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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 66, No. 410, December 1849
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 66, No. 410, December 1849" ***

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generously made available by The Internet Library of Early



  NO. CCCCX.         DECEMBER, 1849.         VOL. LXVI.




  SPAIN UNDER NARVAEZ AND CHRISTINA,                       704

  THE GREEN HAND--A "SHORT" YARN. PART VI.,                723

  THE VISION OF SUDDEN DEATH,                              741

  FREE TRADE AT ITS ZENITH,                                756

  INDEX,                                                   779



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





  NO. CCCCX.       DECEMBER, 1849.       VOL. LXVI.


[1] _A Financial, Monetary, and Statistical History of England, from
the Revolution of 1688 to the present time._ By THOMAS DOUBLEDAY, Esq.
London: 1847.

_Chronicles and Characters of the Stock Exchange._ By JOHN FRANCIS,
Esq. London: 1849.

The idea of associating history with some specific locality or
institution, has long ago occurred to the skilful fabricators of
romance. If old walls could speak, what strange secrets might they not
reveal! The thought suggests itself spontaneously even to the mind of
the boy; and though it is incapable of realisation, writers--good,
bad, and indifferent--have seriously applied themselves to the task of
extracting sermons from the stones, and have feigned to reproduce an
audible voice from the vaults of the dreary ruin. Such was at least
the primary idea of Scott, incomparably the greatest master of modern
fiction, whilst preparing his materials for the construction of the
_Heart of Mid-Lothian_. Victor Hugo has made the Cathedral of Paris the
title and centre-point of his most stirring and animated tale. Harrison
Ainsworth, who seems to think that the world can never have too much of
a good thing, has assumed the office of historiographer of antiquity,
and has treated us in succession to Chronicles of Windsor Castle, the
Tower, and Old St Paul's. Those of the Bastile have lately been written
by an author of no common power, whose modesty, rarely imitated in
these days, has left us ignorant of his name; and we believe that it
would be possible to augment the list to a considerable extent. In all
those works, however, history was the subsidiary, while romance was the
principal ingredient; we have now to deal with a book which professes
to abstain from romance, though, in reality, no romance whatever has
yet been constructed from materials of deeper interest. We allude, of
course, to the work of Mr Francis; Mr Doubleday's treatise is of a
graver and a sterner nature.

We dare say, that no inconsiderable portion of those who derive their
literary nutriment from Maga, may be at a loss to understand what
element of romance can lie in the history of the Stock Exchange.
With all our boasted education, we are, in so far as money-matters
are concerned, a singularly ignorant people. That which ought to
be the study of every citizen, which _must_ be the study of every
politician, and without a competent knowledge of which the exercise
of the electoral franchise is a blind vote given in the dark, is as
unintelligible as the Talmud to many persons of more than ordinary
accomplishment and refinement. The learned expounder of Thucydides
would be sorely puzzled, if called upon to give an explanation of the
present funding system of Great Britain. The man in easy circumstances,
who draws his dividend at the Bank, knows little more about the funds
than that they mysteriously yield him a certain return for capital
previously invested, and that the interest he receives comes, in some
shape or other, from the general pocket of the nation. He is aware
that consols oscillate, but he does not very well understand why,
though he attributes their rise or fall to foreign news. It never
occurs to him to inquire for what reason that which yields a certain
return, is yet liable to such surprising and violent fluctuations; he
shakes his head in despair at the mention of foreign exchanges, and
is not ashamed to avow his incapacity to grapple with the recondite
question of the currency. And yet it may not only be safely, but it
ought to be most broadly averred, that without a due comprehension
of the monetary system of this country, and the general commercial
principles which regulate the affairs of the world, history is nothing
more than a tissue of barren facts and perpetual contradictions, which
it is profitless to contemplate, and utterly impossible to reconcile.
Nay more, all history which is written by authors, who have failed to
acknowledge the tremendous potency of the monetary power in directing
the destinies of nations, and who have neglected to scrutinise closely
the source and operation of that power, must necessarily be fallacious,
and can only mislead the reader, by false pictures of the condition of
the present as contrasted with that of a former age. No eloquence, no
genius, will avail to compensate for that radical defect, with which
some most popular writers are justly chargeable, and a glaring instance
of which we propose to examine in the course of the present paper.

The study is said to be a dry one. Certainly, until we have mastered
the details, it does look forbidding enough; but, these once mastered,
our eyes appear to be touched with fairy ointment. What formerly was
confusion, worse than Babel, assumes a definite order. We behold, in
tangible form, a power so terribly strong that with a touch it can
paralyse armies. We behold it gradually weaving around us a net, from
which it is impossible to escape, and claiming with a stern accent,
which brooks no denial, a right of property in ourselves, our soil, our
earnings, our industry, and our children. To its influence we can trace
most of the political changes which perplex mankind, and which seem
to baffle explanation. Like the small reptile of the old Northumbrian
legend, it has grown into a monstrous dragon, capable of swallowing up
both herd and herdsman together. The wisest of our statesmen have tried
to check its advance and failed; the worst of them have encouraged
its growth, and almost declared it harmless; the most adroit have
yielded to its power. Interest after interest has gone down in the vain
struggle to oppose it, and yet its appetite still remains as keen and
insatiable as ever.

When, in future years, the history of this great nation and its
dependencies shall be adequately written, the annalist must, perforce,
give due prominence to that power which we weakly and foolishly
overlook. He will then see, that the matchless industry displayed by
Great Britain is far less the spontaneous result of bold and honest
exertion, than the struggle of a dire necessity which compels us to go
on, because it is death and ruin to stand still. He will understand
the true source of all our marvellous machinery, of that skill in arts
which the world never witnessed before, of our powers of production
pushed to the utmost possible extent. And he will understand more. He
will be able to comprehend why, within the circuit of one island, the
most colossal fortunes and the most abject misery should have existed
together; why Britain, admitted to be the richest of the European
states, and in one sense imagined to be the strongest, should at this
moment exercise less influence in the councils of the world than she
did in the days of Cromwell, and, though well weaponed, be terrified
to strike a blow, lest the recoil should prove fatal to herself. The
knowledge of such things is not too difficult for our attainment; and
attain it we must, if, like sensible men, we are desirous to ascertain
the security or the precariousness of our own position.

The history of the Stock Exchange involves, as a matter of necessity,
the history of our national debt. From that debt the whole fabric
arose; and, interesting as are many of the details connected with
stock-jobbing, state-loans, lotteries, and speculative manias, the
origin of the mystery appears to us of far higher import. It involves
political considerations which ought to be pondered at the present
time, because it has lately been averred, by a writer of the very
highest talent, that the Revolution of 1688 was the cause of unmingled
good to this country. That position we totally deny. Whatever may
be thought of the folly of James II., in attempting to force his
own religion down the throats of his subjects--however we may brand
him as a bigot, or denounce him for an undue exercise of the royal
prerogative--he cannot be taxed with financial oppression, or general
state extravagance. On the contrary, it is a fact that the revenue
levied by the last of the reigning Stuarts was exceedingly moderate
in amount, and exceedingly well applied for the public service. It
was far less than that levied by the Long Parliament, which has been
estimated at the sum of £4,862,700 a-year. The revenue of James, in
1688, amounted only to £2,001,855; and at this charge he kept together
a strong and well-appointed fleet, and an army of very nearly twenty
thousand men. The nation was neither ground by taxes, nor impoverished
by wars; and whatever discontent might have been excited by religious
bickerings, and even persecution, it is clear that the great body of
the people could not be otherwise than happy, since they were left in
undisturbed possession of their own earnings, and at full liberty to
enjoy the fruits of their own industry and skill. As very brilliant
pictures have been drawn of the improved state of England now,
contrasted with its former position under the administration of James,
we think it right to exhibit another, which may, possibly, surprise
our readers. It is taken, from Mr Doubleday's _Financial History of
England_, a work of absorbing interest and uncommon research: we have
tested it minutely, by reference to documents of the time, and we
believe it to be strictly true, as it is unquestionably clear in its

    "The state of the country," says Mr Doubleday, "was, at
    the close of the reign of James II., very prosperous. The
    whole annual revenue required from his subjects, by this
    king, amounted to only a couple of millions of pounds
    sterling,--these pounds being, in value, equal to about
    thirty shillings of the money of the present moment. So
    well off and easy, in their circumstances, were the mass of
    the people, that the poor-rates, which were in those days
    liberally distributed, only amounted to £300,000 yearly. The
    population, being rich and well fed, was moderate in numbers.
    No such thing as 'surplus population' was even dreamed of.
    Every man had constant employment, at good wages; bankruptcy
    was a thing scarcely known; and nothing short of sheer and
    great misfortune, or culpable and undeniable imprudence,
    could drive men into the Gazette bankrupt-list, or upon the
    parish-books. In trade, profits were great and competition
    small. Six per cent was commonly given for money when it
    was really wanted. Prudent men, after being twenty years in
    business, generally retired with a comfortable competence:
    and thus competition was lessened, because men went out of
    business almost as fast as others went into it; and the eldest
    apprentice was frequently the active successor of his retired
    master, sometimes as the partner of the son, and sometimes as
    the husband of the daughter. In the intercourse of ordinary
    life, a hospitality was kept up, at which modern times choose
    to mock, because they are too poverty-stricken to imitate it.
    Servants had presents made to them by guests, under the title
    of 'vails,' which often enabled them to realise a comfortable
    sum for old age. The dress of the times was as rich, and as
    indicative of real wealth, as the modes of living. Gold and
    silver lace was commonly worn, and liveries were equally
    costly. With less pretence of taste and show, the dwellings
    were more substantially built; and the furniture was solid and
    serviceable, as well as ornamental--in short all that it seemed
    to be."

The above remarks apply principally to the condition of the middle
classes. If they be true, as we see no reason to doubt, it will at once
be evident that things have altered for the worse, notwithstanding the
enormous spread of our manufactures, the creation of our machinery, and
the constant and continuous labour of more than a century and a half.
But there are other considerations which we must not keep out of view,
if we wish to arrive at a thorough understanding of this matter. Mr
Macaulay has devoted the most interesting chapter of his history to an
investigation of the social state of England under the Stuarts. Many
of his assertions have, as we observe, been challenged; but there is
one which, so far as we are aware, has not yet been touched. That is,
his picture of the condition of the labouring man. We do not think it
necessary to combat his theory, as to the delusion which he maintains
to be so common, when we contemplate the times which have gone by, and
compare them with our own. There are many kinds of delusion, and we
suspect that Mr Macaulay himself is by no means free from the practice
of using coloured glasses to assist his natural vision. But there are
certain facts which cannot, or ought not, to be perverted, and from
those facts we may draw inferences which are almost next to certainty.
Mr Macaulay, in estimating the condition of the labouring man in the
reign of King James, very properly selects the rate of wages as a sound
criterion. Founding upon data which are neither numerous nor distinct,
he arrives at the conclusion, that the wages of the agricultural
labourer of that time, or rather of the time of Charles II., were
about half the amount of the present ordinary rates. At least so we
understand him, though he admits that, in some parts of the kingdom,
wages were as high as six, or even seven shillings. _The value_,
however, of these shillings--that is, the amount of commodities which
they could purchase--must, as Mr Macaulay well knows, be taken into
consideration; and here we apprehend that he is utterly wrong in his
facts. The following is his summary:--

    "It seems clear, therefore, that the wages of labour, estimated
    in money, were, in 1685, not more than half of what they now
    are; and there were few articles important to the working man
    of which the price was not, in 1685, more than half of what
    it now is. Beer was undoubtedly much cheaper in that age than
    at present. Meat was also cheaper, but was still so dear that
    hundreds of thousands of families scarcely knew the taste of
    it. _In the cost of wheat there has been very little change._
    The average price of the quarter, during the last twelve years
    of Charles II., was _fifty shillings_. Bread, _therefore_, such
    as is now given to the inmates of a workhouse, was then seldom
    seen, even on the trencher of a yeoman or of a shopkeeper. The
    great majority of the nation lived almost entirely on rye,
    barley, and oats."

If this be true, there must be a vast mistake somewhere--a delusion
which most assuredly ought to be dispelled, if any amount of
examination can serve that purpose. No fact, we believe, has been so
well ascertained, or so frequently commented on, as the almost total
disappearance of the once national estate of yeomen from the face of
the land. How this could have happened, if Mr Macaulay is right, we
cannot understand; neither can we account for the phenomenon presented
to us, by the exceedingly small amount of the poor-rates levied
during the reign of King James. One thing we know, for certain, that,
in his calculation of the price of wheat, Mr Macaulay is decidedly
wrong--wrong in this way, that the average which he quotes is the
highest that he could possibly select during two reigns. Our authority
is Adam Smith, and it will be seen that his statement differs most
materially from that of the accomplished historian.

    "In 1688, Mr Gregory King, a man famous for his knowledge of
    matters of this kind, estimated the average price of wheat,
    in years of moderate plenty, to be to the grower 3s. 6d.
    the bushel, or _eight-and-twenty shillings the quarter_.
    The grower's price I understand to be the same with what is
    sometimes called the contract price, or the price at which a
    farmer contracts for a certain number of years to deliver a
    certain quantity of corn to a dealer. As a contract of this
    kind saves the farmer the expense and trouble of marketing, the
    contract price is generally lower than what is supposed to be
    the average market price. Mr King had judged eight-and-twenty
    shillings the quarter to be, at that time, the ordinary
    contract price in years of moderate plenty."--SMITH'S _Wealth
    of Nations_.

In corroboration of this view, if so eminent an authority as Adam
Smith requires any corroboration, we subjoin the market prices of
wheat at Oxford for the four years of James's reign. The averages are
struck from the highest and lowest prices calculated at Lady-day and

  1685,             43.8   per qr.
  1686,             26.8     ...
  1687,             27.7     ...
  1688,             23.2     ...
                 4)121.1     ...

  Average, per qr., 30.3-1/4 ...

But the Oxford returns are always higher than those of Mark Lane, which
latter again are above the average of the whole country. So that, in
forming an estimate from such data, of the general price over England,
we may be fairly entitled to deduct two shillings a quarter, which will
give a result closely approximating to that of Gregory King. We may
add, that this calculation was approved of and repeated by Dr Davenant,
who is admitted even by Mr Macaulay to be a competent authority.

Keeping the above facts in view, let us attend to Mr Doubleday's
statement of the condition of the working men, in those despotic days,
when national debts were unknown. It is diametrically opposed in every
respect to that of Mr Macaulay: and, from the character and research of
the writer, is well entitled to examination:--

    "The condition of the working classes was proportionably
    happy. Their wages were good, and their means far above want,
    where common prudence was joined to ordinary strength. In
    the towns the dwellings were cramped, by most of the towns
    being walled; but in the country, the labourers were mostly
    the owners of their own cottages and gardens, which studded
    the edges of the common lands that were appended to every
    township. The working classes, as well as the richer people,
    kept all the church festivals, saints' days, and holidays.
    Good Friday, Easter and its week, Whitsuntide, Shrove Tuesday,
    Ascension-day, Christmas, &c., were all religiously observed.
    On every festival, good fare abounded from the palace to the
    cottage; and the poorest wore strong broad-cloth and homespun
    linen, compared with which the flimsy fabrics of these times
    are mere worthless gossamers and cobwebs, whether strength or
    value be looked at. At this time, all the rural population
    brewed their own beer, which, except on fast-days, was the
    ordinary beverage of the working man. Flesh meat was commonly
    eaten by all classes. The potato was little cultivated; oatmeal
    was hardly used; even bread was neglected where wheat was not
    ordinarily grown, though wheaten bread (contrary to what is
    sometimes asserted) was generally consumed. In 1760, a later
    date, when George III. began to reign, it was computed that
    the whole people of England (alone) amounted to six millions.
    Of these, three millions seven hundred and fifty thousand were
    believed to eat wheaten bread; seven hundred and thirty-nine
    thousand were computed to use barley bread; eight hundred
    and eighty-eight thousand, rye bread; and six hundred and
    twenty-three thousand, oatmeal and oat-cakes. All, however,
    ate bacon or mutton, and drank beer and cider; tea and coffee
    being then principally consumed by the middle classes. The very
    diseases attending this full mode of living were an evidence of
    the state of national comfort prevailing. Surfeit, apoplexy,
    scrofula, gout, piles, and hepatitis; agues of all sorts, from
    the want of drainage; and malignant fevers in the walled towns,
    from want of ventilation, were the ordinary complaints. But
    consumption in all its forms, marasmus and atrophy, owing to
    the better living and clothing, were comparatively unfrequent:
    and the types of fever, which are caused by want, equally so."

We shall fairly confess that we have been much confounded by the
dissimilarity of the two pictures; for they probably furnish the
strongest instance on record of two historians flatly contradicting
each other. The worst of the matter is, that we have in reality few
authentic data which can enable us to decide between them. So long
as Gregory King speaks to broad facts and prices, he is, we think,
accurate enough; but whenever he gives way, as he does exceedingly
often, to his speculative and calculating vein, we dare not trust
him. For example, he has entered into an elaborate computation of the
probable increase of the people of England in succeeding years, and,
after a show of figures which might excite envy in the breast of the
Editor of _The Economist_, he demonstrates that the population in the
year 1900 cannot exceed 7,350,000 souls. With half a century to run,
England has already more than doubled the prescribed number. Now,
though King certainly does attempt to frame an estimate of the number
of those who, in his time, did not indulge in butcher meat more than
once a week, we cannot trust an assertion which was, in point of fact,
neither more nor less than a wide guess; but we may, with perfect
safety, accept his prices of provisions, which show that high living
was clearly within the reach of the very poorest. Beef sold then at
1-1/3d., and mutton at 2-1/4d. per lb.; so that the taste of those
viands must have been tolerably well known to the hundreds of thousands
of families whom Mr Macaulay has condemned to the coarsest farinaceous

It is unfortunate that we have no clear evidence as to the poor-rates,
which can aid us in elucidating this matter. Mr Macaulay, speaking
of that impost, says, "It was computed, in the reign of Charles II.,
at near seven hundred thousand pounds a-year, much more than the
produce either of the excise or the customs, and little less than half
the entire revenue of the crown. _The poor-rate went on increasing
rapidly_, and appears to have risen in a short time to between eight
and nine hundred thousand a-year--that is to say, to one-sixth of
what it now is. The population was then less than one-third of what
it now is." This view may be correct, but it is certainly not borne
out by Mr Porter, who says that, "so recently as the reign of George
II., the amount raised within the year for poor-rates and county-rates
in England and Wales, was only £730,000. This was the average amount
collected in the years 1748, 1749, 1750." To establish anything like
a rapid increase, we must assume a much lower figure than that from
which Mr Macaulay starts. A rise of £30,000 in some sixty years is
no remarkable addition. Mr Doubleday, as we have seen, estimates the
amount of the rate at only £300,000.

But even granting that the poor-rate was considered high in the days
of James, it bore no proportion to the existing population such as
that of the present impost. The population of England has trebled
since then, and we have seen the poor-rates rise to the enormous sum
of seven millions. Surely that is no token of the superior comfort of
our people. We shall not do more than allude to another topic, which,
however, might well bear amplification. It is beyond all doubt, that,
before the Revolution, the agricultural labourer was the free master
of his house and garden, and had, moreover, rights of pasturage and
commonty, all which have long ago disappeared. The lesser freeholds,
also, have been in a great measure absorbed. When a great national poet
put the following lines into the mouth of one of his characters,--

    "Even therefore grieve I for those yeomen,
    England's peculiar and appropriate sons,
    Known in no other land. Each boasts his hearth
    And field as free, as the best lord his barony,
    Owing subjection to no human vassalage,
    Save to their king and law. Hence are they resolute,
    Leading the van on every day of battle,
    As men who know the blessings they defend;
    Hence are they frank and generous in peace,
    As men who have their portion in its plenty.
    No other kingdom shows such worth and happiness
    Veiled in such low estate--therefore I mourn them,"

we doubt not that he intended to refer to the virtual extirpation of a
race, which has long ago been compelled to part with its birthright, in
order to satisfy the demands of inexorable Mammon. Even whilst we are
writing, a strong and unexpected corroboration of the correctness of
our views has appeared in the public prints. Towards the commencement
of the present month, November, a deputation from the agricultural
labourers of Wiltshire waited upon the Hon. Sidney Herbert, to
represent the misery of their present condition. Their wages, they
said, were from six to seven shillings a-week, and they asked, with
much reason, how, upon such a pittance, they could be expected to
maintain their families. This is precisely the same amount of nominal
wage which Mr Macaulay assigns to the labourer of the time of King
James. But, in order to equalise the values, we must add a third more
to the latter, which is at once decisive of the question. Perhaps Mr
Macaulay, in a future edition, will condescend to explain how it is
possible that the labourer of our times can be in a better condition
than his ancestor, seeing that the price of wheat is nearly doubled,
and that of butcher-meat fully quadrupled? We are content to take his
own authorities, King and Davenant, as to prices; and the results are
now before the reader.

These remarks we have felt ourselves compelled to make, because it is
necessary that, before touching upon the institution of the national
debt, we should clearly understand what was the true condition of the
people. We believe it possible to condense the leading features within
the compass of a single sentence. There were few colossal fortunes,
because there was no stock gambling; there was little poverty, because
taxation was extremely light, the means of labour within the reach of
all, prices moderate, and provisions plentiful: there was less luxury,
but more comfort, and that comfort was far more equally distributed
than now. It is quite true, that if a man breaks his arm at the present
day, he can have it better set; but rags and an empty belly are worse
evils than indifferent surgical treatment.

We are very far from wishing to attribute this state of national
comfort--for we think that is the fittest word--to the personal
exertions of James. We give him no credit for it whatever. His bigotry
was far greater than his prudence; and he forfeited his throne, and
lost the allegiance of the gentlemen of England, in consequence of his
insane attempt to thrust Popery upon the nation. But if we regard him
simply as a financial monarch, we must admit that he taxed his subjects
lightly, used the taxes which he drew judiciously for the public
service and establishment, and imposed no burden upon posterity.

The peculiar, and, to them, fatal policy of the Stuart family was
this, that they sought to reign as much as possible independent of the
control of parliaments. Had they not been blinded by old traditions,
they must have seen that, in attempting to do so, they were grasping
at the shadow without the possibility of attaining the substance. They
came to the English throne too late to command the public purse, and at
a period of time when voluntary subsidies were visionary. They looked
upon parliaments with an eye of extreme jealousy; and parliaments, in
return, were exceedingly chary of voting them the necessary supplies.
Corruption, as it afterwards crept into the senate, was never used by
the Stuarts as a direct engine of power. The sales of dignities by the
first James, detrimental as they proved to the dignity of the crown,
were in substitution of direct taxation from the people. When supplies
were withheld, or only granted with a niggardly hand, it was but
natural in the monarch to attempt to recruit his exchequer by means of
extraordinary and often most questionable expedients. The second James,
had he chosen to bribe the Commons, might have been utterly too strong
for any combination of the nobles. William III. was troubled with no
scruples on the score of prerogative. He saw clearly the intimate and
indissoluble connexion between power and money: he secured both by
acquiescing in a violent change of the constitution as it had hitherto
existed; held them during his life, and used them for the furtherance
of his own designs; and left us as his legacy, the nucleus of a debt
constructed on such a scheme that its influence must be felt to the
remotest range of posterity.

That the exigencies of every state must be met by loans, is a
proposition which it would be useless to question. Such loans are,
however, strictly speaking, merely an anticipation of taxes to be
raised from the country and generation which reaps the benefit of the
expenditure. Such was the old principle, founded upon law, equity, and
reason; and it signifies nothing how many instances of forced loans,
and breach of repayment, may be called from our earlier history. Mr
Macaulay says, "From a period of immemorial antiquity, it had been
the practice of every English government to contract debts. What the
Revolution introduced was the practise of honestly paying them." This
is epigrammatic, but not sound. From the time when the Commons had the
power of granting or withholding supplies, _they_ became the arbiters
of what was and what was not properly a state obligation. In order to
ascertain the actual value of a debt, and the measure of the creditor's
claim, we must necessarily look to the nature of the security
granted at the time of borrowing. Forced extortions by kings are not
properly debts of the state. The sanction of the people, through its
representatives, is required to make repayment binding upon the people.
The practice which the Revolution introduced was the contraction of
debt, not intended to be liquidated by the borrowing generation, but to
be carried over so as to affect the industry of generations unborn; not
to make the debtor pay, but to leave the payment to his posterity.

When William and Mary were proclaimed, there was no such thing as
a national debt. We may indeed except a comparatively small sum,
amounting to above half a million, which had been detained in exchequer
by the profligate Charles II., and applied to his own uses. But this
was not properly a state debt, nor was it acknowledged as such till a
later period.

To those who are capable of appreciating that genius which is never
so strongly shown as in connexion with political affairs, the conduct
of William is a most interesting study. It would be impossible to
exaggerate his qualities of clear-sightedness and decision; or to
select a more forcible instance of that ascendency which a man of
consummate discernment and forethought may attain, in spite of every
opposition. He had, in truth, very difficult cards to play. The
different parties, both religious and political, throughout the nation,
were so strongly opposed to each other, that it seemed impossible
to adopt any line of conduct, which should not, by favouring one,
give mortal umbrage to the others. It was reserved for William, by a
master-stroke of policy, to create a new party by new means, which
in time should absorb the others; and to strengthen his government
by attaching to it the commercial classes, by a tie which is ever
the strongest--that of deep pecuniary interest in the stability of
existing affairs. At the same time he was most desirous, without
materially increasing the taxation of England, to raise such sums
of money as might enable him to prosecute his darling object of
striking a death-blow at the ascendency of France. The scheme answered
well--possibly beyond his most sanguine expectation. Nor was it
altogether without a precedent.

    "In Holland," says Mr Doubleday, "the country of his birth, the
    Dutch king and his advisers found both a precedent to quote,
    and an example to follow. By its position and circumstances,
    this country, inconsiderable in size and population, and not
    naturally defensible, had been compelled to act the part, for
    a series of years, of a leading power in Europe; and this it
    had only been enabled to do, by that novel arm which a very
    extensive foreign trade is sure to create, and by the money
    drawn together by successful trading. Venice had at an earlier
    period played a similar part; but a series of struggles at
    last led the huckstering genius of the Dutch into a system at
    which the Venetian public had not arrived: and this was the
    fabrication of paper money, the erection of a bank to issue it,
    and the systematic borrowing of that money, and the creation of
    debt on the part of government, for only the interest of which
    taxes were demanded of the people. Here was machinery set up
    and at work; and, in the opinion of interested and superficial
    observers, working successfully. It was, accordingly, soon
    proposed to set up a copy of this machinery in England, and in
    1694, the blow was struck which was destined to have effects
    so monstrous, so long continued, and so marvellous, on the
    fortunes of England and her people; and the establishment,
    since known as the Bank of England, was erected under the
    sanction of the government."

The worst and most dangerous feature of a permanent national debt is,
that, during the earlier stages of its existence, an appearance of
factitious prosperity is generated, and the nation consequently blinded
to its remote but necessary results. The tendency to such a delusion
is inherent in human nature. _Après nous le deluge!_ is a sorry maxim,
which has been often acted on, if not quoted by statesmen, who, like
a certain notable Scottish provost, being unable to discover anything
that posterity has done for them, have thought themselves entitled
to deal as they pleased with posterity. The proceeds of the earlier
loans enabled William to carry on his wars; and the nation, puffed
up with pride, looked upon the new discovery as something far more
important and valuable than the opening of another Indies. Nor did
William confine himself merely to loans. Lotteries, tontines, long and
short annuities, and every species of device for raising money, were
patronised and urged on by the former Stadtholder, and the rage for
public gambling became uncontrollable and universal. As we have just
emerged from one of those periodical fits of speculation which seem
epidemical in Great Britain, and which, in fact, have been so ever
since the Revolution, it may be interesting to the reader to know, that
the introduction of the new system was marked by precisely the same
social phenomena which were observable four years ago, when the shares
in every bubble railway scheme commanded a ridiculous premium. We quote
from the work of Mr Francis:--

    "The moneyed interest--a title familiar to the reader of the
    present day--was unknown until 1692. It was then arrogated by
    those who saw the great advantage of entering into transactions
    in the funds for the aid of government. The title claimed
    by them in pride was employed by others in derision; and
    the purse-proud importance of men grown suddenly rich was a
    common source of ridicule. Wealth rapidly acquired has been
    invariably detrimental to the manners and the morals of the
    nation, and in 1692 the rule was as absolute as now. The
    moneyed interest, intoxicated by the possession of wealth,
    which their wildest dreams had never imagined, and incensed by
    the cold contempt with which the landed interest treated them,
    endeavoured to rival the latter in that magnificence which was
    one characteristic of the landed families. Their carriages
    were radiant with gold; their persons were radiant with gems;
    they married the poorer branches of the nobility; they eagerly
    purchased the princely mansions of the old aristocracy. The
    brush of Sir Godfrey Kneller, and the chisel of Caius Cibber,
    were employed in perpetuating their features. Their wealth was
    rarely grudged to humble the pride of a Howard or a Cavendish;
    and the money gained by the father was spent by the son in
    acquiring a distinction at the expense of decency."

It is curious to remark that the Stock Exchange cannot be said to
have had any period of minority. It leaped out at once full-armed,
like Minerva from the brain of Jupiter. All the arts of _bulling_
and _bearing_, of false rumours, of expresses, combinations,
squeezings--all that constitute the mystery of Mammon, were known
as well to the fathers of the Alley, as they are to their remote
representatives. Nay, it would almost appear that the patriarchal
jobber had more genius than has since been inherited. William's
retinue did not consist only of mercenaries and refugees. Hovering on
the skirts of his army came the sons of Israel, with beaks whetted
for the prey, and appetites which never can be sated. _Vixere fortes
ante Agamemnona_--there were earlier vultures than Nathan Rothschild.
The principal negotiators of the first British loan were Jews. They
assisted the Stadtholder with their counsel, and a Mephistopheles of
the money-making race attached himself even to the side of Marlborough.
According to Mr Francis:--"The wealthy Hebrew, Medina, accompanied
Marlborough in all his campaigns; administered to the avarice of
the great captain by an annuity of six thousand pounds per annum;
repaid himself by expresses containing intelligence of those great
battles which fire the English blood to hear them named; and Ramilies,
Oudenarde, and Blenheim, administered as much to the purse of the
Hebrew as they did to the glory of England."

It has been estimated, upon good authority, that from fifteen to twenty
per cent of every loan raised in England, has, directly or indirectly,
found its way to the coffers of those unconscionable Shylocks; so
that it is small wonder if we hear of colossal fortunes coexisting
with extreme national depreciation and distress. We might, indeed,
estimate their profits at a much higher rate. Dr Charles Davenant, in
his essay on the _Balance of Trade_, written in the earlier part of
the last century, remarked--"While these immense debts remain, the
necessities of the government will continue, interest must be high, and
large premiums will be given. And what encouragement is there for men
to think of foreign traffic (whose returns for those commodities that
enrich England must bring no great profit to the private adventurers)
when they can sit at home, and, without any care or hazard, get from
the state, by dealing with the exchequer, fifteen, and sometimes
twenty, thirty, forty, and fifty per cent? Is there any commerce abroad
so constantly advantageous?" We apprehend not. Capital is defined by
the economists as the accumulation of the savings of industry. Such
men as Rothschild have no doubt been industrious, but not according to
the ordinary acceptation of the term. Their industry is of a wholesale
kind. It is confined to a resolute and systematic endeavour to avail
themselves of the savings of others; and we need hardly state that, in
this pursuit, they have shown themselves most eminently successful.

The remarkable change which took place in the monetary system of
England, under the auspices of William, could not, of course, have
been effected without the concurrence of parliament. That body had
certainly no reason to charge him with neglect of their interests. The
representatives of the people for the first time began to understand,
that there might be certain perquisites arising from their situation
as men of trust, which could be made available to them, provided they
were not too scrupulous as to the requirements of the crown. The
mastiff which had bayed so formidably at James and his predecessors,
because none of them would deign to cajole him, became at once amenable
to a sop. Mr Macaulay should have written: "The revolution of 1688
did not introduce the practice of regularly summoning parliaments;
what it introduced was the practice of regularly bribing them." Mr
Francis, though an apologist of King William, who, as he thinks, was
compelled to act thus from imperious necessity, is not blind to this
stigma on his memory. He also believes that the settled animosity
between England and France, which has caused so many wars, and led to
such an extravagant expenditure of blood and treasure, is mainly to
be attributed to the persevering efforts of William of Orange. The
following summary is of much interest:--

    "The parliamentary records of William's reign are curious. The
    demands which he made for money, the hatred to France which
    he encouraged, and the frequent supplies he received, are
    remarkable features in his history. Every art was employed;
    at one time a mild remonstrance, at another a haughty menace,
    at a third the reproach that he had ventured his life for the
    benefit of the country. The bribery, during this reign, was the
    commencement of a system which has been very injurious to the
    credit and character of England. The support of the members
    was purchased with places, with contracts, with titles, with
    promises, with portions of the loans, and with tickets in the
    lottery. The famous axiom of Sir Robert Walpole was a practice
    and a principle with William; he found that custom could not
    stale the infinite variety of its effect, and that, so long as
    bribes continued, so long would supplies be free. Exorbitant
    premiums were given for money; and so low was public credit,
    _that of five millions granted to carry on the war, only two
    and a half millions reach the Exchequer_. Long annuities and
    short annuities, lottery tickets and irredeemable debts, made
    their frequent appearance; and the duties, which principally
    date from this period, were most pernicious."

These things are elements of importance in considering the political
history of the country. They explain the reason why the great bulk of
the nation never cordially supported the new succession; and why, for
the first time in English history, their own representative house lost
caste and credit with the commons. Fifty years later, when Charles
Edward penetrated into the heart of England, he met with no opposition.
If the inhabitants of the counties through which he passed did not join
his standard, they thought as little of making tiny active opposition
to his advance; thereby exhibiting an apathy totally at variance
with the high national and independent spirit which in all times has
characterised the English, and to be accounted for on no other ground
than their disgust with the new system which, even then, had swollen
the amount of taxation to an extent seriously felt by the commonalty,
and which had so corrupted parliament that redress seemed hopeless
within the peaceful limits of the constitution. The proclamation issued
by the prince, from Edinburgh, bore direct reference to the funded
debt, and to the notorious ministerial bribery; and it must have found
an echo in the hearts of many, who began to perceive that the cry of
civil and religious liberty is the standard stalking-horse for every
revolution, but that the result of revolutions is too commonly an
imperative demand upon the people for a large augmentation of their
burdens, backed too by the very demagogues who were the instigators of
the violent change. In this crisis, the moneyed interest, which William
had so dexterously created, saved the new dynasty--less, certainly,
from patriotism, than from the fear of personal ruin.

It is a memorable fact that, from the very first, the Tory party
opposed themselves strenuously to the creation and progress of
the national debt. It is well that those who, in our own times,
bitterly denounce the system which has landed us in such inextricable
difficulties, and which has had the effect of rearing up class
interests, irreconcilably opposed to each other, in once-united
England, should remember that for all this legacy we are specially
indebted to the Whigs. Except by Tory ministers, and in one case by
Walpole, no attempt has been made to stem the progress of the current;
and this consideration is doubly valuable at this moment, when it
is proposed, by a vigorous effort, to make head against the monster
grievance, and, by the establishment of an inviolable sinking-fund,
to commence that work which liberal and juggling politicians have
hitherto shamefully evaded. It is more than probable that "the moneyed
interest" will throw the whole weight of their influence in opposition
to any such movement; unless, indeed, they should begin already to
perceive that there may be worse evils in store for them than a just
liquidation of their claims. Matters have now gone so far as to be
perilous, if no practicable mode of ultimate extrication can be shown.
Real property cannot be taxed any higher--indeed, the landowners have
claims for relief from peculiar burdens imposed upon them, which in
equity can hardly be gainsaid. The property and income-tax, admittedly
an impolitic impost in the time of peace, cannot remain long on its
present footing. To tax professional earnings at the same rate as the
profits of accumulated capital, is a manifest and gross injustice
against which people are beginning to rebel. There is no choice left,
except between direct taxation and a recurrence to the system which
we have abandoned, of raising the greater part of our revenue by
duties upon foreign imports. The former method, now openly advocated
by the financial reformers, is, in our opinion, a direct step towards
repudiation. Let the fundholders look to it in time, and judge for
themselves what results are likely to accrue from such a policy.
One thing is clear, that if no effort should be made to redeem any
portion of the debt--but if, on the contrary, circumstances should
arise, the probability of which is before us even now, to call for
its augmentation, and for a corresponding increase of the public
revenue--the financial reformers will not be slow to discover that
the only interest hitherto unassailed must submit to suffer in its
turn. The Whigs are now brought to such a pass, that they cannot hope
to see their way to a surplus. We shall have no more of those annual
remissions of duties, which for years past have been made the boast
of every budget, but to which, in reality, the greater part of our
present difficulties is owing. Had a sinking fund been established
long ago, and rigidly maintained, and at the same time the revenue
kept full, the nation would ere now have been reaping the benefit of
such a policy. We should have had the satisfaction of seeing our debt
annually diminishing, and the interest of it becoming less; whereas,
by the wretched system of fiddling popularity which has been pursued,
the debt has augmented in time of peace, the annual burdens absolutely
increased, ruinous competition been fostered, and internal jealousies
excited. The Whigs, who arrogate for themselves, not only now but in
former times, the guardianship of the liberties of Britain, have taken
especial pains to conceal the fact that they were, in reality, the
authors of our funding system, and the bitterest opponents of those
who early descried its remote and ruinous consequences. Their motives
cannot be concealed, however it may be their interest at the present
time to gloss them over. Lord Bolingbroke thus exposes their occult
designs, in his "_Letters on the Use of History_."

    "Few men, at the time (1688), looked forward enough to foresee
    the necessary consequences of the new constitution of the
    revenue that was soon afterwards formed, nor of the method of
    funding that immediately took place; which, absurd as they
    are, have continued ever since, till it is become scarce
    possible to alter them. Few people, I say, saw how the creation
    of funds, and the multiplication of taxes, would increase
    yearly the power of the Crown, and bring our liberties, by a
    natural and necessary progression, into more real though less
    apparent danger than they were in before the Revolution! The
    excessive ill husbandry practised from the very beginning of
    King William's reign, and which laid the foundation of all we
    feel and fear, was not the effect of ignorance, mistake, or
    what we call chance, _but of design and scheme in those who
    had the sway at the time_. I am not so uncharitable, however,
    as to believe that they intended to bring upon their country
    all the mischiefs that we who came after them experience and
    apprehend. No: they saw the measures they took singly and
    unrelatively, or relatively alone to some immediate object. The
    notion of attaching men to the new government, by tempting them
    to embark their fortunes on the same bottom, was a reason of
    state to some; the notion of creating a new, that is, a moneyed
    interest, in opposition to the landed interest, or as a balance
    to it, and of acquiring a superior interest in the city of
    London at least, by the establishment of great corporations,
    was a reason of party to others: and I make no doubt that the
    opportunity of amassing immense estates, by the management of
    funds, by trafficking in paper, and by all the arts of jobbing,
    was a reason of private interest to those who supported and
    improved that scheme of iniquity, if not to those who devised
    it. They looked no further. Nay, we who came after them, and
    have long tasted the bitter fruits of the corruption they
    planted, were far from taking such alarm at our distress and
    our dangers as they deserved."

In like manner wrote Swift, and Hume, and Smith; nor need we wonder at
their vehemence, when we direct our attention to the rapid increase
of the charge. William's legacy was £16,400,000 of debt, at an annual
charge to the nation of about £1,311,000. At the death of Queen Anne,
the debt amounted to fifty-four millions, and the interest to three
millions, three hundred and fifty thousand--being nearly double the
_whole revenue_ raised by King James! The total amount of the annual
revenue under Queen Anne, was more than five millions and a half.
Under George I., singular to relate, there was no increase of the
debt. At the close of the reign of George II., it amounted to about
a hundred and forty millions; and, in 1793, just one hundred years
after the introduction of the funding system in Britain, we find it
at two hundred and fifty-two millions, with an interest approaching
to ten. Twenty-two years later, that amount was more than trebled.
These figures may well awaken grave consideration in the bosoms of
all of us. The past is irremediable; and it would be a gross and
unpardonable error to conclude, that a large portion of the sum thus
raised and expended was uselessly thrown away; or that the corruption
employed by the founders of the system, to secure the acquiescence of
parliament, was of long continuance. On the contrary, it is undeniable
that the result of many of the wars in which Britain engaged has been
her commercial, territorial, and political aggrandisement; and that
bribery, in a direct form, is now most happily unknown. The days have
gone by since the parliamentary guests of Walpole could calculate on
finding a note for £500, folded up in their dinner napkins--since
great companies, applying for a charter, were compelled to purchase
support--or when peace could only be obtained, as in the following
instance, by means of purchased votes:--"The peace of 1763," said John
Ross Mackay, private secretary to the Earl of Bute, and afterwards
Treasurer to the Ordnance, "was carried through, and approved, by
a pecuniary distribution. Nothing else could have surmounted the
difficulty. I was myself the channel through which the money passed.
With my own hand I secured above one hundred and twenty votes on that
vital question. Eighty thousand pounds was set apart for the purpose.
Forty members of the House of Commons received from me a thousand
pounds each. To eighty others I paid five hundred pounds a-piece."
Still we cannot disguise the fact, that a vast amount of the treasure
so levied, and for every shilling of which the industry of the nation
was mortgaged, never reached the coffers of the state, but passed
in the shape of bonuses, premiums, and exorbitant contracts, to rear
up those fortunes which have been the wonder and admiration of the
world. Nor is it less palpable that the fortunes so constructed could
not have had existence, unless abstracted from the regular industry
of the country, to the inevitable detriment of the labourer, whose
condition has at all times received by far too little consideration.
Add to this the spirit of public gambling, which, since the Revolution,
has manifested itself periodically in this country--the sudden
fever-fits which seem to possess the middle classes of the community,
and, by conjuring up visions of unbounded and unbased wealth, without
the necessary preliminary of labour, to extinguish their wonted
prudence--and we must conclude that the funding system has been
pregnant with social and moral evils which have extended to the whole
community. Before we pass from this subject--which we have dwelt upon
at considerable length, believing it of deep interest at the present
point of our financial history--we would request the attention of
our readers to the following extract from the work of Mr Francis,
as condemnatory of the policy pursued by recent governments, and as
tending to throw light on the ultimate designs of the Financial Reform
Associations. It is quite possible that, in matters of detail, we
might not agree with the writer--at least, he has given us no means of
ascertaining upon what principles he would base an "efficient revision
of our taxation;" but we cordially agree with him in thinking that, as
we presently stand, the right arm of Great Britain is tied up, and the
Bank of England, under its present restrictions, in extreme jeopardy at
the first announcement of a war.

    "It is one great evil of the present age, that it persists in
    regarding the debt as perpetual. Immediately the expenditure is
    exceeded by the revenue, there is a demand for the reduction
    of taxation. We, a commercial people, brought up at the feet
    of M'Culloch, with the books of national debt as a constant
    study, with the interest on the national debt as a constant
    remembrancer, persist in scoffing at any idea of decreasing
    the encumbrance: and when a Chancellor of the Exchequer
    proposes a loan of eight millions, we growl and grumble, call
    it charitable, trust for better times, and read the Opposition
    papers with renewed zest.

    There is no doubt that the resources of the nation are equal
    to far more than is now imposed; but it can only be done by
    an efficient revision of our taxation, and this will never be
    effected till the wolf is at the door. A war which greatly
    increased our yearly imposts would, with the present system,
    crush the artisan, paralyse the middle class, and scarcely
    leave the landed proprietor unscathed. The convertibility of
    the note of the Bank of England would cease; and it would be
    impossible to preserve the charter of Sir Robert Peel in its
    entirety, while twenty-eight millions were claimable yearly in
    specie, and the gold of the country went abroad in subsidies.

    In an earlier portion of the volume, the writer briefly
    advocated annuities as one mode of treating the national debt.
    There would in this be no breach of faith to the present
    public; there would be no dread of a general bankruptcy; there
    would be no need of loans; and, had this principle been carried
    out, the national debt would be yearly diminishing. In ten
    years, nearly two millions of terminable annuities will expire,
    and it behoves the government to inquire into the effect
    which the conversion of the interminable debt into terminable
    annuities would have on the money market.

    It is absolutely idle for the Financial Reform Association
    to think of effectually lowering the taxation of the country,
    while twenty-eight millions are paid for interest; and it is to
    be feared that great evil will accompany whatever good they may
    achieve. That there are many offices which might be abolished;
    that it is a rule in England that the least worked should be
    best paid; that an extravagant system of barbaric grandeur
    exists; that the army and the navy, the pulpit and the bar, are
    conducted unwisely; and that great men are paid great salaries
    for doing nothing,--is indisputable; but it is equally so that
    great savings have been effected, and that greater efforts are
    making to economise further. There is a faith pledged to the
    public servant as much as to the public creditor; and, whether
    he be a colonel or a clerk, a man of peace or a man of war, it
    is impracticable, imprudent, and unjust to attempt that which
    would as much break faith with him, as to cease to pay the
    dividends on the national debt would be to break faith with the
    national creditor.

    These things are paltry and puerile compared with that which,
    excepting a total revision of taxation, can alone materially
    meet the difficulties of England; and the gentlemen of the
    Reform Association are aware of this. They may cut down
    salaries; lower the defences of the country; abolish expensive
    forms and ceremonies; amalgamate a few boards of direction;
    reduce the civil list; and do away with all sinecures. But
    the evil is too vast, and the difficulties are too gigantic,
    to be met in so simple a manner. Nor will these gentlemen be
    satisfied with it while there are eight hundred millions at
    which to level their Quixotic spear. Repudiation was darkly
    alluded to at one meeting of the Association, and, though it
    has since been denied, it is to be feared that time only is
    required to ripen the attempt."

Turn we now from the national debt to its eldest offspring, the
Exchange. Marvellous indeed are the scenes to which we are introduced,
whether we read its history as in the time of William of Orange, enter
it at the period when the South Sea bubble had reached its utmost
width of distension, or tread its precincts at a more recent date,
when railway speculation was at its height, and the Glenmutchkin at a
noble premium. John Bunyan could not have had a glimpse of it, for he
died in 1688: nevertheless his Vanity Fair is no inaccurate prototype
of its doings. No stranger, indeed, may enter the secret place where
its prime mysteries are enacted: if any uninitiated wight should by
chance or accident set foot within that charmed circle, the alarm is
given as rapidly as in Alsatia when a bailiff trespassed upon the
sanctuary. With a shout of "Fourteen hundred fives!" the slogan of
their clan, Jew, Gentile, and proselyte precipitate themselves upon the
rash intruder. In the twinkling of an eye, his hat is battered down,
and amidst kicks, cuffs, and bustling, he is ejected from the temple of
Mammon. But, lingering in the outer court and vestibule, we can gain
some glimpses of the interior worship; imperfect, indeed, but such as
may well deter us from aspiring to form part of the congregation.

The creation and transferable character of public funds, necessarily
involved the existence of a class of men who deal in such securities.
That class multiplied apace, and multiplied so much that, after a
time, the commissions exigible for each _boná fide_ transaction could
not afford a decent subsistence for all who were engaged in the
business. People who buy into the stocks with a view to permanent
investment, are not usually in a hurry to sell; and this branch of the
profession, though, strictly speaking, the only legitimate one, could
not be very lucrative. Gambling was soon introduced. The fluctuations
in the price of the funds, which were frequent in those unsettled
times, presented an irresistible temptation to buying and selling for
the account--a process by means of which a small capital may be made
to represent fictitiously an enormous amount of stock: no transfers
being required, and in fact no sales created, the real stake being
the difference between the buying and the selling prices. But, the
natural fluctuations of the stocks not affording a sufficient margin
for the avarice of the speculators, all sorts of deep-laid schemes
were hatched to elevate or depress them unnaturally. In other words,
fraud was resorted to, from a very early period, for the purpose of
promoting gain. The following may serve as an example:--"The first
political hoax on record occurred in the reign of Anne. Down the
Queen's road, riding at a furious rate, ordering turnpikes to be thrown
open, and loudly proclaiming the sudden death of the Queen, rode a
well-dressed man, sparing neither spur nor steed. From west to east,
and from north to south, the news spread. Like wildfire it passed
through the desolate fields where palaces now abound, till it reached
the City. The train-bands desisted from their exercise, furled their
colours, and returned home with their arms reversed. The funds fell
with a suddenness which marked the importance of the intelligence; and
it was remarked that, while the Christian jobbers stood aloof, almost
paralysed with the information, Manasseh Lopez and the Jew interest
bought eagerly at the reduced price." The whole thing was a lie, coined
by the astute Hebrews, who then, as now, accumulated the greater part
of their money in this disgraceful and infamous manner, and doubtless
had the audacity even to glory in their shame. A more ingenious trick
was played off in 1715, when a sham capture was made in Scotland of
a carriage and six, supposed to contain the unfortunate Chevalier St
George. The news, being despatched to London, instantly elevated the
funds, "and the inventors of the trick laughed in their sleeves as they
divided the profit." Modern jobbers will doubtless read these records
with a sigh for the glory of departed times, just as a schoolboy
bitterly regrets that he was not born in the days of chivalry.
Universal rapidity of communication, and the power of the press, have
rendered such operations on a large scale almost impossible. The
electric telegraph has injured the breed of carrier pigeons, and more
than half the poetry of fraudulent stock-jobbing has disappeared.

The range of the jobbers speedily extended itself beyond the
comparatively narrow field presented by the funds. Exchequer bills with
a variable premium were invented and brought into the market, a large
and lucrative business was done in lottery tickets, and even seats in
parliament were negotiated on the Stock Exchange. Joint-stock companies
next came into play, and these have ever since proved an inexhaustible
mine of wealth to the jobbers. Nor were they in the least particular
as to the nature of the commodity in which they dealt. Thomas Guy,
founder of the hospital called after his name, acquired his fortune by
means similar to those which are now made matter of reproach to the
Jews of Portsmouth and Plymouth. It is a curious feature in the history
of mankind, that money questionably amassed is more often destined to
pious uses than the savings of honest industry. The conscience of the
usurer becomes alarmed as the hour of dissolution draws nigh. "His
principal dealings were in those tickets with which, from the time of
the second Charles, the seamen had been remunerated. After years of
great endurance, and of greater labour, the defenders of the land were
paid with inconvertible paper; and the seamen, too often improvident,
were compelled to part with their wages at any discount, which the
conscience of the usurer would offer. Men who had gone the round of the
world like Drake, or had fought hand to hand with Tromp, were unable
to compete with the keen agent of the usurer, who, decoying them into
the low haunts of Rotherhithe, purchased their tickets at the lowest
possible price; and skilled seamen, the glory of England's navy, were
thus robbed, and ruined, and compelled to transfer their services
to foreign states. In these tickets did Thomas Guy deal, and on the
savings of these men was the vast superstructure of his fortune reared.
But jobbing in them was as frequent in the high places of England as in
'Change Alley. The seaman was poor and uninfluential, and the orders
which were refused payment to him were paid to the wealthy jobber,
who parted with some of his plunder as a premium to the treasury
to disgorge the remainder." But frauds and injustice, even when
countenanced by governments, have rarely other than a disastrous issue
to the state. So in the case of those seamen's tickets. That the wages
due to the sailor should have fallen into arrears during the reigns of
Charles and of James, need excite little surprise, when we remember
that the revenue in their day never exceeded two millions annually.
But that the abuse should have been continued after the revolutionary
government had discovered its easy method of raising subsidies--more
especially when ample proof had been given of the danger of such
a system, by the want of alacrity displayed by the English seamen
when the Dutch fleet burned our vessels in the Thames and threatened
Chatham--is indeed matter of marvel, and speaks volumes as to the gross
corruption of the times. So infamous was the neglect, that at length
the sailors' tickets had accumulated to the amount of nine millions
sterling of arrears. Not one farthing had been provided to meet this
huge demand; and in order to stay the clamours of the holders--not now
mariners, but men of the stamp of Thomas Guy,--parliament erected them
into that body known as the South Sea Company, the transactions of
which will ever be memorable in the commercial history of Great Britain.

The existence of this company dates from the reign of Queen Anne; but
for some years its operations were conducted on a small scale, and it
only assumed importance in 1719, when exclusive privileges of trading
within certain latitudes were assured to it. We quote from Mr Doubleday
the following particulars, which utterly eclipse the grandeur of modern
gambling and duplicity.

    "As soon as the act had fairly passed the Houses, the stock
    of the company at once rose to _three hundred and nineteen
    per cent_; and a mad epidemic of speculative gambling seemed,
    at once, to seize the whole nation, with the exception of Mr
    Hutchison, and a few others, who not only preserved their
    sanity, but energetically warned the public of the ultimate
    fate of the scheme and its dupes. The public, however, was
    deaf. The first sales of stock by the Court of Directors were
    made at three hundred per cent. Two millions and a quarter were
    taken, and the market price at one reached _three hundred and
    forty_--double the first instalment according to the terms of
    payment. To set out handsomely, the Court voted a dividend of
    ten per cent upon South Sea Stock, being only a half-yearly
    dividend, payable at midsummer 1720. To enable persons to hold,
    they also offered to lend half a million on security of their
    own stock; and afterwards increased the amount to a million,
    or nearly so. These bold steps gained the whole affair such
    an increase of credit, that, upon a bare notice that certain
    irredeemable annuities would be received for stock, upon terms
    hereafter to be settled, numbers of annuitants deposited their
    securities at the South Sea House, without knowing the terms!
    About June, when the first half-yearly dividend was becoming
    due, the frenzy rose to such a pitch, that the stock was sold
    at _eight hundred and ninety per cent_. This extravagance,
    however, made so many sellers, that the price suddenly fell,
    and uneasiness began to be manifested; when the Directors had
    the inconceivable audacity to propose to create new stock at
    _one thousand per cent_, to be paid in ten instalments of one
    hundred pounds each. Strange to relate, this desperate villany
    turned the tide again, and, to use the words of Anderson,
    'in a few days the hundred pound instalment was worth _four

We invariably find that the success, whether real or pretended, of any
one scheme, gives rise to a host of imitations. If any new company,
whatever be its object, is started, and the shares are selling at a
premium, we may look with perfect confidence for the announcement of
six or seven others before as many days have elapsed. This is, of
course, partly owing to the cupidity of the public; but that cupidity
could not manifest itself so soon in a tangible form, but for the
machinations of certain parties, who see their way to a profit whatever
may be the result of the speculation. Amidst the ruin and desolation
which invariably follow those seasons of infuriated and infatuated
gambling, to which we are now almost habituated, such men preserve a
tranquil and a calm demeanour. And no wonder: they have reaped the
harvest which the folly of others has sown. At the hottest and most
exciting period of the game, they have their senses as completely
under control as the sharper who has deliberately dined on chicken and
lemonade, with the prospect of encountering afterwards an inebriated
victim at Crockford's. They may play largely, but they only do so while
their hand is safe; the moment luck changes, they sell out, and leave
the whole loss to be borne by the unfortunate dupes, who, believing in
their deliberate falsehoods, still continue to hold on, trusting to the
advent of those fabulous better times which, in their case, never can
arrive. It has been so in our own times, and it was so when the South
Sea bubble was expanding on its visionary basis. Multitudes of minor
schemes were projected, subscribed for, and driven up to an exorbitant
premium. The shares of really solid companies participated in the rise,
and mounted correspondingly in the market. The nominal value of all the
sorts of stock then afloat was computed at no less than five hundred
millions; being exactly double the estimated value of the whole lands,
houses, and real property in the kingdom!

The collapse came, and brought ruin to thousands who thought that they
held fortune within their grasp. The history of the downfall is not
less suggestive than that of the rapid rise. It has had its parallel
in our days, when the most rotten and unsubstantial of companies have
brazened out their frauds to the last, doctored accounts, declared
fictitious dividends, and threatened with legal prosecution those who
had the courage and the honesty to expose them.

    "The minor bubbles burst first, when the South Sea schemers
    were foolish enough to apply for a _scire facias_ against
    their projectors, on the ground that _their_ schemes injured
    the credit of the grand scheme. This turned quondam allies
    into furious enemies. The _scire facias_ was issued on 13th
    August 1720, when the downfall began; and Mr Hutchison saw
    his predictions completely fulfilled. The South Sea villains,
    in sheer desperation, declared a _half-yearly dividend of
    thirty per cent_ due at Christmas, and offered to guarantee
    fifty per cent per annum for twelve years! They might as well
    have declared it for the thirtieth of February. Everything
    was done to prop the reputation of the directors, but all
    was in vain; and when the stock fell at last to one hundred
    and seventy-five, a panic ensued, and all went to the ground
    together, totally ruining thousands, and nearly dragging the
    Bank and East India Company along with it."

Mr Francis gives us some interesting anecdotes of the casualties
arising from this gigantic scheme of imposture. Gay, the author of the
_Beggar's Opera_, was a holder of stock, and at one time might have
sold out with a profit of twenty thousand pounds--an opportunity very
rarely vouchsafed to a poet. In spite of shrewd advice, he neglected
his chance, and lost every penny. One Hudson, a native of Yorkshire,
who had succeeded to a large fortune, went deeply into the scheme. From
a millionnaire he became a beggar and insane, and wandered through the
streets of London a pitiable object of charity. But it would be work,
of supererogation to multiply instances of similar calamity. They are
reproduced over and over again at the conclusion of every fit of wild
and reckless speculation; and yet the warning, terrible as it is, seems
to have no effect in restraining the morbid appetite.

