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Title: Memorials and Other Papers — Volume 1
Author: De Quincey, Thomas
Language: English
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MEMORIALS, AND OTHER PAPERS, VOL. I.

BY THOMAS DE QUINCEY



FROM THE AUTHOR, TO THE AMERICAN EDITOR OF HIS WORKS.



These papers I am anxious to put into the hands of your house, and, so
far as regards the U.S., of your house exclusively; not with any view
to further emolument, but as an acknowledgment of the services which
you have already rendered me; namely, first, in having brought together
so widely scattered a collection--a difficulty which in my own hands by
too painful an experience I had found from nervous depression to be
absolutely insurmountable; secondly, in having made me a participator
in the pecuniary profits of the American edition, without solicitation
or the shadow of any expectation on my part, without any legal claim
that I could plead, or equitable warrant in established usage, solely
and merely upon your own spontaneous motion. Some of these new papers,
I hope, will not be without their value in the eyes of those who have
taken an interest in the original series. But at all events, good or
bad, they are now tendered to the appropriation of your individual
house, the Messrs. TICKNOR & FIELDS, according to the amplest extent of
any power to make such a transfer that I may be found to possess by law
or custom in America.

I wish this transfer were likely to be of more value. But the veriest
trifle, interpreted by the spirit in which I offer it, may express my
sense of the liberality manifested throughout this transaction by your
honorable house.

Ever believe me, my dear sir,

Your faithful and obliged,

THOMAS DE QUINCEY.



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.



EXPLANATORY NOTICES
THE ORPHAN HEIRESS.
  VISIT TO LAXTON
  THE PRIORY
OXFORD
THE PAGAN ORACLES
THE REVOLUTION OF GREECE



EXPLANATORY NOTICES.



Many of the papers in my collected works were originally written under
one set of disadvantages, and are now revised under another. They were
written generally under great pressure as to time, in order to catch
the critical periods of monthly journals; written oftentimes at a
distance from the press (so as to have no opportunity for correction);
and always written at a distance from libraries, so that very many
statements, references, and citations, were made on the authority of my
unassisted memory. Under such circumstances were most of the papers
composed; and they are now reissued in a corrected form, sometimes even
partially recast, under the distraction of a nervous misery which
embarrasses my efforts in a mode and in a degree inexpressible by
the present act of republication had in any respect worn the character
of an experiment, I should have shrunk from it in despondency. But the
experiment, so far as there was any, had been already tried for me
vicariously amongst the Americans; a people so nearly repeating our own
in style of intellect, and in the composition of their reading class,
that a success amongst them counts for a success amongst ourselves. For
some few of the separate papers in these volumes I make pretensions of
a higher cast. These pretensions I will explain hereafter. All the rest
I resign to the reader's unbiased judgment, adding here, with respect
to four of them, a few prefatory words--not of propitiation or
deprecation, but simply in explanation as to points that would
otherwise be open to misconstruction.

1. The paper on "Murder as one of the Fine Arts" [Footnote: Published
in the "Miscellaneous Essays."] seemed to exact from me some account of
Williams, the dreadful London murderer of the last generation; not
only because the amateurs had so much insisted on his merit as the
supreme of artists for grandeur of design and breadth of style; and
because, apart from this momentary connection with my paper, the man
himself merited a record for his matchless audacity, combined with so
much of snaky subtlety, and even insinuating amiableness, in his
demeanor; but also because, apart from the man himself, the works of
the man (those two of them especially which so profoundly impressed the
nation in 1812) were in themselves, for dramatic effect, the most
impressive on record. Southey pronounced their preeminence when he said
to me that they ranked amongst the few domestic events which, by the
depth and the expansion of horror attending them, had risen to the
dignity of a _national_ interest. I may add that this interest
benefited also by the mystery which invested the murders; mystery as to
various points but especially as respected one important question, Had
the murderer any accomplice? [Footnote: Upon a large overbalance of
probabilities, it was, however, definitively agreed amongst amateurs
that Williams must have been alone in these atrocities. Meantime,
amongst the colorable presumptions on the other side was this:--Some
hours after the last murder, a man was apprehended at Barnet (the first
stage from London on a principal north road), encumbered with a
quantity of plate. How he came by it, or whither he was going, he
steadfastly refused to say. In the daily journals, which he was allowed
to see, he read with eagerness the police examinations of Williams; and
on the same day which announced the catastrophe of Williams, he also
committed suicide in his cell.] There was, therefore, reason enough,
both in the man's hellish character, and in the mystery which
surrounded him, for a Postscript [Footnote: Published in the "Note
Book."] to the original paper; since, in a lapse of forty-two years,
both the man and his deeds had faded away from the knowledge of the
present generation; but still I am sensible that my record is far too
diffuse. Feeling this at the very time of writing, I was yet unable to
correct it; so little self-control was I able to exercise under the
afflicting agitations and the unconquerable impatience of my nervous
malady.

2. "War." [Footnote: Published in "Narrative and Miscellaneous
Essays."]--In this paper, from having faultily adjusted its proportions
in the original outline, I find that I have dwelt too briefly and too
feebly upon the capital interest at stake. To apply a correction to
some popular misreadings of history, to show that the criminal (because
trivial) occasions of war are not always its trifle causes, or to
suggest that war (if resigned to its own natural movement of
progress) is cleansing itself and ennobling itself constantly and
inevitably, were it only through its connection with science ever more
and more exquisite, and through its augmented costliness,--all this may
have its use in offering some restraint upon the levity of action or of
declamation in Peace Societies. But all this is below the occasion. I
feel that far grander interests are at stake in this contest. The Peace
Societies are falsely appreciated, when they are described as merely
deaf to the lessons of experience, and as too "_romantic_" in
their expectations. The very opposite is, to _my_ thinking, their
criminal reproach. He that is romantic errs usually by too much
elevation. He violates the standard of reasonable expectation, by
drawing too violently upon the nobilities of human nature. But, on the
contrary, the Peace Societies would, if their power kept pace with
their guilty purposes, work degradation for man by drawing upon his
most effeminate and luxurious cravings for ease. Most heartily, and
with my profoundest sympathy, do I go along with Wordsworth in his
grand lyrical proclamation of a truth not less divine than it is
mysterious, not less triumphant than it is sorrowful, namely, that
amongst God's holiest instruments for the elevation of human nature is
"mutual slaughter" amongst men; yes, that "Carnage is God's daughter."
Not deriving my own views in this matter from Wordsworth,--not knowing
even whether I hold them on the same grounds, since Wordsworth has left
_his_ grounds unexplained,--nevertheless I cite them in honor, as
capable of the holiest justification. The instruments rise in grandeur,
carnage and mutual slaughter rise in holiness, exactly as the motives
and the interests rise on behalf of which such awful powers are
invoked. Fighting for truth in its last recesses of sanctity, for human
dignity systematically outraged, or for human rights mercilessly
trodden under foot--champions of such interests, men first of all
descry, as from a summit suddenly revealed, the possible grandeur of
bloodshed suffered or inflicted. Judas and Simon Maccabæus in days of
old, Gustavus Adolphus [Footnote: The Thirty Years' War, from 1618 to
the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, was notoriously the last and the
decisive conflict between Popery and Protestantism; the result of that
war it was which finally enlightened all the Popish princes of
Christendom as to the impossibility of ever suppressing the antagonist
party by mere force of arms. I am not meaning, however, to utter any
opinion whatever on the religious position of the two great parties. It
is sufficient for entire sympathy with the royal Swede, that he fought
for the freedom of conscience. Many an enlightened Roman Catholic,
supposing only that he were not a Papist, would have given his hopes
and his confidence to the Protestant king.] in modern days, fighting
for the violated rights of conscience against perfidious despots and
murdering oppressors, exhibit to us the incarnations of Wordsworth's
principle. Such wars are of rare occurrence. Fortunately they are so;
since, under the possible contingencies of human strength and weakness,
it might else happen that the grandeur of the principle should suffer
dishonor through the incommensurate means for maintaining it. But such
cases, though emerging rarely, are always to be reserved in men's minds
as ultimate appeals to what is most divine in man. Happy it is for
human welfare that the blind heart of man is a thousand times wiser
than his understanding. An _arrière pensée_ should lie hidden in
all minds--a holy reserve as to cases which _may_ arise similar to
such as HAVE arisen, where a merciful bloodshed [Footnote: "_Merciful
bloodshed_"--In reading either the later religious wars of the
Jewish people under the Maccabees, or the earlier under Joshua, every
philosophic reader will have felt the true and transcendent spirit of
mercy which resides virtually in such wars, as maintaining the unity of
God against Polytheism and, by trampling on cruel idolatries, as
indirectly opening the channels for benign principles of morality
through endless generations of men. Here especially he will have read
one justification of Wordsworth's bold doctrine upon war. Thus far he
will destroy a wisdom working from afar, but, as regards the immediate
present, he will be apt to adopt the ordinary view, namely, that in the
Old Testament severity prevails approaching to cruelty. Yet, on
consideration, he will be disposed to qualify this opinion. He will
have observed many indications of a relenting kindness and a tenderness
of love in the Mosaical ordinances. And recently there has been
suggested another argument tending to the same conclusion. In the last
work of Mr. Layard ('Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon,
1853') are published some atrocious monuments of the Assyrian cruelty
in the treatment of military captives. In one of the plates of Chap
xx., at page 456, is exhibited some unknown torture applied to the
head, and in another, at page 458, is exhibited the abominable process,
applied to two captives, of flaying them alive. One such case had been
previously recorded in human literature, and illustrated by a plate. It
occurs in a Dutch voyage to the islands of the East. The subject of the
torment in that case as a woman who had been charged with some act of
infidelity to her husband. And the local government, being indignantly
summoned to interfere by some Christian strangers, had declined to do
so, on the plea that the man was master within his own house. But the
Assyrian case was worse. This torture was there applied, not upon a
sudden vindictive impulse, but in cold blood, to a simple case
apparently of civil disobedience or revolt. Now, when we consider how
intimate, and how ancient, was the connection between Assyria and
Palestine, how many things (in war especially) were transferred
mediately through the intervening tribes (all habitually cruel), from
the people on the Tigris to those on the Jordan, I feel convinced that
Moses must have interfered most peremptorily and determinately, and not
merely by verbal ordinances, but by establishing counter usages against
this spirit of barbarity, otherwise it would have increased
contagiously, whereas we meet with no such hellish atrocities amongst
the children of Israel. In the case of one memorable outrage by a
Hebrew tribe, the national vengeance which overtook it was complete and
tearful beyond all that history has recorded] has been authorized by
the express voice of God. Such a reserve cannot be dispensed with. It
belongs to the principle of progress in man that he should forever keep
open a secret commerce in the last resort with the spirit of martyrdom
on behalf of man's most saintly interests. In proportion as the
instruments for upholding or retrieving such saintly interests should
come to be dishonored or less honored, would the inference be valid
that those interests were shaking in their foundations. And any
confederation or compact of nations for abolishing war would be the
inauguration of a downward path for man.

A battle is by possibility the grandest, and also the meanest, of human
exploits. It is the grandest when it is fought for godlike truth, for
human dignity, or for human rights; it is the meanest when it is fought
for petty advantages (as, by way of example, for accession of territory
which adds nothing to the security of a frontier), and still more when
it is fought simply as a gladiator's trial of national prowess. This is
the principle upon which, very naturally, our British school-boys value
a battle. Painful it is to add, that this is the principle upon which
our adult neighbors the French seem to value a battle.

To any man who, like myself, admires the high-toned, martial gallantry
of the French, and pays a cheerful tribute of respect to their many
intellectual triumphs, it is painful to witness the childish state of
feeling which the French people manifest on every possible question
that connects itself at any point with martial pretensions. A battle is
valued by them on the same principles, not better and not worse, as
govern our own schoolboys. Every battle is viewed by the boys as a test
applied to the personal prowess of each individual soldier; and,
naturally amongst boys, it would be the merest hypocrisy to take any
higher ground. But amongst adults, arrived at the power of reflecting
and comparing, we look for something nobler. We English estimate
Waterloo, not by its amount of killed and wounded, but as the battle
which terminated a series of battles, having one common object, namely,
the overthrow of a frightful tyranny. A great sepulchral shadow rolled
away from the face of Christendom as that day's sun went down to his
rest; for, had the success been less absolute, an opportunity would
have offered for negotiation, and consequently for an infinity of
intrigues through the feuds always gathering upon national jealousies
amongst allied armies. The dragon would soon have healed his wounds;
after which the prosperity of the despotism would have been greater
than before. But, without reference to Waterloo in particular,
_we_, on _our_ part, find it impossible to contemplate any memorable
battle otherwise than according to its tendency towards some
commensurate object. To the French this must be impossible, seeing that
no lofty (that is, no disinterested) purpose has ever been so much as
counterfeited for a French war, nor therefore for a French battle.
Aggression, cloaked at the very utmost in the garb of retaliation for
counter aggressions on the part of the enemy, stands forward uniformly
in the van of such motives as it is thought worth while to plead. But
in French casuistry it is not held necessary to plead _any_thing;
war justifies itself. To fight for the experimental purpose of trying
the proportions of martial merit, but (to speak frankly) for the
purpose of publishing and renewing to Europe the proclamation of French
superiority--_that_ is the object of French wars. Like the Spartan
of old, the Frenchman would hold that a state of peace, and not a state
of war, is the state which calls for apology; and that already from the
first such an apology must wear a very suspicious aspect of paradox.

3. "The English Mail-Coach." [Footnote: Published in the "Miscellaneous
Essays."]--This little paper, according to my original intention,
formed part of the "Suspiria de Profundis," from which, for a momentary
purpose, I did not scruple to detach it, and to publish it apart, as
sufficiently intelligible even when dislocated from its place in a
larger whole. To my surprise, however, one or two critics, not
carelessly in conversation, but deliberately in print, professed their
inability to apprehend the meaning of the whole, or to follow the links
of the connection between its several parts. I am myself as little able
to understand where the difficulty lies, or to detect any lurking
obscurity, as those critics found themselves to unravel my logic.
Possibly I may not be an indifferent and neutral judge in such a case.
I will therefore sketch a brief abstract of the little paper according
to my own original design, and then leave the reader to judge how far
this design is kept in sight through the actual execution.

Thirty-seven years ago, or rather more, accident made me, in the dead
of night, and of a night memorably solemn, the solitary witness to an
appalling scene, which threatened instant death, in a shape the most
terrific, to two young people, whom I had no means of assisting, except
in so far as I was able to give them a most hurried warning of their
danger; but even _that_ not until they stood within the very
shadow of the catastrophe, being divided from the most frightful of
deaths by scarcely more, if more at all, than seventy seconds.

Such was the scene, such in its outline, from which the whole of this
paper radiates as a natural expansion. The scene is circumstantially
narrated in Section the Second, entitled, "The Vision of Sudden Death."

But a movement of horror and of spontaneous recoil from this dreadful
scene naturally carried the whole of that scene, raised and idealised,
into my dreams, and very soon into a rolling succession of dreams. The
actual scene, as looked down upon from the box of the mail, was
transformed into a dream, as tumultuous and changing as a musical
fugue. This troubled Dream is circumstantially reported in Section the
Third, entitled, "Dream-Fugue upon the Theme of Sudden Death." What I
had beheld from my seat upon the mail,--the scenical strife of action
and passion, of anguish and fear, as I had there witnessed them moving
in ghostly silence; this duel between life and death narrowing itself
to a point of such exquisite evanescence as the collision neared,--all
these elements of the scene blended, under the law of association, with
the previous and permanent features of distinction investing the mail
itself, which features at that time lay--1st, in velocity
unprecedented; 2dly, in the power and beauty of the horses: 3dly, in
the official connection with the government of a great nation; and,
4thly, in the function, almost a consecrated function, of publishing
and diffusing through the land the great political events, and
especially the great battles during a conflict of unparalleled
grandeur. These honorary distinctions are all described
circumstantially in the FIRST or introductory section ("The Glory of
Motion"). The three first were distinctions maintained at all times;
but the fourth and grandest belonged exclusively to the war with
Napoleon; and this it was which most naturally introduced Waterloo into
the dream. Waterloo, I understood, was the particular feature of the
"Dream-Fugue" which my censors were least able to account for. Yet
surely Waterloo, which, in common with every other great battle, it had
been our special privilege to publish over all the land, most naturally
entered the Dream under the license of our privilege. If not--if there
be anything amiss--let the Dream be responsible. The Dream is a law to
itself; and as well quarrel with a rainbow for showing, or for
_not_ showing, a secondary arch. So far as I know, every element
in the shifting movements of the Dream derived itself either primarily
from the incidents of the actual scene, or from secondary features
associated with the mail. For example, the cathedral aisle derived
itself from the mimic combination of features which grouped themselves
together at the point of approaching collision, namely, an arrow-like
section of the road, six hundred yards long, under the solemn lights
described, with lofty trees meeting overhead in arches. The guard's
horn, again--a humble instrument in itself--was yet glorified as the
organ of publication for so many great national events. And the
incident of the Dying Trumpeter, who rises from a marble bas-relief,
and carries a marble trumpet to his marble lips for the purpose of
warning the female infant, was doubtless secretly suggested by my own
imperfect effort to seize the guard's horn, and to blow a warning
blast. But the Dream knows best; and the Dream, I say again, is the
responsible party.

4. "The Spanish Nun." [Footnote: Published in "Narrative and
Miscellaneous Essays."]--There are some narratives, which, though pure
fictions from first to last, counterfeit so vividly the air of grave
realities, that, if deliberately offered for such, they would for a
time impose upon everybody. In the opposite scale there are other
narratives, which, whilst rigorously true, move amongst characters and
scenes so remote from our ordinary experience, and through, a state of
society so favorable to an adventurous cast of incidents, that they
would everywhere pass for romances, if severed from the documents which
attest their fidelity to facts. In the former class stand the admirable
novels of De Foe; and, on a lower range, within the same category, the
inimitable "Vicar of Wakefield;" upon which last novel, without at all
designing it, I once became the author of the following instructive
experiment. I had given a copy of this little novel to a beautiful girl
of seventeen, the daughter of a statesman in Westmoreland, not
designing any deception (nor so much as any concealment) with respect
to the fictitious character of the incidents and of the actors in that
famous tale. Mere accident it was that had intercepted those
explanations as to the extent of fiction in these points which in this
case it would have been so natural to make. Indeed, considering the
exquisite verisimilitude of the work meeting with such absolute
inexperience in the reader, it was almost a duty to have made them.
This duty, however, something had caused me to forget; and when next I
saw the young mountaineer, I forgot that I _had_ forgotten it.
Consequently, at first I was perplexed by the unfaltering gravity with
which my fair young friend spoke of Dr. Primrose, of Sophia and her
sister, of Squire Thornhill, &c., as real and probably living
personages, who could sue and be sued. It appeared that this artless
young rustic, who had never heard of novels and romances as a bare
possibility amongst all the shameless devices of London swindlers, had
read with religious fidelity every word of this tale, so thoroughly
life-like, surrendering her perfect faith and her loving sympathy to
the different persons in the tale, and the natural distresses in which
they are involved, without suspecting, for a moment, that by so much as
a breathing of exaggeration or of embellishment the pure gospel truth
of the narrative could have been sullied. She listened, in a kind of
breathless stupor, to my frank explanation--that not part only, but the
whole, of this natural tale was a pure invention. Scorn and indignation
flashed from her eyes. She regarded herself as one who had been hoaxed
and swindled; begged me to take back the book; and never again, to the
end of her life, could endure to look into the book, or to be reminded
of that criminal imposture which Dr. Oliver Goldsmith had practised
upon her youthful credulity.

In that case, a book altogether fabulous, and not meaning to offer
itself for anything else, had been read as genuine history. Here, on
the other hand, the adventures of the Spanish Nun, which in every
detail of time and place have since been sifted and authenticated,
stood a good chance at one period of being classed as the most lawless
of romances. It is, indeed, undeniable, and this arises as a natural
result from the bold, adventurous character of the heroine, and from
the unsettled state of society at that period in Spanish America, that
a reader the most credulous would at times be startled with doubts upon
what seems so unvarying a tenor of danger and lawless violence. But, on
the other hand, it is also undeniable that a reader the most
obstinately sceptical would be equally startled in the very opposite
direction, on remarking that the incidents are far from being such as a
romance-writer would have been likely to invent; since, if striking,
tragic, and even appalling, they are at times repulsive. And it seems
evident that, once putting himself to the cost of a wholesale fiction,
the writer would have used his privilege more freely for his own
advantage. Whereas the author of these memoirs clearly writes under the
coercion and restraint of a _notorious reality_, that would not
suffer him to ignore or to modify the leading facts. Then, as to the
objection that few people or none have an experience presenting such
uniformity of perilous adventure, a little closer attention shows that
the experience in this case is _not_ uniform; and so far otherwise,
that a period of several years in Kate's South American life is
confessedly suppressed; and on no other ground whatever than that
this long parenthesis is _not_ adventurous, not essentially
differing from the monotonous character of ordinary Spanish life.

Suppose the case, therefore, that Kate's memoirs had been thrown upon
the world with no vouchers for their authenticity beyond such internal
presumptions as would have occurred to thoughtful readers, when
reviewing the entire succession of incidents, I am of opinion that the
person best qualified by legal experience to judge of evidence would
finally have pronounced a favorable award; since it is easy to
understand that in a world so vast as the Peru, the Mexico, the Chili,
of Spaniards during the first quarter of the seventeenth century, and
under the slender modification of Indian manners as yet effected by the
Papal Christianization of those countries, and in the neighborhood of a
river-system so awful, of a mountain-system so unheard-of in Europe,
there would probably, by blind, unconscious sympathy, grow up a
tendency to lawless and gigantesque ideals of adventurous life; under
which, united with the duelling code of Europe, many things would
become trivial and commonplace experiences that to us home-bred English
("_qui musas colimus severiores_") seem monstrous and revolting.

Left, therefore, to itself, _my_ belief is, that the story of the
Military Nun would have prevailed finally against the demurs of the
sceptics. However, in the mean time, all such demurs were suddenly and
_officially_ silenced forever. Soon after the publication of Kate's
memoirs, in what you may call an early stage of her _literary_
career, though two centuries after her _personal_ career had closed, a
regular controversy arose upon the degree of credit due to these
extraordinary confessions (such they may be called) of the poor
conscience-haunted nun. Whether these in Kate's original MS.
were entitled "Autobiographic Sketches," or "Selections Grave and
Gay," from the military experiences of a Nun, or possibly "The
Confessions of a Biscayan Fire-Eater," is more than I know. No matter:
confessions they were; and confessions that, when at length published,
were absolutely mobbed and hustled by a gang of misbelieving (that is,
_miscreant_) critics. And this fact is most remarkable, that the
person who originally headed the incredulous party, namely, Senor de
Ferrer, a learned Castilian, was the very same who finally
authenticated, by _documentary_ evidence, the extraordinary
narrative in those parts which had most of all invited scepticism. The
progress of the dispute threw the decision at length upon the archives
of the Spanish Marine. Those for the southern ports of Spain had been
transferred, I believe, from Cadiz and St. Lucar to Seville; chiefly,
perhaps, through the confusions incident to the two French invasions of
Spain in our own day [1st, that under Napoleon; 2dly, that under the
Due d'Angoulême]. Amongst these archives, subsequently amongst those of
Cuzco, in South America; 3dly, amongst the records of some royal courts
in Madrid; 4thly, by collateral proof from the Papal Chancery; 5thly,
from Barcelona--have been drawn together ample attestations of all the
incidents recorded by Kate. The elopement from St. Sebastian's, the
doubling of Cape Horn, the shipwreck on the coast of Peru, the rescue
of the royal banner from the Indians of Chili, the fatal duel in the
dark, the astonishing passage of the Andes, the tragical scenes at
Tucuman and Cuzco, the return to Spain in obedience to a royal and a
papal summons, the visit to Rome and the interview with the Pope--
finally, the return to South America, and the mysterious disappearance
at Vera Cruz, upon which no light was ever thrown--all these capital
heads of the narrative have been established beyond the reach of
scepticism: and, in consequence, the story was soon after adopted as
historically established, and was reported at length by journals of the
highest credit in Spain and Germany, and by a Parisian journal so
cautious and so distinguished for its ability as the _Revue des Deux
Mondes_.

I must not leave the impression upon my readers that this complex body
of documentary evidences has been searched and appraised by myself.
Frankly I acknowledge that, on the sole occasion when any opportunity
offered itself for such a labor, I shrank from it as too fatiguing--and
also as superfluous; since, if the proofs had satisfied the compatriots
of Catalina, who came to the investigation with hostile feelings of
partisanship, and not dissembling their incredulity,--armed also (and
in Mr. de Ferrer's case conspicuously armed) with the appropriate
learning for giving effect to this incredulity,--it could not become a
stranger to suppose himself qualified for disturbing a judgment that
had been so deliberately delivered. Such a tribunal of native Spaniards
being satisfied, there was no further opening for demur. The
ratification of poor Kate's memoirs is now therefore to be understood
as absolute, and without reserve.

This being stated,--namely, such an attestation from competent
authorities to the truth of Kate's narrative as may save all readers
from my fair Westmoreland friend's disaster,--it remains to give such
an answer, as without further research _can_ be given, to a
question pretty sure of arising in all reflective readers' thoughts--
namely, does there anywhere survive a portrait of Kate? I answer--and
it would be both mortifying and perplexing if I could _not_--
_Yes_. One such portrait there is confessedly; and seven years ago
this was to be found at Aix-la-Chapelle, in the collection of Herr
Sempeller. The name of the artist I am not able to report; neither can
I say whether Herr Sempeller's collection still remains intact, and
remains at Aix-la-Chapelle.

But inevitably to most readers who review the circumstances of a case
so extraordinary, it will occur that beyond a doubt _many_ portraits
of the adventurous nun must have been executed. To have affronted
the wrath of the Inquisition, and to have survived such an audacity,
would of itself be enough to found a title for the martial nun
to a national interest. It is true that Kate had not taken the
veil; she had stopped short of the deadliest crime known to the
Inquisition; but still her transgressions were such as to require a
special indulgence; and this indulgence was granted by a Pope to the
intercession of a king--the greatest then reigning. It was a favor that
could not have been asked by any greater man in this world, nor granted
by any less. Had no other distinction settled upon Kate, this would
have been enough to fix the gaze of her own nation. But her whole life
constituted Kate's supreme distinction. There can be no doubt,
therefore, that, from the year 1624 (that is, the last year of our
James I.), she became the object of an admiration in her own country
that was almost idolatrous. And this admiration was not of a kind that
rested upon any partisan-schism amongst her countrymen. So long as it
was kept alive by her bodily presence amongst them, it was an
admiration equally aristocratic and popular,--shared alike by the rich
and the poor, by the lofty and the humble. Great, therefore, would be
the demand for her portrait. There is a tradition that Velasquez, who
had in 1623 executed a portrait of Charles I. (then Prince of Wales),
was amongst those who in the three or four following years ministered
to this demand. It is believed, also, that, in travelling from Genoa
and Florence to Rome, she sat to various artists, in order to meet the
interest about herself already rising amongst the cardinals and other
dignitaries of the Romish church. It is probable, therefore, that
numerous pictures of Kate are yet lurking both in Spain and Italy, but
not known as such. For, as the public consideration granted to her had
grown out of merits and qualities purely personal, and was kept alive
by no local or family memorials rooted in the land, or surviving
herself, it was inevitable that, as soon as she herself died, all
identification of her portraits would perish: and the portraits would
thenceforwards be confounded with the similar memorials, past all
numbering, which every year accumulates as the wrecks from household
remembrances of generations that are passing or passed, that are fading
or faded, that are dying or buried. It is well, therefore, amongst so
many irrecoverable ruins, that, in the portrait at Aix-la-Chapelle, we
still possess one undoubted representation (and therefore in some
degree a means for identifying _other_ representations) of a
female so memorably adorned by nature; gifted with capacities so
unparalleled both of doing and suffering; who lived a life so stormy,
and perished by a fate so unsearchably mysterious.



THE ORPHAN HEIRESS

I.

VISIT TO LAXTON.



My route, after parting from Lord Westport at Birmingham, lay, as I
have mentioned in the "Autobiographic Sketches," through Stamford to
Laxton, the Northamptonshire seat of Lord Carbery. From Stamford, which
I had reached by some intolerable old coach, such as in those days too
commonly abused the patience and long-suffering of Young England, I
took a post-chaise to Laxton. The distance was but nine miles, and the
postilion drove well, so that I could not really have been long upon
the road; and yet, from gloomy rumination upon the unhappy destination
which I believed myself approaching within three or four months, never
had I weathered a journey that seemed to me so long and dreary. As I
alighted on the steps at Laxton, the first dinner-bell rang; and I was
hurrying to my toilet, when my sister Mary, who had met me in the
portico, begged me first of all to come into Lady Carbery's [Footnote:
Lady Carbery.--"To me, individually, she was the one sole friend that
ever I could regard as entirely fulfilling the offices of an honest
friendship. She had known me from infancy; when I was in my first year
of life, she, an orphan and a great heiress, was in her tenth or
eleventh."--See closing pages of "_Autobiographic Sketches_."]
dressing-room, her ladyship having something special to communicate,
which related (as I understood her) to one Simon. "What Simon? Simon
Peter?"--O, no, you irreverend boy, no Simon at all with an S, but
Cymon with a C,--Dryden's Cymon,--

  "That whistled as he went for want of thought.'"

This one indication was a key to the whole explanation that followed.
The sole visitors, it seemed, at that time to Laxton, beside my sister
and myself, were Lord and Lady Massey. They were understood to be
domesticated at Laxton for a very long stay. In reality, my own private
construction of the case (though unauthorized by anything ever hinted
to me by Lady Carbery) was, that Lord Massey might probably be under
some cloud of pecuniary embarrassments, such as suggested prudentially
an absence from Ireland. Meantime, what was it that made him an object
of peculiar interest to Lady Carbery? It was the singular revolution
which, in one whom all his friends looked upon as sold to
constitutional torpor, suddenly, and beyond all hope, had kindled a new
and nobler life. Occupied originally by no shadow of any earthly
interest, killed by _ennui_, all at once Lord Massey had fallen
passionately in love with a fair young countrywoman, well connected,
but bringing him no fortune (I report only from hearsay), and endowing
him simply with the priceless blessing of her own womanly charms, her
delightful society, and her sweet, Irish style of innocent gayety. No
transformation that ever legends or romances had reported was more
memorable. Lapse of time (for Lord Massey had now been married three or
four years), and deep seclusion from general society, had done nothing,
apparently, to lower the tone of his happiness. The expression of this
happiness was noiseless and unobtrusive; no marks were there of vulgar
uxoriousness--nothing that could provoke the sneer of the worldling;
but not the less so entirely had the society of his young wife created
a new principle of life within him, and evoked some nature hitherto
slumbering, and which, no doubt, would else have continued to slumber
till his death, that, at moments when he believed himself unobserved,
he still wore the aspect of an impassioned lover.


                           "He beheld
  A vision, and adored the thing he saw.
  Arabian fiction never filled the world
  With half the wonders that were wrought for _him_.
  Earth breathed in one great presence of the spring
  Her chamber window did surpass in glory
  The portals of the dawn."


And in no case was it more literally realized, as daily almost I
witnessed, that


                           "All Paradise
  Could, by the simple opening of a door,
  Let itself in upon him."
  [Footnote: Wordsworth's "Vandracour and Julia."]


For never did the drawing-room door open, and suddenly disclose the
beautiful figure of Lady Massey, than a mighty cloud seemed to roll
away from the young Irishman's brow. At this time it happened, and
indeed it often happened, that Lord Carbery was absent in Ireland. It
was probable, therefore, that during the long couple of hours through
which the custom of those times bound a man to the dinner-table after
the disappearance of the ladies, his time would hang heavily on his
hands. To me, therefore, Lady Carbery looked, having first put me in
possession of the case, for assistance to her hospitality, under the
difficulties I have stated. She thoroughly loved Lady Massey, as,
indeed, nobody could help doing; and for _her_ sake, had there
been no separate interest surrounding the young lord, it would have
been most painful to her that through Lord Carbery's absence a periodic
tedium should oppress her guest at that precise season of the day which
traditionally dedicated itself to genial enjoyment. Glad, therefore,
was she that an ally had come at last to Laxton, who might arm her
purposes of hospitality with some powers of self-fulfilment. And yet,
for a service of that nature, could she reasonably rely upon me? Odious
is the hobble-de-hoy to the mature young man. Generally speaking, that
cannot be denied. But in me, though naturally the shyest of human
beings, intense commerce with men of every rank, from the highest to
the lowest, had availed to dissipate all arrears of _mauvaise
honte_; I could talk upon innumerable subjects; and, as the readiest
means of entering immediately upon business, I was fresh from Ireland,
knew multitudes of those whom Lord Massey either knew or felt an
interest in, and, at that happy period of life, found it easy, with
three or four glasses of wine, to call back the golden spirits which
were now so often deserting me. Renovated, meantime, by a hot bath, I
was ready at the second summons of the dinner-bell, and descended a new
creature to the drawing-room. Here I was presented to the noble lord
and his wife. Lord Massey was in figure shortish, but broad and stout,
and wore an amiable expression of face. That I could execute Lady
Carbery's commission, I felt satisfied at once. And, accordingly, when
the ladies had retired from the dining-room, I found an easy opening,
in various circumstances connected with the Laxton stables, for
introducing naturally a picturesque and contrasting sketch of the stud
and the stables at Westport. The stables and everything connected with
the stables at Laxton were magnificent; in fact, far out of symmetry
with the house, which, at that time, was elegant and comfortable, but
not splendid. As usual in English establishments, all the appointments
were complete, and carried to the same point of exquisite finish. The
stud of hunters was first-rate and extensive; and the whole scene, at
closing the stables for the night, was so splendidly arranged and
illuminated, that Lady Carbery would take all her visitors once or
twice a week to admire it. On the other hand, at Westport you might
fancy yourself overlooking the establishment of some Albanian Pacha.
Crowds of irregular helpers and grooms, many of them totally
unrecognized by Lord Altamont, some half countenanced by this or that
upper servant, some doubtfully tolerated, some _not_ tolerated,
but nevertheless slipping in by postern doors when the enemy had
withdrawn, made up a strange mob as regarded the human element in this
establishment. And Dean Browne regularly asserted that five out of six
amongst these helpers he himself could swear to as active boys from
Vinegar Hill. Trivial enough, meantime, in our eyes, was any little
matter of rebellion that they might have upon their consciences. High
treason we willingly winked at. But what we could _not_ wink at
was the systematic treason which they committed against our comfort,
namely, by teaching our horses all imaginable tricks, and training them
up in the way along which they should _not_ go, so that when they
were old they were very little likely to depart from it. Such a set of
restive, hard-mouthed wretches as Lord Westport and I daily had to
bestride, no tongue could describe. There was a cousin of Lord
Westport's, subsequently created Lord Oranmore, distinguished for his
horsemanship, and always splendidly mounted from his father's stables
at Castle M'Garret, to whom our stormy contests with ruined tempers and
vicious habits yielded a regular comedy of fun; and, in order to
improve it, he would sometimes bribe Lord Westport's treacherous groom
into misleading us, when floundering amongst bogs, into the interior
labyrinths of these morasses. Deep, however, as the morass, was this
man's remorse when, on leaving Westport, I gave him the heavy golden
perquisite, which my mother (unaware of the tricks he had practised
upon me) had by letter instructed me to give. He was a mere savage boy
from the central bogs of Connaught, and, to the great amusement of Lord
Westport, he persisted in calling me "your majesty" for the rest of
that day; and by all other means open to him he expressed his
penitence. But the dean insisted that, no matter for his penitence in
the matter of the bogs, he had certainly carried a pike at Vinegar
Hill; and probably had stolen a pair of boots at Furnes, when he kindly
made a call at the Deanery, in passing through that place to the field
of battle. It is always a pleasure to see the engineer of mischief
"hoist with his own petard;" [Footnote: "Hamlet," but also "Ovid:"--
"Lex nec justior ulla est, **Quam necis artifices arte perire sua."]
and it happened that the horses assigned to draw a post-chariot
carrying Lord Westport, myself, and the dean, on our return journey to
Dublin, were a pair utterly ruined by a certain under-postilion, named
Moran. This particular ruin did Mr. Moran boast to have contributed as
his separate contribution to the general ruinations of the stables. And
the particular object was, that _his_ horses, and consequently
himself, might be left in genial laziness. But, as Nemesis would have
it, Mr. Moran was the charioteer specially appointed to this particular
service. We were to return by easy journeys of twenty-five miles a day,
or even less; since every such interval brought us to the house of some
hospitable family, connected by friendship or by blood with Lord
Altamont. Fervently had Lord Westport pleaded with his father for an
allowance of four horses; not at all with any foolish view to fleeting
aristocratic splendor, but simply to the luxury of rapid motion. But
Lord Altamont was firm in resisting this petition at that time. The
remote consequence was, that by way of redressing the violated
equilibrium to our feelings, we subscribed throughout Wales to extort
six horses from the astonished innkeepers, most of whom declined the
requisition, and would furnish only four, on the plea that the leaders
would only embarrass the other horses; but one at Bangor, from whom we
coolly requested eight, recoiled from our demand as from a sort of
miniature treason. How so? Because in this island he had always
understood eight horses to be consecrated to royal use. Not at all, we
assured him; Pickford, the great carrier, always horsed his wagons with
eight. And the law knew of no distinction between wagon and post-
chaise, coach-horse or cart-horse. However, we could not compass this
point of the eight horses, the double _quadriga_, in one single
instance; but the true reason we surmised to be, not the pretended
puritanism of loyalty to the house of Guelph, but the running short of
the innkeeper's funds. If he had to meet a daily average call for
twenty-four horses, then it might well happen that our draft upon him
for eight horses at one pull would bankrupt him for a whole day.

But I am anticipating. Returning to Ireland and Mr. Moran, the vicious
driver of vicious horses, the immediate consequence to _him_ of
this unexpected limitation to a pair of horses was, that all his
knavery in one hour recoiled upon himself. The horses whom he had
himself trained to vice and restiveness, in the hope that thus his own
services and theirs might be less in request, now became the very curse
of his life. Every morning, duly as an attempt was made to put them in
motion, they began to back, and no arts, gentle or harsh, would for a
moment avail to coax or to coërce them into the counter direction.
Could retrogression by any metaphysics have been translated into
progress, we excelled in that; it was our _forte_; we could have
backed to the North Pole. That might be the way to glory, or at least
to distinction--_sic itur ad astra_; unfortunately, it was not the
way to Dublin. Consequently, on _every_ day of our journey--and
the days were ten--not once, but always, we had the same deadly
conflict to repeat; and this being always unavailing, found its
solution uniformly in the following ultimate resource. Two large-boned
horses, usually taken from the plough, were harnessed on as leaders. By
main force they hauled our wicked wheelers into the right direction,
and forced them, by pure physical superiority, into working. We
furnished a joyous and comic spectacle to every town and village
through which we passed. The whole community, men and children, came
out to assist at our departure; and all alike were diverted, but not
the less irritated, by the demoniac obstinacy of the brutes, who seemed
under the immediate inspiration of the fiend. Everybody was anxious to
share in the scourging which was administered to them right and left;
and once propelled into a gallop (or such a gallop as our Brobdignagian
leaders could accomplish), they were forced into keeping it up. But,
without rehearsing all the details of the case, it may be readily
conceived that the amount of trouble distributed amongst our whole
party was enormous. Once or twice the friends at whose houses we slept
were able to assist us. But generally they either had no horses, or
none of the commanding power demanded. Often, again, it happened, as
our route was very circuitous, that no inns lay in our neighborhood;
or, if there _were_ inns, the horses proved to be of too slight a
build. At Ballinasloe, and again at Athlone, half the town came out to
help us; and, having no suitable horses, thirty or forty men, with
shouts of laughter, pulled at ropes fastened to our pole and splinter-
bar, and compelled the snorting demons into a flying gallop. But,
naturally, a couple of miles saw this resource exhausted. Then came the
necessity of "drawing the covers," as the dean called it; that is,
hunting amongst the adjacent farmers for powerful cattle. This labor
(O, Jupiter, thanks be for _that_!) fell upon Mr. Moran. And
sometimes it would happen that the horses, which it had cost him three
or four hours to find, could be spared only for four or five miles.
Such a journey can rarely have been accomplished. Our zigzag course had
prolonged it into from two hundred and thirty to two hundred and fifty
miles; and it is literally true that, of this entire distance from
Westport House to Sackville-street, Dublin, not one furlong had been
performed under the spontaneous impulse of our own horses. Their
diabolic resistance continued to the last. And one may venture to hope
that the sense of final subjugation to man must have proved penally
bitter to the horses. But, meantime, it vexes one that such wretches
should be fed with good old hay and oats; as well littered down also in
their stalls as a prebendary; and by many a stranger, ignorant of their
true character, should have been patted and caressed. Let us hope that
a fate, to which more than once they were nearly forcing _us_,
namely, regress over a precipice, may ultimately have been their own.
Once I saw such another case dramatically carried through to its
natural crisis in the Liverpool Mail. It was on the stage leading into
Lichfield; there was no conspiracy, as in our Irish case; one horse
only out of the four was the criminal; and, according to the queen's
bench (Denman, C. J.), there is no conspiracy competent to one agent;
but he was even more signally under a demoniac possession of mutinous
resistance to man. The case was really a memorable one. If ever there
was a distinct proclamation of rebellion against man, it was made by
that brutal horse; and I, therefore, being a passenger on the box, took
a note of the case; and on a proper occasion I may be induced to
publish it, unless some Houynhm should whinny against me a chancery
injunction.

From these wild, Tartar-like stables of Connaught, how vast was the
transition to that perfection of elegance, and of adaptation between
means and ends, that reigned from centre to circumference through the
stables at Laxton! _I_, as it happened, could report to Lord Massey
their earlier condition; he to me could report their immediate
changes. I won him easily to an interest in my own Irish experiences,
so fresh, and in parts so grotesque, wilder also by much in Connaught
than in Lord Massey's county of Limerick; whilst he (without affecting
any delight in the hunting systems of Northamptonshire and
Leicestershire) yet took pleasure in explaining to me those
characteristic features of the English midland hunting as centralized
at Melton, which even then gave to it the supreme rank for brilliancy
and unity of effect amongst all varieties of the chase. [Footnote: If
mere names were allowed to dazzle the judgment, how magnificent to a
gallant young Englishman of twenty seems at first the _tiger-
hunting_ of India, which yet (when examined searchingly) turns out
the meanest and most _cowardly_ mode of hunting known to human
experience. _Buffalo-hunting_ is much more dignified as regards
the courageous exposure of the hunter; but, from all accounts, its
excitement is too momentary and evanescent; one rifle-shot, and the
crisis is past. Besides that, the generous and honest character of the
buffalo disturbs the cordiality of the sport. The very opposite reason
disturbs the interest of _lion-hunting, especially at the Cape. The
lion is everywhere a cowardly wretch, unless when sublimed into courage
by famine; but, in southern Africa, he is the most currish of enemies.
Those who fancied so much adventurousness in the lion conflicts of Mr.
Gordon Cumming appear never to have read the missionary travels of Mr.
Moffat. The poor missionary, without any arms whatever, came to think
lightly of half a dozen lions seen drinking through the twilight at the
very same pond or river as himself. Nobody can have any wish to
undervalue the adventurous gallantry of Mr. G. Cumming. But, in the
single case of the Cape lion, there is an unintentional advantage taken
from the traditional name of lion, as though the Cape lion were such as
that which ranges the torrid zone.]

Horses had formed the natural and introductory topic of conversation
between us. What we severally knew of Ireland, though in different
quarters,--what we both knew of Laxton, the barbaric splendor, and the
civilized splendor,--had naturally an interest for us both in their
contrasts (at one time so picturesque, at another so grotesque), which
illuminated our separate recollections. But my quick instinct soon made
me aware that a jealousy was gathering in Lord Massey's mind around
such a topic, as though too ostentatiously levelled to his particular
knowledge, or to his _animal_ condition of taste. But easily I
slipped off into another key. At Laxton, it happened that the library
was excellent. Founded by whom, I never heard; but certainly, when used
by a systematic reader, it showed itself to have been systematically
collected; it stretched pretty equably through two centuries,--namely,
from about 1600 to 1800,--and might, perhaps, amount to seventeen
thousand volumes. Lord Massey was far from illiterate; and his interest
in books was unaffected, if limited, and too often interrupted, by
defective knowledge. The library was dispersed through six or seven
small rooms, lying between the drawing-room in one wing, and the
dining-room in the opposite wing. This dispersion, however, already
furnished the ground of a rude classification. In some one of these
rooms was Lord Massey always to be found, from the forenoon to the
evening. And was it any fault of _his_ that his daughter, little
Grace, about two years old, pursued him down from her nursery every
morning, and insisted upon seeing innumerable pictures, lurking (as she
had discovered) in many different recesses of the library? More and
more from this quarter it was that we drew the materials of our daily
after-dinner conversation. One great discouragement arises commonly to
the student, where the particular library in which he reads has been so
disordinately collected that he cannot _pursue_ a subject once
started. Now, at Laxton, the books had been so judiciously brought
together, so many hooks and eyes connected them, that the whole library
formed what one might call a series of _strata_, naturally allied,
through which you might quarry your way consecutively for many months.
On rainy days, and often enough one had occasion to say through rainy
weeks, what a delightful resource did this library prove to both of us!
And one day it occurred to us, that, whereas the stables and the
library were both jewels of attraction, the latter had been by much the
least costly. Pretty often I have found, when any opening has existed
for making the computation, that, in a library containing a fair
proportion of books illustrated with plates, about ten shillings a
volume might be taken as expressing, upon a sufficiently large number
of volumes, small and great, the fair average cost of the whole. On
this basis, the library at Laxton would have cost less than nine
thousand pounds. On the other hand, thirty-live horses (hunters,
racers, roadsters, carriage-horses, etc.) might have cost about eight
thousand pounds, or a little more. But the library entailed no
permanent cost beyond the annual loss of interest; the books did not
eat, and required no aid from veterinary [Footnote: "_Veterinary_."--By
the way, whence comes this odd-looking word? The word _veterana_ I
have met with in monkish writers, to express _domesticated quadrupeds_;
and evidently from that word must have originated the word _veterinary_.
But the question is still but one step removed; for, how came _veterana_
by that acceptation in rural economy?] surgeons; whereas, for the
horses, not only such ministrations were intermittingly required,
but a costly permanent establishment of grooms and helpers. Lord
Carbery, who had received an elaborate Etonian education, was even
more earnestly a student than his friend Lord Massey, who had probably
been educated at home under a private tutor. He read everything
connected with general politics (meaning by _general_ not personal
politics) and with social philosophy. At Laxton, indeed; it was that
I first saw Godwin's "Political Justice;" not the second and emasculated
edition in _octavo_, but the original _quarto_ edition, with all its virus
as yet undiluted of raw anti-social Jacobinism.

At Laxton it was that I first saw the entire aggregate labors,
brigaded, as it were, and paraded as if for martial review, of that
most industrious benefactor to the early stages of our English
historical literature, Thomas Hearne. Three hundred guineas, I believe,
had been the price paid cheerfully at one time for a complete set of
Hearne. At Laxton, also, it was that first I saw the total array of
works edited by Dr. Birch. It was a complete _armilustrium_, a
_recognitio_, or mustering, as it were, not of pompous Praetorian
cohorts, or unique guardsmen, but of the yeomanry, the militia, or
what, under the old form of expression, you might regard as the
_trained bands_ of our literature--the fund from which ultimately,
or in the last resort, students look for the materials of our vast and
myriad-faced literature. A French author of eminence, fifty years back,
having occasion to speak of our English literature collectively, in
reference to the one point of its _variety_, being also a man of
honor, and disdaining that sort of patriotism which sacrifices the
truth to nationality, speaks of our pretensions in these words: _Les
Anglois qui ont une littérature infiniment plus variée que la
nôtre_. This fact is a feature in our national pretensions that
could ever have been regarded doubtfully merely through insufficient
knowledge. Dr. Johnson, indeed, made it the distinguishing merit of the
French, that they "have a book upon every subject." But Dr. Johnson was
not only capricious as regards temper and variable humors, but as
regards the inequality of his knowledge. Incoherent and unsystematic
was Dr. Johnson's information in most cases. Hence his extravagant
misappraisement of Knolles, the Turkish historian, which is exposed so
severely by Spittler, the German, who, again, is himself miserably
superficial in his analysis of English history. Hence the feeble
credulity which Dr. Johnson showed with respect to the forgery of De
Foe (under the masque of Captain Carleton) upon the Catalonian campaign
of Lord Peterborough. But it is singular that a literature, so
unrivalled as ours in its compass and variety, should not have produced
any, even the shallowest, manual of itself. And thus it happens, for
example, that writers so laborious and serviceable as Birch are in any
popular sense scarcely known. I showed to Lord Massey, among others of
his works, that which relates to Lord Worcester's (that is, Lord
Glamorgan's) negotiations with the Papal nuncio in Ireland, about the
year 1644, &c. Connected with these negotiations were many names
amongst Lord Massey's own ancestors; so that here he suddenly alighted
upon a fund of archæologic memorabilia, connecting what interested him
as an Irishman in general with what most interested him as the head of
a particular family. It is remarkable, also, as an indication of the
_general_ nobility and elevation which had accompanied the revolution
in his life, that concurrently with the constitutional torpor
previously besetting him, had melted away the intellectual torpor
under which he had found books until recently of little practical
value. Lady Carbery had herself told me that the two revolutions
went on simultaneously. He began to take an interest in literature
when life itself unfolded a new interest, under the companionship
of his youthful wife. And here, by the way, as subsequently
in scores of other instances, I saw broad evidences of the credulity
with which we have adopted into our grave political faith the
rash and malicious sketches of our novelists. With Fielding commenced
the practice of systematically traducing our order of country
gentlemen. His picture of Squire Western is not only a malicious, but
also an incongruous libel. The squire's ordinary language is
impossible, being alternately bookish and absurdly rustic. In reality,
the conventional dialect ascribed to the rustic order in general--to
peasants even more than to gentlemen--in our English plays and novels,
is a childish and fantastic babble, belonging to no form of real
breathing life; nowhere intelligible; not in _any_ province;
whilst, at the same time, all provinces--Somersetshire, Devonshire,
Hampshire--are confounded with our midland counties; and positively the
diction of Parricombe and Charricombe from Exmoor Forest is mixed up
with the pure Icelandic forms of the English lakes, of North Yorkshire,
and of Northumberland. In Scotland, it needs but a slight intercourse
with the peasantry to distinguish various dialects--the Aberdonian and
Fifeshire, for instance, how easily distinguished, even by an English
alien, from the western dialects of Ayrshire, &c.! And I have heard it
said, by Scottish purists in this matter, that even Sir Walter Scott is
chargeable with considerable licentiousness in the management of his
colloquial Scotch. Yet, generally speaking, it bears the strongest
impress of truthfulness. But, on the other hand, how false and
powerless does this same Sir Walter become, when the necessities of his
tale oblige him at any time to come amongst the English peasantry! His
magic wand is instantaneously broken; and he moves along by a babble of
impossible forms, as fantastic as any that our London theatres have
traditionally ascribed to English rustics, to English sailors, and to
Irishmen universally. Fielding is open to the same stern criticism, as
a deliberate falsehood-monger; and from the same cause--want of energy
to face the difficulty of mastering a real living idiom. This defect in
language, however, I cite only as one feature in the complex falsehood
which disfigures Fielding's portrait of the English country gentleman.
Meantime the question arises, Did he mean his Squire Western for a
_representative_ portrait? Possibly not. He might design it expressly
as a sketch of an individual, and by no means of a class. And
the fault may be, after all, not in _him_, the writer, but in
_us_, the falsely interpreting readers. But, be that as it may,
and figure to ourselves as we may the rustic squire of a hundred to a
hundred and fifty years back (though manifestly at utter war, in the
portraitures of our novelists, with the realities handed down to us by
our Parliamentary annals), on that _arena_ we are dealing with
objects of pure speculative curiosity. Far different is the same
question, when practically treated for purposes of present legislation
or philosophic inference. One hundred years ago, such was the
difficulty of social intercourse, simply from the difficulty of
locomotion (though even then this difficulty was much lowered to the
English, as beyond comparison the most equestrian of nations), that it
is possible to imagine a shade of difference as still distinguishing
the town-bred man from the rustic; though, considering the multiplied
distribution of our assize towns, our cathedral towns, our sea-ports,
and our universities, all so many recurring centres of civility, it is
not very easy to imagine such a thing in an island no larger than ours.
But can any human indulgence be extended to the credulity which assumes
the same possibility as existing for us in the very middle of the
nineteenth century? At a time when every week sees the town banker
drawn from our rural gentry; railway directors in every quarter
transferring themselves indifferently from town to country, from
country to town; lawyers, clergymen, medical men, magistrates, local
judges, &c., all shifting in and out between town and country; rural
families all intermarrying on terms of the widest freedom with town
families; all again, in the persons of their children, meeting for
study at the same schools, colleges, military academies, &c.; by what
furious forgetfulness of the realities belonging to the case, has it
been possible for writers in public journals to persist in arguing
national questions upon the assumption of a bisection in our
population--a double current, on the one side steeped to the lips in
town prejudices, on the other side traditionally sold to rustic views
and doctrines? Such double currents, like the Rhone flowing through the
Lake of Geneva, and yet refusing to intermingle, probably _did_
exist, and had an important significance in the Low Countries of the
fifteenth century, or between the privileged cities and the
unprivileged country of Germany down to the Thirty Years' War; but, for
us, they are in the last degree fabulous distinctions, pure fairy
tales; and the social economist or the historian who builds on such
phantoms as that of a rustic aristocracy still retaining any
substantial grounds of distinction from the town aristocracies,
proclaims the hollowness of any and all his doctrines that depend upon
such assumptions. Lord Carbery was a thorough fox-hunter. The fox-
hunting of the adjacent county of Leicestershire was not then what it
is now. The state of the land was radically different for the foot of
the horse, the nature and distribution of the fences was different; so
that a class of horses thoroughly different was then required. But
then, as now, it offered the finest exhibition of the fox-chase that is
known in Europe; and then, as now, this is the best adapted among all
known varieties of hunting to the exhibition of adventurous and skilful
riding, and generally, perhaps, to the development of manly and
athletic qualities. Lord Carbery, during the season, might be
immoderately addicted to this mode of sporting, having naturally a
pleasurable feeling connected with his own reputation as a skilful and
fearless horseman. But, though the chases were in those days longer
than they are at present, small was the amount of time really
abstracted from that which he had disposable for general purposes;
amongst which purposes ranked foremost his literary pursuits. And,
however much he transcended the prevailing conception of his order, as
sketched by satiric and often ignorant novelists, he might be regarded,
in all that concerned the liberalization of his views, as pretty fairly
representing that order. Thus, through every _real_ experience,
the crazy notion of a rural aristocracy flowing apart from the urban
aristocracy, and standing on a different level of culture as to
intellect, of polish as to manners, and of interests as to social
objects, a notion at all times false as a fact, now at length became
with all thoughtful men monstrous as a possibility.

