."

"Will you look at the invoice of the treasure, now, sir? Or shall I
bring it to-morrow?"

"Show it me now. Any gold?"

"All silver, sir; dollars, half-dollars, and quarters."

"What's this? Eight bags of a thousand, halves; twelve bags,
quarters; five bags, small mixed. Why, it will take us an age to
count it all."

"My fingers were sore with counting, before I left Lisbon, sir."

"Yes; and they must be sore again, before you leave Passages. Glad
to find you have had practice, though. Shouldn't mind the dollars:
a middling hand, you know, can count his thirty thousand a-day;
but that small mixed takes no end of time. Well, Mr Y----, I feel
it my duty to say this to you--hold yourself in readiness to start
for headquarters, in charge of treasure, this day week at latest.
If I can get you off a day or two earlier, all the better. But the
money must be counted; the boxes must be looked to and repaired.
And then the mules--why, you'll want sixty at least. Let me see.
Nearer eighty, unless I can take part of the silver, and give you
doubloons. Well, I'll see old Capsicum in the course of the morning,
and ascertain what mules he can let me have. Be here to-morrow at
ten, and then I shall be able to tell you more about it."

Delighted to hear once more the name of Capsicum, and doubting
whether to call on him, or wait till we met, I was leaving the room
to rejoin "my friend" in the street, when Mr Q---- called me back.

"Of course, you know, Mr Y----," said he, "I have no wish to
interfere with a fair bargain. Make your own agreement for the
pony. I have nothing to say against the party who wishes to sell,
and would be the last man to disparage a gentleman attached to any
department of the British army. Only I feel it my duty to say this
to you--keep your weather-eye open. Good morning."

"My friend" and I walked off together to the stable. His Portuguese
servant, Antonio, was in attendance, led out the pony, walked
him, trotted him, led him in again. The pony, I thought, was a
respectable pony enough; not in bad condition, neither; rather
small, though, for a rider six feet high. His legs, supple,
well-turned, and slender, were decidedly Spanish. But the barrel,
round, bulging, and disproportionably large; the hum-drum, steady,
_business-like_ pace; the tail, long, thick, and coarse the drooping
neck, the great hairy ears, the heavy head, the lifeless eye, and
the dull, unmeaning cast of countenance, betokened rather a Gallic
origin. I declined giving an immediate answer as to purchasing.
"My friend," with a laugh, said I was quite right; and we walked
off together to his billet. "Very dull place, this Passages," said
he. "Shall be happy to go with you across the harbour, and show you
the market. By the bye, of course, before you leave, you'll take a
view of St Sebastian. There stands the poor old town, all knocked
to smash, just as it remained after the siege. If you wish to form
a conception of the tremendous effect of cannon-balls, ride over by
all means. You may get there in less than half-an-hour, upon the

We now reached "my friend's" quarters, which consisted of one long,
narrow room, with a couple of windows at the end nearest the street,
and a couple of alcoves at the other, each alcove containing a very
humble bed. As to the windows, you are not to understand by the term
window, bless your heart, anything in the shape of glass, sashes,
or window-frame; but simply a stone opening in the stone wall, with
nothing to keep out the wind and rain, but a pair of old clumsy
shutters, which were far from shutting hermetically. The whole
furniture of the apartment consisted of a ship's stove, borrowed
from one of the transports in the harbour; a door laid on two
trestles, to serve as a table; and, on each side of the said table,
a bench. Yet often, when the troops were engaged in active service,
such accommodations as ours would have been deemed a luxury; and
many a wrangle arose for far worse quarters. I noticed that the
trestles and benches, which consisted of rough deal, hastily knocked
together, looked new. This "my friend" explained, by informing me
that the captain of the transport had lent him his carpenter. Having
seen to my baggage, which was all right, and ascertained that we had
four hours to dinner, I took the first opportunity of cutting my
stick, having inwardly formed my determination to be off at once on
foot, and take a view of St Sebastian. Six or seven months had now
elapsed since St Sebastian was stormed and taken by the British and
Portuguese forces.

Less than an hour's walk brought me to the scene of that fierce,
and, for a period, doubtful conflict. The road was closed up by
hills, which afforded no opportunity for a prospect; and not a soul
did I meet in the whole distance. All at once I came in sight of
the battered and demolished fortress. Imagine a town knocked to
pieces. Imagine this town suddenly presenting itself to your view.
The road unexpectedly opened upon a sandy plain, on which rose a
few eminences, called the Chofres, that had afforded a position for
some of the breaching batteries of the besiegers; at the extremity
of this plain ran the river Urumea, discharging itself into the sea;
and on an isthmus, beyond the river, stood St Sebastian. It stood
like a city in the desert. All was solitude and desolation. The
town, though it had contained many thousand inhabitants, at this
moment afforded no visible indication of human residence. It was not
forsaken; yet nothing could I discover of the tokens which usually
indicate life and activity as we approach the abodes of men--on the
road, neither vehicles, nor cattle, nor human beings. I was alone,
and the city was solitary. No; here, at my feet, upon the sandy
plain, was a memorial, at least, of man and of his doings. A rise in
the level had been washed down at its edge by the rains of winter;
and, projecting from the crumbling bank, appeared the bleached
and ghastly remains of a human being; doubtless one out of the
multitudes who, having fallen in the siege, had been consigned to
a shallow and hasty grave. I will not deny that the sight arrested
my steps. Remember, it was the first victim of war I had ever
looked upon. Nay, more; it invested the whole panorama with a new
character. I stood, as it were, surveying a vast cemetery, the soil
now concealing in its bosom the multitudes who, not long before,
had drenched its surface with their blood. Entering the town, I
did indeed see before me, as "my friend" had said, "the tremendous
effect of cannon-balls." Yet that was not the whole: destruction
appeared in a threefold aspect. The batteries had knocked houses and
defences into rubbish and dust; the mines had torn up the works from
their foundations; and a general conflagration had ravaged the whole
town. The scene was sombre and oppressive. War had now advanced
his pavilion into other lands; but here had left in charge two vast
and hideous sentinels--Desolation and Silence! I passed through
some of the principal streets, in which the fallen stones had been
piled on each side, to make a thoroughfare; and walked along the
ramparts, where some of the dead were still visible, partially
covered by fragments of the ruined masonry. No living creature
did I encounter, save one, a miserable object, a soldier in the
Spanish uniform, apparently an invalid, recovering from wounds or
sickness. On my approaching him, he appeared unwilling to speak or
be spoken to. Nor is it difficult to explain why a Spaniard, meeting
an Englishman on the walls of St Sebastian, should feel little
disposed for conversation. And so I visited the place, inspected the
fortifications, and returned to Passages, without exchanging a word
with any one.

"My friend," in honour of my arrival, had invited a brace of
dinner-guests: one, like myself, a clerk of the military chest, the
other a young hospital mate. Our dinner was excellent; Irish stew,
a Passages hare, and an enormous omelet, all cooked by Antonio;
capital draught cider; with the cheese, two bottles of English
porter as a particular treat; and Andalusian wine _ad libitum_.

I must here say a word on the subject of Irish stew. A standing dish
at headquarters was that Irish stew. Amongst the followers of the
army were a number of youths, Spanish and Portuguese, principally
the latter, age from sixteen to twenty, happy, on the small
consideration of a few dollars per month, to enter the service of
any Senhor Inglez who would hire them. Most of the clerks attached
to headquarters had a servant of this description; and as each clerk
was entitled to draw double rations, the arrangement was convenient.
It was the chief business of this servant, to discharge the two
very congenial duties of groom and cook; and no one was eligible
to the office who could not make Irish stew. "Well, Pedro, what's
for dinner to-day?"--The answer was invariable, "Oirish-too." The
ration beef--it was generally beef--was popped into a saucepan with
anything else that came to hand--bread, onions, leeks, potatoes if
you could get them, and just enough water to cover the whole;--then
stewed. Whatever the ingredients, still it was "Oirish-too."
Now--perhaps the idea never struck you--the true difference between
English and foreign cookery is just this: in preparing butcher's
meat for the table, the aim of foreign cookery is to make it tender,
of English, to make it hard. And both systems equally effect their
object, in spite of difficulties on each side. The butcher's meat,
which you buy abroad, is tough, coarse-grained, and stringy; yet
foreign cookery sends this meat to table tender. The butcher's meat
which you buy in England is tender enough when it comes home; but
domestic cookery sends it up hard. Don't tell me the hardness is in
the meat itself. Nothing of the kind: it's altogether an achievement
of the English _cuisine_. I appeal to a leg of mutton, I appeal to
a beef-steak, as they usually come to table; the beef half-broiled,
the mutton half-roasted. Judge for yourself. The underdone portion
of each is tender; the portion that's dressed is hard. Argal, the
hardness is due to the dressing, not to the meat: it is a triumph of
domestic cookery.--Q.E.D. Well; if time was short--say, a meal to
be prepared on coming in from a march, the rations not issued till
three hours after, and Pedro ordered to "make haste, and get dinner
_depressa_,"--why, then, to appease the wolf in your stomach, the
Irish stew was ready in no time--boiled like fury--dished up in half
an hour. In that case, you got it in the genuine English style--done
in a hurry: the broth watery and thin, the potatoes bullets, and
the _bouilli_ shrunk, indurated, screwed up into tough elasticity,
by the sudden application of a strong heat, and the potent effect
of hard boiling. Engage a "good plain cook"--tell her to boil a
neck of mutton--that will show you what I mean. All London necks of
mutton come to table crescents--regularly curled. But if, on the
contrary, you were in quarters, or the troops halted a day, then you
got your Irish stew after the foreign fashion. Breakfast cleared
away, your horse is brought to the door, that you may ride a few
miles forwards, and take a view of the operations, or ogle Soult
through a telescope. Pedro then commences his culinary operations
forthwith. The beef--and what-not besides--is whipped into the
saucepan; the saucepan is set among the embers upon the hearth: and
there it stands--not boiling--scarcely simmering--suppose we say
digesting--throughout the forenoon, and till you are ready to eat.
Long before dinner, savoury steams announce a normal process of
the _cuisine_, a process both leisurely and effectual. At length,
crowned with laurels, and, like all heroes, hungry after fighting,
you return from the skirmish in front, having barely escaped a stray
cannon-ball that made your horse--oh, didn't it?--spin round like a
teetotum. The rich repast awaits you--the whole is turned out, and
smokes upon the table--the _bouilli_ is tender, the "jus" appetising
and substantial, the _tout-ensemble_ excellent. And if, with an eye
to his own interest in the concern, Pedro has slipped in a handful
or so of garlic, why, you live all day in the open air--so it
doesn't much signify.

Well, so much for Irish stew. We wound up the evening with
ship-biscuit and brandy-and-water--ration brandy--French--superb.
What an exchange for the horrid _agoardente_ of Lisbon, that
excoriated your palate, indurated your gizzard, and burnt a hole in
your liver! I happened to mention my morning visit to St Sebastian.
All my three companions had seen St Sebastian during the siege--were
present at the storming. "Sorry I was not ordered up in time," said

"You'll never see anything like that," said the doctor.

"Well, can't you tell me something about it?"

"No, no," replied he; "rather too late for that to-night. I must be

"Come, gentlemen; mix another tumbler round," said "my friend." "If
we cannot go into particulars, at least, for the satisfaction of Mr
Y----, let us each relate some one incident, which we witnessed when
the city was taken by storm. Come, doctor; you shall begin."

"Really," said the doctor, "it was such a scene of slaughter and
confusion, I can hardly recollect anything distinctly enough to tell
it. I got into the town almost immediately after the troops, to look
after the wounded; just those that required to be operated on at
once. Found my way into a by-street; came among some of our fellows,
who were carrying on such a game, drinking, plundering, firing at
the inhabitants, and I don't know what-all besides, I was glad
enough to escape with my life, and got out of the place as fast as
I could. Don't really remember any particular occurrence to relate.
Oh, yes; just as I was coming away, I saw one old woman--beg pardon;
ought to have said elderly gentlewoman--pinned to a post with a
bayonet, for defending her daughter's virtue."

Well, gentlemen, said "my friend," "I also will relate an incident,
connected with that dreadful day. But, first of all, I must show
you something. What, would you say, is the value of that, doctor?"
He produced a very handsome diamond ring. "Worth fifty dollars at
least," said the doctor, holding it to the lamp. "I say, _worth_ it;
that is, in the trade. Would sell, in Bond Street, for more than
double that price, as they'd set it in London." The doctor, I should
mention, was the son of a fashionable watchmaker--bore the sobriquet
of Tick.

"Well," continued my friend, "how do you think I became possessed of
that ring? Just after the town was carried, I watched a lull in the
firing from the castle, and went in over the breach. Only one or two
round-shot fell, as I was climbing up. Met there an English sailor,
a man-of-war's man, coming along in high good humour, perhaps a
little the worse for liquor. He was shouting, laughing, holding up
his two hands, as if he wanted me to look at them. The fellow had
been plundering; plundering a jeweller's shop. "Now I'm dressed out
for a ball," said he, "all for one like a Spanish lady." What d'ye
think he had done? All his fingers, both hands, were covered down
to the tips with splendid rings, rings set with precious stones,
as thick as curtain-rods. Brilliants, rubies, emeralds, amethysts,
he had stuck them on, one after the other, till there was no room
left. Told him I'd buy them: offered him a dollar for the lot; two
dollars; five dollars. 'Avast,' said he, 'I'm a gentleman. Don't
want none of your dumps, messmate. Shouldn't mind giving you one,
though, for good luck. Here, take this big un.' It was a great
ugly Brazilian topaz. 'No, no,' said I; 'give me this little one.'
He gave it me; I thanked him; and he walked away, laughing and
shouting.--Worth fifty dollars, you say. Is it though, doctor? For
forty-five down, you shall have it."

The doctor made no reply; and, for a few seconds, there was a dead
silence. "Come, Mr Pagador senior," said he; "I've got three gunshot
wounds, an ague, and a dysentery.--Must see them all, before I go to
bed. Please to proceed."

"I think," said my fellow-clerk, "our host had a good chance of
being shot, when he mounted the breach; for the French, I remember,
kept up a fire on all who passed that way, long after it was
carried. You're sure you got that ring on the breach, are you?... I,
also, had a narrow escape, after I got into the town. I was walking
up one of the streets, and passed a wine-shop, where a lot of our
fellows were assembled, within and without. A few yards beyond was
a corner; another street crossed. Just at the crossing, in the
middle of the road, lay an English soldier, dead. There was nothing
particular in that; for I had passed several dead before, as I came
along. Walking on, I noticed two soldiers looking at me and talking.
'Better tell him, then,' said one of them. 'Tell him yourself,'
said the other; 'I shan't tell him. He's only a commissary.' Just
before I reached the corner, some one gently laid hold of my arm.
I turned round. It was that officer of the engineers--Gabion--yes,
Captain Gabion. 'Wouldn't advise you to go beyond the corner,'
said he.--'Why not?' said I. 'Don't you see that man lying on the
road?' said he.--'Any danger?' said I. 'I'll soon let you see that,'
said he: 'have the kindness to lend me your hat.' I gave him my
hat--staff-hat--bought it new at Vittoria. He stepped forward, held
it out by one end, just poked about half of it beyond the corner.
Crack! a rifle-bullet came clean through it. 'The French,' said
he, 'still occupy that street. I set a sentry here just now, to
keep people from passing on. But he's off; plundering, I suppose,
or getting drunk. I'm sorry for your hat, though.' Rum trick, that
of Captain Gabion's, I must say. I thought it very unkind. Kept me
from getting shot; much obliged to him for that. But spoiled my new
staff-hat--cost me ten dollars."

"Yes," said the doctor, "that's just what he is; always up to some
practical piece of wit, and grave as a judge. Grave? I should rather
say melancholy. Such a fellow for joking, too! Why, he'd crack a
joke if a shell was fizzing at his feet. One of the coolest officers
in the service."

"Where is Captain Gabion now?" said I.

"Oh, somewhere in advance," said the doctor; "you may be sure of
that; somewhere with the troops in the south of France. He and his
friend, that major of the artillery, had a narrow escape, though, in
the winter. Must needs go paying a morning visit to a French family
just this side of St Jean de Luz, before the enemy were driven
across the Nivelle. Just escaped a party of them by hard riding.
Don't see, though, that your hat, Mr Pagador, is much the worse,
merely for being pinked."

"It makes people stare so," said he, "that's all I care about. Looks
just exactly as if one had been shot through the head."

"Shouldn't mind giving you my new foraging cap and a dollar for it,"
said "my friend." Again there was a short silence. It was clear, in
fact, that "my friend's" disposition to barter and bargain was not
altogether admired.

"Well, gentlemen," said I, "you have all been good enough to tell me
something about St Sebastian. Now, I'll tell you something. Did you
ever see a dead man swim?"

"I've seen a dead man float," said the doctor; "never saw one swim."

"Well, that's what I saw this morning. And you may see it to-morrow,
if you choose to go and look. I'll tell you how it was. The tide was
up, and the river Urumea nearly full. I was standing on that part
of the rampart, where, as you know, the rubbish dislodged by the
springing of the mine is shot down into the bed of the river. In
that vast heap, no doubt many of the storming party found a grave,
where they still lie buried, under tons upon tons of shattered
masonry. In some instances, however, the sufferers were not entirely
overwhelmed by the explosion; and their remains are still partly
visible, bleached by the sun and wind. The water was perfectly
clear; you might see the rocks in the bed of the stream. My eye,
measuring the shattered pile on which I was standing, mechanically
descended from its summit to its base, which juts out far into
the river. Just under water, I noticed something in motion. The
appearance attracted my attention. Descending the mound to the
water's edge, what do you think I saw? A man half emerging from the
fragments, and swimming, yes, swimming beneath the surface, striking
out with both hands, as if struggling to get free. So visible was
the object, so distinctly I saw every movement, my first impulse was
to step down into the water, drag him out from the rubbish before
he was drowned, and land him on _terra firma_. I looked again--he
was long past drowning. There he had swum, at high water, every day
since the city was stormed, and the mine was sprung. His bones,
half bared of flesh, were still held together by the ligaments; the
mine, by its explosion, had buried him up to the middle; but from
the loins he was free: the play of the waves tossed him to and fro;
the water, in its flux and reflux, now caught his arms and spread
them out; from his sides to their full extent, now brought them
back again:--anybody would have said it was a man swimming. Well, I
shall dream of it to-night. I shall again be standing on that breach
before daylight; fancy I see the dead man swimming out beneath my
feet; and perhaps hear him calling for help under water. Only hope I
mayn't fancy it's myself."

"It's curious," said the doctor, "when a fellow first joins, how a
thing of that kind strikes him as remarkable. Well, good night all."


  [5] _Sights in the Gold Regions, and Scenes by the Way._ By THEODORE
  T. JOHNSON. New York: 1849.

  _The California and Oregon Trail: being Sketches of Prairie and
  Rocky Mountain Life._ By FRANCIS PARKMAN, Jun. New York and London:

  _Los Gringos; or an Inside View of Mexico and California: with
  Wanderings in Peru, Chili, and Polynesia._ By LIEUTENANT WISE,
  U.S.N. New York and London: 1850.

There is a class of literature peculiarly American, and unlikely
to be rivalled or imitated to any great extent on this side the
Atlantic, for which we entertain a strong predilection. It is the
literature of the forest and the prairie, of the Indian camp and
the backwood settlement, of the trapper's hunting ground, and,
we now must add, of the Californian gold mine. It comprises the
exploits and narratives of the pioneer in the Far West, and the
squatter in Texas; of the military volunteer in Mexico, and the
treasure-seeking adventurer on the auriferous shores of the Pacific.
In common with millions of Europeans, we have watched, for years
past, with wonder, if not always with admiration, the expansive
propensities of that singularly restless people, who, few in number,
in proportion to their immense extent of territory, and prosperous
at home under the government they prefer, yet find themselves
cramped and uneasy within their vast limits, and continually, with
greater might than right, displace their neighbour's boundary-mark
and encroach upon his land. The mode in which this has been done,
in a southerly direction, by the settlement of emigrants, who,
gradually accumulating, at last dispossess and expel the rightful
owner, has been often described and exemplified; and nowhere more
graphically than by Charles Sealsfield, in his admirable _Cabin
Book_ and _Squatter Nathan_. The Anglo-German-American, deeply
impressed by the virtues of his adopted countrymen, and especially
by that intelligence and enterprising spirit which none can deny
them, sees merit rather than injustice in the forcible expulsion of
the Spaniard's descendants, and makes out the best possible case in
defence of the Yankee spoliator. Still, when stripped of factitious
colouring and rhetorical adornments, the pith of the argument seems
to be that the land is too good for the lazy "greasers," who must
incontinently absquatilate, and make way for better men. As for
Indians, they are of no account whatever. "Up rifle and at them!"
is the word. In utter wantonness they are shot and cut down. Let us
hear an American's account of the process.

     "When Captain Sutter first settled in California he had much
     trouble with the Indians, but he adopted, and has pursued
     steadily from the first, a policy of peace, combined with the
     requisite firmness and occasional severity. Thus he had obtained
     all-powerful influence with them, and was enabled to avail
     himself of their labour for moderate remuneration. Now all was
     changed: the late emigrants across the mountains, and especially
     from Oregon, had commenced a war of extermination, shooting
     them down like wolves--men, women, and children--wherever
     they could find them. Some of the Indians were undoubtedly
     bad, and needed punishment, but generally the whites were the
     aggressors; and, as a matter of course, the Indians retaliated
     whenever opportunities occurred; and in this way several unarmed
     or careless Oregonians had become, in turn, their victims.
     Thus has been renewed in California the war of extermination
     against the aborigines, commenced in effect at the landing
     of Columbus, and continued to this day, gradually and surely
     tending to the utter extinction of the race. And never has this
     policy proved so injurious to the interests of the whites as in
     California."--(_Sights in the Gold Regions_, p. 152-3.)

Mr Johnson illustrates by examples the system he thus condemns,
and shows us war-parties of white men issuing forth for _razzias_
upon Indian villages, receiving, as they depart, the valedictory
benediction of the patriarch of the settlement, a veteran
backwoodsman, well known in the Rocky Mountains as a guide and
pioneer, and who, after a long and adventurous career, has at last
located himself, with his active, reckless, half-breed sons in the
beautiful and romantic valley of the Saw Mill. This bloody-minded
old miscreant, John Greenwood by name, boasted of having shot
upwards of a hundred Indians--ten of them since his arrival in
California--and hoped still to add to the murder-list, although
incapacitated by age from distant expeditions. His cabin was the
alarm-post where the foragers assembled, and whither, on their
return from their errand of blood and rapine, they brought their
ill-gotten spoils, the captive squaws, and the still reeking
scalps of their victims. With male prisoners they rarely troubled
themselves; although, upon one occasion during Mr Johnson's stay in
their vicinity, they brought in a number, and shot seven of them in
cold blood, because, "being bad-looking and strong warriors," it
was believed they had participated in the murder of five English
miners, surprised and slain a short time previously. Expeditions
of this kind are called "war-parties;" and the propriety of the
system of which they form a part is as fiercely and passionately
defended by the Americans in California, as is the propriety of
slave-holding by the free and enlightened citizens of the southern
states of the Union. It were far from prudent to preach emancipation
in Florida or Louisiana; at the "diggins" it is decidedly unsafe
to call the shooting of Indians by the harsh name of murder. "We
saw a young mountaineer, wild with rage, threaten the life of an
American who had ventured to suggest that the murders committed by
these Indians were provoked by many previous murders of the whites,
and that they should not be avenged by _indiscriminate_ slaughter,
but by the death of the _guilty_." The horrible character of the
frequent massacres is aggravated by the adoption, on the part of
the white savages, of the repugnant and barbarian usages of the
unfortunate heathens whom they first provoke and then hunt to the
death, by the tearing off of scalps, and suchlike hideous and
unchristian abominations. Unfortunately, these scenes of slaughter
and atrocity are of constant occurrence, not only in that far-off
land where gold is to be had for the gathering, but wherever the
white man and the red come in contact. The air of the prairie and
backwoods seems fatal to all humane and merciful feelings, and
the life of the Indian is held no dearer than that of skunk or
buffalo. Mr Parkman tells us of "a young Kentuckian, of the true
Kentucky blood, generous, impetuous, and a gentleman withal, who
had come out to the mountains with Russel's party of California
emigrants. One of his chief objects, as he gave out, was to kill an
Indian--an exploit which he afterwards succeeded in achieving, much
to the jeopardy of ourselves and others, who had to pass through
the country of the dead Pawnee's enraged relatives." No censure
is passed upon this generous and gentlemanly young murderer by Mr
Parkman, whose book would nevertheless indicate him to be a man of
education and humanity, but who is apparently unable to discern any
moral wrong in wantonly drilling a hole through the painted hide of
a Pawnee. The system of extermination seems practically inseparable
from the aggrandisement of American territory at Indian expense.
When Mexicans are to be ejected, the process is more humane, or at
least less cold-blooded and revolting in its circumstances. But,
although the barbarity diminishes, the injustice is as great. By
American annexators and propagandists, respect of property may be
set down as an Old World prejudice; still it is one by which we are
contented to abide; and we cannot see the right of any one to turn
a man out of his house because he does not keep it in repair and
occupy all the rooms, or to pick a quarrel with him as a pretext for
appropriating a choice slice of his garden. A considerable portion
of the people of the United States are evidently convinced that they
are the instruments of Providence in the civilisation and population
of the New World, and look forward to the time as by no means remote
when their descendants and form of government shall spread south
and north, to the exclusion of British rule and Spanish-American
republics, from Greenland to Panama. As a preparatory step, their
pioneers are abroad in all directions; and some of them, being handy
with the pen as well as with the rifle, jot down their experiences
for the encouragement of their countrymen and edification of
the foreigner. Before us are three books of the kind completely
American in tone and language, and of at least two of which it
may safely be affirmed that none but Americans could have written
them. In fact they are written in American rather than in English;
particularly Mr Johnson's "Sights," of which we can truly say
that, but for our intimate acquaintance with the language of the
United States, acquired by much study of this particular sort of
literature, we should have made our way through it with difficulty
without reference to the dictionary, which we presume to exist, of
American improvements on the English tongue. The book swarms with
Yankeeisms, vulgarisms, and witticisms; the latter of no elevated
class, and seldom rising above a very bad pun; notwithstanding
which, _Sights in the Gold Regions_ is a very amusing, and, to
all appearance, a very honest account of life at the diggings.
The other two books are the work, the one of a philosopher in the
woods, and the other of a sailor on horseback. Mr Parkman, who, as
regards literary skill, is superior to either of the companions we
have given him--although his book has less novelty and pungency
than either of theirs--left St Louis in the spring of 1846, on a
tour of curiosity and amusement to the Rocky Mountains, with the
especial object of studying the manners and character of Indians in
their primitive state. He has a good eye for scenery and tolerable
descriptive powers, and some of the adventures and anecdotes he
relates are striking and interesting. But, for a fine specimen of
rich rough-spun Yankee narrative, commend us to Lieutenant Wise of
the United States navy. There is no mistake about the gallant author
of _Los Gringos_. He makes no more pretence to style or elegance
than a boatswain's mate spinning a yarn upon the forecastle.
Despising the trammels of orthography and probability, sprinkling
his comical English with words from half-a-dozen other languages
(often ludicrously distorted), sometimes shrewd, frequently very
humorous, invariably good-humoured and vivacious, this rollicking
naval officer hoists the reader on his shoulders, and carries
him at a canter through his great thick closely-printed New York
volume, with infinitely less fatigue to the rider than he himself
experienced when, perched upon a Spanish saddle, and armed with
a whip "whose lash was like the thongs of a knout," he urged the
sorry posters along the road to Mexico's capital. In a few lines of
preface, the humorous lieutenant discloses his plan and gives us a
glimpse of his quality. "The sketches embodied in this narrative,"
he says, "were all written on the field of their occurrence: the
characters incidentally mentioned are frequently _nommes du mer_. It
is not expected by the author that even the most charitable reader
will wholly overlook the careless style and framing of the work, or
allow it to pass without censure; nor has it been his object to deal
in statistics, or any abstract reflections, but merely to compile
a pleasant narrative, such as may perchance please or interest the
generality of readers; and in launching the volume on its natural
element--the sea of public opinion--the author only indulges in
the aspiration, whether the reader be gentle or ungentle, whether
the book be praised or condemned, that at least the philanthropy
of the publishers may be remunerated, wherein lies all the law and
the profits." After which facetious and characteristic preamble,
Lieutenant Wise goes on board his frigate; is tugged out of Boston
harbour, and sails for Monterey; is alternately buffeted and
becalmed; is in danger of stranding on the Dahomey territory and
reviles creation accordingly, but ultimately escapes the peril
and sets foot on shore at Rio Janeiro, in which pleasant latitude
he frequents the coffee-houses, and partakes of mint juleps and
other cold institutions; watches the niggers dancing and jabbering
their way along the streets, with little fingers affectionately
interlaced, and _sistling_ polkas through their closed teeth; and
is somewhat scandalised, and yet vastly amused, by the _samacueca_,
a South American polka of much grace but questionable decency, on
beholding which he, Lieutenant Wise, being, "as an individual,
fond of a taste of cayenne to existence," clapped his hands and
vociferously applauded. This eccentric dance, however, was at
Valparaiso, we find--not that the fair Brazilians are behind any
of their South American sisters in the license they accord their
supple forms and twinkling feet. At last, and in the heat of the war
between Mexico and the States, Lieutenant Wise reached Monterey,
where his ship cast anchor. California had been taken possession of
by the Americans, and fighting was going on in the neighbourhood.
Before the war, Monterey contained about five hundred inhabitants,
but when Mr Wise, arrived, scarcely a native was to be seen. The
men were away fighting in the southern provinces, a few women
scowled from their dwellings at the _gringos_ (the name given to
Anglo-Americans in Mexico and California). Yankee sentinels were
posted, knife in girdle, and rifle-lock carefully sheltered from the
rain; and persons moving about after dark were greeted at every turn
with the challenge--"Look out thar, stranger!" quickly followed by a
bullet, if they delayed to shout their name and calling. There was
nothing to be had to eat, drink, or smoke, and the general aspect
of affairs was cheerless enough. Presently in rode sixty horsemen,
gaunt bony woodsmen of the Far West, dressed in skins, with heavy
beards and well-appointed rifles, fellows "who wouldn't stick at
scalping an Indian or a dinner of mule-meat," and who belonged to
the Volunteer Battalion, in which they had enrolled themselves "more
by way of recreation than for glory or patriotism." They were not
easy to understand, having passed most part of their lives in the
Rocky Mountains, a district which has its own peculiar phraseology.

     "We soon became quite sociable, and, after a hearty supper of
     fried beef and biscuit, by some miraculous dispensation a five
     gallon keg of whisky was uncorked, and, after a thirty days'
     thirst, our new-found friends slaked away unremittingly. Many
     were the marvellous adventures narrated of huntings, fightings,
     freezings, snowings, and starvations; and one stalwart, bronzed
     trapper beside me, finding an attentive listener, began:--'The
     last time, captin, I cleared the Oregon trail, the Ingens fowt
     us amazin' hard. Pete,' said he, addressing a friend smoking a
     clay pipe by the fire, with a half pint of corn-juice in his
     hand, which served to moisten his own clay at intervals between
     every puff--'Pete, do you notice how I dropped the Redskin who
     put the poisoned arrow in my moccasin! Snakes, captin! the
     varmints lay thick as leaves behind the rocks; and, bless ye,
     the minit I let fall old Ginger from my jaw, up they springs,
     and lets fly their flint-headed arrers in amongst us, and one
     on 'em wiped me right through the leg. I tell yer what it is,
     hoss, I riled, I did, though we'd had tolerable luck in the
     forenoon;--for I dropped two and a squaw, and Pete got his good
     six--barrin' that the darned villains had hamstrung our mule,
     and we were bound to see the thing out. Well, captin, as I tell
     ye, I'm not weak in the jints, but it's no joke to hold the
     heft of twenty-three pounds on a sight for above ten minits on
     a stretch; so Pete and me scrouched down, made a little smoke
     with some sticks, and then we moved off, a few rods, whar we got
     a clar peep. For better than an hour we see'd nothin'; but on a
     suddin I see'd the chap--I know'd him by his paintin'--that driv
     the arrer in my hide: he was peerin' round quite bold, thinkin'
     we'd vamosed; I jist fetched old Ginger up and drawed a bee line
     on his cratch, and, stranger, I giv him sich a winch in the
     stomach that he dropped straight into his tracks: he did! In
     five jumps I riz his har, and Pete and me warn't troubled again
     for a week.'"

After two months passed at Monterey, the American squadron assembled
and a new commodore arrived, whereupon Lieut. Wise's captain was not
sorry to be allowed to lift his anchors, and avoid playing second
fiddle to the new commander-in-chief by transferring his pennant to
the waters of the San Francisco. On the way thither his lieutenant
treats us to some yarns of extraordinary toughness. Speaking of
the lasso, in the use of which the Californians are particularly
skilful--catching a bull by the tail and making him fling a somerset
over his horns, or dragging a grizzly bear for miles to the baiting
place--he calls to mind having once seen a troop of horses "at
General Rosas' quinta, near Buenos Ayres, trained to run like hares,
with fore and hind legs lashed together by thongs of hide: it was
undertaken to preserve the animals from being thrown by the Indian
_bolas_, and the riders, as a consequence, lanced to death. But I
was far more amused one afternoon, when passing a fandango, near
Monterey, to see a drunken cattle-driver, mounted on a restive,
plunging beast, hold at arm's length a tray of glasses, brimming
with aguardiente, which he politely offered to everybody within
reach of his curvettings, without ever once spilling a drop." These
marvellous feats are nothing, however, compared to the cannibal
exploits of some unfortunate emigrants, who, having loitered on
their way, were overtaken by the snow in the Californian mountains,
and compelled to encamp for the winter. Their provisions and
cattle consumed, even to the last horse hide, famine and insanity
ensued. Those who starved to death were eaten by the survivors,
whose appetites, if we may believe Mr Wise, were quite prodigious.
A Dutchman, he gravely assures us, actually ate a full-grown body
in thirty-six hours; and another boiled and devoured, in a single
night, a child, nine years of age. We cannot venture to extract
the revolting details that follow. The lieutenant's facetiousness
upon this horrible subject is rather ghastly; and the particulars
supplied by a young Spaniard, who "ate a baby," are abominable in
the extreme, although possibly true. At least Mr Wise assures us he
had them from the lad's own lips. And, whilst his strength lasted,
poor Baptiste was drudge to the whole party, doing his duty well,
fetching fuel and water, until at last, as he told Mr Wise, "very
hungry, sir; eat anything."

On the wild and dreary track from the States to California,
frightful disasters occur to caravans of emigrants, which,
encumbered with women and children, and sometimes under incompetent
leaders, lose precious time by the way, and are caught and crushed
by the terrible winter of those desolate regions. Journeying near
the Sacramento, Mr Johnson came upon the house of "old Keysburg the
cannibal, who revelled in the awful feast on human flesh and blood,
during the sufferings of a party of emigrants near the pass of the
Sierra Nevada, in the winter of 1847. It is said that the taste
which Keysburg then acquired has not left him, and that he often
declares, with evident gusto, 'I would like to eat a piece of you;'
and several have sworn to shoot him, if he ventures on such _fond_
declarations to them. We therefore looked upon the den of this wild
beast in human form with a good deal of disgusted curiosity, and
kept our bowie-knives handy for a slice of him if necessary."

Sailor though he is, Mr Wise troubles his reader very little with
nautical matters. During a few weeks he was a good deal afloat,
having succeeded to the command of the Rosita, a forty ton schooner,
with a crew of fifteen sailors, a small boy, and a mulatto cook,
who had once been "head bottle-washer of a Liverpool liner, with
glass nubs on de cabin doors;" but otherwise most of his time
seems to have been spent on shore, riding, shooting, dancing, and
love-making, doing military duty in garrison at Mazatlan, throwing
up fortifications, and surprising parties of Mexicans, whose fear
of the Gringos was most intense and ludicrous. In their civil wars,
and when contending with the Spaniards for their independence,
the Mexicans have occasionally fought doggedly, although never
skilfully; but when opposed to combatants of the Anglo-Saxon race,
they have invariably shown themselves arrant cowards. Although the
soldiers of the States have even less military discipline than those
of Mexico, the bodily strength, skill with the rifle, intrepidity,
and self-reliance of the former, would render them formidable
opponents even to well-drilled European troops. As to the Mexicans,
no matter how great the numerical odds in their favour, they never
could or would stand against the hardy Yankee volunteers. In the
summer of 1846, Mr Parkman met, upon the wild and lonely banks of
the Upper Arkansas, Price's Missouri regiment, on its way to Santa

     "No men ever embarked upon a military expedition with a greater
     love for the work before them than the Missourians; but if
     discipline and subordination be the criterion of merit, these
     soldiers were worthless indeed. Yet when their exploits have
     rung through all America, it would be absurd to deny that they
     were excellent irregular troops. Their victories were gained
     in the teeth of every established precedent of warfare; they
     were owing to a singular combination of military qualities
     in the men themselves. Without discipline or a spirit of
     subordination, they knew how to keep their ranks, and act as
     one man. Doniphan's regiment marched through New Mexico more
     like a band of Free Companions than like the paid soldiers of
     a modern government. When General Taylor complimented Doniphan
     on his success at Sacramento and elsewhere, the colonel's reply
     very well illustrates the relations which subsisted between the
     officers and men of his command. 'I don't know anything of the
     manoeuvres. The boys kept coming to me to let them charge; and
     when I saw a good opportunity, I told them they might go. They
     were off like a shot, and that's all I know about it.'

     "The backwoods lawyer was better fitted to conciliate the
     good-will than to command the obedience of his men. There were
     many serving under him, who both from character and education,
     could better have held command than he. At the battle of
     Sacramento, his frontiersmen fought under every possible
     disadvantage. The Mexicans had chosen their own position; they
     were drawn up across the valley that led to their native city
     of Chihuahua; their whole front was covered by intrenchments,
     and defended by batteries of heavy cannon; they outnumbered the
     invaders five to one. An eagle flew over the Americans, and
     a deep murmur rose along their lines. The enemy's batteries
     opened; long they remained under fire, but when at length the
     word was given, they shouted and ran forward. In one of the
     divisions, when midway to the enemy, a drunken officer ordered
     a halt; the exasperated men hesitated to obey. 'Forward, boys!'
     cried a private from the ranks; and the Americans, rushing like
     tigers upon the enemy, bounded over the breastwork. Four hundred
     Mexicans were slain upon the spot, and the rest fled, scattering
     over the plain like sheep. The standards, cannon, and baggage
     were taken, and among the rest a waggon laden with cords, which
     the Mexicans, in the fulness of their confidence, had made ready
     for tying the American prisoners."

A curious picture of military _un_discipline--of egregious cowardice
on the one hand, and fortunate audacity on the other. It is evident
that the Doniphan mode of carrying on the war--consulting the men's
pleasure, with officers drunk before the enemy, and privates giving
the word of command--however successful it may prove against the
wretched Mexicans, or in mountain and guerilla warfare, would never
answer in the open field against a regular and skilfully commanded
army. The question, then, follows,--How far could these staunch
and gallant American riflemen be trained to the strict discipline
and military exercises and manoeuvres essential to the efficiency
of large bodies of troops, without impairing the very qualities,
the feelings of independent action and self-reliance, which render
them so valuable as irregular warriors? This inquiry, however, is
not worth pursuing; for we suppose there is little chance of Uncle
Sam meddling in European quarrels, and sincerely trust he will so
curb his annexing mania as to avoid all risk of European armaments
encountering him in his own hemisphere. Touching these Missourian
volunteers, however, Mr Parkman's account of their appearance, and
of his interview with them, is most graphic and characteristic. One
forenoon he and his companion, Mr Shaw, turned aside to the river
bank, half-a-mile from the trail, to get water and rest. They put
up a kind of awning, and whilst seated under it upon their buffalo
robes, and smoking, they saw a dark body of horsemen approaching.

     "'We are going to catch it now,' said Shaw: 'look at those
     fellows; there'll be no peace for us here.' And, in good truth,
     about half the volunteers had straggled away from the line of
     march, and were riding over the meadow towards us.

     "'How are you?' said the first who came up, alighting from his
     horse, and throwing himself upon the ground. The rest followed
     close, and a score of them soon gathered about us, some lying at
     full length, and some sitting on horseback. They all belonged
     to a company raised in St Louis. There were some ruffian faces
     among them, and some haggard with debauchery; but, on the whole,
     they were extremely good-looking men, superior beyond measure
     to the ordinary rank and file of an army. Except that they
     were booted to the knees, they wore their belts and military
     trappings over the ordinary dress of citizens. Besides their
     swords and holster pistols, they carried, slung from their
     saddles, the excellent Springfield carbines, loaded at the
     breech. They inquired the character of our party, and were
     anxious to know the prospect of killing buffalo, and the chance
     that their horses would stand the journey to Santa Fé. All this
     was well enough, but a moment after a worse visitation came upon

     "'How are you, strangers? Whar are you going, and whar are you
     from?' said a fellow, who came trotting up with an old straw
     hat on his head. He was dressed in the coarsest brown homespun
     cloth. His face was rather sallow, from fever and ague, and his
     tall figure, although strong and sinewy, was quite thin, and
     had, besides, an angular look, which, together with his boorish
     seat on horseback, gave him an appearance anything but graceful.
     Plenty more of the same stamp were close behind him. Their
     company was raised in one of the frontier counties, and we soon
     had abundant evidence of their rustic breeding: dozens of them
     came crowding round, pushing between our first visitors, and
     staring at us with unabashed faces.

     "'Are you the captain?' asked one fellow.

     "'What's your business out here?' inquired another.

     "'Whar do you live when you're at home?' said a third.

     "'I reckon you're traders,' surmised a fourth; and, to crown the
     whole, one of them came confidently to my side, and inquired, in
     a low voice, 'What is your partner's name?'

     "As each new comer repeated the same questions, the nuisance
     became intolerable. Our military visitors were soon disgusted at
     the concise nature of our replies, and we could overhear them
     muttering curses against us. Presently, to our amazement, we saw
     a large cannon with four horses come lumbering up behind the
     crowd; and the driver, who was perched on one of the animals,
     stretching his neck so as to look over the rest of the men,
     called out,--

     "'Whar are you from, and what's your business?'

     "The captain of one of the companies was amongst our visitors,
     drawn by the same curiosity that had attracted his men.

     "'Well, men,' said he at last, lazily rising from the ground
     where he had been lounging, 'it's getting late; I reckon we had
     better be moving.'

     "'I shan't start yet, anyhow,' said one fellow, who lay half
     asleep, with his head resting on his arm.

     "'Don't be in a hurry, captain,' added the lieutenant.

     "'Well, have it your own way, we'll wait awhile longer,' replied
     the obsequious commander.

     "At length, however, our visitors went straggling away as they
     had come, and we, to our great relief, were left alone again."

A most mirth-provoking specimen of American character. But we
must return to our friend and favourite, Lieutenant Wise, who is
truly a Yankee Crichton in a pea-jacket. Besides his nautical
skill, and the lingual accomplishments already adverted to, he is
a Nimrod in the hunting-field, a Centaur on horseback, a Vestris
in the mazes of the dance. Lovers of wild sports in the West will
luxuriate in his descriptions of hunting exploits, of his combats
with grizzly bears fourteen hundred pounds weight, and his chase of
an antelope whose fore-leg he had nearly severed from its shoulder
with a rifle bullet, but which still managed to run four leagues,
the wounded member "traversing round in its flight like a wheel,"
before receiving its death-wound. Unable to extract a tithe of
the passages that tempt us, we hurry on to his departure for the
Mexican capital, whither he was sent early in the month of May, as
bearer of a despatch, and in company with a Mexican officer, with
whom the lieutenant was at first disposed to be most friendly and
sociable, but who forfeited his esteem by the cool proposal of a
plan to cheat the government, and whom he soon managed to leave
behind--no difficult matter, for the Mexican was cumbered with
portmanteau and sumpter mule, whereas the Yankee's sole baggage, as
he himself informs us, consisted of two shirts and a toothbrush.
Thus lightly equipped, his pace was very rapid; not so much so,
however, as to prevent his noting down all that occurred by the
way. After La Barca and Ruxton, it is a difficult task to give
novelty to an account of Mexican travel and peculiarities. Mr Wise
has surmounted the difficulty; and so great is the freshness and
originality of his narrative, that we read it with as much zest and
enjoyment as if it were the first instead of the twentieth book
relating to Mexico which we have perused within the last few years.
His anecdotes are most racy and piquant; his sketches of Mexican
women, officers, _leperos_, and of his own countrymen in Mexico,
are taken from the life with a truthful and vivid pencil. With the
class of leperos he had already made acquaintance on the threshold
of the country. Turning, one day, into a bowling alley at Mazatlan,
with the officers of a British frigate, he gave a fine horse to
hold to one of those Mexican mendicants. The fellow's hatred of
the _gringos_ was stronger than his love of gain; for no sooner
was he left alone than he drew a pistol from the holsters, shot
the horse, and ran for his life, which certainly would not have
been worth a maravedi had he tarried for the arrival of the enraged
lieutenant. "Oh, Mr Smithers!" exclaims the disconsolate mariner
thus cruelly dismounted--"Oh, Mr Smithers! you keep a good ten-pin
alley, sing a good song, and your wife prepares good chocolate;
you are, together, good fellows; but you should never, O Smithers!
transform your establishment into a knacker's yard. And you, my
cruel _lepero_! had I ever got a sight of you along that weapon you
handled so well--ah! I wellnigh wept for sorrow that night, and did
not recover my spirits for a fortnight." The leperos, we need hardly
explain, are the pest of Mexico--ragged, dirty, often disgusting
with disease or deformity, born idlers, beggars, and thieves--in
the latter capacity so especially skilful, that Mr Wise inclines to
the belief that a man, standing open-mouthed in a crowd of them,
could hardly escape having the gold picked from his molars. They
reaped a rich harvest at the time of the American invasion. It was
a case of "_nos amis les ennemis_." The conquerors were preyed upon
by the conquered. Iron bars were unavailing against the cunning
rogues. "One evening some expert practitioner contrived to entice
a valuable pair of pistols, clothing, and other articles, from my
table in the centre of a large apartment, by introducing a pole and
hook through the iron _grille_ of the window; and the same night, my
friend Molinero was robbed of his bed-clothes, while sleeping, by
the same enterprising method." By a strange tolerance, these leperos
are admitted everywhere; and in the splendid coffee and gambling
houses of the large cities, they are found rubbing their filthy rags
against officers' embroideries and the fine broadcloth of wealthy
burgesses. At Guanaxato, Mr Wise gives a lively description of a
scene of this kind in the handsome saloons of the _Gran Sociedad_,
recalling to our memory, though at a long interval, some striking
pages of the first volume of Sealsfield's gorgeous Mexican romance,
_Der Virey and die Aristocraten_. The lepero's chief pastimes
are thieving, sleeping, and gambling for copper coins. By way of
variety, he occasionally gets up a mortal combat. We think the
following the best account of a knife-duel we ever read:--

     "A lepero was purchasing a bit of chocolate; it fell in the
     dirt, when another, probably thinking it a lawful prize, seized
     it and took a large bite; whereupon the lawful owner swung a
     mass of heavy steel spurs attached to his wrist, jingling, with
     some force, on the offender's head. In a second down dropped the
     spurs, and _serapas_ (a kind of blanket) were wound round the
     left arms. With low deep curses and flashing eyes, their knives
     gleamed in the light; the spectators cleared a ring, and to work
     they went. I sprang upon a stone pillar to be out of harm's way,
     and thus had a clear view of the fray. Their blades were very
     unequally matched: one was at least eight inches, and the other
     not half that measurement; but both appeared adepts at the game,
     watching each other like wild cats, ready for a spring--moving
     cautiously to and fro, making feints by the shielded arm, or
     stamp of the foot, for a minute or two; when, quick as a flash,
     I saw two rapid passes made by both: blood spirted from an ugly
     wound in the spur-vender's throat, but at the same moment his
     short weapon sealed the doom of his antagonist, and he lay upon
     the ground, lifeless as the bloody steel that struck him. I
     glanced at the wounds after the affair had terminated, and found
     the knife had been plunged twice directly in the region of the
     heart. There was no effort or attempt made by the beholders to
     arrest the parties; and the survivor caught up his spurs--a
     bystander quickly folded a handsome kerchief to his neck--and
     threading the crowd he was soon out of sight. The corpse was
     laid upon a liquor-stand, with a delf platter upon the breast."