It would, we apprehend, be impossible to find any one who will advocate
gambling upon principle; though a multitude of excellent persons, who
would shrink with horror were the odious epithet applied to them,
are, nevertheless, as much gamblers as if they were staking their
money at _rouge-et-noir_ or _roulette_. The man who buys into a public
stock with the intention of selling in a week or a fortnight, in the
expectation of doing so at an advanced price, or the other who sells
shares which he does not possess, in the confident belief of a speedy
fall, is, in everything save decency of appearance, on a par with the
haunter of the casino. He may, if he so pleases, designate himself
an investor, but, in reality, he is a common gamester. This may be
a hard truth, but it is a wholesome one, and it cannot be too often
repeated, at a time when general usage, and yielding to temptation,
have perverted words from their ordinary significance, and led many
of us to justify transactions which, when tried by the standard of
morality, and stripped of their disguise, ought to be unhesitatingly
condemned. "He that loveth gold shall not be justified," said the son
of Sirach. "Many have sinned for a small matter; and he that seeketh
for abundance will turn his eyes away. As a nail sticketh fast between
the joinings of the stones, so doth sin stick close between buying and
selling." This spirit, when it becomes general in the nation, cannot
be otherwise than most hurtful to its welfare, since it diverts the
thoughts of many from those industrial pursuits which are profitable to
themselves and others, and leads them astray from that honourable and
upright course which is the sure and only road to wealth, happiness,
and esteem. This has been, to a certain extent, acknowledged by
government, even within our own time. The pernicious effect of the
lotteries, originally, a state device, upon the morals and condition of
the lower classes, as testified by the vast increase of crime, became
at length so glaring, that these detestable engines of fraud were
suppressed by act of parliament. They still linger on the Continent, as
most of us have reason to know from the annual receipt of documents,
copiously circulated by the Jews of Hamburg and Frankfort, offering
us, in exchange for a few florins, the chance of becoming proprietors
of several chateaux on the Rhine, with boar-forests, mineral springs,
vineyards, and other appurtenances. We presume, from the continuity
of the circulars, that Israel still finds its dupes; but we never
happened, save in one of Charles Lever's novels, to hear of any person
lucky enough to stumble on the ticket which secured the right to
Henkersberg, Bettlersbad, or Narrenstein. The extent to which lottery
gambling was carried in this country seems to us absolutely incredible.
Derby sweeps were nothing to it.

    "In 1772," says Mr Francis, "lottery magazine proprietors,
    lottery tailors, lottery staymakers, lottery glovers, lottery
    hatmakers, lottery tea merchants, lottery barbers--where
    a man, for being shaved and paying threepence, stood a
    chance of receiving £10; lottery shoeblacks, lottery
    eating-houses--where, for sixpence, a plate of meat and the
    chance of 60 guineas were given; lottery oyster-stalls--where
    threepence gave a supply of oysters, and a remote chance of
    five guineas, were plentiful; and, to complete a catalogue
    which speaks volumes, at a sausage-stall, in a narrow alley,
    was the important intimation written up, that, for one
    farthing's worth of sausages, the fortunate purchaser might
    realise a capital of five shillings. Quack doctors, a class
    which formed so peculiar a feature in village life of old, sold
    medicine at a high price, giving those who purchased it tickets
    in a lottery purporting to contain silver and other valuable

A new discovery was presently made, which had a serious effect upon
trade. Money-prizes were discontinued, and shopkeepers, parcelling
out their goods, disposed of them by lottery. As a matter of course,
this business, commenced by disreputable adventurers, proved most
injurious to the regular dealer. People refused to buy an article at
the regular price, when it might be obtained for next to nothing. They
were, however, utterly wrong, for the staple of the prize goods, when
inspected, proved to be of the most flimsy description. Tickets in
the state lotteries became the subject of pawn, and were so received
by the brokers, and even by the bankers. Suicide was rife; forgery
grew common; theft increased enormously. Husbands and fathers saw
their wives and children reduced to absolute starvation, and weeping
bitterly for bread, and yet pawned their last articles of household
furniture for one more desperate chance in the lottery. Wives betrayed
their husbands, and plundered them, for the same purpose. Servants
robbed their masters; commissions and offices were sold. Insurance
was resorted to, to accommodate all classes. Those who had not money
to pay for tickets might insure a certain number for a small sum, and
thus obtain a prize; and so lottery grew upon lottery, and the sphere
was indefinitely extended. It was not until 1826 that this abominable
system, was finally crushed. The image of the vans, placards, and
handbills of Bish is still fresh in our memory; and we pray devoutly
that succeeding generations may never behold a similar spectacle.

It would be in vain for us, within the limits of an article, to attempt
even the faintest sketch of the speculative manias which, from time to
time, have affected the prosperity of Great Britain. Some of these have
been quite, as baseless as the South Sea bubble, and may be directly
traced to the agency and instigation of the Stock Exchange. Others were
founded upon schemes of manifest advantage to the public, and even to
the proprietary, if cautiously and wisely carried out; but here again
the passion for gambling has been insanely developed, and encouraged
by those who sought to make fortunes at the expense of their dupes.
There is at all times, in this country, a vast deal of unemployed
capital, which, in the cant phrase, "is waiting for investment," and
which cannot well be invested in any of the ordinary channels of
business. The fact is, that within the area of Britain, it has been
long difficult for a capitalist to select a proper field of operation;
and the tendency of recent legislation has materially increased the
difficulty. The country, in fact, may be considered as entirely
_made_. Agricultural improvement, on a large scale, which implied the
possession of a tract of unprofitable country, was considered, even
before the repeal of the corn laws, as no hopeful speculation. Since
that disastrous event, the chances have naturally diminished; and we
suspect that, by this time, very few people have any faith in Sir
Robert Peel's proposal for establishing new colonies in Connaught. When
we find the Whig Lord Monteagle denouncing free trade as the bane of
Ireland, we may be sure that few capitalists will sink their funds in
the western bogs, hoping that they may appear again in the shape of
golden grain which may defy the competition of the fertile valleys of
America. We have quite enough of factories for all the demand which is
likely to come for years: instead of building new ones, it is always
easy, if any one has a fancy for it, to purchase abandoned mills at
a very considerable discount; but we do not find such stock eagerly
demanded in the market. Foreign competition has extinguished several
branches of industry to which capital might be profitably applied, and
materially injured others; so that moneyed men really are at a loss for
eligible investment. This want has been felt for a long time; and the
uncertain policy of our ministers, with regard to colonial affairs,
has undoubtedly had an injurious effect upon the prosperity of these
dependencies. We have annihilated much of the capital invested in the
West Indies, and have withdrawn a great deal more. It is long since
Adam Smith urged the propriety and the policy of identifying some of
our more important colonies with Great Britain, by the simple process
of incorporation, thus extending materially the field of the capitalist
upon security equal to that which he can always command at home. Such
an opportunity is at this moment afforded by Canada; but it seems
that we will rather run the risk of seeing Canada merge in the United
States than make any sacrifice of our pride, even where our interest is
concerned. A considerable deal of capital has gone to Australia; but we
suspect, from late events, that the future supply will be limited.

Before the railways opened to capitalists a channel of investment which
appeared exceedingly plausible, and which was, in a great measure,
guaranteed by the result of experiment, vast masses of realised
wealth accumulated from time to time. Upon these hoards the members,
myrmidons, and jobbers of the Stock Exchange, cast a covetous eye: they
whispered to each other, in the language of King John--

              "Let them shake the bags
    Of hoarding abbots; angels imprisoned
    Set thou at liberty: the fat ribs of peace
    Must by the hungry now be fed upon:
    Use our _commission_ in its utmost force."

Acting upon this principle, they made their business to find out
new channels of investment--an easier task than the discovery of a
north-western passage in the arctic regions--and to represent these in
all the glowing colours which are peculiar to the artists of 'Change

The year 1823 was remarkable for the commencement of an epidemic
which proved, in its effects, even more disastrous than the South Sea
delusion. It would be tedious to enumerate or discuss the causes which
led to this sudden outburst; some of them have been indirectly traced
to the operation of Sir Robert Peel's famous Currency Act of 1819,
which fettered the Bank of England, whilst it left the country bankers
free to issue unlimited paper, and to the respite of the smaller notes
which had been previously doomed to extinction. Whatever may have
been the cause, speculation began and increased at a rate which was
quite unprecedented. All kinds of ridiculous schemes found favour in
the public eye: nothing was too absurd or preposterous to scare away
applicants for shares. Mining, building, shipping, insurance, railway,
colonising, and washing companies were established: even an association
for the making of gold was subscribed for to the full amount, and
doubtless a balloon company for lunar purposes would have been equally
popular. This period was marked by the apparition of an entirely new
animal in the precincts of the Stock Exchange. Bulls, bears, and even
lame ducks, were creatures coeval with its existence; but the "stag,"
in its humanised form, first appeared in 1823. The following sketch
might pass for a view of Capel Court some two-and-twenty years later:--

    "The readiness with which shares were attainable first created
    a class of speculators that has ever since formed a marked
    feature in periods of excitement, in the dabblers in shares
    and loans with which the courts and crannies of the parent
    establishment were crowded. The scene was worthy the pencil of
    an artist. With huge pocket-book containing worthless scrip;
    with crafty countenance and cunning eye; with showy jewellery
    and threadbare coat; with well-greased locks, and unpolished
    boots; with knavery in every curl of the lip, and villany in
    every thought of the heart; the stag, as he was afterwards
    termed, was a prominent portrait in the foreground. Grouped
    together in one corner, might be seen a knot of boys, eagerly
    buying and selling at a profit which bore no comparison to
    the loss of honesty they each day experienced. Day after day
    were elderly men with huge umbrellas witnessed in the same
    spot, doing business with those whose characters might be
    judged from their company. At another point, the youth just
    rising into manhood, conscious of a few guineas in his purse,
    with a resolute determination to increase them at any price,
    gathered a group around, while he delivered his invention to
    the listening throng, who regarded him as a superior spirit.
    In every corner, and in every vacant space, might be seen men
    eagerly discussing the premium of a new company, the rate of
    a new loan, the rumoured profit of some lucky speculator, the
    rumoured failure of some great financier, or wrangling with
    savage eagerness over the fate of a shilling. The scene has
    been appropriated by a novelist as not unworthy of his pen.
    'There I found myself,' he writes, 'in such company as I had
    never seen before. Gay sparks, with their hats placed on one
    side, and their hands in their breeches' pockets, walked up and
    down with a magnificent strut, whistling most harmoniously, or
    occasionally humming an Italian air. Several grave personages
    stood in close consultation, scowling on all who approached,
    and seeming to reprehend any intrusion. Some lads, whose
    faces announced their Hebrew origin, and whose miscellaneous
    finery was finely emblematical of Rag Fair, passed in and out;
    and besides these, there attended a strangely varied rabble,
    exhibiting in all sorts of forms and ages, dirty habiliments,
    calamitous poverty, and grim-visaged villany. It was curious
    to me to hear with what apparent intelligence they discussed
    all the concerns of the nation. Every wretch was a statesman;
    and each could explain, not only all that had been hinted at
    in parliament, but all that was at that moment passing in the
    bosom of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.'"

The sketch is not over-coloured. No one can have forgotten the sudden
swarm of flesh-flies, called from corruption into existence during
the heat of the railway mania, and the ridiculous airs of importance
which they assumed. A convulsion of this kind--for it can be styled
nothing else--does infinite injury to society; for the common greed
of gain too often breaks down the barriers which morality, education,
and refinement have reared up, and proves that speculation, as well as
poverty, has a tendency to make men acquainted with strange companions.

There were, however, features in the mania of 1823 which distinguish it
from every other. The joint-stock companies established for domestic
bubble purposes engrossed but a limited share of the public attention;
though the extent of that limitation may be estimated by the fact,
that five hundred and thirty-two new companies were projected, with
a nominal subscribed capital of £441,649,600. Of course only a mere
fraction of this money was actually put down; still the gambling in
the shares was enormous. The greater part of the capital actually
abstracted from the country went in the shape of foreign loans, of
which there were no less than twenty-six contracted during that
disastrous period, or very shortly before, to an amount of about
fifty-six millions. On sixteen of these loans interest has ceased to
be paid. We find among the borrowers such states as Chili, Buenos
Ayres, Colombia, Guatemala, Gunduljava, Mexico, and Peru, not to
mention Greece, Portugal, and Spain, countries which have set to Europe
a scandalous example of repudiation. Most of these loans purported
to bear interest at the rate of six per cent, and some of them were
contracted for at so low a figure as 68; nevertheless, with all these
seeming advantages, it appears marvellous that people should have lent
their money on such slender security as the new republics could offer.
We observe that Mr Francis has revived the antiquated scandal touching
Joseph Hume's "mistake" with regard to the Greek bonds, a story which
has been a sore thorn in the side of the veteran reformer. We think he
might have let it alone. The real mistake lay on the part of those who
assumed that Joseph's philanthropic interest in the Greek cause was so
intense as to suffer him for one moment to lose sight of his own. His
anxiety to back out of a bad bargain was perfectly natural. He never
was an Epaminondas, and he felt justly irritated at the foolishness of
the Greeks in persisting that he should sustain the heroic character,
at the expense of his privy purse, when the stock had fallen to a
discount. If, when it rose again to par, the Greek deputies were weak
enough to repay him the amount of his loss, with the uttermost farthing
of interest, that was their concern. When a senatorial sympathiser
gives the aid of his lungs to the cause of suffering humanity, he has
surely done enough. Why mulct him further from the pocket?

Those foreign loans, and the drain of bullion which they occasioned,
speedily brought on the crisis. It was a very fearful one, and for
the second time, at least, the Bank of England was in danger. It was
then that mighty establishment owed its safety to the discovery of a
neglected box of one pound notes, which, according to the evidence of
Mr Harman, one of the principal directors, saved the credit of the
country. The coffers of the bank were exhausted, almost to the last
sovereign; and but for that most fortunate box, cash payments must
have been suspended in December 1825, a position of affairs the issue
of which no human intelligence could predicate. Subsequent legislation
has not been able to guard us against the possibility of a similar
recurrence. All that has been done is to insure the certainty of an
earlier and more frequent panic, and to clog the wheels of commerce by
rendering discounts impracticable at periods when no speculation is
on foot. But as far as regards the stability of the Bank of England,
under our present monetary laws, no provision has been made, in any way
commensurate to the additional risk occasioned by the absorption of
the twenty millions and upwards lodged in the savings-banks, all which
must, when required, be repaid in the precious metals; and in case
of any convulsion, or violent alarm, it is clear that such a demand
would be made. The experience of 1832 has clearly demonstrated how
the fate of a ministry may be made to depend upon the position of the
establishment in Threadneedle Street.

It is perhaps not to be wondered at that, in a commercial country like
ours, wealth should command that respect and homage which, in other
times, was accorded to the possessors of nobler attributes. We make
every allowance for the altered circumstances of the age. High and
heroic valour, as it existed before, and undoubtedly still does exist,
has not the same field for its display as in the days when Christendom
was leagued against the Infidel, or even in those, comparatively later,
when contending factions made their appeal to arms. Our wars, when they
do occur, are matters of tactics and generalship; and physical courage
and daring has ceased to be the path to more than common renown. Where
most are loyal, and no treason is at hand, loyalty is no conspicuous
virtue. Those who are distinguished in the walks of literature and
science need not covet adulation, and very seldom can command it.
Their fame is of too noble and enduring a quality to be affected by
ephemeral applause; and it is good for them to work on in patience and
in silence, trusting for their reward hereafter. The substantiality
of wealth, the power and patronage which it commands, will inevitably
make its possessor more conspicuous in the eyes of the community, than
if he were adorned with the highest mental attributes. All things are
measured by money: and when money is acknowledged as the chief motive
power, he who knows best how to amass it cannot fail to be the object
of attention. But the marked and indiscriminate homage which is paid
to wealth alone, without regard to the character of the possessor,
or the means through which that wealth has been acquired, is, in our
estimation, a feature disgraceful to the age, and, were it altogether
new, would justify us in thinking that the spirit of independence
had declined. We shall hold ourselves excused from illustrating our
meaning by making special reference to a recent but striking instance,
in which wealth suddenly acquired, though by most iniquitous means,
raised its owner, for a time, to the pinnacle of public observation.
We prefer selecting from the pages of Mr Francis the portrait of
a man whose character displayed nothing that was great, generous,
benevolent, or noble; whose whole life and whole energies were devoted
to the acquisition of pelf; whose manners were coarse; whose person was
unprepossessing; whose mind never ranged beyond its own contracted and
money-making sphere; and who yet commanded, in this England of ours, a
homage greater than was ever paid to virtue, intellect, or valour. Such
a man was Nathan Meyer Rothschild, the famous Jew capitalist.

Originally from Frankfort, this remarkable man came over to England
towards the close of last century, and commenced operations in
Manchester, where he is said to have speedily trebled his first capital
of £20,000:--

    "This," says Mr Francis, "was the foundation of that colossal
    fortune which afterwards passed into a proverb; and in 1800,
    finding Manchester too small for the mind which could grapple
    with these profits, Rothschild came to London. It was the
    period when such a man was sure to make progress, as, clear and
    comprehensive in his commercial views, he was also rapid and
    decisive in working out the ideas which presented themselves.
    Business was plentiful; the entire Continent formed our
    customers; and Rothschild reaped a rich reward. From bargain
    to bargain, from profit to profit, the Hebrew financier went
    on and prospered. Gifted with a fine perception, he never
    hesitated in action. Having bought some bills of the Duke
    of Wellington at a discount--to the payment of which the
    faith of the state was pledged--his next operation was to
    buy the gold which was necessary to pay them, and, when he
    had purchased it, he was, as he expected, informed that the
    government required it. Government had it--but, doubtless,
    paid for the accommodation. 'It was the best business I ever
    did!' he exclaimed triumphantly; and he added that, when the
    government had got it, it was of no service to them until he
    had undertaken to convey it to Portugal."

Rothschild was, in fact, a usurer to the state, as greedy and
unconscionable as the humbler Hebrew who discounts the bill of a
spendthrift at forty per cent, and, instead of handing over the
balance in cash to his victim, forces him to accept the moiety in
coals, pictures, or cigars. His information was minute, exclusive, and
ramified. All the arts which had been employed on the Stock Exchange
in earlier times were revived by him, and new "dodges" introduced to
depress or to raise the market.

    "One cause of his success was the secrecy with which he
    shrouded all his transactions, and the tortuous policy with
    which he misled those the most who watched him the keenest. If
    he possessed news calculated to make the funds rise, he would
    commission the broker who acted on his behalf to sell half a
    million. The shoal of men who usually follow the movements of
    others sold with him. The news soon passed through Capel Court
    that Rothschild was bearing the market, and the funds fell.
    Men looked doubtingly at one another; a general panic spread;
    bad news was looked for; and these united agencies sank the
    price two or three per cent. This was the result expected; and
    other brokers, not usually employed by him, bought all they
    could at the reduced rate. By the time this was accomplished,
    the good news had arrived; the pressure ceased; the funds rose
    instantly; and Mr Rothschild reaped his reward."

The morality of the ring has sometimes been called in question; but we
freely confess, that we would rather trust ourselves implicitly to the
tender mercies of the veriest leg that ever bartered horse-flesh, than
to those of such a man as "the first baron of Jewry"--a title which
was given him by a foreign potentate, to the profanation of a noble
Christian order.

Such were the doings of Rothschild: let us now see him in person. "He
was a mark for the satirists of the day. His huge and somewhat slovenly
appearance; the lounging attitude he assumed, as he leaned against his
pillar in the Royal Exchange; his rough and rugged speech; his foreign
accent and idiom, made caricature mark him as its own; while even
caricature lost all power over a subject which defied its utmost skill.
His person was made an object of ridicule; but his form and features
were from God. His mind and manners were fashioned by circumstances;
his acts alone were public property, and by these we have a right to
judge him. No great benevolence lit up his path; no great charity is
related of him. The press, ever ready to chronicle liberal deeds, was
almost silent upon the point; and the fine feeling which marked the
path of an Abraham Goldsmid, and which brightens the career of many of
the same creed, is unrecorded by the power which alone could give it

Mr Disraeli, in some of his clever novels, has drawn the portrait
of a great Jew financier in colours at once brilliant and pleasing.
His Sidonia, whilst deeply engaged in money-making pursuits, is
represented as a man of boundless accomplishment, expanded intellect,
varied information, and princely generosity. He is the very Paladin
of the Exchange--a compound of Orlando and Sir Moses Montefiore. The
extravagance of the conception does not prevent us from admiring the
consummate skill of the author, in adapting his materials so as to
elevate our ideas and estimate of the Hebrew idiosyncrasy. Sidonia is
as much at home in the palace as in the counting-room; his great wealth
ceases to be the prominent feature, and becomes the mere accessory of
the polished and intellectual man; avarice never for one moment is
permitted to appear; on the contrary, the prodigality of the munificent
Hebrew is something more than Oriental. We may refuse to believe in the
reality of such a character, which implies a combination of the most
antagonistic pursuits, and a union of mental attributes which could
not possibly coexist; but, this difficulty once surmounted, we cannot
challenge the right of so eminently gifted an individual to take his
place among the true nobility of the earth. We fear, however, that such
a phoenix of Palestine has no existence, save on paper. Certain it
is, that Rothschild was not the man; and yet Rothschild, in his day,
commanded as much homage as the novelist has claimed for Sidonia. Great
is the power of money! Princes feasted with him; ambassadors attended
him to the tomb; and yet, for all we can learn, he was not equal, in
moral worth, to the meanest pauper in the workhouse. He would at times
give a guinea to a street beggar, not for the object of relieving
his wants, but to enjoy the joke of seeing him run away, under the
apprehension that the donor had been mistaken in the coin! His wealth
was gained by chicanery, and augmented by systematic deceit; and yet
attend to the words of the chronicler:--

    "Peers and princes of the blood sat at his table; clergymen
    and laymen bowed before him; and they who preached loudest
    against mammon, bent lowest before the mammon-worshipper.
    Gorgeous plate, fine furniture, an establishment such as many a
    noble of Norman descent would envy, graced his entertainments.
    Without social refinement, with manners which, offensive in the
    million, were but _brusque_ in the millionnaire; he collected
    around him the fastidious members of the most fastidious
    aristocracy in the world. He saw the representatives of all the
    states in Europe proud of his friendship. By the democratic
    envoy of the New World, by the ambassador of the imperial
    Russ, was his hospitality alike accepted; while the man who
    warred with slavery in all its forms and phases, was himself
    slave to the golden reputation of the Hebrew. The language
    which Mr Rothschild could use when his anger overbalanced
    his discretion, was a license allowed to his wealth; and he
    who, when placed in a position which almost compelled him to
    subscribe to a pressing charity, could exclaim, "Here, write
    a cheque--I have made one--fool of myself!" was courted and
    caressed by the clergy, was fêted and followed by the peer, was
    treated as an equal by the first minister of the crown, and
    more than worshipped by those whose names stood foremost on the
    roll of a commercial aristocracy. His mode of dictating letters
    was characteristic of a mind entirely absorbed in money-making;
    and his ravings, when he found a bill unexpectedly protested,
    were translated into mercantile language before they were fit
    to meet a correspondent's eye. It is painful to write thus
    depreciatingly of a man who possessed so large a development of
    brain; but the golden gods of England have many idolaters, and
    the voice of truth rarely penetrates the private room of the
    English merchant."

Poor as Lazarus may be, let him not envy the position of Dives. Even
in this world, riches cannot purchase happiness. Any pecuniary loss
was enough to drive Rothschild to despair. His existence was further
embittered by the dread of assassination--no uncommon symptom, when
the mind is rarely at ease; and those who knew him best, said that he
was often troubled with such thoughts, and that they haunted him at
moments when he would willingly have forgotten them. "Happy!" he said,
in reply to the compliment of a guest--"me happy! what! happy when,
just as you are going to dine, you have a letter placed in your hands,
saying, 'If you do not send me £500, I will blow your brains out?'
Happy!--me happy!" We are not compassionate enough to wish that it had
been otherwise. Such thoughts are the foreshadowing of the end of those
who have prospered beyond their deserts, and have failed in making even
that negative expiation, which conscience sometimes extorts from the
apprehensions of unscrupulous men.

And here we shall close our remarks. There is still a fertile field
before us, on which we might be tempted to enter; but that discussion
would bring us too near our own days, and involve the resumption of
topics which have already been handled in Maga. The time doubtless
will come, when, after the cessation of some new fit of speculation,
and when men are cursing their folly, and attempting by late industry
to repair their shattered fortunes, some historian like Mr Francis
shall take up the pen, and chronicle our weakness, as that of our
fathers is already chronicled. In the meantime, it would be well for
all of us seriously to lay to heart the lesson which may be drawn from
this interesting record. Speculation, carried beyond due bounds, is
neither more nor less than a repetition of the old game of BEGGAR MY
NEIGHBOUR, under another form. To fair and legitimate enterprise we
owe much of our modern improvement; which has been further rendered
necessary by the pressure which has increased, and is increasing upon
us. To unfair and illegitimate enterprise, undertaken for the sole
purpose of immediate gain, we owe nothing save periods of great misery
and desolation. The game of BEGGAR MY NEIGHBOUR may be played privately
or publicly. Some of us have taken a hand in it privately, with what
results we shall keep to ourselves. For several years back, our
statesmen have played the public game, and played it well. They have
succeeded in inflicting successively a blow upon each great interest
of the country, by dealing with each separately, and by alienating the
sympathy of the others. The game is now pretty well played out; and
when we come to reckon our counters, it is evident from the result,
that not one of the parties so dealt with has been a winner! Who, then,
are the gainers? We think the answer is plain. They are the Capitalist
and the Foreigner.





We held our course, after parting with our friends in the boat, and
were soon at the harbour's mouth. The breeze continued to freshen, and
the swell to increase. Our little Wilhelmina now began to give us a
specimen of her qualities as a sea-boat. Labouring through the curled
and crested seas, creaking, groaning, vibrating from stem to stern; now
balancing, with her keel half bare, on the summit of a lofty surge,
now deep in a liquid trough; now kicking up behind, now running her
nose bang into a bank of water; now pointing skywards, as if bound to
the moon, and not to Lisbon; now pitching, now jig-jigging it, she
simulated the paces of a Spanish genet--a great deal of action, very
little progress.

By the time we were clear of the harbour, and in comparatively smooth
water, the wind had shifted to the north-west; our course lay south,
and, being sheltered by the land, we soon exchanged the jig-jigging
of our exit from port for a far more agreeable, because more equable
motion, as we drove over ocean's swell. It had already become palpably
evident that none of our military friends were good sailors. Now,
however, they were all able to stand without holding--all, I should
say, but one unhappy individual, and that was Mr Commissary Capsicum,
who had been reduced to a miserable state of disorder by the active
movements of the brig, and whose actual symptoms were by no means those
of convalescence.

Night closed in. It was past twilight, yet not wholly dark--in short,
that interval between twilight and perfect night, for which in English
we have no word, but which the richer language of Burns expressively
designates as "the gloaming." Little more than enough of it to fill
the sails and give the vessel way, the wind was soft, and at times
scarcely perceptible. The waves heaved lazily; the ship surmounted them
with measured rise and fall; and, though the heavens were overcast,
a light, different from that of day, clear but faint, was equably
diffused on all sides. The tremulous surface of the ocean, dark, but
distinguishable to the horizon, was there sharply outlined against the
pale but still luminous sky.

Since we left port in the morning, what with showers and spray, wind
and sunshine, I had been more than once wet through and dry again. The
consequences were now perceptible. I shivered inwardly. My mind, too,
was ill at ease. After much reflection, and some self-examination, I
came to this conclusion: that something was requisite, something was
indispensable, in my actual condition both of mind and body. What
that something was, did not instantly occur to me. I asked myself
the question point-blank--I answered it. The problem was solved: I
wanted--a nightcap. Down I rushed into the cabin. "Steward, bring me
some hot water and a little brandy."--"Yes, sir; a glass of hot brandy
and water, sir; coming directly, sir."--"No, no, steward; that's not
what I called for. Bring the brandy and the hot water separate. I'll
mix for myself."

"Quite right," growled a feeble voice. It was poor, unhappy,
still-very-far-from-perfectly-recovered Mr Capsicum's. The falling
of the wind had so far abated the ship's movements, that his worst
symptoms were now relieved. Still, however, he was far, very far, from
well. Most of the passengers had turned in; but there, by lamplight,
sat poor Capsicum at the cabin table, from sheer listlessness,
destitute of sufficient energies to put himself to bed, a lamentable

"Suppose you join me, then," said I. "Do you good."

"Can't, can't," said he, plaintively. "Couldn't get it down, if I knew
it would make me well this instant. Wish I could. I'll see you take
yours, though. That'll be some comfort, anyhow."

The steward now brought hot water, half a lemon, lump-sugar, tumbler
half full of capital brandy.--"Here, steward, you may take the lemon
away with you. Don't want it."

"Quite right," grunted Capsicum, who thought himself a connoisseur in
all things eatable and drinkable. "Quite right; no rum, no lemon."
Spite of his pitiful plight, he now, _con amore_, set himself to watch
my operations critically; as if, from the brewing, he would form an
estimate of my judgment, capabilities, taste, character, and general

With the silver tongs I extracted a lump of crystal sugar, the largest
in the basin. The present "without" system was not then in vogue, nor
have I adopted it yet. But now there was a hitch--how to melt the
sugar. In the tumbler it must not go--there was the brandy: that had
been an infringement of all the laws of potatory combination. I felt
that I was under observation, and that my character was at stake. I
placed the sugar in the spoon. "Quite right," said Capsicum.

Yet neither, according to the modern practice, did I wash the sugar,
half melted, from the spoon into the tumbler, with a stream of hot
water. That, I submit, is an approximation to the error of immersing
the sugar in the unmixed brandy. No, no. Holding the spoon over
the tumbler, I carefully dropped upon the sugar three drops of the
boiling water. It was enough. The sugar gradually subsided into a
pellucid liquid, which filled the spoon. Capsicum, who, sick as he
was, still watched my proceedings with the deepest interest, and with
a patronising air of mild benignity, repeated his testimonial--"Quite

Waiting till the sugar was wholly dissolved, I then at length infused
sufficient hot water to scald the raw spirits, then added the sugar.
Two or three stirs sufficed; not a bead floated on the surface. The
mixture was made--tumbler about half an inch from full--a "stiff un."
Capsicum raised himself from the table on which he had been leaning,
with folded arms, like a cat watching a mouse, and gave a snort of

"You and that white fellow old acquaintance?" said Capsicum.

"Our acquaintance," replied I, "commenced at Falmouth about a week ago."

"Oh! thought perhaps he was some family connexion," said Capsicum.

"The connexion is quite recent, as I tell you," said I; "but I
certainly don't mean to cut it. Hope to dine with him at headquarters,
every day I'm disengaged."

"Dine with him at headquarters?" replied Capsicum. "You'll do nothing
of the kind, I can tell you that, sir. That is, you'll dine with him
at my table; pretty often, too, I trust. Hope I shall frequently have
the pleasure of seeing you both. But at his own table, if you're twenty
years at headquarters, you won't dine with him once; take my word for
that. John Barrymore wouldn't suffer it." Here was a blow!

"Well, but that's a thing I can't understand," said I.

"Well then, I must make you understand it," replied Capsicum. "You are
going out on an appointment as clerk in John Barrymore's Department.
Isn't it so?" I bowed assent.

"Very well. That white chap does business in commissariat bills.
When he gets a bill, he's dying to get the cash. Your Department
pays the cash. Don't you see, my dear sir? It wouldn't do. It would
be utterly at variance with all the rules of propriety, for any man
in your Department to be on terms of intimacy with any man who does
business in bills. Besides, it would be contrary to headquarters
etiquette; everybody would talk about it. Now," added Capsicum, with a
self-approving air, "now I've done my duty by John Barrymore. Noticed
you were very thick. Thought I'd tell you, the first opportunity. Oh
me! oh me!" (sighing, panting, gasping, pressing his hands on his
stomach, and swaying his head from side to side,) "how very ill I do,
feel! Such a horrid sensation! a don't-know-howishness--a sort of a
come-overishness! The exertion of talking has made me quite bad again.
Here, steward! steward! I must go on deck this instant." He turned
ghastly green.

"Yet," said I, hoping he would soon be better, "Mr Gingham, it seems,
can dine with _you_, without any breach of propriety."

"Yes, yes, to be sure he can," said Capsicum; "and so can you. Our
Department don't finger the cash. Don't you see? That makes all the
difference. Hope you'll both dine with me often."

"Shall be very happy," replied I: "much obliged for your kind
invitation. But still I can't understand. Mr Gingham has been at
headquarters before, and knows headquarters. He also knows, I suppose,
that your humble servant is a clerk of the military chest. Yet it
was he himself who made the proposal that he and I should campaign

"Can't explain that," said Capsicum; "must leave him to explain that as
he can. Oh! here he comes."

Gingham, before he turned in, had been on deck, to take a last look
at the weather, to commune with the silent night, to scrutinise the
horizon, to soliloquise with the clouds, and perhaps for some better
and more solemn purposes: for Gingham, with all his oddities, was a man
of religious principle, and of devotional feeling, and cared not who
knew it. He now approached, and seated himself with us at the cabin

"Saw you at Cadiz," said Capsicum. "Think I saw you at Madrid."

"I saw you at Canton," coolly replied Gingham. Capsicum looked a little

"At Canton?" said Capsicum. "Saw me at Canton? Did you, though? Come,
come, now you're joking, you know. Did you though, really? How was I

"You were dressed like what you were; not exactly as you are dressed
now. You had a long, taper pigtail, reaching down to your heels; no
hair on your head besides. You had slippers, scarlet and gold, turned
up at the toes. You carried a fan; and didn't I once or twice see you
followed by a fellow who carried a parasol over your head at the top of
a long pole? You had--"

"I'll tell you what," said Capsicum precipitately; "I'm a Christian for
all that, and my father was an Englishman. True, I was bred at Canton;
but I wasn't born there. Born at Macao. My mother--"

Here, in a voice which ran through all the notes of the gamut,
not however in due order, but like the cat's minuet, high and low
alternately, Gingham struck up a strange outlandish sort of utterance,
whether talking or singing I could not tell; but, if singing, it was
the rummest song I ever heard--a jumping, dissonant compound of bass
and treble. Capsicum responded in a similar fugue. The two funny
rogues were speaking Chinese! The discovery of Capsicum's semi-gentile
extraction tickled my fancy not a little.

"So," said Capsicum to Gingham, "you and Johnny intend to make a joint
concern of it at headquarters."

"That's how we've settled it," replied Gingham.

"Can't be," said Capsicum. "Thought you knew all headquarters' rules,
regulations, and observances."

"Thought I did know something about them," replied Gingham.

"Well, then," replied Capsicum, "don't you know what department young
Johnny here belongs to?"

"_Your_ department, the commissariat department, I always understood,"
replied Gingham; "saw his name put down so in the list of passengers
per packet at Falmouth. If Mr Y-- will oblige me by referring to a
document, which I had the honour of handing him before dinner, he will
find himself there designated accordingly."

Sure enough, so it was: "G. Y--, Esq., Commissary-General's Department,
in A. C., with Gingham Gingham."

"But didn't you happen to know that Mr Y--, as you call him," said
Capsicum, "was John Barrymore's own nephew?"

"Of that circumstance I was not cognisant," replied Gingham, "till
I happened to become aware of it by the conversation during dinner.
Still I retained my former impression, that Mr Y-- belonged to your
department, not to the military chest."

"The long and the short of it," said I to Gingham, "is this. Shirty
here, I am sorry to say, gives me to understand that, at headquarters,
as I am attached to the military chest, and not to the commissariat, I
cannot have the pleasure of stretching my legs under your table, when
you give a spread. My regret is undissembled and profound."

"Nor," said Gingham, "while we both retain our present positions, can
we be more than common acquaintance."

The shock of this _dénouement_ was diverted by Capsicum. Spite of his
sea-sickness he had purpled up; his eyes flashed and twinkled beneath
his massive and contracted brows; he growled, he grunted, he wheezed,
he snorted, he puffed; for a time he could not articulate. Either he
performed admirably, or he was regularly riled. At length, recovering
his breath, not once looking at me, but leaning over to Gingham on the
table, he whispered hurriedly, "What does he mean by that? Shirty?
Who's Shirty?" Again he turned very green, and sat back in his chair,
panting, and swaying his head, like a man ready to faint.

I was sorry to see him so ill, and begged to apologise. He with the
greatest propriety might call me "Johnny Newcome," yet it ill became me
to call him "Shirty." The name was casually suggested by his profusion
of frill, &c. &c. &c.

"I'll tell you what, Mr Johnny," said Capsicum, "it's well for you I'm
so bad as I am: wish I was better, for your sake. Wouldn't I pitch into
you at once, and give you a precious good hiding? Oh dear! oh me! I am
so very bad!" Then, rallying again: "Ah, I wish you did belong to my
department! Wouldn't I detach you on outpost duty? Wouldn't I make you
ride till you had no leather left? Wouldn't I send you bullock-hunting
over the sierras? Oh, dreadful! dreadful! What a horrid sensation this
sea-sickness is! Well, good night. I suppose I shall be called Shirty
as long as I live." He tottled off to his berth.

"Yes, you may say that," said Joey, from behind his curtain. Joey was
right. Ten years after, I heard an old Peninsular speak of Capsicum by
the name of Shirty.

There is certainly something very adhesive in a sobriquet; that is, if
it happens to stick when first applied. A lubberly big boy once gave
me a thrashing at school; and I gave him the only redress in my power,
as we were not allowed to throw stones--the name of "Buttons." He had
cheated me at the game; and he had many on his jacket. "Buttons" was
his name, to his dying day.

Gingham and I remained at the table. "Mr Capsicum is quite right,"
said Gingham. "Very proper it should be so. Not the less sorry on that
account. At Lisbon, you will, in fact, have joined. From the time
we land, then, our communications must be limited to the ordinary
civilities of social life: until," he added, with a confidential look,
"having digested my grand financial project, with Lisbon as the basis
of my operations, I am prepared to promulgate it, as authorised, at the
headquarters of the British army. Then," said he, proudly, "I shall
take such an entirely different footing, so high above the vulgar
imputations which always attach to a dealer in bills, that, without
exposing either you or myself to criticism, I may again permit myself
the pleasure of cultivating your acquaintance, on our present terms of
friendship--I may say, intimacy. At any rate, while we remain on board
the packet, that intimacy, I trust, will experience no diminution. Good
night, sir."

We shook hands: his manner, I thought, a little stiff.

Left alone in the cabin, leaning on the table, the night-lamp shedding
a dim and dubious light, my small modicum of brandy-and-water expended,
and the time gone by for brewing another, as the steward had turned
in, I sat and ruminated. Gingham, watching his opportunity, had
benevolently endeavoured to make me sensible, that, as a clerk on
actual service, I should soon be engaged in duties which could not be
performed to my own credit, without care and circumspection; and that I
might find myself, ere long, in some responsible situation, demanding
the utmost caution and energy, to compensate my inexperience. Since
the morning, for we had been much together during the day, through his
friendly suggestions, I had, in a measure, become conscious of all
this: I was beginning to feel the value of such a monitor; and now, it
appeared, he was lost to me in that character! Then there were other
considerations of a deeper kind. I remembered the dinner at the hotel;
I remembered the breakfast; I thought of the travelling store-closet.
To have lost such a companion of my first campaign--it was, indeed, a
loss! Had I never dined with him, I could have better borne it!

At length I came to this conclusion; that, as all the other passengers
had retired to rest, I--had better do the same. I was about to put my
decision in execution, when my attention was arrested by a lamentable
cry, which issued from the berth of poor Mr Commissary Capsicum. "I
can't--I can't--I'm stuck!--weak as a rat! Oh, I am so very bad! Here,
steward! steward!--ah! oh!" Having heard his monody to the end, and
waited in vain for a second stave, I flew to his assistance.

Poor Mr Commissary Capsicum had contrived to divest himself of his
diurnal habiliments; and was now embellished with a red _bonnet de
nuit_; and an elegant night-shirt, which fitted--as if it had been made
for him. I found him--in what an attitude! One leg he had contrived
to hoist into his berth. _Quoad_ that leg, he was kneeling on the
mattress. The other leg was stretched towards the floor, which he
barely touched with his extended and agonised toe. In this painful
position, he was clawing with both hands at the board intended to keep
him in bed, equally unable to advance and to recede. Something--either
the wooden tester--or the proximity of his shake-down to the deck
above--or what else, I cannot pretend to say--prevented his further
movements. He wanted strength; there he was, literally, as he
expressed it, stuck. I expressed the deepest sympathy.

Joey whipped on his drawers and dressing-gown, and was with us in a
twinkling. Joey, seeing all other expedients vain, brought his shoulder
to bear, and commenced a series of well-directed _hoists_, each hoist
accompanied with a musical "Yeo-heave-ho." I laughed; Joey laughed;
poor Capsicum himself caught the infection: his whining and whimpering
gradually glided into a deep pectoral chuckle. The object was at length
effected. Capsicum was stowed for the night; but not without vigorous
and long-continued efforts, both on Joey's part and mine. "Can't
imagine what caused the obstruction," said I; "it's prodigious; it's
incredible." "Incredible, but true," replied Joey; "suppose we call
it 'A tail founded on facts.'" "Good night. Good night, Mr Capsicum."
"Good night, Mr Capsicum; good night." "Good night; ah! oh! what
_shall_ I do? Suppose I should be taken bad again before morning! Thank
you both. Goodnight. Two impudent, unfeeling young hounds. Good night."

So terminated our first day afloat.


It has been intelligently remarked, that, in writing travels by land
or by sea, the traveller has only to jot down everything just as it
occurs, and he will be sure to produce a book worth reading. This rule
may be excellent in theory; but, gentle reader, it will not do. Only
look here. I have not jotted down one tithe of the incidents of the
first ten hours since we left harbour; and see what a long yarn it
makes. A man who, in travelling, really registered everything, would
yarn away at the rate of a quarto a week.

There _is_, however, an observation which is much more to the purpose;
namely, that one day at sea is very like another. This we certainly
found out, in our voyage from Falmouth to Lisbon. For, with the
exception of changes in wind and weather, little occurred to vary our
daily existence; at least till we got off Oporto, and took in fresh
passengers. During the first night after we left Falmouth, the wind got
round to the S.W. We had three days of it, regular Channel weather:
thick, cloudy, squally--much rain--the ship pitching, labouring,
creaking, straining, groaning--going every way but the way we wanted
to go--all the passengers, except Joey, more or less indisposed--and
nobody pleased but the skipper, who whistled a perpetual "Yankee
doodle" rondo, and seemed to exult in our miseries. "I calculate,"
said Joey, "if this lasts much longer, we shall come to anchor in the
Downs." For want of anything to relate, and for the benefit of the
reader, should he cross "the Bay," I shall here beg leave to say a few
words respecting that horrid malady to which landsmen are subject on
board ship, and respecting my own mode of dealing with it. _Experto

My case resembles that of many other persons; _i.e._, in foul weather
on board ship, you do not, we will say, at once get thoroughly ill;
but certain disagreeable sensations, quite sufficient to call a man's
attention to himself, such as giddiness, prostration of strength, awful
depression of the whole system, and still more awful sensations at the
pit of the stomach, induce the painful consciousness that you are very,
very far from well, and in some danger of being worse before you are
better. In this state of the case, the "indication," as the doctors
say, is to keep off daddy Neptune's last outrage, the detested crisis.
Don't give ear to the good-natured friend who says, "You had better be
ill at once, and get it over." That may do very well in a sail from
West Cowes to Allum Bay; but it won't answer if you are a fortnight
at sea. You may be "ill at once," if you please; but don't be certain
"you'll get it over;" if once you begin, you may go on for a week. Keep
well, then, if you can.

Now, as long as you can keep your legs, and keep on deck, you can
generally effect this. In your berth, also, in a recumbent posture,
you may manage to escape the dire catastrophe. The real difficulty is
this: that, in passing from one of these states to the other, _e.g._,
in turning in at night, or turning out in the morning, in all human
probability you become a miserable victim. You must dress--you must
undress--and, in the course of doffing or donning, ten to one your
worst apprehensions become a reality. What, then, is the remedy? Now,
don't stare, but be advised. Till you are fairly seasoned, which you
probably will be in three or four days if you do as I tell you, don't
doff or don at all. Keep on deck all day, get thoroughly cold, tired,
and drowsy, rush below at night, throw yourself on your mattress as
you are, go to sleep at once. In the morning, the moment you turn out,
rush on deck. No shaving; no titivating. You must wash, must you?
Go forwards, then; wash in the open air; wash anywhere but below.
"Beastly, though, to go day after day without a change." Beastly, I
admit; but not so beastly as day after day of convulsive paroxysms and
horrid heavings; and, depend upon it, if once you begin, there is no
telling how long it may last. Whereas follow my plan, and in three or
four days you are all right--you are seasoned--the ship may dance a
polka, and you not the worse for it. You may then go below, and stay
below, with perfect impunity--treat yourself to a grand universal scrub
and a clean shirt--and, if you are a shaver, shave--only remember you
are shaving on board ship, and mind you don't cut off your nose. After
all, it's a matter of taste, I admit: and tastes are various. If you
consider a three-days' shirt, and a rough chin, greater evils than
vomitory agonies, and spasms of the diaphragm, why, do as you like;
shave, titivate, change, your linen, and retch your heart up.

During the three days of foul weather, wind S.W., I contrived to keep
about, by following the method indicated above. On the fourth, the
wind returned to the N.W., with an occasional brash of rain; and we
were again able to hold our course. I was then myself again, past the
power of sea-sickness; and could walk the deck with Joey, cast accounts
with Gingham, sit out the dinner without declining soup, respectfully
ogle the lovely Juno, and occasionally extort a giggle. On the morning
of this same day, impelled by curiosity, I approached the berth where
lay deposited the unhappy Capsicum, and drew his curtain. Ah! is that
Capsicum? Alas, how changed! He looked like death. I spoke to him.
His lips moved, but his voice was inaudible. I felt his pulse. It was
scarcely perceptible. He was in a state of collapse!

Deeming the exigency cogent, I fetched Mr Staff-surgeon Pledget.
Pledget, after due examination, pronounced it a serious case,
prescribed a restorative, departed to compound, and soon came back with
it--only about half a pint. With some difficulty, poor Capsicum was
got up in his berth, and the restorative was got down. Anticipating
recalcitration, Pledget had come provided with a small _horn_. Having
swallowed the dose, Capsicum found his voice. "Ah me!" he feebly
whined, with a look of inexpressible horror and disgust, and his hand
pressed upon the pit of his stomach; "ah me! is it an aperient?" Then,
in a low and indignant growl, "Never took physic before, in all my
life." He lay back on his bolster, with closed eyes, in feeble and
sulky silence. Pledget withdrew, and I remained.

Presently, reopening his eyes, he cautiously looked around. "Is that
fellow gone?" he whispered. I nodded. "Look in the cabin," he whispered

"Gone on deck," said I; "not quite right yet, himself. Do you want him?
Shall I call him back?"

"No, no; nonsense! I say, you mix me a glass of _that_--you know
what--the same you took yourself t'other night."

I hesitated. There was no doubt in the world it would do him a deal of
good. But then he was under treatment; he was _medically_ ill. What was
I to do?

He looked at me appealingly, coaxingly, touchingly. "I'd do as much for
you," said he.

There was no standing that. I clancularly gave my orders to the
steward. The steward grinned, and brought the materials. In due time
the mixture was made; and, in a very short time after, the patient had
stowed it away. "I shall get up," said he. "Just help me out." I sent
the steward to request the aid of Joey.

By unshipping the board at the side, we got Capsicum out of his crib,
far more easily than we had got him in. But, alas, his legs doubled
under him; he was helpless as an infant, and almost fainted away. At
length we managed to dress him; and seated him in full fig at the cabin
table, with his enormous snuff-box open before him. At dinner, that
day, he managed the wing of a chicken and a slice of tongue. Couldn't a
currant dumpling, though--was set against it by the wine sauce. Pledget
had the credit of the cure.

I omit to relate, _in extenso_, how we were chased by what we took for
an American sloop of war, but what proved to be an English frigate;
how the arm-chest was got upon deck when we expected to be brought
to action; and how the muskets were found, like poor Capsicum,
stuck--rusted together into a mass, for want of looking after; how
badly the said frigate threw her shot, sending the first, which ought
to have gone ahead of us, slap through our topsail, and the second,
which should have been a more direct communication, half a quarter of a
mile wide; how the Major and Captain Gabion saw the said shot as they
were coming, while I saw nothing but the splash in the water; how our
leisure hours were solaced by two combative drakes, shut up together
in the same coop, which fought incessantly, day and night, from the
beginning to the end of the voyage--if you held a lantern to them in
the dark, they were still fighting; how, when one hen laid an egg,
the others pecked at it, and gobbled it up; how the skipper was rude
to everybody on board--to the Major, it appeared, grossly so. These
particulars, with many others, I defer to my quarto edition.

Yet let me not omit the skipper's confidence to Joey; how _he_ thought
passengers should be victualled on board ship. "Fust, good flabby
pea-soup, as thick as batter--plenty on it--let 'em blow out their
jeckits with that. When it's took away, why, then perpose a glass of
bottled porter all round. Fust dinner aboard; won't it make some on 'em

Perhaps, my dear madam, the best way of giving you a general idea of
our voyage, will be to present you with a description of our mode of
life from day to day. The rule with our military friends was, to take
fun out of everything; and they proved themselves perfect adepts in all
the means and methods, thereto available; hoaxing, quizzing, shaving,
imitating, trotting, cajoling, bamboozling. Pledget could not make it
out--wondered what it all meant; and one day gravely asked me, if I
could explain the nature and cause of laughter. Laughter he viewed as a
psychological problem; we had plenty on board; but he could not solve
it. The best thing was, that Pledget himself caught the infection at
last, and began to laugh. It was curious to watch the first stirrings
of nascent humour in Pledget's mind. Towards the close of the voyage he
had actually, though by slow degrees, concocted a joke; and, had our
passage been to the West Indies, and not to Lisbon, he would perhaps
have got so far as to try it on. The victim of the said joke was to
be Capsicum. Capsicum's birth at Macao, and breeding at Canton, had
transpired through Joey. Pledget's primary idea was, that Capsicum
might possibly have a penchant for a dish of stewed puppies. This
bold, ingenious, and comical conception, as he fed on it from hour to
hour, and from day to day, in about three days' time began to grow in
his mind; and, as it grew, it ramified. From one thing to another, at
length it came to this: that, with my co-operation, Joey's, and the
steward's, Capsicum was to be persuaded that a batch of puppies had
actually been littered on board. Capsicum, kept momentarily cognisant
of the progress of Pledget's plot, by the treachery of those to whom
it was confided, was prepared to humour the joke, whenever Pledget
commenced operations. Pledget, big with his own idea, walked the deck
for hours together, rubbing his hands in an ecstasy, and laughing till
he whimpered. When Joey or I took a turn, he was soon by our side,
screeching in a rapidly ascending gamut, with pungent delight, and much
cachinnation, "Puppies! puppies! Oh, sir, won't they be nice? Poor old
Capsicum!--puppies! puppies!"

The day before we made the coast of Spain, I was fairly "trotted." You
must know, I fancied in those days I could sing. Item, my dear father
had brought home, from the Peninsula, some very pretty Portuguese airs,
of the kind called modinhas--which modinhas I had at my fingers' ends.
Now, there are two very distinct ideas, which young people are apt to
confound. If they happen to know a pleasing song, they fancy themselves
pleasing singers: often quite the reverse; the finer the song, the
fouler the butchery. I wish singing was visible, and not audible; for
then we could keep it out by shutting our eyes. Well, this is how it
was: leaning, as I was wont, over the ship's side, my face to the
horizon, my back to the company, I won't pretend to say that I exactly
sang for their benefit: oh no; I sang, as I had right to do, for my
own amusement; though I certainly did sing loud enough to be heard,
without being listened to. Presently by my side leaned Captain Gabion.
I ceased. He hummed a mellifluous song of Lusitania.

"Pity the Lisbon music-sellers don't print their music," said he;
"Write it all. Quite a fuss, sometimes, to get a song you fancy."

"That explains something I never understood before," said I. "All the
songs I have received from Portugal are in manuscript. Pray, what is a
modinha, strictly speaking?"

"Why, a modinha," replied he, "in common parlance, means any song
that you happen to like. Modinha: a little mode; a little fashion;
any little fashionable song. But the grand, regular music of the
Portuguese--oh! that's magnificent--their church music for instance.
You must know, once a-year, in one of the Lisbon churches, they sing
a grand mass for the souls of deceased musicians. Of course, on such
an occasion, all the living forces of the musical world are put in
requisition. The last time I was at Lisbon, I attended--advise you,
as a musical man, to do the same. Oh! wasn't that a grand harmonious
crash? Extraordinary fellows, some of those singing monks and friars!
Fancy one whole side of an immense church, from the floor to the roof,
a grand bank of chorus-singers, as high as Shakspeare's Cliff; each
bellowing like a bull; yet each with a voice as finely modulated as the
richest violoncello, touched by a master's hand. Then there was one
fellow, a bass, who stood up to sing a solo. Never heard anything like
that. He struck off, deep down in his throat--yes, sir; and deeper down
in the scale, too, than I ever heard any man go before--with a grand
magnificent double shake, like--like--like the flutter of an eagle.
Then down--down--down the villain dropped, four notes lower, and gave
such another. I advised him to go to England. His name was Naldi. But
let me see--oh--we were talking about modinhas. Why, sir, the fact
is this--if you want to hear what I call the vernacular basis of the
modinha, you must go up among the hills, a few leagues out of Lisbon."

"I suppose," said I, "my best plan will be to go by the mail."

"Yes," replied he; "any one in Lisbon will show you the booking office:
unless, by the bye, you prefer palanquin, in which case I would
advise you to order relays of black bearers from Jigitononha; or, you
might do it on two donkeys. Well, sir; when you're up there in the
mountains, among the goats, wolves, wild buffaloes and rhododendrons,
the altitude about corresponding to latitude 66° N. in Europe, and
to--let me see--latitude--say latitude 50° in the United States--of
course you'll feel hungry. Step into the first hotel. But I'd advise
you--don't order three courses; you'll find it come expensive; better
rough it with something light--say a beef-steak and a bottle of port.
That buffalo beef, capital. Port--let me see--are you particular in
your port? Better ask for the Algarve sort. Well, sir; after you have
dined, just step out into the village--walk into the first wine-shop.
You'll probably find half-a-dozen peasants there--big, muscular,
broad-chested, good-humoured-looking fellows--goatherds and all that
kind of thing. Look out for the chap with the guitar--you'll be sure to
find him in the wine-shop; order a quart tumbler of wine--just taste
it yourself--then hand it to him--and tell him to play. The moment he
has tossed off the tipple, he begins tinkling. The other six fellows
stand up; throw back their shoulders; bulge out their chests; and begin
smirking, winking their little black eyes, snapping their fingers,
and screwing their backs in such an extraordinary manner as you never
beheld--all in cadence to the guitar. That's the first access of the
musical oestrum. The guitar goes on--strum--strum--strum--a low
monotonous jingle, just two or three chords. That's the accompaniment
to the singing that's about to begin. At length, one of the fellows
commences--air and words both extempore; perhaps something amatory,
_Minha Maria, minha querida_; or, it may be, something satirical, if
they see anything quizzable--something about yourself. While that first
fellow is singing, the chap next him stands, still winking, screwing,
smirking, snapping his fingers; and begins, as soon as the other has
done. So it goes on, till all the half-dozen have had their turn.
But the curious thing is this: though all the songs are different,
different in the _tema_, different in the style, different in the
compass of voice, different in the pitch, different in the words, the
same accompaniment does duty for all: the chap with the guitar goes on,
just tinkling the same chords, till the whole is finished. Then, if
you want it _da capo_, give him another tumbler of wine. If you've had
enough, why, then, you know, you can just fork out a moidore or two,
tell them to divide it, and take your leave,--that is, if you don't
want to see the fight for the money: but that's not worth your while;
mere rough and tumble, with a little knifing. Only mind; don't give
dollars or patacas. They prefer gold."

I really thought I was now trotting Captain Gabion, who was a musical
amateur. Villain! he was operating to clap the saddle on me, in a way
I little suspected. "Then," said I, "each of these fellows, I suppose,
has sung a modinha."

"Why, no; not exactly that, neither," said the Captain. "I'll tell you.
Curious sort of music it is, though; the national music, in fact. When
you see one of those big athletic fellows expanding his chest, sucking
his breath, his whole pulmonary region heaving, labouring with the
song he is going to sing, why, of course you'd expect him to break out
like a clap of thunder. But, instead of that, forth comes from his big
throat a very mouse-like issue of those mountain throes; an attenuated
stream, not altogether unmusical though, of growling, grunting,
squeaking cadences--for the compass of their voices is perfectly
astonishing--a string of wild and rapid trills, very short notes,
very long notes, mostly slurred, never _staccato_; and, if you should
happen to notice, similar, in its intervals, to the music of Scotland.
With your musical knowledge, of course you understand what I mean by
intervals. Well, sir; that sort of mountain music is what I call the
national basis of the Portuguese modinha. Take one of those wild airs,
arrange it scientifically, with suitable symphonies, accompaniment, and
all that sort of thing--no difficulty to _you_--the modinha is then

This was by no means a bad theory of the modinha of those days; an
Italian graft upon the native stock; a scientific modification of the
music of the peasantry; so wild, so expressive, so sweet, so thrilling,
never have I heard songs to compare with those old modinhas. Once,
at a party in the house of a Lisbon lady, we persuaded her married
daughter to sing; a round, fat, rosy-brunette little dump of a woman,
famous for singing modinhas. She kindly took her guitar, spat in her
handkerchief, and gave us them in such style as I have never but once
heard since--and then the fair vocalist was not a Portuguese. What rich
expression, what rises and falls, what rapid execution, what accurate
intonation, what power, what tenderness, what point, in that soft,
flexible, delicate, yet rich, full, brilliant, and highly-cultivated
voice! Alas, the modinha of that day is rapidly passing into oblivion.
It has yielded in Lisbon society to a new style of songs, still called
modinhas, the words generally native, as they used to be; but the
music, _modern_ Italian--utterly destitute of sentiment; a constant
straining at effect, and a constant failure.

"I understand," said I, "that in every part of the Peninsula you meet
with a kind of songs that may be called local."

"Yes," said the Captain; "all, if I may so say, provincial; all
peculiar; all highly characteristic; and all excellent. Even the
occasional songs are good as compositions; that is to say, songs which
refer to politics, passing events, and so forth. Did you ever hear
this?" He gave _Ya vienen los Ingleses_.

"Very pleasing, and very lively," said I. "This is in the same style."
I began to strike up _Quando el Pepe José_.

"Don't let's have any more Spanish," said the Captain. "Sing something
Portuguese." I gave _Os soldados do comercio_.

"Quite humorous," said he, "but very pleasing music. This is the
Portuguese national song." He gave _Eis, Principe excelso_.

"Some of the satirical songs," said I, "are very well set." I gave
_Estas senhoras da moda_. The Captain, I observed, looked at his watch.
Little dreamt I the traitor was working against time.

"This, now," said he, "is what may be called the sentimental style;
short, but expressive, like the serious epigram of the Greek
Anthology." He gave _Tu me chamas tua vida_.

"The finest I have heard, though," said I, "in that style, is the
Spanish song--"

"No, no," said the Captain; "give us something Portuguese; something by
an old Padre. They are the fellows that knock off the best modinhas." I
gave _Fui me confessar_.