Meantime Lord Massey was reached by reports, both through Lady Carbery
and myself, of something which interested him more profoundly than all
earthly records of horsemanship, or any conceivable questions connected
with books. Lady Carbery, with a view to the amusement of Lady Massey
and my sister, for both of whom youth and previous seclusion had
created a natural interest in all such scenes, accepted two or three
times in every week dinner invitations to all the families on her
visiting list, and lying within her winter circle, which was measured,
by a radius of about seventeen miles. For, dreadful as were the roads
in those days, when the Bath, the Bristol, or the Dover mail was
equally perplexed oftentimes to accomplish Mr. Palmer's rate of seven
miles an hour, a distance of seventeen was yet easily accomplished in
one hundred minutes by the powerful Laxton horses. Magnificent was the
Laxton turn-out; and in the roomy travelling coach of Lady Carbery,
made large enough to receive upon occasion even a bed, it would have
been an idle scruple to fear the crowding a party which mustered only
three besides myself. For Lord Massey uniformly declined joining us; in
which I believe that he was right. A schoolboy like myself had
fortunately no dignity to lose. But Lord Massey, a needy Irish peer
(or, strictly speaking, since the Union no peer at all, though still an
hereditary lord), was bound to be trebly vigilant over his surviving
honors. This he owed to his country as well as to his family. He
recoiled from what he figured to himself (but too often falsely
figured) as the haughty and disdainful English nobility---all so rich,
all so polished in manner, all so punctiliously correct in the ritual
of _bienséance_. Lord Carbery might face them gayly and boldly:
for _he_ was rich, and, although possessing Irish estates and an
Irish mansion, was a thorough Englishman by education and early
association. "But I," said Lord Massey, "had a careless Irish
education, and am never quite sure that I may not be trespassing on
some mysterious law of English good-breeding." In vain I suggested to
him that most of what passed amongst foreigners and amongst Irishmen
for English _hauteur_ was pure reserve, which, among all people
that were bound over by the inevitable restraints of their rank
(imposing, it must be remembered, jealous duties as well as
privileges), was sure to become the operative feeling. I contended that
in the English situation there was no escaping this English reserve,
except by great impudence and defective sensibility; and that, if
examined, reserve was the truest expression of respect towards those
who were its objects. In vain did Lady Carbery back me in this
representation. He stood firm, and never once accompanied us to any
dinner-party. Northamptonshire, I know not why, is (or then was) more
thickly sown with aristocratic families than any in the kingdom. Many
elegant and pretty women there naturally were in these parties; but
undoubtedly our two Laxton baronesses shone advantageously amongst
them. A boy like myself could lay no restraint upon the after-dinner
feelings of the gentlemen; and almost uniformly I heard such verdicts
passed upon the personal attractions of both, but especially Lady
Massey, as tended greatly to soothe the feelings of Lord Massey. It is
singular that Lady Massey universally carried off the palm of unlimited
homage. Lady Carbery was a regular beauty, and publicly known for such;
both were fine figures, and apparently not older than twenty-six; but
in her Irish friend people felt something more thoroughly artless and
feminine--for the masculine understanding of Lady Carbery in some way
communicated its commanding expression to her deportment. I reported to
Lord Massey, in terms of unexceptionable decorum, those flattering
expressions of homage, which sometimes from the lips of young men,
partially under the influence of wine, had taken a form somewhat too
enthusiastic for a literal repetition to a chivalrous and adoring
husband.

Meantime, the reader has been kept long enough at Laxton to warrant me
in presuming some curiosity or interest to have gathered within his
mind about the mistress of the mansion. Who was Lady Carbery? what was
her present position, and what had been her original position, in
society? All readers of Bishop Jeremy Taylor [Footnote: The Life of
Jeremy Taylor, by Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta, is most
elaborately incorrect. From want of research, and a chronology in some
places thoroughly erroneous, various important facts are utterly
misstated; and what is most to be regretted, in a matter deeply
affecting the bishop's candor and Christian charity, namely, a
controversial correspondence with a Somersetshire Dissenting clergyman,
the wildest misconception has vitiated the entire result. That
fractional and splintered condition, into which some person had cut up
the controversy with a view to his own more convenient study of its
chief elements, Heber had misconceived as the actual form in which
these parts had been originally exchanged between the disputants--a
blunder of the worst consequence, and having the effect of translating
general expressions (such as recorded a moral indignation against
ancient fallacies or evasions connected with the dispute) into direct
ebullitions of scorn or displeasure personally against his immediate
antagonist. And the charge of intolerance and defective charity becomes
thus very much stronger against the poor bishop, because it takes the
shape of a confession extorted by mere force of truth from an else
reluctant apologist, that would most gladly have denied everything that
he _could_ deny. The Life needs more than ever to be accurately
written, since it has been thus chaotically mis-narrated by a prelate
of so much undeniable talent. I once began a very elaborate life
myself, and in these words: "Jeremy Taylor, the most eloquent and the
subtlest of Christian philosophers, was the son of a barber, and the
son-in-law of a king,"--alluding to the tradition (imperfectly
verified, I believe) that he married an illegitimate daughter of
Charles I. But this sketch was begun more than thirty years ago; and I
retired from the labor as too overwhelmingly exacting in all that
related to the philosophy and theology of that man 80 "myriad-minded,"
and of that century so anarchical.] must be aware of that religious
Lady Carbery, who was the munificent (and, for her kindness, one might
say the filial) patroness of the all-eloquent and subtle divine. She
died before the Restoration, and, consequently, before her spiritual
director could have ascended the Episcopal throne. The title of Carbery
was at that time an earldom; the earl married again, arid his second
countess was also a devout patroness of Taylor. Having no peerage at
hand, I do not know by what mode of derivation the modern title of the
nineteenth century had descended from the old one of the seventeenth. I
presume that some collateral branch of the original family had
succeeded to the barony when the limitations of the original settlement
had extinguished the earldom. But to me, who saw revived another
religious Lady Carbery, distinguished for her beauty and
accomplishments, it was interesting to read of the two successive
ladies who had borne that title one hundred and sixty years before, and
whom no reader of Jeremy Taylor is ever allowed to forget, since almost
all his books are dedicated to one or other of the pious family that
had protected him. Once more there was a religious Lady Carbery,
supporting locally the Church of England, patronizing schools,
diffusing the most extensive relief to every mode of indigence or
distress. A century and a half ago such a Lady Carbery was in South
Wales, at the "Golden Grove;" now such another Lady Carbery was in
central England, at Laxton. The two cases, divided by six generations,
interchanged a reciprocal interest, since in both cases it was young
ladies, under the age of thirty, that originated the movement, and in
both cases these ladies bore the same title; and I will therefore
retrace rapidly the outline of that contemporary case so familiarly
known to myself.

Colonel Watson and General Smith had been amongst the earliest friends
of my mother's family. Both served for many years in India: the first
in the Company's army, the other upon the staff of the king's forces in
that country. Each, about the same time, made a visit to England, and
each of them, I believe, with the same principal purpose of providing
for the education of his daughter; for each happened to have one sole
child, which child, in each case, was a girl of singular beauty; and
both of these little ladies were entitled to very large fortunes. The
colonel and the general, being on brotherly terms of intimacy, resolved
to combine their plans for the welfare of their daughters. What they
wanted was, not a lady that could teach them any special arts or
accomplishments--all these could be purchased;--but the two
qualifications indispensable for the difficult situation of lady-
superintendent over two children so singularly separated from all
relatives whatever, were, in the first place, knowledge of the world,
and integrity for keeping at a distance all showy adventurers that
might else offer themselves, with unusual advantages, as suitors for
the favor of two great heiresses; and, secondly, manners exquisitely
polished. Looking to that last requisition, it seems romantic to
mention, that the lady selected for the post, with the fullest
approbation of both officers, was one who began life as the daughter of
a little Lincolnshire farmer. What her maiden name had been, I do not
at this moment remember; but this name was of very little importance,
being soon merged in that of Harvey, bestowed on her at the altar by a
country gentleman. The squire--not very rich, I believe, but rich
enough to rank as a matrimonial prize in the lottery of a country girl,
whom one single step of descent in life might have brought within sight
of menial service--had been captivated by the young woman's beauty; and
this, at that period, when accompanied by the advantages of youth, must
have been resplendent. I, who had known her all my life, down to my
sixteenth year (during which year she died), and who naturally,
therefore, referred her origin back to some remote ancestral
generation, nevertheless, in her sole case, was made to feel that there
might be some justification for the Church of England discountenancing
in her Liturgy, "marriage with your great-grandmother; neither shalt
thou marry thy great-grandfather's widow." She, poor thing! at that
time was thinking little of marriage; for even then, though known only
to herself and her _femme de chambre_, that dreadful organic malady
(cancer) was raising its adder's crest, under which finally she
died. But, in spite of languor interchanging continually with
disfiguring anguish, she still impressed one as a regal beauty. Her
person, indeed, and figure, _would_ have tended towards such a
standard; but all was counteracted, and thrown back into the mould of
sweet natural womanhood, by the cherubic beauty of her features. These
it was--these features, so purely childlike--that reconciled me in a
moment of time to great-grandmotherhood. The stories about Ninon de
l'Enclos are French fables--speaking plainly, are falsehoods; and sorry
I am that a nation so amiable as the French should habitually disregard
truth, when coming into collision with their love for the extravagant.
But, if anything could reconcile me to these monstrous old fibs about
Ninon at ninety, it would be the remembrance of this English
enchantress on the high-road to seventy. Guess, reader, what she must
have been at twenty-eight to thirty-two, when she became the widow of
the Gerenian horseman, Harvey. How bewitching she must have looked in
her widow's caps! So had once thought Colonel Watson, who happened to
be in England at that period; and to the charming widow this man of war
propounded his hand in marriage. This hand, this martial hand, for
reason inexplicable to me, Mrs. Harvey declined; and the colonel
bounced off in a rage to Bengal. There were others who saw young Mrs.
Harvey, as well as Colonel Watson. And amongst them was an ancient
German gentleman, to what century belonging I do not know, who had
every possible bad quality known to European experience, and a solitary
good one, namely, eight hundred thousand pounds sterling. The man's
name was Schreiber. Schreiber was an aggregate resulting from the
conflux of all conceivable bad qualities. That was the elementary base
of Schreiber; and the superstructure, or Corinthian decoration of his
frontispiece, was, that Schreiber cultivated one sole science, namely,
the science of taking snuff. Here were two separate objects for
contemplation: one, bright as Aurora--that radiant Koh-i-noor, or
mountain of light--the eight hundred thousand pounds; the other, sad,
fuscous, begrimed with the snuff of ages, namely, the most ancient
Schreiber. Ah! if they _could_ have been divided--these twin yoke-
fellows--and that ladies might have the privilege of choosing between
them! For the moment there was no prudent course open to Mrs. Harvey,
but that of marrying Schreiber (which she did, and survived); and,
subsequently, when the state of the market became favorable to such
"conversions" of stock, then the new Mrs. Schreiber parted from
Schreiber, and disposed of her interest in Schreiber at a settled rate
in three per cent. consols and terminable annuities; for every
_coupon_ of Schreiber receiving a _bonus_ of so many thousand pounds,
paid down according to the rate agreed on by the lawyers of the
two parties; or, strictly speaking, _quarrelled on_ between the
adverse factions; for agreement it was hard to effect upon any point.
The deadly fear which had been breathed into him by Mrs. Schreiber's
scale of expenditure in a Park Lane house proved her most salutary
ally. Coerced by this horrid vision, Schreiber consented (which else he
never would have done) to grant her an allowance, for life, of about
two thousand per annum. Could _that_ be reckoned an anodyne for
the torment connected with a course of Schreiber? I pretend to no
opinion.

Such were the facts: and exactly at this point in her career had Mrs.
Schreiber arrived, when, once more, Colonel Watson and General Smith
were visiting England, and for the last time, on the errand of settling
permanently some suitable establishment for their two infant daughters.
The superintendence of this they desired to devolve upon some lady,
qualified by her manners and her connections for introducing the young
ladies, when old enough, into general society. Mrs. Schreiber was the
very person required. Intellectually she had no great pretensions; but
these she did not need: her character was irreproachable, her manners
were polished, and her own income placed her far above all mercenary
temptations. She had not thought fit to accept the station of Colonel
Watson's wife, but some unavowed feeling prompted her to undertake,
with enthusiasm, the duties of a mother to the colonel's daughter.
Chiefly on Miss Watson's account it was at first that she extended her
maternal cares to General Smith's daughter; but very soon so sweet and
winning was the disposition of Miss Smith that Mrs. Schreiber
apparently loved _her_ the best.

Both, however, appeared under a combination of circumstances too
singularly romantic to fail of creating an interest that was universal.
Both were solitary children, unchallenged by any relatives. Neither had
ever known what it was to taste of love, paternal or maternal. Their
mothers had been long dead--not consciously seen by either; and their
fathers, not surviving their last departure from home long enough to
see them again, died before returning from India. What a world of
desolation seemed to exist for them! How silent was every hall into
which, by natural right, they should have had entrance! Several people,
kind, cordial people, men and women, were scattered over England, that,
during their days of infancy, would have delighted to receive them;
but, by some fatality, when they reached their fifteenth year, and
might have been deemed old enough to undertake visits, all of these
paternal friends, except two, had died; nor had they, by that time, any
relatives at all that remained alive, or were eligible as associates.
Strange, indeed, was the contrast between the silent past of their
lives and that populous future to which their large fortunes would
probably introduce them. Throw open a door in the rear that should lay
bare the long vista of chambers through which their childhood might
symbolically be represented as having travelled--what silence! what
solemn solitude! Open a door in advance that should do the same
figurative office for the future--suddenly what a jubilation! what a
tumult of festal greetings!

But the succeeding stages of life did not, perhaps, in either case
fully correspond to the early promise. Rank and station the two young
ladies attained; but rank and station do not always throw people upon
prominent stages of action or display. Many a family, possessing both
rank and wealth, and not undistinguished possibly by natural endowments
of an order fitted for brilliant popularity, never emerge from
obscurity, or not into any splendor that can be called national;
sometimes, perhaps, from a temper unfitted for worthy struggles in the
head of the house; possibly from a haughty, possibly a dignified
disdain of popular arts, hatred of petty rhetoric, petty sycophantic
courtships, petty canvassing tricks; or again, in many cases, because
accidents of ill-luck have intercepted the fair proportion of success
due to the merits of the person; whence, oftentimes, a hasty self-
surrender to impulses of permanent disgust. But, more frequently than
any other cause, I fancy that impatience of the long struggle required
for any distinguished success interferes to thin the ranks of
competitors for the prizes of public ambition. Perseverance is soon
refrigerated in those who fall back under any result, defeated or not
defeated, upon splendid mansions and luxuries of every kind, already
far beyond their needs or their wishes. The soldier described by the
Roman satirist as one who had lost his purse, was likely enough, under
the desperation of his misfortune, to see nothing formidable in any
obstacle that crossed his path towards another supplementary purse;
whilst the very same obstacle might reasonably alarm one who, in
retreating, fell back under the battlements of twenty thousand per
annum. In the present case, there was nothing at all to move wonder in
the final result under so continual a siege of temptation from the
seductions of voluptuous ease; the only wonder is, that one of the
young ladies, namely, Miss Watson, whose mind was masculine, and in
some directions aspiring, should so readily have acquiesced in a result
which she might have anticipated from the beginning.

Happy was the childhood, happy the early dawn of womanhood, which these
two young ladies passed under the guardianship of Mrs. Schreiber.
Education in those days was not the austere old lady that she is now.
At least, in the case of young ladies, her exactions were merciful and
considerate. If Miss Smith sang pretty well, and Miss Watson
_very_ well, and with the power of singing difficult _part_ music
at sight, they did so for the same reason that the lark sings,
and chiefly under the same gentle tuition--that of nature, glad
almighty nature, breathing inspiration from her Delphic tripod of
happiness, and health, and hope. Mrs. Schreiber pretended to no
intellectual gifts whatever; and yet, practically, she was wiser than
many who have the greatest. First of all other tasks which she imposed
upon her wards, was that of daily exercise, and exercise carried to
_excess_. She insisted upon four hours' exercise daily; and, as
young ladies walk fast, _that_ would have yielded, at the rate of
three and a half miles per hour, thirteen plus one third miles. But
only two and a half hours were given to walking; the other one and a
half to riding. No day was a day of rest; absolutely none. Days so
stormy that they "kept the raven to her nest," snow the heaviest, winds
the most frantic, were never listened to as any ground of reprieve from
the ordinary exaction. I once knew (that is, not personally, for I
never saw her, but through the reports of her many friends) an intrepid
lady, [Footnote: If I remember rightly, some account is given of this
palæstric lady and her stern Pædo-gymnastics, in a clever book on
household medicine and surgery under circumstances of inevitable
seclusion from professional aid, written about the year 1820-22, by Mr.
Haden, a surgeon of London.] living in the city of London (that is,
technically the _city_, as opposed to Westminster, etc., Mary-le-
bone, etc.), who made a point of turning out her newborn infants for a
pretty long airing, even on the day of their birth. It made no
difference to her whether the month were July or January; good,
undeniable air is to be had in either month. Once only she was baffled,
and most indignant it made her, because the little thing chose to be
born at half-past nine P. M.; so that, by the time its toilet was
finished, bonnet and cloak all properly adjusted, the watchman was
calling "Past eleven, and a cloudy night;" upon which, most
reluctantly, she was obliged to countermand the orders for that day's
exercise, and considered herself, like the Emperor Titus, to have lost
a day. But what came of the London lady's or of Mrs. Schreiber's
Spartan discipline? Did the little blind kittens of Gracechurch-street,
who were ordered by their penthesiléan mamma, on the very day of their
nativity, to face the most cruel winds--did _they_, or did Mrs.
Schreiber's wards, justify, in after life, this fierce discipline, by
commensurate results of hardiness? In words written beyond all doubt by
Shakspeare, though not generally recognized as his, it might have been
said to any one of this Amazonian brood,--

                   "Now mild may be thy life;
  For a more blust'rous birth had never babe.
  Quiet and gentle be thy temperature;
  For thou'rt the rudeliest welcomed to this world
  That e'er was woman's child. Happy be the sequel!
  Thou hast as chiding a nativity
  As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven, can make,
  To herald thee from darkness!"--_Pericles, Act III._

As to the city kittens, I heard that the treatment prospered; but the
man who reported this added, that by original constitution they were as
strong as Meux's dray-horses; and thus, after all, they may simply
illustrate the old logical _dictum_ ascribed to some medical man,
that the reason why London children of the wealthier classes are
noticeable even to a proverb for their robustness and bloom, is because
none but those who are already vigorous to excess, and who start with
advantages of health far beyond the average scale, have much chance of
surviving that most searching quarantine, which, in such [Footnote: For
myself, meantime, I am far from assenting to all the romantic abuse
applied to the sewerage and the church-yards of London, and even more
violently to the river Thames. As a tidal river, even: beyond the
metropolitan bridges, the Thames undoubtedly does much towards
cleansing the atmosphere, whatever may be the condition of its waters.
And one most erroneous postulate there is from which the _Times_
starts in all its arguments, namely, this, that supposing the Thames to
be even a vast sewer, in short, the _cloaca maxima_ of London,
there is in that arrangement of things any special reproach applying to
our mighty English capital. On the contrary, _all_ great cities
that ever were founded have sought out, as their first and elementary
condition, the adjacency of some great cleansing river. In the long
process of development through which cities pass, commerce and other
functions of civilization come to usurp upon the earlier functions of
such rivers, and sometimes (through increasing efforts of luxurious
refinement) may come entirely to absorb them. But, in the infancy of
every great city, the chief function for which she looks to her river
is that of purification. Be thou my huge _cloaca_, says infant
Babylon to the Euphrates, says infant Nineveh to the Tigris, says
infant Rome to the Tiber. So far is that reproach from having any
special application to London. Smoke is not unwholesome; in many
circumstances it is salubrious, as a counter-agent to worse influences.
Even sewerage is chiefly insalubrious from its moisture, and not, in
any degree yet demonstrated, from its odor.] an atmosphere, they are
summoned to weather at starting. Coming, however, to the special case
of Mrs. Schreiber's household, I am bound to report that in no instance
have I known young ladies so thoroughly steeled against all the
ordinary host of petty maladies which, by way of antithesis to the
capital warfare of dangerous complaints, might be called the
_guerilla_ nosology; influenza, for instance, in milder forms,
catarrh, headache, toothache, dyspepsia in transitory shapes, etc.
Always the spirits of the two girls were exuberant; the enjoyment of
life seemed to be intense, and never did I know either of them to
suffer from _ennui_. My conscious knowledge of them commenced when
I was about two years old, they being from ten to twelve years older.
Mrs. Schreiber had been amongst my mother's earliest friends as Mrs.
Harvey, and in days when my mother had opportunities of doing her
seasonable services. And as there were three special advantages which
adorned my mother, and which ranked in Mrs. Schreiber's estimate as the
highest which earth could show, namely: 1°, that she spoke and wrote
English with singular elegance; 2°, that her manners were eminently
polished; and 3°, that, even in that early stage of my mother's life, a
certain tone of religiosity, and even of ascetic devotion, was already
diffused as a luminous mist that served to exalt the coloring of her
morality. To this extent Mrs. Schreiber approved of religion; but
nothing of a sectarian cast could she have tolerated; nor had she
anything of that nature to apprehend from my mother. Viewing my mother,
therefore, as a pure model of an English matron, and feeling for her,
besides, a deeper sentiment of friendship and affection than for
anybody else on her visiting list, it was natural enough that she
should come with her wards on an annual visit to "The Farm" (a pretty,
rustic dwelling occupied by my father in the neighborhood of
Manchester), and subsequently (when _that_ arose) to Greenhay.
[Footnote: "_Greenhay_."--As this name might, under a false
interpretation, seem absurd as including incongruous elements, I ought,
in justification of my mother, who devised the name, to have mentioned
that _hay_ was meant for the old English word (derived from the
old French word _haie_) indicating a rural enclosure. Conventionally,
a _hay_ or _haie_ was understood to mean a country-house within a
verdant ring-fence, narrower than a park: which word park, in Scotch
use, means any enclosure whatever, though not twelve feet square; but
in English use (witness Captain Burt's wager about Culloden parks)
means an enclosure measured by square miles, and usually accounted to
want its appropriate furniture, unless tenanted by deer. By the way, it
is a singular illustration of a fact illustrated in one way or other
every hour, namely, of the imperfect knowledge which England possesses
of England, that, within these last eight or nine months, I saw in the
_Illustrated London News_ an article assuming that the red deer was
unknown in England. Whereas, if the writer had ever been at the English
lakes during the hunting season, he might have seen it actually hunted
over Martindale forest and its purlieus. Or, again, in Devonshire and
Cornwall, over Dartmoor, etc., and, I believe, in many other regions,
though naturally narrowing as civilization widens. The writer is
equally wrong in supposing the prevailing deer of our parks to be the
_roe_ deer, which are very little known. It is the _fallow_ deer that
chiefly people our parks. Red deer were also found at Blenheim, in
Oxfordshire, when it was visited by Dr. Johnson, as may be seen in
"Boswell."] As my father always retained a town-house in Manchester
(somewhere in Fountain-street), and, though a plain, unpretending man,
was literary to the extent of having written a book, all things were so
arranged that there was no possibility of any commercial mementos ever
penetrating to the rural retreat of his family; such mementos, I mean,
as, by reviving painful recollections of that ancient Schreiber, who
was or ought to be by this time extinct, would naturally be odious and
distressing. Here, therefore, liberated from all jealousy of
overlooking eyes, such as haunted persons of their expectations at
Brighton, Weymouth, Sidmouth, or Bath, Miss Smith and Miss Watson used
to surrender themselves without restraint to their glad animal impulses
of girlish gayety, like the fawns of antelopes when suddenly
transferred from tiger-haunted thickets to the serene preserves of
secluded rajahs. On these visits it was, that I, as a young pet whom
they carried about like a doll from my second to my eighth or ninth
year, learned to know them; so as to take a fraternal interest in the
succeeding periods of their lives. Their fathers I certainly had not
seen; nor had they, consciously. These two fathers must both have died
in India, before my inquiries had begun to travel in that direction.
But, as old acquaintances of my mother's, both had visited The Farm
before I was born; and about General Smith, in particular, there had
survived amongst the servants a remembrance which seemed to us (that is
to them and to myself) ludicrously awful, though, at that time, the
practice was common throughout our Indian possessions. He had a Hindoo
servant with him; and this servant every night stretched himself along
the "sill" or outer threshold of the door; so that he might have been
trodden on by the general when retiring to rest; and from this it was
but a moderate step in advance to say that he _was_ trodden on. Upon
which basis many other wonders were naturally reared. Miss Smith's
father, therefore, furnished matter for a not very amiable tradition;
but Miss Smith herself was the sweetest-tempered and the loveliest of
girls, and the most thoroughly English in the style of her beauty. Far
different every way was Miss Watson. In person she was a finished
beauty of the very highest pretensions, and generally recognized as
such; that is to say, her figure was fine and queenly; her features
were exquisitely cut, as regarded their forms and the correspondences
of their parts; and usually by artists her face was said to be Grecian.
Perhaps the nostrils, mouth, and forehead, might be so; but nothing
could be less Grecian, or more eccentric in form and position, than the
eyes. They were placed obliquely, in a way that I do not remember to
have seen repeated in any other face whatever. Large they were, and
particularly long, tending to an almond-shape; equally strange, in
fact, as to color, shape, and position: but the remarkable position of
these eyes would have absorbed your gaze to the obliteration of all
other features or peculiarities in the face, were it not for one other
even more remarkable distinction affecting her complexion: this lay in
a suffusion that mantled upon her cheeks, of a color amounting almost
to carmine. Perhaps it might be no more than what Pindar meant by the
_porphyreon phos erotos_, which Gray has falsely [Footnote: Falsely,
because poxphuxeos rarely, perhaps, means in the Greek use what we mean
properly by _purple_, and _could_ not mean it in the Pindaric passage;
much oftener it denotes some shade of _crimson_, or else of _puniceus_,
or blood-red. Gibbon was never more mistaken than when he argued that
all the endless disputing about the _purpureus_ of the ancients might
have been evaded by attending to its Greek designation, namely,
_porphyry_-colored: since, said he, porphyry is always of the same
color. Not at all. Porphyry, I have heard, runs through as large a
gamut of hues as marble; but, if this should be an exaggeration, at all
events porphyry is far from being so monochromatic as Gibbon's argument
would presume. The truth is, colors were as loosely and
latitudinarially distinguished by the Greeks and Romans as degrees of
affinity and consanguinity are everywhere. _My son-in-law_, says a
woman, and she means _my stepson._ _My cousin_, she says, and she means
any mode of relationship in the wide, wide world. _Nos neveux_, says a
French writer, and means not _our nephews_, but _our grandchildren_,
or more generally _our descendants_.] translated as "the bloom of
young desire, and PURPLE light of love." It was not unpleasing, and
gave a lustre to the eyes, but it added to the eccentricity of the
face; and by all strangers it was presumed to be an artificial color,
resulting from some mode of applying a preparation more brilliant than
rouge. But to us children, so constantly admitted to her toilet, it was
well known to be entirely natural. Generally speaking, it is not likely
to assist the effect of a young woman's charms, that she presents any
such variety in her style of countenance as could naturally be called
_odd_. But Miss Watson, by the somewhat scenical effect resulting
from the harmony between her fine figure and her fine countenance,
triumphed over all that might else have been thought a blemish; and
when she was presented at court on occasion of her marriage, the king
himself pronounced her, to friends of Mrs. Schreiber, the most splendid
of all the brides that had yet given lustre to his reign. In such cases
the judgments of rustic, undisciplined tastes, though marked by
narrowness, and often by involuntary obedience to vulgar ideals (which,
for instance, makes them insensible to all the deep sanctities of
beauty that sleep amongst the Italian varieties of the Madonna face),
is not without its appropriate truth. Servants and rustics all thrilled
in sympathy with the sweet English loveliness of Miss Smith; but all
alike acknowledged, with spontaneous looks of homage, the fine presence
and finished beauty of Miss Watson. Naturally, from the splendor with
which they were surrounded, and the notoriety of their great
expectations,--so much to dazzle in one direction, and, on the other
hand, something for as tender a sentiment as pity, in the fact of both
from so early an age having been united in the calamity of orphanage,--
go where they might, these young women drew all eyes upon themselves;
and from the _audible_ comparisons sometimes made between them, it
might be imagined that if ever there were a situation fitted to nourish
rivalship and jealousy, between two girls, here it might be anticipated
in daily operation. But, left to themselves, the yearnings of the
female heart tend naturally towards what is noble; and, unless where it
has been tried too heavily by artificial incitements applied to the
pride, I do not believe that women generally are disposed to any
unfriendly jealousy of each other. Why should they? Almost every woman,
when strengthened in those charms which nature has given to her by such
as she can in many ways give to herself, must feel that she has her own
separate domain of empire unaffected by the most sovereign beauty upon
earth. Every man that ever existed has probably his own peculiar talent
(if only it were detected), in which he would be found to excel all the
rest of his race. And in every female face possessing any attractions
at all, no matter what may be her general inferiority, there lurks some
secret peculiarity of expression--some mesmeric individuality--which is
valid within its narrower range--limited superiority over the supreme
of beauties within a narrow circle. It is unintelligibly but
mesmerically potent, this secret fascination attached to features
oftentimes that are absolutely plain; and as one of many cases within
my own range of positive experience, I remember in confirmation, at
this moment, that in a clergyman's family, counting three daughters,
all on a visit to my mother, the youngest, Miss F---- P----, who was
strikingly and memorably plain, never walked out on the Clifton Downs
unattended, but she was followed home by a crowd of admiring men,
anxious to learn her rank and abode; whilst the middle sister,
eminently handsome, levied no such _visible_ tribute of admiration
on the public.

I mention this fact, one of a thousand similar facts, simply by way of
reminding the reader of what he must himself have often witnessed;
namely, that no woman is condemned by nature to any ignoble necessity
of repining against the power of other women; her own may be far more
confined, but within its own circle may possibly, measured against that
of the haughtiest beauty, be the profounder. However, waiving the
question thus generally put here, and as it specially affected these
two young women that virtually were sisters, any question of precedency
in power or display, when brought into collision with sisterly
affection, had not a momentary existence. Each had soon redundant
proofs of her own power to attract suitors without end; and, for the
more or the less, _that_ was felt to be a matter of accident.
Never, on this earth, I am satisfied, did that pure sisterly love
breathe a more steady inspiration than now into the hearts and through
the acts of these two generous girls; neither was there any sacrifice
which either would have refused _to_ or _for_ the other. The
period, however, was now rapidly shortening during which they would
have any opportunity for testifying this reciprocal love. Suitors were
flocking around them, as rank as cormorants in a storm. The grim old
chancellor (one, if not both, of the young ladies having been a ward in
Chancery) had all his legal jealousies awakened on their behalf. The
worshipful order of _adventurers_ and _fortune-hunters_, at that
time chiefly imported from Ireland, as in times more recent from
Germany, and other moustachoed parts of the continent, could not live
under the raking fire of Mrs. Schreiber, on the one side, with her
female tact and her knowledge of life, and of the chancellor, with his
huge discretional power, on the other. That particular chancellor, whom
the chronology of the case brought chiefly into connection with Miss
Watson's interests, was (if my childish remembrances do not greatly
mislead me) the iracund Lord Thurlow. Lovers and wooers this grim
lawyer regarded as the most impertinent order of animals in universal
zoology; and of these, in Miss Watson's case, he had a whole menagerie
to tend. Penelope, according to some school-boy remembrance of mine,
had one hundred and eighteen suitors. These young ladies had almost as
many. Heavens! I what a crew of Comus to follow or to lead! And what a
suitable person was this truculent old lord on the woolsack to enact
the part of shepherd--Corydon, suppose, or Alphesibæus--to this goodly
set of lambs! How he must have admired the hero of the "Odyssey," who
in one way or other accounted for all the wooers that "sorned" upon his
house, and had a receipt for their bodies from the grave-digger of
Ithaca! But even this wily descendant of Sisyphus would have found it
no such easy matter to deal with the English suitors, who were not the
feeble voluptuaries of the Ionian Islands, that suffered themselves to
be butchered as unresistingly as sheep in the shambles--actually
standing at one end of a banqueting-room to be shot at with bows and
arrows, not having pluck enough to make a rush--but were _game_
men; all young, strong, rich, and in most cases technically "noble;"
all, besides, contending for one or other of two prizes a thousand
times better fitted to inspire romantic ardor than the poor, withered
Penelope. One, by the way, amongst these suitors (I speak of those who
addressed Miss Watson), merits a separate commemoration, as having
drawn from Sheridan his very happiest _impromptu_--and an _impromptu_
that was really such--(the rarest of all things from Sheridan).
This was Lord Belgrave, eldest son of Lord Grosvenor—then an
earl, but at some period, long subsequent to this, raised to the
Marquisate of Westminster, a title naturally suggesting in itself a
connection with the vast Grosvenor property, sweeping across the whole
area of that most aristocratic region in the metropolis now called
_Belgravia_, which was then a name unknown; and this Hesperian
region had as yet no architectural value, and consequently no ground-
rent value, simply because the world of fashion and distinction had as
yet not expanded itself in that direction. In those days the
territorial importance of this great house rested exclusively upon its
connection with the county of Chester. In this connection it was that
the young Viscount Belgrave had been introduced, by his family
interest, into the House of Commons; he had delivered his maiden speech
with some effect; and had been heard favorably on various subsequent
occasions; on one of which it was that, to the extreme surprise of the
house, he terminated his speech with a passage from Demosthenes--not
presented in English, but in sounding Attic Greek. Latin is a
privileged dialect in parliament. But Greek! It would not have been at
all more startling to the usages of the house, had his lordship quoted
Persic or Telinga. Still, though felt as something verging on the
ridiculous, there was an indulgent feeling to a young man fresh from
academic bowers, which would not have protected a mature man of the
world. Everybody bit his lips, and as yet did _not_ laugh. But the
final issue stood on the edge of a razor. A gas, an inflammable
atmosphere, was trembling sympathetically through the whole excited
audience; all depended on a match being applied to this gas whilst yet
in the very act of escaping. Deepest silence still prevailed; and, had
any commonplace member risen to address the house in an ordinary
business key, all would have blown over. Unhappily for Lord Belgrave,
in that critical moment up rose the one solitary man, to wit, Sheridan,
whose look, whose voice, whose traditional character, formed a prologue
to what was coming. Here let the reader understand that, throughout the
"Iliad," all speeches or commands, questions or answers, are introduced
by Homer under some peculiar formula. For instance, replies are usually
introduced thus:


    "_But him answering thus addressed the sovereign Agamemnon;_"


or; in sonorous Greek:


  "Ton d' apameibomenos prosephé kreion Agamemnon;"


or, again, according to the circumstances:


  "But him sternly surveying saluted the swift-footed Achilles;"
  "Ton d'ar', upodra idon, prosephé podas okus Achilleus."


This being premised, and that every one of the audience, though
pretending to no Greek, yet, from his school-boy remembrances, was as
well acquainted with these _formulæ_ as with the scriptural
formula of _Verily, verily, I say unto you, &c._, Sheridan,
without needing to break its force by explanations, solemnly opened
thus:

  "Ton d' apameibomenos prosephé Sheridanios heros."_

Simply to have commenced his answer in Greek would have sufficiently
met the comic expectation then thrilling the house; but, when it
happened that this Greek (so suitable to the occasion) was also the one
sole morsel of Greek that everybody in that assembly understood, the
effect, as may be supposed, was overwhelming, and wrapt the whole house
in what might be called a fiery explosion of laughter. Meantime, as
prizes in the matrimonial lottery, and prizes in all senses, both young
ladies were soon carried off. Miss Smith, whose expectations I never
happened to hear estimated, married a great West India proprietor; and
Miss Watson, who (according to the popular report) would succeed to six
thousand a year on her twenty-first birthday, married Lord Carbery.
Miss Watson inherited also from her father something which would not
generally be rated very highly, namely, a chancery lawsuit, with the
East India Company for defendant. However, if the company is a potent
antagonist, thus far it is an eligible one, that, in the event of
losing the suit, the honorable company is solvent; and such an event,
after some nine or ten years' delay, did really befall the company. The
question at issue respected some docks which Colonel Watson had built
for the company in some Indian port. And in the end this lawsuit,
though so many years doubtful in its issue, proved very valuable to
Miss Watson; I have heard (but cannot vouch for it) not less valuable
than that large part of her property which had been paid over without
demur upon her twenty-first birth-day. Both young ladies married
happily; but in marriage they found their separation, and in that
separation a shock to their daily comfort which was never replaced to
either. As to Miss Smith's husband, I did not know him; but Lord
Carbery was every way an estimable man; in some things worthy of
admiration; and his wife never ceased to esteem and admire him. But she
yearned for the society of her early friend; and this being placed out
of her reach by the accidents of life, she fell early into a sort of
disgust with her own advantages of wealth and station, which, promising
so much, were found able to perform nothing at all in this first and
last desire of her heart. A portrait of her friend hung in the drawing-
room; but Lady Carbery did not willingly answer the questions that were
sometimes prompted by its extraordinary loveliness. There are women to
whom a female friendship is indispensable, and cannot be supplied by
any companion of the other sex. That blessing, therefore, of her golden
youth, turned eventually into a curse for her after-life; for I believe
that, through one accident or another, they never met again after they
became married women. To me, as one of those who had known and loved
Miss Smith, Lady Carbery always turned the more sunny side of her
nature; but to the world generally she presented a chilling and
somewhat severe aspect--as to a vast illusion that rested upon pillars
of mockery and frauds. Honors, beauty of the first order, wealth, and
the power which follows wealth as its shadow--what could these do? what
_had_ they done? In proportion as they had settled heavily upon
herself, she had found them to entail a load of responsibility; and
those claims upon her she had labored to fulfil conscientiously; but
else they had only precipitated the rupture of such tics as had given
sweetness to her life.

From the first, therefore, I had been aware, on this visit to Laxton,
that Lady Carbery had changed, and was changing. She had become
religious; so much I knew from my sister's letters. And, in fact, this
change had been due to her intercourse with my mother. But, in reality,
her premature disgust with the world would, at any rate, have made her
such; and, had any mode of monastic life existed for Protestants, I
believe that she would before this have entered it, supposing Lord
Carbery to have consented. People generally would have stated the case
most erroneously; they would have said that she was sinking into gloom
under religious influences; whereas the very contrary was the truth;
namely, that, having sunk into gloomy discontent with life, and its
miserable performances as contrasted with its promises, she sought
relief and support to her wounded feelings from religion.

But the change brought with it a difficult trial to myself. She
recoiled, by natural temperament and by refinement of taste, from all
modes of religious enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a large word, and in many
cases I could not go along with her; but _canting_ of all descriptions
was odious to both of us alike. To cultivate religious knowledge in an
intellectual way, she very well understood that she must study
divinity. And she relied upon me for assisting her. Not that she made
the mistake of ascribing to me any knowledge on that subject; but I
could learn; and, whatsoever I _had_ learned, she knew, by experience,
that I could make abundantly plain to her understanding. Wherever I did
_not_ understand, I was far too sincere to dissemble that fact. Where I
_did_ understand, I could enable _her_ to understand.

On the subject of theology, it was not easy indeed for anybody, man or
boy, to be more ignorant than myself. My studies in that field had been
none at all. Nor was this any subject for wonder, or (considering my
age) for blame. In reality, to make theology into a captivating study
for the young, it must be translated into controversial theology. And
in what way could such a polemic interest be evoked except through
political partisanship? But such partisanship connects itself naturally
with the irritability of sectarianism, and but little with the majestic
repose of a church such as the Romish or the Anglican, founded upon the
broad basis of national majorities, and sheltered from danger, or the
sense of danger, by state protection. Dissenters stand upon another
footing. The Dissenter from the national church, whether in England or
in France, is reminded by his own distinguishing religious opinions of
the historic struggles through which those opinions have travelled. The
doctrines which give to his own sect a peculiar denomination are also
those which record its honorable political conflicts; so that his own
connection, through his religious brotherhood, with the civil history
of his country, furnishes a standing motive of pride for some
acquaintance more or less with divinity; since it is by deviating
painfully, conscientiously, and at some periods dangerously, from the
established divinity, that his fathers have achieved their station in
the great drama of the national evolution.

But, whilst I was ignorant of theology, as a direct and separate branch
of study, the points are so many at which theology inosculates with
philosophy, and with endless casual and random suggestions of the self-
prompted reason, that inevitably from that same moment in which I began
to find a motive for directing my thoughts to this new subject, I
wanted not something to say that might have perplexed an antagonist, or
(in default of such a vicious associate) that might have amused a
friend, more especially a friend so predisposed to a high estimate of
myself as Lady Carbery. Sometimes I did more than amuse her; I startled
her, and I even startled myself, with distinctions that to this hour
strike me as profoundly just, and as undeniably novel. Two out of many
I will here repeat; and with the more confidence, that in these two I
can be sure of repeating the exact thoughts; whereas, in very many
other cases, it would not be so certain that they might not have been
insensibly modified by cross-lights or disturbing shadows from
intervening speculations.

1. Lady Carbery one day told me that she could not see any reasonable
ground for what is said of Christ, and elsewhere of John the Baptist,
that he opened his mission by preaching "repentance." Why "repentance"?
Why then, more than at any other time? Her reason for addressing this
remark to me was, that she fancied there might be some error in the
translation of the Greek expression. I replied that, in my opinion,
there was; and that I had myself always been irritated by the entire
irrelevance of the English word, and by something very like cant, on
which the whole burden of the passage is thrown. How was it any natural
preparation for a vast spiritual revolution, that men should first of
all acknowledge any special duty of repentance? The repentance, if any
movement of that nature could intelligibly be supposed called for,
should more naturally _follow_ this great revolution--which, as
yet, both in its principle and in its purpose, was altogether
mysterious--than herald it, or ground it. In my opinion, the Greek word
_metanoia_ concealed a most profound meaning--a meaning of prodigious
compass--which bore no allusion to any ideas whatever of repentance.
The _meta_ carried with it an emphatic expression of its original
idea--the idea of transfer, of translation, of transformation; or,
if we prefer a Grecian to a Roman apparelling, the idea of a
_metamorphosis_. And this idea, to what is it applied? Upon
what object is this idea of spiritual transfiguration made to
bear? Simply upon the _noetic_ or intellectual faculty--the
faculty of shaping and conceiving things under their true relations.
The holy herald of Christ, and Christ himself the finisher of prophecy,
made proclamation alike of the same mysterious summons, as a baptism or
rite of initiation; namely, _Metanoei_. Henceforth transfigure
your theory of moral truth; the old theory is laid aside as infinitely
insufficient; a new and spiritual revelation is established.
_Metanoeite_--contemplate moral truth as radiating from a new
centre; apprehend it under transfigured relations.

John the Baptist, like other earlier prophets, delivered a message
which, probably enough, he did not himself more than dimly understand,
and never in its full compass of meaning. Christ occupied another
station. Not only was he the original Interpreter, but he was himself
the Author--Founder, at once, and Finisher--of that great
transfiguration applied to ethics, which he and the Baptist alike
announced as forming the code for the new and revolutionary era now
opening its endless career. The human race was summoned to bring a
transfiguring sense and spirit of interpretation (_metanoia_) to a
transfigured ethics--an altered organ to an altered object. This is by
far the grandest miracle recorded in Scripture. No exhibition of blank
power--not the arresting of the earth's motion--not the calling back of
the dead unto life, can approach in grandeur to this miracle which we
all daily behold; namely, the inconceivable mystery of having written
and sculptured upon the tablets of man's heart a new code of moral
distinctions, all modifying--many reversing--the old ones. What would
have been thought of any prophet, if he should have promised to
transfigure the celestial mechanics; if he had said, I will create a
new pole-star, a new zodiac, and new laws of gravitation; briefly, I
will make new earth and new heavens? And yet a thousand times more
awful it was to undertake the writing of new laws upon the spiritual
conscience of man. _Metanoeite_ (was the cry from the wilderness),
wheel into a new centre your moral system; _geocentric_ has that
system been up to this hour--that is, having earth and the earthly for
its starting-point; henceforward make it _heliocentric_ (that is,
with the sun, or the heavenly for its principle of motion).

2. A second remark of mine was, perhaps, not more important, but it
was, on the whole, better calculated to startle the prevailing
preconceptions; for, as to the new system of morals introduced by
Christ, generally speaking, it is too dimly apprehended in its great
differential features to allow of its miraculous character being
adequately appreciated; one flagrant illustration of which is furnished
by our experience in Affghanistan, where some officers, wishing to
impress Akhbar Khan with the beauty of Christianity, very judiciously
repeated to him the Lord's Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount, by both
of which the Khan was profoundly affected, and often recurred to them;
but others, under the notion of conveying to him a more
_comprehensive_ view of the Scriptural ethics, repeated to him the
Ten Commandments; although, with the sole exception of the two first,
forbidding idolatry and Polytheism, there is no word in these which
could have displeased or surprised a Pagan, and therefore nothing
characteristic of Christianity. Meantime my second remark was
substantially this which follows: What is a religion? To Christians it
means, over and above a mode of worship, a dogmatic (that is, a
doctrinal) system; a great body of doctrinal truths, moral and
spiritual. But to the ancients (to the Greeks and Romans, for
instance), it meant nothing of the kind. A religion was simply a
_cultus_, a _thræskeia_, a mode of ritual worship, in which
there might be two differences, namely: 1. As to the particular deity
who furnished the motive to the worship; 2. As to the ceremonial, or
mode of conducting the worship. But in no case was there so much as a
pretence of communicating any religious truths, far less any moral
truths. The obstinate error rooted in modern minds is, that, doubtless,
the moral instruction was bad, as being heathen; but that still it was
as good as heathen opportunities allowed it to be. No mistake can be
greater. Moral instruction had no existence even in the plan or
intention of the religious service. The Pagan priest or flamen never
dreamed of any function like that of _teaching_ as in any way
connected with his office. He no more undertook to teach morals than to
teach geography or cookery. He taught nothing. What he undertook was,
simply to _do_: namely, to present authoritatively (that is,
authorized and supported by some civil community, Corinth, or Athens,
or Rome, which he represented) the homage and gratitude of that
community to the particular deity adored. As to morals or just opinions
upon the relations to man of the several divinities, all this was
resigned to the teaching of nature; and for any polemic functions the
teaching was resigned to the professional philosophers--academic,
peripatetic, stoic, etc. By religion it was utterly ignored.

The reader must do me the favor to fix his attention upon the real
question at issue. What I say--what then I said to Lady Carbery--is
this: that, by failing to notice as a _differential_ feature of
Christianity this involution of a doctrinal part, we elevate Paganism
to a dignity which it never dreamed of. Thus, for instance, in the
Eleusinian mysteries, what was the main business transacted? I, for my
part, in harmony with my universal theory on this subject,--namely,
that there could be no doctrinal truth delivered in a Pagan religion,--
have always maintained that the only end and purpose of the mysteries
was a more solemn and impressive worship of a particular goddess.
Warburton, on the other hand, would insist upon it that some great
affirmative doctrines, interesting to man, such as the immortality of
the soul, a futurity of retribution, &c., might be here commemorated.
And now, nearly a hundred years after Warburton, what is the opinion of
scholars upon this point? Two of the latest and profoundest I will
cite:--1. Lobeck, in his "Aglaophamus," expressly repels all such
notions; 2. Otfried Mueller, in the twelfth chapter, twenty-fourth
section, of his "Introduction to a System of Mythology," says: "I have
here gone on the assumption which I consider unavoidable, that there
was no regular instruction, no dogmatical communication, connected with
the Grecian worship in general. _There could be nothing_ of the
kind introduced into the public service from the way in which it was
conducted, for the priest _did not address the people at all_."
These opinions, which exactly tallied with my own assertion to Lady
Carbery, that all religion amongst the Pagans resolved itself into a
mere system of ceremonial worship, a pompous and elaborate
_cultus_, were not brought forward in Germany until about ten or
twelve years ago; whereas, my doctrine was expressly insisted on in
1800; that is, forty years earlier than any of these German writers had
turned their thoughts in that direction.

Had I, then, really all that originality on this subject which for many
years I secretly claimed? Substantially I had, because this great
distinction between the modern (or Christian) idea of "a religion" and
the ancient (or Pagan) idea of "a religion," I had nowhere openly seen
expressed in words. To myself exclusively I was indebted for it.
Nevertheless, it is undeniable that this conception must have been long
ago germinating in the world, and perhaps bearing fruit. This is past
all denial, since, about thirteen or fourteen years ago, I read in some
journal (a French journal, I think) this statement: namely, that some
oriental people--Turks, according to my present impression, but it
might have been Arabs--make an old traditional distinction (so said the
French journal) between what they call "religions of the book" and all
other religions. The religions of the book, according to them, are
three, all equally founded upon written and producible documents,
namely: first, the Judaic system, resting upon the Pentateuch, or more
truly, I should imagine, upon the Law and the Prophets; secondly, the
Christian system, resting upon the Old and New Testaments; thirdly, the
Mahometan system, resting confessedly upon the Koran. The very meaning,
therefore, of styling these systems, by way of honorable distinction,
_religions of the book_, is, not that accidentally they had
written vouchers for their creed, whereas the others had only oral
vouchers, but that they severally offer to men's acceptance a large
body of philosophic truth, such as requires and presupposes a book.
Whereas the various religions contradistinguished from these three--
namely, the whole body of Pagan idolatries--are mere forms of adoration
addressed to many different divinities; and the brief reason why they
are essentially opposed to religions of the book is, not that they
_have_ not, but logically that they _cannot_ have, books or
documents, inasmuch as they have no truths to deliver. They do not
profess to teach anything whatsoever. What they profess, as their
justifying distinction, is, to adore a certain deity, or a certain
collective Pantheon, according to certain old authorized forms--
authorized, that is to say, by fixed, ancient, and oftentimes local
traditions.

What was the great practical inference from the new distinction which I
offered? It was this: that Christianity (which included Judaism as its
own germinal principle, and Islamism as its own adaptation to a
barbarous and imperfect civilization) carried along with itself its own
authentication; since, whilst other religions introduced men simply to
ceremonies and usages, which could furnish no aliment or material for
their intellect, Christianity provided an eternal _palæstra_ or
place of exercise for the human understanding vitalized by human
affections: for every problem whatever, interesting to the human
intellect, provided only that it bears a _moral_ aspect, immediately
passes into the field of religious speculation. Religion had thus
become the great organ of human culture. Lady Carbery advanced
half-way to meet me in these new views, finding my credentials as a
theologian in my earnestness and my sincerity. She herself was
painfully and sorrowfully in earnest. She had come at this early age of
seven or eight and twenty, to the most bitter sense of hollowness, and
(in a philosophic sense) of _treachery_ as under-lying all things
that stood round her; and she sought escape, if escape there were,
through religion. Religion was to be sought in the Bible. But was the
Bible intelligible at the first glance? Far from it. Search the
Scriptures, was the cry in Protestant lands amongst all people, however
much at war with each other. But I often told her that this was a vain
pretence, without some knowledge of Greek. Or perhaps not always and
absolutely a pretence; because, undoubtedly, it is true that oftentimes
mere ignorant simplicity may, by bringing into direct collision
passages that are reciprocally illustrative, restrain an error or
illuminate a truth. And a reason, which I have since given in print (a
reason additional to Bentley's), for neglecting the thirty thousand
various readings collected by the diligence of the New Testament
collators, applied also to this case, namely: That, first, the
transcendent nature, and, secondly, the _recurrent_ nature, of
Scriptural truths cause them to surmount verbal disturbances. A
doctrine, for instance, which is sowed broadcast over the Scriptures,
and recurs, on an average, three times in every chapter, cannot be
affected by the casual inaccuracy of a phrase, since the phrase is
continually varied. And, therefore, I would not deny the possibility of
an effectual searching by very unlearned persons. Our authorized
translators of the Bible in the Shakspearian age were not in any
exquisite sense learned men; they were very able men, and in a better
sense able than if they had been philologically profound scholars,
which at that time, from the imperfect culture of philology, they could
not easily have been; men they were whom religious feeling guided
correctly in choosing their expressions, and with whom the state of the
language in some respects cooperated, by furnishing a diction more
homely, fervent, and pathetic, than would now be available. For their
apostolic functions English was the language most in demand. But in
polemic or controversial cases Greek is indispensable. And of this Lady
Carbery was sufficiently convinced by my own demur on the word
_metanoia_. If I were right, how profoundly wrong must those have
been whom my new explanation superseded. She resolved, therefore,
immediately on my suggesting it, that she would learn Greek; or, at
least, that limited form of Greek which was required for the New
Testament. In the language of Terence, dictum factum--no sooner said
than done. On the very next morning we all rode in to Stamford, our
nearest town for such a purpose, and astounded the bookseller's
apprentice by ordering four copies of the Clarendon Press Greek
Testament, three copies of Parkhurst's Greek and English Lexicon, and
three copies of some grammar, but what I have now forgotten. The books
were to come down by the mail-coach without delay. Consequently, we
were soon at work. Lady Massey and my sister, not being sustained by
the same interest as Lady Carbery, eventually relaxed in their
attention. But Lady Carbery was quite in earnest, and very soon became
expert in the original language of the New Testament.