The Mexican capital was not a little Americanised at the period
of Mr Wise's visit. The account he gives of the state of affairs
there, is not very creditable to the morals and tastes of the
victorious volunteers; and he expresses a natural doubt whether the
scenes there enacted will have been beneficial to the thousands
of young men whom the war had called to Mexico. The great hotels
and coffee-houses were all under Yankee dominion, with Yankee ice,
and drinks, signs, manners, customs, and habits, "as if the city
had been from time immemorial Yankeefied all over, instead of
being only occupied a short twelvemonth by the troops." Debauchery
of every kind was rife, but gambling was the vice that took the
strongest hold. In the large tavern or _restauration_, where Mr Wise
usually dined, in every nook from hall to attic, with the exception
of the eating-room, in the corridors and on the landing-places,
gaming-tables were displayed.

     "Such a condensed essence of worldly hell, in all its glaring,
     disgusting frightfulness, never existed. And there never
     was lack of players either--no! not a table but was closely
     surrounded by officers and soldiers--blacklegs and villains
     of all sorts--betting uncommonly high, too--many of the banks
     having sixty and eighty thousand dollars in gold alone on the
     tables--and once I saw a common soldier stake and win two
     hundred ounces at a single bet. Other saloons were filled with
     Mexican girls, with music and dancing, attended by every species
     of vice, all going on unceasingly, day and night together."

This is an American's account. Of course most of this lavish
expenditure and gambled gold had their origin in the plunder of
Mexico. Indeed, Lieutenant Wise does not mince the matter at all,
but informs us how he himself, after a night-excursion in the
vicinity of Mazatlan, returned laden with spoil, and felt such an
itching to search people's pockets that he made no doubt of soon
becoming as good a freebooter as ever drew sword. He was then,
however, but a novice in the science of pillage, for he afterwards
learned that a saddle, which he had appropriated, contained six
golden ounces, whereby the saddler, to whom he intrusted it for
renovation, was much benefited. When an officer holding the United
States commission saw nothing derogatory in plunder, there can be
no doubt of the rapacity of the dissipated and reckless desperadoes
of which the American expeditionary force was notoriously in part
composed. And in an army where discipline was lax, and a spirit
of anti-military equality prevailed amongst officers and men, the
contagion would rapidly spread. Doubtless this was an aggravating
cause of Mexican hatred to the _Gringos_. Nevertheless, when
the fighting was over, kindness and attention were shown to the
invaders, and some of the Mexican officers appear to have been
thrashed into a most affectionate regard for their conquerors. One
fine fellow, a colonel of cavalry, all gold and glitter, with richly
chased sabre scabbard, and spurs of a dazzling burnish, insisted
upon giving a breakfast to a large party of American officers.
There were a number of Mexican _militaires_ present, all decorated,
some with emblems of battles in which they had been defeated; and
as the repast was in some degree public, (being held in a large
billiard-room,) a number of casual observers assembled round the
table, and helped to drink the numerous toasts, pocketing their
glasses after each, to be ready for the next. The banquet began
with a bumper of brandy, by way of whet; a most miscellaneous
collection of edibles was then placed upon the board, and claret
and sherry circulated rapidly to the health and memory of a host
of living and dead generals, both Mexican and American, beginning
with Washington and Hidalgo, and gradually arriving at Santa Anna
and "Skote," (Scott,) for which last-named pair of warriors Mr Wise
estimates that at least eighty or ninety cheers were given. The
Mexicans, habitually temperate, got exceedingly drunk, and, like
most southerns when in that state, furiously excited; the chief
characteristics of their intoxication being unbounded affection for
their guests, and admiration of their own prowess.

     "Our gallant host, in a few disjointed observations, assured us
     that he was not only brave himself, and loved bravery in others,
     but that his horse was brave, and had been wounded in divers
     battles. '_Io soy valiente!_' said the fierce colonel, pounding
     the orders on his capacious breast, and forthwith proclaimed to
     the audience his intention to pay for everything that anybody
     could possibly eat or drink for a fortnight; and, seizing me by
     the arms, he impressively remarked that I was the most intimate
     friend he ever had except his wife, and requested me to throw
     his huge shako up to the ceiling, solely for _amistad_, and for
     the good-fellowship of the thing--which I instantly did, and
     made the bearskin and golden plates ring against the rafters.
     Thereupon he called for more wine, and desired all who loved
     him to break a few glasses, commencing himself with a couple of

At which period of the action the landlord cut off the supplies
of liquor, anticipating, doubtless, the entire demolition of his
establishment; and the revellers got to horse, and went for a turn
in the Alameda, then thronged by all the fashion of Queretaro, in
which city these jovial proceedings occurred. After galloping round
the promenade, at a pace that terrified the natives, Lieutenant Wise
ran a "jouist," as he calls it, with one of his Mexican friends, who
was still under the influence of his unwonted libations.

     "In true Californian style, he shook his bridle, gave spur, and
     came leaping like a flash towards me. I was no novice at the
     sport, and, touching one of the finest horses in the army with
     my heel, the gallant sorrel sprang forward to meet him. We met
     in full career; my charger stood like the great pyramid, but the
     shock rolled my antagonist into the street. I should in courtesy
     have got down from the saddle to his assistance, but, reflecting
     that without a ladder I never should be able to get on my high
     steed again, I remained quiet. Being a sailor, I gained great
     reputation by this feat, and gave an entertainment on the
     strength of it."

Surely there never was a jollier fellow than Lieutenant Wise of
the United States navy. A rare good companion he must be, a real
_bonus socius_ across a julep, a very storehouse of fun, frolic,
and adventure. So well do we like his society, that we are only
sorry we cannot at present accompany him further on his rambles, or
return with him to Mazatlan, where he arrived at a flying gallop,
after a ride of 2500 miles on horseback--the last 112 leagues in
fifty-three hours, (said to be the quickest trip on record,) to be
received by a host of friends, and by a Yankee band playing, "Hail,
Columbia!" and sail with him to Polynesia, and revisit Valparaiso
and Lima, and many other places, in all of which he manages heartily
to amuse both himself and his reader, till he finally drops anchor
in the waters of the Chesapeake, arriving, with equal satisfaction
to both parties, at the end of 450 pages, and 55,000 miles. His
book richly deserves an independent notice; but as we started by
associating it with others, we are compelled to lay it aside,
whilst we visit the glittering coast of California, in company
with Mr Theodore Johnson, who arrived on the 1st of April 1849 in
Sancelito Bay, and proceeded forthwith to look for the city of the
same name, whose wide and elegant streets he had frequently traced
upon the map. After some search, he found the city. "It consisted
of one board-shed and one tent, holding on to the hill-side like a
woodpecker against a tree." Thus was his first illusion dissipated.
A few other Californian castles were speedily to crumble. "The
latitude of Richmond, and climate of Italy, the gold of Ophir, the
silver, red wood and cedar of Solomon's temple, the lovely valley
of the Sacramento, the vineyards of France, indigo of Hindostan,
and wheat of America, golden rocks, and rivers flowing over the
same metal," such were a few of the bright promises that had lured
him, "in company with thousands of his go-ahead countrymen," to the
Eldorado of the Pacific. These were the things he expected; let
us collect, from his first week's experience in California, those
that he really found. Ugly barren hills, a miserable sandy-clay
soil, producing a weed which a starving jackass will scorn, and
a fine dust, against which the most impenetrable eyelids are
not proof, a repulsive and disagreeable climate in the month of
April, (growing worse as the summer advances,) the extremes of
heat and cold following each other in constant succession, water
often extremely scarce, and impregnated with quicksilver, platina,
and other minerals, killing the fish, and giving Christians the
Sacramento fever, "a slow, continual fever, which men go about
with for months; but in its more violent forms soon mortal, always
affecting the brain, and, in case of recovery, leaving the mind
impaired. The lung fever and rheumatism are brought on by working
in the cold water, and stooping continually under the burning sun."
The scurvy, too, was prevalent, from the use of salt provisions, for
none could find time to procure fresh ones, to hunt or tend cattle;
and if they did leave their eternal digging for such pursuits, the
prices they expected were preposterous. Wild cattle and game are
plenty in the valley of the Sacramento and adjacent mountains, but
in California the hours are truly golden, and not to be wasted on
kitchen considerations; to say nothing of the hardship of driving
wild oxen or carrying a gun across a rugged country with the
thermometer at 109° to 112° in the shade--the usual temperature in
June and July, and one fully justifying the derivation of the name
California from two Spanish words signifying a hot oven, _caliente
horno_. "The thermometer stood at 90° Fahrenheit, at noon, in the
shade of Culloma valley, on the 16th of April; and at night we slept
cold in our tent with our clothing on, and provided with abundant
blankets." With such a climate, and with no grass in the mountains
fit to sustain them, it is no wonder that the best pack-horses can
carry but one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds weight across
the mountains, and frequently fall down and die if overladen. At the
time referred to--that is to say, in the month of April last--Mr
Johnson "continually saw old miners departing for the cañons[6] of
the middle and north Forks, with one month's supply of provisions,
consisting of seventy-five lb. of pork and seventy-five lb. of pilot
bread, for which they paid respectively at the rates of one hundred
and fifty and one hundred and twenty dollars per hundred pounds!
Now, although the prices of these articles were rapidly declining
on the sea-board, by reason of the immense importation, yet the
price of fresh beef was twenty-five dollars per hundred pounds in
San Francisco, and must farther enhance there, the supply then being
quite insufficient. Fresh provisions will therefore be consumed at
the seaport and trading towns, and not in the mining region. The
humbug of preserved meats was already exploded, great quantities
having been spoiled." All this was very different from the promised
vineyards and corn-fields; and Mr Johnson, who had not come to
California to feed on salt junk at six shillings a pound, and to
drink mercurial water, began to wish himself back again almost as
soon as arrived.

  [6] "A cañon is the narrow opening between two mountains, several
  hundred and sometimes a thousand feet in depth; rising, some of
  them, like perpendicular cliffs on either hand, as if torn asunder
  by a violent convulsion of nature. Through these pour the rushing
  mountain torrents of the _wet diggins_ of the gold regions of
  California."--_Sights in the Gold Regions_, p. 180.

In countries where a large majority of the men are content to give,
year after year, their skill, energy, and time, in exchange for a
few hundred pieces of gold, or even of silver, the reports of a
land where the most precious of these metals turns up under the
ploughshare, abounds in the rivers, mingles with the highway-dust,
and is picked from the bricks of the houses, are naturally at first
received with doubt and misgiving, and suspected of exaggeration,
if not condemned as fiction. We confess, for our part, that we
attached little weight to the first accounts of Californian marvels,
and that long after the wise men of the East had begun to debate,
in the shadow of the grasshopper, the possible effect upon the
currency of the anticipated influx of the produce of the diggings,
we still were sceptics as to the magnitude of the newly-found
treasure. But even those who gave readiest credence to the tale
of wonder, could hardly, we should have thought, have expected
that the ingots were to be gathered without trouble or pain beyond
that of performing a long journey and filling a big bag. Evidently
this was Mr Johnson's notion, and that of not a few others of his
sanguine countrymen, "who left their homes and families, and the
decencies of civilisation, with the expectation of acquiring an
adequate competency by the efforts of a single year." At what figure
Mr Johnson rates an "adequate competency" we know not; but it is
evident he expected to be placed on pretty nearly the same footing
as those Oriental princes who, after wandering through the desert
to the enchanted gardens, had the free pick of trees whose fruits
were diamonds and rubies. The real state of affairs proved very
different. A few persons, dwellers in California when the golden
richness of the soil was first discovered in 1848,[7] may have made
large fortunes on easy terms, by being early in the field, and
through barter with the Indians, who (before they were frightened
and soured by the shooting and scalping practices of the Oregonians
and others) were willing enough to labour and trade, and to give
gold-dust weight for weight for glass beads and other baubles. We
read of one man, a western farmer, owner and occupier of a loghouse,
known as the Blue Tent, who arrived in California before the gold
discoveries, treated the Indians well, learned their language,
employed them to dig, and realised, it is said, two hundred thousand
dollars. Another old settler, we are told, accumulated, in the
season of 1848, also by help of the Indians, nearly two bushels of
gold-dust. Our arithmetic is not equal to the reduction of this
into pounds sterling, but at a rough estimate we should take it to
represent a very pleasing sum--possibly the competency Mr Johnson
aspired to. But those palmy days of gold-gathering have fled,
violently driven away; the Indians, welcomed with bullets instead
of beads, will work no more, and every man must dig for himself.
And so did Mr Johnson--but only for a very short time, and with no
very prosperous result. The gold fever, under whose influence he and
his companions started for the diggings, was still burning in their
veins when, on the second day after leaving San Francisco, they
halted for the night on the river bank, and one of them, "thrusting
his bowie-knife into the ground, revealed innumerable shining yellow
particles, immediately announced gold discoveries on the Sacramento,
and claimed the _placer_." But it was mica, not gold. They had much
further to go, and worse to fare, before reaching the right metal.
It was the interest of the United States' government and of certain
speculators to tempt emigrants to the distant territory on the shore
of the Pacific; and accordingly, says Mr Johnson, "the wonders of
the gold region were trumpeted to the world, with unabating, but
by no means unforeseeing zeal. Glowing accounts were sent to the
United States of the result of all the most successful efforts in
the mines. To these were added a delicious climate and wonderful
agricultural fertility. The inaccessibility of the _placeres_, the
diseases, the hardships, &c. &c., were quite forgotten or omitted."
And thus a certain number of ambitious young men, (many of them
wholly unfitted, by their previous mode of life for roughing it
in a new country,) were lured from their comfortable homes in New
York and elsewhere, in the confident expectation that, on arriving
in California, they would ascend beauteous rivers in commodious
ships, sleep on board at night, and pleasantly pass a few hours
of each day in collecting the wealth that lay strewn upon the
shore. Such is the account given of the matter by poor Johnson, who
denounces the journey across the mountainous and roadless country
as most toilsome, and the whole adventure as disappointing and
unsatisfactory. At last he and his companions reached the lower
bar[8] on the south fork of American River, shouldered shovels,
buckets, and washing-machine, and applied themselves to the task.

  [7] At Sutter's saw-mill, from which the Culloma valley takes its
  second name, Mr Johnson saw and conversed with Mr Marshall, a
  proprietor of the mill, and one of the first discoverers of the
  gold. The discovery was made when cutting out the mill-race, across
  a portion of the former bed of a stream. "He pointed out to us the
  particular location of the first discoveries. This is some fifty
  yards below the mill, where a large fir-tree extends across the
  race. He stated that they threw up a good deal of gold, mixed with
  the sand and clay, before they seriously examined it, or ascertained
  its character." It must have struck many as singular, that gold
  mines so near the surface should so long have been unobserved.
  California was explored as far back as the year 1700 by the Jesuit
  Eusebio Kino, who first ascertained it to be part of the great
  American continent, and not an island, as was previously believed:
  Soon afterwards, missionary stations were established there, paving
  the way for the Spanish conquest of the country. Some of the
  _padres_ still remain, but their mission-houses are dilapidated,
  and their influence is gone. To them Mr Johnson attributes the
  long concealment of the metallic wealth of California. "That these
  priests were cognisant of the abundance of the precious metal at
  that period, (a century ago,) is now well known; but they were
  members of the extraordinary society of the Jesuits, which, jealous
  of its all-pervading influence, and dreading the effect of a large
  Protestant emigration to the western, as well as to the eastern
  shores of America, applied its powerful injunctions of secrecy to
  the members of the order; and their faithful obedience, during so
  long a period, is another proof both of the strength and the danger
  of their organisation."--_Sights in the Gold Regions_, p. 111.

  [8] "This '_placer_,' or _bar_, is simply the higher portion of
  the sandy and rocky bed of the stream which, during the seasons
  of high water, is covered with the rushing torrent, but was now
  partially or entirely exposed. This is covered with large stones
  and rocks, or, on the smooth sand, with clumps of stunted bushes or
  trees."--_Sights in the Gold Regions_, 177.

     "The scene presented to us was new indeed, and not more
     extraordinary than impressive. Some, with long-handled shovels,
     delved among clumps of bushes, or by the side of large rocks,
     never raising their eyes for an instant; others, with pick and
     shovel, worked among stone and gravel, or with trowels searched
     under banks and roots of trees, where, if rewarded with small
     lumps of gold, the eye shone brighter for an instant, when the
     search was immediately and more ardently resumed. At the edge
     of the stream, or knee-deep and waist-deep in water, as cold as
     melted ice and snow could make it, some were washing gold with
     tin pans, or the common cradle-rocker, while the rays of the
     sun poured down on their heads with an intensity exceeding any
     thing we ever experienced at home, though it was but the middle
     of April. The thirst for gold and the labour of acquisition
     overruled all else, and totally absorbed every faculty. Complete
     silence reigned among the miners: they addressed not a word to
     each other, and seemed averse to all conversation."

After digging and washing twenty bucketfuls of earth, Mr Johnson's
party had obtained but four dollars' worth of gold. At noon, the
sun's heat being intolerable, they knocked off from work; not much
encouraged by the result. This, however, they admit, was a poor
digging, the stream being yet too high, and the bar not sufficiently
exposed--to say nothing of their being novices at the work. They
persisted little, however: another trial was made with no better
result; and, in short, a week's effort and observation sickened
them of a toil so far less lucrative than they had anticipated. Two
of the party (Mr Johnson was one of them) resolved to return to
San Francisco till the healthier season of winter; a third, having
some goods, took to trading; the fourth and last, a hardy little
down-easter from Maine, stuck to the diggings.

By this time, we are not entirely dependent on American books or
newspaper correspondence for intelligence from the Californian
mines. Some portion of the gold that has come to this country has
been brought by the finders; and only the other day, a party of them
reached England, having left the diggings as lately as the beginning
of October. The details obtained from these men, who are of various
European countries, confirm, in all important particulars, the
statements of Mr Johnson, with merely the difference of tint
imparted by failure and success. Either easily discouraged or
physically unequal to encounter the hardships inseparable from the
search for and extraction of the gold, Mr Johnson, disappointed in
his sanguine expectations, makes a sombre report of the speculation;
whereas these more persevering and prosperous miners, having safely
returned to Europe, their pockets full of "chunks," scales and dust
of the most undeniable purity and excellence, naturally give a more
rose-coloured view of the enterprise. They admit, however, (to use
the words of one of them,) that "it takes a smart lad to do good in
California," and that it is useless for any one to go thither unless
prepared to rough it, in the fullest sense of the word. At first,
they inform us the amount of theft and outrage was very great; but
summary and severe punishment checked this. Mr Johnson deplores the
existence of Lynch-law. It really appears to us that California is
the very place where such a system is not only justifiable, but
indispensable. One miner stated that he belonged to a band or club,
thirty in number, who threw together all the gold they found, and
shared alike; sharp penalties being denounced against any member of
the society who attempted to divert his findings from the common
stock. The amount obtained by each member of this joint-stock
company during the season of eight or nine months was equivalent
to thirteen or fourteen hundred pounds sterling. Not quite the
"adequate competency" anticipated by Mr Theodore T. Johnson, but
still a very pretty gain for men, most of whom would probably have
found it impossible, in any other way, and in the same time, to
earn a tithe of the amount. More than one of them proposed, after
depositing his treasure safely in Europe, to augment it by a second
trip to the gold region; and held the time occupied by the voyage
to and fro as little loss, digging being impeded by the winter
snows. The winter of 1848-9 was very severe, the snow lying four
feet deep on the mountains, and having fallen even on the coast; a
circumstance unprecedented in California, whose Spanish and Indian
inhabitants attributed the disagreeable phenomenon to the American
intruders. Notwithstanding this unwonted rigour, however, we learn
from Mr Johnson that "large numbers of hardy and industrious
Oregonians spent the last _winter_ in the mines of California,
generally with success commensurate with their perseverance,
prudence, and sobriety." The lumps of gold, according to the account
of the miners already referred to, (and which tallies exactly in
this particular with Mr Johnson's statement) are found in what are
called the dry diggings, in the red sandy clay of the ravines on the
mountain sides; whilst the dust and scales are obtained by washing
the earth and sand from the rivers. Lumps of pure gold, with a
greater or less admixture of quartz, are also found in the crevices
of a white-veined rock.

Whilst denouncing the expense of health and labour at which the
Californian gold is obtained, Mr Johnson admits the vast quantity
of the metal that has been and still is being collected. In town,
fort, and settlement,--in every place, in short, where a score
or two of men were congregated, he beheld astonishing evidence
of its abundance. "Quarts of the dust or scale gold were to be
seen on the tables or counters, or in the safes of all classes
of men; and although the form of small scales was most common,
yet pieces or lumps of a quarter to three ounces were to be seen
everywhere; and among several _chunks_ one was shown us by C. L.
Ross, Esq., weighing _eighty-one ounces_. This was solid pure gold
with only the appearance of a little quartz in it." In one day he
saw bushels of gold, most of it too pure for jewellery or coin,
without alloy. Although the price of the metal was maintained at
sixteen dollars per ounce, its depreciation in comparison with
labour and merchandise was enormous; and in the mines, during the
winter of 1848, "a good deal of gold was sold for _three or four
dollars the ounce_." Carpenters and blacksmiths received an ounce
a-day. Lumber was at six hundred dollars per thousand feet. A lot of
land, purchased two years previously for a cask of brandy, fetched
eighteen thousand dollars. At a French _café_, a cup of coffee,
bit of ham, and two eggs, cost three dollars, or 12s. 6d. A host
of details of this kind are added, most of which have already been
given in the American and English newspapers. Captain Sutter's
saw-mill was earning a thousand dollars a-day. At the Stanislaus
diggings, in the winter of 1848-9, a box of raisins, greatly needed
for the cure of scurvy, then raging there without remedy, sold
for its weight in gold dust, or four thousand dollars! Reckless
expenditure is the natural consequence of easily-acquired wealth.
The diggers, after a brief period of severe labour, would come into
town for what they called "a burst," and scatter their gold dust
and ingots like sand and pebbles, keeping "upon the ball" for three
or four days and nights, or even for a week together, drinking
brandy at eight and champagne at sixteen dollars the bottle, often
getting helplessly drunk and losing the whole of their gains.
One fellow, during a three days' drunken fit, got rid of sixteen
thousand dollars in gold. Two hopeful youths, known as Bill and
Gus, who took an especial liking to Mr Johnson and his party, had
come in for "a particular, general, and universal burst;" and they
carried out their intentions most completely. They were tender in
their liquor, and, in the excess of their drunken philanthropy, they
purchased a barrel of ale at three dollars a bottle, and a parcel
of sardinas at eight dollars a box, and patrolled the district,
forcing every one to drink. In paying for something, Bill dropped a
lump of gold, worth two or three dollars, which Mr Johnson picked
up, and handed to him. "Without taking it, he looked at us with a
comical mixture of amazement and ill-humour, and at length broke out
with--'Well, stranger, you _are_ a curiosity; I guess you hain't
been in the diggins long, and better keep that for a sample.'" Even
in all sobriety, miners would not be troubled with anything less
than dollars, and often scattered small coins by handfuls in the
streets, rather than count or carry them. And as neither exorbitant
prices nor drunken bursts sufficed to exhaust the resources of
the gold-laden diggers, gambling went on upon all sides. "Talk of
_placers_," cried an American, who had just cleared his thousand
dollars in ten minutes, at a _monte_-table in San Francisco; "what
better _placer_ need a man want than this?" At Sutter's Fort, a
halting-place of the miners, gambling prevailed without limit
or stint, men often losing in a single night the result of many
months' severe toil. Drunkenness and fighting diversified the scene.
"Hundreds of dollars were often spent in a night, and thousands on
Sunday, _when Pandemonium was in full blast_." Such iniquities were
no more than might be expected amongst the ragamuffin crew assembled
in California, and which included discharged convicts from New South
Wales, Mexicans, Kanakas, Peruvians, Chilians, representatives of
every European nation, and thousands of the more dissolute and
reckless class of United States men.

It is not surprising that some of the minority of honest and
respectable men, who found themselves mingled with the mob of
ruffians and outlaws assembled in California, thought the prospect
of wealth dearly purchased by a prolonged residence in vile society
and a most trying climate, and by labour and exposure destructive to
health. Mr Johnson assures us that, among the miners who had been
long at the diggings, he saw very few who were not suffering from
disease--emaciated by fever till they were mere walking shadows, or
tormented by frequently recurring attacks of scurvy and rheumatism.
If there was a constant stream of adventurers proceeding to the
diggings, there was also a pretty steady flow of weary and sickly
men returning thence. It would seem, from Mr Johnson's account,
that no previous habit of hard labour qualifies the human frame to
follow, without injury, the trying trade of a gold-grubber. "We met
a party of six sailors, of the Pacific whalers, who were returning
to go before the mast again, swearing, sailor-fashion, that they
would rather go a whaling at half wages than dig gold any more."
Mr Johnson was somewhat of the same way of thinking. He sums up a
general review of California in the following words:--

     "So large an emigration of the American people, as have gone
     to that territory, must make something of the country. They
     will make it one of the states of this Union, at all events,
     and speedily, too: and although the country is only adapted
     by nature for mining and grazing, yet a constant trade must
     result from the former, and more or less agriculture be added
     to the latter, from the necessity of the case. A few have made,
     and will hereafter make fortunes there, and very many of those
     who remain long enough will accumulate something; but the
     great mass, all of whom expected to acquire large amounts of
     gold in a short time, must be comparatively disappointed. The
     writer visited California to dig gold, but chose to abandon
     that purpose rather than expose his life and health in the
     mines; and as numbers were already seeking employment in San
     Francisco without success, and he had neither the means nor the
     inclination to speculate, he concluded to return to his family
     and home industry."

Finally, the disappointed gold-seeker addresses to his readers a
parting hint, apprehensive, seemingly, of their supposing that
his own ill-success has warped his judgment, or induced him to
calumniate the country. "If you think," he says, "we have not shown
you enough of _the elephant_, but got on the wrong way and slid off
backwards, please to mount him and take a view for yourself." By
which metaphorical phrase, if the worthy Johnson means that we are
to go to the diggings, and judge for ourselves, we can only say we
had much rather take his word than his advice, and read his book by
our fireside than tread in his footsteps amongst the mountains of

Without further comment, but with a warm recommendation, we close
these three American volumes. It were idle to subject to minute
criticism books that make no pretensions to literary merit, and
which, professing only to give, in plain language, an account of
the writers' personal adventures and experiences, are written in
off-hand style, and are wholly free from pedantry and affectation.
If they are occasionally somewhat rude in form, like the men
and countries they portray, they at least are frank and honest
in substance; and they contain more novelty, amusement, and
information, than are to be found in any dozen of those vapid
narratives of fashionable tourists with which the Bentley and
Colburn presses annually cram the nauseated public. We have been
much pleased and diverted by the unsophisticated pages of Messrs
Johnson, Wise, and Parkman.


  [9] _John Howard and the Prison-World of Europe._ From original and
  authentic Documents. By HEPWORTH DIXON.

To add another to the numerous eulogies which have been justly
bestowed on the memory of Howard the philanthropist, is not our
object. We are far from making the attempt: our aim is to contribute
something to the more accurate and familiar knowledge of the man
himself--his life, his character, his career, his services.

It not unfrequently happens that the great men of history, whom we
have admired in our youth, sink grievously in our estimation, and
lose their heroic port and proportions, when we survey them more
nearly, and at a season of maturer judgment. They shrink into the
bounds and limits of commonplace mortality. We venture even to
administer reproof and castigation, where, perhaps, we had venerated
almost to idolatry. Such is not the case with Howard. Poets have
sung his praises, and his name has rounded many an eloquent period.
Howard the philanthropist becomes very soon a name as familiar to
us as those of the kings and queens who have sat upon our throne;
but the vague admiration, thus early instilled into us, suffers no
diminution when, at an after period, we become intimately acquainted
with the character of the man. We may approach the idol here without
danger to our faith. We may analyse the motive--we may "vex,
probe, and criticise"--it is all sound. Take your stethoscope and
listen--there is no hollow here--every pulse beats true.

The Howard that poets and orators had taught us to admire loses
none of its greatness on a near approach. But it undergoes a
remarkable _transformation_. The real Howard, who devoted his
life to the jail and the lazaretto, was a very different person
from that ideal of benevolence which the verse of Darwin, or the
eloquence of Burke, had called up into our minds. Instead of this
faint and classic ideal, we have the intensely and somewhat sternly
religious man, guided and sustained, every step of his way, not
alone, nor principally, by the amiable but vacillating sentiment
which passes under the name of philanthropy, but by an exalted,
severe, imperative sense of duty. It is Howard the Christian, Howard
the Puritan, that stands revealed before us. The form changes, but
only to grow more distinct and intelligible. The features have no
longer that classic outline we had attributed to them; but they bear
henceforth the stamp of reality--of a man who, without doubt, had
lived and moved amongst us.

Those who have rested content (and we think there are many such)
with that impression of Howard which is derived from the panegyrics
scattered through our polite literature, and who accordingly
attribute to him, as the master-motive of his conduct, simply a wide
benevolence--a sentiment of humanity exalted to a passion--must
be conscious of a certain uneasy sense of doubt, an involuntary
scepticism; must feel that there is something here unexplained, or
singularly exaggerated. Their Howard, if they should scrutinise
their impression, is a quite anomalous person. No philanthropist
they have ever heard of--no mere lover of his kind, sustained only
by the bland sentiment of humanity, not even supported by any new
enthusiastic faith in the perfectibility of the species--ever lived
the life of this man, or passed through a tithe of his voluntary
toils and sufferings. Philanthropists are generally distinguished
for their love of speculation; they prefer to think rather than to
act; and their labours are chiefly bestowed on the composition of
their books. Philanthropists have occasionally ruined themselves;
but their rash schemes are more notorious for leading to the ruin of
others. As a race, they are not distinguished for self-sacrifice, or
for practical and strenuous effort. There must, therefore, to the
persons we are describing, be a certain doubt and obscurity hanging
over the name of Howard the philanthropist. It must sound like a
myth or fable; they must half suspect that, if some Niebuhr should
look into the matter, their heroic figure would vanish into thin air.

Let them, however, proceed to the study of the veritable Howard,
and all the mystery clears up. The philanthropist of the orator
gives place to one who, in the essential elements of his character,
may be ranked with Christian missionaries and Christian martyrs.
Instead of the half-pagan ideal, or personification of benevolence,
there rises before them a character which a rigorous analysis
might justly class with those of St Francis or Loyola, or whatever
the Christian church has at any time exhibited of exalted piety
and complete self-devotion. The same spirit which, in past times,
has driven men into the desert, or shut them up in cells with the
scourge and the crucifix; the same spirit which has impelled them to
brave all the dangers of noxious climates and of savage passions,
to extend the knowledge of religion amongst barbarous nations--was
animating Howard when he journeyed incessantly from prison to
prison, tracking human misery into all its hidden and most loathsome
recesses. He who, in another century, would have been the founder
of a new order of barefooted monks, became, in Protestant England,
the great exemplar of philanthropic heroism. Perhaps he too, in one
sense, may be said to have founded a new religious order, though
it is not bound together by common rules, and each member of it
follows, as he best may, the career of charitable enterprise that
lies open before him. The mystery, we say, clears up. Benevolent
our Howard was, undoubtedly, by nature, as by nature also he was
somewhat imperious; but that which converted his benevolence into
a ceaseless motive of strenuous action, of toil, and of sacrifice;
that which _utilised_ his natural love of authority, transforming it
into that requisite firmness and predominance over others without
which no man, at least no reformer, can be rigidly just, and, face
to face, admonish, threaten, and reprove; that which constituted
the mainspring and vital force of his character, was intense piety,
and the all-prevailing sense of duty to his God. The craving of his
soul was some great task-work, to be done in the eye of Heaven. Not
the love of man, nor the praise of man, but conscience, and to be a
servant of the Most High, were his constant motive and desire.

Men of ardent piety generally apply themselves immediately to
the reproduction in others of that piety which they feel to be
of such incomparable importance. This becomes the predominant,
often the sole object of their lives. It is natural it should be
so. In such minds all the concerns of the present world sink into
insignificance; and their fellow-men are nothing, except as they
are, or are not, fellow-Christians. Howard was an exception to
this rule. Owing to certain circumstances in his own life; to the
manner of his education; to his deficiency in some intellectual
qualifications, and his pre-eminence in others, he was led to take
the domain of physical suffering--of earthly wretchedness--for
the province in which to exert his zeal. For the preacher, or
the writer, he was not formed, either by education or by natural
endowment; but he was a man of shrewd observation, of great
administrative talent, of untiring perseverance, and of an
insatiable energy. The St Francis of Protestant England did not,
therefore, go forth as a missionary; nor did he become the founder
of a new sect, distinguished by any doctrinal peculiarity; but
he girded himself up to visit, round the world, the cell of the
prisoner--to examine the food he ate, the air he breathed, to rid
him of the jail-fever, to drive famine out of its secret haunts,
and from its neglected prey. It was this peculiarity which led men
to segregate Howard from the class to which, by the great elements
of his character, he belongs. To relieve the common wants of our
humanity was his object--to war against hunger and disease, and
unjust cruelties inflicted by man on man, was his chosen task-work;
therefore was it vaguely supposed that the sentiment of humanity was
his great predominant motive, and that he was driven about the world
by compassion and benevolence.

His remains lie buried in Russia. Dr Clarke, in his travels through
that country, relates that "Count Vincent Potoçki, a Polish
nobleman of the highest taste and talents, whose magnificent library
and museum would do honour to any country, through a mistaken design
of testifying his respect for the memory of Howard, has signified
his intention of taking up the body that it might be conveyed to his
country seat, where a sumptuous monument has been prepared for its
reception, upon a small island in the midst of a lake. His countess,
being a romantic lady, wishes to have an annual _fête_ consecrated
to benevolence; at this the nymphs of the country are to attend, and
strew the place with flowers." There are many, we suspect, of his
own countrymen and countrywomen, who would be disposed to honour the
memory of Howard in a similar manner. They would hang, or carve,
their wreaths of flowers upon a tomb where the emblems of Christian
martyrdom would be more appropriate. We need hardly add that the
design of the romantic countess was not put into execution.

The vague impression prevalent of this remarkable man has been
perpetuated by another circumstance. Howard has been unfortunate
in his biographers. Dr Aikin, the earliest of these, writes like
a gentleman and a scholar; manifests throughout much good sense,
a keen intelligence, and a high moral feeling; but his account is
brief, and is both defective and deceptive from his incapacity, or
unwillingness, to portray the religious aspect of the character
he had undertaken to develop. Dr Aikin's little book may still be
read with advantage for the general remarks it contains, but it is
no biography. Neither was Dr Aikin calculated for a biographer. He
wanted both the highest and the lowest qualifications. Details, such
as of dates and places, he had not the patience to examine; and he
wanted that rarer quality of mind by which the writer is enabled
to throw himself into the character of a quite different man from
himself, and almost feel by force of sympathy the motives which have
actuated him. This the cultivated, tasteful, but, in spite of his
verse, the quite didactic mind of Aikin, was incapable of doing.

The Rev. Samuel Palmer, who had known Howard for thirty years,
appended to a sermon, preached on the occasion of his death, some
account of his life and career. But this, as well as several
anonymous contributions to magazines, and a brief anonymous life
which appeared at the same time, can be considered only in the light
of materials for the future biographer.

The task lay still open, and Mr Baldwin Brown, barrister-at-law,
undertook to accomplish it. He appears to have had all the
advantages a biographer could desire. He had conversed with the
contemporaries and friends of Howard, and with his surviving
domestics--an advantage which no subsequent writer could hope to
profit by; he was put in possession of the materials which the
Rev. Mr Smith and his family, intimate friends of Howard, had
collected for the very purpose of such a work as he was engaged
on; Dr Brown, professor of theology at Aberdeen, another intimate
friend of Howard, transcribed for him, from his commonplace book,
the memoranda of conversations held with Howard, and committed
to writing at the time; and, above all, he was furnished with
extracts and memoranda from diaries kept by Howard himself, and
which fortunately had escaped the general conflagration to which
the philanthropist, anticipating and disliking the curiosity of the
biographer, had devoted his papers. Several influential men amongst
the Dissenters interested themselves in obtaining information for
him; and the list of those to whom he expresses obligations of
this kind, occupies two or three pages of his preface. Mr Brown
was himself a man of religious zeal--we presume, from his work, a
Dissenter: he could not fail to appreciate the religious aspect of
Howard's character. As a lawyer, he was prepared to take an interest
in the subject of his labours--the reformation of our prisons
and our penal laws. Thus he brought to his task many peculiar
advantages; and the work he produced was laborious, conscientious,
and very valuable. Unfortunately, Mr Baldwin Brown was a dull
writer, by which we here imply that he was also a dull thinker, and
his book will be pronounced by the generality of readers to be as
dull as it is useful. Notwithstanding the attractive title it bears,
and the many interesting particulars contained in it, his biography
never attained any popularity. It was probably read extensively
amongst the Dissenters, to whose sympathies it more directly appeals
than to those of any other class of readers; but we think we are
right in saying that it never had much circulation in the world at

More parsonic than the parsons, our lawyer-divine can resist no
opportunity for sermonising. The eloquence of a Dissenting pulpit,
and that when it is but indifferently _supplied_--the tedious
repetition, and the monotonous unmodulated periods of his legal
text-books--these combine, or alternate, through the pages of Mr
Brown. Yet those who persevere in the perusal of his book will be
rewarded. He is judicious in the selection of his materials. He
presents us with the means of forming an accurate conception of
Howard; though, in so doing, he seems to reveal to an attentive
reader more than he had well understood himself.

Tedious or not, this is still the only biography of Howard. A Mr
Thomas Taylor has written what appears to be an abridgment of the
work. His book is more brief, but it is still more insipid. What
notion Mr T. Taylor has of biography may be judged of from this,
that he thinks it necessary, in quoting Howard's own original
letters, to amend and improve the _style_--preserving, as he says,
the sense, but correcting the composition. He is apparently shocked
at the idea that the philanthropist should express himself in
indifferent English, even though in a hasty letter to a friend.

Very lately Mr Hepworth Dixon, whose work has recalled us to this
subject, has presented us with a life of Howard. It cannot be said
of Mr Dixon's book that it is either dull or insipid; it has some
of the elements of popularity; but we cannot better describe it in
a few words than by saying that it is a _caricature_ of a popular
biography. Its flippancy, its conceit, its egregious pretensions,
its tawdry _novelistic_ style, are past all sufferance. It is too
bad to criticise. But as, in the dearth of any popular biography
of Howard, it has assumed for a time a position it by no means
merits, we cannot pass it by entirely without notice. For, besides
that Mr Dixon writes throughout with execrable taste, he has not
dealt conscientiously with the materials before him. His notion
of the duty of a biographer is this--that he is to collect every
incident of the least piquancy, no matter by whom related, or on
what authority, and colour it himself as highly as he can. Evidently
the most serious preparation he has made, for writing the life of
Howard, has been a course of reading in French romances. It is with
the spirit and manner of a Eugene Sue that he sits down to describe
the grand and simple career of Howard.

Mr Dixon has not added a single new fact to the biography of Howard,
nor any novelty whatever, except such as he has drawn from his own
imagination. Nor does he assist in sifting the narrative; on the
contrary, whatever dust has the least sparkle in it, though it has
been thrice thrown away, he assiduously collects. That he should
have nothing new to relate is no matter of blame; it is probable
that no future biographer will be able to do more than recast and
reanimate the materials to be found in Brown and Aikin. But why
this pretence of having written a life of Howard from "original
documents?" We beg pardon: he does not absolutely say that he has
written _the Life of Howard_ from original documents--the original
document, for there is but one, may apply to the "_prison-world
of Europe_," of which also he professes to write. This "earliest
document of any value connected with the _penology of England_,"
which, with much parade, he prints for the first time, relates to
the state of prisons before the labours of Howard. Impossible to
suppose, therefore, that Mr Hepworth Dixon meant his readers to
infer that, by the aid of this document, he was about to give them
an original Life of Howard.

Let us look at Mr Dixon's preface--it is worth while. It thus

     "Several reasons combined to induce the writer _to undertake the
     work of making out for the reading world_ a new biography of
     Howard; the chief of them fell under two heads:--

     "_It lay in his path._ Years ago now, circumstances, which do
     not require to be explained in this place, called his attention
     to the vast subject of the _prison-world_."

We must stop a moment to admire this favourite magniloquence of our
author. Howard wrote a report on the state of prisons; Mr Dixon
writes on nothing less than the _prison-world_ of Europe! He heads
his chapters--"The Prison-world of the Continent," "The Prison-world
of England." If Mr Dixon, in his patriotic labours, should turn his
attention to the nuisance of Smithfield market, he would certainly
give us a treatise on "The _Butcher-world_ of Europe," with chapters
headed, with due logical gradation, "The Butcher-world of England,"
and "The Butcher-world of London."

"It lay in his path," was one reason why he wrote his biography.
"It needed to be done," was the other. We agree in the last of
these reasons, whatever demur we make to the first. A more popular
biography than Mr Brown's would certainly be a useful book. But what
can Mr Dixon mean by saying, that, "although Howard was the father
of prison-science, the story of his life has hitherto been made out
without reference to that fact?" Messrs Brown and Aikin were not,
then, aware that the excitement of the public attention to the great
subject of prison-discipline was the chief result, and the direct
and ostensible aim of the labours of Howard!

But now we arrive at Mr Dixon's statement of his own peculiar
resources for writing the Life of Howard, and the valuable
contributions he has made to our better knowledge of the man; in
short, his claims upon our gratitude and confidence:--

     "It has been the writer's study to render this biographical
     history of Howard as worthy of its subject, and of the
     confidence of the reader, as the nature of the materials at
     his disposal would allow. He has carefully collated every
     document already printed--made, and caused to be made, numerous
     researches--conversed with persons who have preserved traditions
     and other memorials of this subject--travelled in his traces
     over a great number of prisons--examined parliamentary and
     other records for such new facts as they might afford--and, in
     conclusion, has consulted these several sources of information,
     and interpreted their answers by such light as his personal
     experience of the prison-world suggested to be needful. The
     result of this labour is, that some new matter of curious
     interest has turned up--_amongst other things_, a manuscript
     throwing light on the early history of prison reforms in this
     country, found in the archives of the Society for Promoting
     Christian Knowledge, and for which he is indebted to the
     courtesy of the secretary, the Rev. T. B. Murray; and the
     writer is assured _that no other papers_ exist in any known
     quarter. The material for Howard's life is therefore _now fully
     collected_; whether it is herein finally used, will entirely
     depend upon the verdict of the reader."

From all this mystification, the reader is at least to conclude
that something very important has been done, and contributions
very valuable have been made, for a final biography of Howard.
Documents collated--researches made, and caused to be made--then a
discovered manuscript, which now is, and now is not, appertaining
to the subject--assurance "that no other papers exist in any
known quarter!"--"materials _now_ fully collected!" Oh, Admirable
Crichton! Our author has done all this for us! Our author has read
the memoirs of Baldwin Brown--and that not very attentively: if he
has done more it is a pity, because there is not the least trace of
it in his book. Our author has read the memoirs of Baldwin Brown,
and travestied his narrative, and then writes this preface, as a
travesty, we presume, of erudite prefaces in general. The book
altogether does not belong to literature, but is a sort of parody
upon literature.

We may as well give our readers the benefit of the rest of the

     "The mental and moral portraiture of Howard attempted in this
     volume is new." [Fortunately, and to the recommendation of
     the volume, it is not new, but a transcript of that which his
     predecessor had drawn.] "As the writer's method of inquiry and
     of treatment was different to that ordinarily adopted, so his
     result is different. His study of the character was earnest,
     and, he believes, faithful. After making himself master of all
     the facts of the case which have come down to us, biographically
     and traditionally, his plan was to _saturate himself with
     Howardian ideas_, and then strive to reproduce them _living,
     acting, and suffering_ in the real world."

