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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 68, No. 421, November 1850
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 68, No. 421, November 1850" ***

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generously made available by The Internet Library of Early

                          EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

               NO. CCCCXXI. NOVEMBER, 1850. VOL. LXVIII.



THE RISE, POWER, AND POLITICS OF PRUSSIA,                            516

HOURS IN SPAIN,                                                      534

MODERN STATE TRIALS. PART II.                                        545

ANNA HAMMER,                                                         573


THE RENEWAL OF THE INCOME-TAX,                                       611

                    AND 37 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

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



                          EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

         NO. CCCCXXI.       NOVEMBER, 1850.      VOL. LXVIII.




"There can't be a doubt," said my father, "that to each of the main
divisions of your work--whether you call them Books or Parts--you
should prefix an Initial or Introductory Chapter."

PISISTRATUS.--"Can't be a doubt, sir! Why so?"

MR CAXTON.--"Fielding lays it down as an indispensable rule, which he
supports by his example; and Fielding was an artistical writer, and
knew what he was about."

PISISTRATUS.--"Do you remember any of his reasons, sir?"

MR CAXTON.--"Why, indeed, Fielding says very justly that he is not
bound to assign any reason; but he does assign a good many, here and
there--to find which, I refer you to _Tom Jones_. I will only observe,
that one of his reasons, which is unanswerable, runs to the effect that
thus, in every Part or Book, the reader has the advantage of beginning
at the fourth or fifth page instead of the first--'a matter by no means
of trivial consequence,' saith Fielding, 'to persons who read books
with no other view than to say they have read them--a more general
motive to reading than is commonly imagined; and from which not only
law books and good books, but the pages of Homer and Virgil, of Swift
and Cervantes have been often turned over.' There," cried my father
triumphantly, "I will lay a shilling to twopence that I have quoted the
very words."

MRS CAXTON.--"Dear me, that only means skipping: I don't see any great
advantage in writing a chapter, merely for people to skip it."

PISISTRATUS.--"Neither do I!"

MR CAXTON, dogmatically.--"It is the repose in the picture--Fielding
calls it 'contrast '--(still more dogmatically) I say there can't
be a doubt about it. Besides, (added my father after a pause,)
besides, this usage gives you opportunities to explain what has gone
before, or to prepare for what's coming; or, since Fielding contends
with great truth, that some learning is necessary for this kind of
historical composition, it allows you, naturally and easily, the
introduction of light and pleasant ornaments of that nature. At each
flight in the terrace, you may give the eye the relief of an urn or a
statue. Moreover, when so inclined, you create proper pausing places
for reflection; and complete, by a separate yet harmonious ethical
department, the design of a work, which is but a mere Mother Goose's
tale if it does not embrace a general view of the thoughts and actions
of mankind."

PISISTRATUS.--"But then, in these initial chapters, the author thrusts
himself forward; and just when you want to get on with the _dramatis
personæ_, you find yourself face to face with the poet himself."

MR CAXTON.--"Pooh! you can contrive to prevent that! Imitate the chorus
of the Greek stage, who fill up the intervals between the action by
saying what the author would otherwise say in his own person."

PISISTRATUS, slily.--"That's a good idea, sir--and I have a chorus, and
a chorægus too, already in my eye."

MR CAXTON, unsuspectingly.--"Aha! you are not so dull a fellow as
you would make yourself out to be; and, even if an author did thrust
himself forward, what objection is there to that? It is a mere
affectation to suppose that a book can come into the world without an
author. Every child has a father, one father at least, as the great
Condé says very well in his poem."

PISISTRATUS.--"The great Condé a poet!--I never heard that before."

MR CAXTON.--"I don't say he was a poet, but he sent a poem to Madame
de Montansier. Envious critics think that he must have paid somebody
else to write it; but there is no reason why a great Captain should not
write a poem--I don't say a good poem, but a poem. I wonder, Roland,
if the Duke ever tried his hand at 'Stanzas to Mary,' or 'Lines to a
sleeping babe.'"

CAPTAIN ROLAND.--"Austin, I'm ashamed of you. Of course the Duke could
write poetry if he pleased--something, I dare say, in the way of the
great Condé--that is something warlike and heroic, I'll be bound. Let's

MR CAXTON, reciting--

    "Telle est du Ciel la loi sévère
    Qu'il faut qu'un enfant ait un père;
    On dit même quelque fois
    Tel enfant en a jusqu'à trois."

CAPTAIN ROLAND, greatly disgusted.--"Condé write such stuff!--I don't
believe it."

PISISTRATUS.--"I do, and accept the quotation--you and Roland shall be
joint fathers to my child as well as myself."

    "Tel enfant en a jusqu'à trois."

MR CAXTON, solemnly.--"I refuse the proffered paternity; but so far as
administering a little wholesome castigation, now and then, I have no
objection to join in the discharge of a father's duty."

PISISTRATUS.--"Agreed; have you anything to say against the infant

MR CAXTON.--"He is in long clothes at present; let us wait till he can

BLANCHE.--"But pray whom do you mean for a hero?--and is Miss Jemima
your heroine?"

CAPTAIN ROLAND.--"There is some mystery about the--"

PISISTRATUS, hastily.--"Hush, Uncle; no letting the cat out of the
bag yet. Listen, all of you! I left Frank Hazeldean on his way to the


"It is a sweet pretty place," thought Frank, as he opened the gate
which led across the fields to the Casino, that smiled down upon him
with its plaster pilasters. "I wonder, though, that my father, who is
so particular in general, suffers the carriage road to be so full of
holes and weeds. Mounseer does not receive many visits, I take it."

But when Frank got into the ground immediately before the house, he saw
no cause of complaint as to want of order and repair. Nothing could
be kept more neatly. Frank was ashamed of the dint made by the pony's
hoofs in the smooth gravel; he dismounted, tied the animal to the
wicket, and went on foot towards the glass door in front.

He rang the bell once, twice, but nobody came, for the old
woman-servant, who was hard of hearing, was far away in the yard,
searching for any eggs which the hen might have scandalously hidden
from culinary purposes; and Jackeymo was fishing for the sticklebacks
and minnows, which were, when caught, to assist the eggs, when found,
in keeping together the bodies and souls of himself and his master.
The old woman was on board wages,--lucky old woman! Frank rang a third
time, and with the impetuosity of his age. A face peeped from the
Belvidere on the terrace. "Diavolo!" said Dr Riccabocca to himself.
"Young cocks crow hard on their own dunghill; it must be a cock of a
high race to crow so loud at another's."

Therewith he shambled out of the summer-house, and appeared suddenly
before Frank, in a very wizard-like dressing robe of black serge, a red
cap on his head, and a cloud of smoke coming rapidly from his lips,
as a final consolatory whiff, before he removed the pipe from them.
Frank had indeed seen the Doctor before, but never in so scholastic a
costume, and he was a little startled by the apparition at his elbow,
as he turned round.

"Signorino--young gentleman," said the Italian, taking off his cap with
his usual urbanity, "pardon the negligence of my people--I am too happy
to receive your commands in person."

"Dr Rickeybockey?" stammered Frank, much confused by this polite
address, and the low yet stately bow with which it was accompanied,
"I--I have a note from the Hall. Mama--that is, my mother,--and aunt
Jemima beg their best compliments, and hope you will come, sir."

The Doctor took the note with another bow, and, opening the glass door,
invited Frank to enter.

The young gentleman, with a schoolboy's usual bluntness, was about to
say that he was in a hurry, and had rather not; but Dr Riccabocca's
grand manner awed him, while a glimpse of the hall excited his
curiosity--so he silently obeyed the invitation.

The hall, which was of an octagon shape, had been originally panelled
off into compartments, and in these the Italian had painted landscapes,
rich with the warm sunny light of his native climate. Frank was no
judge of the art displayed; but he was greatly struck with the scenes
depicted: they were all views of some lake, real or imaginary--in all,
dark-blue shining waters reflected dark-blue placid skies. In one,
a flight of steps descended to the lake, and a gay group was seen
feasting on the margin: in another, sunset threw its rose-hues over
a vast villa or palace, backed by Alpine hills, and flanked by long
arcades of vines, while pleasure-boats skimmed over the waves below.
In short, throughout all the eight compartments, the scene, though
it differed in details, preserved the same general character, as if
illustrating some favourite locality. The Italian did not, however,
evince any desire to do the honours to his own art, but, preceding
Frank across the hall, opened the door of his usual sitting-room, and
requested him to enter. Frank did so, rather reluctantly, and seated
himself with unwonted bashfulness on the edge of a chair. But here new
specimens of the Doctor's handicraft soon riveted attention. The room
had been originally papered; but Riccabocca had stretched canvass over
the walls, and painted thereon sundry satirical devices, each separated
from the other by scroll-works of fantastic arabesques. Here a Cupid
was trundling a wheelbarrow full of hearts, which he appeared to be
selling to an ugly old fellow, with a money-bag in his hand--probably
Plutus. There Diogenes might be seen walking through a market-place,
with his lantern in his hand, in search of an honest man, whilst the
children jeered at him, and the curs snapped at his heels. In another
place, a lion was seen half dressed in a fox's hide, while a wolf in
a sheep's mask was conversing very amicably with a young lamb. Here
again might be seen the geese stretching out their necks from the Roman
Capitol in full cackle, while the stout invaders were beheld in the
distance, running off as hard as they could. In short, in all these
quaint entablatures some pithy sarcasm was symbolically conveyed; only
over the mantelpiece was the design graver and more touching. It was
the figure of a man in a pilgrim's garb, chained to the earth by small
but innumerable ligaments, while a phantom likeness of himself, his
shadow, was seen hastening down what seemed an interminable vista; and
underneath were written the pathetic words of Horace--

    "Patriæ quis exul
          Se quoque fugit?."

--"What exile from his country can fly himself as well?" The
furniture of the room was extremely simple, and somewhat scanty;
yet it was arranged so as to impart an air of taste and elegance to
the room. Even a few plaster busts and statues, though bought but
of some humble itinerant, had their classical effect, glistening
from out stands of flowers that were grouped around them, or backed
by graceful screen-works formed from twisted osiers, which, by the
simple contrivance of trays at the bottom, filled with earth, served
for living parasitical plants, with gay flowers contrasting thick ivy
leaves, and gave to the whole room the aspect of a bower.

"May I ask your permission?" said the Italian, with his finger on the
seal of the letter.

"Oh yes," said Frank with _naiveté_.

Riccabocca broke the seal, and a slight smile stole over his
countenance. Then he turned a little aside from Frank, shaded his face
with his hand, and seemed to muse. "Mrs Hazeldean," said he at last,
"does me very great honour. I hardly recognise her handwriting, or I
should have been more impatient to open the letter." The dark eyes were
lifted over the spectacles, and went right into Frank's unprotected
and undiplomatic heart. The Doctor raised the note, and pointed to the
characters with his forefinger.

"Cousin Jemima's hand," said Frank, as directly as if the question had
been put to him.

The Italian smiled. "Mr Hazeldean has company staying with him?"

"No; that is, only Barney--the Captain. There's seldom much company
before the shooting season," added Frank with a slight sigh; "and then
you know the holidays are over. For my part, I think we ought to break
up a month later."

The Doctor seemed reassured by the first sentence in Frank's reply,
and seating himself at the table, wrote his answer--not hastily, as
we English write, but with care and precision, like one accustomed to
weigh the nature of words--in that stiff Italian hand, which allows the
writer so much time to think while he forms his letters. He did not
therefore reply at once to Frank's remark about the holidays, but was
silent till he had concluded his note, read it three times over, sealed
it by the taper he slowly lighted, and then, giving it to Frank, he

"For your sake, young gentleman, I regret that your holidays are so
early; for mine, I must rejoice, since I accept the kind invitation you
have rendered doubly gratifying by bringing it yourself."

"Deuce take the fellow and his fine speeches! One don't know which way
to look," thought English Frank.

The Italian smiled again, as if this time he had read the boy's heart,
without need of those piercing black eyes, and said, less ceremoniously
than before, "You don't care much for compliments, young gentleman?"

"No, I don't indeed," said Frank heartily.

"So much the better for you, since your way in the world is made: it
would be so much the worse if you had to make it!"

Frank looked puzzled: the thought was too deep for him--so he turned to
the pictures.

"Those are very funny," said he: "they seem capitally done--who did

"Signorino Hazeldean, you are giving me what you refused yourself."

"Eh?" said Frank inquiringly.


"Oh--I--no; but they are well done, arn't they, sir?"

"Not particularly: you speak to the artist."

"What! you painted them?"


"And the pictures in the hall?"

"Those too."

"Taken from nature--eh?"

"Nature," said the Italian sententiously, perhaps evasively, "lets
nothing be taken from her."

"Oh!" said Frank, puzzled again.

"Well, I must wish you good morning, sir; I am very glad you are

"Without compliment?"

"Without compliment."

"_A rivedersi_--good-by for the present, my young signorino. This way,"
observing Frank make a bolt towards the wrong door.

"Can I offer you a glass of wine--it is pure, of our own making?"

"No, thank you, indeed, sir," cried Frank, suddenly recollecting his
father's admonition. "Good-by--don't trouble yourself, sir; I know my
way now."

But the bland Italian followed his guest to the wicket, where Frank
had left the pony. The young gentleman, afraid lest so courteous a
host should hold the stirrup for him, twitched off the bridle, and
mounted in haste, not even staying to ask if the Italian could put him
in the way to Rood Hall, of which way he was profoundly ignorant. The
Italian's eye followed the boy as he rode up the ascent in the lane,
and the Doctor sighed heavily. "The wiser we grow," said he to himself,
"the more we regret the age of our follies: it is better to gallop with
a light heart up the stony hill than sit in the summer-house and cry
'How true!' to the stony truths of Machiavelli!"

With that he turned back into the Belvidere; but he could not resume
his studies. He remained some minutes gazing on the prospect, till
the prospect reminded him of the fields, which Jackeymo was bent on
his hiring, and the fields reminded him of Lenny Fairfield. He walked
back to the house, and in a few moments re-emerged in his out-of-door
trim, with cloak and umbrella, relighted his pipe, and strolled towards
Hazeldean village.

Meanwhile Frank, after cantering on for some distance, stopped at
a cottage, and there learned that there was a short cut across the
fields to Rood Hall, by which he could save nearly three miles.
Frank, however, missed the short cut, and came out into the highroad:
a turnpike keeper, after first taking his toll, put him back again
into the short cut; and finally, he got into some green lanes, where
a dilapidated finger-post directed him to Rood. Late at noon, having
ridden fifteen miles in the desire to reduce ten to seven, he came
suddenly upon a wild and primitive piece of ground, that seemed half
Chase, half common, with slovenly tumble-down cottages of villanous
aspect scattered about in odd nooks and corners; idle dirty children
were making mud pies on the road; slovenly-looking women were plaiting
straw at the thresholds; a large but forlorn and decayed church, that
seemed to say that the generation which saw it built was more pious
than the generation which now resorted to it, stood boldly and nakedly
out by the roadside.

"Is this the village of Rood?" asked Frank of a stout young man
breaking stones on the road--sad sign that no better labour could be
found for him!

The man sullenly nodded, and continued his work.

"And where's the Hall--Mr. Leslie's?"

The man looked up in stolid surprise, and this time touched his hat.

"Be you going there?"

"Yes, if I can find out where it is."

"I'll show your honour," said the boor alertly.

Frank reined in the pony, and the man walked by his side.

Frank was much of his father's son, despite the difference of age,
and that more fastidious change of manner which characterises each
succeeding race in the progress of civilisation. Despite all his Eton
finery, he was familiar with peasants, and had the quick eye of one
country-born as to country matters.

"You don't seem very well off in this village, my man?" said he

"Noa; there be a deal of distress here in the winter time, and summer
too, for that matter; and the parish ben't much help to a single man."

"But the farmers want work here as well as elsewhere, I suppose?"

"'Deed, and there ben't much farming work here--most o' the parish be
all wild ground loike."

"The poor have a right of common, I suppose," said Frank, surveying a
large assortment of vagabond birds and quadrupeds.

"Yes; neighbour Timmins keeps his geese on the common, and some has a
cow--and them be neighbour Jowlas's pigs. I don't know if there's a
right, loike; but the folks at the Hall does all they can to help us,
and that ben't much: they ben't as rich as some folks; but," added the
peasant proudly, "they be as good blood as any in the shire."

"I'm glad to see you like them, at all events."

"Oh yes, I likes them well eno'; mayhap you are at school with the
young gentleman?"

"Yes," said Frank.

"Ah! I heard the clergyman say as how Master Randal was a mighty clever
lad, and would get rich some day. I'se sure I wish he would, for a poor
squire makes a poor parish. There's the Hall, sir."


Frank looked right ahead, and saw a square house that, in spite
of modern sash-windows, was evidently of remote antiquity--a high
conical roof; a stack of tall quaint chimney-pots of red baked clay
(like those at Sutton Place in Surrey) dominating over isolated
vulgar smoke-conductors, of the ignoble fashion of present times;
a dilapidated groin-work, encasing within a Tudor arch a door of
the comfortable date of George III., and the peculiarly dingy and
weather-stained appearance of the small finely finished bricks, of
which the habitation was built,--all showed the abode of former
generations adapted with tasteless irreverence to the habits of
descendants unenlightened by Pugin, or indifferent to the poetry of
the past. The house had emerged suddenly upon Frank out of the gloomy
waste land, for it was placed in a hollow, and sheltered from sight by
a disorderly group of ragged, dismal, valetudinarian fir-trees, until
an abrupt turn of the road cleared that screen, and left the desolate
abode bare to the discontented eye. Frank dismounted; the man held his
pony; and, after smoothing his cravat, the smart Etonian sauntered up
to the door, and startled the solitude of the place with a loud peal
from the modern brass knocker--a knock which instantly brought forth an
astonished starling who had built under the eaves of the gable roof,
and called up a cloud of sparrows, tomtits, and yellowhammers, who had
been regaling themselves amongst the litter of a slovenly farm-yard
that lay in full sight to the right of the house, fenced off by a
primitive, paintless wooden rail. In process of time a sow, accompanied
by a thriving and inquisitive family, strolled up to the gate of the
fence, and, leaning her nose on the lower bar of the gate, contemplated
the visitor with much curiosity and some suspicion.

While Frank is still without, impatiently swingeing his white trousers
with his whip, we will steal a hurried glance towards the respective
members of the family within. Mr Leslie, the _pater familias_, is in
a little room called his 'study,' to which he regularly retires every
morning after breakfast, rarely reappearing till one o'clock, which
is his unfashionable hour for dinner. In what mysterious occupations
Mr Leslie passes those hours no one ever formed a conjecture. At the
present moment he is seated before a little rickety bureau, one leg
of which (being shorter than the other) is propped up by sundry old
letters and scraps of newspapers; and the bureau is open, and reveals
a great number of pigeon-holes and divisions, filled with various odds
and ends, the collection of many years. In some of these compartments
are bundles of letters, very yellow, and tied in packets with faded
tape; in another, all by itself, is a fragment of plum-pudding stone,
which Mr Leslie has picked up in his walks and considered a rare
mineral. It is neatly labelled "Found in Hollow Lane, May 21st, 1824,
by Maunder Slugge Leslie, Esq." The next division holds several bits
of iron in the shape of nails, fragments of horseshoes, &c., which Mr
Leslie had also met with in his rambles, and, according to a harmless
popular superstition, deemed it highly unlucky not to pick up, and,
once picked up, no less unlucky to throw away. _Item_, in the adjoining
pigeon-hole, a goodly collection of pebbles with holes in them,
preserved for the same reason, in company with a crooked sixpence:
_item_, neatly arranged in fanciful mosaics, several periwinkles,
Blackamoor's teeth, (I mean the shell so called,) and other specimens
of the conchiferous ingenuity of Nature, partly inherited from some
ancestral spinster, partly amassed by Mr Leslie himself in a youthful
excursion to the sea-side. There were the farm-bailiff's accounts,
several files of bills, an old stirrup, three sets of knee and shoe
buckles which had belonged to Mr Leslie's father, a few seals tied
together by a shoe-string, a shagreen toothpick case, a tortoiseshell
magnifying glass to read with, his eldest son's first copybooks, his
second son's ditto, his daughter's ditto, and a lock of his wife's hair
arranged in a true-lover's knot, framed and glazed. There were also a
small mousetrap; a patent corkscrew, too good to be used in common;
fragments of a silver tea spoon, that had, by natural decay, arrived
at a dissolution of its parts; a small brown Holland bag, containing
halfpence of various dates, as far back as Queen Anne, accompanied by
two French _sous_, and a German _silber gros_; the which miscellany Mr
Leslie magniloquently called "his coins," and had left in his will as a
family heir-loom. There were many other curiosities of congenial nature
and equal value--"_quænunc describere longum est_." Mr Leslie was
engaged at this time in what is termed "putting things to rights"--an
occupation he performed with exemplary care once a-week. This was his
day; and he had just counted his coins, and was slowly tying them up
again, when Frank's knock reached his ears.

Mr Maunder Slugge Leslie paused, shook his head as if incredulously,
and was about to resume his occupation, when he was seized with a fit
of yawning which prevented the bag being tied for full two minutes.

While such the employment of the study--let us turn to the recreations
in the drawing-room, or rather parlour. A drawing-room there was on the
first floor, with a charming look-out, not on the dreary fir-trees,
but on the romantic undulating forest-land; but the drawing-room had
not been used since the death of the last Mrs Leslie. It was deemed
too good to sit in, except when there was company; there never being
company, it was never sate in. Indeed, now the paper was falling off
the walls with the damp, and the rats, mice, and moths--those "_edaces
rerum_"--had eaten, between them, most of the chair-bottoms and a
considerable part of the floor. Therefore the parlour was the sole
general sitting-room; and being breakfasted in, dined and supped in,
and, after supper, smoked in by Mr Leslie to the accompaniment of rum
and water, it is impossible to deny that it had what is called "a
smell"--a comfortable wholesome family smell--speaking of numbers,
meals, and miscellaneous social habitation. There were two windows:
one looked full on the fir-trees; the other on the farm-yard, with the
pigsty closing the view. Near the fir-tree window sate Mrs Leslie;
before her, on a high stool, was a basket of the children's clothes
that wanted mending. A work-table of rosewood inlaid with brass, which
had been a wedding present, and was a costly thing originally, but in
that peculiar taste which is vulgarly called "Brumagem," stood at hand:
the brass had started in several places, and occasionally made great
havoc on the children's fingers and Mrs Leslie's gown; in fact, it was
the liveliest piece of furniture in the house, thanks to that petulant
brass-work, and could not have been more mischievous if it had been a
monkey. Upon the work-table lay a housewife and thimble, and scissors
and skeins of worsted and thread, and little scraps of linen and cloth
for patches. But Mrs Leslie was not actually working--she was preparing
to work; she had been preparing to work for the last hour and a half.
Upon her lap she supported a novel, by a lady who wrote much for a
former generation, under the name of "Mrs Bridget Blue Mantle." She had
a small needle in her left hand, and a very thick piece of thread in
her right; occasionally she applied the end of the said thread to her
lips, and then--her eyes fixed on the novel--made a blind vacillating
attack at the eye of the needle. But a camel would have gone through it
with quite as much ease. Nor did the novel alone engage Mrs Leslie's
attention, for ever and anon she interrupted herself to scold the
children; to inquire "what o'clock it was;" to observe that "Sarah
would never suit," and to wonder why Mr Leslie would not see that the
work-table was mended. Mrs Leslie had been rather a pretty woman. In
spite of a dress at once slatternly and economical, she has still the
air of a lady--rather too much so, the hard duties of her situation
considered. She is proud of the antiquity of her family on both sides;
her mother was of the venerable stock of the Daudlers of Daudle Place,
a race that existed before the Conquest. Indeed, one has only to read
our earliest chronicles, and to glance over some of those long-winded
moralising poems which delighted the thanes and ealdermen of old,
in order to see that the Daudles must have been a very influential
family before William the First turned the country topsy-turvy. While
the mother's race was thus indubitably Saxon, the father's had not
only the name but the peculiar idiosyncrasy of the Normans, and went
far to establish that crotchet of the brilliant author of _Sybil,
or the Two Nations_, as to the continued distinction between the
conquering and conquered populations. Mrs Leslie's father boasted the
name of Montfydget; doubtless of the same kith and kin as those great
barons Montfichet, who once owned such broad lands and such turbulent
castles. A high-nosed, thin, nervous, excitable progeny, those same
Montfydgets, as the most troublesome Norman could pretend to be. This
fusion of race was notable to the most ordinary physiognomist in the
_physique_ and in the _morale_ of Mrs Leslie. She had the speculative
blue eye of the Saxon, and the passionate high nose of the Norman;
she had the musing do-nothingness of the Daudlers, and the reckless
have-at-every-thingness of the Montfydgets. At Mrs Leslie's feet, a
little girl with her hair about her ears, (and beautiful hair it was
too) was amusing herself with a broken-nosed doll. At the far end of
the room, before a high desk, sate Frank's Eton schoolfellow, the
eldest son. A minute or two before Frank's alarum had disturbed the
tranquillity of the household, he had raised his eyes from the books
on the desk, to glance at a very tattered copy of the Greek Testament,
in which his brother Oliver had found a difficulty that he came to
Randal to solve. As the young Etonian's face was turned to the light,
your first impression, on seeing it, would have been melancholy but
respectful interest--for the face had already lost the joyous character
of youth--there was a wrinkle between the brows; and the lines that
speak of fatigue, were already visible under the eyes and about the
mouth; the complexion was sallow, the lips were pale. Years of study
had already sown, in the delicate organisation, the seeds of many an
infirmity and many a pain; but if your look had rested longer on that
countenance, gradually your compassion might have given place to some
feeling uneasy and sinister, a feeling akin to fear. There was in
the whole expression so much of cold calm force, that it belied the
debility of the frame. You saw there the evidence of a mind that was
cultivated, and you felt that in that cultivation there was something
formidable. A notable contrast to this countenance, prematurely worn
and eminently intelligent, was the round healthy face of Oliver, with
slow blue eyes, fixed hard on the penetrating orbs of his brother,
as if trying with might and main to catch from them a gleam of that
knowledge with which they shone clear and frigid as a star.

At Frank's knock, Oliver's slow blue eyes sparkled into animation, and
he sprang from his brother's side. The little girl flung back the hair
from her face, and stared at her mother with a look which spoke wonder
and fright.

The young student knit his brows, and then turned wearily back to the
books on his desk.

"Dear me," cried Mrs Leslie, "who can that possibly be? Oliver, come
from the window, sir, this instant, you will be seen! Juliet, run--ring
the bell--no, go to the stairs, and say, 'not at home.' Not at home on
any account," repeated Mrs Leslie nervously, for the Montfydget blood
was now in full flow.

In another minute or so, Frank's loud boyish voice was distinctly heard
at the outer door.

Randal slightly started.

"Frank Hazeldean's voice," said he; "I should like to see him, mother."

"See him," repeated Mrs Leslie in amaze, "see him!--and the room in
this state!"

Randal might have replied that the room was in no worse state than
usual; but he said nothing. A slight flush came and went over his pale
face; and then he leant his cheek on his hand, and compressed his lips

The outer door closed with a sullen inhospitable jar, and a slip-shod
female servant entered with a card between her finger and thumb.

"Who is that for?--give it to me, Jenny," cried Mrs Leslie.

But Jenny shook her head, laid the card on the desk beside Randal, and
vanished without saying a word.

"Oh look, Randal, look up," cried Oliver, who had again rushed to the
window; "such a pretty gray pony!"

Randal did look up; nay, he went deliberately to the window, and gazed
a moment on the high-mettled pony, and the well-dressed high-spirited
rider. In that moment changes passed over Randal's countenance
more rapidly than clouds over the sky in a gusty day. Now envy and
discontent, with the curled lip and the gloomy scowl; now hope and
proud self-esteem, with the clearing brow, and the lofty smile; and
then all again became cold, firm, and close, as he walked back to his
books, seated himself resolutely, and said half-aloud,--



Mrs Leslie came up in fidget and in fuss; she leant over Randal's
shoulder and read the card. Written in pen and ink, with an attempt at
imitation of printed Roman character, there appeared first, 'MR FRANK
HAZELDEAN;' but just over these letters, and scribbled hastily and less
legibly in pencil, was--

'Dear Leslie,--sorry you are out--come and see us--_Do!_'

"You will go, Randal?" said Mrs Leslie, after a pause.

"I am not sure."

"Yes, _you_ can go; _you_ have clothes like a gentleman; _you_ can
go anywhere, not like those children;" and Mrs Leslie glanced almost
spitefully on poor Oliver's coarse threadbare jacket, and little
Juliet's torn frock.

"What I have I owe at present to Mr Egerton, and I should consult his
wishes; he is not on good terms with these Hazeldeans." Then glancing
towards his brother, who looked mortified, he added with a strange sort
of haughty kindness, "What I may have hereafter, Oliver, I shall owe to
myself; and then, if I rise, I will raise my family."

"Dear Randal," said Mrs Leslie, fondly kissing him on the forehead,
"what a good heart you have!"

"No, mother; my books don't tell me that it is a good heart that gets
on in the world; it is a hard head," replied Randal with a rude and
scornful candour. "But I can read no more just now; come out, Oliver."

So saying, he slid from his mother's hand and left the room.

When Oliver joined him, Randal was already on the common; and, without
seeming to notice his brother, he continued to walk quickly and with
long strides in profound silence. At length he paused under the shade
of an old oak, that, too old to be of value save for firewood, had
escaped the axe. The tree stood on a knoll, and the spot commanded
a view of the decayed house--the old dilapidated church--the dismal
dreary village.

"Oliver," said Randal between his teeth, so that his voice had the
sound of a hiss, "it was under this tree that I first resolved to--"

He paused.

"What, Randal?"

"Read hard; knowledge is power!"

"But you are so fond of reading."

"I!" cried Randal. "Do you think, when Wolsey and Thomas-à-Becket
became priests, they were fond of telling their beads and pattering
Aves?--I fond of reading!"

Oliver stared; the historical allusions were beyond his comprehension.

"You know," continued Randal, "that we Leslies were not always the
beggarly poor gentlemen we are now. You know that there is a man who
lives in Grosvenor Square, and is very rich--very. His riches come to
him from a Leslie; that man is my patron, Oliver, and he is very good
to me."

Randal's smile was withering as he spoke. "Come on," he said, after
a pause--"come on." Again the walk was quicker, and the brothers were

They came at length to a little shallow brook, across which some large
stones had been placed at short intervals, so that the boys walked over
the ford dryshod. "Will you pull me down that bough, Oliver?" said
Randal abruptly, pointing to a tree. Oliver obeyed mechanically; and
Randal, stripping the leaves, and snapping off the twigs, left a fork
at the end; with this he began to remove the stepping-stones. "What are
you about, Randal?" asked Oliver, wonderingly.

"We are on the other side of the brook now; and we shall not come back
this way. We don't want the stepping-stones any more!--away with them!"


The morning after this visit of Frank Hazeldean's to Rood Hall,
the Right Honourable Audley Egerton, member of parliament, privy
councillor, and minister of a high department in the state--just
below the rank of the cabinet--was seated in his library, awaiting
the delivery of the post, before he walked down to his office. In the
meanwhile, he sipped his tea, and glanced over the newspapers with that
quick and half-disdainful eye with which your practical man in public
life is wont to regard the abuse or the eulogium of the Fourth Estate.

There is very little likeness between Mr Egerton and his half-brother;
none indeed, except that they are both of tall stature, and strong,
sinewy, English build. But even in this last they do not resemble each
other; for the Squire's athletic shape is already beginning to expand
into that portly embonpoint which seems the natural development of
contented men as they approach middle life. Audley, on the contrary,
is inclined to be spare; and his figure, though the muscles are as
firm as iron, has enough of the slender to satisfy metropolitan ideas
of elegance. His dress--his look--his _tout ensemble_, are those of
the London man. In the first, there is more attention to fashion than
is usual amongst the busy members of the House of Commons; but then
Audley Egerton had always been something more than a mere busy member
of the House of Commons. He had always been a person of mark in the
best society, and one secret of his success in life has been his high
reputation as 'a gentleman.'

As he now bends over the journals, there is an air of distinction in
the turn of the well-shaped head, with the dark-brown hair--dark in
spite of a reddish tinge--cut close behind, and worn away a little
towards the crown, so as to give additional height to a commanding
forehead. His profile is very handsome, and of that kind of beauty
which imposes on men if it pleases women; and is therefore, unlike that
of your mere pretty fellows, a positive advantage in public life. It
is a profile with large features clearly cut, masculine, and somewhat
severe. The expression of his face is not open, like the Squire's; nor
has it the cold closeness which accompanies the intellectual character
of young Leslie's; but it is reserved and dignified, and significant
of self-control, as should be the physiognomy of a man accustomed to
think before he speaks. When you look at him, you are not surprised
to learn that he is not a florid orator nor a smart debater--he is
a "weighty speaker." He is fairly read, but without any great range
either of ornamental scholarship or constitutional lore. He has not
much humour; but he has that kind of wit which is essential to grave
and serious irony. He has not much imagination, nor remarkable subtlety
in reasoning; but if he does not dazzle, he does not _bore_: he is
too much the man of the world for that. He is considered to have
sound sense and accurate judgment. Withal, as he now lays aside the
journals, and his face relaxes its austerer lines, you will not be
astonished to hear that he is a man who is said to have been greatly
beloved by women, and still to exercise much influence in drawing-rooms
and boudoirs. At least no one was surprised when the great heiress
Clementina Leslie, kinswoman and ward to Lord Lansmere--a young lady
who had refused three earls and the heir-apparent to a dukedom--was
declared by her dearest friends to be dying of love for Audley Egerton.
It had been the natural wish of the Lansmeres that this lady should
marry their son, Lord L'Estrange. But that young gentleman, whose
opinions on matrimony partook of the eccentricity of his general
character, could never be induced to propose, and had, according to
the _on-dits_ of town, been the principal party to make up the match
between Clementina and his friend Audley; for the match required
making-up, despite the predilections of the young heiress. Mr Egerton
had had scruples of delicacy. He avowed, for the first time, that his
fortune was much less than had been generally supposed, and he did not
like the idea of owing all to a wife, however much he might esteem
and admire her. L'Estrange was with his regiment abroad during the
existence of these scruples; but by letters to his father, and to his
cousin Clementina, he contrived to open and conclude negotiations,
while he argued away Mr Egerton's objections; and, before the year in
which Audley was returned for Lansmere had expired, he received the
hand of the great heiress. The settlement of her fortune, which was
chiefly in the funds, had been unusually advantageous to the husband;
for though the capital was tied up so long as both survived--for the
benefit of any children they might have--yet, in the event of one of
the parties dying without issue by the marriage, the whole passed
without limitation to the survivor. In not only assenting to, but
proposing this clause, Miss Leslie, if she showed a generous trust in
Mr Egerton, inflicted no positive wrong on her relations; for she had
none sufficiently near to her to warrant their claim to the succession.
Her nearest kinsman, and therefore her natural heir, was Harley
L'Estrange; and if he was contented, no one had a right to complain.
The tie of blood between herself and the Leslies of Rood Hall was, as
we shall see presently, extremely distant.

It was not till after his marriage that Mr Egerton took an active
part in the business of the House of Commons. He was then at the most
advantageous starting-point for the career of ambition. His words
on the state of the country took importance from his stake in it.
His talents found accessories in the opulence of Grosvenor Square,
the dignity of a princely establishment, the respectability of one
firmly settled in life, the reputation of a fortune in reality very
large, and which was magnified by popular report into the revenues of
a Croesus. Audley Egerton succeeded in Parliament beyond the early
expectations formed of him. He took, at first, that station in the
House which it requires tact to establish, and great knowledge of
the world to free from the charge of impracticability and crotchet,
but which, once established, is peculiarly imposing from the rarity
of its independence; that is to say, the station of the moderate man
who belongs sufficiently to a party to obtain its support, but is yet
sufficiently disengaged from a party to make his vote and word, on
certain questions, matter of anxiety and speculation.

Professing Toryism, (the word Conservative, which would have suited
him better, was not then known,) he separated himself from the
country party, and always avowed great respect for the opinions of
the large towns. The epithet given to the views of Audley Egerton
was "enlightened." Never too much in advance of the passion of the
day, yet never behind its movement, he had that shrewd calculation of
odds which a consummate mastery of the world sometimes bestows upon
politicians--perceived the chances for and against a certain question
being carried within a certain time, and nicked the question between
wind and water. He was so good a barometer of that changeful weather
called Public Opinion that he might have had a hand in the _Times_
newspaper. He soon quarrelled, and purposely, with his Lansmere
constituents--nor had he ever revisited that borough, perhaps because
it was associated with unpleasant reminiscences in the shape of the
Squire's epistolary trimmer, and in that of his own effigies which
his agricultural constituents had burned in the corn-market. But the
speeches which produced such indignation at Lansmere, had delighted one
of the greatest of our commercial towns, which at the next general
election honoured him with its representation. In those days, before
the Reform Bill, great commercial towns chose men of high mark for
their members; and a proud station it was for him who was delegated to
speak the voice of the princely merchants of England.

Mrs Egerton survived her marriage but a few years; she left no
children; two had been born, but died in their first infancy. The
property of the wife, therefore, passed without control or limit to the

Whatever might have been the grief of the widower, he disdained to
betray it to the world. Indeed, Audley Egerton was a man who had early
taught himself to conceal emotion. He buried himself in the country,
none knew where, for some months: when he returned, there was a deep
wrinkle on his brow; but no change in his habits and avocations, except
that, shortly afterwards, he accepted office, and thus became more busy
than ever.

Mr Egerton had always been lavish and magnificent in money matters.
A rich man in public life has many claims on his fortune, and no one
yielded to those claims with an air so regal as Audley Egerton. But
amongst his many liberal actions, there was none which seemed more
worthy of panegyric, than the generous favour he extended to the son of
his wife's poor and distant kinsfolks, the Leslies of Rood Hall.

Some four generations back, there had lived a certain Squire Leslie, a
man of large acres and active mind. He had cause to be displeased with
his elder son, and though he did not disinherit him, he left half his
property to a younger.

The younger had capacity and spirit, which justified the paternal
provision. He increased his fortune; lifted himself into notice and
consideration, by public services and a noble alliance. His descendants
followed his example, and took rank among the first commoners in
England, till the last male, dying, left his sole heiress and
representative in one daughter, Clementina, afterwards married to Mr

Meanwhile the elder son of the forementioned squire had muddled and
sotted away much of his share in the Leslie property; and, by low
habits and mean society, lowered in repute his representation of the

His successors imitated him, till nothing was left to Randal's father,
Mr Maunder Slugge Leslie, but the decayed house which was what the
Germans call the _stamm schloss_, or "stem hall" of the race, and the
wretched lands immediately around it.

Still, though all intercourse between the two branches of the family
had ceased, the younger had always felt a respect for the elder, as
the head of the house. And it was supposed that, on her deathbed, Mrs
Egerton had recommended her impoverished namesakes and kindred to the
care of her husband. For, when he returned to town after Mrs Egerton's
death, Audley had sent to Mr Maunder Slugge Leslie the sum of £5000,
which he said his wife, leaving no written will, had orally bequeathed
as a legacy to that gentleman; and he requested permission to charge
himself with the education of the eldest son.

Mr Maunder Slugge Leslie might have done great things for his little
property with those £5000, or even, (kept in the three-per-cents) the
interest would have afforded a material addition to his comforts. But
a neighbouring solicitor having caught scent of the legacy, hunted
it down into his own hands, on pretence of having found a capital
investment in a canal. And when the solicitor had got possession of the
£5000, he went off with them to America.

Meanwhile Randal, placed by Mr Egerton at an excellent preparatory
school, at first gave no signs of industry or talent; but just
before he left it, there came to the school, as classical tutor, an
ambitious young Oxford man; and his zeal, for he was a capital teacher,
produced a great effect generally on the pupils, and especially on
Randal Leslie. He talked to them much in private on the advantages
of learning, and shortly afterwards he exhibited those advantages
in his own person; for, having edited a Greek play with much subtle
scholarship, his college, which some slight irregularities of his had
displeased, recalled him to its venerable bosom by the presentation
of a fellowship. After this he took orders, became a college tutor,
distinguished himself yet more by a treatise on the Greek accent, got
a capital living, and was considered on the high road to a bishopric.
This young man, then, communicated to Randal the thirst for knowledge;
and when the boy went afterwards to Eton, he applied with such
earnestness and resolve that his fame soon reached the ears of Audley;
and that person, who had the sympathy for talent, and yet more for
purpose, which often characterises ambitious men, went to Eton to see
him. From that time, Audley evinced great and almost fatherly interest
in the brilliant Etonian; and Randal always spent with him some days in
each vacation.

I have said that Egerton's conduct, with respect to this boy, was
more praiseworthy than most of those generous actions for which he
was renowned, since to this the world gave no applause. What a man
does within the range of his family connections, does not carry with
it that _éclat_ which invests a munificence exhibited on public
occasions. Either people care nothing about it, or tacitly suppose
it to be but his duty. It was true, too, as the Squire had observed,
that Randal Leslie was even less distantly related to the Hazeldeans
than to Mrs Egerton, since Randal's grandfather had actually married
a Miss Hazeldean, (the highest worldly connection that branch of the
family had formed since the great split I have commemorated.) But
Audley Egerton never appeared aware of that fact. As he was not himself
descended from the Hazeldeans, he never troubled himself about their
genealogy; and he took care to impress it upon the Leslies that his
generosity on their behalf was solely to be ascribed to his respect
for his wife's memory and kindred. Still the Squire had felt as if his
"distant brother" implied a rebuke on his own neglect of these poor
Leslies, by the liberality Audley evinced towards them; and this had
made him doubly sore when the name of Randal Leslie was mentioned. But
the fact really was, that the Leslies of Rood had so shrunk out of all
notice that the Squire had actually forgotten their existence, until
Randal became thus indebted to his brother; and then he felt a pang of
remorse that any one save himself, the head of the Hazeldeans, should
lend a helping hand to the grandson of a Hazeldean.

But having thus, somewhat too tediously, explained the position of
Audley Egerton, whether in the world or in relation to his young
_protegé_, I may now permit him to receive and to read his letters.


Mr Egerton glanced over the pile of letters placed beside him,
and first he tore up some, scarcely read, and threw them into the
waste-basket. Public men have such odd out-of-the-way letters that
their waste-baskets are never empty: letters from amateur financiers
proposing new ways to pay off the National Debt; letters from America,
(never free!) asking for autographs; letters from fond mothers in
country villages, recommending some miracle of a son for a place in
the king's service; letters from freethinkers in reproof of bigotry;
letters from bigots in reproof of freethinking; letters signed Brutus
Redivivus, containing the agreeable information that the writer has a
dagger for tyrants, if the Danish claims are not forthwith adjusted;
letters signed Matilda or Caroline, stating that Caroline or Matilda
has seen the public man's portrait at the Exhibition, and that a heart
sensible to its attractions may be found at No. -- Piccadilly; letters
from beggars, impostors, monomaniacs, speculators, jobbers--all food
for the waste-basket.

From the correspondence thus winnowed, Mr Egerton first selected those
on business, which he put methodically together in one division of
his pocket-book; and secondly, those of a private nature, which he as
carefully put into another. Of these last there were but three--one
from his steward, one from Harley L'Estrange, one from Randal Leslie.
It was his custom to answer his correspondence at his office; and to
his office, a few minutes afterwards, he slowly took his way. Many
a passenger turned back to look again at the firm figure, which,
despite the hot summer day, was buttoned up to the throat; and the
black frock-coat thus worn, well became the erect air, and the deep
full chest of the handsome senator. When he entered Parliament Street,
Audley Egerton was joined by one of his colleagues, also on his way to
the cares of office.

After a few observations on the last debate, this gentleman said--

"By the way, can you dine with me next Saturday, to meet Lansmere? He
comes up to town to vote for us on Monday."

"I had asked some people to dine with me," answered Egerton, "but I
will put them off. I see Lord Lansmere too seldom, to miss any occasion
to meet a man whom I respect so much."

"So seldom! True, he is very little in town; but why don't you go and
see him in the country? Good shooting--pleasant old-fashioned house."

"My dear Westbourne, his house is '_nimium vicina Cremonæ_,' close to a
borough in which I have been burned in effigy."

"Ha--ha--yes--I remember you first came into Parliament for that snug
little place; but Lansmere himself never found fault with your votes,
did he?"

"He behaved very handsomely, and said he had not presumed to consider
me his mouthpiece; and then, too, I am so intimate with L'Estrange."

"Is that queer fellow ever coming back to England?"

"He comes, generally every year, for a few days, just to see his father
and mother, and then goes back to the Continent."

"I never meet him."

"He comes in September or October, when you, of course, are not in
town, and it is in town that the Lansmeres meet him."

"Why does not he go to them?"

"A man in England but once a year, and for a few days, has so much to
do in London, I suppose."

"Is he as amusing as ever?"

Egerton nodded.

"So distinguished as he might be!" continued Lord Westbourne.

"So distinguished as he is!" said Egerton formally; "an officer
selected for praise, even in such fields as Quatre Bras and Waterloo;
a scholar, too, of the finest taste; and as an accomplished gentleman,

"I like to hear one man praise another so warmly in these ill-natured
days," answered Lord Westbourne. "But still, though L'Estrange
is doubtless all you say, don't you think he rather wastes his
life--living abroad?"

"And trying to be happy, Westbourne? Are you sure it is not we who
waste our lives? But I can't stay to hear your answer. Here we are at
the door of my prison."

"On Saturday, then?"

"On Saturday. Good day."

For the next hour, or more, Mr Egerton was engaged on the affairs of
the state. He then snatched an interval of leisure, (while awaiting a
report, which he had instructed a clerk to make him,) in order to reply
to his letters. Those on public business were soon despatched; and
throwing his replies aside, to be sealed by a subordinate hand, he drew
out the letters which he had put apart as private.

He attended first to that of his steward: the steward's letter was
long, the reply was contained in three lines. Pitt himself was scarcely
more negligent of his private interests and concerns than Audley
Egerton--yet, withal, Audley Egerton was said by his enemies to be an

The next letter he wrote was to Randal, and that, though longer, was
far from prolix: it ran thus--

  "Dear Mr Leslie,--I appreciate your delicacy in consulting me,
  whether you should accept Frank Hazeldean's invitation to call at
  the Hall. Since you are asked, I can see no objection to it. I
  should be sorry if you appeared to force yourself there; and for
  the rest, as a general rule, I think a young man who has his own
  way to make in life had better avoid all intimacy with those of his
  own age who have no kindred objects nor congenial pursuits.

  "As soon as this visit is paid, I wish you to come to London. The
  report I receive of your progress at Eton renders it unnecessary,
  in my judgment, that you should return there. If your father has no
  objection, I propose that you should go to Oxford at the ensuing
  term. Meanwhile, I have engaged a gentleman who is a fellow of
  Baliol, to read with you; he is of opinion, judging only by your
  high repute at Eton, that you may at once obtain a scholarship in
  that college. If you do so, I shall look upon your career in life
  as assured.

    "Your affectionate friend, and
    sincere well-wisher,

                                                                 A. E."

The reader will remark that, in this letter, there is a certain tone
of formality. Mr Egerton does not call his _protegé_ "dear Randal," as
would seem natural, but coldly and stiffly, "Dear Mr Leslie." He hints,
also, that the boy has his own way to make in life. Is this meant to
guard against too sanguine notions of inheritance, which his generosity
may have excited?

The letter to Lord L'Estrange was of a very different kind from the
others. It was long, and full of such little scraps of news and gossip
as may interest friends in a foreign land; it was written gaily, and
as with a wish to cheer his friend; you could see that it was a reply
to a melancholy letter; and in the whole tone and spirit there was an
affection, even to tenderness, of which those who most liked Audley
Egerton would have scarcely supposed him capable. Yet, notwithstanding,
there was a kind of constraint in the letter, which perhaps only the
fine tact of a woman would detect. It had not that _abandon_, that
hearty self-outpouring, which you might expect would characterise the
letters of two such friends, who had been boys at school together, and
which did breathe indeed in all the abrupt rambling sentences of his
correspondent. But where was the evidence of the constraint? Egerton
is off-hand enough where his pen runs glibly through paragraphs that
relate to others; it is simply that he says nothing about himself--that
he avoids all reference to the inner world of sentiment and feeling.
But perhaps, after all, the man has no sentiment and feeling! How can
you expect that a steady personage in practical life, whose mornings
are spent in Downing Street, and whose nights are consumed in watching
Government bills through a committee, can write in the same style as an
idle dreamer amidst the pines of Ravenna or on the banks of Como.

Audley had just finished this epistle, such as it was, when the
attendant in waiting announced the arrival of a deputation from a
provincial trading town, the members of which deputation he had
appointed to meet at two o'clock. There was no office in London at
which deputations were kept waiting less than at that over which Mr
Egerton presided.

The deputation entered--some score or so of middle-aged,
comfortable-looking persons, who nevertheless had their grievance--and
considered their own interests, and those of the country, menaced by a
certain clause in a bill brought in by Mr Egerton.

The Mayor of the town was the chief spokesman, and he spoke well--but
in a style to which the dignified official was not accustomed. It was a
slap-dash style--unceremonious, free, and easy--an American style. And,
indeed, there was something altogether in the appearance and bearing of
the Mayor which savoured of residence in the Great Republic. He was a
very handsome man, but with a look sharp and domineering--the look of a
man who did not care a straw for president or monarch, and who enjoyed
the liberty to speak his mind, and "wallop his own nigger!"

His fellow-burghers evidently regarded him with great respect; and Mr
Egerton had penetration enough to perceive that Mr Mayor must be a rich
man, as well as an eloquent one, to have overcome those impressions of
soreness or jealousy which his tone was calculated to create in the
self-love of his equals.

Mr Egerton was far too wise to be easily offended by mere manner; and,
though he stared somewhat haughtily when he found his observations
actually pooh-poohed, he was not above being convinced. There was much
sense and much justice in Mr Mayor's arguments, and the statesman
civilly promised to take them into full consideration.

He then bowed out the deputation; but scarcely had the door closed
before it opened again, and Mr Mayor presented himself alone, saying
aloud to his companions in the passage, "I forgot something I had to
say to Mr Egerton; wait below for me."

"Well, Mr Mayor," said Audley, pointing to a seat, "what else would you

The Mayor looked round to see that the door was closed; and then,
drawing his chair close to Mr Egerton's, laid his forefinger on that
gentleman's arm, and said, "I think I speak to a man of the world, sir."

Mr Egerton bowed, and made no reply by word, but he gently removed his
arm from the touch of the forefinger.

MR MAYOR.--"You observe, sir, that I did not ask the members whom we
return to Parliament to accompany us. Do better without 'em. You know
they are both in Opposition--out-and-outers."

MR EGERTON.--"It is a misfortune which the Government cannot remember,
when the question is whether the trade of the town itself is to be
served or injured."

MR MAYOR.--"Well, I guess you speak handsome, sir. But you'd be glad to
have two members to support Ministers after the next election."

MR EGERTON, smiling.--"Unquestionably, Mr Mayor."

MR MAYOR.--"And I can do it, Mr Egerton. I may say I have the town
in my pocket; so I ought, I spend a great deal of money in it. Now,
you see, Mr Egerton, I have passed a part of my life in a land of
liberty--the United States--and I come to the point when I speak to a
man of the world. I'm a man of the world myself, sir. And if so be the
Government will do something for me, why, I'll do something for the
Government. Two votes for a free and independent town like ours--that's
something, isn't it?"

MR EGERTON, taken by surprise.--"Really, I--"

MR MAYOR, advancing his chair still nearer, and interrupting the
official.--"No nonsense, you see, on one side or the other. The fact
is that I've taken it into my head that I should be knighted. You may
well look surprised, Mr Egerton--trumpery thing enough, I dare say;
still, every man has his weakness, and I should like to be Sir Richard.
Well, if you can get me made Sir Richard, you may just name your two
members for the next election--that is, if they belong to your own set,
enlightened men, up to the times. That's speaking fair and manful,
isn't it?"

MR EGERTON, drawing himself up.--"I am at a loss to guess why you
should select me, sir, for this very extraordinary proposition."

MR MAYOR, nodding good-humouredly.--"Why, you see, I don't go all along
with the Government; you're the best of the bunch. And maybe you'd like
to strengthen your own party. This is quite between you and me, you
understand; honour's a jewel!"

MR EGERTON, with great gravity.--"Sir, I am obliged by your good
opinion; but I agree with my colleagues in all the great questions that
affect the government of the country, and--"

MR MAYOR, interrupting him.--"Ah, of course, you must say so; very
right. But I guess things would go differently if you were Prime
Minister. However, I have another reason for speaking to you about my
little job. You see you were member for Lansmere once, and I think you
came in but by two majority, eh?"

MR EGERTON.--"I know nothing of the particulars of that election; I was
not present."

MR MAYOR.--"No; but, luckily for you, two relatives of mine were, and
they voted for you. Two votes, and you came in by two! Since then, you
have got into very snug quarters here, and I think we have a claim on

MR EGERTON.--"Sir, I acknowledge no such claim; I was and am a stranger
to Lansmere; and, if the electors did me the honour to return me to
Parliament, it was in compliment rather to--"

MR MAYOR, again interrupting the official.--"Rather to Lord Lansmere,
you were going to say; unconstitutional doctrine that, I fancy. Peer of
the realm. But, never mind, I know the world; and I'd ask Lord Lansmere
to do my affair for me, only I hear he is as proud as Lucifer."

MR EGERTON, in great disgust, and settling his papers before
him.--"Sir, it is not in my department to recommend to his Majesty
candidates for the honour of knighthood, and it is still less in my
department to make bargains for seats in Parliament."

MR MAYOR.--"Oh, if that's the case, you'll excuse me; I don't know much
of the etiquette in these matters. But I thought that, if I put two
seats in your hands, for your own friends, you might contrive to take
the affair into your department, whatever it was. But, since you say
you agree with your colleagues, perhaps it comes to the same thing.
Now, you must not suppose I want to sell the town, and that I can
change and chop my politics for my own purpose. No such thing! I don't
like the sitting members; I'm all for progressing, but they go _too_
much a-head for me; and, since the Government is disposed to move a
little, why I'd as lief support them as not. But, in common gratitude,
you see, (added the Mayor, coaxingly,) I ought to be knighted! I can
keep up the dignity, and do credit to his Majesty."

MR EGERTON, without looking up from his papers.--"I can only refer you,
sir, to the proper quarter."

MR MAYOR, impatiently.--"Proper quarter! Well, since there is so much
humbug in this old country of ours, that one must go through all the
forms and get at the job regularly, just tell me whom I ought to go to."