I wished much that she should have gone on to the study of Herodotus.
And I described to her the situation of the vivacious and mercurial
Athenian, in the early period of Pericles, as repeating in its main
features, for the great advantage of that Grecian Froissart, the
situation of Adam during his earliest hours in Paradise, himself being
the describer to the affable archangel. The same genial climate there
was; the same luxuriation of nature in her early prime; the same
ignorance of his own origin in the tenant of this lovely scenery; and
the same eager desire to learn it. [Footnote: "About me round I saw
  Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
  And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these
  Creatures that lived and moved, and walked or flew;
  Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled;
  With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed.
  Myself I then perused, and limb by limb
  Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
  With supple joints, as lively vigor led;
  _But who I was or where, or from what cause_,
  Knew not."--_Paradise Lost_, Book viii.
The _who_, the _where_ (in any extended sense, that is, as
regarded the _external_ relations of his own country), and the
_from what cause_--all these were precisely what the Grecian did
_not_ know, and first learned from Herodotus.] The very truth, and
mere facts of history, reaching Herodotus through such a haze of remote
abstraction, and suffering a sort of refraction at each translation
from atmosphere to atmosphere, whilst continually the uninteresting
parts dropped away as the whole moved onwards, unavoidably assumed the
attractions of romance. And thus it has happened that the air of
marvellousness, which seems connected with the choice and preferences
of Herodotus, is in reality the natural gift of his position. Culling
from a field of many nations and many generations, reasonably he
preferred such narratives as, though possible enough, wore the coloring
of romance. Without any violation of the truth, the mere extent of his
field as to space and time gave him great advantages for the wild and
the marvellous. Meantime, this purpose of ours with regard to Herodotus
was defeated. Whilst we were making preparations for it, suddenly one
morning from his Limerick estate of Carass returned Lord Carbery. And,
by accident, his welcome was a rough one; for, happening to find Lady
Carbery in the breakfast-room, and naturally throwing his arm about her
neck to kiss her, "Ruffian," a monster of a Newfoundland dog,
singularly beautiful in his coloring, and almost as powerful as a
leopard, flew at him vindictively as at a stranger committing an
assault, and his mistress had great difficulty in calling him off. Lord
Carbery smiled a little at our Greek studies; and, in turn, made us
smile, who knew the original object of these studies, when he suggested
mildly that three or four books of the "Iliad" would have been as
easily mastered, and might have more fully rewarded our trouble. I
contented myself with replying (for I knew how little Lady Carbery
would have liked to plead the _religious_ motive to her husband),
that Parkhurst (and there was at that time no other Greek-
_English_ Lexicon) would not have been available for Homer;
neither, it is true, would he have been available for Herodotus. But,
considering the simplicity and uniformity of style in both these
authors, I had formed a plan (not very hard of execution) for
interleaving Parkhurst with such additional words as might have been
easily mustered from the special dictionaries (Græco-Latin) dedicated
separately to the service of the historian and of the poet. I do not
believe that more than fifteen hundred _extra_ words would have
been required; and these, entered at the rate of twenty per hour, would
have occupied only ten days, for seven and a half hours each. However,
from one cause or other, this plan was never brought to bear. The
preliminary labor upon the lexicon always enforced a delay; and any
delay, in such case, makes an opening for the irruption of a thousand
unforeseen hindrances, that finally cause the whole plan to droop
insensibly. The time came at last for leaving Laxton, and I did not see
Lady Carbery again for nearly an entire year.

In passing through the park-gates of Laxton, on my departure northward,
powerfully, and as if "with the might of waters," my mind turned round
to contemplate that strange enlargement of my experience which had
happened to me within the last three months. I had seen, and become
familiarly acquainted with, a young man, who had in a manner died to
every object around him, had died an intellectual death, and suddenly
had been called back to life and real happiness--had been, in effect,
raised from the dead--by the accident of meeting a congenial female
companion. But, secondly, that very lady from whose lips I first heard
this remarkable case of blight and restoration, had herself passed
through an equal though not a similar blight, and was now seeking
earnestly, though with what success I could never estimate, some
similar restoration to some new mode of hopeful existence, through
intercourse with religious philosophy. What vast revolutions (vast for
the individual) within how narrow a circle! What blindness to
approaching catastrophes, in the midst of what nearness to the light!
And for myself, whom accident had made the silent observer of these
changes, was it not likely enough that I also was rushing forward to
court and woo some frantic mode of evading an endurance that by
patience might have been borne, or by thoughtfulness might have been
disarmed? Misgivingly I went forwards, feeling forever that, through
clouds of thick darkness, I was continually nearing a danger, or was
myself perhaps wilfully provoking a trial, before which my
constitutional despondency would cause me to lie down without a
struggle.


II.

THE PRIORY.



To teach is to learn: according to an old experience, it is the very
best mode of learning--the surest, and the shortest. And hence,
perhaps, it may be, that in the middle ages by the monkish word
_scholaris_ was meant indifferently he that learned and he that
taught. Never in any equal number of months had my understanding so
much expanded as during this visit to Laxton. The incessant demand made
upon me by Lady Carbery for solutions of the many difficulties
besetting the study of divinity and the Greek Testament, or for such
approximations to solutions as my resources would furnish, forced me
into a preternatural tension of all the faculties applicable to that
purpose. Lady Carbery insisted upon calling me her "Admirable
Crichton;" and it was in vain that I demurred to this honorary title
upon two grounds: first, as being one towards which I had no natural
aptitudes or predisposing advantages; secondly (which made her stare),
as carrying with it no real or enviable distinction. The splendor
supposed to be connected with the attainments of Crichton I protested
against, as altogether imaginary. How far that person really had the
accomplishments ascribed to him, I waived as a question not worth
investigating. My objection commenced at an earlier point: real or not
real, the accomplishments were, as I insisted, vulgar and trivial.
Vulgar, that is, when put forward as exponents or adequate expressions
of intellectual grandeur. The whole rested on a misconception; the
limitary idea of knowledge was confounded with the infinite idea of
power. To have a quickness in copying or mimicking other men, and in
learning to do dexterously what _they_ did clumsily,--ostentatiously
to keep glittering before men's eyes a thaumaturgic versatility
such as that of a rope-dancer, or of an Indian juggler, in petty
accomplishments,--was a mode of the very vulgarest ambition: one
effort of productive power,--a little book, for instance, which should
impress or should agitate several successive generations of men, even
though far below the higher efforts of human creative art--as, for
example, the "De Imitatione Christi," or "The Pilgrim's Progress," or"
Robinson Crusoe," or "The Vicar of Wakefield,"--was worth any
conceivable amount of attainments when rated as an evidence of anything
that could justly denominate a man "admirable." One felicitous ballad
of forty lines might have enthroned Crichton as really admirable,
whilst the pretensions actually put forward on his behalf simply
install him as a cleverish or dexterous ape. However, as Lady Carbery
did not forego her purpose of causing me to shine under every angle, it
would have been ungrateful in me to refuse my cooperation with her
plans, however little they might wear a face of promise. Accordingly I
surrendered myself for two hours daily to the lessons in horsemanship
of a principal groom who ranked as a first-rate rough-rider; and I
gathered manifold experiences amongst the horses--so different from the
wild, hard-mouthed horses at Westport, that were often vicious, and
sometimes trained to vice. Here, though spirited, the horses were
pretty generally gentle, and all had been regularly broke. My education
was not entirely neglected even as regarded sportsmanship; that great
branch of philosophy being confided to one of the keepers, who was very
attentive to me, in deference to the interest in myself expressed by
his idolized mistress, but otherwise regarded me probably as an object
of mysterious curiosity rather than of sublunary hope.

Equally, in fact, as regarded my physics and my metaphysics,--in short,
upon all lines of advance that interested my ambition,--I was going
rapidly ahead. And, speaking seriously, in what regarded my
intellectual expansion, never before or since had I been so distinctly
made aware of it. No longer did it seem to move upon the hour-hand,
whose advance, though certain, is yet a pure matter of inference, but
upon the seconds'-hand, which _visibly_ comes on at a trotting
pace. Everything prospered, except my own present happiness, and the
possibility of any happiness for some years to come. About two months
after leaving Laxton, my fate in the worst shape I had anticipated was
solemnly and definitively settled. My guardians agreed that the most
prudent course, with a view to my pecuniary interests, was to place me
at the Manchester Grammar School; not with a view to further
improvement in my classical knowledge, though the head-master was a
sound scholar, but simply with a view to one of the school
_exhibitions_. [Footnote: "_Exhibitions_."--This is the technical
name in many cases, corresponding to the _bursæ_ or _bursaries_
of the continent; from which word bursæ is derived, I believe,
the German term _Bursch_,--that is, a bursarius, or student, who
lives at college upon the salary allowed by such a bursary.
Some years ago the editor of a Glasgow daily paper called upon
Oxford and Cambridge, with a patronizing flourish, to imitate some one
or more of the Scottish universities in founding such systems of
aliment for poor students otherwise excluded from academic advantages.
Evidently he was unaware that they had existed for centuries before the
state of civilization in Scotland had allowed any opening for the
foundation of colleges or academic life. Scottish bursaries, or
exhibitions (a term which Shakspeare uses, very near the close of the
first act in the "Two Gentlemen of Verona," as the technical expression
in England), were few, and not generally, I believe, exceeding ten
pounds a-year. The English were many, and of more ancient standing, and
running from forty pounds to one hundred pounds a-year. Such was the
simple difference between the two countries: otherwise they agreed
altogether.] Amongst the countless establishments, scattered all over
England by the noble munificence of English men and English women in
past generations, for connecting the provincial towns with the two
royal universities of the land, this Manchester school was one; in
addition to other great local advantages (namely, _inter alia_, a
fine old library and an ecclesiastical foundation, which in this
present generation has furnished the materials for a bishopric of
Manchester, with its deanery and chapter), this noble foundation
secured a number of exhibitions at Brasenose College, Oxford, to those
pupils of the school who should study at Manchester for three
consecutive years. The pecuniary amount of these exhibitions has since
then increased considerably through the accumulation of funds, which
the commercial character of that great city had caused to be neglected.
At that time, I believe each exhibition yielded about forty guineas a-
year, and was legally tenable for seven successive years. Now, to me
this would have offered a most seasonable advantage, had it been
resorted to some two years earlier. My small patrimonial inheritance
gave to me, as it did to each of my four brothers, exactly one hundred
and fifty pounds a-year: and to each of my sisters exactly one hundred
pounds a-year. The Manchester exhibition of forty guineas a-year would
have raised this income for seven years to a sum close upon two hundred
pounds a-year. But at present I was half-way on the road to the
completion of my sixteenth year. Commencing my period of pupilage from
that time, I should not have finished it until I had travelled half-way
through my nineteenth year. And the specific evil that already weighed
upon me with a sickening oppression was the premature expansion of my
mind; and, as a foremost consequence, intolerance of boyish society. I
ought to have entered upon my _triennium_ of school-boy servitude
at the age of thirteen. As things were,--a delay with which I had
nothing to do myself,--this and the native character of my mind had
thrown the whole arrangement awry. For the better half of the three
years I endured it patiently. But it had at length begun to eat more
corrosively into my peace of mind than ever I had anticipated. The
head-master was substantially superannuated for the duties of his
place. Not that intellectually he showed any symptoms of decay: but in
the spirits and physical energies requisite for his duties he did: not
so much age, as disease, it was that incapacitated him. In the course
of a long day, beginning at seven A. M. and stretching down to five P.
M., he succeeded in reaching the further end of his duties. But how?
Simply by consolidating pretty nearly into one continuous scene of
labor the entire ten hours. The full hour of relaxation which the
traditions of this ancient school and the by-laws had consecrated to
breakfast was narrowed into ten, or even seven minutes. The two hours'
interval, in like manner prescribed by the old usages from twelve to
two P. M., was pared down to forty minutes, or less. In this way he
walked conscientiously through the services of the day, fulfilling to
the letter every section the minutest of the traditional rubric. But he
purchased this consummation at the price of all comfort to himself:
and, having done _that_, he felt himself the more entitled to
neglect the comfort of others. The case was singular: he neither showed
any indulgence to himself more than to others (which, however, could do
nothing towards indemnifying others for the severe confinement which
his physical decay inflicted upon them--a point wholly forgotten by
him); nor, secondly, in thus tenaciously holding on to his place did he
(I am satisfied) govern himself by any mercenary thought or wish, but
simply by an austere sense of duty. He discharged his public functions
with constant fidelity, and with superfluity of learning; and felt,
perhaps not unreasonably, that possibly the same learning united with
the same zeal might not revolve as a matter of course in the event of
his resigning the place. I hide from myself no part of the honorable
motives which might (and probably _did_) exclusively govern him in
adhering to the place. But not by one atom the less did the grievous
results of his inability to grapple with his duties weigh upon all
within his sphere, and upon myself, by cutting up the time available
for exercise, most ruinously.

Precisely at the worst crisis of this intolerable darkness (for such,
without exaggeration, it was in its effects upon my spirits) arose, and
for five or six months steadily continued, a consolation of that nature
which hardly in dreams I could have anticipated. For even in dreams
would it have seemed reasonable, or natural, that Laxton, with its
entire society, should transfer itself to Manchester? Some mighty
caliph, or lamp-bearing Aladdin, might have worked such marvels: but
else who, or by what machinery? Nevertheless, without either caliph or
Aladdin, and by the most natural of mere human agencies, this change
was suddenly accomplished.

Mr. White, whom I have already had occasion to mention elsewhere, was
in those days the most eminent surgeon by much in the north of England.
He had by one whole generation run before the phrenologists and
craniologists,--having already measured innumerable skulls amongst the
omnigenous seafaring population of Liverpool, illustrating all the
races of men,--and was in society a most urbane and pleasant companion.
On my mother's suggestion, he had been summoned to Laxton, in the hope
that he might mitigate the torments of Mrs. Schreiber's malady. If I am
right in supposing that to have been cancer, I presume that he could
not have added much to the prescriptions of the local doctor. And yet,
on the other hand, it is a fact--so slowly did new views travel in
those days, when scientific journals were few, and roads were heavy--
that ten years later than this period I knew a case, namely, the case
of a butcher's wife in Somersetshire who had never enjoyed the benefit
of hemlock in relieving the pangs of a cancerous complaint, until an
accident brought Mr. Hey, son to the celebrated Hey of Leeds, into the
poor woman's neighborhood.

What might be the quality or the extent of that relief with which Mr.
White was able to crown the expectations of poor Mrs. Schreiber, I do
not know; but that the relief could not have been imaginary is certain,
for he was earnestly invited to repeat his visits, costly as
unavoidably they were. Mrs. Schreiber did not reside at Laxton.
Tenderly as she loved Lady Carbery, it did not seem consistent with her
dignity that she should take a station that might have been grossly
misinterpreted; and accordingly she bought or hired a miniature kind of
villa, called _Tixover_, distant about four miles from Laxton. A
residence in such a house, so sad and silent at this period of
affliction for its mistress, would have offered too cheerless a life to
Mr. White. He took up his abode, therefore, at Laxton during his
earliest visit; and this happened to coincide with that particular
visit of my own during which I was initiating Lady Carbery into the
mysteries of New Testament Greek. Already as an infant I had known Mr.
White; but now, when daily riding over to Tixover in company, and daily
meeting at breakfast and dinner, we became intimate. Greatly I profited
by this intimacy; and some part of my pleasure in the Laxton plan of
migration to Manchester was drawn from the prospect of renewing it.
Such a migration was suggested by Mr. White himself; and fortunately he
_could_ suggest it without even the appearance of any mercenary
views. His interest lay the other way. The large special retainer,
which it was felt but reasonable to pay him under circumstances so
peculiar, naturally disturbed Mr. White; whilst the benefits of visits
so discontinuous became more and more doubtful. He proposed it,
therefore, as a measure of prudence, that Mrs. Schreiber should take up
her abode in Manchester. This counsel was adopted; and the entire
Laxton party in one week struck their Northamptonshire tents, dived, as
it were, into momentary darkness, by a loitering journey of stages,
short and few, out of consideration for the invalid, and rose again in
the gloomy streets of Manchester.

Gloomy they were at that time--mud below, smoke above--for no torch of
improvement had yet explored the ancient habitations of this Lancashire
capital. Elsewhere I have expressed the inexhaustible admiration which
I cherish for the _moral_ qualities, the unrivalled energy and
perseverance, of that native Lancashire population, as yet not much
alloyed with Celtic adulteration. My feelings towards them are the same
as were eloquently and impressively avowed by the late eminent Dr.
Cooke Taylor, after an _official_ inquiry into their situation.
But in those days the Manchester people realized the aspiration of the
noble Scythian; not the place it was that glorified _them_, but
they that glorified the place. No great city (which technically it then
was not, but simply a town or large village) could present so repulsive
an exterior as the Manchester of that day. Lodgings of _any_ sort
could with difficulty be obtained, and at last only by breaking up the
party. The poor suffering lady, with her two friends, Lady Carbery and
my mother, hired one house, Lord and Lady Massey another, and two
others were occupied by attendants--all the servants, except one
lady's-maid, being every night separated by a quarter of a mile from
their mistresses. To me, however, all these discomforts were scarcely
apparent in the prodigious revolution for the better which was now
impressed upon the tenor of my daily life. I lived in the house of the
head-master; but every night I had leave to adjourn for four or five
hours to the drawing-room of Lady Carbery. Her anxiety about Mrs.
Schreiber would not allow of her going abroad into society, unless upon
the rarest occasions. And I, on my part, was too happy in her
conversation--so bold, so novel, and so earnest--voluntarily to have
missed any one hour of it.

Here, by the way, let me mention that on this occasion arose a case of
pretended "_tuft-hunting_," which I, who stood by a silent
observer, could not but feel to involve a malicious calumny. Naturally
it happened that coroneted carriages, superb horses, and numerous
servants, in a town so unostentatious and homely as the Manchester of
that day, drew the public gaze, and effectually advertised the visit of
the Laxton ladies. Respect for the motive which had prompted this visit
coöperated with admiration for the distinguished personal qualities of
Lady Carbery, to draw upon her from several leading families in the
town such little services and attentions as pass naturally, under a
spontaneous law of courtesy, between those who are at home and those
who suffer under the disadvantages of _strangership_. The Manchester
people, who made friendly advances to Lady Carbery, did so, I am
persuaded, with no ulterior objects whatsoever of pressing into
the circle of an aristocratic person; neither did Lady Carbery herself
interpret their attentions in any such ungenerous spirit, but accepted
them cordially, as those expressions of disinterested goodness which I
am persuaded that in reality they were. Amongst the families that were
thus attentive to her, in throwing open for her use various local
advantages of baths, libraries, picture-galleries, etc., were the wife
and daughters of Mr. White himself. Now, one of these daughters was
herself the wife of a baronet, Sir Richard Clayton, who had honorably
distinguished himself in literature by translating and _improving_
the work of Tenhove the Dutchman (or Belgian?) upon the house of the
_De' Medici_--a work which Mr. Roscoe considered "the most engaging
work that has, perhaps, ever appeared on a subject of literary
history." Introduced as Lady Clayton had been amongst the elite of our
aristocracy, it could not be supposed that she would be at all
solicitous about an introduction to the wife of an Irish nobleman,
simply _as_ such, and apart from her personal endowments. Those
endowments, it is true,--namely, the beauty and the talents of Lady
Carbery, made known in Manchester through Mr. White's report of them,
and combined with the knowledge of her generous devotion to her dying
friend, secluding her steadily from all society through a period of
very many months,--did, and reasonably might, interest many Manchester
people on her behalf. In all this there was nothing to be ashamed of;
and, judging from what personally I witnessed, this seems to have been
the true nature and extent of the "tuft-hunting;" and I have noticed it
at all simply because there is a habit almost national growing up
amongst us of imputing to each other some mode of unmanly prostration
before the aristocracy, but with as little foundation for the charge
generally, I believe, as I am satisfied there was in this particular
instance.

Mr. White possessed a museum--formed chiefly by himself, and
originally, perhaps, directed simply to professional objects, such as
would have little chance for engaging the attention of females. But
surgeons and speculative physicians, beyond all other classes of
intellectual men, cultivate the most enlarged and liberal curiosity; so
that Mr. White's museum furnished attractions to an unusually large
variety of tastes. I had myself already seen it; and it struck me that
Mr. White would be gratified if Lady Carbery would herself ask to see
it; which accordingly she did; and thus at once removed the painful
feeling that he might be extorting from her an expression of interest
in his collection which she did not really feel.

Amongst the objects which gave a scientific interest to the collection,
naturally I have forgotten one and all--first, midst, and last; for
this is one of the cases in which we all felicitate ourselves upon the
art and gift of forgetting; that art which the great Athenian
[Footnote: "The great Athenian"--Themistocles.] noticed as amongst the
_desiderata_ of human life--that gift which, if in some rare cases
it belongs only to the regal prerogatives of the grave, fortunately in
many thousands of other cases is accorded by the treachery of a human
brain. Heavens! what a curse it were, if every chaos, which is stamped
upon the mind by fairs such as that London fair of St. Bartholomew in
years long past, or by the records of battles and skirmishes through
the monotonous pages of history, or by the catalogues of libraries
stretching over a dozen measured miles, could not be erased, but
arrayed itself in endless files incapable of obliteration, as often as
the eyes of our human memory happened to throw back their gaze in that
direction! Heaven be praised, I have forgotten everything; all the
earthly trophies of skill or curious research; even the ærolithes, that
might possibly _not_ be earthly, but presents from some superior
planet. Nothing survives, except the _humanities_ of the collection;
and amongst these, two only I will molest the reader by noticing.
One of the two was a _mummy;_ the other was a _skeleton_. I,
that had previously seen the museum, warned Lady Carbery of both; but
much it mortified us that only the skeleton was shown. Perhaps
the mummy was too closely connected with the personal history
of Mr. White for exhibition to strangers; it was that of a lady
who had been attended medically for some years by Mr. White, and had
owed much alleviation of her sufferings to his inventive skill. She
had, therefore, felt herself called upon to memorialize her gratitude
by a very large bequest--not less (I have heard) than twenty-five
thousand pounds; but with this condition annexed to the gift--that she
should be embalmed as perfectly as the resources in that art of London
and Paris could accomplish, and that once a year Mr. White, accompanied
by two witnesses of credit, should withdraw the veil from her face. The
lady was placed in a common English clock-case, having the usual glass
face; but a veil of white velvet obscured from all profane eyes the
silent features behind. The clock I had myself seen, when a child, and
had gazed upon it with inexpressible awe. But, naturally, on my report
of the case, the whole of our party were devoured by a curiosity to see
the departed fair one. Had Mr. White, indeed, furnished us with the key
of the museum, leaving us to our own discretion, but restricting us
only (like a cruel Bluebeard) from looking into any ante-room, great is
my fear that the perfidious question would have arisen amongst us--what
o'clock it was? and all possible ante-rooms would have given way to the
just fury of our passions. I submitted to Lady Carbery, as a liberty
which might be excused by the torrid extremity of our thirst after
knowledge, that she (as our leader) should throw out some angling
question moving in the line of our desires; upon which hint Mr. White,
if he had any touch of indulgence to human infirmity--unless Mount
Caucasus were his mother, and a she-wolf his nurse--would surely
relent, and act as his conscience must suggest. But Lady Carbery
reminded me of the three Calendars in the "Arabian Nights," and argued
that, as the ladies of Bagdad were justified in calling upon a body of
porters to kick those gentlemen into the street, being people who had
abused the indulgences of hospitality, much more might Mr. White do so
with us; for the Calendars were the children of kings (Shahzades),
which we were not; and had found their curiosity far more furiously
irritated; in fact, Zobeide had no right to trifle with any man's
curiosity in that ferocious extent; and a counter right arose, as any
chancery of human nature would have ruled, to demand a solution of what
had been so maliciously arranged towards an anguish of insupportable
temptation. Thus, however, it happened that the mummy, who left such
valuable legacies, and founded such bilious fevers of curiosity, was
not seen by us; nor even the miserable clock-case.

The mummy, therefore, was not seen; but the skeleton was. Who was he?
It is not every day that one makes the acquaintance of a skeleton; and
with regard to such a thing--thing, shall one say, or person?--there is
a favorable presumption from beforehand; which is this: As he is of no
use, neither profitable nor ornamental to any person whatever,
absolutely _de trop_ in good society, what but distinguished merit
of some kind or other could induce any man to interfere with that
gravitating tendency that by an eternal _nisus_ is pulling him
below ground? Lodgings are dear in England. True it is that, according
to the vile usage on the continent, one room serves a skeleton for bed-
room and sitting-room; neither is his expense heavy, as regards wax-
lights, fire, or "bif-steck." But still, even a skeleton is chargeable;
and, if any dispute should arise about his maintenance, the parish will
do nothing. Mr. White's skeleton, therefore, being costly, was
presumably meritorious, before we had seen him or heard a word in his
behalf. It was, in fact, the skeleton of an eminent robber, or perhaps
of a murderer. But I, for my part, reserved a faint right of suspense.
And as to the profession of robber in those days exercised on the roads
of England, it was a liberal profession, which required more
accomplishments than either the bar or the pulpit: from the beginning
it presumed a most bountiful endowment of heroic qualifications--
strength, health, agility, and exquisite horsemanship, intrepidity of
the first order, presence of mind, courtesy, and a general
ambidexterity of powers for facing all accidents, and for turning to a
good account all unlooked-for contingencies. The finest men in England,
physically speaking, throughout the eighteenth century, the very
noblest specimens of man considered as an animal, were beyond a doubt
the mounted robbers who cultivated their profession on the great
leading roads, namely, on the road from London to York (technically
known as "the great north road"); on the road west to Bath, and thence
to Exeter and Plymouth; north-westwards from London to Oxford, and
thence to Chester; eastwards to Tunbridge; southwards by east to Dover;
then inclining westwards to Portsmouth; more so still, through
Salisbury to Dorsetshire and Wilts. These great roads were farmed out
as so many Roman provinces amongst pro-consuls. Yes, but with a
difference, you will say, in respect of moral principles. Certainly
with a difference; for the English highwayman had a sort of conscience
for gala-days, which could not often be said of the Roman governor or
procurator. At this moment we see that the opening for the forger of
bank-notes is brilliant; but practically it languishes, as being too
brilliant; it demands an array of talent for engraving, etc., which,
wherever it exists, is sufficient to carry a man forward upon
principles reputed honorable. Why, then, should _he_ court danger
and disreputability? But in that century the special talents which led
to distinction upon the high road had oftentimes no career open to them
elsewhere. The mounted robber on the highways of England, in an age
when all gentlemen travelled with fire-arms, lived in an element of
danger and adventurous gallantry; which, even from those who could
least allow him any portion of their esteem, extorted sometimes a good
deal of their unwilling admiration. By the necessities of the case, he
brought into his perilous profession some brilliant qualities--
intrepidity, address, promptitude of decision; and, if to these he
added courtesy, and a spirit (native or adopted) of forbearing
generosity, he seemed almost a man that merited public encouragement;
since very plausibly it might be argued that his profession was sure to
exist; that, if he were removed, a successor would inevitably arise,
and that successor might or might _not_ carry the same liberal and
humanizing temper into his practice. The man whose skeleton was now
before us had ranked amongst the most chivalrous of his order, and was
regarded by some people as vindicating the national honor in a point
where not very long before it had suffered a transient eclipse. In the
preceding generation, it had been felt as throwing a shade of disgrace
over the public honor, that the championship of England upon the high
road fell for a time into French hands; upon French prowess rested the
burden of English honor, or, in Gallic phrase, of English _glory_.
Claude Duval, a French man of undeniable courage, handsome, and noted
for his chivalrous devotion to women, had been honored, on his
condemnation to the gallows, by the tears of many ladies who attended
his trial, and by their sympathizing visits during his imprisonment.
But the robber represented by the skeleton in Mr. White's museum (whom
let us call X, since his true name has perished) added to the same
heroic qualities a person far more superb. Still it was a dreadful
drawback from his pretensions, if he had really practised as a
murderer. Upon what ground did that suspicion arise? In candor (for
candor is due even to a skeleton) it ought to be mentioned that the
charge, if it amounted to so much, arose with a lady from some part of
Cheshire--the district of Knutsford, I believe;--but, wherever it was,
in the same district, during the latter part of his career, had resided
our X. At first he was not suspected even as a robber--as yet not so
much as suspected of being suspicious; in a simple rustic neighborhood,
amongst good-natured peasants, for a long time he was regarded with
simple curiosity, rather than suspicion; and even the curiosity pointed
to his horse more than to himself. The robber had made himself popular
amongst the kind-hearted rustics by his general courtesy. Courtesy and
the spirit of neighborliness go a great way amongst country people; and
the worst construction of the case was, that he might be an embarrassed
gentleman from Manchester or Liverpool, hiding himself from his
creditors, who are notoriously a very immoral class of people. At
length, however, a violent suspicion broke loose against him; for it
was ascertained that on certain nights, when, perhaps, he had
_extra_ motives for concealing the fact of having been abroad, he
drew woollen stockings over his horse's feet, with the purpose of
deadening the sound in riding up a brick-paved entry, common to his own
stable and that of a respectable neighbor. Thus far there was a
reasonable foundation laid for suspicion; but suspicion of what?
Because a man attends to the darning of his horse's stockings, why must
he be meditating murder? The fact is--and known from the very first to
a select party of amateurs--that X, our superb-looking skeleton, did,
about three o'clock on a rainy Wednesday morning, in the dead of
winter, ride silently out of Knutsford; and about forty-eight hours
afterwards, on a rainy Friday, silently and softly did that same superb
blood-horse, carrying that same blood-man, namely, our friend the
superb skeleton, pace up the quiet brick entry, in a neat pair of
socks, on his return.

During that interval of forty-eight hours, an atrocious murder was
committed in the ancient city of Bristol. By whom? That question is to
this day unanswered. The scene of it was a house on the west side of
the College Green, which is in fact that same quadrangle planted with
trees, and having on its southern side the Bristol Cathedral, up and
down which, early in the reign of George III., Chatterton walked in
jubilant spirits with fair young women of Bristol; up and down which,
some thirty years later, Robert Southey and S. T. C. walked with young
Bristol belles from a later generation. The subjects of the murder were
an elderly lady bearing some such name as Rusborough, and her female
servant. Mystery there was none as to the motive of the murder--
manifestly it was a hoard of money that had attracted the assassin; but
there was great perplexity as to the agent or agents concerned in the
atrocious act, and as to the mode by which an entrance, under the known
precautions of the lady, could have been effected. Because a thorough-
bred horse could easily have accomplished the distance to and fro (say
three hundred miles) within the forty-eight hours, and because the two
extreme dates of this forty-eight hours' absence tallied with the
requisitions of the Bristol tragedy, it did not follow that X must have
had a hand in it. And yet, had these coincidences _then_ been
observed, they would certainly--now that strong suspicions had been
directed to the man from the extraordinary character of his nocturnal
precautions--not have passed without investigation. But the remoteness
of Bristol, and the rarity of newspapers in those days, caused these
indications to pass unnoticed. Bristol knew of no such Knutsford
highwayman--Knutsford knew of no such Bristol murder. It is singular
enough that these earlier grounds of suspicion against X were not
viewed as such by anybody, until they came to be combined with another
and final ground. Then the presumptions seemed conclusive. But, by that
time, X himself had been executed for a robbery; had been manufactured
into a skeleton by the famous surgeon, Cruickshank, assisted by Mr.
White and other pupils. All interest in the case had subsided in
Knutsford, that could now have cleared up the case satisfactorily; and
thus it happened that to this day the riddle, which was read pretty
decisively in a northern county, still remains a riddle in the south.
When I saw the College Green house in 1809-10, it was apparently empty,
and, as I was told, had always been empty since the murder: forty years
had not cicatrized the bloody remembrance; and, to this day, perhaps,
it remains amongst the gloomy traditions of Bristol.

But whether the Bristol house has or has not shaken off that odor of
blood which offended the nostrils of tenants, it is, I believe, certain
that the city annals have not shaken off the mystery: which yet to
certain people in Knutsford, as I have said, and to us the spectators
of the skeleton, immediately upon hearing one damning fact from the
lips of Mr. White, seemed to melt away and evaporate as convincingly as
if we had heard the explanation issuing in the terms of a confession
from the mouth of the skeleton itself. What, then, _was_ the fact?
With pain, and reluctantly, we felt its force, as we looked at the
royal skeleton, and reflected on the many evidences which he had given
of courage, and perhaps of other noble qualities. The ugly fact was
this: In a few weeks after the College Green tragedy, Knutsford, and
the whole neighborhood as far as Warrington (the half-way town between
Liverpool and Manchester), were deluged with gold and silver coins,
moidores, and dollars, from the Spanish mint of Mexico, etc. These,
during the frequent scarcities of English silver currency, were
notoriously current in England. Now, it is an unhappy fact, and
subsequently became known to the Bristol and London police, that a
considerable part of poor Mrs. Rusborough's treasure lay in such coins,
gold and silver, from the Spanish colonial mints.

Lady Carbery at this period made an effort to teach me Hebrew, by way
of repaying in _kind_ my pains in teaching Greek to _her_. Where,
and upon what motive, she had herself begun to learn Hebrew, I
forget: but in Manchester she had resumed this study with energy on a
casual impulse derived from a certain Dr. Bailey, a clergyman of this
city, who had published a Hebrew Grammar. The doctor was the most
unworldly and guileless of men. Amongst his orthodox brethren he was
reputed a "Methodist;" and not without reason; for some of his Low-
Church views he pushed into practical extravagances that looked like
fanaticism, or even like insanity. Lady Carbery wished naturally to
testify her gratitude for his services by various splendid presents:
but nothing would the good doctor accept, unless it assumed a shape
that might be available for the service of the paupers amongst his
congregation. The Hebrew studies, however, notwithstanding the personal
assistance which we drew from the kindness of Dr. Bailey, languished.
For this there were several reasons; but it was enough that the
systematic vagueness in the pronunciation of this, as of the other
Oriental languages, disgusted both of us. A word which could not be
pronounced with any certainty, was not in a true sense possessed. Let
it be understood, however, that it was not the correct and original
pronunciation that we cared for--_that_ has perished probably
beyond recall, even in the case of Greek, in spite of the Asiatic and
the Insular Greeks--what we demanded in vain was any pronunciation
whatever that should be articulate, apprehensible, and intercommunicable,
such as might differentiate the words: whereas a system of mere vowels
too inadequately strengthened by consonants, seemed to leave all words
pretty nearly alike. One day, in a pause of languor amongst these arid
Hebrew studies, I read to her, with a beating heart, "The Ancient
Mariner." It had been first published in 1798; and, about this time
(1801), was re-published in the first _two_-volume edition of "The
Lyrical Ballads." Well I knew Lady Carbery's constitutional inaptitude
for poetry; and not for the world would I have sought sympathy from her
or from anybody else upon that part of the L. B. which belonged to
Wordsworth. But I fancied that the wildness of this tale, and the triple
majesties of Solitude, of Mist, and of the Ancient Unknown Sea, might
have won her into relenting; and, in fact, she listened with gravity
and deep attention. But, on reviewing afterwards in conversation such
passages as she happened to remember, she laughed at the finest parts,
and shocked me by calling the mariner himself "an old quiz;" protesting
that the latter part of his homily to the wedding guest clearly pointed
him out as the very man meant by Providence for a stipendiary curate to
the good Dr. Bailey in his over-crowded church. [Footnote: St. James',
according to my present recollection.] With an albatross perched on his
shoulder, and who might be introduced to the congregation as the immediate
organ of his conversion, and supported by the droning of a bassoon, she
represented the mariner lecturing to advantage in English; the doctor
overhead in the pulpit enforcing it in Hebrew. Angry I was, though
forced to laugh. But of what use is anger or argument in a duel with
female criticism? Our ponderous masculine wits are no match for the
mercurial fancy of women. Once, however, I had a triumph: to my great
surprise, one day, she suddenly repeated by heart, to Dr. Bailey, the
beautiful passage--


  "It ceased, yet still the sails made on," &c.


asking what he thought of _that?_ As it happened, the simple,
childlike doctor had more sensibility than herself; for, though he had
never in his whole homely life read more of poetry than he had drunk of
Tokay or Constantia,--in fact, had scarcely heard tell of any poetry
but Watts' Hymns,--he seemed petrified: and at last, with a deep sigh,
as if recovering from the spasms of a new birth, said, "I never heard
anything so beautiful in my whole life."

During the long stay of the Laxton party in Manchester, occurred a
Christmas; and at Christmas--that is, at the approach of this great
Christian festival, so properly substituted in England for the Pagan
festival of January and the New Year--there was, according to ancient
usage, on the breaking up for the holidays, at the Grammar School, a
solemn celebration of the season by public speeches. Among the six
speakers, I, of course (as one of the three boys who composed the head
class), held a distinguished place; and it followed, also, as a matter
of course, that all my friends congregated on this occasion to do me
honor. What I had to recite was a copy of Latin verses (Alcaics) on the
recent conquest of Malta. _Melite Britannis Subacta_--this was the
title of my worshipful nonsense. The whole strength of the Laxton party
had mustered on this occasion. Lady Carbery made a point of bringing in
her party every creature whom she could influence. And, probably, there
were in that crowded audience many old Manchester friends of my father,
loving his memory, and thinking to honor it by kindness to his son.
Furious, at any rate, was the applause which greeted me: furious was my
own disgust. Frantic were the clamors as I concluded my nonsense.
Frantic was my inner sense of shame at the childish exhibition to
which, unavoidably, I was making myself a party. Lady Carbery had, at
first, directed towards me occasional glances, expressing a comic
sympathy with the thoughts which she supposed to be occupying my mind.
But these glances ceased; and I was recalled by the gloomy sadness in
her altered countenance to some sense of my own extravagant and
disproportionate frenzy on this occasion: from the indulgent kindness
with which she honored me, her countenance on this occasion became a
mirror to my own. At night she assured me, when talking over the case,
that she had never witnessed an expression of such settled misery, and
also (so she fancied) of misanthropy, as that which darkened my
countenance in those moments of apparent public triumph, no matter how
trivial the occasion, and amidst an uproar of friendly felicitation. I
look back to that state of mind as almost a criminal reproach to
myself, if it were not for the facts of the case. But, in excuse for
myself, this fact, above all others, ought to be mentioned--that, over
and above the killing oppression to my too sensitive system of the
monotonous school tasks, and the ruinous want of exercise, I had fallen
under medical advice the most misleading that it is possible to
imagine. The physician and the surgeon of my family were men too
eminent, it seemed to me, and, consequently, with time too notoriously
bearing a high pecuniary value, for any school-boy to detain them with
complaints. Under these circumstances, I threw myself for aid, in a
case so simple that any clever boy in a druggist's shop would have
known how to treat it, upon the advice of an old, old apothecary, who
had full authority from my guardians to run up a most furious account
against me for medicine. This being the regular mode of payment,
inevitably, and unconsciously, he was biased to a mode of treatment;
namely, by drastic medicines varied without end, which fearfully
exasperated the complaint. This complaint, as I now know, was the
simplest possible derangement of the liver, a torpor in its action that
might have been put to rights in three days. In fact, one week's
pedestrian travelling amongst the Caernarvonshire mountains effected a
revolution in my health such as left me nothing to complain of.

An odd thing happened by the merest accident. I, when my Alcaics had
run down their foolish larum, instead of resuming my official place as
one of the trinity who composed the head class, took a seat by the side
of Lady Carbery. On the other side of her was seated a stranger: and
this stranger, whom mere chance had thrown next to her, was Lord
Belgrave, her old and at one time (as some people fancied) favored
suitor. In this there was nothing at all extraordinary. Lord Grey de
Wilton, an old _alumnus_ of this Manchester Grammar School, and an
_alumnus_ during the early reign of this same _Archididascalus_,
made a point of showing honor to his ancient tutor, especially now when
reputed to be decaying; and with the same view he brought Lord
Belgrave, who had become his son-in-law after his rejection
by Lady Carbery. The whole was a very natural accident. But
Lady Carbery was not sufficiently bronzed by worldly habits to treat
this accident with _nonchalance_. She did not _to the public
eye_ betray any embarrassment; but afterwards she told me that no
incident could have been more distressing to her.

Some months after this, the Laxton party quitted Manchester, having no
further motive for staying. Mrs. Schreiber was now confessedly dying:
medical skill could do no more for her; and this being so, there was no
reason why she should continue to exchange her own quiet little
Rutlandshire cottage for the discomforts of smoky lodgings. Lady
Carbery retired like some golden pageant amongst the clouds; thick
darkness succeeded; the ancient torpor reestablished itself; and my
health grew distressingly worse. Then it was, after dreadful self-
conflicts, that I took the unhappy resolution of which the results are
recorded in the "Opium Confessions." At this point, the reader must
understand, comes in that chapter of my life; and for all which
concerns that delirious period I refer him to those "Confessions." Some
anxiety I had, on leaving Manchester, lest my mother should suffer too
much from this rash step; and on that impulse I altered the direction
of my wanderings; not going (as I had originally planned) to the
English Lakes, but making first of all for St. John's Priory, Chester,
at that time my mother's residence. There I found my maternal uncle,
Captain Penson, of the Bengal establishment, just recently come home on
a two years' leave of absence; and there I had an interview with my
mother. By a temporary arrangement I received a weekly allowance, which
would have enabled me to live in _any_ district of Wales, either
North or South; for Wales, both North and South, is (or at any rate
_was_) a land of exemplary cheapness. For instance, at Talyllyn,
in Merionethshire, or anywhere off the line of tourists, I and a
lieutenant in our English navy paid sixpence uniformly for a handsome
dinner; sixpence, I mean, apiece. But two months later came a golden
blockhead, who instructed the people that it was "sinful" to charge
less than three shillings. In Wales, meantime, I suffered grievously
from want of books; and fancying, in my profound ignorance of the
world, that I could borrow money upon my own expectations, or, at
least, that I could do so with the joint security of Lord Westport (now
Earl of Altamont, upon his father's elevation to the Marquisate of
Sligo), or (failing _that_) with the security of his amiable and
friendly cousin, the Earl of Desart, I had the unpardonable folly to
quit the deep tranquillities of North Wales for the uproars, and
perils, and the certain miseries, of London. I had borrowed ten guineas
from Lady Carbery; and at that time, when my purpose was known to
nobody, I might have borrowed any sum I pleased. But I could never
again avail myself of that resource, because I must have given some
address, in order to insure the receipt of Lady Carbery's answer; and
in that case, so sternly conscientious was she, that, under the notion
of saving me from ruin, my address would have been immediately
communicated to my guardians, and by them would have been confided to
the unrivalled detective talents, in those days, of Townsend, or some
other Bow-street officer.

       *       *        *       *        *

That episode, or impassioned parenthesis in my life, which is
comprehended in "The Confessions of the Opium-Eater," had finished;
suppose it over and gone, and once more, after the storms of London,
suppose me resting from my dreadful remembrances, in the deep monastic
tranquillity, of St. John's Priory; and just then, by accident, with no
associates except my mother and my uncle. What was the Priory like? Was
it young or old, handsome or plain? What was my uncle the captain like?
Young or old, handsome or plain? Wait a little, my reader; give me
time, and I will tell you all. My uncle's leave of absence from India
had not expired; in fact, it had nine or ten months still to run; and
this accident furnished us all with an opportunity of witnessing his
preternatural activity. One morning early in April of the year 1803, a
gentleman called at the Priory, and mentioned, as the news of the
morning brought down by the London mail, that there had been a very hot
and very sudden "press" along the Thames, and simultaneously at the
outports. Indeed, before this the spiteful tone of Sebastiani's Report,
together with the arrogant comment in the _Moniteur_ on the
supposed inability of Great Britain to contend "single-handed" with
France; and, finally, the public brutality to our ambassador, had
prepared us all for war. But, then, might not all this blow over? No;
apart from any choice or preference of war on the part of Napoleon, his
very existence depended upon war. He lived by and through the army.
Without a succession of wars and martial glories in reserve for the
army, what interest had _they_ in Napoleon? This was obscurely
acknowledged by everybody. More or less consciously perceived, a
feeling deep and strong ran through the nation that it was vain to seek
expedients or delays; a mighty strife had to be fought out, which could
not be evaded. Thence it was that the volunteer system was so rapidly
and earnestly developed. As a first stage in the process of national
enthusiasm, this was invaluable. The first impulse drew out the
material.

Next, as might have been foreseen, came an experience which taught us
seasonably that these redundant materials, crude and miscellaneous,
required a winnowing and sifting, which very soon we had; and the
result was, an incomparable militia. Chester shone conspicuously in
this noble competition. But here, as elsewhere, at first there was no
cavalry. Upon that arose a knot of gentlemen, chiefly those who hunted,
and in a very few hours laid the foundation of a small cavalry force.
Three troops were raised in the _city_ of Chester, one of the
three being given to my uncle. The whole were under the command of
Colonel Dod, who had a landed estate in the county, and who (like my
uncle) had been in India. But Colonel Dod and the captains of the two
other troops gave comparatively little aid. The whole working
activities of the system rested with my uncle. Then first I saw energy:
then first I knew what it meant. All the officers of the three troops
exchanged dinner-parties with each other; and consequently they dined
at the Priory often enough to make us acquainted with their
characteristic qualities. That period had not yet passed away, though
it was already passing, when gentlemen did not willingly leave the
dinner-table in a state of absolute sobriety. Colonel Dod and my uncle
had learned in Bengal, under the coërcion of the climate, habits of
temperance. But the others (though few, perhaps, might be systematic
drinkers) were careless in this respect, and drank under social
excitement quite enough to lay bare the ruling tendencies of their
several characters. Being English, naturally the majority were
energetic, and beyond all things despised dreaming _fainéans_
(such, for instance, as we find the politicians, or even the
conspirators, of Italy, Spain, and Germany, whose whole power of action
evaporates in talking, and histrionically gesticulating). Yet still the
best of them seemed inert by comparison with my uncle, and to regard
_his_ standard of action and exertion as trespassing to a needless
degree upon ordinary human comfort.

Commonplace, meantime, my uncle was in the character of his intellect;
there he fell a thousand leagues below my mother, to whom he looked up
with affectionate astonishment. But, as a man of action, he ran so far
ahead of men generally, that he ceased to impress one as commonplace.
He, if any man ever did, realized the Roman poet's description of being
_natus rebus agendis_--sent into this world not for talking, but
for doing; not for counsel, but for execution. On that field he was a
portentous man, a monster; and, viewing him as such, I am disposed to
concede a few words to what modern slang denominates his "antecedents."

Two brothers and one sister (namely, my mother) composed the household
choir of children gathering round the hearth of my maternal grand-
parents, whose name was Penson. My grandfather at one time held an
office under the king; how named, I once heard, but have forgotten;
only this I remember, that it was an office which conferred the title
of _Esquire;_ so that upon each and all of his several coffins,
lead, oak, mahogany, he was entitled to proclaim himself an
_Armiger;_ which, observe, is the newest, oldest, most classic
mode of saying that one is privileged to bear arms in a sense
intelligible only to the Herald's College. This _Armiger_, this
undeniable Squire, was doubly distinguished: first, by his iron
constitution and impregnable health; which were of such quality, and
like the sword of Michael, the warrior-angel ("Paradise Lost," B. vi.),
had "from the armory of God been given him tempered so," that no
insurance office, trafficking in life-annuities, would have ventured to
look him in the face. People thought him good, like a cat, for eight or
nine generations; nor did any man perceive at what avenue death could
find, or disease could force, a practicable breach; and yet, such
anchorage have all human hopes, in the very midst of these windy
anticipations, this same granite grandpapa of mine, not yet very far
ahead of sixty, being in fact three-score years and none, suddenly
struck his flag, and found himself, in his privileged character of
_Armiger_, needing those door (coffin-door) plates, which all
reasonable people had supposed to be reserved for the manufacturing
hands of some remote century. "_Armiger_, pack up your traps"--
"Collige sarcinas"--"Squire, you're wanted:" these dreadful citations
were inevitable; come they must; but surely, as everybody thought, not
in the eighteenth, or, perhaps, even the nineteenth century. _Diis
aliter visum._ My grandfather, built for an _Æonian_ duration,
did not come within hail of myself; whilst his gentle partner, my
grandmother, who made no show of extra longevity, lived down into my
period, and had the benefit of my acquaintance through half a dozen
years. If she turned this piece of good fortune to no great practical
account, that (you know) was no fault of mine. Doubtless, I was ready
with my advice, freely and gratuitously, if she had condescended to ask
for it. Returning to my grandfather: the other distinguishing
endowment, by which he was so favorably known and remembered amongst
his friends, was the magical versatility of his talents, and his power
of self-accommodation to all humors, tempers, and ages.

  "Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et status, et res."

And in allusion to this line from Horace it was, that amongst his
literary friends he was known familiarly by the name of Aristippus. His
sons, Edward and Thomas, resembled him, by all accounts, in nothing;
neither physically, nor in moral versatility. These two sons of the
Squire, Edward and Thomas, through some traditional prejudice in the
family, had always directed their views to the military profession. In
such a case, the king's army is naturally that to which a young man's
expectations turn. But to wait, and after all by possibility to wait in
vain, did not suit my fiery grandfather. The interest which he could
put into motion was considerable; but it was more applicable to the
service of the East India Company than to any branch of the home
service. This interest was so exerted that in one day he obtained a
lieutenantcy in the Company's service for each of his sons. About 1780
or 1781, both young men, aged severally sixteen and seventeen years,
went out to join their regiments, both regiments being on the Bengal
establishment. Very different were their fates; yet their
qualifications ought to have been the same, or differing only as
sixteen differs from seventeen; and also as sixteen overflowing with
levity differs from seventeen prematurely thoughtful. Edward Penson was
early noticed for his high principle, for his benignity, and for a
thoughtfulness somewhat sorrowful, that seemed to have caught in
childhood some fugitive glimpse of his own too brief career. At
noonday, in some part of Bengal, he went out of doors bareheaded, and
died in a few hours.

In 1800-1801, my mother had become dissatisfied with Bath as a
residence; and, being free from all ties connecting her with any one
county of England rather than another, she resolved to traverse the
most attractive parts of the island, and, upon personal inspection, to
select a home; not a ready-built home, but the ground on which she
might herself create one; for it happened that amongst the few
infirmities besetting my mother's habits and constitution of mind, was
the costly one of seeking her chief intellectual excitement in
architectural creations. She individually might be said to have built
Greenhay; since to _her_ views of domestic elegance and propriety
my father had resigned _almost_ everything. This was her _coup-
d'essai_; secondly, she built the complement to the Priory in
Cheshire, which cost about one thousand pounds; thirdly, Westhay, in
Somersetshire, about twelve miles from Bristol, which, including the
land attached to the house, cost twelve thousand five hundred pounds,
not including subsequent additions; but this was built at the cost of
my uncle; finally, Weston Lea, close to Bath, which being designed
simply for herself in old age, with a moderate establishment of four
servants (and some reasonable provision of accommodations for a few
visitors), cost originally, I believe, not more than one thousand
pounds--excluding, however, the cost of all after alterations.

It may serve to show how inevitably an amateur architect, without
professional aid and counsel, will be defrauded, that the first of
these houses, which cost six thousand pounds, sold for no more than
twenty-five hundred pounds, and the third for no more than five
thousand pounds. The person who superintended the workmen, and had the
whole practical management of one amongst these four houses, was a
common builder, without capital or education, and the greatest knave
that personally I have known. It may illustrate the way in which lady
architects, without professional aid, are and ever will be defrauded,
that, after all was finished, and the entire wood-work was to be
measured and valued, each party, of course, needing to be represented
by a professional agent, naturally the knavish builder was ready at
earliest dawn with _his_ agent; but, as regarded my mother's
interest, the task of engaging such an agent had been confided to a
neighboring clergyman,--"evangelical," of course, and a humble
sycophant of Hannah More, but otherwise the most helpless of human
beings, baptized or infidel. He contented himself with instructing a
young gentleman, aged about fifteen, to take his pony and ride over to
a distant cathedral town, which was honored by the abode of a virtuous
though drunken surveyor. This respectable drunkard he was to engage,
and also with obvious discretion to fee beforehand. All which was done:
the drunken surveyor had a sort of fits, it was understood, that always
towards sunset inclined him to assume the horizontal posture.
Fortunately, however, for that part of mankind whom circumstances had
brought under the necessity of communicating with him, these fits were
intermitting; so that, for instance, in the present case, upon a severe
call arising for his pocketing the fee of ten guineas, he astonished
his whole household by suddenly standing bolt upright as stiff as a
poker; his sister remarking to the young gentleman that he (the
visitor) was in luck that evening: it wasn't everybody that could get
that length in dealing with Mr. X. O. However, it is distressing to
relate that the fits immediately returned; and, with that degree of
exasperation which made it dangerous to suggest the idea of a receipt;
since that must have required the vertical attitude. Whether that
attitude ever was recovered by the unfortunate gentleman, I do not
know. Forty-and-four years have passed since then. Almost everybody
connected with the case has had time to assume permanently the
horizontal posture,--namely, that knave of a builder, whose knaveries
(gilded by that morning sun of June) were controlled by nobody; that
sycophantish parson; that young gentleman of fifteen (now, alas! fifty-
nine), who must long since have sown his wild oats; that unhappy pony
of eighteen (now, alas! sixty-two, if living; ah! venerable pony, that
must (or mustest) now require thy oats to be boiled); in short, one and
all of these venerabilities--knaves, ponies, drunkards, receipts--have
descended, I believe, to chaos or to Hades, with hardly one exception.
Chancery itself, though somewhat of an Indian juggler, could not play
with such aerial balls as these.