How the Howardian ideas _suffered_ from this process, we can
somewhat guess. The rest of the sentence is not so plain:--

     "The writer lays down his pen, not without regret. Long
     accustomed to contemplate one of the most noble and beautiful
     characters in history, he has learnt to regard it with a human
     affection; and at parting with his theme--the mental companion
     of many hours, and the object of his constant thoughts--_he
     feels somewhat like a father who gives away his favourite
     daughter in marriage_. He does not lose his interest in his
     child; but she can be to him no longer what she has been. A
     touch of melancholy mingles with his joy. He still regards his
     offspring with a tender solicitude--_but his monopoly of love is

Oh, surely no!

We propose, as far as our limits will permit, to retrace the chief
incidents in the biography of Howard. A brief sketch of his life and
character may not be unacceptable to our readers. Such strictures as
we have passed upon his latest biographer, Mr Dixon, we shall have
abundant opportunities to justify as we proceed.

The well-known monument in St Paul's Cathedral, which, from the
circumstance of the key held in the hand of the statue, has been
sometimes taken by foreigners for the representation of the apostle
St Peter, bears inscribed on the pedestal that Howard "was born in
Hackney, in the county of Middlesex, September 2, 1726." But both
the place and the year of his birth have been differently stated by
his biographers. The Rev. S. Palmer, who had known him long, writes
that he was born at Clapton; Dr Aikin, that he was born at Enfield.
To the authority of the Doctor, on such a point as this, we attach
no weight; it is plain to us that he gave himself little trouble to
determine whether he was born at Clapton or Enfield. It was probably
at Clapton; but Clapton is in the parish of Hackney, so that there
is really no discrepancy between Mr Palmer's statement and that on
the monument. The year 1726 seems also to be generally received as
the most probable date of his birth. After all the discussion, we
may as well adhere to the inscription on the pedestal of the statue.

The father of Howard had acquired a considerable fortune in business
as an upholsterer and carpet warehouseman in Long Lane, Smithfield.
He was a dissenter, of Calvinistic principles; and, it is presumed,
an Independent. The question has been raised, whether our Howard
was descended from any branch of the noble family of that name; but
his biographers generally agree in rejecting for him the honours of
such a pedigree. Nor can any one be in the least degree solicitous
to advance such a claim. The military achievements of a Norman
ancestry would diffuse a very incongruous lustre over the name of
our Christian philanthropist. Thus much, however, is evident, that
at one time there existed some tradition, or belief, or pretence,
in the family of the citizen Howard, that they were remotely
connected with the noble family whose name they share. "The arms
of the Duke of Norfolk, and of the Earls of Suffolk, Effingham,
and Carlisle, are placed at the head of the tombstone which Howard
erected to the memory of his first wife, on the south side of
Whitechapel churchyard." Such is the assertion of the anonymous
biographer in the _Universal Magazine_, (vol. lxxxvi.) who stands
alone, we believe, in maintaining the validity of this claim. And
Mr Brown, after quoting these words, adds--"From actual inspection
of the mouldering monument, I can assure those of my readers who
may feel any curiosity on the subject, that this description of its
armorial bearings is correct; and am further enabled to add, on the
authority of his relative, Mr Barnardiston, that the distinguished
individual by whom that monument was erected, occasionally spoke of
Lord Carlisle as his relative; thus claiming at least a traditional
descent from the Howards, Earls of Suffolk." That such a man as
Howard should have used these arms _once_ is significant; that he
should have used them only once, is equally so. He was one of the
last men, if we have read his character correctly, who would have
assumed what he did not, at the time, think himself entitled to; and
one of the last who would shrink from claiming a right where his
title was clear.

Mr Dixon not only rejects the claim, but is highly indignant that it
should ever have been suggested. "Howard sprang from a virgin and
undistinguished soil;"--why the upholsterer's should be peculiarly
_a virgin soil_ we do not see. "Attempts, however, have not been
wanting to _vulgarise_ his origin--to rob its greatness of its most
natural charm--by circling his brows with the _distant glitter_ of
a ducal crown; by finding in his simple lineaments the trace of
noble lines, and in his veins the consecrated currents of patrician
blood." Strange waste of eloquent indignation! But he does not keep
quite steady in his passion. "No," he exclaims, "let Howard stand
alone. His reputation rests upon a basis already broad enough. _Why
should we pile up Pelion on Olympus?_" There was, then, a Pelion to
pile upon Olympus? We had thought not. Our author should have kept
these red and purple patches at a greater distance: they do not

Meanwhile the father of Howard had so little of what is commonly
called aristocratic pride, that although he had retired from
business, and had a good property--and property, too, in land--to
leave to his son, he yet wished that son to tread in his own
footsteps. He apprenticed him to a wholesale grocer in Watling

The education of young Howard was such as is, or was, generally
given to a lad of respectable parents intended for trade. He was at
two schools. Of the first, Howard himself is reported to have said,
that, having been there seven years, "he left it not fully taught
in any one thing." He left it when a boy, and what boy ever left
his school "fully taught in any one thing?" The remark is rather
characteristic of the speaker than condemnatory of John Worsley,
the schoolmaster in question. His second school was kept by a Mr
Eames, a man of acknowledged ability. But how long he remained there
is not known. At this school he made the friendship of one Price,
afterwards that Dr Price who remains, to all posterity, impaled in
Burke's _Letter on the French Revolution_. The great orator thrust
his spear through his thin texture, and pinned him to the board; and
never, but in this rich museum, will any one behold or think of Dr
Price. Perhaps he deserved a better fate, but his case is hopeless
now. Yet, if it can heal his memory to connect his name with one
who was not a _revolutionary philanthropist_, let him have all the
benefit of the association. Howard had never acquired the art of
writing his own language with ease and correctness, and therefore it
will be directly understood how valuable to him, in the preparation
of his reports, was the help of a literary friend. That literary
friend he found in Dr Price. In a letter to him, Howard writes, "It
is from your kind aid and assistance, my dear friend, that I derive
so much of my character and influence. I exult in declaring it, and
shall carry a grateful sense of it to the last hour of my existence."

After his father's death, Howard purchased his freedom from the
wholesale grocer's in Watling Street, and travelled upon the
Continent. He was not without taste for the arts; and it was at this
time, Mr Brown supposes, that he brought with him from Italy those
paintings with which he afterwards embellished his favourite seat at

On returning from this tour, he took lodgings at Stoke Newington,
in the house of Mrs Loidore, a widow, upwards of fifty, of rather
humble station in life, and a perpetual invalid. She, however,
nursed him with so much care, through a severe illness, by which he
was attacked while residing under her roof, that, on his recovery,
he offered her marriage. "Against this unexpected proposal," says
Mr Brown, "the lady made remonstrances, principally upon the ground
of the great disparity in their ages; but Mr Howard being firm to
his purpose, the union took place, it is believed, in the year
1752, he being then in about the twenty-fifth year of his age, and
his bride in her fifty-second. Upon this occasion, he behaved
with a liberality which seems to have been inherent in his nature,
by settling the whole of his wife's little independence upon her
sister. The marriage, thus singularly contracted, was productive of
mutual satisfaction to the parties who entered it. Mrs Howard was a
woman of excellent character, amiable in her disposition, sincere
in her piety, endowed with a good mental capacity, and forward in
exercising its powers in every good word and work."

Thus runs the sober narrative of Mr Brown. Not so does Mr Dixon let
pass the opportunity for fine descriptive writing. Read and admire:--

     "As he became convalescent, his plan ripened into form. When
     the danger had entirely passed away, his health was restored
     to its accustomed state; he offered her, as the only fitting
     reward of her services--a toy? an ornament? a purse? a house?
     an estate? or any of those munificent gifts with which wealthy
     and generous convalescents reward their favourite attendants?
     No. He offered her his hand, his name, his fortune! Of course,
     the good lady was astonished at the portentous shape of her
     patient's gratitude. She started objections, being older, and
     having more worldly prudence than her lover. It is even said
     that she seriously refused her consent to the match, urging
     the various arguments which might fairly be alleged against
     it,--the inequality in the years, fortune, social position of
     the parties, and so forth--but all to no purpose. Howard's mind
     was made up. During his slow recovery, he had weighed the matter
     carefully--had come to the conclusion that it was his duty to
     marry her, and nothing could now change his determination. The
     struggle between the two must have been extremely curious: the
     sense of duty on both sides, founded upon honest convictions,
     no doubt,--the mutual respect without the consuming fire,--the
     cool and logical weighing of arguments, in place of the rapid
     pleading of triumphant passion; the young man without the
     ordinary inspirations of youth, on the one hand; the widow,
     past her prime, yet simple, undesigning, unambitious, earnestly
     struggling to reject and put aside youth, wealth, protection,
     honour, social rank,--the very things for which women are
     taught to dress, to pose, to intrigue, almost to circumvent
     heaven, on the other;--form together a picture which has its
     romantic interest, in spite of the incongruity of the main
     idea. Humble life is not without its heroic acts. _Cæsar
     refusing the Roman crown_, even had he been really serious, and
     without after-thought in its rejection, _is a paltry piece of
     magnanimity, compared with Mrs Loidore's refusal of the hand
     of Howard_. At length, however, her resistance was overcome by
     the indomitable will of her suitor. One of the contemporary
     biographers has thrown an air of romance over the scene of
     this domestic struggle, which, if the lady had been young and
     beautiful--that is, if the element of passion could be admitted
     into the arena--would have been truly charming. As it is, the
     reader may receive it with such modifications as he or she may
     deem necessary. 'On the very first opportunity,' says this grave
     but imaginative chronicler, 'Mr Howard expressed his sentiments
     to her in the strongest terms of affection, assuring her that,
     if she rejected his proposal, _he would become an exile for ever
     to his family and friends_. The lady was upwards of forty [true
     enough! she was also upwards of fifty, good master historian,]
     and therefore urged the disagreement of their years, as well as
     their circumstances; but, after _allowing her four-and-twenty
     hours for a final reply_, his eloquence surmounted all her
     objections, and she consented to a union wherein gratitude was
     to supply the deficiencies of passion!' Criticism would only
     spoil the pretty picture--so let it stand."

Criticism had already spoilt the picture, such as it is. But
this matters not to Mr Dixon. The quotation he has thought fit
to embellish his pages with, is taken from an anonymous pamphlet
published in 1790, under the title of _The Life of the late John
Howard, Esquire, with a Review of his Travels_. Mr Dixon, however,
evidently extracts it second-hand from the note in Mr Brown, where
it is quoted, with some other passages from the same performance,
for the express purpose of refutation and contradiction. This is
what Mr Dixon would call _artistic_--the picking up what had been
discarded as worthless, and, with a gentle shade of doubt thrown
over its authenticity, making use of it again.

A note of Mr Brown's, in the same page of his memoirs, (p. 634,)
will supply us with another instance of this ingenious procedure.
That note runs thus:--

     "We are informed in the memoirs of Mr Howard, published in
     the _Gentleman's Magazine_, that, during the period of his
     residing as a lodger in the house of Mrs Loidore, he used to
     ride out in the morning for a few miles with a book in his
     pocket, dismount, turn his horse to graze upon a common, and
     spend several hours in reading. 'On a very particular inquiry,
     however,' says the author of the _Life of Mr Howard_, inserted
     in the _Universal Magazine_, 'of persons very intimate, and who
     had often rode out with him, we are assured that they never saw,
     nor ever _heard_ of such a practice.'"

Mr Dixon makes use of the first part of the note, ignoring the

     "It is said," he writes, gravely suspending his judgment on
     the authenticity of the fact--"it is said, in a contemporary
     biographical notice, that he would frequently ride out a mile
     or two in the country, fasten his nag to a tree, or turn him
     loose to browse upon the way-side; and then, throwing himself
     upon the grass, under a friendly shade, would read and cogitate
     for hours. This statement, if true, would indicate more of a
     romantic and poetical temperament in Howard, than the generally
     calm and Christian stoicism of his manner would have led one to

That Mr Dixon never consulted the memoir itself, in the _Gentleman's
Magazine_, we shall by-and-by have an opportunity of showing. That
memoir, worthless as an authority, has become notorious for the
calumny it originated. But this collator of documents, this inquirer
after traditions, this maker of unimaginable researches, has never
turned over the pages of the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for that
obituary which, owing to its slanderous attack, has excited so much
controversy in all the biographies of Howard, his own included.

This wife, so singularly selected, died two or three years after
her marriage. Howard is again free and solitary, and again betakes
himself to travel. We are in the year 1755, and the great earthquake
of Lisbon has laid that city in ruins. He goes to see the grand
and terrific spectacle. Dr Aikin calls it a sublime curiosity.
We presume that no other motive than curiosity impelled him on
this occasion; it would be certainly very difficult to suggest
any other. No difficulties, however, daunt Mr Dixon. According to
him,--"Howard, attracted by reports of the unexampled sufferings of
the survivors, no sooner found himself at his own disposal, than he
determined to haste with all possible speed to their assistance!"
Single-handed, he was to cope with the earthquake.

Lisbon, however, he was not fated to reach. The vessel he sailed
in was taken by a French privateer, and he, with the rest of the
passengers and crew, carried into Brest, and there retained prisoner
of war. The calamities of imprisonment he here endured himself, and
under no mild form: afterwards, when other circumstances had drawn
his attention to the condition of the prisoners, the remembrance
of his own sufferings came in aid of his compassion for others.
"Perhaps," he says, in the preface to his first report, "what I
suffered on this occasion increased my sympathy with the unhappy
people, whose case is the subject of this book."

Released upon parole, he returned to England, obtained his
exchange, and then sat himself down on his estate at Cardington.
Here he occupied himself in plans to ameliorate the condition of
his tenantry. Scientific studies, and the study of medicine, to
which, from time to time, he had applied himself, also engaged his
attention. It was at this period he was elected a member of the
Royal Society, not assuredly, as Mr Thomas Taylor presumes, from
the "value attached" to a few communications upon the state of the
weather, but, as Dr Aikin sensibly tells us, "in conformity to the
laudable practice of that society, of attaching gentlemen of fortune
and leisure to the interests of knowledge, by incorporating them
into that body."

Howard now entered into matrimony a second time. On the 25th April
1758, he married Henrietta Leeds, second daughter of Edward Leeds,
Esq. of Croxton, in Cambridgeshire. This alliance is pronounced by
all his biographers to be in every respect suitable. Parity of age,
harmony of sentiment, and, on the part of the lady, the charms of
person and amiability of temper, everything contributed to a happy
union. And it was so. Unfortunately, the happiness was as brief as
it seems to have been perfect. His second wife also expired after
a few years,--"the only years," Howard himself has said, "of true
enjoyment he had known in life."

On this occasion, Mr Dixon, after infusing into Howard "the bland
and insinuating witchery of a virgin passion," proceeds to describe
his Henrietta in the most approved language of the novelist:
"Although her features were not cast in the choicest mould of
Grecian beauty, she was very fair--had large impressive eyes, an
ample brow, a mouth exquisitely _cut_," &c. Shall we never again get
the chisel out of the human face?

Connected with this second marriage of Howard, his biographers
relate a trait of character which will be differently estimated by
different minds--we relate it in the words of Mr Dixon:--

     "We must not omit an incident that occurred before the ceremony,
     which is very significant of Howard's frankness and firmness
     at this epoch. Observing that many unpleasantnesses arise
     in families, from circumstances trifling in themselves, in
     consequence of each individual wishing to have his own way
     in all things, he determined to avoid all these sources of
     domestic discord, by establishing his own paramount authority
     in the first instance. It is just conceivable that his former
     experience of the wedded life may have led him to insist upon
     this condition. At all events, he stipulated with Henrietta,
     _that, in all matters in which there should be a difference of
     opinion between them, his voice should rule_. This may sound
     very ungallant in terms, but it was found exceedingly useful in
     practice. Few men would have the moral honesty to suggest such
     an arrangement to their lady-loves at such a season; though, at
     the same time, few would hesitate to make the largest mental
     reservations in their own behalf. It may also be, that few young
     belles would be disposed to treat such a proposition otherwise
     than with ridicule and anger, however conscious _they_ might
     be, that as soon as the hymeneal pageantries were passed, their
     surest means of happiness would lie in the prompt adoption of
     the principle so laid down.

     "Would that men and women would become sincerer with each other!
     The great social vice of this age is its untrustfulness."

And Mr Dixon thereupon launches into we know not what heroics upon
etiquette, upon English law, morals, and the constitution, all
_à propos_ of Henrietta's obedience! For our own part, we do not
look with much respect upon this stipulation which calls forth
the admiration of Mr Dixon, and apparently meets with his cordial
sympathy. Such a stipulation would probably be a mere nullity; with,
or without it, the stronger will would predominate; but if we are
to suppose it a really binding obligation, forming the basis of the
conjugal union, it presents to us anything but an attractive aspect.
It was the harsh feature in Howard's character, or the mistaken
principle that he had adopted--this love of an authority--this claim
to a domestic absolutism--which was to give no reasons, and admit of
no questioning.

In justice to the character of Howard, we must not leave this matter
entirely in the hands of Mr Dixon. Everything he draws is, more or
less, a caricature. The authority on which his narration is founded
is the following statement of the Rev. S. Palmer, given in Brown, p.

     "The truth is," says Mr Palmer, in his manuscript memoir of his
     distinguished friend, "he had a high idea (some of his friends
     may think, too high) of the authority of the head of a family.
     And he thought it right, because most convenient, to maintain
     it, for the sake of avoiding the unhappy consequences of
     domestic disputes. On this principle I have more than once heard
     him _pleasantly relate_ the agreement he made with the last
     Mrs Howard, previous to their marriage, that, _to prevent all
     altercation about those little matters_ which he had observed to
     be the chief grounds of uneasiness in families, he should always
     decide. To this the amiable lady readily consented, and ever
     adhered. Nor did she ever regret the agreement, which she found
     to be attended with the happiest effects. Such was the opinion
     she entertained, both of his wisdom and his goodness, that
     she perfectly acquiesced in all that he did, and no lady ever
     appeared happier in the conjugal bonds."

Here the matter has a much less repulsive aspect than in Mr Dixon's
version, who has, in fact, exaggerated, in his zeal, a trait of
Howard's character, which his best friends seem always to have
looked upon with more or less of regret and disapproval.

As the only other circumstance connected with Howard's domestic
life which we shall have space to mention, has also a peculiar
reference to this trait in his character, we will depart from the
chronological order of events, and allude to it here. His last wife
left him one child, a son. This son grew up a dissolute youth;
his ill-regulated life led to disease, and disease terminated in
insanity. To this last malady, Mr Brown tells us he is authorised to
say that there was a hereditary predisposition--we presume he means
upon the mother's side.

Immediately on the death of Howard, there appeared, amongst the
obituaries of the _Gentleman's Magazine_, a memoir of the deceased,
in which the miserable fate of the son is directly charged upon the
severity of the father. The whole memoir is full of errors. For
this, the extreme haste in which it was necessarily written forms an
excuse. But no excuse can be given for the perverse and malignant
spirit it betrays. The very next number of the magazine opens with
four or five letters addressed to Mr Urban, all remonstrating
against, and refuting this baseless calumny; and every biographer
has felt himself compelled to notice and repel the slander.

The fact is, that the writer or writers of the memoir--for
several were engaged in concocting this very hasty and wretched
performance--were quite ignorant, both of the education the son
had received, and of the profligate course, and the consequent
derangement of his health into which he had fallen. They knew only
that the son was in a lunatic asylum, and that the father was a
severe disciplinarian; and they most unwarrantably combined the two
together, in the relation of cause and effect. "All prospects," they
say, speaking of the youth, "were blasted by paternal severity,
which reduced the young man to such an unhappy situation as to
require his being placed where he now is, or lately was."

The vindication of Howard from this slander is complete; the origin
of the son's malady is clearly traced; his affection for his child
is amply demonstrated, and his unceasing anxiety to train him to
virtue and piety is made equally manifest. But his most intimate
friends entertained the opinion that his conduct towards his son was
not _judicious_, and that his method of training up the youth was
by no means so wisely, as it was conscientiously adopted. This is
the sole charge, if such it can be called, to which the father is
obnoxious; nor, from this, do we pretend to acquit him.

"It is agreed, on all hands," says Mr Brown, "that Howard
entertained the most exalted notions of the authority of the head
of a family--notions derived rather from the Scriptural history of
patriarchal times than from any of our modern codes of ethics, or
systems of education." Accordingly, we are told that he trained
up his child from earliest infancy to an implicit obedience.
Without once striking the child, but by manifesting a firmness of
purpose which it was hopeless to think of shaking, he established
such an authority over him that Howard himself, on one occasion,
said, that "if he told the boy to put his finger in the fire, he
believed he would do it." When he was an infant, and cried from
passion, the father took him, laid him quietly in his lap, neither
spoke nor moved, but let him cry on till he was wearied. "This
process, a few times repeated, had such an effect, that the child,
if crying ever so violently, was rendered quiet the instant his
father took him." When he grew older, the severest punishment his
father inflicted was to make him sit still in his presence, without
speaking, for a time proportioned to the nature of the offence.
But this impassive, statue-like firmness must have precluded all
approach to companionship or confidence on the part of the son.
It was still the obedience only of fear. "His friends," we quote
from Mr Brown, "and amongst the rest the most intimate of them, the
Rev. Mr Smith, thought that in the case of his son he carried those
patriarchal ideas rather too far, and that by a lad of his temper
(the son is described as of a lively disposition) he would have
been more respected, and would have possessed more real authority
over him, had he attempted to convince him of the reasonableness
of his commands, instead of always enforcing obedience to them
on his parental authority." We therefore may be permitted to say,
that we look upon this aspect of Howard's character as by no means
estimable. As a husband he claimed an unjust prerogative, and as a
parent he divorced authority from persuasion, nor allowed obedience
to mingle and ally itself with filial affection.

Mr Dixon does not, of course, omit his tribute of indignation
against the calumny of the _Gentleman's Magazine_. We said that he
had not given himself the trouble to look at the memoir itself which
he denounces. Here is the proof:--

     "The atrocious slander to which reference is made," says Mr
     Dixon, "was promulgated in the _Gentleman's Magazine_, in an
     obituary notice of the philanthropist. The charge was made _on
     the strength of one asserted fact_--namely, that Howard had
     once locked up his son for several hours in a solitary place,
     put the key into his pocket, and gone off to Bedford, leaving
     him there till he returned at night. On the appearance of this
     article, the friends of the illustrious dead came forth publicly
     to dispute the fact, and to deny the inferences deduced from it.
     Meredith Townsend, one of Howard's most intimate friends, sifted
     the story to the bottom, and gave the following account of its

The charge was _not_ made on the strength of this one asserted
fact--nor on any fact whatever--it was made on the mere authority
of the writer. The story alluded to is _not to be found_ in the
obituary of the _Gentleman's Magazine_. The writers of that obituary
had never heard of the story, or we may be sure they would have made
use of it. The friends of the illustrious dead could not, therefore,
have come forward, in refutation of this article, to "dispute the
fact and deny the inferences." If Mr Dixon had but read Brown's
memoirs attentively he would not have fallen into this blunder,
which shows how little else he can have read.

The story alluded to had been circulated during the life of Howard,
and when he was absent on one of his journeys. The Rev. Mr Townsend,
"many years Mr Howard's pastor at Stoke Newington," took the first
opportunity _he_ had of mentioning it to Howard himself, who
contradicted it, and related to him the incident which he supposed
must have given rise to the report. On the death of Howard the
story was again revived, where, or by whom, Mr Brown does not tell
us. The Rev. Mr Palmer thereupon obtained from Mr Townsend the
explanation which he had received from Howard himself. The letter
which the latter gentleman addressed to the Rev. Mr Palmer is given
at length in Brown, (note, p. 645.) This letter the Rev. Mr Palmer
communicates to the _Editor of the Universal Magazine_, and mentions
that extracts from it, unauthorised by him, had found their way into
the _Gentleman's Magazine_.

The explanation of the story there given, is briefly this. Howard
was engaged one day with his child in the root-house, which served
also as a summer-house, when the servant came in great haste, to say
that a gentleman on horseback wished to speak to him immediately.
Not to lose time, he told the little fellow to sit quiet, and he
would soon come to him again. To keep him out of mischief he locked
the door. The gentleman kept him in conversation longer than he
expected, and caused his forgetting the child. Upon the departure of
the guest, recollecting where the child had been left, he flew to
set him at liberty, and found him quietly sleeping on the matting of
the floor.

It was on the 31st March 1765 that Howard lost his second wife.
After spending some time in the now melancholy retirement of
Cardington, he again quits England for the Continent. Travel
is still with him, as with so many others, the mere relief for
unavailing sorrow, or for the wasting disease of unemployed
energies. It is during this journey to Italy that we are able to
trace, more distinctly than usual, the workings of Howard's mind.
Some memoranda, and fragments of a diary which he kept, have given
us this insight.

It was his design to proceed to the south of Italy. He stops at
Turin. He is dissatisfied with himself. This life of sight-seeing,
this vagrancy of the tourist, does not content him. He will go no
further. But we must give the extract itself from his journal. We
quote from the more faithful text of Mr Brown--Mr Dixon having
the habit of omitting, here and there, a sentence if it does not
please his taste, and tricking the whole out with dashes and a novel

     "_Turin, 1769, Nov. 30._--My return without seeing the
     southern part of Italy was on much deliberation, as I feared
     a misimprovement of a Talent spent for mere curiosity, at the
     loss of many Sabbaths, and as many donations must be suspended
     for my pleasure, which would have been as I hope contrary to
     the general conduct of my Life, and which on a retrospective
     view on a death Bed would cause Pain as unbecoming a Disciple
     of Christ--whose mind should be formed in my soul.--These
     thoughts, with distance from my dear boy, determine me to check
     my curiosity and be on the return.--Oh, why should Vanity and
     Folly, Pictures and Baubles, or even the stupendious (_sic_)
     mountains, beautiful hills, or rich valleys, which ere long
     will all be consumed, engross the thoughts of a candidate for
     an eternal everlasting kingdom--a worm ever to crawl on Earth
     whom God has raised to the hope of Glory which ere long will be
     revealed to them which are washed and sanctified by Faith in the
     blood of the Divine Redeemer! Look forward, oh! my Soul! how
     low, how mean, how little is everything but what has a view to
     that glorious World of Light, Life, and Love--the Preparation of
     the Heart is of God--Prepare the Heart, Oh! God! of thy unworthy
     Creature, and unto Thee be all the glory through the boundless
     ages of Eternity.

     Sign'd J. H.

     "This night my trembling soul almost longs to take its flight to
     see and know the wonders of redeeming Love--join the triumphant
     Choir--Sin and Sorrow fled away--God my Redeemer all in all--Oh!
     happy Spirits that are safe in those mansions."

Accordingly he retraces his steps. He flies back to Holland. He is
now at the Hague. It is Sunday evening, 11th February 1770. Here is
a portion of his self-communing. Many of these quotations we will
not give; we know they look out of place, and produce a strange, and
not an agreeable impression, when met with in the walks of polite
literature. But, without some extracts, it is impossible to form a
correct idea of the character of Howard.

     "Oh! the wonders of redeeming love! Some faint hope, even I!
     through redeeming mercy in the perfect righteousness--the full
     atoning sacrifice shall, ere long, be made the instrument
     of the rich free grace and mercy of God through the divine
     Redeemer. Oh, shout my soul grace, grace--free, sovereign,
     rich, unbounded grace! Not I, not I, an ill deserving, hell
     deserving creature!--but where sin has abounded, I trust grace
     superabounds. * * * *

     "Let not, my soul, the interests of a moment engross thy
     thoughts, or be preferred to my eternal interests. Look forward
     to that glory which will be revealed to those who are faithful
     to death. My soul, walk thou with God; be faithful, hold on,
     hold out, and then--what words can utter!--J. H."

But he could not rest in Holland. "Continuing in Holland," he
writes, "or any place, lowers my spirits." He returns to Italy. He
visits Genoa, Pisa, Florence, Rome, and extends his tour to Naples.

It was, and may still be, a custom with a certain class of religious
people, to make, in writing, a solemn covenant with God, and sign it
with their own hand. It is at Naples that Howard retires into his
chamber, indites and signs such a covenant. He appears, afterwards,
to have carried it with him. With the same sort of formality with
which a person republishes a will, he "renews the covenant, Moscow,
September 27, 1789."

Through the remainder of this journey we need not follow him. He
returns to England, and we see what sort of man has landed on its

Those who are acquainted with the religious world and religious
biographies, will bear us out when we say, that the language we have
quoted from this journal, and the other extracts which may be read
in Brown, would not, _of themselves_, manifest any extraordinary
degree of piety or self-devotion. With a certain class of persons,
such language has become _habitual_; with others, it really
expresses nothing but a very transitory state of excitement. Solemn
self-denunciations--enthusiastic raptures--we have heard them both,
from the lips of the most worldly, selfish, money-loving men we have
ever known. It is the after life of Howard which proves that in him
such language had its first, genuine, full meaning. These passages
from his diary explain his life, and his life no less explains them.

On his return to Cardington, he occupied himself, as before, with
plans to improve the condition of his tenantry; building for them
better houses, and erecting a school. But at length an event
occurred which supplied his self-consuming energy with the noble
task it craved. Elected High Sheriff for the county of Bedford,
the duties of his office led him to the interior of the prison. He
witnessed the sufferings, the extortion, the injustice, the manifold
cruelty, which the supineness of the legislature allowed to reign
and riot there.

     "The distress of prisoners," he tells us, in the preface to his
     first report, "came more immediately under my notice, when I was
     sheriff of the county of Bedford; and the circumstance which
     excited me to activity in their behalf was the seeing some, who,
     by the verdict of juries, were declared _not guilty_; some, on
     whom the grand jury did not find such an appearance of guilt as
     subjected them to trial; and some, whose prosecutors did not
     appear against them; after having been confined for months,
     dragged back to jail, and locked up again, till they should
     pay _sundry fees_ to the jailor, the clerk of assize, &c. In
     order to redress this hardship, I applied to the justices of
     the county for a salary to the jailor in lieu of his fees. The
     bench were properly affected with the grievance, and willing
     to grant the relief desired; but they wanted a precedent for
     charging the county with the expense. I, therefore, rode into
     several neighbouring counties in search of a precedent; but I
     soon learned that the same injustice was practised in them; and,
     looking into the prisons, I beheld scenes of calamity, which I
     grew daily more and more anxious to alleviate."

These oppressions, these calamities he dragged to light. He may
be said to have _discovered_ them--so indifferent, at this time,
was one class of the community to the misery of another. His
official position gave him just that elevation requisite to make
his voice heard. The attention of parliament was roused. He was
examined before a committee of the whole House; he received the
thanks of parliament; and a bill was passed to remunerate the
jailor by a salary, instead of by fees--thus remedying one of the
most extraordinary mal-practices that was surely ever endured in a
civilised society.

Here, then, was a task to strain all his powers, and absorb all his
benevolence. Here was misery to be alleviated, and injustice to be
redressed, and a nation to be aroused from its culpable negligence.
Benevolent, liberal, systematically and perseveringly charitable,
not averse to the exercise of authority and censorship, of restless
and untameable energy, and of a singular constancy and firmness
of purpose, the task employed all his virtues, and what in some
positions of life would have proved to be his failings. Even to his
love of travel, his new occupation suited him. What wonder that,
with all these aptitudes, the _religious man_, devoured by his
desire to do some good and great work, should have devoted to it his
life and his fortune, his days and his nights, and every faculty of
his soul. He had now found his path. His foot was on it; and he trod
it to his dying hour.

After inspecting the jails of England, Scotland, and Ireland, he, in
1775, took the first of those journeys on the Continent, which had,
for their sole object, the inspection of prisons. And henceforward,
in all his travels, he is so absorbed in this one object, that he
pays attention to nothing else. Not the palace, rich with painting
and sculpture; not the beautiful hills and valleys--only the prison
and the lazaretto can retain him for a moment. Once he is tempted to
hear some fine music--it distracts his attention--he foregoes the
music. The language of Burke, in his well-known panegyric, is true
as it is eloquent.

     "He has visited all Europe--not to survey the sumptuousness of
     palaces or the stateliness of temples--not to make accurate
     measurements of the remains of ancient grandeur, nor to form a
     scale of the curiosity of modern art--not to collect medals or
     collate manuscripts--but to dive into the depths of dungeons,
     to plunge into the infection of hospitals, to survey the
     mansions of sorrow and pain, to take the gauge and dimensions
     of misery, depression, and contempt, to remember the forgotten,
     to attend to the neglected, to visit the forsaken, and compare
     and collate the distresses of all men, in all countries. His
     plan is original, and it is full of genius as it is of humanity.
     It was a voyage of discovery, a circumnavigation of charity.
     Already the benefit of his labour is felt more or less in every
     country. I hope he will anticipate his final reward, by seeing
     all its effects fully realised in his own."

But the boon--for a great task of this kind was a veritable boon
to such a spirit as Howard's--was nearly missed. Before he went
abroad on his first journey of philanthropy, he ran the risk of
being imprisoned himself, within the walls of the House of Commons,
as member for the town of Bedford. The borough had formerly been
under the control of the house of Russell. Responding to the cry of
"Wilkes and Liberty!" the corporation had risen against their lord.
To free themselves from his control, they had boldly created five
hundred honorary freemen, coined, in short, five hundred votes,
which were to be at their own disposal. The measure seems to have
passed undisputed. They were, of course, victorious. Whom they
elected, in the first glow of patriotism, we do not know; but, after
a few years, the corporation rewarded their own patriotic efforts
by selling the borough to the highest bidder. Such, at least, was
the accusation brought against them in the town of Bedford itself,
where a strong party rose which made strenuous efforts to wrest the
election out of their hands. By this party, Whitbread and Howard
were put in nomination. The candidates of the corporation were Sir
W. Wake and Mr Sparrow. After a severe struggle on the hustings, and
in the committee of the House of Commons, the election was decided
in favour of Whitbread and Wake. Howard lost his election--happily,
we think--by a majority only of four votes.

On his return from the Continent, he published his first report on
the state of prisons. We had designed to give some account of this,
and the subsequent publications of Howard, but our space absolutely
forbids. Perhaps some other opportunity will occur, when we can
review the history of our prisons, to which the volumes of Howard
form the most valuable contribution. We must content ourselves with
a few general remarks on his labours, and with the briefest possible
account of this the great and eventful period of his life.

To lead our readers over the numerous, toilsome, and often
perilous journeys which Howard now undertook, for this national
and philanthropic object of improving our prisons and houses of
correction, would be utterly impracticable. But, to give them
at once some adequate idea of his incessant activity, we have
thrown into a note a summary, taken from Dr Aikin, of what may be
considered as his public labours.[10]

  [10] 1773. High Sheriff of Bedfordshire--visited many county and
     town jails.

  1774. Completed his survey of English jails. Stood candidate to
     represent the town of Bedford.

  1775. Travelled to Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland, Flanders, and

  1776. Repeated his visit to the above countries, and to Switzerland.
     During these two years revisited all the English jails.

  1777. Printed his State of prisons.

  1778. Travelled through Holland, Flanders, Germany, Italy,
     Switzerland, and part of France.

  1779. Revisited all the counties of England and Wales, and travelled
     into Scotland and Ireland. Acted as supervisor of the
     Penitentiary Houses.

  1780. Printed his first Appendix.

  1781. Travelled into Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Germany, and

  1782. Again surveyed all the English prisons, and went into Scotland
     and Ireland.

  1783. Visited Portugal, Spain, France, Flanders, and Holland; also
     Scotland and Ireland, and viewed several English prisons.

  1784. Printed the second Appendix, and a new edition of the whole

  1785.{ From the close of the first of these years to the beginning
     of the last, on
  1786.{ his tour through Holland, France, Italy, Malta, Turkey, and
  1787.{ Afterwards went to Scotland and Ireland.

  1788. Revisited Ireland; and, during this and the former year,
     travelled over all England.

  1789. Printed his work on Lazarettos, &c. Travelled through Holland,
     Germany, Prussia, and Livonia, to Russia, and Lesser Tartary.

  1790. January 20. Died at Cherson.

These long, incessant, and often repeated journeys--were they
necessary, some will be tempted to ask, for the object he had in
view? Surely a few instances, well reasoned on, would have been
sufficient to put us on the right track for the reformation of our
prisons. But it should be considered, in the first place, that
Howard was teaching a people pre-eminently practical in their
intellectual character, a people who require to be taught by example
and precedent. The most philosophical reasoning, the most eloquent
diatribe, would not have availed half so much to stir the public
mind, as, on the one hand, these details which Howard threw before
it, fact upon fact, unsparingly, repeatedly--details of cruelty
and injustice perpetrated or permitted by our own laws; and, on
the other hand, this plain statement, brought from abroad, that in
Ghent, that in Amsterdam, that even in Paris, many of the evils
which we suffered to remain as incurable, _were_ cured, or had never
been allowed to exist. It was much to tell the citizen of London
that in Flanders, and in Holland, there were prisons and bridewells
that ought to put him to the blush.

And, in the second place, let it be considered, that Howard
himself was pre-eminently a practical man. He neither wrote books
of speculation, nor thought in a speculative manner. It was from
detail to detail that his mind slowly advanced to principles and
generalisations. These prisons, they were his books; these repeated
circuits he made through the jails of Europe, they were his course
of reading. He reperused each blotted page of human misery till he
was satisfied that he had comprehended all it could teach. He was no
Beccaria to enunciate a principle from the recesses of his library,
(though it should be mentioned, in passing, that he had read
Beccaria--that the man of speculative talent had stimulated the man
of administrative talent, and the two were co-operating, all over
Europe, on the same great subject of penal legislation;) his eye was
ever upon practices, he got wisdom in the concrete, principle and
instance indissolubly combined: he so learnt, and he so taught.

Again, in England itself, there was no system that equally regulated
all the jails of the country; or, to speak more correctly, there was
no uniformity in the abuses which existed amongst them. Arrangements
were found in one, no trace of which might be discovered in another.
All were bad, but the evils in each were different, or assumed
different proportions. In some, there was no separation between the
debtor and the criminal; in others, these were properly classified,
but the criminal side might be more shamefully mismanaged than
usual. In some, there was no attention paid to the sick; in others,
the infirmary might be the only part of the jail that was not
utterly neglected. There might be a good supply of medicine, and
no food. In some, the separation of the two sexes was decently
maintained; in others not. It was impossible to make any general
statement that would not have called forth numerous contradictions.
An accusation strictly just with regard to York, might be repelled
with indignation by Bristol; whilst, on some other charge, Bristol
might be the culprit, and York put on the show of injured innocence.

Some prisons were private property; they were rented to the jailor,
and he was to extract the rent and his profit, by what extortion
he could practise on his miserable captives. These were prisons
belonging to liberties, manors, and petty courts, of the existence
of which few people were aware. In some of these the prisoner lay
forgotten by his creditor--lay there to starve, or live on the
scanty and precarious charity of those who gave a few pence to "the
starving debtor." In many cases the jailor--for all remuneration and
perquisite--was allowed _to keep a tap_. Of course, whatever was
doled out to the prisoner by charity, was spent in drunkenness. The
abuses were of all kinds, strange, and numberless. Howard tracked
them out, one by one--recorded them--put them in his book--published
them to the world.

Add to all this, that, after some time, he became invested with
the character of _censor_ of the prisons. He looked through them
to see that, when a good law _had_ been made, it was obeyed. There
was never a commissioner so universally respected. Men are not so
bad but they all admired his great benevolence, and his justice
equally great. No bribery, no compliments, and no threats, could
avail anything. In vain the turnkey suggested to _him_, that the
jail-fever was raging in the lower wards: the crafty official
had so deterred many a visiting magistrate, who had thanked him
politely for his warning, and retired. Howard entered, and found
_no_ jail-fever; but he found filth and famine, that had been shut
up there for years from the eyes of all men. No danger deterred him.
The infected cell, where the surgeon himself would not enter--from
which he called out the sick man to examine him--was the very
last he would have omitted to visit. This character of public
censor he carried with him abroad, as well as at home. Foreign
potentates courted his good opinion of their institutions--consulted
him--shrank from his reproof--a reproof all Europe might hear.
The Grand-duke of Tuscany, the Emperor of Germany, the Empress of
Russia, were all anxious to see and hear him. He had no flattery
for them; the report he gave was as faithful as a page out of his

As a popular misconception has prevailed upon the character of
Howard, attributing benevolence to him as almost a sole motive, so
a like popular misconception has prevailed, as to the nature and
objects of that benevolence. He is sometimes spoken of as if to
visit the sick and the captive, and relieve _them_ individually,
was the main object of his charitable journeys, and his unremitting
inquisitions. If, indeed, he had done nothing more than seek out
those unhappy men, who, at the bottom of their infected dens, lay
abandoned by all the world, he would have been entitled to our
admiration, and to all the merits of a heroic charity. But he did
more than this. He aimed at a permanent improvement of the condition
of the prisoner. He aimed farther still. His object was the same
which excites so much attention at the present moment: by a good
system of imprisonment, both to punish and reform the criminal.
"To make them better men," is a phrase often in his mouth, when
speaking of prisoners; and he thought this might be effected by
combining imprisonment with labour, with perfect abstinence from
intoxicating drinks, and other good regulations. Those who will read
his reports with attention, will be surprised to find how often he
has anticipated the conclusions to which a wider experience has
led the reflective men of our own age. There is a note of his upon
Solitary Confinement which might be adopted as a summary of those
views which enlightened men, after many trials of various systems,
have rested in. No false sensibility accompanied the benevolence of
Howard. In some respects he was a sterner disciplinarian than would
be generally approved of.

Upon this aspect of his character there remains only one remark to
add: his mind was never absorbed in the great objects of a public
philanthropy to an oblivion of his _near duties_ and his private
charities: he was to the last the just, considerate, benevolent
landlord, quite as much as he was Howard the philanthropist.

     "During his absence in one of his tours," says Dr Aikin, "a
     very respectable-looking elderly gentleman on horseback, with
     a servant, stopt at the inn nearest Mr Howard's house at
     Cardington, and entered into conversation with the landlord
     concerning him. He observed that characters often appeared very
     well at a distance, which could not bear close inspection; he
     had therefore come to Mr Howard's residence in order to satisfy
     himself concerning him. The gentleman then, accompanied by the
     innkeeper, went to the house, and looked through it, with the
     offices and gardens, which he found in perfect order. He next
     inquired into Mr Howard's character as a landlord, which was
     justly represented; and several neat houses which he had built
     for his tenants were shown him. The gentleman returned to his
     inn, declaring himself now satisfied with the truth of all he
     had heard about Howard. This respectable stranger was no other
     than Lord Monboddo; and Mr Howard was much flattered with the
     visit, and praised his lordship's good sense in taking such a
     method of coming at the truth, since he thought it worth his

The traveller who undertook all these philanthropic journeys
was a man of slight form, thin, and rather beneath the average
height. Every feature, and every movement, proclaimed energy and
determination. "An eye," says Dr Aikin, "lively and penetrating,
strong and prominent features, quick gait and animated gestures,
gave promise of ardour in forming, and vivacity in executing his
designs." "Withal there was a bland smile," says another of his
biographers, "always ready to play upon his lips." "I have,"
continues Aikin, "equally seen the tear of sensibility start into
his eyes, on recalling some of the distressful scenes to which he
had been witness; and the spirit of indignation flash from them, on
relating instances of harshness and oppression." In his dress and
person he was remarkably neat, and in his ablutions, we are told,
punctilious as a Mussulman;--far more so, we suspect. For the rest,
he had reduced his wants to the lowest possible scale. Water and
the simplest vegetables sufficed. Animal food, and all vinous and
spirituous liquors, he had utterly discarded. Milk, tea, butter, and
fruit were his luxuries; and he was equally sparing in the quantity
of food, and indifferent as to the stated times of taking it.

From the prisoner, and the subject of prison-discipline, it is well
known that the attention of Howard was directed to measures for
arresting the plague. It was a grand idea this--that he would lead
the way to some general scheme to be adopted throughout Europe, and
the contiguous parts of Asia, for checking the incursions of, and
perhaps finally exterminating, the plague. For no object did he
suffer so much, or expose himself to so great dangers; embarking
purposely in a vessel with a foul bill of health, and undergoing the
perilous confinement of the lazaretto, that every practice of the
quarantine might be thoroughly known to him. Nowhere was his conduct
more heroic. It cannot be said here, however, that his object was
equally well chosen, or that his labours were attended with any good
result. Whilst it would be difficult to over-estimate the value of
his service as inspector-general of the prisons of Europe, we can
detect nothing in this latter scheme but an unfortunate waste of
heroic benevolence. In dealing with jails and houses of correction,
he was dealing with evils, the nature of which he, and all men,
could well understand; but, in dealing with the pestilence, he was
utterly in the dark as to the very nature of the calamity he was
encountering. It is very probable that, had he realised his utmost
wishes, and built a lazaretto on the most improved plan, combining
every valuable regulation he had observed in every lazaretto of
Europe, it would only have proved an additional nuisance.

This period of his life is more full of striking incidents than any
other, but we must hurry rapidly over it.

     "The point," says Mr Brown, "at which he wished to commence his
     new investigations was Marseilles; but the extreme jealousy of
     the French government respecting their Levant trade, had long
     kept the lazaretto of that port carefully concealed from the
     eye of every foreigner; but, as Mr Howard's object was such
     as ought to have awakened neither political nor commercial
     jealousy in any one, Lord Caermarthen, then secretary of state
     for foreign affairs, made an application to the French minister
     for permission for him to view this celebrated building. After
     waiting some time at the Hague, in expectation of its arrival,
     he went to Utrecht to visit his friend Dr Brown, at whose house
     he received a letter from his lordship, informing him, not only
     that the request he preferred had been peremptorily refused,
     but that he must not think of entering France at all, as, if he
     did, he would run a risk of being committed to the Bastille.
     Howard, however, was not to be deterred. He started immediately
     for Paris. At Paris, "having gone to bed, according to his
     usual custom, about ten o'clock, he was awaked between twelve
     and one, by a tremendous knocking at his room door, which,
     starting up, in somewhat of an alarm, he immediately opened;
     and, having returned to bed, he saw the chambermaid enter with a
     candle in each hand, followed by a man in a black coat, with a
     sword by his side, and his hands enveloped in an enormous muff.
     This singular personage immediately asked him if his name was
     not Howard. Vexed at this interruption, he hastily answered,
     'Yes--and what of that?' He was again asked if he had not come
     to Paris in the Brussels diligence, in company with a man in
     a black wig? To this question he returned some such peevish
     answer, as that he paid no attention to such trifles; and his
     visitor immediately withdrew in silence. Not a little alarmed
     at this adventure, though losing none of his self-possession,
     and being unable to compose himself to sleep, Mr Howard got up;
     and, having discharged his bill the night before, took his small
     trunk, and, removing from this house, at the regular hour of
     starting took his seat in the diligence, and set off for Lyons."