MR EGERTON, beginning to be amused as well as indignant.--"If you want
a knighthood, Mr Mayor, you must ask the Prime Minister; if you want to
give the Government information relative to seats in Parliament, you
must introduce yourself to Mr ---- the Secretary of the Treasury."

MR MAYOR.--"And if I go to the last chap, what do you think he'll say?"

MR EGERTON, the amusement preponderating over the indignation.--"He
will say, I suppose, that you must not put the thing in the light in
which you have put it to me; that the Government will be very proud to
have the confidence of yourself and your brother electors; and that a
gentleman like you, in the proud position of Mayor, may well hope to be
knighted on some fitting occasion. But that you must not talk about the
knighthood just at present, and must confine yourself to converting the
unfortunate political opinions of the town."

MR MAYOR.--"Well, I guess that chap there would want to do me! Not
quite so green, Mr Egerton. Perhaps I'd better go at once to the
fountain-head. How d'ye think the Premier would take it?"

MR EGERTON, the indignation preponderating over the
amusement.--"Probably just as I am about to do."

Mr Egerton rang the bell; the attendant appeared.

"Show Mr Mayor the way out," said the Minister.

The Mayor turned round sharply, and his face was purple. He walked
straight to the door; but, suffering the attendant to precede him along
the corridor, he came back with a rapid stride, and, clenching his
hands, and, with a voice thick with passion, cried, "Some day or other
I will make you smart for this, as sure as my name's Dick Avenel!"

"Avenel!" repeated Egerton, recoiling, "Avenel!"

But the Mayor was gone.

Audley fell into a deep and musing reverie which seemed gloomy, and
lasted till the attendant announced that the horses were at the door.

He then looked up, still abstractedly, and saw his letter to Harley
L'Estrange open on the table. He drew it towards him, and wrote, "A man
has just left me, who calls himself Aven --" in the middle of the name
his pen stopped. "No, no," muttered the writer, "what folly to reopen
the old wounds there," and he carefully erased the words.

Audley Egerton did not ride in the Park that day, as was his wont, but
dismissed his groom; and, turning his horse's head towards Westminster
Bridge, took his solitary way into the country. He rode at first
slowly, as if in thought; then fast, as if trying to escape from
thought. He was later than usual at the House that evening, and he
looked pale and fatigued. But he had to speak, and he spoke well.


If there is such a thing in diplomacy as a natural ally, Prussia is
the natural ally of England. Each possesses exactly what the other
wants--the power of Prussia consisting in an immense army, the power
of England in an unrivalled fleet: for though the British troops have
shown themselves at least equal to any troops in the world, the genius
of the nation looks chiefly to naval pre-eminence; and though, in the
course of time, Prussia may be in possession of naval honours, nothing
can be clearer than that its present strength depends on its soldiery.

The close alliance of England with Prussia is now a century old. We
find the great Lord Chatham taking the most open interest in the
successes of Frederick II., and establishing the principle that the
independence of Prussia is essential to the balance of Europe. At
the beginning of the eighteenth century, the north of Germany was
divided among a cluster of petty sovereignties--of all forms of a
national system the surest to foster political intrigues, to invite the
intermeddling of foreigners, the one to offer the strongest inducements
to invasion, and to provide the feeblest means of defence. The
formidable power of France, within twenty miles of England, must always
fix the eye of the English statesman; and no more essential operation
for our national tranquillity could be conceived than the solid
establishment of a kingdom on the northern frontier of France, which
might make that proverbially impetuous and ambitious nation aware, that
an attempt to assault England could not be made without incurring the
hazard of an assault on her own most exposed frontier.

But another power had arisen to render the balance of Europe still
more precarious. Russia, at the beginning of the century, known but as
a land of semi-barbarism, had suddenly started into a massive force,
which threatened the absorption of Germany. Possessing the highest
advantages for a great military empire, with harbours commanding the
North, a population of sixty millions, a territory almost boundless
and almost unassailable, and a government which, under all the changes
of individual character in its princes, has retained in its policy
the same character of continual progress, of restless interference
in European politics, and of bold ambition--Russia must, in all
the views of the English statesman, assume an interest of the most
pressing order. To interpose an iron barrier to the ambition of
Russia necessarily became the principle of English policy, and the
English politician naturally looked for that barrier in the vigorous
administration and steady strength of the resources of Prussia.

The eighteenth century may be called the Century of Sovereigns. There
was no period, before or since, in which so many remarkable personages
sat on the thrones of Europe--William III., Louis XIV., Charles XII.,
the Czar Peter, Maria Theresa of Austria, Catherine II., and Frederick
II. of Prussia--each possessed either of great intellectual or great
political qualities; all capable of distinction, if they had been born
in the humbler conditions of mankind; but all developing, in the duties
and labours of thrones, those qualities in a degree which made them,
for their day, the great _impulses_ of Europe, and which have placed
them in an immovable rank among the high recollections of history.

But, to the Englishman, whether politician or philosopher, Prussia is
the most important, from its position, the nature of its connexion with
our country, the singularity of its origin, and the especial dependence
of its early advance to sovereignty on the vigour of an individual

Gibbon remarks that the oldest royal genealogy of Europe scarcely
ascends to the eighth century. The genealogy of the Prussian throne,
whether by the zeal of the herald, or the truth of the historian,
nearly reaches that cloudy period. Its pedigree is dubiously traced up
to the founder of the great Swabian family of Hohenzollern, of whom the
first supposed ancestor was a Count Thalasso of Zollern. The family
then either fell into obscurity, or rested in contentment with its
ancestral possessions, until the thirteenth century, when it started on
the national eye as the Burgraves of Nurnberg. But it again slumbered
for eight generations, until the difficulties of the Emperor Sigismund
drove him to apply to the resources of the family, then probably
grown rich, as the chief personages of an opulent German community.
The service was repaid by the Viceroyalty of Brandenburg, and the
subsequent donation of the actual territory, with the title of Elector,
and the office of archchamberlain of the empire.

The imperial gratitude probably continued to be reminded of its duties
by fresh loans, for the electorate continued to receive frequent
additions of territory, until, early in the seventeenth century, the
annexation of the duchy of Prussia placed the Elector in an imposing
rank among the dependant princes of the Continent. In the middle of
this century a man of distinguished ability, fortunately for Prussia,
ascended the electoral throne. Germany was then ravaged by the
memorable Thirty Years' War. Frederick the Great afterwards expressed
the embarrassments of the new reign in a few pithy words, as was his
custom: "My great ancestor," said this graphic describer, "was a prince
without territory, an elector without power, and an ally without a

But talent and time are the true elements of success in every condition
of life. By economy the Elector restored his finances; by common sense
he reclaimed his half-savage subjects; and by sound policy he continued
to augment his dominions, without doing violence to his neighbours.
The peace of Westphalia, (1648,) which established the imperial
system, gave him the additional importance attached to the possession
of the archbishopric of Magdeburg, of Halberstadt, and of the actual
sovereignty of ducal Prussia, hitherto held as a Polish fief.

But those were the victories of peace; he was at length forced to
exhibit his qualities for war. In 1674, as a prince of the empire, he
was compelled to furnish his contingent to its army against France.
Louis XIV., in revenge, let loose the Swedes in Pomerania to invade
Brandenburg. The reputation of the Swedish troops had risen to the
highest rank in the Thirty Years' War, and they were regarded as all
but invincible. The Prussian Elector, justly alarmed at this new peril
of his dominions, appealed to his allies. But German alliances (in
those days at least) were slippery, and German succours are habitually
slow. Wearied by their delays, the Elector determined to act for
himself. Breaking up from Franconia, he transferred his little army
of eight thousand men suddenly to Magdeburg. The Swedes, encamped on
the Havel, and contemptuous of Prussian strategy, took no trouble to
ascertain his movements. The whole expedition was conducted with equal
vigour and dexterity. On his arrival in Magdeburg, the gates were kept
shut for four-and-twenty hours: thus all intelligence to the enemy was
cut off. At nightfall he sallied forth; by daybreak he reached and
assaulted the Swedish headquarters, took their baggage and cannon, and
hunted the troops from post to post until their dispersion was total.

This battle was one of the instances in which the most important
results have followed from slight events. The battle would have been
in later times scarcely more than an affair of advanced guards, for
the Swedes had but eight thousand, and the Prussians engaged were but
five thousand five hundred. But, to have beaten the most distinguished
soldiery in Europe, to have surprised the most disciplined, and to
have gained the victory with inferior numbers, instantly drew the eyes
of Europe on the Elector. His dominions were subjected to no further
insult; the character of the Prussian army was raised; and Prussia made
the first actual stride to northern supremacy.

This eminent man died in 1688, after a career which earned the
panegyric even of his fastidious descendant, Frederick II., who thus
described him, almost a hundred years after:--

  "He possessed all the qualities which can make a man great, and
  Providence afforded him abundant opportunities of developing them.
  He gave proofs of prudence at an age when youth, in general,
  exhibits nothing but errors. He never abused the heroic virtues,
  but applied his valour to the defence of his dominions, and the
  assistance of his allies. He had a sound judgment, which made him
  a great statesman; and was active and affable, which made him a
  good sovereign. His soul was the seat of virtue; prosperity could
  not inflate, nor adversity depress it. He was the restorer of his
  country, the arbiter of his equals, and the founder of the power of
  Brandenburg. _His life was his panegyric._"

Frederick, the eldest son of the great elector, by his marriage with
a sister of George I. then Elector of Hanover, became connected with
English politics; sent six thousand men to the assistance of the Prince
of Orange in his invasion of England; joined the Allies, with twenty
thousand men, in revenging the havoc of the Palatinate; and, in the
Grand Alliance of 1691, sent fifteen thousand troops to join the army
of William III.

But Prussia was continually progressive, and in 1700 she was to
make that advance in rank of which nations are as ambitious as
their princes. In this year Prussia obtained from the Emperor the
long-coveted title of kingdom; and the monarch, as Frederick I., took
his place among European sovereigns. He died in 1713, and was succeeded
by the prince-royal, Frederick-William. The character of the deceased
monarch was, long after, given with epigrammatic contemptuousness by
Frederick II.

  "In person short and deformed, with a haughty manner and
  a commonplace countenance, violent from temper, mild from
  carelessness, he confounded vanities with acts of greatness, and
  was fonder of show than of utility. He sold the blood of his
  subjects to England and Holland, as the Tartars sell their cattle
  to the Podolian butchers for slaughter; he oppressed the poor to
  make the rich fatter still. He wished to pledge the royal domains
  to buy the Pitt diamond; and he sold to the Allies twenty thousand
  men, to have it said that he kept thirty thousand."

Royal extravagance is never pardoned, and the memory of this princely
spendthrift prepared popularity for his rigid successor. The _Memoirs
of the Margravine of Bareith_ have thrown that successor into ridicule;
and it must be acknowledged, that his early acts were calculated
to throw all the courtiers of Europe into mingled astonishment and
indignation. Immediately on his accession, he ordered the grand-marshal
of the palace to bring him the list of the royal establishment. The
king took a pen, and crossed out the whole. The grand-marshal, in
horror at this sweeping style of reform, lost his speech, and fled from
the royal presence. Meeting an officer in the antechamber, the latter,
seeing his countenance of consternation, asked what had happened. The
grand-marshal showed him the list, and the officer translated it for
the benefit of the levée--"Gentlemen, our good master is dead, and the
new king sends you all to the d--l!"

The twenty-six trumpeters, who supplied the place of conversation at
the royal dinners, were scattered among the regiments. The hundred
Swiss--the decorated slaves, whom Switzerland, with all her boast of
freedom, was in the habit of sending to play the menial to the European
sovereigns--were dismissed to do duty in the ranks of the line. The
hoards of pearls and diamonds, and gold and silver plate, which it had
been the pride and the folly of the late king to amass, were sold to
pay his debts and to raise troops.

The old court had been overrun with French fashions, the French
language--everything French. The king set about reforming those
anti-national propensities: he dressed the regimental provosts, or
army floggers and executioners, in the full French costume, to render
it ridiculous; the embroidered coats and huge wigs of his privy
councillors and chamberlains he ordered to be worn by the court fool
on gala days.

But the discipline of the Prussian army was the peculiar distinction
of this singular reign. Of all European nations, Prussia is the one
to which an army is the most important. The exposed condition of a
long and irregular territory, wholly without a natural frontier,
with neither mountain range nor bordering river for its protection,
and surrounded by warlike and powerful nations, required an army, to
keep it in existence. The Alps or Pyrenees, the Rhine and the Danube,
the Dniester and the Po, might protect their several countries from
invasion; but the levels of Prussia required a force always on foot,
prompt and prepared. To _frontierless_ Prussia a powerful army was as
peculiarly essential as a Royal Navy is to the British _Isles_. In all
the early difficulties of his predecessor's debt, the king had raised
the Prussian army to upwards of forty thousand men; and, before he
died, his muster-roll amounted to nearly eighty thousand of the finest
troops on the Continent. It gives a curious contrast of the nature of
belligerency in the nineteenth century, to know that the Prussian army
now reckons three hundred thousand men, and that, on the first rumour
of war, it would probably number half-a-million.

The new school of finance makes inquiries of this kind important; for
since every country must be prepared to defend itself, and troops
require to be paid, the whole question of national safety depends on
the national force. The Manchester financiers tell us that reduction
is the true secret of strength, and that fleets and armies are only
provocatives to war. The older school held, that to be prepared for war
was the best security for peace; that the reduction which extinguished
the national force was only an invitation to insult; and that it was a
wiser policy to give the soldier his pay for our protection, than to
give an invader every shilling we were worth in the shape of plunder.
Frederick-William was of the old school; and, by showing that he was
always prepared for war, he secured peace, even in the most quarrelsome
of all countries, Germany, through a reign of twenty-seven years. The
organisation of the Prussian army was even then a phenomenon in Europe:
its provision, its government, its recruiting, and, above all, its
manoeuvring, attracted universal admiration, and doubled the impression
of its numbers on the general mind.

These facts have an interest beyond their mere effect at the time;
they are the testimonials of talent, evidences of the power of mind,
encouragements to original conception, substantial declarations that
men should always try to invigorate, improve, and advance inventions,
however apparently perfect. There is always a field beyond.

Why a German duchy was suffered thus to rise into European
influence--to extend from a province into a territory, now containing
sixteen millions of souls, and to change from a dependent electorate
into a kingdom, now acting as the barrier of Northern Germany against
the gigantic monarchy of St Petersburg--is a question which ought to
be asked by the politician, and which may well excite the study of the

The true value of history consists in developing _principles_. Memoirs
and biographies, the anecdotes of vigorous minds, and the narratives
of leading events, all have their obvious value; but history has
a distinction of its own. It is more than a tissue of striking
recollections; it is superior to a fine arrangement of facts; it is
the spirit of great facts, a _system_ displaying the _science_ of
influential things.

Events are, of course, its material, but it is only as the materials
of architecture furnish the means of erecting the palace or the
temple: the mind of the architect must supply the beauty and grandeur
of the edifice. Without that constructive genius, history is only a

It is certainly in no superstition, that we strongly incline to
account for the rise of Prussia in the necessity of a protection for
Protestantism in Northern Germany. The whole tenor of its annals
substantiates the conception. Prussia, at an early period, felt a
singular sympathy with the Protestantism of Germany. The especial scene
of persecution was Poland, where neither royal compact nor popular
declaration was able to secure the faith of the Scriptures from the
outrages of Romanism. The Treaty of Oliva, in 1660, had, like the Edict
of Nantes, been the charter of Protestantism; but, like the Edict, it
had been broken, and the life of the Polish Protestant was a scene of
suffering. The "Great Elector" had signalised his Christianity, and
perhaps raised his country, by giving protection to the sufferers. His
descendant, Frederick-William, followed his honourable example. When
the Starost Umruh, in 1715, was sentenced to have his tongue cut out,
and to be beheaded, for his Protestant opinions, he fled to Prussia,
and was protected by Frederick-William. The Diet of Grodno commenced a
persecution by declaring the Polish Protestants to have forfeited both
their civil and religious privileges. Frederick-William answered this
act of infidelity and tyranny by a royal remonstrance to the diet, and
by a letter to the King of England, advocating the persecuted cause. In
the Treaty of Stockholm, in 1720, he inserted a stipulation, binding
the Swedish Government to make common cause with the Protestants
of Germany. In Western Germany, persecution had long exhibited its
irrational policy, and exercised its cruel power. At Heidelberg, Popish
advisers and confessors had poisoned the mind of the Elector, and
acts of violence had taken place. The Protestants, in their distress,
applied to Prussia. The King, in conjunction with the British monarch,
and the Elector of Hesse, adopted their defence; issuing, at the same
time, the effective menace that, if the persecution in the Palatinate
were not stopped, he would shut up every Romish chapel, convent, and
institution, and sequestrate every dollar of their revenue in Prussia,
while the persecution lasted.

The same impulse acted throughout the century. Frederick II. was an
infidel: the national policy continued unchanged. As a Voltairist,
he was an ostentatious advocate of toleration, which, though in both
Frederick and his teacher the work of the scoffer, yet produced
the effect of forbidding all religious tyranny. Even the war for
the possession of Silesia, though difficult to be explained in its
question of right, had the result of weakening the Popish influence in
Germany. Maria-Theresa was the prop of Popery, while Frederick II. was
universally regarded as the champion of Protestantism; and his final
success, by enfeebling the supremacy of the empress, showed that a
kingdom of Protestantism possessed the means of resisting an empire of
Popery hitherto supposed irresistible. If Prussia had been crushed in
that contest, the _prestige_ of Popery would again have risen to its
old height in Germany, Protestantism would unquestionably have felt the
blow to its foundations, and the probable consequence would have been
to throw the Continent at the feet of Rome.

Frederick the Great was born on the 24th of January 1712, in the
palace at Berlin. At his baptism, the sponsors were at least
sufficiently numerous and stately; they were the Emperor Charles
VI., the Dowager-empress, the Czar Peter, the States-general of
Holland, the Canton of Berne, the Electant Prince of Hanover, and the
Dowager-duchess of Mecklenburg.

Frederick was born Prince of Prussia and Orange; but after the cession
of Orange to France, by the Peace of Utrecht, the name was given up,
though the Crown of Prussia retained the title and the arms.

The popular feeling, on this occasion, was connected with a simple
yet curious circumstance. An American Aloe, which had been forty-four
years in the royal garden, suddenly threw out a profusion of blossoms.
Thousands flocked to see this fine production of nature, which, on
a stem thirty-one feet high, exhibited 7277 blossoms! The multitude
gave it an almost mystic meaning, and conceived the plant (which, in
all this profusion of beauty, was decaying) to be emblematic of the
failing health of the old king, and the new prospects of honour under
his grandson. Poems and pictures of the Aloe were spread through the
kingdom. The omen was as imaginative as one of the poetic superstitions
of Greece, and the imagination was realised.

The education of the future possessor of a sceptre is an important
topic. In Germany the education of the higher orders generally embraces
a sort of encyclopædia of accomplishments. The young heir to the
throne thus learned music and painting, in addition to mathematics and
languages. In music he became a proficient, and with his favourite
instrument, the flute, could sustain his part in an orchestra. But,
the chief object of his education, as that of all the German princes,
being military, he learned all of the art of war that could be taught;
the perfection of the art he was yet to learn in the field, and give
evidence of his acquirement only in his memorable victories.

One misfortune of this education possessed and perverted him through
life. Germany was, in literature, but a province of France. The
licentiousness of French sentiment had tempted the rising generation
to abandon the manly feelings of the Reformers. It is to the honour
of our country that the principles of true religion, like those of
true liberty, then found their defence within her borders; and in the
existing, and still darker, period of German infidelity, the battle is
still fought by the theology of England.

Adversity seems essential to the education of all great princes.
Frederick was not without his share of this stern pupillage. The
eccentricities of his royal father, his own waywardness, and the
roughness of court discipline, produced continual collisions in
the royal family, and the prince remained for some years in a kind
of honourable exile from Berlin. During this period, however, he
cultivated his powerful understanding to its height; but made the
singular mistake of believing that he was born for a hermit, a
sentimentalist, and a writer of French verses. In this fantastic
spirit, he gave his immediate friends names from Greece and Rome; and
was surrounded by Hephæstion, Diophanes, Cæsarion, and Quintus Icilius.
Even the place of his retirement, Rheinsberg, was transformed into
Remusberg, to meet a tradition that Remus was not killed by Romulus,
but, flying from Rome, had settled in the spot which was afterwards to
teach sentiment and solitude to the Prince of Prussia.

Those are traits worth remembering in the history of human nature. Who
could have conceived the most daring of warriors, the most subtle of
politicians, and the most ambitious of kings, in the writer of letters
such as these?--

  "My house, indeed, is not a place for those who are fond of noisy
  pleasures; but are not tranquillity, quiet, and the search for
  truth, to be preferred to the giddy and turbulent diversions of
  this world?

  "On the 25th I am going to Amaltheu, my beloved garden at Ruppin.
  I am quite impatient to see again my vines, my cherries, and my
  melons; there, free from all useless cares, I shall live entirely
  for myself. My whole soul is now intent on philosophy. It renders
  me incomparable services, and I am deeply indebted to it. My spirit
  is less agitated by impetuous emotions. I repress the first working
  of my passions, and I never make a choice until I have maturely
  considered it."

All his letters are in the same strain of studious quiet, of steady
self-control, and of systematic love of retirement. He sometimes even
turns enthusiast, and he thus writes to Voltaire, _then_ known chiefly
as the author of the _Henriade_--(his worse celebrity, as the impugner
of all religion, was still at a distance.) In a letter, in 1738, he
addresses the Frenchman in this rapturous effusion:--

  "At Rheinsberg, to be perfectly happy, we want only a Voltaire.
  But, though you live far from us, still you are in our midst.
  Your portrait adorns my library; it hangs over the bookcase which
  contains our Golden Fleece, immediately above your works, and
  opposite to the place where I generally sit, that I may always
  have it in my view. I might almost say, that your picture is to me
  as the statue of Memnon, which, when the sun's rays fell on it,
  emitted harmonious sounds, and imparted inspiration to the mind of
  every one who looked upon it."

In another letter he writes--

  "In pagan antiquity, men offered to the gods the first fruits of
  the harvest and of the vintage.... In the Romish church, they
  devote not only the firstborn, not only the younger sons, but whole
  kingdoms, as we see in the instance of St Louis, who renounced his
  in favour of the Virgin Mary. For my part, I have no first fruits
  of the earth, no children, and no kingdom to devote; but I devote
  to you the first fruits of my muse in the year 1739. Were I a
  pagan, I would address you by the name of Apollo; were I a Papist,
  I might have chosen you for my patron saint, or my confessor; but,
  being none of these, I am content to admire you as a philosopher,
  to love you as a poet, and to esteem you as a friend."

But this romance was soon to be exchanged for reality; the elegancies
of royal idleness were to be forgotten in the sound of cannon, and the
fictions of a pampered fancy were to be thrown into the shade by the
vicissitudes of one of the most sanguinary struggles that Europe had
ever seen.

In 1740, Frederick had ascended the throne. He was at Potsdam, and
confined to his chamber by illness, when the death of the Emperor
Charles was announced to him. This event broke up the peace of Germany.

The Emperor, Charles VI., having no issue after a marriage of four
years, established a new law of succession, known as the Pragmatic
Sanction. The heirship of Austria had hitherto been limited to males;
but, by the new law, the undivided monarchy was to devolve first to
his own daughters, or, if they should not be living at the time of his
death, to the daughters of his elder brother Joseph, Electresses of
Saxony and Bavaria, and so on, always to the nearest relatives.

The death of the Emperor obviously threatened to involve all Europe,
and especially Germany, in convulsion; for the mere publication of the
Pragmatic Sanction, in 1724, had produced counter declarations from no
less than three princes of the empire, who regarded their rights as
invaded. The Elector of Bavaria, who was married to a daughter of the
Emperor Joseph I., founded a claim to the Austrian dominions on the
will of Ferdinand I.; France was disposed to enter into an alliance
with Prussia; Sweden and Russia would have been inevitably involved
in the war. And it was of this complication of events that the young
Prussian monarch took advantage to make an assault upon Austria. For
one hundred years Prussia had complained of the loss of Silesia. Her
successive kings had severally impeached its seizure by Austria, and
the Great Elector had still earlier bequeathed the recovery of the
province to the gallantry, or the good fortune, of his successors.
Frederick, now at the head of a powerful army, with a full treasury,
and seeing an approaching contest for the possession of Austria itself,
regarded this as a favourable moment for the recovery of his ancestral

Frederick, having now completed all his preparations, sent an envoy
to Vienna, to offer his alliance to Maria-Theresa, and his vote to
her husband at the election of emperor, provided she would give up
Silesia. But knowing the contempt with which the Austrian cabinet
regarded the minor princes of Germany, and also knowing the advantage
of promptitude, where the object is possession, he at once set his
army in motion for the Silesian frontier. His proposal was, as he had
foreseen, rejected; and on its rejection, without a moment's delay, he
rushed over the frontier. He found, as he had expected, the Austrian
government wholly unprepared. The whole disposable force of Austria,
for the defence of Silesia, amounted to 3000 men. The invading army
amounted to 28,000. Breslau the capital, Glogau the principal fortress,
every town, speedily fell before him. In a note to his friend Jordan,
who had attempted to dissuade him from the enterprise, he wrote, in a
mixture of scoffing and exultation--

  "My gentle M. Jordan, my kind, my mild, my peace-loving M. Jordan,
  I acquaint your serenity that Silesia is as good as conquered.
  I prepare you for most important plans, and announce to you the
  greatest luck that the womb of fortune ever produced. For the
  present this must be enough for you. Be my Cicero in defending my
  enterprise; in its execution I will be your Cæsar."

We now advert to the distinguished public servant whose correspondence
throws the principal light on this important period of our foreign
policy--the British envoy to the court of Berlin.

Andrew Mitchell was born in Edinburgh in 1708, son of one of the
ministers of St Giles's, king's chaplain for Scotland. His mother,
Margaret Cunningham, was a descendant of Lord Glencairn. Mitchell
adopted the law as his profession, was admitted to the Middle Temple,
and was called to the English bar in 1738. Besides a knowledge of the
Scotch law, he was a man of general and rather elegant acquirement,
having left among his papers observations on the Ciceronian philosophy,
on the chief European histories, on morals, models, statues, and
classic objects in general. He was also a member of the Royal Society.

Mitchell was evidently either sustained by active interest, or an
opinion of his talents; for on the appointment of the Marquis of
Tweeddale to the secretaryship for Scotland, he fixed on Mitchell as
his undersecretary. In 1747, he was elected member for the county of
Aberdeen. In 1756, he was appointed as British representative at the
court of Frederick II.

In the more decorous style of modern diplomacy, we can seldom find
examples of the court-candour with which the royal personages of the
last age spoke of each other. George II. called Frederick-William "my
brother the corporal." Frederick-William called George II. "my brother
the dancing-master." Of course those opinions made their way to the
last ears which ought to have heard them, and they left stings. But
the necessities of the time overcame the bitterness of the sarcasms.
Some of the letters of the elder Horace Walpole, Sir Robert's brother,
who had been ambassador at Paris and the Hague, then the chief scenes
of foreign diplomacy, probably expressed the chief feeling of English
public men in his day, as they certainly were soon embodied in their
policy. Of Frederick II. he says,--

  "I know the character of that prince. I know how little he is to
  be trusted, and I would not have trusted him without good security
  for the execution of his engagements.... I need not tell you that
  the house of Brandenburg is a rising house. The economy of the late
  king, the spirit of discipline he introduced into his army, the
  ambition, talents, and active genius of the present monarch, must
  render that house a powerful friend or formidable enemy."

He gives an equally decisive opinion of the Austrian policy--

  "I apprehend that the principal object of the court of Vienna
  will be to distract, divide, and _devour_ the Prussian dominions.
  Their pride, their vengeance, and, above all, their _bigotry_ will
  naturally lead them to destroy a _Protestant_ power that has dared
  to offend them."

At length it was ascertained that a private negotiation had been
commenced between Austria and France, the result of which must expose
the Electoral dominions to invasion by France. An alliance with Prussia
was immediately concluded. The account subsequently given by Thiébault,
in his _Memoirs of the Prussian Court_, gives a strong impression of
Mitchell's manliness and intelligence:--

  "Sir Andrew Mitchell, Knight of the Order of the Garter, [a mistake
  for the Bath,] had been for several years the English ambassador
  at Berlin, when I first arrived there. Some time, however, elapsed
  before I had the least acquaintance with him, not only because it
  was little to be expected that Englishmen should be desirous of
  the society of Frenchmen, but also because Sir Andrew Mitchell
  was of the number of those meritorious characters who stand in no
  need of perpetual society for existence, and have the philosophy
  to prefer being occasionally alone. When he first arrived in
  Berlin, he had caused the persons who necessarily invited him to
  their houses considerable perplexity; for he played at no game of
  cards, so that his hosts constantly said,--'What shall we do with
  the Englishman, who never plays at cards?' In a few days, however,
  the contest was, who should withhold himself from the card-table,
  and have the advantage of conversing with a man in whom they had
  discovered every requisite to afford the highest pleasure in
  colloquial intercourse. In reality, his understanding was no less
  admirable than the virtues of his character. Of this I cannot give
  a more substantial proof, than by observing that he was united in
  the strictest bonds of friendship with the author of _L'Esprit des

Some of the shrewd _bons-mots_ of the diplomatic Scot are given by the
Frenchman. On one occasion, when the English mail had three times been
due, the king said to him at the levée--"Have you not the spleen, M.
Mitchell, when the mail is thus delayed?" The reply was,--"No, Sire,
not when it is delayed, but often enough when it duly arrives."

The English cabinet having promised to send a fleet to the Baltic,
to prevent the Russians from sending troops against the king, and
the fleet not appearing, Frederick was chagrined; at length he ceased
to invite the envoy to the royal table. One day some of the servants,
meeting him, asked,--"Is it dinner-time, M. Mitchell?" The significant
retort was,--"Gentlemen, no fleet, no dinner." This was told to
Frederick, and the invitations were renewed.

The next _bon-mot_ is happier still. After the taking of Port Mahon,
and the retreat of the unfortunate Admiral Byng, the king, meeting the
envoy, said,--"You have made a bad beginning, M. Mitchell; your trial
of Admiral Byng is but a bad plaster for the disease; you have made
an unlucky campaign." "Sire," observed Mitchell, "we hope, with God's
assistance, to make a better one next year."

"With God's assistance, sir! I did not know that you had such an ally,"
said the king.

"We hope we have, Sire; and he is the _only one_ of our allies that
costs us nothing," was the pungent reply.

In the latter portion of the war against Napoleon, it was the custom
to send British officers to attend the headquarters of the Allies, and
diplomatists frequently moved along with the armies. But the instance
of Mitchell's moving along with the Prussian monarch was, we believe,
the first example of the kind. On this subject, we have a lively letter
from the Earl of Holdernesse, then Secretary of State to the envoy:--

  "Dear Sir,--I heartily wish you health and success in the new
  trade you are going to undertake. However, do not grow too much
  a soldier, and set a bad precedent for the rest of your black
  brethren of the ink-bottle. Observation is our business, not
  fighting. Remember, if you do get a knock of the pate, _vous en
  emporterez la peine, et l'on dira--Que diable y avoit-il à faire_.
  Yet I would not advise you to follow the steps of the minister of
  Mayence at Dettingen, who, during the time of action, came up to
  Lord Granville's coach, crying out, '_Je proteste contre toute

  "I can find no trace in the office books of any particular
  allowance made to Foreign Ministers for such sort of expeditions;
  but I am persuaded I shall adjust it easily with the Duke of
  Newcastle. Once more, adieu. Our constant toast now here is,
  'Success to the King of Prussia.' He grows vastly popular among us.
  For my part, I always add a gulp more to my old friend Mitchell."

A letter from the envoy, addressed to the King of Prussia, makes the
formal request that he may be allowed to follow the headquarters--a
permission which was immediately conceded by the king. The object of
this request, (suggested by the English Ministry,) was twofold--to have
an intelligent observer of the politics of Prussia on the spot; and to
supply George II. with anecdotes of war, for which he conceived himself
to have a peculiar talent; and on which subject the despatches of the
envoy were always read by him with peculiar interest.

The envoy was not long without material. Before he left Berlin, he had
the following despatch to write to the Earl of Holdernesse--

  "My Lord,--This morning, about seven o'clock, Monsieur Oppen, an
  officer in the Guards, arrived here from the Prussian army. He
  had no letters, only a scrap of paper without date, which he was
  directed to deliver to the queen-mother, in which was written with
  a pencil, in the king's own hand, that his troops had beaten the
  Austrians, _platte couture_, that he reckoned his loss about two
  thousand, and that of the Austrians at four thousand men."

This was a hard-fought but indecisive action. The Austrians, under
Marshal Browne, were the assailants; and the engagement continued
from morning till past midday, when they retreated; but they numbered
two-thirds more than the Prussians, their force being nearly seventy
thousand to about forty thousand.

But a more important success immediately followed. The Saxon army,
amounting to sixteen thousand, had been surrounded in their fortified
camp at Pirna; the fortifications were so strong that the only hope
of reducing them was by famine. To the universal astonishment, they
suddenly quitted this impregnable position, and marched into a defile,
where they could neither advance nor retreat. The king offered them
conditions, which they accepted; and Mitchell, who had waited at
Berlin only for the royal permission to join the army, arrived just in
time to see the surrender; and what was more curious still, the quiet
transfer of their allegiance to the Prussian service. He thus writes--

                                              "_October 21, 1756._

  "On Sunday the 17th, the Saxon troops, preceded by their general
  officers, crossed the Elbe.... Thence they marched into a plain
  in the neighbourhood, and, after passing between two battalions
  of Prussian Guards, they were received by the battalions of the
  Prince of Prussia's regiments, drawn up on the right and left. They
  were then formed into a hollow square, and had the articles of war
  read, and the military oath administered to them, in the presence
  of Prince Maurice of Anhalt-Dessau, or of Prince Ferdinand, the
  King of Prussia's brother. The soldiers were all armed; but the
  officers, almost to a man, refused to enter into the Prussian

  "The whole Saxon army consisted of sixteen thousand, of which
  three thousand were horse and dragoons. The soldiers are extremely
  well-looking, mostly young men, and do not seem to have suffered
  for want of provisions during the blockade of five weeks. The
  cavalry have suffered more--many of their horses are ruined."

But we are not to suppose that this association with the mighty of the
earth, and these exhibitions of capitulating armies were without their
drawbacks. The Prussian king's politics were always subtle, the English
cabinet was already tottering, and the campaign was already prolonged
into winter. The envoy's correspondence at length sinks into complaint,
and his description of his harassed life might make a man shrink
from the honours of travelling diplomacy. He writes in November from

  "I am here in a very awkward situation--quite out of my element;
  and though I have great reason to be satisfied with the King of
  Prussia's manner of treating me, I wish I was at Berlin again,
  or rather in England, notwithstanding the absurd speeches that I
  should hear in parliament.

  "The Prussian camp is no place of pleasure. Neither convenience nor
  luxury dwell here. You are well provided with everything, _if_ you
  bring it along with you. I find I must increase my equipage, or
  _starve_. _All my family are like spectres._ It is true I am fed
  at the king's table, because he desired me to leave my equipage at
  Dresden. The Duke of Newcastle has this _encouraging_ paragraph in
  his letter: 'I will forward your demands for the expenses of your
  journey, whenever you send them over in a _proper manner_ to my
  Lord Holdernesse.' I have spent a great deal of money, and have
  _hardly_ the necessaries of life, and _none_ of its comforts."

Correspondence of this intimate kind gives us a true view of that
life which the world in general sees so gilded and glittering. It
thus has a value superior to even its historical interest. It tells
the humbler conditions of life to be content with their fate; and
perhaps demonstrates that, like the traveller among mountains, the
higher man goes, the more slippery is his path, and the more stormy his
atmosphere. The Secretary of State thus writes:--

                                                "_November, 1766._

  "Mr Pitt [Chatham] has been laid up with a severe fit of the gout
  ever since his nomination to office, which has greatly retarded
  business. I think his opinions on foreign affairs, _now he is in
  place_, are exactly the same with mine, however different they were
  some time ago. _Tempora mutantur et nos, &c._--I hope you will
  never find that maxim applicable to your old friend in Arlington
  Street. I knew long ago of some _private letters_ written to you
  by the Duke of Newcastle. You were in the right not to discover
  a secret intrusted to you; but though--for reasons you know--I
  bore this from _him_, such matters must cease for the future with
  _others_. I therefore insist that I may know directly if any other
  person in the Administration offers to correspond with you. While I
  remain in business, I will do the duty of my office _myself_, and
  without submitting to those disagreeable interruptions I have met
  with from others; nor will I henceforward be led by persons of my
  own age, and less experience.

  "In short, dear Mitchell, if I stay in, I must now have my share
  of the cake; and if you hear I continue, depend upon it I have
  succeeded in what I think just and reasonable pretensions. A volume
  would not explain to you the transactions of these last six weeks.
  We have five Administrations in one day, and none existing at night.

  "The parliament will produce a motley scene next week; you are
  happy to be out of the scrape."

The next campaign was one of still greater political perplexity, and of
still more desperate fighting. It was signalised by the then unheard-of
number of four pitched battles; but the French war has since accustomed
history to more ruinous and more frequent conflicts. The first
engagement was the battle of Prague, thus hastily sketched in a flying
despatch to Lord Holdernesse:--

                                                         "_May 6._

  "I have the honour to acquaint your lordship that this day, a
  little before ten o'clock in the morning, a general engagement
  began between the Prussian and Austrian armies, which lasted till
  half an hour past two in the afternoon. The fire of the artillery
  and small arms was dreadful; but I can yet give no account of
  particulars on either side. All we know is, that the left of
  the Prussians, commanded by the king, attacked the right of the
  Austrians, and, after a very obstinate resistance, drove them from
  the field of battle. The Prussian hussars and cavalry are now in
  full pursuit of them, and the right wing of the Austrians are now
  retiring towards the Zasawa. The right of the Prussians attacked
  the left of the Austrians, have likewise defeated them, and drove
  them towards the Moldan. A great part of their infantry have thrown
  themselves into Prague.

  "The place where this action happened is in the high grounds on
  the other side of Prague. The King of Prussia's army, after the
  junction with Marshal Schwerin, might be seventy or eighty thousand
  men; and that of the Austrians upwards of one hundred thousand--the
  deserters say one hundred and fifty thousand.

  "I can say nothing of the loss on either side, which must be
  considerable. But the whole Prussian army are now in tears for
  the loss of Marshal Schwerin, one of the greatest officers this,
  or perhaps any country, has produced, and one of the best of men.
  The King of Prussia is well, but greatly afflicted for the loss of
  Marshal Schwerin."

This victory cost a terrible sacrifice of human life. The victors had
eighteen thousand men _hors-de-combat_; the vanquished had twenty-four
thousand killed, wounded, and taken. The struggle was long doubtful. At
one period of the day, the Prussian infantry, moving through a defile,
recoiled from the showers of ball which swept the head of the defile;
the Marshal rushed forward to the front, and, taking a standard from
its bearer, led back the column, and charged the enemy. In this charge
the gallant old man was struck by a ball, and fell. He was seventy-two.

This battle was useless, for all its fruits were lost immediately
after; but in a military sense it was justifiable, for it was fought to
prevent the junction of Marshal Daun with General Browne, whose army
protected Prague. Its effects in England, however, were greatly to
increase the popular feeling in favour of Frederick. A letter from Lord
Holdernesse gives a strong picture of the public excitement:--

                                                  "_May 20, 1757._

  "Dear Mitchell,--A fishing-boat despatched by Colonel Yorke, (Sir
  Joseph,) brought us, last night, the news of the great and glorious
  victory obtained by the King of Prussia, near Prague, on the 6th
  inst., which fortunate event has filled the Court and the whole
  nation with the highest joy, and raised the admiration we already
  had of his Prussian Majesty's heroism to the highest pitch. Women
  and children are singing his praises; the most frantic marks of
  joy appear in the public streets: he is, in short, become the
  idol of the people. It only remains that we make a proper use of
  those advantages, and neither suffer ourselves to be elated beyond
  bounds, or to lose precious moments."

But, from the beginning, the struggle was unequal between Austria
and Prussia. Nothing but a miracle could make a country then but
of five millions vanquish a country of thirty; and the prodigious
rapidity with which the Austrian armies were recruited after the
severest losses, made perpetual battles actually necessary to keep
them at bay. The Prussians had blockaded Prague. An Austrian force of
forty-two thousand, or upwards, was advancing to raise the blockade;
and Frederick, with his usual promptitude, rushed to meet it on its
march, with thirty-two thousand. The armies met at Kaurzim, (better
known as Kolin.) The battle began at noon, and was carried into night.
The Prussians attacked: the Austrian positions were too strong for
even the impetuosity and the perseverance of their brave assailants.
The Prussians, after driving them from two heights, were ascending
the _third_, when, from some mistake, their flank was exposed. The
Austrian cavalry, then the finest on the Continent, took instant
advantage of the misfortune, charged, and threw the whole movement
into confusion. The battle was lost; and though the king retained the
honour of the day by resting that night on the field, the result was
unequivocal, in a retrograde march next day, and the raising of the
blockade of Prague.

This battle diminished his army by thirteen thousand men! The king
exposed himself with almost desperation. At last his staff remonstrated
with him on his gallant obstinacy, and one of his officers even
exclaimed, "Does your Majesty mean to storm those batteries alone?"

Frederick was now in the deepest distress. The Austrian hussars had
advanced to the gates of Berlin, and even levied a contribution on the
city. The scandalous convention by which the Hanoverian army laid down
its arms, let loose its French assailants; and Prussia was about to be
crushed by a weight of force then unexampled in European hostilities.
On this occasion the envoy speaks in the spirit of a man who saw no
hope for the king, but to save himself by a negotiation in which he
must concede everything, or take his chance of an honourable death
in the field. But he strikingly reminds the British Cabinet of the
probable consequences of disaster to Prussia.

  "If the King of Prussia should be ruined, or obliged, from
  necessity, to throw himself into the arms of France, (which he has
  no inclination to do,) my duty obliges me to put your lordship
  in mind what the situation of England will be next year, without
  a single friend on the Continent to resist the whole undiverted
  power of France, instigated by the malice of the house of Austria,
  against which too early and too vigorous preparations cannot be
  made, and I most heartily wish they may be effectual.

  "I have but _one_ imagination which comforts me, which arises from
  the _insatiable ambition_ of the French. They have already ruined
  a great part of Germany and reduced the house of Brandenburg; they
  are at this moment masters of Germany, and have the Empress-Queen
  almost as much in their power as they have the King of Prussia.
  Now, it is not consistent with common sense to leave the house of
  Austria possessed of a greater degree of power than it ever had,
  and without a rival in the empire. I therefore flatter myself they
  will find some pretence to save the King of Prussia, which may
  embroil them with their new ally, and give a breathing-time to

The British envoy, sagacious as he certainly was, here adopted the
common error of conceiving that the safety of England depended on her
Continental allies. The cry has been repeated in every war in which
England has been subsequently engaged; and the British diplomatist at
foreign courts has habitually employed his ingenuity in the elaborate
effort to warn us that the national existence depended at one time on
the triumph of Prussia; at another, of Austria; or, at another, of
Spain. All these are follies. The whole Continent, not merely alienated
from us, but combined against us, was not able to shake the strength of
England, during the last and bloodiest of all wars, urged by the last
and bloodiest of all ambitions. In this foolish spirit, it has been
echoed from one desponding party to another, that England was saved
from ruin by the march from Moscow, then by the battle of Leipzig, then
by the battle of Waterloo. England would have survived, if Napoleon
had grasped every province of Prussia, if Leipzig had been a field of
German massacre, and if Waterloo had only exhibited the bravery without
the fortune of the British army. This style of talking is trifling
and pusillanimous--it exhibits an utter forgetfulness of history, and
an utter ignorance of the actual capacities of the country. England,
if true to herself, is unconquerable, and might look on Continental
battles with no more personal consideration of the consequences than if
they were battles in the clouds. Still, it will fully be admitted, that
our Continental alliances ought to be scrupulously sustained; that,
in the event of war with any of the Continental powers, it must be of
importance to have as few enemies, and as many friends as we can; and
that there can be no more short-sighted sense of the true interests
of England than insult to foreign thrones, under the shallow pretext
of forwarding the privileges of the people. Monarchs are the natural
allies of a monarchy--rebels are the natural enemies of all government;
and the attempt to create liberty on the Continent, by encouraging
the absurdities of the rabble, is only to waste the noble influence
of England in the most hopeless of all projects, and to degrade the
national character by the abuse of the national principles.

The proverbial uncertainty of war was now about to be vividly
illustrated by a new phase of Frederick's varied career. The French
army, under the Prince Soubise, had poured into the centre of Germany
in great force, and Marshal Keith, a gallant Scot, distinguished in
the service of Prussia, was sent to check their irruption. The result
was one of the most extraordinary victories on record. Frederick had
arrived at Rosbach with but eighteen thousand men; the French and
Imperialists, amounting to sixty thousand, made sure of his capture.
It was even said that the Prince de Soubise had already sent a courier
to Paris announcing it, and the ruin of the whole army. The French
officers, in the spirit of their nation, actually scoffed at the idea
of war with so small a kingdom as Prussia. They said "it was doing
Monsieur le Marquis de Brandenbourg too much honour to carry on a
_sort_ of war with him."

On the 6th of November, Soubise advanced; the King then formed his plan
of attack. It was to fall on the enemy before they had time to form.
The general of cavalry, Seydlitz, was to turn the enemy's horse, and
fall on their infantry in the act of formation. The two armies moved
parallel to each other, until Seydlitz had turned the enemy's right
unseen. The Prussian infantry were in movement after him; but seeing,
with the quick eye of a thorough soldier, a favourable moment, he
galloped in front of his squadrons, threw up his meerschaum in the air,
as the signal for attack, and plunged into the enemy's columns. Two
Austrian cuirassier regiments and two French battalions fought stoutly,
but they were overwhelmed. All thenceforth was confusion. Though the
king's infantry had scarcely been engaged, the enemy's infantry had
been driven together in a mass, and, on nightfall, had broken up. By
six in the evening the victory was complete. Six thousand prisoners
were taken, with five generals and three hundred officers. The Allied
army lost, on the whole, ten thousand men; the Prussians about four
hundred in killed and wounded. They took seventy guns, fifteen
standards, &c.

This victory spread universal exultation through Germany. It was
scarcely to be called a German defeat, for the weight of the action
fell on the French. It was regarded as a trial of strength between the
German and the Frenchman. The victory made the king a National champion.

Many years after the battle, the inhabitants of the vicinity erected a
pillar as its memorial. In the disastrous days of Prussia in our time,
Napoleon, after surveying the scene of the battle, ordered the pillar
to be conveyed to Paris. But, on the day before the first entrance of
the Allies into Paris, in 1814, the veterans of the Invalides threw the
pillar into the Seine, that it might not be restored to the Prussians.
After the victory of Leipzig, however, an iron column was placed on the
site of the old memorial.

The victory gave occasion to one of Frederick's _bons-mots_. The
conversation at table turned on the comparative style of living
among the German princes; the king pronounced that of the Prince
Hildburg-Hausen to be the most magnificent, "for," said he, "he keeps
thirty thousand _runners_." (The prince had commanded the German troops
who were beaten along with Soubise.)

But all was vicissitude in this campaign. While the king was triumphing
in one quarter, he was all but ruined in another. The Duke of Bevern,
commanding in Silesia, was attacked by a force so overpowering that
the province was soon in the hands of the Austrians. Their purpose
was now to fall upon the king, and extinguish him. Frederick, in
this knowledge, made an appeal to the loyalty of his generals; and,
declaring that he had no alternative but victory or death, offered to
give his dismission to any officer who was unwilling to follow him
farther. The whole levée burst into protestations of fidelity; and the
king marched to fight the Austrians at Leuthen, under the command of
Prince Charles of Lorraine, assisted by the most distinguished of their
generals, Marshal Daun. But this was the battle of despair. In the
king's last speech to his officers, he said--"Should I fall, and not be
able to remunerate the services which you have rendered me, the country
must do it. Now, go to the camp, and repeat to the regiments what I
have said to you."

On the morning of the 5th, at daybreak, the Prussians moved. On their
march they fell in with cavalry pushed forward under the well-known
General Wostitz. The Austrians were instantly overwhelmed, and Wostitz,
furious at his misfortune, rushing into the midst of the Prussian
cavalry, received fourteen wounds, of which he died two days after.

Among the prisoners was a deserter, a Frenchman. The king questioned
him, "Why did you leave me?" "The fact is," answered the deserter,
"things were going on very badly with us." "Come, come," replied
Frederick, probably amused by the fellow's nonchalance in a moment of
such peril to himself, "let us fight another battle to-day. If I am
beaten, we shall desert together to-morrow." He then sent him back to
join his old regiment.

The king's manoeuvre, on his advance, was so dexterous that, even
to the experienced eye of Daun, he appeared to be in retreat. "The
Prussians are off," said he to Prince Charles; "let us not disturb
them." The cautious marshal always practised the maxim of "a bridge
of gold for a retreating enemy." But the hasty Prince resolved on a
battle. He was speedily to feel the hazard of such an antagonist as
Frederick. The manoeuvre was intended to throw the whole force of
the Prussians on the Austrian left wing. It succeeded perfectly. The
wing was turned, and, after a brief resistance, was driven from the
field. The village of Leuthen, the centre of their position, was then
stormed; but the Austrian artillery was powerful, and every attack
cost great slaughter. The battle was now for a while doubtful--but
it was at last decided by a charge of cavalry. The Austrian general,
Luchesi, had attempted to fall with his troopers on the Prussian flank;
but, in the act, he was unexpectedly charged by the main body of the
Prussian cavalry. Luchesi fell, his cavalry were broken, and the
battle was at an end. The rest was the capture of the separate posts
of the Austrians, and the pursuit of the right wing, which, though not
engaged, had disbanded. This success was unexampled. The Prussians took
twenty thousand prisoners, one hundred and sixteen guns, fifty-one pair
of colours, and four thousand baggage waggons. The Austrians left seven
thousand four hundred men on the field. The victors lost, in killed and
wounded, six thousand men. This victory produced a prodigious effect
on the public opinion of Europe. To have won two pitched battles, with
inferior numbers, and in the midst of political difficulties, with all
his conquests torn from him, and his capital insulted and laid under
contribution, appeared like the work of romance. The king was, from
that moment, the first of European generals. He was the invincible
Frederick the Great in German lips; the Protestant hero, by a still
more honourable title, in England. Germany then first felt that she had
poets, and a theme for poetry. Bards sprang up on every side, and the
Prussian king's exploits were sung in palace, cottage, and bivouac. The
war-songs of Glein exhibited the true fire of poetry, and form stirring
and noble records of the time to this day.

Mitchell's correspondence, on this important occasion, was exulting. On
the 9th December, he writes--

  "My Lord,--This moment a chasseur has arrived from Silesia, with
  the news of a complete victory obtained by his Prussian Majesty
  on the 5th, between Neumarkt and Lissa. The chasseur was present
  in, and despatched from the field of battle.... In a letter from
  the king to his brother, Prince Henry, he says he had taken eight
  thousand prisoners, many standards, colours, and cannon that he had
  attacked with his right, _et qu'il avait refusé la gauche_, which
  had succeeded perfectly well, _parce qu'il avait tourné l'ennemi_."

The envoy, in his subsequent letters, collects intelligence from all
quarters, and sends it in fragments.

  "We have yet no _relation_ of the _victory of victories_, but there
  are letters from the King of Prussia which say that he expected
  soon to be master of Breslau, and of the garrison and wounded in
  that town, amounting to ten thousand men. He computes the loss
  of the Austrians at thirty thousand.... What I write is almost
  incredible; but two miracles, in the space of one month, two
  victories gained by the same handful of men--for the Prussian army,
  in the first action of the 5th of November, did not exceed eighteen
  thousand, and in the last might be from thirty to thirty-five
  thousand--have, I hope, restored affairs to a situation I never
  expected to see them in."

The merit of this diligence may be estimated from the difficulty of
correspondence in those days of convulsion. In his first despatch on
this subject, so important to the English cabinet, he says,--

  "In case this letter should be stopped, I have prevailed with a Jew
  to write to his correspondent at the Hague a letter in _Hebrew_,
  which contains further particulars, &c., which he is directed
  forthwith to communicate to Colonel Yorke, (the British Resident
  with the States of Holland.)"

We then have a curious specimen of the spirit of diplomacy.

                     "TO THE EARL OF HOLDERNESSE.

                                                 "_December 1757._

  "My Lord,--I have had some suspicion that Prince Henry is paving
  the way to a negotiation with France, without the knowledge of the
  king his brother.

  "The prince is very vain, and hates his brother, of whose greatness
  he is jealous; at the same time, he has talents, but more cunning
  than real parts, and is French to the bone.

  "I live well with him, but have carefully watched him. He owned to
  me the other day that he had taken upon himself to release Monsieur
  Martinfort, _commissaire des vivres_ to Soubise's army, taken at
  the battle of the 5th of November. The pretence for releasing him
  is, that Martinfort has no rank in the army, and therefore cannot
  be exchanged; and that he will prevail on the Prince of Soubise to
  release, in his room, a Prussian counsellor, who was carried off as
  a hostage by the French.

  "I know the prince's way of thinking--ambition is his only
  principle. He imagined--looking on the state of the King of
  Prussia's affairs as desperate--that he should have the glory of
  making peace. For this purpose, he first began to show an enormous
  partiality to the French officers, and to hold frequent and long
  conferences with Martinfort, who is a shrewd, sensible man; and I
  am convinced that the prince flatters himself that he shall bring
  about something by his means.... I judge it necessary to give your
  lordship these hints, that Martinfort may be _properly watched_ in

Napoleon, in his memoirs of the campaigns of the great European
generals, gave a high place to the battle of Leuthen, pronounced it a
masterpiece, and declared it of itself sufficient to fix Frederick in
the foremost rank of generalship.

During this memorable year, the envoy frequently attended the
headquarters, and shared not merely the privations but the dangers
of the campaign. Of this period he kept a diary, containing the more
remarkable particulars, and giving a curious picture of the harassing
life, even of the highest rank, once engaged in war. But of this
service there was soon to be an interruption. The Hanoverian Convention
had soured the King of Prussia's mind against the English cabinet:
the failure of the expedition against Rochfort--a failure, however,
which arose simply from a precipitate embarkation, (for the English
troops had, until that moment, driven everything before them)--and the
delay of sending a fleet to the Baltic, were topics of irritation at
the Prussian court, which, of course, were first visited on the head
of the envoy, and which, in turn, he visited (with whatever reserve)
on the head of the British cabinet. But Chatham had then succeeded to
the direction of affairs, and he was not a man to take remonstrance
patiently. The immediate result was the mission of Yorke to Berlin,
and the recall of Mitchell. But another change in the public councils
made Yorke's mission only temporary, and Mitchell was ordered to remain
"until further orders."