On what ground it was that my mother quarrelled with the advantages of
Bath, so many and so conspicuous, I cannot guess. At that time, namely,
the opening of the nineteenth century, the old traditionary custom of
the place had established for young and old the luxury of sedan-chairs.
Nine tenths, at least, of the colds and catarrhs, those initial stages
of all pulmonary complaints (the capital scourge of England), are
caught in the transit between the door of a carriage and the genial
atmosphere of the drawing-room. By a sedan-chair all this danger was
evaded: your two chairmen marched right into the hall: the hall-door
was closed; and not until then was the roof and the door of your chair
opened: the translation was--from one room to another. To my mother,
and many in her situation, the sedan-chair recommended itself also by
advantages of another class. Immediately on coming to Bath her carriage
was "laid up in ordinary." The trifling rent of a coach-house, some
slight annual repairs, and the tax, composed the whole annual cost. At
that time, and throughout the war, the usual estimate for the cost of a
close carriage in London was three hundred and twenty pounds; since, in
order to have the certain services of two horses, it was indispensable
to keep three. Add to this the coachman, the wear-and-tear of harness,
and the duty; and, even in Bath, a cheaper place than London, you could
not accomplish the total service under two hundred and seventy pounds.
Now, except the duty, all this expense was at once superseded by the
sedan-chair--rarely costing you above ten shillings a week, that is,
twenty-five guineas a year, and liberating you from all care or
anxiety. The duty on four wheels, it is true, was suddenly exalted by
Mr. Pitt's triple assessment from twelve guineas to thirty-six; but
what a trifle by comparison with the cost of horses and coachman! And,
then, no demands for money were ever met so cheerfully by my mother as
those which went to support Mr. Pitt's policy against Jacobinism and
Regicide. At present, after five years' sinecure existence, unless on
the rare summons of a journey, this dormant carriage was suddenly
undocked, and put into commission. Taking with her two servants, and
one of my sisters, my mother now entered upon a _periplus_, or
systematic circumnavigation of all England; and in England only--
through the admirable machinery matured for such a purpose, namely,
inns, innkeepers, servants, horses, all first-rate of their class--it
was possible to pursue such a scheme in the midst of domestic comfort.
My mother's resolution was--to see all England with her own eyes, and
to judge for herself upon the qualifications of each county, each town
(not being a bustling seat of commerce), and each village (having any
advantages of scenery), for contributing the main elements towards a
home that might justify her in building a house. The qualifications
insisted on were these five: good medical advice somewhere in the
neighborhood; first-rate means of education; elegant (or, what most
people might think, aristocratic) society; agreeable scenery: and so
far the difficulty was not insuperable in the way of finding all the
four advantages concentrated. But my mother insisted on a fifth, which
in those days insured the instant shipwreck of the entire scheme; this
was a church of England parish clergyman, who was to be strictly
orthodox, faithful to the articles of our English church, yet to these
articles as interpreted by Evangelical divinity. My mother's views were
precisely those of her friend Mrs. Hannah More, of Wilberforce, of
Henry Thornton, of Zachary Macaulay (father of the historian), and
generally of those who were then known amongst sneerers as "the Clapham
saints." This one requisition it was on which the scheme foundered. And
the fact merits recording as an exposition of the broad religious
difference between the England of that day and of this. At present, no
difficulty would be found as to this fifth requisition. "Evangelical"
clergymen are now sown broad-cast; at that period, there were not, on
an average, above six or eight in each of the fifty-two counties.

The conditions, as a whole, were in fact incapable of being realized;
where two or three were attained, three or two failed. It was too much
to exact so many advantages from any one place, unless London; or
really, if any other place could be looked to with hope in such a
chase, that place was Bath--the very city my mother was preparing to
leave. Yet, had this been otherwise, and the prospect of success more
promising, I have not a doubt that the pretty gem, which suddenly was
offered at a price unintelligibly low, in the ancient city of Chester,
would have availed (as instantly it _did_ avail, and, perhaps,
ought to have availed) in obscuring those five conditions of which else
each separately for itself had seemed a _conditio sine qua non_.
This gem was an ancient house, on a miniature scale, called the
_Priory_; and, until the dissolution of religious houses in the
earlier half of the sixteenth century, had formed part of the Priory
attached to the ancient church (still flourishing) of St. John's.
Towards the end of the sixteenth and through the first quarter of the
seventeenth century, this Priory had been in the occupation of Sir
Robert Cotton, the antiquary, the friend of Ben Jonson, of Coke, of
Selden, etc., and advantageously known as one of those who applied his
legal and historical knowledge to the bending back into constitutional
moulds of those despotic twists which new interests and false counsels
had developed in the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. It was an exceedingly
pretty place; and the kitchen, upon the ground story, which had a noble
groined ceiling of stone, indicated, by its disproportionate scale, the
magnitude of the establishment to which once it had ministered.
Attached to this splendid kitchen were tributary offices, etc. On the
upper story were exactly five rooms: namely, a servants' dormitory,
meant in Sir Robert's day for two beds [Footnote: The contrivance
amongst our ancestors, even at haughty Cambridge and haughtier Oxford,
was, that one bed rising six inches from the floor ran (in the day-
time) under a loftier bed; it ran upon castors or little wheels. The
learned word for a little wheel is _trochlea_; from which Grecian
and Latin term comes the English word _truckle_-bed.] at the
least; and a servants' sitting-room. These were shut off into a
separate section, with a little staircase (like a ship's companion-
ladder) and a little lobby of its own. But the principal section on
this upper story had been dedicated to the use of Sir Robert, and
consisted of a pretty old hall, lighted by an old monastic-painted
window in the door of entrance; secondly, a rather elegant dining-room;
thirdly, a bed-room. The glory of the house internally lay in the
monastic kitchen; and, secondly, in what a Frenchman would have called,
properly, Sir Robert's own _apartment_ [Footnote: _Apartment_.--
Our English use of the word "apartment" is absurd, since it leads to
total misconceptions. We read in French memoirs innumerable of _the
king's apartment_, of _the queen's apartment_, etc., and for us English
the question arises, How? Had the king, had her majesty, only one room?
But, my friend, they might have a thousand rooms, and yet have only one
apartment. An apartment means, in the continental use, a section or
_compartment_ of an edifice.] of three rooms; but, thirdly and chiefly,
in a pile of ruined archways, most picturesque so far as they went, but
so small that Drury Lane could easily have found room for them on its
stage. These stood in the miniature pleasure-ground, and were
constantly resorted to by artists for specimens of architectural
decays, or of nature working for the concealment of such decays by her
ordinary processes of gorgeous floral vegetation. Ten rooms there may
have been in the Priory, as offered to my mother for less than five
hundred pounds. A drawing-room, bed-rooms, dressing-rooms, etc., making
about ten more, were added by my mother for a sum under one thousand
pounds. The same miniature scale was observed in all these additions.
And, as the Priory was not within the walls of the city, whilst the
river Dee, flowing immediately below, secured it from annoyance on one
side, and the church, with its adjacent church-yard, insulated it from
the tumults of life on all the other sides, an atmosphere of conventual
stillness and tranquillity brooded over it and all around it forever.

Such was the house, such was the society, in which I now found myself;
and upon the whole I might describe myself as being, according to the
modern phrase, "in a false position." I had, for instance, a vast
superiority, as was to have been expected, in bookish attainments, and
in adroitness of logic; whilst, on the other hand, I was ridiculously
short-sighted or blind in all fields of ordinary human experience. It
must not be supposed that I regarded my own particular points of
superiority, or that I used them, with any vanity or view to present
advantages. On the contrary, I sickened over them, and labored to
defeat them. But in vain I sowed errors in my premises, or planted
absurdities in my assumptions. Vainly I tried such blunders as putting
four terms into a syllogism, which, as all the world knows, ought to
run on three; a tripod it ought to be, by all rules known to man, and,
behold, I forced it to become a quadruped. Upon my uncle's military
haste, and tumultuous energy in pressing his opinions, all such
delicate refinements were absolutely thrown away. With disgust _I_
saw, with disgust _he_ saw, that too apparently the advantage lay
with me in the result; and, whilst I worked like a dragon to place
myself in the wrong, some fiend apparently so counterworked me, that
eternally I was reminded of the Manx half-pennies, which lately I had
continually seen current in North Wales, bearing for their heraldic
distinction three human legs in armor, but so placed in relation to
each other that always one leg is vertical and mounting guard on behalf
of the other two, which, therefore, are enabled to sprawl aloft in the
air--in fact, to be as absurdly negligent as they choose, relying upon
their vigilant brother below, and upon the written legend or motto,
STABIT QUOCUNQUE JECERIS (Stand it will upright, though you should
fling it in any conceivable direction). What gave another feature of
distraction and incoherency to my position was, that I still occupied
the position of a reputed boy, nay, a child, in the estimate of my
audience, and of a child in disgrace. Time enough had not passed since
my elopement from school to win for me, in minds so fresh from that
remembrance, a station of purification and assoilment. Oxford might
avail to assoil me, and to throw into a distant retrospect my boyish
trespasses; but as yet Oxford had not arrived. I committed, besides, a
great fault in taking often a tone of mock seriousness, when the
detection of the playful extravagance was left to the discernment or
quick sympathy of the hearer; and I was blind to the fact, that neither
my mother nor my uncle was distinguished by any natural liveliness of
vision for the comic, or any toleration for the extravagant. My mother,
for example, had an awful sense of conscientious fidelity in the
payment of taxes. Many a respectable family I have known that would
privately have encouraged a smuggler, and, in consequence, were beset
continually by mock smugglers, offering, with airs of affected mystery,
home commodities liable to no custom-house objections whatsoever, only
at a hyperbolical price. I remember even the case of a duke, who bought
in Piccadilly, under laughable circumstances of complex disguise, some
silk handkerchiefs, falsely pretending to be foreign, and was so
incensed at finding himself to have been committing no breach of law
whatever, but simply to have been paying double the ordinary shop
price, that he pulled up the _soi-disant_ smuggler to Bowstreet,
even at the certain price of exposure to himself. The charge he alleged
against the man was the untenable one of _not_ being a smuggler.
My mother, on the contrary, pronounced all such attempts at cheating
the king, or, as I less harshly termed it, cheating the tax-gatherer,
as being equal in guilt to a fraud upon one's neighbor, or to direct
appropriation of another man's purse. I, on my part, held, that
government, having often defrauded me through its agent and creature
the post-office, by monstrous over-charges on letters, had thus created
in my behalf a right of retaliation. And dreadfully it annoyed my
mother, that I, stating this right in a very plausible rule-of-three
form--namely, As is the income of the said fraudulent government to my
poor patrimonial income of one hundred and fifty pounds per annum, so
is any one special fraud (as, for instance, that of yesterday morning,
amounting to thirteen pence upon a single letter) to that equitable
penalty which I am entitled to recover upon the goods and chattels
(wherever found) of the ill-advised Britannic government. During the
war with Napoleon, the income of this government ran, to all amounts,
between fifty and seventy millions pounds sterling. Awful, therefore,
seemed the inheritance of retaliation, inexhaustible the fund of
reprisals, into which I stepped. Since, even a single case of robbery,
such as I could plead by dozens, in the course of a few years, though
no more than thirteen pence, yet multiplied into seventy million times
two hundred and forty pence, _minus_ one hundred and fifty pounds,
made a very comfortable property. The right was clear; and the sole
difficulty lay in asserting it; in fact, that same difficulty which
beset the philosopher of old, in arguing with the Emperor Hadrian;
namely, the want of thirty legions for the purpose of clearly pointing
out to Cæsar where it was that the truth lay; the secret truth; that
rarest of all "nuggets."

This counter-challenge of government, as the first mover in a system of
frauds, annoyed, but also perplexed my mother exceedingly. For an
argument that shaped itself into a rule-of-three illustration seemed
really to wear too candid an aspect for summary and absolute rejection.

Such discussions wore to me a comic shape. But altogether serious were
the disputes upon INDIA--a topic on separate grounds equally
interesting to us all, as the mightiest of English colonies, and the
superbest monument of demoniac English energy, revealing itself in such
men as Clive, Hastings, and soon after in the two Wellesleys. To my
mother, as the grave of one brother, as the home of another, and as a
new centre from which Christianity (she hoped) would mount like an
eagle; for just about that time the Bible Society was preparing its
initial movements; whilst to my uncle India appeared as the
_arena_ upon which his activities were yet to find their adequate
career. With respect to the Christianization of India, my uncle assumed
a hope which he did not really feel; and in another point, more trying
to himself personally, he had soon an opportunity for showing the
sincerity of this deference to his spiritual-minded sister. For, very
soon after his return to India, he received a civil appointment
(_Superintendent of Military Buildings in Bengal_), highly
lucrative, and the more so as it could be held conjointly with his
military rank; but a good deal of its pecuniary advantages was said to
lie in fees, or perquisites, privately offered, but perfectly regular
and official, which my mother (misunderstanding the Indian system)
chose to call "bribes." A very ugly word was _that_; but I argued
that even at home, even in the courts at Westminster, in the very
fountains of justice, private fees constituted one part of the
salaries--a fair and official part, so long as Parliament had not made
such fees illegal by commuting them for known and fixed equivalents.

 It was mere ignorance of India, as I dutifully insisted against
"Mamma," that could confound these regular oriental "nuzzers" with the
clandestine wages of corruption. The _pot-de-vin_ of French
tradition, the pair of gloves (though at one time very costly gloves)
to an English judge of assize on certain occasions, never was offered
nor received in the light of a bribe. And (until regularly abolished by
the legislature) I insisted--but vainly insisted--that these and
similar _honoraria_ ought to be accepted, because else you were
lowering the prescriptive rights and value of the office, which you--a
mere _locum tenens_ for some coming successor--had no right to do
upon a solitary scruple or crotchet, arising probably from dyspepsia.
Better men, no doubt, than ever stood in _your_ stockings, had
pocketed thankfully the gifts of ancient, time-honored custom. My
uncle, however, though not with the carnal recusancy which besieged the
spiritual efforts of poor Cuthbert Headrigg, that incorrigible
worldling, yet still with intermitting doubts, followed my mother's
earnest entreaties, and the more meritoriously (I conceive), as he
yielded, in a point deeply affecting his interest, to a system of
arguments very imperfectly convincing to his understanding. He held the
office in question for as much (I believe) as eighteen or nineteen
years; and, by knowing old bilious Indians, who laughed immoderately at
my uncle and my mother, as the proper growth of a priory or some such
monastic establishment, I have been assured that nothing short of two
hundred thousand pounds ought, under the long tenure of office, to have
been remitted to England. But, then, said one of these gentlemen, if
your uncle lived (as I have heard that he did) in Calcutta and Meer-ut,
at the rate of four thousand pounds a year, _that_ would account
for a considerable share of a mine which else would seem to have been
worked in vain. Unquestionably, my uncle's system of living was under
no circumstances a self-denying one. To enjoy, and to make others
enjoy--_that_ was his law of action. Indeed, a more liberal creature,
or one of more princely munificence, never lived.

It might seem useless to call back any fragment of conversations
relating to India which passed more than fifty years ago, were it not
for two reasons: one of which is this,--that the errors (natural at
that time) which I vehemently opposed, not from any greater knowledge
that I had, but from closer reflection, are even now the prevailing
errors of the English people. My mother, for instance, uniformly spoke
of the English as the subverters of ancient thrones. I, on the
contrary, insisted that nothing political was ancient in India. Our own
original opponents, the Rajahs of Oude and Bengal, had been all
upstarts: in the Mysore, again, our more recent opponents, Hyder, and
his son Tippoo, were new men altogether, whose grandfathers were quite
unknown. Why was it that my mother, why is it that the English public
at this day, connect so false an image--that of high, cloudy antiquity
--with the thrones of India? It is simply from an old habit of
associating the spirit of change and rapid revolution with the
activities of Europe; so that, by a natural reaction of thought, the
Orient is figured as the home of motionless monotony. In things
religious, in habits, in costume, it _is_ so. But so far otherwise
in things political, that no instance can be alleged of any dynasty or
system of government that has endured beyond a century or two in the
East. Taking India in particular, the Mogul dynasty, established by
Baber, the great-grandson of Timour, did not subsist in any vigor for
two centuries; and yet this was by far the most durable of all
established princely houses. Another argument against England urged by
my mother (but equally urged by the English people at this day) was,
that she had in no eminent sense been a benefactress to India; or,
expressing it in words of later date, that the only memorials of our
rule, supposing us suddenly ejected from India, would be vast heaps of
champagne-bottles. I, on the other hand, alleged that our benefits,
like all truly great and lasting benefits (religious benefits, for
instance), must not be sought in external memorials of stone and
masonry. Higher by far than the Mogul gifts of mile-stones, or
travelling stations, or even roads and tanks, were the gifts of
security, of peace, of law, and settled order. These blessings were
travelling as fast as our rule advanced. I could not _then_ appeal
to the cases of Thuggee extirpated, of the Pindanees (full fifteen
thousand bloody murderers) forever exterminated, or of the Marhattas
bridled forever--a robber nation that previously had descended at
intervals with a force of sometimes one hundred and fifty thousand
troopers upon the afflicted province of Bengal, and Oude its neighbor;
because these were events as yet unborn. But they were the natural
extensions of that beneficent system on which I rested my argument. The
two terrors of India at that particular time were Holkar and Scindiah
(pronounced _Sindy_), who were soon cut short in their career by
the hostilities which they provoked with us, but would else have
proved, in combination, a deadlier scourge to India than either Hyder
or his ferocious son. My mother, in fact, a great reader of the poet
Cowper, drew from _him_ her notions of Anglo-Indian policy and its
effects. Cowper, in his "Task," puts the question,--

  "Is India free? and does she wear her plumed
  And jewelled turban with a smile of peace,
  Or do we grind her still?"

Pretty much the same authority it is which the British public of this
day has for its craze upon the subject of English oppression amongst
the Hindoos.

My uncle, meantime, who from his Indian experience should reasonably
have known so much better, was disposed, from the mere passive habits
of hearing and reading unresistingly so many assaults of this tone
against our Indian policy, to go along with my mother. But he was too
just, when forced into reflection upon the subject, not to bend at
times to my way of stating the case for England. Suddenly, however, our
Indian discussions were brought to a close by the following incident.
My uncle had brought with him to England some Arabian horses, and
amongst them a beautiful young Persian mare, called Sumroo, the
gentlest of her race. Sumroo it was that he happened to be riding, upon
a frosty day. Unused to ice, she came down with him, and broke his
right leg. This accident laid him up for a month, during which my
mother and I read to him by turns. One book, which one day fell to my
share by accident, was De Foe's "Memoirs of a Cavalier." This book
attempts to give a picture of the Parliamentary war; but in some places
an unfair, and everywhere a most superficial account. I said so; and my
uncle, who had an old craze in behalf of the book, opposed me with
asperity; and, in the course of what he said, under some movement of
ill-temper, he asked me, in a way which I felt to be taunting, how I
could consent to waste my time as I did. Without any answering warmth,
I explained that my guardians, having quarrelled with me, would not
grant for my use anything beyond my school allowance of one hundred
pounds per annum. But was it not possible that even this sum might by
economy be made to meet the necessities of the case? I replied that,
from what I had heard, very probably it was. Would I undertake an
Oxford life upon such terms? Most gladly, I said. Upon that opening he
spoke to my mother; and the result was, that, within seven days from
the above conversation, I found myself entering that time-honored
university.



OXFORD.

I.

OXFORD.



It was in winter, and in the wintry weather of the year 1803, that I
first entered Oxford with a view to its vast means of education, or
rather with a view to its vast advantages for study. A ludicrous story
is told of a young candidate for clerical orders--that, being asked by
the bishop's chaplain if he had ever "been to Oxford," as a colloquial
expression for having had an academic education, he replied, "No: but
he had twice been to Abingdon:" Abingdon being only seven miles
distant. In the same sense I might say that once before I had been at
Oxford: but _that_ was as a transient visitor with Lord W----,
when we were both children. Now, on the contrary, I approached these
venerable towers in the character of a student, and with the purpose of
a long connection; personally interested in the constitution of the
university, and obscurely anticipating that in this city, or at least
during the period of my nominal attachment to this academic body, the
remoter parts of my future life would unfold before me. All hearts were
at this time occupied with the public interests of the country. The
"sorrow of the time" was ripening to a second harvest. Napoleon had
commenced his Vandal, or rather Hunnish War with Britain, in the spring
of this year, about eight months before; and profound public interest
it was, into which the very coldest hearts entered, that a little
divided with me the else monopolizing awe attached to the solemn act of
launching myself upon the world. That expression may seem too strong as
applied to one who had already been for many months a houseless
wanderer in Wales, and a solitary roamer in the streets of London. But
in those situations, it must be remembered, I was an unknown,
unacknowledged vagrant; and without money I could hardly run much risk,
except of breaking my neck. The perils, the pains, the pleasures, or
the obligations, of the world, scarcely exist in a proper sense for him
who has no funds. Perfect weakness is often secure; it is by imperfect
power, turned against its master, that men are snared and decoyed. Here
in Oxford I should be called upon to commence a sort of establishment
upon the splendid English scale; here I should share in many duties and
responsibilities, and should become henceforth an object of notice to a
large society. Now first becoming separately and individually
answerable for my conduct, and no longer absorbed into the general unit
of a family, I felt myself, for the first time, burthened with the
anxieties of a man, and a member of the world.

Oxford, ancient mother! hoary with ancestral honors, time-honored, and,
haply, it may be, time-shattered power--I owe thee nothing! Of thy vast
riches I took not a shilling, though living amongst multitudes who owed
to thee their daily bread. Not the less I owe thee justice; for that is
a universal debt. And at this moment, when I see thee called to thy
audit by unjust and malicious accusers--men with the hearts of
inquisitors and the purposes of robbers--I feel towards thee something
of filial reverence and duty. However, I mean not to speak as an
advocate, but as a conscientious witness in the simplicity of truth;
feeling neither hope nor fear of a personal nature, without fee, and
without favor.

I have been assured from many quarters that the great body of the
public are quite in the dark about the whole manner of living in our
English universities; and that a considerable portion of that public,
misled by the totally different constitution of universities in
Scotland, Ireland, and generally on the continent, as well as by the
different arrangements of collegiate life in those institutions, are in
a state worse than ignorant (that is, more unfavorable to the truth)--
starting, in fact, from prejudices, and absolute errors of fact, which
operate most uncharitably upon their construction of those insulated
statements, which are continually put forward by designing men. Hence,
I can well believe that it will be an acceptable service, at this
particular moment, when the very constitution of the two English
universities is under the unfriendly revision of Parliament, when some
roving commission may be annually looked for, under a contingency which
I will not utter in words (for I reverence the doctrine of
_euphæmismos_), far worse than Cromwellian, that is, merely
personal, and to winnow the existing corporation from disaffection to
the state--a Henry the Eighth commission of sequestration, and levelled
at the very integrity of the institution--under such prospects, I can
well believe that a true account of Oxford _as it is_ (which will
be valid also for Cambridge) must be welcome both to friend and foe.
And instead of giving this account didactically, or according to a
logical classification of the various items in the survey, I will give
it historically, or according to the order in which the most important
facts of the case opened themselves before myself, under the accidents
of my own personal inquiry. No situation could be better adapted than
my own for eliciting information; for, whereas most young men come to
the university under circumstances of absolute determination as to the
choice of their particular college, and have, therefore, no cause for
search or inquiry, I, on the contrary, came thither in solitary self-
dependence, and in the loosest state of indetermination.

Though neither giving nor accepting invitations for the first two years
of my residence, never but once had I reason to complain of a sneer, or
indeed any allusion whatever to habits which might be understood to
express poverty. Perhaps even then I had no reason to complain, for my
own conduct in that instance was unwise; and the allusion, though a
personality, and so far ill-bred, might be meant in real kindness. The
case was this: I neglected my dress in one point habitually; that is, I
wore clothes until they were threadbare--partly in the belief that my
gown would conceal their main defects, but much more from carelessness
and indisposition to spend upon a tailor what I had destined for a
bookseller. At length, an official person, of some weight in the
college, sent me a message on the subject through a friend. It was
couched in these terms: That, let a man possess what talents or
accomplishments he might, it was not possible for him to maintain his
proper station, in the public respect, amongst so many servants and
people, servile to external impressions, without some regard to the
elegance of his dress.

A reproof so courteously prefaced I could not take offence at; and at
that time I resolved to spend some cost upon decorating my person. But
always it happened that some book, or set of books,--that passion being
absolutely endless, and inexorable as the grave,--stepped between me
and my intentions; until one day, upon arranging my toilet hastily
before dinner, I suddenly made the discovery that I had no waistcoat
(or _vest_, as it is now called, through conceit or provincialism),
which was not torn or otherwise dilapidated; whereupon, buttoning up my
coat to the throat, and drawing my gown as close about me as possible,
I went into the public "hall" (so is called in Oxford the public
eating-room) with no misgiving. However, I was detected; for a
grave man, with a superlatively grave countenance, who happened on
that day to sit next me, but whom I did not personally know, addressing
his friend sitting opposite, begged to know if he had seen the last
Gazette, because he understood that it contained an order in council
laying an interdict upon the future use of waistcoats. His friend
replied, with the same perfect gravity, that it was a great
satisfaction to his mind that his majesty's government should have
issued so sensible an order; which he trusted would be soon followed up
by an interdict on breeches, they being still more disagreeable to pay
for. This said, without the movement on either side of a single muscle,
the two gentlemen passed to other subjects; and I inferred, upon the
whole, that, having detected my manoeuvre, they wished to put me on my
guard in the only way open to them. At any rate, this was the sole
personality, or equivocal allusion of any sort, which ever met my ear
during the years that I asserted my right to be as poor as I chose.
And, certainly, my censors were right, whatever were the temper in
which they spoke, kind or unkind; for a little extra care in the use of
clothes will always, under almost any extremity of poverty, pay for so
much extra cost as is essential to neatness and decorum, if not even to
elegance. They were right, and I was wrong, in a point which cannot be
neglected with impunity.

But, to enter upon my own history, and my sketch of Oxford life.--Late
on a winter's night, in the latter half of December, 1803, when a snow-
storm, and a heavy one, was already gathering in the air, a lazy
Birmingham coach, moving at four and a half miles an hour, brought me
through the long northern suburb of Oxford, to a shabby coach-inn,
situated in the Corn Market. Business was out of the question at that
hour. But the next day I assembled all the acquaintances I had in the
university, or had to my own knowledge; and to them, in council
assembled, propounded my first question: What college would they, in
their superior state of information, recommend to my choice? This
question leads to the first great characteristic of Oxford, as
distinguished from most other universities. Before me at this moment
lie several newspapers, reporting, at length, the installation in
office (as Chancellor) of the Duke of Wellington. The original Oxford
report, having occasion to mention the particular college from which
the official procession moved, had said, no doubt, that the gates of
University, the halls of University, &c., were at such a point of time
thrown open. But most of the provincial editors, not at all
comprehending that the reference was to an individual college, known by
the name of University College, one of twenty-five such establishments
in Oxford, had regularly corrected it into "gates of the University,"
&c. Here is the first misconception of all strangers. And this feature
of Oxford it is which has drawn such exclamations of astonishment from
foreigners. Lipsius, for example, protested with fervor, on first
seeing this vast establishment of Oxford, that one college of this
university was greater in its power and splendor, that it glorified and
illustrated the honors of literature more conspicuously by the pomps
with which it invested the ministers and machinery of education, than
any entire university of the continent.

What is a university almost everywhere else? It announces little more,
as respects the academic buildings, than that here is to be found the
place of rendezvous--the exchange, as it were, or, under a different
figure, the _palæstra_ of the various parties connected with the
prosecution of liberal studies. This is their "House of Call," their
general place of muster and parade. Here it is that the professors and
the students converge, with the certainty of meeting each other. Here,
in short, are the lecture-rooms in all the faculties. Well: thus far we
see an arrangement of convenience--that is, of convenience for one of
the parties, namely, the professors. To them it spares the disagreeable
circumstances connected with a private reception of their students at
their own rooms. But to the students it is a pure matter of
indifference. In all this there is certainly no service done to the
cause of good learning, which merits a state sanction, or the aid of
national funds. Next, however, comes an academic library, sometimes a
good one; and here commences a real use in giving a national station to
such institutions, because their durable and monumental existence,
liable to no flux or decay from individual caprice, or accidents of
life, and their authentic station, as expressions of the national
grandeur, point them out to the bequests of patriotic citizens. They
fall also under the benefit of another principle--the conservative
feeling of amateurship. Several great collections have been bequeathed
to the British Museum, for instance--not chiefly _as_ a national
institution, and under feelings of nationality, but because, being
such, it was also permanent; and thus the painful labors of collecting
were guaranteed from perishing. Independently of all this, I, for my
part, willingly behold the surplus of national funds dedicated to the
consecration, as it were, of learning, by raising temples to its honor,
even where they answer no purpose of direct use. Next, after the
service of religion, I would have the service of learning externally
embellished, recommended to the affections of men, and hallowed by the
votive sculptures, as I may say, of that affection, gathering in amount
from age to age. _Magnificabo apostolatum meum_ is a language
almost as becoming to the missionaries and ministers of knowledge, as
to the ambassadors of religion. It is fit that by pompous architectural
monuments, that a voice may forever be sounding audibly in human ears
of homage to these powers, and that even alien feelings may be
compelled into secret submission to their influence. Therefore, amongst
the number of those who value such things, upon the scale of direct
proximate utility, rank not me: that _arithmetica officina_ is in
my years abominable. But still I affirm that, in our analysis of an
ordinary university, or "college" as it is provincially called, we have
not yet arrived at any element of service rendered to knowledge or
education, large enough to call for very extensive national aid. Honor
has thus far been rendered to the good cause by a public attestation,
and that is well: but no direct promotion has been given to that cause,
no impulse communicated to its progress, such that it can be held out
as a result commensurate to the name and pretensions of a university.
As yet there is nothing accomplished which is beyond the strength of
any little commercial town. And as to the library in particular,
besides that in all essential departments it might be bought, to order,
by one day's common subscription of Liverpool or Glasgow merchants,
students very rarely indeed have admission to its free use.

What other functions remain to a university? For those which I have
mentioned of furnishing a point of rendezvous to the great body of
professors and students, and a point of concentration to the different
establishments of implements and machinery for elaborate researches
[as, for instance, of books and MSS., in the first place; secondly, of
maps, charts, and globes; and, thirdly, perhaps of the costly apparatus
required for such studies as Sideral astronomy, galvanic chemistry or
physiology, &c.]; all these are uses which cannot be regarded in a
higher light than as conveniences merely incidental and collateral to
the main views of the founders. There are, then, two much loftier and
more commanding ends met by the idea and constitution of such
institutions, and which first rise to a rank of dignity sufficient to
occupy the views of a legislator, or to warrant a national interest.
These ends are involved: 1st, in the practice of conferring
_degrees_, that is, formal attestations and guarantees of competence
to give advice, instruction, or aid, in the three great branches
of liberal knowledge applicable to human life; 2d, in that
appropriation of fixed funds to fixed professorships, by means of which
the uninterrupted succession of public and authorized teachers is
sustained in all the higher branches of knowledge, from generation to
generation, and from century to century. By the latter result it is
secured that the great well-heads of liberal knowledge and of severe
science shall never grow dry. By the former it is secured that this
unfailing fountain shall be continually applied to the production and
to the _tasting_ of fresh labors in endless succession for the
public service, and thus, in effect, that the great national fountain
shall not be a stagnant reservoir, but, by an endless _derivation_
(to speak in a Roman metaphor!), applied to a system of national
irrigation. These are the two great functions and qualifications of a
collegiate incorporation: one providing to each separate generation its
own separate rights of heirship to all the knowledge accumulated by its
predecessors, and converting a mere casual life-annuity into an estate
of inheritance--a mere fleeting _agonisma_ into a _ktæma es æi_; the
other securing for this eternal dowry as wide a distribution as
possible: the one function regarding the dimension of _length_ in the
endless series of ages through which it propagates its gifts; the other
regarding the dimension of _breadth_ in the large application
throughout any one generation of these gifts to the public service.
Here are grand functions, high purposes; but neither one nor the other
demands any edifices of stone and marble; neither one nor the other
presupposes any edifice at all built with human hands. A collegiate
incorporation, the church militant of knowledge, in its everlasting
struggle with darkness and error, is, in this respect, like the
church of Christ--that is, it is always and essentially invisible
to the fleshly eye. The pillars of this church are human champions; its
weapons are great truths so shaped as to meet the shifting forms of
error; its armories are piled and marshalled in human memories; its
cohesion lies in human zeal, in discipline, in childlike docility; and
all its triumphs, its pomps, and glories, must forever depend upon
talent, upon the energies of the will, and upon the harmonious
cooperation of its several divisions. Thus far, I say, there is no call
made out for _any_ intervention of the architect.

Let me apply all this to Oxford. Among the four functions commonly
recognized by the founders of universities, which are--1st, to find a
set of halls or places of meeting; 2d, to find the implements and
accessaries of study; 3d, to secure the succession of teachers and
learners; 4th, to secure the profitable application of their
attainments to the public service. Of these four, the two highest need
no buildings; and the other two, which are mere collateral functions of
convenience, need only a small one. Wherefore, then, and to what end,
are the vast systems of building, the palaces and towers of Oxford?
These are either altogether superfluous, mere badges of ostentation and
luxurious wealth, or they point to some fifth function not so much as
contemplated by other universities, and, at present, absolutely and
chimerically beyond their means of attainment. Formerly we used to hear
attacks upon the Oxford discipline as fitted to the true
_intellectual_ purposes of a modern education. Those attacks, weak
and most uninstructed in facts, false as to all that they challenged,
and puerile as to what implicitly they propounded for homage, are
silent. But, of late, the battery has been pointed against the Oxford
discipline in its _moral_ aspects, as fitted for the government
and restraint of young men, or even as at all contemplating any such
control. The Beverleys would have us suppose, not only that the great
body of the students are a licentious crew, acknowledging no discipline
or restraints, but that the grave elders of the university, and those
who wield the nominal authority of the place, passively resign the very
shows of power, and connive at general excesses, even when they do not
absolutely authorize them in their personal examples. Now, when such
representations are made, to what standard of a just discipline is it
that these writers would be understood as appealing? Is it to some
ideal, or to some existing and known reality? Would they have England
suppose that they are here comparing the actual Oxford with some
possible hypothetic or imaginable Oxford,--with some ideal case, that
is to say, about which great discussions would arise as to its
feasibility,--or that they are comparing it with some known standard of
discipline actually realized and sustained for generations, in Leipsic,
suppose, or Edinburgh, or Leyden, or Salamanca? This is the question of
questions, to which we may demand an answer; and, according to that
answer, observe the dilemma into which these furciferous knaves must
drop. If they are comparing Oxford simply with some ideal and better
Oxford, in some ideal and better world, in that case all they have
said--waiving its falsehoods of fact--is no more than a flourish of
rhetoric, and the whole discussion may be referred to the shadowy
combats of scholastic declamation-mongers--those mock gladiators, and
_umbratiles doctores_. But if, on the other hand, they pretend to
take their station upon the known basis of some existing institution,--
if they will pretend that, in this impeachment of Oxford, they are
proceeding upon a silent comparison with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jena,
Leipsic, Padua, &c.,--then are they self-exposed, as men not only
without truth, but without shame. For now comes in, as a sudden
revelation, and as a sort of _deus ex machina_, for the vindication
of the truth, the simple answer to that question proposed above,
Wherefore, and to what end, are the vast edifices of Oxford? A
university, as universities are in general, needs not, I have shown, to
be a visible body--a building raised with hands. Wherefore, then, is
the _visible_ Oxford? To what _fifth_ end, refining upon the
ordinary ends of such institutions, is the far-stretching system of
Oxford _hospitia_, or monastic hotels, directed by their founders,
or applied by their present possessors? Hearken, reader, to the answer:

These vast piles are applied to an end, absolutely indispensable to any
even tolerable system of discipline, and yet absolutely unattainable
upon any commensurate scale in any other university of Europe. They are
applied to the personal settlement and domestication of the students
within the gates and walls of that college to whose discipline they are
amenable. Everywhere else the young men live _where_ they please
and _as_ they please; necessarily distributed amongst the towns-
people; in any case, therefore, liable to no control or supervision
whatever; and in those cases where the university forms but a small
part of a vast capital city, as it does in Paris, Edinburgh, Madrid,
Vienna, Berlin, and Petersburg, liable to every mode of positive
temptation and distraction, which besiege human life in high-viced and
luxurious communities. Here, therefore, it is a mockery to talk of
discipline; of a nonentity there can be no qualities; and we need not
ask for the description of the discipline in situations where
discipline there can be none. One slight anomaly I have heard of as
varying _pro tanto_ the uniform features of this picture. In
Glasgow I have heard of an arrangement by which young academicians are
placed in the family of a professor. Here, as members of a private
household, and that household under the presiding eye of a
conscientious, paternal, and judicious scholar, doubtless they would
enjoy as absolute a shelter from peril and worldly contagion as parents
could wish; but not _more_ absolute, I affirm, than belongs,
unavoidably, to the monastic seclusion of an Oxford college--the gates
of which open to no egress after nine o'clock at night, nor after
eleven to any ingress which is not regularly reported to a proper
officer of the establishment. The two forms of restraint are, as
respects the effectual amount of control, equal; and were they equally
diffused, Glasgow and Oxford would, in this point, stand upon the same
level of discipline. But it happens that the Glasgow case was a
personal accident; personal, both as regarded him who volunteered the
exercise of this control, and those who volunteered to appropriate its
benefits; whereas the Oxford case belongs to the very system, is
coextensive with the body of undergraduates, and, from the very
arrangement of Oxford life, is liable to no decay or intermission.

Here, then, the reader apprehends the first great characteristic
distinction of Oxford--that distinction which extorted the rapturous
admiration of Lipsius as an exponent of enormous wealth, but which I
now mention as applying, with ruinous effect, to the late calumnies
upon Oxford, as an inseparable exponent of her meritorious discipline.
She, most truly and severely an "Alma Mater" gathers all the juvenile
part of her flock within her own fold, and beneath her own vigilant
supervision. In Cambridge there is, so far, a laxer administration of
this rule, that, when any college overflows, undergraduates are allowed
to lodge at large in the town. But in Oxford this increase of peril and
discretionary power is thrown by preference upon the senior graduates,
who are seldom below the age of twenty-two or twenty-three; and the
college accommodations are reserved, in almost their whole extent, for
the most youthful part of the society. This extent is prodigious. Even
in my time, upwards of two thousand persons were lodged within the
colleges; none having fewer than two rooms, very many having three, and
men of rank, or luxurious habits, having often large suites of rooms.
But that was a time of war, which Oxford experience has shown to have
operated most disproportionably as a drain upon the numbers disposable
for liberal studies; and the total capacity of the university was far
from being exhausted. There are now, I believe, between five and six
thousand names upon the Oxford books; and more than four thousand, I
understand, of constant residents. So that Oxford is well able to
lodge, and on a very sumptuous scale, a small army of men; which
expression of her great splendor I now mention (as I repeat) purely as
applying to the question of her machinery for enforcing discipline.
This part of her machinery, it will be seen, is unique, and absolutely
peculiar to herself. Other universities, boasting no such enormous
wealth, cannot be expected to act upon her system of seclusion.
Certainly, I make it no reproach to other universities, that, not
possessing the means of sequestering their young men from worldly
communion, they must abide by the evils of a laxer discipline. It is
their misfortune, and not their criminal neglect, which consents to so
dismal a relaxation of academic habits. But let them not urge this
misfortune in excuse at one time, and at another virtually disavow it.
Never let _them_ take up a stone to throw at Oxford, upon this
element of a wise education; since in them, through that original vice
in their constitution, the defect of all means for secluding and
insulating their society, discipline is abolished by anticipation--
being, in fact, an impossible thing; for the walls of the college are
subservient to no purpose of life, but only to a purpose of
convenience; they converge the students for the hour or two of what is
called lecture; which over, each undergraduate again becomes _sui
juris_, is again absorbed into the crowds of the world, resorts to
whatsoever haunts he chooses, and finally closes his day at----if, in
any sense, at home--at a home which is not merely removed from the
supervision and control, but altogether from the bare knowledge, of his
academic superiors. How far this discipline is well administered in
other points at Oxford, will appear from the rest of my account. But,
thus far, at least, it must be conceded, that Oxford, by and through
this one unexampled distinction--her vast disposable fund of
accommodations for junior members within her own private cloisters--
possesses an advantage which she could not forfeit, if she would,
towards an effectual knowledge of each man's daily habits, and a
control over him which is all but absolute.

This knowledge and this control is much assisted and concentrated by
the division of the university into separate colleges. Here comes
another feature of the Oxford system. Elsewhere the university is a
single college; and this college is the university. But in Oxford the
university expresses, as it were, the army, and the colleges express
the several brigades, or regiments.

To resume, therefore, my own thread of personal narration. On the next
morning after my arrival in Oxford, I assembled a small council of
friends to assist me in determining at which of the various separate
societies I should enter, and whether as a "commoner," or as a
"gentleman commoner." Under the first question was couched the
following latitude of choice: I give the names of the colleges, and the
numerical account of their numbers, as it stood in January, 1832; for
this will express, as well as the list of that day, (which I do not
accurately know), the _proportions_ of importance amongst them.

                                          Mem.
  1. University College ................. 207
  2. Balliol         "  ................. 257
  3. Merton          "  ................. 124
  4. Exeter          "  ................. 299
  5. Oriel           "  ................. 293
  6. Queen's         "  ................. 351
  7. New             "  ................. 157
  8. Lincoln         "  ................. 141
  9. All Souls'      "  .................  98
  10. Magdalene      "  ................. 165
  11. Brazennose     "  ................. 418
  12. Corpus Christi "  ................. 127
  13. Christ Church  "  ................. 949
  14. Trinity        "  ................. 259
  15. St. John's     "  ................. 218
  16. Jesus          "  ................. 167
  17. Wadham         "  ................. 217
  18. Pembroke       "  ................. 189
  19. Worcester      "  ................. 231

Then, besides these colleges, five _Halls_, as they are technically
called, (the term _Hall_ implying chiefly that they are societies not
endowed, or not endowed with fellowships as the colleges are), namely:

                                    Mem.
  1. St. Mary Hall.  ..............  83
  2. Magdalen   "    .............. 178
  3. New Inn    "    ..............  10
  4. St. Alban  "    ..............  41
  5. St. Edmund "    ..............  96

Such being the names, and general proportions on the scale of local
importance, attached to the different communities, next comes the very
natural question, What are the chief determining motives for guiding
the selection amongst them? These I shall state. First of all, a man
not otherwise interested in the several advantages of the colleges has,
however, in all probability, some choice between a small society and a
large one; and thus far a mere ocular inspection of the list will serve
to fix his preference. For my part, supposing other things equal, I
greatly preferred the most populous college, as being that in which any
single member, who might have reasons for standing aloof from the
general habits of expense, of intervisiting, etc., would have the best
chance of escaping a jealous notice. However, amongst those "other
things" which I presumed equal, one held a high place in my estimation,
which a little inquiry showed to be very far from equal. All the
colleges have chapels, but all have not organs; nor, amongst those
which have, is the same large use made of the organ. Some preserve the
full cathedral service; others do not. Christ Church, meantime,
fulfilled _all_ conditions: for the chapel here happens to be the
cathedral of the diocese; the service, therefore, is full and
ceremonial; the college, also, is far the most splendid, both in
numbers, rank, wealth, and influence. Hither I resolved to go; and
immediately I prepared to call on the head.

The "head," as he is called generically, of an Oxford college (his
_specific_ appellation varies almost with every college--
principal, provost, master, rector, warden, etc.), is a greater man
than the uninitiated suppose. His situation is generally felt as
conferring a degree of rank not much less than episcopal; and, in fact,
the head of Brazennose at that time, who happened to be the Bishop of
Bangor, was not held to rank much above his brothers in office. Such
being the rank of heads generally, _a fortiori_, that of Christ
Church was to be had in reverence; and this I knew. He is always, _ex
officio_, dean of the diocese; and, in his quality of college head,
he only, of all deans that ever were heard of, is uniformly considered
a greater man than his own diocesan. But it happened that the present
dean had even higher titles to consideration. Dr. Cyril Jackson had
been tutor to the Prince of Wales (George IV.); he had repeatedly
refused a bishopric; and _that_, perhaps, is entitled to place a
man one degree above him who has accepted one. He was also supposed to
have made a bishop, and afterwards, at least, it is certain that lie
made his own brother a bishop. All things weighed, Dr. Cyril Jackson
seemed so very great a personage that I now felt the value of my long
intercourse with great Dons in giving me confidence to face a lion of
this magnitude.

Those who know Oxford are aware of the peculiar feelings which have
gathered about the name and pretensions of Christ Church; feelings of
superiority and leadership in the members of that college, and often
enough of defiance and jealousy on the part of other colleges. Hence it
happens that you rarely find yourself in a shop, or other place of
public resort, with a Christ-Church man, but he takes occasion, if
young and frivolous, to talk loudly of the Dean, as an indirect
expression of his own connection with this splendid college; the title
of _Dean_ being exclusively attached to the headship of Christ
Church. The Dean, as may be supposed, partakes in this superior dignity
of his "House;" he is officially brought into connection with all
orders of the British aristocracy--often with royal personages; and
with the younger branches of the aristocracy his office places him in a
relation of authority and guardianship--exercised, however, through
inferior ministry, and seldom by direct personal interference. The
reader must understand that, with rare exceptions, all the princes and
nobles of Great Britain, who choose to benefit by an academic
education, resort either to Christ Church College in Oxford, or to
Trinity College in Cambridge; these are the alternatives. Naturally
enough, my young friends were somewhat startled at my determination to
call upon so great a man; a letter, they fancied, would be a better
mode of application. I, however, who did not adopt the doctrine that no
man is a hero to his valet, was of opinion that very few men indeed are
heroes to themselves. The cloud of external pomp, which invests them to
the eyes of the _attoniti_ cannot exist to their own; they do not,
like Kehama, entering the eight gates of Padalon at once, meet and
contemplate their own grandeurs; but, more or less, are conscious of
acting a part. I did not, therefore, feel the tremor which was expected
of a novice, on being ushered into so solemn a presence.


II.

OXFORD.



The Dean was sitting in a spacious library or study, elegantly, if not
luxuriously furnished. Footmen, stationed as repeaters, as if at some
fashionable rout, gave a momentary importance to my unimportant self,
by the thundering tone of their annunciations. All the machinery of
aristocratic life seemed indeed to intrench this great Don's
approaches; and I was really surprised that so very great a man should
condescend to rise on my entrance. But I soon found that, if the Dean's
station and relation to the higher orders had made him lofty, those
same relations had given a peculiar suavity to his manners. Here,
indeed, as on other occasions, I noticed the essential misconception,
as to the demeanor of men of rank, which prevails amongst those who
have no personal access to their presence. In the fabulous pictures of
novels (such novels as once abounded), and in newspaper reports of
conversations, real or pretended, between the king and inferior
persons, we often find the writer expressing _his_ sense of
aristocratic assumption, by making the king address people without
their titles. The Duke of Wellington, for instance, or Lord Liverpool,
figures usually, in such scenes, as "Wellington," or "Arthur," and as
"Liverpool." Now, as to the private talk of George IV. in such cases, I
do not pretend to depose; but, speaking generally, I may say that the
practice of the highest classes takes the very opposite course. Nowhere
is a man so sure of his titles or official distinctions as amongst
_them_; for, it is upon giving to every man the very extreme
punctilio of his known or supposed claims, that they rely for the due
observance of their own. Neglecting no form of courtesy suited to the
case, they seek, in this way, to remind men unceasingly of what they
expect; and the result is what I represent--that people in the highest
stations, and such as bring them continually into contact with
inferiors, are, of all people, the least addicted to insolence or
defect of courtesy. Uniform suavity of manner is indeed rarely found,
except in men of high rank. Doubtless this may arise upon a motive of
self-interest, jealous of giving the least opening or invitation to the
retorts of ill-temper or low breeding. But, whatever be its origin,
such I believe to be the fact. In a very long conversation of a general
nature upon the course of my studies, and the present direction of my
reading, Dr. Cyril Jackson treated me just as he would have done his
equal in station and in age. Coming, at length, to the particular
purpose of my visit at this time to himself, he assumed a little more
of his official stateliness. He condescended to say that it would have
given him pleasure to reckon me amongst his flock; "But, sir," he said,
in a tone of some sharpness, "your guardians have acted improperly. It
was their duty to have given me at least one year's notice of their
intention to place you at Christ Church. At present I have not a dog-
kennel in my college untenanted." Upon this, I observed that nothing
remained for me to do but to apologize for having occupied so much of
his time; that, for myself, I now first heard of this preliminary
application; and that, as to my guardians, I was bound to acquit them
of all oversight in this instance, they being no parties to my present
scheme. The Dean expressed his astonishment at this statement. I, on my
part, was just then making my parting bows, and had reached the door,
when a gesture of the Dean's, courteously waving me back to the sofa I
had quitted, invited me to resume my explanations; and I had a
conviction at the moment that the interview would have terminated in
the Dean's suspending his standing rule in my favor. But, just at that
moment, the thundering heralds of the Dean's hall announced some man of
high rank: the sovereign of Christ Church seemed distressed for a
moment; but then recollecting himself, bowed in a way to indicate that
I was dismissed. And thus it happened that I did not become a member of
Christ Church.

A few days passed in thoughtless indecision. At the end of that time, a
trivial difficulty arose to settle my determination. I had brought
about fifty guineas to Oxford; but the expenses of an Oxford inn, with
almost daily entertainments to young friends, had made such inroads
upon this sum, that, after allowing for the contingencies incident to a
college initiation, enough would not remain to meet the usual demand
for what is called "caution money." This is a small sum, properly
enough demanded of every student, when matriculated, as a pledge for
meeting any loss from unsettled arrears, such as his sudden death or
his unannounced departure might else continually be inflicting upon his
college. By releasing the college, therefore, from all necessity for
degrading vigilance or persecution, this demand does, in effect,
operate beneficially to the feelings of all parties. In most colleges
it amounts to twenty-five pounds: in one only it was considerably less.
And this trifling consideration it was, concurring with a reputation
_at that time_ for relaxed discipline, which finally determined me
in preferring W--- College to all others. This college had the capital
disadvantage, in my eyes, that its chapel possessed no organ, and no
musical service. But any other choice would have driven me to an
instant call for more money--a measure which, as too flagrantly in
contradiction to the whole terms on which I had volunteered to
undertake an Oxford life, I could not find nerves to face.

At W---- College, therefore, I entered: and here arises the proper
occasion for stating the true costs of an Oxford education. First comes
the question of _lodging_. This item varies, as may be supposed;
but my own case will place on record the two extremes of cost in one
particular college, nowadays differing, I believe, from the general
standard. The first rooms assigned me, being small and ill-lighted, as
part of an old Gothic building, were charged at four guineas a year.
These I soon exchanged for others a little better, and for them I paid
six guineas. Finally, by privilege of seniority, I obtained a handsome
set of well-proportioned rooms, in a modern section of the college,
charged at ten guineas a year. This set was composed of three rooms;
namely, an airy bedroom, a study, and a spacious room for receiving
visitors. This range of accommodation is pretty general in Oxford, and,
upon the whole, may be taken perhaps as representing the average amount
of luxury in this respect, and at the average amount of cost. The
furniture and the fittings up of these rooms cost me about twenty-five
guineas; for the Oxford rule is, that if you take the rooms (which is
at your own option), in that case, you _third_ the furniture and
the embellishments--that is, you succeed to the total cost diminished
by one third. You pay, therefore, two guineas out of each three to your
_immediate_ predecessor. But, as he also may have succeeded to the
furniture upon the same terms, whenever there happens to have been a
rapid succession of occupants, the original cost to a remote
predecessor is sometimes brought down, by this process of diminution,
to a mere fraction of the true value; and yet no individual occupant
can complain of any heavy loss. Whilst upon this subject, I may observe
that, in the seventeenth century, in Milton's time, for example (about
1624), and for more than sixty years after that era, the practice of
_chumship_ prevailed: every set of chambers was possessed by two
cooccupants; they had generally the same bed-room, and a common study;
and they were called _chums_. This practice, once all but universal, is
now entirely extinct; and the extinction serves to mark the advance of
the country, not so much in luxury as in refinement.

The next item which I shall notice is that which in college bills is
expressed by the word _Tutorage_. This is the same in all colleges,
I believe, namely, ten guineas per annum. And this head suggests
an explanation which is most important to the reputation of Oxford,
and fitted to clear up a very extensive delusion. Some years ago,
a most elaborate statement was circulated of the number and costly
endowment of the Oxford professorships. Some thirty or more there were,
it was alleged, and five or six only which were not held as absolute
sinecures. Now, this is a charge which I am not here meaning to
discuss. Whether defensible or not, I do not now inquire. It is the
practical interpretation and construction of this charge which I here
wish to rectify. In most universities, except those of England, the
professors are the body on whom devolves the whole duty and burthen of
teaching; they compose the sole fountains of instruction; and if these
fountains fail, the fair inference is, that the one great purpose of
the institution is defeated. But this inference, valid for all other
places, is not so for Oxford and Cambridge. And here, again, the
difference arises out of the peculiar distribution of these bodies into
separate and independent colleges. Each college takes upon itself the
regular instruction of its separate inmates--of these and of no others;
and for this office it appoints, after careful selection, trial, and
probation, the best qualified amongst those of its senior members who
choose to undertake a trust of such heavy responsibility. These
officers are called Tutors; and they are connected by duties and by
accountability, not with the university at all, but with their own
private colleges. The professors, on the other hand, are _public_
functionaries, not connected (as respects the exercise of their duties)
with any college whatsoever--not even with their own--but altogether
and exclusively with the whole university. Besides the public tutors
appointed in each college, on the scale of one to each dozen or score
of students, there are also tutors strictly private, who attend any
students in search of special and extraordinary aid, on terms settled
privately by themselves. Of these persons, or their existence, the
college takes no cognizance; but between the two classes of tutors, the
most studious young men--those who would be most likely to avail
themselves of the lectures read by the professors--have their whole
time pretty severely occupied: and the inference from all this is, not
only that the course of Oxford education would suffer little if no
professors at all existed, but also that, if the existing professors
were _ex abundanti_ to volunteer the most exemplary spirit of
exertion, however much this spectacle of conscientious dealing might
edify the university, it would contribute but little to the promotion
of academic purposes. The establishment of professors is, in fact, a
thing of ornament and pomp. Elsewhere, they are the working servants;
but, in Oxford, the ministers corresponding to them bear another
name,--they are called _Tutors_. These are the working agents in the
Oxford system; and the professors, with salaries in many cases merely
nominal, are persons sequestered, and properly sequestered, to the
solitary cultivation and advancement of knowledge, which a different
order of men is appointed to communicate.