Such is the narrative of Mr Brown. It has been supposed that this
midnight visitor was an officer of the police, and that, had Howard
remained a few hours longer at his hotel, he would have been
arrested. But some mystery still hangs over this adventure. Howard,
in one of his letters, alluding to it, says that he had since learnt
who his strange visitor was, and adds that "he had had a narrow
escape;" and his biographer Mr Brown tells us that--

     "He learned that the man in a black wig was a spy, sent with
     him to Paris, _by the French Ambassador at the Hague_, and that
     he himself would have been arrested then, (at Paris,) if Mr Le
     Noir had not been at Versailles on the day of his arrival; and,
     several persons having recently been arrested on very false or
     frivolous grounds, he had left orders for no arrests being made
     before his return, which was not until late in the evening of
     the next day, when he was pursued, but not overtaken."

If it was this that Howard learnt, we think his informant must
have deceived him. An air of great improbability hangs over this
story. The French government is represented as being so anxious to
arrest Howard, if he should enter France, that it sends a spy to
travel with him from the Hague; if so, the identity of Howard was
sufficiently known to the police on his arrival at Paris. Yet we are
next told that an officer visits Howard at midnight, only to assure
himself that it _is_ Howard;--pays a visit, in short, that can have
no other effect than to give the alarm to his intended captive.
In addition to this, we are to suppose that this person, whom the
French government is so anxious to arrest, pursues his journey
unmolested, and spends five days at Marseilles, visiting the very
lazaretto to which it was known he was bound, and the inspection of
which that government was so solicitous to prevent.

As to the other motives by which Mr Brown accounts for these hostile
proceedings of the French government, we can attach no weight
to them whatever. On a previous visit to Paris, Howard had been
extremely desirous to survey the interior of the Bastille. Not
being able to obtain permission, he had boldly knocked at the outer
door, and, assuming an air of official authority, walked in. He had
penetrated to some of the inner courts before this little _ruse_ was
detected. He was then, of course, conducted out. He was obliged to
content himself with an account of the Bastille written in French,
and the publication of which had been forbidden by the government.
He obtained a copy, and translated it into English. For this, and
for another cause of offence of a far slighter character, it is
difficult to suppose that Howard had excited the peculiar animosity
of the French government.

Howard visited the lazaretto of Marseilles, however, under the
full impression that the police were on the search for him. From
Marseilles he went to Toulon, and inspected the arsenal and the
condition of the galley-slaves. To obtain admission into the
arsenal, he dressed himself, says Mr Brown, "in the height of the
French fashion," Englishmen being strictly prohibited from viewing
it at all. We are told that this disguise was easy to him, "as he
always had much the air and appearance of a foreigner, and spoke the
French language with fluency and correctness." Mr Dixon, faithful
to his system of caricaturing all things, describes him as "dressed
as an exquisite of the Faubourg St Honoré!" We presume that it was
the French gentleman of the period, and not the French dandy, that
Howard imitated.

He next visited the several lazarettos of Italy--went to Malta--to
Smyrna--to Constantinople, everywhere making perilous inquisitions
into the plague. At Smyrna he is "fortunate enough" to meet with a
vessel bound to Venice with a foul bill of health, and he embarks in
it. On its way, the vessel is attacked by pirates. "The men," says
Mr Brown, "defended themselves for a considerable time with much
bravery, but were at length reduced to the alternative of striking,
or being butchered by the Moors, when, having one very large cannon
on board, they loaded it with whatever missiles they could lay
their hands upon, _and, pointed by Mr Howard himself_, it was
discharged amongst the corsair crew with such effect that a great
number of them were killed, and the others thought it prudent to
sheer off." Pointed by Mr Howard himself! We can well understand it.
The intrepid, energetic man, Fellow too of the Royal Society, would
look at the elevation of the gun, and lend a helping hand to adjust

We throw into a note a parting specimen of the manner of Mr Dixon.
Not satisfied with the simple and probable picture which Mr Brown
presents to us, he makes Howard load the gun as well as point
it--makes him sole gunner on board; and in order to improve his
_tableau_, after having fought half the battle through, recommences
it, that he may discharge his gun with the more effect.[11] Mr Dixon
advertises, as his next forthcoming work, a history of our prisons.
We are sorry that so good a subject has fallen into such bad hands.
Unless he should greatly improve, we shall have a book necessarily
replete with much popular and interesting matter, in not one page of
which will the narrative be strictly trustworthy.

  [11] "For a while the Venetian sailors defended themselves with
  desperate courage, for it was a question of victory or perpetual
  slavery with them; but their numbers were limited, their arms
  indifferent, and altogether the contest seemed too unequal to
  last long. It was the first actual fighting in which Howard had
  been present; but the imminency of the danger and the sight of
  conflict appealing to the strong combative instincts of his race,
  he fought on deck with the coolness of a Saxon and the courage of
  a knight-templar. Indeed, it was his self-possession which proved
  the salvation of the crew. There was only one gun of large calibre
  on board, and of this he assumed the direction, though he had
  probably never fired even a rifle in his life; but, in the hour of
  peril, fighting seemed to come to him, as to most of his countrymen,
  by inspiration. _This gun he rammed almost to the muzzle with
  nails, spikes, and similar charge, and then, steadily waiting his
  opportunity, as the privateer bore down upon them with all her crew
  on deck, apparently expecting to see the Venetians strike their
  flag, he sent the contents in amongst them with such murderous
  effect_, that, after a moment or two of consternation, the corsairs
  hoisted sail, and made off at their best speed."--(P. 356.)

At Venice he is conducted to the lazaretto, to undergo the
quarantine. He is shut up in a close loathsome room, the very walls
of which are reeking with foul and pestilential odours. Surely never
was a valuable life so heroically ventured, for so futile a purpose.
Whilst lying here, smitten with a low fever, he received--we quote
from Mr Brown--"intelligence from England of two circumstances
which had transpired there, each of them an occasion of the deepest
affliction to his mind. The first was the formation of a fund for
the erection of a statue to his honour; the second the misconduct of
his only son."

We can well believe they were _both_ afflictions. Those who have
entered into the character of Howard, will feel at once that
the project of doing him any public honour would be, in his own
language, "a punishment, and not a reward." It was mingling with his
conduct and motives that very alloy of vanity, and consideration
for men's opinion, which he was so anxious to keep them clear from.
If a generous man has done a kind action for kindness' sake, how
it spoils all if you _pay_ him for it! You lower him at once. He
refuses your payment; he would deny, if he could, his previous
action; he begs, at all events, it may be utterly forgotten. To
pay Howard in praise was, to his mind, as great an incongruity.
He shrank from the debasing coin. He would have denied his
philanthropy: "Say it is my hobby, if you will," he is heard at one
time to mutter. Dying, he says to his friend--"Lay me quietly in the
earth, place a sun-dial over my grave, and let me be forgotten."
Child of Time--was it not enough?

When he had escaped the lazaretto and returned to England, he
wrote a letter to the gentlemen who had undertaken to collect
subscriptions, requesting them to lay aside their project. The money
collected was in part returned, a part was spent in liberating a
certain number of poor debtors, and the residue was applied towards
erecting, at his death, the statue of him in St Paul's Cathedral.

His son he was compelled to consign to the care of a lunatic
asylum. He now published the information he had obtained, at so
much risk, upon lazarettos, and the mode of performing quarantine,
together with additional observations upon prisons and hospitals at
home and abroad. Connected with this publication, an incident is
related, which shows the extraordinary value Howard had put on the
materials he had collected, and also the singular perseverance and
determination of the man. We give it in the words of Mr Brown:--

     "On his return from his Turkish tour, one of his boxes was
     stolen as he was getting into a hackney-coach in Bishopsgate
     Street, from the stage in which he had travelled from Dover. It
     contained a duplicate of his travels, twenty-five guineas, and
     a gold watch. The plan of the lazaretto of Marseilles, of which
     he possessed no duplicate, was, happily, _in the other box_.
     Had it not been so, he declared to his friend Dr Lettsom, that,
     notwithstanding the risks he had run in procuring that document,
     so important did he consider it, that he would a second time
     have exposed himself to the danger of a visit to France to
     supply its place."

We believe he would.

This publication completed, and his son so unhappily disposed of,
the veteran philanthropist quitted his country again, and for the
last time. It was still against the plague that his enterprise was
directed. He seems to have thought that successful barricades, by
quarantine and other measures, might be erected against it. With
the plague, as with the cholera, it is generally admitted there is
some occult cause which science has not yet penetrated; but the
predisposing, or rather the co-operating causes, are, in both cases,
dirt and bad diet; and the quarantine which would attack _these_
is the only measure which, in our present state of knowledge, is
worthy of serious consideration. It was his purpose, this time, to
travel through Russia into Turkey, and thence, perhaps, to extend
his journey far into the East, to whatever city this grim enemy of
mankind might have taken possession of.

He had reached as far as Cherson, on the eastern borders of Russia,
visiting, according to his wont, prisons and hospitals on his way.
Here he was seized by a fever which proved mortal, and which he is
supposed to have caught in visiting, with his usual benevolence,
a young lady, to whom also it proved fatal. He was buried in the
grounds belonging to the villa of a French gentleman who had shown
him much attention. A small brick pyramid, instead of the sun-dial
he had suggested, was placed over his grave. The little pyramid
or obelisk still stands, we are told--stands alone, "on a bleak
desolate plain." But Protestant England has a monument in that
little pyramid, which will do her as much honour as any colony or
empire she has planted or subdued.




    The Water-Wraith shrieked over Clyde,
    The winds through high Dunbarton sighed,
    When to the trumpet's call replied
          The deep drum from the square;
    And, in the midnight's misty shade,
    With helm, and cloak, and glancing blade,
    Two hundred horsemen stood arrayed
          Beneath the torches' glare.


    Around a huge sepulchral van
    They took their stations, horse and man--
    The outer gateway's bolts withdrawn,
          In haste the drawbridge fell;
    And out, with iron clatter, went
    That sullen midnight armament,
    Alone the leader knew where bent,
          With what--he might not tell.


    Into the darkness they are gone:--
    The blinded waggon thundered on,
    And, save of hoof-tramp, sound was none:--
          Hurriedly on they scour
    The eastward track--away--away--
    To none they speak, brook no delay,
    Till farm-cocks heralded the day,
          And hour had followed hour.


    Behind them, mingling with the skies,
    Westward the smoke of Glasgow dies--
    The pastoral hills of Campsie rise
          Northward in morning's air--
    By Kirkintilloc, Cumbernold,
    And Castlecary, on they hold,
    Till Lythgo shows, in mirrored gold,
          Its palaced loch so fair.[12]

  [12] It is mentioned by both the chroniclers, Hemingford, (i. 196)
  and Trivet, (332,) that Edward the First built "a strength" or
  fort "at Linlitcu" in 1301, and there enjoyed the festivities of
  Christmas. Lord Hailes inaccurately states that he wintered there;
  for, by dates since collected from writs, Chalmers has proved that,
  although Edward was still at Linlithgow on the 12th January, he
  was, on his way home, at Roxburgh on 12th February, and had reached
  Morpeth by the 24th.

  This fort, or castle, was probably the same that was, a few years
  afterwards, taken by the stratagem of the patriotic yeoman, Binnock,
  in concealing some of his followers in a waggon of hay; and who was
  rewarded by King Robert with an estate, which his posterity long
  afterwards enjoyed.


    Brief baiting-time:--the bugle sounds,
    Onwards the ponderous van rebounds
    Mid the grim squadron, which surrounds
          Its path with spur and spear.
    Thy shrine, Dumanie, fades on sight,[13]
    And, seen from Niddreff's hazelly height,
    The Forth, amid its islands bright,
          Shimmers with lustre clear.[14]

  [13] Dalmeny Church is unquestionably of very great antiquity. From
  the style of its architecture, which a most competent authority, Mr
  Billings, ("Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities," vol. i.) has
  pronounced to be of the purest Norman, it is referred, at least,
  to the tenth or eleventh centuries. There is extant a charter of
  Waldeve, Earl of Dunbar, from 1166 to 1182, witnessed by the parson
  of Dumanie.

  [14] On these banks a castle was afterwards erected by the Earls of
  Wintoun, the picturesque ruins of which are yet a prominent object,
  by the edge of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, to the west of
  Kirkliston. Queen Mary is said to have slept there, on her flight
  from Lochleven to Hamilton, 2d May 1568.


    The Maiden Castle next surveyed,
    Across the furzy hills of Braid,
    By Craig-Milor,[15] through Wymet's glade
          To Inneresc they wound;[16]
    Then o'er the Garlton crags afar,
    Where, oft a check to England's war,
    Cospatrick's stronghold of Dunbar[17]
          In proud defiance frowned.

  [15] The name has for centuries been vulgarised into Craigmillar.
  Adam de Cardonnel, in his "Picturesque Antiquities," adheres to
  the spelling in the text; although it is generally now admitted
  that the appellation is Gaelic--_Craig-moil-ard_, or the high bare
  rock running out into a plain. The original structure is of unknown

  [16] Woolmet, or Wymet, and Inneresc, were granted by charter
  of David the First to the Abbey of Dunfermline; the latter in
  confirmation of a previous grant by Malcolm Canmore and Queen
  Margaret, ("Registrum de Dunfermlyn," Imp. Edin. 1842, p. 5, 6.) A
  small mausoleum of the Wauchope family now occupies the site of the
  chapel of Wymet; and the venerable pile of St Michael the Archangel,
  at Inneresc, was ruthlessly demolished in 1804. The house in which
  the great Randolph died, which was about half a mile distant, was
  also hewn down, about ten years afterwards, to make way for a shabby
  masonic lodge.

  [17] The family of Cospatrick, a powerful Northumbrian nobleman,
  took refuge in Scotland after the death of Harold at Hastings, and
  in 1072 had extensive lands in the Merse and Lothian gifted them by
  Malcolm Canmore. They continued to be one of the most opulent and
  powerful houses in the east of Scotland for a considerable period,
  as evidenced by their donations, noted in the chartularies of
  Coldingham, Newbottle, Dryburgh, Kelso, Melrose, and Soltra. Founded
  on a steep rugged rock, within sea-mark, and communicating with the
  land through a covered passage, the castle of Dunbar might well,
  before the invention of gunpowder, have been deemed impregnable. It
  was often the theatre of warlike contention, and two great battles
  were fought in its immediate neighbourhood,--the first in 1296, when
  Earl Warenne defeated the army of Scotland sent for its relief; and
  the second in 1650, when Leslie was overthrown by Cromwell. It was
  often besieged, and as often bravely defended; but perhaps never so
  brilliantly as by Black Agnes against the Earl of Salisbury in 1337.


    Weep through each grove, ye tearful rills!
    Ye ivied caves, which Echo fills
    With voice, lament! Ye proud, free hills,
          Where eagles wheel and soar,
    Bid noontide o'er your summits throw
    Storm's murkiest cloud! Ye vales below,
    Let all your wild-flowers cease to blow,
          And with bent heads deplore!


    Ye passions, that, with holy fire,
    Illume man's bosom--that inspire
    To daring deed, or proud desire,
          With indignation burn!
    Ye household charities, that keep
    Watch over childhood's rosy sleep,
    Ashes bestrew the hearthstone,--weep
          As o'er a funeral urn!


    On--on they speed. Oh dreary day,
    That, like a vampire, drained away
    The blood from Scotland's heart--delay,
          Thou lingering sun to set!
    Rain, twilight! rain down bloody dews
    O'er all the eye far northward views;
    Nor do thou, night of nights! refuse
          A darkness black as jet.


    Heroic spirits of the dead!
    That in the body nobly bled,
    By whom the battle-field for bed
          Was chosen, look ye down,--
    And see if hearts are all grown cold,--
    If for their just rights none are bold,--
    If servile earth one bosom hold,
          Worthy of old renown?


    The pass-word given, o'er bridge of Tweed
    The cavalcade, with slackened speed,
    Rolled on, like one from night-mare freed,
          That draws an easier breath;
    But o'er and round it hung the gloom
    As of some dark, mysterious doom,
    Shadows cast forward from the tomb,
          And auguries of death.


    Scotland receded from the view,
    And, on the far horizon blue,
    Faded her last, dear hills--the mew
          Screamed to its sea-isle near.
    As day-beams ceased the west to flout,
    Each after each the stars came out,
    Like camp-fires heaven's high hosts about,
          With lustre calm and clear.


    And on, through many a Saxon town
    Northumbrian, and of quaint renown,
    Before the morning star went down,
          With thunderous reel they hied;
    While from the lattices aloof,
    Of many an angled, gray-stone roof.
    Rose sudden heads, as sound of hoof
          And wheel to southward died.


    Like Hope's voice preaching to Despair,
    Sweetly the chimes for matin prayer
    Melted upon the dewy air
          From Hexham's holy pile;
    But, like the adder deaf, no sound,
    Or stern or sweet, an echo found
    'Mid that dark squadron, as it wound
          Still onwards, mile on mile.


    Streamers, and booths, and country games,
    And brawny churls, with rustic names,
    And blooming maids, and buxom dames,--
          A boisterous village fair!
    On stage his sleights the jongleur shows,
    Like strutting cock the jester crows,
    And high the morrice-dancer throws
          His antic heels in air.


    Why pause at reel each lad and lass?
    A solemn awe pervades the mass;
    Wondering they see the travellers pass,
          The horsemen journey-worn,
    And, in the midst, that blinded van
    So hearse-like; while, from man to man,
    "Is it of Death"--in whispers ran--
          "This spectacle forlorn?"


    Bright are thy shadowy forest-bowers,
    Fair Ashby-de-la-Zouche! with flowers;
    The wild-deer in its covert cowers,
          And, from its pine-tree old,
    The startled cushat, in unrest,
    Circles around its airy nest,
    As forward, on its route unblest,
          Aye on that waggon rolled.


    And many a grove-encircled town,
    And many a keep of old renown,
    That grimly watched o'er dale and down,
          They passed unheeding by;
    Prone from the rocks the waters streamed,
    And, 'mid the yellow harvests, gleamed
    The reapers' sickles, but all seemed,
          Mere pictures to the eye.


    Behold a tournay on the green!
    The tents are pitched--the tilters keen
    Gambol the listed lines between--
          The motley crowds around
    For jibe, and jest, and wanton play
    Are met--a merry holiday;
    And glide the lightsome hours away
          In mirth, to music's sound.


    And hark! the exulting shouts that rise,
    As, cynosure of circling eyes,
    Beauty's fair queen awards the prize
          To knight that lowly kneels.
    "Make way--make way!" is heard aloud--
    Like Red Sea waters part the crowd,
    And, scornful of that pageant proud,
          On grinding rush the wheels!


    Hundreds and hamlets far from sight,
    By lonely granges through the night
    They camped; and, ere the morning light
          Crimsoned the orient, they
    By royal road, or baron's park,
    Waking the watchful ban-dog's bark,
    Before the first song of the lark,
          Were on their southward way.


    By Althorpe, and by Oxendon,
    Without a halt they hurried on,
    Nor paused by that fair cross of stone,
          Now for the first time seen,
    (For death's dark billows overwhelm
    Both jewelled braid, and knightly helm!)
    Raised, by the monarch of the realm,
          To Eleanor his queen.[18]

  [18] This venerable memorial, which gives the name of "Queen's
  Cross" to the neighbouring locality in Northamptonshire, is a
  beautiful specimen of architecture, although much defaced by time,
  and the efforts of renovators.

  The "trellised" vest, mentioned in stanza XXIV., was a species of
  armour, so called by contemporary Norman writers; and consisted of
  a cloth coat, reaching only to the haunches. This was intersected
  by broad straps of leather, so laid on as to cross each other, and
  leave small intervening squares of cloth, in the middle of which was
  a knob of steel. (_Vide_ MEYRICK'S _Ancient Armour_, vol. i. p. 11.)


    Five times through darkness and through day,
    Since crossing Tweed, with fresh relay
    Ever in wait, their forward way
          That cavalcade had held;
    Now joy!!! for, on the weary wights,
    Loomed London from the Hampstead heights,
    As, by the opal morning, Night's
          Thin vapours were dispell'd.


    With spur on heel, and spear in rest,
    And buckler'd arm, and trellised breast,
    Closer around their charge they press'd--
          On whirled, with livelier roll,
    The wheels begirt with prancing feet,
    And arms,--a serried mass complete,
    Until, by many a stately street,
          They reached their destined goal.


    Grim Westminster! thy pile severe
    Struck to the heart like sudden fear;--
    "Hope flies from all that enter here!"
          Seemed graven on its crest.
    The moat o'erpassed, at warn of bell,
    Down thundering the portcullis fell,
    And clang'd the studded gates,--a knell
          Despairing and unblest.


    Ye guardian angels! that fulfil
    Heaven's high decrees, and work its will--
    Ye thunderbolts! launched forth to kill,--
          Where was it then ye slept--
    When, foe-bemocked, in prison square,
    To death fore-doomed, with dauntless air,
          From out that van,
          A shackled man--
          Sir William Wallace stept!




"Well," continued the commander, his voice making use of the breeze
as he stood aft of the group, "I could not have slept more than
three or four hours on a stretch, when I was woke up by a fellow
shoving his lantern in my face, and saying it wasn't me he wanted;
for which I gave him a hearty objurgation, and turned over with a
swing of the cot to go to sleep again. The sailor grumbled something
about the parson being wanted for the captain, and all at once it
flashed on my mind where we were, with the whole of last night's
ticklish work--seeing that, hard rub as it was, it had clean left
me for the time. "Try the aftermost berth, then," said I, slipping
out in the dark to put on my trousers. The fact was, on going below
to our state-room, I had found my own cot taken up by some one
in the confusion; and as every door stood open at night in that
latitude, I e'en made free with the nearest, which I knew was the
missionary's. In a minute or two I heard Westwood meet the mate, who
said he thought the captain would like to see him, and hoped they
hadn't "disturbed the other gentleman." "Oh no, I daresay not," said
Westwood, rather nervously, guessing, I daresay, what he was wanted
for; while Finch slipped quietly past to listen at the state-room
door, where both he and I might hear the "other gentleman," whoever
he was, snoring pretty plain. When the first officer shut the door
to, however, turned the key, and put it in his pocket, I nearly
gave vent to a whistle.--"I see!" thought I; "but, my fine fellow,
it seemed you never were meant for a good jailor, anyhow!" He was
no sooner gone than I walked forward toward the captain's cabin,
near the after-hatchway, anxious enough to see how the poor man
was, since I had had such a share in bringing him to a point, one
way or another. Westwood was standing against the light out of
the open door, and I looked in along with him, at the cot slung
high to the beams like a lump of shadow, the lamp striking across
below it on all the captain's little affairs--his glazed hat and
his wet coat, the names of two or three old books, even, hanging
in shelves against the bulkhead--and into the little state-room
off the cabin, where the surgeon was stooping to mix a draught.
The hard-featured Scotch mate stood holding the captain's wrist
with one clumsy flipper, as if trying to feel his pulse, fumbling
about his own face with the other, and looking more concerned than
I'd thought possible for him. "Well, I've slept a--good deal,"
said the captain, in a weak voice, putting up his hand slowly to
rub his eyes, but seemingly quite composed, and knowing nothing
of what had happened--which rid me of the horrid notion I could
scarce help before, that he had known what he was about. His head
was close shaved, and the look of a sailor clean gone off his face
with the bluff, honest oak-colour it commonly had, till you'd have
wished him decently in his bed thousands of miles off, with women
slipping out and in; only the blood from his arm hanging down on the
sheet, with the sharp point of his nose and the shape of his knees
coming up off the shadow, kept it all in one with the wild affair
on deck a few hours gone. "She's on her course, you say?" added he,
listlessly. "Must be a _very_ light breeze though, Mr Macleod." "So
it is, sir; so it is, no doubt!" replied the second-mate, soothing
him; "did ye say we'll _pent_ the ship, sir?" "Ay, before we go
into port, Mr Macleod, to be sure," said Captain Williamson, trying
to put a cheerful tone into his voice; "she's had a good deal of
buffeting, but we musn't let 'em see it, you know! Didn't you lose
a mizen-topmast somehow, though, Mr Macleod?" "'Deed ay, sir," said
Macleod hastily, afraid he was getting upon the scent of what had
happened; "the first officer's watch it was, sir--will I tell Mr
Finch ye're wanting to speak to him about it, Captain Williamson?"
and he began to shuffle towards the door. "Finch? Finch?" said the
sick man, passing his finger over his eyes again; "what voyage _is_
this, Mr Macleod?" "Why--why," said the Scotchman, starting, and
rather puzzled himself. "Oo, it's just _this_ voyage, ye know, sir!
Mr Finch, ye mind, sir?" "No, no; don't let him leave the deck for
a moment, Macleod!" said the captain anxiously: "harkye, James,
I'm afraid I've trusted overmuch to the young man all along! I'll
tell ye, Mr Macleod, I don't know whether I was asleep or not, but
I _heard_ him somewhere wishing he had the command of this ship!
I shouldn't like him to take her off my hands! Have you seen the
Scilly lights yet, Mr Macleod?" The mate shook his head; he had
contrived to persuade the poor man we were far homeward bound. "If
you'd only get the pilot aboard, Mr Macleod," the captain went on,
"I'd die contented;--but mind the charts--mind the charts--I've
got the charts to mind for another sort of voyage myself, James!"
"Hoot, hoot, captain!" said the Scotchman, "what sets ye for to talk
after that fashion--you'll be up an' about decks directly, sir!
What were ye saying about topem'sts now, sir?" Captain Williamson
gave the second mate a glance that looked into him, and he held
down his head, for the man evidently believed fully, as none of
us could help doing, that there was death on the captain's face.
"James, James!" said the captain slowly, "you've no notion how some
things weigh on the mind at a pass of this kind! Other things one
don't remember--but there's one in particular, almost as it were
yesterday--why, surely you were with me that voyage, Mr Macleod!
when I let some o' the passengers take a boat in a calm, and all--"
Here he stopped, seemingly overcome. "There was one young creature
amongst 'em," he went on, "the age of my own girl, Macleod--my own
little Nan, you know--and now--now I miss _her_--and, and--" The
poor man gave a great gulp, clutching the mate's arm, and gazing him
in the face. "Wasn't it a long time ago?" said he, very anxiously;
"if it wasn't, I would go mad! They were all drowned--drowned--I
_see_ that black squall coming down on the swell _now_, man, and the
brig, and all of us looking out to the wind'ard!" "I mind something
about it," replied Macleod stoutly, though he looked away; "'twas
none o' your fault, though, Captain Williamson--they were just
_fey_, sir; and more than that, if ye mind, sir, they took the boat
again' all orders--on the sly, I may say." Westwood was on the
point of starting forward to make known how the case stood, on the
strength of our finding the paper in the bottle; when I pressed his
arm, and whispered that it could only make things worse, and cheat
the sick man of a notion more likely to do him good than otherwise.
"It's a heavy charge, Mr Macleod, a heavy charge!" said he, falling
back again; "and one Mr Brown needn't envy." "Mr _Finch_, sir, ye
mind," put in the second mate, setting him right; "but keep up your
heart, sir, for anysake!" "I feel I'll last over the time o' next
full tide," said the captain solemnly. "I don't want to know _how_
far we're off, only if there's any chance at all, Macleod, you won't
spare canvass to carry her in." The Scotchman rubbed one of his hard
cheek-bones after the other, and grumbled something or other in his
throat by way of agreement. The whole thing was melancholy to see
after last night's stir, with the dim lamp or two twinkling along
the gloom of the steerage, the dead quietness of the ship, and the
smothered sort of glare under the captain's cot bringing out the
mere litter on the floor, to the very cockroaches putting their ugly
feelers out of one of his shoes in a corner: he shut his eyes, and
lay for a minute or two seemingly asleep, only murmuring something
about a breeze, and then asking them to shove out the port, 'twas so
close. The second mate looked to the surgeon, who signed to him to
do it, as if it didn't much matter by this time; while he gave him
the draught of physic he was mixing, however.

The Indiaman was beginning to swing slowly before the first of
the flood, stern off at her anchors; and whenever the port was
opened, 'twas so still otherwise, that you heard the tide clearly
in the cabin, rippling along the timbers to the copper upon her
bows--plash, plash, and lap, lip, lap, like no other earthly sound
that a man can hear--and you even began to note it on something else
a good bit off, though it seemed to be all quite dark out-board.
The captain's eyes opened by degrees, till we saw them looking at
us out of the shadow of the cot, and the second mate started as if
to mend his mistake; only 'twas plain enough, by that time, the
captain _knew_ the sound, half raising himself up and listening. A
few early musquitoes came in, and, after dancing about to refresh
themselves in the light and warmth under the cot, began to bite
savagely; every one of us had a distant horn sounding in his ear,
and each was rubbing it or his nose, except the sick man; but not
one of them settled on him. As the starboard port slued gradually
opposite to the nearest shore, a low, deep hum was carried in over
the water, ebbing and flowing, and full of dim, creeping noises,
like things stirring in their sleep, as if the little cabin had been
an ear to the ship. At times the tree-frogs broke out in a loud
clicking chirrup; then, between the fits of it, when all seemed
still again for a moment or two, you heard a low, half-smothered,
small sound, deeper down, as it were, fill up the break with its
throbbing and trill-trilling, as if just _one_ land-cricket or a
grasshopper did it, till it came out as clear as though it were a
child's rattle close by, and all of a sudden stopped; when back
floated the huge whispering hum again, with a damp smell of leaves
on a cold breath of the land air, that died away as quickly as it
reached us. The bewilderment on Captain Williamson's white face
for that minute's time was cruel to witness, and Macleod would
certainly have closed the port, but for the captain's seizing his
arm again, with a wild, questioning sort of a look into the second
mate's eyes. "Oh, good God!" faltered out the captain, "it's--it's
_land_!--where--where?--" "For goodsake, sir," said Macleod, "don't
ask me the now--take a bit sleep, sir." We could hear one another
breathing, when ting-tang went four bells on deck. You heard it
going across to the shore, as it were; and a few moments after, out
of the humming far and wide along the land, back came the sound of
another bell, toll upon toll, like some clock striking the hour a
long way off. Then a third one followed on it, from a different
direction, ringing clearer in the air; while the murmur and the rush
seemed to swell up the more all round, and the plashing of the tide
made the ship heave at her anchors. The mate shivered, Westwood
and I started, but some extraordinary notion or other gleamed over
the captain's face as he sat up. He was quite in his senses, too,
apparently, though it seemed to be neither more nor less than
sheer joy that overcame him, for he let out a long breath, and his
eyes were glistening as if the tears stood in them. "James--James
Macleod!" said he quickly, with a husky voice, "you oughtn't to've
deceived one you've sailed so long with; but you meant me a good
surprise, and 'twas kindly done of you! I know the very run o' the
clocks off Greenwich Reach, man; d'ye think one could mistake the
sound of Lon'on town, fidgeting when it wakes, either?--we're--we're
_home_ already!" And he fell back in the cot, with the drops running
down his cheeks, smiling happily all the time at Macleod in a way
that went to one's heart; while the Scotchman stared helplessly
to the surgeon, who slipped to the port and closed it. "I know by
your way, James," continued the poor man, "you wanted to send up to
Virginia Row for 'em _all_; but don't send for an hour yet; better
go up yourself and break it to 'em--_break_ it to 'em, be sure of
that, James; I shouldn't wonder but I pulled up, after all. Ay--that
first one we heard was Greenwich Hospital--t'other in Dickson's
brewery or Redriff--" Here his eyelids began to drop, owing to the
sleeping-draught he had got, when suddenly they opened wide again.
"Ha!" said he, listening, and putting up a finger, "but I haven't
heard St Paul's strike six yet; it's seldom so long after; ought
to be heard from here of a morning; let's--" By little and little,
however, the sick man's eyes closed, and you heard him murmuring,
as his finger sank down, "Macleod, say--to her--say--luff, luff, my
lad, keep her her course--," till his shrunk face was as quiet on
the pillow as if he'd been really at home the first night after a

"Oh man, doctor!" said the second mate, heaving a breath, "isn't
terrible! Good forgive me for a lee to a dying man! Take an old
seaman's word for it, Doctor Small, yon clock ashore was no mortal
soond, sir; ye may keep your drogues for them they'll do good to.
'Twas neither more or less than the captain's _dregy_!" "Phoo!"
answered the Scotch surgeon, who was one of your sceptical chaps,
as I heard say, "some other vessels here, of course, that's
all." The sailor gave him only a smile of pity for not being
able to distinguish the sound of a ship's bell. "There can't be
a town hereabout, Collins?" whispered Westwood. "A town,--no!"
said I, "it's the best wilderness sign you can have--the African
bell-bird!"[19] "Ah, ah!" said the surgeon, laughing, "there now,
Macleod,--of course it can be explained naturally, like other
things." The second mate gave me a doubtful scowl; but seeing
Westwood, whom he had always seemed to think rather in the way
before, his eye softened.

  [19] _Sc._--The South African and South American _Campanero_, or
  bell-bird, whose peculiar note may be heard two or three miles off,
  chiefly in the loneliest parts of the Brazilian or Benguela forests.

"You'll be wanting to see the captain as soon as he wakes up,
sir," said he. "I'm terrified to face him--but if ye'd juist slip
in when he comes to himself, sir, I'm thinking, reverend sir, ye
might wile him off yon terrible notion o' his." Westwood shook his
head seriously, not knowing what to say. "Ay, ay, sir," continued
Macleod, as he half closed the door, "no doubt a man ought to be
upon better things; but it's hard for him, when he's got a wife
and weans six thousand miles away, and wants them alongside in a
couple of hours--uncommon hard, sir! She's a douce, careful body,
too, Mistress Williamson, like the captain's self; and I heard her
fleech sore with the captain before we sailed, for to bide quietly
ashore this time, for good. Poor woman! if she didn't e'en go the
length o' partin' in anger the last morning, wae's me! till the very
moment when (he telt me himself, sir,) she out with her arms round
his neck, crying like to choke! An' all to--but if the captain had
a fault, 'twas the love o'--good forgive me, though, when it was
but studying his faim'ly, Mr Thomas! If it was only an auld tarry
deevil like me, now, with neither kith or kin!" "Except cousins,
Mr Macleod," said the surgeon, as he wiped his lancet on his
coat-tail--"plenty of them in the High--" But he caught Westwood's
eye, and was ashamed to finish his cursed heartless joke, though
the rough second mate was too full of his feeling to hear it: when
Westwood said something about our all thinking too little of these
things before-hand, but how the captain was plainly a man that had
done his duty carefully, which no doubt would ease his mind. The
mate looked up, and eyed him sideways for a moment: "Eh? what?" said
he, bluntly; "it's not so little I mind o' what I used to hear at
the kirk langsyne, as not to know that's not the right doctrine.
D'ye think, sir, _that's_ what'll put him over, when he finds out
this is not Greenwich Reach? There's the Methody minister with the
glasses, though!" he broke out, when again a look of despair came
over his broad hard-favoured countenance. "They're always upon
works, too, I've heard!" said he, turning and murmuring to himself;
"oh, if I could but hoist out a bit screed o' the truth, myself, to
comfort the poor man with! Lord, how didn't I think of the Shorter
Carritch--let's see how't went--'What is the chief end of'--no,
it's 'What is faith in--faith in the only rule to direct us--no,
no.--Baptism is a sacrament--where--whereby"--and he was still
overhauling some old catechism in this fashion, twisting himself all
the time as if he were twisting a stiff rope the wrong way, with
a look of misery none of us could have had the heart to laugh at,
when a middy's voice came squeaking down the dark after-hatchway.
"Mr Macleod, sir, the chief officer wants you on deck." Westwood
slipped quietly off, and the young surgeon was beginning to talk
easily, to rid his mind of something, perhaps; till I asked if
there wasn't any chance. "Oh, the captain, you mean?" said he,
"don't think there is--he's a bad subject! If we were out at sea
now, Mr Collins, the _calenture_ would make him think the waves all
grass, or something as green as--as the cawdets used to call--" I
looked at the fellow sternly, and he changed his key, though with
a surprised air. "You're blessed early up, though, you two!" said
he. "I suppose that cursed squall kept you idlers awake; but how
they managed without the first mate I can't think. Clever fellow,
Finch! but wasn't it a curious trick of the poor skipper to box him
up below here? I fancy he'd a guess we would all soon be under the
mate's command! It's a queer thing the brain, isn't it, Mr Collins?
For exaumple, now, there's the captain it makes think something or
other a clock near London, with everything accordingly! Macleod
fancies it a soopernatural knell, and twaddles about some Calvinist
stuff he learnt at school. Then you and me, you know, imaugines it's
a bird--now whuch is it after all? _Nothing_--maybe, eh?" The fellow
capped all with a sneer, as much as to say I was a fool, which I had
stood from him several times before; though now I could have kicked
him, more for his heartless way than aught else. "I'll tell you, Mr
Small," said I, "what I think _you_--you're neither more nor less
than a--" but I turned on my heel. "I'm off, however," said he, "to
turn in again."

Through the half-closed door one could see the sick man's face
sleeping so quiet in the shadow from the lamp, you heard not a
breath. I looked up the after-hatchway. It seemed still quite dark;
and a patch of the deep dark-blue sky showed high over the square
opening, with two or three keen sparks of stars, green ones and blue
ones--you'd have thought the ladder, short as it was, went up to
somewhere clean above the world. But the moment I got on deck, I saw
it was really lighter--the heavy fog creeping slowly astern of the
ship on both hands; the white mist rolling faster over it before the
sea-breeze against her bows, which had swung seaward by this time
from the tide, that rushed like a mill-stream upon both her tight
cables; while the muddy river-water, bubbling, eddying, and frothing
away past, spread far up in the middle, into the dusk astern.
_Such_ a jabbering, croaking, hissing, shrieking, and yelling,
too, as burst into one's ears out of the dark, as if whole legions
of monkeys, bull-frogs, parrots, parroqueets, and what not, were
coming together full upon us from both sides, one band nearer than
the other; till the heavy boom of the surf round the point, and the
roar of the tide coming in over the shallows about the river-mouth,
pretty well drowned it. The sudden change was a good relief, Babel
though it seemed, after the closeness below, with what had been
going on; and I looked ahead towards the sea, which lay away out off
our larboard bow, round the headland, and over the opposite point; a
cold, watery streak of light showing it from where the breakers rose
plunging and scattering along the sandy bar, to the steady gray line
of horizon, clipped by one of the two brown chops we had got into.
It looked dreary enough as yet, the mouth of it being wider than I'd
fancied it from seaward at night; though even with full water over
the long spit of sand in the middle, there was no draught at all for
the Indiaman except by the channel betwixt it and the bold point on
our right; and pretty narrow it appeared from our present berth,
heaving as it did with the green swell that set in, while meantime
the mist scudding across the face of the headland let us see but the
hard lump of bare black rock underneath.

In less time than I've taken to speak, however, the full space of
sky aloft was turning clear, the sea far away suddenly shone out
blue, with the surges tipped white; you saw a sparkling star high
over it sink slowly in, and the fog spread off the water near us,
till here and there you caught the muffled-up shape of a big tree
or two looming through, not half-a-mile off our starboard quarter;
the mist creeping over the headland till the sharp peak of it stood
out against its shadow on the shoulder of a hill beyond, and old
Bob Martin's single clump of cocoas on the rise, waving in landward
from the brisk sea-breeze. One passenger after another came peeping
sleepily out of the companion-hatch, at the men clearing away the
wreck of the spars, and swabbing the quarter-deck down; but scarce
had Smith, one of the young writers, reached the poop, when he gave
a shout that covered both poop-ladders in no time, with people
scrambling over each other to get up. Next minute you'd have fancied
them a knot of flamingoes with their wings out, as the bright red
daybreak brought out the edge of the woods far astern, through a
hazy lane in the purple mist, topped so with stray cocoa-nut trees
and cabbage-palms, dabbled like brushes in the colour, that they
scarce knew them to be woods at all, and not a whole lot of wild
savages fresh from other business of the kind, coming down with all
sorts of queer tools upon us; more especially when one heard such a
chorus of unaccountable cries, whistling, and screaming, as seemed
to struggle with the sound of the sea ahead of us, and the plash
alongside. The huge round sun struck hot crimson along the far turn
of the reach, with all manner of twisted blots upon him, as it were,
and the very grass and long reeds seemingly rustling into his face,
so one didn't for the moment know _him_ either; while the muddy
chocolate-coloured eddies, sweeping and closing beyond the ship's
rudder, glittered and frothed up like blood; and every here and
there, along the streak of light, the head of a log or a long branch
came dipping up terribly plain no wonder the old Seringapatam had
apparently turned tail to it all, ready to bolt if she could. Almost
as soon as you took your hands off your eyes, though, and could see
without a red ball or two before them,--_there_ was the nearest
shore growing out toward our starboard bulwark all along, crowded
with wet green woods, up into steaming high ground--all to eastward
a dazzle of light, with two or three faint mountain-peaks shooting
up far off in it, and a woody blue hill or so between; while here
and there a broad bright hazy spoke off the sun came cutting down
into the forest, that brought out a patch full of long big leaves,
ten times greener than the rest, and let you look off the deck into
the heart of it amongst the stems over the bank. The jabber in the
woods had passed off all at once with the dusk, the water deepening
over the bar, and the tide running slower, so that every one's
confused face turned breathless with delight as it grew stiller and
stiller. The whole breadth of the river shone out by this time, full
and smooth, to the opposite shore three times as far away, where the
wood and bulrushes seemed to grow out of the water; a long thick
range of low, muddy-looking mangroves, with a cover of dark-green,
rounding from the farthest point one saw, down to some sandy
hummocks near the mouth, and a ridge of the same, drifted up by the
wind off the beach. Beyond that side there was nothing, apparently,
but a rolling sweep of long coarse grass, with a few straggling
cocoa-nut trees and baobabs, like big swollen logs on end, and taken
to sprouting at top: a dun-coloured heave of land in the distance,
too, that came out, as it got hotter, in a long desert-like, red
brick-dust sort of a glare. The sole living things to be seen as
yet, were some small birds rising up out of the long grass, and the
turkey-buzzards sailing high over all across, as if on the look-out.

The air was so cool and clear, however, from the tornado
overnight--not a cloud in the sky, and the strange scent of the land
reaching us as the dew rose off it--you could see far and wide, with
a delicious feeling of it all, that kept every one standing fixed
on the spot where he first gained the deck, even the men looking
over their shoulders with the ropes in their fists, and the fresh
morning breeze lifting one's hair. Surprised as the passengers were,
nobody spoke a word, except the three or four children shouting,
dancing, and pointing together; without being noticed, till all at
once the whole poopful burst into one confusion of questions and
exclamations, running hither and thither, shaking hands and jostling
each other like distracted people. I had a spyglass at my eye,
making out the other shore, when, turning round in the middle of
it, the first thing I saw was Violet Hyde's face, as she stood with
one little foot on the stair-head behind me, holding the rail with
one hand, her eyes sparkling and her parted lips murmuring like one
in a dream. "Oh, Mr Collins!" exclaimed she, breathless; "what is
this? Where are we--is it fairyland? A _river_!" "Yes, in Africa,"
I said; "but whether it's the Bembarooghe or the--" "That fearful,
fearful evening!" continued she, shuddering: "I saw the frightful
sky, and heard the storm--and now!--_Were_ we not in some very
great danger, sir?" "Yes, ma'am, we were," replied I, as stiffly
as I could; "but, happily, its over now," and I gave my cap a lift
to move off, uneasy as I was every moment, lest Sir Charles should
catch me speaking again to his daughter. However, Miss Hyde was
gazing eagerly at the land, and I had to wait. "What lovely, lovely
green!" she half whispered: "oh, if one could only tread upon!--so
unEnglish those strange tall trees look! are they not cocoa-trees
and--and--" Suddenly her voice faltered, and she turned round with
her bright blue eyes swimming in tears--"How--how thankful we should
be that we are not--like our poor, poor friends, who were lost!"
exclaimed she. I thought of the poor captain below in his cot, but
next moment I was explaining, to her sheer amazement, how the real
truth of the matter stood, though, if possible, it seemed to horrify
her still more. "I can't think what they may be," I rapped out; "but
if I had the command of this ship, I'd up anchor this very hour, and
go out--at least as soon as the tide ebbed; but, at any rate, at the
Cape I mean to get hold of some schooner or other, and if it were to
China, why, I'll cruise after 'em till I--" "Then you think--" began
she, and an arch, inquisitive sort of look danced in both her eyes
as she turned away to watch the shore again, saying slowly, "You
_are_ a--a naval gentleman, then, Mr West--Mr Collins?" I tried to
stammer out something by way of an explanation, but it wouldn't do,
and I said, "At any rate, I'm no better, by this time, than an idler
aboard _here_, ma'am!"