The brilliant successes of Rosbach and Leuthen had raised the King's
military name to the highest rank, but they only increased the number
of his enemies. The Russians, fresh in the field, admirably equipped
for the campaign, and longing to gather German laurels, had poured
down upon his army, exhausted as it was by incessant fighting, and
almost hopeless of seeing an end to the war, but still proud of their
reputation, and confident in their King. A letter from the envoy to
Lord Holdernesse gives an animated though brief account of their first

                      "FIELD OF BATTLE, ZORNDORF,
                          _26th August 1753_.

  "My Lord,--I have the satisfaction to acquaint your Lordship, that
  yesterday, after an action which lasted _ten hours_, the King of
  Prussia has gained a victory over the Russian army, taken many
  pieces of cannon, and many colours and standards.

  "The army marched in four columns. The whole cavalry made the
  fourth column. They arrived in a large open plain, edged with
  woods, about eight o'clock in the morning, and formed very quickly,
  as they had marched in order of battle. At nine in the morning, the
  whole army was formed. The vanguard began the action before the
  village of Zorndorf, which had been set on fire by the enemy; and
  as soon as the King of Prussia, thought that he had gained their
  flank, he ordered the attack to be made by his left wing, while
  he refused his right. The cavalry, commanded by General Seidletz,
  formed a fourth line, which, after the infantry should have broken
  in upon that of the enemy, were to act on either flank, as occasion
  should offer.

  "The fire of the artillery was terrible on both sides, and
  continued almost without interruption till the end of the battle.
  What added to the horror of the spectacle was, that the Cossacks
  and Calmucks had set fire to the villages all round, and a great
  number of Russian powder-waggons blew up in the woods which
  surrounded the field."

This was a tremendous conflict, and the particulars of the loss on both
sides made it amount to nearly 24,000, killed and wounded, of which
the Prussian loss was about 4000. The Russians lost ninety pieces of
cannon, standards, and several military chests, containing 858,000
roubles. The subsequent despatches give us some idea of the feelings of
men in the field, even though not actually combatants. In one of these
the envoy says,--

  "I have had many unpleasant moments of late--we were upon the very
  brink of destruction. The Russians fought like devils. The King of
  Prussia's presence of mind saved us all. There are many particulars
  which I would willingly write, but I am almost dead with fatigue.
  _Would to God I were out of this scene of horror and bloodshed._"

All now was anxiety.

  "Last night the King of Prussia called me to him, between seven
  and eight o'clock, _just after the battle ended_, and told me that
  he had not time to write to the King (George II.) that night. He
  desired I should delay despatching a courier to England _till the
  affair was ended_; that, in the mean time, he would write a short
  letter to Berlin to _keep up their spirits_."

Such is the life of kings and generals.

  "As the Russians continue firm in their position, I fear we shall
  have _another action to-morrow_, for which we are by no means well

It is remarkable, in nearly all the great Prussian victories, how much
the King owed to his cavalry. The battles of Rosbach and Leuthen were
actually won by cavalry charges, and the value of cavalry seems to
have been fully appreciated by Frederick. It is equally remarkable,
that they scarcely appear to have been used since, except to repulse
a charge, or to follow a broken enemy. There is a fashion in those
things. Napoleon relied on artillery. Wellington relied on infantry.
The Russian and German generals, in the French war, relied upon
redoubts and fieldworks--a tactic perhaps partly imposed on them by
the nature of their troops, which were new to discipline, and, though
brave, were unprepared for manoeuvring. But novelty has great effect
in war, and the first general who will try the momentum of cavalry on
a large scale will probably beat his enemy. The common objection, that
cavalry costs too much to bring it into the field in force, is absurd:
nothing can be too costly which wins the battle.

The envoy now went to Dresden, where the Austrian generals had
collected a force, and commenced the siege. Here he was the spectator
of some severe attacks, and had his share in the wretchedness of war.
On the Austrian demonstration, the general commanding in the city
ordered the suburbs to be set on fire, to deprive the enemy of their
cover for the assault.

  "On the 10th, about three in the morning, General Schmettau set
  fire to the suburb adjoining the Pirna Gate, and to many of the
  houses built on the edge of the fosse, apprehensive that they might
  be occupied by the enemy. I will not describe to your Lordship the
  _horror of this night_, nor the terror and confusion it struck into
  the poor inhabitants, as the whole town seemed to be environed with
  flames. I mounted into one of the steeples, from which I saw the
  most melancholy prospect--the poor frightened inhabitants running
  from the burning suburbs, with the wretched remains of their
  furniture, towards the Great Garden, and the whole circuit of the
  town appearing in flames, ruins, and smoke."

Marshal Daun next day remonstrated against this act, as contrary to
the laws of war. The Prussian general replied "that the Marshal knew
better, and that he must do his duty; but that if the Marshal wished to
save the rest of the suburbs, he had only to withdraw his troops." Daun
replied "that he would receive no directions _how_ he was to attack."
The military repartees passed away, but the people were ruined.

The name of Dresden was familiarised to English ears in the last war
by the battles fought round it, and the sufferings of its inhabitants.
It is difficult to think of those calamities, and of the calamities to
which every Continental city is exposed in the first breaking out of
hostilities, without a sense of the superior security of our country,
and, it is to be hoped, without a sense of the gratitude due for that
security to the Supreme Disposer of the fates of nations. Of war
England knows little but by her victories.

The close of the Seven Years' War, in 1763, released the envoy from the
more arduous part of his service; and in 1765 he returned to England,
and was made a Knight of the Bath, then an honour much more restricted
than now--the number being few, and the reward unshared, but by public
ministers and military men of the first distinction. His health at this
period had been declining, and, retaining his envoyship to the last,
and with the same vigour of faculties, he died by a short illness in
June 1771. Sir Andrew Mitchell was evidently a man of high spirit,
clear understanding, and active intelligence. His Journals are brief,
yet interesting; and if, instead of writing a Diary, he had given us a
History, no man would have rendered a more important account of one of
the most important periods of Europe.

The remaining career of Frederick we pass, as a portion of universal
history. His battles, his share in the fatal partition of Poland, the
vigorous administration which raised Prussia from a third-rate state to
a first, and from a population of five millions to one of three times
the number, are matters of high interest to the political philosopher.
In the character of Frederick II., there was much that no man of
religious principle can applaud; but the habits of France had been
rendered infidel by the effects of Popery on a lively and ingenious
people. The religion which Voltaire and his followers saw from day
to day was _not_ Christianity--the miracles of supposed saints, and
the worship of a supposed Queen of Heaven, which revolted the common
sense of mankind, extinguished the implicit faith of these keen-witted
Frenchmen. The infidel was only a scoffer at a graver infidelity. The
wit of the Frenchman made his scoff popular; and the German, destined
to be always an imitator, was proud to follow the laugh, without
attempting to examine the logic, of Voltaire.

The later history of Prussia has grown in importance with the growing
pressure of our time. Prussia is no longer a struggling state; she is
a great European power. No longer a dependent on the policy of Europe,
she constitutes a prime mover of that policy. The French have trampled
her under foot, apparently only to give her the great lesson that the
strength of a nation is in the national virtue. The cause, which was
lost by the army, was restored by the population. There was no army in
Europe which fell into such instant ruin; there was no population of
Europe which started on its feet with such invincible vigour. No defeat
was so desperate, no victory so memorable. The peasant restored the

Prussia has since been scourged in the common insurgency of the
Continent; yet even that suffering will be of infinite value, if it
shall remind her that the safety of thrones is in the religion of the
people. The connexion is evident. Revolution is the natural tempter of
man; it offers opulence to the poor, rank to the vain, agitation to the
active, and power to the ambitious. To resist these original stimulants
of our nature, what is there in the arm of kings, in the frowns of law,
or in the morals of philosophy? There must be a protector, not to be
found among the dubious impulses or infirm decencies of this world.
That only protector is Religion!

Germany is irreligious. Its Protestant population is infidel, its
Popish is sunk in the depths of superstition. In neither is it
_Christian_. Individuals may still _protest_, in the once famous
land of Protestantism; but the volumes with which Germany is now
inundating the world are hostile to every principle of the Gospel.
Germany must return to the Bible before her monarchs can sit safely
in their palaces. The offer of Constitutions to their people is only
the offer of wine to the intoxicated. It is the abuse of a noble gift,
and the conversion of a source of natural vigour into the nutriment
of a habitual vice. Prussia has now a great vocation. Whatever share
of rational liberty exists in Germany is to be sought for at her
hands. She possesses the most enlightened intellect, the most vigorous
learning, and the most inquiring spirit of Germany. Every man who
wishes well to the progress of the Continent must give his aspirations
to the progress of Prussia. But her superior advantages will only
insure the keener suffering, unless guided by superior virtue.

Her late interference in the war of the Northern Duchies was
suspicious; and the passion for naval power, and the hope of acquiring
the protectorate of Northern and Central Germany, may have betrayed
her into encroachments on her neighbours. But these dreams seem to be
past; and it must depend wholly on herself whether she shall disappoint
a noble experiment, or shall establish an imperishable name; whether
her emblem shall be the scaffold or the altar; whether she shall be
the great magazine of political combustion, or the great armoury of
political defence to Europe; whether the shade of the royal tree shall
shelter the fugitive principles of rational freedom, or direct the
lightnings upon them. There can be no question that we live in times
of vast political peril: the pealing of the tempest has scarcely sunk
behind our march, when clouds gather on it before. New expedients are
required to revive the preservative power of old principles. Religion
is on its trial among ourselves; but _here_ it will not meet its
catastrophe. The Continent will be the scene of the great conflict; and
Prussia, more probably than any other portion of the Continent, will
witness the severity of the struggle. It may be decided even within the
lapse of a few years, and by the exercise of her own wisdom, whether
her throne shall stand forth the barren centre of German revolution,
or a magnificent creation of power--a central temple, to which the
nations of the Continent shall come for the sacred fire, appointed to
administer virtue to the living generation, and illustrate posterity.


[1] _Memoirs and Papers of Sir Andrew Mitchell, K.B._, Envoy
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the Court of Great
Britain to the Court of Prussia, from 1756 to 1771. By ANDREW BISSET,
of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister-at-Law. 2 Vols. Chapman & Hall, London.


The neglect of Spanish literature is perhaps, after the decay of
Spanish power, the most striking instance of the precarious tenure
of greatness that modern history can supply. Various causes have
contributed to this result; none more powerfully perhaps than that
ecclesiastical domination which included all that could embellish and
exalt our nature in the sphere of its malignant activity, and after
poisoning the sources of material prosperity--after making the river,
the forest, and the mine useless to their possessors--after turning
the land of corn, and wine, and oil into a wilderness--extended its
destructive conquest to the informing soul of its inhabitants, and to
the ruin of commerce added the extermination of thought itself.

There were many causes which contributed to the triumph of this
influence in Spain. The long war against the Moors, carried on with
such unequalled pertinacity, and terminated by such complete success,
could hardly fail to prolong and exasperate the feelings of religious
antipathy, and to make the bigotry, which so many generations had
identified with patriotic feeling, precious and venerable to their
descendants. And as in France it must for many centuries have been
the great object of every true patriot to fortify and to consolidate,
at the sacrifice even of constitutional principle, the central power
which alone could protect her from invasion, and prevent her from
being reduced to the state of wretched insignificance to which a
minute subdivision of power into petty principalities had degraded
Germany,--so in Spain, national pride mingled itself with religious
principle; the hostility of race combined with the hatred of sect;
and if the latter made the former furious, the former made the last
implacable. The Saxon submitted to the Norman. But the Spaniard, under
circumstances far less favourable to resistance, never for one moment
abandoned his hostility to the Moor. Again, when Louis the Fourteenth
had been compelled by adverse fortune to surrender the cause of his own
grandson, the Spanish peasant, without resources, without commerce,
without fleets, without armies, adhered with inflexible fidelity to
the cause he had once embraced, and in spite of Blenheim and Ramilies
and Oudenarde--in spite of Marlborough, Eugene, and Peterborough--kept
the sovereign of his affections on the throne;-and finally, when the
rest of Continental Europe quailed before the first of conquerors, the
spirit which had triumphed at Almanza and Granada showed itself once
more to be invincible, and taught mankind the memorable lesson that
"all was not lost" where hatred was immortal, and the determination of
resistance not to be overcome. Such a nation must leave an imperishable
mark in history. As, however, these elements of pride and bigotry
acquired an ascendency in the Spanish character, it gradually sank into
a sullen apathy of unsocial indolence, which its declining influence
and repeated mortifications tended materially to confirm. Shut up
behind the barrier of the Pyrenees--living only in the past, consoling
itself by the recollections of former grandeur for the consciousness
of actual insignificance and decay; the slave of priests, the victim
of kings--it clung to habits unknown in the rest of Europe, and to
feelings with which all sympathy had long since passed away. The
language, which in the sixteenth century had been spoken in every
court of Europe, was unknown--the writers, whom the giant intellects
that surrounded the throne of our Elizabeth had studied with so much
care, were forgotten. In spite of her noble colonies, in spite of her
glorious dialect, in spite of writers more nearly approaching the
great models of antiquity in the exquisite perfection of style than
those of any modern country, in spite of a drama the wealth of which
was inexhaustible Spain ceased to have any influence on the progress
of human thought and action. Her vast empire was a corpse from which
life had fled. So complete was the ignorance of Spanish literature,
that Montesquieu said of the Spaniards, without incurring the charge
of having sacrificed truth to epigram, "Le seul de leurs livres qui
soit bon est celui qui a fait voir le ridicule de tous les autres:" a
singular proof of literary ingratitude in the countryman of Molière,
Corneille, and Le Sage--and a still more remarkable proof of the
fluctuation of national studies in a country where, scarce a century
before, ignorance of Spanish would have been looked upon as a proof of
the most barbarous rusticity.

In France, says Cervantes, there is no one man or woman who does not
learn Spanish. "En Francia, ni varon ni muger dexa de aprender la
lengua Castellana."

To the effect of this very circumstance the growing indifference to
Spanish literature may, in some measure, be ascribed. During the palmy
state of Spanish greatness, the Spaniard, finding his language, as the
French is now, the received organ of social intercourse throughout
Europe, seldom vouchsafed to study modern languages. Nor, indeed, were
such studies congenial to the taste and temper of that fastidious
and haughty nation. In earlier days, poetical traditions and popular
ballads had wandered across the Pyrenees. The songs of the Troubadours,
and the effusions in the tongue of Oc, had, by means of the kindred
dialect of Catalonia, exercised great influence over Castilian poetry.
But, towards the end of the fifteenth century, the connection between
French and Spanish literature was altogether interrupted: as the
language of Catalonia sank to the level of a mere provincial dialect,
the channel of communication was blocked up. The family relations
between the different members of the houses of Hapsburg and Bourbon
could not fill up the chasm which nature had placed between the
inhabitants of different sides of the Pyrenees, and which centuries
of almost incessant warfare had contributed to widen; and as the
provinces of Berne and Languedoc became scandalous as the seats of
heresy, everything that came from France was looked upon with aversion
and distrust. Still stronger and more insurmountable were the barriers
against English literature. He who will read the _Dragontea_ of Lope
de Vega, the most amiable of authors, and the ode of Gongora, _Al
armamento de Felipe segundo contra Inglaterra_, may form some idea of
the scorn and hatred with which the Spaniard, proud of his race, proud
of his victories, proud of his language, and, above all, tenacious to
madness of the unsullied purity of his faith, looked upon the piratical
English, twice apostates from the Holy See, who spoke a barbarous
dialect, unknown to the nations of the South, clogged with consonants
and monosyllables, incapable of sonorous cadences, and in every respect
the opposite of his own. Even at the present day, it is remarkable that
Southey--with all his faults, the best writer of English prose that
our age has produced--was deeply versed in Spanish literature; and in
spite of our acquisitions in physical science, a native of the South,
to whom his own beautiful dialect is familiar, might be forgiven when
he reads the clumsy prose and prosaic verse of the present day, if he
reflect with delight on the Ciceronian eloquence of Cervantes, and
the finished periods of Saavedra Faxardo. A Spanish artisan would be
ashamed to write like our learned men, or to speak like many members
of the House of Commons--so true and so universal is the doctrine of
compensation. In the year 1754, Velasquez assures us that there was in
Spain no single translation of an English author. But the aversion was
not reciprocal. In the days of our great Elizabeth, when the English
intellect was at a height from which it has ever since been travelling
downwards, Spanish novels and romances were diligently studied, and
perpetually translated. There is strong evidence to show that the great
dramatists of that day were not ignorant of the Spanish stage.

A translation, or rather an abridgment, of the _Celestina_, was printed
in London in 1530, and in 1580 the story was acted in a London theatre.

But as all our readers may not have heard--and many of them probably
have not read a line of the _Celestina_--we will, before we proceed
farther, explain the nature of this most remarkable--and if the age
when it was written be considered--this quite unequalled production.

The _Celestina_, or _Tragi-comedia di Calisto y Meliboea_, is the
title of a book which appeared at Salamanca in the year 1500. It is
named from the principal person, a procuress, who is the instrument
by which all the events that it describes are brought about. It is
the work of two authors. The name of the first, who wrote the first
act only, cannot certainly be determined. Some ascribe it to Juan
de Mena, and some to Rodrigo Cota. The language seems to prove that
the date of the first act cannot be much earlier than the end of the
fifteenth century, or than that of the twenty acts added to it by the
Bachelor, Fernando de Rozas, by whom the whole was published. The work
was received with universal, but, if its merit be considered, not with
excessive approbation. This is testified by the numerous editions which
succeeded each other with great rapidity, not only throughout Spain,
but in Venice, Milan, and Antwerp; and translations of it were eagerly
studied in France, England, Italy, and Germany. The great length of
the _Celestina_ proves that it never could have been intended for
the stage; but its influence on the dramatic literature of Spain has
been, nevertheless, considerable. For the language of the dialogue
is so exquisitely beautiful--the representations it contains are so
vivid--and the pathos of several passages so touching,--above all, the
characters are drawn with so much spirit and truth of colouring, that
it became the favourite model of the great Spanish dramatists of the
sixteenth century.

To enter into a detailed account of this beautiful composition would
be mere pedantry. It might, perhaps, be agreeable to an age which
receives with exultation and delight prose translations of the most
beautiful poetry, and places equestrian statues over archways; but it
must fill every one to whom the rudiments of taste are not absolutely
unknown--every one for whom eloquence and poetry are not merely a dead
letter--with unspeakable disgust. It would bear the same resemblance to
the original that a corpse does to the body animated by an informing
spirit. The plot is extremely simple. Calisto, a youth of high birth,
cherishes the most passionate love for the beautiful Meliboea. In order
to gratify his passion, he has recourse to Celestina, and by her arts
and love-potions, and intrigues, he at length accomplishes his object.
They meet at her house; and while

    "Imparadised in one another's arms,"

the servants of Calisto quarrel, a conflict ensues, in which Celestina
loses her life. The law interferes, seizes upon the malefactors, and
condemns them to the gallows. The friends of the servants agree to
revenge their death. They beset the house, in which Calisto and his
beloved have met again. Calisto, who wishes to encounter them, is
slain. Meliboea, distracted with remorse and sorrow, and resolved not
to survive her lover, ascends a lofty tower, and, after informing
her parents of her errors, and of the death of him who shared them,
precipitates herself from its summit. Such is the outline of this
primitive effort of dramatic art, the eloquence of which is as various
and astonishing as the plot is simple and inadequate. There are
passages in it which may remind the reader of _Clarissa Harlowe_; and
it is very possible that it may have suggested hints to Richardson.
Bouterwek's remarks upon the _Celestina_ are trivial and insignificant.

"I may boldly say it, because I have seen it," says Stephen Gosson, in
1581, writing under the influence of those puritanical feelings which
were soon to play so conspicuous a part in our dramatic history, "that
the _Palace of Pleasure_, the _Golden Ass_, the _Æthiopian History_,
_Amadis of France_, and the _Round Table_, indecent histories in
Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish, have been thoroughly ransacked
to furnish the playhouses in London." Robert Green, the author of
_Friar Bacon_, one of the most eminent of Shakspeare's immediate
predecessors, tells us that he had travelled in Spain. There are
several expressions in Shakspeare which indicate an acquaintance with
Spanish literature--among others, the remarkable phrase, "this is
mischief malikin," which is evidently a corruption of "mucho malhecho."
The origin of the _Taming of the Shrew_ is Spanish. The alternate
rhymes of _Love's Labour_ Lost prove, beyond a doubt, a Spanish model.
The advice from Polonius to his son is said to be a literal translation
from a Spanish dramatist. The resemblance between _Twelfth Night_ and
an anonymous comedy, _La Española in Florencia_, is too striking to
be merely accidental. It is, indeed, most improbable that Shakspeare
who was acquainted with French, and has inserted in his works--in the
_Tempest_ for instance--several paraphrases of Montaigne, should have
been ignorant of Spanish, which was not only a more popular language,
but one which contained far more to reward and stimulate the labour of
the student. And here we may observe, that the prodigy of the Spanish
stage, Lope de Vega--the "monster of nature," as Cervantes calls
him, and certainly the most surprising instance of the combination
of facility and genius which the modern world has seen--was born on
the 25th November 1562, at Madrid, two years before Shakspeare. If we
pursue our examination of the influence of Spanish literature on the
English drama, we shall find a close resemblance between Fletcher's
beautiful play of the _Elder Brother_--which was mutilated to please
our barbarous grandfathers by Cibber,--and Calderon's _Two Effects
from one Cause_, (_De una Causa dos Efectos_;) the _Maid of the
Mill_, by Beaumont and Fletcher, and Lope's _Quinta de Florencia_;
Webster's _Duchess of Malfi_, and Lope de Vega's _Mayor Domo de la
Duquesa de Amalfi_. So the _Señora Cornelia_, a novel of Cervantes',
is the foundation of the brilliant play of the _Chances_. The third
scene of the third act of the _Little French Lawyer_, is taken from
the fourth chapter of the second part of the first book of Aleman's
_Guzman d'Alfarache_. _The Knight of the Burning Perkle_, shows that
_Don Quixote_ was commonly read in England. The _Spanish Gipsy_ of
Middleton and Rowley, and _Beggars' Bush_ of Fletcher, are taken from
the _Fuerza de la Sangre_, and _Gitanilla_ of Cervantes; and the plan
of _Love's Pilgrimage_ is borrowed from the _Dos Doncellas_ of the same
author. _The Spanish Curate_ is taken from the _Gerardo_ of Gonzalo de
Cerpedes; and _The History of Alphonso, or a Wife for a Month,_ is that
related by many Spanish writers of Sancho, the eighth King of Leon. To
this list may be added a remarkable passage in Milton's _Areopagitica_,
in which he alludes to Spanish poetry as we should allude to Manzoni
and Lamartine. "The villages also must have _their_ visitors, to
inquire what lectures the bagpipe and the rebec reads even to the gamut
of every municipal fiddler; for _these_ are the _countryman's_ Arcadias
and his Monte Mayors." In 1663 was printed, _The Adventures of Five
Hours_, from the Spanish comedy, _Los Empeños de Seis Horas_. Lord
Digby's _'Tis better than it was_ is taken from Calderon's _Mejor está
que estaba_. His _Worse and Worse_ from _Peor está que estaba_. His
_Elvira, or the Worst not always True_, from Calderon's _No siempre lo
Peor es Cierto_. There can be little doubt, as a careful and elaborate
writer, Shack, remarks in his instructive work on the Spanish stage,
that a more accurate inquiry than has yet been instituted into the
English drama, would lead to the conclusion, that many of the works
of Lope de Vega were familiar to the great writers of Elizabeth's
time; not, indeed, that it is contended, or that with any shadow of
plausibility it can be maintained, that the Spanish is the origin
of the English drama, or, indeed, that it ever exercised a decided
influence on the English stage. The rapid intrigue, the brilliant
accumulation of incidents, which the peasant of the South follows with
delight and ease in scenic representation, would confound and bewilder
the most educated classes of which a Northern audience is composed.
Let an English or German reader try the experiment of reading one of
Calderon's most agreeable plays, _Tambien, hay duelo en las Damas_,
which may be freely translated, "There may be Trust in Women," and see
whether, even in the quiet of his study, his brain does not grow dizzy
with the complicated intrigue that it describes.

The truth is, that both in Spain and England, the drama, at the period
of its greatest splendour, was drawn from the inmost sources of the
national character and genius. It spoke the language of the different
races amid which it appeared, and the peculiarities of each were
wrought into the stamina of its existence. Before that time, and while
it was seeking the track which it was to illuminate with such a flood
of glory, before the days of Shakspeare and Lope de Vega, its effects
had been feeble and unsuccessful. _Ferrex and Porrex_, _Ralph Royster_,
_ Doyster_, _Damon and Pythias_, bear, like the contemporary works of
Spanish and Italian authors, traces of the attempt to substitute, as
in the _Sophonisba_ of Trissino, a cold, stiff, and affected imitation
of ancient models for the appeal to those passions, and the image of
those manners, with which man has an unchangeable and an everlasting
sympathy. In the rude comedies of that day, as in the Spanish farces
in the middle of the sixteenth century, coarse buffoonery and the
realities of vulgar detail predominate. After this phasis, there may
be still observed, in the dramatists of the day, a want of power
to manage the materials which they had just begun to discover and
appreciate. In the plays of Green, as well as of Juan de la Cueva,
the sudden and inartificial incidents, the actions without a motive,
and the want of a regularly constructed plot, betray the authors'
want of experience and self-command. Marlow and Christoval de Vines
resemble each other in their love of what is horrible and extravagant,
and their use of a turgid and inflated diction. Neither in Peele,
Kyd, or Lily, in our country, nor in Arguesda, Artieda, or Cervantes,
(considered exclusively as a dramatist,) in the other, is any fixed,
systematic, matured, independent, national drama distinctly to be
traced. They were, however, the harbingers, in their respective lands,
of the meridian light which was fast travelling to its maturity of
splendour, and rejoicing as a giant to run its course. A lustre then
was shed over the Western skies, which more than rivalled the earlier
glories of the East. How did this come to pass? to what are we to
ascribe the surprising resemblance of dramatic literature, in so many
essential points, of Spain and England? this simultaneous outbreak of
genius, this selection of the same path, and this arrival at the same
goal--a goal which the utmost exertions of other modern nations have
never enabled them to come within sight of, much less to reach? What
is the seed of the noble and stately plant that shot up at once in
such prodigality of magnificence? Shall we content ourselves with the
cant of a romantic school, which, after it had wearied the Continent,
has, of course, been put forward as a great discovery by our wretched
sciolists, in explanation of this curious epoch in the history of the
human mind? Or shall we look to the national feelings, sympathies,
tastes, and legends, which the masters of the Greek, as well of the
Spanish and of the English drama, unveiled in their immortal creations
to the very depths? This is the true reason why these nations alone
possess a drama of their own--this is the reason which accounts for the
triumph of ancient as well as modern art--not an ambiguous and obscure
phrase, but a principle which must insure the originality of the drama,
so long as man is man.

If we pursue the comparison between the drama of Spain and England, we
shall find the period of its golden age far more circumscribed in the
latter than in the former. In the latter, it cannot be said to reach
beyond the time of Charles the First; and from the time of Shakspeare
its decline is visible. But in Spain, from the end of the sixteenth
to the beginning of the eighteenth century, during a period when
poetry was almost forgotten throughout the rest of Europe, the stream
of the Spanish drama held on its majestic course, supplied from an
ever-gushing fountain, and reflecting from its radiant surface all the
varieties of human life. If Shakspeare has reached the very summit of
all poetry, and a height to which no Spanish dramatist has ascended,
the interval which divides him from every other of his countrymen is
enormous. But the drama in Spain is not bound up with a single name,
or with individual genius; it can exhibit a galaxy of light, and many
constellations contribute to its lustre.

The starry host, of which Lope de Vega and Calderon de la Barca are the
Lucifers, far surpasses in numbers and splendour that which any other
country can exhibit; nor would the dull, brutal, stupid, hard-hearted,
and obscene ribaldry which (Congreve excepted) is the prevailing
characteristic of the popular writers of Charles the Second's time, and
especially of Wycherley, have been endured by the Spanish peasant for a

Christoval Suavey de Figueroa, who lived towards the end of the
sixteenth and about the beginning of the seventeenth century, was of
all enemies to the theatre of his day the most bitter and the most
implacable. The influence of the priesthood had been early turned
against the drama, especially on the grounds which had induced the
Catholic Church of all ages to oppose itself to the drama, but in
reality because the secular plays had superseded the rude and gross
religious representations from which they sprang in Spain, as well
as in France and England, and which had long been a principal means
by which the priests had preserved their influence over the vulgar.
Figueroa's animadversions are to be found in two works, one, the _Playa
universal de todas las Ciencias_, published at Madrid, 1615; the other,
_Advertencios utilissimas a la Vida humana_, Madrid, 1617. The writer
complains that the nourishment which the writers of plays furnish for
the diseased appetites of the vulgar is poisonous; and that, far from
intermixing with their levity any moral or instructive sentences, the
sole object of the writers is to provoke the laughter of the audience.
Hence men, who are scarcely able to read, venture to write comedies,
as is proved by the _Tailor of Toledo_, the _Weaver of Seville_, and
other instances of success equally disgraceful. "Hence it happens that
scandalous comedies, full of obscene language and trivial conceptions,
are represented on the stage, in which all respect for sovereigns is
trampled under foot, together with the rules of reason and morality. In
these pieces the valet speaks without shame, the maid without modesty,
and the old man without discretion."

In the _Pasagero_, which is a dialogue, the principal person says that
"if Plautus and Terence were now living they would be driven from the
stage, as a certain person, (Lope de Vega,) who considers himself
beyond all rule, has invented a particular kind of farce, as lucrative
as it is monstrous." But the exhortations of Figueroa were in vain.
The passion for writing plays, far from diminishing, increased with
tenfold fury, in spite of the Church and the critic, and even Philip
the Second's edict. Nor can it be denied that, amid the prodigious and
almost incredible mass of plays which increased with every year, some
were of a very moderate description. But the very worst were above the
level of the great majority of plays in other countries, and especially
in our own. It would be difficult to find a single play in the time of
Lope de Vega or of Calderon, in which some redeeming quality, happy
incidents, or fiery invective, or beautiful language did not appear.
Some of these writers, however, acquired an imperishable reputation. Of
these, Gabriel Tellez, who wrote under the name of Tirso de Molina, was
the most illustrious.

It may be quoted, as a proof of the profound disregard for Spanish
literature in Europe, that Bouterwek never mentions this extraordinary
dramatist; and that Schlegel, who affected such profound knowledge of
the Spanish drama, and whose remarks on Euripides and Molière are so
thoroughly unjust and absurd, has been to all real purpose equally
silent concerning him; though no man, not even Lope de Vega, or
Calderon himself, whom Schlegel praises (not because he was a great
poet, but because he was a bigoted Roman Catholic,), bears a stronger
impress of true Castilian genius, or is more identified with the drama
of his country. Gabriel Tellez was considerably younger than Lope de
Vega: he was born about 1570. Little is known of his life till he
became a monk at Madrid. He became a doctor of theology, and died in
1648, prior of the monastery at Soria. His comedies are second only, in
point of number, to those of Lope de Vega--a circumstance which makes
Schlegel's absolute omission of all but his very name, and perhaps of
that, the more unpardonable; and he was, besides, the author of many
other works--among others, of a defence of the national drama of Spain
against the champions of the unities. This was written twelve years
before _The Cid_ of Corneille, and therefore anticipated a controversy
to which we invariably assign a more recent, as well as a Gallic
origin. The following are extracts from this admirable vindication.

"The delightful interest excited by the drama, the skill of the actors,
and the succession of various incidents, make the time appear so
short, that no man, though the representation had lasted three hours,
would find aught to censure but its brevity. This at least was the
judgment of the unprejudiced--I mean of those who attend a dramatic
representation, not so much to find fault as to procure for themselves
a poetical gratification. The drones who do not themselves know how to
labour, but how to rob the industrious bees, could not indeed renounce
their nature, and plunged their stings, with a malignant hum, into
the honeyed treasures of genius. One says the piece is intolerably
too long; another says it is unseemly; a pedantic historian said
the poet should be chastised, because he has, against the truth of
Portuguese history, made the Duke Pedro of Coimbra a shepherd--though
he was in fact slain in battle against his cousin, King Alonzo, and
left no posterity. It is an affront to the house of Aveiro, and its
great duke, that the daughters of the last should be described as
reckless damsels, who, in defiance of all the laws of decency, turn
their garden into a scene of their licentiousness--as if the liberties
of Apollo were tethered to historical accuracy, and might not raise
the fabric of poetry on true historical foundations. In the mean time
there were not wanting defenders of the absent poet, who maintained
his honour, and struck to earth the argument of the envious censurers;
although besotted minds, who are in love with their own opinion,
and display their acuteness rather in the censure of others' works
than in any productions of their own, never will allow that they are
overcome.... Among many absurdities," says the critic to be refuted,
"it has most shocked me to observe the impudence with which the poet
has transgressed the limits assigned to their art by the inventors
of the drama; for though the action required by them is one which is
complete in twenty-four hours at the most, he has crowded months into
his play, crammed with love adventures; and even that time is not long
enough for ladies of rank and education to fall blindly in love with
a shepherd, to make him their secretary, and enable him to decipher
their real purpose amid the riddles with which it is expressed....
Moreover, I am at a loss to comprehend with what propriety a piece, in
which dukes and counts make their appearance, can be called a comedy."
So far the malignant censurer proceeds, when he is interrupted by Don
Alejo, the other speaker in the Dialogue. "I cannot assent to your
opinion, inasmuch as, setting aside the rule that, in common courtesy,
the guest is bound not to quarrel with the viands set before him, this
particular comedy does comply with the rules which still are valid;
and, in my opinion, which is common to all who are free from prejudice
with myself, the dramas actually represented in our Spain have a
great advantage over those of antiquity, although they depart from
the rules laid down by the creators of the stage. If they establish
this principle, that a play should only represent such transactions
as can by possibility be compressed within the space of twenty-four
hours--can there be a more flagrant absurdity than that a man in his
senses should, in so short a period, fall passionately in love with
a woman equally in possession of hers, and carry the matter on so
rapidly, that the love, which is announced in the morning, ends in a
marriage at night? Is that time enough to represent jealousy, despair,
hope--in short, all the passions and incidents, without which love is
a mere word, without any signification? These evils are, according to
the judgment of all persons competent to form an opinion, far greater
than those arising from the circumstance that the spectators, without
moving from their seats, see and hear things which must occupy several
days. For as he who reads a history of a few pages, informs himself of
events which have occurred in remote countries during many centuries,
even so may comedy, which is the image and representation of that on
which it is founded, in describing the events which befall two lovers,
paint in the most vivid colours all that can take place on such an
occasion; and as it is improbable that all these incidents should occur
in one day, may feign also for itself the longer time, of which it
stands in need. Not improperly has poetry been called a living picture;
and as the pencil represents on a few feet of canvass remote distances,
which cheat the eye with an appearance of reality, so must the same
privilege be conceded to the pen; and so much the rather, as the latter
is incomparably more energetic than the former, inasmuch as articulated
syllables are more intelligible than silent images, which can explain
thought by signs only. And if you object to me, that, under pain of
being esteemed presumptuous and ungrateful, we must obey the precepts
of the first inventors of the drama, I reply to you, that we owe them
indeed reverence for having triumphed over the difficulties which
belong to a beginning in any matter, but that we are bound to bring
what they have discovered to perfection; so that, without impairing the
substance, we may change the manner of proceeding, and improve it by
the lessons of experience.

"It were indeed a precious state of things if the musician, because
the inventors of music studied harmony of sound from the blows of the
hammer on the anvil, were at the present day to use the instruments
of Vulcan, and incur censure because they introduced a harp with
strings, and thus brought to perfection what originally was imperfect.
Herein it is that art differs from nature, because what the one has
established since the creation remains immutable--as the pear-tree
always produces pears, and the oak its acorns (for we shall not now
stop to consider the exceptions arising from soil and climate, and the
skill and graftings of the gardener); while in art, the roots of which
grow in the shifting qualities of men, use causes the most important
changes and modifications. What reason is there for surprise, then, if
comedy transgresses the rules of our forefathers, and, according to the
analogy of nature and of art, grafts the comic on the tragic, while
it combines these opposite kinds of poetry in a fascinating whole,
in which sometimes the serious characters of the one, sometimes the
ludicrous and playful characters of the other, make their appearance.
Moreover, if the pre-eminence of Æschylus and Menander in Greece, and
that of Terence and Seneca in Rome, were sufficient to make their
rules immutable, the excellence of our Lope de Vega, the pearl of
the Manzanares, the Tully of Castile, the phoenix of our nation, so
far surpasses these in the quantity as well as the quality of his
writings, that his authority is abundantly sufficient to weigh down the
doctrine I have cited; and as he has brought comedy to the perfection
and consummate refinement in which we now behold it, we must think
ourselves fortunate in having such a teacher, and zealously defend
his school of poetry against its passionate antagonists. For when he
says, in many passages of his writings, that he has deviated from the
rules of the ancients only out of condescension to the taste of the
multitude, this is only said from the modesty of his nature, and in
order that the malevolence of the ignorant should not ascribe that to
arrogance which is in fact aiming at perfection. But it is incumbent on
us who are his followers, for the reasons which I have enumerated, as
well as many others which I will not now allege, to look upon him as
the reformer of the new comedy, and to hold in honour modern writers as
more beautiful and more instructive than those of former ages." It is
difficult to conceive a more ingenious and solid defence of the Spanish
drama than Tellez has here put forward; and it is time to examine how
far his practice exemplifies his theory. Many of our readers will be
surprised to hear that Tirso de Molina, or Gabriel Tellez, is the first
author who brought Don Juan and the famous story of the statue-guest
upon the stage, under the title of the _Burlador de Sevilla_, or the
_Convidado de Piedra_. The name of the hero is Don Juan Tenorio. The
story still lives in the tradition of the people of Seville, in which
city the Tenorios were a distinguished race, though the name exists no
longer. It was one of the famous twenty-four, the "_veinti-cuatros_" of
Seville. The basis of the story is, that, after seducing the daughter
of the Comendador Ulloa, Don Juan killed the father, who was buried in
the convent of San Francisco. Don Juan's birth and connections placed
him above the reach of legal punishment; but the monks of San Francisco
contrived to get him within their walls, where they put him to death,
and propagated a rumour that Don Juan had gone to the chapel in which
the statue of the Comendador was placed, for the purpose of insulting
his memory, when the statue had seized him and precipitated him into
the infernal regions. Such is the legend on which rests _El Burlador
de Sevilla_. It became extremely popular in Spain, and even more so
in foreign countries. In 1620 it was transplanted to the Italian
stage. Three translations of it appeared in France, under the not very
happily chosen title of the _Festin de Pierre_; the first in 1659 by De
Villiers; the second 1661, by Dorimon; the third 1665, by Molière. In
Spain the same subject was dramatised by Zamora, in a play which still
keeps possession of the stage.

As a specimen, we subjoin a translation from one of his most amusing
plays, _The Pious Martha_, (_Martha la Piadosa_) in which long before
the Tartuffe, and in Spain, hypocrisy was exposed to ridicule. A
girl, in order to get rid of a rich and aged suitor, pretends to be
seized with a fit of piety, and an aversion to marriage. Her father,
after some little resistance, allows her to follow the bent of her
inclination without restraint, under pretence of visiting the sick
in hospitals. She contrives to obtain repeated interviews with her
favoured lover, who--the trait is thoroughly Spanish--has killed her
brother in a duel; and at last to procure admittance for him, under
the disguise of a palsied and penniless student, into her father's
house to teach her the Latin grammar. Some of the scenes are in the
highest vein of comedy:--one, where the student pretends to faint from
weakness, and her father desires her to hold him up, and bids him lean
upon her without scruple; another where the lady, having given vent to
her jealousy in a very vivid exclamation which her father overhears,
escapes from the detection of her hypocrisy by pretending that the
student has said it, and that she is repeating it in anger. The
expression is tantamount to "By heavens!" (_vive Dios_;) and the father
tells her she is too severe. The lover pretends that his feelings are
too much hurt for him to stay any longer in the house: the father
desires the daughter to appease him; and with wit equal to Molière,
the girl, in her father's presence, goes down on her knees before her
lover, and kisses his hand, which is the only condition upon which he
has said that he will remain.

    _Martha._--Forgive me, brother,--stay.

    _Felip._--Yes, if you kiss upon your knees my hand.

                           (_Martha kneels._)

    _Martha._--This is an act to mortify the flesh.

    _The Father._--What matchless virtue!

    _Martha_, (_aside_.)--Were I to say the truth, the kiss was honey.

As a farther specimen of Molina's style, we subjoin the following
translation. The lover and his friend Pastrana, a man full of dry
caustic wit, are present at a bull-fight. The following dialogue

    _Pastrana._--Think not to see me at the bull-fight here,
    Unless indeed upon the platform perched,
    Or looking from a window.

    _Felip._--Friend Pastrana,
    That is a woman's post, and not a man's,
    Unless he's wool and water. Let us dare
    What fate may bring us, so may we acquire
    Perchance eternal blazon and renown.

    _Pastrana._--No, brother; death sits on the pointed horn.

    _Felip._--Talk not so fondly; but that well I know
    Your lofty spirit and your courage tried,
    I'd call it cowardice.

    _Pastrana._--I give you leave.
    Call my resolve by any name you please,
    So long as we remain no longer here.

    _Felip._--And can it be that you, who swallow men,
    Now tremble at a beast?

    _Pastrana._--'Tis true, indeed.
    Wonder at my opinion as you may,
    To fight with two men, or with three men, oft
    Is valour rather than temerity.
    Since courtesy or valour furnish means
    Of safety--and much more the cunning art
    Taught by Cararvza of the dextrous thrust,
    Strait or oblique--the science of revenge.
    Then one may say, if one is hardly pressed,
    "Sir, my experience shows me, that your worship
    Is an epitome of human valour;
    So I will never haunt this street again,
    Nor speak with Donna Mencia any more.
    And if you will accept me as a friend,
    My services attend you from this day."
    Words soft as these control a gentleman--
    Money the robber. If your foe be brave,
    He must to greater pride and courage yield.
    In short, there's always hope, however fierce
    His wrath and keen his passion for revenge,
    To soothe the fury of the incensed _man_,
    If he be one whom gold or breeding win.
    But when a _bull_ has rent your cloak to shreds,
    And bellows at the shoulders of its owner,
    In hot pursuit--then try your time--advance,
    And whisper in the yelling monster's ear,
    "Sir Bull, a gentle bearing sets off valour--
    Put some restraint upon your boiling rage.
    Indeed, that constant tossing of the head
    Can only suit a madman or a fool."
    And you will see the fruit of your advice.
    Offer your friendship to him, turn your head,
    You'll find the light at once shine through your back,
    Through two clear holes, each half a yard in length.

But the most popular play of this great writer, and one which is always
received with the most rapturous applause, is _Gil de las Calzas
Verdes_, (_Gil of the Green Trousers_.) A lady has been abandoned
by her lover for a rich beauty of Madrid. She calls herself Don
Gil--follows him thither, dresses herself in male attire, of which the
green trousers are the most conspicuous part--torments him with letters
from the convent where he supposes her to be, describing her suffering,
her illness, and at last her death; interrupts his remittances,
destroys his credit, carries off his mistress, who falls desperately
in love with her; thwarts him at every turn; obliges him to believe
that he is really haunted by the ghost of her whom he has wronged; and
at last causes him to be arrested for her murder. The rage, amazement,
confusion, repentance and despair of the faithless lover are portrayed
in the most brilliant colours. Do what he will, mean what he will,
attempt what he will, Gil of the Green Trousers, though invisible, has
been beforehand with him. He goes to his bankers: the check is paid to
Don Gil of the Green Trousers. He endeavours to mislead his intended
father-in-law: the plot is unravelled by Don Gil of the Green Trousers.
He tries to soften his mistress: she raves of nothing but Don Gil
of the Green Trousers. As Don Gil is so successful with his green
trousers, other suitors of the Madrid lady dress in green trousers, and
assume his name in the dark under her window. There are at one time
four persons in the street, each calling himself Gil with the Green
Trousers. The faithless suitor of the true Gil is one of them. His
rival challenges him; but no sooner does the challenged see the fatal
garment, than his conscience smites him, and he addresses his furious
rival as the ghost of his injured mistress.

    "O soul most innocent! by that sweet love
    Which once thou cherished for me, and which now
    Delights my memory, I charge thee, rest
    My punishment, thy rigour, are complete
    If haply to disturb my present love,
    Thou hast assumed a body here on earth,
    And at Madrid calling thyself Don Gil,
    In such attire, and bearing such a name,
    Dost meditate to wreak revenge on me,

           *       *       *       *       *

    O cease, blest spirit! from thy fierce pursuit."

The other lover, who hears this grotesque invocation, thinks it a mere
trick of his rival to escape a duel, and overwhelms him with every
epithet of abuse.

The play ends by the marriage of Don Gil with her fickle suitor.
We are almost ashamed to add, that this was the favourite play of
Ferdinand VII., and was ordered for him on all solemn occasions by
the municipality of Madrid. Without the refinement of Calderon or
Lope de Vega, Molina surpasses both in his verve and gaiety. His
satire is unlimited; it spares neither the authorities of earth,
nor the ministers of heaven--nay, it does not even spare the great
national amusement. Epigram after epigram is poured out upon every
object that attracts his notice; his brilliant and sparkling wit is
inexhaustible; and his "malice" as boundless as it is subtle. Of all
French writers, it has been said, by a very competent judge, that he
resembles Beaumarchais most closely; and however strange it may seem,
that the Spanish monk of the seventeenth century should bear so close
an analogy to the Parisian _bel esprit_ of the eighteenth, the remark
is undoubtedly correct. We have dwelt more especially on this writer,
because he is not well known in Europe, and because even Mr Ticknor, in
his accurate and valuable work on Spanish literature--a work we hail
both for what it proves, and for what it makes us expect, with the
greatest delight--has failed to do him complete justice. Shack seems
to us to have appreciated him more justly in his excellent and useful
dissertation. But our limits are exhausted for the present.



Impelled by motives which we own to be with difficulty effectively
justifiable, and which we must resolve into an overmastering anxiety
to behold how doomed human nature can confront terror-inspiring
circumstances, felt sufficient to palsy one's own soul, we found
ourselves, on Sunday morning, the 5th of July 1840, in the front seat
of the stranger's gallery in the Chapel of Newgate, in order to hear
the condemned sermon preached to Benjamin Courvoisier, and witness
the demeanour of one who was to be publicly strangled on the ensuing
morning, and in the ensuing evening buried within the precincts of the
prison. Callous must he have been who could witness the scene of that
morning without being profoundly affected. It was the house of God;
and yet, (with reverence be the allusion made,) in one sense, alas! a
_den of thieves_--of outcasts from society; whose laws they had, or
were charged with having, disregarded and openly violated. Some were
there under the pressure of violent suspicion--amounting to a moral,
soon to pass into a legal, certainty--of various kinds and degrees
of guilt: others bore the blighting brand of established crime, and
were suffering, or about to suffer, its penalty. With what feelings
would they enter the house of Him who is of purer eyes than to behold
iniquity--to Whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from
Whom no secrets are hid! Would any of that guilty throng take their
places there, brutally ignorant, indifferent, reckless, or desperate?
Would their polluted souls be swelling with ill-suppressed feelings
of impiety and blasphemy? Would any approach with broken and contrite
spirits, having been shaken, by the stern hand of offended human law
alone, out of a life's lethargy and insensibility? How would the holy
accents of warning, of expostulation, of mercy, of dread denunciation,
sound in the ears of those who were presently to fill that dismal
chapel--dismal, only from its locality, and the character of its
occupants? With what feelings would _one_ enter--the death-doomed--for
whom, and for whom alone, was reserved that solitary, central, ominous
black bench? who was so terribly far advanced in his passage from a
human tribunal to that of the dread Eternal!--on whose brow already
faintly glistened the dread twilight between here and hereafter,--the
black night of time breaking before the dawning of an eternal day!

They come! Yonder gallery, curtained off, is filling with the female
prisoners; no sounds audible but their rustling dresses, and perhaps a
half-choked sigh or sob. It is well, poor souls! that you are hidden
from the public gaze--from the rude eye of your male comrades in crime!
_They_ are now entering below, silent and orderly, the eye of the
governor upon them, as they are led by burly turnkeys and inspectors
to their appropriate places, classed as untried and convicted--the
latter according to their respective kinds and degree of punishment.
All, at length, are seated. What an assemblage! Almost all clad in
prison costume; many with sullen, determined countenances--others
with harassed features and downcast look--one or two exhibiting
unequivocally an air of insolent and reckless defiance--but all
conscious of the stern surveillance under which they sate. Alas,
_those boys!_ some already, others about to be, condemned--all gazing,
terror-struck, at the black seat in the centre!

The chaplain enters the desk immediately under the pulpit, which,
attached to the blank wall, faces the communion-table. _He_, also,
casts an ominous glance at the black bench before him, in the centre
of the floor, to which all faces are directed, amidst moody and
troubled silence. At length a door on the left is heard being unbolted;
a turnkey enters, followed by the great criminal--one whose name was
ringing in the ears of the public--one on whom every eye is instantly
fixed with sickening intensity. It is Courvoisier--the monster who, a
few weeks before, had barbarously murdered his sleeping lord!--He was
led to his seat, a glass of water being placed near him, in case of his
faintness, and on one side of him sate a turnkey. Courvoisier knelt
down; and then, a prayer-book having been given him, (which he held in
an untrembling hand,) took his seat, not far from the reading-desk,
covering his eyes for a few moments with his left hand. His demeanour
was signally calm and self-possessed, and his motions were deliberate.
He was a man about twenty-four years of age. His countenance wore such
an expression of pensive good-nature and docility, as rendered it a
consolatory reflection that he had unequivocally and spontaneously
confessed the fiendish act of which the law had pronounced him guilty,
and for which, under holy sanctions, it was on the morrow to take away
his life.[3] Yes--there he sate, where we had seen sitting, also, his
blood-stained predecessor Greenacre; and, moreover, Fauntleroy the
forger; also a young banker's clerk--a widowed mother's sole support,
her only child--for forging a trifling check. Alas, alas! how he wept
during the whole service!--but how calmly he behaved the next morning
on the gallows!

After gazing long and earnestly on the central figure in the gloomy
picture, our eyes were casually attracted by a very different
one,--that of a youth sitting on the steps of the altar, as though he
had been a privileged spectator. We regarded him as a friend of some
subordinate functionary of the gaol. He seemed a silly, vulgar, little
dandy, who had put on his very best clothes for the occasion. He looked
about eighteen or nineteen years old, and was of slender figure, and a
little under the average height. His hair was full and curly--displayed
in a very affected style. He wore a sort of second-hand blue surtout
with velvet collar, a black satin stock, a light figured waistcoat,
and light slate-coloured trousers--the latter a trifle too short, and
strained down by a pair of elongated straps, so as to reach as nearly
as possible to the brightly-polished boots. Beside him was a hat,
of which he seemed very careful, and smoothed it round delicately,
once or twice, with his hand. His eyes were quick, and inquisitive;
and he seemed to share the interest with which others contemplated
Courvoisier. Several times, during the service, his fingers passed
jauntily through his hair, as if to dispose it effectively round
his temples. A prayer-book was handed to him, to which he seemed
tolerably attentive; but during the sermon he was evidently more
occupied with his dress than the exciting and instructive topics of
the chaplain--frequently pulling off and putting on his gloves, and
arranging different portions of his dress, as though he feared they
did not sit upon him sufficiently becomingly. When, however, the
chaplain addressed himself personally, and with fearful solemnity,
to the murderer before him, the young occupant of the altar-steps
was roused into attention, and he listened a few minutes--his eyes
fixed now on the preacher, then on the condemned. When the service
was over, Courvoisier (whose demeanour had been throughout most
satisfactory--solemn, composed, and reverent) was beckoned out to
the door through which he had entered, and he obeyed, walking with
complete self-possession.--We had looked our last on him!--"Do you see
that young fellow on the altar-steps?--do you know who he is?" said
a gentleman who approached us for the purpose. "No; he seems a vulgar
little puppy," we exclaimed, "whoever he may be." "It is Oxford, who
shot at the Queen, and is to be tried this week!" was the reply; and
while we turned round to gaze at him, he was in the act of quitting the
chapel, holding his hat very carefully, and gazing towards the gallery
with an expression of cheerful inquisitiveness. Had it occurred to him
that, in all human probability, a week or two would behold _him_ an
occupant of the black bench just quitted by the murderer?

Yes! that was Edward Oxford, the little caitiff, first of a small
and ignominious series of similar ones, who had, on the preceding
9th of June, twice deliberately fired at his young Queen, as she was
driving, in fancied security, with her consort, up Constitution Hill,
and on each occasion apparently with ball! The following was his own
free-and-easy account of the matter, on being examined before the Privy

  "A great many witnesses against me. Some say I shot with my left,
  others with my right. They vary as to the distance. After I had
  fired the first pistol, Prince Albert got up, as if he would jump
  out of the coach, and sate down again, as if he thought better of
  it. Then I fired the second pistol. This is all I shall say at

                       (Signed) "EDWARD OXFORD."