Here let us pause for one moment, to notice another peculiarity in the
Oxford system, upon the tendency of which I shall confidently make my
appeal to the good sense of all unprejudiced readers. I have said that
the _tutors_ of Oxford correspond to the _professors_ of
other universities. But this correspondence, which is absolute and
unquestionable as regards the point then at issue,--namely, where we
are to look for that limb of the establishment on which rests the main
teaching agency,--is liable to considerable qualification, when we
examine the mode of their teaching. In both cases, this is conveyed by
what is termed "lecturing;"--but what is the meaning of a lecture in
Oxford and elsewhere? Elsewhere, it means a solemn dissertation, read,
or sometimes histrionically declaimed, by the professor. In Oxford, it
means an exercise performed orally by the students, occasionally
assisted by the tutor, and subject, in its whole course, to his
corrections, and what may be called his _scholia_, or collateral
suggestions and improvements. Now, differ as men may as to other
features of the Oxford, compared with the hostile system, here I
conceive that there is no room for doubt or demur. An Oxford lecture
imposes a real, _bona fide_ task upon the student; it will not
suffer him to fall asleep, either literally or in the energies of his
understanding; it is a real drill, under the excitement, perhaps, of
personal competition, and under the review of a superior scholar. But,
in Germany, under the declamations of the professor, the young men are
often literally sleeping; nor is it easy to see how the attention can
be kept from wandering, on this plan, which subjects the auditor to no
risk of sudden question or personal appeal. As to the prizes given for
essays, etc., by the professors, these have the effect of drawing forth
latent talent, but they can yield no criterion of the attention paid to
the professor; not to say that the competition for these prizes is a
matter of choice. Sometimes it is true that examinations take place;
but the Oxford lecture is a daily examination; and, waiving _that_,
what chance is there (I would ask) for searching examinations, for
examinations conducted with the requisite _auctoritas_ (or weight of
influence derived from personal qualities), if--which may Heaven
prevent!--the German tenure of professorships were substituted for our
British one: that is, if for independent and liberal teachers were
substituted poor mercenary haberdashers of knowledge--cap in hand to
opulent students--servile to their caprices--and, at one blow,
degrading the science they profess, the teacher, and the pupil? Yet I
hear that such advice _was_ given to a Royal Commission, sent to
investigate one or more of the Scottish universities. In the German
universities, every professor holds his situation, not in his good
behavior, but on the capricious pleasure of the young men who resort to
his market. He opens a shop, in fact: others, without limit, generally
men of no credit or known respectability, are allowed to open rival
shops; and the result is, sometimes, that the whole kennel of scoundrel
professors ruin one another; each standing with his mouth open, to leap
at any bone thrown amongst them, from the table of the "Burschen;" all
hating, fighting, calumniating each other, until the land is sick of
its base knowledge-mongers, and would vomit the loathsome crew, were
any natural channel open to their instincts of abhorrence. The most
important of the Scottish professorships--those which are fundamentally
morticed to the moral institutions of the land--are upon the footing of
Oxford tutorships, as regards emoluments; that is, they are not
suffered to keep up a precarious mendicant existence, upon the alms of
the students, or upon their fickle admirations. It is made imperative
upon a candidate for admission into the ministry of the Scottish Kirk,
that he shall show a certificate of attendance through a given number
of seasons at given lectures.

The next item in the quarterly (or, technically, the _term_) bills
of Oxford is for servants. This, in my college, and, I believe, in all
others, amounted, nominally, to two guineas a year. That sum, however,
was paid to a principal servant, whom, perhaps, you seldom or never
saw; the actual attendance upon yourself being performed by one of his
deputies; and to this deputy--who is, in effect, a _factotum_,
combining in his single person all the functions of chambermaid, valet,
waiter at meals, and porter or errand-boy--by the custom of the place
and your own sense of propriety, you cannot but give something or other
in the shape of perquisites. I was told, on entering, that half a
guinea a quarter was the customary allowance,--the same sum, in fact,
as was levied by the college for his principal; but I gave mine a
guinea a quarter, thinking that little enough for the many services he
performed; and others, who were richer than myself, I dare say, often
gave much more. Yet, sometimes, it struck me, from the gratitude which
his looks testified, on my punctual payment of this guinea,--for it was
the only bill with regard to which I troubled myself to practise any
severe punctuality,--that perhaps some thoughtless young man might give
him less, or might even forget to give anything; and, at all events, I
have reason to believe that half that sum would have contented him.
These minutiae I record purposely; my immediate object being to give a
rigorous statement of the real expenses incident to an English
university education, partly as a guide to the calculations of parents,
and partly as an answer to the somewhat libellous exaggerations which
are current on this subject, in times like these, when even the truth
itself, and received in a spirit of candor the most indulgent, may be
all too little to defend these venerable seats of learning from the
ruin which seems brooding over them. Yet, no! Abominable is the
language of despair even in a desperate situation. And, therefore,
Oxford, ancient mother! and thou, Cambridge, twin-light of England! be
vigilant and erect, for the enemy stands at all your gates! Two
centuries almost have passed since the boar was within your vineyards,
laying waste and desolating your heritage. Yet that storm was not
final, nor that eclipse total. May this also prove but a trial and a
shadow of affliction! which affliction, may it prove to you, mighty
incorporations, what, sometimes, it is to us, poor, frail
_homunculi_--a process of purification, a solemn and oracular
warning! And, when that cloud is overpast, then, rise, ancient powers,
wiser and better--ready, like the _lampudæphoroi_ of old, to enter
upon a second _stadium_, and to transmit the sacred torch through
a second period of twice [Footnote: Oxford may confessedly claim a
duration of that extent; and the pretensions of Cambridge, in that
respect, if less aspiring, are, however, as I believe, less accurately
determined.] five hundred years. So prays a loyal _alumnus_, whose
presumption, if any be, in taking upon himself a monitory tone, is
privileged by zeal and filial anxiety.

To return, however, into the track from which I have digressed. The
reader will understand that any student is at liberty to have private
servants of his own, as many and of what denomination he pleases. This
point, as many others of a merely personal bearing, when they happen to
stand in no relation to public discipline, neither the university nor
the particular college of the student feels summoned or even authorized
to deal with. Neither, in fact, does any other university in Europe;
and why, then, notice the case? Simply thus: if the Oxford discipline,
in this particular chapter, has nothing special or peculiar about it,
yet the case to which it applies _has_, and is almost exclusively
found in our universities. On the continent it happens most rarely that
a student has any funds disposable for luxuries so eminently such as
grooms or footmen; but at Oxford and Cambridge the case occurs often
enough to attract notice from the least vigilant eye. And thus we find
set down to the credit account of other universities the non-existence
of luxury in this or other modes, whilst, meantime, it is well known to
the fair inquirer that each or all are indulgences, not at all or so
much as in idea proscribed by the sumptuary edicts of those
universities; but, simply, by the lower scale of their general
revenues. And this lower scale, it will be said--how do you account for
that? I answer, not so much by the general inferiority of continental
Europe to Great Britain in _diffusive_ wealth (though that argument
goes for something, it being notorious that, whilst immoderate
wealth, concentrated in a small number of hands, exists in various
continental states upon a larger scale than with us, moderately large
estates, on the other hand, are, with them, as one to two hundred, or
even two hundred and fifty, in comparison of ours), but chiefly upon
this fact, which is too much overlooked, that the foreign universities
are not peopled from the wealthiest classes, which are the class either
already noble, or wishing to become such. And why is that? Purely from
the vicious constitution of society on the continent, where all the
fountains of honor lie in the military profession or in the diplomatic.
We English, haters and revilers of ourselves beyond all precedent,
disparagers of our own eminent advantages beyond all sufferance of
honor or good sense, and daily playing into the hands of foreign
enemies, who hate us out of mere envy or shame, have amongst us some
hundreds of writers who will die or suffer martyrdom upon this
proposition--that aristocracy, and the spirit and prejudices of
aristocracy, are more operative (more effectually and more extensively
operative) amongst ourselves, than in any other known society of men.
Now, I, who believe all errors to arise in some narrow, partial, or
angular view of truth, am seldom disposed to meet any sincere
affirmation by a blank, unmodified denial. Knowing, therefore, that
some acute observers do really believe this doctrine as to the
aristocratic forces, and the way in which they mould English society, I
cannot but suppose that some symptoms do really exist of such a
phenomenon; and the only remark I shall here make on the case is this,
that, very often, where any force or influence reposes upon deep
realities, and upon undisturbed foundations, _there_ will be the
least heard of loquacious and noisy expressions of its power; which
expressions arise most, not where the current is most violent, but
where (being possibly the weakest) it is most fretted with resistance.

In England, the very reason why the aristocratic feeling makes itself
so sensibly felt and so distinctly an object of notice to the
censorious observer is, because it maintains a troubled existence
amongst counter and adverse influences, so many and so potent. This
might be illustrated abundantly. But, as respects the particular
question before me, it will be sufficient to say this: With us the
profession and exercise of knowledge, as a means of livelihood, is
honorable; on the continent it is not so. The knowledge, for instance,
which is embodied in the three learned professions, does, with us, lead
to distinction and civil importance; no man can pretend to deny this;
nor, by consequence, that the professors personally take rank with the
highest order of gentlemen. Are they not, I demand, everywhere with us
on the same footing, in point of rank and consideration, as those who
bear the king's commission in the army and navy? Can this be affirmed
of the continent, either generally, or, indeed, partially? I say,
_no_. Let us take Germany, as an illustration. Many towns (for
anything I know, all) present us with a regular bisection of the
resident _notables_, or wealthier class, into two distinct (often
hostile) coteries: one being composed of those who are "_noble_;"
the other, of families equally well educated and accomplished, but
_not_, in the continental sense, "noble." The meaning and value of
the word is so entirely misapprehended by the best English writers,
being, in fact, derived from our own way of applying it, that it
becomes important to ascertain its true value. A "nobility," which is
numerous enough to fill a separate ball-room in every sixth-rate town,
it needs no argument to show, cannot be a nobility in any English
sense. In fact, an _edelmann_ or nobleman, in the German sense, is
strictly what we mean by a _born gentleman_; with this one only
difference, that, whereas, with us, the rank which denominates a man
such passes off by shades so insensible, and almost infinite, into the
ranks below, that it becomes impossible to assign it any strict
demarkation or lines of separation; on the contrary, the continental
noble points to certain fixed barriers, in the shape of privileges,
which divide him, _per saltum_, from those who are below his own
order. But were it not for this one legal benefit of accurate
circumscription and slight favor, the continental noble, whether Baron
of Germany, Count of France, or Prince of Sicily and of Russia, is
simply on a level with the common landed _esquire_ of Britain, and
_not_ on a level in very numerous cases.

Such being the case, how paramount must be the spirit of aristocracy in
continental society! Our _haute noblesse_--our genuine nobility,
who are such in the general feeling of their compatriots--will do
_that_ which the phantom of nobility of the continent will not:
the spurious nobles of Germany will not mix, on equal terms, with their
untitled fellow-citizens, living in the same city and in the same style
as themselves; they will not meet them in the same ball or concert-
room. Our great territorial nobility, though sometimes forming
exclusive circles (but not, however, upon any principle of high birth),
do so daily. They mix as equal partakers in the same amusements of
races, balls, musical assemblies, with the baronets (or _elite_ of
the gentry); with the landed esquires (or middle gentry); with the
superior order of tradesmen (who, in Germany, are absolute ciphers, for
political weight, or social consideration, but, with us, constitute the
lower and broader stratum of the nobilitas, [Footnote: It may be
necessary to inform some readers that the word _noble_, by which
so large a system of imposition and fraud, as to the composition of
foreign society, has long been practised upon the credulity of the
British, corresponds to our word _gentlemanly_ (or, rather, to the
vulgar word _genteel_, if that word were ever used legally, or
_extra gradum_), not merely upon the argument of its _virtual_
and operative value in the general estimate of men (that is,
upon the argument that a count, baron, &c., does not, _qua_
such, command any deeper feeling of respect or homage than a British
esquire), but also upon the fact, that, originally, in all English
registers, as, for instance, in the Oxford matriculation registers, all
the upper gentry (knights, esquires, &c.) are technically designated by
the word _nobiles_.--_See Chambeilayuc_, &c.] or gentry). The
obscure baronage of Germany, it is undeniable, insist upon having "an
atmosphere of their own;" whilst the Howards, the Stanleys, the
Talbots, of England; the Hamiltons, the Douglases, the Gordons, of
Scotland, are content to acknowledge a sympathy with the liberal part
of their untitled countrymen, in that point which most searchingly
tries the principle of aristocratic pride, namely, in their pleasures.
To have the same pursuits of business with another, may be a result of
accident or position; to have the same pleasures, being a matter of
choice, argues a community of nature in the _moral_ sensibilities,
in that part of our constitution which differences one man from another
in the capacities of greatness and elevation. As with their amusements,
so with their graver employments; the same mutual repulsion continues
to divide the two orders through life.

The nobles either live in gloomy seclusion upon their private funds,
wherever the privilege of primogeniture has enabled them to do so; or,
having no funds at all (the case of ninety-nine in one hundred), they
go into the army; that profession, the profession of arms, being
regarded as the only one compatible with an _edelmann's_ pretensions.
Such was once the feeling in England; such is still the feeling
on the continent. It is a prejudice naturally clinging to a
semi-barbarous (because growing out of a barbarous) state, and, in its
degree, clinging to every stage of imperfect civilization; and, were
there no other argument, this would be a sufficient one, that England,
under free institutions, has outrun the continent, in real
civilization, by a century; a fact which is concealed by the forms of
luxurious refinement in a few exclusive classes, too often usurping the
name and honors of radical civilization.

From the super-appreciation of the military profession arises a
corresponding contempt of all other professions whatsoever _paid by
fellow-citizens_, and not by the king or the state. The clerical
profession is in the most abject degradation throughout Southern
Germany; and the reason why this forces itself less imperiously upon
the public notice is, that, in rural situations, from the absence of a
resident gentry (speaking generally), the pastor is brought into rare
collision with those who style themselves _noble_; whilst, in
towns, the clergy find people enough to countenance those who, being in
the same circumstances as to comfort and liberal education, are also
under the same ban of rejection from the "nobility," or born gentry.
The legal profession is equally degraded; even a barrister or advocate
holds a place in the public esteem little differing from that of an Old
Bailey attorney of the worst class. And this result is the less liable
to modification from personal qualities, inasmuch as there is no great
theatre (as with us) for individual display. Forensic eloquence is
unknown in Germany, as it is too generally on the continent, from the
defect of all popular or open judicatures. A similar defect of
deliberative assemblies--such, at least, as represent any popular
influences and debate with open doors--intercepts the very possibility
of senatorial eloquence. [Footnote: The subject is amusingly
illustrated by an anecdote of Goethe, recorded by himself in his
autobiography. Some physiognomist, or phrenologist, had found out, in
Goethe's structure of head, the sure promise of a great orator.
"Strange infatuation of nature!" observes Goethe, on this assurance,
"to endow me so richly and liberally for that particular destination
which only the institutions of my country render impossible. Music for
the deaf! Eloquence without an audience!"] That of the pulpit only
remains. But even of this--whether it be from want of the excitement
and contagious emulation from the other fields of oratory, or from the
peculiar genius of Lutheranism--no models have yet arisen that could,
for one moment, sustain a comparison with those of England or France.
The highest names in this department would not, to a foreign ear, carry
with them any of that significance or promise which surrounds the names
of Jeremy Taylor or Barrow, Bossuet or Bourdaloue, to those even who
have no personal acquaintance with their works. This absence of all
fields for gathering public distinctions cooperates, in a very powerful
way, with the contempt of the born gentry, to degrade these
professions; and this double agency is, a third time, reinforced by
those political arrangements which deny every form of state honor or
conspicuous promotion to the very highest description of excellence,
whether of the bar, the pulpit, or the civic council. Not "the fluent
Murray," or the accomplished Erskine, from the English bar--not
Pericles or Demosthenes, from the fierce democracies of Greece--not
Paul preaching at Athens--could snatch a wreath from public homage, nor
a distinction from the state, nor found an influence, nor leave behind
them an operative model, in Germany, as now constituted. Other walks of
emolument are still more despised. Alfieri, a continental "noble," that
is, a born gentleman, speaks of bankers as we in England should of a
Jewish usurer, or tricking money-changer. The liberal trades, such as
those which minister to literature or the fine arts, which, with us,
confer the station of gentleman upon those who exercise them, are, in
the estimate of a continental "noble," fitted to assign a certain rank
or place in the train and equipage of a gentleman, but not to entitle
their most eminent professors to sit down, except by sufferance, in his
presence. And, upon this point, let not the reader derive his notions
from the German books: the vast majority of German authors are not
"noble;" and, of those who are, nine tenths are liberal in this
respect, and speak the language of liberality, not by sympathy with
their own order, or as representing _their_ feelings, but in virtue
of democratic or revolutionary politics.

Such as the rank is, and the public estimation of the leading
professions, such is the natural condition of the universities which
rear them. The "nobles" going generally into the army, or leading lives
of indolence, the majority by far of those who resort to universities
do so as a means of future livelihood. Few seek an academic life in
Germany who have either money to throw away on superfluities and
external show, or who have such a rank to support as might stimulate
their pride to expenses beyond their means. Parsimony is, therefore, in
these places, the governing law; and pleasure, not less fervently wooed
than at Oxford or at Cambridge, putting off her robes of elegance and
ceremony, descends to grossness, and not seldom to abject brutality.

The sum of my argument is--that, because, in comparison of the army, no
other civil profession is, in itself, held of sufficient dignity; and
not less, perhaps, because, under governments essentially unpopular,
none of these professions has been so dignified artificially by the
state, or so attached to any ulterior promotion, either through the
state or in the state, as to meet the demands of aristocratic pride--
none of them is cultivated as a means of distinction, but originally as
a means of livelihood; that the universities, as the nurseries of these
unhonored professions, share naturally in _their_ degradation; and
that, from this double depreciation of the place and its final objects,
few or none resort thither who can be supposed to bring any extra funds
for supporting a system of luxury; that the general temperance, or
sobriety of demeanor, is far enough, however, from keeping pace with
the absence of costly show; and that, for this absence even, we are to
thank their poverty rather than their will. It is to the great honor,
in my opinion, of our own country, that those often resort to her
fountains who have no motive but that of disinterested reverence for
knowledge; seeking, as all men perceive, neither emolument directly
from university funds, nor knowledge as the means of emolument.
Doubtless, it is neither dishonorable, nor, on a large scale, possible
to be otherwise, that students should pursue their academic career
chiefly as ministerial to their capital object of a future livelihood.
But still I contend that it is for the interest of science and good
letters that a considerable body of volunteers should gather about
their banners, without pay or hopes of preferment. This takes place on
a larger scale at Oxford and Cambridge than elsewhere; and it is but a
trivial concession in return, on the part of the university, that she
should allow, even if she had the right to withhold, the privilege of
living within her walls as they would have lived at their fathers'
seats; with one only reserve, applied to all modes of expense that are,
in themselves, immoral excesses, or occasions of scandal, or of a
nature to interfere too much with the natural hours of study, or
specially fitted to tempt others of narrower means to ruinous
emulation.

Upon these principles, as it seems to me, the discipline of the
university is founded. The keeping of hunters, for example, is
unstatutable. Yet, on the other hand, it is felt to be inevitable that
young men of high spirit, familiar with this amusement, will find means
to pursue it in defiance of all the powers, however exerted, that can
properly be lodged in the hands of academic officers. The range of the
proctor's jurisdiction is limited by positive law; and what should
hinder a young man, bent upon his pleasure, from fixing the station of
his hunter a few miles out of Oxford, and riding to cover on a hack,
unamenable to any censure? For, surely, in this age, no man could
propose so absurd a thing as a general interdiction of riding. How, in
fact, does the university proceed? She discountenances the practice;
and, if forced upon her notice, she visits it with censure, and that
sort of punishment which lies within her means. But she takes no pains
to search out a trespass, which, by the mere act of seeking to evade
public display in the streets of the university, already tends to limit
itself; and which, besides, from its costliness, can never become a
prominent nuisance. This I mention as illustrating the spirit of her
legislation; and, even in this case, the reader must carry along with
him the peculiar distinction which I have pressed with regard to
English universities, in the existence of a large volunteer order of
students seeking only the liberalization, and not the profits, of
academic life. In arguing upon their case, it is not the fair logic to
say: These pursuits taint the decorum of the studious character; it is
not fair to calculate how much is lost to the man of letters by such
addiction to fox-hunting; but, on the contrary, what is gained to the
fox-hunter, who would, at any rate, be such, by so considerable a
homage paid to letters, and so inevitable a commerce with men of
learning. Anything whatsoever attained in this direction, is probably
so much more than would have been attained under a system of less
toleration. _Lucro ponamus_, we say, of the very least success in
such a case. But, in speaking of toleration as applied to acts or
habits positively against the statutes, I limit my meaning to those
which, in their own nature, are morally indifferent, and are
discountenanced simply as indirectly injurious, or as peculiarly open
to excess. Because, on graver offences (as gambling, &c.), the
malicious impeachers of Oxford must well have known that no toleration
whatsoever is practised or thought of. Once brought under the eye of
the university in a clear case and on clear evidence, it would be
punished in the most exemplary way open to a limited authority; by
_rustication_, at least--that is, banishment for a certain number
of terms, and consequent loss of these terms--supposing the utmost
palliation of circumstances; and, in an aggravated case, or in a second
offence, most certainly by final expulsion.

But it is no part of duty to serve the cause even of good morals by
impure means; and it is as difficult beforehand to prevent the
existence of vicious practices so long as men have, and ought to have,
the means of seclusion liable to no violation, as it is afterwards
difficult, without breach of honor, to obtain proof of their existence.
Gambling has been known to exist in some dissenting institutions; and,
in my opinion, with no blame to the presiding authorities. As to Oxford
in particular, no such habit was generally prevalent in my time; it is
not an English vice; nor did I ever hear of any great losses sustained
in this way. But, were it otherwise, I must hold, that, considering the
numbers, rank, and great opulence, of the students, such a habit would
impeach the spirit and temper of the age rather than the vigilance or
magisterial fidelity of the Oxford authorities. They are limited, like
other magistrates, by honor and circumstances, in a thousand ways; and
if a knot of students will choose to meet for purposes of gaming, they
must always have it in their power to baffle every honorable or
becoming attempt at detecting them. But upon this subject I shall make
two statements, which may have some effect in moderating the
uncharitable judgments upon Oxford discipline. The first respects the
age of those who are the objects of this discipline; on which point a
very grave error prevails. In the last Parliament, not once, but many
times over, Lord Brougham and others assumed that the students of
Oxford were chiefly _boys_; and this, not idly or casually, but
pointedly, and with a view to an ulterior argument; for instance, by
way of proving how little they were entitled to judge of those thirty-
nine articles to which their assent was demanded. Now, this argued a
very extraordinary ignorance; and the origin of the error showed the
levity in which their legislation was conducted. These noble lords had
drawn their ideas of a university exclusively from Glasgow. Here, it is
well known, and I mention it neither for praise nor blame, that
students are in the habit of coming at the early age of fourteen. These
may allowably be styled _boys_. But, with regard to Oxford,
eighteen is about the _earliest_ age at which young men begin
their residence: twenty and upwards is, therefore, the age of the
majority; that is, twenty is the _minimum_ of age for the vast
majority; as there must always be more men of three years' standing,
than of two or of one. Apply this fact to the question of discipline:
young men beyond twenty, generally,--that is to say, of the age which
qualifies men for seats in the national council,--can hardly, with
decency, either be called or treated as boys; and many things become
impossible as applied to _them_, which might be of easy imposition
upon an assemblage _really_ childish. In mere justice, therefore,
when speculating upon this whole subject of Oxford discipline, the
reader must carry along with him, at every step, the recollection of
that signal difference as to age, which I have now stated, between
Oxonians and those students whom the hostile party contemplate in their
arguments. [Footnote: Whilst I am writing, a debate of the present
Parliament, reported on Saturday, March 7, 1835, presents us with a
determinate repetition of the error which I have been exposing; and,
again, as in the last Parliament, this error is not _inert_, but
is used for a hostile (apparently a malicious) purpose; nay, which is
remarkable, it is the _sole_ basis upon which the following
argument reposes. Lord Radnor again assumes that the students of Oxford
are "boys;" he is again supported in this misrepresentation by Lord
Brougham; and again the misrepresentation is applied to a purpose of
assault upon the English universities, but especially upon Oxford. And
the nature of the assault does not allow any latitude in construing the
word _boys_, nor any room for evasion as respects the total
charge, except what goes the length of a total retraction. The charge
is, that, in a requisition made at the very threshold of academic life,
upon the under standing and the honor of the students, the university
burdens their consciences to an extent, which, in after life, when
reflection has enlightened them to the meaning of their engagements,
proves either a snare to those who trifle with their engagements, or an
insupportable burden to those who do not. For the inculpation of the
party imposing such oaths, it is essential that the party taking them
should be in a childish condition of the moral sense, and the sense of
responsibility; whereas, amongst the Oxonian _under_-graduates, I
will venture to say that the number is larger of those who rise above
than of those who fall below twenty; and, as to sixteen (assumed as the
representative age by Lord Radnor), in my time, I heard of only one
student, amongst, perhaps, sixteen hundred, who was so young. I grieve
to see that the learned prelate, who replied to the assailants, was so
much taken by surprise; the defence might have been made triumphant.
With regard to oaths incompatible with the spirit of modern manners,
and yet formally unrepealed--_that_ is a case of neglect and
indolent oversight. But the _gravamen_ of that reproach does not
press exclusively upon Oxford; all the ancient institutions of Europe
are tainted in the same way, more especially the monastic orders of the
Romish church.] Meantime, to show that, even under every obstacle
presented by this difference of age, the Oxford authorities do,
nevertheless, administer their discipline with fidelity, with
intrepidity, and with indifference as respects the high and the low, I
shall select from a crowd of similar recollections two anecdotes, which
are but trifles in themselves, and yet are not such to him who
recognizes them as expressions of a uniform system of dealing.

A great whig lord (Earl C----) happened (it may be ten years ago) to
present himself one day at Trinity (the leading college of Cambridge),
for the purpose of introducing Lord F----ch, his son, as a future
member of that splendid society. Possibly it mortified his aristocratic
feelings to hear the head of the college, even whilst welcoming the
young nobleman in courteous terms, yet suggesting, with some solemnity,
that, before taking any final resolution in the matter, his lordship
would do well to consider whether he were fully prepared to submit
himself to college discipline; for that, otherwise, it became his own
duty frankly to declare that the college would not look upon his
accession to their society as any advantage. This language arose out of
some recent experience of refractory and turbulent conduct upon the
part of various young men of rank; but it is very possible that the
noble earl, in his surprise at a salutation so uncourtly, might regard
it, in a tory mouth, as having some lurking reference to his own whig
politics. If so, he must have been still more surprised to hear of
another case, which would meet him before he left Cambridge, and which
involved some frank dealing as well as frank speaking, when a privilege
of exception might have been presumed, if tory politics, or services
the most memorable, could ever create such a privilege. The Duke of W--
--had two sons at Oxford. The affair is now long past; and it cannot
injure either of them to say, that one of the brothers trespassed
against the college discipline, in some way, which compelled (or was
thought to compel) the presiding authorities into a solemn notice of
his conduct. Expulsion appeared to be the appropriate penalty of his
offences: but, at this point, a just hesitation arose. Not in any
servile spirit, but under a proper feeling of consideration for so
eminent a public benefactor as this young nobleman's father, the rulers
paused--and at length signified to him that he was at liberty to
withdraw himself privately from the college, but also, and at the same
time, from the university. He did so; and his brother, conceiving him
to have been harshly treated, withdrew also; and both transferred
themselves to Cambridge. That could not be prevented: but there they
were received with marked reserve. One was _not_ received, I
believe, in a technical sense; and the other was received
conditionally; and such restrictions were imposed upon his future
conduct as served most amply, and in a case of great notoriety, to
vindicate the claims of discipline, and, in an extreme case, a case so
eminently an extreme one that none like it is ever likely to recur, to
proclaim the footing upon which the very highest rank is received at
the English universities. Is that footing peculiar _to them_? I
willingly believe that it is not; and, with respect to Edinburgh and
Glasgow, I am persuaded that their weight of dignity is quite
sufficient, and would be exerted to secure the same subordination from
men of rank, if circumstances should ever bring as large a number of
that class within their gates, and if their discipline were equally
applicable to the habits of students not domiciled within their walls.
But, as to the smaller institutions for education within the pale of
dissent, I feel warranted in asserting, from the spirit of the
anecdotes which have reached me, that they have not the
_auctoritas_ requisite for adequately maintaining their dignity.

So much for the aristocracy of our English universities: their glory
is, and the happiest application of their vast influence, that they
have the power to be republican, as respects their internal condition.
Literature, by substituting a different standard of rank, tends to
republican equality; and, as one instance of this, properly belonging
to the chapter of _servants_, which originally led to this
discussion, it ought to be known that the class of "servitors," once a
large body in Oxford, have gradually become practically extinct under
the growing liberality of the age. They carried in their academic dress
a mark of their inferiority; they waited at dinner on those of higher
rank, and performed other menial services, humiliating to themselves,
and latterly felt as no less humiliating to the general name and
interests of learning. The better taste, or rather the relaxing
pressure of aristocratic prejudice, arising from the vast diffusion of
trade and the higher branches of mechanic art, have gradually caused
these functions of the order (even where the law would not permit the
extinction of the order) to become obsolete. In my time, I was
acquainted with two servitors: but one of them was rapidly pushed
forward into a higher station; and the other complained of no
degradation, beyond the grievous one of exposing himself to the notice
of young women in the streets, with an untasselled cap; but this he
contrived to evade, by generally going abroad without his academic
dress. The _servitors_ of Oxford are the _sizars_ of Cambridge; and I
believe the same changes [Footnote: These changes have been
accomplished, according to my imperfect knowledge of the case, in
two ways: first, by dispensing with the services whenever that could be
done; and, secondly, by a wise discontinuance of the order itself in
those colleges which were left to their own choice in this matter.]
have taken place in both.

One only account with the college remains to be noticed; but this is
the main one. It is expressed in the bills by the word _battels_,
derived from the old monkish word _patella_ (or batella), a plate;
and it comprehends whatsoever is furnished for dinner and for supper,
including malt liquor, but not wine, as well as the materials for
breakfast, or for any casual refreshment to country visitors, excepting
only groceries. These, together with coals and fagots, candles, wine,
fruit, and other more trifling _extras_, which are matters of
personal choice, form so many private accounts against your name, and
are usually furnished by tradesmen living near to the college, and
sending their servants daily to receive orders. Supper, as a meal not
universally taken, in many colleges is served privately in the
student's own room; though some colleges still retain the ancient
custom of a public supper. But dinner is, in all colleges, a public
meal, taken in the refectory or "hall" of the society; which, with the
chapel and library, compose the essential public _suite_ belonging
to every college alike. No absence is allowed, except to the sick, or
to those who have formally applied for permission to give a dinner-
party. A fine is imposed on all other cases of absence. Wine is not
generally allowed in the public hall, except to the "high table," that
is, the table at which the fellows and some other privileged persons
are entitled to dine. The head of the college rarely dines in public.
The other tables, and, after dinner, the high table, usually adjourn to
their wine, either upon invitations to private parties, or to what are
called the "common rooms" of the several orders--graduates and
undergraduates, &c. The dinners are always plain, and without
pretensions--those, I mean, in the public hall; indeed, nothing
_can_ be plainer in most colleges--a simple choice between two or
three sorts of animal food, and the common vegetables. No fish, even as
a regular part of the fare; no soups, no game; nor, except on some very
rare festivity, did I ever see a variation from this plain fare at
Oxford. This, indeed, is proved sufficiently by the average amount of
the _battels_. Many men "battel" at the rate of a guinea a week: I
did so for years: that is, at the rate of three shillings a day for
everything connected with meals, excepting only tea, sugar, milk, and
wine. It is true that wealthier men, more expensive men, and more
careless men, often "battelled" much higher; but, if they persisted in
this excess, they incurred censures, more and more urgent, from the
head of the college.

Now, let us sum up; premising that the extreme duration of residence in
any college at Oxford amounts to something under thirty weeks. It is
possible to keep "short terms," as the phrase is, by a residence of
thirteen weeks, or ninety-one days; but, as this abridged residence is
not allowed, except in here and there a college, I shall assume--as
something beyond the strict _maximum_ of residence--thirty weeks
as my basis. The account will then stand thus:

  1. Rooms,......................................... £10 10 0
  2. Tutorage,................ .....................  10 10 0
  3. Servants (subject to the explanations made above),
      say...........................................   5  5 0
  4. Battels (allowing one shilling a day beyond what
     I and others spent in much dearer times; that is,
     allowing twenty-eight shillings weekly), for
     thirty weeks,..................................  40  4 0
                                                     --------
                                                     £66  9 0

This will be a liberal calculation for the college bill. What remains?
1. Candles, which the reader will best calculate upon the standard of
his own general usage in this particular. 2. Coals, which are
remarkably dear at Oxford--dearer, perhaps, than anywhere else in the
island; say, three times as dear as at Edinburgh. 3. Groceries. 4.
Wine. 5. Washing. This last article was, in my time, regulated by the
college, as there were certain privileged washer-women, between whom
and the students it was but fair that some proper authority should
interfere to prevent extortion, in return for the monopoly granted. Six
guineas was the regulated sum; but this paid for everything,--table-
linen, &c., as well as for wearing apparel; and it was understood to
cover the whole twenty-eight or thirty weeks. However, it was open to
every man to make his own arrangements, by insisting on a separate
charge for each separate article. All other expenses of a merely
personal nature, such as postage, public amusements, books, clothes,
&c., as they have no special connection with Oxford, but would,
probably, be balanced by corresponding, if not the very same, expenses
in any other place or situation, I do not calculate. What I have
specified are the expenses which would accrue to a student in
consequence of leaving his father's house. The rest would, in these
days, be the same, perhaps, everywhere. How much, then, shall we assume
as the total charge on account of Oxford? Candles, considering the
quantity of long days amongst the thirty weeks, may be had for one
shilling and sixpence a week; for few students--unless they have lived
in India, after which a physical change occurs in the sensibility of
the nostrils--are finical enough to burn wax-lights. This will amount
to two pounds, five shillings. Coals, say sixpence a day; for
threepence a day will amply feed one grate in Edinburgh; and there are
many weeks in the thirty which will demand no fire at all. Groceries
and wine, which are all that remain, I cannot calculate. But suppose we
allow for the first a shilling a day, which will be exactly ten guineas
for thirty weeks; and for the second, nothing at all. Then the extras,
in addition to the college bills, will stand thus:

  Washing for thirty weeks, at the privileged rate, .. £6  6  0
  Candles, ...........................................  2  5  0
  Fire, ..............................................  5  5  0
  Groceries, ......................................... 10 10  0
                                                      ---------
                                         Total, ..... £24  6  0

The college bills, therefore, will be sixty-six pounds, nine shillings;
the extras, not furnished by the college, will be about twenty-four
pounds, six shillings,--making a total amount of ninety pounds, fifteen
shillings. And for this sum, annually, a man may defray _every_
expense incident to an Oxford life, through a period of weeks (namely,
thirty) something more than he will be permitted to reside. It is true,
that, for the _first_ year, there will be, in addition to this,
his outfit: and for _every_ year there will be his journeys. There
will also be twenty-two weeks uncovered by this estimate; but for these
it is not my business to provide, who deal only with Oxford.

That this estimate is true, I know too feelingly. Would that it were
_not_! would that it were false! Were it so, I might the better
justify to myself that commerce with fraudulent Jews which led me so
early to commence the dilapidation of my small fortune. It _is_
true; and true for a period (1804-8) far dearer than this. And to any
man who questions its accuracy I address this particular request--that
he will lay his hand upon the special item which he disputes. I
anticipate that he will answer thus: "I dispute none: it is not by
positive things that your estimate errs, but by negations. It is the
absence of all allowance for indispensable items that vitiates the
calculation." Very well: but to this, as to other things, we may apply
the words of Dr. Johnson--"Sir, the reason I drink no wine, is because
I can practise abstinence, but not temperance." Yes: in all things,
abstinence is easier than temperance; for a little enjoyment has
invariably the effect of awaking the sense of enjoyment, irritating it,
and setting it on edge. I, therefore, recollecting my own case, have
allowed for _no_ wine-parties. Let our friend, the abstraction we
are speaking of, give breakfast-parties, if he chooses to give any; and
certainly to give none at all, unless he were dedicated to study, would
seem very churlish. Nobody can be less a friend than myself to monkish
and ascetic seclusion, unless it were for twenty-three hours out of the
twenty-four.

But, however this be settled, let no mistake be made; nor let that be
charged against the system which is due to the habits of individuals.
Early in the last century, Dr. Newton, the head of a college in Oxford,
wrote a large book against the Oxford system, as ruinously expensive.
But then, as now, the real expense was due to no cause over which the
colleges could exercise any effectual control. It is due exclusively to
the habits of social intercourse amongst the young men; from which
_he_ may abstain who chooses. But, for any academic authorities to
interfere by sumptuary laws with the private expenditure of grown men,
many of them, in a legal sense, _of age_, and all near it, must
appear romantic and extravagant, for this (or, indeed, any) stage of
society. A tutor being required, about 1810, to fix the amount of
allowance for a young man of small fortune, nearly related to myself,
pronounced three hundred and twenty pounds little enough. He had this
allowance, and was ruined in consequence of the credit which it
procured for him, and the society it connected him with. The majority
have two hundred pounds a year: but my estimate stands good, for all
that.

Having stated, generally, the expenses of the Oxford system, I am
bound, in candor, to mention one variety in the mode of carrying this
system into effect, open to every man's adoption, which confers certain
privileges, but, at the same time (by what exact mode, I know not),
considerably increases the cost, and in that degree disturbs my
calculation. The great body of undergraduates, or students, are divided
into two classes--_Commoners_, and _Gentlemen Commoners_. Perhaps
nineteen out of twenty belong to the former class; and it is
for that class, as having been my own, that I have made my estimate.
The other class of _Gentlemen Commoners_ (who, at Cambridge, bear
the name of _Fellow Commoners_) wear a peculiar dress, and have
some privileges which naturally imply some corresponding increase of
cost; but why this increase should go to the extent of doubling the
total expense, as it is generally thought to do, or how it _can_
go to that extent, I am unable to explain. The differences which attach
to the rank of "Gentlemen Commoners" are these: At his entrance he pays
double "caution money;" that is, whilst Commoners in general pay about
twenty-five guineas, he pays fifty; but this can occur only once; and,
besides, in strict point of right, this sum is only a deposit, and is
liable to be withdrawn on leaving the university, though it is commonly
enough finally presented to the college in the shape of plate. The next
difference is, that, by comparison with the Commoner, he wears a much
more costly dress. The Commoner's gown is made of what is called
_prince's stuff_; and, together with the cap, costs about five
guineas. But the Gentleman Commoner has two gowns--an undress for the
morning, and a full dress-gown for the evening; both are made of silk,
and the latter is very elaborately ornamented. The cap also is more
costly, being covered with velvet instead of cloth. At Cambridge,
again, the tassel is made of gold fringe or bullion, which, in Oxford,
is peculiar to the caps of noblemen; and there are many other varieties
in that university, where the dress for "pensioners" (that is, the
Oxford "Commoners") is specially varied in almost every college; the
object being, perhaps, to give a ready means to the academic officers
for ascertaining, at a glance, not merely the general fact that such or
such a delinquent is a gownsman (which is all that can be ascertained
at Oxford), but also the particular college to which he belongs.
Allowance being made for these two items of "dress" and "caution-
money," both of which apply only to the original outfit, I know of no
others in which the expenditure of a Gentleman Commoner ought to
exceed, or could with propriety exceed, those of a Commoner. He has,
indeed, a privilege as regards the choice of rooms; he chooses first,
and probably chooses those rooms which, being best, are dearest; that
is, they are on a level with the best; but usually there are many sets
almost equally good; and of these the majority will be occupied by
Commoners. So far, there is little opening for a difference. More
often, again, it will happen that a man of this aristocratic class
keeps a private servant; yet this happens also to Commoners, and is,
besides, no properly college expense. Tutorage is charged double to a
Gentleman Commoner--namely, twenty guineas a year: this is done upon a
fiction (as it sometimes turns out) of separate attention, or aid given
in a private way to his scholastic pursuits. Finally, there arises
naturally another and peculiar source of expense to the "Gentleman
Commoner," from a fact implied in his Cambridge designation of
"_Fellow_ Commoner," _commensalis_--namely, that he associates
at meals with the "fellows" and other authorities of the college.
Yet this again expresses rather the particular shape which his
expenditure assumes than any absolute increase in its amount. He
subscribes to a regular mess, and pays, therefore, whether present or
not; but so, in a partial sense, does the Commoner, by his forfeits for
"absent commons." He subscribes also to a regular fund for wine; and,
therefore, he does not enjoy that immunity from wine-drinking which is
open to the Commoner. Yet, again, as the Commoner does but rarely avail
himself of this immunity, as he drinks no less wine than the Gentleman
Commoner, and, generally speaking, wine not worse in quality, it is
difficult to see any ground for a regular assumption of higher
expenditure in the one class than the other. However, the universal
impression favors that assumption. All people believe that the rank of
Gentleman Commoner imposes an expensive burden, though few people ever
ask why. As a matter of fact, I believe it to be true that Gentlemen
Commoners spend more by a third, or a half, than any equal number of
Commoners, taken without selection. And the reason is obvious: those
who become Gentlemen Commoners are usually determined to that course by
the accident of having very large funds; they are eldest sons, or only
sons, or men already in possession of estates, or else (which is as
common a case as all the rest put together) they are the heirs of
newly-acquired wealth--sons of the _nouveaux riches_--a class
which often requires a generation or two to rub off the insolence of a
too conscious superiority. I have called them an "aristocratic" class;
but, in strictness, they are not such; they form a privileged class,
indeed, but their privileges are few and trifling, not to add that
these very privileges are connected with one or two burdens, more than
outweighing them in the estimate of many; and, upon the whole, the
chief distinction they enjoy is that of advertising themselves to the
public as men of great wealth, or great expectations; and, therefore,
as subjects peculiarly adapted to fraudulent attempts. Accordingly, it
is not found that the sons of the nobility are much inclined to enter
this order: these, if they happen to be the eldest sons of earls, or of
any peers above the rank of viscount, so as to enjoy a title themselves
by the courtesy of England, have special privileges in both
universities as to length of residence, degrees, &c.; and their rank is
ascertained by a special dress. These privileges it is not usual to
forego; though sometimes that happens, as, in my time, in the instance
of Lord George Grenville (now Lord Nugent); he neither entered at the
aristocratic college (Christ Church), nor wore the dress of a nobleman.
Generally, however, an elder son appears in his true character of
nobleman; but the younger sons rarely enter the class of Gentlemen
Commoners. They enter either as "Commoners," or under some of those
various designations ("scholars," "demies," "students," "junior
fellows") which imply that they stand upon the foundation of the
college to which they belong, and are aspirants for academic
emoluments.

Upon the whole, I am disposed to regard this order of Gentlemen
Commoners as a standing temptation held out by authority to expensive
habits, and a very unbecoming proclamation of honor paid to the
aristocracy of wealth. And I know that many thoughtful men regard it in
the same light with myself, and regret deeply that any such
distribution of ranks should be authorized, as a stain upon the
simplicity and general manliness of the English academic laws. It is an
open profession of homage and indulgence to wealth, _as_ wealth--
to wealth disconnected from everything that might ally it to the
ancestral honors and heraldries of the land. It is also an invitation,
or rather a challenge, to profuse expenditure. Regularly, and by law, a
Gentleman Commoner is liable to little heavier burdens than a Commoner;
but, to meet the expectations of those around him, and to act up to the
part he has assumed, he must spend more, and he must be more careless
in controlling his expenditure, than a moderate and prudent Commoner.
In every light, therefore, I condemn the institution, and give it up to
the censures of the judicious. So much in candor I concede. But, to
show equal candor on the other side, it must be remembered that this
institution descends to us from ancient times, when wealth was not so
often divided from territorial or civic honors, conferring a real
precedency.


III.

OXFORD.



There was one reason why I sought solitude at that early age, and
sought it in a morbid excess, which must naturally have conferred upon
my character some degree of that interest which belongs to all
extremes. My eye had been couched into a secondary power of vision, by
misery, by solitude, by sympathy with life in all its modes, by
experience too early won, and by the sense of danger critically
escaped. Suppose the case of a man suspended by some colossal arm over
an unfathomed abyss,--suspended, but finally and slowly withdrawn,--it
is probable that he would not smile for years. That was my case: for I
have not mentioned, in the "Opium Confessions," a thousandth part of
the sufferings I underwent in London and in Wales; partly because the
misery was too monotonous, and, in that respect, unfitted for
description; but, still more, because there is a mysterious sensibility
connected with real suffering which recoils from circumstantial
rehearsal or delincation, as from violation offered to something
sacred, and which is, or should be, dedicated to privacy. Grief does
not parade its pangs, nor the anguish of despairing hunger willingly
count again its groans or its humiliations. Hence it was that Ledyard,
the traveller, speaking of his Russian experiences, used to say that
some of his miseries were such, that he never _would_ reveal them.
Besides all which, I really was not at liberty to speak, without many
reserves, on this chapter of my life, at a period (1821) not twenty
years removed from the actual occurrences, unless I desired to court
the risk of crossing at every step the existing law of libel, so full
of snares and man-traps, to the careless equally with the conscientious
writer. This is a consideration which some of my critics have lost
sight of in a degree which surprises me. One, for example, puts it to
his readers whether any house such as I describe as the abode of my
money-lending friend could exist "_in_ Oxford-street;" and, at the
same time, he states, as circumstances drawn from my description, but,
in fact, pure coinages of his own, certain romantic impossibilities,
which, doubtless, could as little attach to a house in Oxford-street as
they could to a house in any other quarter of London. Meantime, I had
sufficiently indicated that, whatsoever street _was_ concerned in
that affair, Oxford-street was _not_; and it is remarkable enough,
as illustrating this amiable reviewer's veracity, that no one street in
London was absolutely excluded but one; and that one, Oxford-street.
For I happened to mention that, on such a day (my birth-day), I had
turned aside _from_ Oxford-street to look at the house in question.
I will now add that this house was in Greek-street: so much it
may be safe to say. But every candid reader will see that both
prudential restraints, and also disinterested regard to the feelings of
possibly amiable descendants from a vicious man, would operate with any
thoughtful writer, in such a case, to impose reserve upon his pen. Had
my guardians, had my money-lending friend of Jewry, and others
concerned in my memoirs, been so many shadows, bodiless abstractions,
and without earthly connections, I might readily have given my own
names to my own creations, and have treated them as unceremoniously as
I pleased. Not so under the real circumstances of the case. My chief
guardian, for instance, though obstinate to a degree which risked the
happiness and the life of his ward, was an upright man otherwise; and
his children are entitled to value his memory.

Again, my Greek-street _trapexitæs_, the "_foenerator Alpheus_,"
who delighted to reap where he had not sown, and too often (I fear)
allowed himself in practices which not impossibly have long
since been found to qualify him for distant climates and "Botanic"
regions,--even he, though I might truly describe him as a mere
highwayman, whenever he happened to be aware that I had received a
friendly loan, yet, like other highwaymen of repute, and "gentle
thieves," was not inexorable to the petitions of his victim: he would
sometimes toss back what was required for some instant necessity of the
road; and at _his_ breakfast-table it was, after all, as elsewhere
recorded, that I contrived to support life; barely, indeed, and most
slenderly, but still with the final result of escaping absolute
starvation. With that recollection before me, I could not allow myself
to probe his frailties too severely, had it even been certainly safe to
do so. But enough; the reader will understand that a year spent either
in the valleys of Wales, or upon the streets of London, a wanderer, too
often houseless in both situations, might naturally have peopled the
mind of one constitutionally disposed to solemn contemplations with
memorials of human sorrow and strife too profound to pass away for
years.

Thus, then, it was--past experience of a very peculiar kind, the
agitations of many lives crowded into the compass of a year or two, in
combination with a peculiar structure of mind--offered one explanation
of the very remarkable and unsocial habits which I adopted at college;
but there was another not less powerful, and not less unusual. In
stating this, I shall seem, to some persons, covertly designing an
affront to Oxford. But that is far from my intention. It is noways
peculiar to Oxford, but will, doubtless, be found in every university
throughout the world, that the younger part of the members--the
undergraduates, I mean, generally, whose chief business must have lain
amongst the great writers of Greece and Rome--cannot have found leisure
to cultivate extensively their own domestic literature. Not so much
that time will have been wanting; but that the whole energy of the
mind, and the main course of the subsidiary studies and researches,
will naturally have been directed to those difficult languages amongst
which lie their daily tasks. I make it no subject of complaint or
scorn, therefore, but simply state it as a fact, that few or none of
the Oxford undergraduates, with whom parity of standing threw me into
collision at my first outset, knew anything at all of English
literature. The _Spectator_ seemed to me the only English book of
a classical rank which they had read; and even this less for its
inimitable delicacy, humor, and refined pleasantry in dealing with
manners and characters, than for its insipid and meagre essays, ethical
or critical. This was no fault of theirs: they had been sent to the
book chiefly as a subject for Latin translations, or of other
exercises; and, in such a view, the vague generalities of superficial
morality were more useful and more manageable than sketches of manner
or character, steeped in national peculiarities. To translate the terms
of whig politics into classical Latin, would be as difficult as it
might be for a whig himself to give a consistent account of those
politics from the year 1688. Natural, however, and excusable, as this
ignorance might be, to myself it was intolerable and incomprehensible.
Already, at fifteen, I had made myself familiar with the great English
poets. About sixteen, or not long after, my interest in the story of
Chatterton had carried me over the whole ground of the Rowley
controversy; and that controversy, by a necessary consequence, had so
familiarized me with the "Black Letter," that I had begun to find an
unaffected pleasure in the ancient English metrical romances; and in
Chaucer, though acquainted as yet only with part of his works, I had
perceived and had felt profoundly those divine qualities, which, even
at this day, are so languidly acknowledged by his unjust countrymen.
With this knowledge, and this enthusiastic knowledge of the elder
poets--of those most remote from easy access--I could not well be a
stranger in other walks of our literature, more on a level with the
general taste, and nearer to modern diction, and, therefore, more
extensively multiplied by the press.

Yet, after all--as one proof how much more commanding is that part of a
literature which speaks to the elementary affections of men, than that
which is founded on the mutable aspects of manners--it is a fact that,
even in our elaborate system of society, where an undue value is
unavoidably given to the whole science of social intercourse, and a
continual irritation applied to the sensibilities which point in that
direction; still, under all these advantages, Pope himself is less
read, less quoted, less thought of, than the elder and graver section
of our literature. It is a great calamity for an author such as Pope,
that, generally speaking, it requires so much experience of life to
enjoy his peculiar felicities as must argue an age likely to have
impaired the general capacity for enjoyment. For my part, I had myself
a very slender acquaintance with this chapter of our literature; and
what little I had was generally, at that period of my life, as, with
most men, it continues to be to the end of life, a reflex knowledge,
acquired through those pleasant miscellanies, half gossip, half
criticism--such as Warton's Essay on Pope, Boswell's Johnson, Mathias'
Pursuits of Literature, and many scores beside of the same
indeterminate class; a class, however, which do a real service to
literature, by diffusing an indirect knowledge of fine writers in their
most effective passages, where else, in a direct shape, it would often
never extend.

In some parts, then, having even a profound knowledge of our
literature, in all parts having some, I felt it to be impossible that I
should familiarly associate with those who had none at all; not so much
as a mere historical knowledge of the literature in its capital names
and their chronological succession. Do I mention this in disparagement
of Oxford? By no means. Among the undergraduates of higher standing,
and occasionally, perhaps, of my own, I have since learned that many
might have been found eminently accomplished in this particular. But
seniors do not seek after juniors; they must be sought; and, with my
previous bias to solitude, a bias equally composed of impulses and
motives, I had no disposition to take trouble in seeking any man for
any purpose.

But, on this subject, a fact still remains to be told, of which I am
justly proud; and it will serve, beyond anything else that I can say,
to measure the degree of my intellectual development. On coming to
Oxford, I had taken up one position in advance of my age by full thirty
years: that appreciation of Wordsworth, which it has taken full thirty
years to establish amongst the public, I had already made, and had made
operative to my own intellectual culture in the same year when I
clandestinely quitted school. Already, in 1802, I had addressed a
letter of fervent admiration to Mr. Wordsworth. I did not send it until
the spring of 1803; and, from misdirection, it did not come into his
hands for some months. But I had an answer from Mr. Wordsworth before I
was eighteen; and that my letter was thought to express the homage of
an enlightened admirer, may be inferred from the fact that his answer
was long and full. On this anecdote I do not mean to dwell; but I
cannot allow the reader to overlook the circumstances of the case. At
this day, it is true, no journal can be taken up which does not
habitually speak of Mr. Wordsworth as of a great if not _the_
great poet of the age. Mr. Bulwer, living in the intensest pressure of
the world, and, though recoiling continually from the judgments of the
world, yet never in any violent degree, ascribes to Mr. Wordsworth (in
his _England and the English_, p. 308) "an influence of a more
noble and purely intellectual character, than _any_ writer of our
age or nation has exercised." Such is the opinion held of this great
poet in 1835; but what were those of 1805-15,--nay, of 1825? For twenty
years after the date of that letter to Mr. Wordsworth above referred
to, language was exhausted, ingenuity was put on the rack, in the
search after images and expressions vile enough--insolent enough--to
convey the unutterable contempt avowed for all that he had written, by
the fashionable critics. One critic--who still, I believe, edits a
rather popular journal, and who belongs to that class, feeble,
fluttering, ingenious, who make it their highest ambition not to lead,
but, with a slave's adulation, to obey and to follow all the caprices
of the public mind--described Mr. Wordsworth as resembling, in the
quality of his mind, an old nurse babbling in her paralytic dotage to
sucking babies. If this insult was peculiarly felt by Mr. Wordsworth,
it was on a consideration of the unusual imbecility of him who offered
it, and not because in itself it was baser or more insolent than the
language held by the majority of journalists who then echoed the public
voice. _Blackwood's Magazine_ (1817) first accustomed the public
ear to the language of admiration coupled with the name of Wordsworth.
This began with Professor Wilson; and well I remember--nay, the proofs
are still easy to hunt up--that, for eight or ten years, this
singularity of opinion, having no countenance from other journals, was
treated as a whim, a paradox, a bold extravagance, of the
_Blackwood_ critics. Mr. Wordsworth's neighbors in Westmoreland,
who had (generally speaking) a profound contempt for him, used to rebut
the testimony of _Blackwood_ by one constant reply--"Ay, _Blackwood_
praises Wordsworth, but who else praises him?" In short, up to 1820,
the name of Wordsworth was trampled under foot; from 1820 to 1830, it
was militant; from 1830 to 1835, it has been triumphant. In 1803, when
I entered at Oxford, that name was absolutely unknown; and the finger
of scorn, pointed at it in 1802 by the first or second number of the
_Edinburgh Review_, failed to reach its mark from absolute defect of
knowledge in the public mind. Some fifty beside myself knew who was
meant by "that poet who had cautioned his friend against growing
double," etc.; to all others it was a profound secret.

These things must be known and understood properly to value the
prophetic eye and the intrepidity of two persons, like Professor Wilson
and myself, who, in 1802-3, attached themselves to a banner not yet
raised and planted; who outran, in fact, their contemporaries by one
entire generation; and did _that_ about 1802 which the rest of the
world are doing in chorus about 1832.