All at once I caught a side-look from her eyes, that wasn't meant
for me, as she glanced over the poop-netting. Half provoking and
half sweet it was, though, and it made my brain somehow or other
seem to spin round, till a little after, before I well knew what
I was about, I was holding the long spy glass for her to see the
bank of the river,--her warm breath coming on my ear as I stooped
before her, near enough to have kissed the muslin on her shoulder,
while her rosy mouth changed with every new spot that the glass
brought near; and she had to hold one taper fore-finger on the other
eye-lid to keep it shut, so that I could dwell on her face as if
she'd been asleep. "There, there!" exclaimed she, "are actually
flowers--with such immense leaves! And now--an enormous tree, with
roots hanging from the branches, and other stems growing up into
them. Why, yes!--is not that a banian-tree, Mr--," and she looked
away at _me_, when of course the tree was vanished, and instead of
that, the rather undeniable expression of a fellow in love, two
or three inches off, bent fair upon her. Violet Hyde coloured a
little, and looked in again. "And--I think--" continued she, "I
see--oh, two such beautiful creatures--deer, I think--coming out
to drink from the river!" All this time, the ecstacies of the rest
kept up the noise and confusion: the young lady's maid was gaping
open-mouthed at the shore, not even noticing her young mistress's
straw bonnet fall off, and I had just picked it up with one hand, to
put it quietly over that matchless nut-brown hair of hers, shining
suddenly in the sun like silk, when the Judge's voice sang out sharp
from the other stair, "Violet, child, you'll have a sun-stroke.
Kitmagar, you scoundrel, _beebee sahib punkah lao, sirrah_!" I held
on to the telescope like grim death, while that eternal punkah was
hoisted over us both, the Judge eyeing me somewhat coolly for the
first moment. "Well, well, Mr Westwood," said he, however, "you've
got rid of that proud freak of yours;--such behaviour as yours
yesterday, I assure you, I shouldn't have endured from any one else,
young man! But, my dear boy," added he, suddenly, "from what I can
gather, indeed saw myself last night, I am convinced we owe you a
very great deal--even, I suspect, the safety of the entire vessel!"
Miss Hyde had left off using the glass, and, as I stood up, she gave
me a quick glance of amazement. "Mere chance, sir," I stammered.
"Why," said Sir Charles, "I saw you at the steerage in the middle
of the hurricane, when I believe the actual officers of the ship
had left it in dismay. I tell you what, Mr Westwood, you're a bold
fellow; and your uncle and I must see in India if we can't reward
you in some way, my dear boy!" All this fondling style of thing, and
for little more than a piece of luck, would have disgusted me, if I
hadn't been more taken up with watching the side of Violet Hyde's
face, as she listened for sounds in the woods ashore. "Strange
wasn't it, Violet, my dear," continued he to his daughter, that my
friend the Councillor's nephew should have gone out in the same
Indiaman, so fortunately--though of course, after all, it _was_
the first this season." "Ah!" said she, starting, "I beg pardon,
papa,--what did you--weren't you talking of the river?" "Don't you
hear, child," said the Judge, "I said it was a curious coincidence,
Mr Westwood's going in this vessel." "Oh yes, indeed!" answered
she, and couldn't help looking down a little confounded. But the
lady's-maid was putting on her tiny slipper, which had come off,
while her father mentioned that of course I'd had practical reasons
for not owning my profession hitherto;--meaning, I suppose, that I
didn't speak for fear of having to work, like the monkeys--though
the sharp old lawyer must have had a better guess by this time, and
queer enough it must have been to see her face, listening to him
as he explained it all. I stood biting my lips, meanwhile--two or
three times on the point of telling him it was all nonsense about my
being a nephew of any hanged old nabob whatever; when Sir Charles
said carelessly he should leave the Seringapatam, if possible, at
the Cape of Good Hope, as he couldn't trust safely to the present

Just then up got the merry chant of the men running round with the
capstan-bars, to get up anchor; the chief officer wishing, as it
was found, to carry her farther into the river with the breeze--for
the sake of filling our water-casks the easier, according to him,
but more likely out of sheer spite at what had been done without
him. What with eagerness in the cuddy to get on shore and see the
woods, the breakfast below was a rare scene, no one minding what he
did, even to rushing slap into a couple of ladies' berth for his
boots, or laying a couple of loaded Joe Mantons into somebody's bed,
swallowing biscuit and butter on the way.

Suddenly we heard the splash of paddles in the water, with a hail in
some foreign tongue or other, and hurried on deck in a body; where
we found the ship tiding it slowly up, under jibs and foretopsail,
and beginning to open a longer reach where the river seemed to
narrow in. A black-eyed, black-bearded fellow, with a tallowy,
yellow, sweaty sort of complexion, in a dirty jacket, drawers, and
short boots, and an immense grass hat, shouting Portuguese louder
and louder into the first-mate's ear, till he actually put both
hands together and roared through them,--pointing to himself now and
then, as if surprised he wasn't known. All at once, evidently quite
disgusted, he turned and looked over the side, saying something to
one of the ugliest and most ill-looking mulattoes I ever saw, who
sat in the stern of a long rough canoe, hollowed out of some tree,
with two naked black rowers, less of the real nigger than himself,
as they leant grinning up at the bulwarks with their sharp teeth,
that appeared as if they'd been filed to a point. The mulatto
gloomed, but he gave no answer, and as one of the cadets and I knew
a little Portuguese, we managed together to get something out of
the fellow on deck; though at noticing me for the first time that
morning, I saw Finch turn red with surprise. We understood the man
to ask if we wanted nothing particular in the river, the meaning
of which I saw better on bethinking me of the fire along the bush
inside the headland, that had let me see the marks of it--no doubt
a signal to some craft they had taken us for. However, so soon as
he heard we needed no more than water and spars, after musing a
minute, and speaking again to Rodriguez, as he called the mulatto,
he said he would pilot us to a convenient berth himself, for two or
three dollars; notwithstanding his title was, as he said, Don José
Jeronimo Santa somebody, commandant of the Portuguese fort something
else. The river, we found, was the Nouries or the Cuanené, where
they had a settlement called Caconda, a good way up; a remarkably
bad country, he gave us to know, and not worth staying in, from
the number of flies, and the elephants having got into a cursed
way of burying their tusks,--except, he hinted, for the plenty of
blacks, all anxious to be sold and to see foreign countries; but
the trade was nothing yet, absolutely nothing, said he, blowing
his nose without a pocket handkerchief, and suiting the act to the
word, as he mentioned his notion of throwing it up and going farther
north-west. By this time we had stood over to the lowest shore, till
you could see the thick coffee-coloured mud in among the roots and
suckers of the dark-green mangroves, with their red pods bursting
under their rank-looking leaves,--and over them, through the tall
coarse guinea-grass, to the knots of feathery cocoas behind,
swarming with insects: when he gave the sign to go about, one of his
blacks heaving a lead, and grunting out the depth of water, as the
ship made a long stretch across towards the woody side again, and
Don José all the time taking it as easy as if the quarter-deck were
his own, while he asked for a cigar and lighted it. Joke though he
did, yet I couldn't like the fellow at all; however, as soon as she
got pretty near the shore, about a quarter of a mile from the mouth
of what seemed a wide creek, glittering up between a high fringe of
cane and bamboo clumps, he had the sails clued up, a single anchor
let go in four or five fathoms, and our Portuguese friend got his
money and bundled over the side, pulling quietly ashore.

The tide by this time was quite still, and the breeze sank almost
at once, as we were shut in from the sea; when we were surprised to
see the striped Portuguese flag rise off a tall bamboo stick, among
the bushes on the open shore, nearly abreast of us; where a low,
muddy-like wall was to be made out, with something of a thatched
roof or two, and a sort of rude wooden jetty running before it into
the water. Shortly after, Don José came paddling out again, and got
on board, this time with an old cocked hat on, excusing himself for
not having fired a gun--which was to save us expense, he remarked,
being particular friends--seeing that he'd got to demand twelve
dollars of harbour dues and duties, whereas, if he saluted, he must
have charged fourteen. The cool impudence of this brought the chief
officer from the capstan; but the steady face of the fellow, and the
glance he took round the deck when the cadet told him he'd better be
off at once, made me think he had something or other to back him. Mr
Finch, as usual, fumed up into a passion, and told the men to fling
him over into his canoe, which they accordingly did, without the
least nicety about it; the Portuguese next minute picking himself
up, and standing straight, with the look of a perfect devil, as he
shook his fist at the whole ship, while the canoe slid off to the

Budge even so much as a single fathom, at present, we could not;
and most of us were too much in the spirit of fun and venture to
care a fig for having made an enemy of Don José-So-on, as the
cadet called him; indeed, it seemed rather to set a finer point
on people's admiration of the green jungly-looking shore next to
us, with its big aloes and agaves growing before the bush, and
all sorts of cocoas, palms, monkey-bread, and tall white-flaked
cotton-trees, rising in every way out from over the rest. For my
part, I thought more of the Portuguese's _interest_, after all, than
his hatred--which proved correct, by his soon sending out a sulky
message by the mulatto, offering to sell us fowls and a bullock,
at no ordinary price. However, all hands from the cabin were mad
already to get ashore somewhere, and the cadets bristling with
fowling-pieces and rifles, each singing out that he was ready to
supply the whole ship with fresh meat; so the mulatto had to sheer
off, with a boat nearly lowered over his head. From where we lay
at the time, what with the large creek off one bow, and the broad
river ahead of us, spreading brimful along to the light, the water
had the look of a huge lake, fringed in by a confused hazy bluish
outline steeping in the heat, where the distance clipped behind
the lumps of keen verdure, showering over a dark mangrove-covered
point. Before the two large quarter-boats could be got ready for the
ladies and the rest of us, in fact, we heard the gig full of writers
and cadets beginning to pop away at everything they saw alive, out
of sight from the ship; till at last we were afloat, too, pulling
slowly into the middle of the stream, and the men eyeing us lazily
as they turned-to about the rigging, to send up new spars in place
of those lost. The old Indiaman's big bows stood looming up broad
astern of us on the sluggish eddies round her cable, with her tall
steady fore-spars and furled yards rising white against the low line
of marshy shore in the distance, and wavering in her shadow below,
till the thick green branches of the next point shut her out, and
the glare off the face of the creek shot level over all of us in the
two cutters, wild with every kind of feeling that India passengers
could have after two months' voyage.

For my own part, I should have had rather a suspicion how absurd it
was to go a pleasuring in an African river we knew nothing about,
especially when I saw that a day or two so long after the rains
might suck it up, during ebb, into a pretty narrow mid-channel: all
I thought of was, however, that I was steering the boat with Violet
Hyde in it, the kitmagar holding his gaudy punkah over her before
me, while the Judge, with his gun in his hands, was looking out as
eagerly, for the time, as the four griffins were pulling furiously,
in spite of the heat that made the sweat run into their eyes.

The other party were soon off ahead of us up the main river, under
care of the Scotch surgeon, laughing, talking, and holloing in chase
of the cadets who had first left. However, Sir Charles thought there
was more likelihood of game along the creek, and the ladies fancied
it something new, so I steered right into it; the fat midshipman,
Simm, watching me critically as I handled the yokelines which he
had given up to me in a patronising way, and the sailor in the bow
regarding the exertions of the griffins with a knowingly serious
expression, while he dabbled his flipper at ease in the water. As
the tide steadied, this said creek proved to be a smaller river,
apparently from the hilly country I had noticed beyond the woods; by
the clearness of its current, that showed the pale yellow reflection
of the close bamboo-brake on one side, deep down into the light--the
huge sharp green notched aloe-leaves and fern shoving here and
there out of it--the close, rank, stifling smell of rotten weeds
and funguses giving place to the strange wild scent of the flowers,
trailing and twisting in thick snaky coils close up the stems on our
opposite hand, and across from branch to branch, with showers of
crimson and pink blossoms and white stars; till, eager as the ladies
were to put foot on land, 'twas no use looking as yet for a spot of
room, let alone going farther in. The cadets were not long in being
blown, either; when the midshipman, the bowman, and I had to relieve
them. However, _then_ I could look straight toward Violet Hyde's
face, the shade of the scarlet punkah hanging over it, and her soft
little straight nose and forehead catching a flickering burst from
the leaves as we sheered at times under cover of the bank; while her
eyelids, dropping from the glare, gave her bright eyes a half-sleepy
sort of violet look, and it was only her lips that let you see how
excited she felt. The griffin who had the tiller steering with the
judgment of a tailor's 'prentice on a picnic to Twickenham, we came
two or three times crash into the twigs of some half-sunk tree;
then a blue bird like a heron would rise direct ahead of us, with
its tall wet spindle legs and spurs glistening like steel behind
it into the light, and a young snake in its sharp bill; or a gray
crane rustled out of the cane from overhead, its long wings creaking
in the air out of our sight. Suddenly you heard a long chirruping
croak from a tree-frog, and the ground ones gave full chorus from
farther in, whining and cackling, and peep-peep-peeping in one
complete rush that died as suddenly away again, like thousands of
young turkeys--then out in the midst of the quiet would come a loud
clear wheetle-wheetling note from some curious fowl in an opening,
with another of the same to match, dimmer amongst the thick of the
bush. However everything of the kind seemed to sink down with the
heat at noon, the very buzz of flies round every dark feather of
the cocoas, and the musquito hum along the bank, getting fainter;
till one _heard_ the heat, as it were, creeping and thrilling down
through the woods, with the green light that steeped into both edges
of the long creek; every reed, cane, leaf, and twig, seemingly, at
last giving it back again with a whispering, hushing crackle, and
the broad fans of the palms tingling in it with rays from them, as
they trembled before you in the glare, back into the high bundles of
knotted and jointed bamboo, with their spiky-tufted crowns.

"Can you not almost _feel_ the forest grow!" exclaimed Miss Hyde;
while the boat floated quietly to one side, and her charming young
face shining out from the punkah, before Master Gopaul's deucedly
ugly one, coolly staring past his snub nose, made one think of a
white English rose and a black puff-ball growing together under a
toadstool; plenty of which, as red as soldiers' coats, and as big as
targets, looked here and there out of the bank. It put new spirit
into me to see her, but still we could do little more than shove
across from one side to the other--till something all at once roused
us up in the shape of a long scaly-like log, seemingly lying along
in the sun, which tumbled off the edge with a loud splash, and two
of the young fellows let drive from their fowling-pieces, just after
the alligator had sunk to the bottom. Rather uncomfortable it was
to come sheering right over him next moment, and catch a glimpse
of his round red eyes and his yellow throat, as the mud and weeds
rose over him. The other ladies shrieked, but Violet Hyde only
caught hold of her father's arm and started back; though her blue
eye and the clear cut of her pretty nostril opened out, too, for
the moment her lips closed. Five minutes after, when a couple of
large guinea-fowl sprang up, Sir Charles proved himself a better
shot than the cadets, by dropping one of them over the water ahead
of us, which was laid hold of by the reefer of the Indiaman, and
stowed away fluttering into the stern-locker--Simm observing coolly
that it was a scavengering carrion-sort of bird, but perhaps one of
his messmates might like to take it home stuffed to his sister. The
Judge merely smiled and patted the mid on the shoulder, remarking
in great good-humour that he, Simm, would make a good attorney; and
on we held, soaking to our shirts and panting, until the bowman
hooked down the stem of a young plantain, with a huge bunch of full
ripe yellow bananas under the long flapping leaves at its head,
right into the midst of us, out of a whole clump of them, where
the smooth face of the cove showed you their scarlet clusters of
flowers and green round pods hanging over it, hidden as they were
from above. Every man of us made a clutch, and the stem almost
lifted Simm out of the boat with it, as it sprang back into the
brake, rousing out a shower of gaudy-coloured butterflies, and a
cloud of musquitoes, and making the paroquets scream inside; while
the cadets' mouths were so full they couldn't speak, the reefer
making a gulp with the juice seeming to come out at his eyes, the
sailor spitting out his quid and stuffing in a banana, and the
ladies hoping they were safe to eat; as I peeled the soft yellow
rind off, and handed one to Violet Hyde, which she tasted at once.
But if ever one enters into the heart of things in the tropics, I'd
say 'tis when that same delicious taste melts through and through
and all over you, after chewing salt junk for a space. I remember
one foremast-man, who was always so drunk ashore he used to remember
nothing in India but "_scoffing_[20] one bloody benanny," as he
called it; "but hows'ever, Jack," he'd say, "'twas blessed good, ye
know, and I'm on the look-out for a berth again, jist for to go and
have another." One of us looked to the other, and Miss Hyde laughed
and coloured a bit when I offered her a second, while her father
said full five minutes after, "'Gad, Violet, it almost made me think
I saw Garden Reach in the Hooghly, and the Baboo's Ghaut!"

  [20] _Anglicè_, eating.

This whole time we couldn't have got more than three-quarters of a
mile from where the ship lay, when all at once the close growth on
our left hand began to break into low bush, and at length a spot
offered where we might get ashore tolerably, with two or three big
red ant-hills heaped up out of the close prickly-pear plant, and the
black ants streaming over the bank, as well as up the trunk of a
large tree. The monkies were keeping up a chattering stir everywhere
about; and two or three bright-green little lizards changing into
purple, and back again, as they lay gleaming in the sun on the sides
of the ant-heaps, and darted their long tongues out like silver
bodkins at the ants coming past. In we shoved with a cheer, and had
scarce moored to the tree ere the ladies were being handed out and
tripping over the ground-leaves to the ankles, starting on again
at every rustle and prick, for fear of snakes; till the bowman in
charge was left in the boat by himself, and, there being seven of us
with guns over our arms, the next notion of the griffins was to get
a sight of some "natives."

In fact there was a sort of a half track leading off near the bank,
through among the long coarse grass and the ferny sprouts of young
cocoas, and a wide stretch of open country seen beyond it, dotted
all over with low clumps of trees and bush rounded off in the
gush of light, that gave it all a straw-coloured tint up to where
a bare reddish-looking ridge of hill looked over a long swell of
wild forest, off a hot, pale, cloudless sky. Here and there you saw
the shadow of one bluff lying purple on the side of another, and a
faint blue peak between, letting north'ard into some pass through
the hills, but no signs of life save a few dun big-headed buffaloes
feeding about a swampy spot not very far off, and rather too shaggy,
by all appearance, to make pleasant company. Accordingly, we held
for a few yards under the shade, where the fat mid, thinking to
show off his knowingness by getting cocoa-nuts for the ladies,
began to shy balls of mud from the creek-side at the monkeys in the
trees. However, he brought us rather more than he bargained for,
till the whole blessed jungle seemed to be gathering between us and
the boat to pelt us to death with nuts as big as eighteen-pound
shot, husks and all; so off we had to hurry into the glare again,
Sir Charles half carrying his daughter through guinea-grass up to
the waist--when somebody felt the smell of smoke, and next minute
we broke out near it, wreathing up white from inside a high bamboo
fence, propped up and tied all along with cocoa-nut husk. "What
the devil!" shouted the foremost cadet, as soon as he found the
opening, "they're cannibals!--roasting a black child, by heaven!"
and in he dashed, being no chicken of a fellow _ashore_ at any
rate, the others after him, while the Judge, Simm, and I, kept
outside with the ladies, who were all of a shudder, of course, what
with the thought, and what with the queer scent of roast meat that
came to us. "Ha, ha!" laughed the cadet next moment, "it's only a
monkey, after all!--come in, though, Sir Charles, if you please,
sir,--nobody here, ladies." There, accordingly, was the little
skinned object twirling slowly between two bamboo sticks, over a
fire beneath two or three immense green leaves on a frame, with its
knees up not to let its legs burn; about a dozen half-open sheds and
huts, like little corn-stacks, thatched close with reeds, and hung
with wattled mats of split bamboo, giving the place more the look
of a farmyard than a village; as there was a big tree spreading in
the middle, a few plantains, yams, and long maize-stalks flowering
out of the coarse guinea-grass which the niggers hadn't taken the
trouble to tread down all round inside of the fence. However, we
weren't long of perceiving an old gray-headed black sitting on his
hams against the post of a hut, watching us all the time; and a
villanously ugly old thief he looked, with a string of Aggry beads
about his head, and a greegree charm-bag hung round his shrivelled
neck, which was stuck through a hole in some striped piece of stuff
that fell over to his knees, as he sat mumbling and croaking to
himself, and leering out of the yellows of his eyes, though too
helpless to stir. Something out of the way attracted my notice,
glittering in front of the hut over his head; but, on stepping up to
it, I wasn't a little surprised to find it the stern-board of some
small vessel or other, with the tarnished gilt ornament all round,
and the name in large white letters,--"Martha Cobb,"--the port,
Boston, still to be made out, smaller, below. This I didn't think
so much of in itself, as the craft might have been lost; till, on
noticing that the old fellow's robe was neither more nor less than
a torn American ensign, in spite of his growls and croaks I walked
past him into the hut, where there was a whole lot of marlinspikes,
keys, and such like odds and ends, carefully stored up in a bag,
marked with the same name, besides a stewpan with some ostrich
feathers stuck where the handle had been, as if this rascally black
sinner wore it on his head on state occasions, being probably the
head-man and a justice of the peace! What struck me most, though,
was a pocket-book with a letter inside it, in a woman's hand,
addressed to the master of the brig Martha Cobb; dated a dozen years
before, yellow and fusty, and with tarry finger-marks on it, as if
the poor skipper, God knows, had read it over and over in his cabin
many a fresh breeze betwixt there and Boston. I put it in my pocket,
with a curse to the old black devil, as he croaked out and fell on
his face trying to bite me with his filed teeth when I passed out,
to follow the rest out of the bamboo pen; wondering, of course,
where all the negroes could be, unless they were dodging about the
river shore to watch the Indiaman,--little chance as there was of
their trying the same joke with the Seringapatam, as with the Martha

As for the women, however, I had scarce joined our party going out,
when we met a half-naked black hag with a bunch of cocoa-nuts and
husk. The moment she saw us she gave a squeal like an old hen, and
fell flat, while several younger ones, jogging along with their
naked black picaninnies on their backs, turned tail and were off
with a scream. Next minute we were almost as startled as they could
be, when three plump young jetty damsels dropped down right into the
bushes alongside of us, off as many tall cocoas which they'd been
climbing by a band round them, for the nuts. "Mercy on us!" said
the eldest of our lady-passengers: and it _was_ rather queer, since
they had nothing earthly upon them save very very short pet--I beg
your pardon ma'am, but I didn't know any other word--however off
they scampered for the woods, Simm and one of the cadets hard after
them, and we turning away to smother our laughter, especially as the
griffin had forgot his mother being with us. The middy being first
started, he was a good way ahead, when all at once the sternmost
of the black girls tripped in the band she had over her shoulder,
Simm giving a cheer as he made prize of his chase; but scarce before
the whole three of the dark beauties had him smothered up amongst
them, laughing, yelling, and squalling as they hauled him about;
till I saw the dirk Simm sported glitter in one of their hands, and
I made towards the spot in the notion of their finishing him in
right earnest. The black damsels ran off together as the unlucky
reefer picked himself up, coming to us with his hair rubbed up
like a brush, his cap out of shape in his hand and the gold band
off it, his red face shining, and all the gilt anchor-buttons off
his jacket, besides being minus his dirk. "Simm! Simm! my fine
fellow!" said his friend the cadet, like to die with laughing,
"what--what--did they do to you? why, your head looks like a
chimney-sweep's mop!" Simm knocked his cap against a tree to set it
right, without a word, and we followed the others to the boat, where
he swore, however, that he'd kissed 'em all three; at which Mrs
Atkins fairly took him a slap on the side of the head, saying he was
a nasty improper boy, and she was glad _his_ poor mother couldn't
see him run after creatures of that kind in African woods--"Natives,
indeed!" said she, "I have heard so often of native modesty, too,
in books; but, after all, there's nothing like experience, I think,
Sir Charles?" "Certainly not, ma'am," replied the Judge, humouring
her, as she hadn't often had the chance of speaking to him before;
"'tis almost as bad in India, though, you know!" "Oh, _there_, Sir
Charles," said the lady, "I never happened to go out, of course,
except in the carriage!" "Ah," said the Judge coolly, "you should
try an elephant sometimes, ma'am."

After this, as Sir Charles was bent on getting a shot at something
better, with a glass or two of Madeira to refresh us, we pulled
farther still up the small river, passing the mouth of a deep marshy
inlet, where I noticed a few long canoes belonging to the Congo
village we had seen; the close, heavy heat of the woods getting if
possible worse, and the rank green growth topping up round us as
flat as before; when the sound of a loud rush of water up-stream
broke upon us through the bush to northward, the surface rippling,
and a slight cool breath seeming to flutter across it now and then,
the very noise putting fresh soul into you. Suddenly we opened out
on a broad bend where it was hard work to force her round, and next
moment a low fall was gleaming before us, where a hill-stream came
washing and plashing over one wide rocky step above another in the
turn, then sweeping out of a deep pool to both hands, and running
away ahead, in between the spread of trees, seemingly to a sort of
a lagoon, where you saw the light in the middle glancing bright
down upon its face. A broad blue burst of air and light struck
down along the hollow the stream rushed out of, off the roots of
a regular mountain, leaning back to the sky, with its big tufted
knolls and its shady rifts thrown out blue beyond one or two thick
scaly-stemmed date-trees, waving their long, feathery, fringe-like
leaves to the least bit of a breeze, on as many rough points near
at hand: the _whole_ shape of the mountain you couldn't see for
the huge mahogany trees, teak, and African oak, rising up over one
shoulder into a lump of green forest. In five minutes more we were
through into the lagoon, which very possibly took round into the
main river again, only the opposite end, to our surprise, was all
afloat with logs of big timber choking it up, so that there we must
stick or go back upon our wake.

However, the lagoon itself being broad enough and round enough in
all conscience, with a deep hollow opening up out of it on the high
ground, the Judge and the cadets thought a better place couldn't
have been chosen for landing after a little sport, while we left
the fair ladies to rest in the cool, and look at the lotus-lilies
spread all over one cove of it, floating white on their large
leaves. The green edge of scum ran about the black shadow on the
rest of it, gathering round where a big branch or two had fallen
in, with the hot white sky looking bluer out through the broad
leaves coming together aloft, and the showers of little sharp ones
in the tamarind twigs, mangoes, iron-wood, sumach, and all sorts;
while here and there a knot of crimson blossoms looked out from
under the boughs in the dark, humming with small flies. Beautiful
spot as it was everyway, especially after the heat, yet I didn't
much like the idea of letting the ladies stay by themselves, except
the sailor and the kitmagar. Nothing particular had turned up to
trouble us, certainly; but I daresay 'twas because there was _one_
of them I never looked at without her soft fairy-like air making me
think of something that might happen to her, life-like though she
seemed. When I saw a big branch over her head, I kept fancying what
it would do if it fell-- and now, the thumping slabs and stones we
scrambled over up into the gully toward the mountain, seemed to have
come tumbling down off it to the very water's edge, covered with
nets of thick creeping plants, and trails of flat fingery-leaved
flowers, such as you see in hot-houses at home. A few yards higher,
too, where the ground broke away into a slanting hollow out of the
bush, 'twas all trampled and crushed, half-withering together in
the heat of the sun, the young trees twisted and broken, and two
or three good-sized ones lying out from the roots, which I set to
the score of the timberers rolling down their logs, for some craft
that evidently got their cargoes hereaway. After all, the thought of
a slap at some wild game was tempting enough, the Judge appearing
to consider any one but a sportsman nobody at all: so up we went
behind him out of the gully, till we were all blowing like so many
porpoises on the head of it, Sir Charles raising his finger as we
peeped across a grassy slope right under us, where a whole drove
of small slender-legged antelopes were feeding. We had just time
to rest, getting a breath of air off the heights, when one of the
foremost lifted its head, listening the opposite way from us; next
moment the entire scatter of them came sweeping direct over to
leeward in a string,--we could almost catch their bright black eyes
through the grass, when the crack of our seven barrels turned them
bolt off at a corner, and they were gone like wind on water. All of
us had missed save Sir Charles Hyde; but his rifle-bullet had sent
one of the antelopes springing up in the air ten feet or so, rolling
over and over into the grass again, where we found it lying with its
tongue out, and its large eye glazing amongst the blades and dust--a
pair of huge turkey-buzzards falling, as it were, out of two specks
in the sun above us, already, and rising with an ugly flap while we
got round the dead creature.

"Hallo!" said the mid, suddenly, looking back over toward the hollow
we'd come out of; "what's that?"

From where we stood we could just see through the wild cane to the
mouth of the gully, half a mile down or more, leading upon the trees
by the lagoon. I thought I could hear a dull heavy sound now and
then going thump thump down the hollow and along it, the stones
rumbling from one spot to another at the root of the hill; but
noticing a light smoke rising farther into the course of the creek,
with a faint echo of axes at work somewhere in the woods below, I
wasn't sorry to find the timberers were still in the river, showing
we weren't the only civilised folks that thought it fit to visit.
Perhaps it might have been a quarter of an hour more, however, and
we were all looking out sharp for birds of any kind to pop at,
happening to turn my head, I saw the long reeds were moving about
the banks below, and the trees twisting about furiously; and no
sooner had I made a few paces than, good heavens!--right in the
break of the trees at the landing-place--_there_ was a huge brute
of some sort coming slowly up out of the water; then another, and
another, glistening wet in the bright light as the shadow of the
branches slipped behind them. A blindness came over my eyes, and
I had scarce time to make out the big block-like heads and moving
trunks of five or six black African elephants, ere the whole case
flashed upon me, and away I dashed full speed down the slope. The
big beasts were turning quietly off into the hollow, and two or
three of their calves trotted after them out of the bushes, munching
the young cane-stalks as they lifted their pillars of legs, and
their tufty little tails, when I passed a fire of sticks blazing
under a slab of rock, with the Judge's guinea-fowl plucked and
roasting before it from a string, the bowman's tarpaulin and his
pipe lying near by--a sight that doubled the horror in me, to know
he had left the boat at all; and no doubt, as I thought, taken
fright and run off, man-o'-war's-man though he was. I made three
springs over the stones down to the water, terrified to look in,
hearing it, as I did, splash and wash about the sides, up among the
leaves of the trees; while a couple of monstrous brutes were to be
seen by the light in the midst of it, still wallowing about, and
seeming to enjoy sending the whole pool in wide rings and waves as
far as it would go, with the noise besides: the one half swimming,
and the biggest standing aground as he poured the water out of his
long trunk all over his back, then broke off a branch and waved it
to and fro like a fan round his flapping leathery ears.

Such a moment I hope never to know again--not the least sign of the
boat could I see in the green black blink of the place, after the
glare above; and I stood like a madman at the thought of what the
herd of monsters had _done_, when they came suddenly down upon it;
then I gave a wild cry, and levelled my ship's musket at the big
elephant's head, as he brought his small cunning eye slowly to bear
upon me, dropped the branch, and began to swing his forehead, all
the time looking at me and wading out to the shallow--by Jove! my
flesh creeps at it _just now_--though I couldn't have stirred for
worlds till he was close enough for me to fire into that devilish
eye of his. 'Twas no more than the matter of half a minute--till
you may fancy what I felt to catch sight all at once of the cutter
splashing up and down in the gloom below the branches, the ladies
and the Hindoo crouching down terrified together, except Violet
Hyde, who stood straight, holding the boat firm in by a bough, her
white face fixed through the shadow, and her hair floating out of
her straw-bonnet each time her head went up among the leaves, with
her glittering eyes on the two elephants. Suddenly some heavy black
figure dropped almost right over her into the boat, and she let go
with a low cry, and sank down with her hands over her eyes; when
they went sheering out towards the creek, the fore-topman handling
his boat-hook in her bow, without his tarpaulin. As for the wild
elephants, I had just time to come to myself before the foremost had
his feet on the stones below me, getting cautiously out of the pool;
these awkward antics of theirs being possibly signs of too much
satisfaction in a bathe, for them to show aught like fury, if you
didn't rouse them; so I was slipping quietly round the nearest tree
when I heard the cadets halloing up the hill. The old bull-elephant
seemed a dangerous customer to meet, and I was hurrying over the
dead grass and branches to give warning, just as Sir Charles Hyde
could be seen coming down before the rest, his rifle over his
shoulder. However he brought up, the moment I sang out to stop: both
the elephants were stalking off lower down into the hollow, and I
dropped behind the slab where Tom Wilkes had been roasting his bird,
when some fool of a cadet let drive at the bull-elephant from above,
hitting him fair on the front. You heard the rifle-bullet hit slap
against it as if on an anvil: the she-elephant made off at a fast
trot, but the big brute himself turned round on the moment, lifting
his trunk straight aloft with a sharp trumpeting scream through it,
and looked round till his small red eye lighted on the Judge, who
seemed quite out of breath from his sport.

"The fire! that fire, for God's sake, Mr Westwood, else I am lost!"
called out Sir Charles, in a calm distinct key from where he stood
with his eye fixed on the elephant, and could see me, too,--a moment
or two before the huge round-backed lump of a brute came running
round into the track, stumbling heavily up the dead branches of
the fallen trees and the dry guinea-grass, with a savage roar
between his two white tusks--and I saw what the Judge meant, just
in time to throw over the whole heap of flaming cocoa-tree husk
among the withered grass and stuff a few yards before the monster,
as dry as tinder, while the light air coming down the gully of
the mountain, drove it spreading across his course up through the
twigs, and sweeping in one sudden gust of fire up to the very end
of his trunk. I saw it lift over the smoke like a black serpent,
then another scream from the brute, and away he was charging into
the hollow again, the flame licking up among the grass astern of
him, and darting from one bough to another towards the cane-brake
below. I had scarce drawn a long breath, and remembered the devil's
own thought that had come into my head when the Judge called to me,
ere he slapped me on the shoulder. "You did nobly there, my dear
boy," said Sir Charles; "managed it well! 'Gad, it was a crisis,
though, Mr Westwood!" "I'm afraid, however, sir," said I, eying the
crackling bushes, smoking and whitening to a dead smoulder in the
sunlight, then flashing farther down as the hill-breeze rustled off,
"I'm afraid we shall have the woods burning about our ears!" Down
we hurried accordingly, and hailed the cutter, where scarce had we
leisure to pass a few quick words and tumble in, before I heard a
shout beyond the other turn of the creek, through the end of the
lagoon; then something like the cheep of ropes through blocks, with
the bustle of men's feet on a deck, and next minute a perfect hubbub
of cries, whether Dutch, Portuguese, English, or all together, I
couldn't say,--only it wasn't likely the _last_ would kick up such
a bother for nothing. Four or five Kroomen came leaping round and
along the float of logs at the far end, their large straw hats
shining in the light over their jet faces, as they peered across
into the lagoon. The minute after they vanished, we saw the white
upper spars of a schooner slide above the farthest of the wood, and
her bowsprit shoved past the turn just enough to show her sharp
lead-coloured bow, with the mouth of a gun out of a port, and a
fellow blowing the red end of his match behind it. All at once the
chorus of shouts and cries ceased, and a single voice sang out along
the water, clear, stern, and startling, in bad Portuguese, "_Queren
sieté?_ who are you?" Still we gave no answer, quietly shoving off
as fast as we could, the flicker of the fire in the brake behind
the trees beginning to show itself through the black shade of the
lagoon. "_Queren siete?_" sang out the voice, louder than before, in
a threatening way, and the logs were knocking and plashing before
the schooner as the Kroomen hauled at them to make an opening.
"Amigos! Amigos!" hailed we in turn; "Ingleses, gentlemen!" shouted
the cadet who knew Portuguese, calling to them not to fire, for
heaven-sake, else they would do us some harm. With this, the hubbub
was worse than before; they plainly had some design on us, from the
confusion that got up; but by that time we were pulling hard into
the narrow of the river, and took the fair current of it as soon as
the boat was past the falling stream we had seen before, till we
were round into the next reach.

In fact the rate we all bent our backs at this time, was pretty
different from coming up: the cadets seemed hardly to feel the heat,
fierce and close though it was, at thought of those that might be
in our wake, and nobody spoke a word at ease till at last, after an
hour's hard work, taking it in turns, we came full in sight of the
Indiaman at her anchor on the broad current. The ladies blessed the
very ropes hanging from her bowsprit, and we got safe aboard, where
we found the two other boats had come back long before; and every
one of us turned in directly after sundown, as tired as dogs.

Well, I didn't suppose I had slept an hour, dreaming terribly wild
sort of dreams about Violet Hyde and elephants, then that I'd saved
her myself, and was stooping to kiss her rosy lips, when a sudden
noise on deck startled me,--I shoved myself into my clothes and
rushed on the quarterdeck. She had gone aground at her stern in
swinging, in the water the Portuguese rascal gave her, canted a
little over to starboard, away from the shore; and till morning
flood nothing could be done to haul her off. The fog was rolling
down with the land-breeze, and the jabber in the woods, again,
thickened the confusion; when all at once a dim flash off the shore
glimmered in the white fog, and a round-shot whistled just astern,
pretty well aimed for her bilge, which would have cost us some work
if it had hit. After that, however, there was no more of it, the
fellow probably having spent either all his powder or his balls. As
for his fort, I heard the chief officer swearing he would knock it
about his ears next day--a thing that couldn't have done him much
harm, certainly, unless mud were dear.

No sooner had the men gone below, leaving the ordinary anchor-watch,
than Mr Finch, to my great surprise, walked up to me, and gave me a
strange suspicious look, hinting that he began to have a good guess
of what I really was, but if anything new of the kind turned up,
said he, he should know better what to say to me. "Mr Finch," said
I, starting, "this won't do, sir--you'll either speak your mind
before cabin and cuddy, or to-morrow morning, by Jove! you'll go
quietly ashore with me, sir--as I think, now you remind me of it, we
settled to do, already!" The mate's face whitened, and he eyed me
with a glare of malice, as I turned on my heel and began to walk the
quarterdeck till he went below.

However, the thought of the thing stuck to me, and I kept walking in
the dark to get rid of it: the four or five men of the anchor-watch
shuffling lazily about, and all thick save ahead up the river,
where the land-breeze blew pretty strong, bringing now and then a
faint gleam out of the mist. I was leaning against the fore-chains,
listening to the ebb-tide, and thinking; when I saw one of the men
creeping in from the bowsprit, which you just saw, where it ran
up thick into the dusk, with scarce a glimpse of the jib-boom and
flying-jib-boom beyond. The sailor came up touching his hat to me,
and said he thought he saw something queer off the boom-end. "Well,"
said I gruffly, "go and tell your mate, then." I didn't know the
fellow's voice, though it had a particular twang in it, and he
wasn't in Jacob's watch, I knew. "Why, your honour," he persisted,
"I knows pretty well what you air--asking your pardon, sir--but I
think you'd make more out of it nor any of the mates!--It's some'at
rather skeary, sir!" added he. Accordingly I took hold of the
man-ropes and swung myself up the bowsprit, and had my feet on the
foot-rope below the jib-boom, when I heard his breath, following
behind me. "Never you trouble yourself, my man," said I; "one at a
time!" and back he went in board again--for something curious in
his way struck me, but I wanted to see what he meant. I had just
got near the flying-jib, half-stowed in as it was on the boom, and
I fancied, with a creep of my blood in me, I made out a man's head
over the sail; but next moment a hand like a vice caught me by
the throat, and some one growled out--"Now ye infarnal man-o'-war
hound, I have ye--and down you goes for it!" The instant I _felt_
it, my coolness came back; as for grappling, I couldn't, and the
ebb current ran below to her bows at a rate fit to carry one out
to sea in half an hour. I saw the whole plot in a twinkling, and
never moved; instead of that I gave a sort of laugh, and followed
the husky twang of the other man to a tee. "He won't come, Harry, my
lad!" said I, and my ugly friend let go before he had time to think
twice. "He be blowed!" said Harry, scornfully; "an' why won't he,
mate?" He had scarce the words out of his mouth, though, ere I took
him a twist that doubled him over the spar, and down he slipped,
hanging by a clutch of the sail. "I suppose, my fine fellow,"
said I, "you forgot Fernando Po, and those nigger adventures of
yours--eh?"--and I went in without more ado.

I hadn't been ten minutes on deck, however, when I heard both of
them swearing something or other to the first mate. A little after
Finch came forward to me, with a ship's-lantern, and three or four
of the men behind. "Mr Collins, or whatever's your name, sir," said
he aloud, "I believe you've been seen just now at the bowsprit-end,
making signals or something to the shore! You're in arrest at once,
sir, and no more about it!" "What the deuce!" said I, my blood up,
and pulling out a pair of pocket-pistols I had had in the boat,
"let me see the man to--" At the moment a blow of a handspike from
near the mast laid me senseless on the deck, and I knew nothing
more.----But I see 'tis too far gone in the night to carry out the
yarn, ladies!


"I do say it is for the public advantage that I should say to
him, (the farmer,) continue your improvements: I cannot undertake
to guarantee to you, by legislation, a particular price; BUT
Robert Peel in February 1842, as the proposer of an excellent law
for the improved regulation of the corn trade. The pledge was a
distinct one; and the very homeliness of the language saves it
from equivocal construction. In the course of the same debate, Sir
Robert, with just and prudent caution, expressly abstained from
committing himself to the obviously fallacious doctrine of a fixed
remunerative price. He held, as we hold, that, according to varying
circumstances, that remunerating price must vary. He did not, and
could not, forget that, under war prices and war taxes, wheat could
not be cultivated with profit in this country, unless the quarter
sold for 80s.; neither was he blind to the fact, that we had seen
the average price so low in 1835 as 39s. 4d., notwithstanding
the operation of a highly protective law. But he also held that,
although it was impossible, with all the aids which agricultural
experiment and statistical science could bring, to fix an immutable
price for the quarter of wheat--as he had previously done in the
instance of the ounce of gold--still, from averages taken throughout
the country for a series of years, it was possible to frame some
general proximate conclusion, which the legislature was bound to
keep in mind, whilst considering any laws or alterations of rates
that might hereafter affect the interests of the British farmer. So
that, when Sir Robert Peel enunciated the following opinions, we
maintain that the principle which guided him was strictly correct;
and we accept these as embodying the main argument that led to the
conclusion, which we have placed above as the commencement and
the text of this article. "Now, with reference to the probable
remunerating price, I should say that, for the protection of the
agricultural interest, as far as I can possibly form a judgment,
if the price of wheat in this country, allowing for its natural
oscillations, could be limited to some such amount as between 54s.
and 58s., I do not believe that it is for the interest of the
agriculturist that it should be higher. Take the average of the last
ten years, excluding from some portion of the average the extreme
prices of the last three years, and 56s. would be found to be the
average; and so far as I can form an idea of what would constitute
a fair remunerating price, I, FOR ONE, SHOULD NEVER WISH TO SEE IT
VARY MORE THAN I HAVE SAID. I cannot say, on the other hand, that I
am able to see any great or permanent advantage to be derived from
the diminution of the price of corn _beyond the lowest amount I
have named_, if I look at the subject in connexion with the general
position of the country, the existing relations of landlord and
tenant, the burdens upon the land, and the habits of the country."

These opinions are quite distinct, and from them we gather that Sir
Robert Peel, in 1842, considered that, on an average, 54s. was the
lowest price at which the British farmer could raise wheat for the
market--so long, at least, as he was liable to the same burdens as
formerly, occupied the same position in the country, and paid the
same rent to his landlord. Following out these views, Sir Robert
Peel introduced his sliding-scale of duties, and the result would
seem in a great measure to vindicate his sagacity. Let us take the
averages for the six years immediately following:--

            _s._  _d._
  1842,      57     3
  1843,      50     1
  1844,      51     3
  1845,      50    10
  1846,      54     8
  1847,      69     9
          6)333    10
             55     7-2/3

It will thus be seen that the average price of wheat, during those
years, _was within fivepence_ of the calculation made by Sir Robert
as the fair and natural average for the preceding ten years, and
that it almost hit the precise medium between the two extremes which
he assumed.

Now, we are not aware that Sir Robert Peel has ever _directly_
retracted these opinions, although many passages might be
quoted from his speeches to show that he considered increased
cheapness--the necessary result of his free-trade measures--some
sort of compensation for the probable decline in the value of
agricultural produce. But the income-tax and increased public
burdens may fairly be set against any saving on the ground of
cheapness, and the question remains precisely where it was before.
The averages of sixteen years, excluding extraordinary impulses to
an unnatural rise or fall, entitle us to assume that the British
farmer cannot raise wheat profitably at lower prices than 56s.
per quarter; and Sir Robert Peel, whatever may be the effect of
his subsequent measures, once gave his solemn guarantee that,
when prices should fall below 51s., there should be no foreign

We have no desire to rake up old matters of discussion, or to
reflect upon pledges which may either have lapsed or been broken.
Our present business with Sir Robert is simply to have his evidence
as to the remunerating prices of corn, and that evidence we have
stated above. We are, therefore, entitled to assume that any great
and permanent decline of prices, following upon increased foreign
imports, must have a most deleterious effect upon the agriculture
of the country, unless some remedy can be found which shall lessen
the cost of production. As usual, there is no lack of volunteers
to suggest remedies. Dr Buckland, of iguanodon and icthyosaurus
celebrity, discourses learnedly of subsoils and manures, and offers
to show how acres of wheat may be raised upon soils hitherto
yielding no other crop than rushes, ling, or heather. It is the
misfortune of scientific men that they live in a world of their
own; for, had the learned fossilist been aware of what has been
passing around for the last twenty years, he would have known that
no sane person ever questioned the truth of his assertions. With
the aid of draining, manure, and other artificial appliances, corn
may be grown almost anywhere within the compass of the British
islands. No man disputes that. The simple question is: Will the
corn, when grown, yield a fair return for the expenses attendant
upon its growth? Until the geologists and chemists have acquired
so much real practical knowledge as to be able to answer this
query satisfactorily, they will best consult the public interest
by confining themselves to their quarries and their laboratories.
That agriculturist who should deny the advantages which his own
science has derived from the aid of chemistry, would not only be
an ungrateful, but an exceedingly unreasonable man; nevertheless,
he cannot be charged with either ingratitude or folly if, after
calculating the cost of the productive agent, and the value of the
produce, he declines to expend his capital in forced improvements,
which at the end of the year, and with diminished prices, must leave
him a considerable loser. If high farming could be shown to be
productive, high farming would be the rule and not the exception. In
Scotland we have farmed so high, that we are quoted at all hands as
an example to the rest of the world. If we mistake not, Dr Buckland
himself, in some of his stimulating addresses, has referred to the
agricultural system of the Lothians as a specimen, or rather _the_
specimen, of what may be achieved by science combined with energy.
We accept the compliment; and in the course of the following pages
we shall endeavour to show him, and his friends, how the pattern
farmer is likely to fare, and how he has fared already, under the
operation of the new code which modern liberalism has introduced for
the encouragement of British enterprise.