In the case of this young miscreant, (for it is difficult to speak
of him temperately,) however, was, within four days' time, to be
resolved a problem of unspeakable difficulty and moment, by such means
as the law of the country could command,--viz., responsibility or
irresponsibility for criminal acts, according to the state of mind
existing at the time of committing them. It is needless to affirm
that this is a question of public, permanent, universal interest;
one in which every individual, young or old, _may_ become personally
concerned; one which no humane jurist, practical or speculative,
can approach without lively anxiety; one worthy of frequent and
deep consideration by every one concerned in the administration of
criminal justice. To punish an individual utterly unconscious of the
difference between right and wrong at the time of committing the
alleged crime, shocks one's sense of natural justice, and confounds
all the principles on which it can be administered by man. How can we
hang a maniac who, in a paroxysm of madness, kills the keeper who was
endeavouring to soothe or to restrain him? Or one who shoots another
whom, under the veritable and sole influence of delusion, he believed
to be in the act of killing _him_, and that he was therefore acting
solely in self-defence? These are plain cases, as stated; but still
they require, of course, very clear proof of the facts from which the
law is to deduce a perfect irresponsibility for his acts. The subject
is one environed with immense practical difficulties, which are
often unexpectedly visible in applying apparently clear and correct
principles to simple combinations of fact. The most sagacious judges,
the most conscientious juries, have grievously miscarried in such
cases; some sending persons to the scaffold under circumstances far
weaker than those held by others demonstrative of irresponsibility,
and, consequently, demanding an acquittal. Many painful and dreadful
cases might be cited; but two shall suffice. In the year 1837, an
industrious, affectionate, poverty-stricken father strangled his four
children, avowedly to prevent their being turned into the streets.
They all slept in one room. Having strangled two, he left the room;
but, after meditating for some time, came to the conclusion that he
might as well be hanged for killing all four; on which he returned,
and strangled the other two--having shaken hands with them before he
did it! He then quitted the house, and went to a neighbour's, to whom
he did not mention what he had done; but on being apprehended the next
day, and taken before the coroner, he confessed the above facts. No
witness had ever observed a trace of insanity about him. The physician
to a lunatic asylum offered to prove that the prisoner's grandmother
and sister had been under his care, the latter for entertaining a
desire to destroy herself and her children--evidence which the judge
rejected; and under his direction the jury convicted, and he passed
sentence of death on the prisoner.[4] In the year 1845, a young servant
girl, quiet and docile, having taken a knife from the kitchen, on
some trivial pretence, went up to the room where her master's child
lay, and killed it. She then went downstairs, and told the horrifying
fact to her master. She was quite conscious of the crime she had
committed, and showed much anxiety to know whether she would be hanged
or transported. There was not the slightest tittle of evidence that she
had been labouring under any delusion; yet she was acquitted on the
ground of insanity![5] Can anything be more grievously unsatisfactory
than such a state of things as this, in the administration of the
criminal justice of the country? One of the causes which conduced to
such results was the too ready deference paid to speculative medical
men, professing to have made disordered intellects their peculiar
study, and who came forward, from time to time, confidently and
authoritatively pronouncing that such and such circumstances indicated
unequivocally the existence of "insanity," of "moral insanity," at the
time of the act committed. Nay, they would sit in court, listening to
a detail of facts, from which they would then enter the witness-box,
and authoritatively declare their opinion that, if such were the
facts, the prisoner was _insane_, and therefore irresponsible, when
the act in question was committed! Many held that the mere absence of
assignable motive indicated such insanity! and many, that the mere
committal of the particular act should be so regarded! Notions more
dangerous and monstrous cannot be conceived. Well might the late
Mr. Baron Gurney declare, "that the defence of insanity had lately
grown to a fearful height, and the security of the public required
that it should be watched."[6] There are two Trials contained in Mr
Townsend's first volume, which afford memorable illustrations of the
difficulty with which these questions are encountered in our courts
of justice. They are those of Oxford, for shooting at the Queen, and
of M'Naughten for the murder of Mr Drummond, the private secretary of
the late Sir Robert Peel. In both cases there were acquittals, on the
alleged ground of insanity; and we take leave to intimate that, in
our opinion, there should have been convictions in both. The escape
of the cold-blooded murderer, M'Naughten, who deliberately shot his
unsuspecting victim in the back, horrified and disgusted the public.
"It had not been anticipated," says Mr Townsend, "and created a deep
feeling in the public mind, that there was some unaccountable defect
in our criminal law. People of good sense appeared panic-stricken, by
this new danger, from venturing into the London streets; and called
upon the legislature to discover some preservative against the attacks
of insane passengers in public thoroughfares."[7] Indignation was
loudly expressed in Parliament. In the House of Commons, an honourable
Irish baronet moved for leave to bring in a bill to abolish the plea
of insanity in cases of murder, except where it could be proved that
the person accused was publicly known and reputed to be a maniac; and
he asked the House to suspend the standing orders to accelerate the
progress of his bill. His motion, however, found no seconder. A similar
casualty had befallen Mr Windham, in 1800, who, in the course of a
debate which ensued in bringing in a bill to meet such cases as that
of Hadfield, (who had just been acquitted, on the ground of insanity,
from the charge of firing at George III.,) suggested that an offender,
_even if insane_, should be subjected to some sort of punishment,
for the sake of example! On the same evening in which the attempt
of Sir Valentine Blake was made in the House of Commons, the matter
was discussed anxiously in the House of Lords, by Lords Lyndhurst,
Brougham, Cottenham, Campbell, and Denman. Lord Campbell expressed
the general feeling of the House, when he said--"There may be great
difficulty in convicting persons who are not in a state of mind to
be responsible for their actions; but it is monstrous to think that
society should be exposed to the dreadful dangers to which it is at
present liable, from persons in that state of mind going at large."[8]
At length, on the suggestion of the Lord Chancellor, (Lord Lyndhurst,)
it was agreed that the judges should be called upon to declare the true
state of the criminal law on this momentous subject; and five questions
were carefully framed for that purpose, and submitted to them for grave
consideration. The following are these questions and answers--both of
which, as containing a solemn and authoritative enunciation of the law
of the land, we shall present to our readers, whom we request to give
them a careful perusal, before proceeding to read what we have to offer
on the two trials above alluded to. We are the more anxious that they
should do so, because of the recent very remarkable case of Pate, who
struck her Majesty with a cane last summer; and whose case was dealt
with in strict conformity with the rules which follow:--

  QUESTION I.--"_What is the law_ respecting alleged crimes committed
  by persons afflicted with insane delusion, in respect of one or
  more particular subjects, or persons:--as for instance, where, at
  the time of the commission of the alleged crime, the accused knew
  he was acting contrary to law, but did the act complained of, with
  a view, under the influence of insane delusion, of redressing or
  revenging some supposed grievance or injury, or of producing some
  public benefit?"

  ANSWER.--"Assuming that your lordships' inquiries are confined
  to those persons who labour under such partial delusions only,
  and are not in other respects insane, we are of opinion, that,
  notwithstanding the party did the act complained of with a view,
  under the influence of insane delusion, of redressing or revenging
  some supposed grievance or injury, or of producing some public
  benefit, he is nevertheless punishable according to the nature of
  the crime committed, if he knew, at the time of committing such
  crime, that he was acting contrary to law; by which expression we
  understand your Lordship to mean the law of the land."

  QUESTIONS II. and III. (1.)--"What are the proper questions to be
  submitted to the jury, when a person alleged to be afflicted with
  insane delusion, respecting one or more particular subjects or
  persons, is charged with the commission of a crime (murder, for
  example) and insanity is set up as a defence?"

  (2.) "In what terms ought the question to be left to the jury,
  as to the prisoner's state of mind at the time when the act was

  ANSWERS.--"The jury ought to be told, in all cases, that _every
  man is presumed_ to be sane, and to possess a sufficient degree
  of reason to be responsible for his crimes, until the contrary be
  proved to their satisfaction; and that, to establish a defence on
  the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the
  time of the committing of the act, the party accused was labouring
  under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to
  know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or, if he did
  know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong. The mode
  of putting the latter part of the question to the jury, on these
  occasions, has generally been whether the accused, at the time of
  doing the act, knew the difference between right and wrong--which
  mode, though rarely if ever leading to any mistake with the jury,
  is not, as we conceive, so accurate when put generally and in
  the abstract, as when put to the party's knowledge of right and
  wrong with respect to the very act with which he is charged. If
  the question were to be put as to the knowledge of the accused,
  solely and exclusively with reference to the law of the land, it
  might tend to confound the jury, by inducing them to believe that
  an actual knowledge of the law of the land was essential in order
  to lead to a conviction, whereas the law is administered upon the
  principle that every one must be taken conclusively to know it,
  without proof that he does know it. If the accused was conscious
  that the act was one which he ought not to do, and if that act was
  at the same time contrary to the law of the land, he is punishable;
  and the usual course, therefore, has been to leave the question
  to the jury--whether the party accused had a sufficient degree of
  reason to know that he was doing an act that was wrong; and this
  course, we think, is correct, accompanied with such observations
  and explanations as the circumstances of each particular case may

  QUESTION IV.--"If a person, under an insane delusion as to the
  existing facts, commits an offence in consequence thereof, is he
  thereby excused?"

  ANSWER.--"The answer must of course depend on the nature of the
  delusion; but making the same assumption as we did before--that
  he labours under such partial delusion only, and is not in other
  respects insane--we think he must be considered in the same
  situation, as to responsibility, as if the facts with respect to
  which the delusion exists were real. For example--if, under the
  influence of his delusion, he supposes another man to be in the act
  of attempting to take away his life, and he kills that man, as he
  supposes, in self-defence, he would be exempt from punishment. If
  his delusion were that the deceased had inflicted a serious injury
  to his character and fortune, and he killed him in revenge for such
  supposed injury, he would be liable to punishment."

  QUESTION V.--"Can a medical man, conversant with the disease of
  insanity, who never saw the prisoner previously to the trial, but
  who was present during the whole trial and the examination of
  all the witnesses, he asked his opinion as to the state of the
  prisoner's mind at the time of the commission of the alleged crime,
  or his opinion whether the prisoner was conscious, at the time of
  doing the act, that he was acting contrary to law, or whether he
  was labouring under any and what delusion at the time?"

  ANSWER.--"We think the medical man, under the circumstances
  supposed, cannot in strictness be asked his opinion in the terms
  above stated; because each of those questions involves the
  determination of the truth of the facts deposed to, which it is for
  the jury to decide; and the questions are not mere questions upon a
  matter of science, in which case such evidence is admissible. But
  where the facts are admitted, or not disputed, and the question
  becomes substantially one of science only, it may be convenient to
  allow the question to be put in that general form, though the same
  cannot be insisted on as a matter of right."

Such being the authoritative enunciation of the law by its legitimate
exponents, which superseded the necessity of legislative interference,
it is right to observe that it has by no means satisfied the professors
of medical jurisprudence, and the members of the medical profession.
One of them, Mr Taylor, has observed,[9] that the law here appears to
"look for a consciousness of right and wrong, and a knowledge of the
consequences of the act." This legal test "is insufficient for the
purpose intended: it cannot, in a large majority of cases, enable us
to distinguish the insane homicide from the sane criminal.... A full
consciousness of the illegality or wrongfulness of the act may exist
in a man's mind, and yet he may be fairly acquitted on the ground of
insanity.... There _are_ no certain legal or medical rules whereby
homicidal mania may be detected. Each case must be determined by the
circumstances attending it; but the true test for irresponsibility
in these ambiguous cases appears to be, whether the individual, at
the time of committing the act, had, or had not, _a sufficient power
of control to_ govern his actions. If, from circumstances, it can
be inferred that he had this power, he should be made responsible,
and rendered liable to punishment. If, however, he was led to the
perpetration of the act by an _uncontrollable_ impulse, whether
accompanied by deliberation or not, then he is entitled to an acquittal
as an irresponsible agent."[10] This doctrine is utterly repudiated,
however, by our judges, as will appear from two very decisive
instances. In directing the jury, in Pate's case, in July last, Mr
Baron Alderson thus somewhat sarcastically disposed of the dangerous
plea of "uncontrollable impulse."--"The law does not recognise such
an impulse. If a person was aware that it was a wrong act he was
about to commit, he was answerable for the consequences. _A man might
say that he picked a pocket from some incontrollable impulse; and in
that case the law would have an incontrollable impulse to punish him
for it!_" Another acute and eminent judge, Baron Rolfe, on a recent
occasion, in trying a boy aged twelve years, for deliberately and
cunningly poisoning his aged grandfather, thus gravely dispelled this
favourite delusion of the medical jurists.--"The witnesses called for
the defence had described the prisoner as acting from 'uncontrollable
impulse.' In my opinion, such evidence ought to be scanned by juries
with very great jealousy and suspicion, _because it may tend to the
perfect justification of every crime that may be committed_. What is
the meaning of not being able to resist moral influence? Every crime
is committed under an influence of such a description, and the object
of the law is to compel persons to control these influences. If it be
made an excuse for a person who has committed a crime, that he has
been goaded to it by some impulse, which medical men may choose to
say he could _not_ control, I must observe, that such a doctrine is
fraught with very great danger to society." This stern and sound good
sense prevailed; and the youthful murderer was convicted. We have
been thus full and distinct in explaining the wholesome doctrine of
our English law, because of its immense importance; and we desire it
to be understood, far and wide, especially by the medical profession,
that these fashionable but dangerous modern paradoxes, borrowed from
Continental physicians, concerning _the co-existence of moral insanity_
with intellectual sanity, will not be tolerated in English courts of

Let us now proceed to deal with the two remarkable cases of Oxford and
M'Naughten--the former of whom was placed at the bar of the Old Bailey
four days after the execution of Courvoisier.

It is unspeakably painful, and humiliating, and disgusting, to reflect
that our Queen, who has always shown a disposition to intrust herself
unreservedly among her subjects, should have been subjected to no
fewer than five public outrages--the last of which inflicted actual
injury on the royal person,--that of a lady, a young queen, ascending
the throne of this mighty empire at the age of eighteen!--outrages
in every instance perpetrated by despicable beings of the male sex,
properly characterised by Mr Townsend as "crazed knaves, or imbecile
monomaniacs." First came, on the 10th June 1840, Edward Oxford, aged
nineteen; then, on the 30th May 1842, John Francis, aged twenty; then,
on the 3d July 1842, John William Bean, a deformed stripling aged
seventeen; then, on the 19th May 1849, William Hamilton; finally--God
grant that the degraded series may never be increased!--on the 27th
June 1850, Robert Pate--alas! a gentleman of birth and fortune, and who
had recently borne her Majesty's commission!

We shall place our readers, briefly and distinctly, in possession of
the state of the law applicable to wilfully injuring, or attempting to
injure the royal person. Its progress is painfully interesting. The
attempt to inflict, and the actual infliction of such injury, are of
course high treason; both the trial and punishment being attended, till
recently, with all the solemn formalities of high treason as explained
in our last Number. This heinous offence comes under the first head
of the statute of treason, (25 Edward III. c. 2,) viz., "When a man
doth _compass or imagine_[11] the death of our Lord and King." By
"compass and imagine" is signified the purpose or design of the mind
or will, evidenced by an open or _overt_ act. On the 15th May 1800,
James Hadfield fired a horse-pistol, loaded with two slugs, at King
George III., as he was entering his box at Drury Lane Theatre.[12]
He was tried for high treason in the Court of Queen's Bench, and
defended by Mr Erskine with splendid eloquence.[13] He was acquitted
on the ground of insanity, committed at once to Bedlam, and died there
in January 1841, after forty years' incarceration. In the course of
his defence, Mr Erskine made an observation which led to an immediate
interposition of the legislature. In speaking of the state of the law
which interposed protective delay in cases of high treason, Mr Erskine
observed: "Where the intent charged affected _the political character_
of the sovereign, the delay, and all the other safeguards provided,
were just and necessary; but a mere murderous attack on the King's
person, not at all connected with his political character, seemed a
case to be ranged and dealt with like a similar attack upon any private
man."[14] On the 28th July in the same year, were passed statutes 39
and 40 Geo. III. c. 93, carrying out Mr Erskine's judicious suggestion,
by enacting that, where the overt act of this head of treason should be
the assassination of the King, or any direct attempt against his life
or person, whereby his life might be endangered or his person suffer
bodily harm, the _trial_ should be conducted in every respect like a
simple trial for murder; but, on conviction, the sentence should be
pronounced and carried into effect as in other cases of high treason.
On the same day was passed another statute--also occasioned by the
trial of Hadfield--that in all cases of trial for treason, murder, or
felony, if evidence be given of the prisoner's insanity at the time
of the commission of the offence, and he be acquitted, the jury shall
be required to find specially whether he was insane at the time of
committing the offence, and to declare whether they acquit on account
of such insanity; and if they do, the court shall order the prisoner to
be confined in strict and safe custody during his Majesty's pleasure.
Under the former of these two wholesome statutes were tried Oxford and
Francis, the latter being convicted of having fired a pistol against
the Queen, loaded with powder and "certain other destructive materials
and substances unknown;" on which sentence of death was pronounced by
Chief-Justice Tindal, as in other cases of high treason. He sobbed
piteously[15] on being convicted; but after two consultations of the
Cabinet had been held on his case, his life was spared, in contemptuous
clemency to the worthless offender, and in deference to the humane
feelings of her Majesty, and he was transported for life. Within
almost one month after this questionable act of mercy, her Majesty was
subjected to a similar outrage--a pistol being presented towards her,
by Bean, on Sunday, as she was going to the Chapel Royal. The pistol
was cocked, and the click of the hammer against the pan was heard, but
there was no explosion; and the pistol was loaded with only powder,
wadding, and one or two minute fragments (about the size of ordinary
shot) of pipe. He was tried for misdemeanour, and sentenced to eighteen
months' imprisonment in the penitentiary; Lord Abinger remarking, at
the conclusion of the trial, that "whipping at the cart's tail should
be the petty sentence in future." The public disgust and indignation
demanded some more effectual remedy to be provided for such disgraceful
cases, should any unhappily occur in future; and within a fortnight of
Bean's conviction--viz. on the 16th July 1842--was passed statute 5 & 6
Vict. c. 51, entitled "An act for providing for the further security
and protection of her Majesty's person;" and recites the expediency of
extending the provisions of statute 39 & 40 Geo. III. c. 93, to "any
attempt to injure in any manner whatsoever the person of the Queen,"
and of "making further provision by law for the protection and security
of the person of the sovereign of these realms." It then proceeds to
enact, that--

  "If any one shall wilfully discharge or attempt to discharge, or
  point, aim, or present, at or near to the person of the Queen,
  any gun, pistol, or other description of firearms, or of other
  arms whatever--whether the same shall or shall not contain any
  explosive or destructive material; or discharge, or attempt to
  discharge, any explosive substance or material near to the Queen's
  person; or wilfully strike, or attempt to strike, or strike at the
  Queen's person with any offensive weapon, or in any other manner
  whatsoever; or wilfully throw or attempt to throw any substance,
  matter, or thing whatsoever at or upon the Queen's person, with
  intent to break the public peace, or whereby the public peace
  may be endangered, or to alarm her Majesty; or if any person
  shall, near to the Queen's person, wilfully produce or have any
  gun, pistol, or other description of firearms, or other arms
  whatsoever, or any explosive, destructive, or dangerous matter
  or thing whatsoever, with intent to use the same to injure the
  Queen's person or alarm her Majesty, the offender shall be guilty
  of a high misdemeanour, and liable at the discretion of the Court
  to be transported for seven years, or imprisoned with or without
  hard labour for any period not exceeding three years; and during
  such imprisonment to be publicly or privately whipped, as often and
  in such manner and form as the Court shall direct, not exceeding

This salutary statute (proposed by the late Sir Robert Peel) was
passed unanimously; Lord John Russell justly remarking, that "as the
offence to be punished was that of bad and degraded beings, a base and
degrading punishment was most fitly applied to it." Her Majesty enjoyed
a seven years' respite from the insufferable annoyance to which she had
been subjected--viz., till the 19th May 1849--when, about four o'clock
in the afternoon, as she was driving in an open carriage with three
of her children, a pistol was fired in the direction of the carriage
by "one William Hamilton, an Irish bricklayer." The pistol was fired
point-blank at the person of General Wemyss, one of her equerries, who
happened to be in the line of her Majesty's person. This stolid wretch
was tried on the 14th June ensuing, under the above statute, when he
pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to be transported for seven years.
Again, on the 12th of July last, it was rendered lamentably necessary
to call this statute into operation, and with the like effect as in the
preceding case: but we shall reserve our observations upon the case of
Pate till after we have completed what we have to offer on those of
Oxford and M'Naughten. We have just returned from an examination of
those two notorious persons in Bethlehem Hospital, and shall by and by
convey to the reader the result of our own careful observations, made
since the earlier portions of this article were committed to the press.


The judges who presided at the trial--which took place at the
Old Bailey, and lasted three days, (the 9th, 10th, and 11th July
1840)--were Lord Denman, Baron Alderson, and Justice Maule. The counsel
for the crown were--the Attorney and Solicitor Generals, (Sir John
Campbell and Sir Thomas Wilde), Sir Frederick Pollock, the present Mr
Justice Wightman, Mr Adolphus, and Mr Gurney; those for the prisoner
were the late Mr Sydney Taylor and Mr Bodkin. The indictment contained
two counts--respectively applicable, in precisely the same terms, to
the two acts of firing--charging that Oxford, "as a false traitor,
maliciously and traitorously did compass, imagine, and intend to put
our lady the Queen to death; and, to fulfil and bring into effect his
treason and treasonable compassing, did shoot off and discharge a
certain pistol loaded with gunpowder and a bullet, and thereby _made a
direct attempt against the life of our said lady the Queen_,"--in the
words of statute 39 and 40 Geo. III., c. 93, § 1. The trial, as already
observed, differed in no respect from an ordinary trial for felony;
and neither the Crown nor the prisoner challenged a single juryman.
"Oxford," says Mr Townsend, "stepped into the dock with a jaunty air,
and a flickering smile on his countenance; glanced at the galleries, as
if to ascertain whether he had a large concourse of spectators; and,
leaning with his elbow on the ledge of the dock, commenced playing
with the herbs[16] which were placed there before him. He kept his
gaze earnestly fixed on the Attorney-general during the whole of his
address, twirling the rue about in his fingers, and became more subdued
in manner towards the close of the speech."[17] The facts constituting
the outrage lie in a nutshell: The prisoner was seized instantly after
having discharged two pistols, as the Queen and the Prince-consort
were driving up Constitution Hill, in a low open carriage. He had been
observed, for some time before the approach of the royal carriage,
walking backwards and forewards with his arms folded under his breast.
As the carriage approached, he turned round, nodded, drew a pistol
from his breast, and discharged it at the carriage, when it was nearly
opposite to him. As it advanced, after looking round to see if he were
observed, he took out a second pistol, directed it across the other
to her Majesty, who, seeing it, stooped down; and he fired a second
time--very deliberately--at only about six or seven yards' distance.
The witnesses spoke to hearing distinctly a sharp whizzing sound "close
past their own ears." The prisoner, on seeing the person who had
snatched from him the pistols mistaken for the person who had fired,
said, "It was me--I did it. I give myself up--I will go quietly." At
the police-office he said, "Is the Queen hurt?" Some one observed,
"I wonder whether there was any ball in the pistol?" on which the
prisoner said, "If the ball had come in contact with your head, if it
were between the carriage, you would have known it." The witness who
spoke to these words appears, however, to have somewhat hesitated when
pressed in cross-examination; but he finally adhered to his statement
that the prisoner declared there were balls in the pistols. A few days
previously he had purchased the pistols for two sovereigns, about fifty
percussion-caps, a powder-flask, which, with a bullet-mould and five
bullets fitting the pistols, were found at his lodgings. He had also
been practising firing at a target, and, on purchasing the pistols,
particularly asked how far they could carry. The Earl of Uxbridge
deposed that, when he saw Oxford in his cell, he asked, "Is the Queen
hurt?" on which Lord Uxbridge said, "How dare you ask such a question?"
Oxford then stated that "he had been shooting a great deal lately--he
was a very good shot with a pistol, but a better shot with a rifle."
"You have now fulfilled your engagement," said the Earl. "No," replied
Oxford, "I have not." "You have, sir," rejoined Lord Uxbridge, "as far
as the attempt goes." To that he was silent. The most rigid search was
made to discover any bullets; but in vain. Two witnesses, gentlemen of
rank, and well acquainted with the use of firearms, spoke confidently
to having seen bullet-marks on the wall, in the direction in which
Oxford had fired; but the Attorney-general expressed his opinion
that the evidence was entitled to no weight, as probably mistaken;
declaring himself, however, positive that there must have been balls
in the pistols, but that the pistols had been elevated so high that
the balls went over the garden-wall. One of the witnesses said to the
other, immediately after seizing Oxford, "Look out--I dare say he has
some friends;" to which he replied, "You are right--I have." At his
lodgings were found some curious papers, in Oxford's handwriting,
purporting to be the rules of a secret club or society called Young
England; the first of which was, "that every member shall be provided
with a brace of pistols, a sword, a rifle, and a dagger--the two latter
to be kept at the committee-room." A list of members-_factitives_'
[sic] names were given. "Marks of distinction: Council, a large white
cockade; President, a black bow; General, three red bows; Captain,
_two red bows_; Lieutenant, one red bow." There were also found in
Oxford's trunk a sword and scabbard, and a black crape cap with _two
red_ bows--one of the "rules" requiring every member to be armed with
a brace of loaded pistols, and to be provided with a black crape
cap to cover his face, with his marks of distinction outside. Three
letters were also found in his pocket-book, addressed to himself at
three different residences, purporting to be signed by "A. W. Smith,
_secretary_," and to contain statements of what had taken place, or
was to take place, at the secret meetings of the society. They were
all headed "Young England," and dated respectively "16th May 1839,"
"14th Nov. 1839," and "3d April 1840." Oxford said he had intended
to destroy these papers in the morning, before he went out, but had
forgotten it. All these papers--the "rules" and letters--were sworn by
Oxford's mother to be _in his own handwriting_; and it should have been
mentioned that there was not a tittle of evidence adduced to show that
there were, in fact, any such society in existence, or any such persons
as these papers would have indicated; nor, up to the present moment,
has there been the least reason for believing that such was the case.

Thus closed the case for the Crown, undoubtedly a very formidable
one. No attempt was made by the prisoner's counsel--who appear to
have conducted the defence temperately and judiciously--to alter by
evidence the position of the proved facts; which, therefore, were
allowed to stand before the jury as almost conclusively establishing
the case of high treason. Mr Taylor, however, strongly impaired the
Attorney-general's notion that there had been in the pistols balls,
which had gone over the wall; because his own witnesses had spoken
decisively to the bullet-marks on the wall; yet no flattened balls had
been produced, after all the search that had been made. Mr Taylor,
therefore, inferred that the pistols had contained powder only: "a
great outrage, unquestionably, but still not the _treason_ charged."
There was, again, he contended, there could have been, no _motive_
for killing the Queen; and the idea of the Treasonable Society was
mere moonshine--a pure invention concocted by a lunatic--one who had
inherited insanity, and himself exhibited the proofs of its existence:
for Mr Taylor undertook to prove the insanity of Oxford's grandfather,
his father, and himself. The proof broke down as far as concerned
the grandfather, a sailor in the navy; for it was clear that his
alleged violent eccentricities had been exhibited when he was under
the influence of liquor. The insanity of Oxford's father was sought
to be established by his widow, the mother of the prisoner. If her
story, "told with unfaltering voice and unshaken nerve," were correct,
her husband had undoubtedly been a very violent and brutal fellow,
with a dash of madness in his composition. It is possible that the
mother, in her anxiety to save her son from a traitor's death on the
scaffold, had, by a _quasi pia fraus_, too highly coloured her deceased
husband's conduct. If this were not so, she had indeed been an object
of the utmost sympathy. He forced her to marry him, she said, by
furious threats of self-destruction if she did not: he burnt a great
roll of banknotes to ashes in her presence, because she had refused,
or hesitated, to become his wife. He used to terrify her, during her
pregnancies, by hideous grimaces, and apish tricks and gesticulations:
the results being that her second child was born, and within three
years' time died, an idiot. Her husband pursued the same course during
her pregnancy with the prisoner, and presented a gun at her head. The
prisoner had always been a headstrong, wayward, mischievous, eccentric
youth--subject to fits of involuntary laughing and crying. He was
absurdly vain, boastful, and ambitious; and wished his mother to send
him to sea, where he would have nothing to do but walk about the deck,
give orders, and by and by become Admiral Sir Edward Oxford! This was
the utmost extent of the _facts_ alleged in support of the defence of
insanity. The prisoner's whole life had been traced--in evidence--while
he was at school, and in three distinct services; and he had never
been confined, or in any way treated as mad. His sister spoke to his
going out on the day of the outrage, and detailed a conversation
evincing no symptoms of wandering. He used to have books from the
library--"The Black Pirate," "Oliver Twist," and "Jack Sheppard." On
leaving home that day, about three o'clock in the afternoon, he told
his sister that he was going to the Shooting Gallery to buy some linen
for her to make him some shirts, and to bring home some tea from a
particular shop in the Strand. A nur-sery-maid to whom he had written
a ludicrously-addressed letter a few weeks before, said, "I considered
him in a sound state of mind, but sometimes very eccentric:" than
which, no words were fitter to characterise the true scope and tendency
of all the evidence which had been offered to prove him insane. Of that
evidence, according to the genius and spirit, and also the letter of
English law, twelve intelligent jurymen were the proper judges, under
judicial guidance; and greatly to be deprecated is any attempt to
deprive them of their right, and their fellow-subjects--the public at
large--of the protection afforded by its unfettered exercise.

We therefore earnestly beg the reader to assume that he is given credit
for an average degree of intelligence, and only a moderate amount of
moral firmness--to imagine himself a juryman, charged with the solution
of this critical problem. We ask--On the facts now laid before you, do
you believe Oxford to have been no more conscious of, or accountable
for, his actions, in twice deliberately firing at the Queen, than would
have been a baby accidentally pulling the trigger of a loaded pistol,
and shooting its fond incautious mother or affectionate attendant?

If Oxford, instead of shooting at the Queen, had shot himself that
afternoon: would you, being sworn "to give a just and true verdict
_according to the evidence_," have pronounced him insane--totally
unconscious and irresponsible? Would you have declared him such, if
required to say _ay_ or _no_ to that question on a commission of
lunacy? Would you have declared his marriage, on that afternoon, null
and void, on the ground of his insanity? Would you have declared his
will void? or any contract, great or small, which he had entered into?
Would you have declared his vote, in a municipal or parliamentary
election, invalid? If he had committed some act of petty pilfering
or cheating, would you have deliberately absolved him from guilt on
the ground of insanity? Would you, in each and every one of these
cases, have declared, upon your oath, that you believed Oxford was
"_labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind,
as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing,--or,
if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing wrong_?"[18] We
entreat you to forget altogether the enormity of the offence imputed to
Oxford--an attempt to take the life of his Queen: dismiss it, and all
consideration of consequences, as a disturbing force, and address your
reason exclusively to the question last proposed. What would be your
sworn answer? We beg you also to bear in mind from whom has proceeded
the chief evidence in support of the defence of insanity--a mother,
seeking to rescue her son from the fearful death of a traitor; and that
the attempt to impugn his mental sanity is not made till after such a
terrible occasion has arisen for doing so. Had it been their interest
to establish _his sanity_, in order to uphold a will of his bequeathing
them a large sum of money, who sees not how all their evidences of
insanity would have melted into thin air, and the attempt to magnify
and distort petty eccentricities into such, have been branded as cruel,
unjust, and disgraceful?

But there came five doctors on the scene, and at their approach the
light of reason was darkened. These astute personages--mysterious
in their means of knowledge, and confident in their powers of
extinguishing the common sense of both judges and jury--came to
demonstrate that the unfortunate young gentleman at the bar was no
more the object of punishment than the unconscious baby aforesaid;
no more aware of the nature and consequences of the act which he had
done than is the torch with which a haystack is fired, or the bullet,
cannonball, or dagger with which life is taken away! But let them speak
for themselves--these wise men of Gotham--these confident disciples of
the "_couldn't help it_" school!

  FIRST DOCTOR.--_Question_ by the prisoner's counsel and the
  Court--"Supposing a person, in the middle of the day, without any
  suggested motive, to fire a loaded pistol at her Majesty, passing
  along the road in a carriage; to remain on the spot; to declare
  he was the person who did it; to take pains to have that known;
  and afterwards to enter freely into discussion, and answer any
  questions put to him on the subject: would you, from those facts
  alone, judge a person to be insane?"

  _Answer._--"I should."

  THE COURT.--"You mean to say, upon your oath, that if you heard
  these facts stated, you should conclude that the person would be

  THE DOCTOR.--"I do."

  THE COURT.--"Without making any other inquiry?"

  THE DOCTOR.--"Yes!... If, as a physician, I was employed to
  ascertain whether a person in whom I found these facts was sane or
  insane, I should undoubtedly give my opinion that he was insane."

  THE COURT.--"As a physician, you think every crime, plainly
  committed, to be committed by a madman?"

  THE DOCTOR.--"Nothing of the kind; but a crime committed under all
  the circumstances of the hypothesis!"

As to the hypothesis proposed, the reader will not have failed to
observe how inapplicable it was to the proved facts. Oxford certainly
"remained on the spot" because he could not possibly have got away;
there being a high wall on one side, high park railings on the other,
and an infuriate crowd, as well as the Queen's attendants, on all
sides. He also certainly "declared he was the person who did it;" but
how absurd to deny what so many had witnessed?

  SECOND DOCTOR.--He is asked the same question which had been
  proposed to the first Doctor, with the addition of "hereditary
  insanity being in the family" of the person concerned.

  _Answer._--"I should consider these circumstances of strong
  suspicion; but other facts should be sought before one could be
  warranted in giving a positive opinion."

  _Question_ by the Prisoner's Counsel.--"Are there instances on
  record of persons becoming suddenly insane, whose conduct has been
  previously only eccentric?"

  _Answer._--"Certainly. Supposing, in addition, that there was
  previous delusion, my opinion would be that he is unsound. Such a
  form of insanity exists, and is recognised."

  _Question_ by the Counsel for the Crown.--"What form of insanity do
  you call it?"

  _Answer._--"Lesion of the will--insanity connected with the
  development of the will. It means more than a loss of control over
  the conduct--morbid propensity. Moral irregularity is the result of
  that disease. Committing a crime without any _apparent_ motive is
  an indication of insanity!" ...

  _Question_ by the Court.--"Do you conceive that this is really a
  _medical_ question at all, which has been put to you?"

  _Answer._--"I do: I think medical men have more means of forming an
  opinion on that subject than other persons."

  _Question._--"Why could not _any_ person form an opinion, from the
  circumstances which have been referred to, whether a person was
  sane or insane?"

  _Answer._--"Because it seems to require a careful comparison of
  particular cases, more likely to be looked to by medical men, who
  are especially experienced in cases of unsoundness of mind."

  THIRD DOCTOR.--"I have 850 patients under my care in a lunatic
  asylum. I have seen and conversed with the prisoner. In my opinion
  he is of unsound mind. I never saw him in private more than once,
  and that for perhaps half-an-hour, the day before yesterday; and
  I have been in court the whole of yesterday and this morning.
  These are the notes of my interview with him:--'A deficient
  understanding; shape of the anterior part of the head, that which
  is generally seen when there has been some disease of the brain
  in early life. An occasional appearance of acuteness, but a
  total inability to reason. Singular insensibility as regards the
  affections. Apparent incapacity to comprehend moral obligations--to
  distinguish right from wrong. Absolute insensibility to the
  heinousness of his offence, and the peril of his situation. Total
  indifference to the issue of the trial; acquittal will give him
  no particular pleasure, and he seems unable to comprehend the
  alternative of his condemnation and execution: his offence, like
  that of other imbeciles who set fire to buildings, &c., without
  motive, except a vague pleasure in mischief. Appears unable to
  conceive anything of future responsibility.'"

  _Question_ by the Court.--"Did you try to ascertain _whether he was
  acting a part_ with you, or not?"

  _Answer._--"I tried to ascertain it as well as I possibly could. My
  judgment is formed on all the circumstances together."

  FOURTH DOCTOR.--To the same general question put to first and
  second Doctor.--

  _Answer._--"An exceedingly strong indication of unsoundness of
  mind. A propensity to commit acts without an apparent or adequate
  motive, under such circumstances, is recognised as a particular
  species of insanity, called _lesion_ of the will: it has been
  called moral insanity."

  _Question._--"From the conversation you have had with the prisoner,
  and your opportunity of observing him, what do you think of his
  state of mind?"

  _Answer._--"Essentially unsound: there seems a mixture of
  insanity with imbecility. Laughing and crying are proofs of
  imbecility--assisting me to form my opinion.... When I saw him, I
  could not persuade him that there had been balls in the pistols--he
  insisted that there were none. He was indifferent about his mother
  when her name was mentioned. His manner was very peculiar: entirely
  without acute feeling or acute consciousness--lively, brisk,
  smart--perfectly natural--not as if he were acting, or making the
  least pretence. The interview lasted about three quarters of an

  LAST DOCTOR.--"A practising surgeon for between three and four
  years. Had attended the prisoner's family."

  _Question._--"What is your opinion as to his state of mind?"

  _Answer._--"Decidedly that of imbecility--more imbecility than
  anything: he is decidedly, in my judgment, of unsound mind.
  His mother has often told me there was something exceedingly
  peculiar about him, and asked me what I thought. The chief thing
  that struck me was his involuntary laughing: he did not seem to
  have that sufficient control over the emotions which we find in
  sane individuals. In Newgate, he had great insensibility to all
  impressions sought to be made on him. His mother once rebuked him
  for some want of civility to me; on which he jumped up in a fury,
  at the moment alarming me, and saying 'he would stick her.' I think
  that was his expression."

  Questioned by the Counsel for the Crown.--"I never prescribed for
  the prisoner, nor recommended any course of treatment, conduct,
  or diet whatever. I never gave, nor was asked for any advice. I
  concluded the disease was mental--one of those weak minds which,
  under little excitement, might become overthrown."

With every due consideration for these five gentlemen, as expressing
themselves with undoubted sincerity and conscientiousness; with the
sincerest respect for the medical profession, and a profound sense
of the perplexities which its honourable and able members have to
encounter in steering their course, when called upon to act in
cases of alleged insanity--encountering often equally undeserved
censure and peril for interfering and for not interfering--we beg
to enter our stern and solemn protest on behalf of the public, and
the administration of the justice, against such "_evidence_ of
insanity" as we have just presented to the reader. It may really be
stigmatised as "The safe committal of crime made easy to the plainest
capacity." It proceeds upon paradoxes subversive of society. Moral
insanity? Absurd misnomer! Call it rather "_im_moral insanity," and
punish it accordingly. Is it not fearful to see well-educated men
of intellect take so perverted a view of the conditions of human
society--of the duties and responsibilities of its members? Absence
of assignable motive an evidence of such insanity as should exempt
from responsibility! Inability to resist or control a motive to commit
murder a safe ground for immunity from criminal responsibility!--that
"criminal responsibility which," as the present Lord Chancellor, in
replying for the Crown in Oxford's case, justly remarked, "secures the
very existence of society."

Let us look at another aspect of this medical evidence given on this
memorable occasion. Doctor the _first_ pronounced his authoritative
decision solely on the evidence given in court: influenced, it may
be, by his having, many years before, been called in to attend the
prisoner's father when labouring under symptoms of poisoning by
laudanum. Doctor the _second_ gave merely speculative evidence,
without, as it would seem, having even seen the prisoner, and founded
solely on what passed at the trial. Doctor the _third_ never saw the
prisoner before the trial but once, and then for "_perhaps half an
hour_," on the first day of the trial, or the day before it! How potent
that half hour's observation! Doctor the _fourth_ saw the prisoner with
doctor the third, for "_perhaps three-quarters of an hour!_" Doctor the
_fifth_ was a practising surgeon of not four years' standing--owning
how "short a time he had been in practice." Let us only surrender our
understandings to this queer quinary, and we arrive at a short and easy
solution--very comfortable, indeed, for the young gentleman at the bar,
who is doubtless filled with wonder at finding how sagaciously they
saw into the thoughts which had been passing through his mind--the
precise state of his feelings, views, objects, and intentions, when he
fired at the Queen. But in the mean time we ask, can it be tolerated
that medical gentlemen should thus usurp the province of both judge
and jury? We answer, no! and shall place here on record the just
and indignant rebuke of Mr Baron Alderson to a well-known medical
gentleman, who had thus authoritatively announced his conclusion on the
recent trial of Robert Pate.

  Dr----.--"From all I have heard to-day, and from my personal
  observation, I am satisfied the prisoner is of unsound mind."

  BARON ALDERSON.--"Be so good, Dr ----, as not to take upon yourself
  the functions of both the judge and the jury. If you can give us
  the results of your scientific knowledge in this point, we shall be
  glad to hear you; but while I am sitting on this bench, _I will not
  permit any medical witness to usurp the functions of both the judge
  and the jury_."

It fell to the lot of Sir Thomas Wilde to reply for the Crown, in
Oxford's case, as in that of Frost; and he discharged the responsible
duty with his usual clearness and cogency. As to the facts,
irrespective of the question of insanity, a single sentence disposed of

  "What would be the condition of society--exposed as we all are to
  such attacks, and the infliction of death by such means--if, with
  the evidence of previous preparation of the means; the use of balls
  and pistols; inquiries as to the effect of their discharge, and
  whether the party was hurt, coupled with admission, incidental and
  direct, of the fact that balls were in the pistols: what would be
  the state of society, if evidence like this left an assassin the
  chance of escape merely because the balls could not be found?"

And, with this terse summary of the proved facts before our eyes, we
ask a question of our own: What overwhelming evidence of insanity would
not an intelligent and honest juryman require, to refer such a case to
the category of criminal irresponsibility?

Sir Thomas Wilde vigorously and contemptuously crushed under foot the
mischievous sophistries of the medical evidence.

  "If eccentric acts were proof of insanity, many persons who
  were wrenching knockers off doors, knocking down watchmen, and
  committing similar freaks, _were laying up a stock of excuses for
  the commission of crimes_!"

  "The trick of laughing suddenly, without cause, was so common, that
  if this were token of imbecility the lunatic asylum would overflow
  with gigglers!"

  "The prisoner had all along displayed a morbid desire to be talked
  about; and the letters and documents produced had been written with
  that feeling and object. A criminal should not be permitted to
  write out for himself a certificate of lunacy!"

  "Was his making no attempt to escape, a proof of an unsound mind?
  If he _had_ made such an attempt, it would have been a great proof
  of madness! He was surrounded on all sides by the multitude. He
  took such a reasonable view of his situation, as to see that he had
  no chance of escape, and gave himself up quietly!"

  "The prisoner had been allowed the unrestrained use of firearms and
  powder, and was well acquainted with their fatal effects on human
  life. Would his mother have _trusted a madman with them_? and left
  her mad son in the same house with her daughter?"

  "The medical men went to Newgate _pre-disposed and pre-determined
  to see a madman_."

  "Suppose the prisoner unfeeling, violent, indifferent to his
  own fate, and preferring notoriety to any other consideration:
  what evidence did that supply of his being in a state of moral
  irresponsibility?--that moral irresponsibility which secured the
  very existence of society."

All this surely sounds like an irresistible appeal to good sense.

Lord Denman directed the jury with corresponding clearness and
decision, and also in full conformity with the views of the
Solicitor-general, and with the subsequent annunciation of the law by
the judges.[19]

  "If you think the prisoner was, _at the time_, labouring under any
  delusion which prevented him from judging of the effects of the act
  he had committed, you cannot find him guilty. He might, perhaps,
  have been labouring under a delusion affecting _every_ part of his
  conduct, and not directed to one object alone: if that were so at
  the time of his firing, he could not be held accountable for it.
  But if, though labouring under a delusion, he fired the loaded
  pistols at the Queen, knowing the possible result--though forced
  to the act by his morbid love of notoriety--he is responsible, and
  liable to punishment."

  "There may be cases of insanity, in which medical evidence as to
  _physical_ symptoms is of the utmost consequence. But as to _moral
  insanity_, I, for my own part, cannot admit that medical men have
  at all more means of forming an opinion, in such a case, than are
  possessed by gentlemen accustomed to the affairs of life, and
  bringing to the subject a wide experience."

  "The mere fact of the prisoner's going into the park, and raising
  his hand against the Queen, is not to be taken as a proof of
  insanity--particularly if we suppose that he is naturally reckless
  of consequences. It is a mark, doubtless, of a mind devoid of right
  judgment and of right feeling; but it would be a most dangerous
  maxim, that the mere enormity of a crime should secure the
  prisoner's acquittal, by being taken to establish his _insanity_.
  Acts of wanton and dangerous mischief are often committed by
  persons who _suppose_ that they have an adequate motive; but they
  are sometimes done by those who have no adequate motive, and on
  whom they can confer no advantage. A man may be charged with
  slaying his father, his child, or his innocent wife, to whom he is
  bound to afford protection and kindness; and it is most extravagant
  to say that this man cannot be found guilty, because of the
  enormity of his crime!"

The jury, thus charged with the principles of a humane and sound
jurisprudence, retired, and after three quarters of an hour's absence
returned with this special verdict: "We find the prisoner, Edward
Oxford, guilty of discharging the contents of two pistols; but whether
or not they were loaded with ball has not been satisfactorily proved
to us--_he being of unsound mind at the time_." In other words, "We
find that he did not fire a pistol loaded with ball because he was not
of sound mind!" They were sent back, with a mild intimation that they
had not sufficiently applied their minds to the true question--viz.,
Did the prisoner, ay or no, fire a pistol _loaded with ball_ at the
Queen? The foreman, "We cannot decide the point, because there is no
satisfactory evidence produced before us, to show that the pistols
were loaded with bullets." They retired, to return with a verdict of
"'Guilty,' or 'Not Guilty,' on the evidence." After an hour's absence
they finally brought back their verdict, "Guilty, he being at the time

  _Lord Denman._--"Do you acquit the prisoner, on the ground of

  _Foreman of the Jury._--"Yes, my Lord; that is our intention."

  _Lord Denman._--"Then the verdict will stand thus: 'Not Guilty, on
  the ground of insanity.' The prisoner will be confined in strict
  custody, as a matter of course."

  "The prisoner," says Mr Townsend,[20] "walked briskly from the bar,
  apparently glad that the tedious trial was over."

Upon the whole matter we are of opinion,--_First_, That there was
very satisfactory evidence that the pistols were loaded with ball,
and that the jury ought to have found their verdict accordingly.
_Secondly_, If they remained of opinion, to the last, that there was
no satisfactory evidence on this point, they ought unquestionably to
have pronounced the prisoner Not Guilty, independently of any question
as to the prisoner's state of mind. In Scotland, the jury would,
in such a case, have returned a verdict of _Not Proven_; but in
England, deficient evidence--_i. e._ such as leaves the jury finally
in doubt--is regarded as leaving the charge unproved, &c., requiring
the verdict of Not Guilty. _Thirdly_, The defence of insanity utterly
failed, and the evidence offered in support of it was scarcely worthy
of serious consideration. _Lastly_, It is possible that the verdict was
given--though by men anxiously desirous of acting with mingled mercy
and justice--under a condition of mental irresolution and confusion,
and with a deficiency of moral courage. The jury either shrank from
the fearful consequences of a verdict of Guilty, on a charge of
high treason, and yet feared to let the prisoner loose again upon
society; or there was a compromise between those who believed that
there _was_, and there was _not_, sufficient evidence of the pistols
having contained bullets; and also between those who were similarly
divided on the subject of the prisoner's sanity. Thus stood, thus
stands, the case; and Oxford has ever since been an inmate of Bedlam:
though Mr Taylor, to whose work on _Medical Jurisprudence_ we have
already referred, and who is a decided and able supporter of that
theory of "moral insanity" to which we, in common with all the Judges,
are so strongly opposed, admits expressly that, with the exception
of M'Naughten's case, "there is perhaps none on record, in English
jurisprudence, where the facts in support of the plea of insanity were
so slight as in that of Oxford."[21]


The case of Daniel M'Naughten, which was tried at the Old Bailey about
two years and a half after that of Oxford--viz., on the 3d and 4th
March 1843--cannot be approached without a shudder, as one recalls the
direful deed for which he was brought to trial--the assassination of
Mr Drummond, whom the murderer had mistaken for the late Sir Robert
Peel! To a candid philosophical jurist, this case is one of profound
interest, and of considerable difficulty. The abrupt interposition of
the presiding judge, the late Chief-justice Tindal--a step very unusual
on such an occasion, and especially so in the case of that signally
patient and cautious judge--occasioned much remark at the time, and a
general, if not almost universal expression of regret that he had not
allowed a case of such magnitude to run on to the end, and so have
afforded the jury the vast advantage of hearing that consummate lawyer
Sir William Follett's commentary upon the case, set up in behalf of
the prisoner. The unexpected issue of this dreadful case led, as has
been already explained, to Parliamentary discussion, and a solemn
declaration by the assembled judges of England of the true principles
applicable to such cases. We shall not examine the proceedings as
minutely as in the case of Oxford; but we shall endeavour to enable the
thoughtful reader to apply to the leading facts the rules of law laid
down by the Judges for the conduct of these critical investigations.
He can then form an opinion as to what might have been the result, if
those principles had been strictly adhered to, and the case had gone on
to its legitimate conclusion. It will be borne in mind that, as stated
at the close of our account of Oxford's case, even Mr Taylor treats
the case of M'Naughten as an acquittal proceeding on facts, alleged in
support of the defence of insanity, "as slight as those in Oxford's

Mr Drummond, the private secretary of the late Sir Robert Peel, then
prime-minister, was returning alone to his residence in Downing Street,
having just quitted Drummond's banking-house at Charing Cross, in
the afternoon of Friday, the 20th January 1843, when a man (Daniel
M'Naughten) came close behind him, and deliberately shot him in the
back with a pistol which he had been seen to take from his left
breast. While Mr Drummond staggered away, and the man who had shot him
was seen quickly, but deliberately, taking another pistol from his
right breast with his left hand, cocking it, and then transferring
it to his right hand, he was tripped up by a police officer; and a
desperate struggle occurred on the ground, during which the pistol
went off--providentially without injuring any one. M'Naughten strove
to use his right arm against the officer, but was overpowered, the
pistols taken from him, and he was led to the station house. As he
went, he said, "_He_" [or "she"--the witness was uncertain which word
was used] _shall not break my peace of mind any longer_." On being
searched, a banker's receipt for £745, two five-pound notes, and four
sovereigns, and ten copper percussion caps fitting the nipples of
the pistols which he had discharged, were found on his person; while
bullets exactly fitting the barrels were discovered at his lodgings.
The unfortunate gentleman who had been thus assassinated, died after
great suffering, on the 25th January. He had borne a strong personal
resemblance to the late Sir Robert Peel; and it was beyond all doubt
that it had been Sir Robert Peel whom M'Naughten thought he had shot,
and had intended to shoot. On the ensuing morning, when asked if he
knew whom he had shot, he replied, "It is Sir Robert Peel, is it not?"
and on being reminded that what he said might be given in evidence, he
replied quickly, "_But you won't use this against me?_" He had shortly
before said that, when brought before the magistrate, he would "give
a reason, a short one," for what he had done; and also observed, that
he was an object of persecution by the Tories--that they followed him
from place to place with their persecution." He appeared calm; and gave
a correct and connected account of his recent travelling movements. He
was the natural son of a turner at Glasgow, from which, some months
previously, he had come to London, and had then paid a short visit to
France. Down to the moment of his committing this appalling act, he
had been a man of rigorously temperate habits; and no one with whom
he lodged or associated, entertained the slightest suspicion that his
reason was in any way affected--though he appeared peculiarly reserved,
and even sullen, which his landlady had attributed to his being out
of a situation and poor; for though punctual in his small payments,
he was frugal even to parsimony. She had no idea that he possessed
so large a sum as £750. During the previous fortnight, he had been
observed loitering so suspiciously in the neighbourhood of Sir Robert
Peel's private and official residences as to challenge inquiry, which
he parried by casual observations. In the month of November previously,
he had remarked to a companion, on being shown Sir Robert Peel's house
in Whitehall, "D----n him! Sink him!" or words to that effect. His
other remarks were perfectly rational, and his companion entertained no
notion "that his mind was disordered." The following two documents in
his handwriting, dated in the May and July preceding the murder, are
very remarkable, as indicating great caution, shrewdness, and thrift on
the part of the writer. The first was addressed to the Manager of the
Glasgow Bank, and is as follows:--

                                "GLASGOW, _23d May 1842_.

  "Sir,--I hereby intimate to you, that I will require the money, ten
  days from this date, which I deposited in the London Joint-Stock
  Bank through you. The account is for £745. The account is dated
  August 28th 1841, but is not numbered! As it would put me to some
  inconvenience to give personal intimation, and then remain in
  London till the eleven days' notice agreed upon has expired, I
  trust this will be considered sufficient.

                                          "Yours &c.,
                                          "DANIEL M'NAUGHTEN."

Two months afterwards--viz., in July--he purchased the fatal pistols of
a gunsmith near Glasgow, giving him very precise directions as to their
make; and on the 19th of July replied to the following advertisement,
which appeared in the _Spectator_ newspaper of the 16th of July:--

  OPTIONAL PARTNERSHIP.--"Any gentleman having £1000 may invest
  them, on the most advantageous terms, in a very genteel business
  in London, attended with no risk, with the option, within a given
  period, of becoming a partner, and of ultimately succeeding to the
  whole business. In the mean time, security and liberal interest
  will be given for the money. Apply by letter to B. B., Mr Hilton's,
  Bookseller, Penton Street, Pentonville."[22] #/

M'Naughten's answer, which here follows, cannot be too closely
scrutinised, and its general tone and tendency too anxiously weighed,
by a dispassionate judicial mind, regard being had to the evidence
hereafter to be adverted to, with reference to the alleged condition of
the writer's mind, long previously to, at, and after the date of the

                              "GLASGOW, _19th July 1842_.

  "SIR,--My attention has been attracted to your advertisement in the
  _Spectator_ newspaper, and as I am unemployed at present, and very
  anxious to obtain some, I have been induced to write, requesting
  you to state some particulars regarding the nature of the business
  in which you are engaged. If immediate employment can be given
  or otherwise, what sort of security will be given for the money,
  and how much interest? I may mention that I have been engaged in
  business on my own account for a few years, am under thirty years
  of age, and of very active and sober habits.

  "The capital which I possess has been acquired by the most vigilant
  industry, but, unfortunately, does not amount to the exact sum
  specified in your advertisement. If nothing less will do, I will be
  sorry for it, but cannot help it; if otherwise, have the goodness
  to write to me at your earliest convenience, and address, D. M. N.,
  90, Clyde Street, Anderton's front land, top flat."[23]

He went to London during the same month; appears to have gone for
about a fortnight to France, returning to Glasgow; went a second time
to London in September, and resided there, in the lodgings which he
had formerly occupied, down to the day on which he shot Mr Drummond.
His landlady accurately described his habits, and stated that "she
never thought him unsettled in his mind;" and, on the very morning of
the fatal day, "did not observe anything about his manner." Such was
the tenor of all the evidence offered for the prosecution--some of it
stretching back to the years 1840, 1841, when he attended anatomical
lectures in Glasgow. A Writer to the Signet, who also attended them,
and the physician who lectured, expressly declaring that they had never
seen anything in him to indicate "disordered mind," or that "he was not
in his right senses."