The conclusion of this my third song was followed by loud shouts of
laughter, a general clapping of hands, and cries of "Encore! encore!
bravo! viva! encore! encore!" I turned, and stood the centre of a
semicircle! Around me were ranged the delighted, applauding passengers;
the Colonel, the Major, Capsicum, Pledget, Gingham, Mr Belvidere, Joey,
and, oh! leaning on Joey's arm, the lovely Juno; the whole Party, at
my expense, in the highest possible state of hilarity. The skipper in
the background, leaning on the binnacle, stood surveying the whole
transaction with his face set in a sarcastic scowl, as though it had
first been cast in plaster of Paris, and then painted with red ochre.
Kitty's bonnet appeared on the level of the deck, projecting from the
cabin stairs. Near her, profuse in soft attentions, stood the Colonel's
flunkey, lavishing winks and winning simpers. Immediately above me,
in the shrouds, with his face downwards, like a monkey in a tree,
hung Snowball the nigger; his two eyes, full of wonder and delight,
gloating like a basilisk's, and projecting like a skinned rabbit's; his
mouth extended across his face in so broad a grin, you'd have thought
his throat had been cut from ear to ear. The applause having a little
subsided, each in turn paid me a compliment. Juno, the enchanting saucy
witch, dropped me a demure and very low curtsy, begged to thank me, and
precipitately put her handkerchief to her face. Gingham advised me to
cultivate my voice; begged to assure me I had very good taste, and only
wanted modulation, flexibility, accuracy, and execution, with a little
attention to time and tune, and care to avoid passing into the wrong
key--nay, had no doubt, if I took pains, I should some day acquire an
_ear_. Just when I was annoyed past bearing, Pledget, tittering with
ecstasy, whispered at my elbow, "Capital joke! the Captain did it
admirably. Almost as good as puppies!--puppies!--puppies!"

"Your compliment last, sir," said I, "comes in the proper place. Allow
me to designate it as it deserves--the ass's kick."

Pledget turned a little pale, and drew up; said something that seemed
to stick in his throat, about "lions roaring, and asses braying."

We were on the edge of a regular tiff. The general garrulity dropped
into a dead silence, and the whole party looked concerned. The Colonel
at once interposed, and insisted on our shaking hands. This operation
was performed accordingly, as in such cases provided, with immense
cordiality on both sides.

"Captain Gabion, I'll trouble you for a dollar," said the Major.

"No, no; I'll trouble _you_ for a dollar," replied the Captain.

"How do you make that out?" said the Major. "You've lost; that's

"What do you mean by lost?" said Captain Gabion. "Didn't I make Mr Y--
sing three songs within the given time? Hadn't I two minutes over, when
he finished the last? Weren't they all three Portuguese? I took good
care of that. Wasn't that our bet?"

"Yes, Captain; all right," said the Major. "But one of _your_ songs was
Spanish. That was an infringement."

"Didn't understand any condition of that sort," replied Captain Gabion.
"All the party heard the bet. Let the company decide."

One said one thing, one another. By common consent it was referred to
Gingham, who had held his tongue. Gingham decided that the Captain had

"Very well," said the Captain, "then I have had all my trouble for
nothing. Rather hard, though, to sing three songs yourself; get three
more out of a gentleman that has a particular objection to singing, in
forty minutes; and then have to pay a dollar besides. However, book it,
Major. Very kind of you, though, Mr Y--: equally obliged. Trust you'll
often favour us." We all went below to prepare for dinner; but I had
not heard the last of my singing.

We were now on the look-out for Cape Villano, and began to feel the N.
wind which blows down the W. coast of the Spanish Peninsula ten months
in the year. This wind, as you get further to the S., is generally
attended with a clear sky. But in our present latitude, meeting the
upper or S.W. current of air, which comes charged with the vapours
of the Atlantic, it produced incessant rain. The rain commenced, as
indeed rain often does commence, about three o'clock P.M., and kept us
below all the evening; obliging us also to lay-to till daybreak, as the
skipper did not like to run nearer in by night, with such weather.

From dinner to tea we managed to crack on, without finding the time
hang heavy on our hands. After tea the conversation was resumed, but in
the course of an hour or two began to flag; when Gingham enlivened it
by volunteering his services in brewing a bowl of punch. The offer was
received with tumultuous applause; except that Capsicum, who thought
nobody understood brewing so well as himself, politely expressed
a doubt as to Gingham's capabilities. Gingham avowed, with much
seriousness, that he "yielded in punch-making to no man." A discussion
arose, in the course of which I ventured to move, and it was carried,
that a bowl of punch should be brewed by each, and that the company
should award the palm after finishing both.

Capsicum brewed first. The materials were not wanting. The steward
brought rum, brandy, lemons, all the etceteras. Gingham, chivalrous in
his rivalry, tendered limes in lieu of lemons: "always took a few when
he travelled--got them in Pudding Lane." Capsicum's sense of honour
would have declined the limes; but the company ruled otherwise. The
bowl was brewed--a perfect nosegay--and stood smoking in the centre of
the table. In a very short time after, each man had his quantum before

"Now, gentlemen," said the Colonel, (chairman,) "punch is nothing
without harmony. I beg leave to call on Mr Y-- for a song." Much
applause. "Hear! hear! hear! A song by Mr Y--! hear! hear! hear!"

I had not quite recovered the adventure of the morning, and was far
from disposed to sing. Had sung enough for one day--felt rather
hoarse--begged to decline--but all in vain: the company would take no
denial. I was obstinate. Joey began to talk of keelhauling; the Major
suggested the old mess fine, a sugared oyster; while a soft admonition
was heard in the distance, "The bird that can sing, and that won't
sing, must be made to sing."

Not to sing was just then a principle as fixed in my mind as any
theorem in the first six books of Euclid. The company became
peremptory. At length, tired of saying no, I rose, and begged leave to
ask the chairman whether, if I sang, I should have the usual privilege
of calling on any other gentleman present. The chairman hesitated to
reply. He saw his position: I might call upon _him_. I now had the best
of it. The chairman laughed, leaned over to Capsicum, and whispered a
remark about "generalship." Capsicum growled out something, of which I
could only distinguish "jockey" and "young fox."

I was still on my legs, and continued,--"Well, Mr Chairman, as my very
equitable proposal is not met so promptly as I anticipated, would it
not be better if the company resolve, instead of extorting a solitary
song from an individual who has already contributed largely this day
to the common stock of amusement," (_hear! hear! hear!_) "that every
person present should either sing a song, or tell a story?"


The Colonel looked quite relieved; the company, also, appeared content.
"Well, gentlemen," said he, "as it seems to meet your approval, suppose
we accept Mr Y--'s proposition. I will begin. Sooner, any day, tell a
dozen stories, than sing one song. My story, at any rate, like Captain
Gabion's last song this morning, when he had only twelve minutes to
spare, will have the merit of being short.--A little more punch, if you
please.--Allow me, then, to break ground, by relating an anecdote of my
esteemed and much-lamented friend


Some of you knew the Major well--are doubtless aware, also, that in
a fit of excitement, which led to temporary insanity, he fell by
his own hand. The circumstances, however, which gave occasion to
that melancholy event were known only to myself. At the time when
we were forming and drilling the Portuguese army, which afterwards
proved so effective in the field, the Major and I were both stationed
in winter-quarters at L--. In the same town were two regiments of
newly-raised Portuguese cavalry, which it was requisite to have in
complete efficiency against the opening of the campaign in the spring.
The Major--a stiff hand I need not say, a regular Titan of the German
school--was appointed to drill one; and I, for want of something to do,
undertook the other. In this duty, there sprang up between us a little
rivalry, amicable of course, as to which of us should first have his
regiment ready. The Major had his own ideas; and, I thought, teazed his
men, and exacted too much. He had an eye to a field-day; I had an eye
to actual service. Foreigners say, we teach our cavalry everything,
except pulling up. But I can tell you, before an enemy superior in
force, and pressing you too close, nothing acts more effectually as a
check, than riding through them. Well, we both drilled according to
our views. One morning the Major announced to me, that he considered
his regiment perfect, and that I must go with him and inspect it. We
went. He put them through; I looked on; they performed admirably.
Finally, he drew them up in line. Riding to the front, he surveyed
his work with pride. Then, taking a flank position, he made me notice
how accurate the perspective--every sabre sloped at the same angle,
everything in its place--you might have stretched a gardening line from
one end of the regiment to the other. Just then, unfortunately, a new
idea entered the Major's mind: he proposed riding to the rear. Away we
went. Alas! his discipline had not extended to the horses' tails! Every
tail was whisking: horses, Spanish and Portuguese--all long tails, no
cock-tails--every tail in motion. In front, they stood like a wall: in
the rear, it was whisk, whisk, whisk,--swirl, swirl, swirl--switch,
switch, switch--all down the line. It was too much for the poor Major.
He was perfectly dumfounded--looked like a man out of his wits--took a
hasty leave--rode home to his billet, and shot himself. I now beg leave
to call on Mr Y--, for either a story or a song."

"I thought Major Krauss was still living," said Pledget.

"Mr Capsicum," said the Colonel, "have the kindness to fill Mr Pledget
a bumper. Always the fine, you know, if any one calls a statement in
question, when story-telling is going on. Now, if you please, Mr Y--."

"Gentlemen," I said, "I have seen nothing of service, and little of the
world. Perhaps, therefore, you will permit me to relate an anecdote,
which I had from a near relative of mine, a naval officer; and which
remarkably illustrates the characteristic coolness of British seamen.
It was the act of a common sailor, who bore among his messmates, in
consequence, the name of


It was at the evacuation of Toulon. My aforesaid relative was then a
lieutenant, and had been landed with a party from his ship, to take
charge of one of the forts in the harbour. When Buonaparte, through
the remissness of our Spanish allies, took the hill which commanded
the anchorage, and we were forced to withdraw, the lieutenant received
orders to bring off his party, and the ammunition which had been landed
from the ship. There were several barrels of gunpowder to be brought
away. These were stowed in the after part of the boat, between the
officers and the men, to be under inspection; and were set on end,
to save room. In pulling for the ship, the boat had to pass another
fort, which was on fire. The English, you know, on coming away, burnt
everything they could--that is, I mean, everything connected with the
public service, ships, stores, storehouses, buildings. Just as the boat
was passing, the fort blew up. The fragments of the explosion filled
the air; and a rafter charred with fire fell into the boat, stove in
the head of one of the powder-barrels, and stood upright in the powder.
Its superior extremity was still burning. There was a dead silence. The
men went on pulling, as if nothing had happened. In an instant they
might all be blown to atoms. It seemed the easiest thing in the world
to seize the smoking and crackling brand, pluck it out of the powder,
and throw it into the sea. But that, doubtless, would have been instant
destruction; one spark, shaken off in the operation and falling, would
have done the business. Everybody saw the hitch. Still the men pulled
away. It wouldn't do to stir the brand; and it evidently wouldn't do to
leave it where it was. "Ship your oar, Sam," said the lieutenant. Sam,
did so. Not a word more was spoken, or necessary. Sam coolly took off
his hat, dipped it into the sea, filled it, carefully and thoroughly
_sluiced_ the whole surface of the exposed powder in the barrel; and
then, having in this way made all safe, slowly drew the rafter out
of the barrel, and pitched it overboard.--I beg here to call on Mr
Commissary Capsicum."

"Well, gentlemen," said Capsicum, "I will tell you another boat-story;
and though the care of Providence was singularly illustrated in the
wonderful preservation which Johnny has just related, I think it
appeared quite as remarkably in the case which I am about to relate, of


I am now a military commissary; I was once a naval one. I made my
_debut_ in the British service as a captain's clerk, and sailed in
that capacity on board the Negotiator, 74, which was under orders for
Lisbon. On our arrival in the Tagus, we found there the Protocol, 120,
the Pacificator, 100, the Persuasive, 80, the Conciliator, 74, the
Preliminary, 50, the Envoy, bomb, and the Intervention, fire-ship. The
next day, the captain of the Protocol came on board, and was invited
by our own skipper to stay and dine. But he knew the Lisbon weather
too well--foresaw a gale; and, not relishing the idea of getting a wet
jacket in returning at night to his ship, persuaded our skipper to go
and dine with _him_. The Negotiator's boat was to fetch the skipper.
Sure enough, the wind freshened about sunset, and in an hour or two it
began to blow great guns. Our boat went, however, as arranged. Nasty
work, boating at Lisbon. You may think it's nothing, in harbour. But I
can tell you this--whenever there's a storm at sea, there's sure to be
a little hurricane in the Tagus. No matter what's the direction of the
wind outside--in the Tagus you have it right up or right down. Well,
gentlemen, Protocol advised Negotiator not to think of returning such a
night as that--offered him a shake-down on board--assured him he'd be
swamped--all to no purpose; Negotiator would go, as his boat was come.
Just as they were leaving the ship's side, one of the boat's crew fell
overboard. Every effort was made to recover him, but with what success
you may easily suppose. The tide was running down like a torrent; the
wind came roaring up from the bar, and lashed the water into froth and
fury; the spray half filled the boat; it was pitch-dark. All was done
that could be done, but to no purpose: the man was given up for lost;
the boat returned to the ship. The skipper came into the cabin quite
sorrowful-like, that he had lost one of his best men, but didn't forget
to tell me to jump down into the boat, and see to the handing up of
half-a-dozen fine melons, presented to him by Protocol. Down I went,
in the dark, over the ship's side, got into the boat, groped about,
found five melons and handed them up; couldn't find the sixth. I was
just stepping out of the boat to return on board, when the thought
struck me, what a blowing-up I should get from the skipper, when I
told him a melon was missing. I paused, renewed my search, happened
to put my hand down to the gunnel of the boat, to support myself in
stooping. My hand lighted upon something; it wasn't the gunnel. I felt
it--pitch-dark; couldn't see the tip of my own nose. It was a man's
foot! I felt further--a man's leg! Someone was hanging on, outside
the boat, with his heel uppermost, and his head under water. I held
him fast by the leg, and sung out for help. The man was got on board
insensible, and to all appearance past recovery. When he fell overboard
alongside the Protocol, he had hooked on by his foot, and in that way
had been dragged under water all the time they had been rowing about in
the dark to find him, as well as afterwards, while they were pulling
for the ship. We all thought him a dead man. The doctor said, 'No: if
he had been, he would have let go.' Doctor ordered a sailor's flannel
shirt and a kettle of boiling water; had the patient stripped, and laid
in hot blankets; rolled up the flannel shirt into a ball, poured into
it the boiling water, and clapt it to the pit of his stomach." (Here
Pledget took out his tablets, and made a note.) "What with this, and
other gentle restoratives," continued Capsicum, "the man recovered.
The skipper, glad as he was when the doctor reported it, didn't forget
to give me a good blowing-up for the melon, which I suppose one of the
boat's crew had grabbed in the dark."

"Of course he didn't forget that," said Joey, who had listened to this
narrative with professional interest. "Pray, do you happen to know what
time elapsed from the man's falling overboard till he was unhooked?"

"The little dog forgot to mention," replied Capsicum.

"What little dog?" said Joey eagerly. "I am quite an _animal_ man. I am
particularly fond of dogs."

"The little dog whose tail curled so tight, that it lifted him off his
hind legs. Will you oblige us, Mr. Gingham?"

"It is extraordinary enough, gentlemen," said Gingham, "that though
three most interesting anecdotes have been related, we have not yet had
either a ghost story, a love story, or a touch of the pathetic. The
first of these omissions I will now endeavour to supply, by relating an
occurrence which befel me during the short time I was at school, and in
which the party most prominent was a strange sort of an individual, who
went among the boys by the name of


He was our writing-master. He was our ciphering-master. He was also
our drawing-master. He was a foreigner. Not a boy in the school knew
whence he came; but he certainly was not an Englishman. In person
he was gaunt and uncouth. He was a mild, quiet sort of a man; but
his eye had a sinister expression, and he was savage when provoked.
It was commonly reported among the boys, not only that he could do
extraordinary conjuring tricks, but that he was a master of magic,
far deeper and darker than legerdemain. He lived alone in a solitary
cottage, which, with its garden and long shrubbery, skirted the road,
about a mile out of the town where was our school. This cottage had
never been entered by any of the boys; strange stories were told about
it; and we viewed it with a sort of awe. You must know the gentleman
in question had a remarkable habit of sitting. When he came to us at
one o'clock, he immediately took his seat at his desk; and never rose
till his two hours were up. This circumstance suggested to my mind
a conjuring trick, to be played off on the conjuror. One day, just
before his arrival, I spread some shoemakers' wax on his bench; and
afterwards, when he was fairly seated, I gave out among the boys that
I had conjured the conjuror, and that at three o'clock he wouldn't
be able to go. The boys were all expectation. It struck three. He
attempted to rise--an unseen power held him fast. At length, amidst
much tittering, he contrived to get free; but only by extricating
himself from that part of his habiliments which was in immediate
contact with the bench. He did not exactly pull them off; but, poor
man! he was obliged to pull himself out of them. The master lent him
another pair; he went home filled with rage, but perfectly cool, having
first contrived to identify the culprit; and his own, having been
carefully detached with a hot knife by the master's daughter, Miss
Quintilian, as the boys called her, were sent after him with a message
of kind condolence, packed by her fair hands in a brown paper parcel,
into which I contrived to slip a fig-leaf. Next day he reappeared
at the usual hour. All went on smoothly for about a fortnight. At
the end of that time, one afternoon when I was showing up my sum, he
addressed me, observing that I had always been particularly diligent
with my arithmetic, and that, as the holidays were at hand, he hoped
I would do him the favour of drinking tea with him that evening.
Some of the boys tried to frighten me--said he bottled the thunder
and lightning, and kept it corked down, ready for use--oh, wouldn't
he give me a touch of it? Others encouraged me. I went. Tea over, he
told me that he had contrived a little exhibition for my amusement;
then flung open the folding doors of the parlour, and disclosed a
large sheet, hanging as a curtain in the doorway. 'I must go into the
next room,' said he, 'and take the candles with me, or you will not
be able to see the exhibition.' He withdrew, leaving me alone in the
dark, went into the next room, and commenced the exhibition--a sort of
phantasmagoria--to me, sufficiently surprising; for the phantasmagoria
had not at that time been brought before the public. One of the figures
was a whole-length likeness of myself, which suddenly vanished, and was
replaced by a skeleton. The exhibition finished, the conjuror returned
with the lights; and, by way of supper, treated me to a glass of negus
and a slice of seed-cake. He then intimated that it was time for me
to think of playing the Bedfordshire march, but that before I went he
had something to say to me, if I would follow him into the next room.
We adjourned: and there, amongst other strange sights, I saw one of
the identical bottles containing the thunder and lightning--expected
to be blown up sky-high. The conjuror now addressed me. Alluding to
the unfortunate affair of the wax, he remarked that his conduct to me
had been uniformly kind; that he had always encouraged me, commended
my diligence, and helped me in my difficulties. Then, in an appealing
tone, he inquired how I could have made such an ungrateful return, as
to play him that horrid trick of the wax. At the same time opening a
drawer, and producing his corduroys, he pointed out to me their damaged
condition, and put it to my best feelings, whether that was the way to
recompense kindness such as his. I felt at once that my conduct had
been immeasurably bad, and most humbly expressed my compunction. 'No,'
said he, 'that is not sufficient. The offence was public, so should
be also the reparation. Promise me that to-morrow, before the whole
school, you will come up to my desk and apologise.' Perhaps this was
only just; but I hesitated. He pressed me; but I would make no such
promise. 'Very well,' said he, 'it is now time for you to think of
returning. You will be sorry for your obstinacy, perhaps, before you
get back to the school.' He then accompanied me into the passage, and
kindly helped me on with my greatcoat. 'The front door,' said he, 'is
fastened for the night. Here, step out this way.' He led me through
the back passage into the garden, and opened the garden-gate, outside
of which was a field. 'There,' said he, 'follow that path, which runs
along by the side of the shrubbery. When you have got to the end of it
you will find a gate, which will let you into the road. Good night.'

The night was splendid--a sky without a cloud. The full moon, high
up in the heavens, shed a lustre which gave to every prominent object
the distinctness of day. But the shrubbery, as I skirted it to gain
the road, was dark--dark--dark. At its extremity, however, the moment
I emerged from the garden into the field, I descried the gate; and to
that point, with my eyes fixed upon it, I directed my steps. Suddenly,
to my no small surprise, the gate began to clatter and rattle, as
if violently shaken by the wind. This was the more extraordinary,
because the night was as calm as it was brilliant; not a breath of
air was stirring. Nor was any creature visible; yet still the gate
went on, rattle, rattle, clatter, clatter, as if shaking itself for
its own amusement. Presently, as though violently pushed by invisible
hands, the gate swung wide open; then began swinging backwards and
forwards, swing, swing, backwards and forwards, first into the road,
then into the field, with a bang of the latch at every swing. The
last time it swung fieldways, it stood open of itself; suddenly fixed
by an unseen power at its utmost range. Then appeared a tall dark
form, gliding into the field through the gateway from the road, and
descending towards me by the path. It was the form of the conjuror
himself! Yet, in its appearance, there was something appalling, and,
I may say, unearthly. It did not step out, neither did it altogether
glide. With a motion compounded of the two, it first advanced one leg,
then, after a long interval, the other, still moving towards me at a
slow, uniform rate. One arm was solemnly extended, with the forefinger
pointing to the moon: and, as the tall image approached and passed
me, I could distinctly discern the uplifted visage of the conjuror,
stern but calm, his head turned slightly on one side, his brow knit,
his eyes fixed upon the moon. Without looking behind me to see what
became of him after he passed, I hurried on; and had already arrived
within about fifty paces of the gate, when it again began to rattle and
swing as violently as at first--again stood open--and again the same
form appeared, gliding, as before, from the road into the field, and
descending towards me down the path. The arm was still extended; the
finger still pointed majestically to the moon; the movement also, a
mixture of striding and sliding, was still the same. But the conjuror's
face, not turned as before towards the moon, was this time directed
towards me. The eyes glared full in mine--but, oh, what eyes! They
had stolen the gleam of the luminary on which they were fixed before;
each eye was a moon! the window of a brain that glowed internally with
a white heat! With a look of horrid vacuity fixed on my face, again
it passed; and I, not at all coveting a third interview, cut away for
the gate, and up the road homewards. I had no recollection of what
occurred afterwards, till I was roused from my slumbers next morning
by Miss Quintilian, who stood by my bedside with a lump of sugar and
something nice in a teacup, which, _she said_, her pa had ordered me
to take. We broke up, returned to school after the holidays, and found
a new writing-master, the conjuror's cottage shut up, and the conjuror
himself gone--nobody knew whither. Miss Quintilian said she would tell
me how he went, if I promised not to mention it to her pa:--she had
seen him with her own eyes, riding away over the church, astride on a
broomstick.--Now, sir," added Gingham, bowing to Mr Belvidere, "I trust
that you will favour us. By the bye, Colonel, before We proceed, hadn't
I better brew my promised bowl of punch?"

"My story will be a very short one," said Mr Belvidere, who spoke
little, and, as it afterwards appeared, had a mighty matter on his mind.

"The punch will take no time," said Gingham. "I have everything ready."

The chairman, governed by the evident sense of the company, awarded
priority to the punch. Gingham stepped aside, the steward was smart
with the kettle, and in less than two minutes a fresh bowl was on the
table. With such punch in Olympus, suffice it to say, nectar had soon
become a drug. The chairman now called on Mr Belvidere, who proceeded
forthwith to relate


"I was once staying at Bath, about fifteen years ago, and, while there,
became very thick with the officers of an English cavalry regiment.
One day, when I dined at the mess, it so happened that there was also
present a young gentleman, a sub, who had joined that morning. It was
a practice in many regiments, in those days, I suppose I need not
mention, when a sub joined, to take the first opportunity of trying
him, as it was called--that is, trying his mettle. In the present
instance, the time fixed was dinner. The youth was quiet and well-bred,
a little reserved, and apparently not quite at home. Doubts were
expressed whether he would show pluck. When dinner was on table, and
we were all assembled, the senior officer present politely requested
the young stranger to take the office of vice; and he, with equal
politeness assenting, seated himself at the bottom of the table. A
grim-looking countryman of mine, the major of the regiment, a jovial
red-faced off-hand sort of a personage, full of whisky and waggery,
was the individual appointed to make the customary trial, and took his
seat at table to the vice-president's left. Soup and fish removed, an
attendant placed before the young gentleman a boiled leg of mutton.
Presently the major, addressing him, said, 'I'll thank you for a bit
of that vale.'--'I beg your pardon,' said Mr Vice; 'I rather think
it's mutton, not veal: shall I have the pleasure of helping you?' The
major made no reply. Presently the major began again: 'I'll thank you
for a bit of that vale.'--'I tell you,' said the sub, 'it's not veal;
it's mutton. Shall I give you some?' Again the major was silent. After
a pause, the major renewed the attack: 'I'll thank you for a bit of
that vale.'--'I'll soon let you know whether it's veal or mutton,'
said the newly-arrived, jumping up. Then, with one hand seizing the
leg of mutton by the knuckle, with the other the major by the collar,
and wielding the gigot like a club, he banged it about the major's
sconce till the company interposed. The major, fairly basted with
half-raw gravy, and dripping with caper-sauce, flung up both his arms
above his head, in an ecstasy of delight, and, exultingly waving his
hands, exclaimed at the top of his voice, 'He'll do! he'll do!' Perhaps
we shall now be favoured with a story or a song by Mr Staff-surgeon

"Yes, yes," said the Colonel, laughing, "the old major took it all with
a very good grace; a capital fellow he was, too. Sorry to say, one of
his peepers got a little damaged, though, on the occasion. I could not
do that, now that I am minus a claw."

"Why, Colonel d'Arbley!" said Mr Belvidere, looking the Colonel very
hard in the face, "I really ought to apologise. Wasn't at all aware
that the hero of my story was sitting at the head of the table. Ah, I
see--I recollect. The same features; yes, exactly. I think, though,
Colonel, you were not then quite so tall."

"Well," replied the Colonel, "I'm not quite sure that I had done
growing. I entered the service young. Now, Mr Pledget, sir, if you

"I really feel quite at a loss, sir," said Pledget. "I have served in
different parts of the world; but I positively never met with anything
half so curious and interesting as the extraordinary incidents which I
have heard this evening."

"Why, Pledget, man," said the Major, "you were on the expedition to
Buenos Ayres. Come, tell us something about those lassoing fellows,
or the lovely señoras, with their fine-turned ankles and slaughtering

"I'll tell you," said Pledget, "something that I picked up at the
Cape, on the passage. It relates to a celebrated traveller, who was
generally known at Cape Town by the name of


While we were lying at Table Bay, I resided for a few days on shore.
It so happened that I took up my residence in the same lodgings which
had formerly been occupied by the traveller in question, the well-known
Mons. V--. The landlord, antiquated, good-humoured old Dutchman,
delighted to talk of his illustrious guest, and told me anecdotes of
him. V--, it appears, afforded the household much amusement. One day
he had found what he considered a very curious green bug, which he
placed, alive, in a paper box. The green bug, however, thought fit to
make its escape from the box, and walked away. V--, soon missing the
fugitive, was in an agony--searched the room--searched the house--ran
about, asking everybody he met, had they seen his green bug? Meanwhile,
watching an opportunity while V--'s back was turned, the landlord's
son took a hair-pencil of green paint, and painted on a panel of the
apartment an exact fac-simile of the green bug. Presently, in a perfect
fever of excitement, the naturalist returned, still inquiring eagerly
for his green bug. The family looked innocent, shook their heads, and
said nothing. V--again began to search the room, till at length his
eyes lighted on the panel. 'Ah!' he exclaimed, 'my green bug! Ah, I
have finded you now, my dear little naughty green bug!' 'Ah non!' he
added, after two or three ineffectual attempts to pick the picture off
the panel--'ah non! it not is my little green bug!' Whether V-- was
near-sighted, I know not. But, if so, I can easily account for his
mistaking a painted green bug for a real one; for, gentlemen, I am
slightly near-sighted myself," said Pledget; "and last autumn, I do
assure you, while I was out shooting on my brother's estate in Kent,
a humble-bee got up right under my nose, and I actually blazed away
at it with both barrels, mistaking it for a pheasant. I know it was
nothing but a humble-bee; for my shooting companion, a young Oxonian,
my own nephew in fact, positively assured me. I can't help thinking I
must be a little near-sighted. Well, but that is not all about V--.
The Dutchman one day, observing him so very curious in entomology,
collected a variety of richly-coloured filaments from the plumage
of birds, shreds of silk, &c.; then caught some fine blue-bottles;
fastened the filaments to the blue-bottles with gum; and, when V--
was out, turned the blue-bottles loose in his bedroom. V-- came
home--went direct to his sleeping apartment--the whole household,
assembled and listening, stood outside in the passage. Presently the
row began. V-- was heard within, first uttering cries of astonishment
and delight, then flouncing about the room, jumping over the bed,
capsizing the water-jug, in hot pursuit of the nondescript varieties
of the blue-bottle. At length a heavy bang was followed by a dead
silence; then came a cry of piteous lamentation. The family entered,
with sympathising looks. Poor V-- had broken his shin, in an attempt
to leap the table. The females rushed for brown paper and vinegar. The
wounded man was extricated from the upturned legs of the table, and led
out limping into the common apartment, to be doctored. The landlord,
profiting by the opportunity, opened the bedroom window, and the
blue-bottles escaped. The naturalist, who never knew by what means he
had been beguiled, made frequent, and I need not say vain, inquiries,
for similar 'prit littel bottle blue homing-beards.'--I beg leave to
call on my friend the Major."

"I," said the Major, "as well as Captain Gabion, was on the retreat to
Corunna, and now beg leave to relate an incident connected with


After we had served out the French, on the heights there, just above
the town, we had no farther trouble to signify, so far as they were
concerned--a pretty deal, though, in getting our own army embarked.
I was the last man on shore but two. Towards the close of the
business, I went down to the place of embarkation--found old Blue
Breeches (a sobriquet which I had in the morning been scandalised by
hearing applied to my honoured father) there, the officer in charge,
superintending. There he was, up to his knees in the surf, giving
his orders, helping the wounded into the boats with his own hands,
directing everything. Such a precious scene of noise and confusion I
never witnessed. 'Hadn't you better embark at once, sir?' said he.
'No--I'd rather wait a while,' said I. 'Hadn't you better go in _this_
boat?' said he. 'No, sir; I'll go in the boat _you_ go in,' said
I. 'Then you'll have to wait quite to the last; I intend to be the
last man off,' said he. 'Very well,' said I. 'If you really mean to
wait, sir, I shall have to request your assistance,' said he. Didn't
quite understand what that meant, but determined to stick to Old Blue
Breeches. Don't you see? It was my best card. You don't suppose I
was going to be boated off to a transport, when I could go home in a
seventy-four? Well, sir, at length the men were all embarked--the sick,
the wounded, every man John of them. The last boat-load had shoved off,
and there now only remained the captain's own gig, ready to take us on
board. Of course, I expected we should be off, like the rest, without
delay. No, no; Old Blue Breeches had a different way of doing business.
He turns round to me, and says, 'I am, going to take a walk through
the town, sir. Will you favour me with your company?' 'Should hardly
think there was time for that, sir,' said I; 'but if it will answer
any purpose, and you really mean to go, I shall be happy to go with
you.' Thought some of the French might have got in. 'I want to look
into the different wine-houses,' said he, 'just to see if there are
any stragglers. Am ordered to bring all off: shouldn't like to leave a
man behind.' Away we went--he, I, and old Powers, the Irish coxswain,
almost as rum an old chap as Old Blue Breeches himself. He searched all
the wine-shops for stragglers--found none. Besides our three selves,
there wasn't an Englishman in Corunna. Came back through the sally-port
that opened on the place of embarkation. At the sally-port Old Blue
Breeches made a halt, rummaged in his pocket, brought out the _key_.
'Took care to secure this yesterday,' said he: 'just wait a moment,
while I lock the door.' He locked it, and brought away the key. Down we
went to the boat. I hung behind, wanting to be the last man off. Old
Powers was playing the same game, but it wouldn't do. 'Now, sir, if
you please,' said Old Blue Breeches; 'company first.' In I got. 'Won't
I help yer honour in?' said Powers to Old Blue Breeches. 'No, no, old
fellow,' said he; 'that won't do, you know. Get in first yourself,
and help me in afterwards.' Powers grinned, and tumbled in over the
stern. Old Blue Breeches got in last. We shoved off. 'Three cheers,
yer honour?' said Powers, as he took his seat by the tiller. 'Ay, ay;
three cheers,' said Old Blue Breeches; 'and may the French soon catch
such another whopping.' Three hearty cheers by the boat's crew, and
away we pulled for the ship. Old Blue Breeches and I, both of us pretty
considerably done up. Neither spoke for some minutes. Thought I should
like to have that key; took a fancy to it. 'I suppose you mean to keep
the key?' said I. 'Indeed you may say that,' said he. 'I do mean to
keep it; and I have got another to put to it. Last mail ashore here at
Corunna; so I was at Toulon, in 1793. Then, also, I locked the gate,
and brought away the key.' Now that's what I call cool.--Will you
favour us, Captain Gabion?"

"I should esteem it a favor," replied the Captain, "if I might be
permitted to tell my story last. Perhaps the gentleman opposite to me,"
(bowing to Joey,) "will have the kindness to take his turn now. Mine
will then be the only one remaining. Mr Chairman, will you sanction
this arrangement?" The chairman bowed. Joey began:--

"A previous narrator remarked, that no one had told either a
ghost-story, a love story, or a pathetic story. The first deficiency
he himself supplied; and, though I cannot say that I ever saw a ghost,
I certainly never experienced anything so like seeing one, as while I
listened to that extraordinary and appalling narrative. I, gentlemen,
have no love story to tell, but I have a story of true pathos; and you
shall hear it, if such is your pleasure."

In token of _my_ acquiescence, I stepped to my berth, took out two
white pocket-handkerchiefs, handed one to Joey, and kept the other
ready for use.

"Gentlemen," said Joey, depositing the disregarded cambric on the
table, "I will tell my story, but only on one condition. It is no
fiction; and what I stipulate is this--that, since I relate it with a
heart still wrung by recollection, as to men of manly feeling, and in
perfect good faith, so you will listen with seriousness and sympathy."

We looked at each other. Each made up a face; all were grave, or
appeared so; and Joey, with great earnestness of manner, and a voice
husky with emotion, commenced the narrative of


"While I was serving on board the East India Company's cruiser the
Jackal, we were one time employed surveying in the Persian Gulf. Being
infested with rats, we one day requested our interpreter, when he
went ashore, to bring off with him a cat from the nearest village.
He returned, bearing in his arms, gentlemen, such an extraordinary
specimen of feline beauty as, I will venture to say, has never graced a
British menagerie, or sat upon any hearth-rug in the United Empire. Her
elegance, her gentleness, her symmetry, I will not wrong, by attempting
to describe: I should feel the poverty of the English language. Her
two eyes had each a charm peculiar to itself. One was a pure celestial
blue, the other green as an emerald. It was at once felt, by every
officer on board, that a creature so superb was not to be employed in
the vulgar office of catching rats. Our only thought was, to treat
her with the care and tenderness which her beauty merited. As she was
unquestionably the princess of cats, and as her coat was a soft tawny,
in hue somewhat resembling the odoriferous powder of which our friend
Mr Capsicum makes such copious use--combining the two circumstances,
we agreed to call her Princeza. Princeza at once established herself
as the pet of the ship. What wonder? We had no other domestic animal
on board, save one solitary monkey--his name Jocko, his character,
I grieve to say, a revolting compound of artifice, egotism, and low

But now a new circumstance arose, which increased our interest in the
lovely Princeza. Almost immediately she arrived on board, it became
evident, from unmistakable indications, that she was about to be a
mother. Her interesting situation, indeed, might have been detected
by an observant eye, when she first embarked. In anticipation of the
earnestly expected event, it was decided that Princeza should be
provided with every accommodation in the officers' cabin. A basket,
appropriated to her use, was lined and half-filled with the warmest
and softest materials; and in the cabin this basket was deposited.
Not that we apprehended injury from the crew. Oh no! our only fear
was, that Princeza and her expected little ones would be over-nursed,
over-petted, over-fed--in short, killed with kindness. Judge,
gentlemen, what were my emotions, when, one morning early, returning
to the cabin from my duty on deck, I heard Princeza purring in her
basket with more than usual vehemence, and discovered, on examination,
that she had become the happy mother of four dear little lovely
kittens." Here Joey's voice quite broke down. At length, mastering
his emotions, he proceeded: "Well, gentlemen; anxious to examine the
little interesting accessions, I softly introduced my hand into the
basket. But Princeza was now a mother, and had a mother's feelings.
Doubtless apprehending injury to her little offspring--ah! could I have
injured them?--in an instant, poor thing, she got my hand in chancery.
Her foreclaws, struck deep, held me faster than a vice; with her hind
claws she rasped away the flesh, spurring like a kangaroo; while,
with her formidable teeth, she masticated my knuckles. After admiring
awhile this affecting illustration of maternal tenderness, I attempted
to withdraw my hand. But, ah, gentle creature! she only struck her
claws the deeper, spurred more vigorously, and chewed with redoubled
energy. Only by assistance was I extricated; nor was my hand perfectly
recovered, till a fortnight after Princeza was herself no more! Well,
gentlemen; for greater security it was now resolved that, every night
at eight o'clock, Princeza's basket should be set on the cabin table.
There it was placed the first night; and next morning, one of the
kittens was found--can I utter it?--dead! No malice was suspected:
the disaster was attributed to natural causes. Another night came. We
used no precautions. In the morning, we found another kitten--dead!
Suspicion was now awake, but overlooked the real culprit. The third
night, I determined to watch. The basket stood, as before, upon the
table: Princeza, with her two remaining little ones, lay snug and warm
within: a lamp, burning near the entrance, shed its light throughout
the cabin; and I, with my curtain all but closed, kept watch within my
berth. In the dead of the night, when all between decks was quiet, save
the snoring of the men, the flitting of a shadow made me sensible that
some one, or something, was moving in the cabin. Presently, approaching
stealthily, like Tarquin, or Shakspeare's wolf, appeared--gentlemen, I
saw it with my eyes--the form of Jocko! With silent grimaces, advancing
on all fours, stealthily, stealthily, a step at a time, he approached,
he reached the table. There awhile he paused; then threw a somerset,
and alighted upon it. The moment he was landed, the pricked ears and
anxious face of Princeza appeared above the basket. He approached. She
stirred not, but continued to observe him, with all a mother's fears
depicted in her countenance. Jocko now laid one paw upon the basket's
edge. Still Princeza moved not. Blackest of villains! he cuffed
her--cuffed her again--again;--in short, repeated his cuffs, till,
terrified and bewildered, the unhappy mother leaped from the basket on
the table, from the table on the floor, and flew out of the cabin. Then
did that monster in a monkey's form quietly take her place, and settle
himself down for a night's rest, in the midst of the warmth and comfort
from which he had ejected the lawful tenant. All was now discovered.
The double murderer of the two preceding nights lay housed and genial
in that basket. Anxious to see and know the whole, up to this moment I
had controlled myself. But now, too hastily, I rushed from my berth,
to seize the detected culprit. The noise alarmed him. Snatching up a
kitten in one paw he sprang from the cabin--on deck--up the rigging.
Pursued, though it was night, he dodged his pursuers, taking advantage
of the gloom. At length, hard pressed, seeing his retreat cut off and
his capture inevitable, he dashed the kitten into the briny deep,
and suffered himself to be taken. With difficulty I preserved him
from the fury of the men. Suffice it to say, that night he was kept
close prisoner in a hencoop, and, next morning, hanged. But oh, how
shall I relate the sequel? The remaining kitten was found severely
injured, crushed doubtless by Jocko's incumbent weight, and died
within eight-and-forty hours. The mother, bereaved of all her little
ones, went mewing about the ship as if in search of them, languished
and pined away, refused all consolation, and expired about eight days
after. We now became sensible of our loss in its full extent: and this,
gentlemen, was felt by all on board to be the acme of our grief--the
ship was left without a pet! Oh, could we have recalled Princeza and
her kittens! Oh, could we have recalled even Jocko!"

At the conclusion of this tragic narrative, which was recounted to
the end with unaffected feeling, the company awhile remained silent,
respecting Joey's sensibilities. Joey looked very much as if my tender
of the cambric had not been altogether superfluous. At length the
conversation was renewed by Gingham.

"Your truly affecting story has a moral, sir. I am an observer of the
habits of animals. Monkeys are very fond of warmth."

"Well, sir," replied Joey, with a deep-drawn sigh, "I should like to
hear your moral at any rate."

"The fact is, sir," said Gingham, "on board ship, what is a poor wretch
of a monkey to do? At night, probably, he is driven to the rigging. He
would gladly nestle with the men, but the men won't have him; for, to
say nothing of the general ridicule a fellow would incur by having a
monkey for his bedfellow, ten to one the poor wretch is swarming with
fleas as big as jackasses, to say nothing of enormous ticks in the
creases of his dirty skin. Monkeys, sir, like dogs, scratch themselves
a great deal, but cleanse themselves very little. Now depend upon it,
when the weather is cold and the wind high, monkeys never sleep in
trees. Is it likely then, on board ship, that they prefer sleeping
aloft?--that is, if a monkey ever sleeps. Did you ever see a monkey

"Can't say I ever did," replied Joey. "I have seen them nodding. But
the moral?"

"The moral," said Gingham, "is simply this. The next time you sail
with a monkey and a cat on board, if you provide a basket for the cat,
provide another for the monkey."

"Obviously!" replied Joey. "Would we had thought of that on board the
Jackal! Obviously!"

"May I ask," said Gingham, "how you contrived to hang the monkey?"

"Of course," replied Joey, "he was first pinioned."

"Exactly," said Gingham; "so I conjectured. Otherwise I should consider
the hanging of a monkey no easy matter."

"Now, Captain Gabion, if you please," said the Colonel, interposing.

"The punch is nearly out," replied the Captain, "and, if I might be
excused, I should really feel thankful for the indulgence. I have
nothing to tell but an ugly dream; and that dream relates to a subject
which, as I believe my military friends here present are aware, is
constantly and painfully present to my mind. The less said about it the

"Come, come, Captain Gabion," said the Colonel; "never think of that,
man. You'll see Old England again, I tell you, and rise to rank in the
service. Come, give us your story."

It is well known that, among the officers who embarked for the
Peninsula, there was occasionally one who quitted his native shores
with a strong presentiment that he should never see them again, but
fall in action. In such instances the mind retained the impression
almost constantly. It was not the coward's fear of death--far from it.
If ever it was forgotten, the moment was that of conflict and peril;
and then, it was sometimes realised.

"Come, old fellow," said the Colonel; "your story, if you please."

The Captain was about to reply, when a musical voice, pitched in alto,
was heard from the state-cabin:--"Kitty, Kitty, come down; come down,
I tell you. You'll catch your death o' cold, standing there in the
draught without your bonnet. Come down, child, this instant."

Kitty was now seen gliding from the foot of the cabin stairs into her
mistress's apartment. The Colonel's keen eye glanced in that direction;
ours took the same. A pair of legs was distinctly visible at the bottom
of the stairs.

"Cupid, you villain! Cupid!" shouted the Colonel, "come here;
come directly, sir. Aboard or ashore, that rascal never misses an
opportunity of making love. Here, Cupid! Cupid!"

The Colonel's gentleman, with innocence pictured in his countenance,
now entered, stepped quietly up to the foot of the table, and
respectfully twitched his forelock.

"What are you about there on the cabin stairs, sir?" said the Colonel.
"Can't you let the young woman be quiet, and be hanged to ye?"

"I vos owny a-cummin down into the cab'n, yer honour, jist to see if
yer honour vaunted hennythink!"

The Colonel's gentleman, I ought to have stated before this, was an
old light dragoon, and a Cockney. He had lost an eye, on the same
occasion when the Colonel lost an arm; obtained his discharge; and
from that time followed the Colonel's fortunes. His loss, I presume,
had gained him the name of Cupid. He was a civil, well-behaved,
handy fellow enough; had that particular way of speaking, emphatic,
and gesticulatory, which distinguishes old soldiers who have got
their discharge; made himself universally useful to the Colonel, and
helped him to dress and undress, morning and evening, the Colonel
being dependent from the loss of a fin. Cupid, in consequence, was a
privileged person: had the _entrée_ of the cabin at all times and
seasons; and, being ready and sometimes sentimental in his replies,
seldom made his appearance amongst us without being assailed with
questions on all sides. The Colonel was now about to give him a regular
jobation, but the Major struck in.

"I say, Cupid, very convenient for courtship those cabin stairs in
rainy weather. Eh, Cupid?"

"Courtship, yer honour!" said Cupid. "I vosn't not a-doin nothink of
the kind. I vos owny a-meditatin, like."

"Oh, meditating were you, though, Cupid?" said Captain Gabion. "Well,
pray what were you meditating about? Come, tell us your thoughts."

"Vhy, sir," replied Cupid, "I vos a-meditatin upon the hair and upon
the sea. Got plenty of bofe vhere ve now are; nothink helse, has I can
see; so it vos owny natral I should meditate. And I vos jist a-thinkin
this: that the hair is made for men, and the sea is made for fishes,
heach for heach; and t'other von't do for nayther. Pull a fish hout of
his own heliment hinto the hair, and he dies. And pitch a man hout of
his own heliment hinto the sea, and he's drownded."

"Really, Cupid," said Capsicum, "that never struck me before. It's very

"Wherry," said Cupid. "But, please yer honour, I thought of somethink
helse, vitch I consider it's more kew-russer still. And that's this:
that, though too much vorter drownds a man, and too much hair kills
a fish, yit a fish can't do vithout a little hair, and a man can't
do vithout a little drink." Cupid's eye, as if he had said too much,
dropped, and fell upon the punch-bowl.

Amidst the general applause and merriment excited by this appeal, I
pushed over a tumbler to Joey, who took up the punch-bowl, and soon
transferred its remaining contents into the glass, which he handed,
brimming, to Cupid. The next moment it stood empty on the table. Cupid
smacked his lips.

"Cupid," said the Colonel in a tone of authority, "what's your opinion
of that punch?"

"Pertickerly obleeged to yer honour," replied Cupid, "and to haul
the company vot's present." Cupid then made a nip at his knee, as if
suddenly bit; and, availing himself of the stoop, whispered Joey:
"Please, sir, did the Cornal brew it hisself?" With a twitch of the
mouth, and a twist of the eye, Joey indicated Gingham.

"Come, Cupid," said the Colonel, "I want a direct answer. Tell me your
opinion of that punch." The Colonel had a plot.

"Bless yer art, yer honour," said Cupid.

"Come, speak up, sir," said the Colonel.

"Speak up, man," said Gingham.

"Vell, yer honour," said Cupid, "I haulvays speaks the troof, except
I'm hordered the contary. Pleasant tipple, wherry. But if so be I
hadn't not a' seed it in the punch-bowl, vhy, I shouldn't not a' knowed
it _vos_ punch, not no how."

"What drink do you like best, Cupid?" said the Major. "What d'ye think
of water, now?"

"Vhy, I think this, yer honour," replied Cupid: "I'm a pertickler
dislike to vorter; that's vot I think. I vouldn't ride no oss into no
vorter, no, not for nothink."

"The fact is, gentlemen," said the Colonel, "Cupid thinks no man can
brew a bowl of punch like himself. What say you?--shall we give him a

Capsicum consented--Gingham consented--we all consented. The third bowl
of punch was carried by acclamation. Cupid retired to brew.

"If he beats mine," said Capsicum, "I'll give him half-a-guinea for the

"A guinea," said the Colonel, "with a promise not to communicate. Cupid
never takes less."

Cupid returned with the punch-bowl, having executed the arcana aside.
His punch had the aroma of arrack, though not arrack punch in the
strict sense of the word. Capsicum's was a nosegay; Gingham's beat
nectar; but Cupid's put them both out of court, by consent of the
company. "Now, Captain Gabion," said the Colonel, "we'll trouble you
for your story."

"Without disparagement of our previous brewers," said the Captain, "my
feeling at the present moment is just this, that I never drank punch
before. Well, gentlemen, if you will have it so, I proceed to relate


Some of the friends here assembled are well aware--why should I conceal
it?--that, for several months past, a load has been pressing on my
mind. They are also aware of the cause. I certainly have an impression
that I shall never see England again. But how that impression began,
they are not aware. What I am now about to relate will afford the
explanation. Yet what is the subject of my narrative? A dream--a mere
dream; and a dream easily accounted for by the circumstances in which
it was dreamt. So it is. Colonel d'Arbley knows, the Major knows, that
I never shrank from peril. I have faced death; to all appearance,
certain death. And, unless I felt prepared to do the like again, I
should not have been now returning to the army;--no, I would rather
have quitted the service. Death I am prepared at any time to meet; yet
this presentiment of death is a burden upon my spirits. By the bye, my
glass is empty. Hadn't I better replenish it ere I begin?

You are aware, sir, that ill health, the effect of hard service and
hard knocks, obliged me to return to England last spring. In the course
of the autumn, I quitted Cheltenham, and resided at Woolwich. There, I
was at a military party. We kept it up all night. Next morning, I was
unexpectedly summoned to London; and, on my arrival, found work cut out
for me,--papers to be prepared--public offices to be visited--lots of
going about--lots of writing--all wanted instantly. Some parliamentary
wretch had moved for returns, and I was to get them up. In short, the
work could be done in time only by my again sitting up all night. It
was on the day after these two sleepless nights that I had my dream.
Where, do you think? And at what hour? At noon, with the sun shining
above my head, on a bench in St James's Park.

I had just been calling in at the Horse-Guards for a chat, my business
completed, the excitement over, and was proceeding westward on foot
along the Birdcage Walk, when I began to feel nervous and done up.
All at once, my faculties experienced a sort of collapse. My whole
frame was seized with a deadly chill; I shivered spasmodically; my
strength seemed gone; and I became most enormously drowsy. Just at that
moment--I suppose it was some anniversary, a birthday perhaps--bang,
bang, the Park guns commenced firing, close at hand. In the midst of
the firing, I sat down on a bench, and, in no time, dropped asleep.
Then began my dream.

It was a general action. The curious circumstance is, that I was
still in the Park. The guns firing a holiday salute became the French
position, which occupied the plateau of a low range of hills. At the
foot of this range, in an avenue extending along its foot, was I alone.
The firing went on, bang-banging, now no longer a _feu-de-joie_--the
report was that of shotted guns. I heard not only their discharge, but
the moan of the balls, and the whisk of the grape; yes, and the rattle
of musketry, the shouts of men charging, and all that kind of thing.
I saw the dust, the smoke, the occasional flash, quite as much as you
can see of any battle if you're in it. Yet, all this time, I knew I
was in the Birdcage Walk. Presently, in the direction of the Green
Park, I heard a more distant cannonade, which was that of the British
position. It was now time to change mine; for some of the shot from
our guns began to pass up the avenue, close to me, tearing, rasping
up the gravel, crashing among the trees, cutting down boughs, and
rifting the trunks. Yet something kept me fixed. At length, looking in
the direction of the British position, I distinctly saw a round-shot
come hopping up the avenue--hop--hop--hop--nearer and nearer--but
slowly--slowly--slowly; it seemed all but spent. Just when I thought
it had done hopping, it took one more jump, and, with a heavy pitch,
fetched me an awful polt in the right side. That moment I felt that I
was a dead man; killed in action, yet by a friendly ball, and while
sitting on a bench in St James's Park! The vision now passed. The
noise and firing ceased; troops, smoke, dust--all the concomitants of
combat vanished; the Birdcage Walk and its beautiful environs resumed
their ordinary appearance.

Presently, while still sitting on the bench, I was accosted by a tall
sallow-looking gentleman in black, who smirked, bowed, and handed me a
letter with a broad black border--the seal, a tombstone and a weeping
willow. It was addressed to myself--an invitation to attend a funeral.
I pleaded my engagements--wanted to get back to Woolwich--begged to be
excused. 'Sir,' said he, in courteous accents, 'you really must oblige
us. Unless you are present, the funeral cannot take place. Hope you
won't disappoint us, sir. I am the undertaker, sir.' I somehow felt
that I had no choice, and went. The gentleman in black met me at the

Other parties were assembled at the mansion; but not one of the
company--I thought it rather strange--either spoke to me, or looked at
me, or showed the least consciousness of my presence. The undertaker
was all attention; handed round black kid gloves; fitted first one with
a hatband, then another; and, last of all, addressed me: 'Now, sir,
if you please, this way, sir; we only wait for you, sir.' I followed
him. He led me into an adjoining apartment, where stood the coffin,
surrounded by mutes. I wished to read the name on the lid, but was
prevented by the pall.

How we got to the place of interment, I recollect not. The only thing
I remember is this: as I saw the coffin carried down stairs, hoisted
into the hearse, conveyed, hoisted out, and at last deposited by the
side of the grave--every movement, every jolt, every thump, seemed to
jar my whole system with a peculiar and horrid thrill. The service was
performed, the coffin was lowered, the grating of the ropes grated
upon my very soul; and the dust sprinkled by the sexton on its lid
blew into my mouth and eyes, as I stood by the brink of the grave,
and looked on. The service concluded, the undertaker, attendants, and
company withdrew; and, what d'ye think?--there was I left remaining in
the burial-ground, with no companion but a solitary gravedigger! He set
to work, and began shovelling in the clods, to fill the grave. I heard
their thud; I seemed to feel it, as they rattled in quick succession on
the lid of the coffin.

'You'll soon be filled in and all right, old feller,' said the
gravedigger, as he proceeded with his work.

A strange idea had gradually occupied my mind. It seemed
absurd--impossible; and yet it offered the only conceivable solution of
my sensations at that horrid moment. I addressed the gravedigger,--

'My friend,' said I, 'have the goodness to inform me WHOSE funeral this

'Whose funeral?' replied the gravedigger. 'Come, that's a good un. Vhy,
it's YOUR OWN.'--I'll trouble you for a little more punch."


The condition of Spain since the last French revolution, and especially
since the commencement of the present year, has been taken as a theme
of unbounded self-gratulation by persons who ascribe her tranquillity
and alleged prosperity to their own patriotism and skill. For many
months past, the friends, organs, and adherents of the dominant
Camarilla have not ceased to call attention to the flourishing state
of the country; repeatedly challenging the Continent to produce such
another example of good government, internal happiness, and external
dignity, as is now afforded by the fortunate land which their patrons
and masters rule. When so many European states are revolutionised and
unsettled, it is indeed pleasant to hear this good report of one which
we have not been accustomed to consider a model for the imitation
of its neighbours. Delightful it is to learn that Spain has cast
her blood-stained slough of misrule, discord, and corruption, and
glitters in renovated comeliness, an example to the nations, a credit
and a blessing to herself, a monument of the disinterested exertions
and unwearied self-devotion of her sage and virtuous rulers. We are
anxious to believe that these glowing accounts are based upon fact, and
worthy of credence--not a delusion and a blind; and that the happiness
and prosperity so ostentatiously vaunted exist elsewhere than in the
invention of those interested in proclaiming them. But we cannot forget
that the evidence produced is entirely _ex-parte_, or lose sight of
the great facility with which the French and English press and public
accord credit and praise to the present government of Spain, simply on
its own or its partisans' assertions of the great things it has done,
and is about to do. It is not easy to obtain a correct knowledge of the
condition of the bulk of the Spanish nation. That the country prospers
means, in the mouths of the schemers and place-hunters of Madrid,
and of the smugglers of the frontier, that there is a brisk flow of
coin into their own pockets. That it is tranquil signifies that no
rebellious banner is openly displayed in its territory. No matter that
the government is carried on by shifts, by forced loans and forestalled
taxes and ruinous contracts; that the public servants of all grades,
irregularly paid, and with bad examples before them, peculate and take
bribes; that the widow and the orphan, the maimed soldier and the
superannuated pensioner, continually with long arrears due to them, are
in rags, misery, and starvation; that to the foreign creditor is given,
almost as a favour, no part of the interest due upon the capital he has
disbursed, but the interest on a small portion of the accumulation of
unpaid dividends; that the streets and highways swarm with mendicants,
and are perilous from the multitude of robbers; that the insecurity
of life and property in country-places drives the rich proprietors
into the towns, and prevents their expending their capital in the
improvement of their property; and that the peasantry, deprived of
instruction, example, and encouragement, deprived too, by the badness
and scarcity of the communications, of an advantageous market for their
produce, sink, as a natural consequence, daily deeper into sloth,
ignorance, and vice. What matter all these things? The miseries of the
suffering many are lightly passed over by the prosperous few: in Spain
the multitude have no voice, no remedy but open and armed resistance.
Thus it is that Spanish revolutions and popular outbreaks startle by
their suddenness. Until the victim openly rebels, his murmurs are
unheard: the report of his musket is the first intimation of his
misery. In England and in France, abuses, oppression, and injustice, of
whatever kind, cannot long be kept from the light. It is very different
in Spain, under the present _régime_. There the liberty of the press
is purely nominal, and no newspaper dares denounce an abuse, however
flagrant, or speak above its breath on subjects whose discussion is
unpleasing to the governing powers. On the first indication of such
presumption, number after number of the offending journal is seized,
fines are inflicted, and if the editors audaciously persevere, they
may reckon with tolerable certainty on exile or a prison. On the other
hand, the ministerial and Camarilla organs, those of the Duke of
Valencia and of Señor Sartorius, and of the dowager queen, and even of
the dowager's husband--for his Grace of Rianzares follows the fashion,
and has a paper at his beck, (partly for his assistance in those stock
exchange transactions whose pursuit has more than once dilapidated his
wife's savings,)--papers of this stamp, we say, carefully disguise
or distort all facts whose honest revelation would be unpleasant or
discreditable to their employers. From the garbled and imperfect
statements of these journals, which few Frenchmen, and scarcely any
Englishmen, ever see, the "Madrid correspondents" of French and English
newspapers--not a few of whom reside in Paris or London--compile
their letters, and editors derive their data (for want of better
sources) when discussing the condition and prospects of Spain.
Hence spring misapprehension and delusion. Spain is declared to be
prosperous and happy; and Spanish bondholders flatter themselves, for
the hundredth time, with, the hope of a satisfactory arrangement--to
which their great patience certainly entitles them, and which they
might as certainly obtain were the ill-administered revenues of Spain
so directed as to flow into the public coffers, and not into the
bottomless pockets of a few illustrious swindlers, and of the legion
of corrupt underlings who prop a system founded on immorality and
fraud. The system is rotten to the core, and the prosperity of Spain
is a phantom and a fallacy. Not that she is deficient in the elements
of prosperity: on the contrary, the country has abundant vitality
and resource, and its revenue has been for years increasing, in the
teeth of misgovernment, and of a prohibitive tariff, which renders
the customs' revenue almost nominal. But it matters little how many
millions are collected, if they be intercepted on their way to the
exchequer, or squandered and misappropriated as soon as gathered in.