Next to the chemists, and moving closely in their wake, come the
free-trading landlords who assented to the great experiment. If
we select Lords Ducie and Kinnaird as fair specimens of this
class in England and in Scotland, we shall do no more than give
that prominence to their names which is challenged by their
late assertions. Our occupancy of the Scottish field, from which
we are unwilling to depart, precludes us from entering into any
investigation of the views promulgated by the English earl. But we
have no scruple at all in dealing with the Scottish baron, who,
in the letter of advice addressed to his tenantry of the Carse
of Gowrie, has taken infinite pains to show that the superior
husbandry of Scotland has been stimulated, if not created, by the
exaction of high rents; and, by an easy corollary, that future
improvement depends mainly upon the maintenance of these rents,
irrespective altogether of the decline in the value of produce!
This, we are bound to admit, is a comfortable landlord's theory;
and, if the agricultural tenants who frequent the reading-room
at Inchture are convinced of its practical soundness, we should
be extremely sorry to utter a single word which might tend to
unsettle their faith. But we fear that Lord Kinnaird, like many
other inconsiderate individuals, has committed a serious mistake in
rushing precipitately into print. We agree with him, on the whole,
that rent is a desirable thing, which ought not, under ordinary
circumstances, to be violently diminished; still we must adhere to
our deliberate opinion, that, if a great organic change, affecting
the interests of agriculture to a serious degree, is consequent
upon any measures of the legislature, both landlord and tenant must
be prepared to suffer in a certain ratio. It is all very well to
recommend the aid of chemistry, provided, at the same time, that
adequate capital is forthcoming. Even with capital, to be drawn from
the tenant's, and not the landlord's pocket, it will require more
than mere assertion to persuade the former that, by an enormously
increased outlay in phosphate of lime, sulphuric acid, magnesia,
manganese, gypsum, guano, and what not, he may raise crops the
abundance of which shall compensate him for a direct loss of 16s.
or 20s. on the quarter of wheat, with a corresponding diminution in
the value of every other kind of agricultural produce. Some of those
who, according to Lord Kinnaird, have shown themselves "the best and
most successful farmers," men who have heretofore been engaged in
business--that is, commercial business--may be induced to try the
experiment; but if there be any truth in the reply which Mr Thomas
Ross of Wardheads, a farmer in the Carse of Gowrie, has made to his
lordship's pamphlet, the result of the trials hitherto attempted
by such enterprising persons, upon the Kinnaird estates and in the
immediate neighbourhood, may be best estimated by a perusal of the
_Gazette_, wherein the names of divers unfortunate speculators are
recorded. But, to speak plainly, the time has gone by for any such
absurd trifling. What we want are facts, not theories; least of all,
theories so palpably preposterous as to carry their refutation on
their face.

We do not, by any means, intend to insinuate that Lord Kinnaird
is to be taken as a type of the Scottish or British landlords.
On the contrary, we believe that he forms one of a minority so
infinitesimally small, that the number of them would hardly be
worth the reckoning. The position of the landlord and the tenant
is, on the clearest of all grounds, inseparable; and it is in
vain to suppose that the one class can, by possibility, have a
distinct interest from the other. No doubt, during the currency
of existing leases, entered into before the rapid conversion of
the two great political rivals to the doctrines of free trade,
the landlord may insist upon having the full penalty of his bond,
and may wring the last farthing from the hand of the despairing
farmer. We are living in times when vested interests have lost
their character of sanctity: the legislature, while forcing down
prices, provided no remedy for the relief of those who were tied
up by bargains, reasonable when contracted, but ruinous under the
altered circumstances; and the tenant, though forced to struggle
against the might of foreign importation, has no legal claim on
the proprietor of the soil for a corresponding deduction from his
rent. But the good feeling which has always existed between the
landlords and the tenantry of this country, if we assume no higher
motive, will doubtless operate, in the majority of instances, to
temper the rigour of the bargain, should the pressure continue
to increase; and year after year, as leases expire, and as the
results of practical experience become more generally understood,
competition will disappear, and rents fall to a point exactly
corresponding to the expectation of future prices. It is a bad sign
of the times, though certainly an instructive one, when we find a
wealthy peer, in a letter addressed to his tenantry, expressing
his opinion that retired tradesmen and others--men who have never
handled a plough in their lives, and who are far better versed in
the mysteries of long-stitch than in those of draining--make much
better farmers than those who have been reared to agriculture from
their infancy. According to this view, the farmer is a mere booby
compared to the man whose intellects have been sharpened in the
shop, the counting-house, or the manufactory; and the experience
which he has gained positively unfits him for the actual exercise
of his profession! Such views must be corroborated by the testimony
of deeper sages than Lord Kinnaird, before they pass into general
acceptation; and we cannot help thinking that the noble author
would have used a wise discretion had he been less explicit in his
reasons for preferring the novice to the practised farmer. Besides
their habits of accurate accounting, and their total freedom from
prejudice, retired tradesmen appear valuable, in the eyes of Lord
Kinnaird, for two especial reasons:--"In the first place, that
they have capital; secondly, that they are not afraid to expend
it, knowing that thus alone can their land be made productive." To
such persons we would address a word of warning, cautioning them to
use their acquired powers of accounting rather before than after
they enter into any agricultural bargain; and in particular, we
would advise them to look narrowly to the figures of their noble
encourager, detailing the results of his own experience in the farm
of Mill-hill, brought down, with great show of accuracy, to the
close of 1847--_before_ protection ceased, or prices fell--_but
no later_. In the course of such investigations, they may light
upon an anomaly or so which no arithmetician can explain, and be
rather chary of receiving his lordship's dogmas, that remuneration
from farming is "_not dependent on high prices_," and that "no one
possessing capital need be afraid of investing it in a farm."

The last champion of increased production as an antidote
against free trade, is not the type of a class, but a single
individual--whose testimony, however, being in some respects
practical, is worth more than that of all the chemical doctors and
interested landlords put together. We allude to Mr James Caird,
whose pamphlet, entitled "High Farming under Liberal Covenants,
the best Substitute for Protection," has already excited so much
attention, that, if rumour does not err, its author has been
deputed by government, at the recommendation of Sir Robert Peel,
to visit Ireland with the view of reporting upon the agricultural
capabilities of that country. We shall presently have occasion
to examine the details of that pamphlet, as minutely as their
importance deserves; at present we shall merely note, in passing,
that it does not profess to set forth the results of the author's
_own_ practical experience, although Mr Caird is well known to be
a farmer of great intelligence and ability; and, further, that it
directly points to _liberal covenants_ on the part of the landlord
as an indispensable basis of the arrangement. In fact, therefore,
we find that Lord Kinnaird and Mr Caird, though both writing on the
same side, entertain views widely differing from each other, as to
the future terms of adjustment between the two great agricultural
classes. Lord Kinnaird is for "high rents;" Mr Caird for "liberal
covenants." It is impossible that both of them can be right; and
were we to join issue solely upon the facts which each of them has
adduced, we should have no hesitation in deciding in favour of
the practical farmer. But we apprehend that, even with the aid of
liberal covenants, Mr Caird has failed in making out his case, as we
shall shortly prove, when we proceed to analyse his statements.

We have already made an approximation to the price which, in
ordinary seasons, and under existing burdens and covenants,
grain ought to bear, in order to yield a fair remuneration to the
British grower. That price, as we have already said, has been
held to range from 54s. to 58s. per quarter. This we hold to be a
moderate computation; but if a further limit be desired, we shall
admit--though for argument's sake only--that with great retrenchment
and economy, curtailing his own comforts, but not materially
reducing the wages of the labourer, the farmer may continue to grow
wheat at an average of 50s., and nevertheless pay up his annual
rent as before. A glance at former averages will show that this is
a remarkably low figure; and, _being taken as an average_, it of
course implies the supposition that in some years the price will be
higher, in order to compensate for others in which it may be lower.
Our primary business, therefore, is to ascertain whether, under the
operation of the new system, prices can ever rise, supposing the
present breadth of land to remain in tillage, above this average
amount; or whether they must not permanently diminish so much as to
destroy the vestige of an independent average in this country, and
substitute foreign growing prices for our own. The question is a
very momentous one, for it involves the existence of our national
agriculture, and not only that, but the existence of the larger
portion of the home market for our manufactures, compared with which
our exports are comparatively as nothing. It is our earnest desire
to approach it with all candour, temper, and moderation; and we
shall not, if possible, allow ourselves to be betrayed into a single
angry word, or discourteous expression, towards those who have
differed from us hitherto in opinion. Neither shall we advance or
reiterate opinions upon grounds purely theoretical. Ever since this
contest began, we have taken a decided and consistent part, and have
not scrupled to expose, by argument, what we held to be the glaring
fallacies of free trade. That argument, necessarily inferential at
first, has since been borne out and corroborated by every fact which
has emerged; and, on that account alone, we think we are entitled
to demand a serious consideration of the matter which we now lay
before the public, as the result of an investigation, in the course
of which no pains or trouble have been spared, and which may help to
guide us all, be our politics what they may, to a true sense of the
danger which must immediately arrive, if we remain but a few months
longer in a state of fancied security. Our warning may be derided by
some, but the day of reckoning is at hand.

The first point, therefore, to which we shall entreat attention
is, the prospect of future prices; regarding which we possess some
information that may possibly take the reader by surprise.

The adoption of free-trade principles, as regards the trade in corn,
proceeded upon a false estimate of the precise quantities available
for the supply of this country. Those who, from various motives,
combined for the purpose of allowing the foreigner an unrestrained
competition in the British market, had no idea of the strength
of the power which they had thus evoked; while the fearful and
doubting protectionist, who yielded too soon to the clamour, was
little aware of the extent of the evils which his supineness was
to bring upon him. The statistics of the question were altogether
overlooked--at least no proper means were taken to obtain them in
a faithful manner. The returns made by the foreign consuls, and
the evidence collected as to the ordinary available supplies at
foreign ports, were, in nearly every instance, the mere reflex of
the views of interested parties, furnished to men unable, from their
habits or education, to judge of their approach to accuracy. The
voluminous report of Mr Jacob, which might have been of use as a
warning, at any rate, that cheap food does not always make a happy
and comfortable people, seems to have been forgotten in these latter
days. Hence the theories of those who had some experience in trade,
and whose published opinions on mercantile matters had obtained
credit and celebrity, came to be mainly relied upon. Among these,
the ideas of Mr Tooke, whose authority stands pre-eminently high in
such matters, as to prices, and the quantity of foreign grain which
might, in the event of free trade, find its way to our shores, were
much insisted on. But how far these are erroneous and delusive has
been sadly proved by our experience of the effects of free trade in
corn since 1846.

Mr Tooke says, in the third volume of his work on the _History of
Prices_, in the section entitled, "Conjectures as to the Prices at
which Wheat would range, in the event of Free Trade"--which, under
ordinary circumstances, he assumes to be 45s. per quarter,--"The
quantity which we might look to import, at an average of the price
I have named, might approach to from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 of
quarters." He goes on to say, "If there were to be a fixed duty of
8s. the quarter, I very much doubt whether the annual importation
would reach that quantity;" and afterwards adds, "Before quitting
this point, however, I must observe that my estimate of the price at
which a foreign supply might be expected, of the extent supposed,
may be considered by some of the opponents of the corn laws as
strengthening the ground for the supporters of them, inasmuch as
such statements may be made to work upon the minds of the farmers,
in frightening them with the prospect of cheap foreign corn."

What wonder, then, if the panic has materially increased, since
the history of free trade, for the last three years, has revealed
such a fearful addition to this estimate: for how stands the fact?
In place of 2,000,000 quarters of wheat annually, from the passing
of the Corn-Law Repeal Act (26th June 1846) until the 5th November
1847, a period of little more than sixteen months, we imported
7,229,916 quarters of wheat--while the total of all kinds of grain
entered for consumption amounted to 16,331,282 quarters! Some idea
may be formed of the effects of such an augmented importation, if we
bear in mind that, from 5th July 1828 to 1st Jan. 1841, a period of
nearly thirteen years, the whole quantity of foreign wheat and flour
entered for home consumption was 13,475,000 quarters.

But lest it should be argued that this was a supply produced by
extraordinary circumstances, and which could only be furnished
from accumulations of former seasons--as was, indeed, said at the
time--the further history of the trade has shown us that our foreign
supplies continue to pour in at precisely the same rate. The total
of all kinds of grain and flour entered for consumption in the last
nine months, ending 5th September 1849, as exhibited by the Board of
Trade returns, shows an amount of 9,870,823 quarters, the quantity
of wheat being for this period 3,821,292 quarters; and of wheaten
flour--besides frightening the farmers, bearing ruin to our own
millers--3,236,993 cwt.--together equivalent to quarters of wheat,
4,746,147. And all this, be it observed, has been imported while the
average price per quarter has been _one sixpence only_ above that
named as likely to exclude the approach of more than 1,500,000 or
2,000,000 quarters from our shores! Formerly--in the first years of
the century, up to 1842--the farmer had to contend against a foreign
supply of grain amounting to little more than 1,000,000 quarters
_per annum_--now, in some cases, under obligations contracted on the
faith of protection to native industry, he is called upon to make
the vain struggle against an inundation of foreign corn amounting to
upwards of 1,000,000 quarters _per month_! He cannot, it is evident,
maintain the contest long.

Such were the facts assumed as the basis of our legislation, and
already they stand forth to the public eye as gross and palpable
blunders. The British agriculturist has, beyond all question, been
injured to an extent infinitely greater than was anticipated by any
one--an extent so vast, that, could it have been predicted as a
certainty, the rashest theorist would have recoiled from the danger
of such an experiment.

But we have by no means, as yet, attained the lowest point of
depression. At the close of the year 1849, we take the general
average price of wheat as at 40s. per quarter, and we shall probably
have a breathing time of two or three months, until the Continental
ports are again available for navigation. We shall hereafter
consider whether, under any circumstances, the price which we have
just quoted can remunerate the farmer: in the mean time, let us
see whether it is likely that, in future, even this price can be

It is no easy matter to ascertain the rates at which corn may be
grown on the Continent. The current prices at foreign ports, such
as Hamburg, have, in reality, little bearing upon this most vital
point, though they have been eagerly assumed by the free-traders
as a sure index of future prices. Very little consideration will
show every one that the true way towards forming a fair conclusion
on the subject, is to ascertain, as nearly as may be, the cost
of grain, _not at the ports from whence it issues_, but in the
inland countries where the greater proportion of it is grown. The
reason for this is obvious. Under the old system, when protective
duties were the rule, the demand for foreign corn was exceedingly
fluctuating and uncertain. We never dealt directly with the foreign
grower; but, between him and the British consumer, at least three
profits intervened. There were middlemen, principally Jews, who made
it their regular business to purchase up the superfluity of the
Polish crops on speculation, and to sell it to the Dantzic dealers.
Then came the profit of the latter, and also that of the British
corn-merchant; and, as the trade was notoriously a precarious one,
these profits were of considerable amount. The demand, however,
may now be considered as fixed and steady. Henceforward, under the
operation of free trade, the two considerations of quality and
cheapness must alone regulate the market. Not only the superfluity
of Continental harvests will be available, but new land, of which
there are immense tracts of the finest description, hitherto
untilled, will be put under cultivation, and the produce regularly
transmitted to this country, where a ready market can at all times
be found. The first symptom of this new regular trade will be the
disappearance of one of the intermediate profits. This is not
subject of prophecy; it has already taken place. The foreigners
have now taken the whole of the foreign grain trade exclusively
into their own hands. We are informed by the first corn-merchants
of Leith, that there is not a single order sent for grain from this
country. "The finest Dantzic wheat, free on board," writes one of
our correspondents, "will not be sold to a British merchant for less
than 38s. the quarter; and as no more than 40s. or 41s. could be got
for it here, there is no margin for a profit, and the risk is not
run. But the foreigner will send it on his own account, and sell it
_here_ at 38s. and realise a profit. You thus see that the entire
trade is out of British hands, for the prices of our own grain must
entirely be ruled by those of the foreigner; and the consequence is,
that every bushel sent to this country is on consignment and not to

There still remains another profit, that of the middleman, to be
reduced. The creation of a constant and steady demand from the
foreign ports--which demand cannot be otherwise unless a protective
law is reimposed--will naturally excite the dealers to purchase
directly from the Polish grower. In this way they will have double
profits, without enhancing materially, if at all, the original cost
of the grain; for, in other Continental corn-growing countries,
untilled land may be had to any extent for next to nothing, and no
farming capital, as we understand the word, is required. Here a
remark or two, founded upon past history, may be useful. About a
century and a half ago, or rather about the time of the Revolution
of 1688, the average price of wheat, as stated by Adam Smith,
amounted to 28s. in England. Public burdens were at that time
moderate, and so were poor-rates; still they were of such an amount
as to be felt by the farmer. The wages of the agricultural labourer
were at least seven shillings per week, equal to about 10s. 6d. of
our present money, and the rent of arable land might be estimated
over-head at 5s. 6d. per acre. All these items are enormously
above the rates at present known in the Continental corn-growing
countries, and some of them have no existence there. It is difficult
to get at Polish charges, especially since the late change in our
policy, for we have invariably found that foreign proprietors are
most jealous of disclosing their true domestic position. Nor can
we wonder at this, for the truth, were it broadly told, might tend
materially to check that liberal sympathy, which of late years has
been so abundantly shown to the insurgents of central Europe. We
are, however, fortunately enabled to throw some useful light upon
this matter. Our informant is a Scottish agriculturist, who, some
years ago, was engaged as land-steward on the estates of a Polish
nobleman in Gallicia, and who, therefore, had ample opportunity of
witnessing the foreign system. If the reader glances at the map of
Europe, tracing the course of the Vistula from Dantzic, and then
following the upward line of its tributary, the Bug, he will find
laid down in close proximity the extensive districts of Volhynia,
Podolia, Kiow, Gallicia, and others, formerly Palatinates, which
together constitute the largest, richest, and most productive
corn-field of Europe. Here there are no farmers, and--what is more
strange to us--no free labourers who receive a weekly wage. The land
is tilled for the profit of the owner; a superintendant presides
over it as taskmaster; and the workers of the soil are serfs in the
actual position of slaves, who toil late and early without other
remuneration than the coarse rye bread, and similar fare, which
is necessary to support existence. The manufactures of Manchester
and Sheffield have not found their way into this region, and never
will; because the population, being utterly without means, could
not purchase them, and probably would not were the means within
their power. Their dress is of the most primitive kind, and differs
in no respect from that of tribes utterly barbarous--being chiefly
constructed of the skins of animals. They are hardy, docile,
and exceedingly sensitive to kindness, but as far removed from
civilisation as the tribes of Tartary; and their owners--for that
is the proper term--take especial care that no doctrine shall reach
them which in any way may interfere with the exercise of despotic
rule. In short, they are like so many cattle cultivating the land
for their masters at the bare expense of their keep. To demonstrate
more clearly the difference of the value of labour, we may here
state, on the best authority, that in that district where the finest
wheat, distinctively known as "high-mixed Dantzic," is grown, the
ordinary price of a quarter of wheat will defray the expense of
from forty to forty-five days' work, whilst here it can procure
only from twenty to twenty-five days. The climate is excellent, and
the yield of the soil considerable. Wheat may be grown for several
years successively without manure, and always with comparatively
little work. The produce is floated down the numerous rivers which
intersect the district, to Dantzic and other coast towns on the
Baltic, where it is stored; and these will in future form the
great depots of the grain furnished by central Europe for British
consumption. Contrast this state of matters in modern Poland with
that of England in 1688, when land yielded a considerable rent, when
poor-rates and public burdens were levied, and when the labouring
man received a reasonable wage; and we must arrive at the conclusion
that the remunerating price of wheat in the former country must be
something greatly lower than 28s. per quarter. We are almost afraid
to state our conviction, lest it should appear exaggerated; but
we do not doubt that Polish wheat could be delivered at Dantzic
at 16s., and yet leave a considerable profit to the grower. We
must also note that the variableness of our climate, and the
comparative poorness of our soil, places us at a vast disadvantage
in point of quality, as compared with the southern grower. It can
be established, by consulting the prices-current of Mark Lane
for a series of years, that it would require a differential duty
of 6s. per quarter on wheat, on this account alone, to put the
British farmer on a fair footing with the great bulk of his foreign
competitors. Last season, the difference between the best foreign
and English wheat throughout the year, as proved by the same
authority, was upwards of 10s. per quarter.

We beg it will be distinctly understood, that, in estimating the
remunerative prices of foreign grain, we do not profess to arrive
at more than general conclusions. It matters nothing for or against
our argument whether wheat can be delivered at Dantzic a little
cheaper, or a little dearer, than the above sum. We leave room on
either side for a considerable margin. This much, however, we know
for a fact, that an eminent corn-merchant in Leith has, in former
years, purchased fine wheat, free on board, at Dantzic for 18s.,
with the offer of a constant supply, and that no circumstances have
since then emerged to enhance the cost of production. Besides this,
as Mr Sandars well remarks in one of his published letters, we have
had plain and evident experience of foreign production under the
working of the corn law of 1842. We had a fixed duty of 20s. per
quarter in actual operation for four years; and in 1844 and 1845,
such duty was paid, week after week, and in the latter year for
six months consecutively, at a time when our general averages were
only 46s. to 47s. a quarter. Was the foreigner at that time selling
at a loss? His price, then, adapting itself to ours, was 26s. and
27s., deducting the duty, and at that time, be it remembered, _he
was unprepared for competition_. So that, from experience not five
years old, we may gather what kind of future competition awaits
us, and also what we are annually sacrificing in revenue, by madly
abandoning protection. Does any one believe that, in 1845, had there
been no duty on foreign corn, wheat would have fallen to 26s.,
or the foreigner have sold his crop at that price? The remitted
duty goes into the pocket of the foreigner, who is selling in the
dearest market, and underselling our farmers, as he will be able to
do--for he has tested that ability already--down to a point which
must extinguish British agriculture. We know also from Mr Meek's
report, quoted by Sir Robert Peel in 1842, that "the prices of corn
in Denmark have, during the last twenty-five years, averaged, for
wheat, 28s. 10d., rye, 19s. 9d., barley, 14s., and oats, 10s. 6d.
per quarter," and it is obviously ridiculous to suppose that the
cost of production in Poland is nearly so high as in Denmark and
Schleswig-Holstein. Last year Denmark sent us upwards of a million
quarters of grain. These are facts which have distinctly emerged,
and they are all-important at the present time, when the tenantry
are urged to expend further capital on the chance of future rise
of prices. It is now perfectly clear that the returns, which were
assumed as the basis for the great experiment, are worthy of no
confidence. On the other hand, we do not wish that our opinions,
which point to a totally different result, should influence any one
in his future line of conduct; but, beyond our opinions, there are
certain facts, which we have just stated, and the import of which
cannot be misunderstood, and these may serve as warnings for the
future. Of the capability of the foreigner to supply us with any
given amount of grain, we think no reasonable man can doubt. There
is a breadth of soil open sufficient to supply more than twenty
times the most exorbitant demand. It is his power to undersell us,
and the extent of that power, which have been questioned; and on
the solution of that question depends the utility of high farming,
in this country, on a grand and comprehensive scale. We shall show
that, at present prices, high farming is so far from remunerative,
that those who practise it are actually incurring an immense loss;
and that, unless rents come down to zero, or at least to a point
which would utterly ruin the landlords, high farming cannot be
proceeded with. We have shown that, within the last five years, we
have been supplied, and that regularly, from abroad, when wheat
was at 46s. per quarter, and a duty of 20s. existed; and, at such
rates, it is quite evident that all attempt at competition would
be hopeless. Wheat could not be grown remuneratively at 26s. or
27s. in England before a single shilling of the national debt was
incurred; and no man is mad enough to insist upon its possibility
now. When, therefore, the Free-traders tell us that the present is a
mere temporary depreciation, we ask them--and we demand a distinct
reply--for an explanation of the imports in 1845. How was it that,
for a long period, foreign corn came in plentifully, paying the
duty of 20s., when our home averages were at 46s. and 47s.? Can
they assign any special reason for it? If not, the conclusion is
plain, that the foreign growers can and will undersell us down to
that point, if we possibly could compete with them so far, and all
the while add to their profit, while they also abstract from our

Our belief, as we have said already, is, that the foreigner could
afford to go much lower, and that he could furnish us with wheat
at little more than 18s. We have stated above an instance of this
kind, and, if necessary, we could furnish more. Nor will the
statement appear exaggerated to those who will take the trouble
of comparing English prices and English burdens, as they existed
before the Revolution of 1688, with the prices and rates of the
great corn-growing countries of central Europe at the present
moment, making due allowance for climate and the difference of
social institutions. At the same time, let it be understood that
we do not aver, that all the foreign grain which way find its way
here can be grown at such low prices. Pomeranian and Bohemian wheat
is more expensive in culture than that of Poland; and we know that
there is some difference between Hamburg and Dantzic prices. Still
our conviction is most decided, that henceforward the foreigner has
the game entirely in his hands; that he may prescribe what price
he pleases to this country; and that every year, in spite of all
efforts, all home harvests, all variety of seasons, prices must
inevitably decline. If it were possible that, by high farming, or
any other means, we could produce wheat remuneratively at 30s.,
or 25s., the foreigner would be ready to sell in competition at
25s. or 18s., even supposing he received hardly any profit. His
business is _to get hold of the British market_, and that once
accomplished, he may elevate or depress prices as he pleases. The
declension will be gradual, but it will be perfectly steady. This
year wheat has been brought down to 40s., not in consequence of an
exuberant harvest, as in 1835, but through competition. A million
of quarters per month have been poured in to sink prices, and we
are now debating at home whether British agriculture can go on
under such circumstances. Tenants are mourning over their losses;
labourers are feeling the pinch of lowered wages; some landlords, in
apprehension of diminished rents, are exhorting to further outlay of
capital; statesmen are consulting with chemists; and agitators, who
have made all the ruin, are shouting for financial reductions. In
the mean time, the winter is crawling on apace. The price of grain
in Britain has been beat down by competition _with a poor foreign
crop_, for such unquestionably was the yield of 1848. That of 1849
was a splendid one, and, the moment the ports are opened in spring,
its influence will be felt. The question will not then be of 40s,
but of a price still lower; and we apprehend that, in that event,
the argument will be nearly closed. We do not, however, anticipate
that the reduction will be rapid. The dealers at the different
foreign ports will best consult their own interest by keeping, as
nearly as possible, just below the quotations current in the British
market. In this way large profits will be secured during the whole
maintenance of the struggle, which must end by the British farmer,
overloaded with rent, taxes, and public burdens, giving way to
his competitors, who, with no such impediments, and with a better
climate and richer soil, will monopolise his proper function. We
shall then experience in corn, what our West Indian colonists, under
the same kind of legislation, have experienced in sugar. The greater
part of the soil of Britain will be diverted from cereal growth;
and, as the earth does not yield her produce without long wooing, we
shall be at the mercy of the foreigner for our supplies of food, at
any rates which he may choose to impose.

As to the matter of freights, about which so much was at one time
said and written, we need not complicate the question by entering
into minute details. From information upon which we can rely, we
learn that, at this moment, steamers are constructing for the sole
purpose of effecting rapid and continual transit between foreign
and British ports, for the conveyance of grain--a circumstance
which speaks volumes as to the anticipations of the Continental
traders. We may also observe that ordinary freights form no bar
to importation, since they are now hardly greater from the Baltic
to this country than from Ross-shire to Leith, or from many parts
of England to London. One fact, communicated by a correspondent
connected with the shipping trade, has peculiarly impressed us. We
give it in his own words: "I enclose you a price-current, which will
give you the prices of all grain. Grain from America has lately come
home, both in American and British ships, at 4d. per bushel freight,
and flour at 6d. per barrel--but much more frequently shipped on the
condition _that, if it leaves a profit, the one half goes to the
shipper, and the other half to the owner of the ship for freight_."
He adds, "The freights from Quebec and Montreal are higher--say 2s.
6d. or 3s. for flour; but as British shipping ceases being protected
after 1st January, they will be equally low there." So much for
pulling down one interest by way of compensation to another!

The reader--or rather the critical economist--may treat the
foregoing remarks as speculative or not, according to the colour
of his opinions. All the discussion upon free-trade has been
speculative, and so was the legislation also. We take credit for
having anticipated what we now see realised; but beyond that, and
beyond the facts which the experience of former years has given us,
and which we have just laid before our readers, we are, as a matter
of course, open to objection, and also liable to error. We have not
been arguing, however, without sound data--such as, we suspect,
never were brought fully under the eye of our statesmen--and they
all tend manifestly and clearly to the same conclusion. That
conclusion is, that, without the reimposition of a protective duty,
prices cannot rise above the present level. Our argument goes
further; for we hold it to be clear that, without some extraordinary
combination of circumstances which we cannot conceive, prices must
decline, and decline greatly. We look for nothing else; but having
had our say as to the future, and pointed out the prospect before
us, we shall now confine ourselves to present circumstances, and
endeavour to ascertain whether, with a continuance of _present
prices_, and under existing burdens, agriculture can be carried on
in Britain at a reasonable profit to the farmer.

Mr Caird's pamphlet, though it has attracted a good deal of
attention, contains no hints or information which are new to the
practical farmer. Its high-sounding title would lead us to suppose
that he had discovered some improved system of agriculture, which
might be applicable throughout the kingdom. We read the pamphlet;
and we find that it contains nothing beyond the description of a
very low-rented and peculiarly-situated farm, the occupant of which
appears to have realised considerable profits from an extensive
cultivation of the potato. It is not necessary that we should
do more than allude to the general tone of the pamphlet, which
seems to us rather more arrogant than the occasion demanded. Mr
Caird, we doubt not, is a good practical farmer; but we should
very much have preferred a distinct and detailed statement of
his own experiences at Baldoon, to an incomplete and unattested
account of his neighbour's doings at Auchness. A man is fairly
entitled to lecture to his class when he can show that, in his own
person, he is a thorough master of his subject. A farmer who has
devised improvements, tested them, and found them to answer his
expectations, and to repay him, has a right to take high ground,
and to twit his brother tenants with their want of skill or energy.
But Mr Caird is not in this position. He is occupier of a farm of
considerable extent, but he does not venture to give us the results
of his own experience. It is possible that he may himself pursue
the system which he advocates, but he does not tell us so; he
points to Mr M'Culloch as the model. This is at best but secondary
evidence; howbeit we shall take it as it comes; and as this is
strictly a farmer's question, it may be best to allow one practical
agriculturist to reply to the views of another. We might, indeed,
have abstained altogether from doing so, for Mr Monro of Allan,
in a very able pamphlet, entitled _Landlords' Rents and Tenants'
Profits_, has distinctly and unanswerably exposed the fallacies of
Mr Caird. Still, lest it should be said that we are disposed to
reject, too lightly, any evidence which has been adduced on the
opposite side, we have requested Mr Stephens, author of _The Book of
the Farm_, to favour us with his views as to Auchness cultivation.
We subjoin them, for the benefit of all concerned.

"On perusing Mr Caird's pamphlet, every practical man must be struck
with astonishment at the inordinate quantity of potatoes cultivated
at Auchness.

"The entire thirty acres of dried moss, (p. 7,) and twenty-five
acres of lea, (p. 15,) were in potatoes in 1848; and the county Down
farmer, whose statement is reprinted at the close of Lord Kinnaird's
pamphlet, reports that the number of acres occupied by potatoes in
1849 was ninety. This is more than one-third of the whole area of
the land. I have considered attentively the calculation made by the
farmer; and I think that, in order to meet present prices, it should
be modified as below. You will also observe that, in my opinion, the
outlay on the farm has been too highly estimated.[21]

  "90 acres potatoes, at 7-1/2 tons each, £2 per ton,     £1350 0 0
  60 acres wheat, at 36 bushels each, £2 per quarter,       540 0 0
  Profit on 130 cattle, at £6 each,                         780 0 0
  Profit on 150 sheep, at 10s. each,                         75 0 0
  Profit of 5 milk cows, at £12 each,                        60 0 0
                                                           -------- £2805 0 0

  Rent,                                                    £262 0 0
  Labour, 40s. per acre,                                    520 0 0
  Manure purchased, (p. 23, Caird,)                         256 0 0
  Food for cattle purchased, (do.,)                         270 0 0
  Seed potatoes, 108 tons, at £2, for 90 acres,             216 0 0
  Seed wheat, 120 bushels, at 5s.,                           30 0 0
  Tradesmen's bills, at £7 per pair horses each half-year,   70 0 0
  Incidental expenses,                                       50 0 0
  Interest on £2000 capital, at 10 per cent,                200 0 0
                                                           --------  1874 0 0
                                                                     £931 0 0
  [21] It will be seen, by referring to the statement in question,
  that Mr Stephens' calculation is more favourable to the tenant than
  the other. According to him, the excess of produce over expenditure
  would be £931. The county Down farmer estimates it at £888.

"This balance sheet shows a profit of £931; but as the potatoes
are worth £1350, which is no less than £419 more than all the
profit, it is evident that it is the potato _alone_ that affords
any profit under this instance of high farming. Indeed Mr Caird
admits as much when he says, 'The _great_ value of a sound potato
crop induces the tenant to adopt such means as will not interfere
with the _continued_ cultivation of this root.' The admission is,
that the profit rests entirely on the precarious potato. The potato
has hitherto been safe in the moss of Auchness, and it is safe
there in no other class of soil. In Ireland, even the moss does
not save it. There is no high farming in the matter, in so far as
manures are concerned, for as much and richer manure is used in
the neighbourhood of large towns; and as on the moss at Auchness
too much manure may be applied, at least after a certain time, so
there may be on other soils; and thus high farming, in reference to
soils, just means heavy manuring. Mr Caird says, 'The potato has
been grown on the moss land successively, year after year; but the
entire reclaimed portions, _from being so frequently manured_, are
becoming too rich, and the crop beginning to show signs of disease,
and a tendency to grow to tops rather than roots, which makes it
necessary to adopt some plan of reducing its fertility.' It is known
to every farmer, that it is quite possible to overmanure any crop,
and the effects of overmanuring are, the breaking down of the straw
of the grain crops, and the hollowing of the core of the tubers
and bulbs of the green crops. The inference then is, that a profit
which depends entirely on potatoes is uncertain in any year; and
the particular case of Auchness, in which that profit is derived
from moss, is not generally applicable to the country, and cannot,
therefore, be held up as an example to farmers.

"The farm of Auchness contains nothing remarkable: for although the
peculiar culture of the potato in moss is generally inapplicable,
there are many farms in Scotland which have moss attached to them.
The sea-ware may also be got on most farms on the coast, and where
this is the case, it is commonly used. The soil is not good, and is
certainly below the average quality; but I cannot understand what
is meant by Mr Caird, when he asserts, on p. 7, that the '125 acres
of light sandy soil is better adapted for _wheat_ than for barley
or oats when in a high state of cultivation,' for, in other parts
of the country, such a soil would be eminently suited for barley.
The steading is large for the size of the farm, but every steading
ought to be made conformable to the farm by the landlord. The system
of farming followed by Mr M'Culloch, of having 'no fixed rotation
of crops,' is highly objectionable, and Mr Caird, with great
propriety, does not commend it; since the farmer who manages so, has
no dependence on the amount of crop he may receive any year, and
must work according to circumstances, and not on principle, as the
unhappy Irish hitherto have done. In this respect, also, Auchness is
no example for the country; and, were a regular rotation followed on
it, so many potatoes could not be grown, and the profits would be
proportionally reduced.

"On the whole, then, I would say that Auchness farming is not
generally applicable; and therefore it is useless to proclaim it as
an antidote to free competition. For although it is probably true,
as Mr Caird says, 'that _green_ crops are likely henceforth to be
the main stay of the agriculturists of this country,' yet he must be
conscious that he is wrong in recommending, as an example, and as a
substitute for protection, the _enlarged_ cultivation of _potatoes_
as a green crop, seeing that their growth has, of late years, been
attended with great uncertainty. Is it not a mockery, then, to tell
us that our main stay against foreign competition should depend upon
a peculiarly uncertain crop? Will his pointing to a moss of 30 acres
in Wigtonshire, convince the farmers of this great kingdom, that
their future safety, as a class, must entirely depend upon their
cultivating such a root on such a soil, in preference to wheat on
the fertile loams of glorious old England? I apprehend that such a
result is beyond the power of argument."

The non-agricultural reader must pardon us for the insertion of
these details. They are necessary for our case, because, if high
farming can be made an efficient substitute for protection, we are
bound to adopt it, and we should owe a deep debt of gratitude to any
one who could point out the way. We are fully alive to the necessity
of agricultural enterprise; and, if we thought that our farmers
were standing beside their mired waggon, clamorously invoking the
assistance of Jupiter, when they should be clapping their own
shoulders to the wheel, we would be the first to remonstrate on
the heinous folly of their conduct. It is because _no amount_ of
personal exertion has been spared, that we seek to enforce their
claim according to the utmost of our ability; and, in doing so, we
are bound to prove, that no ordinary means which have been suggested
for their extrication can be of the smallest avail. Mr Caird has
come forward in the character of adviser, and we have stated the
opinion of practical men as to the feasibility of his scheme. We
have yet more to state, for nature has already denounced his plan
far more effectually than opinion. When the county Down farmer
visited Auchness in July last, he found more than one-third of the
whole farm under potato culture. Upon that crop depended not only
the whole profits, but a great deal more. Without the potatoes,
there would have been a loss, at a more favourable calculation than
his, of £419, on a farm paying only £262 of rent. _Since then_,
we are informed on the best authority, _that disease has attacked
the potatoes_. The highly-manured moss could not preserve from
decay, if it did not accelerate it, the uncertain and precarious
root. Mr Caird must not quarrel with the penalty he has incurred
for having totally misunderstood the nature of the question which
is now agitating the public mind. Whilst all others were directing
their attention to cereal produce, he kept his eyes obstinately
fixed on a little patch of ground which seemed to give unusual
facilities for the growth of the doubtful potato. He never attempted
to show that, without potatoes, and an exorbitant growth of that
vegetable, high farming could pay at Auchness, even with the
important elements of very low rent, and singular liberality on
the part of an enthusiastic landlord. He perilled his whole case
upon the probable returns of a root which every farmer views with
suspicion; and--more than that--his statistics, which he wished to
be inferred were of universal application, were only applicable to
a few remote and isolated spots in Scotland. The result is, that,
with all these advantages, the experiment has failed; and that all
the liquid manures, economy of dung, guano stimulants, and so forth,
as practised at Auchness, cannot, at present prices of produce,
force up so much grain, or feed so much stock, as will nearly pay
for the required and inevitable expenses. We pass over all possible
mistakes. It may have been matter of delicacy for Mr Caird to have
exposed the balance-sheet of his neighbour, or he may have assumed,
rather hastily, statistics for which he had meagre warrant. We can
allow him a large margin. _Without_ potatoes, and such an extent of
potato as would be plainly ludicrous if adopted as a general rule,
Auchness never could have paid. _With_ potatoes, it has failed
in the very year wherein Mr Caird has chosen to exhibit it as a
universal model.

So much for the only instance of high farming which has been
adduced, as an example of its efficacy in superseding the protective
system. In justice to Mr M'Culloch, whom we believe to be a most
intelligent farmer, let it not be thought that we presume to call
it empirical. On the contrary, we are convinced that that gentleman
has acted with great judgment, suiting his management to the nature
of the ground with which he had to deal; and that he has made as
much of it as any man could do under similar circumstances. He was
compelled to deal with a precarious crop, and few men could have
dealt with it better: still, his method is no example to others
differently situated, nor are his results to be taken by them either
as matter of warning or of triumph. It is sufficient for us that
Auchness farming, successful or not, is peculiar, and cannot be
dragged in as a rule or example for the English or the Scottish
farmer. We have enough of high farming statistics to lay before our
readers, and, therefore, without any further apology, we dismiss the
matter of Auchness, as totally inapplicable to the great question at

In order to arrive as nearly as possible at the true state of the
case, in so far as Scottish farming is concerned, we put ourselves
into communication with two gentlemen, of the highest eminence in
their profession. We need scarcely tell our countrymen on this side
of the Border, that it would be difficult to find better testimony
on such a subject than that of Messrs Watson of Keillor, and
Dudgeon of Spylaw; and we apprehend, moreover, that many English
agriculturists are fully acquainted with their character and high
reputation. Through their kindness we have been furnished with the
statistics of farms situated in the fertile grain-growing districts
of Forfar and Roxburgh; and the calculations as to the yield,
prices, and expenses, were made from their own books. The rent set
down is that which is usual in the district for land of the best
description, and the tenant's capital is named at an amount which
might enable him to develop the full capabilities of the soil. The
estimates have been most carefully framed, with the view of avoiding
every kind of exaggeration; and they have been gone over by Mr
Stephens, who attests their general accuracy. They are as follows:--

No. I.

     RETURNS of PRODUCE from a 500 acre farm in Strathmore, county
       of Forfar, on a five-shift rotation of crops, with an improved
       stock of cattle and sheep, on an average of years previous to
       free trade in corn, cattle, &c.; and

     COMPARATIVE STATEMENT of what may be calculated upon as the
       returns from the same farm under the present legislative
       measures affecting British agriculture.

  Rent of the farm, as fixed for 19 years, assuming former average
    price of corn and cattle, &c.,                                      £800 0 0
  Invested capital of £6 per acre at entry, £3000. Interest upon
    this sum, at rate of 10 per cent,                                    300 0 0
  Floating capital of £4 per acre, £2000. Interest thereon, 5 per cent,  100 0 0
  Expenses of management, wages, tradesmen's accounts, insurances,
    grass seeds, &c., at the rate of 20s. per acre per annum,            500 0 0
  Annual loss by casualties on live stock by disease and accidents,      100 0 0
  Public burdens leviable upon the farmer, including poor-rates,          50 0 0
              Sum chargeable against the farm annually,                £1850 0 0

     To meet this sum there is the produce of 200 acres of corn crop,
       and the profits on live stock, (the whole grass and green crop
       being consumed on the farm.)

  100 acres of oats, producing 48 bushels per acre,  4800
                Off for servants, horses, seed, &c.  2400
                Leaves disposable oats,              2400 at 3s.£360 0 0

   40 acres of spring wheat, producing 32 bushels
        per acre,                                    1280
            Off for seed,                             160
            Disposable wheat,                        1120 at 7s. 392 0 0

   60 acres of barley, producing 42 bush. per acre,  2520
            Off for seed and horses, &c.,             500
            Disposable barley,                       2020 at 4s. 404 0 0
                                                               £1156 0 0

        Profits from live stock, fed upon 200 acres grass,
            and 100 acres green crop,                            800 0 0
              Total returns,                                   £1956 0 0
                                                                        1956 0 0
        Leaving annually to the farmer, for his skill and industry, over
            interest of capital employed, a sum of                      £106 0 0

     Convert the above disposable produce into money, at the present
     prices, or rather at what may be fairly calculated upon for
     future seasons, under a system of free trade, and the following
     is the result:--

  2400 bushels of oats, at 2s. per bushel,                      £240 0 0
  1120 bushels of wheat, at 5s. per ditto,                       280 0 0
  2020 bushels of barley, at 2s. 9d. per ditto,                 277 15 0
                                                               £797 15 0

        Live stock, (as above, £800,) less 20 per cent on
            former prices, leaves                                640 0 0
            Net return,                                       £1437 15 0
            Sum chargeable as above against the farm,           1850 0 0
        Leaving the farmer _minus_, for rent, capital,
            and expenses of management,                         £412 5 0
                                                                         412 5 0
              Total loss annually incurred by difference in
                price occasioned by free trade,                         £518 5 0

  KEILLOR, _1st December 1849_.

No. II.

  STATEMENT of the average PRODUCE of a farm in a full state of
    productiveness, managed agreeably to the five-shift course, as
    usually adopted in the south-eastern Borders of Scotland, where
    the returns of stock form a very considerable means of
    remuneration, and the price of which, of course, is a material
    element in the calculation as to the rent to be given.

  Thus, then, assuming the rent of 500 acres of useful land for this
    purpose--upon the estimate of the price of grain and stock, as
    warranted by their value previous to the introduction of the new
    corn law and tariff--to be,                                      £800 0 0

  This farm has been put into good productive condition by means
  of the tenant's capital, at a cost in draining and lime, (sunk,) of
  £2500. It is well known that nearly twice this amount has in many
  instances been thus expended; but we assume this as a fair average
  on a farm so rented.

  Interest upon which sum, to enable him to recover the same during
    an ordinary lease of from nineteen to twenty-one
    years, at 10 per cent,                                   £250 0 0

  Interest on capital invested in stock, &c., yielding an
    annual return of £1500, at 5 per cent,                     75 0 0

  Expenses of management--wages, tradesmen's accounts,
    extra manures, &c.,                                       550 0 0

  Casualties, loss on stock, &c.,                              50 0 0

  Public and Parish Burdens,                                   45 0 0
                                                              -------- £970 0 0
                                                                      £1770 0 0

  To meet this sum, there is the produce of 200 acres of grain, in each
  year, distributed as follows:--

  Acres.       Bushels.        Bushels.                               Bushels.
   100 Oats,   at 48 per acre--4800.  Off seed, horses, and servants,  2420
   60 Wheat,   33              1980.  Off seed,                         180
   40 Barley,  40              1600.  Off seed, servants,               210

  Remain disposable, at the prices on which his calculations were
  founded and warranted by the rates, as is proved, under protection:--

  2380 Oats, at 3s.,                          £357 0 0
  1800 Wheat, at 7s.,                          630 0 0
  1390 Barley, at 4s.,                         278 0 0
                                              --------      £1265 0 0

  Returns upon stock estimated, at prices then current,
    to yield,                                                 750 0 0
                                                             -------- £2015 0 0
  Profit--remuneration for tenant's industry and skill,                £245 0 0

  The above grain produce yields, at the highest average I feel warranted
  in assuming, under free trade--

  2380 Oats, at 2s.,                                         £238 0 0
  1800 Wheat, at 5s.,                                         450 0 0
  1390 Barley, at 2s. 9d.,                                    191 0 0
                                                             £879 0 0
    In place of, as above,                                   1265 0 0
                                                             --------  £386 0 0

  Thus the difference of proceeds of _grain crop alone_, more than absorbs
  all the tenant's remuneration, by                                    £141 0 0

  JOHN DUDGEON, SPYLAW, _3d December 1849_.[22]

  [22] Since the above statement was drawn up and submitted by us to
  the consideration of various farmers throughout the country, Mr
  Dudgeon has requested us to state, that after consultation with
  several of these gentlemen in his own neighbourhood, (who, he was
  gratified to find, entirely concurred in the essential particulars
  of the statement,) he is of opinion that he had deducted rather
  too small a quantity of oats and barley for seed, according to the
  average usual in the district. Any alteration which this involves
  would be a deduction from the tenant's original profit, and an
  addition to the amount of loss already brought out.

  Mr Dudgeon also says--"I omit at present adding to this deficit
  the depreciation which it may be further estimated will result
  permanently from the open trade in live stock and cured provisions.
  But it may be stated that the recent depression in the value of
  stock from that of late seasons, amounting to _at least_ 15 per
  cent, shows a farther present loss on the calculated profits of this
  farm to the extent of £112, 10s."