The following was the statement which he made and signed, when examined
on the charge at Bow Street. This document, like the preceding, is
worthy of great consideration.

  "The Tories in my native city have compelled me to do this. They
  follow and persecute me wherever I go, and have entirely destroyed
  my peace of mind. They followed me into France, into Scotland, and
  all over England: in fact, they follow me wherever I go. I cannot
  get no rest for them night or day. I cannot sleep at night, in
  consequence of the course they pursue towards me. I believe they
  have driven me into a consumption. I am sure I shall never be the
  man I formerly was. I used to have good health and strength, but
  I have not now. They have accused me of crimes of which I am not
  guilty; they do everything in their power to harass and persecute
  me; in fact, they wish to murder me. It can be proved by evidence.
  That's all I have to say."[24]

On Thursday the 2d February--that is to say, exactly a fortnight after
the murder--M'Naughten was arraigned at the Old Bailey. When called
upon, in the usual manner, to say whether he was Guilty or Not Guilty,
he remained silent, with his eyes directed steadily towards the bench.
At length, on being authoritatively required to answer, he said, after
some hesitation, "I was driven to desperation by persecution." On being
told that he must answer, "Guilty," or "Not Guilty," he replied that he
was guilty of _firing_. On this Lord Abinger interposed, "By that, do
you mean to say you are not guilty of the remainder of the charge--that
is, of _intending to murder Mr Drummond_?" The prisoner _at once_
said, "Yes;" on which Lord Abinger ordered a plea of Not Guilty to be
recorded. It appears to us that there is great significance in what
passed on this occasion.

An application was then made to postpone the trial, on affidavits
stating that, by the next session, matured evidence could be adduced
to show the insanity of the prisoner when he shot Mr Drummond. The
Attorney-general (Sir Frederick Pollock) at once humanely assented
to the application, and it was granted; as also ample funds out
of the £764 found on the prisoner, to prepare effectively for the
defence. Let us here pause for a moment, to contrast the treatment
which M'Naughten--whose undisputed act had filled the whole country
with horror and indignation--received on this occasion, with that
experienced by his predecessor Bellingham, thirty years before,
whose case very closely resembled that of M'Naughten in some fearful
points. We can with difficulty record calmly that Bellingham's
counsel, fortified by strong affidavits of the prisoner's insanity,
and that witnesses knowing the fact could be brought from Liverpool
and elsewhere, applied in vain for a postponement of the trial, the
Attorney-general of that day barbarously, and even offensively,
opposing the application, which was consequently at once overruled.
Within seven days' time Bellingham shot Mr Percival, was committed,
_tried_--if it be not a mockery to use the word--convicted, and
executed. On Monday, the 11th May 1811, Bellingham shot his unfortunate
victim, and on that day week (Monday, the 18th May 1811) the assassin's
dead body lay on the dissecting-table! This vindictive precipitancy
affords an awful contrast to the noble temper in which M'Naughten's
application was entertained by the Attorney-general, the judge, and the
justly-excited country at large. It supplied the eloquent advocate,
(the present Solicitor-general, Sir Alexander Cockburn) who was
subsequently retained by the prisoner, with a potent weapon of defence,
of which he failed not to make effective use. It is not too much to
say, that all who can concur in the acquittal of M'Naughten must regard
Bellingham as judicially murdered. We concur heartily with M'Naughten's
advocate in the remark, that "few will read the report of Bellingham's
trial without being forced to the conclusion that he was either really
mad, or, at the very least, the little evidence which alone he was
permitted to adduce, relative to the state of his mind, was strong
enough to have entitled him to a _deliberate and thorough investigation
of his case_."[25]

On Friday, March 3d, M'Naughten took his trial before the late
Chief-justice Tindal, the late Mr Justice Williams, and Mr Justice
Coleridge. The prosecution was conducted by the late Sir William
Follett, then Solicitor-general, and the prisoner defended by the
present Solicitor-general, then Mr Cockburn, Q. C. Nothing could exceed
the temperate and luminous opening statement of Sir William Follett,
who, in our judgment, laid down the rules of English law, applicable
to the difficult and delicate subject with which he had to deal, with
rigorous propriety.

  "If you believe," said he, "that the prisoner at the bar, at the
  time he committed this act, was not a responsible agent--that, when
  he fired the pistol, he was incapable of distinguishing between
  right and wrong--that he was under the influence and control of
  some disease of the mind which prevented him from being conscious
  that he was committing a crime--that he did not know he was
  violating the law both of God and man--then, undoubtedly, he is
  entitled to your acquittal. But it is my duty to tell you that
  nothing short of _that_ will excuse him, upon the principles of
  the English law. To excuse him, it will not be sufficient that
  he laboured under partial insanity upon some subjects--that he
  had a morbid delusion of mind upon some subjects, which could not
  exist in a wholly sane person; that is not enough, _if_ he had
  that degree of intellect which enabled him to know and distinguish
  between right and wrong--if he knew what would be the effects
  of his crime, and consciously committed it; and if, with that
  consciousness, he _wilfully_ committed it."

The witnesses for the prosecution established a case, if unanswered,
of perfect guilt; the facts of the assassination were indisputable,
and the evidence of the prisoner's sanity cogent in the extreme. Mr
Cockburn addressed the jury at very great length, and in a strain of
sustained eloquence and power, his object being to persuade the jury
"that the prisoner was labouring, at the time of committing the act,
under a morbid[?] insanity, which took away from him all power of
self-control, so that he was not responsible for his acts. I do not put
this case forward as one of total insanity; it is a case of delusion,
and I say so from sources upon which the light of science has thrown
her holy beam." Those who have read what has gone before concerning
Oxford's case will appreciate this observation of Mr Cockburn, and
gather from it his adoption, for the purpose of that defence, of the
theory of moral insanity, which he enforced and illustrated by many
striking and brilliant observations, calculated to produce a deep and
strong impression on the minds of the jury, such as required the utmost
exertions of Sir William Follett in reply, and finally of judicial
exposition to efface, if fallacious--or modify to any extent rendered
necessary by inaccuracy or exaggeration. Ten witnesses, all of them
from Glasgow, were called, for the purpose of establishing the fact
that the prisoner had, for some eighteen months previously to January
1843, appeared to labour, and had continually represented himself as
labouring, under a persuasion that he was the victim of some such
indefinite, mysterious, and incessant persecution as he spoke of in
his statement before the magistrate at Bow Street. We are bound to say
that the force of this testimony--coming chiefly from persons above all
suspicion, and in a superior rank of life--is irresistible as to the
existence of such an insane delusion down to the time of his quitting
Glasgow. Not a witness, however, gave evidence of his exhibiting that
tendency after his last return to London, before his shooting Mr
Drummond. The only mention of Sir Robert Peel's name was by one of
these ten witnesses, a former fellow-lodger of the prisoner's, who told
him, in July 1842, that he had heard Sir Robert Peel speak in the House
of Commons; preferred his speaking to that of Lord John Russell and Mr
O'Connell; and said "he thought Sir R. Peel had arrived at what Lord
Byron said of him--that 'he would be something great in the state.'"
Mr Cockburn asked the witness, "Did you ever, on that or any other
occasion, hear him speak at all disrespectfully of Sir Robert Peel?"
_Answer._--"Certainly not." One or two witnesses spoke to singularities
of demeanour as early as the years 1835 and 1836. One of his landlords,
in the former year, got rid of him as a lodger, "for one reason, in
consequence of the infidel doctrines he maintained, and the books of
such a character which he was in the habit of reading." One witness,
who had succeeded him in his business, remonstrated with him, towards
the end of 1842, about his notions as to being persecuted, telling him
it was all imagination--that there were no such people as he supposed.
He said that, "if he could once set his eyes on them, they should not
be long in the land of the living," and became shortly afterwards very
much excited. Sometimes he said he was "haunted by a parcel of devils
following him." His landlady, seeing the brace of pistols which he had
in September, just before his return to London, said--"What, in the
name of God, are you doing with pistols there? He said 'he was going
to shoot birds with them.' I never saw the pistols after that." He
told the Commission of Police that the "persecution proceeded from the
priests of the Catholic chapel in Clyde Street, who were assisted by a
parcel of Jesuits." In August 1842, he told the same witness that "the
police, the Jesuits, the Catholic priests, and Tories, were all leagued
against him."

Mr Cockburn having thus "laid a broad foundation," says Mr Townsend,
"for medical theories, _upon them_ was built, by the nine physicians
and surgeons who confirmed each other's theories, a goodly
superstructure of undoubted insanity. Had the workings," continues Mr
Townsend, sarcastically, "of the troubled brain been as distinctly
visible to the eye, as the labours of bees seen through a glass
hive, they could not have held the fact to be more demonstratively
proved. Positive beyond the possibility of mistake, and infallible as
theologians, they explained all that might appear without the aid of
science inexplicable; and proved, as if they were stating undoubted
facts, an irresponsible delusion."

One of the physicians attested his conviction, from an interview with
the prisoner shortly before his trial, "as a matter of certainty, that
M'Naughten was not responsible for his acts!" Well may Mr Townsend add,
"By an excess of lenity, the counsel for the prosecution allowed these
scientific witnesses to depart from the ordinary rules of evidence,
_to give their own_ conclusions from the facts proved, and usurp the
province of the jury."[26] After going through the evidence (if the
word can be used with propriety under such circumstances) of the
other medical gentlemen, Mr Townsend observes, "Each physician and
surgeon, as he stepped into the witness-box, seemed anxious to surpass
his predecessor in the tone of decision and certainty; each tried to
draw the bow of ---- (mentioning the first physician who had been
called, and who was also called in Oxford's and Pate's case, in which
latter he was rebuked by Baron Alderson,[27]) and shoot, if possible,
still farther into empty space." And this gentleman, Dr----, had
asserted, under cross-examination by Sir William Follett, "his positive
conviction that he could ascertain the nicest shade of insanity!
that the shadowy trace of eccentricity, dissolving into madness,
could be palpably distinguished!"[28] The last of these confident
personages then was permitted to make this extraordinary statement:
"I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that the prisoner is
insane, and that he committed the offence in question whilst afflicted
with a delusion under which he appears to have been labouring for a
considerable length of time!!!"

We feel constrained to say that this appears to us, in every way,

"Nine medical witnesses," significantly observes Mr Townsend, "had
now spoken, with a wonderful unanimity of opinion, _and the court
surrendered at discretion_."[29]

If such a course is to be allowed again in a court of justice, what
security have any of us for life, liberty, or property?

Chief Justice Tindal here interposed, to ask Sir William Follett
whether he was prepared with evidence on the part of the Crown to
combat that of the medical witnesses,--

  "Because, if you have not," said the Chief Justice, "we think we
  are under the necessity of stopping the case. Is there any medical
  evidence on the other side?"

  _Sir William Follett._--"No, my Lord."[30]

  _Chief-Justice Tindal._--"We feel the evidence, especially that of
  the last two medical gentlemen who have been examined, and who are
  strangers to both sides, and only observers of the case, to be very
  strong, and sufficient to induce my learned brothers and myself to
  stop the case."[31]

After this authoritative intimation from the court, in a capital
case, in favour of the prisoner, it would have been obviously to the
last degree inexpedient for the Solicitor-general, in his position
of peculiar and great public responsibility, to "press for a verdict
against the prisoner."[32] After, therefore, intimating distinctly and
respectfully to the jury, that, "after the intimation he had received
from the bench, he felt that he should not be properly discharging
his duty to the Crown and the public, if he asked them for a verdict
against the prisoner," he withdrew, in deference to "the very strong
opinion entertained by the Lord Chief-Justice, and the other learned
Judges present," that the evidence, especially the medical evidence,
sufficed to show that the prisoner, when he shot Mr Drummond, was
labouring under insanity. "_If_ he were so," added Sir William Follett,
with a pointed reservation of his own opinion, "he would be entitled
to his acquittal." He intimated, however, distinctly, that he adhered
to "the doctrines and authorities" on which he had relied in opening
the case, "as being correct law; our object being to ascertain whether
the prisoner, at the time when he committed the crime, was--_at that
time_--to be regarded as a responsible agent, or whether all control
over himself was taken away. The learned judge, I understand, means to
submit that question to you. I cannot press for a verdict against the
prisoner, and it will be for you to come to your decision."

The Chief-Justice then briefly addressed the jury, offering to go
through the whole evidence, if the jury deemed it necessary, which _he_
"thought to be almost unnecessary;" adding--

  "I am in your hands; but if, in balancing the evidence in your
  minds, you think that the prisoner was, at the time of committing
  the act, capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, then
  he was a responsible agent, and liable to all the penalties which
  the law enforces. If not so--and if, in your judgment, the subject
  should appear involved in very great difficulty--then you will
  probably not take upon yourselves to find the prisoner guilty. If
  that is your opinion, then you will acquit the prisoner. If you
  think you ought to hear the evidence more fully, in that case I
  will state it to you, and leave the case in your hands. Probably,
  however, sufficient has now been laid before you, and you will say
  whether you want any further information."

  _Foreman of the Jury._--"We require no more, my Lord."

  _Chief-Justice Tindal._--"If you find the prisoner not guilty, say
  on the ground of insanity; in which case proper care will be taken
  of him."

  _Foreman._--"We find the prisoner not guilty, on the ground of

We repeat emphatically our deep respect for the late Chief-Justice
Tindal, and for his brethren who sate beside him on this momentous
occasion; and we also acknowledge the weight due to the observation of
Mr Townsend, that "none can form so correct an estimate of the facts
proved, and their illustration by science, as those who actually saw
what was going on; and the three able Judges who presided seem to have
been fully impressed with the conviction that the prisoner ought not to
be considered amenable to punishment for his act, being insensible, at
the time he committed it, that he was violating the law of God and man."

And, again, "It is far more just and merciful to take care alike of the
accused and of society, by confining in secure custody the doubtfully
conscious shedder of blood, than to incur the fearful hazard of putting
to death an irresponsible agent."[33] Nevertheless, we concur in the
unanimous opinion of the five law lords, expressed in their places
in Parliament--the Lord Chancellor, Lord Brougham, Lord Cottenham,
Lord Denman, Lord Campbell--that it would have been better to let the
trial proceed regularly to its conclusion. The whole facts of the case
demanded, not less than the theories of the medical witnesses, that
thorough sifting, and the application of that masterly and luminous
practical logic, which both the Solicitor-general and the Chief-Justice
were so pre-eminently capable of bestowing. If, after such a dealing
with the case, an acquittal on the ground of insanity should have
ensued, who could have gainsaid it? At present, see what a candid and
scientific writer on medical jurisprudence--as we have several times
observed, a strong favourer of the notion of moral insanity--has felt
himself compelled to place permanently on record,[34] with reference to
the acquittal of M'Naughten.

  "When we find a man lurking for many days together in a particular
  locality, having about him loaded weapons--watching a particular
  individual who frequents that locality--a man who does not face
  the individual and shoot him, but who coolly waits until he has an
  opportunity of discharging the weapon unobserved by his victim or
  others--the circumstances appear to show such a perfect adaptation
  of means to ends, and such a power of controlling his actions, that
  one is quite at a loss to understand why a plea of irresponsibility
  should be admitted, except upon the fallacious ground that no
  motive could be discovered for the act--a ground, however, which
  was not allowed to prevail in the case of Courvoisier, Francis, and
  the perpetrators of other atrocious crimes. Observe the lively
  sense of his danger, and of his rights and interests, as an accused
  person, exhibited by M'Naughten almost immediately after committing
  the act--when, fearful lest an inadvertent admission should be
  given in evidence against him, he said to the officer[35]--'_But
  you won't use this against me?_' Note the matter-of-fact astuteness
  with which he attended to his pecuniary interests in May and July;
  the total absence of any evidence of the existence of his delusions
  during his last sojourn in London; the presence of such proof of
  careful, deliberate, and too successful perpetration, as to time,
  opportunity, and means; his expression in November towards Sir
  Robert Peel--'D----n him!' But, above all, is to be noted the time
  when he first gives utterance to anything directly and cogently
  favouring the notion on which his life depended--his insane
  delusion with regard to Sir Robert Peel--viz., after he had been
  for some time incarcerated in Newgate, and when he knew that he
  was being examined by a physician, in order to ascertain what had
  been his state of mind at the time in question! Dr Munro has there
  recorded it.[36] He said--'Mr Salmond, the Procurator-Fiscal, Mr
  Sheriff Bell, Mr Sheriff Alison, and _Sir Robert Peel_, might have
  put a stop to this system of persecution if they would!' ... 'We
  _were afraid of going out after dark for fear of assassination_:
  that individuals were made to appear before him like them he had
  seen in Glasgow.' ... 'That _he imagined the person at whom he
  fired at Charing Cross_ to be one of the crew--a part of the system
  that was destroying his health. He observed, that, _when he saw
  the person at Charing Cross at whom he fired_, every feeling of
  suffering which he had endured for months and years rose up at once
  in his mind, and that he conceived that he should obtain peace by
  killing him.'"

Surely it would have conduced--especially in the painful excitement
of the public mind on the subject at the time--to the satisfactory
administration of justice, if it had been allowed Sir William
Follett--without his being placed in the insidious position of
appearing to press unduly against a prisoner being tried for his
life--to combine and contrast these various circumstances, as he, of
almost all men, could have best combined and contrasted them. The jury
should have had their minds solemnly and authoritatively directed to
the question, for instance, whether this last observation of M'Naughten
made to Dr Munro was a spontaneous, genuine indication of utterly
subverted mental faculties, continuing from the moment of his shooting
Mr Drummond; or an effort of anxious astuteness to give effect to
the suggestion which he may have believed would save his life. And,
moreover, this and other circumstances should have been accompanied
by a direction to the jury, in accordance with that of Lord Denman in
Oxford's case,[37] and with the following canon, subsequently laid
down by the Judges in their answer to the first question proposed by
the Lord Chancellor[38]--viz., "That notwithstanding the party did the
act with a view, under insane delusion, of _redressing_ or _revenging
some supposed grievance or injury_, he is nevertheless punishable,
if he knew at the time that he was acting contrary to the law of the
land." Could M'Naughten be again tried on this charge, this is the
precise question which would be left to the jury. Mr Alison, in his
_Principles of the Criminal Law of Scotland_,[39] thus lays down the
rule applicable to such cases, in commenting on that of Bellingham:--

  "Unquestionably, the mere fancying a series of injuries to have
  been received will not serve as an excuse for murder--for this
  plain reason, that, supposing it true that such injuries had been
  received, they would have furnished no excuse for the shedding of
  blood. On the other hand, however, such an illusion as depriving
  the pannel of the sense that _what he did was wrong_ amounts to
  legal insanity, though he was perfectly aware that murder in
  general was a crime."

Responsibility more awful than is devolved upon all parties to the
judicial investigation of this question can scarcely be imagined.
A deliberate and thorough investigation of every--even the
minutest--circumstance adduced, guided steadily by correct legal
principles, is demanded imperiously by justice. Difficult--almost
hopeless--as may be the attempt to grope into the turbid mind of a
madman, to ascertain its true condition at a given moment of time, the
attempt _must_ be made, a decision _must_ be pronounced--distinguishing
between real and simulated imbecility or madness--between irresponsible
insanity and responsible eccentricity. These are questions, we repeat,
of infinite importance, of great difficulty; and the interests of the
entire community, and of individual members of it, demand a steady
adherence to the principles of a humane and enlightened jurisprudence.
Recent dreadful instances have served to remove several sources of
dangerous error, in dealing with these cases of criminal jurisprudence.
No one dare now infer madness from the mere _absence of motive_, and
from the _very enormity of the act committed_; nor accord immunity
to the fancied victim of "_uncontrollable impulse_." That is, at all
events, a point gained in favour of society. In England, at all events,
we sternly repudiate this last sickly and spurious theory, which would
place the innocent and virtuous entirely at the mercy of the most base
and ruffianly impulses of our fallen nature. It would relax all the
bonds of self-restraint, and afford a premium on the indulgence of
ungovernable passions.

The recent lamentable case of Robert Pate affords a valuable
illustration of the truth of these remarks; and Mr Baron Alderson's
charge to the jury not only conduced to the firm administration of
justice in the particular case, but was calculated to be of great and
permanent public service, by dispelling the morbid and mischievous
notions which have latterly prevailed, and exhibiting expressively the
stern simplicity and common sense of English law. On the 27th June
last, a gentleman, who had only recently sold his commission in the
10th Hussars, and was residing as a gentleman of fortune in London,
suddenly struck her Majesty on the forehead a violent blow with a
cane, which actually caused blood to flow! He could give no account
of his reason for committing this unmanly and infamous outrage; but
the defence set up for him was, simply, uncontrollable impulse; and
evidence was adduced certainly showing him to be of a very eccentric
character, and actuated by strange whims and delusions. He was tried
on the 12th July last at the Old Bailey, before Baron Alderson, under
statute 5 and 6 Vict. c. 51, § 2.[40] The indictment contained three
counts, charging him with striking the Queen "with an offensive
weapon--that is, a stick," with intent (1st) to injure her person;
(2d) to alarm her; (3d) to break the public peace. Again came the
doctors--one speaking of "some strange sudden impulse, which he was
quite unable to control;" and the other confidently pronouncing the
prisoner to have been insane. The jury convicted the prisoner on the
first and third counts, which the Judge told them had been clearly made
out by evidence, discarding the defence of insanity; and the following
was the summing-up of Mr Baron Alderson, in strict accordance with the
principles laid down in 1843 by the Judges[41]:--

  "The law throws on the prisoner the _onus_ of proving that, at the
  time the offence was committed, he was in an unsound state of mind;
  and you will have to say, after hearing my explanation of the law,
  whether this has been made out to your satisfaction. In the first
  place, you must clearly understand that it is not because a man is
  insane that he is unpunishable: and I must say, that _upon this
  point there exists a very grievous delusion in the minds of medical
  men_. The only insanity which excuses a man for his acts is that
  species of delusion which conduced to, and drove him to commit,
  _the act alleged against him_. If, for instance, a man, being under
  the delusion that another man would kill him, killed that other,
  for, as he supposed, his own protection, he would be unpunishable
  for such an act; because it would appear that the act was done
  under the delusion that he could not protect himself in any other
  manner: and there the particular description of insanity conduced
  to the offence. But, on the other hand, if a man has a delusion
  that his head is made of glass, that will be no excuse for his
  killing a man. He would know very well that, although his head were
  made of glass, that was no reason why he should kill another man,
  and that it was a wrong act; and he would be properly subjected to
  punishment for that act. These are the principles which ought to
  govern the decision of juries in such cases. They ought to have
  clear proof of a formed disease of the mind--a disease existing
  before the act was committed, and which made the person accused
  incapable of knowing, at the time he did the act, that it was a
  wrong act for him to do. This is the rule which I shall direct you
  to be governed by. Try the case by this test. Did this unfortunate
  gentleman know, at the time, that it was wrong to strike the
  Queen on the forehead? Now, there is no doubt that he was very
  eccentric in his conduct; but did that eccentricity disable him
  from judging whether it was right or wrong to strike the Queen?
  Is _eccentricity_ to excuse a man for any crime he may afterwards
  commit? The prisoner is proved to have been perfectly well aware of
  what he had done immediately afterwards, and in the interview which
  he had had since with one of the medical gentlemen, he admitted
  that he knew perfectly well what he had done, and ascribed his
  conduct to some momentary uncontrollable impulse. The law does
  not acknowledge such an impulse, if the person was aware that it
  was a wrong act he was about to commit; and he is answerable for
  the consequences. A man might say that he picked a pocket from
  some uncontrollable impulse; and in that case, the law would have
  an uncontrollable impulse to punish him for it. What evidence
  is there, then, in this case to justify you in coming to the
  conclusion, that when the prisoner struck the Queen he did not know
  it was a wrong act--in fact, that what he was doing was wrong?--[Mr
  Baron Alderson then read over the whole of the evidence for the
  defence, commenting upon it as he proceeded.]--That the prisoner is
  an object of commiseration is quite clear; and that he should also
  have been taken better care of is equally true: but the question
  you have here to decide is, Are you satisfied that, at the time,
  he was suffering from a disease of the mind which rendered him
  incapable of judging whether the act he committed towards the Queen
  was a right or a wrong act for him to do? If you are not satisfied
  of this fact, you must say that he is guilty; but if you think he
  was not aware what he was about, or not capable of distinguishing
  between right and wrong, you will then say that he is not guilty,
  on the ground of _insanity_."

If the case of M'Naughten had been thoroughly tried out--if the medical
witnesses, above all, had been checked, and restrained within their
proper province, as they were by Baron Alderson--and if the summing
up by the Chief-Justice had been in accordance with that of Baron
Alderson in Pate's case--we do not venture to say what would have been
the result: but whatever it might have been, it would have satisfied
the country. Whether, at the moment when M'Naughten took out his
long-prepared pistol, and, after a fortnight's watching, fancied he
had found Sir Robert Peel, and deliberately shot his victim in the
back--whether M'Naughten was, at that awful moment, insanely ignorant
of what he was doing--utterly unaware that he was doing wrong--is a
question which there exist no longer any human means of determining;
but it is open to us to examine the principles applicable to such an
investigation in a court of criminal justice.

Upwards of seven years have elapsed since the trial of M'Naughten,
and upwards of ten years since that of Oxford; and both of them are
at the present moment inmates of Bethlehem Hospital. Since commencing
this article, we have been permitted, through the courtesy of the
acute and able physician to whom the superintendence of that important
institution has been for some years intrusted, to see and converse with
the two persons with whose fate we have herein so anxiously concerned
ourselves. Neither knew of our going; and we were accompanied by the
gentleman in question.

M'Naughten was standing in the courtyard, dressed in the costume of
the place, (a pepper-and-salt jacket and corduroy trousers,) with
his hat on, knitting. He looks about forty years old, and in perfect
health. His features are regular, and their expression is mild and
prepossessing. His manner is tranquil. Usually he wears his hat
somewhat slouched over his eyes, and sidles slowly away from any one
approaching him, as if anxious to escape observation; but on this
occasion he at once entered into conversation with our companion,
calmly and cheerfully, and afforded us a full opportunity of watching
him. Had we seen him casually elsewhere, and as a stranger, we should
have thought his countenance indicative of a certain sort of cheerful
quiet humour, especially while he was speaking; but to us it seemed
certainly to exhibit a feeble intellect, shown chiefly by a faint
flickering smile, even when he was speaking on the gravest subjects.
When asked what had brought him where he was, he replied, "_Fate_."
"And what is fate?" "The will of God--or perhaps," he added quickly,
"of the devil--or it may be of both!" and he half-closed his eyes, and
smiled.--[The reader will bear in mind what was deposed at the trial,
as to his infidel tendencies.[42]]--When told that Sir Robert Peel was
dead, he betrayed no emotion, nor exhibited the slightest interest.
"One should have thought that, considering what has happened, you would
have felt some interest in that gentleman." He looked rather quickly
at the speaker, and said calmly, with a faint smile, "It is quite
useless to talk to me on _that_ subject: you know quite well I have
long and long ago made up my mind never to say one word about it. I
never have, and I never will; and so it would be quite childish to put
any questions."[43] ... "How are you, M'Naughten?" He slightly sighed,
and said, "I am very uncomfortable. I am very ill-used here; there is
somebody [or something] always using me ill here. It is really too
bad! I have spoken about it many, many times; but it is quite useless.
I wish I could get away from this place! If I could just get out of
this place, and go back to Glasgow, my native place, it is all I would
ask for: I should be quite well there! I shall never be well or happy
_here_, for there is always some one ill-using me here." "Well, but
what do they do to you?" "Oh," shaking his head, and smiling, "they
are always doing it; really it is too bad." "Who are they?" "Oh, I am
always being ill-used here! My only wish now is, to get away from this
place! If I could only once get to Glasgow, my native place!" This
is the continual burthen of his song. It is needless to say that his
complaints are altogether unfounded: he is treated with the utmost
kindness consistent with his situation; and, as he has never exhibited
violence nor ill-behaviour, it has never been necessary to resort to
personal coercion, with one exception. Two or three years ago, he
took it into his head that, as he could not get away, he would starve
himself; and he persevered for such a length of time in refusing all
kind of food that he began to lose flesh fast. At length he was told by
the physician that, since he would not eat voluntarily, he must be made
to eat; and it was actually necessary to feed him for a considerable
time mechanically, by means of the stomach pump. Under this treatment
he presently regained his flesh, in spite--as it were--of himself; and
at length suffered himself to be laughed out of his obstinacy, and has
ever since taken his food voluntarily. He seemed himself to be tickled
by a sense of the absurdity of which he was guilty. Not a doubt of
his complete insanity was entertained by my acute companion, who has
devoted much observation to the case. Shortly after we had quitted
him, and were out of his sight, he put away his knitting, placed his
hands in his jacket pockets, and walked very rapidly to and fro, his
face bent on the ground; and he was apparently somewhat excited.
Whatever may have been the state of M'Naughten at the time to which our
inquiries have been directed in this article, we entertain little, if
any doubt, that he is now in an imbecile condition.

Oxford was in another part of the building, standing alone, at the
extremity of a long corridor, gazing through a heavily-grated window,
towards the new Houses of Parliament. His hat was on; he was dressed
like M'Naughten, and his jacket was buttoned. We scarcely recognised
him, owing to the change of his dress. He is fond of attracting the
notice of anybody; and conversed about himself and his offence in
the most calm and rational manner conceivable. He has lost much of
his hair--a circumstance which he appeared somewhat to regret--for
the front of his head is bald; but he looks no older than his real
age, thirty. He is mortally weary of his confinement, and says he
has been terribly punished for "his foolish act." "_Foolish!_" we
exclaimed--"is _that_ all you can say of your attempt to shoot her
Majesty?" He smiled, and said, "Oh, sir, _I_ never attempted to shoot
her; I never thought of such a thing. I aimed at the carriage-panels
only." "Then why did you put balls in your pistols?" "I never did,"
he replied quickly. "I never dreamed of such a thing. There were no
balls." "Oh, then you have not heard of the discovery that has just
been made--eh?" "Discovery--what?" "The bullets." "Oh, there have been
more found than ever _I_ used at least; for I assure you I never used
any!" "What made you do what you did?" "Oh, I was a fool; it was just
to get myself talked about, and kick up a dust. _A good horse-whipping
was what I wanted_," he added, with a faint sigh. These were his very
words. "Should you have done it, if you had thought of coming _here_?"
"No, indeed I should not; it has been a severe punishment!... I dare
say public opinion says nothing about me now; I dare say it thinks I
have got what I very well deserve--and perhaps I have; but possibly if
I were put quietly out of the way, and sent abroad somewhere, public
opinion might take no notice of it." He has taught himself French,
Italian, and German, of which he has a fair knowledge. He also used
to draw a little, and began to write a novel; but it proved a sorry
affair, and, being discouraged, he threw it up. "Do you recollect
hearing the condemned sermon preached to Courvoisier?" "Oh, yes, very
well. It was a most excellent sermon." "Did Courvoisier seem to attend
to it?" "Oh yes, very much; and he seemed very much affected. It was
certainly a very appropriate sermon; I liked it much." "Did not you
think that it might soon be your fate to sit where he was?" "What, in
the condemned seat?" "Yes." "Oh, no; that never occurred to me. I never
expected to be condemned for high treason. Some gentleman--I forget
who he was--said I should be transported for fourteen years. I thought
that was the worst they could do to me; for I knew I had never meant to
do any harm, nor tried to do it." "Yes; but the judge and jury thought
very differently." "Oh, I was very fairly tried; but I never expected
to be brought in _mad_. I was quite surprised at _that_, for I knew I
was not mad, and I wondered how they were going to prove it." We asked
him if he had ever seen _us_; to which he replied, gazing steadily,
"Yes, I think I have--either at the Privy Council, or in Newgate
Chapel." "Where did you sit on the Sunday when the condemned sermon
was preached to Courvoisier?" "I sate on the steps near the altar."
"How were you dressed?" "Oh, a blue surtout, with velvet collar;" and
he proceeded to describe his dress almost exactly as we have described
it at the commencement of the article. He exhibits considerable
cleverness: whatever he does, whether in playing at fives, or working,
(_e. g._ making gloves, &c.) he does far better than any one else, and
shows considerable tact and energy in setting his companions to work,
and superintending them. He admits that he committed a very great
offence in having done anything to alarm the Queen, and attributes
it entirely to a mischievous and foolish love of notoriety. He said,
"I thought it would set everybody talking and wondering;" but "never
dreamed of what would have come of it--least of all that I was to be
shut up all my life in _this_ place." ... "That list of conspirators,
and letters from them, that were found in your lodgings--were they not
real?" "Oh, no," he replied, with rather an anxious smile, "all mere
sham--only nonsense! There was never anything of the sort!" "Then, why
did you do it?" "It was only the folly of a boy; I wasn't nineteen
then--it was very silly no doubt." "And their swords and dresses, and
so forth--eh?" "Entirely nonsense! It was a very absurd joke. I did
not think it would come out so serious. I did not _appreciate_ the
consequences, or I never would have done it." The word "appreciate" he
used with a very marked emphasis.

We entertain no doubt whatever of his perfect sanity; _and, if so_, as
his crime was great, so his punishment is fearful.


[2] _Modern State Trials_: Revised and Illustrated, with Essays
and Notes. By WILLIAM C. TOWNSEND, Esq., M.A., Q.C., Recorder of
Macclesfield. In 2 vols. 8vo. Longman & Co. 1850.

[3] How must the following verses in the Psalms of the day have
effected him, if the wretched being were not too bewildered to
appreciate them!--"Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me, for I am
desolate and in misery. The sorrows of my heart are enlarged; O bring
thou me out of my troubles. Look upon my adversity and misery, and
forgive me all my sins."--Ps. xxv. 15, 16, 17. "O shut not up my soul
with the sinners, _nor my life with the blood-thirsty_."--Ps. xxvi. 9.
If the murderer's heart did not thrill when these last words were read
out by the chaplain, with fearful distinctness, it must have been the
only one that did not.

[4] He was subsequently respited, owing to the zealous interference of
some medical men, who succeeded in satisfying the Secretary of State of
the prisoner's insanity. See TAYLOR'S _Medical Jurisprudence_, p. 792.

[5] Ibid. p. 803-4.

[6] Rex _v_ Reynolds. Taylor's _Med. Jurisp._ p. 801.

[7] Vol. i. p. 320.

[8] Townsend, vol. i. p. 46.

[9] _Medical Jurisprudence_, p. 794, 3d edition. This is, in our
opinion, the best book extant on medical jurisprudence.

[10] Ibid. p. 798.

[11] "Is it not extraordinary," asked the learned Mr Barrington,
(_Observations on the Ancient Statutes_, p. 270,) "that the life of an
Englishman prosecuted by the crown should continue to depend upon the
critical construction of two absolute French words?" (fait _compasser_
out _imaginer_ la mort nôtre seigneur le roi.) There is practically no
force in these remarks, made nearly a century ago, as the words have a
perfectly defined and recognised legal signification, and which is that
mentioned above.

[12] His Majesty's noble demeanour--calm, courageous, and dignified--on
that agitating occasion, has always been justly applauded. The audience
was of course highly excited; and Mr Sheridan composed, on the spur of
the moment, the following addition to the National Anthem. It was sung
by Mrs Jordan thrice that evening:--

    "From every latent foe,
    From the assassin's blow,
          God shield the King!
    O'er him thine arm extend;
    For Britain's sake defend
    Our father, prince, and friend--
          God save the King!"

[13] Sir William Follett, (then Solicitor-general,) in addressing the
jury in prosecuting M'Naughten, alluded to the speech of Mr Erskine as
one of the most eloquent and able speeches, probably, that was ever
delivered at the bar.

[14] Adolphus's _Hist. of England_, vol. vii. p. 277.

[15] Townsend, vol. i. p. 104.

[16] At the Old Bailey, _rue_ is placed plentifully on the ledge of the
dock: whether in capital cases only, we do not know. The monster Maria
Manning furiously gathered the rue that lay before her, and flung it
amongst the counsel sitting at the table beneath her!

[17] Townsend, vol. i. p. 113.

[18] Opinions of the Judges, _ante_, p. 549.

[19] _Ante_, p. 549.

[20] Townsend, vol. i. p. 150.

[21] _Medical Jurisprudence_, p. 801.

[22] Townsend, p. 337.

[23] Townsend, vol. i. p. 338.

[24] Ibid. p. 345.

[25] We have heard high authorities strongly disapprove of the
conviction and execution of Bellingham; and it certainly appears
impossible to reconcile with true principles of jurisprudence the
different fates awarded to Bellingham and M'Naughten, supposing the
facts to be as alleged in each case. A military officer, present at
the execution of Bellingham, and very near the scaffold, told us that
he distinctly recollects Bellingham, while standing on the scaffold,
elevating one of his hands, as if to ascertain whether it were raining;
and he observed to the chaplain, in a very calm and natural tone and
manner, "_I think we shall have rain to-day!_"

[26] Townsend, vol. i. p. 398.

[27] _Ante_, p. 559.

[28] Townsend, vol. i. p. 396.

[29] Ibid. p. 400.

[30] It is said that the two physicians selected by Government to
examine the prisoner, in company with those who did so on behalf of
the defence, did not differ from them in opinion; and Mr Cockburn
taunted Sir William Follett with not having called them, though they
sate beside him in court. By that time Sir William Follett might have
seen, during the progress of the trial, sufficient to make him distrust
medical evidence altogether, come from whom it might!--Ibid. p. 378.

[31] Ibid. p. 400.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Townsend, vol. i. p. 325.

[34] Taylor's _Medical Jurisprudence_, p. 799.

[35] _Ante_, p. 562.

[36] Townsend, vol. i. p. 395.

[37] _Ante_, p. 560.

[38] _Ante_, p. 549.

[39] P. 658.

[40] _Ante_, p. 552.

[41] _Ante_, p. 549.

[42] _Ante_, p. 565.

[43] This he has always said, and has adhered to his resolution.


The literature of Germany at last shows signs of revival from the
torpor consequent on the late political convulsions, and the Leipzig
book-catalogue for Michaelmas 1850 is far more promising than any
of its predecessors since the revolutions of 1848. Out of a number
of meritorious German books that have recently come before us, we
have been much interested by the first instalment of a series of
_Zeitbilder_--sketches of German social and political life during the
second quarter of the present century. _Anna Hammer_ is certainly the
best we have seen of the numerous German novels of a political tendency
published within the last two years. Its object is the exposure, in
the course of a fictitious narrative, of the oppression and injustice
which, in many German states, the people have long endured; of the
wanton insolence of the military and aristocracy, the servility and
corruption of the courtiers and placemen, and the frequent tyranny of
the sovereigns. The book is a picture of misrule; and if, here and
there, high colouring may be suspected, on the other hand most of the
abuses shown up are but too real and notorious. It is written with
temper and moderation, and points to redress of grievances and to
constitutional government--not to subversion and anarchy. The author
is no experienced novelist, nor does he pretend to that character;
but he writes with a thorough knowledge of his subject, and also
with much spirit and dramatic effect, preferring short sentences and
pointed dialogue to the long-winded paragraphs and tedious narrative
common amongst the romance-writers of his country, to whom he has
evidently preferred for his models those of France and England. We
augur favourably of this escape from the trammels of custom, and hope
to see the example followed by others. In the present instance, the
result has been a very lively tale, more than one of whose chapters
would stand alone as detached and independent sketches of German life.
Annexed to the tolerably intricate plot, are episodical scenes, the
actors in which are dismissed without ceremony when they have fulfilled
the purpose of their introduction--this purpose being the exhibition
of the character and peculiarities of the classes they typify. Thus,
for instance, of the persons in the second chapter of the novel we hear
no more until the third volume; of some of them nothing is seen until
the closing scene of all, when they appear--without, however, being
dragged in--to figure in the final group on which the curtain falls.
There is certainly a want of art in the construction of _Anna Hammer_;
but this is in some degree atoned for by vividness and character, much
rarer qualities with German novelists. An idea of its merits will be
best conveyed by extract, for which it is well adapted by its abundant
incident and desultory nature. We commence with the opening pages, a
graphic sketch of garrison life.

On a warm April afternoon, three cavalry officers were seated together
in the only inn of a small German town. Two of them sat at the table.
One of these had one leg crossed over the other; his companion had
both legs stretched out at full length before him. The third sat at
the window. All three were smoking; two of them cigars, the third a
huge meerschaum pipe. All three were silent. He whose legs were crossed
played with his spur, and spun the rowel till it rang again. Number
Two gazed at his great pipe, and at the clouds that he puffed from it.
Number Three looked through the window at the clouds which the wind
drove across the sky.

A weary life is that of cavalry officers in small garrisons. One
hour of the twenty-four is passed in the riding-school; another in
drilling recruits; a quarter of an hour is consumed in inspection of
stables--and then the day's work is done, and all the other hours are
before them, vacant, but heavy as lead. Only one squadron is there;
it comprises, at most, but four or five officers. These were at the
military school together. Their subjects of conversation--horses and
dogs, women, and the army-list--are long since worn out. The nearest
garrison is too remote for friendly visits. With non-commissioned
officers, discipline and etiquette forbid their association. The
little town affords them no society. The small, quiet, and often
narrow-minded family circle of burghers and officials shuns intimacy
with the officers. They meet them at the tavern and bowling-alley, and
at the club, if there is one: in public places, with their wives and
children, they do not willingly consort with them; and in their houses
they receive them not. There are certainly a few noble families in the
neighbourhood; but these are not all sociable; and those who would
gladly be hospitable have been too much so, and can be so no longer.
Now and then comes an invitation to a shooting party--but there is no
shooting in April.

The three officers--all lieutenants and young men, of graceful figures
and energetic countenances--sat for a long while still and silent. The
postman entered the low-roofed apartment. He laid upon the table the
latest newspaper from the capital, and departed, without a word. The
officers neither moved nor spoke. At last one of them stretched out his
arm and took up the paper, slowly, almost mechanically; the two others
gave no heed. The former glanced over the paper,--beginning at the last
page, with the deaths, marriages, and advertisements. In a few minutes
he had got to the end--that is to say, to the beginning--and he threw
the paper lazily upon the table.

"Nothing new!" said he, gaping; and again he twirled his spur-rowel.

"As usual!" said his neighbour.

The third took no notice.

For a while longer they sat mute and motionless, till the cigars were
finished, and the meerschaum-bowl smoked out. Fresh cigars were then
lighted, and again the pipe was filled. At the same time the officers
rose from their seats, and took a few steps through the apartment.

"Slow work!" said one.

"Damned slow!" replied another. The third looked wearily at his boots.
Then they all three relapsed into their seats and their silence.

The sun set. Its last rays illumined the shifting masses of cloud,
which piled themselves up into fantastical forms, displaying rich
variety of tint. It grew dark in the dingy tavern-room. The clouds from
the great meerschaum could scarcely be discerned. The ennui increased.

A waiter brought in two dimly-burning tallow candles, and placed them
upon the table. The ennui did not diminish.

The tramp of horses was heard without. It came down the street, in the
direction of the tavern. The countenances of the three officers became

"Can it be the captain back already?" cried one, half surprised.

"Impossible; though he rode like the very devil, he could not be back
for another hour."

"But there are two horses, an officer's and his servant's; I know it by
sound of hoof."

The third officer looked round at the two speakers. "It is not the
captain," he said positively. "The captain's black charger has a
lighter tread. Yonder officer's horse goes heavily."

They all rose and went to the window. Two horsemen rode slowly up the
street; one at an interval of a few paces behind the other.

"By Jove! an officer and his servant!" said one of the lieutenants.

The other nodded assent.

"Who can it be? Whither can he be going?"

None could answer the questions.

The foremost rider drew rein before the house. "Is this an inn?"
demanded he through the open door. Host, waiter, hostler, all stumbled
out together.

"May it so please you!" replied the host, humbly.

Meanwhile the officer's servant had ridden up and jumped from his
horse. The officer also dismounted. The hostler would have taken his
bridle. The officer pushed him back so roughly, that he staggered and
fell. "Clown, how dare you touch my horse?"

The servant took the bridle from his master, and gave the unfortunate
hostler a kick in the rear as he rose to his legs.

"Does your lordship propose to remain here?" inquired the innkeeper, in
a tone of deep submission.

The officer answered not. He patted his horse on neck and shoulder.
Then he turned round to the host and said, briefly and imperiously, "A

The three officers within doors looked at each other with increasing

"Do you know him? Who is he?" asked one of them.

He was unknown to all of them.

"He wears the uniform of our regiment!" remarked another.

"That is unaccountable," said the third, shaking his head.

"The horse is nothing extraordinary: a mere campaigning beast."

"You would have him knock up his best chargers, I suppose? They have
ridden far. The horses show that."

The room door opened.

"Be so obliging as to step in here for a short time," said the
innkeeper. "Your apartment shall be got ready immediately. Here you
will find some gentlemen comrades."

The stranger officer entered. He was a tall, slender, and yet powerful
man, with features delicately chiselled, and an air of insolent
superciliousness in his whole bearing and appearance. He greeted the
occupants of the room with engaging courtesy.

"Ah! comrades!" said he, "I have the honour to introduce myself--Prince
of Amberg! I am transferred to your regiment--to this squadron. I
recommend myself to your friendship and good fellowship!"

The senior of the three officers continued the introduction: "Von der
Gruben; Von Martini; my name is Count Engelhart. We are delighted to
make a good comrade welcome." They shook hands.

"May I inquire," said Prince Amberg, "where the captain is, that I may
report myself to him? Duty before everything."

"The captain is on an excursion in the neighbourhood, to visit an
acquaintance," replied Count Engelhart. "We expect him back in about
an hour. He will alight here. I am senior lieutenant of the squadron,"
added he, smiling.

"Then, meanwhile, I report myself to you," replied the Prince.

With a slight smile upon their faces, the two officers interchanged
military salutes.

"Excuse me, for a short half-hour," said Prince Amberg. "After four
days' fatiguing ride, I feel the necessity of attention to my toilet.
_Au revoir._" And he left the room.

Whilst the Prince embellished his elegant person, the trio of
lieutenants laid their heads together to conjecture the causes that had
brought him, the model courtier, the butterfly guardsman, the pet of
the court ladies, the most brilliant ornament of the court circle, from
the attractive capital to their tedious country garrison. The change
was too disadvantageous for it possibly to be the consequence of his
own caprice or inclination. On his reappearance he volunteered, over a
bowl of champagne punch, the desired information. He was in disgrace
at court, in consequence of a trifling indiscretion. One of his new
comrades immediately guessed what this was. Martini remembered to have
seen in the newspaper an account of a scandalous frolic in a public
garden, where a number of young officers of aristocratic families
had grossly insulted the wives and daughters of the citizens. But
Martini's mention of this incident was the signal for the laughter of
his friends, who jeered him for his simplicity, and scouted the idea of
a nobleman falling into disgrace because he had made free with a few
prudish plebeians. A similar affair that had occurred at a masquerade,
and which was attended by circumstances of gross indecency, was also
treated as an excellent joke. If they could not divert themselves
at the expense of the bourgeoisie, Prince Amberg said, what became
of the distinction of ranks? The matters in question had furnished
high amusement to the whole court: the ladies had laughed heartily
behind their fans at the transgressors' glowing descriptions of the
consternation and scandal they had caused; and the reigning prince,
whom Amberg irreverently designated as "the old gentleman," took no
heed of the matter, nor of the muttered discontent of the insulted
burgesses. No; his disgrace was certainly for a trifling offence, but
not for such harmless drolleries as these. At church, one day, he
had ventured to remark to a lady of the household that she held her
prayer-book upside down. The lady, who would fain have passed for a
devotee, taxed him with impertinence, and with taking her perpetually
for a butt; the pious portion of the court took up the matter, talked
of irreligious levity in holy places, and the upshot of the whole was
his condemnation to exile in country quarters.

Meanwhile arrivals took place at the inn. The officers' attention
was excited by the entrance of a slender, sickly-looking youth of
nineteen or twenty, bearing a knapsack and a harp, and accompanied
by a dark-eyed maiden of fifteen. These were Bernard Hammer and his
sister Anna. The first glance at the young girl's blooming countenance
suggested to the profligate Amberg a plan of seduction. Whilst he
paid his court to Anna, Martini and Gruben took off the brother's
attention, plied him with punch, professed sympathy and friendship, and
inquired his history and that of his family. Bernard and his sister,
it appeared, were not itinerant musicians, as their humble garb and
pedestrian mode of traveling had led the officers to believe. Their
father, a skilful professor of music, had taught them to play upon the
harp, and Anna, grateful for the seemingly disinterested kindness of
Prince Amberg, did not refuse, weary though she was, to gratify him by
the display of her skill. Meanwhile the others questioned her brother.

"My story will be very short," said the Young man. "We are three in
family. My eldest sister was married young to a worthy and prosperous
man, and by this union the happiness of all of us seemed insured.
Suddenly she experienced a terrible affliction--"

He paused. "Well?" said Von Gruben, encouragingly. The youth opened his
lips to continue.

"Bernard!" exclaimed his sister in a warning voice. She had ceased
playing, and, amidst the flatteries and compliments of the Prince, her
first glance was for her brother. Her quick ear seemed to have caught
his words. Or had she a presentiment of what he was about to say?

The brother started, and the words he was on the point of uttering
remained unspoken.

Von Gruben's curiosity, previously feigned, was now strongly excited.
"You were about to say--?" he observed. Martini's attention had been
attracted by the maiden's exclamation. He, too, approached Bernard, who
quickly recovered himself, and continued.

"My brother-in-law," he said, "is lost to my unhappy sister. She has
no longer a husband. Spare me the details. They would be too agitating
for myself and my little sister. His daughter's grief hurried my
father to his grave. It bound his children the closer together. My old
infirm mother, my poor sister with her child, and I, have since then
lived inseparable, supporting ourselves by the labour of our hands. My
sister works with her needle; I draw patterns for manufacturers and
embroiderers. Unfortunately, my sister's health has lately given way,
and therefore have I now been to fetch home Anna, who has hitherto
dwelt with a distant relative. She will take charge of our little
household, and nurse our old mother, now nearly bed-ridden."

"Much misery, great cause for grief, is there not, my dear Gruben?"
said Martini, twisting his mustache. Then filling the glasses, he drank
with Martini and the stranger. Count Engelhart sat motionless behind
the punch-bowl, smoking his great meerschaum pipe.

Bernard Hammer's great ambition was to become a painter. He was an
enthusiast for art. Whilst his perfidious entertainers kept his glass
constantly full, and riveted his attention by their conversation and
generous promises, Prince von Amberg, by dint of infernal cunning and
of artifices whose real object the simple-minded girl--as yet scarcely
emerged from childhood--could not even remotely suspect, inveigled
Anna from the apartment. Her departure was unperceived by her
brother. Presently, in a lull of the conversation, a scream was heard,
proceeding from the upper part of the house. Bernard started up in
alarm. The officers would fain have persuaded him to remain, alleging
a squabble amongst the servants, when just then the cry was repeated.
This time there was no mistaking the sound. It was a woman's voice, its
shrillness and power doubled by terror, screaming for aid.

"My sister!" cried Bernard Hammer, and with one bound he was out of
the room. Several persons--the host, the hostess, and other inmates of
the house--were assembled in the corridor. They looked up the stairs,
and seemed uncertain whether or not to ascend. Young Hammer rushed
through them, and sprang up stairs. A door was violently pulled open.
His sister darted out, her countenance distorted and pale as a corpse.
"Wretch! monster! Save me!" she shrieked. Close behind her came Prince
Amberg. He appeared quite calm, although his finely-cut features were
slightly pale. A supercilious smile played upon his lips.

Anna Hammer flew into her brother's arms. "Save me, Bernard," she
cried. "The wretch, the fiend!" She shook like a leaf. Prince Amberg
would have passed on, but Bernard let his sister go, and confronted him.

"Sir!" he cried, "what have you done to my sister? What insult have you
offered to the child? Answer for yourself! Give me satisfaction!"

The Prince laughed. "Satisfaction! Ask the little strumpet herself what
ails her."

"Strumpet! Sir, you stir not hence!" And he grasped the Prince fiercely
by the breast. Amberg would have shaken off his hold. The uniform
coat was torn in the struggle, and Bernard received a blow in the
face from his adversary. But it seemed as if the sickly youth were
suddenly endowed with superhuman strength. He seized the Prince with
both hands, and shook him till the strong vigorous officer almost lost
consciousness. Then he threw him down upon the ground.

The other officers had followed young Hammer, and came hurrying up
stairs. They tore him from above the panting Prince.

"Knave! clown!" And Gruben and Martini struck at him with their fists.

"Befoul not your fingers with him," said Count Engelhart. "Leave him to
the men." And he pointed to a group of soldiers, now assembled at the

"You are right, comrade; the fellow is like a mad dog. It is out of his
power to disgrace our uniform."

Then the officers seized the young man, and with their united strength
threw him down stairs.

"Men! there is the strolling musician who dares assault your officers."

The soldiers received Bernard as he fell headlong down the staircase,
and dragged him forth with shouts of savage joy, shutting the
house-door behind them. The officers returned to their bowl of
cardinal, Prince Amberg previously changing his torn uniform. The
people of the house looked at each other in silence.

Anna Hammer had remained for a short time in a state of total
unconsciousness. She came to herself just as her brother was pushed
down the stairs. With a shriek, she flew after him. But she was too
late. The soldiers were already forth with their prize, and in vain she
shook the door, which was held from without.

In the street there arose a wild tumult; a chorus of shouts and curses,
blows and screams.

Notwithstanding her terrible anxiety, the young girl's strength was
soon exhausted by her fruitless efforts to open the door. She turned
despairingly to the host and hostess. "For the love of God's mercy,
save my poor brother! The savages will kill him. He is so weak, so

The innkeeper shrugged his shoulders. "What can we do against the
military?" he said.

"For the sake of my poor old mother!" implored the maiden. "For my
sister's sake! He is our sole support! Without him we perish! And he is
so good, so noble!"

The hostess went away, as though unable longer to support the spectacle
of the poor girl's despair. Her husband shrugged his shoulders
repeatedly. "The soldiery are too powerful. Often the officers
themselves cannot restrain them."

The noise outside increased. The voices grew louder and the cries
wilder--the scuffle more violent. Nothing could be distinguished of
what was going on. Suddenly, above the riot and tumult, young Hammer's
voice predominated. In a tone of heartrending agony and despair:
"Help!" he cried; "they are murdering me!"

There followed a violent fall upon the pavement, and a wild huzza
shouted by many voices. Then all was still as death.

"They have murdered him!" shrieked the maiden. "They have murdered my

She burst into the room in which the officers sat, and threw herself at
the feet of the first she saw. "Save, save! Oh, for heaven's love, save
my brother!"