In the absence of better evidence as to the real state of the country
than that whose untrustworthiness we have denounced, the narrative of
an unprejudiced and intelligent traveller in Spain has its value; and
although the title of a recently published book by Mr Dundas Murray,[2]
proclaimed it to refer but to one province, yet, as that province
comprises many of the principal Spanish posts and cities, we hoped to
have found in his pages confirmation or correction of our opinion as
to the true condition of the nation, and more particularly of those
middling and lower classes whose welfare is too frequently lost sight
of in the struggles and projects of political factions. Since those
pleasant "Gatherings" in which many home-truths were told with a
playful and witty pen, no book on Spain worth naming has appeared; and
if Mr Murray's visit be recent, which he does not enable us to decide,
he had abundant opportunity during his pretty long residence and active
rambles--aided, as we learn he was, by thorough familiarity with
the language--to collect materials for a work of no common interest
and importance. He has preferred, however, to skim the surface: the
romantic and the picaresque, sketches on the road and traditions of
Moorish Spain, are evidently more to his taste than an investigation
of the condition of the people, and an exposure of social sores and
official corruption. His book is a slight but unaffected production,
containing much that has been said before, a little that has not, some
tolerable descriptions of scenery, a number of legends borrowed from
Conde and other chroniclers, and here and there a little personal
incident which may almost pass muster as an adventure. Young Englishmen
of Mr Murray's class and standard of ability, who start on a tour in
Spain, are of course on the look-out for the picturesque, and think
it incumbent on them to embody their experiences and observations in
a book. Such narratives are usually praiseworthy for good feeling
and gentlemanly tone; and indeed would be almost perfect, did they
combine with those qualities the equally desirable ones of vigour and
originality. But doubtless we shall do well to take them as they come,
and be thankful; for it is not every one who has fortitude and courage
to travel for any length of time in the flea-and-robber-ridden land of
Spain. And as we cannot expect to meet every day with a Widdrington,
a Carnarvon, or a Ford, so we must welcome a Murray when he presents
himself, look leniently upon his repetitions, and be grateful if
he occasionally affords us a hint or a text. It is perhaps a pity
that Englishmen do not more frequently turn their steps towards the
Peninsula, instead of pertinaciously pursuing the beaten tracks of
Italy, Switzerland, the Levant; the furthest of which is now within the
leave-of-absence ramble of a desultory guardsman or jaded journalist,
covetous of purer air than Fleet Street or St James's afford. Spain,
we can assure all who are rovingly inclined--and Mr Murray, we are
certain, will corroborate our word--has at least as much to interest
as any of the above regions, and much more than most of them. And
assuredly an influx of British travellers would, by putting piastres
into the pockets of the aborigines, do more than anything else towards
improving roads, towards cleansing ventas of the _chinches_ and other
light cavalry, against whose assaults Mr Murray was fain to cuirass
himself in a flannel bag, towards ameliorating the Iberian cuisine, and
diminishing the numbers and audacity of the knights of the road. For,
as regards the last-named peril, greatly increased by the dispersion
of the republican and Carlist bands, and by the misery prevalent in
the country, Englishmen, if they have the reputation of travelling
with well-filled pockets and portmanteaus, have also that of fighting
stoutly in defence of their property; and if they would make it a rule
to travel two or three together, with light purses, a sharp look-out,
and a revolver a-piece--or, as Mr Murray and his companion did, each
with a double-barrel on his shoulder--they might rest assured there
are not many bands of brigands on Spanish roads bold enough to bid
them, in the classical phrase of those gentry, "_Boca abajo!_" which
means, freely interpreted, "Down in the dust, and _with_ the dust!"
But let the traveller be on his guard against a surprise, and, to
that end, avoid as much as possible all night-travelling, especially
by diligence, which to many may seem the safest, on account of the
society it insures, but which is in reality the most dangerous mode
of journeying, for there the pusillanimous hamper and impede the
resistance contemplated by the bold, and the bravest man can do little
when jammed in amongst screaming women and terrified priests, with a
carbine pointing in at each window of the vehicle. We find Mr Murray
and his friend riding unmolested through an ambuscade where, a couple
of hours later, three _calesas_ full of travellers, including a colonel
in the army, were assailed by no more than three highwaymen, and
deliberately and unresistingly plundered. For the traveller in Spain
there is nothing like the saddle, whether for safety, independence, or
comfort; and as to time, why, if he is short of that, he had better
not visit the country, for there all things go _despacio_, which means
not with despatch but leisurely, and for one "to-day" he will get
twenty "to-morrows," and most of these will never come. And, above
all, let him put no faith in the word police, which, in Spain, is a
mere figure of speech, the thing it indicates never appearing until it
is not wanted; and let him not reckon on an escort, which is rarely
to be obtained even by paying, and on roads notoriously dangerous,
except by tedious formality of application, to which few will have
patience to submit. And even if granted, it usually, as in the case of
the _calesas_ above cited, is either too weak to be useful, or lags
behind, or fairly turns tail. To which prudent course it is more than
suspected that the faithless guards, who are mostly pardoned robbers,
are frequently stimulated by promise of a share of the spoil. Nor are
they, if all tales be true, the only class in Spain whose duty it
is to protect the public, and who foully betray their trust. During
this present year of 1849, cited as so prosperous a one in Spain,
robberies in the capital, and on the roads within a radius of twenty
leagues around it, have been so numerous and audacious, and perpetrated
with such impunity, that the finger of public suspicion has pointed
very high, and the strangest tales--which to English ears would sound
incredible--have been circulated of the collusion of personages whose
rank and position would, in any other country, preclude the idea of
participation, however secret and indirect, in gains so lawless and
iniquitous. But in this, as in many other matters peculiar to the
Peninsula, although the few may be convinced, the many will always
doubt, and proof it is of course scarcely possible to obtain. In so
extensive and thinly peopled a land as Spain, and which has been so
long a prey to civil war and insurrection, security of travelling
in rural districts, and on cross roads, is only to be obtained by
increased cultivation of the soil, and by improving the condition of
the peasantry. But in the capital, and on the roads leading to it,
and in the towns and villages, some degree of law and order might be
expected to prevail. A glance at the Spanish papers, any time for the
last six months, proves the contrary to be the case. Their columns
are filled with accounts of atrocious assassinations and barefaced
robberies in the very streets of Madrid; of diligences stopped, and
travellers plundered and abused; of farmers and others carried off
to the mountains in open day, and detained until ransomed; and with
letters from all parts of the country, complaining of the insecurity
of life and property, and of the sluggishness and inefficiency of the
authorities. Such statements are of course rarely admitted into the
ministerial prints, to read which one would imagine that the very
last malefactor in the country had just fallen into the hands of the
_guardias civiles_, and that a virgin might conduct a gold-laden mule
from Santander to Cadiz, unguarded and unmolested.

[2] _The Cities and Wilds of Andalusia._ By the Honourable R. DUNDAS
MURRAY. London: 1849.

Since the death of Ferdinand, no such opportunity of improving and
regenerating Spain has been afforded to a Spanish ministry, really
solicitous of their country's good, as during the present year. It
opened inauspiciously enough; with an impoverished exchequer, a
ruinously expensive army, Cabrera and ten thousand Carlists in arms
in eastern Spain, and with insurgent bands, of various political
denominations, springing up in Navarre and other provinces. There was
every prospect of a bloody civil war in early spring. But causes,
similar to those which, on former occasions, had frustrated their
efforts, again proved fatal to the hopes of the Carlist party. With
great difficulty, and with little aid beyond that of contributions
levied in Catalonia, Cabrera had subsisted his troops through the
winter. But, when spring approached, money was needed for other
purposes besides mere rations. In the civil wars of Spain, gold has
often been far more efficacious than steel to overcome difficulties
and gain a point. But gold was hard to obtain. Revolutions had raised
its value; and those who possessed it were loath to embark it in
so hazardous a speculation as the restoration of Count Montemolin.
This prince, who, for a Spanish Bourbon, is not deficient in natural
ability, has one unfortunate defect, which more than counterbalances
his good qualities. Infirm of purpose, he is led by a clique of selfish
and unworthy advisers, some of whom--evil counsellors handed down
to him by his father--have retained all the influence they acquired
over him in his childhood. Amidst the petty wranglings and deplorable
indecisions of these men, time wore away. A sum of money (no very large
one) was all that was needed to achieve a great object, which would
at once have multiplied fifty-fold the prestige of the Montemolinist
cause, and have placed vast resources at the disposal of its partisans.
Between the sum required and the advantage certain to be obtained,
the disproportion was enormous. Letter after letter was received from
Cabrera and other promoters of the Montemolinist cause in France and
Spain, urging and imploring that, at any sacrifice, the money should be
procured. But this was beyond the power of the incapable _ojalateros_
who surrounded the young pretender. Without conduct, energy, or
dignity, they had not a single quality calculated to obtain credit
or induce confidence. In all their attempts they miserably failed. At
last, towards the end of March, a rumour was spread abroad that Count
Montemolin was on his way to Catalonia, to head his faithful adherents.
Soon this was confirmed by newspaper paragraphs, and presently came a
romantic account of his arrest on the frontier, when about to enter
Spain. The next news was that of his return to England, which was
almost immediately followed by an article in a London paper, denying
point-blank that he had ever left this country, declaring that the
journey was a hoax, and that the Spanish prince had been arrested by
proxy. And although this article, which was extensively copied by the
press of England and the Continent, elicited an angry contradiction
from a hanger-on of Count Montemolin, yet many persons, of those
most versed in the intricacies of Spanish intrigue, were convinced
that its statements were founded on fact, and that the Count was in
reality secreted in London at the very time he was supposed to be
travelling towards the Pyrenees. And some of his own partisans, who
credited the reality of the journey, declared their conviction from the
first to have been, that he would be betrayed before he got through
France, since by that means only could certain individuals, who dared
not refuse to accompany him, hope to return to the flesh-pots and
security of their London home, and to avoid encountering the perils
and hardships of mountain warfare. The abortive journey or clumsy
hoax, whichever it was, gave the finishing stroke to the Catalonian
insurrection. Cabrera, seeing plainly that nothing was to be hoped
from the feeble and pusillanimous junta of advisers who swayed and
bewildered Count Montemolin by their intrigues and dissensions, found
it necessary, after sending repeated and indignant letters and messages
to London, to abandon a contest which it was impossible for him to
maintain single-handed, and from which many subordinate chiefs, and
a large portion of his troops, had already seceded. His little army
fell to pieces, and he himself fell into the hands of the French
authorities, by whom, after a brief detention, he was allowed to go at
large. The game was now good for General Concha and his fifty thousand
men. The scattering and hunting down of the broken bands of insurgents
was exactly the sort of amusement they liked; a fine pretext for
magnificent bulletins, and the easiest possible way of gaining praise,
honours, and decorations. Before summer came, Catalonia was quiet.
The most vigorous effort made by the Carlists since the Convention of
Bergara; the one offering the best chances of success, and on which the
very last resources of the party, (even, it is said, to a few jewels
and pictures of price--the last relics of princely splendour,) had been
expended; the effort, in short, of whose happy issue such sanguine
expectations were entertained, that some of the leading adherents of
the cause declared that, "if they failed this time, they deserved never
to succeed," had terminated in complete abortion. On the sierras of
Spain not a Carlist cockade was to be seen; in the coffers of the party
not a dollar remained. Many of its most valued members, disgusted by
the weakness of their prince, and by the baseness of his councillors,
withdrew from its ranks, and made their peace with the existing
government. And now the most steadfast well-wishers of Count Montemolin
are compelled to admit, that few contingencies are less probable than
his installation on the Spanish throne.

Delivered from the disquietude and expense of civil war, backed by an
overwhelming majority in the Chambers, and having no longer anything to
fear from that "English influence," of which the organs of Christina
and Louis Philippe had made such a bugbear, the Spanish government,
it was expected, would deem the moment favourable for those reforms
so greatly needed by the country. It was full time, and it was now
quite practicable, to adopt extensive and systematic measures of
retrenchment in the various departments of the administration; to
reduce the army; to regularise and lessen the expense of collecting
the revenue, which, like a crop intrusted to negligent and dishonest
reapers, is wasted and pillaged in the gathering; to encourage
labour and industry; to stimulate private enterprise, to which the
tranquillity of Spain was sure to give a first impetus; to encourage
and co-operate in the formation of roads and canals, so essential
to agriculture, which there languishes for want of them; to give a
death-blow to smuggling by an honest and sweeping reform of the absurd
tariff; and, if they could not give money to the public creditor,
at least to come to a loyal understanding and arrangement with him,
instead of vexatiously deluding him with fair promises, never kept.
Instead of at once, and in good faith, setting about these, and many
other equally requisite reforms, in whose prosecution they would
have been supported by a large number of their present political
opponents; instead of riveting their attention on the internal maladies
and necessities of the country, and striving strenuously for their
cure,--turning a deaf ear to the clamorous voices abroad in Europe,
and thanking heaven that the position and weakness of their country
allowed her to stand aloof from the struggles of her neighbours--what
did the Spanish government? They acted like a needy spendthrift who,
having suddenly come into possession of a little gold, fancies himself
a Croesus, and squanders it in luxurious superfluities. They had
come into possession of a little tranquillity--in Spain a treasure
far rarer and more precious than gold--and, instead of using it for
their necessities, they lavished it abroad. Aping wealthy and powerful
nations, they aspire to interfere in the domestic affairs of others,
before thinking of putting their own house in order. Rome is to be the
scene of their exploits, religion their pretext, the Pope the gainer
by their exertions. From their eagerness in the crusade, it might be
supposed that Rome and the pontiff had some great and peculiar claim
on the gratitude and exertions of Spain; with which country, on the
contrary, ever since the death of Ferdinand of petticoat-making memory,
until quite recently, they have been on the worst possible terms--the
Holy See having openly supported the cause of Don Carlos, refused
the recognition of Isabella, and the investiture of the prelates she
appointed, and played a variety of unfriendly pranks, of no material
consequence, but yet exceedingly painful and galling to the bigoted
portion of the nation, who considered their chances of salvation not
a little compromised, so long as their government was thus in evil
odour and non-communication with the head of the Church. Altogether,
the attitude assumed by Rome towards Spain, since 1833, was most
detrimental to Queen Isabella, because it sent a vast number of priests
(always active and influential partisans) to the side of the Pretender.
Considering these circumstances, when Rome at last, at its own good
time, and in consideration of concessions, and also because it suffered
pecuniarily by the duration of the rupture, again took Spain into
favour, and acknowledged her queen as Most Catholic, Spain, in her
impoverished condition, would surely have sufficiently responded by her
best wishes for the prosperity of the Pope, and for the safety of his
pontifical throne. She might also, if it was desired, have sent that
poetical statesman, M. Martinez de la Rosa, to display his eloquence in
Italian counsels. But Spanish pride, the bigotry of the queen-mother
and her son-in-law, the fanaticism of some, and the hypocrisy of
others, could not be contented with this. Pinched, starved, indebted,
as Spain is, nothing would serve but to despatch to Italy, at heavy
cost, a useless _corps d'armée_. Little enough has it achieved.
The troops have got a bad name by their excesses, and the generals
have been treated slightingly, almost contemptuously, by the French
commanders, who, doubtless, at sight of the half-disciplined Dons, felt
old animosities revive, and thought how much they should prefer a trip
to the Trocadero to this inglorious and unprofitable Italian campaign.
To console General Cordova and his staff, however, for the necessity
of playing second fiddle to the French, they have been praised, and
caressed, and decorated by his Holiness, and by that enlightened
monarch, Ferdinand of Naples; and they have been allowed to send an
aide-de-camp to Barcelona for three nice little Spanish uniforms,
which they are to have the honour of presenting to three nice little
Neapolitan princes. Whilst this popinjay general and his men-at-arms
idle their time, and spend their pay, in Italian quarters, the Moors
besiege and cannonade the Spanish possessions in Africa, within sight
of the Andalusian coast, whence not a soldier is sent to the assistance
of the beleaguered garrisons. A most characteristic sample of "things
of Spain." In this country we are blind to the propriety of leaving
your own barn to be pulled down, whilst you build up your neighbour's
mansion. And, to our matter-of-fact comprehension, it seems dishonest
to waste money in a frivolous foreign expedition, when starving
creditors are knocking at the door. But we are a shop-keeping people,
and it is folly to subject Spanish chivalry to the gauge of such
grovelling, mercantile ideas.

Notwithstanding the draft of troops to Italy, the Spanish government
has ventured to decree an extensive reduction in the army. In view of
the penury of the exchequer, of the total suppression of the Carlist
insurrection, and of the small probability of any fresh outbreak in
a country worn out as Spain is by civil wars and commotions, they
could not, in common decency, avoid some such economical measure. So
a third of the army has been formed into a reserve, which means that
the officers retain their full pay--with the exception of those who
voluntarily exchange from the active army into the reserve, thereby
putting themselves on half-pay--and that the sergeants and privates,
with the exception of a skeleton staff, return to their homes, and no
longer receive pay or rations; but are to hold themselves in readiness,
until the regular expiration of their term of service, to join their
colours when required. From this measure the government anticipates
a great saving, and their partisans hint a million sterling as its
probable amount. But it is a peculiarity of Spanish administration that
the real economy of a change of this kind can never be ascertained,
even approximatively, until it has been for some time in force. By a
strange fatality, the most brilliant theoretical retrenchments crumble
into dust when reduced to practice. This has been so repeatedly
the case in Spain, that we receive such announcements with natural
distrust. In this instance, however, it is impossible to doubt that
there will be a considerable saving, although far less than would at
first sight be expected from the reduction, by nearly one-third, of
an army of 120,000 men. The reduction will _de facto_ be confined to
the soldiers and non-commissioned officers; for, half-pay in Spain
being a wretched pittance, and usually many months in arrear, few
officers are likely to avail themselves of the option afforded them.
With reference to this subject, we shall quote an extract from a
Madrid newspaper, a strenuous opponent of the present government, but
whose statistics we have never found otherwise than trustworthy; and
which, in this case, would hardly venture to mis-state facts so easy
of investigation. "Calculating," says the _Clamor Publico_ of the
30th October 1849, "that the reduction in the active army amounts to
40,000 men, there still remain 80,000, too great a number for a nation
which yields no more than 90,000 electors of deputies to the Cortes;
besides which there should also be reductions in the staff. In Spain
there is a general for every four hundred soldiers--[we believe the
_Clamor_ to be mistaken, and the proportions of generals to be even
larger than here stated;] and although we do not possess any great
magazines of clothing, arms, ammunition and other military stores, our
army is yet the dearest of the whole European continent, as is proved
by the following statement. [A statement follows of the annual cost of
a soldier in the principal Continental services, showing the Spanish
soldier to be the most expensive of all.] From all which we infer that
the economy decreed is by no means that required by the condition of
the treasury, and permitted by our present state of profound peace.
The Spanish nation cannot maintain the immense army with which it is
burdened. Retain, by all means, the artillery, the engineers, the
staff-corps, and the other elements of war which cannot be created at
brief notice. Keep up, on full pay, the framework of officers necessary
to form, at two months' notice, an army of one hundred thousand men
on a war establishment, whenever it may be necessary; but, whilst we
are at peace, restore to agriculture and the arts a portion of the
men now employed in carrying arms." Under the regency of Espartero,
the Spanish army was reduced to 50,000 men, and that when the country
was far less tranquil than at present, when a Moderado junta was
plotting, at Paris, the downfall of the government, and Christina and
Louis Philippe furnished abundant means of corruption. Then such an
army was too small; now it might well be deemed ample for a country
that at most contains thirteen or fourteen millions of inhabitants,
with few fortresses to garrison, few large towns in which to guard
against insurrection, and, above all, with a population that would
evidently rather submit to misgovernment than plunge again into war.
From external foes Spain has nothing to fear; and, even if she had, we
are by no means sure that, paradoxical as it may seem, a reduction in
her army would not be one of the best means of guarding against them.
For retrenchments that would enable her to acquit herself, at least in
part, towards her foreign creditors, would assuredly procure her, in
the hour of need, friends and allies far more efficient in her defence
than her own armies could possibly be. For however prone the Spaniards
as a people are to exaggerate their power and means of self-defence, it
must surely be patent to the sensible portion of the nation that, in
case of aggression from without, they must look for aid to France or
England. And although it will doubtless confirm the opinion of Spanish
Moderados and French Orleanists as to the invariably mercenary motives
of Great Britain, we will not conceal our conviction that the readiness
of this country to succour Spain would be much greater if she were
paying her debt to English bondholders, than if she were still in her
present state of disreputable insolvency. At least we are quite certain
that "the pressure from without" would be materially influenced by such
a consideration. And this reflection naturally leads us to ask in what
position Spain would have found herself, had the projected expedition
from the United States against Cuba taken place and succeeded. The
danger appears at an end for the present; but it may recur, under
the rule of an American president who will not interfere to prevent
the piratical enterprise. As to its chances of success, we find some
striking facts whereon to base an opinion, in a recently published
book on Cuba, the work of an intelligent and practical man, on whose
statements and opinions we are disposed to set a high value.[3] From
Mr Madden's evidence it is quite plain that the Spanish colonial
government is admirably calculated to excite a desire of independence,
or, failing that, of annexation to America, in the breasts of the
people of the Havana; and what is more, that it has already done so,
and that a body of liberators from the States might confidently reckon
on being received with open arms by a very considerable fraction of
the inhabitants. When the mother country is deplorably misruled, it
is not to be expected that the dependencies should be models of good

[3] _The Island of Cuba: its Resources, Progress, and Prospects._ By R.
R. MADDEN, M.R.I.A. London: 1849.

    "In 1812," says Mr Madden, "the constitution being proclaimed
    in Spain, the whole people of the colonies were assimilated
    to the inhabitants of the mother country, with respect to
    representation.... In 1818, the good effects of colonial
    representation were manifested in the successful efforts
    of Señor Arango with the king, Ferdinand VII., for Cuban
    interests. He obtained a royal ordinance from his majesty for
    the abolition of restrictions on Cuban commerce. From this
    epoch, the prosperity of the island may be dated. Instead
    of being a charge to the imperial government, it began to
    remit large sums of money yearly to Spain; instead of having
    authorities and troops paid by the latter, both were henceforth
    paid by Cuba. An army of 25,000 men, sent from Spain in a
    miserable plight, was maintained in Cuba, in a few years
    entirely equipped and clothed, and disciplined in the best
    manner, without costing a real to the Spanish government. From
    1830, the treasury of the Havana, in every embarrassment of
    the home government, furnished Spain with means, and was, in
    fact, a reserved fund for all its pressing emergencies. When
    the civil list failed Queen Christina, Cuba furnished the
    means of defraying the profuse expenditure of the palace. The
    contributions arising from the island formed no small portion,
    indeed, of the riches bequeathed by Ferdinand VII. to his
    rapacious widow, and to his reputed daughters."

In 1841, the same writer says, Cuba yielded a net revenue to Spain of a
million and a quarter sterling, furnished timber and stores largely for
the Spanish navy, and entirely supported the Spanish army in Cuba. From
the amount here stated, deductions had to be made, or else the revenue
has diminished since that date; for Mr Madden subsequently sums up by
saying, that "Cuba produces a revenue of from ten to fifteen millions
of dollars; of this amount, upwards of three millions (£600,000
sterling) are remitted to Madrid; and these three millions of taxes
are paid by a class not exceeding four hundred thousand inhabitants,
of free persons of all complexions." A Spanish writer estimates the
revenue, in 1839, at eleven millions of dollars;[4] and an English
one, who had good opportunities of obtaining information, although
he is sometimes rather loose in his statements, declared, six years
later, that "Cuba contributes fifty millions of reals, or £500,000
sterling, of clear annual revenue to the Spanish crown."[5] From this
concurrent testimony, the sum annually pocketed by the mother country
may be estimated at £500,000 to £600,000 sterling; an important item in
the receipts of the Madrid government--more so, even, from its liquid
and available nature, than from its amount. Moreover the revenues of
Cuba, like the mines of Almaden, are a ready resource as security for a
loan. But how has Spain requited the services of her richest colony? Of
course with gross ingratitude. Strange to say, the equality of rights
sanctioned by the despotic Ferdinand was arbitrarily wrenched from Cuba
by the liberal government that succeeded him.

[4] MARLIANI, ii. 472.

[5] HUGHES' _Revelations of Spain_, ii. 383.

    "The new Spanish constitution shut out the colonists from the
    imperial representation. This most unjust, impolitic, and
    irritating measure affords a fair specimen of the liberality
    and wisdom of Spanish liberalism. It produced a feeling of
    hatred against the mother country that never before existed in
    Cuba. In 1836-7-8-9, [years passed by Mr Madden in the Havana,]
    a general feeling of disaffection pervaded the whole white
    Creole community of Cuba. All the intelligence, education,
    worth, and influence of the white natives of the island (or
    Creoles, as they are there called) was enlisted against the
    government and the sovereign of Spain, and an intense desire
    for independence excited. The old rapacious policy of Spain was
    renewed, of considering every species of Cuban produce as a
    commodity of a distant region, that it was legitimate to burden
    with oppressive taxes."[6]

[6] _The Island of Cuba_, pp. 55-6.

Now, it appears that by one of those strange absurdities which are of
no unfrequent occurrence in Spanish governments, American settlers
in Cuba have been, and still are, exempt from a variety of personal
contributions and other imposts, which the natives have to pay. The
laws of the island forbid the establishment of foreigners in Cuba; and
though the settlement of Americans has been connived at, out of respect
to the laws the settlers were supposed, by a curious fiction, not to
exist. Hence the exemption.

    "This immunity," says Mr Madden, (p. 83,) "drew great numbers
    of settlers to Cuba, from the Southern States of America; so
    that some districts on the northern shores of the island,
    in the vicinity, especially, of Cardenas and Matanzas, have
    more the character of American than Spanish settlements. The
    prosperity of the island has derived no small advantage from
    those numerous American establishments. Improved modes of
    agriculture, of fabrication, of conveyance, were introduced by
    the Americans. Several railways have been made. In the course
    of ten years, no less than ten have been carried into effect.
    At the opening of the first, from Havana to Guines, in 1837,
    I was present. To American enterprise and energy solely, I
    have reason to know, this great undertaking was indebted.
    The loan for it was made in England; but the projectors,
    the share-jobbers, the engineer, and the overseers, were
    Americans.... Cuba, ever since I knew it, has been slowly but
    steadily becoming Americanised. I pestered my superiors with
    my opinions on this subject in 1836-7-8-9. 'Liberavi animam
    meam' might be fairly said by me, if the star-spangled banner
    were floating to-morrow on the Moro Castle, or flaunting in
    the breeze at St Iago de Cuba. In the course of seven years
    a feeling, strongly prevalent in the colony, in favour of
    independence, has been changed into a desire for connexion with
    the United States. It is needless for recent political writers
    on Cuba to deny the existence of a strong feeling of animosity
    to the mother country, and a longing desire for separation.
    From my own intimate knowledge of these facts, I speak of
    their existence. If England could have been induced, in 1837,
    to guarantee the island of Cuba from the intervention of any
    foreign power, the white inhabitants were prepared to throw
    off the Spanish yoke. There was then a Spanish army nominally
    of twenty thousand men in the island, but the actual number of
    native Spaniards in it did not exceed sixteen thousand. The
    leading men of the Creoles had then little apprehensions of the
    result of an effort for independence. A liberal allotment of
    land in the island, for the soldiers who might be disposed to
    join the independent party, was a prospect, it was expected,
    which would suffice to gain over the army.... It is not to
    England, now, that the white natives of Cuba look for aid or
    countenance in any future effort for independence. It is to
    America that they now turn their eyes; and America takes good
    care to respond to the wishes that are secretly expressed in
    those regards."

These are the opinions of a man several years resident in Cuba,
evidently a shrewd observer, and who can hardly be suspected of
misrepresentation on this head; and we do not hesitate to place
confidence in them in preference to the rose-tinted accounts of the
Madrid _Heraldo_, and other official prints, according to which the
present happiness, prosperity, and loyalty of the Havaneros are such
as were never surpassed in the annals of colonies. Mr Madden, we
have seen, is of opinion that the Creoles and resident Americans, if
guaranteed from foreign intervention, are of themselves a match for
Spain, and could throw off her yoke and defy her efforts to reimpose
it. What, then, would be the state of affairs, if three or four
thousand Yankee volunteers, who, by themselves, we suspect, could
give occupation to all the disposable part of the sixteen thousand
Spaniards in garrison, were suddenly to drop upon the Cuban shore, by
preconcerted arrangement with the disaffected? In 1849 this has been
within an ace of occurring; in a future year, not very remote, it
may actually occur. What would Spain do, when news were brought her
that the red-and-yellow banner was replaced by the speckled bunting
of the States? Would she declare war against America, on the strength
of the war-steamers she has been lately building with her creditors'
money? Brother Jonathan, we suspect, would mightily chuckle at the
notion, and immediately seize Puerto Rico, and perhaps make a dash at
the Philippines. But the Spanish government, loud as they can bluster
when sure of impunity, would hardly render themselves so ridiculous.
No; in the hour of their distress they would piteously look abroad
for succour, and turn their discomfited countenance to the old ally
to whom, in their brief day of seeming prosperity, they forgot their
numerous obligations. It is our belief their appeal would not be
made in vain. But although this country, being great and powerful,
could afford to forget its cause of complaint--as a man overlooks the
petulance of a froward child--it would be right and fitting that an
_amende honorable_ should previously be exacted from Spain, and that
humiliation should be inflicted on her arrogant government, for an
insult which, let them mis-state the circumstances as they like, was
far from justified by the alleged provocation. And moreover, before
a move was made, or a note transmitted by the British government
on behalf of Spain-robbed-of-its-Cuba, a solid guarantee should
unquestionably be exacted for an equitable and speedy adjustment of the
claims of the ill-used holders of Spanish bonds.

These gentlemen, roused at last by a long series of neglect and broken
promises to depart from the _suaviter in modo_, and to substitute an
energetic remonstrance for the honeyed and complimentary epistles they
have been wont to address to the president of the Spanish council, are
raising a fund to be employed in the advocacy of their claims by an
agent in Madrid. Although the gradual progress of the subscription
does not bespeak the fund-holders very sanguine in their hopes, they
may rest assured that this is a step in the right direction. Their only
hope is in agitation--in keeping their just and shamefully-neglected
claims before the world, and in such a conjunction of circumstances as
may enable the cabinet of St James's to put on the screw, and compel
the Spanish government to be honest. As to an appeal to arms, however,
it might be justified in equity, and by references to Vatel and other
great authorities, it would hardly be consonant with prudence, or with
the spirit of the times: but other means may be devised; and in the
event of a European war, we can imagine more than one circumstance in
which, as in the case of the seizure of Cuba by America, Spain would
be too happy to subscribe to the just conditions this country might
impose for the settlement of English claims. But there is danger in
delay; and if we are unwilling to believe that Spain is, in the words
of one who knows her well, "irremediably insolvent,"[7] there is no
doubt she must speedily become so, unless some radical change takes
place in the views and system of her rulers. What she needs is an
honest government, composed of men who will make their own advantage
subservient to their country's weal. "My firm conviction," says
Marliani, "is, that when the day comes that men of heart and head shall
seize, with a firm grasp, the rudder of this vessel now abandoned to
the uncertain movement of the political waves, they will take her into
port. Spain is in the best possible position to make a giant's stride
in the path of prosperity. She offers to the foreigner a thousand
honourable and profitable speculations; the application of capital to
public works, to agriculture, to mines, will be an inexhaustible source
of profit."[8] When M. Marliani wrote this, capitalists were more prone
to embark their money in distant speculations than at the present day.
But still the principle holds good; and there can be no question in
the minds of any who have studied Spain, that an honest and moderately
able government is all that is wanted to develop her vast resources,
and enable her to come to an honourable compromise with her creditors,
who, there can be little doubt, would show themselves accommodating, if
they saw evidence of a desire to pay, and had some certainty that, when
they had accepted an arrangement advantageous to Spain, it would not be
broken in a few months, leaving them in worse plight than before. How
this has been repeatedly done was lately clearly exhibited in a letter
addressed by a Spanish bondholder to the _Times_, of which we here
quote a portion:--

[7] FORD'S _Gatherings from Spain_.

[8] _Histoire Politique de l'Espagne Moderne_, ii. 424.

    "Between 1820 and 1831, Spain contracted loans as follows,
    [details given], to the amount of 157,244,210 dollars. And
    on no portion of these loans does Spain now pay interest. In
    1834 there was owing, in interest upon those loans, 49,541,352
    dollars; and the Spanish government then offered, at the
    meeting of bondholders, held at the City of London Tavern,
    to give for all those loans, and the interest upon them, new
    stock, on the following terms:--A new active five per cent
    stock, upon which the interest should be always punctually
    paid, for two-thirds of the capital; a new passive stock for
    the remaining third; and a deferred stock for the overdue
    interest, on condition that they had a new loan of £4,000,000
    sterling. These terms were agreed to, and the conversion
    took place; and there were issued in exchange for the old
    loans and overdue interest, £33,322,890 five per cent active
    stock; £12,696,450 passive stock; and £13,215,672 deferred
    stock. These are the stocks now in the market, in addition
    to the £4,000,000 loan then granted. In two years after this
    transaction, the Spanish government stopped payment again, and
    left the bondholders in the same situation, with one-third of
    their capital cancelled, or made passive stock, which bears no
    coupons, and is, consequently, not entitled to claim interest.
    In 1841, the Spanish government paid the active bondholders
    four years' interest; _i. e._, from 1836 to 1940, in a three
    per cent stock, instead of cash, and which produced the holders
    about four shillings in the pound; (this is the three per cent
    stock now in the English market, on which the interest is

[9] City article of the _Times_, September 14, 1849.

It is not very easy to get at information about the amount of Spanish
debts, accumulated dividends, and so forth; but the above lucid
statement of the liabilities to foreign creditors, combined with
the testimony of other authorities before us, leads to an aggregate
estimate of the whole debt, external and internal, at upwards of one
hundred and twenty millions sterling,--probably at the present time
nearly or quite one hundred and thirty millions, unpaid interest
being added. Without entering into the intricate complications of the
question, we shall not be very wide of the mark in asserting, that less
than three millions sterling per annum, in the shape of dividends,
would constitute an arrangement surpassing the wildest dreams in which,
for a long time past, sane bondholders can possibly have indulged; in
fact that, considering the amount of passive stock, and the concessions
that would willingly be made, it would pay what would pass muster as
the full dividends. An enormous sum for Spain--will be the remark of
many. We beg to differ from this opinion. An enormous sum, certainly,
for a dishonest Spanish government. Charity begins at home in Spain
as much as anywhere; and if people squander their cash in paying
creditors, how shall they enjoy their little comforts and luxuries,
and make up a purse for a rainy day? How shall the royal family of
a poor and insolvent kingdom have a civil list of half a million
sterling, besides crown property and appanages to Infantes?--how shall
Queen Christina and her uncle, the ex-king of the French, be repaid
the sums they lavished to oust Espartero, and to bring about the
infamous Spanish marriages?--how shall the same illustrious lady make
her investments in foreign funds, and add to her hoard of jewellery,
already, it is said, the most valuable in Europe?--how shall Duke
Muñoz play at bulls and bears on the Bolsa, and give millions of
francs for French salt-works?--how shall the Spanish ministers, men
sprung from nothing, and who the other day were penniless, maintain a
sumptuous state and realise princely fortunes?--how, finally, shall
the government exercise such influence at elections as to reduce the
numerous and powerful party opposed to them in the country to utter
numerical insignificance in the legislative assembly, and to fill
every municipal office with their own creatures and adherents? It is
a very singular fact that, although for many years past the revenue
of Spain has been steadily increasing, the annual deficit always
continues about the same. Thus much can be discerned even through the
habitual exaggerations and hocus-pocus of Spanish financial statements.
M. Mendizabal, in his budget for 1837, (in the very heat and fury of
the Carlist war,) showed a deficiency of seven millions sterling, the
revenue then being about £8,700,000 sterling. In 1840, the minister
of finance stated the deficit at £6,800,000 sterling, the revenue
having then risen to upwards of ten millions.[10] And since then the
deficiency has averaged about five millions sterling; and even now,
that Spain is declared so prosperous, will not be rightly stated at
a much lower figure, although finance ministers resort to the most
ingenious devices to prove it much less. But if it is so trifling as
they would have us believe, why do they not pay their dividends? Forced
loans, anticipated imposts, unpaid pensions, and shabby shifts of
every kind, show us how far we are to credit their balance-sheets. One
financier--that very slippery person, Señor Carrasco--actually showed
a surplus--upon paper. "The present revenue," wrote Mr Ford in 1846,
"may be taken at about twelve or thirteen millions sterling. But money
is compared by Spaniards to oil--a little _will_ stick to the fingers
of those who measure it out; and such is the robbing and jobbing, the
official mystification and peculation, that it is difficult to get at
_facts_ when cash is in question." The sum stated, however, is about
the mark, and bears out Lord Clarendon's often-quoted declaration in
the House of Lords, that the Spanish revenue is one-half greater than
it was ever before known to be. Few men have had better opportunities
than Lord Clarendon of acquiring information on the affairs of Spain;
and his well-known friendly feeling towards her present rulers
precludes the suspicion of his giving a higher colouring than the
strictest truth demands to any statement likely to be prejudicial or
unpleasant to them. It is a fact that the revenue is still upon the
increase; and it has augmented, in the last fifteen years, by more than
one-half, for in 1835 it was but seven hundred and fifty-nine millions
of reals, or, in round numbers, £7,600,000 sterling. It certainly seems
strange that, with an increase of revenue of at least four millions,
the decrease of deficit should barely amount to two, although the
country, at the former period, was plunged in a most expensive war,
and had an enormous army on foot; the estimate for the war department
alone, for 1837--according to Mr Mendizabal's budget already quoted,
presented to the Cortes--being upwards of seven and a-half millions
sterling, _or within one million of the total amount of estimated
revenue_. Thus we see that Spain presents the curious phenomenon of an
expenditure augmenting in proportion as the revenue increases. In most
countries the puzzle is the other way; and how, to force the revenue
up to the expenditure, is the knotty point with statesmen. The most
benevolent can hardly help suspecting that some foul play is at the
bottom of this augmentative propensity of Spanish financial outgoings.
But Spain is _par excellence_ the country of itching palms; and in view
of the statements we have here made, and which defy refutation, most
persons will probably agree with a writer already cited, when he says
that, "with common sense and common honesty, much might be done towards
releasing Spain from her financial embarrassments. Perhaps it is not
too much to say, that a vigorous government, capable of enforcing
taxation, might, with integrity and energy, and a forgetfulness
of selfish gains, provide for the interest of every portion of
her debt, and, in the end, pay off the principal.... If Spanish
finance ministers, and the capitalists and sharpers by whom they are
surrounded, could bring themselves to think of their own fortunes less
and of the nation's more, we should hear very little of new foreign
loans. A virtuous native effort is wanted; themselves must strike the
blow! All governments are bound to support their several departments,
and obtain a sufficient revenue; and the administration of Mon and
Narvaez has not the excuse of want of power."[11] This is the language
universally held by all persons acquainted, from actual observation,
with the extent and abuse of Spain's resources. The taxes in Spain
are exceedingly light in proportion to the population, but they are
unfairly distributed, and most iniquitously collected--the state paying
an enormous percentage on most of them, and being besides scandalously
robbed by officials of every grade. But the inequality of taxation in
Spain, which presses (by the threefold means of direct impost, excise,
and exorbitant import duties upon manufactures) especially on the
peasant and agriculturist--crushing the very nerve and right arm of
Spanish prosperity--brings us to the consideration of a recent measure,
from which much good has been predicted, and from which, as we trust
and believe, advantage will ultimately be obtained.

[10] MARLIANI, ii., 430 and 471.

[11] _Revelations of Spain_, 365-6.

An ably conducted French periodical, which acquired considerable
weight under Louis Philippe, from the circumstance that its closing
article expressed, every fifteen days, the views and opinions of the
government, and which, since it ceased to be official, has shown a
strong Orleanist leaning, put forth in a recent number a glowing
statement of the immense advantages to be derived by Spain from the
newly promulgated tariff bill.[12] Prepared by a previous article
in the same review, which had taken for its base, and accepted as
incontrovertible, a tissue of scurrilous and mendacious statements
strung together by a Salamanquino doctor, and notoriously instigated by
a Spanish minister and ambassador, with reference to the suspension of
relations between England and Spain, we were no way surprised to find,
in the discussion of the internal situation of the latter country,
implicit reliance placed on the figures and assumptions of Spanish
financiers, and a most _naïve_ conviction that their showy theories
and projects would be honestly and effectually put in practice. Under
the ingenious one-sidedness and apparent good faith of the writer, it
was not difficult to discern an inspiration derived from Claremont
or the Hotel Sotomayor. The object of the article was to prove that
Spain, relieved from the incubus of English influence, and blessed
with an enlightened and honest government, is rapidly emerging from
her political, social, and financial difficulties; nay, that this
astounding progress is half accomplished, and that the despised land
has already risen many cubits in the European scale. "We ask," says
the writer, after summing up at great length the benefits conferred on
Spain by the Narvaez cabinet--benefits which, for the most part, have
got no further than their project upon paper--"We ask, is not Spain
sufficiently revenged for thirty years of disdain? Would not this Job
of the nations have a right, in its turn, to drop insult upon the
bloody dunghill whereon display themselves these haughty civilisations
of yesterday's date?" Having given this brief specimen of style, we
will now confine ourselves to figures, for most of which the writer in
the _Revue_ appears to be indebted to Mr Mon. The result of his very
plausible calculations is an immediate annual benefit of thirty-four
million francs to the consumers of foreign manufactures, ninety-two
millions to the country at large, in the shape of increased production,
and a clear gain of sixty-three millions to the public treasury. We
heartily desire, for the sake both of Spain and of her creditors, that
this glorious prospect may be realised. If this is to be the result of
what the _Revue des Deux Mondes_ admits to be but a timid step from
the prohibitive to the protective system, what prosperity may not be
prophesied to Spain from further progress in the same path? Nor are
these a tithe of the benefits foretold, and which we refuse ourselves
the pleasure of citing, in order to make room for a few remarks as
to the probable realisation of those already referred to. And first,
we repeat our previous assertion, that in Spain the real benefit of
such a measure as the new tariff can never be rightly estimated till
the law has been for some time in force. There is so much tampering
and corruption in such cases, so many interests and persons must be
satisfied and get their share of the gain, that such reforms, when they
come, often prove very illusory. With respect to the tariff, we will
take no heed of the statements of the Spanish opposition, who denounce
it as a most defective and bungling measure, from which little is to
be expected. In Spain, as much as in any country, the men out of power
will admit little good to be done by those who are in. Neither do we
profess to have digested and formed our own opinion upon the probable
working of a tariff which comprises 1500 articles, (about twice and
a half as many as the British tariff,) and whose complications and
conditions are anything but favourable to its easy comprehension and
appreciation. We can argue, therefore, only from analogy and precedent;
the latter, especially, no unsafe guide with a people so wedded as
the Spaniards to old habits and institutions. The pacific manner in
which the great army of Spanish smugglers have received the tariff,
is a strong argument against its practical value. The _Revue des Deux
Mondes_ estimates the number of smugglers in Spain at sixty thousand.
This is far under the mark; and it is the first time we have known
the Spanish smugglers to be reckoned at less than one hundred and
twenty thousand men, whereas we have seen them rated as high as four
hundred thousand, which, however, could only be explained by including
all those persons in the country who are directly or indirectly
connected with the contraband trade. But the figure is not important.
The principal point, and that which none will dispute, is that the
Peninsular smugglers form a powerful army, including the finest men
in the country, and capable, as we fully believe, if assembled and
with the advantage of a little drill, of soundly thrashing an equal
number of Spanish soldiers, detachments of whom they not unfrequently
do grievously ill-treat. Now how is it, we ask, that this formidable
and generally turbulent body have submitted without an indication of
revolt to the passing of a law which, if the _Revue des Deux Mondes_
is right, will entirely take away their occupation? The self-styled
manufacturers of Catalonia, most of whom are extensive smugglers,
are as acute judges of their own interests as any men in Spain. In
Andalusia, on the Portuguese frontier, in nearly every frontier
province in short, men of wealth, ability, and consideration are at the
head of the contraband traffic. It is not to be supposed that all these
have their eyes shut to the meditated destruction of their interests,
or that they thus tranquilly receive a blow which they believe will be
fatal. It will be remembered by many that when first the new tariff
was seriously brought forward, and appeared likely to become the law
of the land, the Catalan newspapers and other organs of the smuggling
interest were furious in their denunciation of it: alarming rumours
were set abroad, insurrections were talked of, and there seemed a very
pretty chance of a _pronunciamiento_ in favour of prohibitive duties
and contraband trade. But suddenly modifications were talked of, the
publication of the bill was postponed, the storm was allayed and has
not again arisen. There was something so remarkable in this sudden
stilling of the troubled waters, that persons, who are either very
malicious or better versed than their neighbours in the ways of Spain,
did not scruple to assert that there had been buying and selling,
that weighty arguments had been advanced and had prevailed, and that
the result was to be the emasculation of the tariff bill. No trifling
consideration would suffice to clench such a bargain, and doubtless the
concession, if obtained, was well paid for; but what of that? The trade
of a smuggler is the most profitable in Spain, excepting, perhaps, that
of a cabinet minister; and it was worth a sacrifice to retain a traffic
whose profits, the _Revue des Deux Mondes_ assures us, range from 60
to 90 per cent on the value of the cotton tissues introduced, and a
lower percentage on silks, woollens, and other goods, of greater value
in proportion to their bulk, weight, and difficulty of transport. For
this percentage, the master-smuggler receives the goods without the
frontier, and delivers them within, supporting all charges, and running
all risks: it is a premium of insurance, as regularly fixed as that
of any marine risk at Lloyd's. But does the _Revue_ suppose that the
present very high charge for passage will not be materially reduced,
sooner than altogether relinquished? Spanish smuggling requires
capital and stability, on the part of those undertaking it on a large
scale, and is a sort of monopoly in the hands of a certain number of
individuals and companies. These pay the working smugglers (the men
who lift the bales, and drive the mules, and fight the custom-house
officers) a few reals a-day, a few dollars a _run_, and pocket enormous
profits. Amongst themselves, they are leagued to maintain the high
rates of insurance. But now that the custom-house steps into the
field as a competitor, removing prohibition and lowering duties, we
may be well assured the smugglers have lowered theirs; and an inquiry
at Perpignan, Oléron, Mauléon, on the Five Cantons at Bayonne, or
in any other smuggling depot on the Pyrenean frontier, would, we
doubt not, satisfy the _Revue_ of the fact. The Spanish custom-house
must cut lower yet to beat the smuggler. The _Revue_ admits that,
on certain articles of great consumption, (silk,) the difference is
still in favour of the contrabandist, even at the duty of thirty to
forty-five per cent _ad valorem_, fixed by the tariff bill, and at
the old high premium of smuggling insurance. But whilst we insist and
are confident that the latter will be reduced, (and therein find one
reason of the tranquil indifference with which the tariff has been
received by the smuggling population of the Peninsula,) we are by no
means certain that the former has not been considerably raised by the
alterations and modifications that took place in the tariff, between
the date of its passing the chambers and that of its publication by the
government; alterations by which the _ad valorem_ duties imposed on
several important classes of merchandise have been converted into fixed
duties. This change, which may very well prove a juggle brought about
by the golden wand of the smuggling fraternity, at once invalidates
the calculations of the _Revue_, which are all based upon the _ad
valorem_ percentage originally prescribed by the tariff law, and upon
the assumption that the high contraband premiums are immutable and

[12] _Revue des Deux Mondes_, 1^{er} Août 1849.

Setting aside the mere financial consideration of the tariff question;
losing sight, for a while, of the great accession of revenue it is
universally admitted that Spain would derive from an honest and
effectual reduction of her import-duties on manufactures, which
she herself can produce only of inferior quality and at exorbitant
rates; losing sight, also, of the moral obligation there is upon her
to adopt all such measures, not injurious to any great class of the
community,[13] as shall enable her to pay her way, and acquit her
debts to home and foreign creditors,--temporarily averting our view,
we say, from these considerations, we fix it upon others whose weight
none will deny. What are the chief causes to which the major part of
the crime, misery, and degradation prevalent amongst the lower classes
in Spain, is attributed, by all impartial observers of her social
condition? They are three in number. The demoralisation produced
by smuggling; the burdens upon agriculture, and impediments to its
progress; the high prices the peasant is compelled to pay for the
most necessary manufactures. Upon the evil of smuggling we need not
dwell, nor dilate upon the ease of the transition from defrauding the
government to robbing upon the highway, and from shooting a _douanier_
to murdering the traveller who may be so rash as to defend his purse.
By the lower classes in Spain the smuggler is admired and respected,
and his calling is deemed gallant and honourable; by the classes
above him he is tolerated, and often employed. His random, perilous,
fly-by-night manner of life, made up of alternate periods of violent
exertion and excitement, and perfect idleness and relaxation, exactly
suits his taste and temperament: it will be hard to wean him from his
illicit pursuits, though they should so decline in profit as only to
yield him bread, garlic, and tobacco. You must find him occupation
profitable and to his taste before you can reclaim him; for he will not
dig, and would rather rob than beg. Whenever such import-duties are
adopted in Spain as will really stop smuggling, there will undoubtedly
be a great increase of crimes against property, innumerable bands of
robbers will spring up, and probably there will also be risings under
political banners. The present moment is by no means unpropitious for
the experiment. The government of Spain has perhaps the power, but we
doubt that it has the will. We have shown cause for believing that the
recent change will prove delusive, and of small benefit. If we are
mistaken--and it is very difficult to decide beforehand of the result
of Spanish measures--we shall sincerely rejoice.

[13] At the first hint of a project of reform in the tariff, the cry in
Spain, and especially in Catalonia, has invariably been,--"Protection
for our manufactures!" So loud was the clamour, that it might have
been imagined millions of mouths were dependent for bread on the
fabrication of Spanish calicoes. Now, the _Revue des Deux Mondes_
estimates the total number of hands employed in these much-vaunted
cotton manufactures at thirty-one thousand; and even this number we
are induced to believe considerably over-estimated, from minute and
interesting information on the subject we have recently obtained from
an intelligent Spaniard, long resident in Catalonia. And amongst the
manufacturers are a number of Frenchmen, and other foreigners; for, in
fact, Spaniards have little taste for mechanical occupations, and have
too fine a climate not to love the open air. So the "protection," so
violently insisted upon, is for this handful of operatives, who make
bad calicoes at exorbitant prices; or rather, if the truth be told, it
is for the master-manufacturers, most of whom are also master-smugglers.

We have already observed that, whilst the brunt of taxation is borne
in Spain by agriculture, that interest obtains in return scarcely any
of the facilities and encouragements to which it is fairly entitled.
Spain is the rash child that would run before it can walk, and
consequently falls upon its face. She dashes headlong at the greatest
and most costly improvements realised by other countries; forgetting
that she has stood still whilst they moved onwards, and that a wise
man gets a bed to lie upon before troubling himself about a silken
coverlet. In all the arts of life Spain is immeasurably inferior to
most other European nations. In agricultural implements, in carts
and other vehicles of transport, in her methods of elaborating her
products, and her means of carrying them, she is centuries behind
all the world. Vast tracts of her territory are desolate for want of
that irrigation for which modern ingenuity and invention have devised
such great facilities: the broad waters of her mighty rivers, which
in other countries would be alive with traffic and bordered with
villages, are choked and desolate. "The Guadalquivir, navigable in the
time of the Romans as far as Cordova, is now scarcely practicable for
sailing vessels of a moderate size up to Seville."[14] Few are the
boats, scanty the dwellings, upon the green waves and flower-grown
shores of Tagus and Ebro. When these glorious natural arteries are
thus neglected, we need not expect artificial ones. Canals are sadly
wanted, and have been often planned, but they have got no farther than
the want and the project. As to roads, the main lines are good, but
they are few, diverging from the capital to the various frontiers; and
the cross-roads (where there are any,) and the country tracks, are
mostly execrable, and often impassable for wheels. But all this, we are
informed by the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, is on the eve of a thorough
change. "Labour, like credit," says that periodical, in its article on
Spain, "has received a beneficial impulse. The roads are repaired, the
means of water-conveyance are being improved or terminated, railroads
are begun. The creation of a vast system (_ensemble_) of adjacent roads
will soon connect all parts of the territory with these vivifying
arteries." We scarcely know which is most admirable; the cleverness
that contrives to condense so many misstatements into so few words,
or this tone of candour, conviction, and philanthropical exultation.
As regards the impulse given to Spanish credit, it is but a few days
since we read, with some astonishment at the barbarity and impudence of
the plan (emanating though it does from a Spanish finance minister),
the arrangement by which Mr Bravo Murillo, in order to diminish the
acknowledged deficit in the budget for the year 1850, mulcts the army
and state functionaries of a month's pay, and pensioners and half-pay
men of two months' means of subsistence, besides wiping out, in a still
more unceremonious manner, other pressing claims upon the treasury.
The budget itself is a truly curious document. The customs' revenue
is swollen by the supposed profits of the new tariff; the expenses
of the war department are boldly set down at a reduction which must
accord rather with Mr Murillo's wish than with his expectations.
On the debit side figure also the claims of the public creditor,
for much less than is due, certainly, but for far more than will be
paid. The result of the estimate is, as usual, most satisfactory,
or would be so, at least, if there were the slightest chance of its
justification by the actual receipts and expenditure of the year for
which it is made. To return, however, to the improvements and public
works announced by the _Revue des Deux Mondes_. We certainly find in
the budget a sum of about three hundred thousand pounds--something
more than half the involuntary contribution wrung from the unhappy
_employés_ and pensioners--set down to roads, railways, and canals.
Is this magnificent sum to complete the valuable water-communications
and the network of roads promised to expectant Spain? Hardly, even if
applied as appropriated, which little enough of it ever will be. As
to railways, they are certainly _begun_, but that is as much as can
be said. There is a thirty mile railroad open between Barcelona and
Mataro, upon which accidents seem of pretty frequent occurrence; and
that said, we have said all. A good many others have been planned,
involving the most magnificent projects of tunnels through chains
of mountains, viaducts over great rivers, cuttings through dense
forests, and the like; and at some of these there may be attempts at
work, enough to justify demands for funds; but their termination is
altogether another matter in a country where, according to its national
proverb, things are begun late, and never finished. Doubtless it is a
satisfaction to Spanish pride, when it sees other European countries
veined with iron tracks, to be able to talk of Spanish railroads as
things that are not only projected, but begun. A great country like
Spain must not lag behind in the race of improvement, and its natives
would deem themselves humiliated if they did not attempt to have what
England, France, and Germany enjoy. Nothing can escape these ambitious
hidalgos. They have heard of the electric telegraph, and it is easy to
discern, by newspaper paragraphs, that they are agog for the novelty,
although the country has just been put to considerable expense by the
completion and improvement of the aërial semaphores. These work very
well, the _Diario Mercantil_ of Valencia told us the other day; but
fogs are a great nuisance, the electric plan is much better and surer,
and a German company has offered to lay any length of wires at the rate
of two hundred pounds sterling per league; and the _Diario_ trusts the
government will keep the matter in view, and adopt the new system, if
it can be done without obstacles arising from political disturbances,
and from the ignorance and malevolence of the people. If the electric
telegraph were to await the completion of the "vivifying arteries" of
railroad promised by the more sanguine friends of Spain, the German
company would do well to offer its services elsewhere; but evidently
there is some notion of carrying the posts and wires across country,
over sierras and _despoblados_, with boards, no doubt, affixed here
and there, requesting the public, to "protect the telegraph." How long
the posts would stand--how long the wires might escape injury from the
superstitious peasantry, or from robbers and smugglers, interested in
retarding the transmission of their misdeeds, is another question.
Really, to use a popular comparison, the establishment of electric
telegraphs on Spanish soil seems to us about as necessary and sensible
as to affix a gilt handle to the door of a pig-stye. Not that we would,
in any way, assimilate to the unclean beast our friends the Spaniards,
whom we greatly esteem, and desire to see more prosperous: but thus it
is with them ever. They would fain pass over the rudiments, and attain
at a bound that height of civilisation which other nations have reached
only by a toilsome and patient progress.

[14] FORD, p. 26.

The dearness of most manufactured goods in Spain, and especially of the
commonest and, as Englishmen would consider, most essential articles
of clothing, is, we are fully convinced, a grave impediment to the
moral and physical progress of the lower classes of Spaniards. If,
quitting certain frontier districts, where smuggling gains diffuse a
fallacious appearance of prosperity, we penetrate into the interior
of the country, we behold a rural population sunk in filth and sloth,
wrapped in squalid woollen rags, basking listlessly in the sun,
dwelling oftentimes in community with their domestic animals. Yet, give
him but the means, and no man more than this self-same Spanish peasant
loves clean linen and neat attire. If he is dirty and shirtless, and
afflicted with vermin and impurities, it is because he has never had
the means of being otherwise. How can he, out of his scanty earnings,
supply himself with the calico shirt and clean jacket of jean or
flannel which, in the countries of their manufacture, are within the
reach of the poorest labourer, but whose price is trebled, before they
reach him in Spain, by exorbitant smuggling premiums or import-duty,
and by an expensive and defective system of transport. We cannot
agree with those who assert the Spaniard of the lower class to be a
born idler, who will never willingly do more work than procures him
the day's frugal meal. We have too great faith in his natural good
qualities to receive this opinion otherwise than as a calumny. At any
rate, before deciding thus harshly, give him a chance, which he has
never yet had; show him the possibility, which he has never yet seen,
of attaining, by his own exertions, to comfort and respectability; put
the necessaries of life within his reach, which they have never yet
been, and spur him, with his own pride, to cleanliness and industry.
Teach him, in short, self-respect, which he can hardly feel in his
present sunken condition, and, rely upon it, he will make an effort and
take a start.