We addressed the following circular letter to some of the most
eminent agriculturists in Scotland, enclosing copies of the above

     "EDINBURGH, _8th December 1849_.

     "SIR,--Wishing to publish in our Magazine as accurate a
     statement as we could obtain of the real condition and prospects
     of agriculture in Scotland at present, we have for some time
     been engaged in correspondence on the subject with various
     gentlemen connected with agricultural pursuits.

     "The enclosed statements of the working of a farm, and the
     quantity and value at present prices of the produce, have been
     drawn out by Mr Watson, Keillor, Forfarshire, and Mr Dudgeon,
     Spylaw, near Kelso, assisted by Mr Stephens, author of the "Book
     of the Farm."

     "At the suggestion of Mr ---- we write to ask whether you will
     consent to allow us to affix your name to these statements,
     as attesting their accuracy, to the best of your experience,
     in farming. If it strikes you that in any of these statements
     the profits are either over or under estimated, we shall feel
     greatly obliged by your pointing out where you think the error
     lies. Any correction you may make we shall submit to the
     consideration of one or all of the above-mentioned gentlemen,
     with whose names, as competent judges of the working of a farm,
     you are probably acquainted.

     "We shall feel further obliged by your making any remarks that
     may occur to you, and stating any facts that have come within
     your own observation, our only wish being to get as near the
     truth as may be. The article in the Magazine, into which this
     attested statement will be introduced, is founded upon the facts
     that we have been able to gather in the course of somewhat
     extended inquiries by ourselves, or rather by friends on whose
     knowledge of agriculture we could safely rely.

     "Will you be so good as to send any answer you may think proper
     to this application, within a week from this date, or sooner
     if you can, as we have very little time to get everything into
     order for publication in the January number of our Magazine.--We
     are," &c.

The following gentlemen have given us permission to use their names,
as attesting the accuracy of these statements, to the best of their
experience, in farming:--


  THOMAS SADLER, Norton Mains, Ratho.


  JOHN BRODIE, Abbey Mains, Haddington.
  ANDREW HOWDEN, Lawhead, Prestonkirk.
  PETER RONALDSON, Moreham Mains, Haddington.
  WM. TOD, Elphinstone Tower, Prestonkirk.


  ROBT. HUNTER, Swinton Quarter, Coldstream.
  WM. DOVE, Wark, Coldstream, attests Mr Dudgeon's only.
  ROBT. NISBET, Lambden, Greenlaw.


  R. B. BOYD, of Cherrytrees, Yetholm.
  NICOL MILNE, Faldonside.
  WM. BROAD, Clifton Hill, Kelso.
  FRED. L. ROY, of Nenthorn, Kelso.
  JAMES ROBERTON, Ladyrig, Kelso.


  JAMES B. FERNIE, of Kilmux.
  JOHN THOMSON, Craigie, Leuchars.


  ALEXANDER GEEKIE, Baldowrie, Coupar-Angus.
  DAVID HOOD, Hatton, Glammis.
  JAMES ADAMSON, Middle Drums, Brechin.
  WM. RUXTON, Farnell, Brechin.


  ROBERT WALKER, Portleithen Mains, Aberdeen.
  JOHN HUTCHISON, Monyruy, Peterhead.
  ROBT. SIMPSON, Cobairdy, Huntly.
  WILLIAM HAY, Tillydesk, Ellon.
  WILLIAM M'COMBIE, Tillyfour, Aberdeen.


  PETER BROWN, Linkwood, Elgin.


  J. GARLAND, Cairnton.
  R. BARCLAY ALLARDYCE, of Ury, Stonehaven.
  JAMES FALCONER, Balnakettle, Fettercairn.

  [23] The statistics of Mid-Lothian appear in another page. They are
  attested by several of the first farmers in the county.

We further subjoin extracts from the letters of several of these
gentlemen, containing remarks or suggestions about the statements:--

     "I was favoured with your letter and enclosure of the 8th inst.
     I have gone carefully over the statements of the working of a
     farm, and the quantity and value, at present prices, of the
     produce--all of which appear to me to be fairly stated. I have
     drawn up a statement of the returns of produce of a 400 acre
     farm in Mid-Lothian, which, if it meets your approval, you are
     at liberty to publish along with the others. The prices of the
     grain which I have assumed are in some instances higher than
     those of Messrs Dudgeon and Watson; but I think this can be
     explained, by the farm being situated in the neighbourhood of
     the best market."--(THOMAS SADLER, Norton Mains, Ratho.)

     "I am in receipt of your letter of the 8th current, inclosing
     statements by various eminent agriculturists, showing the
     difference between times past and to come for farmers. I
     perfectly coincide with these gentlemen; and consider their
     valuation of produce and price to be average and just: although
     we are not at present realising the prices quoted, yet it is
     fair that an allowance should be made this year for the full
     crop wheat."--(ANDREW HOWDEN, Lawhead, Prestonkirk.)

     "On looking over the statements you handed me of the comparative
     value of farm produce, under protection and free-trade prices,
     as drawn up by Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, my first impression
     was, that they had fixed the protection price of grain too
     high; but on taking the average prices of my own sales of the
     different kinds of grain, as entered in my corn-book, from crop
     1827 to that of 1845, I find they are not beyond what I have
     actually received during that period. The only points in which I
     differ from these gentlemen's statements are in the rents fixed
     by them for land yielding the crops they mention, which in my
     opinion should not be less than 35s. per acre, and £1000 might
     be taken from the sum put down as necessary for floating capital
     by Mr Watson; and I think, upon an average of years, that £50
     should cover the loss of live stock. These alterations I have
     suggested would make no material change in the calculations,
     which, in the main particulars, I hold to be perfectly
     correct."--(ROBERT NISBET, Lambden, Greenlaw.)

     "I have to acknowledge the receipt of your agricultural
     statements, and have carefully examined them, especially Mr
     Dudgeon's, as being the one with which I am best acquainted. I
     have tested its various items, and have found them generally
     correct, and in agreement with my own practical experience.
     There is one, however, which I consider too low--viz., the
     allowance of barley for seed and servants. Mr Dudgeon, I
     believe, uses a drill-sowing machine, and, by that means, will
     save about one bushel of seed per acre; but as this mode of
     sowing has not come into general use, the following is what is
     commonly found necessary--

  40 acres, at 3 bushels,          120
   7 servants, at 18 bushels,      126

     From the general accuracy of the statement, I have no hesitation
     in consenting to the use of my name in connexion with
     it."--(WILLIAM BROAD, Clifton Hill, Kelso.)

     "Having for several years farmed land in the vicinity of Kelso,
     and of a description somewhat similar to that described by Mr
     Dudgeon, Spylaw, I beg to say that I agree essentially with the
     statement subscribed by him. It exhibits, in my opinion, a fair
     estimate of the returns of such a farm when in good condition,
     and of the necessary expenses attending the working and keeping
     it in good order. In many cases, a much larger sum has been
     expended in improvements, but that would probably make no great
     difference in the result; for while the occupier would have a
     larger sunk capital to draw out of the land, he would probably
     have a smaller rent to pay. I may remark, that even where land
     has been thoroughly drained, or does not require it, there is
     usually a large sum sunk at the commencement of a lease in
     liming, for I consider that almost all land in this district
     would require to be limed during the currency of a lease, in
     order to yield full crops."--(FRED. L. ROY, Nenthorn, Kelso.)

     "I think Mr Dudgeon makes too little allowance for stock and
     insurance, (£50.) Mr Watson's allows double, (£100,) which is
     low enough. Some of my neighbours here have lost from £200 to
     £300 by pleuro-pneumonia upon cattle alone, independent of other
     stock. I also think they are both wrong in the average quantity
     of grain grown. It may be done upon a farm of good land, in
     high condition, but--I mean taking a whole county--it is, I
     think, above the mark. For example, 1836, 1837, 1838, 1839,
     1840, 1841, being six years running, with as fine appearance of
     wheat as I ever grew, I did not average twenty-six bushels per
     acre, weighing 64 lb. to 65 lb. per imperial bushel, in these
     six years. I considered my loss equal to 2000 bolls wheat below
     a fair crop, all in consequence of the fly."--(JOHN THOMPSON,
     Craigie, Leuchars.)

     "I have carefully looked over Mr Watson's statement, and I think
     that his calculations are very correct, and agree entirely with
     my experience, except in regard to the profits upon stock,
     which I think he has rather overrated, as the price of stock is
     falling every week. I do not think it necessary, however, to
     make out a separate statement."--(DAVID HOOD, Hatton, Glammis.)

     "In reply to yours of the 8th instant, requesting my opinion as
     to the accuracy of the statements in your enclosed proof-sheet,
     I have to state that, after mature consideration, I generally
     concur with the statement drawn by Mr Watson as to the results;
     though, I think, that as a deduction of £20 per cent on the
     profits of livestock has been made in the free-trade account, a
     like percentage should be deducted from the amount stated for
     casualties in the charge, thus making the loss under free trade
     £20 less. It also appears to me, that both the capital invested,
     and the amount received for crop and stock, are considerably
     beyond the average of farming capital and proceeds in Strathmore
     and the eastern district of Forfarshire; but as the statement is
     headed as "under the improved system of agriculture," of course
     the amounts must be different, and therefore are acceded to.

     "It may be remarked, that the depreciation of £20 per cent on
     the value of livestock, which has taken place this year, ought
     only to be deducted from the average of the last ten or twelve
     years, as the present prices might be considered equal to what
     we had been receiving previously to the opening up the southern

     "In my own case, the rent is considerably lower than that
     assumed, as I occupy a large proportion of unequal, inferior
     soil, which I have drained at my own expense; and, in order
     to raise the same quantity of grain per acre as mentioned in
     the statement, I have hitherto had to pay at least £100 more
     for manure than what seems to be allowed for under the title
     'expenses of management.'"--(WILLIAM RUXTON, Farnell, Brechin.)

     "I received yours of the 8th, with the enclosed statements
     regarding the prospects of agriculture, and as this was a
     ploughing-match day, (the Buchan district,) I deferred writing
     you until I should also show it to several experienced farmers
     for their opinions, and we all consider the statements as near
     as may be correct."--(JOHN HUTCHISON, Monyruy, Peterhead.)

     "I have examined minutely the statements drawn up by Messrs
     Watson and Dudgeon, and have compared them with some
     calculations that I had previously made myself, and have
     no hesitation in allowing my name to be affixed to them as
     attesting their accuracy, in so far as my knowledge of the
     localities in which they are drawn up leads me to be a judge.
     Had I had time, I should have liked to have furnished you with
     a similar comparative statement of the difference likely to
     be made by free trade in our more northern climate, where we
     cannot raise the same quality of grain, and where little or no
     wheat is grown, _and I am much afraid it would not have been
     so favourable to farmers_ as Messrs Watson and Dudgeon's are.
     The average price of what has been sold of this year's crop,
     in the counties of Aberdeen and Banff, is not more, I am sure,
     than 1s. 8d. per bushel for oats, and 2s. 6d. for bear or
     barley."--(ROBERT SIMPSON, Cobairdy, Huntly.)

     "As to the statements of Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, the items
     appear to me, on the whole, to be fairly put. My only difficulty
     is in regard to the £3000 put down in Mr Watson's statement
     as invested capital. I presume, however, he includes in this
     draining and lime sunk, machinery, implements, horses, &c.;
     and, considering the valuable breed of cattle and sheep on the
     Keillor Farm, I would not regard £5000 as at all too large an
     estimate for capital of both kinds. As to the considerable
     difference in profits shown in Nos. I. and II., that might
     be accounted for in many ways. In 500-acre farms, with equal
     management and a like rent, greater differences will be induced
     by variations in the soil and climate alone.

     "On the presumption above stated, as to what Mr Watson means
     by invested capital, I have no difficulty in allowing you to
     affix my name, as attesting, to the best of my knowledge, the
     substantial accuracy of statements Nos. I. and II."--(WILLIAM
     M'COMBIE, Tillyfour, Aberdeen.)

     "I have gone over the respective statements with much care
     and anxiety, and have compared the different items entered to
     the debit and credit of the farm by both gentlemen with my
     own experience in such matters, and, on the whole, I have no
     hesitation in pronouncing them as nearly correct as, under
     the circumstances, they could be framed. Were I to draw up a
     statement of a farm of the like extent in this county, I believe
     the result would be still _less favourable_ for the farmer,
     because if we have such returns as are stated by Messrs Watson
     and Dudgeon, we obtain them by the application to our land of a
     larger quantity of foreign manure than those gentlemen seem to
     use."--(PETER BROWN, Linkwood, Elgin.)

Some of the gentlemen to whom we wrote, whilst entirely concurring
in the estimates of Messrs Watson and Dudgeon, have not authorised
us to affix their names. Only three gentlemen, out of nearly fifty,
have refused their assent on the ground of difference of opinion.
The most important objection specified by any of them was, that the
prices of grain assumed in No. II., as having been received before
protection was withdrawn, were _higher_ than those warranted by
the fiars' prices of the county. Such were, however, the actual
prices received in those years by Mr Dudgeon; and the reader is
requested to refer to the extract from Mr Nisbet of Lambden's letter
for a corroboration as to that point. That there should be some
difference of opinion is only natural, when the variations of soil,
climate, and locality are considered; but we think it will generally
be admitted, that the ordeal to which these estimates have been
exposed, without exciting more challenge than we have just noticed,
is a tolerably convincing proof of their general accuracy.

The receipt of these statements has induced several gentlemen, in
different parts of the country, to draw up further estimates of the
working of farms in their own districts, and these documents we now
proceed to lay before our readers--

  No. III.

  STATEMENT of INCOME and EXPENDITURE on an Aberdeenshire farm of the
    ordinary description, taking the value of produce at an average of
    a series of years--say 19--previously to the late alteration of the
    law in relation to the importation of corn and cattle.--Extent,
    250 acres.


  Rent of a farm of 250 acres imperial, at £1, 1s. per acre,           £262 10 0
  Invested capital, £1000--interest at 10 per cent,                     100  0 0
  Floating capital, in stock, &c., £1800--interest at 5 per cent,        90  0 0
  Servants' wages, per annum,                                           129  0 0
  Day-labourers' wages, &c.,                                             15  0 0
  Rye-grass and clover seeds,                                            20  0 0
  Tradesmen's accounts,                                                  50  0 0
  Public burdens,                                                        15  0 0
  Casual losses of stock, and partial insurance,                         40  0 0
  Expenses in driving grain and extraneous manures, in the shape of
    tolls, &c., with necessary expenses at markets,                      20  0 0
                                                   Total expenditure,  £741 10 0


      250 acres, on the five-course rotation:--
  In oats--80 acres, at 6 qrs. per acre,       480 qrs.
    Deduct for seed,               60 qrs.
      Do. for horses, meal, &c.,  120 "
                                  _______      180  "

      Oats to be disposed of,                  300 qrs. at 21s. = £315  0 0

  In barley--20 acres, at 5-1/2 qrs. per acre, 110 qrs.
    Deduct for seed, malt, &c.,                 15  "

      Barley to be disposed of,                 95 qrs. at 29s. =  137 15 0

  Realised from cattle fed on 100 acres of grass and
    50 acres of turnips,                                           400  0 0

                                                Total income,    ______ 852 15 0
  Profit--or return for labour, skill, and risk of capital,            £111  5 0


  Oats, 300 quarters, at 14s. per quarter,                             £210  0 0
  Barley, 95 quarters, at 20s. per quarter,                              95  0 0
  And--on the supposition that no reduction of the price of fat cattle
    is to take place on account of the free importation of foreign
    animals--let us take the receipts from cattle fed on the grass and
    turnips as above, viz.,                                             400  0 0
  Total income under free-trade prices of grain,                       £705  0 0

  Brought forward,                                                     £705  0 0

  Expenditure as above, viz.,                                           741 10 0

  Loss per annum,                                                       £36 10 0
  Or, adding former profit, viz. as above,                              111  5 0

  Total loss, on _grain alone_, by free trade,                         £147 15 0

I consider the above a fair statement of the expenditure and income
on a farm in the lower district of Aberdeenshire, under former and
under present circumstances. It will be observed that no wheat is
grown; but the soil is well adapted for the rearing and feeding
of cattle, and from this source the Aberdeenshire farmer expects
to derive a large proportion of his returns. In the comparison,
reference is had solely to the fall in the price of the kinds of
grain cultivated. Whatever decline in the price of fat cattle may
arise from free trade, will fall heavily on the farmers of this
district; and the reduction of income thus occasioned will, of
course, add to the amount of loss shown above.

  LITTLE YTHSIE, _13th December 1849._

Having lately had an opportunity of examining a number of _actual_
accounts of income and expenditure on various farms, I can confirm
the substantial accuracy and fairness of the above statements, Nos.
I. and II. Mr Hay's statement above, referring to the system of
agriculture with which, in this part of the country, we are most
conversant, may, in my humble opinion, be regarded as fair and just,
and as near the average that a comparison of a number of individual
cases would indicate, as it can be made.

I am sensible that, in many cases of calculations--more especially
in those in which certain assumptions have to be made--it is quite
possible, even with a show of fairness, to bring out by means of
figures almost any result that may be desired; but it is to be
observed that, in the above statements, the _same_ assumptions
(if they can be regarded as such) are made on both sides of the
comparison, with the exception of the prices at which agricultural
produce is taken; and it is submitted with confidence that these are
neither made higher in the one case, nor lower in the other, than
experience warrants.

  W. HAY,
  TILLYDESK, _14th December 1849_.

  No. IV.

  ESTIMATED VALUE, of the produce upon a farm in Roxburghshire of 500 acres,
  managed according to the five-shift rotation, thus:--

  200 acres of corn crop.
  200 " of grass.
  100 " of turnips.

It is here assumed that there are no local advantages, the whole
green crops being consumed upon the farm by sheep and cattle.

                    Bush.             Bush.                  Bush.

  Oats, 100 acres, at 48, = 4800, off 2400, leaves for sale, 2400
  Wheat,  60 "     at 38, = 1980, off 180,         "         1800
  Barley, 40 "     at 42, = 1680, off 340,         "         1340

  _Average Value during the ten years preceding Crop 1848._

  2400 bushels of oats, at 3s.,     £360
  1800 "       of wheat, at 7s.,     630
  1340 "       of barley, at 4s.,    268
                                   ________ 1258 0 0

    Value of grass and turnips,              800 0 0
  Total amount of produce sold,            £2058 0 0

                                               Brought forward,         2058 0 0

  _Expenses and Rent--_
  Annual charges for wages and tradesmen's bills, &c.,         £400 0 0
  Public and parish burdens,                                     45 0 0
  Annual outlay for extra manures,                              150 0 0
                                                               £595 0 0

  Capital sunk upon improvements, £2500, at 10 per cent,        250 0 0
  Value of stock and crop, forming a floating capital of £2000,
  at 5 per cent per annum,                                      100 0 0

  Insurance of stock against deaths and other casualties,        50 0 0
                                                                ________ 995 0 0
                                                                       £1063 0 0

                                                     Rent,               800 0 0
                                                     Tenant's profit,   £263 0 0

  ESTIMATED VALUE of the same amount of produce at the present rate of

  2400 bushels of oats, at 2s.,                                £240 0 0
  1800 "       of wheat, at 5s.,                                450 0 0
  1340 "       of barley, at 2s. 9d.,                           214 5 0
                                                               ________ £904 5 0

               Value of grass and turnips,                               700 0 0
                                         Total amount of produce,      £1604 5 0
                                         Amount of expenses, as above,   995 0 0
                                                                        £609 5 0

                                         Rent,                           300 0 0
                                         Tenant's loss                 £191 15 0
  Value of produce by 1st estimate,                                   £2118  0 0
    Do. by 2d do,                                                      1615 10 0
                                                          Difference,  £502 10 0

The total amount of capital invested is £4500, of which £2500 is
sunk upon improvements. According to the first estimate, the annual
return, exclusive of 5 per cent per annum for repayment of the
sum sunk, would be £548, or at the rate of about 12-1/5 per cent.
According to the second estimate, the annual return would be £45,
10s., or at the rate of about 1 per cent per annum upon the same sum.

I shall be glad to allow my name to be affixed to Mr Dudgeon's
statement, as attesting, in so far as my experience goes, the
accuracy of it.

My estimates and his very nearly correspond; but as every one has
his own method of making up such statements, I take the liberty of
handing along with it this detail of my own.

In all, excepting in regard to the value of live stock, or produce
of grass and turnips, we nearly agree; and this difference may be
accounted for, because no part of farm produce varies so much in its
return as that of the live stock. Upon such a farm as that which is
taken as an example, sheep and cattle are not wholly reared upon the
farm, but part are bought in to fatten; hence the returns depend
upon three circumstances,--1st, upon the crops of turnips and grass
being less or more abundant; 2d, upon the price of lean stock; and,
3d, upon the price of fat. While, therefore, the butcher market may
be very high, the feeder may not necessarily be well paid,--and
hence, in making up returns under this head, a correct average is
not easily ascertained; and as there must always be a difference of
opinion among practical men upon this part of the subject, I think,
for publication, Mr Dudgeon's method of stating the returns _in one
sum_ is preferable to giving them in detail.

  LADYRIG, _13th Dec. 1849_.

  No. V.

  STATEMENT of the ANNUAL CHARGE against, and RETURNS from, a 400 imperial
    acre Farm in Mid-Lothian--on an average of ten years previous to free
    trade in corn and cattle;--with a comparative statement of the Returns
    of Produce from the same farm under the present free-trade measures
    affecting agriculture. The farm alluded to is managed on the four-course
    shift--the whole straw, turnips, and clover being consumed on it, and an
    average number of stock fattened.

  Rent of farm, 400 acres at 45s. per acre,                           £900  0  0
  Interest on sunk and floating capital,                               240  0  0
    Expenses of management, wages, tradesmen's accounts, extra
      manures, grass and clover seeds, and miscellaneous expenses,     817  0  0
  Casualties in stock, and fire insurance,                              40  0  0
  Public and parish burdens,                                            40  0  0
                                               Total yearly charge,  £2037  0  0

  To meet this sum there is the produce of 230 acres corn crop,
  10 acres potatoes, and the profits from live stock as follows:--

  100 acres oats, at 48 bushels per imperial acre, 4800
   Less for seed, servants' meal, and horses,      2004
   Leaving for sale,                               2796 at 3s. 3d.,   £454  7  0

  70 acres wheat, at 32 bushels per acre,          2240
   Less for seed,                                   220
   Leaving for sale,                               2020 at 7s.,        707  0  0

  30 acres barley, at 48 bushels per acre,         1440
   Less for seed,                                   100
   Leaving for sale,                               1340 at 4s.,        268  0  0
  30 acres beans, at 40 bushels per acre,          1200
   Less for seed,                                   110
   Leaving for sale,                               1090 at 4s. 6d.,    245  5  0

  Produce of 10 acres potatoes, after deducting seed,                  100  0  0
  Profits from live stock fed upon 60 acres turnips and
   100 acres grass,                                                    550  0  0
                                                   Total return,     £2324 12  0
                                                 _________  2324 12  0
                                     Profit,                £287 12  0

  The like quantities of disposable grain, taken at the present prices,
  fetch as follows:--

  2796 bushels oats,   @ 2s. 4d.,                                   £326  4  0
  2020    "    wheat,  @ 4s. 9d.,                                    479 15  0
  1340    "    barley, @ 3s. 0d.,                                    201  0  0
  1090    "    beans,  @ 3s. 3d,                                     177 12  6
  10 acres potatoes,                                                 100  0  0
  Add profits from live stock,                                       550  0  0
                                  Total returns                    £1834 11  6

  Sum chargeable as above against the farm,                        £2037  0  0
                                                                     202  8  6

  Leaving the farmer short, for rent, capital, and expenses
    of management,
                                                                       202  8  6
                                    Total loss annually incurred,     £490  0  6

  NOTRON MAINS, _14th December 1849._

  No. VI.

  320 Scots acres, situated within five miles of Edinburgh, on an
  average of seven years previous to potato failure in 1846, and
  farmed according to the four-shift rotation, the straw being sold
  in Edinburgh, and dung bought. The produce is a fair average of
  the best-managed farms within five miles of Edinburgh, during the
  period from which the average is taken. The prices noted are what
  were realised, being about 3s. 6d. per qr. above the average prices
  of the county, and the expense of management charged is what was
  actually paid.

  Acres.                              £ _s._ _d._

  50 Potatoes, at £17 per acre,      850  0  0
  30 Turnip, at £16 per do.,         480  0  0
  50 Wheat, 5 qrs. per acre, at 58s.
      per qr.,                       725  0  0
  30 Barley, 7 do. do., at 34s. do., 357  0  0
  50 Pasture, let at £4 per Scots
      acre,                          200  0  0
  30 Hay, at £7 per do.,             210  0  0
  80 Oats, 7-1/2 qrs. per acre,
      at 26s. per qr.,               780  0  0

  Produce of straw sold,             450  0  0
  Manure made on the farm from
   horses, &c.,                       80  0  0
  Value of produce,                 4132  0  0
  Expense of management,            4025 17  6
          Profit,                   £106  2  6

[We ought, perhaps, to explain that this case is peculiar. It is
that of a first-class farm in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh,
attested by men of the same standing as its tenant, and similarly
situated; the average of the produce is very high, and the rent
corresponding. Mr Gibson, the tenant farmer, has taken the details
of the following statement from his books; so that it becomes of
much value, as showing the statistics of farming in the immediate
vicinity of the metropolis of Scotland. In estimating the
productiveness of this farm by the extent of the yield, our English
readers must bear in mind, that it is divided by the Scots and
not the imperial acre as in the other estimates, the former being
one-fifth larger. It will be allowed, on all hands, that the yield
of this farm is extraordinary.]

  Acres.                                  £ _s._ _d._

  e {50 Potatoes, at £2 per Scots acre,   100  0  0
  e {30 Turnip, at 4s. per do,              6  0  0
  d {50 Wheat, 23 qrs. at 60s.,            69  0  0
    {30 Barley, 14 qrs. at 35s.,           24 10  0
  f {50 Pasture, at 17s. per acre,         42 10  0
  o {30 Hay, at 15s. per do.,              22 10  0
  r {80 Oats, at 40 qrs. at 28s.,          56  0  0

  50 acres potatoes, 34 tons per
   acre, horse and cow manure
   driven from Edinburgh, at
   6s. per ton,                           510  0  0
  30 acres turnip, 30 tons do., at
   4s. per ton,                           180  0  0
  Keep of 15 horses, at £28 per
   annum,                                 420  0  0
  Do. of 1 riding horse, do.,              28  0  0
  Wages of farm overseer, per
   annum,                                  32  0  0
  Do. 8 ploughmen, at £27
   per do.,                               216  0  0
  Do. 2 labourers at 10s.,
   and 1 boy at 5s. per week,              65  0  0
  Outdoor women-workers per
   annum,                                 165  0  0
  Reaping 160 acres corn crop,
   at 12s. per acre,                       96  0  0
  Wages of extra men securing
   crop,                                   13  0  0
  Cutting 30 acres hay, at 3s. 9d.,         5 12  6
  Cutting hedges, and keeping
   fences, gates, and houses in
   repair,                                 10  0  0
  Smith work, per annum,                   35  0  0
  Carpenter work, do.,                     22  0  0
  Veterinary surgeon, do.,                  7  0  0
  Saddler work, do.,                       17  0  0
  Millwright, engineer, mason,
   and slater's accounts,                  10  0  0
  Coals for steam-engine, and
   steaming and bruising horse
   food,                                   12  0  0
  Annual loss on live and dead
   stock, from death and tear
   and wear,                               90  0  0
  Tolls, custom, and marketing
   expenses,                               25  0  0
  Insurance,                                6  0  0
  Poor-rates and statute-labour,
   previous to passing of New
   Poor Law,                               30 17  0
  Assessed taxes and income tax,           19 18  0
  Interest on £1500 capital, sunk
   in permanent improvements,
   at 10 per cent,                        150  0  0
  Interest on floating capital of
   £2000, at 5 per cent,                  100  0  0
  Rent of 320 Scots acres, at
   £4 10s. per acre,                     1440  0  0
                                         ____ _____
  Expense of management,                £4025 17  6

  for Crop 1849: as the Wheat crop is considered to be the best we
  have had in the district since 1835, every allowance is made for
  this in estimating the produce. The Oat, Barley, and Bean crops are
  under an average, but are charged at average quantities; the prices
  noted are what are being realised. In the expense of management full
  allowance is made in every item affected by present prices, except
  the seed, which is charged as paid for at seed time: had it been
  charged at present prices, there would fall to be deducted from
  expense of management a sum of £28.

  25 Potatoes, supposing them to
      be sound, at £20,                 500  0  0
  35 Turnips, at £14,                   490  0  0
  20 Beans, 5 qrs. per acre, at 26s.
      per qr.,                          130  0  0
  45 Wheat, 6 qrs. per acre, at 38s.
      per qr.                           513  0  0
  35 Barley, 7 qrs. per acre, at 23s.
      per qr.,                          281 15  0
  50 Pasture, let at £4 per acre,       200  0  0
  30 Hay, at £5, 10s. per acre,         165  0  0
  80 Oats, 7-1/2 qrs. per acre, at 18s.
  ___ per qr.,                          540  0  0

  Produce of straw, sold, at present
   prices,                              400  0  0
  Manure made on the Farm,               70  0  0
  Value of Produce,                  £3,289 15  0
  Expense of Management,              3,786 14  0
  Loss,                                £496 19  0
  Annual Profit previous
   to 1846,                            £106  2  6
  Loss incurred by difference
   of price under free-trade,          £603  1  6

  Acres.[**The prices were not in image so taken from Google books version]

  Seed for
  25 |     Potatoes, at £4 per Scots acre,             100  0  0
  35 |     Turnips, at 5s. per acre,                     8 15  0
  20 |     Beans, 12-1/2 qrs., at 34s., per qr., price,
     |      at seed time,                               21  5  0
  45 |     Wheat, 20 qrs., at 62s., do.,                62  0  0
  35 |     Barley, 17-1/2 qrs., at 33s., do.,           28 17  6
  50 |     Pasture, at 14s. per acre, do.,              35  0  0
  30 |     Hay, at 12s. do., do.,                       18  0  0
  80 |     Oats, 40 qrs., at 22s. per qr., do.,         44  0  0

  25 acres potatoes, 30 tons per acre,
   horse and cow manure, driven from
   Edinburgh, at 5s. per ton,                          187 10  0
  20 acres beans, 20 tons manure per
   acre, at 5s. per ton,                               100  0  0
  35 acres turnips, 25 tons do., at 3s. 6d.
   per ton,                                            153  2  6
  Guano and other extra manures applied
   to turnip, potato, and other crops,                 125  0  0
  Keep of 15 horses, at £22 per annum,                 330  0  0
  Keep of 1 riding horse, do.,                          22  0  0
  Wages of farm overseer, per annum,                    30  0  0
  Do. 8 ploughmen, at £25 per do.,                     200  0  0
  Do. 2 labourers, at 9s. each, and
   1 boy 5s. per week,                                  59 16  0
  Outdoor women workers, per annum,                    165  0  0
  Reaping 160 acres corn crop, at 10s. 6d.
   per acre,                                            84  0  0
  Wages of extra men securing crop,                     12  0  0
  Cutting 30 acres hay, at 3s. per acre,                 4 10  0
  Cutting hedges, and keeping fences,
   gates, and houses in repair,                         10  0  0
  Smith work, per annum,                                35  0  0
  Carpenter's work, do.,                                22  0  0
  Veterinary surgeon, do.,                               7  0  0
  Saddler work, do.,                                    17  0  0
  Millwright, engineer, mason, and
   slater's accounts,                                   10  0  0
  Coals for steam engine, and steaming
   and bruising horses' food,                           10  0  0
  Annual loss on live and dead stock,
   from death and tear and wear,                        90  0  0
  Tolls, custom, and marketing expenses,                25  0  0
  Insurance,                                             6  0  0
  Poor rates and statute labour under
   New Poor Law,                                        54  0  0
  Assessed taxes and income tax,                        19 18  0
  Interest on £1500 capital, sunk in
   permanent improvements, at 10 per
   cent,                                               150  0  0
  Interest on floating capital of £2000,
   at 5 per cent,                                      100  0  0
  Rent of 320 acres, at £4, 10s. per
   acre,                                             1,440  0  0
  Expenses of Management,                           £3,786 14  0

  WOOLMET, _18th December 1849._

              {JOHN FINNIE, Swanston.
  Attested by {GEORGE WATSON, Libberton Mains.
              {ALEXANDER SCOTT, Craiglockhart.

Let those who believe that, by high farming, the soil can be
stimulated so as to produce enormously augmented crops, at a large
additional profit, consider the above statistics well. THEY ARE THE
agriculturist has been taunted for his backwardness in not adopting
the improvements of his northern neighbour, who, with a worse
climate, has made the most of the soil. Such has been the language
used by some of the advocates and apologists of free trade, who
are now urging the farmer to lay out more capital in draining and
manures--assuring him that, by doing so, the returns will far exceed
the interest of the outlay. With a fine disregard for the elements
of arithmetic, they insist that low prices can in no way interfere
with his success, and that only exertion and enterprise are wanting
to raise him above the reach of foreign competition. The above
tables exhibit the experiment, worked out to its highest point. In
these cases capital has been liberally expended, energy tasked to
the utmost, and every means, which science can devise or experience
suggest, called into active operation. The farmers of Mid-Lothian,
Berwickshire and Forfarshire may fairly challenge the world in point
of professional attainments. They have done all that man can do, and
here is the reward of their toil.

Supposing, then, that hereafter the permanent price of wheat
were to be 40s. a quarter; that other cereal produce remained
at corresponding rates; and that the value of live stock did
not diminish--points, upon all of which we are truly more than
sceptical--it will follow that high farming, such as is at present
practised in the best agricultural districts of Scotland, cannot
by possibility be carried on. No possible reduction of rent would
suffice to enable the farmer to continue his competition. Such a
fall must necessarily have the effect of annihilating one of the two
classes; for the landlord, burdened as he is, would cease to draw
the means of maintenance from his estate, and it is questionable
whether the residue would suffice to pay the interest of the
mortgages and preferable burdens. To the people of Scotland this is
the most vital question that has engaged their attention since the
Union. Our national prosperity does not depend upon manufactures
to the same degree as that of England. By far the greater portion
of our wealth arises directly from the soil: by far the larger
number of our population depend upon that for their subsistence.
Even if Manchester statistics were applicable to England, the case
is different here. If the prices of agricultural produce should
continue as low as at present--and we cannot see what chance exists
of their rising, in the face of such a tremendous import--the effect
upon this country must be disastrous. Such prices would reduce
Scotland, at one fell swoop, to the condition of Ireland: paralyse
the home market for manufactures; throw hundreds of thousands out of
employment; lower the revenue; augment the poor-rates; and utterly
disorganise society. And yet what help for it? The farmer cannot
be expected to pay for the privilege of losing several hundreds
per annum by cultivation. Let Mr Watson's statement be examined,
and it will appear that the enterprising and skilful tenant of a
farm of five hundred acres, in the best corn district of Forfar,
cannot clear his expenses unless the rent of the land is reduced
by one-half, and, even if that were done, he could only realise a
profit of sixpence per acre! Such a result, we fairly allow, would
appear, at first sight, to be incredible; yet there it is--vouched
for by men of name, character, and high reputation. This is the
extreme case; but, if we pass to Berwickshire, we shall find that a
reduction of half the rent would barely place the tenant in the same
position which he occupied previous to the withdrawal of protection.
Look at No. IV., and the result will appear worse. Even were one
half of the rent remitted, the profits of the tenants, at present
prices, would be less by £100 than they were at the former rates
of corn. Very nearly the same results will be brought out, if we
calculate the necessary reductions on the rents of the Mid-Lothian
farms. Lord Kinnaird may see in those tables the fate which is
in store for him; and he cannot hope to escape it long, even by
inserting, in his new leases, the most stringent stipulations as
to money payments which legal ingenuity can devise. It is just
possible that "men of business habits," retired shopkeepers, and
others of that class, may be coaxed and persuaded into trying
their hands at a trade of which they know literally nothing. They
may be incautious enough to put their names to covenants, not
conceived according to Mr Caird's liberal principle, and so pledge
their capital for the fulfilment of a bargain which common sense
declares, and experience proves, to be preposterous. The necessary
consequence will be, that the rent must be paid out of capital,
a process which cannot last long; and the unhappy speculator, as
he finds his earnings disappearing, will curse the hour when he
yielded to the delusion, that high farming must be profitable in
spite of the variations of price. The poor seamstress, who weekly
turns out of hand her augmented number of improved shirts--and who
lately, though on exceedingly erroneous principles, has found a
warm advocate in the kind-hearted Mr Sydney Herbert--has, in her
own way, tested the value of the experiment. There is more cotton
to be shaped, and more work to be done, but the prices continue to
fall. She makes two additional shirts, but she receives nothing for
the additional labour, because the remuneration for each is beaten
down. The free-trade tariffs are the cause of her distress, but the
unfortunate creature is not learned in statistics, and therefore
does not understand the source of her present misery. No more,
probably, do the female population of the Orkney islands, whom Sir
Robert Peel reduced to penury some years ago, by a single stroke of
his pen, through the article of straw-plait. From Lerwick to the
Scilly Isles, the poor industrious classes were made the earliest
victims. The tiller of the land is liable to the operation of the
same rules. By the outlay of capital, he forces an additional crop,
but, the value of produce having fallen, his returns, estimated in
money, are just the same as before. If the maintenance of rents
throughout the United Kingdom depends simply upon the supply of
dupes, we are afraid that the Whig landlords will speedily find
themselves in a sorry case.

We by no means wish to treat this question as if Scotland alone were
concerned. The English agriculturist, who knows that strict economy
is the rule in northern farming, will readily acknowledge that our
observations have even greater force when applied to his own case.
It would have been presumption in us, had we passed beyond the
limits of our own field of illustration, which, however, will bear
comparison with any other. On the whole, we think it will hardly be
questioned, that, if high farming in the Lothians or on the Border
is a losing trade, it cannot be made profitable elsewhere within the
boundaries of Britain.

We are told that this is a landlord's question; and we find Messrs
Bright and Cobden, with more than their usual malignity, chuckling
over the prospects of the downfall of a class which they honour
with their rancorous hatred. They do not affect to disguise the
pleasure which they derive from knowing that, at this moment,
the rents are being paid from the farmer's capital; and, so far,
they bear important testimony to the truth of the calculations we
have submitted. It is not our business at present to diverge into
ethics, else we might be tempted to hazard a few observations on
the brutal and un-British spirit which pervades the whole of their
late harangues. All that we shall do now is to remark that they are
trying, by every means in their power, to persuade the tenantry of
Britain that this is a mere landlords' question; and we are bound
to confess, that such writers as Lord Kinnaird have materially
contributed towards fostering this delusion. A very little
consideration, however, will show the utter fallacy of such an
opinion; and we feel convinced that the good sense of the tenantry
of Scotland will interfere to prevent them from being led astray by
the devices of their inveterate enemies.

So far as we can gather from the opinions enunciated by the leaders
of the Manchester school, at their late gatherings, their view
resolves itself into this. Abolish the rents, and agriculture will
go on as before. Little argument is necessary to show, that the
proposition, even were it admitted, is by no means in favour of the

Our excellent contemporary, _The Standard_, has already disposed of
it in a single sentence:--_Wipe off the rents, and you wipe away the
class which heretofore has paid the rents._ Mr Bright would fain
attempt to persuade the farmers that they are altogether independent
of the landlords, and that no suffering can reach them. Have then
the landlords, in most instances, expended nothing on the soil?
Their outlay does not appear in balance sheets, however large may be
its amount; but, were that outlay added to the farmer's expenditure
of capital, there can be no doubt that, even without rent, at
present prices, farming would be otherwise than profitable. But did
it never strike Mr Bright that, failing rents, the landlords must
necessarily take their farms into their own hands, as indeed has
occurred already in several districts of the country? We presume he
does not contemplate a quiet confiscation of estates--if he does,
confiscation will not stop there. We suppose the owner must still
have the option of keeping his property; and if so, as he will
derive no profit from it in the shape of rent, he must either farm
it himself, or act as labourer on wages under a farmer. We apprehend
there can be little doubt as to the course he will take, when
driven to such an extremity. As a body, tenant-farmers will cease
to exist. They may go to Poland if they please, and employ their
practical skill, and such remnant of capital as they can save from
the wreck of their fortunes, in the patriotic task of growing wheat
cheaper than before, for the British manufacturing market; but in
this country there will be no longer any room for them. We shall be
thankful to know if any course more feasible can be suggested; but
indeed ingenuity seems to be at fault, and the Free-traders hardly
affect to conceal their conviction that such must be the result.
The following extract from a leading article in the _Times_ of 6th
December, will show the views entertained by that very influential

     "If any landowners or tenants are thoroughly persuaded that,
     under the operation of free trade, land will yield no rent to
     the owner, or no profit to the farmer, let them dispose of their
     land or their farms. The whole world lies before them. The
     funds, the share-market, trades and manufactures innumerable
     and new ones every day, the colonies, the United States, the
     Antipodes, Europe, and literally the whole surface of the globe,
     is open to the enterprise of wealthy or ingenious men. Those
     who regard an English landlord or yeoman as an animal to be
     kept in a hothouse will think this very cruel advice, but it is
     advice which nine-tenths of our fellow-subjects have to follow,
     at least once in their lives. The law of change is impressed on
     the whole face of society. Man improves by being transplanted
     to new soils, and grafted on new stocks. Why should not the
     heroic qualities of our gentry be employed in the improvement
     of the world, and in the spread of civilisation, religion, and
     manners? Why should not the skill of our farmers be turned to
     account in making the whole earth bring forth its full produce?
     As it happens, there are no classes actually concerned in the
     material and operations of industry who can change their place
     with so little difficulty or cost as the owners and cultivators
     of the soil. The landowner can sell his estate, and buy another,
     or invest the money in the funds, any day he pleases. The tenant
     can dispose of his lease and his stock without much sacrifice.
     Can an attorney, a physician or surgeon, a beneficed clergyman,
     a merchant, a retail shopkeeper, or, indeed, any commercial
     or professional person, change his locality ten miles without
     sacrificing at least 30 or 50 per cent of his present income?
     Yet many such are obliged to migrate, and resign present
     income, besides all the other losses involved in a move, in the
     mere hope of ultimately improving their condition. As for our
     agricultural labourers, who, we are often told, are the staple
     of our population, for many years the whole force and pressure
     of our social institutions has been applied to compel their
     migration. Landlord, tenant, parson, overseer, and even a man's
     own fellow-labourers, are all in a conspiracy to elbow him out
     of the crowd, and the sooner he yields to that pressure the
     better. Why, then, should it be thought a hard thing to give the
     same advice to the landowner and the farmer?"

So write the Free-traders, and we wish them joy of their argument.
Henceforth, then, we ought to abandon all foolish scruples connected
with home, and kindred, and country--all national considerations,
all the ties and common feelings that hitherto have held Englishmen
together! Truly, the cause which requires such advocacy as this must
be in a desperate condition. Such language however, extravagant and
puerile as it is, has some extrinsic value; for it shows us the
utter selfishness and entire disregard of the Free-traders for every
other interest in Britain except their own.

We shall probably be told that we are alarmists. It is no new charge
against us. The same thing was said when we denounced the policy
of government towards the West Indian interest, and also when we
foreshadowed the commercial crisis which overtook us in 1847. One
exception may be taken to our agricultural views, on the ground
that farms have been let in Scotland without any diminution of
rent. We allow that such is the case. We admit that, even during
the bygone year, there has been considerable competition for farms;
and we know very well that this circumstance has tended to allay
the fears of many. But, after all, what does it prove? Nothing
more, we apprehend, than that the farmer is most reluctant to
abandon the profession to which he has been bred, and in which his
capital is invested; and that, in times of notoriously unsettled
and vacillating legislation, he may be, perhaps, too sanguine as
to the possibility of another change. The fact that some farms,
in various parts of the country, have, of late, brought full and
even higher rents, is not enough to warrant the idea that present
engagements can be met. It does not follow that these will continue
to be paid; nor do the parties themselves, we presume, expect to be
able to fulfil their engagements, if future prices are such as we
have felt constrained to reckon them. We have seen of late, in other
matters, how easily people are deceived by sanguine anticipations;
and it has recently been lamentably proved, that it is often long
before disastrous events produce their due effect in indicating true
value. If, in the less intricate matter of railway speculations,
we have seen men who boasted of their superior information,
involving themselves in the downward course of these unfortunate
concerns, under the idea that the turning-point of depression had
been attained, and that golden profits might be realised, is it
marvellous if the farmer should be deceived in a matter which has
been so much mystified, and which his predilections and peculiar
position, in most instances, will not admit of his viewing calmly
and dispassionately, even if he possessed the means of correct
information? His education and habits compel him to endeavour to
continue his occupation at all hazards. If once he abandon his
calling, he is out of a situation as well as a home. It often
happens, besides, and now it is peculiarly the case, that, to
dispose of his stocking--a necessity incumbent upon the loss of his
farm--is to make a sacrifice of his property. At present, live stock
is from 15 to 20 per cent under what he has been in the habit of
receiving for the last few years. Hence, upon such a vexed question
as the effects of the corn laws, modified and free, have become, it
is only natural that, in his doubt, and darkness, and perplexity,
he should stretch a point to keep possession of his occupation;
trusting that, if matters continue to be adverse, his landlord will
have the like commiseration for him which it is his duty to testify
for his neighbour, who, under other circumstances, is also writhing
beneath the pressure. In such a case, rent becomes altogether a
question of chance, left to be modified and controlled by after

In this view it is not difficult to understand why farms falling
out of lease have been taken at rates absurdly disproportioned to
the present prices of agricultural produce. Ask any intelligent
farmer, who has placed himself in this position, and he will
frankly confess that he does not expect to be able to pay his rent,
unless some very material change in the value of produce shall take
place. How should he think otherwise? In the better districts of
Scotland, farming has been carried so high that there is hardly any
margin left for improvement. Up to a certain point, the soil may be
artificially stimulated; but, that point once reached, any further
appliances become positively hurtful, and defeat the intentions of
the grower. The flower of our tenantry--the men whose exertions
have made the land what it is--can go but a little way further.
Nor can the severest moralist tax them with a breach of probity
if they should enter into bargains which, under the operation of
the present laws, they cannot possibly fulfil. The legislature
took no account of them when it abolished protection. Parliament
dealt with them more tyrannically than any irresponsible monarch
would have dared to deal with a people far less intelligent and far
less cognisant of their rights. The laws have ceased to be, in the
estimation of the multitude, final. We now consider them, and most
justly, as mere make-shifts which cannot stand against the pressure
of a well-organised agitation; and men speculate on the probability
of their changes, just as gamblers make adventures on the probable
fluctuations of the funds. No man can deny that such is the case.
Free trade is in the ascendant to-day: to-morrow, protection may be
uppermost. A sad state of things truly; but such as must necessarily
occur, when statesmen, whose heads have grown hoary in office,
desert principle to adopt expediency, and repudiate the professions
of a whole lifetime, for the sake of outwitting their political
opponents. Our steadfast conviction is, that unsettled legislation
has tended more than anything else to prevent an immediate
depreciation in the rents. Foster gambling, and you create gamblers.
Farms are now taken on speculation, with the view, not to increased
production of the land, but to further changes in the experimental
policy of the nation.