"My little girl," quoth Lieutenant Martini in a tone of quiet
jocularity, "it strikes me you are not at all wanted here."

Just then the loud and cheerful notes of a post-horn resounded in front
of the house, and a carriage stopped at the door.

"A carriage at this late hour! Quite a day of adventures, I declare!"
yawned Count Engelhart.

The house door was heard to open. A few seconds later, that of the
public room was thrown wide, and a lady in an elegant travelling-dress
was ushered in by the host. She was tall, rather full than slender in
person, and apparently about five-and-twenty. Her complexion was fresh,
her eyes were lively. Her air and bearing were those of the first

On her entrance Prince Amberg sprang from his seat in astonishment.
"Frau von Horberg! Your ladyship, what an unhoped-for pleasure!"

"You here, Prince!--how unexpected a meeting!"

Anna Hammer rose to her feet. The thought of a last possible chance
of succour and mercy flashed through her soul when she saw that the
stranger was acquainted with the prince. Throwing herself before her,
she clasped her knees. "Oh, most gracious lady," implored she, "have
compassion on my poor brother: say one word for him to the gentleman,
that he may free him from the soldiers' hands."

"Will the little toad be gone!" exclaimed Prince Amberg, stepping
forward. Then, turning to the lady--"A harp-player, an impudent
stroller, who has been making a disturbance here with her brother."

"Ah, fie!" cried the lady, and pushed the young girl from her with a
sort of loathing--not with her hand, but with her foot.

Anna Hammer stood up. Feelings of inexpressible grief and bitterness
crowded upon her young heart. At that moment she felt herself no longer
a child. One hour's events had converted her into a woman. She cast a
glance of scorn at the lady, at the officer. Then she silently left the
room. She crossed the empty entrance hall, and passed through the open
door into the street. Here all was still; not a living creature was
to be seen. An icy wind blew. She sought around. A moonbeam, forcing
its way through the scudding clouds, revealed to her a dark form lying
along the side of the street. She approached this object. It was her
brother; he was covered with blood, and did not stir. She threw herself
upon his body. He still breathed.

Poor, unhappy sister!

At that moment an officer rode up. He drew bridle at the tavern door,
dismounted, gave his horse to the orderly who followed him, and entered
the house.

In the public room sat Prince Amberg, conversing with the lady in the
familiar tone of old acquaintanceship. On the officer's entrance he
sprang from his chair, buckled on his sabre in a twinkling, clapped his
dragoon helmet upon his head, and stepped forward with all the rigid
decorum of military discipline. "Captain, I report myself--Lieutenant
Prince Amberg, appointed to your squadron!"

Habitual readers of German novels will assuredly deem _Anna Hammer_ a
great improvement on their usual ponderous style--a decided step in
the right direction. Whatever its faults, it has a vivacity not common
in German works of fiction. The above extracts, the beginning and
end of the first chapter, although sketchy, and hurried, and reading
as if written at a scamper, without much artistical finish, are very
effective, and exhibit touches of acute observation and quiet humour.
We like novels that at once plunge the reader into action and bustle,
and crowd the stage with characters. Explanatory introductions and
parenthetical explanations are alike odious. The author of _Anna
Hammer_ avoids both, and carries out his plan and shows off his
personages by dialogue and incident. We have already remarked on his
propensity abruptly to discard characters, whose careful introduction
led the reader to expect their reappearance. Thus we thought to have
again met with the three smoking lieutenants, but it seems they served
their turn in the single chapter in which they are held up as examples
of the brutality and depravity of their class. They are left to their
pipes and their ennui, to their dull German newspaper, and their duller
country inn. Even Prince Amberg, the profligate favourite of the
equally profligate heir to the crown, is brought forward but once more,
under mysterious circumstances, whose explanation is left in great
measure to the reader's imagination. Madame von Horberg plays a rather
more important, but still a subordinate part in the story, whose chief
interest turns upon the courage and self-devotion of Anna Hammer. We
shall not trace the plot in detail, which would spoil the interest to
those who may read the book. Before glancing at its general outline,
we proceed to further extract, and for that purpose need not go beyond
the second chapter, which is in itself a little drama of considerable
interest. It is entitled--


It was early upon a bright morning. The farmer's servants had long
betaken themselves, with plough, and harrow, and horses, to their
labour in the fields. The women had swept and cleaned hall and kitchen,
and were dispersed at their work--some in the garden, digging and
planting, others in the wash-house, or in the rooms where provisions
for the winter were stored. The cows in the great stable had already
been milked, and received their fresh fodder. At an early hour the
farmer had exchanged his jacket for a coat, taken hat and stick, and
gone out: he had not yet returned.

The mistress of the house went round the extensive tenements, to see
if all were in order. She was a tall, robust, vigorous woman, about
forty years old, fresh and comely, and still handsome, although that
morning her countenance was grave and anxious, and her eye had an
uneasy glance. She inspected the kitchen, looked at the hearth, the
kettles, the ash-tub, the stock of wood for the day, the potatoes,
which were peeling for the midday meal, the shining array of pots and
pans. Then she went, followed by the kitchen-maid, into the adjacent
larder, and gave out meat and bacon for dinner. Thence she betook
herself to the dairy, and here there was a gleam of satisfaction in
her eye; but on leaving the room, as she gave one more glance at the
numerous brown bowls with their rich white contents, it faded away,
and was replaced by earnestness, almost by grief. From the dairy she
went to the spacious barn. It was so clean swept that a needle might
have been found on the floor. On either hand was a stable; to the
right for the horses, to the left for the cows. The former was nearly
empty; the animals were at work in the fields, with the exception of
some broodmares, which lay on clean straw with their foals beside them.
The cowhouse had more occupants. The white, brown, black and brindled
beasts stood in long rows at their cribs, smooth, shining, and well
fed, and munched the sweet-smelling hay. They all knew the housewife:
she patted them all in turn, although she did not, as was her wont,
speak caressingly to them, but went silently from one to the other.
Pleasure at the full and prosperous aspect of the stable struggled in
her features with some secret cause of grief.

Above the stables were a number of rooms; these contained the
provisions of hemp, flax, and yarn, and, above all, great store of
snow-white linen, from the coarse house linen up to the finest damask.
The sturdy farmer's wife had already set foot on the stairs, to ascend
and feast her eyes with her treasure; but she hastily turned away, back
into the kitchen, and thence into the farm-yard.

The farm-yard was large and roomy. On the one side stood the
farm-buildings; in their centre, separated from them by tolerably wide
intervals, was the snug farm-house, with its walls of dark bricks, and
its roof of bright red tiles, with green shutters to the windows, and
vines trailing over its southern and eastern sides. On either hand
were sheds for carts, sledges, ploughs, and other farm implements.
Opposite to the farm-house, in a smiling little garden, stood a smaller
dwelling, of even pleasanter aspect than its neighbour. This house,
then uninhabited, was to be the residence of the present owners of
the farm, when increase of years should induce them to resign its
management into the more vigorous hands of their children. Judging from
the robust aspect of the farmer's wife, that day was yet far distant.

A thick forest enclosed the farm on three sides. On the fourth, garden
and pasture and arable land stretched out in all directions, as far as
the eye could reach. The underwood in the forest was already bursting
into leaf, and the lofty beeches here and there put forth tender green
buds. The knotty branches of the huge oaks were still gray and bare.

Not far from the farm-house, where the ground rose a little, stood a
long table of white deal, surrounded by green branches, and canopied
by the spreading limbs of an elm. Near at hand were groups of
walnut-trees, and a few chestnuts, budding into white and pink blossom;
and a little farther five or six venerable oaks, which seemed to have
stemmed the storms of centuries, and to have witnessed the building
and decay of more than one farm-house, the growth and decline of many

The soft beams of the spring sun gave friendly greeting to the
housewife as she stepped out into the farm-yard, and a light breeze
wafted to her senses the fresh perfumes of awakening nature. Thousands
of birds sang and twittered exultingly amongst the trees; the
woodpecker tapped perseveringly at the dry branches of the oaks; and
over the house, from an almost invisible elevation, was heard the
joyous carol of the lark.

Two children came forth from the garden of the smaller house. A boy of
six or seven years old dragged a child's cart, in which sat a little
girl of three. Both were pictures of health and cheerfulness. The boy
sprang shouting to meet his mother, the cart rattling behind. With a
joyful "Good morning, mother!" he held out his hand. She pressed it,
then stooped down, took the little girl from the cart, kissed her and
put her upon the ground.

"You are early up this morning, dear children!" said she.

"Oh yes, mother," replied the boy, with childish unconcern. "Father
said yesterday this would likely be our last day here, so, before we
went, I thought to take little Margaret a ride round the garden."

"Good boy. But your father was not in earnest. We shall stay here
to-day and many another day besides."

"That is capital! Then I shall have a field to myself, and a strip of
meadow, and I can bring up the foal and calf which father gave me."

"That you can and shall do."

"And I shall have my chicken," cried little Margaret.

"You shall, my dear Margaret."

The woman went with the children into the garden, and sat down on a
bench in an arbour. There she took the little girl upon her lap, whilst
the boy stood beside her, and she gazed alternately at the substantial
farm-house and at the pleasant cottage close at hand.

"How dull you are to-day, mother; is anything the matter?" said the boy.

"Nothing, my child--it will pass away."

Through a wicket in the hedge, a countryman entered the farm-yard. He
looked about him on all sides, and when he saw the woman, he went up
to her.

"Good morning, neighbour. How goes it?"

"Good morning, neighbour. How should it go?"

"I see no preparations as yet. Is not the commissioner coming?"

"I believe not."

"Is your husband at home?"

"He is gone out."

"Do you really believe the gentlemen will not come? Do not rely upon
it. These are bad times."

"They _cannot_ come."

"Don't say that, neighbour. Who can tell what can or cannot happen

"Why prophesy evil, neighbour? Ill luck comes fast enough; there is no
need to invoke it."

"Well, well, don't be angry. I meant no offence. It is good to be
prepared for misfortune. And my word for it, these are bad times. The
humble are oppressed; the great nobles have the power; justice is no
more in the land--by the peasant, especially, it is never to be found.
The nobleman and the fisc are too powerful for him."

"But we have laws, neighbour; and the laws govern both rich and poor,
great and small."

"They should, they should! But what is the use of laws, when judges are
not honest? When bailiffs can squeeze us, and tax-gatherers cheat us,
without our daring to make a stir about it."

"But bailiffs and tax-gatherers have their superiors."

"Ay, but all are links of the same chain. All stand by each other.
They dine at each other's tables, and make each other presents. The
bailiff sends the best carriage-horses to the president's stables. The
president is a good friend of the minister's. And the nobleman is hand
and glove with all of them."

The woman rose from her seat. "It is breakfast-time, neighbour
Littlejohn; come in. My husband will soon be back."

They walked toward the farm-house. They were but a few paces from
the door, when two carriages drove into the yard, containing several
persons. On the box of one sat two gendarmes, and upon the other were
two officers of justice.

"There they are," exclaimed Littlejohn. "Keep up your heart, neighbour."

The woman's countenance worked convulsively for a moment, but she
quickly composed herself, and taking little Margaret in her arms, she
stood calm and silent before the door.

The gendarmes and officers got down from the box; the gentlemen
alighted from the carriages. One of the latter, a short, corpulent
person, approached the farmer's wife.

"I come upon a mournful errand, Mrs Oberhage!" said he in a tone of
sympathy, disagreeable because it did not sound sincere.

The woman neither stirred nor replied.

"Our duty, Mrs Oberhage--believe me, it is often very painful; but so
much so as on this occasion I never yet have known it to be."

The woman answered him not.

"Believe me, this is an unhappy day for me."

"To us you have never yet brought happiness, judge," said the woman

One of the other gentlemen now stepped forward. He was tall, thin, and
pompous, and had two orders upon his breast. The judge had but one, in
his button-hole.

"I think we will to business, _Herr Justizrath_," said he to the judge.

"Oh, gentlemen!" said the woman, still calm but earnest, "surely you
will wait. My husband is not yet here, nor our lawyer. I expect them
both immediately."

"What have we to do with either of them?" said the counsellor,[45]
carelessly. "The matter is settled, and admits of no alteration."

"The matter is not yet settled. The day is not yet over!" quickly
replied the woman.

"My good woman, I can make all allowance for your present mood, but
do not cause useless delay. Let us go into the house and begin, _Herr

"A little patience, Mrs Oberhage," said the judge, still more blandly
than before.

They went into the house. The other officials followed them. The
gendarmes remained outside.

Meanwhile, a number of neighbours had arrived at the farm, their
countenances expressing the warmest sympathy, mingled with feelings of
rage and bitterness--feelings which they did not scruple to express in
words, notwithstanding the presence of the gendarmes and men of law.

"So it has come to earnest at last, gossip Oberhage," said an old
peasant. "'Tis shame and scandal thus by main force to drive you from
house and home."

"Not yet, Father Hartmann!" said the woman, with great external calm.
"You know we have sent in a memorial. So long as all is not lost,
nothing is lost."

"True enough, but don't be too sure. The world has grown very bad.
Only see yonder false-hearted judge and insolent counsellor. They
it is who have brought the whole misfortune upon you, and now they
are not ashamed to come here and feast their eyes and ears with your

"Not with our lamentations!" said the woman, drawing herself up with a
feeling of pride and courage which would have done honour to a queen.
"It is God's truth," she continued, after a momentary pause, "that
these two men have done their utmost to drive us from the farm, on
which I and my husband, and my forefathers, have dwelt for now more
than two hundred years."

"Ay, ay," said the old peasant, "the little judge was heard to say,
as much as ten years ago, that there were records in the office which
would be your ruin if brought to light."

"He said as much to my husband, that he might buy the papers of him.
And when my husband would not, he came and tried it with me."

"And when you sent him about his business, he went and plotted with the
counsellor, who had then just arrived here from the capital, with an
appointment to the chamber. That is a bad fellow, neighbour Oberhage.
He has feeling for no man, nor for anything but fisc and taxes, impost
and extortion. There is not a farm in the district on which he has not
found means to lay new burthens. Day and night he rummages old records
and registers, to find out new rights for the exchequer, and new means
of oppressing the peasantry. And so he brought forward the old papers,
by which he makes out that your farm is the property of the sovereign.
The fat judge put him up to it."

"That the farm," said the woman by way of amendment, "_had_ belonged to
the sovereign, more than two hundred years ago. My ancestors bought it
of the government, and paid its price. My grandfather had the papers in
his possession, but at his death they were not to be found. My father
was away when he died, so the authorities scaled up the inheritance and
took charge of all documents. Amongst these were the papers proving the
purchase of the farm, and since then we have never seen them. It was
said they were not sealed up with the others, or that they got lost."

"The sly judge knows well enough where they are."

"Who can prove it? We told him as much, but he only laughed, and
threatened us with an action for slander. Thereupon they began
proceedings to turn us out of the farm. The old papers were accepted
as valid; all sorts of laws were brought forward--laws which the
sovereigns themselves had made; and they so twisted and turned the
matter that, at last, house and land were adjudged to the crown. There
is no justice for the poor peasant: justice in this country is a crying
scandal. The judges think only how best to be agreeable to the nobility
and the sovereign, that they may get a bit of ribbon, or an increase,
of salary, or a better place.

"But I have yet one hope left," continued the woman. "We have
addressed a memorial to his Highness, placing plainly before his
eyes the injustice that the tribunals have done us. We have told
him everything--how the judge wanted to bargain with us about the
documents, how he suppressed our papers, how he and the long-legged
counsellor laid their heads together, and plotted, and planned, and
bribed witnesses for our ruin. I expect the answer every minute. If
there be yet one spark of justice in our sovereign's heart, he cannot
and will not suffer them to expel us from our farm."

"Poor woman, build not too much upon _that_."

"But I do build upon it, for I have trust in God and in good men."

"In _good_ men. Good men have a heart for poor people. But where will
you find that amongst those in high places?"

The old peasant's presentiment as to the fruitlessness of the memorial
is well-founded. On the return of the farmer without any reply from
the reigning prince, his wife appeals to the commissioners, who are
busy taking an inventory--preparatory to making over the property into
the hands of an administrator--to suspend execution of the judgment
obtained until the pleasure of the sovereign shall be known.

"Judge," said the woman, "we have petitioned the sovereign; an answer
may come any minute: until then, we need not go."

"But, my dear Mrs Oberhage, think of the judgment rendered. You have
already made all the appeals possible. Justice must have its course."

"Justice!" said the woman bitterly, "we will say nothing about that,
judge. But the sovereign has to decide whether he will have our
property or not. He cannot take the farm, he cannot wish to accept
stolen goods. For his decision you, his servants, are bound to wait:
the farm won't run away.

"Woman," said counsellor Von Eilenthal pompously, "cherish not vain
delusions. I can tell you the answer you will receive from the royal
cabinet; I know it: the sovereign referred your application to his
excellency the prime-minister, and the minister desired the chamber to
report upon it--I myself made out the report."

"Then is our fate indeed decided!" said the farmer.

"Your own sense of what is right tells it you; justice must have its
free course."

"These are hard times for us poor people," said the woman. "Our
persecutors are set as judges over us, and interpose between the
children of the soil and their sovereign, so that our complaints cannot
be heard. Their voices alone are heard; ours, never."

"My good woman, the officials do but their duty."

"Yes, yes, _Herr Regierungsrath_, that is well known--everyone for
himself. You now have doubtless wellnigh gained your end; you have
reduced enough poor people to yet greater poverty, and may expect a
place in the ministry or a president's chair--that has always been your

The counsellor turned to the judge: "Let us proceed with our business,"
he said.

All hope had now fled from the breasts of the Oberhages, and departure
was inevitable. The farmer's brother offered him an asylum; the
honest-hearted peasants, indignant at the crying injustice of the
case, and commiserating a misfortune which all felt might some day be
their own, volunteered their carts and their labour to transport such
part of the farmer's property as he was allowed to carry away. This
was but a very limited portion, consisting solely of personal effects.
Farm implements, live and dead stock, the corn and vegetables in the
granaries, the tall stacks of hay and straw, must all be left behind.
They stood upon the inventory, and were the property of the state. But
the severest cut of all, for the frugal and industrious housewife, was
yet to come. Her eldest daughter, a blooming maiden of nineteen, came
up to her, followed by the counsellor, the judge, and the Oberhages'
lawyer. The girl looked pale and frightened.

"Mother," she said, "you sent me to the linen-room, to give out the
linen to be put on the carts."

"Well, what then?" cried the woman in anxious astonishment.

"The gentlemen have taken the key from me, and will not let me have the

"Who has done that?--who will not?" demanded the woman violently,
flushing crimson with anger. It was plain that her household gods were

"His worship the judge."

"His worship the judge? My linen? What have you to do with my linen?"

"Dear Mrs Oberhage, I have already explained to you that you are
allowed to take away from the farm only your own property--your own
personal effects."

"And is not the linen my own property?"


"And what is it, then?"

"An appurtenance to the farm."

The woman burst into a laugh--a laugh of sudden and terrible rage.
"My linen," she cried--"my linen, for which I and my mother, my
grandmother, and my great-grandmother, and at odd times this girl too,
have spun the yarn--which we ourselves have woven and bleached, and
on whose every thread has fallen a drop of our sweat--my linen, you
say, is an appurtenance of your farm, and belongs to you, or to the
counsellor there." And she looked from the one to the other of the
magistrates. Then, growing calmer, she added scornfully, "take some
other notion into your heads, gentlemen; but my linen you shall not

"It is your treasure, your pride, Mrs Oberhage," replied the judge,
with his everlasting friendliness: "every one knows that; but,
unfortunately, there is no alternative. I am grieved on your account,
but the linen belongs to the farm, and not to you."

The fury of the farmer's wife seemed about again to break out. Her
lawyer stepped forward. "His worship is unfortunately in the right,"
he said. "The store of linen, inasmuch as it does not appear necessary
to the personal wants of yourself and your children, is legally an
appurtenance of the farm. You must make up your mind to give it up."

The woman cast a glance at her husband; but neither in that quarter did
she find succour. He looked straight before him, like one absorbed in

"Take it then," said she resolutely. And making an energetic effort
to conceal a violent trembling that came over her, she returned to
her work. Aided by her daughter, by the weeping servants, and by the
neighbours, the packing was soon done. The carts, laden with the
whole earthly goods of the expelled farmer, were at the door, ready
to start. The neighbours stood around, deep sympathy and suppressed
anger upon their stern countenances. The farm-servants--men and maids,
big and little, boys who had been but lately taken on, and old men,
bent by labour, who had perhaps served three generations upon that
farm--stood on one side, also silent, but with grief in their faces.
The gentlemen of the commission sat at the long table, under the elm,
and breakfasted. The gendarmes and officers were near at hand.

The farmer, his wife, and children, had remained behind in the house.
Presently they came out: first the farmer, then his wife, with her
youngest child on her arm and leading the boy by the hand; last of all
came the eldest daughter. In the countenances of the parents, as in
that of the daughter, was to be discerned an expression of dignified
resignation to a hard lot.

The man and his wife cast searching glances at the carts, and
apparently found all things in order. They then approached a cart upon
which seats had been reserved for them; and the woman set down the
child upon the ground, the better, as it seemed, to take leave of the
sympathising groups that stood around. She and her husband went first
to the neighbours, then to the servants, and shook hands with every
one. Not a word was spoken.

Whilst this farewell scene occurred, the little girl ran to a flock of
chickens, which were pecking for food in the yard. A snow-white hen,
with a tuft upon its head, came tamely to meet her. She took it up in
her little arms, caressed and played with it.

Suddenly a thought came into the boy's head: he went up to his mother,
who had just concluded her sorrowful leave-taking.

"Are we going away for good, mother?" he said.

"Yes, my child, never to return."

"Shall we not take my foal and calf? You promised me this morning that
I should rear them."

"I did promise you, my child, but they no longer belong to us."

The firm character of the mother already manifested itself in the son.
With scarcely a change of countenance.

"Mother," he said, "will they remain on the farm?"

"They will remain here."

He ran to the farm-servants, and begged them to take care of his calf
and foal, and let them want for nothing. Then he returned contentedly
to his mother's side. For the poor woman, however, yet another trial
was in store.

"I take my white chicken with me, mother!" cried the little girl,
pressing the pretty bird to her bosom.

"Does the fowl also belong to the inventory?" said the woman to the
lawyer, who stood near her amongst the peasants.

"But, Mrs Oberhage, such a trifle!"

"Does the chicken belong to the inventory?"


"Child, we must leave the chicken here. I will give you another."

"I won't leave my chicken; I take my white chicken with me." The child
was crying.

The little fat judge, observant of the incident, rose from his seat.
"Mrs Oberhage, let the child have the chicken. With the permission of
the _Herr Regierungsrath_ I make you a present of it."

The child jumped for joy, and the chicken remained perched upon her
little hands.

For a moment there was a struggle in the breast of the farmer's wife.
She looked at her joyous child, she gazed around her at the house and
farm she was about to quit; then, with sudden resolution, she went to
the little girl, took the bird from her arms, and let it run away.
"Judge," she said, turning to the magistrate, "sorry as I am for the
poor child's sake, I nevertheless can accept nothing, as a gift, from
you and the counsellor."

But she could hardly complete the sentence. The resolute woman's
strength seemed suddenly broken, and hot tears gushed from her eyes.
Snatching up the weeping child, she pressed it to her breast, and hid
her agitated countenance in its rich golden curls.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was dinner-time. At this hour, it was customary for a dozen poor
persons, old women and grayheaded men, to repair to the farm, where,
for long years past, they had received a daily meal. As usual, they had
made their appearance, and now stood aloof with sad and downcast looks.
The housewife perceived them. This was to be her last sorrow in the
home that had hitherto been hers. She stepped towards them. "I can no
longer give you a dinner," she said; "another master is now here."

An old man limped forward, supported upon crutches. "To-day," he said,
"we are here only to thank you, and to pray God that he may repay you
what you, and your husband, and your children, and your fathers before
you, upon this farm, have given to the poor. We have heard of the
injustice done you; but the injustice of men is the blessing of heaven.
Farewell, go in peace to your new home. And may the Lord bless you
there and for ever."

He hobbled back amidst the group of beggars, who stood praying, with
clasped hands. The housewife gave to every one of them an ample dole.
"The Lord be with you also," she said. Then she went to the cart in
which the children were already seated. Without another word, she got
in. Her husband followed her, and his brother, who accompanied them,
was the last. She took her little girl upon her lap, and drew down her
kerchief far over her face, so that none could distinguish her features.

The cart drove slowly out of the farm-yard. It was met by a servant on
horseback, who dashed past at a gallop, and handed to the Counsellor,
Baron Von Eilenthal, a letter with a large seal. That distinguished
functionary eagerly opened it, as with a foreboding of good news.

The judge looked inquisitively over his shoulder.

"Ah, my humblest congratulations, Herr President. Delighted to be the
first to give you joy. I recommend myself to your further favour."

In front of the house, the beggars struck up in slow and solemn
strains the hymn from the Psalm-book--

    "Meine Seele, lass es gehen,
    Wie in dieser Welt es geht.
    Lass auch gerne das geschehen,
    Was Dem Herz hier nicht versteht.
    Arme Seele, fromm und stille,
    Denk, es waltet Gottes Wille."

We have preserved, as dramatic and characteristic, the terminations
of the two chapters from which we have extracted. The last was worth
giving entire, being perhaps the most carefully finished in the book,
but its length compelled compression. As regards its truthfulness,
and the state of things it is intended to illustrate, we need hardly
inform persons acquainted with the social and political condition of
Germany, that acts of corruption and oppression, similar to those
above set forth, have been of no rare occurrence, up to a very recent
date, in more than one sovereign state of that extensive country. The
time of the story of _Anna Hammer_ is 1830, the period when things
were probably at the worst, before the petty despots of Germany had
been warned and alarmed by the second French revolution, and by other
evidences of the growing spirit, throughout Europe, of resistance to
tyrannical and irresponsible rule. The book hinges on the supposed
existence of a secret association, having extensive ramifications,
for the purpose of establishing constitutional government throughout
Germany. Three of the earliest members of the society have lingered, at
the date of the story's commencement, for five years in a state prison.
These three men are Anna Hammer's brother-in-law, Madame Von Horberg's
husband, and a certain Count Arnstein, whose son, after passing four
years in the United States, returns to Germany, in the character of an
American, and under the assumed name of Bushby, with the double purpose
of assisting the plans of the conspirators, and of accomplishing his
father's escape. The place of imprisonment of the three political
offenders is, however, a mystery which one of the most active and
intelligent of the confederates has for years been in vain endeavouring
to solve. It is at last discovered by the ingenuity of Geigenfritz, an
old soldier, and trusty agent of the society, who then contrives to
introduce Anna Hammer into the fortress, in the capacity of servant
girl to the commandant's housekeeper. The housekeeper, Miss Bluestone,
who has lived in a military prison until she has acquired the tone,
and much of the appearance, of a grenadier, and her comrade, Corporal
Long, a veteran converted into a gaoler, who divides his affections
between the wine barrel and a huge bunch of keys, are capitally
hit off. The account of Von Horberg's dungeon, and of the means of
communication he contrives with a prisoner lodged in the lower floor
of the tower, in which he occupies an upper cell, is very well done.
Indeed this, the first chapter of the second volume, entitled _Dungeon
Life_, is one of the best of the book, and reminds us not a little
of Baron Treuck's exciting prison narratives. It acquires additional
interest from the circumstance that _Anna Hammer_ is said to have been
written in a prison, where the author was long confined on political
charges, of which he was ultimately found guiltless. Before coming to
the prisons, however, we are taken to court, and are introduced to the
old prince-regnant, to his dissolute grandson and heir, and to his
amiable granddaughter, who is in love with Arnstein _alias_ Bushby.
For a final extract, we select a scene in the grounds of the country
residence of the sovereign, who has just installed himself there for
the fine season, and where two important personages of the novel--the
crown-prince and Geigenfritz--are first brought before the reader.

The park behind the palace was of great extent. Gardens, pieces of
water, slopes planted with vines, thick shrubberies and tracts of
woodland, were there mingled in an apparently wild disorder which was
in reality the result of careful arrangement and consideration. The
whole was surrounded by a lofty wall, in which were three or four small
doors. A thick forest came close up to the outside of the wall, and was
intersected by several roads.

Along one of these roads drove an elegant travelling carriage, drawn
by two extremely swift and powerful horses. A bearded man, of Jewish
aspect, muffled in a huge coachman's coat, sat upon the box. The
shutters of the vehicle were drawn up, so that it could not be seen
into. It stopped at the edge of the forest. The door opened, and a
little man, also of Israelitish appearance, but very richly dressed,
got out. He left the door open.

"Turn round, Abraham!" said he in Jewish jargon to the driver.

The coachman obeyed, so that the horses' heads were in the direction
whence they came.


The carriage stood still, and the little man walked round it, examining
it minutely on all sides, as if to make sure that it was sound and
complete in every part. With equal attention he inspected the harness
and limbs of the vigorous horses.

"Keep a sharp watch, Abraham, for my return."

"Don't be afraid, Moses."

"The very minute I get in, drive off at full speed. But no sooner--d'ye
hear?--no sooner."

"Why should I sooner?" retorted the coachman sharply, in the same

"Not till I am quite safe in the carriage--till you see, till you hear,
that I have shut the door. You must hear it, you must watch with your
ears, for you must not take your eyes off the horses."

"Don't frighten yourself, fool!"

"And, Abraham, quit not the box during my absence, and be sure and
leave the door open, that I may jump in at once on my return."

The coachman answered not.

"And, one thing more. Dear Abraham, will the horses hold out?--six
German miles?--without resting. Are you sure the carriage will not
break down?"

"Begone, fearful fool, and leave carriage and horses to my care!"

The little man looked at his watch.

"Exactly five. It is just the time. Once more, dear Abraham, keep a
sharp look-out, I entreat you."

At a sort of sneaking run, the timid Jew hurried to a door in the park
wall, close to which the road passed. He glanced keenly around him. No
one was in sight, and, producing a key, he hastily unlocked the door,
opening it only just wide enough to allow him to slip through. In an
instant he was in the park, and the door shut behind him.

Completely unseen as the Jew believed himself, there yet was one at
hand whose watchful eye had followed all his movements.

At the exact moment that the coachman turned his carriage, and at a
short distance from the spot, a man emerged from the thicket. His
appearance was very striking. Far above the usual stature, in person
he was extraordinarily spare. Large bones, broad shoulders, a muscular
arm and a hand like a bunch of sinews, indicated that his meagre
frame possessed great strength. His strange figure was accoutred in
a remarkable costume. He wore a short brown jacket of the colour and
coarse material of the cowls of the mendicant friars, short brown
leather breeches, grey linen gaiters and wide strong shoes. His head
was covered with an old misshapen gray hat, whose broad brim was
no longer in a state to testify whether it had once been round or
three-cornered. Across his back was slung a bag, from whose mouth
protruded the neck of an old black fiddle. The man's age was hard to
guess. His thick strong hair was of that sort of mouse-colour which
even very old age rarely alters. His countenance was frightfully
furrowed; but if its furrows were deep, on the other hand its outlines
were of iron rigidity. The eye was very quick. In short, however narrow
the scrutiny, it still remained doubtful to the observer whether the
man was fifty, sixty, or seventy years old.

This person, stepping out of the forest, was on the point of springing
across the road, when he perceived the carriage and the two Jews.
Satisfying himself, by a hasty glance, that he was still unseen, he
drew back within cover of the thicket. Concealed behind a thick screen
of foliage, he watched with profound attention every movement of the
men, who were too distant for him to overhear their words. When one of
them had entered the park, the long brown man made a circuit through
the wood, and again emerged from it at a point where he could not be
seen by the coachman, but which yet was not far distant from the door
through which the Jew had passed. After brief reflection, he approached
this door and tried to open it. It was locked. He turned back, skirting
the wall--but so noiselessly that the sharpest ear, close upon the
other side, could hardly have detected his presence. He paused at a
place where trees and thick bushes, growing within the park, overtopped
the wall. A long branch protruded across, and hung down so low that the
tall stranger could easily reach it. He closely examined this branch,
its length and strength, then the wall--measuring its height with his
eye, and noting its irregularities of surface. Suddenly he seized the
branch with both hands, set his feet against the wall, and swung his
whole body upwards. Before a spectator could have conjectured his
intention, he was seated on a limb of the tree within the park; it was
as if an enormous brown cat had sprung up amongst the branches. In
another second he was on the ground, the slightest possible cracking of
the twigs alone betraying his rapid descent.

He stood in the midst of a thick growth of bushes, the stillness around
him broken only by the voices of birds. Cautiously he made his way
through the tangled growth of branches into a small winding path, which
he followed in the direction of the door. On reaching this he found
himself in a broad carriage road, apparently commencing and terminating
at the palace, after numerous windings through the park. Opposite the
door was an open lawn; to the right were long alleys, through whose
vista the rays of the early morning sun were seen reflected in the
tranquil waters of a lake. To the left was a prolongation of the copse.
Not a living creature was to be seen.

For a minute the man stood undecided as to the direction he should
take. Then he re-entered the copse--making his way through it, with the
same caution and cat-like activity as before, to a little knoll nearly
bare of bushes, and crowned by three lofty fir-trees. He was about to
step out into the open space, when he heard a rustling near at hand. He
stood still, held his breath and looked around him; but he was still
too deep in the bushes and could discern nothing. He saw only leaves
and branches, and, towering above them, the three tall fir-trees, with
the morning wind whispering through their boughs.

The new-comer was the little Jew, who walked uneasily to and fro
beneath the fir-trees, on a narrow footpath which led across the knoll.
He evidently expected some one. From behind a tree the tall man with
the fiddle watched his movements, and listened to his soliloquy.

"Five minutes late," muttered the Jew, looking at his watch. "Am I the
man to be kept waiting? He is not to be relied upon. But I have him
now, fast and sure." He resumed his walk, then again stood still. "A
good affair this! good profit! a made man! But where can he be?" He
paused before the very tree behind which stood the man in the brown
jacket. "He is imprudent," he continued, "light-headed, and reckless.
But am I not the same? I am lost if he deceives me. I have him,
though--I have him."

"Mosey!" said the strong voice of the long brown man, close to his
ear. At the same moment, a heavy hand was clapped roughly on the Jew's
shoulder. He fell to the ground, as though a thunderbolt had struck
him; in falling he caught a view of the stranger. "Geigen--" cried he,
in a horror-stricken voice, leaving the word unfinished.

"Speak the word right out!" said the long man, with a calm, sneering

The little Jew's recovery was as sudden as his terror. He was already
on his legs, brushing the dust from his clothes.

"How the gentleman frightened me!" he said in a sort of dubious tone.

"Speak the word out, Mosey--the whole word!"

"What should I speak out?--which word? What does the gentleman want?"

"Mosey, speak the word out--Geigenfritz!"

"What is your pleasure?--what is the word to me?"

"Old rogue! old Moses Amschel! what is the word to you? what is
Geigenfritz to you?--your old friend?"

"I know no Geigenfritz; I know no Moses Amschel. You are mistaken. And
now go your ways--do you hear?" He had become quite bold and saucy.

The brown man looked at him with a smile of scornful pity. "Mosey," he
said, "shall I reckon up the prisons and houses of correction in which
I have seen you? You have grown a great man, it seems. I have heard of
you. You are a rich banker: noblemen associate with you, and princes
are your debtors. You are a baron, I believe, and you live in luxury;
but you are not the less Moses Amschel, my old comrade. I knew you
directly, and your rascal of a brother, too, who is outside with the

The Jew's confidence left him as he listened to this speech. He made
one more effort to assume a bold countenance, but his voice trembled as
he muttered, "You are mistaken. I have business here: leave me, or I
will have you arrested."

Geigenfritz laughed. "You have business here, I doubt not. But arrest
me! Your business will hardly bear daylight, and my arrest would
interfere with it."

The truth of these words produced a terrible effect on the little Jew.
He stood for a moment helplessly gazing around him; then he looked
sharply at his interlocutor, whilst his right hand fumbled in his
breast, as though seeking something. But he drew it forth empty, and
let it fall by his side, whilst his eyes sought the ground. "Well,
Geigenfritz," he said, in a low tone, "leave me for a while. Go and
wait by the carriage with my brother; I will soon be back, and we will
speak further."

"Not so, old sinner. You said you had business here. You and I have
done business together more than once."

"This time there is nothing for you to do."

"That is not for you to decide."

"Don't spoil trade, Geigenfritz."

"What trade is it?"

"You shall know by-and-by."

"Immediately, I expect."


"I have but to remain here."

Moses Amschel grew very anxious. "I swear to you, Geigenfritz, you ruin
me by remaining. The business can't be done in your presence."

"We shall see."

The obstinacy of Geigenfritz was not to be overcome. Moses Amschel ran
to and fro, wringing his hands, and straining his eyes to see into
the park. Suddenly his anxiety increased to a paroxysm. Geigenfritz
followed the direction of his eyes. With extreme swiftness a man ran
along one of the alleys, in the direction of the mound on which they
both stood.

"For God's sake, go, leave me!" exclaimed Moses Amschel, in abject

"Fellow, 'tis the Crown-prince. What dealings have you with him?"

"Go, I implore you, go."

"Not a step, till you answer me."

"I have business with him."

"What business?"

"You shall know afterwards; go, I can't escape you."

"What business?"

"Jewel business. But now go, go!"

"You are right; you cannot escape me." And Geigenfritz disappeared
amongst the bushes.

Moses Amschel had had barely time to recover breath and composure, when
a third person joined him. This was a slender young man, of elegant
appearance, and handsome but dissipated countenance. His rich dress was

"Who was here, Jew?"

"No one. Who should be here. Who would I bring with me?"

"I heard talking; who was with you?"

"No one, your highness."

"Name not my name, Jew, and speak the truth."

"I wish I may die, if a creature, was with me!"

The young man looked suspiciously on all sides, and then drew from
under his coat an object enveloped in a silk handkerchief, and handed
it to Amschel.

"Here, Jew, and now away with you!"

Moses Amschel would have unfolded the handkerchief, to look at its

"Scoundrel! do you think I cheat you? In three months."

He took a step to depart, but again returned.

"To America, to New York! Not to London, d'ye hear?"

"I know."

At the top of his speed, as he had come, the stranger departed. Moses
Amschel unrolled the handkerchief, glanced at its contents, again
carefully wrapped it up, and stole swiftly and cautiously to the
park-door, which he hastily unlocked, and as hastily relocked behind
him. But, as he turned to regain the carriage, his movements were
arrested by the iron arm of Geigenfritz, who rose, like an apparition,
from a ditch at his side.

"How you frighten me!--I am not going to run away."

"Because you can't. Now, comrade, halves!"

"Are you mad?"

"Not I, but you, if you think you are not in my power."

Moses Amschel looked around him, but help there was none, and the
brown man held him so tightly that he could not stir. The carriage,
certainly, was near at hand, but the horses were as skittish as they
were good, and the driver must not leave them.

"Show it me," said Geigenfritz.

Resistance was impossible. Tardily and unwillingly the Jew untied
the handkerchief, and revealed a diamond diadem of extraordinary
magnificence. Notwithstanding his alarm, his eyes sparkled at the sight.

"Old rogue! who stole that?"

"Stole! Nonsense."

"What is it worth?"

"Worth?--a couple of hundred dollars."

"Do you take me for a child?"

"Well, perhaps a couple of thousand."

"More than a million."

"You frighten me."

"No matter--halves!"

"But I must sell it first; you shall have your share of the price."

"Of the price? You don't take _me_ in. We will divide at once."

"How is that possible?"

"Very easy. I break the crown into two halves; you take one, I the
other. Give it here."

Moses Amschel shook with terror, and clutched the glittering ornament
convulsively with both bands. It was in vain: the iron hand of
Geigenfritz detached his fingers, one after the other, like those of
a child. With the last remains of his exhausted strength, the Jew
still clung to his treasure, which, in another second, would have been
wrested from him, when suddenly a broad knife, thrust over the shoulder
of Geigenfritz, inflicted a swift deep cut across the back of the hand
with which he grasped the diadem. Involuntarily, Geigenfritz relaxed
his hold both of Jew and jewels.

Moses Amschel and the coachman Abraham, who, having seen from his box
his brother's peril, had thus opportunely come to his aid, ran away
laughing. The one jumped into the carriage, the other resumed the
reins, and they drove off at a gallop.

The prince has stolen the diadem from his own wife, in such a manner
as to cast suspicion upon others, and the Jew is to sell it to furnish
supplies for the extravagance of this dissolute heir to the crown.
Geigenfritz's knowledge of the shameful transaction is afterwards made
instrumental in procuring the release of Von Horberg and the other
prisoners. Convinced that the time is not yet ripe for the realisation
of their schemes of political regeneration, they emigrate to the United
States. There, a postscript informs the reader, Von Horberg, divorced
from his unworthy wife--who during his imprisonment, has become the
mistress of the prince-royal--is married to Anna Hammer. The interest
of the story is throughout well sustained.

_Anna Hammer_ will probably soon be, if it be not already, in the
hands of the translators. Rendered into English with a little care, by
equivalents, instead of with that painful literalness and abundance
of foreign idioms which too frequently shock us in translations of
German books, it would be very pleasant reading. Notwithstanding its
defects, its occasional carelessness and slight improbabilities, it
better deserves a translation than many of the foreign novels to which
that compliment has been paid within the last few years, and than some
which have been lauded to the skies and largely read. And we take this
opportunity to express our surprise that no member of the industrious
corps of translators from the German has directed his or her attention
to the writings of a man, who, for originality and genius, perception
of character and power of description, is very far superior even to
those of his German cotemporaries who have enjoyed the highest favour
in England. We refer to the gifted author of the German-American
Romances. Miss Bremer--although a Swede, we here class her amongst
German writers, her works having been done into English from the latter
language--has been translated at every price, and in every form, from
expensive octavo to shilling pamphlets. Not a bookshop or railway
station but is, or has been, crowded with her works. Without in the
least depreciating the talents of a lady who has written some very
pleasing tales and sketches, we should yet be greatly flattering her
did we place her on a level with such a writer as Charles Sealsfield.
Styles so opposite scarcely admit of comparison; but we apprehend there
are few readers to whom the best of her books will not appear tame and
insipid, when contrasted with the vigorous and characteristic pages of
such works as _The Cabin Book_, _The Viceroy and the Aristocracy_, or
_Pictures of Life in both Hemispheres_. Yet Sealsfield has been read
in England only to the limited extent of some short extracts in this
Magazine,[46] and of some yet briefer ones in a defunct Review.[47]
In the States he is better known and appreciated. There he has been
translated and re-translated in volumes, pamphlets and newspapers,
but in a style, if we may judge from one or two specimens that have
reached us, which does him grievous injustice. Many of his works, and
especially the three above-named, richly deserve the utmost pains a
translator could bestow, and would assuredly attain high popularity in
any country into whose language they should be rendered.


[44] _Neue Deutsche Zeitbilder._ _Erste Abtheilung: Anna Hammer, Ein
Roman der Gegenwart_, in 3 Bänden. Eisleben, Kuhnt: 1850. London:
Williams & Norgate.

[45] In the original, _Regierungsrath_--a member of the council of
government. _Justizrath_, counsellor of justice, is a title accorded to
certain judges in Germany.

[46] See Volumes 54 to 59.

[47] Foreign Quarterly Review, No. LXXIV.


Our renowned contributor, Mansie Wauch, tailor in Dalkeith, has,
for a long time past, retired from the cares of active business.
We fear that, in his case, as in others which we could name, the
glory and emolument resulting from distinguished literary success
were the means of depriving two or three parishes of the services
of a decent fabricator of small-clothes. Mansie, like Jeshurun,
grew fat and kicked. Even before his autobiography had reached its
sixth edition--now a traditionary epoch, as the nine-and-thirtieth
is exhausted, and the trade clamorous for a new supply--Wauch began
to turn up his nose at moleskin, and to exhibit a singular degree of
indifference to orders for agricultural gaiters. He would still apply,
with somewhat of his pristine science, the principles of sartorian
mathematics to plush when ordered from the Palace, and was once known
to devote three entire days to the exquisite finishing of a pair of
buckskins for Mr Williamson, that famous huntsman, whose celebrity is
so great, that the mere mention of his name is equivalent to a page
of panegyric. And it was acknowledged, on all hands, that Mansie did
his work well. The plush fitted admirably; and as for the buckskins,
the master of the hounds averred, with a harmless oath, that they were
as easy as a kid glove. But those testimonials, however satisfactory
and unchallenged, did not avail our contributor as a perfect verdict
of acquittal, discharging him from the bar of public opinion, as
constituted in Dalkeith, without a stain upon his reputation as an
eydent man and a tailor. Mr Hamorgaw, the precentor of the New Light
Seceding Anti-pulpit Congregation, esteemed that Mansie acted under
the influence of the Old Adam, in declining to reverse, _propriis
manibus_, an ancient garment, dignified by the name of a coat, which
had already been three times refreshed in the dyeing-tub, for the
beautifying of him, the Hamorgaw: and Deacon Cansh, the leading
Radical of the place, was sorely nettled to learn that our friend
had intrusted the architecture of his new wrap-rascal to the tender
mercies of his firstborn Benjamin. Not that Benjie was a bad hand
at the goose, which indeed he drove with amazing celerity, sending
it along at a rate nearly equal to the progress of a Parliamentary
train; but his style of cutting was somewhat composite and florid, not
distinguished by that severe simplicity of manner which was the glory
of the earlier masters. In the hands of a Piercie Shafton, Benjamin
might have proved a veritable treasure; Sir Thomas Urquhart would have
descanted with enthusiasm on the quaint and oblique diversity of his
shears, which seemed instinctively to dissever good broad-cloth into
quincunxes more or less outrageous; but the age of Euphuism was gone,
and neither elder, deacon, nor precentor, was in favour of slashed
doublets. Benjamin was not only a tailor but a poet, and we fear it
is a lamentable fact that the two trades are irreconcilable. The
perpetrator of distichs is usually a bungler at cross-stitch: there
is no analogy between the measurement of trousers and the measure of
a Spenserian stanza. It will therefore be readily credited, that the
business, when devolved upon Benjie, did not prosper as of old; and
though Mansie did, in his advanced age, make one effort to retrieve
the character of his firm by inventing a kind of paletot, which he
denominated "a Fascinator," we have not been given to understand
that the males of the royal family adopted it to the exclusion of
all other upper garments of similar cut and pretension. Moreover,
the prevailing influence and tendency of the age began to be felt in
Dalkeith. Competition, as a maxim of political economy, was generally
practised and understood: and a young schneider, who had served his
apprenticeship with Mr Place of Westminster celebrity, opened an
establishment for ready-made clothes, with a Greek title which would
have puzzled an Homeric commentator. In process of time the Greek was
opposed by a Hebrew, who ought to have been an especial favourite with
his people, seeing that if any afflicted person had a fancy for rending
his clothes, the garments supplied by Aaron and Son would have yielded
to the slightest compulsion. A Polish emigrant next opened shop, and
to the astonishment of the Dalkeithians, transferred their breeches'
pockets from the waistband to the neighbourhood of their knees, and
suggested frogs and braiding. Against this tide of innovation honest
Mansie found it impossible to make head. Fortunately, being a saving
creature, he had amassed a considerable sum of money, which, still more
fortunately, he had abstained from investing in the Loanhead and Roslin
Junction; and his annual income was such as to justify him in retiring
from business to a pleasant villa on the banks of the Esk, where he now
grows cabbages of such magnitude as to be recorded in an occasional
newspaper paragraph, and cucumbers which have carried off the prize
at several horticultural exhibitions. On the whole, Mr Wauch is a man
decidedly to be envied, not only by those of his own trade, but by many
of us who, in the vanity of our hearts, have been accustomed to look
down, somewhat disparagingly, upon the gallant knights of the needle.

In his retirement Mansie Wauch has not altogether abandoned the
pursuits of literature. He has, it is true, ceased, for a good while,
to favour us with a continuation of those passages of his personal
history which once took Christendom by storm; nor can we charge our
memory with his having offered us any article for several years, beyond
an elaborate and learned critique upon Mr Carlyle's _Sartor Resartus_,
which, though decidedly able, was rather too technical for our columns.
But Mr Wauch is a gluttonous reader, especially of novels and suchlike
light gear; and very frequently is kind enough to favour us, by word of
mouth, with his opinion touching the most noted ephemera of the season.
We need hardly say that we set great store by the judgment of the
excellent old man. His fine natural instinct enables him to perceive
at a glance, what more erudite critics might overlook, the fitness and
propriety of the tale, and the capability of the writer to deal with
the several topics which he professes to handle. He can tell at once
whether a man really knows his subject, or whether he is writing, as
too many authors do now-a-days, in absolute ignorance of the character
which he assumes, or the scenes which he selects for illustration.
So, the other day, on receipt of a couple of volumes, entitled _Alton
Locke, Tailor and Poet: an Autobiography_, we thought that we could
hardly discharge our critical duty better than by despatching the same
forthwith to Mansie, with a request that he would communicate to us his
candid and unbiassed opinion.

Mr Locke we understand to be no more. He died upon his voyage to
Texas, after having been concerned in the Chartist demonstration of
1848, and therefore his feelings cannot be aggrieved by the strictures
of his Dalkeith brother. Were it otherwise, we certainly should have
hesitated before recording in print the verdict of the indignant
Mansie, expressed in the succinct phrase of "awfu' havers!" written at
the close of the second volume, with a running commentary of notes on
the margin, by no means complimentary to the practical acquirements
or the intellectual calibre of the author. These we have diligently
deciphered, and we find that friend Mansie's wrath has been especially
excited by the discovery that it is no autobiography at all, nor
anything like one, but a barefaced and impudent assumption of a
specific character and profession by a person who never handled a goose
in his life, and who knows no more about tailoring or slop-selling
than he has learned from certain letters which lately appeared in
the columns of the _Morning Chronicle_. Mr Wauch is very furious at
the deception which he conceives has been practised on the public;
and argues, with good show of reason, that any work, professing to
set forth the hardships of any particular trade, and yet diverging
so evidently into the wildest kind of romance--as to render its
acceptance as an actual picture of life impossible--is calculated to do
harm instead of good to the interests of the class in question, because
no one can receive it as truth; neither can it possibly be acknowledged
as an accurate picture of the age, or the state or feelings of that
society which at present exists in Great Britain. "Who would have
bought MY Autobiography," quoth Mansie, "if I had said that I was in
love with a Countess, had been admitted to her society, and my passion
partially returned? Or what think ye o' Benjie, fresh from the garret,
and smelling of the goose, arguing conclusions wi' Dean Buckland about
the Mosaic account o' the creation, and chalking out a new kind o'
faith as glibly as he would chalk out auld Harrigle's measure on a new
web o' claith for a Sunday's coat? The man that wrote you, take my word
for it, never crookit his heugh-bane on a board; and the hail buik
appears to me to be a pack o' wearifu' nonsense."

Notwithstanding Mr Wauch's anathema, we have perused the book; and,
while agreeing with him entirely in his strictures regarding its
artistical construction, and admitting that, as an autobiography--which
it professes to be--it is so palpably absurd in its details, as to
diminish the effect of the lesson which it is meant to convey, we yet
honour and respect the feeling which has dictated it, and our warmest
sympathy is enlisted in the cause which it intends to advocate. No
man with a human heart in his bosom, unless that heart is utterly
indurated and depraved by the influence of mammon, can be indifferent
to the welfare of the working-classes. Even if he were not urged to
consider the awful social questions which daily demand our attention
in this perplexing and bewildered age, by the impulses of humanity,
or by the call of Christian duty, the lower motive of interest alone
should incline him to serious reflection on a subject which involves
the wellbeing, both temporal and eternal, of thousands of his
fellow-creatures, and possibly the permanence of order and tranquillity
in this realm of Great Britain. Our civil history during the last
thirty years of peace resembles nothing which the world has yet seen,
or which can be found in the records of civilisation. The progress
which has been made in the mechanical sciences is of itself almost
equivalent to a revolution. The whole face of society has been altered;
old employments have become obsolete, old customs have been abrogated
or remodelled, and old institutions have undergone innovation. The
modern citizen thinks and acts differently from his fathers. What to
them was object of reverence is to him subject for ridicule; what
they were accustomed to prize and honour, he regards with undisguised
contempt. All this we style improvement, taking no heed the whilst
whether such improvement has fulfilled its primary condition of
contributing to and increasing the welfare and prosperity of the
people. Statistical books are written to demonstrate how enormously we
have increased in wealth; and yet, side by side with Mr Porter's bulky
tomes, you will find pamphlets containing ample and distinct evidence
that hundreds of thousands of our industrious fellow-countrymen are
at this moment famishing for lack of employment, or compelled to sell
their labour for such wretched remuneration that the pauper's dole
is by many regarded with absolute envy. Dives and Lazarus elbow one
another in the street; and our political economists select Dives as the
sole type of the nation. Sanitary commissioners are appointed to whiten
the outside of the sepulchre; and during the operation, their souls are
made sick by the taint of the rottenness from within. The reform of
Parliament is, comparatively speaking, a matter of yesterday, and yet
the operatives are petitioning for the Charter!

These are stern realities--grim facts which it is impossible to
gainsay. What may be the result of them, unless some adequate remedy
can be provided, it is impossible with certainty to predict; but unless
we are prepared to deny the doctrine of that retribution which has
been directly revealed to us from above, and of which the history of
neighbouring states affords us so many striking examples, we can hardly
expect to remain unpunished for what is truly a national crime. The
offence, indeed, according to all elements of human calculation, is
likely to bring its own punishment. It cannot be that society can exist
in tranquillity, or order be permanently maintained, so long as a large
portion of the working-classes, of the hard-handed men whose industry
makes capital move and multiply itself, are exposed to the operation
of a system which renders their position less tolerable than that of
the Egyptian bondsman. To work is not only a duty but a privilege; but
to work against hope, to toil under the absolute pressure of despair,
is the most miserable lot that the imagination can possibly conceive.
It is, in fact, a virtual abrogation of that freedom which every
Briton is taught to consider as his birthright; but which now, however
well it may sound as an abstract term, is practically, in the case of
thousands, placed utterly beyond their reach.