It is not our intention to dwell upon the recent temporary displacement
of the Narvaez ministry, at the very moment when its stability and
power seemed most assured, when the exultation of its partisans was the
loudest, and the subjection of the nation most complete. The singular
manner of the change, the ignoble agents by whom it was immediately
effected, the obscurity and inaptitude of the individuals who for a
moment made their apparition at the helm, to be at the next thrown
overboard; the strangely heedless and inconsistent conduct of the
young Queen, and the ambiguous attitude of her mother, have found
abundant commentators, and the whole episode has been wittily and not
unjustly compared to one of those old Spanish comedies based on a
palace intrigue. We cannot, however, admit that the entire glory of the
curious and abortive plot belongs to the apostolical _camarilla_ which
is alleged to exist in the palace, and to consist, amongst others,
of the feeble and bigoted king-consort, of a fanatical confessor, a
hysterical nun, a jesuitical secretary, and others of similar stamp.
Time will probably dissipate part of the mystery that now envelops
the affair; but, even now, those accustomed to watch the show will
have shrewd suspicious whose are the hands that pulled the wires and
made the dull puppets dance. The hands showed little skill, it will
perhaps be urged, in the selection and manoeuvring of the dolls.
This objection will hardly stand. When a juggler misses his trick, it
is still something if he hides his arm from his audience. And as to
the incapacity of the agents, they were probably not employed until
others, abler but less docile, had refused to act. We entertain little
doubt in what quarter the attempt was fostered--perhaps concerted.
Notwithstanding the outward cordiality of the French and Spanish
governments, it is notorious that the old alliance between Queen
Christina and a lately deposed monarch still exists, for the attainment
of objects dear to both their hearts. In what manner these objects were
to be advanced by the recent shuffle of the Spanish political cards,
is not at first sight apparent. But we entertain scarcely the shadow
of a doubt, that the arch-plotter whose influence has more than once
wrought evil to Spain, had a hand in the game. We would be the last to
press hardly upon the fallen. Did we feel tempted so to do, we should
truly feel ourselves rebuked by the noble example of that illustrious
Lady, who has forgotten the treachery of the king in the sorrows of
the exile, and has extended that sympathy and kindness to the dweller
in the English cottage, which she could not have been expected again
to show to the inmate of the French palace. We are guarded, then, in
the expression of our regret, that one who, by the pursuit of purely
personal objects, has been the cause of great calamities to his native
land, should still indulge his dynastic ambition at the expense of the
tranquillity of another country, previously indebted to him for much
discord and misery. And we deem it a painful sight when a man whose
years already exceed the average span of human existence is still
engrossed by plans of unscrupulous aggrandisement, still busied with
Machiavelian intrigues, still absorbed in the baser things of earth,
instead of addressing himself to considerations of higher import,
earning by his virtues in adversity that respect refused to his conduct
in prosperity, and passing the last days of his life--the posthumous
ones of his royalty--resigned, revered, and beloved, like one who
preceded him on his throne and in his banishment, and whose name was on
his lips in the hour of his fall.



"Well, ma'am," continued the naval man, on again resuming his
narrative, "as I told you, the sudden hail of 'Land!' brought us all
on deck in a twinkling, in the midst of my ticklish conversation with
the Judge." "Hallo! you aloft!" shouted the chief officer himself, "d'ye
hear, sirrah! use your eyes before hailing the deck!" "Land, sir!" came
falling down again out of the sunlight; "land it is, sir,--broad away
on our larboard bow, sir."

By this time it was about half-past nine, or ten o'clock, of the
morning. Heading nearly due south-east, as we now were, the Indiaman's
bowsprit ran up into the full white blaze of light, in which her flying
jib-boom seemed to quiver and writhe far away from her like an eel in
water; while the spread of her sails against it loomed twice as large
as ordinary, from the sort of hazy double-edged look they had, with
a twinkling thread of sun drawing all round them like a frame, as
if one saw through a wrong-screwed glass. You'd have thought by the
glance under the fore-course, over the ship's head-gratings, she was
travelling off quietly into some no-man's-land or other, where it would
be so bright we should all have to wear green spectacles: the light
breeze being almost direct from nor'west, and so fairly in her favour,
with the help of her studding-sails she was making wonderful progress
for such a mere breath--about four knots to the hour, as I reckoned.
The air aloft appeared in the mean time to be steadying and sucking,
though the water kept smooth, and her bows scarce made a noise in it:
the wide soft swells of the sea just floated up of a pale blue, and
lifted her on, till she went seething gently down into it again; only,
if you put your head over the starboard side, and listened, you thought
you heard a sort of dull poppling ripple coming along the bends from
round her counter. As for the line of horizon on one bow or the other,
'twas hardly to be made out at all, with a streaky white haze overlying
it, up in the sky as it were, on both sides, behind the dazzle of
light. However, the passengers were fancying all kinds of fine tropical
matters lay hidden thereaway; and in fact, what with the notion of land
after a long voyage, and what with the faint specks of bright cloud
that seemed to be melting far off in the glare--to anyone last from
Gravesend, that had never seen anything stranger than Richmond Hill
of a Sunday, the whole thing ahead of the ship would have rather an
enchanted sort of a look. At length the third mate was seen to shove
his spy-glass together in the top-gallant cross-trees, and came slowly
down the rigging. "Well, Mr Rickett?" said the chief officer, meeting
him as he landed on deck. "Well, sir," said Rickett, "it _is_ land
after all, Mr Finch!" The mate rapped out an oath, and took another
turn: Macleod screwed his mouth as if he were going to whistle, then
pulled his red whiskers instead, and looked queer at Rickett; while
Rickett stood peering into his spy-glass as he would have done into his
hat, had he still been a foremast-man. The mate's eye met his, then
turned to the passengers leaning over the poop-railing; and they all
three walked to the capstan, where they began to overhaul the charts,
and laid their heads together out of earshot.

Now, whether this said land just made out on the north-east, trended
away back to south-east, as the clearer look of the horizon to
starboard made one think, it was hard to say--though in _that_ way of
it, there were _seemingly_ two plans for widening her distance. Either
Finch might think it better to keep hold of a fair wind, and just
edge her off enough to drop the point on her weather quarter--when,
of course, if things stood as they were, we should soon set a good
stretch of water betwixt us and the coast; or else they might brace
direct round on the other tack, and head right south-west'ard, out to
sea again: though if we were still _in_ it, the current would set us
every bit as much in its own direction as ever. Accordingly I sidled
nearer to the capstan, and watched anxiously for what the third mate
had to propose, after humming and hawing a little, and scratching his
head under his cap for half a minute. "At any rate, Mr Finch, sir,"
said he, "more especially the captain being off charge, I may say, why,
I'd advise ye, sir, to ----." Here he dropped his voice; but Finch
apparently agreed to what he said.

"Ready about ship there!" said the second mate aloud to the boatswain
forward; and in ten minutes afterwards the Seringapatam was fairly
round, as I had expected, heading at a right angle to her former
course, with the breeze before her starboard beam, and the sun blazing
on the other. I walked forward to the bows, and actually started to
hear how loud and clear the ripple had got under them of a sudden;
meeting her with a plash, as if she were making six or seven knots
headway, while the canvass seemed to draw so much stiffer aloft, you'd
have supposed the breeze had freshened as soon as the helm was put
down. The mates looked over the side and aloft, rubbing their hands
and smiling to each other, as much as to say how fast she was hauling
off the bad neighbourhood she was in, though the heat was as great as
ever, and you didn't feel a breath more air below, nor see the water
ruffle. To _my_ notion, in fact, it was just the set of the current
against her that seemingly freshened her way, the ship being now direct
in its teeth; so that, of course, it would keep bearing her up all the
time away north-eastward, with her own leeway to help it; and the less
could any one notice the difference betwixt the water going past her
side, and _her_ passing the water. This tack of hers, which Rickett, no
doubt, thought such a safe plan, might be the very one to put her in a
really dangerous way yet; for when they did discover this under-tow,
how were they to take her out of it, after all? Probably by trying to
stand fair across the stream of it to southward, which, without three
times the wind we had, would at best take us out many miles nearer the
land it set upon, or leave us perhaps becalmed in the midst of it.

The truth was, that although I hadn't seen what like the land was, and
couldn't have said, by the chart, _where_ we were, I began to have a
faint notion of whereabouts we possibly soon might be, from what I
remembered hearing an old quartermaster in the Iris say, a couple of
years before, regarding a particular spot on the south-west coast,
where the currents at some seasons, as he phrased it, made a regular
race-course meeting. The old fellow gave me also, at the time, some
bearings of the nearest coast, with the landmarks at the mouth of a
river a little farther north--which, he said, he would know if you
set him down there of a dark night, though he had been in his bed at
Gosport the minute before, if there was just a right streak of sky to
the eastward--namely, a big black rock like two steps, and a block at
the foot of them, somewhat the shape of a chipped holy-stone, running
down on one side out of a high headland, like an admiral's cocked
hat, with six mop-headed trees upon the root of the rock, for all the
world like hairs on a wart. Here I recollected how my worthy authority
pointed modestly for example to a case of the kind on his own nose.
The opposite shore of its mouth was flat, with a heavy white surf; but
it shut in so far upon the other, he said, that, steering from the
south'ard, one would never know there was a river there at all. The
Bambar he called it; but if he meant the Bembarooghe, we could scarcely
be near _it_, or that much toward being abreast of St Helena. For all I
saw, indeed, we might have nothing to eastward of us save a hard coast,
or else the sandy coast farther down, shoaling out of sight of land! At
any rate I knew we must have got into the tail of the great sea-stream
from round the Cape of Good Hope, which would, no doubt, split out at
sea on Viana's Bank, and turn partly to north-eastward thereabouts; so
that it wasn't a very bad guess to suppose we were getting up somewhere
near Cape Frio, the likeliest place in the world to find old Bob
Martin's "maze," which we used to joke about so in the Iris.

What was done, though, required to be done quickly, and I looked
about for Tom Westwood, till I saw him on the poop amongst the rest,
talking again to Miss Hyde, as they all crowded towards the lee-quarter
to watch the land-haze seemingly dropping stern. My heart swelled
as it were into my throat, however, at such an appearance of good
understanding betwixt the two,--whereas there was _she_, an hour ago
that very morning, would scarce favour me with a look or a word!--and,
for the life of me, I couldn't have spoken to Westwood at the time,
much less gone hand in hand; for that matter, he didn't seem to be
suspecting aught wrong to trouble himself about. What to say or do,
either, I couldn't think; since the more he cut me out, and the less
friendly I felt to him, the less could I risk the chance of showing
us both up for what we _were_,--which, of course, would bring him in
for the worst of it; as if _I_, by Jove, were, going to serve him
some low trick for the sake of shoving _him_ out with the young lady.
Meantime I kept fidgeting about, as if the deck were too hot for me,
snatching a glance now and then, in spite of myself, at Violet Hyde's
fairy-like figure; so different from the rest of them, as she stretched
eagerly from below the awning over the ship's quarter-gallery, trying
to make out where the land lay,--now putting her little hand over her
eyes to see better, then covering them altogether from the dazzle,
as she drew in her head again and shook her bright brown hair in the
shadow, answering Westwood--confound him! The Indian servant each time
carefully poking out the red and yellow punkah-fringe for a cover over
her, while the passengers were one and all ready to cry at not seeing
the land, and leaving it behind. The Judge himself was the only man
that seemed to have a dim notion of something queer in the whole case;
for every few minutes he walked quietly to the break of the poop, where
I noticed him cast a doubtful look down upon the "chief officer;" and
when the surgeon came up, he asked anxiously how Captain Williamson
was, and if he couldn't be seen below. However, the surgeon told him
the captain had just fallen for the first time into a good sleep, and
there was no admittance, but he was likely to be much better soon.

By this time there was no standing out from under the awnings, and the
quarterdeck and poop had to be well swabbed to keep them at all cool,
the steam of it rising inside with a pitchy hempen sort of smell you
never feel save in the Tropics; the Seringapatam still feeling the
breeze aloft, and lifting on the water with a ripple forward, although
her big courses went lapping fore and aft every time she swung. The
long white haze on the horizon began to melt as the sun heightened,
clearing from under the wake of the light, till now you could fairly
see the sky to eastward. Near noon, in fact, we had almost dropped the
haze altogether on the ship's quarter; and at first I was glad to see
how much way she had made in the two hours, when, on second thoughts,
and by noticing some marks in the loom of it, I had no doubt but though
she might be farther off, why it was only while she set more up to
north-eastward,--so that we were actually, so to speak, leaving it by
getting nearer! However, as the men were at dinner, and most of the
passengers gone off the poop, down to "tiffin," I made up my mind to
try what I could do in a quiet way towards making the mate think of it
more seriously.

"Ah," said I, in a would-be brisk and confidential kind of way, "glad
we're leaving that--a--you know, that land, Mr Finch." "Indeed, sir,"
said he indifferently. "Oh, you know," said I, "it's all very well
for the _passengers_ there to talk fine about land--land--but you and
I, Mr Finch, don't need to be told that it's always dangerous at sea,
you know." The mate lifted his head and eyed me for a moment or two,
between the disgust a sailor feels at seeing a fellow pretend to aught
like seamanship, and a particular sort of spite toward me which I'd
noticed growing in him for the last few days,--though I daresay my
breakfasting that morning in Sir Charles's cabin might have brought it
to a height.

"Land dangerous, sir!" answered he carelessly, as he went on wiping
his quadrant again; "who put _that_ into your head?" "Oh, well,"
returned I, just as carelessly, "if it's to leeward of course,--or with
a current taking you towards it,--only then. But I've no doubt, Mr
Finch, if this wind _were_ to--ah--you know, heave more abaft, that's
to say, get stronger, the craft would at least stand still, till you
got her--" "What on earth _are_ you talking about, Mr Ford--Collins,
I mean?" asked he sharply. "Really, sir, I've got something more to
attend to at present, than such trash about a current, and the devil
knows what else!" "How, why, Mr Finch!" said I, seemingly surprised in
my turn, "_are_ we not in a current just now, then?" "Current!" replied
Finch, almost laughing outright, "what _does_ the man mean?" "Why every
one thinks so, in the cuddy," said I, as if rather taken aback, and
venturing what you fair ladies call a 'fib,'--"ever since we picked up
the bottle last night." This, by the bye, had got spread through some
of the men to the passengers, though, of course, nobody knew what had
been in it yet. "_There_, I declare now," continued I, pointing to our
lee-bow, where I'd had my eyes fixed during the five minutes we spoke,
"we can try it again; do you see that bird yonder on the water?" The
mate turned his head impatiently, and "Look, watch him, sir," said I.
This was a tired man-o'-war bird afloat about twenty fathoms off, with
its sharp white wings stretched just clear of the water, and its black
eye sparkling in the sunlight, as it came dipping on the long smooth
hot-blue swell into the lee of the ship's lofty hull, till you saw its
very shadow in the glitter below it. The Indiaman seemed to pass him as
if he rode there at anchor; only the curious thing was, that the bird
apparently neared her up from leeward, crossing her larboard quarter
within a fathom or two, when all of a sudden he got becalmed, as it
were, in the wake right astern, and by the time either of us could walk
to the ship's taffrail, she was close over him; as if, whenever her
hull was end-on, it took his surface-drift away from him, and, what
was more, as if the _ship_ kept hold of it--her eighteen feet or so to
his little inch of a draught--for it couldn't be owing to the wind.
However, the man-o'-war bird took offer of the next swell to get air in
his wings, and rose off the heave of it with a sharp bit of a scream,
away after some black boobies diving for fish, which no doubt he would
catch, as they dropped them at sight of him.

The mate upon this started and looked round, then aloft. "Confound
it!" said he to himself, "if this breeze would only freshen! There
_is_ a sort of set on the surface just now," continued he to me,
coolly enough, "though how you idlers happened to have an idea of it,
puzzles me, unless because you've nothing else to do but watch the
water. Currents are pretty frequent hereabouts, however." "Dear me!"
said I, "but if we should should--" "Stuff, sir!" said he quickly,
"the coast here must be steep-to enough, I should think, since if it
weren't for the haze, we'd have sighted it thirty miles off! What we
want is wind--wind, to let's cross it." "But then a calm, Mr Finch,"
I said; "I'm hanged afraid of those calms!" "Well, well, sir," said
he, not liking just to shake me off at once, after my proving less
of a ninny in sea matters than he had supposed, "these long currents
never set right ashore: even if we lose the wind, as we may soon, why,
she'll take off into the eddy seaward, sir, if you _must_ know,--the
dead-water in-shore, and the ebb-tide, always give it a safe turn!" All
this, of course, was as much to satisfy himself as me. "Well, that's
delightful!" said I, as if quite contented, and Mr Finch walked away
hastily down one of the poop-ladders, no doubt glad to get rid of me
in a decent manner, though I saw him next minute glancing in at the
compass-boxes. "Keep her up to her course, sirrah; luff, d'ye hear!"
said he to Jacobs, who was, perhaps, the best helmsman aboard. "She
falls off tremendous bad, sir," answered Jacobs, with another whirl
of the spokes; her want of actual headway making the Indiaman _sag_
dead away to leeward, as she shoved into the force of the sea-stream,
running more and more direct upon her starboard bow. One minute the
courses would sink in with a long sighing fall to the lower-masts,
the next her topsails would flutter almost aback, and the heat even
in the shadow of her awnings was extreme, yet she still seemed to
have a breeze through the white glare aloft. I was determined to
bring things to a point somehow or another, so I followed the mate
down the steps. "Oh, by the bye, Mr Finch!" said I eagerly, "suppose
one of those dreadful--what do you call 'em--ah, tornadoes--were to
come on! I understand this is just the way, near Africa--baffling
breeze--heat suffocating--hazy atmosphere--long swell--and current
rising to the surface!" At this Finch stood up in a perfect fury. "What
the devil d'ye mean, sir," said he, "by dodging me about the decks
in this fashion, with these infernally foolish questions of yours?"
"Oh, my fine fellow," thought I, "you shall settle with me for that."
"Tornadoes never blow hereabouts, except off-shore, if you _must_ know,
sir!" he rapped out, sticking his hands in his jacket-pockets as he
said so, and taking a turn on the quarterdeck. "That's quite a mistake,
I assure you, sir!" said I, carried away with the spirit of the thing:
"I've seen the contrary fifty times over, and, from the look of the
sky aloft just now, I'd bet"----here I stopped, recollected myself,
put the top of my cane in my mouth, and peered under the awning at the
sea with my eyes half-shut, as sleepily as usual with my messmates the
cadets. The chief officer, however, stepped back in surprise, eyed me
sharply, and seemed struck with a sudden thought. "Why, sir," said he
rather anxiously, "who may--what can _you_ know of the matter?" "Pooh!"
replied I, seeing some of the passengers were coming on deck, "I'm only
of an inquiring turn of mind! You seafaring persons, Mr Finch, think
we can't get any of that kind of knowledge on land; but if you look
into Johnson's Dictionary, why, you'll find the whole thing under the
word Tornado: 'twas one of the pieces I'd to get by heart before they'd
admit me into our yacht-club--along with Falconer's _Shipwreck_, you
know!" "Indeed!" said the mate, slowly, with a curl of his lip, and
overhauling me from head to foot and up again; "ah, indeed! That was
the way, was it, sir?" I saw 'twas no use. I dare say he caught the
twinkle in my eye; while Jacob's face, behind him, was like the knocker
on a door with trying to screw it tight over his quid, and stuffing the
knot of his neckerchief in his mouth.

"Of course, sir," answered I, letting my voice fall; "and the long
and the short of it is, Mr Finch, the sooner you get your ship out of
this current the better! And what's more, sir, I daresay I could tell
you _how_!" Whether he was waiting for what I'd to say, or thinking of
something just occurred to him, but Finch still gazed steadily at me,
without saying a word; so I went on. "You must know I had an old uncle
who was long in his Majesty's royal navy, and if there was one point
he was crazy upon, 'twas just this very matter of currents--though,
for my part, Mr Finch, I really never understood what he meant till
I made a voyage. He used to tell my mother, poor woman,--who always
fancied they had somewhat to do with puddings,--that he'd seen no less
than half-a-dozen ships go on shore, owing to currents. Now, Jane,
he'd say, when you're fairly in a current, never you try to cross out
of it, as folks often do, _against_ the run of it, for in that case,
unless the wind's strong enough, why, instead of striking the eddy to
take your craft right off-shore, it'll just set you over and over to
the _inside_. You'll cross, in the end, no doubt--but ten to one it's
exactly where the water begins to shoal; whereas, the right plan's
as simple as daylight, and that's why so few know it! Look ye, he'd
say, always you cross _with_ the stream--no matter though your head
seems to make landward; why, the fact is, it'll just set you outside
of itself, clear into its own bight, when you can run off to seaward
with the eddy, if ye choose. _That's_ the way to cross a current, my
uncle used to say, provided you've but a light wind for handling her
with! Now, Mr Finch," added I, coolly, and still mouthing my stick as
before--for I couldn't help wishing to give the conceited fellow a
rub, while I lent him a hint--"for my own part, I can't know much of
these things, but it _does_ seem to me as if my uncle's notions pretty
well suited the case in hand!" Finch was too much of a fair seaman
not to catch my drift at once, but in too great a passion to own it
at the time. "D'ye think, sir," said he, with a face like fire, "so
much sense as there is in this long rigmarole of yours, that I'm such
a--that's to say, that I didn't know it before, sir? But what I've
got to do with _you_, Mr Collinson, or whatever your name may be--you
may have been at sea twenty years, for aught I care--but I'd like to
know _why_ you come aboard here, and give yourself out for as raw a
greenhorn as ever touched ropes with a kid glove?" "Well, Mr Finch,"
said I, "and what's that to you, if I choose to be as green as the
North Sea whaling-ground?" "Why, sir," said Finch, working himself up,
"you're devilish cunning, no doubt, but perhaps you're not aware that a
passenger under a false rig, in an Indiaman, may be clapped in limbo,
if the captain thinks fit? Who and what are you, I ask?--some runaway
master's mate, I suppose, unless you've got something deeper in hand!
Perhaps," ended he, with a sneer, "a pickpocket in disguise?" "Sir,"
said I, getting up off the bulwark I'd been leaning upon, "at _present_
I choose to be a cadet, but, at any rate, you shall make an apology for
what you said just now, sir!" "Apology!" said the mate, turning on his
heel, "I shan't do anything of the sort! You may be thankful, in the
mean time, if I don't have you locked up below, that's all! Perhaps, by
the bye, sir, all you wanted was to show off your seamanship before the
young lady in the round-house there?" Here the glance the fellow gave
me was enough to show he knew pretty well, all the while, what we were
matched against each other for.

I could stand this no longer, of course; but, seeing that one or two
of the passengers were noticing us from the poop, I looked as polite
as possible to do when you've lost your temper; and, in fact, the
whole disappointment of this hair-brained cruise of mine--not to speak
of a few things one had to stand--carried me away at the moment.
There was no scheme I wouldn't rather have been suspected of, by this
time, than the real one--namely, having gone in chase of Violet Hyde.
I took a card out of my pocket, and handed it quietly to Mr Finch.
"You don't seem able to name me, sir," said I: "however, I give you
my word, you may trust that bit of pasteboard for it; and as I take
you to be a gentleman by your place in this ship, why, I shall expect
the satisfaction one gentleman should give another, the first time we
get ashore, although it _should_ be to-morrow morning!" And by Jove!
thought I, I hope I'm done with the cursedest foolish trick ever a
fellow played himself! The man that ventures to call me _green_ again,
or look at me as if he wanted to cool his eyes, hang me if he shan't
answer for it! As for a woman, thought I--but oh, those two blue eyes
yonder--confound it! as I caught sight of a white muslin skirt in
the shade of the poop-awning above. I must say, for Finch, he took
my last move coolly enough, turning round to give me another look,
after glancing at the card. "Indeed!" said he, as if rather surprised;
"well, sir, I'm your man for _that_, though it can't be just so soon
as to-morrow morning! A Company's officer may meet a lieutenant in the
navy any time--ay, and take his ship of the land too, I hope, sir!"
and with that he walked of forward. Lieutenant! said I to myself;
how did he give me my commission so pat, I wonder? and I pulled out
another card, when I found, to my great annoyance, that, in my hurry
that morning, I had happened to put on a coat of Westwood's by mistake,
and, instead of plain "Mr Collins," they were all "Lieutenant Westwood,
R.N." Here's another confounded mess! thought I, and all will be blown
in the end! However, on second thoughts, the notion struck me, that,
by sticking to the name, as I must do _now_ at any rate, why, I should
keep Westwood clear of all scrapes, which, in _his_ case, might be
disagreeable enough; whereas, at present, he was known only as the
Reverend Mr Thomas--and, as for _his_ either shamming the griffin, or
giving hints how to work the ship, he was one of those men you'd scarce
know for a sailor, by aught in his manner, at least; and, indeed, Tom
Westwood always seemed to need a whole frigate's ways about him, with
perhaps somewhat of a stir, to show what he really was.

Five minutes or so after this, it didn't certainly surprise me much
to see the Indiaman laid on the opposite tack, with her head actually
north-by-east, or within a few points of where the light haze faded
into the sky; the mate seeming by this time to see the matter clearly,
and quietly making his own of it. The ship began to stand over towards
the outer set of the current, which could now be seen rippling along
here and there to the surface, as the breeze fell slowly: you heard
nothing save the faint plash of it astern under one counter, the
wafting and rustling of her large main-course above the awnings, for
she was covered over like a caravan,--the slight flap of her jibs far
ahead on the bowsprit startled you now and then as distinctly as if
you got a fillip on your own nose; the stunsail, high up beside the
weather-leech of her fore-topsail, hung slack over the boom, and one
felt each useless jolt of the wheel like a foot-slip in loose sand
when you want to run,--all betwixt the lazy, listless voices of the
passengers, dropping and dropping as separate as the last sands in an
hour-glass. Still every minute of air aloft helped her nearer to where
you saw the water winding about the horizon in long swathes, as it
were, bluer than the rest, and swelling brim-full, so to speak, out
of a line of light; with the long dents and bits of ripple here and
there creeping towards it, till the whole round of the surface, as
far as you could see, came out into the smooth, like the wrinkles on
a nutmeg. Four bells of the afternoon watch had struck--two o'clock
that is--when Rickett the third mate, and one or two men, went out to
the arm of the spritsail-yard across the bowsprit, where they lowered
away a heavy pitch-pot with a long strip of yellow bunting made fast to
it, and weighted a little at the loose end, to mark the _set_ of the
current: and as the pot sank away out on her larboard bow, one could
see the bright-coloured rag deep down through the clear blue-water,
streaming almost fairly _north_. She appeared to be nearing the turn
of the eddy, and the chief officer's spirits began to rise: Rickett
screwed one eye close, and looked out under his horny palm with the
other, doubtful, as he said, that we should "sight the land off-deck
before that. As for this trifle of an air aloft, sir," said he, "I'm
afraid we won't"--"Hoot, Mr Reckett," put in Macleod, stepping one of
his long trowser-legs down from over the quarterdeck awning, like an
ostrich that had been aloft, "ye're aye afraid; but it's not easy to
see, aloft, Mr Fench, sir." "How does the land lie _now_, Mr Macleod?"
asked the first officer. "Well, I wouldn't wonder but we soon dropped
it, sir--that's to _east'ard_, I mean," replied he; "though it's what
we call a bit mountainous, in Scotland--not that unlike the Grampians,
Mr Fench, ye know!" "Hang your Grampians, man!--what's _ahead_ of us,
eh?" said the mate hastily. "Why, sir," said the Scotchman, "there _is_
some more of it on the nor'east, lower a good deal--it's just flush
with the water from here, at present, Mr Fench--with a peak or two,
trending away too'ard north; but the light yonder on our starboard bow
makes them hard for to see, I may say."

In fact, some of the men forward were making it out already on the
starboard bow, where you soon could see the faint ragged shape of a
headland coming out, as it were, of the dazzle beyond the water, which
lay flickering and heaving between, from deep-blue far away into pale;
while almost at the same time, on her starboard quarter, where there
was less of the light, another outline was to be seen looming like
pretty high land, though still fainter than the first. As for the space
betwixt them, for aught one could distinguish as yet, there might be
nothing _there_ except air and water over against the ship's side.
"Well," said the mate briskly, after a little, "we're pretty sure,
_now_, to have the land-breeze to give us sea-room, before two or three
hours are over,--by which time, I hope, we'll be in the eddy of this
infernal current, at any rate!" However, I was scarce sure he didn't
begin to doubt the plan I'd given him; whereas had he known the whole
case in time, and done the thing _then_, it was certain enough,--and
the best thing he could do, even as it was: but what troubled me now,
why, suppose anything happened to the ship, mightn't he turn the tables
on me after all, and say I had some bad design in it? I loitered about
with my arms folded, saying never a word, but watching the whole affair
keener than I ever did one of Shakspeare's plays in the theatre after
a dull cruise; not a thing in sea, sky, or Indiaman, from the ripples
far off on the water to ugly Harry hauling taut the jib-sheet with his
chums, but somehow or other they seemed all to sink _into_ me at the
time, as if they'd all got to come _out_ again strong. You hardly knew
_when_ the ship lost the last breath of air aloft, till, from stealing
through the smooth water, she came apparently to a stand-still,
everything spread broad out, not even a flap in the canvass, almost, it
had fallen a dead calm so gradually.

However _my_ troubles weren't seemingly over yet, for just then up came
the Judge's dark kitmagar to the gangway where I was, and, from the sly
impudence of the fellow's manner, I at once fancied there was something
particular in the wind, as if he'd been seeking me about-decks.
"S'laam, mistree!" said he, with but a slight duck of his flat brown
turban, "Judge sahib i-send Culley Mistree his chupprass,"--_message_,
forsooth!--"sah'b inquire the flavour of gentlyman's Ees-Inchee
Coompanee, two-three moment!" "The flavour of my East-India company,
you rascal!" said I laughing, yet inclined to kick him aft again for
his impertinent look; "speak for yourself, if you please!" In fact
the whiff of cocoa-nut oil, and other dark perfumes about him, came
out in a hot calm at sea, when everything sickens one, so as to need
no inquiry about the matter: however, I walked straight aft to the
round-house, and in at the open door, through which Sir Charles was to
be seen pacing from one side of his cabin to the other, like a Bengal
tiger in a cage. "Harkye, young man," said he sternly, turning as soon
as I came in, with my hat in my hand, "since I had the honour of your
company here this morning, I have recollected--indeed I find that one
of my servants had done the same--that you are the person who molested
my family by various annoyances beside my garden at Croydon, sir!"
"Indeed, Sir Charles!" said I coolly, for the bitter feeling I had
made me cool: "they must have been unintentional then, sir! But I was
certainly at Croydon, seeing my mother's house happens to be there."
"You must have had some design in entering this vessel, sir!" continued
the Judge, in a passion; "'gad sir, the coincidence is too curious!
Tell me what it is at once, or by --" "My design was to go to India,
sir," answered I, as quietly as before. "In what capacity?--who are
you?--what--who--what do you want _there_, eh?" rapped out the Judge.
"I'm not aware, sir," said I, "what right you've got to, question me;
but I--in fact I'll tell _so_ much to any man--why, I'm an officer in
the navy." Sir Charles brought short up in his pacing and stamping, and
stared at me. "An officer in the navy!" repeated he; "but yes--why--now
I think, I do, remember something in your dress, sir,--though it was
the _face_ that struck me! In short then, sir, this makes, the case
worse: you are here on false pretences--affecting the very reverse,
sir--setting yourself up for a model of simplicity,--a laughing-stock
indeed!" "I had reasons for not wishing my profession to be known, Sir
Charles," said I; "most special reasons. They're now over, however,
and I don't care _who_ knows it!" "May I ask what these were?" said
the Judge. "_That_ I'll never tell to any man breathing!" I said,
determinedly. The Judge walked two or three times fore and aft; then
a thought seemed to strike him--he looked out as if at the decks and
through below the awnings, then shut the door and came back to me
again. "By the way," said he seriously, and changing his tone, "since
this extraordinary acknowledgment of yours, sir, something occurs to
me which makes me almost think your presence in the vessel, in one
sense, opportune. I have reason to entertain a high opinion of naval
officers as technical men, professionally educated in his Majesty's
regular service, and--you look rather a _young_ man--but have you had
much experience, may I ask?" "I have been nine or ten years at sea,
sir," replied I, a little taken aback, "in various parts of the world!"
"I have some suspicion lately," he went on, "that this vessel is not
navigated in a--in short, that at present, probably, we may be in
some danger,--do _you_ think so, sir?" "No, Sir Charles," I said, "I
don't think she _is_, as matters stand,--only in a troublesome sort of
quarter, which the sooner she's out of, the better." "The commander
is, I find, dangerously unwell," continued he, "and of the young
man who seems to have the chief care of the vessel, I have no very
high--well--_that_, of course I-- Now sir," said he, looking intently
at me, "are _you_ capable of--in short of managing this Company's
vessel, should any emergency arise? I have seen such, myself,--and in
the circumstances I feel considerable alarm--uneasiness, at least!--Eh,
sir?" "Depend upon it, Sir Charles," I said, stepping toward the door,
"in any matter of the kind I'll do my best for this ship! But none
knows so well as a seaman, there are cases enough where your very best
can't do much!" The Judge seemed rather startled by my manner--for I
_did_ feel a little misgiving, from something in the weather on the
whole; at any rate I fancied there was a cold-bloodedness in every
sharp corner of his face, bilious though his temper was, that would
have let him see _me_ go to the bottom a thousand times over, had I
even had a chance with his daughter herself, ere he'd have yielded me
the tip of her little finger: accordingly 'twas a satisfaction to me,
at the moment, just to make him see he wasn't altogether in his nabob's
chair in Bengal yet, on an elephant's back!

"Ah, though!" said he, raising his voice to call me back, "to return
for an instant--there is one thing I must positively require,
sir--which you will see, in the circumstances, to be unavoidable. As
a mere simple cadet, observe sir, there was nothing to be objected to
in a slight passing acquaintance--but, especially in the--in short
equivocal--sir, I must request of you that you will on no account
attempt to hold any communication with my daughter, Miss Hyde--beyond
a mere bow, of course! 'Twill be disagreeable, I assure you. Indeed, I
shall--" "Sir," said I, all the blood in my body going to my face, "of
all things in the world, _that_ is the very thing where your views and
mine happen to square!" and I bowed. The man's coolness disgusted me,
sticking such a thing in my teeth, after just reckoning on my services
with the very same breath,--and all when it wasn't required, too! And
by heaven! thought I, had _she_ shown me favour, all the old nabobs
in Christendom, and the whole world to boot, shouldn't hinder me from
speaking to her! What I said apparently puzzled him, but he gave me a
grand bow in his turn, and I had my hand on the door, when he said,
"I suppose, sir, as a naval officer, you have no objection to give me
your name and rank? I forget what--" Here I remembered my mistake with
the mate, and on the whole I saw I must stick by it till I was clear
of the whole concern,--as for _saying_ my name was Westwood, that I
couldn't have done at the time for worlds, but I quietly handed him
another card; meaning, of course, to give Westwood the cue as shortly
as possible, for his own safety. The Judge started on seeing the card,
gave me one of his sharp glances, and made a sudden step towards me.
"Have you any relation in India, Mr Westwood?" said he, slowly; to
which I gave only a nod. "What is he, if I may inquire?" asked he
again. "A councillor or something, I believe," said I carelessly.
"_Thomas_ Westwood?" said Sir Charles. "Ah," said I, wearied of the
thing, and anxious to go. "An uncle, probably, from the age?" he still
put in. "Exactly, that's it!" I said. "Why--what!--why did you not
mention this at first?" he broke out suddenly, coming close up; "why,
Councillor Westwood is my very oldest friend in India, my dear sir!
This alters the matter. I should have welcomed a nephew of his in my
house, to the utmost! Why, how strange, Mr Westwood, that the fact
should emerge in this curious manner!"--and with that he held out
his hand. "Of course," said he, "no such restriction as I mentioned
could for a moment apply to a nephew of Councillor Westwood!" I stared
at him for a moment, and then--"Sir," said I, coolly, "it seems the
whole matter goes by names; but if my name were the devil, or the
apostle Paul, I don't see how it can make a bit of difference in
_me_: what's more, sir," said I, setting my teeth, "what_ever_ my name
may be, depend upon it, I shall never claim acquaintance either with
you or--or--Miss Hyde!" With that I flung straight out of the cabin,
leaving the old gentleman bolt upright on the floor, and as dumb as a
stock-fish, whether with rage or amazement I never stopped to think.

I went right forward on the Indiaman's forecastle, clear of all the
awnings, dropped over her head out of sight of the men, and sat with my
legs amongst the open wood-work beneath the bowsprit, looking at the
calm,--nobody in sight but the Hindoo figure, who seemed to be doing
the same. _Westwood!_ thought I bitterly; then in a short time, when
the mistake's found out, and he got safe past the Cape, perhaps,--it'll
be nothing but Westwood! He'll have a clear stage, and all favour; but
at any rate, how_ever_ it may be, _I_'ll not be here, by heaven! to see
it. That cursed councillor of his, I suppose, is another nabob,--and
no doubt he'll marry her, all smooth! Uncles be-- I little thought, by
Jove! when I knocked off that yarn to the mate about _my_ uncle--but,
after all, it's strange how often a fellow's paid back in his own
coin! The heat at the time was unbearable,--_heat_, indeed! 'twasn't
only heat,--but a heavy, close, stifling sort of a feeling, like in a
hot-house, as if you'd got a weight on your head and every other bit of
you: the water one time so dead-blue and glassy between the windings
of it, that the sky seemed to vanish, and the ship looked floating up
into where _it_ was,--then again you scarce knew sea from air, except
by the wrinkles and eddies running across each other between, toward a
sullen blue ring at the horizon,--like seeing through a big, twisted
sieve, or into a round looking-glass all over cracks. I heard them clue
up every thing aloft, except the topsails,--and _they_ fell slapping
back and forward to the masts, every now and then, with a _thud_ like a
thousand spades clapped down at once over a hollow bit of ground--till
all seemed as still between as if they'd buried something. I wished to
heaven it were what I _felt_ at the time, and the thought of Violet
Hyde, that I might be as if I never had seen her,--when on glancing up,
betwixt the figure-head and the ship's stern, it struck me to notice
how much the land on her starboard bow and beam seemed to have risen,
even during the last hour, and that without wind; partly on account of
its clearing in that quarter, perhaps; but the nearest points looked
here and there almost as if you could see into them, roughening barer
out through the hue of the distance, like purple blotches spreading in
it. Whereas, far away astern of us, when I crossed over her headworks,
there were two or three thin white streaks of haze to be seen just on
the horizon, one upon another, above which you made out somewhat like a
dim range of peaked land, trending one couldn't say how far back--all
showing how fairly the coast was shutting her in upon the south-east,
as she set farther in-shore, even while the run of the current bade
fair to take her well clear of it ahead; which was of course all we
need care for at present. Her want of steerage-way, however, let the
Indiaman sheer hither and thither, till at times one was apt to get
confused, and suppose her more in with the land-loom than she really
was. Accordingly the mate proved his good judgment by having a couple
of boats lowered with a tow-line, to keep her at least stern-on to the
current,--although the trouble of getting out the launch would have
more served his purpose, and the deeper loaded the better, since in
fact there were _two_ favourable drifts instead of one, between every
stroke of the oars. The men pulled away rather sulkily, their straw
hats over their noses, the dip of the hawser scarce tautening at each
strain, as they squinted up at the Seringapatam's idle figure-head. For
my part I had thought it better to leave him by himself, and go below.

When I went into the cuddy, more for relief's sake than to dine, the
passengers were chattering and talking away round the tables, hot and
choking though it was, in high glee because the land was in sight from
the starboard port-window, and they fancied the officers had changed
their mind as to "touching" there. Every now and then a cadet or two
would start up, with their silver forks in their hands, and put their
heads out; some asked whether the anchor had been seen getting ready
or not; others disputed about the colour of tropical trees, if they
were actually green like English ones, or perhaps all over blossoms
and fruit together--the whole of them evidently expecting bands of
negroes to line the shore as we came in. One young fellow had taken a
particular fancy to have an earthworm, with earth enough to feed it
all the rest of the voyage, otherwise he couldn't stand it; and little
Tommy's mother almost went into hysterics again, when she said, if
she could just eat a lettuce salad once more, she'd die contented;
the missionary looking up through his spectacles, in surprise that
she wasn't _more_ interested about the slave-trade, whereof he'd been
talking to her. As for Westwood, he joined quietly in the fun, with a
glance now and then across to me; however, I pretended to be too busy
with the salt beef, and was merely looking up again for a moment, when
my eye chanced to catch on the swinging barometer that hung in the
raised skylight, right over the midst of our noise. By George! ma'am,
what was my horror when I saw the quicksilver had sunk so far below the
mark, probably fixed there that morning, as to be almost shrunk in the
ball! Whatever the merchant service might know about the instrument in
those days, the African coast was the place to teach its right use to
us in the old Iris. I laid down my knife and fork as carelessly as I
could, and went straight on deck.

Here I sought out the mate, who was forward, watching the land--and at
once took him aside to tell him the fact. "Well, sir," said he coolly,
"and what of that? A sign of wind, certainly, before very long; but in
the meantime we're _sure_ to have it off the land." "That's one of the
very reasons," said I, "for thinking _this_ will be from seaward--since
towards evening the land'll have plenty of air without it! But more
than that, sir," said I, "I tell you, Mr Finch, I know the west coast
of Africa pretty well--and so far south as this, the glass falling
so low as _twenty-seven_, is always the sign of a nor'westerly blow!
If you're a wise man, sir, you'll not only get your upper spars down
on deck, but you'll see your anchors clear!" Finch had plainly got
furious at my meddling again, and said he, "Instead of that, sir, I
shall hold on _everything_ aloft, to stand out when I get the breeze!"
"D'ye really think, then," said I, pointing to the farthest-off streak
of land, trending away by this time astern of us, faint as it was;
"_do_ you think you could ever weather that point, with anything like
a strong nor'-wester, besides a current heading you in, as you got
fair hold of it again?" "Perhaps not," said he, wincing a little as
he glanced at it, "but you happen always to suppose what there's a
thousand to one against, sir! Why, sir, you might as well take the
command at once! But, by G----! sir, if it _did_ come to that, I'd
rather--I'd rather see the ship _lost_--I'd rather go to the bottom
with all in her, after handling her as I know well how, than I'd see
the chance given to _you_!" The young fellow fairly shouted this last
word into my very ear--he was in a regular furious passion. "You'd
_better_ let me alone, that's all I've got to say to you, sir!" growled
he as he turned away; so I thought it no use to say more, and leant
over the bulwarks, resolved to see it out.

The fact was, the farther we got off the land _now_, the worse--seeing
that if what I dreaded should prove true, why, we were probably in
thirty or forty fathoms water, where no anchor could hold for ten
minutes' time--if it ever caught ground. My way would have been, to
get every boat out at once, and tow in till you could see the colour
of some shoal or other from aloft, then take my chance there to ride
out whatever might come, to the last cable aboard of us. Accordingly
I wasn't sorry to see that by this time the whole bight of the coast
was slowly rising off our beam, betwixt the high land far astern and
the broad bluffs upon her starboard bow; which last came out already
of a sandy reddish tint, and the lower part of a clear blue, as the
sun got westward on our other side. What struck me was, that the face
of the water, which was all over wrinkles and winding lines, with here
and there a quick ripple, when I went below, had got on a sudden
quite smooth as far as you could see, as if they'd sunk down like
so many eels; a long uneasy ground-swell was beginning to heave in
from seaward, on which the ship rose; once or twice I fancied I could
observe the colour different away towards the land, like the muddy
chocolate spreading out near a river mouth at ebb-tide,--then again it
was green, rather; and as for the look of the coast, I had no knowledge
of it. I thought again, certainly, of the old quartermaster's account
in the Iris, but there was neither anything like it to be seen, nor any
sign of a break in the coast at all, though high headlands enough.

The ship might have been about twelve or fourteen miles from the
north-east point upon her starboard bow, a high rocky range of
bluffs,--and rather less from the nearest of what lay away off her
beam,--but after this you could mark nothing more, except it were that
she edged farther from the point, by the way its bearings shifted or
got blurred together: either she stood still, or she'd caught some eddy
or under-drift, and the mate walked about quite lively once more. The
matter was, how to breathe, or bear your clothes--when all of a sudden
I heard the second mate sing out from the forecastle--"Stand by the
braces, there! Look out for the topes'l hawl-yairds!" He came shuffling
aft next moment as fast as his foundered old shanks could carry him,
and told Mr Finch there was a squall coming off the land. The mate
sprang up on the bulwarks, and so did I--catching a glance from him
as much as to say--There's your gale from seaward, you pretentious
lubber! The lowest streak of coast bore at present before our starboard
quarter, betwixt east and south-east'ard, with some pretty high land
running away up from it, and a sort of dim blue haze hanging beyond,
as 'twere. Just as Macleod spoke, I could see a dusky dark vapour
thickening and spreading in the haze, till it rose black along the
flat, out of the sky behind it; whitened and then darkened again, like
a heavy smoke floating up into the air. All was confusion on deck for
a minute or two--off went all the awnings--and every hand was ready at
his station, fisting the ropes; when I looked again at the cloud, then
at the mates, then at it again. "_By_ George!" said I, noticing a pale
wreath of it go curling on the pale clear sky over it, as if to a puff
of air,--"it _is_ smoke! Some niggers, as they so often do, burning
the bush!" So it was; and as soon as Finch gave in, all hands quietly
coiled up the ropes. It was scarce five minutes after, that Jacobs,
who was coiling up a rope beside me, gave me a quiet touch with one
finger--"Mr Collins, sir," said he in a low voice, looking almost right
up, high over toward the ship's larboard bow, which he couldn't have
done before, for the awnings so lately above us,--"look, sir--there's
an _ox-eye_!" I followed his gaze, but it wasn't for a few seconds that
I found what it pointed to, in the hot far-off-like blue dimness of the
sky overhead, compared with the white glare of which to westward our
canvass aloft was but dirty gray and yellow.

'Twas what none but a seaman would have observed, and many a seaman
wouldn't have done, so,--but a man-o'-war's-man is used to look out
at all hours, in all latitudes,--and to a man that knew its meaning,
_this_ would have been no joke, even out of sight of land: as it was,
the thing gave me a perfect thrill of dread. High aloft in the heavens
northward, where they were freest from the sun--now standing over
the open horizon amidst a wide bright pool of light,--you managed to
discern a small silvery speck, growing slowly as it were out of the
faint blue hollow, like a star in the day-time, till you felt as if
it _looked_ at you, from God-knows what distance away. One eye after
another amongst the mates and crew joined Jacobs's and mine, with the
same sort of dumb fellowship to be seen when a man in London streets
watches the top of a steeple; and however hard to make out at first,
ere long none of them could miss seeing it, as it got slowly larger,
sinking by degrees till the sky close about it seemed to thicken like a
dusky ring round the white, and the sunlight upon our seaward quarter
blazed out doubly strong--as if it came dazzling off a brass bell,
with the bright tongue swinging in it far off to one side, where
the hush made you think of a stroke back upon us, with some terrific
sound to boot. The glassy water by this time was beginning to rise
under the ship with a struggling kind of unequal heave, as if a giant
you couldn't see kept shoving it down here and there with both hands,
and it came swelling up elsewhere. To north-westward or thereabouts,
betwixt the sun and this ill-boding token aloft, the far line of open
sea still lay shining motionless and smooth; next time you looked,
it had got even brighter than before, seeming to leave the horizon
visibly; then the streak of air just above it had grown gray, and a
long edge of hazy vapour was creeping as it were over from beyond,--the
white speck all the while travelling down towards it slantwise from
nor'ard, and spreading its dark ring slowly out into a circle of cloud,
till the keen eye of it at last sank in, and below, as well as aloft,
the whole north-western quarter got blurred together in one gloomy
mass. If there was a question at first whether the wind mightn't come
from so far nor'ard as to give her a chance of running out to sea
before it, there was none now,--our sole recourse lay either in getting
nearer the land meanwhile, to let go our anchors ere it came on, with
her head _to_ it,--or we might make a desperate trial to weather the
lee-point now far astern. The fact was, we were going to have a regular
tornado, and that of the worst kind, which wouldn't soon blow itself
out; though near an hour's notice would probably pass ere it was on.

The three mates laid their heads gravely together over the capstan for
a minute or two, after which Finch seemed to perceive that the first
of the two ways was the safest; though of course the nearer we should
get to the land, the less chance there was of clearing it afterwards,
should her cables part, or the anchors drag. The two boats still
alongside, and two others dropped from the davits, were manned at
once and set to towing the Indiaman ahead, in-shore; while the bower
and sheet anchors were got out to the cat-heads ready for letting go,
cables overhauled, ranged, and clinched as quickly as possible, and the
deep-sea lead passed along to take soundings every few minutes.

On we crept, slow as death, and almost as still, except the jerk of
the oars from the heaving water at her bows, and the loud flap of the
big topsails now and then, everything aloft save them and the brailed
foresail being already close furled; the clouds all the while rising
away along our larboard beam nor'west and north, over the gray bank on
the horizon, till once more you could scarce say which point the wind
would come from, unless by the huge purple heap of vapour in the midst.
The sun had got low, and he shivered his dazzling spokes of light
behind one edge of it, as if 'twere a mountain you saw over some coast
or other: indeed, you'd have thought the ship almost shut in by land
on both sides of her, which was what seemed to terrify the passengers
most, as they gathered about the poop-stairs and watched it,--_which_
was the true land and which the clouds, 'twas hard to say,--and the sea
gloomed writhing between them like a huge lake in the mountains. I saw
Sir Charles Hyde walk out of the round-house and in again, glancing
uneasily about: his daughter was standing with another young lady,
gazing at the land; and at sight of her sweet, curious face, I'd have
given worlds to be able to do something that might save it from the
chance, possibly, of being that very night dashed amongst the breakers
on a lee-shore in the dark--or at best, suppose the Almighty favoured
any of us so far, perhaps landed in the wilds of Africa. Had there been
aught man could do more, why, though I never should get a smile for it,
I'd have compassed it, mate or no mate; but all was done that could be
done and I had nothing to say. Westwood came near her, too, apparently
seeing our bad case at last to some extent, and both trying to break it
to her and to assure her mind; so I folded my arms again, and kept my
eyes hard fixed upon the bank of cloud, as some new weather-mark stole
out in it, and the sea stretched breathless away below, like new-melted
lead. The air was like to choke you--or rather there was none--as if
water, sky, and everything else wanted _life_, and one would fain have
caught the first rush of the tornado into his mouth--the men emptying
the dipper on deck from the cask, from sheer loathing. As for the land,
it seemed to draw nearer of itself, till every point and wrinkle in the
headland off our bow came out in a red coppery gleam--one saw the white
line of surf round it, and some blue country beyond like indigo; then
back it darkened again, and all aloft was getting livid-like over the
bare royal mast-heads.

Suddenly a faint air was felt to flutter from landward; it half lifted
the top-sails, and a heavy earthy swell came into your nostrils--the
first of the land-breeze, at last; but by this time it was no more
than a sort of mockery, while a minute after you might catch a low,
sullen, moaning sound far of through the emptiness, from the strong
surf the Atlantic sends in upon the West Coast before a squall. If
ever landsmen found out what land on the wrong side is, the passengers
of the Seringapatam did, that moment; the shudder of the top-sails
aloft seemed to pass into every one's shoulders, and a few quietly
walked below, as if they were safe in their cabins. I saw Violet Hyde
look round and round with a startled expression, and from one face to
another, till her eye lighted on me, and I fancied for a moment it
was like putting some question to me. I couldn't bear it!--'twas the
first time I'd felt powerless to offer anything; though the thought ran
through me again till I almost felt myself buffeting among the breakers
with her in my arms. I looked to the land, where the smoke we had seen
three-quarters of an hour ago rose again with the puff of air, a slight
flicker of flame in it, as it wreathed off the low ground toward the
higher point,--when all at once I gave a start, for something in the
shape of the whole struck me as if I'd seen it before. Next moment I
was thinking of old Bob Martin's particular landmarks at the river
mouth he spoke of, and the notion of its possibly being hereabouts
glanced on me like a god-send. In the unsure dusky sight I had of it,
certainly, it wore somewhat of that look, and it lay fair to leeward of
the weather; while, as for the dead shut-in appearance of it, old Bob
had specially said you'd never think it was a river; but then again it
was more like a desperate fancy owing to our hard case, and to run the
ship straight for it would be the trick of a bedlamite. At any rate a
quick cry from aft turned me round, and I saw a blue flare of lightning
streak out betwixt the bank of gray haze and the cloud that hung over
it--then another, and the clouds were beginning to rise slowly in the
midst, leaving a white glare between, as if you could see through it
towards what was coming. The men could pull no longer, but ahead of the
ship there was now only about eight or ten fathoms water, with a soft
bottom. The boats were hoisted in, and the men had begun to clue up
and hand the topsails, which were lowered on the caps, when, just in
the midst of the hubbub and confusion, as I stood listening to every
order the mate gave, the steward came up hastily from below to tell him
that the captain had woke up, and, being, much better, wanted to see
him immediately. Mr Finch looked surprised, but he turned at once, and
hurried down the hatchway.

The sight which all of us who weren't busy gazed upon, over the
larboard bulwarks, was terrible to see: 'twas half dark, though the
sun, dropping behind the haze-bank, made it glimmer and redden. The
dark heap of clouds had first lengthened out blacker and blacker, and
was rising slowly in the sky like a mighty arch, till you saw their
white edges below, and a ghastly white space behind, out of which the
mist and scud began to fly. Next minute a long sigh came into her jib
and foresail, then the black bow of cloud partly sank again, and a
blaze of lightning came out all round her, showing you every face on
deck, the inside of the round-house aft, with the Indian Judge standing
in it, his hand to his eyes,--and the land far away, to the very swell
rolling in to it. Then the thunder broke overhead in the gloom, in one
fearful sudden crack, that you seemed to hear through every corner of
cabins and forecastle below,--and the wet back-fins of twenty sharks
or so, that had risen out of the inky surface, vanished as suddenly.
The Indiaman had sheered almost broadside on to the clouds, her jib
was still up, and I knew the next time the clouds _rose_ we should
fairly have it. Flash after flash came, and clap after clap of thunder,
_such_ as you hear before a tornado--yet the chief officer wasn't to
be seen, and the others seemed uncertain what to do first; while every
one began to wonder and pass along questions where he could be. In
fact, he had disappeared. For my part, I thought it very strange he
staid so long; but there wasn't a moment to lose. I jumped down off
the poop-stairs, walked forward on the quarterdeck, and said coolly
to the men nearest me, "Run and haul down that jib yonder--set the
spanker here, aft. You'll have her taken slap on her beam: quick, my
lads!" The men did so at once. Macleod was calling out anxiously for
Mr Finch. "Stand by the anchors there!" I sang out, "to let go the
starboard one, the _moment_ she swings head to wind!" The Scotch mate
turned his head; but Rickett's face, by the next flash, showed he saw
the good of it, and there was no leisure for arguing, especially as
I spoke in a way to be heard. I walked to the wheel, and got hold of
Jacobs to take the weather-helm. We were all standing ready, at the
pitch of expecting it. Westwood, too, having appeared again by this
time beside me, I whispered to him to run forward and look after the
anchors--when some one came hastily up the after-hatchway, with a
glazed hat and pilot-coat on, stepped straight to the binnacle, looked
in behind me, then at the black bank of cloud, then aloft. Of course
I supposed it was the mate again, but didn't trouble myself to glance
at him farther--when "Hold on with the anchors!" he sang out in a loud
voice--"hold on there for your lives!" Heavens! it was the captain

At this, of course, I stood aside at once; and he shouted again, "Hoist
the jib and fore-topmast-staysail--stand by to set fore-course!" By
Jove! this was the way to pay the ship _head_ off, instead of stern
off, from the blast when it came--and to let her drive before it at no
trifle of a rate, wherever _that_ might take her! "_Down_ with that
spanker, Mr Macleod, d'ye hear!" roared Captain Williamson again; and
certainly I did wonder what he meant to do with the ship. But his
manner was so decided, and 'twas so natural for the captain to strain
a point to come on deck in the circumstances, that I saw he must have
some trick of seamanship above _me_, or some special knowledge of
the coast,--and I waited in a state of the greatest excitement for
the first stroke of the tornado. He waved the second and third mates
forward to their posts--the Indiaman sheering and backing, like a
frightened horse, to the long slight swell and the faint flaw of the
land air. The black arch to windward began to rise again, showing a
terrible white stare reaching deep in, and a blue dart of lightning
actually ran zig-zag down before our glaring fore-to'gallant-mast.
Suddenly the captain had looked at me, and we faced each other by the
gleam; and quiet, easy-going man as he was commonly, it just flashed
across me there was something extraordinarily wild and _raised_ in his
pale visage, strange as the air about us made every one appear. He
gave a stride towards me, shouting "Who are--" when the thunder-clap
took the words out of his tongue, and next moment the tornado burst
upon us, fierce as the wind from a cannon's month. For one minute the
Seringapatam heeled over to her starboard streak, almost broadside on,
and her spars toward the land,--all on her beam was a long ragged white
gush of light and mist pouring out under the black brow of the clouds,
with a trampling eddying roar up into the sky. The swell plunged over
her weather-side like the first break of a dam, and as we scrambled
up to the bulwarks, to hold on for bare life, you saw a roller, fit
to swamp us, coming on out of the sheet of foam--when crash went
mizen-topmast and main-to'gallant-mast: the ship payed swiftly off by
help of her head-sails, and, with a leap like a harpooned whale, off
she drove fair before the tremendous sweep of the blast.