But in reality we apprehend that such cases are the exception,
and not the rule. We have heard it trumpeted abroad that certain
farms in East Lothian were let during the course of last year at
an advance. We have taken pains to investigate this matter; and we
find on inquiry that, in some cases, such farms have been taken
by new men of little agricultural experience. Lord Kinnaird may
be glad to hear this, but we cannot view it in the light of an
encouraging symptom. Others, no doubt, have been retaken, probably
under the influence of such considerations as we have just stated.
Again, we find that some farms in the south of Scotland are very
differently situated now, than they were before. The extension of
the railway system has given to such of them as are near stations,
advantages which were enjoyed heretofore by such farms only as were
in the immediate vicinity of large towns; and in this way their
value has been increased. But it is quite evident, that, unless
some extraordinary fallacy lurks in the tables which we have given
above--unless the leading practical agriculturists of Scotland
are either possessed by some monstrous arithmetical delusion, or
banded in some organised conspiracy to mislead the public mind--no
exceptional case can be admitted as of any weight whatever in
determining the general question. On the part of ourselves, and of
our correspondents, we not only invite, but we broadly challenge
investigation. We desire that the truth may be made known, because
any delusion on either side must tend to the public detriment.

If our statistics should be admitted as correct, we think it must
be clear to demonstration that British agriculture cannot maintain
itself longer against the competition of the foreign grower. We
believe it impossible for any man who has attended to the minute
statements given above, to arrive at an opposite conclusion. No
appliances, no energy, no high farming, can avail in this ruinous
struggle. To expect that more capital will be embarked in so losing
a trade, is perfectly idle. Even if tenants had the wish to do so,
they would fail for the want of means. It will be seen from the
preceding tables what amount of capital is usually perilled on
Scottish farms, and what amount of loss, at present prices, the
farmer must necessarily sustain. Even in better times, few men could
afford to do as much as has already been done by the agriculturists
of the Lothians and Berwickshire; and, under existing circumstances,
the great body of the tenantry cannot find the means to continue
their ordinary operations. With capital exhausted and credit denied
to him, what is the farmer to do? The question is one which we
would fain see answered, and that immediately, by those who have
brought us to the present pass. It cannot remain long unanswered,
without such an augmentation of distress as must render all remedy

So far we have spoken for the tenant, who, as an old contracting
party, has been utterly sacrificed by free-trade legislation. As a
new contractor, we have shown that he is placed under circumstances
of peculiar disadvantage, arising from ignorance as to his real
position, his past exertions, and his future prospects. Had we
spoken rashly on this matter, we should have been liable to the
utmost blame; but we have not put forward any one position which
is not based upon facts, laboriously ascertained, and closely
scrutinised; and all these are open to challenge, if any assailant
has the mind, or the power, to refute us. We state nothing which is
not founded on evidence of the clearest kind, and we shall be glad
if our statements can be met in a precisely similar manner.

We observe that Mr William Ewart Gladstone, in an address delivered
at the late meeting of the Fettercairn Farmers' Club, has taken a
different line of argument; and if his views should prove to be
correct, we must necessarily admit that the British agriculturist
has no ground for complaint at all. We are, it seems, making a vast
deal of noise without anything to justify it. We are clamouring
about an imaginary evil, when we ought to be deeply grateful for
natural benefits vouchsafed to us. So thinks Mr Gladstone, or at
least so he speaks; and as his undeniable talents, and the high
official position which he formerly occupied, entitle him to an
attentive hearing, we shall briefly recapitulate his views. These
are not new, for, if we recollect right, they were enunciated
so early as last spring by the Hon. Sydney Herbert, a gentleman
belonging to the same political section as Mr Gladstone, and they
were then triumphantly refuted by Mr John Ellman, in his letter
addressed to the Duke of Bedford. Since that time, however, another
harvest has intervened, and Mr Gladstone now takes up the argument
of his friend under better auspices, and with a greater show of

Foreign competition, according to Mr Gladstone, is not the cause
of low prices. "This is not," says he, "the first time that we
have had difficulties. We have had many periods when low prices
prevailed. Certainly, at present, prices are extremely low; but, in
many parts of the country, there is a sort of compensation for these
low prices arising from great abundance--the result of improved
processes of growing the crop, and, of consequence, an improved
yield. With regard to the cause of declining prices, I cannot adopt
the line of argument of those who look only to importations as the
chief cause. I do not pretend to speak so accurately of Scotland,
but, as to England, _the wheat crop this year was the largest ever
known_. Upon one single acre of land, of average quality, no less
than sixty-eight bushels of wheat have been taken from the crop of
this year. I must also point out the fact to you, that, although the
crop is the largest, the prices are by no means the lowest we have
seen--for instance, in the year 1835, when the sliding-scale was in
full operation, we had wheat at 35s. per quarter, _and this not only
for a short time, but for the whole year_. If it be true, therefore,
that, at the present time, we have prices 5s. per quarter higher
than they were in 1835, with a corn-law prohibitory till wheat rose
to 70s. per quarter, then I cannot see that we have any such great
cause for alarm as many imagine."

The first remark that we shall make with reference to this
statement, is, that it is _utterly incorrect_. We do not know from
what source Mr Gladstone ordinarily draws his figures, but if any
one will consult the official tables of returns for the year 1835,
he will find that the average of wheat was 39s. 4d., and not 35s.,
as Mr Gladstone has unwarrantably asserted. We have gone over the
weekly averages for the whole of that year, and we find that wheat
was _never once quoted_ so low as 35s. In a matter of this kind,
accuracy is a cardinal virtue, and we cannot allow such a statement
as this to pass unnoticed. The following are _the lowest_ weekly
and aggregate averages for the whole year, taken from the official
tables, and we have purposely selected these in order that Mr
Gladstone may have the full benefit of the nearest approximation to
his figures.


  1835.      Weekly    Aggregate
             average.  average.
               _s._ _d._   _s._ _d._
  January,     40  1   40  7
  February,    40  4   40 10
  March,       39  8   40  0
  April,       39  3   39  1
  May,         38  6   38 11
  June,        39  8   39  5
  July,        40  5   40  1
  August,      40  4   42  5
  September,   37  7   39  2
  October,     36 11   37  3
  November,    36  7   36  9
  December,    36  0   36  8

What, then, are we to think of Mr Gladstone's averment, that, in
1835, we had wheat at 35s., "and this not only for a short time,
but for the whole year?" Not even for the week have we a vestige of
any such quotation! This is blunder the first, and it is so serious
a one, that, on his own showing, it is enough to invalidate the
whole of his argument. IT IS NOT A FACT "that, at the present time,
we have prices 5s. per quarter higher than they were in 1835." The
difference is a fractional part of a shilling; and if Mr. Gladstone
wishes to find a time when the prices were five shillings lower than
at present, he must go back to the year 1779; and, in travelling
towards that period, he will meet with some startling facts in
the financial history of the country, which are well worthy of
observation. In 1779, he will find wheat at 33s. 8d., the produce
of such a harvest that the export of grain exceeded the import by
217,222 quarters. But he will also find that the national debt, at
that period, was just one-fourth of what it now is; and that the
poor-rates of England, instead of touching eight millions, were
considerably short of two.

Secondly, it is not true that the last wheat crop was the largest
ever known in England. This is a wild and utterly extravagant
assertion. The bygone crop was a good one, less on account of
quality than of gift; but every agriculturist knows that, within
the experience of the present generation, we have had far finer
crops. That of 1815 was enormous in its yield--so great that we
did not import a single quarter of grain, and the average price of
wheat for that year was 63s. 8d. The crop of 1822 was not very much
inferior. These are notorious instances; but in order to ascertain,
with as much precision as possible, the relative quality of the
bygone crop, we submitted the statement of Mr. Gladstone to one of
the most extensive corn-dealers in Leith, and the following is his
reply. "Mr. Gladstone's statement is certainly very unlike that of a
person of his high authority; though I conceive it as calculated to
do much mischief in the present depressed state of the corn-trade,
as many people will judge of it from Mr. Gladstone's high standing.
In my opinion, however, nothing can be more absurd than estimating
a crop by a _yard_ in any field, or by a single acre. We hear now
a great deal of the land being more productive, by draining and
other improvements; and it was to be expected that, when a good
wheat season occurred, we should have more wheat than in previous
years; but, from all the confirmation we have yet obtained, I am by
no means disposed to believe that the last crop is a great one, far
less that it is greater than ever known. The present generation, I
have no doubt, have seen larger crops of wheat than our forefathers;
but I think 1814, 1815, 1822, 1825, 1831, 1832, 1833, 1834, 1835,
1841, and 1842, were better seasons than the last. Essex, and
several other English counties which had bad crops in 1848, have
much greater crops in 1849; but Lincolnshire, and several other very
important counties, have very deficient crops on certain varieties
of soil. All that can be said of the present crop is, that it is
a full one, generally speaking. More of it, I am sure, will yield
under 40 bushels an acre than over 40; and very little, indeed, 60
or 68, as Mr. Gladstone says a _single_ acre has produced." So much
for the general yield; let us now revert to the seasons which Mr.
Gladstone has selected for comparison.

The crop of 1835 was not only larger than that of 1849, but it came
to us under circumstances which entirely preclude a comparison
of the years, if prices are to be taken as a criterion. THE CROP
statistics from 1830, which was a bad season, to 1836, when the
harvest was again unfavourable:--

  Year.   Quarters imported.   Average price.
                               _s._ _d._
  1830,     1,701,889,           64  3
  1831,     1,491,631,           66  4
  1832,       325,435,           58  8
  1833,        82,346,           52 11
  1834,        64,653,           46  2
  1835,        28,483,           39  4
  1836,        24,826,           48  6

It will thus be seen that it was a succession of good harvests
which brought down the prices gradually from 66s. 4d. in 1831, to
39s. 4d. in 1835. Last year we had one good harvest following a
remarkably bad one, and yet Mr Gladstone would attempt to persuade
us that the present reduction of price arises solely from excessive
plenty, as in 1835! If it were so, where would be the room for that
importation, which, during the first eight months of the bygone
year, has more than doubled that of 1848, for the corresponding
period? For his own sake, we are sorry to find Mr Gladstone
resorting to fallacies so exceedingly flimsy and transparent. Surely
he must be aware that the extreme depreciation of price, which is
the cause of agricultural distress, could not by any possibility be
the result of the late harvest--for this unanswerable reason, that,
in the earlier parts of the year, before the corn had shot in the
fields, prices were rapidly dwindling. The deficient crop of 1848
could not have put prices down--we presume that even Mr Gladstone
will not maintain _that_--and yet, for the week ending April 7, 1849
we find the averages of England as follows:--


  Wheat.    Barley.   Oats.     Rye.      Beans.    Pease
  44s. 5d.  28s. 9d.  16s. 9d.  26s. 5d.  28s. 1d.  29s. 6d.

So then, after a poor crop in 1848, we find prices lower than they
were in 1834, after a series of fine crops, and we are calmly asked
to adopt the conclusion that a single good crop in 1849 has done
all the mischief! Mr Gladstone might just as well tell us that our
present prices are affected by the crop of 1850, which is now lying
in embryo in the seed.

But we have not yet done with Mr Gladstone, who goes on to assert
that low prices have nothing to do with importations from abroad.
This position he tries to fortify by rather an ingenious process, as
will be seen from the following extract from his speech:--

     "Let me point out also that I had the curiosity to obtain an
     account of the last month's importations into this country, and,
     on comparing the same with those of 1848, the decrease this year
     is very remarkable; and, besides, with diminished importations
     this year, must be taken into account the fact, that from the
     condition of the crop this year, as compared with the last, the
     value of our grain is at least 5s. superior to the mere nominal
     price. In October, last year, you had good prices for wheat;
     in this year, bad. I ask, was this owing to importations from
     abroad, or was it not? I give you the result in figures, which
     I think will convince you what is the reason of the low prices.
     In October 1848, the importation of wheat to this country was
     no less than 506,000 quarters; in 1849, it is only 154,000
     quarters. How are we to account for this, but simply from the
     great abundance of wheat at home this year, while in 1848 the
     supply was somewhat short; and, so far as regards the English
     farmer, I consider he is better off this year, with his large
     crop and low prices, than he was last, with his small crop and
     high prices."

If anything could make us lose our patience, while dealing with
so momentous a subject, it would be the sight of such statements
as these. Observe how the matter stands. Mr Gladstone is arguing
that importations from abroad do not affect prices here, and, by
way of proof, he gives us the statistics of a single month. He
says--Last October you had good prices and large importations: this
October you have bad prices and diminished importation. _Ergo_,
importations have nothing to do with prices! Is Mr Gladstone
ignorant of the fact, that, for the first eight months of the year
1849, the quantity of grain imported was more than double that of
the preceding season, and that almost every warehouse in our ports
is filled almost to bursting with foreign grain? Is he aware that
this diminished import for October, if extended over the year, would
give an amount greater than was brought in during any famine year
previous to 1839? Let us see how this matter stands, adopting his
very favourable calculations.


  1810,               1,491,341
  1817,               1,020,949
  1818,               1,593,518
  1829,               1,364,200
  1830,               1,701,889
  1838,               1,834,452

The October imports, which Mr Gladstone considers as being reduced
in consequence of the good harvest at home, would, if spread over
the year, amount to 1,848,000 quarters--being very little less than
the average amount imported from 1836 to 1840, when we had five
bad or indifferent seasons in succession. Mr Gladstone, however,
we apprehend, leaps too rapidly at his conclusions. He should have
waited until the frost set in, and then, perhaps, he might have been
able to point to a materially diminished importation. We should
like to know how he will dispose of the ascertained statistics for
November. They are as follows:--


  Wheat and wheat flour,     215,134
  Barley and barley meal,     90,304
  Oats and oat meal,         114,311
  Rye and rye meal,            6,201
  Beans,                      19,061
  Pease,                      22,269
  Indian corn,                46,306
  Buckwheat,                      30

being equal to 513,615 quarters of all kinds of grain for the month!
These are the diminished importations! But we shall come down
even later, and inquire what sort of proportion the arrivals of
foreign grain bear to those of British growth in the London market,
according to the last accounts. We copy from the _Times_ of December

     "CORN EXCHANGE, Monday, _Dec. 10._--Throughout the past week,
     there have been good arrivals of wheat, barley, and oats into
     this market from abroad, although of wheat the quantity reported
     has been less than of other grain. Of English corn of any kind,
     (if we except barley,) the total reports are insignificant, and
     but a few cargoes of oats from Ireland. The state of the trade,
     on the several market days, was languid, and even at lower
     prices for barley and oats, buyers were indisposed to get into

The following is a statement of the arrivals of grain at London
from the 3d to the 8th of December, which may serve to indicate the
sources from which the population of our vast metropolis is fed; and
we leave Mr Gladstone to reconcile it, as he best can, with his new
theory of importations:--

                       British        Foreign
                         Qrs.           Qrs.
  Wheat,                4601           19,617
  Barley,               6144           19,842
  Oats,                 7370           21,718
  Rye,                                    514
  Beans,                 962              337
  Pease,                1077            6,713
                        ____             ____
                       20,154          68,741

So then, after the harvesting of "the largest wheat crop ever known
in England," and at the dead season of the year, when the navigation
of the Elbe is closed, the importation of foreign wheat into the
London market exceeds the arrival of English wheat by a ratio of
nearly five to one! And, with such facts before us, we are forbidden
to believe that imports affect prices! We hope, when we next meet Mr
Gladstone, to find him in a more logical humour, and better prepared
with his facts.

It is not surprising if, in a controversy of this kind, we should
find the Free-traders openly contradicting each other, and very
often themselves, in the advice which they gratuitously offer to the
agriculturist. One section recommends further outlay on the land,
more extended and elaborate tillage, and prophesies in return an
augmented cereal crop. Another totally repudiates this view, but
advises that the loss should be made good by green crops, wider
pastures, and an infinite multiplication of cattle. The former
philanthropists want more grain; the latter insist upon an extended
consumption of butcher meat. The tendency of late legislation has
been in favour of the latter view, and the consequence has been a
depreciation in the value of cattle throughout the kingdom, of at
least from 15 to 20 per cent. The consumer has not yet got the full
benefit of it, but the farmer has incurred the loss; and we know
instances of pasturings on which, for the last two years, not a
single shilling of profit has been realised. The cattle when sent to
market, after being fattened, have brought the same price which was
given for them in their lean and hungry condition. The Free-traders
are very bold about cattle, alleging that, in this respect, there
is nothing to fear from the effects of foreign competition. And
undoubtedly, to a casual observer, this would appear to be one
of the least objectionable parts of their scheme. Still there
is something mysterious in the fact of the great depreciation.
The prices of cattle have fallen, until profit has been nearly
extinguished; and if we exclude altogether the idea of foreign
competition, the necessary conclusion will be, that the supply has
vastly exceeded the demand. This is but poor comfort to those who
are told to look to green crops for their remuneration. But we
think that the subject requires a closer examination than it has
yet received. We are convinced that the depreciation of live stock
is intimately connected with importation, and the result of our
inquiries will show whether we are right or wrong. But first let us
glance at the ascertained effects of importation under the relaxed

The first fruit of the unrestricted trade in live stock--which
exhibited a number that mounted up, for the first five years, at a
rate increasing annually fourfold, until the number of "oxen and
bulls" reached from 1385 in 1843, to 27,831 in 1848--was no doubt
sufficiently alarming. But, judging from the trade of the year
ending 1848, and of the present season, this influx would appear
to have reached its full. Assuming this to be the case--as the
entire number would not, on a rough calculation, furnish more than
a week or ten days' supply of beef to the whole country--perhaps
there is not much reason to apprehend any great depression in
home prices from the influence of the importation of foreign
_live_ stock. Besides, from the tendency of recent improvements in
agriculture--should these fortunately continue in operation--to
increase materially the supplies of beef and mutton, it is possible
that these necessaries could, in future, be afforded at such a
price as to exclude the probability of any great accession to our
importations for many years.

We believe that the only considerable harm which has resulted from
the importation of live stock, has been the importation of two
very fatal diseases, which have, since then, carried off numbers
of cattle and sheep, and which, like most epidemics, will in all
human probability become permanent. The mortality was so serious,
that Parliament has already passed an act establishing a sort of
conditional quarantine; and it has been calculated by those who are
skilled in such matters, that the number of animals that have died
in consequence, is considerably greater than the whole amount of
the importation. In this way it is easy to reckon the amount of our
losses and our gains.

But there is a farther importation of butchers' meat in another
shape, which is far more difficult to contend against--namely, that
of "cured beef, bacon, and pork." The importation of these articles
has increased so rapidly and enormously, since the introduction of
free trade--the two latter to upwards of sixfold since 1847--that
the whole together, it may be reckoned, now afford a quantity of
food exceeding in weight four times that of the "oxen and bulls"
imported during the last year. This is a mere beginning, but already
the effects of it have been widely and calamitously felt. It is
not only affecting the graziers, but it is displacing a large and
hitherto flourishing trade, both in Britain and in Ireland; and, if
carried out further, as it clearly will be, not one single rallying
point or chance of escape will be left to the British agriculturist.

The following is the statement of a Liverpool correspondent, dated
6th December last:--

"I enclose you a price-current, with the latest quotations of
American provisions, which are the prices to the wholesale dealers.
In the best qualities of beef and pork, the trade generally get 5s.
to 10s. a package profit, and on an _ordinary_ article a much larger
margin is allowed.

"American beef is far superior to Irish, and brings more money. The
import of the latter is about 1000 tierces--of the former, 20,000
tierces. Irish pork stands higher than American, and the finest
quality eastern will sell within 5s. per barrel of Irish. The import
of Irish is about 3000 barrels--of American, 35,000 barrels."

The following table will show the comparative prices of Irish and
American produce:--

_Comparative Table of Prices of Irish and American Provisions at
Liverpool, in December 1849._

                            Irish.             American.
  Prime mess beef, per   _s._   _s._     _s._ _d._     _s._
    tierce, 304 lbs.,     80  to 85       67   6     to 81
  Prime mess pork, per
    barrel, 200 lbs.,     62  to 66       34   0     to 60
  Mess do., per do.,      54  to 60       45   0     to 50
  Bacon, per cwt.,        45  to 48       30   0     to 32
  Lard, per do.,          38  to --       33   6     to 34

These are figures which may well astound the boldest Free-trader;
for they show that the provision trade is altogether passing from
our hands. To those who regard the welfare of Great Britain, they
furnish additional proof of the headlong rate of our decline. But
we have yet other statements to make, for which, we are certain, no
one was prepared, though the facts they disclose are the necessary
consequence of such comparative prices as we have just given. _We
believe that the British navy, which is victualled by contract, is
at this moment supplied from foreign, and not British produce!_

We crave the special attention of the reader to the following letter
from a gentleman residing in Dundee, who stands nearly at the head
of the meat-curing business in Scotland. We have authority to give
his name, if that should be considered necessary. His letter bears
date 12th November 1849:--

"In reply to the queries put to me by you, as to the value, &c.
of foreign provisions, I beg leave to hand you a statement of the
difference of price of Scotch and American beef, calculating the
Scotch beef at the present low price of 40s. per cwt., and the
present price of my American prime mess beef at 87s. 6d. per tierce
of 304 lbs., the quality of which is not inferior to the best Scotch

  Present price of Scotch beef, from
    butcher, 40s. per cwt., or for 304
    lbs.,                                 £5  8  6
  Price of tierce, 5s. 6d.--expense of
    curing, 4s.,                           0  9  6
  In leakage of weight.                    0  7  6
  Allowance of value between necks,
    shanks, and prime beef,                0  2  6
        Present price of one tierce
          Scotch beef,                    £6  8  0
        Present price of my prime
          mess American beef,              4  7  6
                      Difference,         £2  0  6

"By this statement you will see that there is a difference of £2,
Os. 6d. per tierce, or 14s. 9d. per cwt., in favour of the American;
besides, I allow 2-1/2 per cent off for cash, which I hardly think
the butcher does at the above price. Neither am I the importer of
this beef, but purchase at the sales in Liverpool, though a broker;
neither am I an underseller, 87s. 6d., (2-1/2 per cent off,) being
about the general price for such an article in various markets.
Owing to the low price and excellent quality of American beef,
almost every ship from this port, going to the south, takes it in
preference to our home beef; and when in England, last month, we
found there was nothing else used by the English vessels, with the
exception of a little fresh beef, which they take with them when
they go out; and one house in London informed me that they had
supplied the navy with 3080 tierces of American beef.

"American pork can be purchased at a very low price, but as yet I
have seen none fine, and there are but few of our shipowners that
would take it. There is, however, hardly anything else than American
hams and flitch bacons sold in this and other manufacturing towns;
and although the quality is not fine, still the price is low, and
purchasers are to be found on that account.

"Hamburg beef and pork are both of a good quality, and sell
generally about 10s. per cwt. below the price of Scotch. I had,
however, an offer of 500 barrels from one of the largest houses in
Hamburg fully 15 per cent below what I can afford to cure Scotch;
it, however, being last year's cure, I did not accept of the offer.

"There are several houses opened lately in Hamburg, who are curing
a first-rate article in a first-rate style for the London market;
and one of my London correspondents, writing lately, informs me
of a house in London (to which I have sent a great quantity of
pickled pork for the last twenty years,) having opened a curing
establishment in Hamburg for the cure of pickled pork on the Scotch
system. It was doing up nicely, and affecting the market for Scotch
greatly; he adds that, from the price and quality of the article,
it would be a death-blow to the Scotch curers. I may also say that
it looks very like it. Some years ago I was curing about seven tons
a-week for the London market alone, and found plenty of demand; now,
at the present day, I can hardly get clear of two tons a-week, and
that at very low prices--so low, indeed, that we are compelled to
look for other markets in other places; and I am confining myself
principally to prime mess pork among the shipping of this and other
ports. These are facts which I can authenticate, as I have had many
years' experience in the curing both of beef and pork for home and
foreign markets; and you are at perfect liberty to make any use of
this information which you may think proper."

From this, and other statements of a similar nature which have
reached us, and which we refrain from inserting, solely on account
of the unusual space which our remarks must otherwise occupy,
we entertain no doubt whatever that in the article of meat the
competition is as formidable as in that of grain; and that there is
no limit to the extent of competition, save the ultimate inability
of the burdened British agriculturist to hold his ground against the
untaxed and unreciprocating foreigner. In a very short time, if the
system is not perfected at present, we may expect to see the rations
of the army, the stores of the navy, and the contracts for all large
establishments, supplied from foreign produce. The displacement of
home industry, and the extinguishment of important trades indicated
in the foregoing letter, are perhaps matters of minor importance in
such a revolution as this: nevertheless, they are too serious to be
contemplated without the greatest alarm.

So stands the agricultural interest at this moment--an interest, be
it observed, in which the prosperity of wellnigh three-fourths of
the population of this mighty empire is concerned. We might say,
with perfect truth, the interest of the whole population; but as
those of the Manchester school deny their identity with the rest of
us, we must exclude them; and they cannot think us ungracious or
illiberal if we assign to them a number of adherents far greater
than we believe they actually possess. These are the effects of
what they call free trade; BUT FREE TRADE IT IS NOT, being simply
the most shameful species of one-sided and partial legislation. The
Manchester men dare not, for their souls, carry out the principle
to its full extent. The agriculturist has a right to demand that
this shall be done; that, exposed as he is to the competition of
the world, and burdened, as he must remain, with debts contracted
ages ago to the profit of the capitalist, and burdens swollen to
their present amount by manufacturing pauperism, no other class
shall be protected from a similar free competition. No plea for
revenue duties to be raised upon customs can be held valid in equity
now. Why should there still exist a protective duty of from ten
to fifteen per cent against foreign manufactures? Why is any one
portion of our consumption to be taxed, whilst another is allowed
to go free? Are we not entitled to demand that the same measure
which has been dealt to us, shall be meted out to every man in Great
Britain and Ireland, let his trade or occupation be what it may?
Are we not entitled to say this much to the manufacturers, who were
foremost in the late movement--You have compelled us to compete
with Poland for grain on equal terms: you therefore must in future
compete with the foreign manufacturer on a similar condition of
equality? Why are we to pay fifteen per cent duty for foreign silk
manufactures; for velvets, gauzes, satins, and suchlike? Why ten
per cent for more than a hundred articles of consumption, including
cotton, woollen, and hair manufactures, lace, gauze, brass, brocade,
stoneware, steel, &c.? Why should we be prohibited from growing, if
we can do it, our own tobacco? Why are Messrs Cobden and Bright,
and their confederates, to nestle under the wing of protection,
whilst the agriculturalist is left utterly bare? Apart from policy,
and simply on the ground of justice, we denounce such infamous
partiality. If, without even the shadow of a coming reciprocity on
the part of foreign nations, we are desired to face competition, let
there be no exceptions whatever. There can be, and there is, no just
medium between entire free trade and equitable protection for all.
The voice of the whole nation will ere long declare that no such
medium shall exist. What enormous amount of benefit have Manchester
manufacturers conferred upon the community at large, that they are
to be bolstered up by customs' duties, whilst the agriculturist is
trodden under foot? What fractional portion of the greatness of this
country has been achieved by the professors of the spinning-jenny
and the billy-roller, who now, in defiance of history and of fact,
would fain persuade us that THEY, forsooth, are the flower of
Britain, the oracles of its wisdom, the regulators of its policy,
the masters of the destiny of mankind?

It has been the fashion of late, for those gentlemen, to talk as if
the British farmers were infinitely behind the rest of the world in
activity and intelligence. It has been insinuated, that they are
unworthy occupants of an exceedingly fertile soil, the capabilities
of which they have not tested, through indolence and prejudice. Some
such accusation is implied, in all the late stimulating exhortations
to increased exertion; and Lord Kinnaird does not hesitate to
tell us so, almost in as many words. These are, no doubt, recent
discoveries, for it is not long since we were told, by the very
same parties, that the superior agricultural skill of our farmers
was such as to set foreign competition at defiance! That was one of
the principal arguments employed for effecting the repeal of the
corn laws; but now, when the results have proved totally contrary
to anticipation, it is convenient to turn round, and accuse the
farmer of a total want of those very qualities which were assigned
as reasons for the change. The obvious fallacy in the first
proposition, does not make the inconsistency of the second a whit
less monstrous. No wonder if the insult should be bitterly felt by
the agriculturist.

We are perhaps too apt, at the present moment, to allow the former
promises of the Free-traders to slip out of memory. If we were to
search through the abandoned rubbish of the League, we should find
ample evidence of the gross fraud which was passed upon the country
by the leaders of that nefarious faction. On the 19th December last,
we find Mr Cobden, at Leeds, speaking as follows:--"I have always
contemplated a transition state in this country, when there would
be pinching and suffering in the agricultural class in passing
from a vicious system to a sound one; for you cannot be restored
from bad health to good without going through a process of languor
and suffering. I have always looked forward to that time." If this
statement be true--if Mr Cobden did "always contemplate" such a
state of matters--it would not be difficult to convict him of
something worse than hypocrisy. Three days later, at the memorable
meeting held at Huntingdon, Mr G. Day, one of the speakers, made
the following pithy remarks:--"He would refer, however, to the
magnificent promises which had been held out by Mr Cobden as certain
to be realised by free trade, and to do so he was free to refer to
his letters. 'First, with regard to the landlord, I do not mean to
say that the landlords will not get as good rents with free trade
as they have now with monopoly: No doubt they will get on a great
deal better with free trade. The landlord has nothing to fear.'
Again, he said, 'The landlords will have the same rents with free
trade as they have at present.' In speaking of the tenant-farmers
he said, 'The tenant-farmer will under free trade be an independent
man. I say that the farmer has nothing to fear from competition.'
With regard to the poor, what did this gentleman say? 'There
would be no complaining poor in our streets, no income-tax, no
property-tax, no poor-rates, but all classes would be benefited by
the adoption of free trade.' These were the promises made to them by
a free-trader--the leader of them; and in the _Bread-Tax Circular_,
No. 146, page 255, they would find what he had read to them--Mr
Cobden's own words."

Does Mr Cobden admit that he wrote this circular? If he does,
perhaps he will be good enough to explain how he reconciles the
views contained in it with his new assertion that he always
contemplated a transition state of suffering for the agricultural
class? We recommend him, for his own sake, to clear this matter up.
Rash averments may be pardoned; but deliberate double-dealing, never.

"It is cruel," writes one of our correspondents, a practical
farmer of great experience, "that the advocates of the measure, in
their exultation, should pretend not to see that the facts of the
case have revealed a much more alarming aspect to their opponents
than they anticipated; and that even the danger to themselves,
from this cause, does not bring conviction of the falsity of
their views. They affect to blame the farmer for ignorance, want
of skill and enterprise--forgetting that, not long since, he
was wont to be held up as a pattern of all that was superior in
agricultural advancement, and that our island stands conspicuous
among foreigners for its garden cultivation. Still, we are told,
it is want of energy, and of a free application of capital, which
prevents the British farmers from successfully competing with
the Continent: as if overwhelming supplies of foreign corn, and,
consequently, a greatly reduced price, were not sufficient reasons
to oblige the agriculturist to modify the enterprise, and curtail
the expenditure for which he had hitherto been so distinguished.
Such unjust reflections may serve to raise up and maintain a feeling
of prejudice against the farmer, and to bring him into obnoxious
comparison with other arts, where science has fortunately been more
successfully applied; but it is not to be expected, that a hopeless
rivalry, and a low price, are to have the effect of stimulating to
efforts and outlay, beyond what was induced by protection and a
remunerating return.

"It has been customary to bring the farmer's position into
contrast with that of the manufacturer, who is said to fear no
foreign competition. But is the comparison a just one? The British
manufacturer possesses every advantage and appliance to render his
productions superior, and, consequently, also cheaper. Britain
is the great mart of all the chief staples of new produce. Her
machinery is the best--her fuel is the cheapest. On the other
hand, the farmer here is deficient in _raw material_. He labours
an obstinate soil, for the use of which he pays high; while his
climate--the main element to give security and save expense--is far
inferior to that of his rival."

Our friend might have gone further; for, if we enter into the
comparison, we shall find that the British farmer has taken more
advantage of his natural position than the British manufacturer. The
true way of arriving at a just conclusion upon this point is, by
contrasting, in the first instance, the natural advantages enjoyed
by either class.

The motive power of the British manufacturer is derived from coal,
of which he has an unlimited supply: the motive power of the British
farmer is, except to a very small extent, dependent upon animals,
which is infinitely more expensive and tedious; requiring more work
with less command of power. The manufacturer can try any experiment
he pleases, either in the construction of his machinery or in the
texture of his fabric, in the course of a few days or weeks, and
adopt or reject it as best suits his purpose: the farmer cannot
attempt any experiment upon his crops without waiting a whole
year for the result; nor any upon his live stock in less than two
or three years. In the mean time, his expenses and rent go on as
usual. The British manufacturer is not dependent on the climate:
the British farmer is altogether so dependent; the climate of this
country being proverbially uncertain and changeable, and very often
ungenial. We apprehend, therefore, that, as to natural advantages,
the home manufacturer stands on a far more advantageous footing
than the home agriculturist.

Let us next contrast the state of the two classes abroad. The
foreign manufacturer has few natural advantages. He does not possess
the command of coal for his motive power, but is compelled to erect
his factory on the bank of some stream, without regard, otherwise,
to the convenience of the locality. Iron for machinery is far
more expensive abroad than here; in fact, most of the Continental
machinery is directly exported from Britain. On the other hand, the
foreign farmer has all the advantages of an equable, rich soil, and
of a good and steady climate.

Now, then, let us see how far the British manufacturer, with all
his natural advantages, has surpassed his foreign rival. Does
he make a _better_ article than the foreigner? Can he beat the
German linen, the Russian duck, the Swiss calico, the Saxon or
Austrian broad-cloth, the porcelains of Dresden and Sèvres, or
the silks, stained papers, and prints of France? If not, where
is his superiority? As to _designs_, it is notorious that he is
infinitely behind the Continent. No doubt he sends ship-loads of
flimsy textures, with flaring colours and incongruous patterns,
to semi-barbarous countries; and he can deluge the markets of the
world with cheap goods, so furbished and tricked out that they sell
from appearance only. But what hold has he of the Continent? He
cannot compete with the manufacturers there in point of _quality_:
if he could make a better article, no Zollvereins or combinations
would be able to keep him out. These remarks apply to the bulk of
our manufactures, which are made for foreign export; and these,
in point of quality, are precisely what we have described them.
There are undoubtedly high class manufacturers here, especially
in the woollen and linen trades, who supply the home market with
high class goods. But how do they stand? _They are protected from
foreign competition._ It is in their favour that the highest import
duties remain; and, were those restrictions removed to-morrow, they
would be undersold in the British market. If any one thinks we are
wrong in this matter, we shall be glad to hear him explain why the
duties remain? It cannot be for _revenue_, since, if the British
manufacturer can beat his foreign rival, without reciprocity, in
the foreign market, it would be an absurdity to suppose the tables
turned, and the foreign manufacturer paying duty solely for the
sake of offering us a worse article in Britain. If not for revenue,
why are the duties continued by statesmen who have declared for
free trade? The answer is clear. _These are protective duties_;
and they are continued for this reason, that, with all his natural
advantages, the British manufacturer is not able to set Continental
competition at defiance.

Lastly, let us look to the British farmer, in so far as energy
and enterprise are concerned, in contrast with _his_ rival. Here
no detailed statement is necessary. In spite of all natural
disadvantages, the soil of Britain is better tilled than that of
any other country. We ask with a natural pride, greater perhaps
on account of adverse circumstances, whether the husbandry of the
Lothians or of the Border counties can be matched anywhere out of
Britain? Where, on the surface of the globe, are the agriculturists
who have approached our tenantry in the free outlay of capital,
ready intelligence, persevering enterprise, and high professional
skill? And yet these men, admittedly at the head of their craft, are
to be told, forsooth, that they have been indolent and ignorant; and
that retired tradesmen and shopkeepers would make far better farmers
than they!

Judging from results, then, which of the two classes has best done
its duty to the state? Which of the two has availed itself most of
the advantages which lay within its reach, and done most to overcome
the power of natural disadvantages? We apprehend that, in all
respects, the efforts of the agriculturist have been greater than
those of the manufacturer. If the former is to fall a sacrifice,
let it not at least be said that his indolence provoked his fate.
Out of agriculture manufactures arose; and it is now, we presume,
the intention of our rulers, that the one shall decay, and the
other survive: that the former shall fall unprotected, and the
latter struggle on with the whole monopoly of protection. If so,
the results are clear enough. The manufacturer who the other day
accosted Mr Muntz in the following terms:--"We have eaten up the
West Indian planters, we have eaten the Irish landlords, we have
finished the colonies, and now we are at the farmers; and I don't
know that we won't be eaten ourselves,"--saw plainly the effect of
our legislation. Mr Cobden sees its effect as well; but now, at the
eleventh hour, when the tide is turning against him, he is straining
every nerve to maintain his false position. It is the misfortune of
demagogues, but a great blessing to the rest of mankind, that they
invariably become intoxicated with the first draught of success,
and seldom recover their reason. So is it with Cobden now. His
late rabid harangue at Leeds, in which he ransacked the vocabulary
for terms of abuse to heap upon the landed gentry, was perhaps the
most insolent speech ever uttered in a free nation. Surrounded by
his fetid chimneys, and his squalid dupes, he assumes the tone of
a dictator, holds out threats of annihilation to all who dare to
question his policy, and actually throws the gauntlet of defiance
to the constituencies of the United Kingdom! There is no mistake
at all about the force and significance of his SHALL. Right or
wrong, every man in this empire must walk as Cobden directs him,
else some nondescript vial of unutterable wrath and retribution is
to be poured on his devoted head. These are not the arguments of
a reasonable man, but the ravings of a positive maniac. They will
delude no one, whilst they serve to show the base nature of the
man who utters them. The gladiator of old, blowing sulphur flames
through a hollow nut, and passing himself off for a god, was not
a more rank impostor than this seven times baffled prophet. Is
it not something unparalleled in the annals of assurance to find
this person, himself protected, declaiming against all protection,
save that of his immediate class, and avowing his deliberate
determination to overthrow every institution of the country, if we
shall cease from enriching the Polish magnates at the expense of
the British labourer? Let us see what this man is doing. He, whose
fortunes were notoriously redeemed by the questionable wages of
agitation, is now publicly announcing his intention, if thwarted,
of pursuing a line of conduct which would necessarily result in
the abolition of the monarchy, and the establishment of a republic
in Britain. There is no mistaking the tendency of the hints which
are thrown out by him and his fellows. They abstain, indeed, and
certainly wisely for themselves, from broadly proclaiming their
ends in such language as would bring them within the immediate
grasp of the law. They say nothing about the Crown, for that would
be dangerous; but they resolutely avow their determination, if
possible, to pull down the aristocracy; and they point to the
abolition of the House of Peers as a measure which, at some future
period, may engage their serious attention. Add to this their
perpetual laudation of American institutions, as preferable to
our own--their open and avowed sympathy with the insurgents of
democratic Europe--their bitter and malignant abuse of every one who
has been instrumental in putting down insurrection--their scheme for
abandoning the colonies as worthless appendages, and so breaking up
the integrity of the empire--their proposals, so violently urged
and reiterated, of such a reduction in the army and navy, as would
render both arms of the service utterly inefficient--add all these,
and we shall be at no loss to discover the real aim of this foul and
scandalous confederacy. We are aware that it is somewhat difficult
to define the limits of sedition; still Mr Cobden had better have
a care of his language whilst indulging in such revelations as he
has of late chosen to set forth. It will be no child's-play if he
actually should attempt to put the smallest of his threats into

Setting Mr Cobden aside, we have still an observation to make. It
is not a little edifying to contrast the tone assumed at present by
the disciples of the Manchester school with that which they adopted
after the passing of the disastrous measures of 1846. We were then
entreated, in Parliament and out of it, to give the experiment a
fair trial. It was admitted that divers extraordinary occurrences
had intervened to postpone the great advantages to the nation which
must flow from the opening of the ports, yet still we were asked
to believe that the calculations of Mr M'Gregor were perfectly
sound, and that in a little time all would be well. We have
waited, patiently enough, until the last fragment of agricultural
protection has been removed--until it is obvious to every one, save
an exporting and protected manufacturer, that nothing short of
protection can save the landed interest of Great Britain from total
ruin--and until ruin, in its worst shape, has already overtaken
Ireland. And what was it that we waited for? RECIPROCITY; the sole
thing which, by the acknowledgment of the Peel party, could justify
the experiment. RECIPROCITY, which Mr Cobden promised us if we would
only show the example. Now that reciprocity is out of the question,
our antagonists turn round, revile us as fools for adhering to our
original opinions--though the experience of each succeeding year
has attested their accuracy and soundness--and, in the contemptible
cant of the day, denominate their free-trade policy "an accomplished

They are right in one sense. It is a fact that this great nation
has suffered itself to be misled by the machinations of a selfish
and unscrupulous faction. It is also a fact, that for a time these
machinations have been successful. But the great fact which now
concerns us is, that the British nation is fully alive to the
imposture; and that being the case, we entertain not the slightest
doubt as to the ultimate issue.

One word in conclusion to our friends. It is the policy of those
who are against us--and indeed their last desperate chance--to
promote disunion among the ranks of those who draw their subsistence
from the land, and whose welfare depends upon the agricultural
prosperity of Britain. They are trying to set the tenant against
the landlord, the labourer against the farmer; and their efforts
have been assisted, to no inconsiderable extent, by the folly of
weak men, who, in their terror, are attempting, by all the means in
their power, to shelter themselves from the consequences which they
thoroughly foresee. Our policy, as well as our duty, is to maintain
a firm and united front. It would be madness to suppose that among
the three great agricultural classes, there can be any disunion of
interest. Landlord and farmer depend upon each other; the one class
cannot be prostrated without the other falling a victim. And both
of them have a duty to perform to the labourer, which must not be
disregarded. He, as the lowest in the scale, is often the first to
suffer; but woe to our land if the labourer should be trodden under

We repeat that we have no fear for the future. We see on all hands
the unmistakeable signs of a mighty reaction, which cannot but
defeat the designs of that grasping faction for whose benefit alone
this ominous experiment has been made. Deeply as we deplore the
misery which has overtaken us, we must regard it as the penalty
incurred for having swerved from the old path by which Britain
attained her greatness--for having listened too readily to the
suggestions of selfish and incompetent men. The experience of
each succeeding month shows the error of the course we have been
pursuing, and demonstrates the necessity of a return. Why should
we fear? England--that noble country which stands pre-eminent
among the nations of the world for its loyalty, enterprise, and
independence--for its regard to sterling worth in the lowest,
as well as the highest sphere--has awakened from its momentary
trance. The voice of the people, before which that of faction must
be silenced, is proclaiming, in clear and articulate language,
that the virtual possession of its free and unviolated soil shall
not be yielded, through fraud, to the foreigner, who never could
have taken possession of it by force of arms; and that the English
yeomanry will not submit to be sacrificed or annihilated for the
wretched interest of a handful of manufacturers, whose gains are
dependent upon the extension of a foreign market. We rejoice to see
that the men of England are up and doing. Their energy, if rightly
directed, nothing can withstand. Cobden may bluster, as demagogues
always do; and Bright may insinuate revolutions which he has
neither the courage nor the power to attempt; but the day for such
trashy vapouring has gone by, and England will no longer allow her
greatness to be perilled at the bidding of such miserable upstarts.
The issue of the late elections, and the triumphant meetings which
are everywhere held in England, for the maintenance of her national
and agricultural prosperity, should excite us to similar efforts. If
our statements of what is occurring here can strengthen the hands of
our brethren in the south, we shall be more than amply repaid for
the pains we have expended in a close and laborious investigation.
England may not require support; but support is ready for her.
Ireland, from the depths of present misery, sees the hand which
is striving to keep her down, and prepares herself for another
struggle. Scotland will not remain inactive. Her interest is so
clear, that it would be almost wasting words to attempt to explain
it further. Let but this experiment go on for a few years longer,
and all that we have gained, by more than a century of unremitting
toil, will be lost to us: our improvements will be annihilated, and
our people pauperised. Deprived of her yeomanry, as noble a body
of men as exists upon the face of the earth, the nationality of
Scotland is gone. We trust, then, that in every part of the country
the appeal will be energetically answered. Scotsmen are slow to
move; but being moved, they have a will and resolution that can
bear down any obstacle whatever. There never was a time when the
old national spirit was more imperatively required to show itself
than now. Let us then speak out boldly in defence of our country,
and tell those Manchester conspirators, in answer to their insolent
challenge, that--beyond that circle of smoking factories, which they
falsely imagine to be the heart of Britain--there exists a majority
of loyal British subjects, who despise their dictation, detest their
hypocrisy, and utterly defy their power.

_Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

The transcriber has inserted missing anchors for the following:

  Footnote 5: AMERICAN ADVENTURE.[5]

  Footnote 9: HOWARD.[9]

  Footnote 17: Cospatrick's stronghold of Dunbar[17]

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.
Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have been retained as

Mismatched quotes are not fixed if it's not sufficiently clear where
the missing quote should be placed.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 67, No. 411, January 1850" ***

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