Professor Wilson's period at Oxford exactly coincided with my own; yet,
in that large world, we never met. I know, therefore, but little of his
policy in regard to such opinions or feelings as tended to dissociate
him from the mass of his coevals. This only I know, that he lived as it
were in public; and must, therefore, I presume, have practised a
studied reserve as to his deepest admirations; and, perhaps, at that
day (1803-8) the occasions would be rare in which much dissimulation
would be needed. Until Lord Byron had begun to pilfer from Wordsworth
and to abuse him, allusions to Wordsworth were not frequent in
conversation; and it was chiefly on occasion of some question arising
about poetry in general, or about the poets of the day, that it became
difficult to dissemble. For my part, hating the necessity for
dissimulation as much as the dissimulation itself, I drew from this
peculiarity also of my own mind a fresh reinforcement of my other
motives for sequestering myself; and, for the first two years of my
residence in Oxford, I compute that I did not utter one hundred words.

I remember distinctly the first (which happened also to be the last)
conversation that I ever held with my tutor. It consisted of three
sentences, two of which fell to his share, one to mine. On a fine
morning, he met me in the Quadrangle, and, having then no guess of the
nature of my pretensions, he determined (I suppose) to probe them.
Accordingly, he asked me, "What I had been lately reading?" Now, the
fact was, that I, at that time immersed in metaphysics, had really been
reading and studying very closely the _Parmenides_, of which
obscure work some Oxford men, early in the last century, published a
separate edition. Yet, so profound was the benignity of my nature,
that, in those days, I could not bear to witness, far less to cause,
the least pain or mortification to any human being. I recoiled, indeed,
from the society of most men, but not with any feelings of dislike. On
the contrary, in order that I _might_ like all men, I wished to
associate with none. Now, then, to have mentioned the _Parmenides_
to one who, fifty thousand to one, was a perfect stranger to its whole
drift and purpose, looked too _méchant_, too like a trick of
malice, in an age when such reading was so very unusual. I felt that it
would be taken for an express stratagem for stopping my tutor's mouth.
All this passing rapidly through my mind, I replied, without
hesitation, that I had been reading Paley. My tutor's rejoinder I have
never forgotten: "Ah! an excellent author; excellent for his matter;
only you must be on your guard as to his style; he is very vicious
_there_." Such was the colloquy; we bowed, parted, and never more
(I apprehend) exchanged one word. Now, trivial and trite as this
comment on Paley may appear to the reader, it struck me forcibly that
more falsehood, or more absolute falsehood, or more direct inversion of
the truth, could not, by any artifice of ingenuity, have been crowded
into one short sentence. Paley, as a philosopher, is a jest, the
disgrace of the age; and, as regards the two universities, and the
enormous responsibility they undertake for the books which they
sanction by their official examinations for degrees, the name of Paley
is their great opprobrium. But, on the other hand, for style, Paley is
a master. Homely, racy, vernacular English, the rustic vigor of a style
which intentionally foregoes the graces of polish on the one hand, and
of scholastic precision on the other--that quality of merit has never
been attained in a degree so eminent. This first interchange of thought
upon a topic of literature did not tend to slacken my previous
disposition to retreat into solitude; a solitude, however, which at no
time was tainted with either the moroseness or the pride of a cynic.

Neither must the reader suppose that, even in that day, I belonged to
the party who disparage the classical writers, or the classical
training of the great English schools. The Greek drama I loved and
revered. But, to deal frankly, because it is a subject which I shall
hereafter bring before the public, I made great distinctions. I was not
that indiscriminate admirer of Greek and Roman literature, which those
too generally are who admire it at all. This protesting spirit, against
a false and blind idolatry, was with me, at that time, a matter of
enthusiasm--almost of bigotry. I was a bigot against bigots. Let us
take the Greek oratory, for example:--What section of the Greek
literature is more fanatically exalted, and studiously in depreciation
of our own? Let us judge of the sincerity at the base of these hollow
affectations, by the downright facts and the producible records. To
admire, in any sense which can give weight and value to your
admiration, presupposes, I presume, some acquaintance with its object.
As the earliest title to an opinion, one way or other, of the Greek
eloquence, we ought to have studied some of its most distinguished
artists; or, say _one_, at least; and this one, we may be sure,
will be, as it ought to be, Demosthenes. Now, it is a fact, that all
the copies of Demosthenes sold within the last hundred years would not
meet the demand of one considerable town, were that orator a subject of
study amongst even classical scholars. I doubt whether, at this day,
there exist twenty men in Europe who can be said to have even once read
Demosthenes; and, therefore, it was that, when Mr. Mitford, in his
"History of Greece," took a new view of this orator's political
administration--a view which lowered his character for integrity--he
found an unresisting acceder to his doctrines in a public having no
previous opinion upon the subject, and, therefore, open to any casual
impression of malice or rash judgment. Had there been any acquaintance
with the large remains which we still possess of this famous orator, no
such wrong could have been done. I, from my childhood, had been a
reader, nay, a student of Demosthenes; and, simply, for this reason,
that, having meditated profoundly on the true laws and philosophy of
diction, and of what is vaguely denominated style, and finding nothing
of any value in modern writers upon this subject, and not much as
regards the grounds and ultimate principles even in the ancient
rhetoricians, I have been reduced to collect my opinions from the great
artists and practitioners, rather than from the theorists; and, among
those artists, in the most plastic of languages, I hold Demosthenes to
have been the greatest.

The Greek is, beyond comparison, the most plastic of languages. It was
a material which bent to the purposes of him who used it beyond the
material of other languages; it was an instrument for a larger compass
of modulations; and it happens that the peculiar theme of an orator
imposes the very largest which is consistent with a prose diction. One
step further in passion, and the orator would become a poet. An orator
can exhaust the capacities of a language--an historian, never.
Moreover, the age of Demosthenes was, in my judgment, the age of
highest development for arts dependent upon social refinement. That
generation had fixed and ascertained the use of words; whereas, the
previous generation of Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, &c., was a
transitional period: the language was still moving, and tending to a
meridian not yet attained; and the public eye had been directed
consciously upon language, as in and for itself an organ of
intellectual delight, for too short a time, to have mastered the whole
art of managing its resources. All these were reasons for studying
Demosthenes, as the one great model and standard of Attic prose; and,
studied him I _had_, more than any other prose writer whatever.
_Paripassu_, I had become sensible that others had _not_ studied
him. One monotonous song of applause I found raised on every side;
something about being "like a torrent, that carries everything
before it." This original image is all we get in the shape of
criticism; and never any attempt even at illustrating what is greatest
in him, or characterizing what is most peculiar. The same persons who
discovered that Lord Brougham was the modern Bacon have also
complimented him with the title of the English Demosthenes. Upon this
hint, Lord Brougham, in his address to the Glasgow students, has
deluged the great Athenian with wordy admiration. There is an obvious
prudence in lodging your praise upon an object from which you count
upon a rebound to yourself. But here, as everywhere else, you look in
vain for any marks or indications of a personal and _direct_
acquaintance with the original orations. The praise is built rather
upon the popular idea of Demosthenes, than upon the real Demosthenes.
And not only so, but even upon style itself, and upon the art of
composition _in abstracto_, Lord Brougham does not seem to have
formed any clear conceptions--principles he has none. Now, it is
useless to judge of an artist until you have some principles on the
art. The two capital secrets in the art of prose composition are these:
1st, The philosophy of transition and connection, or the art by which
one step in an evolution of thought is made to arise out of another:
all fluent and effective composition depends on the _connections_;
--2dly, The way in which sentences are made to modify each other; for,
the most powerful effects in written eloquence arise out of
this reverberation, as it were, from each other in a rapid
succession of sentences; and, because some limitation is necessary to
the length and complexity of sentences, in order to make this
interdependency felt, hence it is that the Germans have no eloquence.
The construction of German prose tends to such immoderate length of
sentences, that no effect of intermodification can ever be apparent.
Each sentence, stuffed with innumerable clauses of restriction, and
other parenthetical circumstances, becomes a separate section--an
independent whole. But, without insisting on Lord Brougham's
oversights, or errors of defect, I will digress a moment to one
positive caution of his, which will measure the value of his philosophy
on this subject. He lays it down for a rule of indefinite application,
that the Saxon part of our English idiom is to be favored at the
expense of that part which has so happily coalesced with the language
from the Latin or Greek. This fancy, often patronized by other writers,
and even acted upon, resembles that restraint which some metrical
writers have imposed upon themselves--of writing a long copy of verses,
from which some particular letter, or from each line of which some
different letter, should be carefully excluded. What followed? Was the
reader sensible, in the practical effect upon his ear, of any beauty
attained? By no means; all the difference, sensibly perceived, lay in
the occasional constraints and affectations to which the writer had
been driven by his self-imposed necessities. The same chimera exists in
Germany; and so much further is it carried, that one great puritan in
this heresy (Wolf) has published a vast dictionary, the rival of
Adelung's, for the purpose of expelling every word of foreign origin
and composition out of the language, by assigning some equivalent term
spun out from pure native Teutonic materials. _Bayonet_, for
example, is patriotically rejected, because a word may be readily
compounded tantamount to _musket-dirk_; and this sort of
composition thrives showily in the German, as a language running into
composition with a fusibility only surpassed by the Greek.

But what good purpose is attained by such caprices? In three sentences
the sum of the philosophy may be stated. It has been computed (see
_Duclos_) that the Italian opera has not above six hundred words
in its whole vocabulary: so narrow is the range of its emotions, and so
little are these emotions disposed to expand themselves into any
variety of thinking. The same remark applies to that class of simple,
household, homely passion, which belongs to the early ballad poetry.
Their passion is of a quality more venerable, it is true, and deeper
than that of the opera, because more permanent and coextensive with
human life; but it is not much wider in its sphere, nor more apt to
coalesce with contemplative or philosophic thinking. Pass from these
narrow fields of the intellect, where the relations of the objects are
so few and simple, and the whole prospect so bounded, to the
immeasurable and sea-like arena upon which Shakspeare careers--co-
infinite with life itself--yes, and with something more than life. Here
is the other pole, the opposite extreme. And what is the choice of
diction? What is the _lexis_? Is it Saxon exclusively, or is it
Saxon by preference? So far from that, the Latinity is intense--not,
indeed, in his construction, but in his choice of words; and so
continually are these Latin words used, with a critical respect to
their earliest (and, where _that_ happens to have existed, to
their unfigurative) meaning, that, upon this one argument I would rely
for upsetting the else impregnable thesis of Dr. Farmer as to
Shakspeare's learning. Nay, I will affirm that, out of this regard to
the Latin acceptation of Latin words, may be absolutely explained the
Shakspearian meaning of certain words, which has hitherto baffled all
his critics. For instance, the word _modern_, of which Dr. Johnson
professes himself unable to explain the _rationale_ or principle
regulating its Shakspearian use, though he felt its value, it is to be
deduced thus: First of all, change the pronunciation a little, by
substituting for the short _o_, as we pronounce it in _modern_, the
long _o_, as heard in _modish_, and you will then, perhaps, perceive
the process of analogy by which it passed into the Shakspearian use.
The _matter_ or substance of a thing is, usually, so much more
important than its fashion or _manner_, that we have hence adopted, as
one way for expressing what is important as opposed to what is trivial,
the word _material_. Now, by parity of reason, we are entitled to
invert this order, and to express what is unimportant by some word
indicating the mere fashion or external manner of an object as opposed
to its substance. This is effected by the word _modal_ or _modern_, as
the adjective from _modus_, a fashion or manner; and in that sense
Shakspeare employs the word. Thus, Cleopatra, undervaluing to Caesar's
agent the bijouterie which she has kept back from inventory, and which
her treacherous steward had betrayed, describes them as mere trifles


  "Such gifts as we greet modern friends withal;"


where all commentators have _felt_ that modern must form the
position, mean, slight, arid inconsiderable, though perplexed to say
how it came by such a meaning. A _modern_ friend is, in the
Shakspearian sense, with relation to a real and serviceable friend,
that which the fashion of a thing is, by comparison with its substance.
But a still better illustration may be taken from a common line, quoted
every day, and ludicrously misinterpreted. In the famous picture of
life--"All the world's a stage"--the justice of the piece is described
as

  "Full of wise saws and modern instances;"

which (_horrendum dictu!_) has been explained, and, I verily
believe, is generally understood to mean, _full of wise sayings and
modern illustrations_. The true meaning is--full of proverbial
maxims of conduct and of trivial arguments; that is, of petty
distinctions, or verbal disputes, such as never touch the point at
issue. The word _modern_ I have already deduced; the word
_instances_ is equally Latin, and equally used by Shakspeare in
its Latin sense. It is originally the word _instantia_, which, by
the monkish and scholastic writers, is uniformly used in the sense of
an argument, and originally of an argument urged in objection to some
previous argument. [Footnote: I cannot for a moment believe that the
original and most eloquent critic in _Blackwood_ is himself the
dupe of an argument, which he has alleged against this passage, under
too open a hatred of Shakspeare, as though it involved a contradiction
to common sense, by representing _all_ human beings of such an age
as school-boys, all of such another age as soldiers, of such another as
magistrates, &c. Evidently the logic of the famous passage is this
that whereas every age has its peculiar and appropriate temper, that
profession or employment is selected for the exemplification which
seems best fitted, in each case, to embody the characteristic or
predominating quality. Thus, because impetuosity, self-esteem, and
animal or irreflective courage, are qualities most intense in youth,
next it is considered in what profession those qualities find their
most unlimited range; and because that is obviously the military
profession, therefore it is that the soldier is selected as the
representative of young men. For the same reason, as best embodying the
peculiar temper of garrulous old age, the magistrate comes forward as
supporting the part of that age. Not that old men are not also
soldiers; but that the military profession, so far from strengthening,
moderates and tempers the characteristic temper of old age.]

I affirm, therefore, that Lord Brougham's counsel to the Glasgow
students is not only bad counsel,--and bad counsel for the result, as
well as for the grounds, which are either capricious or nugatory,--but
also that, in the exact proportion in which the range of thought
expands, it is an impossible counsel, an impracticable counsel--a
counsel having for its purpose to embarrass and lay the mind in
fetters, where even its utmost freedom and its largest resources will
be found all too little for the growing necessities of the intellect.
"Long-tailed words in _osity_ and _ation_!" What does _that_
describe? Exactly the Latin part of our language. Now, those
very terminations speak for themselves:--All high abstractions
end in _ation_; that is, they are Latin; and, just in proportion
as the abstracting power extends and widens, do the circles of thought
widen, and the horizon or boundary (contradicting its own Grecian name)
melts into the infinite. On this account it was that Coleridge
(_Biographia Literaria_) remarks on Wordsworth's philosophical
poetry, that, in proportion as it goes into the profound of passion and
of thought, do the words increase which are vulgarly called
"_dictionary_ words." Now, these words, these "dictionary" words,
what are they? Simply words of Latin or Greek origin: no other words,
no Saxon words, are ever called by illiterate persons dictionary words.
And these dictionary words are indispensable to a writer, not only in
the proportion by which he transcends other writers as to extent and as
to subtility of thinking, but also as to elevation and sublimity.
Milton was not an extensive or discursive thinker, as Shakspeare was;
for the motions of his mind were slow, solemn, sequacious, like those
of the planets; not agile and assimilative; not attracting all things
within its own sphere; not multiform: repulsion was the law of his
intellect--he moved in solitary grandeur. Yet, merely from this quality
of grandeur, unapproachable grandeur, his intellect demanded a larger
infusion of Latinity into his diction.

For the same reason (and, without such aids, he would have had no
proper element in which to move his wings) he enriched his diction with
Hellenisms and with Hebraisms; [Footnote: The diction of Milton is a
case absolutely unique in literature: of many writers it has been said,
but of him only with truth, that he created a peculiar language. The
value must be tried by the result, not by inferences from _a
priori_ principles; such inferences might lead us to anticipate an
unfortunate result; whereas, in fact, the diction of Milton is such
that no other could have supported his majestic style of thinking. The
final result is a _transcendant_ answer to all adverse criticism;
but still it is to be lamented that no man properly qualified has
undertaken the examination of the Miltonic diction as a separate
problem. Listen to a popular author of this day (Mr. Bulwer). He,
speaking on this subject, asserts (_England and the English_, p.
329), that, "_There is scarcely an English idiom which Milton has not
violated, or a foreign one which he has not borrowed._" Now, in
answer to this extravagant assertion, I will venture to say that the
two following are the sole cases of questionable idiom throughout
Milton:--1st, "Yet virgin of Proserpine from Jove;" and, in this case,
the same thing might be urged in apology which Aristotle urges in
another argument, namely, that _anonymon to pathos_, the case is
unprovided with _any_ suitable expression. How would it be
possible to convey in good English the circumstances here indicated--
namely, that Ceres was yet in those days of maiden innocence, when she
had borne no daughter to Jove? Second, I will cite a case which, so far
as I remember, has been noticed by no commentator; and, probably,
because they have failed to understand it. The case occurs in the
"Paradise Regained;" but where I do not at this moment remember. "Will
they _transact_ with God?" This is the passage; and a most flagrant
instance it offers of pure Latinism. _Transigere_, in the language
of the civil law, means to make a compromise; and the word
_transact_ is here used in that sense--a sense utterly unknown to
the English language. This is the worst case in Milton; and I do not
know that it has been ever noticed. Yet even here it may be doubted
whether Milton is not defensible; asking if they proposed to terminate
their difference with God after the fashion in use amongst courts of
law, he points properly enough to these worldly settlements by the
technical term which designated them. Thus, might a divine say: Will he
arrest the judgments of God by a _demurrer_? Thus, again, Hamlet
apostrophizes the lawyer's skull by the technical terms used in actions
for assault, &c. Besides, what proper term is there in English for
expressing a compromise? Edmund Burke, and other much older authors,
express the idea by the word _temperament_; but that word, though
a good one, was at one time considered an exotic term--equally a
Gallicism and a Latinism.] but never, as could be easy to show, without
a full justification in the result. Two things may be asserted of all
his exotic idioms--1st, That they express what could not have been
expressed by any native idiom; 2d, That they harmonize with the English
language, and give a coloring of the antique, but not any sense of
strangeness to the diction. Thus, in the double negative, "Nor did they
not perceive," &c., which is classed as a Hebraism--if any man fancy
that it expresses no more than the simple affirmative, he shows that he
does not understand its force; and, at the same time, it is a form of
thought so natural and universal, that I have heard English people,
under corresponding circumstances, spontaneously fall into it. In
short, whether a man differ from others by greater profundity or by
greater sublimity, and whether he write as a poet or as a philosopher,
in any case, he feels, in due proportion to the necessities of his
intellect, an increasing dependence upon the Latin section of the
English language; and the true reason why Lord Brougham failed to
perceive this, or found the Saxon equal to his wants, is one which I
shall not scruple to assign, inasmuch as it does not reflect personally
on Lord Brougham, or, at least, on him exclusively, but on the whole
body to which he belongs. That thing which he and they call by the
pompous name of statesmanship, but which is, in fact, _statescraft_--
the art of political intrigue--deals (like the opera) with ideas so few
in number, and so little adapted to associate themselves with other
ideas, that, possibly, in the one case equally as in the other, six
hundred words are sufficient to meet all their demands.

I have used my privilege of discursiveness to step aside from
Demosthenes to another subject, no otherwise connected with the Attic
orator than, first, by the common reference of both subjects to
rhetoric; but, secondly, by the accident of having been jointly
discussed by Lord Brougham in a paper, which (though now forgotten)
obtained, at the moment, most undue celebrity. For it is one of the
infirmities of the public mind with us, that whatever is said or done
by a public man, any opinion given by a member of Parliament, however
much out of his own proper jurisdiction and range of inquiry, commands
an attention not conceded even to those who speak under the known
privilege of professional knowledge. Thus, Cowper was not discovered to
be a poet worthy of any general notice, until Charles Fox, a most
slender critic, had vouchsafed to quote a few lines, and that, not so
much with a view to the poetry, as to its party application. But now,
returning to Demosthenes, I affirm that his case is the case of nearly
all the classical writers,--at least, of all the prose writers. It is,
I admit, an extreme one; that is, it is the general case in a more
intense degree. Raised almost to divine honors, never mentioned but
with affected rapture, the classics of Greece and Rome are seldom read,
most of them never; are they, indeed, the closet companions of any man?
Surely it is time that these follies were at an end; that our practice
were made to square a little better with our professions; and that our
pleasures were sincerely drawn from those sources in which we pretend
that they lie.

The Greek language, mastered in any eminent degree, is the very rarest
of all accomplishments, and precisely because it is unspeakably the
most difficult. Let not the reader dupe himself by popular cant. To be
an accomplished Grecian, demands a very peculiar quality of talent; and
it is almost inevitable that one who is such should be vain of a
distinction which represents so much labor and difficulty overcome. For
myself, having, as a school-boy, attained to a very unusual mastery
over this language, and (though as yet little familiar with the
elaborate science of Greek metre) moving through all the obstacles and
resistances of a Greek book with the same celerity and ease as through
those of the French and Latin, I had, in vanquishing the difficulties
of the language, lost the main stimulus to its cultivation. Still, I
read Greek daily; but any slight vanity which I might connect with a
power so rarely attained, and which, under ordinary circumstances, so
readily transmutes itself into a disproportionate admiration of the
author, in me was absolutely swallowed up in the tremendous hold taken
of my entire sensibilities at this time by our own literature. With
what fury would I often exclaim: He who loveth not his brother whom he
hath seen, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen? You, Mr. A, L,
M, O, you who care not for Milton, and value not the dark sublimities
which rest ultimately (as we all feel) upon dread realities, how can
you seriously thrill in sympathy with the spurious and fanciful
sublimities of the classical poetry--with the nod of the Olympian Jove,
or the seven-league strides of Neptune? Flying Childers had the most
prodigious stride of any horse on record; and at Newmarket that is
justly held to be a great merit; but it is hardly a qualification for a
Pantheon. The parting of Hector and Andromache--that is tender,
doubtless; but how many passages of far deeper, far diviner tenderness,
are to be found in Chaucer! Yet in these cases we give our antagonist
the benefit of an appeal to what is really best and most effective in
the ancient literature. For, if we should go to Pindar, and some other
great names, what a revelation of hypocrisy as respects the _fade_
enthusiasts for the Greek poetry!

Still, in the Greek tragedy, however otherwise embittered against
ancient literature by the dismal affectations current in the scenical
poetry, at least I felt the presence of a great and original power. It
might be a power inferior, upon the whole, to that which presides in
the English tragedy; I believed that it was; but it was equally
genuine, and appealed equally to real and deep sensibilities in our
nature. Yet, also, I felt that the two powers at work in the two forms
of the drama were essentially different; and without having read a line
of German at that time, or knowing of any such controversy, I began to
meditate on the elementary grounds of difference between the Pagan and
the Christian forms of poetry. The dispute has since been carried on
extensively in France, not less than in Germany, as between the
_classical_ and the _romantic_. But I will venture to assert
that not one step in advance has been made, up to this day. The shape
into which I threw the question it may be well to state; because I am
persuaded that out of that one idea, properly pursued, might be evolved
the whole separate characteristics of the Christian and the antique:
Why is it, I asked, that the Christian idea of _sin_ is an idea
utterly unknown to the Pagan mind? The Greeks and Romans had a clear
conception of a moral ideal, as we have; but this they estimated by a
reference to the will; and they called it virtue, and the antithesis
they called vice. The _lacheté_ or relaxed energy of the will, by
which it yielded to the seductions of sensual pleasure, that was vice;
and the braced-up tone by which it resisted these seductions was
virtue. But the idea of holiness, and the antithetic idea of sin, as a
violation of this awful and unimaginable sanctity, was so utterly
undeveloped in the Pagan mind, that no word exists in classical Greek
or classical Latin which approaches either pole of this synthesis;
neither the idea of _holiness_, nor of its correlate, _sin_,
could be so expressed in Latin as at once to satisfy Cicero and a
scientific Christian. Again (but this was some years after), I found
Schiller and Goethe applauding the better taste of the ancients, in
symbolizing the idea of death by a beautiful youth, with a torch
inverted, &c., as compared with the Christian types of a skeleton and
hour-glasses, &c. And much surprised I was to hear Mr. Coleridge
approving of this German sentiment. Yet, here again I felt the peculiar
genius of Christianity was covertly at work moving upon a different
road, and under opposite ideas, to a just result, in which the harsh
and austere expression yet pointed to a dark reality, whilst the
beautiful Greek adumbration was, in fact, a veil and a disguise. The
corruptions and the other "dishonors" of the grave, and whatsoever
composes the sting of death in the Christian view, is traced up to sin
as its ultimate cause. Hence, besides the expression of Christian
humility, in thus nakedly exhibiting the wrecks and ruins made by sin,
there is also a latent profession indicated of Christian hope. For the
Christian contemplates steadfastly, though with trembling awe, the
lowest point of his descent; since, for him, that point, the last of
his fall, is also the first of his reäscent, and serves, besides, as an
exponent of its infinity; the infinite depth becoming, in the rebound,
a measure of the infinite reäscent. Whereas, on the contrary, with the
gloomy uncertainties of a Pagan on the question of his final
restoration, and also (which must not be overlooked) with his utter
perplexity as to the nature of his restoration, if any were by accident
in reserve, whether in a condition tending downwards or upwards, it was
the natural resource to consult the general feeling of anxiety and
distrust, by throwing a thick curtain and a veil of beauty over the
whole too painful subject. To place the horrors in high relief, could
here have answered no purpose but that of wanton cruelty; whereas, with
the Christian hopes, the very saddest memorials of the havocs made by
death are antagonist prefigurations of great victories in the rear.

These speculations, at that time, I pursued earnestly; and I then
believed myself, as I yet do, to have ascertained the two great and
opposite laws under which the Grecian and the English tragedy has each
separately developed itself. Whether wrong or right in that belief,
sure I am that those in Germany who have treated the case of classical
and romantic are not entitled to credit for any discovery at all. The
Schlegels, who were the hollowest of men, the windiest and wordiest (at
least, Frederic was so), pointed to the distinction; barely indicated
it; and that was already some service done, because a presumption arose
that the antique and the modern literatures, having clearly some
essential differences, might, perhaps, rest on foundations originally
distinct, and obey different laws. And hence it occurred that many
disputes, as about the unities, etc., might originate in a confusion of
these laws. This checks the presumption of the shallow criticism, and
points to deeper investigations. Beyond this, neither the German nor
the French disputers on the subject have talked to any profitable
purpose.

I have mentioned Paley as accidentally connected with my _début_
in literary conversation; and I have taken occasion to say how much I
admired his style and its unstudied graces, how profoundly I despised
his philosophy. I shall here say a word or two more on that subject. As
respects his style, though secretly despising the opinion avowed by my
tutor (which was, however, a natural opinion for a stiff lover of the
artificial and the pompous), I would just as unwillingly be supposed to
adopt the extravagant opinions, in the other extreme, of Dr. Parr and
Mr. Coleridge. These two gentlemen, who privately hated Paley, and,
perhaps, traduced him, have hung like bees over one particular
paragraph in his Evidences, as though it were a flower transplanted
from Hymettus. Dr. Parr pronounced it the finest sentence in the
English language. It is a period (that is, a cluster of sentences)
moderately well, but not _too_ well constructed, as the German
nurses are accustomed to say. Its felicity depends on a trick easily
imitated--on a balance happily placed (namely, "_in which the wisest
of mankind would rejoice to find an answer to their doubts, and rest to
their inquiries_"). As a _bravura_, or _tour de force_, in
the dazzling fence of rhetoric, it is surpassed by many hundreds of
passages which might be produced from rhetoricians; or, to confine
myself to Paley's contemporaries, it is very far surpassed by a
particular passage in Burke's letter upon the Duke of Bedford's base
attack upon him in the House of Lords; which passage I shall elsewhere
produce, because I happen to know, on the authority of Burke's
executors, that Burke himself considered it the finest period which he
had ever written. At present, I will only make one remark, namely, that
it is always injudicious, in the highest degree, to cite for admiration
that which is not a _representative_ specimen of the author's
manner. In reading Lucian, I once stumbled on a passage of German
pathos, and of German effect. Would it have been wise, or would it have
been intellectually just, to quote this as the text of an eulogium on
Lucian? What false criticism it would have suggested to every reader!
what false anticipations! To quote a formal and periodic pile of
sentences, was to give the feeling that Paley was what the regular
rhetorical artists designate as a periodic writer, when, in fact, no
one conceivable character of style more pointedly contradicted the true
description of his merits.

But, leaving the style of Paley, I must confess that I agree with Mr.
Bulwer (_England and the English_) in thinking it shocking and
almost damnatory to an English university, the great well-heads of
creeds, moral and evangelical, that authors such in respect of doctrine
as Paley and Locke should hold that high and influential station as
teachers, or rather oracles of truth, which has been conceded to them.
As to Locke, I, when a boy, had made a discovery of one blunder full of
laughter and of fun, which, had it been published and explained in
Locke's lifetime, would have tainted his whole philosophy with
suspicion. It relates to the Aristotelian doctrine of syllogism, which
Locke undertook to ridicule. Now, a flaw, a hideous flaw, in the
_soi-disant_ detecter of flaws, a ridicule in the exposer of the
ridiculous--_that_ is fatal; and I am surprised that Lee, who
wrote a folio against Locke in his lifetime, and other examiners,
should have failed in detecting this. I shall expose it elsewhere; and,
perhaps, one or two other exposures of the same kind will give an
impetus to the descent of this falling philosophy. With respect to
Paley, and the naked _prudentialism_ of his system, it is true
that in a longish note Paley disclaims that consequence. But to this we
may reply, with Cicero, _Non quoero quid neget Epicurus, sed quid
congruenter neget_. Meantime, waiving all this as too notorious, and
too frequently denounced, I wish to recur to this trite subject, by way
of stating an objection made to the Paleyan morality in my seventeenth
year, and which I have never since seen reason to withdraw. It is
this:--I affirm that the whole work, from first to last, proceeds upon
that sort of error which the logicians call _ignoratio elenchi_,
that is, ignorance of the very question concerned--of the point at
issue. For, mark, in the very vestibule of ethics, two questions
arise--two different and disconnected questions, A and B; and Paley has
answered the wrong one. Thinking that he was answering A, and meaning
to answer A, he has, in fact, answered B. One question arises thus:
Justice is a virtue; temperance is a virtue; and so forth. Now, what is
the common principle which ranks these several species under the same
genus? What, in the language of logicians, is the common differential
principle which determines these various aspects of moral obligation to
a common genius? Another question, and a more interesting question to
men in general, is this,--What is the motive to virtue? By what
impulse, law, or motive, am I impelled to be virtuous rather than
vicious? Whence is the motive derived which should impel me to one line
of conduct in preference to the other? This, which is a practical
question, and, therefore, more interesting than the other, which is a
pure question of speculation, was that which Paley believed himself to
be answering. And his answer was,--That utility, a perception of the
resulting benefit, was the true determining motive. Meantime, it was
objected that often the most obvious results from a virtuous action
were far otherwise than beneficial. Upon which, Paley, in the long note
referred to above, distinguished thus: That whereas actions have many
results, some proximate, some remote, just as a stone thrown into the
water produces many concentric circles, be it known that he, Dr. Paley,
in what he says of utility, contemplates only the final result, the
very outermost circle; inasmuch as he acknowledges a possibility that
the first, second, third, including the penultimate circle, may all
happen to clash with utility; but then, says he, the outermost circle
of all will never fail to coincide with the absolute maximum of
utility. Hence, in the first place, it appears that you cannot apply
this test of utility in a practical sense; you cannot say, This is
useful, _ergo_, it is virtuous; but, in the inverse order, you
must say, This is virtuous, _ergo_, it is useful. You do not rely
on its usefulness to satisfy yourself of its being virtuous; but, on
the contrary, you rely on its virtuousness, previously ascertained, in
order to satisfy yourself of its usefulness. And thus the whole
practical value of this test disappears, though in that view it was
first introduced; and a vicious circle arises in the argument; as you
must have ascertained the virtuousness of an act, in order to apply the
test of its being virtuous. But, _secondly_, it now comes out that
Paley was answering a very different question from that which he
supposed himself answering. Not any practical question as to the motive
or impelling force in being virtuous, rather than vicious,--that is, to
the _sanctions_ of virtue,--but a purely speculative question, as
to the issue of virtue, or the common _vinculum_ amongst the
several modes or species of virtue (justice, temperance, etc.)--this
was the real question which he was answering. I have often remarked
that the largest and most subtle source of error in philosophic
speculations has been the confounding of the two great principles so
much insisted on by the Leibnitzians, namely, the _ratio
cognoscendi_ and the _ratio essendi_. Paley believed himself to
be assigning--it was his full purpose to assign--the _ratio
cognoscendi_; but, instead of that, unconsciously and surreptitiously,
he has actually assigned the _ratio essendi_; and, after all, a false
and imaginary _ratio essendi_.



THE PAGAN ORACLES



It is remarkable--and, without a previous explanation, it might seem
paradoxical to say it--that oftentimes under a continual accession of
light important subjects grow more and more enigmatical. In times when
nothing was explained, the student, torpid as his teacher, saw nothing
which called for explanation--all appeared one monotonous blank. But no
sooner had an early twilight begun to solicit the creative faculties of
the eye, than many dusky objects, with outlines imperfectly defined,
began to converge the eye, and to strengthen the nascent interest of
the spectator. It is true that light, in its final plenitude, is
calculated to disperse all darkness. But this effect belongs to its
consummation. In its earlier and _struggling_ states, light does
but reveal darkness. It makes the darkness palpable and "visible." Of
which we may see a sensible illustration in a gloomy glass-house, where
the sullen lustre from the furnace does but mass and accumulate the
thick darkness in the rear upon which the moving figures are relieved.
Or we may see an intellectual illustration in the mind of the savage,
on whose blank surface there exists no doubt or perplexity at all, none
of the pains connected with ignorance; he is conscious of no darkness,
simply because for _him_ there exists no visual ray of speculation--no
vestige of prelusive light.

Similar, and continually more similar, has been the condition of
ancient history. Once yielding a mere barren crop of facts and dates,
slowly it has been kindling of late years into life and deep interest
under superior treatment. And hitherto, as the light has advanced,
_pari passu_ have the masses of darkness strengthened. Every
question solved has been the parent of three new questions unmasked.
And the power of breathing life into dry bones has but seemed to
multiply the skeletons and lifeless remains; for the very natural
reason--that these dry bones formerly (whilst viewed as incapable of
revivification) had seemed less numerous, because everywhere confounded
to the eye with stocks and stones, so long as there was no motive of
hope for marking the distinction between them.

Amongst all the illustrations which might illuminate this truth, none
is so instructive as the large question of PAGAN ORACLES. Every part,
indeed, of the Pagan religion, the course, geographically or
ethnographically, of its traditions, the vast labyrinth of its
mythology, the deductions of its contradictory genealogies, the
disputed meaning of its many secret "mysteries" [_teletai_--
symbolic rites or initiations], all these have been submitted of late
years to the scrutiny of glasses more powerful, applied under more
combined arrangements, and directed according to new principles more
comprehensively framed. We cannot in sincerity affirm--always with
immediate advantage. But even where the individual effort may have been
a failure as regarded the immediate object, rarely, indeed, it has
happened but that much indirect illumination has resulted--which,
afterwards entering into combination with other scattered currents of
light, has issued in discoveries of value; although, perhaps, any one
contribution, taken separately, had been, and would have remained,
inoperative. Much has been accomplished, chiefly of late years; and,
confining our view to ancient history, almost exclusively amongst the
Germans--by the Savignys, the Niebuhrs, the Otfried Muellers. And, if
that _much_ has left still more to do, it has also brought the
means of working upon a scale of far accelerated speed.

The books now existing upon the ancient oracles, above all, upon the
Greek oracles, amount to a small library. The facts have been collected
from all quarters,--examined, sifted, winnowed. Theories have been
raised upon these facts under every angle of aspect; and yet, after
all, we profess ourselves to be dissatisfied. Amongst much that is
sagacious, we feel and we resent with disgust a taint of falsehood
diffused over these recent speculations from vulgar and even
counterfeit incredulity; the one gross vice of German philosophy, not
less determinate or less misleading than that vice which, heretofore,
through many centuries, had impoverished this subject, and had stopped
its discussion under the anile superstition of the ecclesiastical
fathers.

These fathers, both Greek and Latin, had the ill fortune to be
extravagantly esteemed by the church of Rome; whence, under a natural
reaction, they were systematically depreciated by the great leaders of
the Protestant Reformation. And yet hardly in a corresponding degree.
For there was, after all, even among the reformers, a deep-seated
prejudice in behalf of all that was "primitive" in Christianity; under
which term, by some confusion of ideas, the fathers often benefited.
Primitive Christianity was reasonably venerated; and, on this argument,
that, for the first three centuries, it was necessarily more sincere.
We do not think so much of that sincerity which affronted the fear of
persecution; because, after all, the searching persecutions were rare
and intermitting, and not, perhaps, in any case, so fiery as they have
been represented. We think more of that gentle but insidious
persecution which lay in the solicitations of besieging friends, and
more still of the continual temptations which haunted the irresolute
Christian in the fascinations of the public amusements. The theatre,
the circus, and, far beyond both, the cruel amphitheatre, constituted,
for the ancient world, a passionate enjoyment, that by many authors,
and especially through one period of time, is described as going to the
verge of frenzy. And we, in modern times, are far too little aware in
what degree these great carnivals, together with another attraction of
great cities, the pomps and festivals of the Pagan worship, broke the
monotony of domestic life, which, for the old world, was even more
oppressive than it is for us. In all principal cities, so as to be
within the reach of almost all provincial inhabitants, there was a
hippodrome, often uniting the functions of the circus and the
amphitheatre; and there was a theatre. From all such pleasures the
Christian was sternly excluded by his very profession of faith. From
the festivals of the Pagan religion his exclusion was even more
absolute; against them he was a sworn militant protester from the hour
of his baptism. And when these modes of pleasurable relaxation had been
subtracted from ancient life, what could remain? Even less, perhaps,
than most readers have been led to consider. For the ancients had no
such power of extensive locomotion, of refreshment for their wearied
minds, by travelling and change of scene, as we children of modern
civilization possess. No ships had then been fitted up for passengers,
nor public carriages established, nor roads opened extensively, nor
hotels so much as imagined hypothetically; because the relation of
_xenia_, or the obligation to reciprocal hospitality, and latterly
the Roman relation of patron and client, had stifled the first motions
of enterprise of the ancients; in fact, no man travelled but the
soldier, and the man of political authority. Consequently, in
sacrificing public amusements, the Christians sacrificed _all_
pleasure whatsoever that was not rigorously domestic; whilst in facing
the contingencies of persecutions that might arise under the rapid
succession of changing emperors, they faced a perpetual _anxiety_
more trying to the fortitude than any fixed and measurable evil. Here,
certainly, we have a guarantee for the deep faithfulness of early
Christians, such as never can exist for more mixed bodies of
professors, subject to no searching trials.

Better the primitive Christians were (by no means individually better,
but better on the total body), yet they were not in any intellectual
sense wiser. Unquestionably the elder Christians participated in the
local follies, prejudices, superstitions, of their several provinces
and cities, except where any of these happened to be too conspicuously
at war with the spirit of love or the spirit of purity which exhaled at
every point from the Christian faith; and, in all intellectual
features, as were the Christians generally, such were the fathers.
Amongst the Greek fathers, one might be unusually learned, as Clement
of Alexandria; and another might be reputed unusually eloquent, as
Gregory Nazianzen, or Basil. Amongst the Latin fathers, one might be a
man of admirable genius, as far beyond the poor, vaunted Rousseau in
the impassioned grandeur of his thoughts, as he was in truth and purity
of heart; we speak of St. Augustine (usually called St. Austin), and
many might be distinguished by various literary merits. But could these
advantages anticipate a higher civilization? Most unquestionably some
of the fathers were the _élite_ of their own age, but not in
advance of their age. They, like all their contemporaries, were
besieged by errors, ancient, inveterate, traditional; and accidentally,
from one cause special to themselves, they were not merely liable to
error, but usually prone to error. This cause lay in the _polemic_
form which so often they found a necessity, or a convenience, or a
temptation for assuming, as teachers or defenders of the truth.

He who reveals a body of awful truth to a candid and willing auditory
is content with the grand simplicities of truth in the quality of his
proofs. And truth, where it happens to be of a high order, is generally
its own witness to all who approach it in the spirit of childlike
docility. But far different is the position of that teacher who
addresses an audience composed in various proportions of sceptical
inquirers, obstinate opponents, and malignant scoffers. Less than an
apostle is unequal to the suppression of all human reactions incident
to wounded sensibilities. Scorn is too naturally met by retorted scorn:
malignity in the Pagan, which characterized all the known cases of
signal opposition to Christianity, could not but hurry many good men
into a vindictive pursuit of victory. Generally, where truth is
communicated _polemically_ (this is, not as it exists in its own
inner simplicity, but as it exists in external relation to error), the
temptation is excessive to use those arguments which will tell at the
moment upon the crowd of bystanders, by preference to those which will
approve themselves ultimately to enlightened disciples. Hence it is,
that, like the professional rhetoricians of Athens, not seldom the
Christian fathers, when urgently pressed by an antagonist equally
mendacious and ignorant, could not resist the human instinct for
employing arguments such as would baffle and confound the unprincipled
opponent, rather than such as would satisfy the mature Christian. If a
man denied himself all specious arguments, and all artifices of
dialectic subtlety, he must renounce the hopes of a _present_
triumph; for the light of absolute truth on moral or on spiritual
themes is too dazzling to be sustained by the diseased optics of those
habituated to darkness. And hence we explain not only the many gross
delusions of the fathers, their sophisms, their errors of fact and
chronology, their attempts to build great truths upon fantastic
etymologies, or upon popular conceits in science that have long since
exploded, but also their occasional unchristian tempers. To contend
with an unprincipled and malicious liar, such as Julian the Apostate,
in its original sense the first deliberate _miscreant_, offered a
dreadful snare to any man's charity. And he must be a furious bigot who
will justify the rancorous lampoons of Gregory Nazianzen. Are we, then,
angry on behalf of Julian? So far as _he_ was interested, not for
a moment would we have suspended the descending scourge. Cut him to the
bone, we should have exclaimed at the time! Lay the knout into every
"raw" that can be found! For we are of opinion that Julian's duplicity
is not yet adequately understood. But what was right as regarded the
claims of the criminal, was _not_ right as regarded the duties of
his opponent. Even in this mischievous renegade, trampling with his
orangoutang hoofs the holiest of truths, a Christian bishop ought still
to have respected his sovereign, through the brief period that he
_was_ such, and to have commiserated his benighted brother,
however wilfully astray, and however hatefully seeking to quench that
light for other men, which, for his own misgiving heart, we could
undertake to show that he never _did_ succeed in quenching. We do
not wish to enlarge upon a theme both copious and easy. But here, and
everywhere, speaking of the fathers as a body, we charge them with
anti-christian practices of a two-fold order: sometimes as supporting
their great cause in a spirit alien to its own, retorting in a temper
not less uncharitable than that of their opponents; sometimes, again,
as adopting arguments that are unchristian in their ultimate grounds;
resting upon errors the reputation of errors; upon superstitions the
overthrow of superstitions; and drawing upon the armories of darkness
for weapons that, to be durable, ought to have been of celestial
temper. Alternately, in short, the fathers trespass against those
affections which furnish to Christianity its moving powers, and against
those truths which furnish to Christianity its guiding lights. Indeed,
Milton's memorable attempt to characterize the fathers as a body,
contemptuous as it is, can hardly be challenged as overcharged.

Never in any instance were these aberrations of the fathers more
vividly exemplified than in their theories upon the Pagan Oracles. On
behalf of God, they were determined to be wiser than God; and, in
demonstration of scriptural power, to advance doctrines which the
Scriptures had nowhere warranted. At this point, however, we shall take
a short course; and, to use a vulgar phrase, shall endeavor to "kill
two birds with one stone." It happens that the earliest book in our
modern European literature, which has subsequently obtained a station
of authority on the subject of the ancient Oracles, applied itself
entirely to the erroneous theory of the fathers. This is the celebrated
_Antonii Van Dale, "De Ethnicorum Oraculis Dissertationes_," which
was published at Amsterdam _at least_ as early as the year 1682;
that is, one hundred and sixty years ago. And upon the same subject
there has been no subsequent book which maintains an equal rank. Van
Dale might have treated his theme simply with a view to the
investigation of the truth, as some recent inquirers have preferred
doing; and, in that case, the fathers would have been noticed only as
incidental occasions might bring forward their opinions--true or false.
But to this author the errors of the fathers seemed capital; worthy, in
fact, of forming his _principal_ object; and, knowing their great
authority in the Papal church, he anticipated, in the plan of attaching
his own views to the false views of the fathers, an opening to a double
patronage--that of the Protestants, in the first place, as interested
in all doctrines seeming to be anti-papal; that of the sceptics, in the
second place, as interested in the exposure of whatever had once
commanded, but subsequently lost, the superstitious reverence of
mankind. On this policy, he determined to treat the subject
polemically. He fastened, therefore, upon the fathers with a deadly
_acharnement_, that evidently meant to leave no arrears of work
for any succeeding assailant; and it must be acknowledged that, simply
in relation to this purpose of hostility, his work is triumphant. So
much was not difficult to accomplish; for barely to enunciate the
leading doctrine of the fathers is, in the ear of any chronologist, to
overthrow it. But, though successful enough in its functions of
destruction, on the other hand, as an affirmative or constructive work,
the long treatise of Van Dale is most unsatisfactory. It leaves us with
a hollow sound ringing in the ear, of malicious laughter from gnomes
and imps grinning over the weaknesses of man--his paralytic facility in
believing--his fraudulent villany in abusing this facility--but in no
point accounting for those real effects of diffusive social benefits
from the Oracle machinery, which must arrest the attention of candid
students, amidst some opposite monuments of incorrigible credulity, or
of elaborate imposture.

As a book, however, belonging to that small cycle (not numbering,
perhaps, on _all_ subjects, above three score), which may be said
to have moulded and controlled the public opinion of Europe through the
last five generations, already for itself the work of Van Dale merits a
special attention. It is confessedly the _classical_ book--the
original _fundus_ for the arguments and facts applicable to this
question; and an accident has greatly strengthened its authority.
Fontenelle, the most fashionable of European authors, at the opening of
the eighteenth century, writing in a language at that time even more
predominant than at present, did in effect employ all his advantages to
propagate and popularize the views of Van Dale. Scepticism naturally
courts the patronage of France; and in effect that same remark which a
learned Belgian (Van Brouwer) has found frequent occasion to make upon
single sections of Fontenelle's work, may be fairly extended into a
representative account of the whole--"_L'on trouve les mêmes
arguments chez Fontenelle, mais dégagés des longueurs du savant Van
Dale, et exprimés avec plus d'élégance._" This _rifaccimento_
did not injure the original work in reputation: it caused Van Dale to
be less read, but to be more esteemed; since a man confessedly
distinguished for his powers of composition had not thought it beneath
his ambition to adopt and recompose Van Dale's theory. This important
position of Van Dale with regard to the effectual creed of Europe--so
that, whether he were read directly or were slighted for a more
fashionable expounder, equally in either case it was _his_ doctrines
which prevailed--must always confer a circumstantial value upon the
original dissertations, "_De Ethnicorum Oraculis_."

This original work of Van Dale is a book of considerable extent. But,
in spite of its length, it divides substantially into two great
chapters, and no more, which coincide, in fact, with the two separate
dissertations. The first of these dissertations, occupying one hundred
and eighty-one pages, inquires into the failure and extinction of the
Oracles; when they failed, and under what circumstances. The second of
these dissertations inquires into the machinery and resources of the
Oracles during the time of their prosperity. In the first dissertation,
the object is to expose the folly and gross ignorance of the fathers,
who insisted on representing the history of the case roundly in this
shape--as though all had prospered with the Oracles up to the nativity
of Christ; but that, after his crucifixion, and simultaneously with the
first promulgation of Christianity, all Oracles had suddenly drooped;
or, to tie up their language to the rigor of their theory, had suddenly
expired. All this Van Dale peremptorily denies; and, in these days, it
is scarcely requisite to add, triumphantly denies; the whole hypothesis
of the fathers having literally not a leg to stand upon; and being, in
fact, the most audacious defiance to historical records that, perhaps,
the annals of human folly present.

In the second dissertation, Van Dale combats the other notion of the
fathers--that, during their prosperous ages, the Oracles had moved by
an agency of evil spirits. He, on the contrary, contends that, from the
first hour to the last of their long domination over the minds and
practice of the Pagan world, they had moved by no agencies whatever,
but those of human fraud, intrigue, collusion, applied to human
blindness, credulity, and superstition.

We shall say a word or two upon each question. As to the first, namely,
_when_ it was that the Oracles fell into decay and silence, thanks
to the headlong rashness of the Fathers, Van Dale's assault cannot be
refused or evaded. In reality, the evidence against them is too
flagrant and hyperbolical. If we were to quote from Juvenal--"Delphis
et Oracula cessant," in that case, the fathers challenge it as an
argument on _their_ side, for that Juvenal described a state of
things immediately posterior to Christianity; yet even here the word
_cessant_ points to a distinction of cases which already in itself
is fatal to their doctrine. By _cessant_ Juvenal means evidently
what we, in these days, should mean in saying of a ship in action that
her fire was slackening. This powerful poet, therefore, wiser so far
than the Christian fathers, distinguishes two separate cases: first,
the state of torpor and languishing which might be (and in fact was)
the predicament of many famous Oracles through centuries not fewer than
five, six, or even eight; secondly, the state of absolute dismantling
and utter extinction which, even before his time, had confounded
individual Oracles of the inferior class, not from changes affecting
religion, whether true or false, but from political revolutions. Here,
therefore, lies the first blunder of the fathers, that they confound
with total death the long drooping which befell many great Oracles from
languor in the popular sympathies, under changes hereafter to be
noticed; and, consequently, from revenues and machinery continually
decaying. That the Delphic Oracle itself--of all oracles the most
illustrious--had not expired, but simply slumbered for centuries, the
fathers might have been convinced themselves by innumerable passages in
authors contemporary with themselves; and that it was continually
throwing out fitful gleams of its ancient power, when any very great
man (suppose a Caesar) thought fit to stimulate its latent vitality, is
notorious from such cases as that of Hadrian. He, in his earlier days,
whilst yet only dreaming of the purple, had not found the Oracle
superannuated or palsied. On the contrary, he found it but too clear-
sighted; and it was no contempt in him, but too ghastly a fear and
jealousy, which labored to seal up the grander ministrations of the
Oracle for the future. What the Pythia had foreshown to himself, she
might foreshow to others; and, when tempted by the same princely
bribes, she might authorize and kindle the same aspiring views in other
great officers. Thus, in the new condition of the Roman power, there
was a perpetual peril, lest an oracle, so potent as that of Delphi,
should absolutely create rebellions, by first suggesting hopes to men
in high commands. Even as it was, all treasonable assumptions of the
purple, for many generations, commenced in the hopes inspired by
auguries, prophecies, or sortileges. And had the great Delphic Oracle,
consecrated to men's feelings by hoary superstition, and _privileged
by secrecy_, come forward to countersign such hopes, many more would
have been the wrecks of ambition, and even bloodier would have been the
blood-polluted line of the imperial successions. Prudence, therefore,
it was, and state policy, not the power of Christianity, which gave the
_final_ shock (of the _original_ shock we shall speak elsewhere)
to the grander functions of the Delphic Oracle. But, in the mean
time, the humbler and more domestic offices of this oracle, though
naturally making no noise at a distance, seem long to have survived its
state relations. And, apart from the sort of galvanism notoriously
applied by Hadrian, surely the fathers could not have seen Plutarch's
account of its condition, already a century later than our Saviour's
nativity. The Pythian priestess, as we gather from _him_, had by
that time become a less select and dignified personage; she was no
longer a princess in the land--a change which was proximately due to
the impoverished income of the temple; but she was still in existence;
still held in respect; still trained, though at inferior cost, to her
difficult and showy ministrations. And the whole establishment of the
Delphic god, if necessarily contracted from that scale which had been
suitable when great kings and commonwealths were constant suitors
within the gates of Delphi, still clung (like the Venice of modern
centuries) to her old ancestral honors, and kept up that decent
household of ministers which corresponded to the altered ministrations
of her temple. In fact, the evidences on behalf of Delphi as a princely
house, that had indeed partaken in the decaying fortunes of Greece, but
naturally was all the prouder from the irritating contrast of her great
remembrances, are so plentifully dispersed through books, that the
fathers must have been willingly duped. That in some way they
_were_ duped is too notorious from the facts, and might be suspected
even from their own occasional language; take, as one instance, amongst
a whole _harmony_ of similar expressions, this short passage from
Eusebius--_hoi Hellenes homologentes ekleloipenai auton ta chresteria_:
the Greeks admitting that their Oracles have failed. (There is,
however, a disingenuous vagueness in the very word _ekleloipenai_),
_ed' allote pote ex aionos_--and when? why, at no other crisis through
the total range of their existence--_e kata tes chrones tes euangelikes
didaskalias_--than precisely at the epoch of the evangelical
dispensation, etc. Eusebius was a man of too extensive reading to be
entirely satisfied with the Christian representations upon this point.
And in such indeterminate phrases as _kata tes chrones_ (which might
mean indifferently the entire three centuries then accomplished from
the first promulgation of Christianity, or specifically that narrow
punctual limit of the earliest promulgation), it is easy to trace an
ambidextrous artifice of compromise between what would satisfy his own
brethren, on the one hand, and what, on the other hand, he could hope
to defend against the assaults of learned Pagans.

In particular instances it is but candid to acknowledge that the
fathers may have been misled by the remarkable tendencies to error
amongst the ancients, from their want of public journals, combined with
territorial grandeur of empire. The greatest possible defect of harmony
arises naturally in this way amongst ancient authors, locally remote
from each other; but more especially in the post-christian periods,
when reporting any aspects of change, or any results from a revolution
variable and advancing under the vast varieties of the Roman empire.
Having no newspapers to effect a level amongst the inequalities and
anomalies of their public experience in regard to the Christian
revolution, when collected from innumerable tribes so widely differing
as to civilization, knowledge, superstition, &c.; hence it happened
that one writer could report with truth a change as having occurred
within periods of ten to sixty years, which for some other province
would demand a circuit of six hundred. For example, in Asia Minor, all
the way from the sea coast to the Euphrates, towns were scattered
having a dense population of Jews. Sometimes these were the most
malignant opponents of Christianity; that is, wherever they happened to
rest in the _letter_ of their peculiar religion. But, on the other
hand, where there happened to be a majority (or, if not numerically a
majority, yet influentially an overbalance) in that section of the Jews
who were docile children of their own preparatory faith and discipline,
no bigots, and looking anxiously for the fulfilment of their prophecies
(an expectation at that time generally diffused),--under those
circumstances, the Jews were such ready converts as to account
naturally for sudden local transitions, which in other circumstances or
places might not have been credible.