The least yaw in her course, and she'd have never risen, unless every
stick went out of her. I laid my shoulder to the wheel with Jacobs, and
Captain Williamson screamed through his trumpet into the men's ears,
and waved his hands to ride down the fore-sheets as far as they'd go;
which kept her right before it, though the sail could be but half-set,
and she rather flew than ran--the sea one breadth of white foam back
to the gushes of mist, not having power to rise higher yet. Had the
foresail been stretched, 'twould have blown off like a cloud. I looked
at the captain: he was standing in the lee of the round-house, straight
upright, though now and then peering eagerly forward, his lips firm,
one hand on a belaying-pin, the other in his breast--nothing but
determination in his manner; yet once or twice he started, and glanced
fiercely to the after-hatchway near, as if something from below might
chance to thwart him. I can't express my contrary feelings, betwixt a
sort of hope and sheer horror. We were driving right towards the land,
at thirteen or fourteen knots to the hour,--yet _could_ there actually
be some harbourage hereaway, or that said river the quarter-master
of the Iris mentioned, and Captain Williamson know of it? Something
struck me as wonderfully strange in the whole matter, and puzzling to
desperation,--still I trusted to the captain's experience. The coast
was scarce to be seen ahead of us, lying black against an uneven streak
of glimmer, as she rushed like fury before the deafening howl of wind;
and right away before our lee-beam I could see the light blowing, as
it were, across beyond the headland I had noticed, where the smoke in
the bush seemed to be still curling, half-smothered, along the flat in
the lee of the hills, as if in green wood, or sheltered as yet from
seaward, though once or twice a quick flicker burst up in it. All at
once the gust of the tornado was seen to pour on it, like a long blast
from some huge bellows, and up it flashed--the yellow flame blazed into
the smoke, spread away behind the point, and the ruddy brown smoke
blew whitening off over it:--when, Almighty power! what did I see as
it lengthened in, but part after part of old Bob's landmarks creep out
ink-black before the flare and the streak of sky together--first the
low line of ground, then the notch in the block, the two rocks like
steps, and the sugar-loaf shape of the headland, to the very mop-headed
knot of trees on its rise! No doubt Captain Williamson was steering for
it; but it was far too much on our starboard bow--and in half an hour
at this rate we should drive right into the surf you saw running along
to the coast ahead--so I signed to Jacobs for god-sake to edge her off
as nicely as was possible. Captain Williamson caught my motion. "Port!
port, sirrah!" he sang out sternly; "_back_ with the helm, d'ye hear!"
and, pulling out a pistol, he levelled it at me with one hand, while
he held a second in the other. "Land!--land, by G--d!" shouted he,
and from the lee of the round-house it came more like a shriek than a
shout--"I'll be there though a thousand mutineers--" His eye was like
a wild beast's. That moment the truth glanced across me--this was the
_green leaf_, no doubt, the Scotch mate talked so mysteriously of.
The man was mad! The land-fever was upon him, as I'd seen it before
in men long off the African coast; and he stood eyeing me with one
foot hard stamped before him. 'Twas no use trying to be heard, and the
desperation of the moment gave me a thought of the sole thing to do.
I took off my hat in the light of the binnacle, bowed, and looked him
straight in the face with a smile--when his eye wavered, he slowly
lowered his pistol, then _laughed_, waving his hand towards the land
to leeward, as if, but for the gale, you'd have heard him cheer. At
the instant I sprang behind him with the slack of a rope, and grappled
his arms fast, though he'd got the furious power of a madman, and,
during half a minute, 'twas wrestle for life with me. But the line was
round him, arm and leg, and I made it fast, throwing him heavily on the
deck, just as one of the mates, with some of the crew, were struggling
aft, by help of the belaying-pins, against the hurricane, having
caught a glimpse of the thing by the binnacle-light. They looked from
me to the captain. The ugly top-man made a sign, as much as to say,
knock the fellow down; but the whole lot hung back before the couple
of pistol-barrels I handled. The Scotch mate seemed awfully puzzled;
and others of the men, who knew from Jacobs what I was, came shoving
along, evidently aware what a case we were in. A word to Jacobs served
to keep him steering her anxiously, so as to head two or three points
more south-east in the _end_, furiously as the wheel jolted. So there
we stood, the tornado sweeping sharp as a knife from astern over the
poop-deck, with a force that threw any one back if he left go his hold
to get near me, and going up like thunder aloft in the sky. Now and
then a weaker flare of lightning glittered across the scud; and, black
as it was overhead, the horizon to windward was but one jagged white
glare, gushing full of broad shifting streaks through the drift of foam
and the spray that strove to rise. Our fore-course still held; and I
took the helm from Jacobs, that he might go and manage to get a pull
taken on the starboard brace, which would not only _slant_ the sail
more to the blasts, but give her the better chance to make the sole
point of salvation, by helping her steerage when most needed. Jacobs
and Westwood together got this done; and all the time I was keeping
my eyes fixed anxiously as man can fancy, on the last gleams of the
fire ashore, as her head made a fairer line with it; but, by little
and little, it went quite out, and all was black--though I had taken
its bearings by the compass--and I kept her to that for bare life,
trembling at every shiver in the foresail's edge, lest either it or the
mast should go.

Suddenly we began to get into a fearful swell--the Indiaman plunged
and shook in every spar left her. I could see nothing ahead, from the
wheel, and in the dark: we were getting close in with the land, and the
time was coming; but still I held south-east-by-east to the mark of
her head in the compass box, as nearly as might and main could do if,
for the heaves that made me think once or twice she was to strike next
moment. If she went ashore in my hands! why, it was like to drive one
mad with fear; and I waited for Jacobs to come back, with a brain ready
to turn, almost as if I'd have left the wheel to the other helmsman,
and run forward into the bows to look out. The captain lay raving,
and shouting behind me, though no one else could either have heard or
seen him; and where the chief officer was all this time, surprised me,
unless the madman had made away with him, or locked him in his own
cabin, in return for being shut up himself,--which in fact proved to
be the case, cunning as it was to send for him so quietly. At length
Jacobs struggled aft to me again, and charging him, for heaven's sake,
to steer exactly the course I gave, I drove before the full strength of
the squall along-decks to the bowsprit, where I held on and peered out.
Dead ahead of us was the high line of coast in the dark--not a mile of
swell between the ship and it. By this time the low boom of the surf
came under the wind, and you saw the breakers lifting all along,--not
a single opening in them! I had lost sight of my landmarks, and my
heart gulped into my mouth--what I felt 'twould be vain to say,--till I
thought I _did_ make out one short patch of sheer black in the range of
foam, scarce so far on our bow as I'd reckoned the fire to have been:
indeed, instead of that, it was rather on her weather than her lee
bow; and the more I watched it, and the nearer we drove in that five
minutes, the broader it was. "By all that's good!" I thought, "if a
river there is, that must be the mouth of it!" But, by heavens! on our
present course, the ship would run just right upon the point,--and, to
strike the clear water, her fore-yard would require to be braced up,
able or not, though the force of the tornado would come fearfully on
her quarter, then. There was the chance of taking all the masts out of
her; but let them stand ten minutes, and the thing was done, when we
opened into the lee of the points--otherwise all was over!

I sprang to the fore-braces and besought the men near me, for God's
sake, to drag upon the lee one--and that as if their life hung upon
it--when Westwood caught me by the arm. I merely shouted through my
hands into his ear to go aft to Jacobs and tell him to keep her head a
_single point_ up, whatever might happen, to the last,--then I pulled
with the men at the brace till it was fast, and scrambled up again to
the bowsprit heel. Jove! how she surged to it: the little canvass we
had strained like to burst; the masts trembled, and the spars aloft
bent like whip-shafts, everything below groaning again; while the
swell and the blast together made you dizzy, as you watched the white
eddies rising and boiling out of the dark--her cutwater shearing
through it and the foam, as if you were going under it. The sound of
the hurricane and the surf seemed to be growing together into one
awful roar,--my very brain began to turn with the pitch I was wrought
up to--and it appeared next moment we should heave far up into the
savage hubbub of breakers. I was wearying for the crash and the wild
confusion that would follow--when all of a sudden, still catching the
fierce rush of the gale athwart her quarter into the fore-course,
which steadied her though she shuddered to it--all on a sudden the
dark mass of the land seemed as it were parting ahead of her, and a
gleam of pale sky opened below the dusk into my very face. I no more
knew what I was doing, by this time, nor where we were, than the spar
before me,--till again, the light broadened, glimmering low betwixt the
high land and a lump of rising level on the other bow. I hurried aft
past the confused knots of men holding on to the lee of the bulwarks,
and seized a spoke of the wheel. "Tom," shouted I to Westwood, "run
and let free the spanker on the poop! Down with the helm--down with
it, Jacobs, my lad!" I sang out; "never mind spars or canvass!" Down
went the helm--the spanker helped to luff her to the strength of the
gust--and away she went up to port, the heavy swells rolling her in,
while the rush into her staysail and forecourse came in one terrible
flash of roaring wind,--tearing first one and then the other clear out
of the belt-ropes, though the loose spanker abaft was in less danger,
and the way she had from both was enough to take her careening round
the point into its lee. By heavens! there were the streaks of soft haze
low over the rising moon, under the broken clouds, beyond a far line
of dim fringy woods, she herself just tipping the hollow behind, big
and red--when right down from over the cloud above us came a spout of
rain, then a sheet of it lifting to the blast as it howled across the
point. "Stand by to let go the larboard anchor!" I sang out through
the trumpet; and Jacobs put the helm fully down at the moment, till
she was coming head to wind, when I made forward to the mates and men.
"Let--go!" I shouted: not a look turned against me, and away thundered
the cable through the hawse-hole; she shook to it, sheered astern, and
brought up with her anchor fast. By that time the rain was plashing
down in a perfect deluge--you couldn't see a yard from you--all was
one white pour of it; although it soon began to drive again over the
headland, as the tornado gathered new food out of it. Another anchor
was let go, cable payed out, and the ship soon began to swing the other
way to the tide, pitching all the while on the short swell.

The gale still whistled through her spars for two or three hours,
during which it began by degrees to lull. About eleven o'clock
it was clear moonlight to leeward, the air fresh and cool: a
delicious watch it was, too. I was walking the poop by myself, two
or three men lounging sleepily about the forecastle, and Rickett
below on the quarterdeck, when I saw the chief officer himself
rush up from below, staring wildly round him, as if he thought we
were in some dream or other. I fancied at first the mate would
have struck Rickett, from the way he went on, but I kept aft
where I was. The eddies ran past the Indiaman's side, and you
heard the fast ebb of the tide rushing and rippling sweetly on
her taut cables ahead, plashing about the bows and bends. We were
in old Bob Martin's _river_, whatever that might be.


[The reader is to understand this present paper, in its two sections
of _The Vision_, &c., and _The Dream-Fugue_, as connected with a
previous paper on _The English Mail-Coach_, published in the Magazine
for October. The ultimate object was the Dream-Fugue, as an attempt to
wrestle with the utmost efforts of music in dealing with a colossal
form of impassioned horror. The Vision of Sudden Death contains the
mail-coach incident, which did really occur, and did really suggest
the variations of the Dream, here taken up by the Fugue, as well as
other variations not now recorded. Confluent with these impressions,
from the terrific experience on the Manchester and Glasgow mail, were
other and more general impressions, derived from long familiarity with
the English mail, as developed in the former paper; impressions, for
instance, of animal beauty and power, of rapid motion, at that time
unprecedented, of connexion with the government and public business
of a great nation, but, above all, of connexion with the national
victories at an unexampled crisis,--the mail being the privileged organ
for publishing and dispersing all news of that kind. From this function
of the mail, arises naturally the introduction of Waterloo into the
fourth variation of the Fugue; for the mail itself having been carried
into the dreams by the incident in the Vision, naturally all the
accessory circumstances of pomp and grandeur investing this national
carriage followed in the train of the principal image.]

What is to be thought of sudden death? It is remarkable that, in
different conditions of society, it has been variously regarded, as
the consummation of an earthly career most fervently to be desired,
and, on the other hand, as that consummation which is most of all to
be deprecated. Cæsar the Dictator, at his last dinner party, (_cæna_,)
and the very evening before his assassination, being questioned as
to the mode of death which, in _his_ opinion, might seem the most
eligible, replied--"That which should be most sudden." On the other
hand, the divine Litany of our English Church, when breathing forth
supplications, as if in some representative character for the whole
human race prostrate before God, places such a death in the very van
of horrors. "From lightning and tempest; from plague, pestilence,
and famine; from battle and murder, and from sudden death,--_Good
Lord, deliver us_." Sudden death is here made to crown the climax in
a grand ascent of calamities; it is the last of curses; and yet, by
the noblest of Romans, it was treated as the first of blessings. In
that difference, most readers will see little more than the difference
between Christianity and Paganism. But there I hesitate. The Christian
church may be right in its estimate of sudden death; and it is a
natural feeling, though after all it may also be an infirm one, to
wish for a quiet dismissal from life--as that which _seems_ most
reconcilable with meditation, with penitential retrospects, and with
the humilities of farewell prayer. There does not, however, occur to me
any direct scriptural warrant for this earnest petition of the English
Litany. It seems rather a petition indulged to human infirmity, than
exacted from human piety. And, however _that_ may be, two remarks
suggest themselves as prudent restraints upon a doctrine, which else
_may_ wander, and _has_ wandered, into an uncharitable superstition.
The first is this: that many people are likely to exaggerate the
horror of a sudden death, (I mean the _objective_ horror to him who
contemplates such a death, not the _subjective_ horror to him who
suffers it) from the false disposition to lay a stress upon words or
acts, simply because by an accident they have become words or acts.
If a man dies, for instance, by some sudden death when he happens
to be intoxicated, such a death is falsely regarded with peculiar
horror; as though the intoxication were suddenly exalted into a
blasphemy. But _that_ is unphilosophic. The man was, or he was not,
_habitually_ a drunkard. If not, if his intoxication were a solitary
accident, there can be no reason at all for allowing special emphasis
to this act, simply because through misfortune it became his final
act. Nor, on the other hand, if it were no accident, but one of his
_habitual_ transgressions, will it be the more habitual or the more a
transgression, because some sudden calamity, surprising him, has caused
this habitual transgression to be also a final one? Could the man
have had any reason even dimly to foresee his own sudden death, there
would have been a new feature in his act of intemperance--a feature of
presumption and irreverence, as in one that by possibility felt himself
drawing near to the presence of God. But this is no part of the case
supposed. And the only new element in the man's act is not any element
of extra immorality, but simply of extra misfortune.

The other remark has reference to the meaning of the word _sudden_.
And it is a strong illustration of the duty which for ever calls us
to the stern valuation of words--that very possibly Cæsar and the
Christian church do not differ in the way supposed; that is, do not
differ by any difference of doctrine as between Pagan and Christian
views of the moral temper appropriate to death, but that they are
contemplating different cases. Both contemplate a violent death; a
[Greek: Biathanatos]--death that is [Greek: Biaios]: but the difference
is--that the Roman by the word "sudden" means an _unlingering_ death:
whereas the Christian litany by "sudden" means a death _without
warning_, consequently without any available summons to religious
preparation. The poor mutineer, who kneels down to gather into his
heart the bullets from twelve firelocks of his pitying comrades, dies
by a most sudden death in Cæsar's sense: one shock, one mighty spasm,
one (possibly _not_ one) groan, and all is over. But, in the sense
of the Litany, his death is far from sudden; his offence originally,
his imprisonment, his trial, the interval between his sentence and
its execution, having all furnished him with separate warnings of his
fate--having all summoned him to meet it with solemn preparation.

Meantime, whatever may be thought of a sudden death as a mere variety
in the modes of dying, where death in some shape is inevitable--a
question which, equally in the Roman and the Christian sense,
will be variously answered according to each man's variety of
temperament--certainly, upon one aspect of sudden death there can be
no opening for doubt, that of all agonies incident to man it is the
most frightful, that of all martyrdoms it is the most freezing to human
sensibilities--namely, where it surprises a man under circumstances
which offer (or which seem to offer) some hurried and inappreciable
chance of evading it. Any effort, by which such an evasion can be
accomplished, must be as sudden as the danger which it affronts.
Even _that_, even the sickening necessity for hurrying in extremity
where all hurry seems destined to be vain, self-baffled, and where
the dreadful knell of _too late_ is already sounding in the ears by
anticipation--even that anguish is liable to a hideous exasperation
in one particular case, namely, where the agonising appeal is made
not exclusively to the instinct of self-preservation, but to the
conscience, on behalf of another life besides your own, accidentally
cast upon _your_ protection. To fail, to collapse in a service merely
your own, might seem comparatively venial; though, in fact, it is far
from venial. But to fail in a case where Providence has suddenly thrown
into your hands the final interests of another--of a fellow-creature
shuddering between the gates of life and death; this, to a man of
apprehensive conscience, would mingle the misery of an atrocious
criminality with the misery of a bloody calamity. The man is called
upon, too probably, to die; but to die at the very moment when, by any
momentary collapse, he is self-denounced as a murderer. He had but
the twinkling of an eye for his effort, and that effort might, at the
best, have been unavailing; but from this shadow of a chance, small or
great, how if he has recoiled by a treasonable _lâcheté_? The effort
_might_ have been without hope; but to have risen to the level of that
effort--would have rescued him, though not from dying, yet from dying
as a traitor to his duties.

The situation here contemplated exposes a dreadful ulcer, lurking far
down in the depths of human nature. It is not that men generally are
summoned to face such awful trials. But potentially, and in shadowy
outline, such a trial is moving subterraneously in perhaps all men's
natures--muttering under ground in one world, to be realised perhaps
in some other. Upon the secret mirror of our dreams such a trial is
darkly projected at intervals, perhaps, to every one of us. That dream,
so familiar to childhood, of meeting a lion, and, from languishing
prostration in hope and vital energy, that constant sequel of lying
down before him, publishes the secret frailty of human nature--reveals
its deep-seated Pariah falsehood to itself--records its abysmal
treachery. Perhaps not one of us escapes that dream; perhaps, as by
some sorrowful doom of man, that dream repeats for every one of us,
through every generation, the original temptation in Eden. Every one
of us, in this dream, has a bait offered to the infirm places of his
own individual will; once again a snare is made ready for leading him
into captivity to a luxury of ruin; again, as in aboriginal Paradise,
the man falls from innocence; once again, by infinite iteration,
the ancient Earth groans to God, through her secret caves, over the
weakness of her child; "Nature from her seat, sighing through all
her works," again "gives signs of woe that all is lost;" and again
the counter sigh is repeated to the sorrowing heavens of the endless
rebellion against God. Many people think that one man, the patriarch
of our race, could not in his single person execute this rebellion for
all his race. Perhaps they are wrong. But, even if not, perhaps in the
world of dreams every one of us ratifies for himself the original act.
Our English rite of "Confirmation," by which, in years of awakened
reason, we take upon us the engagements contracted for us in our
slumbering infancy,--how sublime a rite is that! The little postern
gate, through which the baby in its cradle had been silently placed
for a time within the glory of God's countenance, suddenly rises to
the clouds as a triumphal arch, through which, with banners displayed
and martial pomps, we make our second entry as crusading soldiers
militant for God, by personal choice and by sacramental oath. Each man
says in effect--"Lo! I rebaptise myself; and that which once was sworn
on my behalf, now I swear for myself." Even so in dreams, perhaps,
under some secret conflict of the midnight sleeper, lighted up to the
consciousness at the time, but darkened to the memory as soon as all
is finished, each several child of our mysterious race completes for
himself the aboriginal fall.

As I drew near to the Manchester post-office, I found that it was
considerably past midnight; but to my great relief, as it was important
for me to be in Westmorland by the morning, I saw by the huge saucer
eyes of the mail, blazing through the gloom of overhanging houses,
that my chance was not yet lost. Past the time it was; but by some
luck, very unusual in my experience, the mail was not even yet ready
to start. I ascended to my seat on the box, where my cloak was still
lying as it had lain at the Bridgewater Arms. I had left it there
in imitation of a nautical discoverer, who leaves a bit of bunting
on the shore of his discovery, by way of warning off the ground the
whole human race, and signalising to the Christian and the heathen
worlds, with his best compliments, that he has planted his throne for
ever upon that virgin soil; henceforward claiming the _jus dominii_
to the top of the atmosphere above it, and also the right of driving
shafts to the centre of the earth below it; so that all people found
after this warning, either aloft in the atmosphere, or in the shafts,
or squatting on the soil, will be treated as trespassers--that is,
decapitated by their very faithful and obedient servant, the owner of
the said bunting. Possibly my cloak might not have been respected, and
the _jus gentium_ might have been cruelly violated in my person--for,
in the dark, people commit deeds of darkness, gas being a great
ally of morality--but it so happened that, on this night, there was
no other outside passenger; and the crime, which else was but too
probable, missed fire for want of a criminal. By the way, I may as well
mention at this point, since a circumstantial accuracy is essential
to the effect of my narrative, that there was no other person of any
description whatever about the mail--the guard, the coachman, and
myself being allowed for--except only one--a horrid creature of the
class known to the world as insiders, but whom young Oxford called
sometimes "Trojans," in opposition to our Grecian selves, and sometimes
"vermin." A Turkish Effendi, who piques himself on good-breeding, will
never mention by name a pig. Yet it is but too often that he has reason
to mention this animal; since constantly, in the streets of Stamboul,
he has his trousers deranged or polluted by this vile creature running
between his legs. But under any excess of hurry he is always careful,
out of respect to the company he is dining with, to suppress the odious
name, and to call the wretch "that other creature," as though all
animal life beside formed one group, and this odious beast (to whom,
as Chrysippus observed, salt serves as an apology for a soul) formed
another and alien group on the outside of creation. Now I, who am an
English Effendi, that think myself to understand good-breeding as well
as any son of Othman, beg my reader's pardon for having mentioned an
insider by his gross natural name. I shall do so no more: and, if I
should have occasion to glance at so painful a subject, I shall always
call him "that other creature." Let us hope, however, that no such
distressing occasion will arise. But, by the way, an occasion arises
at this moment; for the reader will be sure to ask, when we come to
the story, "Was this other creature present?" He was _not_; or more
correctly, perhaps, _it_ was not. We dropped the creature--or the
creature, by natural imbecility, dropped itself--within the first ten
miles from Manchester. In the latter case, I wish to make a philosophic
remark of a moral tendency. When I die, or when the reader dies, and
by repute suppose of fever, it will never be known whether we died in
reality of the fever or of the doctor. But this other creature, in the
ease of dropping out of the coach, will enjoy a coroner's inquest;
consequently he will enjoy an epitaph. For I insist upon it, that the
verdict of a coroner's jury makes the best of epitaphs. It is brief,
so that the public all find time to read it; it is pithy, so that
the surviving friends (if any _can_ survive such a loss) remember it
without fatigue; it is upon oath, so that rascals and Dr Johnsons
cannot pick holes in it. "Died through the visitation of intense
stupidity, by impinging on a moonlight night against the off hind wheel
of the Glasgow mail! Deodand upon the said wheel--two-pence." What a
simple lapidary inscription! Nobody much in the wrong but an off-wheel;
and with few acquaintances; and if it were but rendered into choice
Latin, though there would be a little bother in finding a Ciceronian
word for "off-wheel," Marcellus himself, that great master of
sepulchral eloquence, could not show a better. Why I call this little
remark _moral_, is, from the compensation it points out. Here, by the
supposition, is that other creature on the one side, the beast of the
world; and he (or it) gets an epitaph. You and I, on the contrary, the
pride of our friends, get none.

But why linger on the subject of vermin? Having mounted the box, I took
a small quantity of laudanum, having already travelled two hundred
and fifty miles--viz., from a point seventy miles beyond London,
upon a simple breakfast. In the taking of laudanum there was nothing
extraordinary. But by accident it drew upon me the special attention of
my assessor on the box, the coachman. And in _that_ there was nothing
extraordinary. But by accident, and with great delight, it drew my
attention to the fact that this coachman was a monster in point of
size, and that he had but one eye. In fact he had been foretold by
Virgil as--

    "Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen ademptum."

He answered in every point--a monster he was--dreadful, shapeless,
huge, who had lost an eye. But why should _that_ delight me? Had he
been one of the Calendars in the Arabian Nights, and had paid down
his eye as the price of his criminal curiosity, what right had _I_
to exult in his misfortune? I did _not_ exult: I delighted in no
man's punishment, though it were even merited. But these personal
distinctions identified in an instant an old friend of mine, whom
I had known in the south for some years as the most masterly of
mail-coachmen. He was the man in all Europe that could best have
undertaken to drive six-in-hand full gallop over _Al Sirat_--that
famous bridge of Mahomet across the bottomless gulf, backing himself
against the Prophet and twenty such fellows. I used to call him
_Cyclops mastigophorus_, Cyclops the whip-bearer, until I observed
that his skill made whips useless, except to fetch off an impertinent
fly from a leader's head; upon which I changed his Grecian name to
Cyclops _diphrélates_ (Cyclops the charioteer.) I, and others known
to me, studied under him the diphrelatic art. Excuse, reader, a word
too elegant to be pedantic. And also take this remark from me, as a
_gage d'amitié_--that no word ever was or _can_ be pedantic which, by
supporting a distinction, supports the accuracy of logic; or which
fills up a chasm for the understanding. As a pupil, though I paid extra
fees, I cannot say that I stood high in his esteem. It showed his
dogged honesty, (though, observe, not his discernment,) that he could
not see my merits. Perhaps we ought to excuse his absurdity in this
particular by remembering his want of an eye. _That_ made him blind to
my merits. Irritating as this blindness was, (surely it could not be
envy?) he always courted my conversation, in which art I certainly had
the whip-hand of him. On this occasion, great joy was at our meeting.
But what was Cyclops doing here? Had the medical men recommended
northern air, or how? I collected, from such explanations as he
volunteered, that he had an interest at stake in a suit-at-law pending
at Lancaster; so that probably he had got himself transferred to this
station, for the purpose of connecting with his professional pursuits
an instant readiness for the calls of his law-suit.

Meantime, what are we stopping for? Surely we've been waiting long
enough. Oh, this procrastinating mail, and oh this procrastinating
post-office! Can't they take a lesson upon that subject from _me_?
Some people have called _me_ procrastinating. Now you are witness,
reader, that I was in time for _them_. But can _they_ lay their hands
on their hearts, and say that they were in time for me? I, during my
life, have often had to wait for the post-office: the post-office
never waited a minute for me. What are they about? The guard tells me
that there is a large extra accumulation of foreign mails this night,
owing to irregularities caused by war and by the packet-service,
when as yet nothing is done by steam. For an _extra_ hour, it seems,
the post-office has been engaged in threshing out the pure wheaten
correspondence of Glasgow, and winnowing it from the chaff of all
baser intermediate towns. We can hear the flails going at this moment.
But at last all is finished. Sound your horn, guard. Manchester, good
bye; we've lost an hour by your criminal conduct at the post-office:
which, however, though I do not mean to part with a serviceable ground
of complaint, and one which really _is_ such for the horses, to me
secretly is an advantage, since it compels us to recover this last hour
amongst the next eight or nine. Off we are at last, and at eleven miles
an hour: and at first I detect no changes in the energy or in the of

From Manchester to Kendal, which virtually (though not in law) is the
capital of Westmoreland, were at this time seven stages of eleven miles
each. The first five of these, dated from Manchester, terminated in
Lancaster, which was therefore fifty-five miles north of Manchester,
and the same distance exactly from Liverpool. The first three
terminated in Preston (called, by way of distinction from other towns
of that name, _proud_ Preston,) at which place it was that the separate
roads from Liverpool and from Manchester to the north became confluent.
Within these first three stages lay the foundation, the progress, and
termination of our night's adventure. During the first stage, I found
out that Cyclops was mortal: he was liable to the shocking affection
of sleep--a thing which I had never previously suspected. If a man is
addicted to the vicious habit of sleeping, all the skill in aurigation
of Apollo himself, with the horses of Aurora to execute the motions of
his will, avail him nothing. "Oh, Cyclops!" I exclaimed more than once,
"Cyclops, my friend; thou art mortal. Thou snorest." Through this first
eleven miles, however, he betrayed his infirmity--which I grieve to say
he shared with the whole Pagan Pantheon--only by short stretches. On
waking up, he made an apology for himself, which, instead of mending
the matter, laid an ominous foundation for coming disasters. The summer
assizes were now proceeding at Lancaster: in consequence of which, for
three nights and three days, he had not lain down in a bed. During
the day, he was waiting for his uncertain summons as a witness on the
trial in which he was interested; or he was drinking with the other
witnesses, under the vigilant surveillance of the attorneys. During
the night, or that part of it when the least temptations existed to
conviviality, he was driving. Throughout the second stage he grew more
and more drowsy. In the second mile of the third stage, he surrendered
himself finally and without a struggle to his perilous temptation.
All his past resistance had but deepened the weight of this final
oppression. Seven atmospheres of sleep seemed resting upon him; and,
to consummate the case, our worthy guard, after singing "Love amongst
the Roses," for the fiftieth or sixtieth time, without any invitation
from Cyclops or myself, and without applause for his poor labours,
had moodily resigned himself to slumber--not so deep doubtless as the
coachman's, but deep enough for mischief; and having, probably, no
similar excuse. And thus at last, about ten miles from Preston, I found
myself left in charge of his Majesty's London and Glasgow mail then
running about eleven miles an hour.

What made this negligence less criminal than else it must have been
thought, was the condition of the roads at night during the assizes. At
that time all the law business of populous Liverpool, and of populous
Manchester, with its vast cincture of populous rural districts, was
called up by ancient usage to the tribunal of Lilliputian Lancaster. To
break up this old traditional usage required a conflict with powerful
established interests, a large system of new arrangements, and a new
parliamentary statute. As things were at present, twice in the year so
vast a body of business rolled northwards, from the southern quarter of
the county, that a fortnight at least occupied the severe exertions of
two judges for its despatch. The consequence of this was--that every
horse available for such a service, along the whole line of road, was
exhausted in carrying down the multitudes of people who were parties to
the different suits. By sunset, therefore, it usually happened that,
through utter exhaustion amongst men and horses, the roads were all
silent. Except exhaustion in the vast adjacent county of York from a
contested election, nothing like it was ordinarily witnessed in England.

On this occasion, the usual silence and solitude prevailed along the
road. Not a hoof nor a wheel was to be heard. And to strengthen this
false luxurious confidence in the noiseless roads, it happened also
that the night was one of peculiar solemnity and peace. I myself,
though slightly alive to the possibilities of peril, had so far
yielded to the influence of the mighty calm as to sink into a profound
reverie. The month was August, in which lay my own birth-day; a
festival to every thoughtful man suggesting solemn and often sigh-born
thoughts.[15] The county was my own native county--upon which, in its
southern section, more than upon any equal area known to man past or
present, had descended the original curse of labour in its heaviest
form, not mastering the bodies of men only as of slaves, or criminals
in mines, but working through the fiery will. Upon no equal space of
earth, was, or ever had been, the same energy of human power put forth
daily. At this particular season also of the assizes, that dreadful
hurricane of flight and pursuit, as it might have seemed to a stranger,
that swept to and from Lancaster all day long, hunting the county
up and down, and regularly subsiding about sunset, united with the
permanent distinction of Lancashire as the very metropolis and citadel
of labour, to point the thoughts pathetically upon that counter vision
of rest, of saintly repose from strife and sorrow, towards which, as
to their secret haven, the profounder aspirations of man's heart are
continually travelling. Obliquely we were nearing the sea upon our
left, which also must, under the present circumstances, be repeating
the general state of halcyon repose. The sea, the atmosphere, the
light, bore an orchestral part in this universal lull. Moonlight, and
the first timid tremblings of the dawn, were now blending; and the
blendings were brought into a still more exquisite state of unity, by
a slight silvery mist, motionless and dreamy, that covered the woods
and fields, but with a veil of equable transparency. Except the feet
of our own horses, which, running on a sandy margin of the road, made
little disturbance, there was no sound abroad. In the clouds, and on
the earth, prevailed the same majestic peace; and in spite of all that
the villain of a schoolmaster has done for the ruin of our sublimer
thoughts, which are the thoughts of our infancy, we still believe in no
such nonsense as a limited atmosphere. Whatever we may swear with our
false feigning lips, in our faithful hearts we still believe, and must
for ever believe, in fields of air traversing the total gulf between
earth and the central heavens. Still, in the confidence of children
that tread without fear _every_ chamber in their father's house, and to
whom no door is closed, we, in that Sabbatic vision which sometimes is
revealed for an hour upon nights like this, ascend with easy steps from
the sorrow-stricken fields of earth, upwards to the sandals of God.

[15] "Sigh-born:" I owe the suggestion of this word to an obscure
remembrance of a beautiful phrase in Giraldus Cambrensis, viz.,
_suspiriosæ cogitationes_.

Suddenly from thoughts like these, I was awakened to a sullen sound,
as of some motion on the distant road. It stole upon the air for a
moment; I listened in awe; but then it died away. Once roused, however,
I could not but observe with alarm the quickened motion of our horses.
Ten years' experience had made my eye learned in the valuing of
motion; and I saw that we were now running thirteen miles an hour. I
pretend to no presence of mind. On the contrary, my fear is, that I am
miserably and shamefully deficient in that quality as regards action.
The palsy of doubt and distraction hangs like some guilty weight of
dark unfathomed remembrances upon my energies, when the signal is
flying for _action_. But, on the other hand, this accursed gift I have,
as regards _thought_, that in the first step towards the possibility
of a misfortune, I see its total evolution: in the radix, I see too
certainly and too instantly its entire expansion; in the first syllable
of the dreadful sentence, I read already the last. It was not that I
feared for ourselves. What could injure _us_? Our bulk and impetus
charmed us against peril in any collision. And I had rode through too
many hundreds of perils that were frightful to approach, that were
matter of laughter as we looked back upon them, for any anxiety to
rest upon _our_ interests. The mail was not built, I felt assured, nor
bespoke, that could betray _me_ who trusted to its protection. But any
carriage that we could meet would be frail and light in comparison
of ourselves. And I remarked this ominous accident of our situation.
We were on the wrong side of the road. But then the other party, if
other there was, might also be on the wrong side; and two wrongs
might make a right. _That_ was not likely. The same motive which had
drawn _us_ to the right-hand side of the road, viz., the soft beaten
sand, as contrasted with the paved centre, would prove attractive
to others. Our lamps, still lighted, would give the impression of
vigilance on our part. And every creature that met us, would rely upon
_us_ for quartering.[16] All this, and if the separate links of the
anticipation had been a thousand times more, I saw--not discursively or
by effort--but as by one flash of horrid intuition.

[16] "_Quartering_"--this is the technical word and, I presume, derived
from the French _cartayer_, to evade a rut or any obstacle.

Under this steady though rapid anticipation of the evil which _might_
be gathering ahead, ah, reader! what a sullen mystery of fear, what a
sigh of woe, seemed to steal upon the air, as again the far-off sound
of a wheel was heard! A whisper it was--a whisper from, perhaps, four
miles off--secretly announcing a ruin that, being foreseen, was not
the less inevitable. What could be done--who was it that could do
it--to check the storm-flight of these maniacal horses? What! could I
not seize the reins from the grasp of the slumbering coachman? You,
reader, think that it would have been in _your_ power to do so. And I
quarrel not with your estimate of yourself. But, from the way in which
the coachman's hand was viced between his upper and lower thigh, this
was impossible. The guard subsequently found it impossible, after this
danger had passed. Not the grasp only, but also the position of this
Polyphemus, made the attempt impossible. You still think otherwise.
See, then, that bronze equestrian statue. The cruel rider has kept the
bit in his horse's mouth for two centuries. Unbridle him, for a minute,
if you please, and wash his mouth with water. Or stay, reader, unhorse
me that marble emperor: knock me those marble feet from those marble
stirrups of Charlemagne.

The sounds ahead strengthened, and were now too clearly the sounds
of wheels. Who and what could it be? Was it industry in a taxed
cart?--was it youthful gaiety in a gig? Whoever it was, something
must be attempted to warn them. Upon the other party rests the active
responsibility, but upon _us_--and, woe is me! that _us_ was my single
self--rests the responsibility of warning. Yet, how should this be
accomplished? Might I not seize the guard's horn? Already, on the
first thought, I was making my way over the roof to the guard's seat.
But this, from the foreign mails being piled upon the roof, was a
difficult, and even dangerous attempt, to one cramped by nearly three
hundred miles of outside travelling. And, fortunately, before I had
lost much time in the attempt, our frantic horses swept round an angle
of the road, which opened upon us the stage where the collision must be
accomplished, the parties that seemed summoned to the trial, and the
impossibility of saving them by any communication with the guard.

Before us lay an avenue, straight as an arrow, hundred yards, perhaps,
in length; and the umbrageous trees, which rose in a regular line
from either side, meeting high overhead, gave to it the character of
a cathedral aisle. These trees lent a deeper solemnity to the early
light; but there was still light enough to perceive, at the further
end of this gothic aisle, a light, reedy gig, in which were seated a
young man, and, by his side, a young lady. Ah, young sir! what are you
about? If it is necessary that you should whisper your communications
to this young lady--though really I see, nobody at this hour, and
on this solitary road, likely to overhear your conversation--is it,
therefore, necessary that you should carry your lips forward to hers?
The little carriage is creeping on at one mile an hour; and the parties
within it, being thus tenderly engaged, are naturally bending down
their heads. Between them and eternity, to all human calculation, there
is but a minute and a half. What is it that I shall do? Strange it is,
and to a mere auditor of the tale, might seem laughable, that I should
need a suggestion from the _Iliad_ to prompt the sole recourse that
remained. But so it was. Suddenly I remembered the shout of Achilles,
and its effect. But could I pretend to shout like the son of Peleus,
aided by Pallas? No, certainly: but then I needed not the shout that
should alarm all Asia militant; a shout would suffice, such as should
carry terror into the hearts of two thoughtless young people, and one
gig horse. I shouted--and the young man heard me not. A second time I
shouted--and now he heard me, for now he raised his head.

Here, then, all had been done that, by me, _could_ be done: more
on _my_ part was not possible. Mine had been the first step: the
second was for the young man: the third was for God. If, said I, the
stranger is a brave man, and if, indeed, he loves the young girl at
his side--or, loving her not, if he feels the obligation pressing upon
every man worthy to be called a man, of doing his utmost for a woman
confided to his protection--he will at least make some effort to save
her. If _that_ fails, he will not perish the more, or by a death more
cruel, for having made it; and he will die, as a brave man should, with
his face to the danger, and with his arm about the woman that he sought
in vain to save. But if he makes no effort, shrinking, without a
struggle, from his duty, he himself will not the less certainly perish
for this baseness of poltroonery. He will die no less: and why not?
Wherefore should we grieve that there is one craven less in the world?
No; _let_ him perish, without a pitying thought of ours wasted upon
him; and, in that case, all our grief will be reserved for the fate
of the helpless girl, who, now, upon the least shadow of failure in
_him_, must, by the fiercest of translations--must, without time for a
prayer--must, within seventy seconds, stand before the judgment-seat of

But craven he was not: sudden had been the call upon him, and sudden
was his answer to the call. He saw, he heard, he comprehended, the ruin
that was coming down: already its gloomy shadow darkened above him;
and already he was measuring his strength to deal with it. Ah! what
a vulgar thing does courage seem, when we see nations buying it and
selling it for a shilling a-day: ah! what a sublime thing does courage
seem, when some fearful crisis on the great deeps of life carries a
man, as if running before a hurricane, up to the giddy crest of some
mountainous wave, from which, accordingly as he chooses his course,
he descries two courses, and a voice says to him audibly--"This way
lies hope; take the other way and mourn for ever!" Yet, even then,
amidst the raving of the seas and the frenzy of the danger, the man
is able to confront his situation--is able to retire for a moment
into solitude with God, and to seek all his counsel from _him_! For
seven seconds, it might be, of his seventy, the stranger settled his
countenance steadfastly upon us, as if to search and value every
element in the conflict before him. For five seconds more he sate
immovably, like one that mused on some great purpose. For five he
sate with eyes upraised, like one that prayed in sorrow, under some
extremity of doubt, for wisdom to guide him towards the better choice.
Then suddenly he rose; stood upright; and, by a sudden strain upon
the reins, raising his horse's forefeet from the ground, he slewed
him round on the pivot of his hind legs, so as to plant the little
equipage in a position nearly at right-angles to ours. Thus far his
condition was not improved; except as a first step had been taken
towards the possibility of a second. If no more were done, nothing
was done; for the little carriage still occupied the very centre of
our path, though in an altered direction. Yet even now it may not be
too late: fifteen of the twenty seconds may still be unexhausted; and
one almighty bound forward may avail to clear the ground. Hurry then,
hurry! for the flying moments--_they_ hurry! Oh hurry, hurry, my brave
young man! for the cruel hoofs of our horses--_they_ also hurry! Fast
are the flying moments, faster are the hoofs of our horses. Fear not
for _him_, if human energy can suffice: faithful was he that drove, to
his terrific duty; faithful was the horse to _his_ command. One blow,
one impulse given with voice and hand by the stranger, one rush from
the horse, one bound as if in the act of rising to a fence, landed
the docile creature's fore-feet upon the crown or arching centre of
the road. The larger half of the little equipage had then cleared our
over-towering shadow: _that_ was evident even to my own agitated sight.
But it mattered little that one wreck should float off in safety, if
upon the wreck that perished were embarked the human freightage. The
rear part of the carriage--was _that_ certainly beyond the line of
absolute ruin? What power could answer the question? Glance of eye,
thought of man, wing of angel, which of these had speed enough to
sweep between the question and the answer, and divide the one from the
other? Light does not tread upon the steps of light more indivisibly,
than did our all-conquering arrival upon the escaping efforts of the
gig. _That_ must the young man have felt too plainly. His back was now
turned to us; not by sight could he any longer communicate with the
peril; but by the dreadful rattle of our harness, too truly had his ear
been instructed--that all was finished as regarded any further effort
of _his_. Already in resignation he had rested from his struggle; and
perhaps, in his heart he was whispering--"Father, which art above, do
thou finish in heaven what I on earth have attempted." We ran past
them faster than ever mill-race in our inexorable flight. Oh, raving
of hurricanes that must have sounded in their young ears at the moment
of our transit! Either with the swingle-bar, or with the haunch of our
near leader, we had struck the off-wheel of the little gig, which stood
rather obliquely and not quite so far advanced as to be accurately
parallel with the near wheel. The blow, from the fury of our passage,
resounded terrifically. I rose in horror, to look upon the ruins we
might have caused. From my elevated station I looked down, and looked
back upon the scene, which in a moment told its tale, and wrote all its
records on my heart for ever.

The horse was planted immovably, with his fore-feet upon the paved
crest of the central road. He of the whole party was alone untouched
by the passion of death. The little cany carriage--partly perhaps from
the dreadful torsion of the wheels in its recent movement, partly from
the thundering blow we had given to it--as if it sympathised with human
horror, was all alive with tremblings and shiverings. The young man
sat like a rock. He stirred not at all. But _his_ was the steadiness
of agitation frozen into rest by horror. As yet he dared not to look
round; for he knew that, if anything remained to do, by him it could no
longer be done. And as yet he knew not for certain if their safety were
accomplished. But the lady----

But the lady----! Oh heavens! will that spectacle ever depart from my
dreams, as she rose and sank upon her seat, sank and rose, threw up
her arms wildly to heaven, clutched at some visionary object in the
air, fainting, praying, raving, despairing! Figure to yourself, reader,
the elements of the case; suffer me to recall before your mind the
circumstances of the unparalleled situation. From the silence and deep
peace of this saintly summer night,--from the pathetic blending of this
sweet moonlight, dawnlight, dreamlight,--from the manly tenderness of
this flattering, whispering, murmuring love,--suddenly as from the
woods and fields,--suddenly as from the chambers of the air opening in
revelation,--suddenly as from the ground yawning at her feet, leaped
upon her, with the flashing of cataracts, Death the crownèd phantom,
with all the equipage of his terrors, and the tiger roar of his voice.

The moments were numbered. In the twinkling of an eye our flying
horses had carried us to the termination of the umbrageous aisle; at
right-angles we wheeled into our former direction; the turn of the road
carried the scene out of my eyes in an instant, and swept it into my
dreams for ever.



                        "Whence the sound
    Of instruments, that made melodious chime,
    Was heard, of harp and organ; and who mov'd
    Their stops and chords, was seen; his volant touch
    Instinct through all proportions, low and high,
    Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue."
                                                  _Par. Lost_, B. xi.


Passion of Sudden Death! that once in youth I read and interpreted by
the shadows of thy averted[17] signs;--Rapture of panic taking the
shape, which amongst tombs in churches I have seen, of woman bursting
her sepulchral bonds--of woman's Ionic form bending forward from
the ruins of her grave, with arching foot, with eyes upraised, with
clasped adoring hands--waiting, watching, trembling, praying, for the
trumpet's call to rise from dust for ever;--Ah, vision too fearful of
shuddering humanity on the brink of abysses! vision that didst start
back--that didst reel away--like a shrivelling scroll from before the
wrath of fire racing on the wings of the wind! Epilepsy so brief of
horror--wherefore is it that thou canst not die? Passing so suddenly
into darkness, wherefore is it that still thou sheddest thy sad funeral
blights upon the gorgeous mosaics of dreams? Fragment of music too
stern, heard once and heard no more, what aileth thee that thy deep
rolling chords come up at intervals through all the worlds of sleep,
and after thirty years have lost no element of horror?

[17] "_Averted_ signs."--I read the course and changes of the lady's
agony in the succession of her involuntary gestures; but let it be
remembered that I read all this from the rear, never once catching the
lady's full face, and even her profile imperfectly.


Lo, it is summer, almighty summer! The everlasting gates of life and
summer are thrown open wide; and on the ocean, tranquil and verdant as
a savannah, the unknown lady from the dreadful vision and I myself are
floating: she upon a fairy pinnace, and I upon an English three-decker.
But both of us are wooing gales of festal happiness within the domain
of our common country--within that ancient watery park--within that
pathless chase where England takes her pleasure as a huntress through
winter and summer, and which stretches from the rising to the setting
sun. Ah! what a wilderness of floral beauty was hidden, or was suddenly
revealed, upon the tropic islands through which the pinnace moved. And
upon her deck what a bevy of human flowers--young women how lovely,
young men how noble, that were dancing together, and slowly drifting
towards _us_ amidst music and incense, amidst blossoms from forests
and gorgeous corymbi from vintages, amidst natural caroling and the
echoes of sweet girlish laughter. Slowly the pinnace nears us, gaily
she hails us, and slowly she disappears beneath the shadow of our
mighty bows. But then, as at some signal from heaven, the music and the
carols, and the sweet echoing of girlish laughter--all are hushed. What
evil has smitten the pinnace, meeting or overtaking her? Did ruin to
our friends couch within our own dreadful shadow? Was our shadow the
shadow of death? I looked over the bow for an answer; and, behold! the
pinnace was dismantled; the revel and the revellers were found no more;
the glory of the vintage was dust; and the forest was left without a
witness to its beauty upon the seas. "But where," and I turned to our
own crew--"where are the lovely women that danced beneath the awning
of flowers and clustering corymbi? Whither have fled the noble young
men that danced with _them_?" Answer there was none. But suddenly the
man at the mast-head, whose countenance darkened with alarm, cried
aloud--"Sail on the weather-beam! Down she comes upon us; in seventy
seconds she will founder!"


I looked to the weather-side, and the summer had departed. The sea was
rocking, and shaken with gathering wrath. Upon its surface sate mighty
mists, which grouped themselves into arches and long cathedral aisles.
Down one of these, with the fiery pace of a quarrel from a crossbow,
ran a frigate right athwart our course. "Are they mad?" some voice
exclaimed from our deck. "Are they blind? Do they woo their ruin?" But
in a moment, as she was close upon us, some impulse of a heady current
or sudden vortex gave a wheeling bias to her course, and off she forged
without a shock. As she ran past us, high aloft amongst the shrouds
stood the lady of the pinnace. The deeps opened ahead in malice to
receive her, towering surges of foam ran after her, the billows were
fierce to catch her. But far away she was borne into desert spaces of
the sea: whilst still by sight I followed her, as she ran before the
howling gale, chased by angry sea-birds and by maddening billows; still
I saw her, as at the moment when she ran past us, amongst the shrouds,
with her white draperies streaming before the wind. There she stood
with hair dishevelled, one hand clutched amongst the tackling--rising,
sinking, fluttering, trembling, praying--there for leagues I saw her as
she stood, raising at intervals one hand to heaven, amidst the fiery
crests of the pursuing waves and the raving of the storm; until at
last, upon a sound from afar of malicious laughter and mockery, all was
hidden for ever in driving showers; and afterwards, but when I know
not, and how I know not.


Sweet funeral bells from some incalculable distance, wailing over the
dead that die before the dawn, awakened me as I slept in a boat moored
to some familiar shore. The morning twilight even then was breaking;
and, by the dusky revelations which it spread, I saw a girl adorned
with a garland of white roses about her head for some great festival,
running along the solitary strand with extremity of haste. Her running
was the running of panic; and often she looked back as to some dreadful
enemy in the rear. But when I leaped ashore, and followed on her steps
to warn her of a peril in front, alas! from me she fled as from another
peril; and vainly I shouted to her of quicksands that lay ahead.
Faster and faster she ran; round a promontory of rock she wheeled out
of sight; in an instant I also wheeled round it, but only to see the
treacherous sands gathering above her head. Already her person was
buried; only the fair young head and the diadem of white roses around
it were still visible to the pitying heavens; and, last of all, was
visible one marble arm. I saw by the early twilight this fair young
head, as it was sinking down to darkness--saw this marble arm, as it
rose above her head and her treacherous grave, tossing, faultering,
rising, clutching as at some false deceiving hand stretched out from
the clouds--saw this marble arm uttering her dying hope, and then her
dying despair. The head, the diadem, the arm,--these all had sunk, at
last over these also the cruel quicksand had closed; and no memorial of
the fair young girl remained on earth, except my own solitary tears,
and the funeral bells from the desert seas, that, rising again more
softly, sang a requiem over the grave of the buried child, and over her
blighted dawn.

I sate, and wept in secret the tears that men have ever given to
the memory of those that died before the dawn, and by the treachery
of earth, our mother. But the tears and funeral bells were hushed
suddenly by a shout as of many nations, and by a roar as from some
great king's artillery advancing rapidly along the valleys, and heard
afar by its echoes among the mountains. "Hush!" I said, as I bent my
car earthwards to listen--"hush!--this either is the very anarchy of
strife, or else"--and then I listened more profoundly, and said as I
raised my head--"or else, oh heavens! it is _victory_ that swallows up
all strife."


Immediately, in trance, I was carried over land and sea to some distant
kingdom, and placed upon a triumphal car, amongst companions crowned
with laurel. The darkness of gathering midnight, brooding over all
the land, bid from us the mighty crowds that were weaving restlessly
about our carriage as a centre--we heard them, but we saw them not.
Tidings had arrived, within an hour, of a grandeur that measured itself
against centuries; too full of pathos they were, too full of joy that
acknowledged no fountain but God, to utter themselves by other language
than by tears, by restless anthems, by reverberations rising from every
choir, of the _Gloria in excelsis_. These tidings we that sate upon the
laurelled car had it for our privilege to publish amongst all nations.
And already, by signs audible through the darkness, by snortings and
tramplings, our angry horses, that knew no fear of fleshly weariness,
upbraided us with delay. Wherefore _was_ it that we delayed? We waited
for a secret word, that should bear witness to the hope of nations, as
now accomplished for ever. At midnight the secret word arrived; which
word was--Waterloo and Recovered Christendom! The dreadful word shone
by its own light; before us it went; high above our leaders' heads it
rode, and spread a golden light over the paths which we traversed.
Every city, at the presence of the secret word, threw open its gates
to receive us. The rivers were silent as we crossed. All the infinite
forests, as we ran along their margins, shivered in homage to the
secret word. And the darkness comprehended it.

Two hours after midnight we reached a mighty minster. Its gates, which
rose to the clouds, were closed. But when the dreadful word, that rode
before us, reached them with its golden light, silently they moved
back upon their hinges; and at a flying gallop our equipage entered
the grand aisle of the cathedral. Headlong was our pace; and at every
altar, in the little chapels and oratories to the right hand and left
of our course, the lamps, dying or sickening, kindled anew in sympathy
with the secret word that was flying past. Forty leagues we might have
run in the cathedral, and as yet no strength of morning light had
reached us, when we saw before us the aerial galleries of the organ and
the choir. Every pinnacle of the fret-work, every station of advantage
amongst the traceries, was crested by white-robed choristers, that sang
deliverance; that wept no more tears, as once their fathers had wept;
but at intervals that sang together to the generations, saying--

    "Chaunt the deliverer's praise in every tongue,"

and receiving answers from afar,

    ----"such as once in heaven and earth were sung."

And of their chaunting was no end; of our headlong pace was neither
pause nor remission.

Thus, as we ran like torrents--thus, as we swept with bridal rapture
over the Campo Santo[18] of the cathedral graves--suddenly we became
aware of a vast necropolis rising upon the far-off horizon--a city
of sepulchres, built within the saintly cathedral for the warrior
dead that rested from their feuds on earth. Of purple granite was
the necropolis; yet, in the first minute, it lay like a purple stain
upon the horizon--so mighty was the distance. In the second minute it
trembled through many changes, growing into terraces and towers of
wondrous altitude, so mighty was the pace. In the third minute already,
with our dreadful gallop, we were entering its suburbs. Vast sarcophagi
rose on every side, having towers and turrets that, upon the limits of
the central aisle, strode forward with haughty intrusion, that ran back
with mighty shadows into answering recesses. Every sarcophagus showed
many bas-reliefs--bas-reliefs of battles--bas-reliefs of battle-fields;
of battles from forgotten ages--of battles from yesterday--of
battle-fields that, long since, nature had healed and reconciled to
herself with the sweet oblivion of flowers--of battle-fields that were
yet angry and crimson with carnage. Where the terraces ran, there did
_we_ run; where the towers curved, there did _we_ curve. With the
flight of swallows our horses, swept round every angle. Like rivers
in flood, wheeling round headlands; like hurricanes that ride into
the secrets of forests; faster than ever light unwove the mazes of
darkness, our flying equipage carried earthly passions--kindled warrior
instincts--amongst the dust that lay around us; dust oftentimes of
our noble fathers that had slept in God from Créci to Trafalgar. And
now had we reached the last sarcophagus, now were we abreast of the
last bas-relief, already had we recovered the arrow-like flight of
the illimitable central aisle, when coming up this aisle to meet us we
beheld a female infant that rode in a carriage as frail as flowers. The
mists, which went before her, hid the fawns that drew her, but could
not hide the shells and tropic flowers with which she played--but could
not hide the lovely smiles by which she uttered her trust in the mighty
cathedral, and in the cherubim that looked down upon her from the
topmost shafts of its pillars. Face to face she was meeting us; face to
face she rode, as if danger there were none. "Oh baby!" I exclaimed,
"shalt thou be the ransom for Waterloo? Must we, that carry tidings of
great joy to every people, be messengers of ruin to thee?" In horror
I rose at the thought; but then also, in horror at the thought, rose
one that was sculptured on the bas-relief--a Dying Trumpeter. Solemnly
from the field of battle he rose to his feet; and, unslinging his stony
trumpet, carried it, in his dying anguish, to his stony lips--sounding
once, and yet once again; proclamation that, in _thy_ ears, oh baby!
must have spoken from the battlements of death. Immediately deep
shadows fell between us, and aboriginal silence. The choir had ceased
to sing. The hoofs of our horses, the rattling of our harness, alarmed
the graves no more. By horror the bas-relief had been unlocked into
life. By horror we, that were so full of life, we men and our horses,
with their fiery fore-legs rising in mid air to their everlasting
gallop, were frozen to a bas-relief. Then a third time the trumpet
sounded; the seals were taken off all pulses; life, and the frenzy of
life, tore into their channels again; again the choir burst forth in
sunny grandeur, as from the muffling of storms and darkness; again the
thunderings of our horses carried temptation into the graves. One cry
burst from our lips as the clouds, drawing off from the aisle, showed
it empty before us--"Whither has the infant fled?--is the young child
caught up to God?" Lo! afar off, in a vast recess, rose three mighty
windows to the clouds; and on a level with their summits, at height
insuperable to man, rose an altar of purest alabaster. On its eastern
face was trembling a crimson glory. Whence came _that_? Was it from the
reddening dawn that now streamed _through_ the windows? Was it from the
crimson robes of the martyrs that were painted _on_ the windows? Was
it from the bloody bas-reliefs of earth? Whencesoever it were--there,
within that crimson radiance, suddenly appeared a female head, and then
a female figure. It was the child--now grown up to woman's height.
Clinging to the horns of the altar, there she stood--sinking, rising,
trembling, fainting--raving, despairing; and behind the volume of
incense that, night and day, streamed upwards from the altar, was seen
the fiery font, and dimly was descried the outline of the dreadful
being that should baptise her with the baptism of death. But by her
side was kneeling her better angel, that hid his face with wings; that
wept and pleaded for _her_; that prayed when _she_ could _not_; that
fought with heaven by tears for _her_ deliverance; which also, as he
raised his immortal countenance from his wings, I saw, by the glory in
his eye, that he had won at last.

[18] _Campo Santo._--It is probable that most of my readers will be
acquainted with the history of the Campo Santo at Pisa--composed of
earth brought from Jerusalem for a bed of sanctity, as the highest
prize which the noble piety of crusaders could ask or imagine. There
is another Campo Santo at Naples, formed, however, (I presume,) on the
example given by Pisa. Possibly the idea may have been more extensively
copied. To readers who are unacquainted with England, or who (being
English) are yet unacquainted with the cathedral cities of England,
it may be right to mention that the graves within-side the cathedrals
often form a flat pavement over which carriages and horses might roll;
and perhaps a boyish remembrance of one particular cathedral, across
which I had seen passengers walk and burdens carried, may have assisted
my dream.


Then rose the agitation, spreading through the infinite cathedral, to
its agony; then was completed the passion of the mighty fugue. The
golden tubes of the organ, which as yet had but sobbed and muttered at
intervals--gleaming amongst clouds and surges of incense--threw up, as
from fountains unfathomable, columns of heart-shattering music. Choir
and anti-choir were filling fast with unknown voices. Thou also, Dying
Trumpeter!--with thy love that was victorious, and thy anguish that was
finishing, didst enter the tumult: trumpet and echo--farewell love, and
farewell anguish--rang through the dreadful _sanctus_. We, that spread
flight before us, heard the tumult, as of flight, mustering behind us.
In fear we looked round for the unknown steps that, in flight or in
pursuit, were gathering upon our own. Who were these that followed?
The faces, which no man could count--whence were _they_? "Oh, darkness
of the grave!" I exclaimed, "that from the crimson altar and from the
fiery font wert visited with secret light--that wert searched by the
effulgence in the angel's eye--were these indeed thy children? Pomps
of life, that, from the burials of centuries, rose again to the voice
of perfect joy, could it be _ye_ that had wrapped me in the reflux of
panic?" What ailed me, that I should fear when the triumphs of earth
were advancing? Ah! Pariah heart within me, that couldst never hear
the sound of joy without sullen whispers of treachery in ambush; that,
from six years old, didst never hear the promise of perfect love,
without seeing aloft amongst the stars fingers as of a man's hand
writing the secret legend--"_ashes to ashes, dust to dust!_"--wherefore
shouldst _thou_ not fear, though all men should rejoice? Lo! as I
looked back for seventy leagues through the mighty cathedral, and saw
the quick and the dead that sang together to God, together that sang
to the generations of man--ah! raving, as of torrents that opened on
every side: trepidation, as of female and infant steps that fled--ah!
rushing, as of wings that chased! But I heard a voice from heaven,
which said--"Let there be no reflux of panic--let there be no more
fear, and no more sudden death! Cover them with joy as the tides cover
the shore!" _That_ heard the children of the choir, _that_ heard the
children of the grave. All the hosts of jubilation made ready to move.
Like armies that ride in pursuit, they moved with one step. Us, that,
with laurelled heads, were passing from the cathedral through its
eastern gates, they overtook, and, as with a garment, they wrapped us
round with thunders that overpowered our own. As brothers we moved
together; to the skies we rose--to the dawn that advanced--to the
stars that fled: rendering thanks to God in the highest--that, having
hid his face through one generation behind thick clouds of War, once
again was ascending--was ascending from Waterloo--in the visions of
Peace:--rendering thanks for thee, young girl! whom having overshadowed
with his ineffable passion of Death--suddenly did God relent; suffered
thy angel to turn aside his arm; and even in thee, sister unknown!
shown to me for a moment only to be hidden for ever, found an occasion
to glorify his goodness. A thousand times, amongst the phantoms of
sleep, has he shown thee to me, standing before the golden dawn,
and ready to enter its gates--with the dreadful Word going before
thee--with the armies of the grave behind thee; shown thee to me,
sinking, rising, fluttering, fainting, but then suddenly reconciled,
adoring: a thousand times has he followed thee in the worlds of
sleep--through storms; through desert seas; through the darkness of
quicksands; through fugues and the persecution of fugues; through
dreams, and the dreadful resurrections that are in dreams--only that at
the last, with one motion of his victorious arm, he might record and
emblazon the endless resurrections of his love!