We shall not probably be suspected of any intention to inculcate
Radical doctrines. We have no sympathy, but the reverse, with the
quacks, visionaries, and agitators, who make a livelihood by preaching
disaffection in our towns and cities, and who are the worst enemies
of the people whose cause they affect to advocate. We detest the
selfish views of the Manchester school of politicians, and we loathe
that hypocrisy which, under the pretext of reforming, would destroy
the institutions of the country. But if it be true--as we believe
it to be--that the working and producing classes of the community
are suffering unexampled hardship, and that not of a temporary and
exceptional kind, but from the operation of some vicious and baneful
element which has crept into our social system, it then becomes our
duty to attempt to discover the actual nature of the evil; and having
discovered that, to consider seriously what cure it is possible to
apply. That there is a cure for every evil, social, moral, or physical,
it is worse than cowardice to doubt. And we need not be surprised
if, in our search, we find ourselves compelled to arrive at some
conclusions totally hostile to the plans which the so-called Liberals
have encouraged--nay, so hostile, that beneath that mask of Liberalism
we can plainly descry the features of greedy and ravenous Mammon,
enticing his victims by a novel lure, and gloating and grinning in
triumph over their unsuspicious credulity.

The author of _Alton Locke_ is at least no vulgar theorist, though a
warm imagination and great enthusiasm have led him occasionally to
appear most vague and theoretical. He has had recourse to fiction, as
the most agreeable, and probably the most efficacious mode of bringing
his peculiar social views under the notice of the public; but in doing
so, he has fallen into an error very common with recent novelists, who
have undertaken to depict certain phases of society, with ulterior
views beyond the mere amusement of the reader. He has not studied, or
he does not understand, what has been fitly termed the properties of
a composition: he allows himself in almost every chapter to outrage
probability; his situations are often ludicrously incongruous; and the
language of his characters, as well as that employed throughout the
narrative, is totally out of keeping with the quality and circumstances
of the interlocutors. That a young and gifted tailor, who for the
whole day has been pent up in a stifling garret, with the symptoms of
consumptive disease unmistakeably developed in his constitution, should
also devote the moiety of his hours of rest to the acquisition of the
Latin language, and become in three months' time a perfect master of
Virgil, is not an impossibility, though we opine that such instances
of suicidal exertion are comparatively rare; but when we find the same
young man, not only versed in the classics, but tolerably acquainted
with the Italian and German poets, a fluent speaker of French, an
accurate historian, a proficient in divinity, in metaphysics, and
in natural science--a disciple of Tennyson in verse, and a pupil
of Emerson in style--the draft upon our credulity is somewhat too
large, and we must necessarily decline to honour it. The world has
only beheld one Admirable Crichton; and even he is rather a myth
than a reality--seeing that we can merely judge of the extent of his
acquirements by the vague report of contemporaries, and the collections
of an amusing coxcomb, who, out of very slender materials, has
contrived to construct a ponderous and bombastic romance.[49] Crichton
has not left us one scrap of writing to prove that his attainments were
more than the results of a gigantic memory, aided by a singularly acute
and logical intellect. But Alton Locke altogether eclipses Crichton.
The latter had, at all events, the full benefit of the schools: the
former was wholly devoid of such instruction. Crichton spent his days
at least in the College; Alton sat stitching on the shop-board. So that
the existence of such a phenomenon becomes worse than problematical,
especially when we find that, after abandoning paletots and launching
into a literary career, Mr Locke could find no more profitable
employment than that of writing articles for a Chartist newspaper,
which articles, moreover, were by no means invariably inserted. We take
this to be the leading fault of the book, because it is infinitely
more glaring than even exaggerated incident. In the hands of such a
writer as Defoe, the story of _Alton Locke_ would have assumed the
aspect of woeful and sad reality. Not an expression would have been
allowed to enter which could betray the absolute and irreconcilable
difference between the mental powers, habits, and acquirements of the
author and his fictitious hero: we should have had no idealism, at
least of the transcendental kind; and no dreams, decidedly of a tawdry
and uninterpretable description, which bear internal evidence of having
been copied at second-hand from Richter.

Let it, however, be understood, that these remarks of ours are not
intended to detract from the genius, the learning, or the descriptive
powers of the writer. Where excellencies such as these exist, even
though they may be of rare occurrence, anything approaching to
absurdity or incongruity is far more painfully, or rather provokingly,
apparent than in the work of a common hackneyed novelist, from whom
we expect no better things: and the error is peculiarly felt when it
is calculated in any degree to convey the notion that the pictures
shadowed forth upon the canvass are rather ideal than true. This mode
of dealing with a subject is by no means the best to insure sympathy.
Men are naturally incredulous of pain, and unwilling to believe in
suffering, more especially when it is said to exist in their own
vicinity, and may be the effect of their own indifference or caprice.
Many persons will read _Alton Locke_, not unmoved by the wretchedness
which it depicts--not without feeling a thrill of indignation at the
bondage under which the operative is said to labour from the ruthless
system of competition--and yet lay down the book unconvinced of the
actual existence of such misery, and no more inclined to bestir
themselves for its remedy than if they had been the spectators of a
tragedy, the scene of which was laid in another country, and the period
indicated as occurring in the middle ages. Nor is it possible to blame
them for this; for, as the whole tenor of the work belies its assumed
character, it is hard to expect that any one shall give credence to
mere details, or such qualified credence as shall enable him to accept
them as accurate representations of existing facts, in the face of the
evident obstacle which meets him at the beginning. The usefulness of
many clever books in this range of literature has been impaired by the
authors' wanton neglect, or rather wilful breach, of the leading rules
of propriety. Few people will accept Mr D'Israeli's novel of _Sybil_
as containing an accurate representation of the state of the people of
England in the middle of the nineteenth century, simply because the
writer is chargeable with the same error; and yet recent disclosures
have abundantly proved that many of the social pictures contained in
_Sybil_ were drawn with extreme accuracy, and without any attempt at

We shall now attempt to sketch out the story of _Alton Locke_, in order
that our readers may comprehend the nature of the book with which we
are dealing--less, we admit, on account of the book itself, than for
the sake of the subject which it is manifestly intended to illustrate.
By no other method can we do justice to the topic; and if situations
should occur which may seem to justify the strictures of Mr Wauch, and
to provoke a smile, we ask indulgence for the sake of a cause which is
here most earnestly advocated--according to the best of his ability--by
a man of no common acquirements, zeal, energy, and purity of purpose,
though the warmth of his heart may very frequently overpower the
discretion of his head.

Alton Locke, the subject of this autobiography, is the son of poor
parents. His father had failed in business as a grocer, having
imprudently started a small shop, without adequate capital, in an
obscure district of London, where indeed there were far too many such
already, and died, "as many small tradesmen do, of bad debts and a
broken heart, and left us beggars." Alton's mother was a woman of a
sterner mood. Reared in the most rigid tenets of the Baptist sect, and
steeped in the austerest Calvinism, she regarded this world necessarily
as a place of tribulation and inevitable woe, and fought and struggled
on right earnestly, mortifying every natural affection in her bosom,
except love to her children, and exhibiting that only through the
medium of severity and restraint.

  "My mother," says Alton, "moved by rule and method; by God's law,
  as she considered, and that only. She seldom smiled. Her word
  was absolute. She never commanded twice without punishing. And
  yet there were abysses of unspoken tenderness in her, as well as
  clear, sound, womanly sense and insight. But she thought herself
  as much bound to keep down all tenderness as if she had been some
  ascetic of the middle ages--so do extremes meet! It was 'carnal,'
  she considered. She had as yet no right to have any 'spiritual
  affection' for us. We were still 'children of wrath and of the
  devil'--not yet 'convinced of sin,' 'converted, born again.' She
  had no more spiritual bond with us, she thought, than she had with
  a heathen or a Papist. She dared not even pray for our conversion,
  earnestly as she prayed on every other subject. For though the
  majority of her sect would have done so, her clear logical sense
  would yield to no such tender inconsistency. Had it not been
  decided from all eternity? We were elect, or we were reprobate.
  Could her prayers alter that?"

A gruesome carline this, and a revolting contrast to dear old Mause
Headrigg, who not only prayed morning and night, but never doubted as
to the destiny of Cuddie! Mrs Locke's conversation, however, had its
charms; for we find that, in a small way, she was fond of entertaining
ministers of her own persuasion at tea, and Alton's ire was early
kindled by the precipitancy with which on such occasions the sugar and
muffins disappeared. The old lady, moreover, had a kind of ancestral
pride, being traditionally descended from a Cambridgeshire puritan who
had turned out under Cromwell; and of a winter night she would tell the
children long stories about the glorious times when Englishmen arose
to smite kings and prelates. Of course these things had their effect.
Little Alton did not become a fanatic, for this kind of religious
training is never palatable to the young: he became, indeed, a sceptic
as soon as he could think for himself, with a nice little germ of
radicalism ready to expand whenever circumstances would permit of its

That period quickly arrived. Alton's paternal uncle had been as
fortunate in business as his brother was unlucky, and was now a kind of
city magnate--purse-proud, yet not altogether oblivious of his poorer
kith and kin. He had an only son, who was to be the inheritor of his
wealth, and who, being destined for the Church, was undergoing the
necessary education. To this relative, who made her an annual petty
allowance, Mrs Locke applied for advice regarding her son, now a
cadaverous lad of fifteen, with a weak constitution, and a tendency to
the manufacture of verse; and by his advice and recommendation, Alton
was introduced to a tailoring establishment at the West End. Uncle
certainly might have done something better for him; but perhaps he had
George Barnwell in his eye: and, moreover, any superior settlement
would probably have spoilt the story. Here is his first entry into the
new scene:

  "I stumbled after Mr Jones up a dark, narrow, iron staircase, till
  we emerged through a trap-door into a garret at the top of the
  house. I recoiled with disgust at the scene before me; and here I
  was to work--perhaps through life! A low lean-to room, stifling me
  with the combined odours of human breath and perspiration, stale
  beer, the sweet sickly smell of gin, and the sour and hardly less
  disgusting one of new cloth. On the floor, thick with dust and
  dirt, scraps of stuff and ends of thread, sat some dozen haggard,
  untidy, shoeless men, with a mingled look of care and wretchedness
  that made me shudder. The windows were tight-closed, to keep out
  the cold winter air: and the condensed breath ran in streams down
  the panes, chequering the dreary look-out of chimney-tops and
  smoke. The conductor handed me over to one of the men."

This is intended, or at all events given, as an accurate picture
of a respectable London tailoring establishment, where the men
receive decent wages. Such a house is called an "honourable" one,
in contradistinction to others, now infinitely the more numerous,
which are springing up in every direction under the fostering care of
competition. As it is most important that no doubt should be left in
the minds of any as to the actual condition of the working classes, we
quote, not from Alton Locke, but from one pamphlet out of many which
are lying before us, a few sentences explanatory of the system upon
which journeymen tailors in London are compelled to work. The pamphlet,
for aught we know, may be written by the author of the novel; but it is
clear, specific, and apparently well-vouched.

  "It appears that there are two distinct tailor trades--the
  'honourable' trade, now almost confined to the West End, and
  rapidly dying out there; and the 'dishonourable' trade of the
  show-shops and slop-shops--the plate-glass palaces, where
  gents--and, alas! those who would be indignant at that name--buy
  their cheap-and-nasty clothes. The two names are the tailors'
  own slang: slang is new and expressive enough though, now and
  then. The honourable shops in the West End number only sixty; the
  dishonourable, four hundred and more; while at the East End the
  dishonourable trade has it all its own way. The honourable part
  of the trade is declining at the rate of one hundred and fifty
  journeymen per year; the dishonourable increasing at such a rate,
  that in twenty years it will have absorbed the whole tailoring
  trade, which employs upwards of twenty-one thousand journeymen.
  At the honourable shops the work is done, as it was universally
  thirty years ago, on the premises, and at good wages. In the
  dishonourable trade, the work is taken home by the men, to be done
  at the very lowest possible prices, which decrease year by year,
  almost month by month. At the honourable shops, from 36s. to 24s.
  is paid for a piece of work for which the dishonourable shop pays
  from 22s. to 9s. _But not to the workman_; happy is he if he really
  gets two-thirds or half of that. For at the honourable shops the
  master deals directly with his workmen; while at the dishonourable
  ones, the greater part of the work, if not the whole, is let out
  to contractors, or middle men--'_sweaters_,' as their victims
  significantly call them--who in their turn let it out again,
  sometimes to the workmen, sometimes to fresh middlemen; so that out
  of the price paid for labour on each article, not only the workmen,
  but the sweater, and perhaps the sweater's sweater, and a third,
  and a fourth, and a fifth have to draw their profit. And when the
  labour price has been already beaten down to the lowest possible,
  how much remains for the workmen after all these deductions, let
  the poor fellows themselves say!"[50]

These sweaters are commonly Jews, to which persuasion also the majority
of the dishonourable proprietors belong. Few people who emerge from
the Euston Square Station are left in ignorance as to the fact, it
being the insolent custom of a gang of hook-nosed and blubber-lipped
Israelites to shower their fetid tracts, indicating the localities of
the principal dealers of their tribe, into every cab as it issues from
the gate. These are, in plain terms, advertisements of a more odious
cannibalism than exists in the Sandwich Islands. Very often have we
wished that the miscreant who so assailed us were within reach of our
black-thorn cudgel, that we might have knocked all ideas of fried fish
out of his head for at least a fortnight to come! In these days of
projected Jewish emancipation, the sentiment may be deemed an atrocious
one, but we cannot retract it. Shylock was and is the true type of his
class; only that the modern London Jew is six times more personally
offensive, mean, sordid, and rapacious than the merchant of the Rialto.
And why should we stifle our indignation? Dare any one deny the truth
of what we have said? It is notorious to the whole world that these
human leeches acquire their wealth, not by honest labour and industry,
but by bill-broking, sweating, discounting, and other nefarious arts,
which inevitably lead the unfortunate victims who have once trafficked
with the tribe of Issachar, to the spunging houses of which they have
the monopoly; nor can the former escape from these loathsome dens--if
they ever escape at all--without being stripped as entirely as any
turkey when prepared for the spit at the genial season of Christmas.
Talk of Jewish legislation indeed! We have had too much of it already
in our time, from the days of Ricardo, the instigator of Sir Robert
Peel's earliest practices upon the currency, down to those of Nathan
Rothschild, the first Baron of Jewry, for whose personal character and
upright dealings the reader is referred to Mr Francis' Chronicles of
the Stock Exchange.

It is little wonder if men who know not what a scruple of conscience
is, should amass enormous fortunes. It is much to be regretted that
our present state of society affords them such ample opportunities. We
allude not now to the plundering of heirs expectant, or the wheedling
of young men just fresh from the colleges, and launched upon the
town, to their ruin--to fraudulent dodges for affecting unnatural
oscillations of stocks, or those more deliberate schemes which result
in important public changes being effected for the private emolument of
a synagogue. Bad as these things are--shameful and abhorrent as they
must be to every mind alive to the ordinary feelings of rectitude--they
are not yet so bad or so shameful as the deliberate rapine which is
exercised upon the poor by the off-scourings of the Caucasian race.
Read the following account by a working tailor of their doings, and
then settle the matter with your conscience, whether it is consistent
with the character of a Christian gentleman to have dealings with such
inhuman vampires:--

  "In 1844 I belonged to the honourable part of the trade. Our house
  of call supplied the present show-shop with men to work on the
  premises. The prices then paid were at the rate of 6d. per hour.
  For the same driving-capes that they paid 18s. then, they give only
  12s. now. For the dress and frock coats they gave 15s. then, and
  now they are 14s. The paletots and shooting coats were 12s.; there
  was no coat made on the premises under that sum. At the end of the
  season they wanted to reduce the paletots to 9s. The men refused to
  make them at that price when other houses were paying as much as
  15s. for them. The consequence of this was, the house discharged
  all the men, and got a Jew middleman from the neighbourhood of
  Petticoat Lane to agree to do them all at 7s. 6d. a piece. The
  Jew employed all the poor people who were at work for the slop
  warehouses in Houndsditch and its vicinity. This Jew makes on an
  average 500 paletots a week. The Jew gets 2s. 6d. profit out of
  each; and having no sewing trimmings allowed to him, he makes the
  workpeople find them. The saving in trimmings alone to the firm,
  since the workmen left the premises, must have realised a small
  fortune to them. Calculating men, women, and children, I have heard
  it said that the cheap house at the West End employs 1000 hands.
  The trimmings for the work done by these would be about 6d. a week
  per head, so that the saving to the house since the men worked on
  the premises has been no less than £1300 a year; and all this is
  taken out of the pockets of the poor. The Jew who contracts for
  making the paletots is no tailor at all. A few years ago he sold
  sponges in the street, and now he rides in his carriage. The Jew's
  profits are 500 half-crowns, or £60 odd per week; that is upwards
  of £3000 a-year."

The salary of a puisne judge of the Court of Session in Scotland! A
profitable commencement of life that of dealing in sponges, seeing
that it endows the vender with the absorbent qualities of the marine
vegetable! And mark the consequences which may befall those who
connive at such iniquity by their custom! We still quote from the same
pamphlet, not to deaf ears we trust, while telling them of the calamity
which such conduct may bring home to their own hearths, as it has done
already to that of hundreds who worship Cheapness as a god.

  "Men ought to know the condition of those by whose labour they
  live. Had the question been the investment of a few pounds in a
  speculation, these gentlemen would have been careful enough about
  good security. Ought they to take no security, when they invest
  their money in clothes, that they are not putting on their backs
  accursed garments, offered in sacrifice to devils, reeking with the
  sighs of the starving, tainted--yes, tainted indeed, _for it now
  comes out that diseases numberless are carried home in these same
  garments, from the miserable abodes where they are made_. Evidence
  to this effect was given in 1844; but Mammon was too busy to attend
  to it. These wretched creatures, when they have pawned their own
  clothes and bedding, will use as a substitute the very garments
  they are making. So Lord ----'s coat has been seen covering a
  group of children blotched with smallpox. The Rev. D---- suddenly
  finds himself unrepresentable from a cutaneous disease, little
  dreaming that the shivering dirty being who made his coat, has been
  sitting with his arms in the sleeves for warmth, while he stitched
  at the tails. The charming Miss C---- is swept off by typhus or
  scarlatina, and her parents talk about 'God's heavy judgment and
  visitation:' had they tracked the girl's new riding-habit back
  to the stifling undrained hovel where it served as a blanket to
  the fever-stricken slop-worker, they would have seen _why_ God
  had visited them, seen that His judgments are true judgments, and
  give His plain opinion of the system, which 'speaketh good of the
  covetous whom God abhorreth'--a system, to use the words of the
  _Morning Chronicle's_ correspondent, 'unheard of and unparalleled
  in the history of any country--a scheme so deeply laid for the
  introduction and supply of under-paid labour in the market, that it
  is impossible for the working man not to sink and be degraded by it
  into the lowest depths of wretchedness and infamy'--a system which
  is steadily and gradually increasing, and sucking more and more
  victims out of the honourable trade, who are really intelligent
  artisans, living in comparative comfort and civilisation, into
  the dishonourable or sweating trade, in which the slopworkers are
  generally almost brutified by their incessant toil, wretched pay,
  miserable food, and filthy homes."

But we must return to Alton Locke, whom we left speechless with
astonishment and overpowered with nausea on his first admission to
the sight and odours of a stitching Pandemonium. We are told, and we
believe it to be true, that of late years several of the first-rate
London tradesmen of the West End have effected important and salutary
improvements as regards the accommodation of their men, and that the
men themselves have assumed a better tone. We must, however, accept the
sketch as given; and of a truth it is no ways savoury. Some of Alton's
comrades are distinct Dungs--drunken, lewd, profane wretches; but there
is at least one Flint among them, a certain John Crossthwaite, who,
beneath a stolid manner and within a stunted body, conceals a noble
heart, beating strongly with the fiercest Chartist sentiments; and
beside this diminutive Hercules, Alton crooks his thigh. Crossthwaite,
like all little chaps, has a good conceit of himself, and an intense
contempt for thews and sinews, stature, chest, and the like points,
which excite the admiration of the statuary. On one occasion, when
incensed, as tailors are apt to be, by the sight of a big bulky
Life-guardsman, who could easily have crammed him into his boot,
Alton's new friend thus develops his ideas:--

  "'Big enough to make fighters?' said he, half to himself; 'or
  strong enough, perhaps?--or clever enough?--and yet Alexander was a
  little man, and the Petit Caporal, and Nelson, and Cæsar, too; and
  so was Saul of Tarsus, and weakly he was into the bargain. Æsop was
  a dwarf, and so was Attila; Shakspeare was lame; Alfred a rickety
  weakling; Byron club-footed; so much for body versus spirit--brute
  force versus genius--genius!'"

We had no previous idea that the fumes generated by cabbage produced
an effect so nearly resembling that which is consequent on the
inhalation of chloroform. Crossthwaite, however, is a learned man
in his way, and can quote Ariosto when he pleases--indeed, most of
the workmen who figure in these volumes seem to be adepts in foreign
tongues and literature. From Crossthwaite, Alton Locke derives his
first lesson as regards the rights of man, and becomes conscious,
as he tells us, that "society had not given him his rights." From
another character, Sandy Mackaye, a queer old Scotsman, who keeps a
book-stall, he receives his first introduction to actual literature.
Sandy is a good sketch--perhaps the best in the book. He is a Radical
of course, and, like the Glasgow shoemaker, whom the late Dr Chalmers
once visited, "a wee bit in the deistical line;" but he has a fine
heart, warm sympathies, and, withal, some shrewdness and common sense,
which latter quality very few indeed of the other characters exhibit.
We are left in some obscurity as to Sandy's early career, but from
occasional hints we are led to believe that he must have been honoured
with the intimacy of Messrs Muir and Palmer, and not improbably got
into some scrape about pike-heads, which rendered it convenient for him
to remove beyond the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justiciary. On
one occasion he seems to have averred that he was even older, alluding
to a conversation he had with "Rab Burns ance, sitting up a' canty at
Tibbie Shiels' in Meggot Vale." This is a monstrous libel against our
excellent friend Tibbie, at whose well-known hostelry of the Lochs it
was our good fortune, as usual, to pass a pleasant week no later than
the bygone spring; the necessary inference being that she has pursued
her present vocation for nearly three quarters of a century! The author
might have stated, with equal propriety, that he had the honour of an
interview with Ben Jonson, in a drawing-room of Douglas's hotel! But
Sandy's age is quite immaterial to the story. He may have been out in
the Forty-five for anything we care. It is enough to know that he takes
a particular fancy to the young tailor; lends him books; puts him in
the way of learning Latin, as we have already hinted, in three months;
and, finally, receives him under his own roof when he is ejected from
that of his mother on account of his having proclaimed himself, in her
presence, a rank and open unbeliever.

Alton stitches on till he is nearly twenty, educating himself at spare
hours as well as he can, by the aid of Sandy Mackaye, until he acquires
a certain reputation among his comrades as an uncommonly clever fellow.
The old bookdealer having some mysterious acquaintanceship with Alton's
uncle, informs that gentleman of the prodigy to whom he is related,
whereupon there is an interview, and the nephew is presented with five
shillings. Cousin George now comes, for the first time, on the _tapis_,
tall, clean-limbed, and apparently good-humoured, but, as is shown in
the sequel, selfish and a tuft-hunter. His maxim is to make himself
agreeable to everybody, because he finds it pay: and he gives Alton a
sample of his affability, by proposing a visit to the Dulwich Gallery.
At this point the story becomes deliciously absurd. Young Snip, to whom
pictures were a novelty, instantly fastens upon Guido's St Sebastian,
of which he is taking mental measure, when he is accosted by a young
lady. Although we have little space to devote to extracts, we cannot
refuse ourselves the gratification of transcribing a passage which
beats old Leigh Hunt's account of the interviews between Ippolito de
Buondelmonte and Dianora d'Amerigo hollow. This artist, indeed, has
evidently dipped his pencil in the warmest colours of the Cockney

  "A woman's voice close to me, gentle, yet of deeper tone than most,
  woke me from my trance.

  "'You seem to be deeply interested in that picture?'

  "I looked round, yet not at the speaker. My eyes, before they could
  meet hers, were caught by an apparition the most beautiful I had
  ever yet beheld. And what--what--have I seen equal to her since?
  Strange that I should love to talk of her. Strange that I fret at
  myself now because I cannot set down upon paper, line by line, and
  hue by hue, that wonderful loveliness of which--But no matter. Had
  I but such an imagination as Petrarch, or rather, perhaps, had I
  his deliberate cold, self-consciousness, what volumes of similes
  and conceits I might pour out, connecting that peerless face and
  figure with all lovely things which heaven and earth contain. As
  it is, because I cannot say all, I will say nothing, but repeat
  to the end, again and again, Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,
  beyond all statue, picture, or poet's dream. Seventeen--slight,
  but rounded, a masque and features delicate and regular, as if
  fresh from the chisel of Praxiteles. I must try to describe, after
  all, you see--a skin of alabaster, (privet-flowers, Horace and
  Ariosto would have said, more true to nature,) stained with the
  faintest flush; auburn hair, with that peculiar crisped wave seen
  in the old Italian pictures, and the warm, dark, hazel eyes which
  so often accompany it; lips like a thread of vermillion, somewhat
  too thin, perhaps--but I thought little of that then; with such
  perfect finish and grace in every line and hue of her features and
  her dress, _down to the little fingers and nails, which showed
  through their thin gloves_, that she seemed to my fancy fresh from
  the innermost chamber of some enchanted palace, 'where no air
  of heaven could visit her cheek too roughly.' I dropped my eyes
  quite dazzled. The question was repeated by a lady who stood with
  her, whose face I remarked then--as I did to the last, alas!--too
  little, dazzled at the first by outward beauty, perhaps because so
  utterly unaccustomed to it.

  "'It is indeed a wonderful picture.' I said timidly. 'May I ask
  what is the subject of it?'

  "'Oh! don't you know?' said the young beauty, with a smile that
  thrilled through me. 'It is St Sebastian.'

  "'I--I am very much ashamed,' I answered, colouring up; 'but I do
  not know who St Sebastian was. Was he a Popish saint?'

  "A tall, stately old man, who stood with the two ladies, laughed
  kindly. 'No, not till they made him one against his will, and, at
  the same time, by putting him into the mill which grinds old folks
  young again, converted him from a grizzled old Roman tribune into
  the young Apollo of Popery.'

  "'You will puzzle your hearer, my dear uncle,' said the same
  deep-toned woman's voice which had first spoken to me. 'As you
  volunteered the Saint's name, Lillian, you shall also tell his

  "Simply and shortly, with just feeling enough to send through me a
  fresh thrill of delighted interest, without trenching the least on
  the most stately reserve, she told me the well-known history of the
  Saint's martyrdom.

  "If I seem minute in my description, let those who read my story
  remember that such courteous dignity, however natural, I am bound
  to believe, it is to them, was to me an utterly new excellence in
  human nature. All my mother's Spartan nobleness of manner seemed
  unexpectedly combined with all my little sister's careless ease.

  "'What a beautiful poem the story would make!' said I, as soon as
  recovered my thoughts.

  "'Well spoken, young man,' answered the old gentleman. 'Let us hope
  that your seeing a subject for a good poem will be the first step
  towards your writing one.'"

Were we to extend points of admiration over a couple of columns, we
could not adequately express our feelings with regard to the above
passage. How natural--how simple! The entranced Snip gaping at the
Guido--the ladies accosting him, as ladies invariably do when they
encounter a casual tailor in such places--the passionate warmth of the
description--the ecclesiastical lore of Lillian--and the fine instinct
of the old gentleman, (a dignitary of the Church, by the way,) which
warns him at once that he is in the presence of a sucking poet,--all
these things combined take away our breath, and take, moreover, our
imagination utterly by storm! We shall not be surprised if hereafter
Greenwich Park should be utterly deserted on a holiday, and Dulwich
Gallery become the favourite resort of apprentices, each expecting, on
the authority of Alton Locke, to meet with some wealthy and high-born,
but most free-and-easy Lindamira!

But the best of it is to come. They have yet more conversation: the
strangers manifest a deep interest in the personal history of our hero.
"While I revelled in the delight of stolen glances at _my new-found
Venus Victrix, who was as forward as any of them in her questions
and her interest_. Perhaps she enjoyed--at least she could not help
seeing--the admiration for herself, which I took no pains to conceal!"
O thrums and trimmings! it is but too plain--Venus Victrix, with the
peculiar crisped auburn hair, and the skin of privet-flowers, has all
but lost her heart to the juvenile bandy-legged tailor!

Two can play at that game. Cousin George in the mean time, though
taking no part in the conversation--a circumstance which strikes
us as rather odd--has likewise fallen in love with the beautiful
apparition, and, after her departure, drives Alton "mad with jealousy
and indignation," by talking about the lady rather rapturously, as a
young snob of his kidney is pretty certain to do under circumstances
such as are described. The kinsmen part, and Alton returns to the
garret full of the thoughts of Lillian. She becomes his muse, and with
the aid of a stray volume of Tennyson, he sets himself sedulously to
the task of elaborating poetry. Sandy Mackaye, his censor, betrays
no great admiration for his earlier efforts, which indeed are rather
milk-and-water, and recommends him to become a poet for the people,
pointing out to him, in various scenes of wretchedness which they
visit, the true elements of the sublime. The graphic power and real
pathos of those scenes afford a marvellous contrast to the rubbish
which is profusely interspersed through the volumes. It is much to be
regretted that an author, who can write so naturally and well, should
allow himself to mar his narrative and destroy its interest, by the
introduction not only of absurdities in point of incident, but of
whole chapters of mystical jargon, inculcating doctrines which, we are
quite sure, are not distinctly comprehended even by himself. He has
got much to learn, if not to unlearn, before he can do full justice to
his natural powers. So long as he addicts himself, both in thought and
language, to the use of general terms, he must fail in producing that
effect which he otherwise might easily achieve.

Alton then, though still a tailor, becomes a poet; and, after two years
and a half incubation, produces a manuscript volume, enough to fill a
small octavo, under the somewhat spoliative and suspicious title of
_Songs of the Highways_. Still no talk of publishing. Then comes a
movement among the tailors, caused by Alton's master determining to
follow the example of others, and reduce wages. A private meeting of
the operatives is held, at which John Crossthwaite the Flint counsels
resistance and a general strike; but the faint-hearted Dungs fly from
him, and he finds no supporter save Alton. The two resolve, _coûte qui
coûte_, to hold out, and Crossthwaite takes his friend that night to a
Chartist meeting, where he is sworn to all the points.

Never more did Alton bury needle in the hem of a garment. Nobody would
give employment to the two protesters; so John Crossthwaite, being a
man of a practical tendency, and not bad at statistics, determined to
turn an honest penny by writing for a Chartist newspaper, and would
have persuaded Alton to do the same, had not Sandy Mackaye interposed,
and very properly represented that his young friend was too juvenile to
become a martyr. So it was fixed at a general council that Alton should
prepare his bundle, including his precious manuscripts, and start on
foot for Cambridge, where his cousin was, to see whether he could
not procure help to have his volume launched into the world. We must
pass over his journey to Cambridge, interesting as it is, to arrive
at his cousin's rooms. There he finds George with half-a-dozen of his
companions all equipped for a rowing match, and just about to start.
George behaves like a trump, orders him luncheon, and then departs for
the river, whither Alton follows, with the intention of seeing the
fun. His behaviour is a libel on the Cockneys. He sees Lillian on the
opposite side of the river, and makes an ass of himself; then he bursts
into ecstasies at the sight of the boats, feeling "my soul stirred up
to a sort of sweet madness, not merely by the shouts and cheers of the
mob around me, but by the loud, fierce pulse of the rowlocles; the
swift whispering rush of the long, snake-like eight oars; the swirl and
gurgle of the water on their wake; the grim, breathless silence of the
straining rowers. My blood boiled over, and fierce tears swelled into
my eyes; for I, too, was a man and an Englishman." The author should
have added--and a tailor to boot. So Alton, like an idiot, begins to
roar and shout, and is ridden over by a young sprig of nobility, in
whose way he insists on standing; and is soused in the river; and
insults another young nobleman, Lord Lynedale, of whom more anon, who
picks him up, and out of good nature offers him half-a-crown: all which
shows, or is intended to show, that our friend is a splendid specimen
of the aristocracy of nature. Well--to cut a long story short--he
returns to his cousin's rooms, is kindly received, introduced to a
supper party of Cantabs, and afterwards to Lord Lynedale, for whom he
corrects certain proofs, and receives a sovereign in return. The said
Lord Lynedale is engaged to a lady, the same with "the deeper voice
than most"--not Lillian--who accosted him in the Dulwich Gallery. She
is the niece of a Dean Winnstay, Lillian being the daughter. They meet.
She recognises him, and he favours us with a sketch of Miss Eleanor
Staunton. "She was beautiful, but with the face and figure rather of
a Juno than a Venus--dark, imperious, restless--the lips almost too
firmly set, the brow almost too massive and projecting--a queen, rather
to be feared than loved--but a queen still, as truly royal as the man
into whose face she was looking up with eager admiration and delight,
as he pointed out to her eloquently the several beauties of the
landscape." So Alton is introduced to the Dean, and finally asked down
to the deanery.

The result, of course, is, that he becomes, if possible, ten times more
deeply in love than before with Venus Victrix, who is naughty enough to
flirt with Snip, and to astonish him by singing certain of his songs.
As a matter of course, he immediately conjures up an imaginary Eden,
with an arbour of cucumber vine, in which he, Alton, and she, Lillian,
are to figure as Adam and Eve--we trust in such becoming costume as
his previous pursuits must have given him the taste to devise. Miss
Staunton, however, does not appear to relish the liaison, and rather
throws cold water upon it, which damper Locke seems to attribute
to jealousy! though it afterwards turns out to have been dictated
by a higher feeling; namely, her conviction that Lillian was too
shallow-hearted to be a fit object for the affections of the inspired
tailor!! The old Dean meanwhile, quite unconscious of the ravages which
young Remnants is making in his family circle, bores him with lectures
on entomology, and finally agrees to patronise his poems, and head a
subscription list, provided he will expunge certain passages which
savour of republican principles. Alton consents; and as a reward for
his so doing, Miss Staunton pronounces him to be "weak," and Lillian
deplores that he has spoilt his best verses, which _her cousin_ had set
to music. Reading these things, we begin to comprehend the deep anxiety
of Petruchio to get the tailor out of his house,--

    "Hortensio; say thou wilt see the tailor paid:
    Go, take it hence; begone, and say no more."

Who knows what effect the flatteries of an insinuator like Alton Locke
might have had upon the lively Katherina?

The list, however, is not yet made up--so Alton returns to London, and
is entered upon the staff of the _Weekly Warwhoop_, a Chartist journal,
conducted by one Mr O'Flynn, a red-hot Hibernian and republican. The
engagement is not satisfactory. The editor has a playful habit of
mutilating the articles of his contributors, and sometimes of putting
in additional pepper, so as to adapt them to his own peculiar tastes
and purposes; and Alton Locke finds that it goes rather against his
conscience to libel the Church of England and the Universities by
inventing falsehoods by the score, as he is earnestly entreated to do
by his uncompromising chief. There is nothing like a peep behind the
scenes. Alton begins to suspect that he may have been misled regarding
matters of political faith, and that it is quite possible for a man to
call himself a patriot, and yet be a consummate blackguard. Touching
religious tenets, also, he has some qualms; a discourse which he
happens to hear from a peripatetic idiot of the Emersonian school
having put new notions into his head, and he is especially attracted by
the dogma that "sin is only a lower form of good." He next breaks with
O'Flynn, encounters his cousin George, now in orders, though certainly
quite unfitted for the duties of his profession; and a regular quarrel
ensues on the subject of Lillian, whom George is determined to win.
Poetical justice demands that both whelps should be soused in the
kennel. Alton gets a new engagement from "the editor of a popular
journal of the Howitt and Eliza Cook school;" and at last brings out
his poems, which, though considerably castrated, have the good fortune
to take with the public. Then he is asked to be at the Dean's town
residence, to meet with divers "leaders of scientific discovery in
this wondrous age; and more than one poet, too, over whose works I had
gloated, whom I had worshipped in secret." In short, he felt that "he
was taking his place there among the holy guild of authors." Nor are
these all his triumphs. Lillian smiles upon him; and Lady Ellerton,
formerly Miss Staunton, who has since been wedded to Lord Lynedale, and
raised to a higher title in the peerage, introduces him to the ----
ambassador, evidently the Chevalier Bunsen, who instantly invites him
to Germany! "I am anxious," quoth the ambassador, "to encourage a holy
spiritual fraternisation between the two great branches of the Teutonic
stock, by welcoming all brave young English spirits to their ancient
fatherland. Perhaps, hereafter, your kind friends here will be able
to lend you to me"!! So the brave young English spirit goes home that
night in a perfect whirl of excitement. In the morning comes reaction.
Alton, on going to leave his card for the Dean, finds the house shut
up, and is informed that the young Earl of Ellerton has been killed
by a fall from his horse, and that the whole family are gone to the
country. "That day was the first of June 1845. On the 10th of April
1848, I saw Lillian Winnstay again. Dare I write my history between
these two points of time?" By all means: and, if you please, get on a
little faster.

It will naturally occur to the reader that Messrs Crossthwaite and
Mackaye could not be remarkably well pleased at witnessing their
friend's intromissions with the aristocracy. The docking of the poems
had been the first symptom of retrogression from the Chartist camp;
the acceptance of invitations to exclusive soirées was a still more
grievous offence. Accordingly, Alton began to suffer for his sins.
His old employer, O'Flynn, was down upon him in the columns of the
_Warwhoop_, tomahawking him for his verses, ridiculing his pretensions,
exposing his private history, and denouncing him as no better than a
renegade. Then, somebody sent him a pair of plush breeches, in evident
token of his flunkyism--a doubleedged and cruel insult which nearly
drove him distracted. Old Sandy Mackaye, over his pipe and tumbler of
toddy, descanted upon the degeneracy of the age, and John Crossthwaite
told him in so many words that he had disappointed his expectations
most miserably. Under these circumstances, Alton felt that there was
nothing for him but to redeem his character as a Chartist by some
daring step, even though it brought him within the iron grasp of the
law. An opportunity soon presented itself. There was distress among
the agricultural labourers in several districts; a monster meeting was
to be held; and the club to which Alton belonged determined to send
down a delegate to represent them. Alton instantly proffered himself
for the somewhat perilous post: and the warmth of his protestations
and entreaties overcame the suspicions, and removed the jealousy, of
his comrades. Even O'Flynn pronounced him to be "a broth of a boy." In
the midst of the meeting, however, he was startled by a glimpse of the
countenance of his cousin George, who, it afterwards appears, had come
thither as a spy, armed with a bowie-knife and revolver!

As a delegate, therefore, Alton goes down to the place of rendezvous,
in the neighbourhood of the Deanery, where he had once been hospitably
entertained; listens to several speeches on the low rate of wages,
which he justly considers to be rather purposeless and incoherent;
strives to inculcate the principles of the Charter, which the
agriculturists won't listen to; and finally, by a flaming harangue on
the rights of man, sends them off in a body to a neighbouring hall to
plunder, burn, and destroy. Of course he is actuated by none but the
most praiseworthy and philanthropic motives. The mob do their work as
usual, and proceed to arson and pillage; Mr Locke, who has accompanied
them, all the while preaching respect to the sacred rights of property.
A handful of yeomanry approach; the mob begins to scamper; and the
misunderstood patriot and poet is cut down in the act of rescuing a
desk from the clutches of an agricultural Turpin. He is tried, of
course, for the offence; John Crossthwaite and Mackaye are brought to
speak to character, but they break down under the cross-examination.
An extempore witness, however, gives evidence in his favour, which
suffices to clear him of the most serious part of the charge. He
intends to make a magnificent speech in his defence, and has actually
got through three sentences, "looking fixedly and proudly at the
reverend face opposite," when a slight deviation of the eye reveals to
him the form of Lillian!

  "There she was! There she had been the whole time--right opposite
  to me, close to the judge--cold, bright, curious--smiling! And, as
  our eyes met, she turned away, and whispered gaily something to a
  young man beside her.

  "Every drop of blood in my body rushed into my forehead; the court,
  the windows, and the faces, whirled round and round, and I fell
  senseless on the floor of the dock."

Alas for poor Snip! They gave him three years.

Three years passed in prison afford ample time for reflection, and
are calculated to lead to amendment. We are sorry, however, to say
that Mr Alton Locke by no means turned them to profit. He had many
long interviews with the chaplain, who attempted to reclaim him to
Christianity; but it would seem that the reverend gentleman did not set
about it in the right way, as he advanced only old-fashioned arguments
against infidelity, whereas the inspired tailor "was fighting for
Strauss, Hennell, and Emerson." So the chaplain gave him up at last,
and he turned for recreation and solace to the works of M.M. Prudhon
and Louis Blanc, which he got somehow smuggled into his cell. During
his imprisonment he experienced great tribulation by the sight of a
handsome new church rising not far from his window, and occasional
glimpses of a person whom he took to be the incumbent, and who bore
a marvellous likeness to his cousin George. Sometimes this personage
was accompanied by a lady, who might possibly be Lillian--for the
mooncalf, notwithstanding the court-scene, and the consciousness that
he was a sentenced felon, still seems to have supposed that he was
beloved, and to have expected a visit to his cell--and the bare idea
was distraction. And it turns out that he was right. George Locke, the
incumbent, was about to be married--a fact which he learned immediately
before his own release, coinciding in point of time with the French
Revolution of 1848.

Back to London goes Alton, and, as a matter of course, instantaneously
consorts with Cuffey. Then come the preparations for the memorable
demonstration of 10th April, the provision of arms, and the wild
schemes for resorting to physical force. That a large, ramified,
and by no means contemptible conspiracy then existed, no man can
doubt; and there is but too much reason to believe that social
suffering was as much the cause of the projected outbreak as abstract
political doctrines, however pernicious, or even the influence of the
revolutionary example extended and propagated from the Continent. Alton
had by this time worked himself up to such a pitch that he was ready to
mount a barricade, and so was his companion and coadjutor, the valorous
John Crossthwaite. But old Sandy Mackaye, who had some acquaintanceship
with pikes in his youth, and experience of the extreme doubtfulness of
the popular pluck, especially under the guidance of such leaders as
the imbecile and misguided fools who made themselves most prominent
in the Convention, astonished his friends by denouncing the whole
concern as not only silly but sinful, and prophesying, almost with his
dying breath as it proved, its complete and shameful failure. Very
beautifully, indeed, and very naturally drawn, is the deathbed scene
of the old reformer; the spirit, ere quitting for ever the tenement of
clay, wandering back and recurring to the loved scenes of childhood and
of youth--the bonny braes, and green hillsides, and clear waters of
his native land.

Old Sandy dies, and Alton watches by his corpse till the morning of
the 10th of April, the day on which the liberties of England were to
be decided, and a general muster of the adherents of the Charter held
on Kensington Common. Going forth, he encounters at the door a lady
dressed in deep mourning, who had come to visit Mackaye, and who should
this prove to be but the widowed Countess of Ellerton! It now comes out
that Alton had been altogether mistaken in her character: instead of
being a proud imperious aristocrat, she proves to be a lowly, devoted,
and self-sacrificing friend of the poor, who has surrendered her whole
means for the relief of unfortunate needle-women, and even lived and
worked among them, in order personally to experience the hardships
of their condition. There is nothing in this to provoke a sneer; for
it is impossible to exaggerate the extent of that sacrifice which
women in all ages have been content to make, either at the call of
love, the claim of duty, or the demand of religion; and the noble and
unswerving heroism, which they have exhibited in the accomplishment of
their task. To tend the sick and dying even in public, hospitals--to
brave the pestilence and the plague--to visit prisons--utterly to
abjure the world, and to give up everything for the sake of their
Divine Master--all these things have been done by women, and done so
quietly and unobtrusively as to escape the notice of the multitude;
for good deeds are like the sweetest flowers, they blossom in the
most secret places. But our author goes a great deal further, and, as
usual, plunges into the ludicrous. Lady Ellerton has, from the first,
recognised Alton Locke as an inspired being; she has kept her eye upon
him throughout the whole of his career; has paid his debts through old
Mackaye, with whom she seems to have been in constant correspondence;
has supplied the means for his defence at his trial; and has now come
to arrest, if possible, the headlong career of the outrageous and
revolutionary tailor! We must indulge ourselves with one more extract,
and it shall be the last.

  "'Oh!' she said, in a voice of passionate earnestness, which I
  had never heard from her before, 'stop--for God's sake, stop! you
  know not what you are saying--what you are doing. Oh! that I had
  met you before--that I had had more time to speak to poor Mackaye!
  Oh! wait, wait--there is a deliverance for you; but never in this
  path--never! And just while I, and nobler far than I, are longing
  and struggling to find the means of telling you your deliverance,
  you, in the madness of your haste, are making it impossible!'

  "There was a wild sincerity in her words--an almost imploring
  tenderness in her tone.

  "'So young!' she said; 'so young to be lost thus!'

  "I was intensely moved. I felt--I knew that she had a message for
  me. I felt that hers was the only intellect in the world to which I
  would have submitted mine; and, for one moment, all the angel and
  all the devil in me wrestled for the mastery. If I could but have
  trusted her one moment.... No! all the pride, the suspicion, the
  prejudice of years, rolled back upon me. 'An aristocrat! and she,
  too, the one who has kept me from Lillian!' And in my bitterness,
  not daring to speak the real thought within me, I answered with a
  flippant sneer--

  "'Yes, Madam! like Cordelia, so young, yet so untender!--Thanks to
  the mercies of the upper classes!'

  "Did she turn away in indignation? No, by heaven!--there was
  nothing upon her face but the intensest yearning pity. If she had
  spoken again, she would have conquered; but before those perfect
  lips could open, the thought of thoughts flashed across me.

  "'Tell me one thing! Is my cousin George to be married to----?' and
  I stopped.

  "'He is.'

  "'And yet,' I said, 'you wish to turn me back from dying on a
  barricade!' And, without waiting for a reply, I hurried down the
  street in all the fury of despair."

But Alton Locke did not die on a barricade, any more than Mr John
O'Connell on the floor of the House of Commons. He did not sever with
his shears the thread of life either of soldier or policeman. He got
down from the waggons with the rest when Feargus showed the white
feather, and by way of change of scene and subject, contrived to get
into the house where Lillian was residing, and in a very sneaking way
to become witness of sundry love passages between her and his cousin
George. As a matter of course, he was kicked into the street by two
able-bodied servitors in plush. Then follows a scene with a former
comrade of his, a drunken, worthless, treacherous Dung, by name Jemmy
Downes, who had become a sweater and kidnapper, and descended through
every stage of degradation to the very cesspool of infamy. His wife
and children are lying dead, fever-stricken, half-consumed by vermin
in a horrible den, overhanging a rankling ditch, into which Downes in
his delirium falls, and Alton staggers home with the typhus raging in
his blood. Then come the visions of delirium, ambitiously written, but
without either myth or meaning, so far as we can discover. Sometimes
Alton fancies himself a mylodon eating his way through a forest of
cabbage palms, and "browsing upon the crisp tart foliage,"--sometimes
he is impressed with the painful conviction that he is a baboon
agitated "by wild frenzies, agonies of lust, and aimless ferocity." The
conscience, it would seem, was not utterly overpowered by the disease.
He at length awakes to reality--

  "Surely I know that voice! She lifted her veil. The face was
  Lillian's! No! Eleanor's!

  "Gently she touched my hand--I sunk down into soft, weary, happy

Of course, with the Countess for his nurse, Alton gradually recovers,
at least from the fever, but his constitution is plainly breaking up.
He then hears of the death of his cousin George, caused by infection
conveyed in a coat which he had seen covering the wasted remains of
Downes' wife and children. His first impulse is again to persecute
Lillian; but the Countess will not allow him, not because he is an
impertinent, odious, contemptible, convicted snip and coxcomb, but
because "there is nothing there for your heart to rest upon--nothing
to satisfy your intellect"!! So she reads Tennyson to him, and
expounds her views throughout several chapters upon Christianity as
bearing upon Socialism--views which we regret to say that the noble
lady, by adopting that peculiar exaltation of speech which was said
to characterise the oracles of Johanna Southcote and Luckie Buchan,
has rendered unintelligible to us, though they appear to have had a
different effect upon her audience.

The end of the story is, that Alton is sent out to Mexico by the
desire and at the expense of the Countess, in order that he may become
"a tropical poet," not only rhetorically, but physically; and he is
accompanied by Crossthwaite and his wife. We are led to infer that
failing health, upon both sides, was an insuperable obstacle to his
union with the Countess. He pens this autobiography during the voyage,
and dies within sight of land, after having composed his death-song,
than which, we trust, for the credit of tradition, that the last notes
of the swans of Cayster were infinitely more melodious.

Such is an epitome of the story of Alton Locke; a book which exhibits,
in many passages, decided marks of genius, but which, as a whole, is
so preposterously absurd, as rather to excite ridicule than to move
sympathy. What sympathy we do feel is not with Alton Locke, the hero,
if we dare to desecrate that term by applying it to such an abortion:
it arises out of the episodes which are carefully constructed from
ascertained and unquestionable facts, and in which the proprieties
of nature and circumstance are not exaggerated or forsaken, whilst
the pictorial power of the author is shown to the greatest advantage.
Of this character are the scenes in the needlewoman's garret--in the
sweating-house, from which the old farmer rescues his son--in the den
inhabited by Downes--and the description of Mackaye's deathbed. These
are, however, rather the eddies of the story than the stream: the
moment we have to accompany Alton Locke as a principal actor, we are
involved in such a mass of absurdities, that common-sense revolts, and
credulity itself indignantly refuses to entertain them.

We are sorry for this, on account of the cause which is advocated.
If fiction is to be used as an indirect means for directing the
attention of the public to questions of vital interest, surely great
care should be employed to exclude all elements which may and must
excite doubts as to the genuineness of the facts which form the
foundation of the story. A weak or ridiculous argument is, according
to the doctrine of Aristotle, often prejudicial to the best cause;
and we cannot help thinking that this book affords a notable instance
of the truth of that observation. But we have more to do than simply
to review a novel. Here is a question urgently presenting itself for
the consideration of all thinking men--a question which concerns the
welfare of hundreds of thousands--a question which has been evaded by
statesmen so long as they dared to do so with impunity, but which now
can be no longer evaded--that question being, whether any possible
means can be found for ameliorating and improving the condition of
the working classes of Great Britain, by rescuing them from the
effects of that cruel competition which makes each man the enemy of
his fellow; which is annually driving from our shores crowds of our
best and most industrious artisans; which consigns women from absolute
indigence to infamy; dries up the most sacred springs of affection
in the heart; crams the jail and the poor-house; and is eating like
a fatal canker into the very heart of society. The symptoms at least
are clear and apparent before our eyes. Do not reams of Parliamentary
Reports, and a plethora of parole testimony, if that were needed
to corroborate the experience of every one, establish the facts of
emigration, prostitution, improvidence, crime, and pauperism, existing
and going forward in an unprecedented degree--and that in the face,
as we are told, of stimulated production, increasing exports, also
increasing imports, revivals of trade, sanitary regulations, and
improved and extended education? Why, if the latter things be true,
or rather if they are all that is sufficient to insure the wellbeing
of the working classes, we should be necessarily forced to arrive at
the sickening and humiliating conclusion, that the English people
are the most obstinately brutalised race existing on the face of
the earth, and that every effort for their relief only leads to a
commensurate degradation! That belief is not ours. Though we think
that a monstrous deal of arrogant and stupid jargon has of late been
written about the indomitable perseverance and hereditary virtues of
the Anglo-Saxon race--principally by contemptible drivellers, who,
so far from possessing the pluck, energy, or sinews of the genuine
Anglo-Saxon, are cast in the meanest mould of humanity, and endowed
with an intellect as poor and feckless as their limbs--we still look
upon the British people as the foremost on the roll of nations, and
the least willing to degrade themselves voluntarily, to transgress the
boundaries of the law, to avail themselves of a humiliating charity,
or to subside shamefully into crime. And, if this view be the correct
one, how is it that misery not only exists, but is spreading--how is it
that the symptoms every day become more apparent and appalling? When
Ministers speak of the general prosperity of her Majesty's subjects, as
they usually do at the opening of every session of Parliament, it is
perfectly obvious that they must proceed upon some utterly false data
as to the masses; and that the prosperity to which they allude must be
that only of an isolated class, or at best of a few classes, whilst the
condition of the main body is overlooked and uncared for. The fact is,
that her Majesty's present advisers, one and all of them, as also some
of their predecessors, have suffered themselves to be utterly deluded
by a false and pernicious system of political economy, framed expressly
with the view of favouring capitalists and those engaged in foreign
trade, at the expense of all others in the country. Their standard of
the national prosperity is the amount of the exports to foreign parts;
of the home trade, which is of infinitely greater importance, they
take no heed whatever. Thus, while the vessels on the Clyde and the
Mersey are crowded with industrious emigrants, forced to leave Britain
because they can no longer earn within its compass "a fair day's wage
for a fair day's labour"--whilst benevolent people in London are
raising subscriptions for the purpose of sending out our needle-women
to Australia--whilst the shopkeeper complains of want of custom, and
the artisan of diminished employment and dwindling remuneration--we are
suddenly desired to take heart, and be of good cheer, because several
additional millions of yards of calico have been exported to foreign
countries! And this, according to our philosophical economists, is
reasoning from cause to effect! Cotton manufactures are, no doubt,
excellent things in their way. They give employment or furnish
subsistence to about half a million of persons, out of a population
of twenty-seven millions--(that is, in the proportion of one to
fifty-four)--but the exportation of these manufactures does not benefit
the artisan, neither is its augmentation any proof or presumption that
even this single trade is in a flourishing condition. Increased exports
may arise, and often do arise, from a decline in home consumption--a
most ominous cause, which even cotton manufacturers admit to have been
last year in operation. But this is not a question to be narrowed,
nor shall we narrow it, by dilating upon one particular point. We
shall reserve it in its integrity, to be considered fully, fairly,
and deliberately in a future article, with such assistance as we can
derive from the exertions and researches of those who have already
occupied themselves in bringing this subject prominently before the
notice of the public. It may happen that some of those writers to whom
we allude have greatly overshot their mark, and have arrived at hasty
conclusions, both as to the cause of the evil and as to its remedy.
The Communist notions which peep through the present publication, are
not likely to forward the progress of a great cause. But those ideas
evidently have their origin in a deep conviction either that Government
has been wanting in its duty of protecting the interests of the masses,
or that it has erred by adopting an active line of policy, to which the
whole evil may be traced. Both propositions will bear all argument.
It would be easy to point out many instances in which Government has
refrained, to the public prejudice, from using its directive power;
and instances, still more numerous, in which legislative measures have
been proposed and carried, directly hostile to the best interests of
the nation. And therefore, although some remedies which have been
proposed may appear absurd, fantastic, or even worse, we are not
entitled, on that account, to drop the investigation. Failing the
suggestion of possible cures, people will grasp at the impossible;
but the tendency to do so by no means negatives the existence of the
disease. There is at present, we believe, but little or no active
agitation for the Charter. So much the better. If the experience of
1848 has taught the working-men that this demand of theirs is as
visionary as though they had petitioned for a Utopia, they will be
more prepared to listen to those who have their welfare thoroughly at
heart, and who have no dearer or higher wish than to see Englishmen
dwelling in unity, peace, and comfort in their native land; all these
disastrous bickerings, feuds, and jealousies extinguished, and order
and allegiance permanently secured, as the result of an altered system
of domestic policy, which shall have for its basis the recognition and
equitable adjustment of the claims of British industry. The task may
be a difficult one, but it is by no means impossible. Every day some
fallacy, hatched and industriously propagated by selfish and designing
men, is exposed or tacitly withdrawn; every day the baneful effects of
cotton legislation become more apparent. If the representations of the
Free-Traders were true, the condition of the working-classes would now
have been most enviable. Is it so? The capitalist, and the political
economist, and the quack, and the Whig official may answer that it is;
but when we ask the question of the masses of the people, how different
is the tenor of the reply!