This single consideration may serve to explain the apparent
contradictions, the irreconcilable discrepancies, between the
statements of contemporary Christian bishops, locally at a vast
distance from each other, or (which is even more important) reporting
from communities occupying different stages of civilization. There was
no harmonizing organ of interpretation, in Christian or in Pagan
newspapers, to bridge over the chasms that divided different provinces.
A devout Jew, already possessed by the purest idea of the Supreme
Being, stood on the very threshold of conversion: he might, by one
hour's conversation with an apostle, be transfigured into an
enlightened Christian; whereas a Pagan could seldom in one generation
pass beyond the infirmity of his novitiate. His heart and affections,
his will and the habits of his understanding, were too deeply diseased
to be suddenly transmuted. And hence arises a phenomenon, which has too
languidly arrested the notice of historians; namely, that already, and
for centuries before the time of Constantine, wherever the Jews had
been thickly sown as colonists, the most potent body of Christian zeal
stood ready to kindle under the first impulse of encouragement from the
state; whilst in the great capitals of Rome and Alexandria, where the
Jews were hated and neutralized politically by Pagan forces, not for a
hundred years later than Constantine durst the whole power of the
government lay hands on the Pagan machinery, except with timid
precautions, and by graduations so remarkably adjusted to the
circumstances, that sometimes they wear the shape of compromises with
idolatry. We must know the ground, the quality of the population,
concerned in any particular report of the fathers, before we can judge
of its probabilities. Under local advantages, insulated cases of
Oracles suddenly silenced, of temples and their idol-worship
overthrown, as by a rupture of new-born zeal, were not less certain to
arise as rare accidents from rare privileges, or from rare coincidences
of unanimity in the leaders of the place, than on the other hand they
were certain _not_ to arise in that unconditional universality
pretended by the fathers. Wheresoever Paganism was interwoven with the
whole moral being of a people, as it was in Egypt, or with the
political tenure and hopes of a people, as it was in Rome, _there_
a long struggle was inevitable before the revolution could be effected.
Briefly, as against the fathers, we find a sufficient refutation in
what _followed_ Christianity. If, at a period five, or even six
hundred years after the birth of Christ, you find people still
consulting the local Oracles of Egypt, in places sheltered from the
point-blank range of the state artillery,--there is an end, once and
forever, to the delusive superstition that, merely by its silent
presence in the world, Christianity must instantaneously come into
fierce activity as a reägency of destruction to all forms of idolatrous
error. That argument is multiplied beyond all power of calculation; and
to have missed it is the most eminent instance of wilful blindness
which the records of human folly can furnish. But there is another
refutation lying in an opposite direction, which presses the fathers
even more urgently in the rear than this presses them in front; any
author posterior to Christianity, who should point to the decay of
Oracles, they would claim on their own side. But what would they have
said to Cicero,--by what resource of despair would they have parried
his authority, when insisting (as many times he does insist), forty and
even fifty years before the birth of Christ, on the languishing
condition of the Delphic Oracle? What evasion could they imagine here?
How could that languor be due to Christianity, which far anticipated
the very birth of Christianity? For, as to Cicero, who did not "far
anticipate the birth of Christianity." we allege _him_ rather
because his work _De Divinatione_ is so readily accessible, and
because his testimony on any subject is so full of weight, than because
other and much older authorities cannot be produced to the same effect.
The Oracles of Greece had lost their vigor and their palmy pride full
two centuries before the Christian era. Historical records show this
_à posteriori_, whatever were the cause; and the cause, which we
will state hereafter, shows it _à priori_, apart from the records.

Surely, therefore, Van Dale needed not to have pressed his victory over
the helpless fathers so unrelentingly, and after the first ten pages by
cases and proofs that are quite needless and _ex abundanti_;
simply the survival of any one distinguished Oracle upwards of four
centuries _after_ Christ--that is sufficient. But if with this
fact we combine the other fact, that all the principal Oracles had
already begun to languish, more than two centuries _before_
Christianity, there can be no opening for a whisper of dissent upon any
real question between Van Dale and his opponents; namely, both as to
the possibility of Christianity coexisting with such forms of error,
and the possibility that oracles should be overthrown by merely Pagan,
or internal changes. The less plausible, however, that we find this
error of the fathers, the more curiosity we naturally feel about the
source of that error; and the more so, because Van Dale never turns his
eyes in that direction.

This source lay (to speak the simple truth) in abject superstition. The
fathers conceived of the enmity between Christianity and Paganism, as
though it resembled that between certain chemical poisons and the
Venetian wine-glass, which (according to the belief [Footnote: Which
belief we can see no reason for rejecting so summarily as is usually
done in modern times. It would be absurd, indeed, to suppose a kind of
glass qualified to expose all poisons indifferently, considering the
vast range of their chemical differences. But, surely, as against that
one poison then familiarly used for domestic murders, a chemical
reagency might have been devised in the quality of the glass. At least,
there is no _prima facie_ absurdity in such a supposition.] of
three centuries back) no sooner received any poisonous fluid, than
immediately it shivered into crystal splinters. They thought to honor
Christianity, by imaging it as some exotic animal of more powerful
breed, such as we English have witnessed in a domestic case, coming
into instant collision with the native race, and exterminating it
everywhere upon the first conflict. In this conceit they substituted a
foul fiction of their own, fashioned on the very model of Pagan
fictions, for the unvarying analogy of the divine procedure.
Christianity, as the last and consummate of revelations, had the high
destination of working out its victory through what was greatest in a
man--through his reason, his will, his affections. But, to satisfy the
fathers, it must operate like a drug--like sympathetic powders--like an
amulet--or like a conjurer's charm. Precisely the monkish effect of a
Bible when hurled at an evil spirit--not the true rational effect of
that profound oracle read, studied, and laid to heart--was that which
the fathers ascribed to the mere proclamation of Christianity, when
first piercing the atmosphere circumjacent to any oracle; and, in fact,
to their gross appreciations, Christian truth was like the scavenger
bird in Eastern climates, or the stork in Holland, which signalizes its
presence by devouring all the native brood of vermin, or nuisances, as
fast as they reproduce themselves under local distemperatures of
climate or soil.

It is interesting to pursue the same ignoble superstition, which, in
fact, under Romish hands, soon crept like a parasitical plant over
Christianity itself, until it had nearly strangled its natural vigor,
back into times far preceding that of the fathers. Spite of all that
could be wrought by Heaven, for the purpose of continually confounding
the local vestiges of popular reverence which might have gathered round
stocks and stones, so obstinate is the hankering after this mode of
superstition in man that his heart returns to it with an elastic recoil
as often as the openings are restored. Agreeably to this infatuation,
the temple of the true God--even its awful _adytum_--the holy of
holies--or the places where the ark of the covenant had rested in its
migrations--all were conceived to have an eternal and a self-
vindicating sanctity. So thought man: but God himself, though to man's
folly pledged to the vindication of his own sanctities, thought far
otherwise; as we know by numerous profanations of all holy places in
Judea, triumphantly carried through, and avenged by no plausible
judgments. To speak only of the latter temple, three men are memorable
as having polluted its holiest recesses: Antiochus Epiphanes, Pompey
about a century later, and Titus pretty nearly by the same exact
interval later than Pompey. Upon which of these three did any judgment
descend? Attempts have been made to impress that coloring of the sequel
in two of these cases, indeed, but without effect upon _any_ man's
mind. Possibly in the case of Antiochus, who seems to have moved under
a burning hatred, not so much of the insurgent Jews as of the true
faith which prompted their resistance, there is some colorable argument
for viewing him in his miserable death as a monument of divine wrath.
But the two others had no such malignant spirit; they were tolerant,
and even merciful; were authorized instruments for executing the
purposes of Providence; and no calamity in the life of either can be
reasonably traced to his dealings with Palestine. Yet, if Christianity
could not brook for an instant the mere coëxistence of a Pagan oracle,
how came it that the Author of Christianity had thus brooked (nay, by
many signs of coöperation, had promoted) that ultimate desecration,
which planted "the abomination of desolation" as a victorious crest of
Paganism upon his own solitary altar? The institution of the Sabbath,
again--what part of the Mosaic economy could it more plausibly have
been expected that God should vindicate by some memorable interference,
since of all the Jewish institutions it was that one which only and
which frequently became the occasion of wholesale butchery to the pious
(however erring) Jews? The scruple of the Jews to fight, or even to
resist an assassin, on the Sabbath, was not the less pious in its
motive because erroneous in principle; yet no miracle interfered to
save them from the consequences of their infatuation. And this seemed
the more remarkable in the case of their war with Antiochus, because
_that_ (if any that history has recorded) was a holy war. But,
after one tragical experience, which cost the lives of a thousand
martyrs, the Maccabees--quite as much on a level with their scrupulous
brethren in piety as they were superior in good sense--began to reflect
that they had no shadow of a warrant from Scripture for counting upon
any miraculous aid; that the whole expectation, from first to last, had
been human and presumptuous; and that the obligation of fighting
valiantly against idolatrous compliances was, at all events, paramount
to the obligation of the Sabbath. In one hour, after unyoking
themselves from this monstrous millstone of their own forging, about
their own necks, the cause rose buoyantly aloft as upon wings of
victory; and, as their very earliest reward--as the first fruits from
thus disabusing their minds of windy presumptions--they found the very
case itself melting away which had furnished the scruple; since their
cowardly enemies, now finding that they would fight on all days alike,
had no longer any motive for attacking them on the Sabbath; besides
that their own astonishing victories henceforward secured to them often
the choice of the day not less than of the ground.

But, without lingering on these outworks of the true religion, namely,
1st, the Temple of Jerusalem; 2dly, the Sabbath,--both of which the
divine wisdom often saw fit to lay prostrate before the presumption of
idolatrous assaults, on principles utterly irreconcilable with the
Oracle doctrine of the fathers,--there is a still more flagrant
argument against the fathers, which it is perfectly confounding to find
both them and their confuter overlooking. It is this. Oracles, take
them at the very worst, were no otherwise hostile to Christianity than
as a branch of Paganism. If, for instance, the Delphic establishment
were hateful (as doubtless it was) to the holy spirit of truth which
burned in the mind of an apostle, _why_ was it hateful? Not
primarily in its character of Oracle, but in its universal character of
Pagan temple; not as an authentic distributor of counsels adapted to
the infinite situations of its clients--often very wise counsels; but
as being ultimately engrafted on the stem of idolatrous religion--as
deriving, in the last resort, their sanctions from Pagan deities, and,
therefore, as sharing _constructively_ in all the pollutions of
that tainted source. Now, therefore, if Christianity, according to the
fancy of the fathers, could not tolerate the co-presence of so much
evil as resided in the Oracle superstition,--that is, in the
derivative, in the secondary, in the not unfrequently neutralized or
even redundantly compensated mode of error,--then, _à fortiori_,
Christianity could not have tolerated for an hour the parent
superstition, the larger evil, the fontal error, which diseased the
very organ of vision--which not merely distorted a few objects on the
road, but spread darkness over the road itself. Yet what is the fact?
So far from any mysterious repulsion _externally_ between
idolatrous errors and Christianity, as though the two schemes of belief
could no more coexist in the same society than two queen-bees in a
hive,--as though elementary nature herself recoiled from the abominable
_concursus_,--do but open a child's epitome of history, and you
find it to have required four entire centuries before the destroyer's
hammer and crowbar began to ring loudly against the temples of
idolatrous worship; and not before five, nay, locally six, or even
seven centuries had elapsed, could the better angel of mankind have
sung gratulations announcing that the great strife was over--that man
was inoculated with the truth; or have adopted the impressive language
of a Latin father, that "the owls were to be heard in _every_
village hooting from the dismantled fanes of heathenism, or the gaunt
wolf disturbing the sleep of peasants as he yelled in winter from the
cold, dilapidated altars." Even this victorious consummation was true
only for the southern world of civilization. The forests of Germany,
though pierced already to the south in the third and fourth centuries
by the torch of missionaries,--though already at that time illuminated
by the immortal Gothic version of the New Testament preceding Ulppilas,
and still surviving,--sheltered through ages in the north and east vast
tribes of idolaters, some awaiting the baptism of Charlemagne in the
eighth century and the ninth, others actually resuming a fierce
countenance of heathenism for the martial zeal of crusading knights in
the thirteenth and fourteenth. The history of Constantine has grossly
misled the world. It was very early in the fourth century (313 A. D.)
that Constantine found himself strong enough to take his _earliest_
steps for raising Christianity to a privileged station; which
station was not merely an effect and monument of its progress,
but a further cause of progress. In this latter light, as a power
advancing and moving, but politically still militant, Christianity
required exactly one other century to carry out and accomplish even its
eastern triumph. Dating from the era of the very inaugurating and
merely local acts of Constantine, we shall be sufficiently accurate in
saying that the corresponding period in the fifth century (namely, from
about 404 to 420 A. D.) first witnessed those uproars of ruin in Egypt
and Alexandria--fire racing along the old carious timbers, battering-
rams thundering against the ancient walls of the most horrid temples--
which rang so searchingly in the ears of Zosimus, extorting, at every
blow, a howl of Pagan sympathy from that ignorant calumniator of
Christianity. So far from the fact being, according to the general
prejudice, as though Constantine had found himself able to destroy
Paganism, and to replace it by Christianity; on the contrary, it was
both because he happened to be far too weak, in fact, for such a mighty
revolution, and because he _knew_ his own weakness, that he fixed
his new capital, as a preliminary caution, upon the Propontis.

There were other motives to this change, and particularly (as we have
attempted to show in a separate dissertation) motives of high political
economy, suggested by the relative conditions of land and agriculture
in Thrace and Asia Minor, by comparison with decaying Italy; but a
paramount motive, we are satisfied, and the earliest motive, was the
incurable Pagan bigotry of Rome. Paganism for Rome, it ought to have
been remembered by historians, was a mere necessity of her Pagan
origin. Paganism was the fatal dowry of Rome from her inauguration; not
only she had once received a retaining fee on behalf of Paganism, in
the mysterious _Ancile_, supposed to have fallen from heaven, but
she actually preserved this bribe amongst her rarest jewels. She
possessed a palladium, such a national amulet or talisman as many
Grecian or Asiatic cities had once possessed--a _fatal_ guarantee
to the prosperity of the state. Even the Sibylline books, whatever
ravages they might be supposed by the intelligent to have sustained in
a lapse of centuries, were popularly believed, in the latest period of
the Western empire, to exist as so many charters of supremacy. Jupiter
himself in Rome had put on a peculiar Roman physiognomy, which
associated him with the destinies of the gigantic state. Above all, the
solemn augury of the twelve vultures, so memorably passed downwards
from the days of Romulus, through generations as yet uncertain of the
event, and, therefore, chronologically incapable of participation in
any fraud--an augury _always_ explained as promising twelve
centuries of supremacy to Rome, from the year 748 or 750 B. C.--
coöperated with the endless other Pagan superstitions in anchoring the
whole Pantheon to the Capitol and Mount Palatine. So long as Rome had a
worldly hope surviving, it was impossible for her to forget the Vestal
Virgins, the College of Augurs, or the indispensable office and the
_indefeasible_ privileges of the _Pontifex Maximus_, which
(though Cardinal Baronius, in his great work, for many years sought to
fight off the evidences for that fact, yet afterwards partially he
confessed his error) actually availed--historically and _medallically_
can be demonstrated to have availed--for the temptation of Christian
Cæsars into collusive adulteries with heathenism. Here, for instance,
came an emperor that timidly recorded his scruples--feebly protested,
but gave way at once as to an ugly necessity. There came another, more
deeply religious, or constitutionally more bold, who fought long and
strenuously against the compromise. "What! should he, the delegate of
God, and the standard-bearer of the true religion, proclaim himself
officially head of the false? No; that was too much for his
conscience." But the fatal meshes of prescription, of superstitions
ancient and gloomy, gathered around him; he heard that he was no
perfect Cæsar without this office, and eventually the very same reason
which had obliged Augustus not to suppress, but himself to assume, the
tribunitian office, namely, that it was a popular mode of leaving
democratic organs untouched, whilst he neutralized their democratic
functions by absorbing them into his own, availed to overthrow all
Christian scruples of conscience, even in the most Christian of the
Cæsars, many years _after_ Constantine. The pious Theodosius found
himself literally compelled to become a Pagan pontiff. A _bon mot_
[Footnote: "A _bon mot_."--This was built on the accident that a
certain _Maximus_ stood in notorious circumstances of rivalship to the
emperor [Theodosius]: and the bitterness of the jest took this turn—
that if the emperor should persist in declining the office of _Pont.
_Maximus_, in that case, "erit Pontifex Maximus;" that is, Maximus (the
secret aspirant) shall be our Pontifex. _So_ the words sounded to those
in the secret [_synetoisi_], whilst to others they seemed to have no
meaning at all.] circulating amongst the people warned him that, if he
left the cycle of imperial powers incomplete, if he suffered the
galvanic battery to remain imperfect in its circuit of links, pretty
soon he would tempt treason to show its head, and would even for the
present find but an imperfect obedience. Reluctantly therefore the
emperor gave way: and perhaps soothed his fretting conscience, by
offering to heaven, as a penitential litany, that same petition which
Naaman the Syrian offered to the prophet Elijah as a reason for a
personal dispensation. Hardly more possible it was that a camel should
go through the eye of a needle, than that a Roman senator should
forswear those inveterate superstitions with which his own system of
aristocracy had been riveted for better and worse. As soon would the
Venetian senator, the gloomy "magnifico" of St. Mark, have consented to
Renounce the annual wedding of his republic with the Adriatic, as the
Roman noble, whether senator, or senator elect, or of senatorial
descent, would have dissevered his own solitary stem from the great
forest of his ancestral order; and this he must have done by doubting
the legend of Jupiter Stator, or by withdrawing his allegiance from
Jupiter Capitolinus. The Roman people universally became agitated
towards the opening of the fifth century after Christ, when their own
twelfth century was drawing near to its completion. Rome had now
reached the very condition of Dr. Faustus--having originally received a
known term of prosperity from some dark power; but at length hearing
the hours, one after the other, tolling solemnly from the church-tower,
as they exhausted the waning minutes of the very final day marked down
in the contract. The more profound was the faith of Rome in the flight
of the twelve vultures, once so glorious, now so sad, an augury, the
deeper was the depression as the last hour drew near that had been so
mysteriously prefigured. The reckoning, indeed, of chronology was
slightly uncertain. The Varronian account varied from others. But these
trivial differences might tell as easily against them as for them, and
did but strengthen the universal agitation. Alaric, in the opening of
the fifth century [about 4l0]--Attila, near the middle [445]--already
seemed prelusive earthquakes running before the final earthquake. And
Christianity, during this era of public alarm, was so far from assuming
a more winning aspect to Roman eyes, as a religion promising to survive
their own, that already, under that character of reversionary triumph,
this gracious religion seemed a public insult, and this meek religion a
perpetual defiance; pretty much as a king sees with scowling eyes, when
revealed to him in some glass of Cornelius Agrippa, the portraits of
that mysterious house which is destined to supplant his own.

Now, from this condition of feeling at Rome, it is apparent not only as
a fact that Constantine did not overthrow Paganism, but as a
possibility that he could not have overthrown it. In the fierce
conflict he would probably have been overthrown himself; and, even for
so much as he _did_ accomplish, it was well that he attempted it
at a distance from Rome. So profoundly, therefore, are the fathers in
error, that instead of that instant victory which they ascribe to
Christianity, even Constantine's revolution was merely local. Nearly
five centuries, in fact, it cost, and not three, to Christianize even
the entire Mediterranean empire of Rome; and the premature effort of
Constantine ought to be regarded as a mere _fluctus decumanus_ in
the continuous advance of the new religion,--one of those ambitious
billows which sometimes run far ahead of their fellows in a tide
steadily gaining ground, but which inevitably recede in the next
moment, marking only the strength of that tendency which sooner or
later is destined to fill the whole capacity of the shore.

To have proved, therefore, if it could have been proved, that
Christianity had been fatal in the way of a magical charm to the
Oracles of the world, would have proved nothing but a perplexing
inconsistency, so long as the fathers were obliged to confess that
Paganism itself, as a gross total, as the parent superstition (sure to
reproduce Oracles faster than they could be extinguished), had been
suffered to exist for many centuries concurrently with Christianity,
and had finally been overthrown by the simple majesty of truth that
courts the light, as matched against falsehood that shuns it.

As applied, therefore, to the first problem in the whole question upon
Oracles,--_When, and under what circumstances, did they cease?_--
the _Dissertatio_ of Van Dale, and the _Histoire des Oracles_
by Fontenelle, are irresistible, though not written in a proper spirit
of gravity, nor making use of that indispensable argument which we have
ourselves derived from the analogy of all scriptural precedents.

But the case is far otherwise as concerns the second problem,--_How,
and by what machinery, did the Oracles, in the days of their
prosperity, conduct their elaborate ministrations?_ To this problem
no justice at all is done by the school of Van Dale. A spirit of
mockery and banter is ill applied to questions that at any time have
been centres of fear, and hope, and mysterious awe, to long trains of
human generations. And the coarse assumption of systematic fraud in the
Oracles is neither satisfactory to the understanding, as failing to
meet many important aspects of the case, nor is it at all countenanced
by the kind of evidences that have been hitherto alleged. The fathers
had taken the course--vulgar and superstitious--of explaining
everything sagacious, everything true, everything that by possibility
could seem to argue prophetic functions in the greater Oracles, as the
product indeed of inspiration, but of inspiration emanating from an
evil spirit. This hypothesis of a diabolic inspiration is rejected by
the school of Van Dale. Both the power of at all looking into the
future, and the fancied source of that power, are dismissed as
contemptible chimeras. Upon the first of these dark pretensions we
shall have occasion to speak at another point. Upon the other we agree
with Van Dale. Yet, even here, the spirit of triumphant ridicule,
applied to questions not wholly within the competence of human
resources, is displeasing in grave discussions: grave they are by
necessity of their relations, howsoever momentarily disfigured by
levity and the unseasonable grimaces of self-sufficient "philosophy."
This temper of mind is already advertised from the first to the
observing reader of Van Dale by the character of his engraved
frontispiece. Men are there exhibited in the act of juggling, and still
more odiously as exulting over their juggleries by gestures of the
basest collusion, such as protruding the tongue, inflating one cheek by
means of the tongue, grinning, and winking obliquely. These vilenesses
are so ignoble, that for his own sake a man of honor (whether as a
writer or a reader) shrinks from dealing with any case to which they do
really adhere; such a case belongs to the province of police courts,
not of literature. But, in the ancient apparatus of the Oracles
although frauds and _espionage_ did certainly form an occasional
resource, the artifices employed were rarely illiberal in their mode,
and always ennobled by their motive. As to the mode, the Oracles had
fortunately no temptation to descend into any tricks that could look
like "thimble-rigging;" and as to the motive, it will be seen that this
could never be dissociated from some regard to public or patriotic
objects in the first place; to which if any secondary interest were
occasionally attached, this could rarely descend so low as even to an
ordinary purpose of gossiping curiosity, but never to a base, mercenary
purpose of fraud. Our views, however, on this phasis of the question,
will speedily speak for themselves.

Meantime, pausing for one moment to glance at the hypothesis of the
fathers, we confess ourselves to be scandalized by its unnecessary
plunge into the ignoble. Many sincere Christian believers have doubted
altogether of any evil spirits, as existences, warranted by Scripture,
that is, as beings whose principle was evil ["evil, be thou my good:"
P. L.]; others, again, believing in the possibility that spiritual
beings had been (in ways unintelligible to us) seduced from their state
of perfection by temptations analogous to those which had seduced man,
acquiesced in the notion of spirits tainted with evil, but not
therefore (any more than man himself) essentially or causelessly
malignant. Now, it is well known, and, amongst others, Eichhorn
_(Einletung in das alte Testament) has noticed the fact, which will
be obvious, on a little reflection, to any even unlearned student of
the Scriptures who can throw his memory back through a real familiarity
with those records, that the Jews derived their obstinate notions of
fiends and demoniacal possessions (as accounting even for bodily
affections) entirely from their Chaldean captivity. Not before that
great event in Jewish history, and, therefore, in consequence of that
event, were the Jews inoculated with this Babylonian, Persian, and
Median superstition. Now, if Eichhorn and others are right, it follows
that the elder Scriptures, as they ascend more and more into the purer
atmosphere of untainted Hebrew creeds, ought to exhibit an increasing
freedom from all these modes of demoniacal agency. And accordingly so
we find it. Messengers of God are often concerned in the early records
of Moses; but it is not until we come down to Post-Mosaical records,
Job, for example (though that book is doubtful as to its chronology),
and the chronicles of the Jewish kings (_Judaic or Israelitish)_,
that we first find any allusion to malignant spirits. As against
Eichhorn, however, though readily conceding that the agency is not
often recognized, we would beg leave to notice, that there is a three-
fold agency of evil, relatively to man, ascribed to certain spirits in
the elder Scriptures, namely: 1, of _misleading_ (as in the case
of the Israelitish king seduced into a fatal battle by a falsehood
originating with a spiritual being); 2, of _temptation_; 3, of
calumnious _accusation_ directed against absent parties. It is not
absolutely an untenable hypothesis, that these functions of malignity
to man, as at first sight they appear, may be in fact reconcilable with
the general functions of a being not malignant, and not evil in any
sense, but simply obedient to superior commands: for none of us
supposes, of course, that a "destroying angel" must be an evil spirit,
though sometimes appearing in a dreadful relation of hostility to
_all_ parties (as in the case of David's punishment). But, waiving
all these speculations, one thing is apparent, that the negative
allowance, the toleration granted to these later Jewish modes of belief
by our Saviour, can no more be urged as arguing any positive sanction
to such existences (to _demons_ in the bad sense), than his
toleration of Jewish errors and conceits in questions of science. Once
for all, it was no purpose of his mission to expose errors in matters
of pure curiosity, and in speculations _not_ moral, but exclusively
intellectual. And, besides the ordinary argument for rejecting
such topics of teaching, as not necessarily belonging to any known
purpose of the Christian revelation (which argument is merely
negative, and still leaves it open to have regarded such communications
as a possible _extra_ condescension, as a _lucro ponatur_,
not absolutely to have been expected, but if granted as all the more
meritorious in Christianity), we privately are aware of an argument,
far more rigorous and coërcive, which will place this question upon
quite another basis. This argument, which, in a proper situation, and
with ampler disposable space, we shall expose in its strength, will
show that it was not that neutral possibility which men have supposed,
for the founder of our faith to have granted light, casually or
indirectly, upon questions of curiosity. One sole revelation was made
by Him, as to the nature of the intercourse and the relations in
another world; but _that_ was for the purpose of forestalling a
vile, unspiritual notion, already current amongst the childish Jews,
and sure to propagate itself even to our own days, unless an utter
_averruncatio_ were applied to it. This was its purpose, and not
any purpose of gratification to unhallowed curiosity; we speak of the
question about the reversionary rights of marriage in a future state.
This memorable case, by the way, sufficiently exposes the gross,
infantine sensualism of the Jewish mind at that period, and throws an
indirect light on their creed as to demons. With this one exception,
standing by itself and self-explained, there never was a gleam of
revelation granted by any authorized prophet to speculative curiosity,
whether pointing to science, or to the mysteries of the spiritual
world. And the true argument on this subject would show that this
abstinence was not accidental; was not merely on a motive of
convenience, as evading any needless extension of labors in teaching,
which is the furthest point attained by any existing argument; but, on
the contrary, that there was an obligation of consistency, stern,
absolute, insurmountable, which made it _essential_ to withhold
such revelations; and that had but one such condescension, even to a
harmless curiosity, been conceded, there would have arisen instantly a
rent--a fracture--a schism--in another vast and collateral purpose of
Providence.

From all considerations of the Jewish condition at the era of
Christianity, the fathers might have seen the license for doubt as to
the notions of a diabolic inspiration. Why must the prompting spirits,
if really assumed to be the efficient agency behind the Oracles, be
figured as holding any relation at all to moral good or moral evil? Why
not allow of demoniac powers, excelling man in beauty, power,
prescience, but otherwise neutral as to all purposes of man's moral
nature? Or, if revolting angels were assumed, why degrade their agency
in so vulgar and unnecessary a way, by adopting the vilest relation to
man which can be imputed to a demon--his function of secret
_calumnious accusation_; from which idea, lowering the Miltonic
"archangel ruined" into the assessor of thieves, as a private slanderer
(_diabolos_), proceeds, through the intermediate Italian _diavolo_,
our own grotesque vulgarism of the _devil_; [Footnote: But, says an
unlearned man, Christ uses the word _devil_. Not so. The word used is
_diabolos_. Translate v. g. "The accuser and his angels."] an idea
which must ever be injurious, in common with all base conceptions, to a
grand and spiritual religion. If the Oracles _were_ supported by
mysterious agencies of spiritual beings, it was still open to have
distinguished between mere modes of power or of intelligence, and modes
of illimitable evil. The _results_ of the Oracles were beneficent: that
was all which the fathers had any right to know: and their unwarranted
introduction of wicked or rebel angels was as much a surreptitious
fraud upon their audiences, as their neglect to distinguish between the
conditions of an extinct superstition and a superstition dormant or
decaying.

To leave the fathers, and to state our own views on the final question
argued by Van Dale--"What was the essential machinery by which the
Oracles moved?"--we shall inquire,

1. What was the relation of the Oracles (and we would wish to be
understood as speaking particularly of the Delphic Oracle) to the
credulity of Greece?

2. What was the relation of that same Oracle to the absolute truth?

3. What was its relation to the public welfare of Greece?

Into this trisection we shall decompose the coarse unity of the
question presented by Van Dale and his Vandals, as though the one sole
"issue," that could be sent down for trial before a jury, were the
likelihoods of fraud and gross swindling. It is not with the deceptions
or collusions of the Oracles, as mere matters of fact, that we in this
age are primarily concerned, but with those deceptions as they affected
the contemporary people of Greece. It is important to know whether the
general faith of Greece in the mysterious pretensions of Oracles were
unsettled or disturbed by the several agencies at work that naturally
tended to rouse suspicion; such, for instance, as these four which
follow:--1. Eminent instances of scepticism with regard to the oracular
powers, from time to time circulating through Greece in the shape of
_bon mots_; or, 2, which silently amounted to the same virtual
expression of distrust, Refusals (often more speciously wearing the
name of _neglects_) to consult the proper Oracle on some hazardous
enterprize of general notoriety and interest; 3. Cases of direct
failure in the event, as understood to have been predicted by the
Oracle, not unfrequently accompanied by tragical catastrophes to the
parties misled by this erroneous construction of the Oracle; 4. (which
is, perhaps, the climax of the exposures possible under the
superstitions of Paganism), A public detection of known oracular
temples doing business on a considerable scale, as accomplices with
felons.

Modern appraisers of the oracular establishments are too commonly in
all moral senses anachronists. We hear it alleged with some
plausibility against Southey's portrait of Don Roderick, though
otherwise conceived in a spirit proper for bringing out the whole
sentiment of his pathetic situation, that the king is too Protestant,
and too evangelical, after the model of 1800, in his modes of
penitential piety. The poet, in short, reflected back upon one who was
too certain in the eighth century to have been the victim of dark
popish superstitions, his own pure and enlightened faith. But the
anachronistic spirit in which modern sceptics react upon the Pagan
Oracles is not so elevating as the English poet's. Southey reflected
his own superiority upon the Gothic prince of Spain. But the sceptics
reflect their own vulgar habits of mechanic and compendious office
business upon the large institutions of the ancient Oracles. To satisfy
them, the Oracle should resemble a modern coach-office--where
undoubtedly you would suspect fraud, if the question "How far to
Derby?" were answered evasively, or if the grounds of choice between
two roads were expressed enigmatically. But the _to loxon_, or
mysterious indirectness of the Oracle, was calculated far more to
support the imaginative grandeur of the unseen God, and was designed to
do so, than to relieve the individual suitor in a perplexity seldom of
any capital importance. In this way every oracular answer operated upon
the local Grecian neighborhood in which it circulated as one of the
impulses which, from time to time, renewed the sense of a mysterious
involution in the invisible powers, as though they were incapable of
direct correspondence or parallelism with the monotony and slight
compass of human ideas. As the symbolic dancers of the ancients, who
narrated an elaborate story, _Saltando Hecubam_, or _Saltando
Loadamiam_, interwove the passion of the advancing incidents into
the intricacies of the figure--something in the same way, it was
understood by all men, that the Oracle did not so much evade the
difficulty by a dark form of words, as he revealed his own hieroglyphic
nature. All prophets, the true equally with the false, have felt the
instinct for surrounding themselves with the majesty of darkness. And
in a religion like the Pagan, so deplorably meagre and starved as to
most of the draperies connected with the mysterious and sublime, we
must not seek to diminish its already scanty wardrobe. But let us pass
from speculation to illustrative anecdotes. We have imagined several
cases which might seem fitted for giving a shock to the general Pagan
confidence in Oracles. Let us review them.

The first is the case of any memorable scepticism published in a
pointed or witty form; as Demosthenes avowed his suspicions "that the
Oracle was _Philippizing_." This was about 344 years B.C. Exactly
one hundred years earlier, in the 444th year B.C., or the _locus_
of Pericles, Herodotus (then forty years old) is universally supposed
to have read, which for _him_ was publishing, his history. In this
work two insinuations of the same kind occur: during the invasion of
Darius the Mede (about 490 B.C.) the Oracle was charged with
_Medizing_; and in the previous period of Pisistratus (about 555
B.C.) the Oracle had been almost convicted of _Alcmœonidizing_.
The Oracle concerned was the same,--namely, the Delphic,--in all three
cases. In the case of Darius, fear was the ruling passion; in the
earlier case, a near self-interest, but not in a base sense selfish.
The Alemœonidae, an Athenian house hostile to Pisistratus, being
exceedingly rich, had engaged to rebuild the ruined temple of the
Oracle; and had fulfilled their promise with a munificence outrunning
the letter of their professions, particularly with regard to the
quality of marble used in facing or "veneering" the front elevation.
Now, these sententious and rather witty expressions gave wings and
buoyancy to the public suspicions, so as to make them fly from one end
of Greece to the other; and they continued in lively remembrance for
centuries. Our answer we reserve until we have illustrated the other
heads.

In the second case, namely, that of sceptical slights shown to the
Oracle, there are some memorable precedents on record. Everybody knows
the ridiculous stratagem of Crœsus, the Lydian king, for trying the
powers of the Oracle, by a monstrous culinary arrangement of pots and
pans, known (as he fancied) only to himself. Generally the course of
the Delphic Oracle under similar insults was--warmly to resent them.
But Crœsus, as a king, a foreigner, and a suitor of unexampled
munificence, was privileged, especially because the ministers of the
Delphic temple had doubtless found it easy to extract the secret by
bribery from some one of the royal mission. A case, however, much more
interesting, because arising between two leading states of Greece, and
in the century subsequent to the ruder age of Crœsus (who was about
coeval with Pisistratus, 555 B. C.), is reported by Xenophon of the
Lacedæmonians and Thebans. They concluded a treaty of peace without any
communication, not so much as a civil notification to the Oracle; _to
men Teo ouden ekoinosanto, hopis hæ eirpnp genoito_--to the god (the
Delphic god) they made no communication at all as to the terms of the
peace; _outoi de ebeleuonto_, but they personally pursued their
negotiations in private. That this was a very extraordinary reach of
presumption, is evident from the care of Xenophon in bringing it before
his readers; it is probable, indeed, that neither of the high
contracting parties had really acted in a spirit of religious
indifference, though it is remarkable of the Spartans, that of all
Greek tribes they were the most facile and numerous delinquents under
all varieties of foreign temptations to revolt from their hereditary
allegiance--a fact which measures the degree of unnatural constraint
and tension which the Spartan usages involved; but in this case we
rather account for the public outrage to religion and universal usage,
by a strong political jealousy lest the provisions of the treaty should
transpire prematurely amongst states adjacent to Bœotia.

Whatever, meantime, were the secret motive to this policy, it did not
fail to shock all Greece profoundly. And, in a slighter degree, the
same effect upon public feeling followed the act of Agesipolis, who,
after obtaining an answer from the Oracle of Delphi, carried forward
his suit to the more awfully ancient Oracle of Dodona; by way of
trying, as he alleged, "whether the child agreed with its papa." These
open expressions of distrust were generally condemned; and the
irresistible proof that they were, lies in the fact that they led to no
imitations. Even in a case mentioned by Herodotus, when a man had the
audacity to found a colony without seeking an oracular sanction, no
precedent was established; though the journey to Delphi must often have
been peculiarly inconvenient to the founders of colonies moving
westwards from Greece; and the expenses of such a journey, with the
subsequent offerings, could not but prove unseasonable at the moment
when every drachma was most urgently needed. Charity begins at home,
was a thought quite as likely to press upon a Pagan conscience, in
those circumstances, as upon our modern Christian consciences under
heavy taxation; yet, for all that, such was the regard to a pious
inauguration of all colonial enterprises, that no one provision or
pledge of prosperity was held equally indispensable by all parties to
such hazardous speculations. The merest worldly foresight, indeed, to
the most irreligious leader, would suggest this sanction as a
necessity, under the following reason:--colonies the most enviably
prosperous upon the whole, have yet had many hardships to contend with
in their noviciate of the first five years; were it only from the
summer failure of water under circumstances of local ignorance, or from
the casual failure of crops under imperfect arrangements of culture.
Now, the one great qualification for wrestling strenuously with such
difficult contingencies in solitary situations, is the spirit of
cheerful hope; but, when any room had been left for apprehending a
supernatural curse resting upon their efforts--equally in the most
thoughtfully pious man and the most crazily superstitious--all spirit
of hope would be blighted at once; and the religious neglect would,
even in a common human way, become its own certain executor, through
mere depression of spirits and misgiving of expectations. Well,
therefore, might Cicero in a tone of defiance demand, "Quam vero Græcia
coloniam misit in Ætoliam, Ioniam, Asiam, Siciliam, Italiam, sine
Pythio (the Delphic), aut Dodonseo, aut Hammonis oraculo?" An oracular
sanction must be had, and from a leading oracle--the three mentioned by
Cicero were the greatest; [Footnote: To which at one time must be
added, as of equal rank, the Oracle of the Branchides, in Asia Minor.
But this had been destroyed by the Persians, in retaliation of the
Athenian outrages at Sardis.] and, if a minor oracle could have
satisfied the inaugurating necessities of a regular colony, we may be
sure that the Dorian states of the Peloponnesus, who had twenty-five
decent oracles at home (that is, within the peninsula), would not so
constantly have carried their money to Delphi. Nay, it is certain that
even where the colonial counsels of the greater oracles seemed
extravagant, though a large discretion was allowed to remonstrance, and
even to very homely expostulations, still, in the last resort, no
doubts were felt that the oracle must be right. Brouwer, the Belgic
scholar, who has so recently and so temperately treated these subjects
(Histoire de la Civilisation Morale et Religieuse chez les Grecs: 6
tomes: Groningue--1840), alleges a case (which, however, we do not
remember to have met) where the client ventured to object:--"_Mon roi
Apollon, je crois que tu es fou._" But cases are obvious which look
this way, though not going so far as to charge lunacy upon the lord of
prophetic vision. Battus, who was destined to be the eldest father of
Cyrene, so memorable as the first ground of Greek intercourse with the
African shore of the Mediterranean, never consulted the Delphic Oracle
in reference to his eyes, which happened to be diseased, but that he
was admonished to prepare for colonizing Libya.--"Grant me patience,"
would Battus reply; "here am I getting into years, and never do I
consult the Oracle about my precious sight, but you, King Phœbus, begin
your old yarn about Cyrene. Confound Cyrene! Nobody knows where it is.
But, if you are serious, speak to my son--he's a likely young man, and
worth a hundred of old rotten hulks, like myself." Battus was provoked
in good earnest; and it is well known that the whole scheme went to
sleep for several years, until King Phoebus sent in a gentle refresher
to Battus and his islanders, in the shape of failing crops, pestilence,
and his ordinary chastisements. The people were roused--the colony was
founded--and, after utter failure, was again re-founded, and the
results justified the Oracle. But, in all such cases, and where the
remonstrances were least respectful, or where the resistance of
_inertia_ was longest, we differ altogether from M. Brouwer in his
belief, that the suitors fancied Apollo to have gone distracted. If
they ever said so, this must have been merely by way of putting the
Oracle on its mettle, and calling forth some _plainer_--not any
essentially different--answer from the enigmatic god; for there it was
that the doubts of the clients settled, and on that it was the
practical demurs hinged. Not because even Battus, vexed as he was about
his precious eyesight, distrusted the Oracle, but because he felt sure
that the Oracle had not spoken out freely; therefore, had he and many
others in similar circumstances presumed to delay. A second edition was
what they waited for, corrected and _enlarged_. We have a memorable
instance of this policy in the Athenian envoys, who, upon receiving a
most ominous doom, but obscurely expressed, from the Delphic Oracle,
which politely concluded by saying, "And so get out, you vagabonds,
from my temple--don't cumber my decks any longer;" were advised to
answer sturdily--"No!--we shall _not_ get out--we mean to sit here
forever, until you think proper to give us a more reasonable reply."
Upon which spirited rejoinder, the Pythia saw the policy of revising
her truly brutal rescript as it had stood originally.

The necessity, indeed, was strong for not acquiescing in the Oracle,
until it had become clearer by revision or by casual illustrations, as
will be seen even under our next head. This head concerns the case of
those who found themselves deceived by the _event_ of any oracular
prediction. As usual, there is a Spartan case of this nature. Cleomenes
complained bitterly that the Oracle of Delphi had deluded him by
holding out as a possibility, and under given conditions as a
certainty, that he should possess himself of Argos. But the Oracle was
justified: there was an inconsiderable place outside the walls of Argos
which bore the same name. Most readers will remember the case of
Cambyses, who had been assured by a legion of oracles that he should
die at Ecbatana. Suffering, therefore, in Syria from a scratch
inflicted upon his thigh by his own sabre, whilst angrily sabring a
ridiculous quadruped whom the Egyptian priests had put forward as a
god, he felt quite at his ease so long as he remembered his vast
distance from the mighty capital of Media, to the eastward of the
Tigris. The scratch, however, inflamed, for his intemperance had
saturated his system with combustible matter; the inflammation spread;
the pulse ran high: and he began to feel twinges of alarm. At length
mortification commenced: but still he trusted to the old prophecy about
Ecbatana, when suddenly a horrid discovery was made--that the very
Syrian village at his own head-quarters was known by the pompous name
of Ecbatana. Josephus tells a similar story of some man contemporary
with Herod the Great. And we must all remember that case in Shakspeare,
where the first king of the _red_ rose, Henry IV., had long
fancied his destiny to be that he should meet his death in Jerusalem;
which naturally did not quicken his zeal for becoming a crusader. "All
time enough," doubtless he used to say; "no hurry at all, gentlemen!"
But at length, finding himself pronounced by the doctor ripe for dying,
it became a question whether the prophet were a false prophet, or the
doctor a false doctor. However, in such a case, it is something to have
a collision of opinions--a prophet against a doctor. But, behold, it
soon transpired that there was no collision at all. It was the
Jerusalem chamber, occupied by the king as a bed-room, to which the
prophet had alluded. Upon which his majesty reconciled himself at once
to the ugly necessity at hand


  "In that Jerusalem shall Harry die."


The last case--that of oracular establishments turning out to be
accomplices of thieves--is one which occurred in Egypt on a scale of
some extent; and is noticed by Herodotus. This degradation argued great
poverty in the particular temples: and it is not at all improbable
that, amongst a hundred Grecian Oracles, some, under a similar
temptation, would fall into a similar disgrace. But now, as regards
even this lowest extremity of infamy, much more as regards the
qualified sort of disrepute attending the three minor cases, one single
distinction puts all to rights. The Greeks never confounded the temple,
and household of officers attached to the temple service, with the dark
functions of the presiding god. In Delphi, besides the Pythia and
priests, with their train of subordinate ministers directly billeted on
the temple, there were two orders of men outside, Delphic citizens, one
styled _Arizeis_, the other styled _Hosioi_,--a sort of honorary
members, whose duty was probably _inter alia_, to attach themselves
to persons of corresponding rank in the retinues of the envoys
or consulting clients, and doubtless to collect from them, in
convivial moments, all the secrets or general information which the
temple required for satisfactory answers. If they personally went too
far in their intrigues or stratagems of decoy, the disgrace no more
recoiled on the god, than, in modern times, the vices or crimes of a
priest can affect the pure religion at whose altars he officiates.

Meantime, through these outside ministers--though unaffected by their
follies or errors as trepanners--the Oracle of Delphi drew that vast
and comprehensive information, from every local nook or recess of
Greece, which made it in the end a blessing to the land. The great
error is, to suppose the majority of cases laid before the Delphic
Oracle strictly questions for _prophetic_ functions. Ninety-nine
in a hundred respected marriages, state-treaties, sales, purchases,
founding of towns or colonies, &c., which demanded no faculty whatever
of divination, but the nobler faculty (though unpresumptuous) of
sagacity, that calculates the natural consequences of human acts,
cooperating with elaborate investigation of the local circumstances.
If, in any paper on the general civilization of Greece (that great
mother of civilization for all the world), we should ever attempt to
trace this element of Oracles, it will not be difficult to prove that
Delphi discharged the office of a central _bureau d'administration_,
a general depot of political information, an organ of universal
combination for the counsels of the whole Grecian race. And that which
caused the declension of the Oracles was the loss of political
independence and autonomy. After Alexander, still more after the Roman
conquest, each separate state, having no powers and no motive for
asking counsel on state measures, naturally confined itself more and
more to its humbler local interests of police, or even at last to its
family arrangements.



THE REVOLUTION OF GREECE.

[1833.]



It is falsely charged upon itself by this age, in its character of
_censor morum_, that effeminacy in a practical sense lies either
amongst its full-blown faults, or amongst its lurking tendencies. A
rich, a polished, a refined age, may, by mere necessity of inference,
be presumed to be a luxurious one; and the usual principle, by which
moves the whole trivial philosophy which speculates upon the character
of a particular age or a particular nation, is first of all to adopt
some one central idea of its characteristics, and then without further
effort to pursue its integration; that is, having assumed (or, suppose
even having demonstrated) the existence of some great influential
quality in excess sufficient to overthrow the apparent equilibrium
demanded by the common standards of a just national character, the
speculator then proceeds, as in a matter of acknowledged right, to push
this predominant quality into all its consequences, and all its closest
affinities. To give one illustration of such a case, now perhaps
beginning to be forgotten: Somewhere about the year 1755, the once
celebrated Dr. Brown, after other little attempts in literature and
paradox, took up the conceit that England was ruined at her heart's
core by excess of luxury and sensual self-indulgence. He had persuaded
himself that the ancient activities and energies of the country were
sapped by long habits of indolence, and by a morbid plethora of
enjoyment in every class. Courage, and the old fiery spirit of the
people, had gone to wreck with the physical qualities which had
sustained them. Even the faults of the public mind had given way under
its new complexion of character; ambition and civil dissension were
extinct. It was questionable whether a good hearty assault and battery,
or a respectable knock-down blow, had been dealt by any man in London
for one or two generations. The doctor carried his reveries so far,
that he even satisfied himself and one or two friends (probably by
looking into the parks at hours propitious to his hypothesis) that
horses were seldom or ever used for riding; that, in fact, this
accomplishment was too boisterous or too perilous for the gentle
propensities of modern Britons; and that, by the best accounts, few men
of rank or fashion were now seen on horseback. This pleasant collection
of dreams did Doctor Brown solemnly propound to the English public, in
two octavo volumes, under the title of "An Estimate of the Manners and
Principles of the Times;" and the report of many who lived in those
days assures us that for a brief period the book had a prodigious run.
In some respects the doctor's conceits might seem too startling and
extravagant; but, to balance _that_, every nation has some pleasure
in being heartily abused by one of its own number; and the English
nation has always had a special delight in being alarmed, and in
being clearly convinced that it is and ought to be on the brink of
ruin. With such advantages in the worthy doctor's favor, he might have
kept the field until some newer extravaganza had made his own obsolete,
had not one ugly turn in political affairs given so smashing a
refutation to his practical conclusions, and called forth so sudden a
rebound of public feeling in the very opposite direction, that a bomb-
shell descending right through the whole impression of his book could
not more summarily have laid a chancery "injunction" upon its further
sale. This arose under the brilliant administration of the first Mr.
Pitt: England was suddenly victorious in three quarters of the globe;
land and sea echoed to the voice of her triumphs; and the poor Doctor
Brown, in the midst of all this hubbub, cut his own throat with his own
razor. Whether this dismal catastrophe were exactly due to his
mortification as a baffled visionary, whose favorite conceit had
suddenly exploded like a rocket into smoke and stench, is more than we
know. But, at all events, the sole memorial of his hypothesis which now
reminds the English reader that it ever existed is one solitary notice
of good-humored satire pointed at it by Cowper. [Footnote: "The
Inestimable Estimate of Brown."] And the possibility of such exceeding
folly in a man otherwise of good sense and judgment, not depraved by
any brain-fever or enthusiastic infatuation, is to be found in the
vicious process of reasoning applied to such estimates; the doctor,
having taken up one novel idea of the national character, proceeded
afterwards by no tentative inquiries, or comparison with actual facts
and phenomena of daily experience, but resolutely developed out of his
one idea all that it appeared analytically to involve; and postulated
audaciously as a solemn fact whatsoever could be exhibited in any
possible connection with his one central principle, whether in the way
of consequence or of affinity.

Pretty much upon this unhappy Brunonian mode of deducing our national
character, it is a very plausible speculation, which has been and will
again be chanted, that we, being a luxurious nation, must by force of
good logical dependency be liable to many derivative taints and
infirmities which ought of necessity to besiege the blood of nations in
that predicament. All enterprise and spirit of adventure, all heroism
and courting of danger for its own attractions, ought naturally to
languish in a generation enervated by early habits of personal
indulgence. Doubtless they _ought; a priori_, it seems strictly
demonstrable that such consequences should follow. Upon the purest
forms of inference in _Barbara_ or _Celarent_, it can be shown
satisfactorily that from all our tainted classes, _a fortiori_
then from our most tainted classes--our men of fashion and of
opulent fortunes--no description of animal can possibly arise but
poltroons and _fainéans_. In fact, pretty generally, under the
known circumstances of our modern English education and of our social
habits, we ought, in obedience to all the _precognita_ of our
position, to show ourselves rank cowards; yet, in spite of so much
excellent logic, the facts are otherwise. No age has shown in its young
patricians a more heroic disdain of sedentary ease; none in a martial
support of liberty or national independence has so gayly volunteered
upon services the most desperate, or shrunk less from martyrdom on the
field of battle, whenever there was hope to invite their disinterested
exertions, or grandeur enough in the cause to sustain them. Which of us
forgets the gallant Mellish, the frank and the generous, who reconciled
himself so gayly to the loss of a splendid fortune, and from the very
bosom of luxury suddenly precipitated himself upon the hardships of
Peninsular warfare? Which of us forgets the adventurous Lee of Lime,
whom a princely estate could not detain in early youth from courting
perils in Nubia and Abyssinia, nor (immediately upon his return) from
almost wooing death as a volunteer aide-de-camp to the Duke of
Wellington at Waterloo? So again of Colonel Evans, who, after losing a
fine estate long held out to his hopes, five times over put himself at
the head of _forlorn hopes_. Such cases are memorable, and were
conspicuous at the time, from the lustre of wealth and high connections
which surrounded the parties; but many thousand others, in which the
sacrifices of personal ease were less noticeable from their narrower
scale of splendor, had equal merit for the cheerfulness with which
those sacrifices were made. [Footnote: History of the Greek Revolution,
by Thomas Gordon.] Here, again, in the person of the author before us,
we have another instance of noble and disinterested heroism, which,
from the magnitude of the sacrifices that it involved, must place him
in the same class as the Mellishes and the Lees. This gallant Scotsman,
who was born in 1788, or 1789, lost his father in early life.
Inheriting from him a good estate in Aberdeenshire, and one more
considerable in Jamaica, he found himself, at the close of a long
minority, in the possession of a commanding fortune. Under the vigilant
care of a sagacious mother, Mr. Gordon received the very amplest
advantages of a finished education, studying first at the University of
Aberdeen, and afterwards for two years at Oxford; whilst he had
previously enjoyed as a boy the benefits of a private tutor from
Oxford. Whatever might be the immediate result from this careful
tuition, Mr. Gordon has since completed his own education in the most
comprehensive manner, and has carried his accomplishments as a linguist
to a point of rare excellence. Sweden and Portugal excepted, we
understand that he has personally visited every country in Europe. He
has travelled also in Asiatic Turkey, in Persia, and in Barbary. From
this personal residence in foreign countries, we understand that Mr.
Gordon has obtained an absolute mastery over certain modern languages,
especially the French, the Italian, the modern Greek, and the
Turkish.[Footnote: Mr. Gordon is privately known to be the translator
of the work written by a Turkish minister, "_Tchebi Effendi_"
published in the Appendix to Wilkinson's Wallachia, and frequently
referred to by the _Quarterly Review_ in its notices of Oriental
affairs.] Not content, however, with this extensive education in a
literary sense, Mr. Gordon thought proper to prepare himself for the
part which he meditated in public life, by a second, or military
education, in two separate services;--first, in the British, where he
served in the Greys, and in the forty-third regiment; and subsequently,
during the campaign of 1813, as a captain on the Russian staff.

Thus brilliantly accomplished for conferring lustre and benefit upon
any cause which he might adopt amongst the many revolutionary movements
then continually emerging in Southern Europe, he finally carried the
whole weight of his great talents, prudence, and energy, together with
the unlimited command of his purse, to the service of Greece in her
heroic struggle with the Sultan. At what point his services and his
countenance were appreciated by the ruling persons in Greece, will be
best collected from the accompanying letter, translated from the
original, in modern Greek, addressed to him by the provisional
government of Greece, in 1822. It will be seen that this official
document notices with great sorrow Mr. Gordon's absence from Greece,
and with some surprise, as a fact at that time unexplained and
mysterious; but the simple explanation of this mystery was, that Mr.
Gordon had been brought to the very brink of the grave by a contagious
fever, at Tripolizza, and that his native air was found essential to
his restoration. Subsequently, however, he returned, and rendered the
most powerful services to Greece, until the war was brought to a close,
as much almost by Turkish exhaustion, as by the armed interference of
the three great conquerors of Navarino.