It was observed by Sir Robert Peel, in his speech on the subject of
Free Trade in the House of Commons, in the last session of parliament,
that those who reproached the new system with all the suffering the
country had undergone during the last three years, forgot or concealed
the fact, that that system was partially introduced by the tariff of
1842, which so materially diminished the import-duties on rude produce
in that year; and that the three following years (those of 1843,
1844, and 1845) were the most prosperous that Great Britain has ever
experienced. Is it then just, he added, when _quasi_ free trade in 1842
produced such beneficial results, to charge complete free trade in 1846
with the subsequent distress which has occurred; the more especially
as adventitious causes--in particular, the Irish famine of 1846, and
the European revolutions of 1848--amply account for the change, without
supposing that the same principles, when carried into practice in 1846,
produced such widely different results from those which had attended
their adoption, to a certain extent, four years before.

The observation is a fair one, and apparently of material weight in the
great question now at issue in the nation. When properly considered, it
gives no countenance to the free-trade measures which the right hon.
baronet has introduced, but only shows that it is to the combination
of those measures, with another element of still more general and
potent agency, that the disaster has been owing. In the interval, be
it recollected, between 1842 and 1846, _the new currency restriction
bills were passed_. The Bank Charter Bill of England received the
royal assent in 1844, that of Scotland and Ireland in 1845. Free
trade in grain was introduced in July 1846; in sugar, in May 1847; in
shipping, in May 1849. The harvests of the years from 1846 to 1849
have been, as usual in this climate, checkered: that of 1846 was fair
in grain, but sadly deficient in potatoes; that of 1847 was above an
average in both; that of 1848, deficient in the south of England in
corn; that of 1849, generally very good. The years from 1842 to 1846,
therefore, were not a trial of free trade and a restricted currency,
_acting simultaneously_--they were a trial only of _semi_-free trade,
without the new monetary laws, coexisting with a railway mania in
the palmy days of its progress, and other favourable circumstances,
which concealed, as will be immediately shown, its actual tendency.
Real free trade has begun to act, _along with a restricted currency,
for the first time, in 1846_. The harvests since have been, on the
whole, average ones--neither better nor worse than generally may, in
this variable climate, be expected in future years. It is since 1846,
therefore, that we are to look, in this climate, for the real proof of
the effects of the _combined free-trade and currency measures_ which
Sir Robert Peel has introduced; and unless they are taken together,
the practical tendency of both will be entirely misunderstood. The
right hon. baronet has done a great service to the cause of truth,
by pointing out the difference in the state of the country before
and after 1846; and we shall endeavour to follow up the subject by
tracing the difference to its real source, and endeavouring to detach
from the question the simultaneous circumstances which have been so
often referred to as explaining the phenomena. The inquiry is the
more important, that the Protection party as a body have, with a few
striking and illustrious exceptions, never seen the currency question
in its true light, as accompanied with that of free trade, and, by
not doing so, have both voluntarily relinquished the most powerful
lever wherewith to shake the strength of their opponents, and failed
in instructing the public mind either in the real causes of their
sufferings, or the means by which they are likely to be, alleviated.

Various circumstances have been studiously kept out of view by the
free-trade party, in reference to the years from 1842 to 1846, which
really were mainly instrumental in producing the prosperity of that
period. And many others have been emphatically dwelt upon, in reference
to the years since 1846, which really had very little hand in producing
these disasters.

The first circumstance which had a powerful influence in producing the
prosperity from 1842 to 1846, was the return of fine seasons after
five bad harvests in succession, which closed in 1841. The summer,
and still more the autumn, of 1842, was a long and unbroken period
of sunshine, which gladdened the hearts of men after the long series
of dreary and cheerless years which had preceded it. The subsequent
years, from 1842 to 1846, were very fine seasons, the harvests of which
were all above an average. This is decisively proved by a comparison
of the average prices of grain for the years from 1839 to 1841, and
from 1842 to 1845.[19] The tariff of 1842 without doubt contributed to
bring about, in some degree, this reduction of prices; but still, as
the sliding-scale was then in operation, and the import duties were
in general 8s. and 9s. the quarter, the effect must have been mainly
owing to the succession of fine seasons. No one can have lived through
that period, without recollecting that this was the case. But the cheap
prices which result from abundant harvests and improved cultivation at
home, are the greatest of all public blessings, as much as the cheap
prices arising from an extended foreign importation and declining
agriculture at home, are the greatest of all curses. The first enriches
the manufacturer, by the previous comfort of the farmer, and the plenty
diffused through the land by his exertions; the last gives a temporary
stimulus to the manufacturer, by the cheapness which is fatal to the
domestic cultivator, and, by abridging the home market, speedily makes
the manufacturer share in his ruin.

[19] Average price of wheat in London in--

        _s._ _d._
  1838,  57   11
  1839,  68    7
  1840,  65    8
  1841,  54    6
  1842,  49    0
  1843,  47    4
  1844,  46    8
  1845,  50   10

The second circumstance which tended to produce the prosperity from
1842 to 1845, was the glorious successes which, in the first of these
years, succeeded to the Affghanistaun disasters. We all recollect the
throb of exultation which beat in the breast of the nation when the
astonishing news arrived, in November 1842, that a single Delhi Gazette
had announced the second capture of Cabul, in the centre of Asia, and
the dictating a glorious peace to the Celestial Empire, under the walls
of Nankin. Not only was our Indian empire secured for a long period, by
those astonishing triumphs, but its strength was demonstrated in a way
of all others the best calculated to insure confidence in its future
prosperity. The effect of this upon our manufacturing and commercial
prosperity was great and immediate. Confidence revived from so
marvellous a proof of the resources and spirit of the nation, which had
so speedily risen superior to so terrible a disaster. Speculation was
renewed on a great scale, from the sanguine ideas entertained of the
boundless markets opened for our manufactures in the centre of Asia,
and in the Chinese dominions. Sir Robert Peel is entitled to great
credit for the glorious turn thus given to our Eastern affairs, and the
gleam of sunshine which they threw upon the affairs of the nation; for
his fortitude, when the previous disastrous news arrived, was mainly
instrumental in producing it. But free-trade principles, and the tariff
of 1842, had no more to do with it than they had with the affairs of
the moon.

The third circumstance which tended to bring about the prosperity from
1842 to 1845, was the revival in the home market, which, on the first
gleam of returning prosperity, arose with redoubled energy from the
very magnitude of previous deterioration and suffering. During the
long train of disasters which followed the great importation of grain,
and consequent exportation of the precious metals, in 1839--which
compelled the Bank of England, for the first time, recorded in
history, to have recourse to the Bank of France for assistance--all
classes of the people had undergone very severe privations. The
depression had been general in extent, and unprecedented in duration,
till it was entirely thrown into the shade by the effects of the
terrible monetary crisis of October 1847. Stocks of goods were reduced
to the lowest amount consistent with the keeping up even a show of
business; comforts of various sorts had been long abandoned by a large
portion of the middle and working classes. At the same time, capital,
in great part unemployed, accumulated in the hands of moneyed men,
and the competition for safe investment lowered the rate of interest.
It was soon down to 3 and 2-1/2 per cent. In these circumstances the
revival of trade, owing to the Eastern victories and fine harvest of
1842, acted immediately, and with the most vivifying effect, on the
home market. A rush took place to replace worn out garments, to revive
long abandoned but unforgotten enjoyments. This result always ensues,
and is attended with very important effects, after a long period of
depression and suffering. It is beginning, though in a slight degree,
and from the same causes, amongst us at this time. But, no opinion can
be formed, of the extent or probable duration of such revived activity,
from its intensity on its first appearance.

The last, and, without doubt, the most important circumstance which
produced the great prosperity from 1842 to 1845, was the monetary
change produced by the Bank Charter Act of 1844.

Sir Robert Peel admitted, in the debate on the currency at the opening
of last session of parliament, that the act of 1844 had failed in
one of its principal objects--viz., the discouraging of perilous and
irrational speculation. He might have gone a step farther, and admitted
that it had been the greatest possible _encourager, for a short season,
of the most absurd and dangerous undertakings_. The proof of this is
decisive. The Bank Charter Act was passed in May 1844, and from that
time till the first check experienced in October 1845, was, beyond
all comparison, the wildest and most absurd season of speculation
ever known in English history. Among others, railways, to the amount
of £363,000,000 sterling, received the sanction of the legislature,
within two years after the new Bank Charter Act had passed. And so
far was government from giving any check to these undertakings--the
results of which, monstrous when co-existing with a fettered currency,
are apparent in the present wreck of railway property--that they gave
them the utmost encouragement, both by lowering the sum required for
deposits from ten to five per cent, and by bestowing, at once in
public and private, the most lavish encomiums on the immense present
and prospective blessings they would confer upon the country. It is
not surprising that a government, looking only to temporary objects,
did so; for the railway mania, while it lasted, and before the ruinous
effects in which it necessarily terminated, when fettered by the
currency laws, had developed themselves, gave a passing stimulus to the
demand for labour, and increase to industry, which rendered men blind
to the whole consequences of the course on which they were launched.
Sir Robert Peel ably and emphatically enforced the favourable condition
of the nation, and dwelt with peculiar emphasis on the diminution in
criminal commitments through the country, in his opening speech of the
session of 1846--although he ascribed it to the free-trade measures,
not the first effect of the general insanity on the subject of railways.

It is now perfectly apparent, and is generally understood, that the
fatal Bank Charter Act was the main cause of the ruinous railway mania
which has since spread distress and ruin so widely through the country.
The reason is evident. It at once emancipated the Bank directors from
every consideration, except that of making the most, as ordinary
bankers, of their capital; and subjected them to such heavy expenses,
from the vast quantity of specie they were obliged to keep in their
vaults, as rendered a very extensive pushing of their business in
every direction a matter of necessity. The effect of these concurring
circumstances was soon apparent. Interest was lowered, immediately
after the passing of the Bank Charter Act, to _two per cent for
first-class bills_, or still lower, as appears from the subjoined table
furnished by Messrs Gurney and Overend, "the greatest bill-brokers in
the world."[20] The facility of getting discounts increased beyond all
precedent the issues of the banks. Those of the Bank of England rose
to £21,000,000; and of all country bankers in a similar proportion.
The total notes in circulation, in England alone, reached £28,000,900;
in Great Britain and Ireland they exceeded £39,000,000. It was this
copious issue of notes which gave, for the time at least, nearly
sufficient accommodation for the immense undertakings which were set
on foot; which, beyond all doubt, both gave birth to, and nurtured
the infancy of that vast network of railways which so soon overspread
the country, and, while it was in course of formation, diffused such
general prosperity over the land.

[20] Rate of discount of first-class bills at the undermentioned

      |Jan. |Feb.|March.|April.|May. |June.|July.|Aug. |Sept.|Oct. |Nov. | Dec.
  1844|2-1/4| 2  |  2   |  2   |1-3/4|  2  |  2  |1-3/4|  2  |1-3/4|1-3/4|1-3/4

Had the impulse thus given to industry, and the enormous domestic
undertakings thus set on foot by the sanction and with the approbation
of government, been cautiously sustained, as a similar impulse had
been during the war, by a corresponding increase of the circulation,
based on a footing which was _not liable to be contracted by a failure
of the harvest, or an enhanced demand for gold in foreign states_,
it might have been the commencement of an era of prosperity, and a
general spread of happiness, unprecedented in British annals. It had
one immense advantage, which distinguished it both from the previous
lavish expenditure during the war, and the extravagant South American
speculations which ended in the monetary catastrophe of December 1825.
The money was all expended at home, and on undertakings useful to the
nation. No man will dispute, that, whether or not all the railways
undertaken during that period were in themselves reasonable, or
likely to yield a dividend to the shareholders, they were beyond all
doubt, one and all of them, advantageous to the public. They afforded
facilities for the transit of goods and the conveyance of passengers,
which were not only an immense advantage to individuals, but a great
relief and benefit to the commerce and manufactures of the country.
So far from being blamed, government deserve the very highest credit
for having given this direction to the industry and expenditure of the
nation. Their fault consisted in the simultaneous and fatal measures
they adopted regarding the currency.

Having taken this great step in the right direction, it became
the first and most important duty of government to have provided,
simultaneously with the commencement of the undertaking, _a currency
independent of foreign drains_, commensurate to the vast addition
made to the industry and engagements of the nation. Its _capital_ was
far more than adequate to the undertakings, how vast soever. This
is now decisively proved by the event. Two-thirds of the railways
are finished; the remaining third is in course of construction; and
interest is in London from _three_ to _two-and-a-half per cent._ But
capital alone is not sufficient for carrying on undertakings. Currency
also is requisite; and if that be deficient, the most boundless
overflow of capital will not avert a monetary crash, or save the nation
from the most dreadful calamities. Here, too, the event has thrown a
broad and decisive light on this vital question, and the cause of our
calamities. Interest was fixed by government, after the crash, for
advances by the Bank of England, in October 1847, at eight per cent;
it rose, in private transactions, to twelve and fifteen per cent. Why
was that? Not because capital was awanting, but because the bankers,
from the drain of specie to buy foreign grain, and the operation of the
Bank Charter Acts of 1844 and 1845, could not venture to issue notes
to their customers. The nation resembled a great army, in which vast
stores of provisions existed in the magazines at its disposal, but a
series of absurd regulations affecting the commissariat prevented the
grain they contained being issued to the soldiers. Accordingly, when
the absurd restrictions were removed, things soon began to amend. When
the Bank Charter Act was _pro tempore_ repealed, by Lord John Russell's
famous letter of October 1847, the effect was instantaneous in allaying
the panic, and interest gradually fell, until now money has become
overflowing, and it is to be had at two per cent, although the years
since that time have been the most disastrous to capital ever known in
the British annals, so that no subsequent increase has been possible.

What government should have done, when they engaged the nation in
the vast system of inland railways, was what Pitt actually did, with
such happy effect, when its currency was exposed to a similar strain
from foreign expenditure, and immense engagements, in 1797. They
should have provided a currency under proper control as to amount, but
capable of being increased, according to the wants and engagements of
society, and, above all, not liable to be withdrawn by the mutations
of commerce, or the demand for gold in foreign states. The example of
Great Britain during the war, when a gigantic expenditure, varying from
eighty to one hundred and twenty millions yearly, was carried on for
twenty years with the aid of such an expansive _domestic currency_--not
only without any lasting distress, save from the stoppage of foreign
markets, but with the _utmost prosperity and happiness to all classes_,
although guineas had altogether disappeared from the circulation--was
not only an example of what was required, but the best indication
of _how_ it was to be done. No period more loudly called for such
a precautionary measure than one in which, under the sanction of
government, no less than £363,000,000 was to be expended on railways
in the short space of four years--a sum equal, if the change in the
value of money is taken into consideration, to £500,000,000 during
the war--at a time when all other branches of industry, foreign and
domestic, were in an unusual state of activity, from the sudden return
of prosperity after a long period of suffering. To expect that the
nation, without some addition to its currency, could carry out so great
an increase in its undertakings, was as hopeless as to imagine that an
army, with a half added to its mouths, is to go on successfully with
no addition made to its distribution of rations. And it is evident
that this addition to the currency could be effectually made only by
extending the paper circulation on a scale proportioned to the increase
of work undertaken. By no possible means could gold, in adequate
quantities, be brought to the scene of activity, the place where it was
required; and even if brought there, no reliance could be placed on
its continuing there for any length of time. On the contrary, nothing
is more certain than that it would speedily be re-exported to other
countries where it was less plentiful, and, therefore, more valuable;
and thus its support would have been lost at the very time when it was
most required.

The rise of prices during the war, when such a domestic currency was
provided by government in adequate quantities, was really owing,
not so much to the circulation having become redundant, as to its
having permitted an adequate remuneration to be given to industry.
This is a most important consideration, which Mr Taylor has most ably
illustrated. The proof that the circulation had not, like the assignats
of France, become redundant, is to be found in two things which are
decisive of the point: 1. At no period of the war was there any
difference between the price of an article when paid in bank notes and
when paid in silver. No man ever saw the price of anything five pounds
in bank notes, and four pounds ten shillings in silver. _Gold_ bore an
enhanced price, because it was required urgently for the operations
of the Continental armies. 2. The increase in the paper circulation,
considerable as it was, was yet not so great as the parallel and
simultaneous increase in our national industry, as measured by our
exports, imports, and public expenditure.[21] Prices rose, therefore,
and reached, for a time, more than double their level anterior to the
contest, not because too much paper had been put in circulation, but
because enough had been issued to let the demand for labour keep pace
with the enlarged undertakings of the nation.


  |      |Bank Notes in|   Exports.   |               |             |
  |Years.|Circulation--|   Official   |   Imports.    |             |
  |      |   Total.    |    Value.    |Declared Value.|   Revenue.  |
  +------+             |              |               |             |
  | 1797 | £10,542,365 | £28,917,010  |  £21,013,956  | £19,852,646 |
  | 1798 |  13,695,830 |  27,317,087  |   25,122,203  |  30,492,995 |
  | 1799 |  12,959,800 |  29,556,637  |   24,066,700  |  35,311,018 |
  | 1813 |  23,120,930 |Records dest- |               |  68,302,861 |
  |      |             |royed by fire.|               |             |
  | 1814 |  24,801,000 |  51,358,398  |   32,622,771  |  70,240,313 |
  | 1815 |  27,261,651 |  57,420,437  |   31,822,053  |  72,203,142 |

  --ALISON'S _Europe_, C. 41, §69.

Instead of imitating this great and decisive example of wise and
statesmanlike policy, what did Sir Robert Peel and the Free-traders do,
on the commencement of a similar period of vastly augmented national
industry? Why, they did just the reverse. Not only did they make no
provision for enlarging the currency of the nation at the time, when
they themselves had occasioned or sanctioned so immense an increase to
its undertakings, but they took the most effectual measures possible
to _contract_ the circulation, both in gold and paper, directly in
proportion to the necessity for its expansion. They first passed a law
which limited the circulation of the Bank of England, irrespective of
the notes issued on the basis of gold in their coffers, to £14,000,000;
and that of the whole banks in Great Britain and Ireland to about
£32,000,000; and then they introduced a system of free trade which
permitted the unlimited entrance of foreign agricultural produce at a
nominal duty, and thereby sent nearly half the gold headlong out of
the country. Under the influence of this monstrous system, the gold in
the vaults of the Bank of England was progressively diminished, until,
in the end of October 1847, it was reduced to £564,000 sterling in the
banking department; at the very time that, by the same judicious law,
above £8,000,000 of sovereigns were lying useless, and locked up in the
issue department of the same establishment. The governor of the bank
very candidly admitted, in his examination before the House of Lords,
that the bank, under the existing system, might have broke while there
were still £8,000,000 of sovereigns lost to them and the nation in the
cellars of the issue department.[22] Of course the whole banks of the
country were compelled instantly to contract their credits, and force
payment of their debts, and thence the universal distress and ruin
which ensued. And all this took place at the very time that the bank
had eight millions of sovereigns chained up by act of parliament in its
cellars, at the issue end of the building; and when the government,
which so chained it up, had landed the nation, by act of parliament, in
engagements requiring an expenditure on railway shares of £363,000,000
in the next four years. You may search the annals of the world in vain
for a similar instance of infatuation in the rulers of a nation, and
self-immolation in a people.

[22] In reference to this state of things, the following important
evidence was given by the governor and deputy-governor of the Bank of

"You had only £1,600,000 in the banking department for the payment of
your liabilities?--Yes.

If anybody had called upon you for anything beyond that million and a
half, you must have stopped payment?--Yes, we must.

At the same time, if there had been no separation between the two
departments, and the Bank of England had been conducted on its old
principle, instead of being within one million and a half of stopping,
there would have been very nearly £8,500,000 of treasure in your
vaults?--We should have had £8,500,000 in our vaults."--_Lords'
Report_, 1848.

It will be said that the vast importation of grain, in the course of
1847, was a matter of necessity, from the failure of the potato crops
in Ireland in the preceding autumn; and that, be the consequences
what they may, they cannot be ascribed to Sir Robert Peel or the
Free-traders. In one sense this is undoubtedly true. It is certain
that the most staunch Protectionists would never have objected to the
largest importation of grain, and exportation of sovereigns, in a
period such as that of severe and unlooked-for scarcity. It was the
precise object of the sliding-scale to admit grain, in periods of
scarcity, free of all duty. But what the Free-traders and Sir Robert
Peel are chargeable with, is having established a system of currency
so fettered and restricted by absurd regulations, that the exportation
of sovereigns _led necessarily and inevitably to a contraction of
paper accommodation, and a shock to credit over the whole country_;
and aggravated the danger by a monstrous regulation, which exposed the
bank to the risk of stopping payment when they had still eight millions
in gold--enough to have enabled them, perhaps, to go on--at one end of
their establishment. They are responsible for the dreadful error of
having not only done nothing to extend and secure the currency from
being exported or contracted, when they had added so enormously to
the internal engagements of the kingdom, but done everything, by the
establishment of a permanent system of free trade, and a permanently
fettered currency, to secure its reappearance on occasion of every
future recurrence of an indifferent harvest, or any continuance of a
great importation.

It is the consciousness of this terrible calamity, impending over the
nation, which terrifies all the directors of banks, and paralyses
industry in so grievous a manner over the whole country. If you ask
any moneyed man, what is the cause of the insecurity so universally
complained of in money transactions over the country, and the
reluctance of bankers to advance largely, even when their coffers
are overflowing, to persons of the best credit? they will invariably
answer, that they are afraid of a commercial crisis; that they do not
know when it may come on: and that they must be, at all times, prepared
for a storm. It is this indefinite dread, the natural result of the
catastrophe of 1847, which renders them so cautious, and keeps the
nation starved of accommodation, at the very time that Lombard Street
is overflowing with money seeking for investment. It is no wonder they
are afraid. The sword of Damocles is suspended over their heads, and
thence their terror. They know that the heavy rains, and consequent
importation of grain, in 1839 into the British islands, forced the Bank
of England to apply for aid to the Bank of France, caused the United
States Bank of America to stop payment, and rendered three-fourths of
the traders in the United States bankrupt. The recollection of the
dreadful crisis of 1847, brought on by the great importation of grain
and exportation of sovereigns in that year, is fresh in their minds.
They see the importations of food going on without intermission, in the
face of exceedingly low prices, at the rate of _fifteen millions of
quarters_ a-year, being nearly quadruple that of 1839, which was four
million quarters.[23] They know that the grain countries will take our
gold to any amount, but not our manufactures, because they do not want
them, or are too poor to buy them; and they ask, How is all this grain
to be paid? In what is all this to end? How are the bills, drawn to
pay for these exports, to be met? So general is this feeling of dread,
from the effects of a drain on our metallic resources to pay for the
vast importations of grain going forward, that when the author, in the
beginning of last autumn, said to the chief officer of one of the first
banking establishments in Britain, that "three weeks' rain in August
would render half the merchants in England bankrupt," he replied--"Sir,
three weeks' rain in August will make half the merchants in Europe


                 |All kinds |Flour. |         |
  Imported, month|of Grain. | Cwt.  | Total.  |        Authority.
     ending--    |   Qrs.   |       |         |
  April 5, 1849, |1,110,306 |320,764|1,213,888|London Gazette, April 20, 1849.
  Aug.  5, 1849, |  990,270 |295,667|1,088,776|     Ditto,      Aug. 20, 1849.
  Sept. 5, 1849, |  928,258 |332,434|1,039,269|     Ditto,     Sept. 20, 1849.
  Oct. 10, 1849, |1,123,434 |290,713|1,213,640|     Ditto,      Oct. 30, 1849.

That it is this fatal dependence of the currency, and consequent
credit of the country, on the retention of its gold circulation,
under circumstances when, from the vast importation of grain going
forward, _it is impossible to retain it_, which is the real cause of
the calamitous state of the country for the last three years, and
not either the potato rot or the European revolutions, to which the
Free-traders ascribe it, is evident from the slightest consideration.
The potato rot of 1846, which has been the sheet-anchor of the
Free-traders ever since--the scapegoat which they hoped would answer
for all their sins--was never, by the most determined of their party,
set down as having occasioned a loss of above £15,000,000 sterling.
Call it £20,000,000 to avoid cavil. The strength of the case will
admit of any concession. Now, the value of the agricultural produce of
the United Kingdom, prior to the free trade in grain, was generally
estimated at £300,000,000.[24] A deficiency of £20,000,000, or a
_fifteenth part_, might occasion, doubtless, the most acute _local_
distress in the districts in which it was most severely felt; but it
could never, _irrespective of its action on the currency_, occasion a
general monetary and commercial crisis. England and Scotland exported
little or nothing to the boys of Munster and Connaught, where the
failure occurred. There is no more reason, had it not been for the
currency laws, why a failure of the potato crop in Ireland should have
produced a monetary crisis in Great Britain, than a failure in the
potato crop of Norway.


  Viz.--19,135,000 arable acres, at £7 each,        £133,945,000
        27,000,000 acres of grass, at £6 each,       162,000,000
        15,000,000 do. wastes,                         5,000,000

--PORTER'S _Progress of the Nation_, 158; 2d edition.

Again, the revolutions in Europe in 1848, of which so much has been
said to account for the distress, are equally inadequate to explain
the phenomenon. They could, of course, affect the European market
for our export goods only; and they, taken altogether, only amount,
to the countries affected by the revolutions, to £13,000,000--little
more than a fourth part of our exports, which vary from £51,000,000
to £60,000,000. Supposing a half of this export, or £7,000,000, had
been lost, during the year 1848, by the French, German, and Italian
revolutions; what is that amidst the mass, thirty-fold greater, of our
total manufactures, which some years ago were estimated at £133,000,000
for the home market, and £50,000,000 for the foreign. They are now
unquestionably above £200,000,000 annually. But let it be supposed that
the _whole_ defalcation of our exports, from £60,000,000 in 1845, to
£53,000,000 in 1848, was owing to the European revolutions, and none at
all to the paralysis of domestic industry by the effects of free trade
and a fettered currency--seven millions deficit, out of £200,000,000
annual produce of manufactures, is only a _twenty-ninth_ part. Is it
possible that so trifling a deficit can have been the cause of the
terrible calamity which overtook the country in 1848 and 1849, the
more especially as the harvest of 1847 was so good, that, by orders of
government, a public thanksgiving was returned for it? That calamity
was unparalleled in point of extent, and has, in two years, swept away
at least one half of the whole commercial and manufacturing wealth
of the kingdom. The thing is perfectly ridiculous. The failure of an
eighth part of our annual export, and a twenty-ninth part of our annual
creation of manufactures, might occasion considerable distress in the
particular places or branches of manufacture principally affected,
but it could never explain the universal paralysis, affecting the home
trade even more than the foreign, which followed the monetary crisis of
October 1847.

Again, as to the European revolutions of 1848, although, undoubtedly,
they largely contributed to interrupt the commerce of this country with
central Europe, and may fairly be considered as the principal cause of
the decline in the exports of that year, yet it may be doubted whether
the influx of wealth, from the distracted monarchies of Europe, which
they occasioned, did not more than counterbalance that disadvantage.
England, during the convulsions of France, Germany, and Italy, became
the bank of Europe. Wealth flowed in from all quarters, for investment
in the only capital left which held out the prospect of security. The
solid specie which then was brought to London for purchase into the
British funds, in the course of 1848, has been estimated, by competent
authorities, at £9,000,000 sterling. Beyond all doubt, this great
influx of the precious metals from continental Europe--at a time when
it was so much required, in consequence of the enormous exportation
of specie which free trade was inducing, and the monstrous monetary
laws which contracted the paper circulation in proportion as it was
withdrawn--had a powerful effect in counteracting the evils we had
brought upon ourselves, and sustaining the currency and national
credit, which the Free-traders had done so much to destroy. And as
this was an alleviation of the evil at its fountain-head, it is next
to certain that the European revolutions of 1848, so far from having
occasioned the distress in Great Britain in that year, had a material
effect in abating it.

It is vain, therefore, for the Free-traders to push forward extraneous
and separate events, as the cause of the dreadful calamities which
have overtaken the country since October 1847; calamities which all
the witnesses examined in both Houses of Parliament, in the committees
on commercial distress, described as _altogether unparalleled_. They
arose, evidently, not from the failure of crops in a particular place,
or the temporary stoppage in the foreign vent for a particular branch
of manufacture--causes which only touched the extremities--but from
some great cause affecting the heart of the empire, and which through
it paralysed all its members. And when it is recollected that, after
having landed the nation in extra domestic engagements, for the next
four years, to the amount of £360,000,000, the government adopted
the most decisive and effective measures to contract the currency,
and, after making it mainly dependant on the retention of gold in the
country, they took steps which sent that gold headlong abroad--in
exchange for enormously increased importations, the fruit of free
trade--it is not difficult to discover what that cause was.

But all these evils, it is said, are over. We have passed through the
desert, and arrived at the promised land. Free trade, disjoined from
the extraneous circumstances which have hitherto concealed its real
effect, is at length beginning to appear in its true colours. The
Continent is pacified; the trade to France and Germany has revived;
the revenue is improving; the exports in September were £2,000,000
more than in the corresponding month of last year: wait a little and
we shall soon be in Elysium, and free trade and a fettered currency
will realise all their promised advantages. We are not unaware of
the _Io Pæans_ which are already sung from the Liberal camp on this
subject, and it is precisely for that reason that, when FREE TRADE IS
AT ITS ZENITH, we have taken the opportunity to examine its effects. We
have seen that the prosperity from 1842 to 1845 arose from extraneous
causes, with which the tariff of the first of these years had nothing
to do; and that the disasters from 1847 to 1849 were not in any
sensible degree owing to external or separate calamities, but were the
direct and inevitable effect of the establishment of a system of free
trade, at the very time when the industry of the nation was manacled
by the restriction of absurd and destructive monetary laws. Let us
now examine our present condition, and see whether or not we are in
an enviable position at home or abroad; whether the industry of the
country can possibly survive, or its revenue be maintained, under
the present system; and whether the seeds of another catastrophe, as
terrible as that of 1847, are not already spread in the land.

In one particular the Free-traders are unquestionably right. Beyond
all doubt, the external circumstances of the nation, at present, are
in the highest degree favourable to its manufacturing and trading
interests. We are at peace with all the world, and, thank God, there is
no immediate appearance of its being broken. The markets of continental
Europe have, for six months past, been entirely laid open to our
merchants, by the settlement of France under the _quasi_ empire of
Louis Napoleon, and the extinction of the war in Italy and Germany.
Rome is taken; Hungary is subdued; Baden is pacified; the war in
Schleswig is at an end; the Danish blockade is raised; California has
given an extraordinary impulse to activity and enterprise in the West;
the victory of Goojerat has extinguished, it is to be hoped for a long
period, all appearance of disturbance in the East. The harvest, just
reaped, has been uncommonly fine in grain, both in Great Britain and
Ireland: that of the potatoes above an average in the latter island.
The Chartists of England and Scotland, astounded at the failure of all
their predictions and the defeat of all their hopes, are silent; the
revolutionists of Ireland, in utter despair, are leaving the Emerald
Isle. Amidst the general pacification and cessation of alarms, old
wants and necessities begin to be felt. Men have discovered that
revolting will not mend their clothes or fill their bellies. New
garments are required, from the old being worn out; the women are
clamorous for bonnets and gowns; the men are sighing for coats and
waistcoats. Provisions are cheap to a degree unexampled for fourteen
years; wheat is at 41s. the quarter, meat at 5d. a pound. Capital in
London can be borrowed at 2-1/2 per cent, in the provinces at 3-1/2.
That great Liberal panacea for all evils, a _huge importation_ of
foreign produce, is in full operation. This year it will probably
reach in value at least £100,000,000 sterling. Let us then, in these
eminently favourable circumstances, examine the effects of the
free-trade system.

First, with regard to the revenue, that never-failing index of the
national fortunes. The revenue for the year ending Oct. 10, 1849,
being the last quarter that has been made up, was only £236,000 more
than that for the year ending Oct. 10, 1848. That is to say, during
a year when free trade was acting under the most favourable possible
circumstances, and when the pacification of the world was reopening
markets long closed to our manufactures, the revenue only rose a mere
trifle above what it had been in the year wasted by the triple curse
of a monetary crisis, European revolutions, Chartist disturbances and
Irish rebellion. Why is this? Evidently because the effect of free
trade and a restricted currency acting together, and the dread of a
fresh monetary crisis hanging over our heads from the unprecedented
magnitude of our importations in every branch of commerce, have
depressed industry at home to such a degree, that even the reopening of
all the closed markets of the world, and the rush to fill up the void,
created during fifteen months of stoppage of intercourse, has been able
to produce no sensible addition to the public revenue.

Next, as to the exports. The reopening of the Continental markets, the
pacification of India by the victory of Goojerat, and the impulse given
to American speculation by the gold of California, has occasioned a
considerable increase in our exports, on which the Free-traders are
pluming themselves in an extraordinary degree. We should be glad to
know in what way free trade pacified India, extinguished revolution in
Europe, and vivified America by the Californian diggings. And yet, had
these distant and adventitious occurrences not taken place, would we
have had to congratulate the manufacturers on a rise of two millions
in September, and a rise of seven or eight millions on the whole year?
And what, after all, is a rise of our exports from £53,000,000 to
£60,000,000 or even £63,000,000 in a year, to the total manufacturing
industry of the country, which produces at least £200,000,000
annually? It is scarcely the addition of a _thirtieth_ part to the
annual manufactured production. The Free-traders are hard pushed,
indeed, when they are constrained to exult in an addition to the
national industry so trifling, and wholly brought about by fortunate
external events entirely foreign to their policy.

In the immense and increasing amount of our IMPORTS, however, the
Free-traders may indeed see, as in a mirror, the real and inevitable
result of their measures. Their amount for this year is of course
not yet known; although, from the returns already procured, it is
certain that they will greatly exceed the level of last year, which
reached £94,000,000. In all probability they will considerably exceed
£100,000,000. Indeed, in the single article of grain, the excess of
1849 over 1848, since the one shilling duty began in February, has
been so great as much to exceed in value the augmentation which has
taken place in our exports.[25] The importation of grain in the first
eight months of 1849 has been more than double what it was in the
corresponding period of 1848, and that in the face of a fine harvest,
and prices throughout the whole period varying from forty-five to
forty-one shillings a quarter of wheat. The importation at these
low prices has settled down to a regular average of about 1,200,000
quarters of all sorts of grain a-month, or between fourteen and fifteen
millions of all sorts of grain in a year. This is just a _fourth of the
annual subsistence_, estimated in all sorts of grain at 60,000,000 of
quarters. This immense proportion free trade has already caused to be
derived from foreign supplies, though it has only been three years in
operation, and the nominal duties only came into operation in February

[25] In the eight months up to the 5th of September 1849, the
quantities of foreign food taken out for home consumption have been--

  Foreign wheat,       3,387,596 qrs.
  Foreign flour,       2,956,878 cwt.
  Foreign barley,      1,018,858 qrs.
  Foreign oats,          869,077  "
  Foreign rye,           219,810  "
  Maize,               1,735,778 qrs.
  Foreign bacon,         349,727 cwt.
  Salted beef,           119,867  "
  Salted pork,           306,400  "
  Eggs, (number)      73,605,759

All these amounts are largely, and the most important of them _very_
largely, in advance of the imports of the first eight months of 1848.

Abstract of grain imported in quarters in seven months of free trade--

  Wheat,                      3,387,596 qrs.
  Flour, (2,956,878 cwt.,)      985,293  "
  Barley,                     1,018,858  "
  Oats,                         869,077  "
  Rye,                          219,810 qrs.
  Maize,                      1,735,778  "
    In eight months,     }
     seven of free trade,}    8,216,412 qrs.

So vast an increase of importation is perhaps unprecedented in so
short a period; for, before the change was made, the importation was
so trifling that, on an average of five years ending in 1835, it had
sunk to 398,000 quarters. Indeed, the importation before the five bad
harvests, from 1846 to 1840, had been so trifling, that it had become
nominal merely, and the nation had gained the inestimable advantage of
being self-supporting.[26] With truth did that decided free-trader, Mr
Porter, say, in the last edition of his valuable work, entitled the
_Progress of the Nation_--"The foregoing calculations show in how small
a degree this country has hitherto been dependent upon foreigners,
in ordinary seasons, for a due supply of our staple article of food.
These calculations are brought forward to show how exceedingly great
the increase of agricultural production must have been, to have thus
effectively kept in a state of independence a population which has
advanced with so great a degree of rapidity. To show the fact, the one
article of wheat has been selected, because it is that which is the
most generally consumed in England; but the position advanced would
be found to hold good, were we to go through the whole list of the
consumable products of the earth. The supply of meat, during the whole
years comprised in this inquiry, has certainly kept pace with the
growth of the population; and, as regards this portion of human food,
our home agriculturists have, during almost the whole period, enjoyed a
strict monopoly."[27]

[26] Quarters of wheat and wheat-flour imported into Britain from 1807
to 1836, both inclusive:--

  1807,        379,833
  1808,          --
  1809,        424,709
  1810,      1,491,341*
  1811,        238,366
  1812,        244,385
  1813,        125,559
  1814,        681,333
  1815,          --
  1816,        227,263
  1817,      1,020,949*
  1818,      1,593,518*
  1819,      1,122,133
  1820,         34,274
  1821,              2
  1822,          --
  1823,         12,137
  1824,         15,777
  1825,        525,231
  1826,        315,892
  1827,        772,133
  1828,        842,050
  1829,      1,364,220*
  1830,      1,701,889*
  1831,      1,491,631
  1832,        325,425
  1833,         82,346
  1834,         64,653
  1835,         28,483
  1836,         24,826
  1837,        244,087
  1838,      1,834,452*
  1839,      2,590,734*
  1840,      2,389,732*

*Bad seasons.


  1801 to 1810,        600,946
  1811 -- 1820,        458,578
  1821 -- 1830,        534,292
  1831 -- 1835,        398,509
  1836 -- 1840,      1,992,548**

**Five bad years in succession. --PORTER'S _Progress of the Nation_,
137, 138, second edition.

[27] PORTER'S _Progress of the Nation,_ second edition, p. 139.

Things, however, are now changed. Protection to domestic industry, at
least in agriculture, is at an end; prices are down to forty shillings
the quarter for wheat, and half that sum for oats and barley; the
prices of sheep and cattle have fallen enormously to the home-grower,
though that of meat is far from having declined in the same proportion;
and, as all this has taken place during a season of prices low beyond
example, it is evident that it may be expected to be still greater
when we again experience the usual vicissitudes of bad harvests in
our variable climate. The returns prove that ever since the duties on
foreign grain became nominal, in the beginning of February last, the
importation of corn and flour into Great Britain and Ireland has gone
on steadily at the rate of 1,200,000 quarters a-month; and that now
seven-eighths of the supply of the metropolis, and of all our other
great towns, comes from foreign parts.[28] How British agriculture is
to go on staggering under such a frightful load of foreign importation
into its best markets, it is not difficult to foresee. Every scholar
knows how Italian agriculture decayed, under a similar importation of
grain from the distant provinces of the Roman empire; and how directly
the fall of the empire was owing to that fatal change.

[28] Take as an example the importation into London, from 24th to 29th
September 1849: prices being--wheat, 41s. 9d.; barley. 27s.; oats, 17s.

           FOREIGN.       BRITISH.
             Qrs.           Qrs.

  Wheat    18,023       All kinds of
  Barley,   8,319           grain.
  Oats,    23,408
  Beans,    2,620           7,129

--_Week from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3._

Putting aside all minor considerations, which crowd upon the mind in
considering the probable effects of this prodigious change, there are
three of paramount importance which force themselves on the attention,
any one of which holds the fate of the empire suspended in a doubtful

The first is, How is the revenue of £55,000,000, and the interest
of mortgages at least half as much more,[29] to be provided for
under so great a reduction in the value of the staple articles of
British agricultural produce? It has been seen that the total value
of the agricultural produce of the empire was, anterior to the late
changes, about £300,000,000. If prices fall on an average a fourth,
in consequence of foreign importations, which is a most moderate
supposition, probably much within the truth, this £300,000,000 will be
reduced at once to £225,000,000. But the disastrous effect of such a
reduction is not to be measured by its absolute amount, considerable
as that amount undoubtedly is. Its dreadful effect lies here, that
the £75,000,000 thus cut off, absorb nearly the whole profits of
cultivation, out of which both the rent is paid to the landlord, and
the farmer obtains the means of livelihood. The remainder is the cost
of production, and it is not lowered in any sensible degree. _Thus the
whole loss falls on the cultivators._ This is just what has happened
under a similar course of policy in the West Indies, where the indolent
habits of the emancipated slaves, and free trade in sugar, acting
together, have destroyed the profits of agriculture; and of course the
islands are rapidly returning to the jungle and the forest.

[29] The mortgages of England alone are estimated, by the best
authorities, at £400,000,000. Those of Ireland and Scotland are
certainly at least half as much more, or £200,000,000. Indeed, out
of the rental of £14,000,000 a-year, now in part become nominal in
the former country, it is usually reckoned that £10,000,000 go to the
holders of mortgages.

Now, if a deficiency at all approaching to this occurs in the revenue
derived from land--the sources of _three-fifths_ of the income of the
United Kingdom--how, in the name of common sense, is the revenue to be
paid? How are the jointures of the widows, the interest of mortgages,
and the other charges on the land, to be made good, when the change of
prices has absorbed nearly the whole profit of cultivation? If they
are recovered, what is to remain to the landlord? How are the home
manufacturers, and the numerous class of shopkeepers in towns, and,
above all, in the metropolis, who are supported by their expenditure,
to be maintained? It is very easy to say the fall of rents is a
landlord's question, and the mass of the people have no interest in
it. Who support the manufacturers and shopkeepers over the country?
The landlords and holders of securities over the land furnish at the
very least a half of that support. Of the £5,400,000 a-year, which the
Income Tax produces, £3,200,000, or more than a half, comes from the
land. How wide-spread, then, will be the distress produced over the
community, and, above all, to the shopkeepers in towns, from a change
which threatens to dry up the principal sources from which their sales
are paid.

In the next place, How is the _national independence_ to be maintained
when we come to import so large a proportion as from a fourth to a
third of our subsistence from foreign states? If the chances of war,
or a Continental blockade, interrupt our usual sources of supply, what
is to come of the people? Who is to guarantee us against famine prices
on any deficiency of our usual supply from abroad, and our people from
becoming, as the Romans were in former days, the sport of the winds
and the waves? Observe, nearly all our foreign supply comes from two
countries only, Russia, or Prussia, whom it influences, and America. If
we lose our maritime superiority--and who will secure its continuance,
now that the Navigation Laws are repealed?--we may be at once blockaded
in our harbours, and reduced in three months to the alternative of
starvation or submission. But supposing we are not at once reduced to
so humiliating an alternative, is it not clear that, when we have come
practically to depend for the food of a _third_ of our people on _two_
foreign states, we are entirely at the mercy of those two countries,
and can never venture to assert, even in form, our independence against
them? Without fitting out a ship of the line, or equipping a battalion,
they can, by the mere threat of closing their harbours, at any time
starve us into submission. And what are the nations beneath whose feet
proud Albion is thus content to place her neck? Russia and America, the
two most rising countries in existence, and both of which are actuated
by the strongest and the most undying jealousy of the ancient glory and
maritime preponderance of this country.

Mr Gurney, "the greatest bill-broker in the world," has emphatically
declared in public, on more than one occasion, that the country cannot
go on with its present expenditure; that £15,000,000 a-year, on the
charges of the army and navy, is more than can possibly be afforded;
and that, if a great reduction is not made, we shall become bankrupt.
His remedy for this is to disband our troops, sell our ships of the
line, and establish the reign of peace and bill-broking throughout the
world. On the other hand, "the greatest captain in the world," the
Duke of Wellington, has made the following remonstrance to several
successive administrations, on the total inadequacy of our present
establishments, by sea and land, to secure the national independence in
the political changes which may be anticipated in the lapse of time:--

    "I have in vain endeavoured to awaken the attention of
    different administrations to this state of things, as well
    known to our neighbours (rivals in power, at least former
    adversaries and enemies) as it is to ourselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

    We ought to be with garrisons as follows at the moment war is

  Channel Islands (besides the militia
    of each, well organised,
    trained, and disciplined)             10,000
  Plymouth                                10,000
  Milford Haven                            5,000
  Cork                                    10,000
  Portsmouth                              10,000
  Dover                                   10,000
  Sheerness, Chatham, and the Thames      10,000

    I suppose that one-half of the whole regular force of the
    country would be stationed in Ireland, which half would give
    the garrison for Cork. The remainder must be supplied from the
    half of the whole force at home, stationed in Great Britain.

    The whole force employed at home in Great Britain and Ireland
    would not afford a sufficient number of men for the mere
    defence and occupation, on the breaking out of a war, of the
    works constructed for the defence of the dockyards and naval
    arsenals, _without leaving a single man disposable_.

    The measure upon which I have _earnestly entreated different
    administrations to decide_, which is constitutional, and has
    been invariably adopted in time of peace for the last years,
    is to raise, embody, organise, and discipline the militia
    of the same number for each of the three kingdoms united,
    as during the late war. This would give an organised force
    amounting to about a hundred and fifty thousand men, which we
    might immediately set to work to discipline. This amount would
    enable us to establish the strength of our army. This, with
    an augmentation of the force of the regular army, which would
    cost £400,000, would put the country on its legs in respect to
    personal force, and I would engage for its defence, old as I am.

    But as we stand now, and if it be true that the exertions of
    the fleet alone are not sufficient to provide for our defence,
    _we are not safe for a week after the declaration of war_."...

    "I shall be deemed foolhardy in engaging for the defence of the
    empire with an army composed of such a force as militia. I may
    be so. I confess it, I should infinitely prefer, and should
    feel more confidence in, an army of regular troops. But I
    _know_ that I shall not have these. I can have the others; and
    if an addition is made to the existing regular army allotted
    for home defence of a force which would cost £400,000 a-year,
    there would be a sufficient disciplined force in the field to
    enable him who should command it to defend the country.

    This is my view of our danger and of our resources. I am
    aware that our magazines and arsenals were very inadequately
    supplied with ordnance and carriages, as well as stores of all
    denominations, and ammunition.

    The deficiency has been occasioned in part by the sale of arms,
    and of various descriptions of ordnance stores, since the
    termination of the late war, in order to diminish the demand
    of supply to carry on the peace service of the ordnance, in
    part by the conflagration of the arsenal which occurred in
    the Tower some years ago, and by the difficulty under which
    all governments in this country _labour in prevailing upon
    parliament, in time of peace, to take into consideration
    measures necessary for the safety of the country in time of

    "I am bordering upon 77 years of age passed in honour. I hope
    that the Almighty may protect me from being again witness of
    the tragedy which I cannot persuade my contemporaries to take
    measures to avert."

These are strong words, as all those of the Duke of Wellington, and
all other men of powerful and clear intellect, are, when they are
roused and thoroughly in earnest. But when charged with such a subject,
the means of defence and independence to his country, would a man of
his patriotic feeling use expressions less strong, when he saw both
endangered by the weakness of successive administrations, acting in
obedience to the dictates of a blind and infatuated people? But if our
independence has been thus menaced by the inadequacy of our defensive
armaments by sea and land in time past, what is it likely to be in days
to come, when the public revenue, and the resources of the kingdom,
are prostrated by the combined action of a currency fettered by the
acts of 1844 and 1845, and national industry overwhelmed with foreign
competition under the free-trade system of 1846?

In truth, the peace congresses which now amuse the world, and give
an opportunity for clever but chimerical and ignorant men to declaim
upon the speedy advent of a political millennium, are nothing more
than an effort, on the part of the free-trade party, to escape from
the consequences of their own measures. Mr Cobden and the Free-traders
of England now see as clearly as any body, that cheap prices and a
large revenue, either to individuals or nations, cannot by possibility
co-exist; that the £100,000,000, promised us from the abolition of the
corn laws, have vanished into thin air, and that the reduction of the
income of the whole classes of society under its operation will be so
considerable, that it is quite impossible the national expenditure can
be maintained. As the touching of the dividends is not for a moment
to be thought of--as that would be bringing the tempest back with a
vengeance on the moneyed class who evoked it--his only resource, to
make our expenditure square with our reduced income, is in disbanding
the soldiers, instituting a national guard, and selling our stores
and ships of war. He is quite serious in that; and, like all other
fanatics, he is not in the slightest degree influenced by the decisive
refutation of his principles, which the universal breaking out of
hostilities, and arming of the world, in consequence of the French
Revolution of 1848, and the momentary triumph of liberal principles,
has afforded. He is perfectly aware, that if industry was protected,
and we had a currency equal to the wants and necessities of the nation,
we might, with our extended population, raise £100,000,000 a-year,
with more ease than we now do fifty millions, and thus secure the
independence of the country, and bid defiance to all our enemies.
But that would lower the value of money in the hands of the great
capitalists, and would amount to an admission that he had been wrong;
and, rather than risk that, he is content to prostrate the national
defences, and hand us over, unarmed, to the tender mercies of the
Chartists and Repealers at home, and the Red Republicans or Cossacks

The more intelligent of the Liberal party are now intent on a different
object, but one equally descriptive of their secret sense of the
failure of their grand panacea of free trade. They are full of the
incalculable effects of the application of science to agriculture;
expatiate largely on the analysis of soils and liquid manures, and
indulge in learned disquisitions on the application of the refuse
of towns and common-sewers to the improvement and fertilisation of
the soil. From the _Edinburgh Review_, which treats its readers to a
learned _exposé_ of Liebig's principles, to Sir R. Peel's protegé, the
Dean of Westminster, who boasts of having tripled the produce of his
land by liquid manure, this is the grand remedy for the evils which
they now see they have introduced. It is singular, if there is any
truth in these discoveries, that though man has been labouring at the
soil for four thousand years, and during that time had an ample supply
of these fertilising streams, they have never been brought to light
till free trade made them a question of life and death to a powerful
party in the state. Having had ample experience of the application of
these liquid manures on the largest and most favourable scale, we are
able to give a decided opinion on this subject. Liquid manures are
of great service in enriching _meadow_ lands, or forcing up _coarse
but luxuriant crops of vegetables, such as cabbage or cauliflower_,
of which the leaves or stems, not the seeds or roots, form an article
of food. But they do not _permanently_ enrich the soil: their effect
is over in a few weeks. A fresh inundation of the fertilising stream
is then requisite, the effects of which are speedily evaporated. On
this account they are wholly inapplicable to grain crops, and of very
doubtful service to potatoes or turnips. In the emphatic language of
farmers, they put no _heart_ into the ground. The vegetation they
force on is entirely in leaves and stems, not in seeds or roots. If
they come into general use, they may increase the determination of the
agricultural industry of the country to grass cultivation, and render
England in modern, as Italy was in ancient times, one great sheet of
pasturage; but they will never overcome the difficulties with which
free trade has environed our farmers in the raising of _grain_ crops,
or enable them to compete with the harvests of the Ukraine, or the
basin of the Mississippi.

In the third place--and this is perhaps a more vital consideration
than any--How is the constant recurrence of monetary crises, similar
to that which has left such woful desolation behind it, to be avoided
upon every recurrence of a deficient harvest at home, or a straitened
importation from abroad? The people of England are sensitively alive
on this subject. They watch the rain in autumn with the most intense
anxiety; and, if it falls a few days more than usual, the utmost alarm
pervades all classes. They know well what rain in autumn portends. They
see rising up, in dismal perspective before them, a great importation
of grain, a vast export of sovereigns, the screw put on by the Bank
of England, a contraction of credits by every bank, every man finding
his creditors on his back, and one-half of his debtors bankrupt. All
this they see, and see clearly; but the minds of a large portion of
them are so benighted by the free-trade dogmas, that it never occurs
to them that all this is the creation of their own policy, and is in
no degree imputable to the laws of Providence. They think the thing
is inevitable. They believe that there is a natural connexion between
three weeks' rain in August and a monetary crisis, just as there is
between a similar deluge and flooded meadows, or destroyed bridges. The
evil, however, is entirely of human creation, and may, with absolute
certainty, be avoided by human means. There is no more reason why three
weeks' rain in August should produce a monetary crisis, than three
weeks' rain in November. It is our ruinous monetary laws which render
them cause and effect.

But assuming that the monetary laws are to continue, and free trade
to be persisted in, it will become the people of this country, and
_especially the trading classes_, to consider well the inevitable
effect of such a state of things on the monetary concerns of the
country, and, through them, on the solvency of every one of themselves.
We have seen that the heavy rains and large importations of grain in
1839 produced the severe and long-protracted period of distress from
1839 to 1842; and that the potato failure in 1846, acting on the Bank
Charter Act of 1844, occasioned the terrible catastrophe of October
1847. But what was the importation of grain, in either of these
periods of distress or famine, to that which is now taking place,
and has _become habitual in the face of exceedingly low prices_? In
1839, the whole grain of all kinds imported was 4,000,000 quarters,
an amount in those days unprecedented. In 1846 and 1847, 12,000,000
quarters, under the stimulus of famine prices, was imported in fifteen
months. But now, after a fine harvest, and with wheat at 41s. a
quarter, we are importing annually, as our _average amount, fifteen
millions of quarters of foreign grain_! How are the most terrible
commercial disasters to be averted, if this immense amount receives any
augmentation from bad seasons? Nay, how are they to be averted even in
ordinary seasons, with so immense a drain on the metallic resources of
the country? This is a question in which the mercantile classes are far
more interested than the agricultural--for with them a monetary crisis
is an affair of life and death. With landholders, cheap prices, unless
very long continued, are merely an affair of temporary loss of income,
because the land itself remains, and it is the value of the annual
fruits only that is affected.

To compensate so many perils, past, present, and to come, have free
trade and a fettered currency, since they were simultaneously brought
into action in this country, afforded such a spectacle of internal
prosperity and concord as to render them on the whole worth persisting
in, at such hazard to our national independence, and even existence?
Alas! the view is now, if possible, more alarming than the prospect of
dangers to come, so much have the realised and experienced evils of the
new system exceeded what the most sombre imagination, fraught with the
most gloomy images, could have anticipated. Amidst the infinite variety
of topics bearing on this subject, we select the five following, as
bearing decisively on the subject:--The increase of the poor-rate,
both in Great Britain and Ireland; the increase in emigration; the
increase of crime; the decline in railway travelling, and the ruin of
agriculture in Ireland.

With regard to the increase of the poor-rate, since free trade and
the new monetary system were introduced, we have the best possible
authority in the following statement in the last number of a
leading journal. "It appears," says the _Edinburgh Review_, "from
Mr Commissioner Symmon's report on pauperism, that the poor-rate in
England has now become _heavier than it was before 1835_ when _the
New Poor law was introduced_. It was, in 1834, £7,373,807; it was in
1848, £7,817,459. _Every ninth person now in England is now a pauper_:
and the increase of paupers during the last two years has been double
in proportion to the relative numbers of criminals."[30] In Ireland,
above 2,000,000 persons are paupers; and the poor-rate since 1846 has
risen from £260,000 a-year to £1,900,000, though it was in the first
of these years only (1846) that there was any general failure of the
potato crop. In Scotland the poor-rate, has nearly tripled in the last
three years; it has risen from £185,000 a-year to £560,000. In Glasgow,
the poor-rates, which anterior to 1846 were under £30,000 yearly for
the city and suburbs, rose in the year 1848-9 to £200,000, and in the
present year (1849-50) amount to £138,500. Nor is it wonderful that
assessments have increased so prodigiously, when the augmentation of
paupers has been so alarming. The following is the increase in the city
of Glasgow parish, being about a half of the city and suburbs, during
the last three years:--

[30] _Edinburgh Review_, October 1848, p. 524.

  Year.     Total number of Paupers.
  1845-6,            7,454
  1846-7,           15,911
  1847-8,           51,852

The total number of paupers relieved in the city of Glasgow and
suburbs in the year 1848-9 was 122,000; being exactly _a third of the
population_ receiving parochial relief.

The enormous and unprecedented increase of emigration in the last three
years is still more alarming and descriptive of the fatal disease
under which the body politic is labouring. Previous to 1846 the annual
emigration had stood thus:--

  1838,              33,222
  1839,              62,207
  1840,              90,743
  1841,             118,592
  1842,             128,344
  1843,              57,212
  1844,              70,686
  1845,              93,501
  1846,             129,851

But free trade and a fettered currency soon doubled these numbers. The
emigration stands thus in round numbers:--

  1847,             258,461
  1848,             248,582

For 1849 the numbers have not yet been made up; but that they have much
exceeded 300,000 is well known, and may be judged of by the following
facts. From the official return made up at New York, and published in
the _New York Herald_ of October 10, it appears that, up to that date,
there had landed, in _that harbour alone_, 238,487 emigrants, of whom
_no less than 189,800 were Irish_. If to these is added the emigrants
who went to Boston--where 13,000 landed in the same period, and those
who have gone to Canada, where above 60,000 landed last year--it is
evident that the total emigrants from the United Kingdom this year
must have considerably exceeded 300,000; being probably the greatest
emigration, from any country in a single year, in the whole annals
of the world. It considerably exceeds the annual increment of the
population of the United Kingdom, which is about 230,000: so that,
under the combined action of free trade and a fettered currency, THE
Free-traders may boast of an exploit which all the enemies of England
have never been able to effect. This has become so notorious, that
it has passed into an ordinary newspaper paragraph; which, without
attracting the least attention--though it is the most striking thing
that has occurred in English history for five centuries--is now making
the round of the public prints.