Next month we propose to resume the consideration of this most
important topic.


[48] _Alton Locke, Tailor and Poet: an Autobiography._ In 2 vols.
London: Chapman and Hall, 1850.

[49] As more than one pen has been occupied with the subject
of Crichton, we think it proper to state, in order to prevent
misinterpretation, that the author above alluded to is Sir Thomas
Urquhart, and not Mr William Harrison Ainsworth. Nobody will suspect
the latter gentleman of having trodden too closely on the heels of
history. In his hands, the young cadet of Cluny is entirely emancipated
from the sanctuary or the cloister, and entitled to take permanent
rank with the acrobat Antonio, whose feats upon the slack-rope must be
still thrillingly remembered by the frequenters of the Surrey-side, or
with the late lamented Harvey Leach, in consequence of whose premature
decease the gnome-fly has vanished from the ceiling of the British

[50] _Cheap Clothes and Nasty._ By PARSON LOT. London: 1850.


Although a considerable period must yet elapse ere the expiration
of the Parliamentary holidays, it will be well for the public to be
prepared for the discussion of certain questions which must perforce
engage the early attention of the Legislature. We know not, and have
no means of knowing, what may be the nature of the coming Ministerial
programme. Were we to argue entirely from the results of past
experience, we might well be excused for anticipating the absence of
any kind of programme; seeing that the Whig policy of late years has
been to remain as stationary as possible, and to take the initiative
in nothing, unless it be some scheme devised for the evident purpose
of bolstering up their party influence. Whether the old line of
conduct is to be pursued, or whether Lord John Russell, desirous to
give a fillip to his decreasing popularity, may propound some organic
changes--for there are rumours to that effect abroad--is at present
matter of speculation. One subject he _must_ grapple with; and that is
the taxation of the country, taken in connection with the Property and
Income Tax, which, unless renewed by special Act of Parliament, expires
in the course of the ensuing year.

That an attempt will be made to continue this tax, no reasonable person
can doubt. Ever since it was imposed, Ministers have acted as though it
was permanent and not temporary. They have done this in spite of the
solemn pledge given to the country by its originator, that it should
not be made a regular burden--in spite of the frequent and unanswerable
remonstrances advanced by many who felt themselves aggrieved by its
unjust and unequal operation. The limited nature of its duration was
made the first excuse for avoiding its revision--the necessities of
Government the next excuse for continuing it in all its imperfection;
and yet these necessities, so far from being casual, were purposely
created by the remission of other taxes, in order to afford the Premier
of the day an apology for breaking his word--in plain English for
violating his honour. We defy any man, however skilled he may be in
casuistry, to alter the complexion of these facts, which are anything
but creditable to the candour of the statesmen concerned, or to the
character of our political morality.

We are, therefore, fully prepared for a demand on the part of the
Chancellor of the Exchequer for the reimposition of the Property
and Income Tax. He will attempt to justify that demand by the usual
allegation that it is absolutely necessary in order to meet the
exigencies of the State; and that it yields very near five and a
half millions of revenue, not one penny of which he can spare if he
is to defray the expenses of the public service and the interest of
the National Debt. This might be an excellent argument if employed
to meet the proposal of any financial Quixote for abolishing a tax
which the Legislature has solemnly declared to be permanent. But
it is no argument at all for the continuance of this tax after its
stated legal period has expired, any more than for the imposition of
some tax entirely new. The real state of the case will be just this,
that our recent commercial policy and its attendant experiments have
landed us in a deficit of some five and a half millions, which, on the
whole, in the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, may be most
conveniently supplied by a NEW ACT authorising the direct taxation of
Property and Income, on the same terms as before, for a certain period
of years. That is all that can be said for the reimposition; and,
_cæteris paribus_, the same argument would be as effective and as well
grounded, if the honourable gentleman using it should propose to raise
the sum required by clapping on an additional land tax, or by doubling
or trebling the assessed taxes.

What the exigencies of the State now require is the raising five and a
half millions more than the ordinary produce of the revenue, and NOT
the resumption of the Property and Income Tax. These are two separate
and distinct things; but, as a matter of course, we must expect to
see them confounded, as if the fact of a peculiar tax having once been
raised, gives a sort of servitude to the provider for the Exchequer
over the property from which it is levied, notwithstanding the express
limitations of the statute, continuing the impost for a certain time,
but no longer. This has been, and no doubt will be the Whig logic;
and it is very material for those who think with us that it is full
time that this odious, unjust, and inquisitorial tax should cease, to
remember that they stand now on precisely the same footing which they
occupied when the impost was originally proposed. Sir Robert Peel,
then in the zenith of his power, and with a large and undivided party
at his back, dared not propose it as a permanent source of revenue.
He asked it, in 1842, as a special and exceptional boon--almost as a
mark of personal confidence in himself; and as such it was given. He
did not attempt to aver that the measure was perfect in its details;
on the contrary, he admitted that it was partial; but he excused that
partiality on account of the shortness of its duration; and the public,
believing in the sincerity of his statement, was willing to accept
the excuse. He used the money thus partially raised for the reduction
of other taxes, in the hope of effecting "such an improvement _in the
manufacturing interests_ as will react on every other interest in the
country;" and when, in 1845, he proposed its continuance for another
limited period, he expressly said, "I should not have proposed the
continuance of the Income-Tax unless I had the strongest persuasion,
partly founded on the experience of the last three years, that it will
be competent to the House of Commons, by continuing the Income-Tax,
to make such arrangements with regard to _general taxation_ as shall
be the foundation _of great commercial prosperity_." And again, "If
we receive the sanction of the House for the continuance of the
Income-Tax, we shall feel it to be our duty to make a great experiment
with respect to taxation." So, then, by the confession of Sir Robert
Peel, its author, the Income-Tax, a great portion of which is levied
from the agricultural section of the community, was laid on for the
purpose of enabling him to stimulate manufactures; and that being done,
it is to be made permanent,--the landed interest, in the meantime,
having been almost prostrated by the subsequent repeal of the Corn Laws!

Such is the history of this tax; and we apprehend that, even without,
reference to the iniquity and inequality of its details, it is so
manifestly unjust in point of principle, that no statesman can,
consistently with his honour and duty, propose it again for the
adoption of the Legislature. Have manufactures benefited by the
remission of duties thus purchased for them by the extraordinary
sacrifice of so many years? If so, let them contribute to the national
revenue according to the amount of that benefit. If not, why, then,
the vaunted experiment has totally failed--the money been uselessly
squandered; and the sooner that the taxes which have been taken off
are reimposed, the better. But to subject the agricultural portion of
the community and all professional men to a perpetual extraordinary
tax for the purpose of advantaging the manufacturers, is a proposition
so monstrous, that, notwithstanding the tenor of recent legislation,
we can hardly bring ourselves to believe that it will be seriously

But we must not be too confident as to that. The Whigs are not famous
for financial ability; and even if their talent in that line were much
greater than it is, they would find it difficult, without seriously
compromising that course of policy to which they are committed, and
mortally offending some of their slippery supporters, to devise means
for raising a revenue at all adequate to the deficiency. Last year an
annual sum of nearly £600,000, the average amount of the brick-duty,
was remitted, nominally for the benefit of the peasantry, actually
for that of the manufacturers: the window-duty may be considered
almost as doomed, and there are clamours for other reductions. So
that we need not be surprised if, about the time of the opening of
the Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be driven nearly
to his wits' end, and the Whigs determined, at all hazards, for the
fourth time to lay on the Income-Tax. Now, in counselling opposition
of the most determined nature to any such attempt, we are actuated by
no factious spirit. We are quite aware that money must be raised for
the efficiency of the public service and the maintenance of the public
credit. We see the difficulty as clearly as Sir Charles Wood can state
it; but the existence of a difficulty by no means implies that most
of us are to submit to gross injustice, and many to be subjected to
positive plunder. In short, we hold _that the period has now arrived
when, for the public safety, the general good, and the satisfaction
of all classes, the whole of the taxation of Great Britain should be
revised, and adjusted on distinct and intelligible principles_, so
that each man may be made to bear his own burden--not, as at present,
either to carry double weight, or to shift his load to the already
cumbered shoulders of his neighbour. Surely this is no extravagant
demand, no unreasonable expectation. Heaven knows, we have now been
experimenting long enough to enable our rulers, if they are at all fit
for their duty, to have arrived at some positive results. Why should
any "experiments" have been tried, if they were not to lead to such an
end? We say deliberately, that no better opportunity than the present
can occur for forcing on that revision of the taxation which almost
every one believes to be necessary. The excise reformers--those who
demand the repeal of the taxes on paper and on soap--those who wish
the window duty abolished--those who advocate a further reduction of
customs duties, and those who, like Mr Disraeli, desire an equitable
adjustment of the burdens upon land--have all here a common ground to
rest upon,--namely, the injustice or the inexpediency of our present
fiscal regulations. We occupy the same ground in protesting against the
continuance of the Income-Tax. Surely, with such general testimony from
men of all parties against the continuance of the present heterogeneous
and unsatisfactory arrangements, it is time that our statesmen should
really bestir themselves, and announce to us upon what principles for
the future our taxation is really to proceed. We cannot go on for ever
robbing Peter to pay Paul. We cannot always submit to a perpetual
shifting of burdens, as if the people of this country were so many
dromedaries, to have their hourly capabilities of relief determined by
the caprice of their drivers. Yet such, in effect, is the present state
of matters; and such it will continue, unless we are resolved to avail
ourselves of an opportunity like the present, and force our governors,
as is the clear right of the governed, to explain and justify the
principles upon which their method of taxation is framed. Unless this
be done, we are indeed a degraded people; because, when every class
believes that it suffers injustice, to submit tamely to that, with
constitutional remedies in our hands, would argue a pusillanimity
utterly unworthy of a free and enlightened nation.

We have long foreseen that some such crisis as the present must arrive.
It was, indeed, inevitable, from the time when the two rival Premiers
began to bid against each other for popular support, and to make the
British nation a chess-board for the purpose of exhibiting their
individual dexterity. The cleverer man of the two lost the game by
over-finessing. But before that occurred, enormous mischief had been
done. All was disorder; and the conqueror at this moment does not see
his way to a proper readjustment of the pieces. But order we must have,
and arrangement, and that speedily too, if the functions of the State
are to go on tranquilly and unimpeded. Men are tired of being used as
actual impassive puppets. They want to have a reason for the moves to
which they have lately been subjected; and a reason they will have,
sooner or later, let Ministers palter as they may.

Very little consideration will show that such a revision, _upon fixed
principles_, is absolutely necessary, if justice is to be regarded as
any element of taxation. The ordinary revenue of the United Kingdom,
on the average of the last ten years, is rather more than fifty-five
millions, whereof twenty-nine millions constitute the annual charge
of the public debt. Those fifty-five millions, it is evident, fall to
be paid _out of the annual produce of the country_, as well as the
local burdens, which amount to a great deal more, there being, in
fact, no other means of payment; for, without produce at home, foreign
commodities cannot be purchased, and the consumer of such commodities
is the party who pays not only the prime cost of the article, but all
the taxes which may be levied upon it; and this he must do, if not
directly, at least indirectly, out of produce. Hence, the burden of
taxation remaining the same in money, and not fluctuating according
to the value of produce, it is evident that it never can be for
the general interests of the country that produce should be unduly
depreciated; that is, that it should be sold at prime cost to the
consumer, perfectly free of that portion of taxation which it ought
on principle to bear. It is really amazing that so self-evident a
proposition should have escaped the notice of our legislators; nor can
we otherwise account for the fiscal blunders which have been committed,
than by supposing that men in power had become so used to shuffle and
deal with taxation, that they entirely lost sight of its clear and
fundamental principles. Let but the reader bear this in mind, _that
all taxation is ultimately levied from production_, from which also
all incomes are derived,[51] and he will be able clearly to follow
our reasoning to the points at which we wish to arrive--first, the
absurdity, anomaly, and injustice of the present system; and, secondly,
the necessity for a complete and speedy remodelment.

The direct burdens or taxes upon agricultural produce, by far the
most important, permanent, and extensive branch of production in this
country, are levied principally through the land. These are estimated
as follows:--

  Land-tax,                                                   £1,906,878
  Tithes,                                                      2,460,330
      Carry forward,                                          £4,367,208

      Brought forward,                                        £4,367,208
  Property-tax on land,                                        1,334,488
  Poor and county rates,                                       5,714,687
  Highway rates,                                                 766,854
  Church rates,                                                  377,126
  Turnpike trusts,                                               939,085
  Property-tax on dwelling-houses,                               664,383
  Property-tax on other property,                                196,212
           Total,                                            £14,360,043

It is foreign to our purpose at present to compare this amount with
that of the direct and local burdens paid from manufactures, though it
may be useful to recollect that the latter amounts only to £4,432,997,
being less than a third of the sum derived from the other. What we
wish the reader to observe is, that the sum of fourteen and a quarter
millions is a primary fixed burden upon the land, and must, in the
first instance, be levied from the land's productions.

But the cost of production is further increased by the effects of
indirect taxation. More than one half of the fifty-five millions which
constitute the public revenue--twenty-eight and a half millions, arise
from taxes imposed on the following articles of consumption--spirits,
malt, tobacco, tea, sugar, and soap. All these are consumed principally
by the labouring classes, and must be paid for out of produce in
the shape of wages. Consequently, in addition to the prime cost of
produce and the profit of the grower, the consumer does or ought
to pay that portion both of direct and indirect taxation which is
leviable according to justice, and distinctly levied by the State on
the article which he purchases. To make this matter more plain, let
it be understood that every quarter of wheat grown in Great Britain,
before it can be brought to market, is charged with a portion of the
direct taxes which we have enumerated above, and also of the indirect
taxes which come through the labourer; and that these are positive
burdens levied by the State for the public service and the payment
of the national obligations. Now, mark the anomaly. The cry is raised
for cheap bread, and it appears that cheap bread can be obtained by
importing grain free of duty from abroad. A law is passed allowing
that importation, and an immense quantity of corn is immediately
thrown into the British markets. But on the production of that corn
on a foreign soil, no such charges are leviable as exist here. Direct
burdens on the lands do not, in many countries, exist; and in no
country save our own are indirect taxes levied to the same amount upon
articles indispensable for the labourer's consumption. The excise duty
on soap alone--in 1848, close upon a million--is said to cost each
labouring man in this country a week's wages in the year. What is
the consequence? The foreign grain is brought into this country, and
exposed at a price which immediately drags down the value of British
grain. If the supply were limited, the power of the foreign grower to
exact an enormous profit might in some measure tend to counteract the
evil; but the supply being unlimited--not confined to one locality,
but extended to two continents--there arises a competition between
foreign markets for the supply, which drags down prices still more.
The farmer, when he complains of the ruin which has overtaken him, and
the writer who advocates the cause of Native Industry, when he points
out the disastrous consequences which must arise from the pursuance of
such a course of policy, are met--not by argument, but by flippant and
contemptible sneers. We are asked "whether we object to have our food
cheap?"--"whether plenty is a positive evil?"--and so forth: questions
which only expose the shallowness and the imbecility of the inquirers.
We have no objections to cheap bread--quite the reverse--provided you
can have that consistently with putting the British grower upon an
exact level or equality with the foreigner. Take off the direct taxes
on land, and the indirect taxes which bear upon the labourer; persuade
the manufacturers, now so uncommonly prosperous, to defray the interest
of the national debt; clear away customs and excise duties on malt,
tea, tobacco, sugar, and soap: and then--but not till then--will we
join with you in your gratulation, and throw up our caps in honour of
your veiled goddess of Free Trade.

Two things cannot be doubted--the existence of such burdens here, and
their non-existence abroad. Well, then, let us see if Britain possesses
any peculiar counterbalancing advantages. Our climate, it will be
conceded, is later and more uncertain. This remark applies even to the
south of England, which is but a section of the corn-growing districts.
In Scotland we notoriously struggle under vast climatic disadvantages.
Capital may be more easily commanded than elsewhere; but then, people
seem to forget that in order to have the use of capital it is necessary
to pay interest, and the payment of that adds materially to the cost of
rearing produce. We are said to have more skill--and we believe it in
part; but if we farm better, we farm also more expensively; and those
who are now our competitors have had the full benefit of our experience
without the corresponding risk and loss. As for freights, these are as
low from ports in the Baltic as they are from many of our corn-growing
districts to the nearest available market. If there are any other
points for consideration, we shall be glad to hear them; but we know
of no other: and the upshot of the whole is, that our landowners and
farmers are now expected to compete on equal terms with the foreigner
in the home market--the equality consisting in the produce of the
former being taxed directly and indirectly to an amount certainly
exceeding two-thirds of the whole national revenue, whilst that of the
latter is admitted tax free, on payment of the merest trifle!

"All these," says the Free-trader calmly, "are exploded fallacies!" Are
they so, most excellent Wiseacre? Then tell us, if you please, where,
when, and by whom they were exploded? Admirable Solon as you esteem
yourself--and we admit that you are qualified for the Bass--it would
puzzle you, with the aid of all the collective wisdom you can gather
from the speeches or writings of Cobden, Bright, Wilson, Peel, or your
daily organs of information, to refute one single proposition which
has been here advanced, or to negative a single conclusion. Do you
deny that the burdens we have specified exist in Britain? You cannot.
Do you deny that the wheat-growing countries from which we now receive
our principal supplies are exempt from similar charges and taxation?
You cannot. Do you deny the truth of the economical proposition, that
all burdens and taxes imposed by the State upon any kind of produce are
proper elements of the cost of production, and ought to be paid by the
consumer? You do not. Well, then, will you venture to aver that, at
present prices, wheat being at 42s. 2d. per quarter, according to the
average of England, or at any period which you may choose to specify
within the last eighteen months, the purchaser of British wheat has
repaid the grower of it the whole cost of its production, comprehending
the full amount of its direct and indirect taxation? If you venture to
say Yes, then you are at issue, in point of fact, with your own vaunted
authorities, Sir Robert Peel, Wilson of the _Economist_, and every
writer of the best ability on your side, none of whom have supposed
that wheat can be grown in this country with a profit at a lower rate
than 52s. 2d. per quarter, whilst others assume the minimum rate to be
56s. If you answer No, the whole question is conceded.

The fact is, that our opponents, if they had the least regard for
common decency, ought to be chary of talking about exploded fallacies.
We should like to know on which side the burden of the fallacy lies?
Have we not, even within the last six months, seen long and elaborate
articles in the leading Free-Trade journals, assuring us that wheat was
rising, and must rise to a profitable point? Was not this argued over
and over again in the columns of the _Economist_, with such an array of
statistical authorities as might have overcome the conviction of the
most desponding farmer? Where are the assurances now, and the arguments
to prove that a free importation of foreign corn would simply have the
effect of steadying, and not of permanently depressing prices? And yet
these men, as miserably detected and exposed as Guy Fawkes when dragged
from the cellar, have the consummate assurance to talk about "exploded

But we must not suffer ourselves to be led away from the point which we
were discussing. What we wish to enforce is the fact, that at present
there are no fixed principles whatever to regulate the taxation of the
kingdom; and we have brought forward the case of the agriculturists,
not being able to find one more important or strictly apposite
as a remarkable illustration of this. Taxation remains the same,
notwithstanding the operation of a law which has produced a violent and
permanent change in the value of agricultural produce. Now, if produce
is accepted as the real thing to be taxed--and you can truly tax
nothing else, since all taxes must be paid from produce--can this be
just and equitable? Certainly not, if your former mode of taxation was
likewise just and equitable. The agriculturist who was secured by law
against unlimited foreign competition, might calculate on selling his
hundred quarters of wheat for £280, on an average of years, and could
therefore pay his taxes. You change the law, bring down the value of
his wheat to £200, and yet charge him the same as before. How can his
possibly be otherwise than a losing trade? Then mark what follows. We
have said that no kind of produce whatever can be remunerative unless
the consumer of it repays the grower the full cost of production, along
with the grower's profit, and _the whole of the direct and incidental
taxation to which it is liable_. In the case of corn this cannot be,
because you now admit to the British market grain which is exempt from
all taxes, and grown at far less cost than here, and the competition
so engendered drags down the price of British corn far below the
remunerative point, consequently the consumer does not pay the charges
and costs of production, (taxes inclusive,) and the farmer goes to the
wall. Such is the plain and inevitable course of things; and those who
sneer at the tales of agricultural distress will do well to examine the
matter dispassionately for themselves, and see if it can be otherwise.
Very possibly it may never have occurred to them--for it does not seem
to have occurred to our statesmen--that the indirect taxation of the
country is at least as great an element in the cost of produce as that
which is direct. Nevertheless it is so. The beer which the labourer
drinks, the tobacco which he smokes, the tea and sugar used by his
wife and family, the soap which washes their clothes, and many other
articles, all pay toll to Government, and all contribute to the cost
of the grain. And if the grain when brought to market will not pay
its cost, there is an end not only of British agriculture, but of the
best part of the revenue which at the present time is levied from the
customs and excise!

Sift the matter as closely as you will--the more closely the
better--and you can arrive at no other conclusion than this, that in
the long run all taxation must necessarily be levied from produce. If
so, what is the inference? Clearly this, that you cannot permanently
levy taxation except upon a scale commensurate to the value of produce.

If the value of production is lowered, the power of taxation must
decrease in the same ratio. Cheap bread then ceases to advantage the
consumer; for that amount of taxation which was formerly levied from
the production of corn in this country, must necessarily, since taxes
have a fixed money value, be raised from something else--that is, from
some other product--if any can be found adequate to sustain the burden.
Towards this consummation we must gradually tend by the operation
of an inevitable law, unless the eyes of our statesmen, and also of
the constituencies of Britain, are opened to the extreme folly of
the course which we are just now pursuing. In pure theory no one can
object to Free Trade. It is a simple rule of nature, and a fundamental
one of commerce, the free exchange of superfluities among nations.
But taxation alters the whole question. We are not now, as before the
Revolution of 1688, free from debt as a nation, and at little annual
cost for the maintenance of our establishments. By an arrangement, in
which the present generation certainly had no share, we have taken upon
us the debts not only of our fathers, but of our ancestors of the third
and fourth generation, and have become bound to pay the annual interest
of the expenses of wars, the very name of which is not familiar in
our mouths. The annual amount of taxation necessary for that purpose
has heightened the price and value of all commodities in Britain, and
consequently, by rendering living more expensive, has increased the
cost of our establishments. How, then, is it possible, under such
circumstances, to have free trade? You may have it, doubtless, in one
article, or in many--that is, you may have free importations, but that
is not free trade; nor can it exist until you have abolished the last
farthing of customs duties at the ports. Well, then, let us suppose
this done; let us assume that every article of foreign produce is
admitted duty-free: the question still remains, how are you to raise
the fifty-five millions for the public revenue, and a still further
enormous sum for local taxation, including the maintenance of the
established churches, the poor and county rates, and all the other
necessary charges? It obviously cannot be done from capital, without
gradually, but surely, making capital disappear altogether. It must be
done from income; and income, as we have seen, is entirely dependent
upon the value of produce. Agricultural production, estimated at the
former prices, was calculated to amount to £250,000,000 annually.
That can no longer be calculated upon. £91,000,000, according to Mr
Villiers, was the amount of the depreciation in a single year; and
as the net rental of Great Britain and Ireland is under £59,000,000,
it is plain that, _supposing all rents were abolished_, the tenantry
must expect to draw £32,000,000 less than formerly, a depreciation
which evidently would leave no room for taxation whatever. We must,
however, upon the supposition above stated, that all customs duties
are abolished, (and we shall include also the excise,) deduct from
this latter sum the amount of the labourer's consumption of articles
formerly taxed. In order to avoid cavil, we shall estimate the number
of the agricultural labourers, with their families, at 10,000,000; and
as the customs and excise duties together amount to about £30,000,000,
we take off £11,500,000 as the labourer's proportion. This is greatly
above the mark; but it will serve for illustration. It reduces the
tenant's loss, after extinction of the rents, to £20,500,000 annually.

Next, let us see what manufactures would or could do for maintaining
our public establishments, and discharging our engagements to the
national creditor. It will, we think, be shortly conceded, if it is
not so already, that agricultural distress cannot possibly stimulate
the consumption of manufactures in the home market. That market,
indeed, depends entirely upon agriculture, because we have no other
very important branch of produce which can furnish it with customers.
Without agriculture the home trade must utterly decay; and as for the
foreign trade, it is enough to observe, that in the very best year we
have yet known (1845) we exported goods from this country to the value
of just £60,000,000, being only £5,000,000 more than the amount of our
yearly revenue, independent altogether of the large local taxation.

This is a simple sketch of Free Trade, worked out from ascertained and
unquestionable statistics. The reader may like it or not, according
to his preconceived political or economical impressions, but "to
this complexion it must inevitably come at last." What we are doing,
and have been doing for the last five or six years, is to reduce the
value of all kinds of British produce as much as possible, and that by
admitting foreign produce, which is in fact foreign labour, duty-free;
and still we expect to maintain our revenue--all derivable from British
produce--at the same money value as before! Such is the besotted state
of political opinion, that a Ministry holding these views, and daily
plunging the country deeper into ruin, can command a majority in
the House of Commons; and whenever an intelligent and clear-sighted
foreigner, like the American Minister, ventures to express an opinion,
however carefully and cautiously worded, in favour of agricultural
protection, the whole pack of the Ministerial press assails him
open-mouthed, yelling and yelping as though he had committed some
atrocious and inexpiable crime.

We have thus shown, we hope clearly enough, the dependence of revenue
upon produce; a very important point, but one which is apt to be
lost sight of in consequence of our complicated arrangements. People
used to talk magniloquently, and in high-sounding terms, about taxed
corn, and we have had ditties innumerable to the same effect, more or
less barbarous, from Ebenezer Elliott and his compeers; but neither
orator nor poetaster ever condescended to remark that the sole reason
why duties were levied on the importation of foreign grain, was
the existence of other duties to an enormous extent, directly and
indirectly levied by Government from the British grower. Relieve the
latter of these burdens, and he does not fear the competition of the
world. But so long as you tax him who is, on the one hand, your largest
producer, and, on the other, the best customer for your manufactures,
you cannot, in reason, wonder if he demands that an equivalent for
his taxation shall be imposed upon foreign produce; so that the
economical law, and not less the law of common sense, which provides
that the consumer shall pay all charges, may not be defeated--in
other words, that his trade may not be annihilated altogether. We
have seen articles, intended to be pungent and satirical, about the
farmers "whining for protection." The writers who use such language
evidently intend to insinuate that the British agriculturist is a poor
weak creature, unable to cope with foreign tillers of the soil--more
ignorant than the Dane, more idle than the German, less active than
the Polish serf, and not near so handy as the American squatter.
If they do not mean this, they mean nothing. It is not worth while
replying directly to such paltry and contemptible libels, but we may
as well remind these gentlemen with whom the "whining" commenced. It
began with the manufacturers, who have been whining for heaven knows
how many years, that bread was too dear, and that they were forced
to pay high wages in consequence. The papermakers are "whining" at
this moment for a reduction of excise, and the nasal notes of a good
many newspaper editors and conductors of cheap and trashy periodicals
are adding power and pathos to the whine. No spaniel at the outside
of a street-door ever whined more piteously than Mr Cardwell is doing
at this hour about reduction of the tea duties. He is absolutely not
safe over a cup of ordinary hyson. There are whines about hops, whines
about sugar, whines about window taxes, whines about cotton, and all
Ireland is and has been in a state of perpetual whine. In short, if by
"whining" is meant a complaint against taxation, we apprehend it would
be difficult to find a single individual who, in the present anomalous
and jumbled state of finance, could not advance sufficient reasons for
uttering a cry. The only way to remedy this is to reconstruct the whole
system. Let this be done on principles clear and intelligible to all
men, and we are perfectly convinced that for the future there would
be few symptoms of complaint. It is not the amount of taxation which
causes such general dissatisfaction; it is the unequal distribution of
it, rendered still more glaring by the pernicious habit indulged in
by Ministers of arbitrarily remitting taxes for the benefit of some
exclusive class, and laying, on others--such as the Income-Tax--not
on the plea of absolute State necessity, but confessedly "to make
experiments." Of course, after such all announcement, everybody thinks
that he, in his own person, may profit by the experimentalising.
Without asking, nothing is to be had, especially from the Exchequer;
and accordingly there is hardly any duty whatever which is not
made the subject of petition, and against many there is a regular
organised agitation. This is a most unhappy state of things, for it
is inconsistent with the security of property. Values may be raised
or depressed in a day at the single will of a Minister. Those who
gain become clamorous for a further concession; those who lose become
disgusted with what seems to them a gross partiality. In short, we
devoutly trust that the days of experiment are over; and the Whigs may
be informed, once for all, by the general voice of the nation, that it
is now absolutely necessary for them to undertake the task of setting
the financial house in order. The best method of accomplishing this
desirable end, is by sternly refusing to permit the Income-Tax to be
reimposed for the fourth time upon any plea or pretext, whatever.

But we must further say a few words, bearing directly upon this tax.
Odious as it may be to the community, we cannot shut our eyes to
the fact that there is much danger of its being reimposed; because
Ministers possess a certain majority in the present House of Commons,
and are not likely to leave any means untried for effecting their
object. It is to them, indeed, of paramount importance; because, if
they can succeed in saddling us with this tax for a further period
of three years, they may easily excuse themselves for declining to
undertake the revision of our financial system. We therefore deem it
our duty to look a little more narrowly into the details of the former
acts than, would otherwise have been our wish or inclination.

Our readers will certainly recollect that in 1848, when the Income-Tax
was reimposed for the third time, the Whigs made a strenuous effort
both to extend its existence and to augment its burdens. What they
modestly proposed was this, that the Income-Tax should be extended over
a period of five instead of three years, and that during two of these
years the assessment should be raised from sevenpence to a shilling per
pound. The result--which it argues the uttermost degree of imbecility
in Ministers not to have foreseen--was a roar of disapprobation from
one end of the country to the other; and the scheme thus foolishly
broached was as pusillanimously withdrawn. Indeed, had it not been for
the peculiar circumstances of the time, which rendered it exceedingly
unadvisable that the stability of any Government, however weak and
incompetent, should be endangered, it is very questionable whether
Ministers could have succeeded in persuading the House of Commons to
submit to this tax even upon modified terms. But the contents of
the budget were hardly disclosed, before the roar of revolution was
heard in the streets of Paris, and the Throne of the Barricades was
overthrown by the self-same hands which had reared it. That evidently
was not a time for the lovers of order to persist in an opposition
which, if successful, might have resulted in confusion at home; so
that a new lease of the Income-Tax was granted upon the same terms as
before. On occasion of the first obnoxious proposition, we expressed
our opinions freely with regard to the whole constitution of the tax,
pointing out both its injustice and its impolicy, in an article to
which our readers may refer for the more general argument.[52] But
there are one or two points with which we must separately deal.

The Act presently in force provides that farmers shall be assessed, not
upon profits, but upon rental, to the extent of threepence-halfpenny
per pound, on farms for which they pay £300 per annum and upwards. The
gross amount of the sum so raised was in 1848 £309,890. Now, it is
perfectly well known to every person that not one farmer out of ten has
made a single penny of profit since the withdrawal of the duties on
foreign corn in the commencement of last year. In the great majority
of cases rent is at this moment paid out of capital, as the landlords
will find to their cost when the leases expire, if many of them are
not already perfectly cognisant of the fact. If this be the case, it
becomes plain that this mode of assessment cannot be continued. To
do so, would be for the State to use its power to commit an actual
robbery. So long as any profit exists, the State has a right to tax
it; unjustly it may be, and partially, but still the title is there.
But the State has no right whatever to deprive any man of his property
_under false pretences_. If a tax must be levied on income, so be it;
but income is not a thing to be presumed under any circumstances, still
less when the State, by its own deed, has made a violent change on
the relation and values of property. To force the farmers, of new, to
pay this tax under the old conditions, would be an act of intolerable
tyranny and oppression, for which the constitution of Great Britain
gives no warrant; and we hardly think that any Ministry will be insane
enough to adopt such a course.

There is, however, another feature in the Income-Tax upon which far
too little attention has been bestowed. In this country REPUDIATION
has always been looked upon with just horror. Something Pharisaical
there may be, no doubt, in this grand adulation of credit; for an
unprejudiced bystander might be puzzled to comprehend the precise
reasoning of those who are convulsed at the thought of a lessened
dividend from the Funds, whilst they can look quietly on at the ravages
which are made in property of another description. Still, the feeling
exists, and assuredly we have no wish that it should be otherwise.
But we are bound to say that, if other ideas are to be encouraged on
the subject of unimpaired credit, this Income-Tax seems to us most
eminently calculated to pave the way for their introduction.[53] Such
was our opinion in 1848, and such is our opinion now. Once establish
the principle of taxing the Funds, and there is no length to which it
may not be carried. It will not do to say that the Funds are taxed
in proportion with other property. That is not the case. This is an
exceptional Act, creating and enforcing distinctions, and it excepts
all incomes under a certain amount. It therefore virtually establishes
the principle that it is lawful to tax the possessors of one kind of
property (the Funds) for the benefit of the possessors of another
kind of property who are excepted. In 1848 it was proposed that the
assessment should be raised to one shilling in the pound. What would
the fundholders say if some future unscrupulous Minister were to raise
the assessment to five shillings or ten shillings per pound, and exempt
every one from the operation of the act except the holder of national
bonds? There can be no difficulty about a principle for doing so: it
has been already admitted. Nay, more: the provisions of the Income-Tax
are in direct violation of the most solemn engagements entered into by
Acts of Parliament. As an instance of this, take the following:--

The act 10 Geo. IV. cap 31, which has for its object the funding of
£3,000,000 of Exchequer Bills, contains the following clause: "And be
it enacted, That such subscribers duly depositing or paying in the
whole sum so subscribed at or before the respective times in this act
limited in that behalf, and their respective executors, administrators,
successors, and assigns, shall have, receive, and enjoy, and be
entitled by virtue of this act to have, receive, and enjoy the said
annuities by this act granted in respect of the sum so subscribed, and
shall have good and sure interests and estates therein according to the
several provisions in this act contained; _and the said annuities shall
be free from all Taxes, Charges, and Impositions whatsoever_." It needs
no lawyer to interpret the clause. By solemn Act of Parliament the
dividends were guaranteed free from all taxes whatsoever.

So thought Sir Robert Peel in 1831. When in that year a proposal was
made to levy a small tax from the transfer of stock in the public
Funds, he denounced the measure in the strongest terms, as a violation
of the contracts made with the public creditor, and as a proceeding
which must necessarily "tarnish the fair fame of the country." "He
(Sir Robert Peel) dreaded that an inference would be drawn from the
proposed violation of law and good faith, that a further violation
was not improper. If in these times of productive industry and steady
progressive improvement--if, in such times, in a period of general
peace, when there was no pressure on the energies and industry of
the country--_the Government contemplated the violation of an Act
of Parliament, and express contract entered into with the public
creditor_, what security could the public creditor have if the times of
1797 or 1798 returned?" Contrast this language with the propositions of
the same eminent statesman in 1842, when he introduced the Income-Tax
for the first time. "I propose that, _for a time to be limited_, the
income of this country should bear a charge not exceeding sevenpence in
the pound.... I propose, _for I see no ground for exemption_, that all
funded property, held by natives in this country or foreigners, should
be subject to the same charge as unfunded property."

No ground for exemption! Mark that, gentlemen who are interested in
the Funds. On no mean authority was it then announced that an Act of
Parliament, however solemn and stringent in its terms, is no fence at
all against the inroads of a Chancellor of the Exchequer. True, people
may have lent their money on the strength of that positive assurance;
true, it may have been made the basis of the most important family
arrangements: but all that matters nothing. Money is wanted to make
"experiments," for the purpose of stimulating manufactures; and what
is the maintenance of public faith and honour, compared with an object
so important? So, in order to stimulate manufactures, the principle of
repudiation was recognised.

After all, perhaps, British subjects might be content to submit
themselves to the loss, and be thankful that it was no worse. But
what shall we say to the forced taxation of property belonging to
foreigners, and invested in the British Funds? What interest or concern
had _they_ in experiments upon British manufactures? Just let any of
our readers suppose that he has invested the whole of his property
in Dutch bonds, and that, after receiving two or three dividends, he
is informed that, for the future, one half of his annuity will be
retained by the Dutch Government, because, in order to "stimulate" the
internal industry of Holland, it has been thought advisable to drain
the Zuyder Zee! Would Lord Palmerston, if such a case were brought
under his notice, sustain the plea of the Dutchman? We trow not--at
least we hope not; for such a claim for redress would certainly proceed
upon far better grounds than any which were urged by Don Pacifico. The
two cases are precisely similar. The Dutch Government would have as
much right to appropriate the dividends belonging to British subjects
for the purposes of stimulating the internal industry of Holland,
as the British Government has to retain any part of the dividends
belonging to foreigners, for the declared object of stimulating British
manufactures. If this free-and-easy mode of "conveyance" is to become
general, there is an end of public credit. Henceforward it will be but
decent for us to use a moderate tone while speaking of Pennsylvanian
defalcations. American swiftness may have outstripped us in the
repudiatory race; nevertheless, we have gone far enough to recognise
the principle, and to appropriate sevenpence in the pound.

We need not dwell on other evident objections which may be raised
to the continuance of the Income-Tax. These suggest themselves to
the minds of every one, and have been often pointed out and dwelt
on by public writers. The danger of maintaining a war tax in time
of peace--the eminently inquisitorial nature of the impost--and the
injustice of assessing professional men, authors, artists, &c.,
whose incomes depend solely on their health, at the same rate as
the possessors of accumulated property, are reasons sufficient to
condemn it. But the most monstrous injustice, to the already severely
burdened people of Great Britain, is the exemption of Ireland from its
operation. It is impossible to assign any valid reason for the policy
which dictated this odious partiality. Sir Robert Peel in 1842 could
not find any better excuse than the following: "When I am proposing a
tax, limited in duration, in the first instance, to a period of three
years, and when the amount of that tax does not exceed three per cent,
I must of course consider, with reference to public interests, whether
it be desirable to apply that tax to Ireland. I must bear in mind,
that it is a tax to which Ireland was not subject during the period of
the war; that it is a tax for the levy of which no machinery exists
in Ireland--_Ireland has no assessed taxes_--the machinery there is
wanting, and I should have to devise new machinery for a country to
which the tax has never been applied."

Most rare and convincing logic! Because Ireland on a former occasion
was not taxed, she is not to be taxed now; because she pays no assessed
taxes, her income also is to be exempted from contribution! Why, these
were, of all others the very strongest arguments for laying it on; and
most contemptible indeed was the pusillanimity of the representatives
of English and Scottish constituencies, who did not on that occasion
peremptorily demand the enforcement of equal burdens. What a premium to
agitation is here held out! The Irishman with a yearly revenue of £150
a-year, pays no assessed taxes--is cleared from some excise duties--and
enjoys an immunity from Income-Tax. The people of England and Scotland
are kind enough to save him all these charges, in grateful recognition,
doubtless, of his exceeding docility, and proverbial attachment to the
Constitution. As to the allegation of want of ready-made machinery, the
answer was plain--Make it. Nine years have gone by, and yet it is not
made, and there is no proposal for making it; and it remains to be seen
whether the fourth attempt at imposition will be as grossly partial
is the others. If this tax is again renewed, there can be henceforth
no escape from it. It matters not whether the term of the new lease
be seven, or five, or three years--the tax itself will be immortal,
and surely we shall not be insulted this time with a plea of deficient

For all these reasons, then, we counsel a determined opposition to
any attempt which may be made to renew the Income-Tax, even for the
shortest period. Ministers have no right to claim it as part of the
ordinary revenue. It was levied originally for a specific purpose, on a
distinct assurance that it was not to be permanent: that purpose, it
matters not whether the results have been satisfactory or the reverse,
has been accomplished, and we now demand the fulfilment of the other
part of the agreement. Moreover, if the Income-Tax is renewed, we must
relinquish for the present, and it may be for a long time, all hopes
of that most desirable object, a complete revision of the national
taxation. It is desirable for all of us, whatever may be our political
or economical bias: because we take it for granted that no man can
wish to impose upon his neighbour any portion of a burden which it is
his own duty to bear; or to exalt the class to which he belongs by the
undue depression of another. The present complicated and entangled mode
of taxation prevents us from seeing clearly who is liable and who is
not. It is like a great net, twisted at one place, torn at a second,
and clumsily patched at a third; and it is no wonder, therefore, if
large fishes sometimes escape, while the fry is swept to destruction.

What we wish to see is the recognition of a plain principle. There
is a school of political economists existing in this country, who
confound two distinct and separate things--principle and method. They
profess themselves to be the advocates of direct, in opposition to
indirect taxation; and they think that, in propounding this, they are
enunciating some great principle. This is a most absurd delusion. In
reality, it matters nothing in what way taxes are levied, provided they
are levied justly--whether they are drawn from produce before it leaves
the hands of the producer, as in the case of the excise, or charged
on foreign goods at the ports from the merchant--or directly taken
from the consumer in the altered form of assessed taxes. All that has
reference merely to the method and machinery of taxation. Undoubtedly
there are most important questions involved in the choice of a proper
machinery. Hitherto the leaning of statesmen has been in favour of
indirect taxation, as by far the least costly method, and as the only
practicable one with regard to many branches of the revenue. In that
opinion we entirely concur, never having yet seen any scheme for the
merging of indirect into direct taxation which had even the merit of
plausibility; nor do we suppose that, by any stretch of ingenuity,
a method to this effect could be devised, not open to the gravest
political objections in this or in any other old community. But these
considerations do not affect the principle at all. Men cannot be taxed
simply as men by poll-tax, for their means are notoriously unequal;
property cannot be taxed solely as property, because that would cause
all immediate transference of capital to other countries; incomes
cannot be made the sole subject of taxation, partly from the same
reason, and partly on account of the injustice of such an arrangement.
The only true principle, and that which we wish to see recognised, is
this--that the annual produce of the country alone must bear the weight
of taxation. If that principle could be steadily kept in view, much of
the haze and mist which modern political economy has spread, would be
dispelled. Men would perceive that there is not, and cannot possibly
be, in this great country, any such thing as the rival interests of
classes; but that what we have hitherto termed rival interests, is
neither more nor less than the desire of certain parties to thrive and
accumulate wealth at the expense of the rest of the community. They
would also see that this selfish and nefarious intention must in the
end defeat its own aim, for it is as impossible for a tradesman to
thrive by the poverty of his customers, as it is for any class whatever
to extract permanent prosperity from the depression and downfall of
another. They would clearly understand that cheapness, when effected by
the introduction of the products of foreign untaxed labour into this
country, must be and is obtained at the cost of the British workman;
that it consequently is no blessing to the country, but the reverse;
and that each such introduction, either by displacing industry, or by
beating down its wages, or by lowering the value of home products,
augments the burden of taxation, and reduces all incomes, except,
indeed, those which are derived directly _from_ taxation--as, for
instance, fixed salaries, government annuities, and the incomes of
Ministers, officials, and the like. A dim perception of the truth of
this seems to have dawned upon the minds of some of our legislators,
and to have led to the appointment of that committee which deliberated
last session on the subject of official salaries. The question has
often been asked, why, since almost every article which money can
command is cheapened, the servants of the public should still receive
the same allowances as before? There are good grounds for putting that
question; and some still more formidable ones, we anticipate, will be
asked ere long, if we choose to persevere in our present commercial

The amount of taxation to which this country is subject, and from which
it cannot free itself without the sacrifice of the national honour,
has the necessary effect of enhancing the cost of every commodity
which is produced in it. England is, and must remain, a dearer country
than any of the Continental states, because her burdens are heavier,
and these must be necessarily paid from produce. The professed object
of the late "experiments" was to counteract this; a scheme quite as
feasible as that of making water run up-hill. But the depth of public
credulity is not easily fathomed. People may be duped in a hundred ways
besides being taken in by railway boards of direction. So, for the
benefit of the rich, taxes were repealed or lowered on wine, silks,
velvets, mahogany, stained papers, and fancy glass, and an Income-Tax
substituted instead. The Colonies were broken down, and an impetus was
given to the slave trade in order to procure cheap sugar. The labourers
got a cheaper loaf, and were desired to consider that as an equivalent
for lower wages. And now we find ourselves in this position, that, but
for the Income-Tax, there would be an annual deficit in the revenue of
from four to five millions; the farmers are absolutely ruined; and the
manufacturers, by their own confession, making little or no profit.

The reason of this is quite obvious. We are striving to accomplish what
is, in fact, an absolute impossibility. We wish to reconcile cheapness
of commodities with a high rate of taxation, and at the same time to
promote the general prosperity of the nation. But cheapness and high
taxation cannot possibly co-exist _within the same limits_, nor can any
exertion of industry or skill make them compatible with each other.
On this point we believe there was little difference of opinion. But
it occurred to certain interested parties, whose trade lay _without
the limits_ of Britain, that there might be a way of solving the
difficulty, or, at all events, of persuading the public that they had
solved it. So they devised that system which we erroneously denominate
Free Trade, opening the ports for the introduction not only of
cotton-wool duty-free, but of a great many articles which were either
grown or manufactured in Britain, by far the most important of which
were corn and agricultural produce. And this had, undoubtedly, the
effect of producing cheapness, and may have for some time to come. But
that cheapness is not natural. It has been brought about by converting
a profitable into a losing trade, and by depressing all kinds of wages
and incomes throughout the country. The introduction of foreign untaxed
commodities has lowered prices in our market, not because they were
too high before in relation to the amount of taxation, but because
they could not stand against the weight of so heavy a competition.
Hence arises in the country agricultural distress, which no
palliatives whatever can remove--a distress which, commencing with the
agriculturists, is spreading through all who are dependent on them for
custom and livelihood, and finally must reach, if it has not already
reached, the principal seats of manufacture. Hence the suffering,
complaint, and wretchedness among the artisans of the towns, who find
themselves undersold on all hands by the venders of foreign wares, and
who are now cursing competition, without a distinct understanding of
its cause. The Free-traders attempt to cajole them by pointing to the
cheap loaf; but they do not add, as in candour they ought to do, that
they have not removed, or attempted to remove, one jot of the taxes
which weigh heaviest upon the industry of the working classes. The poor
man, though he may escape direct taxation, nevertheless contributes as
heavily, or even more heavily, to the national revenue than the rich,
in proportion to his means. Bread and water he may have untaxed, but
not beer nor tobacco, sugar nor spirits, tea nor coffee, spices nor
soap. Free trade does not touch those things. They do not come within
its cognisance; and yet, as we have said already, more than one-half of
the national revenue is derived from duties levied on such articles.

There could be no difficulty whatever in raising an adequate revenue,
if Ministers had the courage to adopt a sound constitutional policy.
They ought, in the first place, to reimpose the taxes upon all articles
of luxury consumed exclusively by the rich, and on all articles of
foreign manufacture which are brought into this country to compete with
the productions of our own artisans. In no other way is it possible
to keep the balance even between taxation and produce. The working
men have a right to expect this, and doubtless they will demand it
ere long. Nor ought the Legislature to permit the importation to this
country of any commodity whatever, raw or manufactured, which is a
staple of our own produce, without imposing upon it a tax, equal in
amount to all the taxes, direct or indirect, which are charged on the
growers or manufacturers of the said commodity in Britain, and which
do actually enter into the cost of its production. The strict justice
of these propositions cannot be doubted; and it is only because our
statesmen have accustomed themselves, for a long time, to deal with
taxation as if it were capable of regulation on no sort of principle,
that the false views and impracticable theories of the Free-trade party
have unfortunately been allowed to prevail.

But we shall not pursue this subject further at the present time. If,
in the course of these remarks, we shall have succeeded in drawing
attention to a subject but too little understood--the relation of
the public revenue to the internal produce of the kingdom--we may
confidently leave the rest to the good sense and intelligence of the
reader. We shall not deny that we have a double purpose in setting
forth these considerations just now. In the first place, we wish to
prepare the public for the attempt, which we confidently anticipate,
on the part of Ministers, for the reimposition of the Income-Tax.
Believing, as we do, that if the attempt should prove successful,
this very odious and partial impost (oppressive in its operation,
and dangerous to the State, it being essentially a war-tax, and yet
levied in the time of peace) will become a permanent charge on the
community, we cannot do otherwise than recommend the most determined
opposition. In the second place, we are desirous of hinting to certain
political capons who have lately been attempting to crow over what
they call "the grave of Protection," that they may save themselves
the trouble, for some time at least, of repeating their contemptible
cry. Nothing can be more purely ludicrous than the pains which those
gentlemen have taken, for the last two or three months, to persuade
the public that all agitation on the subject of protection to British
industry has died away--that everybody is contented and happy under
the new regime--and that the farmers themselves are convinced at last
that they are making money in consequence of free trade in corn! If
there is a meeting of an agricultural society--it signifies not what
or where--at which, out of deference to the chairman, or in respect of
a standing resolution, politics are specially avoided, we are sure,
in the course of a day or so, to be favoured with a leading article,
announcing that in such-and-such a district, all idea of returning
to the Protective system is finally abandoned. Does any notable
supporter of Protection happen to make an after-dinner speech, no
matter what be its immediate subject--the presentation of a piece of
plate to some well-deserving neighbour, or an oration at the opening
of a mechanics' institution--without alluding in any way to the
present price of wheat or the future prospects of agriculture?--we
are immediately stunned with the announcement that he has become a
virulent Free-trader. It is not safe at present to declare publicly
that you prefer turnips to mangold-wurzel. If you venture to do so,
you are instantly claimed as a Cobdenite, because it is said that you
are exciting the farmers to further exertions in spite of prophecies
of ruin. Under those circumstances, it becomes really difficult for
an honest man, who entertains strong convictions upon the subject,
to determine what course he should pursue. If he holds his tongue,
as he surely may do for a month or so in the shooting season, he is
held confessed. Silence constitutes a Free-trader--which, by the way,
is a decided improvement on the older system. If he speaks at all,
eschewing politics and agriculture, he is held to be as clear a convert
as though he had lunched with Cardinal Wiseman. If he utters a word
about improvements in agriculture, he is a lost man for ever to the
farmers. These may be very ingenious tactics, but those who invented
them may rest assured that they have not imposed upon a single human
being. It would be better, for their own credit and character, if they
dropped them at once. Since the publication of the last quarter's
revenue returns, we have had a perfect roar of affected jubilee from
the members of the Free-trading press. A grand shout and a long one was
doubtless necessary to drown the announcement of an almost unparalleled
decrease in the account, exhibiting a falling off in nearly every
regular item, and a rapid absorption of capital, as indicated by
the returns of the Property-tax. But it certainly was rather a bold
experiment to fix upon Lord Stanley as a Free-trader. For more than a
fortnight we were regaled with leaders in the _Times_ and _Chronicle_,
announcing that his lordship had publicly repudiated the principles of
Protection at Bury; and yet, singularly enough, not containing that
meed of compliment which might have been expected on the accession of
so eminent a convert. This was a decided mistake. Their cue distinctly
was to have extolled Lord Stanley to the skies, as a man utterly beyond
the reach of prejudice, open to conviction, docile to the voice of
reason, and persuaded of the error of his ways. Had they done so with
sufficient adroitness, it is not beyond the verge of possibility that
here and there some benighted people might have been induced to swallow
the fable, and to conceive that because one statesman--whom we name
not now--proved false to all his former professions and protestations,
such changes are mere matter of course, sanctified and approved by
custom. But the fraud was clumsily executed. The little children
of apostasy--who are now left to their own devices, without any
superintending guardian, and who, following their natural instincts,
can do little else than undertake the fabrication of dirt-pies--have
bedaubed themselves in a most woful manner. Anything more humiliating
than the position of the _Morning Chronicle_ it is impossible to
conceive. For, when met in the teeth with a direct refutation of
their slanders, the writers are absolutely idiotical enough to assert
that they drew their conclusions, not so much from what was said, as
from what remained unsaid--not so much from words, as from tones and
significant gestures! It is a sad pity that the idea is not original.
It strikes us that there is something of the sort in the _Critic_,
where Puff undertakes to make the audience acquainted with the whole,
tenor of Lord Burleigh's cogitations, through a simple shake of the
head. Puff is by no means a defunct character. He has merely changed
his vocation, and at present is eating in his own words and professions
as fast as ever mountebank swallowed tape on a stage at Bartholomew

Let those gentleman be perfectly easy. There is plenty of work yet in
store for them. Though during the autumnal months it may be difficult
to find proper subjects for leaders, without diverging from the fields
of fact into the unlimited wastes of fiction, they may rest assured
that ere long they will be summoned to a more serious encounter. The
days of experiment are gone by, but the results still remain, to be
tested according to their merit by the intelligence of the British

       *       *       *       *       *

           _Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh._


[51] The exceptions to this rule are so few, that they need hardly
be stated. Incomes from investments in foreign funds are perhaps the
principal exception, but the amount of these is not large, and cannot
affect the general principle above laid down, which lies, or ought to
lie, at the foundation of every system of POLITICAL ECONOMY.

[52] _Vide_ the Magazine for March 1848. No. CCCLXXXIX. Article, "THE

[53] See on this subject a remarkable pamphlet, entitled "_Past and
Present Delusions on Political Economy_," by ALEXANDER GIBBON, Esq.
The author has the merit of having pointed out at least one direct
infringement of an Act of Parliament, to which we have referred in
the text; and we must also bear our testimony to the soundness and
precision of many of the views which he has stated on the intricate
subject of taxation.

  Transcriber's Notes:

  Pp. 516, 545, 573, and 592 added missing footnote anchors.

  P. 614 corrected total from £14,320,013 to £14,360,043

  Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors were corrected.

  Punctuation normalized.

  Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

  Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 68, No. 421, November 1850" ***

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