It is in vain to put this dismal fact down to the account of the Irish
famine. That occurred in the winter of 1846-7, three years ago, since
which period we have had good harvests; notwithstanding which the
emigration has, since that, been constantly about 250,000; and this
year, in the midst of a fine harvest, has turned 300,000.

The _increase of crime_ during the last three years has been equally
alarming, and illustrative of the grievous distress which, for that
period, has affected the industrial interests of the empire. Having,
in the last Number of this magazine, fully discussed this subject, we
shall only observe that, during the last three years, the increase of
crime in the two islands has been nearly 50 _per cent._ Sir R. Peel,
in spring 1846, when the railway mania was at its height, and full
employment was given to railway labourers and mechanics in every part
of the country, dwelt with peculiar emphasis and complacency on the
diminution of commitments which appeared in the preceding year, as the
most decisive proof of the beneficial effect of his measures in 1842.
We hope he will dwell with equal emphasis on the _increase_ of crime
since that time, and draw from it the appropriate conclusion as to the
wisdom of his subsequent measures.

The woful state of the _railway_ interests throughout the country,
and the steady and alarming decrease of the mileage profits, on an
average of all the lines, is another internal symptom of the dreadful
effects of the new system which, within the last three years, has been
introduced. Railway property, within the last three years, has almost
everywhere declined to a half, in many great lines to a third of its
former value. In one of the greatest lines in the kingdom, the £50
shares, all paid up, are now selling at £14, and were even lately down
as low as £10. The following is taken from the _Times_ of October 21:--

    "The subjoined table exhibits the number of miles opened at
    Michaelmas in seven consecutive years, and the average traffic
    per mile during the first nine months in each year:--

  Years.   Miles opened.   Traffic per mile.
  1843        1,586            £2,330
  1844        1,770             2,500
  1845        2,033             2,640
  1846        2,498             2,560
  1847        3,375             2,200
  1848        4,178             1,965
  1849        4,980             1,780

    The decline in the last column, from 1845 to the present year,
    is sufficiently alarming, and looks like a sinking to zero."

To what is this lamentable sinking of property, in so important a
branch of public investment, to be ascribed? We are aware that much
of it is owing to unproductive branch lines; but what is the main
cause of these branch lines having, contrary to general expectation,
proved so unproductive? It is in vain to ascribe it to the cholera:
that only temporarily affected parts of the kingdom; and, at any
rate, it is now over, and government have very properly appointed a
public thanksgiving for its termination. It is equally in vain to
ascribe it to the monetary crisis of 1847; that is long since past:
capital is overflowing, and interest in London is again down to 3
and 2-1/2 per cent. It is evidently owing to one cause, worse than
plague, pestilence, and famine put together--viz. the wasting away of
the internal resources of the country, under the combined operation
of free trade and a restricted currency: free trade deluging us with
foreign goods in every department of industry, and a restricted
currency paralysing every attempt at competition in our own. We are
very complacent: we not only present our shoulders bare to the blows of
the enemy, but we tie up our own hands, lest, under the smart of the
injury, we should be tempted to return them.

But by far the most deplorable effect of free trade and a fettered
currency is to be seen in Ireland, where, for the last three years,
misery unexampled and unutterable has existed. We shall mention only
three facts of a general nature, descriptive of the state of that
unhappy country since the simoom of the new principles blew over it,
and leave our readers to judge of the state of things to which they

In the first place it appears, from a parliamentary return, that the
holders of farms who, in 1845, were 310,000 over the Emerald Isle, had
sunk in 1848 to 108,000. _Two hundred and two thousand cultivators of
land_ have disappeared in three years, and with them at least half of
the capital by means of which the land was made to produce anything.

In the second place, as we noticed in our last Number, the bank returns
corroborate, in the most fearful manner, this alarming decrease in
the agricultural capital and industry of the country. Ireland, it is
well known, is almost entirely an agricultural country. Now, from
the returns of the bank-notes in circulation in Ireland, as made to
government in terms of the act of 1845, it appears that, while in
August 1846, _there were £7,500,000, they had sunk, in August 1849,
to £3,833,000_! Othello's occupation is gone! The bank-notes can find
no employment: the bankers no customers. Free trade and the bank
restrictions have in three years reduced the circulation which the
country could take off to half of its former amount.

In the third place, if we cast our eyes across the Atlantic, we shall
see where the cultivators and agricultural capital of Ireland have
gone. During the years 1847 and 1848, out of the 250,000 emigrants who
annually left the British Isles, about 180,000 were from Ireland. But
this year 1849, when the duties on grain became nominal in February,
outdid all its predecessors in the magnitude of the stream of human
beings which it caused the Emerald Isle to send across the Atlantic.
It has been already mentioned that, up to October 10, 1849, 189,800
Irish emigrants had landed at New York, besides 10,000 at Boston. If
to these we add the probable number to Canada, perhaps 30,000, we
shall have at least 230,000 Irish who have emigrated _in one year_ to
America--and that a year of general peace, a fine harvest, reopened
Continental markets, and revived manufacturing industry in the empire.
And the Irish _county_ members formed a large part of Sir R. Peel's
majority which carried free trade in 1846. Truly they have smote their
constituents hip and thigh.

After these facts, and the woful one, that about 2,000,000 paupers
are kept alive in Ireland by a poor-rate of £1,900,000 a-year, which
is crushing the little that remains of industry and cultivation in
the country, it is superfluous to go into details. But the following
extracts from that powerful free-trade journal, _The Times_, are so
graphic and characteristic of the effect of its own favourite measures,
that we cannot forego the satisfaction of presenting them:--

    "The landed gentry and farmholders in this county, [Limerick,]
    impelled by a national calamity, now at a crisis without
    example in Ireland, have in contemplation a meeting to
    represent to his Excellency the Lord-Lieutenant the utterly
    prostrate condition of all agricultural property, and the
    universal failure of every expedient in the best rural economy
    to sustain the Irish farmer--destitute of capital, bereft
    of legitimate protection, and overwhelmed by poor-rates and
    taxes--_against the free-trade imports of the whole world_. The
    ministerial policy of Great Britain, under sanction of a law
    which thousands of her loyal subjects deprecated, invites _the
    foreign trader from all ports known to the compass to import
    at a nominal duty, and then suffers him to export in specie
    only, for his own country_! What other ballast have the fleets
    of foreign vessels conveyed from our shore for the last three
    years _but metallic and bank currency_? With such immeasurably
    unequal competition at his very door, the native grower finds
    _no market for the produce of his honest industry, unless at a
    price wholly incompatible with the position of a solvent man_.
    He sells, alas! only to lose, and the selfish foreigner is
    sure of profit on every cheap venture; while his speculation
    renders no equivalent whatever to the revenue or taxation of
    that state which encourages his importations at the expense of
    our own independence; for the permanent independence of those
    kingdoms implies the prosperity of Irish produce, and its
    preference in the English market. Ireland, unfortunately, has
    no trade or manufacture to employ her people, and wherefore
    is best known to England; but her only staple, agriculture,
    which all nations, ancient and modern, loved to cultivate, will
    soon be little more than a name. The causes and effects of
    this disastrous revolution the philosopher and historian will
    hereafter do justice to. A preparatory meeting, relative to
    the above, is now being held, with closed doors, in the county
    court, Lord Monteagle in the chair. Poor-rate was the monster
    grievance of discussion. The meeting broke up at 3 o'clock,
    it having been decided to collect facts from every district
    of the country in connexion with taxation and valuation of
    property."--_Limerick Chronicle_, of Saturday, Oct. 26.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "THE LAND QUESTION.--A letter from Kilrush, dated the 27th
    inst., and published in the _Clare Journal_, says:--'So eager
    are the country farmers to make sale of their grain, that
    every day is a market. Two causes seem to influence them;
    first, their present and urgent necessities press upon them,
    and, secondly, an opinion prevails, which appears not to be
    confined to the west, that it is more secure to have the money
    in their pockets than to leave the crop to become a prey to
    agent or poor-rate collector; and also that, in the event of
    no reduction being made in the annual rent, they may have no
    difficulty in walking off. Such are the feelings operating on
    the minds of the majority of the farmers in this locality. It
    is now too plain and obvious, that should a reduction in the
    rents take place here, it will come two years too late, as the
    greater number of the farmers (formerly comfortable) have not
    as much as would support their families for half the coming
    year. This is a sad but true state of things, in a district
    where, some few years since, the rents were paid, perhaps,
    more regularly than in any other part of the south of Ireland.
    A few have left their holdings, after selling every article,
    leaving the naked walls of a house to the landlord, and gone
    to a neighbouring townland, where the quality and cheapness
    of the land presented a greater encouragement; but such cases
    of flying tenants have become so common of late, that every
    paper teems with similar statements. _If we are to have the
    land cultivated here, the rents must not only be reduced to
    half the former price_, but the tenant must be assisted to
    set the crop, and encouraged to introduce a proper method of
    cultivation, otherwise the land will be left idle, and _the
    majority of the present occupiers will become inmates of the
    workhouse_.'"--_Times_, Oct. 31, 1849.

    "There must also be taken into account the dire domestic
    privations endured for the last three years of famine, the
    general flight of tenants with the landlords' rent, the
    desertion of the land, impoverished to the last degree by
    the runaways, yet for whose dishonesty and abuse of solemn
    contract the unfortunate proprietor is held responsible--the
    abandoned farms being still subject to accumulation of
    poor-rate and taxes. Then come the distraint, the impounding,
    the sale and sacrifice of property; while the home market,
    _swamped by free trade with foreigners_, has left landlord and
    farmer no help or resource whatever to bear up against the
    intolerable oppression of financial burdens, sanctioned by
    law, under the free constitution of Great Britain! One case
    of grievous suffering by a respectable family in this county
    was communicated to the preparatory meeting on Saturday last,
    by one of the gentlemen present. The possessor of a rent-roll
    of £1500 a-year landed estate, which netted £1200 _annually
    four years ago, was absolutely compelled to subsist with his
    wife and seven children for three months of the past twelve,
    without the ordinary comfort of a meat dinner_; a cup of weak
    tea or coffee, and the vegetables of the kitchen-garden,
    commonly furnishing the table of this most wretched household!
    Incredible and appalling as this may appear, we have been
    assured it is not a solitary instance of the excessive want and
    privation known to exist."--_Times_, Nov. 4, 1849.

So much for the working of free trade and a restricted currency in the
Emerald Isle. One would suppose, in reading these melancholy accounts,
we were not dealing with any people in modern times, but transported
back to those dismal periods, after the fall of the Roman empire, when
the contemporary annalists contemplated the extinction of the human
race, from the desolation of some of its provinces.

This dreadful state of things in Ireland is but a repetition of what,
under the operation of these causes, aided by the fatal step of
unqualified emancipation, has for some years been going on in the West
Indies. We have not room to enlarge on this prolific subject, teeming
as it does with facts illustrative of the effects of the free-trade
system. They are generally known. Suffice it to say, the _West Indies
are totally ruined_. British colonies, on which £120,000,000 sterling
has been expended, and which fifteen years ago produced £22,000,000
worth of agricultural produce annually, have been irrecoverably
destroyed. The fee-simple of all the estates they contain would not
sell for £5,000,000 sterling. We know an estate in the West Indies,
which formerly used to net £1500 a-year, and to which £7000 worth of
the best new machinery was sent within the last five years, which the
proprietor would be too happy to sell, machinery and all, for £5000.

CANADA has lately shared largely in the moral earthquake which has so
violently shaken all parts of the British empire. We subjoin an extract
from the temperate and dignified statement of their grievances, lately
published by 350 of the leading men at Montreal, to show how largely
free trade enters into them.

    "Belonging to all parties, origins, and creeds, but yet agreed
    upon the advantage of co-operation for the performance of a
    common duty to ourselves and our country, growing out of a
    common necessity, we have consented, in view of a brighter and
    happier future, to merge in oblivion all past differences, of
    whatever character, or attributable to whatever source. In
    appealing to our fellow-colonists to unite with us in this our
    most needful duty, we solemnly conjure them, as they desire a
    successful issue, and the welfare of their country, to enter
    upon the task, at this momentous crisis, in the same fraternal

    _The reversal of the ancient policy of Great Britain, whereby
    she withdrew from the colonies their wonted protection in
    her markets, has produced the most disastrous effects upon
    Canada._ In surveying the actual condition of the country,
    what _but ruin or rapid decay meets the eye_? Our provincial
    government and civic corporations embarrassed; our banking
    and other securities greatly depreciated; our mercantile and
    agricultural interests alike unprosperous; real estate scarcely
    saleable upon any terms; our unrivalled rivers, lakes, and
    canals almost unused; while commerce abandons our shores, _the
    circulating capital amassed under a more favourable system is
    dissipated_, with none from any quarter to replace it! Thus,
    without available capital, unable to effect a loan with foreign
    states, or with the mother country, although offering security
    greatly superior to that which readily obtains money both from
    the United States and Great Britain, when other than colonists
    are the applicants:--crippled, therefore, and checked in the
    full career of private and public enterprise, this possession
    of the British crown--our country--stands before the world in
    humiliating contrast with its immediate neighbours, exhibiting
    every symptom of a nation fast sinking to decay.

    With superabundant water-power and cheap labour, especially
    in Lower Canada, we have yet no domestic manufactures; nor
    can the most sanguine, unless under altered circumstances,
    anticipate the home growth, or advent from foreign parts, of
    either capital or enterprise to embark in this great source of
    national wealth. Our institutions, unhappily, have not that
    impress of permanence which can alone impart security and
    inspire confidence, and the Canadian market is too limited to
    tempt the foreign capitalist.

    While the adjoining states are covered with a network of
    thriving railways, Canada possesses but three lines, which,
    together, scarcely exceed fifty miles in length, and the stock
    in two of which is held at a depreciation of from 50 to 80
    per cent--a fatal symptom of the torpor overspreading the
    land."--_Times_, Oct. 31.

In what graphic terms are the inevitable results of free trade and
a restricted currency here portrayed by the sufferers under their
effects! Colonial protection withdrawn; home industry swamped by
foreign; canals unused! banks alarmed; capital dissipated; rivers and
harbours untenanted; property unsaleable! One would have thought they
were transcribing from this magazine some of the numerous passages in
which we have predicted its effects. And let England recollect, Canada
now employs 1,100,000 of the tonnage of Great Britain. Let it be struck
off, and added to the other side, and the British tonnage, employed in
carrying on our trade, will, in a few years, be _made less than the


                                    [I.]British tonnage.    Foreign.
  British tonnage to British North
    American colonies, 1846,               1,076,162
  To United States of America,               205,123        435,399
  Total tonnage in British trade to
    all countries,                         4,294,733      1,806,282
  Deduct Canadian tonnage,                 1,076,162
  British tonnage after losing Canada,     3,228,571
  Foreign tonnage after gaining Canada,                   1,076,162
--PORTER'S _Parliamentary Tables_, 1846, p. 52.

The repeal of the Navigation Laws in 1847 gave such an impulse to
foreign shipping, that, in the first year after the loss of Canada,
the foreign shipping employed in our trade would exceed the British,
even supposing we only lost _two-thirds_ of Canadian trade by its

One would have thought, from the present state of Canada, that our
colonial secretary had followed the advice of Franklin in his "Rules
for making a _great Empire a small one_."

    "If you are told of _discontents_ in your colonies, never
    believe that they are general, or that you have given occasion
    for them; therefore, _do not think of applying any remedy or
    of changing any offensive measure_. Redress no grievance, lest
    they should be encouraged to demand the redress of some other
    grievance. Yield no redress that is just and reasonable, lest
    they should make another demand that is unreasonable. _Take
    all your informations of the state of your colonies from your
    governors_ and officers in enmity with them....

    If you see _rival nations_ rejoicing at the prospect of
    your disunion with your provinces, and endeavouring to
    promote it--if they translate, publish, and applaud all the
    complaints of your discontented colonists, at the same time
    privately stimulating you to severer measures--let not that
    alarm or offend you. Why should it? You all mean the same
    thing."--(_Rules 16 and 17._)

If our rulers had followed the advice of the sages of former times,
instead of the theories of modern bullionists and interested parties,
they would have avoided this unparalleled accumulation of disasters.
Hear the greatest and wisest of men, Lord Bacon, on the subject:--

    "'For the home trade I first commend to your consideration the
    encouragement of tillage, which will enable the kingdom to
    provide corn for the natives, and to spare for importation; and
    I myself have known more than once, when in times of dearth, in
    Queen Elizabeth's days, it drained much coin of the kingdom to
    furnish us with corn from foreign parts.'

    He added also--

    'Let the foundation of a profitable trade be so laid that the
    exportation of home commodities be more in value than the
    importation of foreign, so we shall be sure that the stocks
    of the kingdom shall yearly increase, for then the balance of
    trade must be returned in money.'

    And Lord Bacon went on to give this wholesome piece of advice:--

    'Instead of crying up all things which are either brought from
    beyond sea or wrought by the hands of strangers, let us advance
    the native commodities of our own kingdom, and employ our own
    countrymen before strangers.'"--_Bacon's Essays._

    "Trade," says Locke, "is necessary to the production of riches,
    _and money to the carrying on of trade_. This is principally to
    be looked after, and taken care of; for if this be neglected,
    we shall in vain, by contrivances among ourselves, and
    shuffling the little money we have from one hand to another,
    endeavour to prevent our wants: decay of trade will quickly
    waste all the remainder; and then the landed man, who thinks,
    perhaps, by the fall of interest, to raise the value of his
    land, will find himself cruelly mistaken, when, the money being
    gone, (as it will be if our trade be not kept up,) he can get
    neither farmer to rent, nor purchaser to buy, his land."...

    "If one-third of the money employed in trade were locked up or
    gone out of England, must not the landlords receive one-third
    less for their goods, and, consequently, rents fall--a less
    quantity of money by one-third being to be distributed
    amongst an equal number of receivers? Indeed, people, not
    perceiving the money to be gone, are apt to be jealous, one of
    another; and each suspecting another's inequality of gain to
    rob him of his share, every one will be employing his skill
    and power, the best he can, to retrieve it again, and to
    bring money into his pocket in the same plenty as formerly.
    But this is but scrambling amongst ourselves, and helps no
    more against our wants than the pulling of a short coverlid
    will, amongst children that lie together, preserve them all
    from the cold--_some will starve, unless the father of the
    family provide better, and enlarge the scanty covering_. This
    pulling and contest is usually between the candid man and the
    merchant."--LOCKE'S _Works_, v. 14, 70, 71. _Considerations on
    Rate of Interest and Raising the Value of Money._

We add only the opinion of a great authority with the Free-traders,
Mr Malthus, which seems almost prophetic of what is now passing in
this country. We are indebted for it to the _Morning Post_, which
has consistently argued the doctrines of protection and an adequate
currency since they were first assailed.

    "If the price of corn were to fall to 50s. a quarter, and
    labour and other commodities nearly in proportion, there can
    be no doubt that the stockholder would be benefited unfairly
    at the expense of the industrious classes of society. During
    the twenty years, beginning with 1794, and ending with 1813,
    the average price of wheat was about 83s.; during ten years,
    ending with 1813, 92s.; and during the last five years of this
    same twenty, the price was 108s. In the course of these twenty
    years, government borrowed near £500,000,000 of real capital,
    exclusive of the sinking fund, at the rate of about five per
    cent interest. But if corn shall fall to 50s. a quarter, and
    other commodities in proportion, instead of an interest of five
    per cent., the government will really pay an interest of seven,
    eight, and nine, and for the last £200,000,000, of ten per
    cent. This must be paid by the industrious classes of society,
    and by the landlords; that is, by all those whose nominal
    incomes vary with the variations in the measure of value; and
    if we completely _succeed in the reduction of the price of corn
    and labour_, this increased interest must be paid in future
    from a revenue of about _half the nominal value of the national
    income in 1813_. If we consider with what an increased weight
    the taxes on tea, sugar, malt, soap, candles, &c., would in
    this case bear on the labouring classes of society, and what
    proportion of their income all the active, industrious middle
    orders of the state, as well as the higher orders, must pay, in
    assessed taxes and the various articles of custom and excise,
    _the pressure will appear to be absolutely intolerable_.
    Indeed, if the measure of value were really to fall as we have
    supposed, there is great reason to fear that the country would
    be _absolutely unable to continue the payment of the present
    interest of the national debt_."--_Malthus's Essays._

This was Mr Malthus's anticipation of the effect of wheat falling
to 50s. What would he have said of it at 40s., its present average
price? We recommend the concluding paragraph to the notice of the
fund-holders, by whose influence the late changes have mainly been

But let the Free-traders be of good cheer--they have done marvellous
things. They have accomplished what no British statesmen, since the
days of Alfred, have been able to effect. They have stopped the growth
of our population, and, for the first time for four centuries, rendered
it retrograde. They have sent from two hundred and fifty to three
hundred thousand people yearly out of the country, for three years,
in search of food. They have lowered the Irish circulation of notes
a half. They have, with one blow, swamped the Poor-law Amendment Act
in England, and rendered rates higher, even with prices extremely
low, than they ever were in English history. They have extirpated
200,000 cultivators in Ireland. They have cut £80,000,000 a-year off
from the remuneration of cultivation and the encouragement of the
home market to our manufactures in Great Britain. They have lowered
railway property more than a half. They have destroyed, at least, a
half of the whole commercial and trading wealth of the manufacturing
towns. They have made the nation dependant, in two years, for a
fourth of its subsistence on foreign states. They have rendered the
maintenance of the national independence, if the present system is
persisted in, impossible. They have destroyed £100,000,000 worth of
property in the West Indies. They have sown the seeds of revolt in
Canada, and rendered its separation, at no distant period, from Great
Britain a matter of certainty. They have repealed the Navigation
Laws, and thereby cut off the right arm of our naval strength. They
are fast laying the seeds of dismemberment in our colonial empire.
They will soon reduce, if unchecked in their career, the immense
empire of England to two islands, oppressed with taxes, eaten up by
paupers, importing a third of their annual subsistence from foreign
states, brought in in foreign bottoms. These are the effects of
FREE TRADE AT ITS ZENITH. What will they be at its Nadir?


  Abercromby, Mr, in Sardinia, 587.


  Æneas, Payne Knight's criticisms on, 375.

  Africa, Jonathan in, 172
    --its deserts, 464.

  Agricultural interest, overthrow of, by the free-traders, 115
    --population of Wales, character, &c. of the, 330.

  Agriculture, alleged injury from the game laws to, 73
    --distressed state of, in Ireland, 774
    --and Spain, 719.

  ALBUM, OUR, for the last page of, 205.

  Alfieri, the autobiography of, 294.

  Alison on taste, remarks on, 13
    --on Virgil, 246
    --on Homer, 255.

  America, increase of its shipping under the reciprocity system, 117, 118
    --cost of raising grain in, 120
    --forests of, 464.

  Andalusia, Mr Dundas Murray's work on, 705.

  Anne, Queen, national debt under, 666.

  Anti-game law association, the, 63.

  Antro de Nettuno in Sardinia, the, 40.

  Ardara, early paintings in, 46.

  Army, Cobden's crusade against the, 584.

  Art, specimens of early, in Sardinia, 46
    --influence of religion on, 261.

  Artist, the, not a mere imitator, 412.

  Asia, its mountains, 462
    --table-lands, 463.

  Assignment system for convicts, advantages of the, 532.

  Atala et Réné, Chateaubriand's, 301.

  Atheism, Christopher, &c. on, 31.

  Attitu in Sardinia, the, 43.

  Audiganne, M., on the state of France, 233.

  Australia, commerce of, in relation to the convict system, 527
    --exports per head to, _ib._
    --obstacles to free emigration to, 533.

  Austria, the contest between, and Hungary, 589
    --Cobden on, 591.

  Austrian loan, Cobden on the, 602.


  Bacon, Lord, on the principles of trade, 777.

  Bad temper, Christopher on, 5.

    --as one result of the revolutionary movement, 429
    --its causes, &c., _ib._

  Baden-Baden, state of, 431.

  Baltic shipping, increase of, under the reciprocity system, 117, 118.

  Banditti, Sardinian, 41.

  Bank, danger of the, in 1823, 675
    --charter act of 1844, the, 758.

  Barton, Bernard, letters of Lamb to, 149.

  Bawr, Madame, tale by, 609.

  Beattie, Dr, on Gray's elegy, 242.

  Beauty, Christopher on the faculty of, 29
    --relations of virtue to, 259.

  Blair, Dr, on Virgil's description of thunder, 12.

  Blanc, Louis, his "Protest," 234.

  Blind, one of the Baden insurgents, 208.

  Bolingbroke on the national debt, 665.

  Boroughs, predominance given by the Reform Bill to, 113.

  Boswell's Life of Johnson, on, 296.

  Botany Bay, effects of the transportation system on, 528.

  Braybrooke Lord, his edition of Pepys' Diary, 501.

  Bread stuffs, importation of, 766.

  Brentano, one of the Baden insurgents, 206, 207, 208, 211, 215.

  Brigands, Spanish, 706.

  Bright, Mr, motives of, in his anti-game-law agitation, 63
    --on poaching, 70.

  Brougham, Lord, on the marriage law of Scotland, 269
    --on transportation, &c., 525.

  Brown, Dr Thomas, on Gray's elegy, 241.

  Bugeaud, Marshal, 227.

  Buonaparte and the Bourbons, Chateaubriand's pamphlet called, 304.

  Burritt, Elihu, 583.

  Bute, Lord, bribery under, 666.

  Butler's Analogy, the argument for immortality from, 311.

  Byron, on a passage from, 367
    --his description of Velino, 372
    --his autobiography, 295.

  Cabrera, the last insurrection of, 707.

  Cadet de Colobrières, the, 607.

  Cæsar's Commentaries, on, 292.

  Campbell, Lord, attack on Lord Lyndhurst by, 131
    --on the Scottish marriage bill, 265, 273.

  Canaanites, presumed relics of the, in Sardinia, 36.

  Canada bill, debates on the, 131
    --commerce of, in relation to the convict system, 527
    --exports per head to, _ib._
    --effects of free trade on, 776.


  Cape, commerce of, in relation to the convict system, 527
    --resistance in, to its being made a penal settlement, 535.

  Cardiganshire, rarity of the English language in, 328.

  Carlist movement, the late, in Spain, 707.

  Carlsruhe, the revolt at, 206
    --capture of, by the Prussians, 215.

  Carta de Logu of Sardinia, the, 40.

  Carthaginians in Sardinia, the, 34
    --their disappearance, 36.

  Castlemaine, Lady, 516.

  Cavaignac, General, during the June conflict, 231, 232.

  CAXTONS, the, Part XIV. chap. lxxx., 48
    --chap. lxxxi., 55
    --chap. lxxxii., 59
    --chap. lxxxiii., 60
    --Part XV. chap. lxxxiv., 151
    --chap. lxxxv., 152
    --chap. lxxxvi., Vivian--at the entrance of life sits the mother, _ib._
    --chap. lxxxvii., The preceptor, 155
    --chap. lxxxviii., The hearth without trust, and the world without a
        guide, 157
    --chap. lxxxix., The attempt to build a temple to fortune out of the
        ruins of home, 159
    --chap. xc., The results--perverted ambition, &c., 160
    --chap. xci., 164
    --chap. xcii., 165
    --chap. xciii., 167
    --chap. xciv., 171
    --Part XVI. chap. xcv., 277
    --chap. xcvi., 283
    --chap. xcvii., 285
    --chap. xcviii., 286
    --chap. xcix., 289
    --chap. c., 290
    --Part the Last, chap. ci., 391
    --chap. cii., 393
    --chap. ciii., 394
    --chap. civ., 396
    --chap. cv., 397
    --chap. cvi., 400
    --chap. cvii., 403
    --chap. cviii., 405.

  Celtic race, character of the Welsh, 335.

  Chapman's Homer, on, 257.

  Charles II., sketches of the time of, 501, _et seq._


  Chartism, prevalence of, in Wales, 337.


  Chateaubriand, vanity of, 300
    --his successive works, 301.

  Chatham, Lord, his system of colonial policy, 471.

  Christ's Hospital, Charles Lamb at, 135.

  Christianity, Christopher on, 30.

  Christian morality, on, 30.

  Christina, Spain under, 704.


  Christopher in the Sulks--a sketch, 3.

  Church of England, state of the, in Wales, 333
    --of Scotland, opposition of, to the marriage and registration
      bills, 266.


  Clamor Publico, the, 710.

  Classes at Yverdun, the, 104.

  Classical, on the significance of, 25.

  Claudius in Hamlet, on, 639, 646.

  Close boroughs, advantages of the, 111.

  Coal, export of, from Wales, 329, 330.

  Cobden, review of the career of, 581, _et seq._
    --speech of, at the Hungarian meeting, 591.

  Cockburn of Ormiston, character of, 351.

  Coleridge, intimacy of Lamb with, 136
    --Talfourd's account of, 142.

  Colonial policy, British system of, 471.

  Colonies, effects of the protective system on, 110
    --virtually disfranchised by the Reform Bill, 113
    --influence of the transportation system on their commerce, 527.

  Comic, present rage for the, 145.

  Commerce, effects of the protection system on, 110
    --effects of the new currency system on, 123
    --colonial, influence of the transportation system on, 527.

  Commons, house of, all classes represented in, prior to the Reform
      Bill, 111.

  Confiscations, the revolutionary, in France, 225.

  Conjuror, the, 692.

  Constitution, the German, and its rejection, 425.

  Consumer and producer, different interests of, 112.

  Convict system, general review of the, 519, _et seq._

  Convicts, instruction of, in a trade, 520.

  Copper, smelting, &c. of, in Wales, 329, 330.

  Cordova, General, in Italy, 709.

  Corn Laws, the abolition of the, 115.

  Corunna, the embarkation at, 696.

  Cotton manufactures, profits &c. on, in America, 473.

  Cowan, Mr, on the game laws, 68.

  Crichton, Mr, on game-law prosecutions, 70.

  Crime, increase of, 126, 773
    --statistics of, for Wales, 332
    --statistics of recent, 519.

  Criminals, reformation of, in New South Wales, 526.

  CROWNING OF THE COLUMN, the, and the Crushing of the Pedestal, 108.

  Cruachan, thunder-storm on, 8.

  Cuba, state of, prospects of its separation from Spain, &c., 711
      _et seq._

  Cunninghame, Mr, on the reformation of convicts, 526.

  Currency system, the new, and its effects, 122, 756, 759, _et seq._

  Davenant, Dr Charles, on the national debt, 663.

  Dead, mourning for the, in Sardinia, 43.

  Death, Butler's argument regarding, 382.

  Delta, Disenchantment by, 563.

  Democracy, error of principle of, 222.

  Democratic tendencies in Wales, influence of dissent on, 337.

  De Ruyter, Admiral, 511.


  Dickens, the works of, 380.

  Dies Boreales, No. I., sonnet on reading, 18.

  DIES BOREALES, No. II. Christopher under canvass, 1
    --Christopher in the sulks, a sketch, 3
    --on temper, 5
    --a, thunder-storm, 6, _et seq._
    --Virgil's description of thunder, 11
    --Lucretius', 15
    --Thomson's, 16
    --arrival of Talboys, 17
    --on the signification of classical, 25
    --on scholarship, 27
    --on beauty and morals, 29
    --Christianity and its morality, 30
    --Scepticism and its results, 31
    --No. III., on impersonation, 238
    --Shakspeare, 239
    --Inishail and its churchyard, 240
    --Gray's elegy, _ib._
    --on Alison and Virgil, 246
    --on a passage in Hamlet, 252
    --and one in Homer, 255
    --the self-sustainment of the Homeric heroes, 258
    --Alison's Essay on Taste, 259
    --on virtue and vice, 260
    --influence of religion on art, 261
    --on materialism, 262
    --No. IV., 363
    --a rain storm, 364
    --on angling, 366
    --on Byron's description of the Clitumnus, 367
    --and of Velino, 372
    --on immortality, and Butler's argument for it, 380
    --No. V. on Macbeth, 620.

  DISENCHANTMENT, by [Greek: D], 563.

  Disraeli's Essay on the literary character, 297.

  Dissent, statistics of, in Wales, 333
    --fostering of chartism by, there, 338.

  DOMINIQUE, a sketch from life: the two students, 77
    --Mother and Son, 79
    --The double duel, 83
    --Five years later, 85
    --The Horse-riders, 87
    --Foes and Friends, 91.

  Dormitory at Yverdun, the, 99.


  Dream-Fugue on sudden death, a, 750.

  Dreams, the, in Shakspeare, 642.

  Drysdale _versus_ Jamieson, game-law decision in, 75.

  Dudevant, Madame, La Petite Fadette by, 607.

  Dumas, Alexandre, recent novels of, 610
    --works announced by, 619.

  Dutch, naval contests of the, with England, 509.

  Dyer, George, 141.

  Earth, peninsular tendency in the, 461
    --its interior, 462.

  Eas-a-Bhrogich, cave at, 9.

  Ecclesiastical property, abuses connected with, in Wales, 354

  Economists, rise of the, 113.

  Education, sketches of the Pestalozzian system of, 93, _et seq._
    --relations of crime in Great Britain to, 520.

  Ehrenberg, discoveries of, regarding the Infusoria, 466.

  Eichbald, Lieutenant, in Baden, 208, 210.

  Eleanora, Guidicessa of Sardinia, 39.

  Electric Telegraph, proposed introduction of, into Spain, 721.

  Embarkation, the, 696.

  Emigrants, annual number of, 537.

  Emigration, increase of, under the free-trade system, 126, 772
    --its expense to different localities, 533.

  Emulation, rejection of, by Pestalozzi, 95.

  Enfant Trouvé of Paris, the, 226.

  Enghien, the Duc d', conduct of Chateaubriand on the murder of, 304.

  England, growth of, under the navigation laws and restrictive system, 108
    --feeling of alienation in Wales from, 327
    --crime in, compared with Wales, 332
    --the naval contest of, with the Dutch, 509
    --statistics of crime in, 519.

  ENGLISH MAIL-COACH, or the glory of motion, 485
    --going down with victory, 496
    --continuation: the Vision of Sudden Death, 741.

  English autobiographies, rarity of, 299
    --language, partial diffusion of the, in Wales, 328.

  Enzio, King of Sardinia, sketch of, 38.

  Erbe, one of the Baden insurgents, 208.

  Essai Historique, Lamartine's, 301.

  Evelyn, the diary of, 502
    --account of Lady Frances Stuart by, 515.

  Expatriation, effects of, in reforming criminals, 525, _et seq._

  Exports, decrease of, 123
    --colonial, influence of the transportation system on, 527
    --influence of free trade on, 765.

  Famille Recour, the, 609.

  Farmers, alleged injury from game to the, 73
    --and farming in Wales, state of, 330
    --of Canada, effects of the restrictive system on, 476.

  Female characters of Shakspeare, the, 239.

  Fergusson on Gray's elegy, 242.

  Feudal system, alleged origin of the game laws with the, 66.

  Fickler, one of the Baden insurgents, 206, 208, 211.

  Finance, importance of the subject of, and general ignorance regarding
      it, 655.

  Finances, the French, effects of the late revolution on, 232
    --the Russian, Cobden on, 595
    --the Spanish, statistics regarding, 711, _et seq._

  Fire of London, the, 508.

  Fleet, the English, state of, under Charles II., 510.

  Foreign interference, Whig, 586.

  Foreign shipping, increase of, under the reciprocity system, 117.

  Foudras, the Marquis de, novels of, 609.

  Foundlings, numbers of, in Paris, 226.

  Fountainhall's diary, on, 502.

  FRANCE, THE REVOLUTION OF 1848 IN, Lamartine's account of, 219.

  Franchise, practical extent of the, before the Reform Bill, 111.


  Frankfort parliament, the, and its fall, 425.

  Frankfort, occupation of, by the Prussians, 427
    --atrocities of the Red republicans in, 598.


  Free trade, review of the effects of, 108.

  FRENCH NOVELS OF 1849, the, 607
    --autobiographies, multitude and character of, 298
    --materialism, on, 261.

  Fröbel, one of the Baden insurgents, 208.

  Funding system, general ignorance regarding
  the, 655
    --evils accruing from it, 666.

  Fuorisciti in Sardinia, the, 41.

  Gagern, Herr von, 435.

  Game, increased consumption of, 71.

    --examination of the arguments against, 68
    --alleged cost of prosecutions under, 69.

  Gang system for convicts, evils of the, 532.

  Gayford, Mr, on the injury done by game, 69.

  Génie du Christianisme, Chateaubriand's, 301.

  Gentilhommes Chasseurs, the, 610.

  Gentry, the Welsh, character of, 335, 338.

  Geography, physical and general, distinction between, 460, 461.

  George II., debt contracted under, 666.

  German unity, failure of the realisation of, 424.

    --northern and southern, disunion between, 428.

  Gibbon's autobiography, on, 292.

  Girardin, M. during the revolution of 1848, 227.

  Girondists, Lamartine's History of the, 220, 221.

  Giudici in Sardinia, the, 37.

  Glasgow, increase of pauperism in, 127, 772
    --the Queen's visit to, 361.

  Godwin, William, Talfourd's sketch of, 141.

  Goegg, one of the Baden insurgents, 206, 208, 211.

  Goethe, on the autobiography of, 295
    --the centenary of, 435.

  Good temper, Christopher on, 5.

  Gore district in Canada, state of, 473.

  Government, indifference of the, to Scottish affairs, 264.

  Grain, importation of, under the free-trade system, 118, 119, 766.

  Grammont's memoirs, on, 501.

  GRANGE, LADY, new light on the story of, 347.

  Gravitation, Sir J. Herschel on, 459.

  Gray's Elegy, on, 240.

  Great Britain, progress of, under the navigation laws, 108
    --her colonial policy, 471
    --her position in relation to the continental powers, 587
    --origin of the national debt of, 657, 662
    --state of, under James II., 657
    --progress of the national debt, 666.

  Greeks and their poetry, Christopher on, 25
    --emblems employed by the, for immortality, 380.

  GREEN HAND, the, Part III., 183
    --Part IV., 305
    --Part V., 436
    --Part VI., 723.

  Grey, Earl, on the Reform Bill, 146.

  Gröben, General Von, in Baden, 214.

  Grove, Mr, on the co-relation of the physical sciences, 460.

  Gurney, Mr, on the cost of the army, &c., 763.

  Guy, Thomas, founder of the hospital, 669.

  Gwynne, Nell, Pepys' account of, 516.

  Hamlet, on a passage in, 252.

  Hazlitt, Talfourd's account of, 143.

  Hecate of Shakspeare, the, 625.

  Hecker-Lied, the, 435.

  Heidelberg, the insurrection in, 206
    --entrance of the Prussians into, 214.

  Hélène, remarks on, 607.

  Herschel, Sir J., on gravitation, 459.

  Heskir, imprisonment of Lady Grange at, 347.

  Hesse-Darmstadt, revolutionary attempt at, 208.

  Heyne on the Homeric heroes, 257.

  Highlanders, improvement in the character of the, 336.

  Himalayas, heights, &c., of the, 462.

  Hirschfeld, General, in Baden, 212.

  History, association of, with locality, 655.

  H'Lassa, city of, 463.

  Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, acquisition of, by Prussia, 434.

  Homer, the dreams in, 642.

  Hope of Rankeillour, connexion of, with the case of Lady Grange,
      348, 350.

  Hospitality, Sardinian, anecdotes of, 42.

  Hugo, Victor, and the Peace Congress, 583
    --his Notre Dame, 655.

  Humboldt's Cosmos, remarks on, 456, _et seq._

  Hume's Autobiography, on, 293.

  Hungary, the movement in, its objects, &c., 588
    --meeting to sympathise with it, 590
    --the executions in, 599.

  Ilay, Lord, 353, 355.

  Imitation not the perfection of art, 412.

  Immortality, Christopher on, 32
    --Butler's argument for, 380, _et sq._

  Impersonation, on, 238, 645, 646.

  Imports, increase of, 123, 766.

  Imprisonment, experienced inefficiency of, 519
    --its expense, 521
    --causes of its failure, 522.

  India, completion of the British empire in, 108.

  Industry, effects of the late revolution on, in France, 233.

  Inishail, churchyard in, 240.

  Insects, formation of rocks by, 465, 466
    --those of America, 467.


  Intellect, predominance of, in France, 299.

  Ireland, the round towers of, 36
    --the Queen's visit to, 361
    --recent statistics of crime in, 522
    --depressed state of agriculture in, 774.

  Irish, resemblance of the Sardes to the, 40
    --transported convicts, superiority of, and its causes, 531.

  Iron, produce, &c., of, in Wales, 329, 330.

  Irreligion, influence of, in France, 224.

  Italy, proceedings of Lord Minto in, 587
    --the Spanish army in, 709.

  James II., revenue, &c., of Great Britain, under, 657.

  Jean le Trouveur, romance of, 612.

  Jeffrey's exposition of Alison on Taste, on, 13.

  Jews, revolutionary tendency of the, in Germany, 435
    --early connexion of the, with stock-jobbing, 663.

  Johnson, Boswell's life of, 296.

  JOHNSTON'S PHYSICAL ATLAS, review of, 456.

  Joint-stock companies, rise of, 669
    --those of 1823, &c., 673.


  Journalists, the, the leaders of revolution in France, 219
    --their political predominance there, 299.

  KALOOLAH, review of, 172.

  Kames, Lord, on Virgil's description of thunder, 12.

  Khoonawur, pass of, 463.

  Knight, Payne, on Virgil's Æneas, 375
    --on Macbeth, 621.

  Kossuth, views of, in Hungary, 589.

  Krauss, Major, 690.

  Labouchère, Mr, on Canada, 478.

  Ladenburg, skirmish at, 212.

    --on his history of the Girondists, 220, 221
    --his _Confidences_, and _Raphael_, 298, 301
    --his vanity, 300.

    --Miss Mary, 137.

  Lamoricière, General, during the June conflict, 231.

  Land, the protective system in its relations to, 111.

  Landed interest, predominance given by the Reform Bill over the, 113.

  Landscape painter, qualifications necessary for the, 412.

  Language, effects in Wales of the differences of, 327.

  La Patrie on the industrial state of France, 233.

  Laudenbach, revolutionary attempt at, 208.

  Lawrence, (U.S.,) rise of, 472.

  Le Grice, Mr, account of Charles Lamb by, 135.

  Leiningen, Prince, manifesto of, 434.

  Lloyd, Charles, 139.

  Locke on the principles of trade, 777.

  London, consumption of game in, 72
    --importation of grain into, 120
    --the great plague of, 506
    --the fire of, 508
    --importation of grain into, 767.

  London Tavern, Hungarian meeting at, 590.

  Long Parliament, revenue raised by the, 657.

  Lopez, Mannasseh, stock exchange fraud by, 668.

  Lord Advocate, the, his Marriage and Registration bills, 263.

  Lotteries, evils, &c., of the, 671.

  Louis Philippe, conduct of, during the revolution of 1848, 227, 228
    --intrigues of, in Spain, 722.

  Lovat, Lord, connexion of, with the case of Lady Grange, 347.

  Lowell, rapid progress of, 472.

  Lucretius, description of thunder by, 15.

  Lyell, Mr, on gradual subsidence and upheaval, 465.

  Lyndhurst, Lord, Lord Campbell's attack on, 131.


  Macaulay, Mr, examination of his picture of England under the Stuarts,

  Macbeth, criticisms on tragedy of, 621, _et seq._
    --Lady, on the character of, 622.

  Mackay, J. R., revelations of parliamentary bribery by, 666.

  M'Neill, Mr, on the proposed Marriage and Registration bills, 266, 270.

  Madden, Mr, on the state of Cuba, 711, _et seq._

  MAIL-COACH, the, or the glory of motion, 485
    --going down with victory, 496
    --continued, 741.

  Malta, proposed to be made a penal colony, 535.

  Malte Brun on the transportation system, 528.

  Malthus, Mr, on the corn-law question, 777.

  Man that wasn't drowned, the, 691.

  Manasa, lake of, 463.

  Manchester, (U.S.,) rise of, 472.

  Manning, letters of Lamb to, 147.

  Manufactures, protective system toward, 110
    --French, effects of the late revolution on, 233
    --progress of, in the United States, 471
    --profits on them there, 473
    --of Spain, the, 719.

  Manufacturing population of Wales, character, &c., of the, 329.

  Mar, the Earl of, 352
    --Lady, 354, _et seq._

  Mardi, remarks on, 172.

  Marriage bill, the proposed Scottish, 263.

  Massachusetts, advantages from manufactures to, 472.

  Materialism, on, 261.

  MAYO'S KALOOLAH, review of, 172.

  Medina the Jew, 663.

  Meiroslawski, the leader of the Baden insurgents, 210, 212.

  MELVILLE'S REDBURN, review of, 567
    --Mardi, remarks on, 172.

  Méry, M., le Transporté by, 619.

  Metternich, a Baden leader, 208.

  Meyer, Dr, 329.

  Military, revolt of the, in Baden, 430.

  Milnes, R. M., the Hungarian question brought forward by, 590.

  Miners of Wales, character of the, 329, 331.

  Minto, Lord, proceedings of, in Italy, 587.

  Mitford, Rev. Mr, on Gray's elegy, 242.

  Monetary crises, danger of, 762, 771.

  Moneyed interest, rise of the, 112
    --its origin with the Revolution, 663.

  Monitorial system, the, as used by Pestalozzi, 95.

  Monkey and the cat, the, 698.

  Monmouth, the Duke of, Pepys' account of, 516.

  Montemolin, the Count, character, &c. of, 707.

  Montpensier, the Duc de, weakness of, during the Revolution, 228.

  Moore's life of Byron, on, 295.


  Morality, state of, in Wales, 333.

  Morals, impossibility of a definite standard of, 29.

  Moroseness, Christopher on, 5.

  Mosquito, the, 467.

  Motion, the glory of, 485.

  Mountains, Mrs Somerville, &c. on, 462.

  Murder tragedies, on, 646.

  Murillo, financial schemes, &c. of, 720.

  Murray, Mr Dandas, his "Andalusia," 705.

  My Dream, 702.

  MY PENINSULAR MEDAL, Part I., chap. i., 539
    --chap. ii., 544
    --chap. iii., 556
    --Part II. chap. iv., 678
    --chap. v., 683
    --chap. vi., 690.

  Napoleon, Chateaubriand's account of, 303.

    --ministry, the recent displacement of, 722.

  National character, the Welsh, 335.

  National debt, introduction of the, by William III., 662
    --its progress, 666
    --the Spanish, 714.


  National guard of Paris, desertion of the Assembly by the, 229.

  National independence, danger to the, 768.

  Natural children, numbers, &c. of, in Paris, 226.

  Naturalist, the, 696.

  Nature as a revelation, on, 31.

  Navigation laws, growth of England under, and effects of their repeal,

  Nelson on the importance of Sardinia, 33.

  Nemours, the Duc de, 229.

  New South Wales and the convict system, on, 526, _et seq._
    --resolutions of council of, in favour of transportation, 529.

  Nicholl's diary, on, 502.

  Niti pass, the, 463.

  Nobility, present powerlessness of, in France, 219.

  Noraghe of Sardinia, the, 34, 35.

  North American colonies, present state of the, 471.

  Oakville, village of, its history, &c., 473.

  Obscurity as an element of the sublime, on, 33.

  Offenburg, the democratic meeting at, 206.

  Orleans, the Duchesse d', her heroism, 229.

  Osborne, Mr B., on the Hungarian question, 590
    --on Russia, 595.

  Paci in Sardinia, the, 41.

  Palmerston, Lord, the interference system of, 587
    --on the Hungarian question, 590.

  Paris, number of foundlings, &c. in, 226
    --Lamartine's account of the June conflict in, 231
    --finances of, after the Revolution, 232
    --the peace congress at, 583, 585.

  Parliament, all classes represented in, before the Reform Bill, 111
    --justice of colonial representation in, 477
    --bribing of, under William III., 664.

  Pauperism, increase of, 127.

  Payne Knight, _see_ Knight.


  Peace congress at Paris, the, 583, 585.

  Pearson, Mr, on the state of crime, 520.

  Peasantry, depressed condition of the, in Spain, 719.

  Peel, Sir R., review of his free-trade measures, 114, 756, _et seq._

  Peninsulas, Mrs Somerville on, 461.


    --the dormitory, 99
    --the refectory, 101
    --classes, 104.

  Peter, one of the Baden insurgents, 206, 208, 211.

  Petite Fadette, the, 607.

  Peucker, General, in Baden, 214.

  PHILLIPS' WALES, &c., review of, 326.

  Phoenicians, probable settlement of the, in Sardinia, 34.


  Pinna Marina, the, 40.

  Pitt's currency system, contrast between, and Peel's, 760.

  Plague of London, the, 506.

  Planets, irregularities among the, 459.

  Plutarch's Lives, on, 292.

  Poaching, proportion of prosecutions for, 70.

  Poetry, modern, affectations of, 340.

  Poetry, For the last page of our album, 205
    --Disenchantment, 563.

  Poland, Cobden on, 593.

  Poles, revolutionary efforts of the, 601.

  Political economy, rise of, with Adam Smith, 113.

  Pomptilla, monument to, 47.

  Poor-rates, present amount of the, 126, 772
    --progress of the, from James II., 660.

  Pope, the, Spanish intervention on behalf of, 709.

  Population, diminution of the, 773.

  Potato rot, alleged influence of the, 763.

  Poussin, Gaspar, the landscape of, 413.

  Press, the Spanish, state of, 705.

  Prisoners, advantages of industrial instruction to, 530.

  Producer and consumer, different interests of, 112.

  Proprietors, number of, in France, and its influence, 225.

  Protective system, growth of England under the, 108.

  Prussia, overthrow of the Baden insurgents by, 212
    --new constitution of, 428
    --occupation of Baden, &c. by, 433.

  Prussia, the Prince of, in Baden, 212.

  Radicalism, prevalence of, in Wales, 337.

  Radnorshire, predominance of English in, 328.

  Ragionatori in Sardinia, 41.

  Railroads in Massachusetts, origin, &c. of the, 472.

  Railway mania, causes of the, 753.

  Railways, depreciation in, 773.

  Rain, picture of a storm of, 364.

  Rainbow, a, 10.

  Rastadt, revolt of, 430
    --its surrender, 431.

  Raveau, one of the Baden insurgents, 208.

  Reciprocity system, effects of, on British and foreign shipping, 117.

  Red republicans, resistance of Lamartine to the, 230.

  REDBURN, review of, 567.

  Refectory at Yverdun, the, 101.

  Reform Bill, change as regards representation by the, 111, 113.

  Registration bill, the proposed Scottish, 263.

  Religion, influence of, on art, 261
    --state of, in Wales, 333.

  Representation, practical universality of, before the Reform Bill, 111
    --justice of colonial, 477.

  Revenue, influence of free trade on, 765.

  Revolution, class by which headed, in France, 219
    --comparison between it and war, 585.

  Revolution of 1688, origin of the national debt with it, 657.

  Revolutions of 1848, alleged influence of the, 763.

  Revue des deux Mondes, the, on Spain, 717.

  Reybaud, Madame Charles, Hélène, &c. by, 607.

  Reynolds, G. W. M. at the Hungarian meeting, 597.

  Richard III., on, 646, 647.

  Robbery, prevalence of, in Spain, 707.

  Roman law, the, in regard to game, 66.

  Rome, effects of free trade in grain on, 109
    --the insurgent party in, 587
    --intervention of Spain in affairs of, 709.

  Romish superstitions, on, 44.

  Rosa, Salvator, the landscape of, 412.

  Rothschild, Nathan, sketch of, 676.

  ROYAL PROGRESS, the, 359.

  Rousseau's autobiography, on, 293.

  "Russia, by a Manchester manufacturer," extract from, 594.

  Russia, growth of, under the protective system, 109
    --her intervention in Hungary, 589
    --Cobden on it, 591
    --and on her finances, 594.

  Rutherford, Mr, his Marriage and Registration bills, 263.

  Sailors' tickets, jobbing in, 669.

  St Kilda, Lady Grange imprisoned at, 347.

  Salem, (U.S.,) rapid progress of, 472.

  Salomons, Mr, at the Hungarian meeting, 590, 596.

  Sand, George, La Petite Fadette, by, 607.

  Sandwich, the Earl of, 504.

  Sardes, probable origin of the, 34
    --their resemblances to the Irish, 40
    --customs, character, &c. of, 42.

  SARDINIA, the island of, 33.

  Sardinia, proceedings of Mr Abercromby in, 587.

  Saxons, crossing, &c., of the, in Britain, 337.

  Scholar, Christopher, on the, 27, _et seq._

  Science, rapid revolutions in, 458.

  Scotch, races from which derived, 337
    --transported convicts, inferiority of, and its causes, 531
    --law, principle of the, relative to game, 66.

    --proportion of game-law prosecutions in, 70
    --necessity of a secretary of state for, 264
    --the Queen's visit to, 1849, 359
    --recent statistics of crime in, 519
    --expense of, the imprisonment system in, 521.

  Scott, Sir Walter, autobiography of, 293
    --on his Heart of Mid-Lothian, 655.


  Secondary punishments, best system of, 519.

  Sepolture de is Gigantes in Sardinia, the, 34, 36.

  Shakspeare, on the female characters of, 239
    --criticisms on his Macbeth, 621, _et seq._
    --the dreams in, 642
    --his Richard III., 646, 647.

  Sheerness, capture of, by the Dutch, 511.

  Shepherd, Mr, his essay on the game laws, 64, 69, 72.

  Shipping interest, effects of the Reform Bill on, 114
    --of the reciprocity system, 117.

  Sigel, lieutenant, one of the Baden insurgents, 208, 209, 210.

  Sketcher, the, Lynmouth revisited by, 412.

  Sketching, preparation necessary for, 413.

  Slaver, sketches on board of a, 177.

  Sleep-walking scene in Macheth, the, 643.

  Sluicy Sam, 691.

  Smith, Adam, influence of his Wealth of Nations, 113
    --free-trade movement due to, 219
    --on the price of wheat, 658.

  Smith, Bobus, 15.

  Smith of Chichester, painting by, 414.

  Smugglers, the Spanish, 717.

  Solar system, irregularities in the, 459.


  Sonnet, "A friend returned," 18.

  South sea company, origin and history of the, 669.


  Spanish bondholders, proceedings of the, 713.

  Speculation, mania for, and examples of it, 672, _et seq._

  Stag, the stock exchange, 673.

  Stalactite cave in Sardinia, a, 40.

  Stanley, Lord, reply to Lord Campbell by, 131.

  Stevenson, C, on the injury done by game, 69.

  Stock exchange, sketches of the, 655
    --frauds on it, 668.

  Stock-jobbing, rise of, 668.

  Storm, gathering of a, 6.

  STRAYED REVELLER, the, review of, 340.

  Struve, the Baden insurgent, 208, 211.

  Stuart, Lord Dudley, 605.

  Stuart, the Lady Frances, 515.

  Stutgardt, meeting of the German parliament at, 425, 426.

    --Dream-fugue on it, 750.

  Sulkiness, Christopher on, 3.

  Superstitions, Sardinian, 45.

  Sweden, upheaval and subsidence in, 465.

  Szuayda, General, in Baden, 212.


  Tariff, the new Spanish, 717.

  Taste, impossibility of a standard of, 29.

  Temper, Christopher on, 3, _et seq._

  Tenant, alleged injury from the game laws to, 73.

  Thames, entrance of the Dutch fleet into the, 511.

  Thiers, views of, on the first Revolution, 224
    --his conduct in that of 1848, 227.

  Thirlwall, Dr, 329.

  Thomson's description of thunder, on, 16.

  Thunder, Virgil's, &c., descriptions of, 11, _et seq._

  Thunder-storm, a Highland, 6, _et seq._

  Tibet, fertility, &c., of, 463.

  Times, influence of the, in England, 219
    --account of the state of France by, 232
    --on railway depreciation, 773
    --on Ireland, 774.

  Tin, exportation, &c., of, from Wales, 330.

  Tories, the, early opposition of, to the national debt, 665.

  Trade, state of, 123, _et seq._


  Travellers, intolerance of, toward Romish superstitions 44.

  Trial, the, 695.

  Trout, best size of, 22.

  Trutschler, one of the Baden insurgents, 208.

  Tunny fishing in Sardinia, 40.

  Turkey, position of, regarding the Hungarian fugitives, 600.

  TYNDALE'S SARDINIA, review of, 33.

  United States, system of, regarding manufactures, 471
    --exports per head to, 527.

  Upper Canada, contrast between, and the States, 473.

  Van Diemen's Land, excess of convicts sent to, 534.

  Vanity, displays of, in French autobiographies, 298.

  Vegetable life, distribution, &c., of, 468.

  Velino, on Byron's description of, 372.

  Vendetta in Sardinia, the, 41.

  Vice, relations of, to beauty, 259.

  Vicomte de Bragelonne, the, 610.

  Vienna, atrocities of the Red republicans in, 599.

  Vincent, the Chartist lecturer, 338.

  Virgil, Alison on, criticised, 246
    --Payne Knight on, 375.

  Virtue, relations of, to beauty, 259.


  Volcano, changes wrought by the, 465.

  Wages, relations of prices of wheat to, 124.

    --the report of the commissioners on, _ib._

  Walpole, Sir Robert, 352, 353
    --parliamentary bribery under, 666.

  War, the agitation against, 581
    --compared with revolution, 585.

  Webster, Mr, on American manufactures, 473.

  Welford, on the game laws, 65.

  Wellington, measures of national defence urged by, 769.

  Welsh language, predominance of the, in Wales, 328.

  Wemyss, Captain, game-law case of, 75.

  West Indies, effects of negro emancipation on the, 114
    --free-trade policy toward, and its effects, 115, 775
    --depreciation in, 116, note
    --exports per head to, 527.

  Westminster school, taking leave of, 94.


  Wheat, prices of, at various times, 658
    --average price of, in London, 757, note.

  Whigs, foreign interference system of the, 586.

  White, Jem, a friend of Lamb's, 136.

  William III., introduction of the national debt and the bribery system
      under, 662.

  Wilson, R., on the game laws, 65.

  Witches in Macbeth, on the, 623 625.

  Words, Christopher on the knowledge of, 27.

  Wordsworth, letter from Lamb to, 149.

  Working classes, condition of the, under the Stuarts, 659.

  Wortley Montague, Lady Mary, 354, _et seq._

  Würtemberg, the new constitution in, 429.

  Young, Mr, on the effects of the reciprocity system, &c., 117.

  Yverdun, Pestalozzi's establishment at, 93.

  Zund-nadel musket, the, 214.

_Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._

[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 66, No. 410, December 1849" ***

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