"The government of Greece to the SIGNOR GORDON, a man worthy of all
admiration, and a friend of the Grecians, health and prosperity.

"It was not possible, most excellent sir, nor was it a thing endurable
to the descendants of the Grecians, that they should be deprived any
longer of those imprescriptible rights which belong to the inheritance
of their birth--rights which a barbarian of a foreign soil, an anti-
christian tyrant, issuing from the depths of Asia, seized upon with a
robber's hand, and, lawlessly trampling under foot, administered up to
this time the affairs of Greece, after his own lust and will. Needs it
was that we, sooner or later, shattering this iron and heavy sceptre,
should recover, at the price of life itself (if _that_ were found
necessary), our patrimonial heritage, that thus our people might again
be gathered to the family of free and self-legislating states. Moving,
then, under such impulses, the people of Greece advanced with one
heart, and perfect unanimity of council, against an oppressive
despotism, putting their hands to an enterprise beset with
difficulties, and hard indeed to be achieved, yet, in our present
circumstances, if any one thing in this life, most indispensable. This,
then, is the second year which we are passing since we have begun to
move in this glorious contest, once again struggling, to all
appearance, upon unequal terms, but grasping our enterprise with the
right hand and the left, and with all our might stretching forward to
the objects before us.

"It was the hope of Greece that, in these seasons of emergency, she
would not fail of help and earnest resort of friends from the Christian
nations throughout Europe. For it was agreeable neither to humanity nor
to piety, that the rights of nations, liable to no grudges of malice or
scruples of jealousy, should be surreptitiously and wickedly filched
away, or mocked with outrage and insult; but that they should be
settled firmly on those foundations which Nature herself has furnished
in abundance to the condition of man in society. However, so it was,
that Greece, cherishing these most reasonable expectations, met with
most unmerited disappointments.

"But you, noble and generous Englishman, no sooner heard the trumpet of
popular rights echoing melodiously from the summits of Taygetus, of
Ida, of Pindus, and of Olympus, than, turning with listening ears to
the sound, and immediately renouncing the delights of country, of
family ties, and (what is above all) of domestic luxury and ease, and
the happiness of your own fireside, you hurried to our assistance. But
suddenly, and in contradiction to the universal hope of Greece, by
leaving us, you have thrown us all into great perplexity and amazement,
and that at a crisis when some were applying their minds to military
pursuits, some to the establishment of a civil administration, others
to other objects, but all alike were hurrying and exerting themselves
wherever circumstances seemed to invite them.

"Meantime, the government of Greece having heard many idle rumors and
unauthorized tales disseminated, but such as seemed neither in
correspondence with their opinion of your own native nobility from rank
and family, nor with what was due to the newly-instituted
administration, have slighted and turned a deaf ear to them all, coming
to this resolution--that, in absenting yourself from Greece, you are
doubtless obeying some strong necessity; for that it is not possible
nor credible of a man such as you displayed yourself to be whilst
living amongst us, that he should mean to insult the wretched--least of
all, to insult the unhappy and much-suffering people of Greece. Under
these circumstances, both the deliberative and the executive bodies of
the Grecian government, assembling separately, have come to a
resolution, without one dissentient voice, to invite you back to
Greece, in order that you may again take a share in the Grecian
contest--a contest in itself glorious, and not alien from your
character and pursuits. For the liberty of any one nation cannot be a
matter altogether indifferent to the rest, but naturally it is a common
and diffusive interest; and nothing can be more reasonable than that
the Englishman and the Grecian, in such a cause, should make themselves
yoke-fellows, and should participate as brothers in so holy a struggle.
Therefore, the Grecian government hastens, by this present
distinguished expression of its regard, to invite you to the soil of
Greece, a soil united by such tender memorials with yourself; confident
that you, preferring glorious poverty and the hard living of Greece to
the luxury and indolence of an obscure seclusion, will hasten your
return to Greece, agreeably to your native character, restoring to us
our valued English connection. Farewell!

"The Vice-president of the Executive,

"ATHANASIUS KANAKARES.

"The Chief-Secretary, Minister of Foreign Relations, NEGENZZ."

Since then, having in 1817 connected himself in marriage with a
beautiful young lady of Armenian Greek extraction, and having purchased
land and built a house in Argos, Mr. Gordon may be considered in some
sense as a Grecian citizen. Services in the field having now for some
years been no longer called for, he has exchanged his patriotic sword
for a patriotic pen--judging rightly that in no way so effectually can
Greece be served at this time with Western Europe, as by recording
faithfully the course of her revolution, tracing the difficulties which
lay or which arose in her path, the heroism with which she surmounted
them, and the multiplied errors by which she raised up others to
herself. Mr. Gordon, of forty authors who have partially treated this
theme, is the first who can be considered either impartial or
comprehensive; and upon his authority, not seldom using his words, we
shall now present to our readers the first continuous abstract of this
most interesting and romantic war:

GREECE, in the largest extent of that term, having once belonged to the
Byzantine empire, is included, by the misconception of hasty readers,
in the great wreck of 1453. They take it for granted that, concurrently
with Constantinople, and the districts adjacent, these provinces passed
at that disastrous era into the hands of the Turkish conqueror; but
this is an error. Parts of Greece, previously to that era, had been
dismembered from the Eastern empire;--other parts did not, until long
_after_ it, share a common fate with the metropolis. Venice had a
deep interest in the Morea; _in_ that, and _for_ that, she fought with
various success for generations; and it was not until the year 1717,
nearly three centuries from the establishment of the crescent in
Europe, that "the banner of St. Mark, driven finally from the Morea and
the Archipelago," was henceforth exiled (as respected Greece) to the
Ionian Islands.

In these contests, though Greece was the prize at issue, the children
of Greece had no natural interest, whether the cross prevailed or the
crescent; the same, for all substantial results, was the fate which
awaited themselves. The Moslem might be the more intolerant by his
maxims, and he might be harsher in his professions; but a slave is not
the less a slave, though his master should happen to hold the same
creed with himself; and towards a member of the Greek church one who
looked westward to Rome for his religion was likely to be little less
of a bigot than one who looked to Mecca. So that we are not surprised
to find a Venetian rule of policy recommending, for the daily allowance
of these Grecian slaves, "a _little_ bread, and a liberal application
of the cudgel"! Whichever yoke were established was sure to be hated;
and, therefore, it was fortunate for the honor of the Christian name,
that from the year 1717 the fears and the enmity of the Greeks were to
be henceforward pointed exclusively towards _Mahometan_ tyrants.

To be hated, however, sufficiently for resistance, a yoke must have
been long and continuously felt. Fifty years might be necessary to
season the Greeks with a knowledge of Turkish oppression; and less than
two generations could hardly be supposed to have manured the whole
territory with an adequate sense of the wrongs they were enduring, and
the withering effects of such wrongs on the sources of public
prosperity. Hatred, besides, without hope, is no root out of which an
effective resistance can be expected to grow; and fifty years almost
had elapsed before a great power had arisen in Europe, having in any
capital circumstance a joint interest with Greece, or specially
authorized, by visible right and power, to interfere as her protector.
The semi-Asiatic power of Russia, from the era of the Czar Peter the
Great, had arisen above the horizon with the sudden sweep and splendor
of a meteor. The arch described by her ascent was as vast in compass as
it was rapid; and, in all history, no political growth, not that of our
own Indian empire, had travelled by accelerations of speed so
terrifically marked. Not that even Russia could have really grown in
strength according to the _apparent_ scale of her progress. The
strength was doubtless there, or much of it, before Peter and
Catherine; but it was latent: there had been no such sudden growth as
people fancied; but there had been a sudden evolution. Infinite
resources had been silently accumulating from century to century; but,
before the Czar Peter, no mind had come across them of power sufficient
to reveal their situation, or to organize them for practical effects.
In some nations, the manifestations of power are coincident with its
growth; in others, from vicious institutions, a vast crystallization
goes on for ages blindly and in silence, which the lamp of some
meteoric mind is required to light up into brilliant display. Thus it
had been in Russia; and hence, to the abused judgment of all
Christendom, she had seemed to leap like Pallas from the brain of
Jupiter--gorgeously endowed, and in panoply of civil array, for all
purposes of national grandeur, at the _fiat_ of one coarse
barbarian. As the metropolitan home of the Greek church, she could not
disown a maternal interest in the humblest of the Grecian tribes,
holding the same faith with herself, and celebrating their worship by
the same rites. This interest she could, at length, venture to express
in a tone of sufficient emphasis; and Greece became aware that she
could, about the very time when Turkish oppression had begun to unite
its victims in aspirations for redemption, and had turned their eyes
abroad in search of some great standard under whose shadow they could
flock for momentary protection, or for future hope. What cabals were
reared upon this condition of things by Russia, and what premature
dreams of independence were encouraged throughout Greece in the reign
of Catherine II., may be seen amply developed, in the once celebrated
work of Mr. William Eton.

Another great circumstance of hope for Greece, coinciding with the dawn
of her own earliest impetus in this direction, and travelling _puri
passu_ almost with the growth of her mightiest friend, was the
advancing decay of her oppressor. The wane of the Turkish crescent had
seemed to be in some secret connection of fatal sympathy with the
growth of the Russian cross. Perhaps the reader will thank us for
rehearsing the main steps by which the Ottoman power had flowed and
ebbed. The foundations of this empire were laid in the thirteenth
century, by Ortogrul, the chief of a Turkoman tribe, residing in tents
not far from Dorylæum, in Phrygia (a name so memorable in the early
crusades), about the time when Jenghiz had overthrown the Seljukian
dynasty. His son Osman first assumed the title of Sultan; and, in 1300,
having reduced the city of Prusa, in Bithynia, he made it the capital
of his dominions. The Sultans who succeeded him for some generations,
all men of vigor, and availing themselves not less of the decrepitude
which had by that time begun to palsy the Byzantine sceptre, than of
the martial and religious fanaticism which distinguished their own
followers, crossed the Hellespont, conquering Thrace and the countries
up to the Danube. In 1453, the most eminent of these Sultans, Mahomet
II., by storming Constantinople, put an end to the Roman empire; and
before his death he placed the Ottoman power in Europe pretty nearly on
that basis to which it had again fallen back by 1821. The long interval
of time between these two dates involved a memorable flux and reflux of
power, and an oscillation between two extremes of panic-striking
grandeur, in the ascending scale (insomuch that the Turkish Sultan was
supposed to be charged in the Apocalypse with the dissolution of the
Christian thrones), and in the descending scale of paralytic dotage
tempting its own instant ruin. In speculating on the causes of the
extraordinary terror which the Turks once inspired, it is amusing, and
illustrative of the revolutions worked by time, to find it imputed, in
the first place, to superior discipline; for, if their discipline was
imperfect, they had, however, a _standing_ army of Janissaries,
whilst the whole of Christian Europe was accustomed to fight merely
summer campaigns with hasty and untrained levies; a second cause lay in
their superior finances, for the Porte had a regular revenue, when the
other powers of Europe relied upon the bounty of their vassals and
clergy; and, thirdly, which is the most surprising feature of the whole
statement, the Turks were so far ahead of others in the race of
improvement, that to them belongs the credit of having first adopted
the extensive use of gunpowder, and of having first brought battering-
trains against fortified places. To his artillery and his musketry it
was that Selim the Ferocious (grandson of that Sultan who took
Constantinople) was indebted for his victories in Syria and Egypt.
Under Solyman the Magnificent (the well-known contemporary of the
Emperor Charles Y.) the crescent is supposed to have attained its
utmost altitude; and already for fifty years the causes had been in
silent progress which were to throw the preponderance into the
Christian scale. In the reign of his son, Selim the Second, this crisis
was already passed; and the battle of Lepanto, in 1571, which crippled
the Turkish navy in a degree never wholly recovered, gave the first
overt signal to Europe of a turn in the course of their prosperity.
Still, as this blow did not equally affect the principal arm of their
military service, and as the strength of the German empire was too much
distracted by Christian rivalship, the _prestige_ of the Turkish
name continued almost unbroken until their bloody overthrow in 1664, at
St. Gothard, by the imperial General Montecuculi. In 1673 they received
another memorable defeat from Sobieski, on which occasion they lost
twenty-five thousand men. In what degree, however, the Turkish Samson
had been shorn of his original strength, was not yet made known to
Europe by any adequate expression, before the great catastrophe of
1683. In that year, at the instigation of the haughty vizier, Kara
Mustafa, the Turks had undertaken the siege of Vienna; and great was
the alarm of the Christian world. But, on the 12th of September, their
army of one hundred and fifty thousand men was totally dispersed by
seventy thousand Poles and Germans, under John Sobieski--"He conquering
_through_ God, and God by him." [Footnote: See the sublime Sonnet
of Chiabrora on this subject, as translated by Mr. Wordsworth.] Then
followed the treaty of Carlovitz, which stripped the Porte of Hungary,
the Ukraine, and other places; and "henceforth" says Mr. Gordon,
"Europe ceased to dread the Turks; and began even to look upon their
existence as a necessary element of the balance of power among its
states." Spite of their losses, however, during the first half of the
eighteenth century, the Turks still maintained a respectable attitude
against Christendom. But the wars of the Empress Catherine II., and the
French invasion of Egypt, demonstrated that either their native vigor
was exhausted and superannuated, or, at least, that the institutions
were superannuated by which their resources had been so long
administered. Accordingly, at the commencement of the present century,
the Sultan Selim II. endeavored to reform the military discipline; but
in the first collision with the prejudices of his people, and the
interest of the Janissaries, he perished by sedition. Mustafa, who
succeeded to the throne, in a few months met the same fate. But then
(1808) succeeded a prince formed by nature for such struggles,--cool,
vigorous, cruel, and intrepid. This was Mahmoud the Second. He
perfectly understood the crisis, and determined to pursue the plans of
his uncle Selim, even at the hazard of the same fate. Why was it that
Turkish soldiers had been made ridiculous in arms, as often as they had
met with French troops, who yet were so far from being the best in
Christendom, that Egypt herself, and the beaten Turks, had seen
_them_ in turn uniformly routed by the British? Physically, the
Turks were equal, at the very least, to the French. In what lay their
inferiority? Simply in discipline, and in their artillery. And so long
as their constitution and discipline continued what they had been,
suited (that is) to centuries long past and gone, and to a condition of
Christendom obsolete for ages, so long it seemed inevitable that the
same disasters should follow the Turkish banners. And to this point,
accordingly, the Sultan determined to address his earliest reforms. But
caution was necessary; he waited and watched. He seized all
opportunities of profiting by the calamities or the embarrassments of
his potent neighbors. He put down all open revolt. He sapped the
authority of all the great families in Asia Minor, whose hereditary
influence could be a counterpoise to his own. Mecca and Medina, the
holy cities of his religion, he brought again within the pale of his
dominions. He augmented and fostered, as a counterbalancing force to
the Janissaries, the corps of the Topjees or artillery-men. He amassed
preparatory treasures. And, up to the year 1820, "his government," says
Mr. Gordon, "was highly unpopular; but it was strong, stern, and
uniform; and he had certainly removed many impediments to the execution
of his ulterior projects."

Such was the situation of Turkey at the moment when her Grecian vassal
prepared to trample on her yoke. In her European territories she
reckoned, at the utmost, eight millions of subjects. But these, besides
being more or less in a semi-barbarous condition, and scattered over a
very wide surface of country, were so much divided by origin, by
language, and religion, that, without the support of her Asiatic arm,
she could not, according to the general opinion, have stood at all. The
rapidity of her descent, it is true, had been arrested by the energy of
her Sultans during the first twenty years of the nineteenth century.
But for the last thirty of the eighteenth she had made a headlong
progress downwards. So utterly, also, were the tables turned, that,
whereas in the fifteenth century her chief superiority over Christendom
had been in the three points of artillery, discipline, and fixed
revenue, precisely in these three she had sunk into utter
insignificance, whilst all Christendom had been continually improving.
Selim and Mahmoud indeed had made effectual reforms in the corps of
gunners, as we have said, and had raised it to the amount of sixty
thousand men; so that at present they have respectable field-artillery,
whereas previously they had only heavy battering-trains. But the
defects in discipline cannot be remedied, so long as the want of a
settled revenue obliges the Sultan to rely upon hurried levies from the
provincial militias of police. Turkey, however, might be looked upon as
still formidable for internal purposes, in the haughty and fanatical
character of her Moslem subjects. And we may add, as a concluding
circumstance of some interest, in this sketch of her modern condition,
that pretty nearly the same European territories as were assigned to
the eastern Roman empire at the time of its separation from the
western, [Footnote: "The vitals of the monarchy lay within that vast
triangle circumscribed by the Danube, the Save, the Adriatic, Euxine,
and Egean Seas, whose altitude may be computed at five hundred, and the
length of its base at seven hundred geographical miles."--GORDON. ]
were included within the frontier line of Turkey, on the first of
January, 1821.

Precisely in this year commenced the Grecian revolution. Concurrently
with the decay of her oppressor the Sultan, had been the prodigious
growth of her patron the Czar. In what degree she looked up to that
throne, and the intrigues which had been pursued with a view to that
connection, may be seen (as we have already noticed) in Eton's Turkey--
a book which attracted a great deal of notice about thirty years ago.
Meantime, besides this secret reliance on Russian countenance or aid,
Greece had since that era received great encouragement to revolt from
the successful experiment in that direction made by the Turkish
province of Servia. In 1800, Czerni George came forward as the asserter
of Servian independence, and drove the Ottomans out of that province.
_Personally_ he was not finally successful. But his example
outlived him; and, after fifteen years' struggle, Servia (says Mr.
Gordon) offered "the unwonted spectacle of a brave and armed Christian
nation living under its own laws in the heart of Turkey," and retaining
no memorial of its former servitude, but the payment of a slender and
precarious tribute to the Sultan, with a _verbal_ profession of
allegiance to his sceptre. Appearances were thus saved to the pride of
the haughty Moslem by barren concessions which cost no real sacrifice
to the substantially victorious Servian.

Examples, however, are thrown away upon a people utterly degraded by
long oppression. And the Greeks were pretty nearly in that condition.
"It would, no doubt," says Mr. Gordon, "be possible to cite a more
_cruel_ oppression than that of the Turks towards their Christian
subjects, but none _so fitted to break men's spirit_." The Greeks,
in fact (under which name are to be understood, not only those who
speak Greek, but the Christian Albanians of Roumelia and the Morea,
speaking a different language, but united with the Greeks in spiritual
obedience to the same church), were, in the emphatic phrase of Mr.
Gordon, "the slaves of slaves:" that is to say, not only were they
liable to the universal tyranny of the despotic Divan, but "throughout
the empire they were in the habitual intercourse of life subjected to
vexations, affronts, and exactions, from Mahometans of every rank.
Spoiled of their goods, insulted in their religion and domestic honor,
they could rarely obtain justice. The slightest flash of courageous
resentment brought down swift destruction on their heads; and cringing
humility alone enabled them to live in ease, or even in safety."
Stooping under this iron yoke of humiliation, we have reason to wonder
that the Greeks preserved sufficient nobility of mind to raise so much
as their wishes in the direction of independence. In a condition of
abasement, from which a simple act of apostasy was at once sufficient
to raise them to honor and wealth, "and from the meanest serfs gathered
them to the caste of oppressors," we ought not to wonder that some of
the Greeks should be mean, perfidious, and dissembling, but rather that
any (as Mr. Gordon says) "had courage to adhere to their religion, and
to eat the bread of affliction." But noble aspirations are fortunately
indestructible in human nature. And in Greece the lamp of independence
of spirit had been partially kept alive by the existence of a native
militia, to whom the Ottoman government, out of mere necessity, had
committed the local defence. These were called _Armatoles_ (or
Gendarmerie); their available strength was reckoned by Pouqueville (for
the year 1814) at ten thousand men; and, as they were a very effectual
little host for maintaining, from age to age, the "true faith militant"
of Greece, namely, that a temporary and a disturbed occupation of the
best lands in the country did not constitute an absolute conquest on
the part of the Moslems, most of whom flocked for security with their
families into the stronger towns; and, as their own martial appearance,
with arms in their hands, lent a very plausible countenance to their
insinuations that they, the Christian Armatoles, were the true _bona
fide_ governors and possessors of the land under a Moslem Suzerain;
and, as the general spirit of hatred to Turkish insolence was not
merely maintained in their own local stations, [Footnote: Originally,
it seems, there were fourteen companies (or _capitanerias_)
settled by imperial diplomas in the mountains of Olympus, Othryx,
Pindus, and Œta; and distinct appropriations were made by the Divan for
their support. _Within_ the Morea, the institution of the
Armatoles was never tolerated; but there the same spirit was kept alive
by tribes, such as the Mainatts, whose insurmountable advantages of
natural position enabled them eternally to baffle the most powerful
enemy.] but also propagated thence with activity to every part of
Greece;--it may be interesting to hear Mr. Gordon's account of their
peculiar composition and habits.

"The Turks," says he, "from the epoch of Mahommed the Second, did not
(unless in Thessaly) generally settle there. Beyond Mount Œta, although
they seized the best lands, the Mussulman inhabitants were chiefly
composed of the garrisons of towns with their families. Finding it
impossible to keep in subjection with a small force so many rugged
cantons, peopled by a poor and hardy race, and to hold in check the
robbers of Albania, the Sultans embraced the same policy which has
induced them to court the Greek hierarchy, and respect ecclesiastical
property,--by enlisting in their service the armed bands that they
could not destroy. When wronged or insulted, these Armatoles threw off
their allegiance, infested the roads, and pillaged the country; while
such of the peasants as were driven to despair by acts of oppression
joined their standard; the term Armatole was then exchanged for that of
Klefthis [_Kleptæs_] or Thief, a profession esteemed highly
honorable, when it was exercised sword in hand at the expense of the
Moslems. [Footnote: And apparently, we may add, when exercised at the
expense of whomsoever at sea. The old Grecian instinct, which
Thucydides states so frankly, under which all seafarers were dedicated
to spoil as people who courted attack, seems never to have been fully
rooted out from the little creeks and naval fastnesses of the Morea,
and of some of the Egean islands. Not, perhaps, the mere spirit of
wrong and aggression, but some old traditionary conceits and maxims,
brought on the great crisis of piracy, which fell under no less terrors
than of the triple thunders of the great allies.] Even in their
quietest mood, these soldiers curbed Turkish tyranny; for, the captains
and Christian primates of districts understanding each other, the
former, by giving to some of their men a hint to desert and turn
Klefts, could easily circumvent Mahometans who came on a mission
disagreeable to the latter. The habits and manners of the Armatoles,
living among forests and in mountain passes, were necessarily rude and
simple: their magnificence consisted in adorning with silver their
guns, pistols, and daggers; their amusements, in shooting at a mark,
dancing, and singing the exploits of the most celebrated chiefs.
Extraordinary activity, and endurance of hardships and fatigue, made
them formidable light troops in their native fastnesses; wrapped in
shaggy cloaks, they slept on the ground, defying the elements; and the
pure mountain air gave them robust health. Such were the warriors that,
in the very worst times, kept alive a remnant of Grecian spirit."

But all these facts of history, or institutions of policy, nay, even
the more violent appeals to the national pride in such memorable
transactions as the expatriation of the illustrious Suliotes (as also
of some eminent predatory chieftains from the Morea), were, after all,
no more than indirect excitements of the insurrectionary spirit. If it
were possible that any adequate occasion should arise for combining the
Greeks in one great movement of resistance, such continued irritations
must have the highest value, as keeping alive the national spirit,
which must finally be relied on to improve it and to turn it to
account; but it was not to be expected that any such local irritations
could ever of themselves avail to create an occasion of sufficient
magnitude for imposing silence on petty dissensions, and for organizing
into any unity of effort a country so splintered and naturally cut into
independent chambers as that of Greece. That task, transcending the
strength (as might seem) of any real agencies or powers then existing
in Greece, was assumed by a mysterious, [Footnote: Epirus and
Acarnania, etc., to the north-west; Roumelia, Thebes, Attica, to the
east; the Morea, or Peloponnesus, to the south-west; and the islands so
widely dispersed in the Egean, had from position a separate interest
over and above their common interest as members of a Christian
confederacy. And in the absence of some great representative society,
there was no voice commanding enough to merge the local interest in the
universal one of Greece. The original (or _Philomuse_ society),
which adopted literature for its ostensible object, as a mask to its
political designs, expired at Munich in 1807; but not before it had
founded a successor more directly political. Hence arose a confusion,
under which many of the crowned heads in Europe were judged
uncharitably as dissemblers or as traitors to their engagements. They
had subscribed to the first society; but they reasonably held that this
did not pledge them to another, which, though inheriting the secret
purposes of the first, no longer masked or disavowed them.] and, in
some sense, a fictitious society of corresponding members, styling
itself the _Hetæria_. A more astonishing case of mighty effects
prepared and carried on to their accomplishment by small means,
magnifying their own extent through great zeal and infinite
concealment, and artifices the most subtle, is not to be found in
history. The _secret tribunal_ of the middle ages is not to be
compared with it for the depth and expansion of its combinations, or
for the impenetrability of its masque. Nor is there in the whole annals
of man a manoeuvre so admirable as that, by which this society,
silently effecting its own transfiguration, and recasting as in a
crucible its own form, organs, and most essential functions, contrived,
by mere force of seasonable silence, or by the very pomp of mystery, to
carry over from the first or innoxious model of the Hetæria, to its new
organization, all those weighty names of kings or princes who would not
have given their sanction to any association having political objects,
however artfully veiled. The early history of the Hetæria is shrouded
in the same mystery as the whole course of its political movements.
Some suppose that Alexander Maurocordato, ex-Hospodar of Wallachia,
during his long exile in Russia, founded it for the promotion of
education, about the beginning of the present century. Others ascribe
it originally to Riga. At all events, its purposes were purely
intellectual in its earliest form. In 1815, in consequence chiefly of
the disappointment which the Greeks met with in their dearest hopes
from the Congress of Vienna, the Hetæria first assumed a political
character under the secret influence of Count Capodistria, of Corfu,
who, having entered the Russian service as mere private secretary to
Admiral Tchitchagoff, in 1812, had, in a space of three years,
insinuated himself into the favor of the Czar, so far as to have become
his private secretary, and a cabinet minister of Russia. He, however,
still masked his final objects under plans of literature and scientific
improvement. In deep shades he organized a vast apparatus of agents and
apostles; and then retired behind the curtain to watch or to direct the
working of his blind machine. It is an evidence of some latent nobility
in the Greek character, in the midst of that levity with which all
Europe taxes it, that never, except once, were the secrets of the
society betrayed; nor was there the least ground for jealousy offered
either to the stupid Moslems, in the very centre of whom, and round
about them, the conspiracy was daily advancing, or even to the rigorous
police of Moscow, where the Hetæria had its head-quarters. In the
single instance of treachery which occurred, it happened that the
Zantiote, who made the discovery to Ali Pacha on a motion of revenge,
was himself too slenderly and too vaguely acquainted with the final
purposes of the Hetæria for effectual mischief, having been fortunately
admitted only to its lowest degree of initiation; so that all passed
off without injury to the cause, or even personally to any of its
supporters. There were, in fact, five degrees in the Hetæria. A
candidate of the lowest class (styled _Adelphoi_, or brothers),
after a minute examination of his past life and connections, and after
taking a dreadful oath, under impressive circumstances, to be faithful
in all respects to the society and his afflicted country, and even to
assassinate his nearest and dearest relation, if detected in treachery,
was instructed only in the general fact that a design was on foot to
ameliorate the condition of Greece. The next degree of _Systimenoi_,
or bachelors, who were selected with more anxious discrimination,
were informed that this design was to move towards its object
_by means of a revolution_. The third class, called _Priests
of Eleusis_, were chosen from the aristocracy; and to them it
was made known that _this revolution was near at hand_; and,
also, that there were in the society higher ranks than their own.
The fourth class was that of the _prelates_; and to this order,
which never exceeded the number of one hundred and sixteen, and
comprehended the leading men of the nation, the most unreserved
information was given upon all the secrets of the Hetæria; after which
they were severally appointed to a particular district, as
superintendent of its interests, and as manager of the whole
correspondence on its concerns with the Grand Arch. This, the crowning
order and key-stone of the society, was reputed to comprehend sixteen
"mysterious and illustrious names," amongst which were obscurely
whispered those of the Czar, the Crown Prince of Bavaria and of
Wurtemburg, of the Hospodar of Wallachia, of Count Capodistria, and
some others. The orders of the Grand Arch were written in cipher, and
bore a seal having in sixteen compartments the same number of initial
letters. The revenue which it commanded must have been considerable;
for the lowest member, on his noviciate, was expected to give at least
fifty piastres (at this time about two pounds sterling); and those of
the higher degrees gave from three hundred to one thousand each. The
members communicated with each other, in mixed society, by masonic
signs.

It cannot be denied that a secret society, with the grand and almost
awful purposes of the Hetæria, spite of some taint which it had
received in its early stages from the spirit of German mummery, is
fitted to fill the imagination, and to command homage from the coldest.
Whispers circulating from mouth to mouth of some vast conspiracy mining
subterraneously beneath the very feet of their accursed oppressors;
whispers of a great deliverer at hand, whose mysterious _Labarum_,
or mighty banner of the Cross, was already dimly descried through
northern mists, and whose eagles were already scenting the carnage and
"savor of death" from innumerable hosts of Moslems; whispers of a
revolution which was again to call, as with the trumpet of
resurrection, from the grave, the land of Timoleon and Epaminondas;
such were the preludings, low and deep, to the tempestuous overture of
revolt and patriotic battle which now ran through every nook of Greece,
and caused every ear to tingle.

The knowledge that this mighty cause must be sowed in dishonor,--
propagated, that is, in respect to the knowledge of its plans, by
redoubled cringings to their brutal masters, in order to shield it from
suspicion,--but that it would probably be reaped in honor; the belief
that the poor Grecian, so abject and trampled under foot, would soon
reappear amongst the nations who had a name, in something of his
original beauty and power; these dim but elevating perceptions, and
these anticipations, gave to every man the sense of an ennobling secret
confided to his individual honor, and, at the same time, thrilled his
heart with sympathetic joy, from approaching glories that were to prove
a personal inheritance to his children. Over all Greece a sense of
power, dim and vast, brooded for years; and a mighty phantom, under the
mysterious name of _Arch_, in whose cloudy equipage were descried,
gleaming at intervals, the crowns and sceptres of great potentates,
sustained, whilst it agitated their hearts. _London_ was one of
the secret watchwords in their impenetrable cipher; _Moscow_ was a
countersign; Bavaria and Austria bore mysterious parts in the drama;
and, though no sound was heard, nor voice given to the powers that were
working, yet, as if by mere force of secret sympathy, all mankind who
were worthy to participate in the enterprise seemed to be linked in
brotherhood with Greece. These notions were, much of them, mere
phantasms and delusions; but they were delusions of mighty efficacy for
arming the hearts of this oppressed country against the terrors that
must be faced; and for the whole of them Greece was indebted to the
Hetæria, and to its organized agency of apostles (as they were
technically called), who compassed land and sea as pioneers for the
coming crusade. [Footnote: Considering how very much the contest did
finally assume a religious character (even Franks being attached, not
as friends of Greece, but simply as Christians), one cannot but wonder
that this romantic term has not been applied to the Greek war in
Western Europe.]

By 1820 Greece was thoroughly inoculated with the spirit of resistance;
all things were ready, so far, perhaps, as it was possible that they
should ever be made ready under the eyes and scimitars of the enemy.
Now came the question of time,--_when_ was the revolt to begin?
Some contend, says Mr. Gordon, that the Hetæria should have waited for
a century, by which time they suppose that the growth of means in favor
of Greece would have concurred with a more than corresponding decay in
her enemy. But, to say nothing of the extreme uncertainty which attends
such remote speculation, and the utter impossibility of training men
with no personal hopes to labor for the benefit of distant generations,
there was one political argument against that course, which Mr. Gordon
justly considers unanswerable. It is this: Turkey in Europe has been
long tottering on its basis. Now, were the attempt delayed until Russia
had displaced her and occupied her seat, Greece would then have
received her liberty as a boon from the conqueror; and the construction
would have been that she held it by sufferance, and under a Russian
warrant. This argument is conclusive. But others there were who fancied
that 1825 was the year at which all the preparations for a successful
revolt could have been matured. Probably some gain in such a case would
have been balanced against some loss. But it is not necessary to
discuss that question. Accident, it was clear, might bring on the first
hostile movement at any hour, when the _minds_ of all men were
prepared, let the means in other respects be as deficient as they
might. Already, in 1820, circumstances made it evident that the
outbreak of the insurrection could not long be delayed. And,
accordingly, in the following year all Greece was in flames.

This affair of 1820 has a separate interest of its own, connected with
the character of the very celebrated person to whom it chiefly relates;
but we notice it chiefly as the real occasion, the momentary spark,
which, alighting upon the combustibles, by this time accumulated
everywhere in Greece, caused a general explosion of the long-hoarded
insurrectionary fury. Ali Pacha, the far-famed vizier of Yannina, had
long been hated profoundly by the Sultan, who in the same proportion
loved and admired his treasures. However, he was persuaded to wait for
his death, which could not (as it seemed) be far distant, rather than
risk anything upon the chances of war. And in this prudent resolution
he would have persevered, but for an affront which he could not
overlook. An Albanian, named Ismael Pasho Bey, once a member of Ali's
household, had incurred his master's deadly hatred; and, flying from
his wrath to various places under various disguises, had at length
taken refuge in Constantinople, and there sharpened the malice of Ali
by attaching himself to his enemies. Ali was still further provoked by
finding that Ismael had won the Sultan's favor, and obtained an
appointment in the palace. Mastered by his fury, Ali hired assassins to
shoot his enemy in the very midst of Constantinople, and under the very
eyes of imperial protection. The assassins failed, having only wounded
him; they were arrested, and disclosed the name of their employer.

Here was an insult which could not be forgiven: Ali Pacha was declared
a rebel and a traitor; and solemnly excommunicated by the head of the
Mussulman law. The Pachas of Europe received orders to march against
him; and a squadron was fitted out to attack him by sea.

In March, 1820, Ali became acquainted with these strong measures; which
at first he endeavored to parry by artifice and bribery. But, finding
_that_ mode of proceeding absolutely without hope, he took the
bold resolution of throwing himself, in utter defiance, upon the native
energies of his own ferocious heart. Having, however, but small
reliance on his Mahometan troops in a crisis of this magnitude, he
applied for Christian succors, and set himself to _court_ the
Christians generally. As a first step, he restored the Armatoles--that
very body whose suppression had been so favorite a measure of his
policy, and pursued so long, so earnestly, and so injuriously to his
credit amongst the Christian part of the population. It happened, at
the first opening of the campaign, that the Christians were equally
courted by the Sultan's generalissimo, Solyman, the Pacha of Thessaly.
For this, however, that Pacha was removed and decapitated; and a new
leader was now appointed in the person of that very enemy, Ismael
Pasho, whose attempted murder had brought the present storm upon Ali.
Ismael was raised to the rank of Serasker (or generalissimo), and was
also made Pacha of Yannina and Del vino. Three other armies, besides a
fleet under the Captain Bey, advanced upon Ali's territories
simultaneously from different quarters. But at that time, in defiance
of these formidable and overwhelming preparations, bets were strongly
in Ali's favor amongst all who were acquainted with his resources: for
he had vast treasures, fortresses of great strength, inexhaustible
supplies of artillery and ammunition, a country almost inaccessible,
and fifteen thousand light troops, whom Mr. Gordon, upon personal
knowledge, pronounces "excellent."

Scarcely had the war commenced, when Ali was abandoned by almost the
whole of his partisans, in mere hatred of his execrable cruelty and
tyrannical government. To Ali, however, this defection brought no
despondency; and with unabated courage he prepared to defend himself to
the last, in three castles, with a garrison of three thousand men. That
he might do so with entire effect, he began by destroying his own
capital of Yannina, lest it should afford shelter to the enemy. Still
his situation would have been most critical, but for the state of
affairs in the enemy's camp. The Serasker was attended by more than
twenty other Pashas. But they were all at enmity with each other. One
of them, and the bravest, was even poisoned by the Serasker. Provisions
were running short, in consequence of their own dissensions. Winter was
fast approaching; the cannonading had produced no conspicuous effect;
and the soldiers were disbanding. In this situation, the Sultan's
lieutenants again saw the necessity of courting aid from the Christian
population of the country. Ali, on his part, never scrupled to bid
against them at any price; and at length, irritated by the ill-usage of
the Turks on their first entrance, and disgusted with the obvious
insincerity of their reluctant and momentary kindness, some of the
bravest Christian tribes (especially the celebrated Suliotes) consented
to take Ali's bribes, forgot his past outrages and unnumbered
perfidies, and, reading his sincerity in the extremity of his peril,
these bravest of the brave ranged themselves amongst the Sultan's
enemies. During the winter they gained some splendid successes; other
alienated friends came back to Ali; and even some Mahometan Beys were
persuaded to take up arms in his behalf. Upon the whole, the Turkish
Divan was very seriously alarmed; and so much so, that it superseded
the Serasker Ismael, replacing him with the famous Kourshid Pacha, at
that time viceroy of the Morea. And so ended the year 1820.

This state of affairs could not escape the attention of the vigilant
Hetæria. Here was Ali Pacha, hitherto regarded as an insurmountable
obstacle in their path, absolutely compelled by circumstances to be
their warmest friend. The Turks again, whom no circumstances could
entirely disarm, were yet crippled for the time, and their whole
attention preoccupied by another enemy, most alarming to their policy,
and most tempting to their cupidity. Such an opportunity it seemed
unpardonable to neglect. Accordingly, it was resolved to begin the
insurrection. At its head was placed Prince Alexander Ypsilanti, a son
of that Hospodar of Wallachia whose deposition by the Porte had
produced the Russian war of 1806. This prince's qualifications
consisted in his high birth, in his connection with Russia (for he had
risen to the rank of major-general in that service), and, finally (if
such things can deserve a mention), in an agreeable person and manners.
For all other and higher qualifications he was wholly below the
situation and the urgency of the crisis. His first error was in the
choice of his ground. For some reasons, which are not sufficiently
explained,--possibly on account of his family connection with those
provinces,--he chose to open the war in Moldavia and Wallachia. This
resolution he took in spite of every warning, and the most intelligent
expositions of the absolute necessity that, to be at all effectual, the
first stand should be made in Greece. He thought otherwise; and,
managing the campaign after his own ideas, he speedily involved himself
in quarrels, and his army, through the perfidy of a considerable
officer, in ruinous embarrassments. This unhappy campaign is
circumstantially narrated by Mr. Gordon in his first book; but, as it
never crossed the Danube, and had no connection with Greece except by
its purposes, we shall simply rehearse the great outline of its course.
The signal for insurrection was given in January, 1821; and Prince
Ypsilanti took the field, by crossing the Pruth in March. Early in
April he received a communication from the Emperor of Russia, which at
once prostrated his hopes before an enemy was seen. He was formally
disavowed by that prince, erased from his army-list, and severely
reproached for his "_folly and ingratitude_," in letters from two
members of the Russian cabinet; and on the 9th of April this fact was
publicly notified in Yassy, the capital of Moldavia, by the Russian
consul-general. His army at this time consisted of three thousand men,
which, however, was afterwards reinforced, but with no gunpowder except
what was casually intercepted, and no lead except some that had been
stripped from the roof of an ancient cathedral. On the 12th of May the
Pacha of Ibrail opened the campaign. A few days after, the Turkish
troops began to appear in considerable force; and on the 8th of June an
alarm was suddenly given "that the white turbans were upon them." In
the engagement which followed, the insurgent army gave way; and, though
their loss was much smaller than that of the Turks, yet, from the many
blunders committed, the consequences were disastrous; and, had the
Turks pursued, there would on that day have been an end of the
insurrection. But far worse and more decisive was the subsequent
disaster of the 17th. Ypsilanti had been again reinforced; and his
advanced guard had surprised a Turkish detachment of cavalry in such a
situation that their escape seemed impossible. Yet all was ruined by
one officer of rank, who got drunk, and advanced with an air of
bravado--followed, on a principle of honor, by a sacred battalion
[_hieros lochos_], composed of five hundred Greek volunteers, of
birth and education, the very _élite_ of the insurgent infantry.
The Turks gave themselves up for lost; but, happening to observe that
this drunkard seemed unsupported by other parts of the army, they
suddenly mounted, came down upon the noble young volunteers before they
could even form in square; and nearly the whole, disdaining to fly,
were cut to pieces on the ground. An officer of rank, and a brave man,
appalled by this hideous disaster, the affair of a few moments, rode up
to the spot, and did all he could to repair it. But the cowardly
drunkard had fled at the first onset, with all his Arnauts; panic
spread rapidly; and the whole force of five thousand men fled before
eight hundred Turks, leaving four hundred men dead on the field, of
whom three hundred and fifty belonged to the sacred battalion.

The Turks, occupied with gathering a trophy of heads, neglected to
pursue. But the work was done. The defeated advance fell back upon the
main body; and that same night the whole army, panic-struck, ashamed,
and bewildered, commenced a precipitate retreat. From this moment
Prince Ypsilanti thought only of saving himself. This purpose he
effected in a few days, by retreating into Austria, from which
territory he issued his final order of the day, taxing his army, in
violent and unmeasured terms, with cowardice and disobedience. This was
in a limited sense true; many distinctions, however, were called for in
mere justice; and the capital defects, after all, were in himself. His
plan was originally bad; and, had it been better, he was quite unequal
to the execution of it. The results were unfortunate to all concerned
in it. Ypsilanti himself was arrested by Austria, and thrown into the
unwholesome prison of Mongatz, where, after languishing for six years,
he perished miserably. Some of the subordinate officers prolonged the
struggle in a guerilla style for some little time; but all were finally
suppressed. Many were put to death; many escaped into neutral ground;
and it is gratifying to add, that of two traitors amongst the higher
officers, one was detected and despatched in a summary way of vengeance
by his own associates; the other, for some unexplained reason, was
beheaded by his Turkish friends at the very moment when he had put
himself into their power, in fearless obedience to their own summons to
_come and receive his well-merited reward_, and under an express
assurance from the Pacha of Silistria that he was impatiently waiting
to invest him with a pelisse of honor. Such faith is kept with
traitors; such faith be ever kept with the betrayers of nations and
their holiest hopes! Though in this instance the particular motives of
the Porte are still buried in mystery.

Thus terminated the first rash enterprise, which resulted from the too
tempting invitation held out in the rebellion then agitating Epirus,
locking up, as it did, and neutralizing, so large a part of the
disposable Turkish forces. To this we return. Kourshid Pacha quitted
the Morea with a large body of troops, in the first days of January,
1821, and took the command of the army already before Yannina. But,
with all his great numerical superiority to the enemy with whom he
contended, and now enjoying undisturbed union in his own camp, he found
it impossible to make his advances rapidly. Though in hostility to the
Porte, and though now connected with Christian allies, Ali Pacha was
yet nominally a Mahometan. Hence it had been found impossible as yet to
give any color of an anti-Christian character to the war; and the
native Mahometan chieftains had therefore no scruple in coalescing with
the Christians of Epirus, and making joint cause with Ali. Gradually,
from the inevitable vexations incident to the march and residence of a
large army, the whole population became hostile to Kourshid; and their
remembrance of Ali's former oppressions, if not effaced, was yet
suspended in the presence of a nuisance so immediate and so generally
diffused; and most of the Epirots turned their arms against the Porte.
The same feelings which governed _them_ soon spread to the provinces
of Etolia and Acarnania; or rather, perhaps, being previously ripe
for revolt, these provinces resolved to avail themselves of the
same occasion. Missolonghi now became the centre of rebellion; and
Kourshid's difficulties were daily augmenting. In July of this year
(1821) these various insurgents, actively cooperating, defeated the
Serasker in several actions, and compelled a Pacha to lay down his arms
on the road between Yannina and Souli. It was even proposed by the
gallant partisan, Mark Bozzaris, that all should unite to hem in the
Serasker; but a wound, received in a skirmish, defeated this plan. In
September following, however, the same Mark intercepted and routed
Hassan Pacha in a defile on his march to Yannina; and in general the
Turks were defeated everywhere except at the headquarters of the
Serasker, and with losses in men enormously disproportioned to the
occasions. This arose partly from the necessity under which they lay of
attacking expert musketeers under cover of breastworks, and partly from
their own precipitance and determination to carry everything by summary
force; "whereas," says Mr. Gordon, "a little patience would surely have
caused them to succeed, and at least saved them much dishonor, and
thousands of lives thrown away in mere wantonness." But, in spite of
all blunders, and every sort of failure elsewhere, the Serasker was
still advancing slowly towards his main objects--the reduction of Ali
Pacha. And by the end of October, on getting possession of an important
part of Ali's works, he announced to the Sultan that he should soon be
able to send him the traitor's head, for that he was already reduced to
six hundred men. A little before this, however, the celebrated
Maurocordato, with other persons of influence, had arrived at
Missolonghi with the view of cementing a general union of Christian and
Mahometan forces against the Turks. In this he was so far successful,
that in November a combined attack was made upon Ismael, the old enemy
of Ali, and three other Pachas, shut up in the town of Arta. This
attack succeeded partially; but it was attempted at a moment
dramatically critical, and with an effect ruinous to the whole
campaign, as well as that particular attack. The assailing party, about
thirty-four hundred men, were composed in the proportion of two
Christians to one Mahometan. They had captured one half of the town;
and, Mark Bozzaris having set this on fire to prevent plundering, the
four Pachas were on the point of retreating under cover of the smoke.
At that moment arrived a Mahometan of note, instigated by Kourshid, who
was able to persuade those of his own faith that the Christians were
not fighting with any sincere views of advantage to Ali, but with
ulterior purposes hostile to Mahometanism itself. On this, the
Christian division of the army found themselves obliged to retire
without noise, in order to escape their own allies, now suddenly united
with the four Pachas. Nor, perhaps, would even this have been effected,
but for the precaution of Mark Bozzaris in taking hostages from two
leading Mahometans. Thus failed the last diversion in favor of Ali
Pacha, who was henceforward left to his own immediate resources. All
the Mahometan tribes now ranged themselves on the side of Kourshid; and
the winter of 1821-2 passed away without further disturbance in Epirus.

Meantime, during the absence of Kourshid Pacha from the Morea, the
opportunity had not been lost for raising the insurrection in that
important part of Greece. Kourshid had marched early in January, 1821;
and already in February symptoms of the coming troubles appeared at
Patrass, "the most flourishing and populous city of the Peloponnesus,
the emporium of its trade, and residence of the foreign consuls and
merchants." Its population was about eighteen thousand, of which number
two thirds were Christian. In March, when rumors had arrived of the
insurrection beyond the Danube, under Alexander Ypsilanti, the
fermentation became universal; and the Turks of Patrass hastily
prepared for defence. By the twenty-fifth, the Greeks had purchased all
the powder and lead which could be had; and about the second of April
they raised the standard of the Cross. Two days after this, fighting
began at Patrass. The town having been set on fire, "the Turkish castle
threw shot and shells at random; the two parties fought amongst the
ruins, and massacred each other without mercy; the only prisoners that
were spared owed their lives to fanaticism; some Christian youths being
circumcised by the Mollahs, and some Turkish boys baptized by the
priests."

"While the commencement of the war," says Mr. Gordon, "was thus
signalized by the ruin of a flourishing city, the insurrection gained
ground with wonderful rapidity; and from mountain to mountain, and
village to village, propagated itself to the furthest corner of the
Peloponnesus. Everywhere the peasants flew to arms; and those Turks who
resided in the open country or unfortified towns were either cut to
pieces, or forced to fly into strongholds." On the second of April, the
flag of independence was hoisted in Achaia. On the ninth, a Grecian
senate met at Calamata, in Messenia, having for its president
Mavromichalis, Prince or Bey of Maina, a rugged territory in the
ancient Sparta, famous for its hardy race of robbers and pirates.
[Footnote: These Mainates have been supposed to be of Sclavonian
origin; but Mr. Gordon, upon the authority of the Emperor Constantine
Porphyrogenitos, asserts that they are of pure Laconian blood, and
became Christians in the reign of that emperor's grandfather, Basil the
Macedonian. They are, and over have been, robbers by profession;
robbers by land, pirates by sea; for which last branch of their mixed
occupation they enjoy singular advantages in their position at the
point of junction between the Ionian and Egean seas. To illustrate
their condition of perpetual warfare, Mr. Gordon mentions that there
were very lately individuals who had lived for twenty years in towers,
not daring to stir out lest their neighbors should shoot them. They
were supplied with bread and cartridges by their wives; for the persons
of women are sacred in Maina. Two other good features in their
character are their hospitality and their indisposition to bloodshed.
They are in fact _gentle thieves_--the Robin Hoods of Greece.]

On the sixth of April, the insurrection had spread to the narrow
territory of Megaris, situated to the north of the isthmus. The
Albanian population of this country, amounting to about ten thousand,
and employed by the Porte to guard the defiles of the entrance into
Peloponnesus, raised the standard of revolt, and marched to invest the
Acrocorinthus. In the Messenian territory, the Bishop of Modon, having
made his guard of Janissaries drunk, cut the whole of them to pieces;
and then encamping on the heights of Navarin, his lordship blockaded
that fortress. The abruptness of these movements, and their almost
simultaneous origin at distances so considerable, sufficiently prove
how ripe the Greeks were for this revolt as respected temper; and in
other modes of preparation they never _could_ have been ripe
whilst overlooked by Turkish masters. That haughty race now retreated
from all parts of the Morea, within the ramparts of Tripolizza.

In the first action which occurred, the Arcadian Greeks did not behave
well; they fled at the very sound of the Moslem tread. Colocotroni
commanded; and he rallied them again; but again they deserted him at
the sight of their oppressors; "and I," said Colocotroni afterwards,
when relating the circumstances of this early affair, "having with me
only ten companions including my horse, sat down in a bush and wept."

Meantime, affairs went ill at Patrass. Yussuf Pacha, having been
detached from Epirus to Eubœa by the Scrasker, heard on his route of
the insurrection in Peloponnesus. Upon which, altering his course, he
sailed to Patrass, and reached it on the fifteenth of April. This was
Palm Sunday, and it dawned upon the Greeks with evil omens. First came
a smart shock of earthquake; next a cannonade announcing the approach
of the Pacha; and, lastly, an Ottoman brig of war, which saluted the
fort and cast anchor before the town.

The immediate consequences were disastrous. The Greeks retreated; and
the Pacha detached Kihaya-Bey, a Tartar officer of distinguished
energy, with near three thousand men, to the most important points of
the revolt. On the fifth of May, the Tartar reached Corinth, but found
the siege already raised. Thence he marched to Argos, sending before
him a requisition for bread. He was answered by the men of Argos that
they had no bread, but only powder and ball at his service. This
threat, however, proved a gasconade; the Kihaya advanced in three
columns; cavalry on each wing, and infantry in the centre; on which,
after a single discharge, the Argives fled. [Footnote: It has a sublime
effect in the record of this action to hear that the Argives were drawn
up behind a wall originally raised as a defence _against the deluge
of Inachus_.] Their general, fighting bravely, was killed, together
with seven hundred others, and fifteen hundred women captured. The
Turks, having sacked and burned Argos, then laid siege to a monastery,
which surrendered upon terms; and it is honorable to the memory of this
Tartar general, that, according to the testimony of Mr. Gordon, at a
time when the war was managed with merciless fury and continual
perfidies on both sides, he observed the terms with rigorous fidelity,
treated all his captives with the utmost humanity, and even liberated
the women.

Thus far the tide had turned against the Greeks; but now came a
decisive reaction in their favor; and, as if forever to proclaim the
folly of despair, just at the very crisis when it was least to have
been expected, the Kihaya was at this point joined by the Turks of
Tripolizza, and was now reputed to be fourteen thousand strong. This
proved to be an exaggeration; but the subsequent battle is the more
honorable to those who believed it. At a council of war, in the Greek
camp, the prevailing opinion was that an action could not prudently be
risked. One man thought otherwise; this was Anagnostoras; he, by urging
the desolations which would follow a retreat, brought over the rest to
his opinion; and it was resolved to take up a position at Valtezza, a
village three hours' march from Tripolizza. Thither, on the twenty-
seventh of May, the Kihaya arrived with five thousand men, in three
columns, having left Tripolizza at dawn; and immediately raised
redoubts opposite to those of the Greeks, and placed three heavy pieces
of cannon in battery. He hoped to storm the position; but, if he should
fail, he had a reason for still anticipating a victory, and _that_
was the situation of the fountains, which must soon have drawn the
Greeks out of their position, as they had water only for twenty-four
hours' consumption.

The battle commenced: and the first failure of the Kihaya was in the
cannonade; for his balls, passing over the Greeks, fell amongst a corps
of his own troops. These now made three assaults; but were repulsed in
all. Both sides kept up a fire till night; and each expected that his
enemy would retire in the darkness. The twenty-eighth, however, found
the two armies still in the same positions. The battle was renewed for
five hours; and then the Kihaya, finding his troops fatigued, and that
his retreat was likely to be intercepted by Nikitas (a brave partisan
officer bred to arms in the service of England), who was coming up by
forced marches from Argos with eight hundred men, gave the signal for
retreat. This soon became a total rout; the Kihaya lost his horse; and
the Greeks, besides taking two pieces of cannon, raised a trophy of
four hundred Moslem heads.

Such was the battle of Yaltezza, the inaugural performance of the
insurrection; and we have told it thus circumstantially, because Mr.
Gordon characterizes it as "remarkable for the moral effect it
produced;" and he does not scruple to add, that it "certainly decided
the campaign in Peloponnesus, _and perhaps even the fate of the
revolution_."

Three days after, that is, on the last day of May, 1821, followed the
victory of Doliana, in which the Kihaya, anxious to recover his lost
ground, was encountered by Nikitas. The circumstances were peculiarly
brilliant. For the Turkish general had between two and three thousand
men, besides artillery; whereas Nikitas at first sustained the attack
in thirteen barricaded houses, with no more than ninety-six soldiers,
and thirty armed peasants. After a resistance of eleven hours, he was
supported by seven hundred men; and in the end he defeated the Kihaya
with a very considerable loss.

These actions raised the enthusiasm of the Morea to a high point; and
in the mean time other parts of Greece had joined in the revolt. In the
first week of April an insurrection burst out in the eastern provinces
of Greece, Attica, Boeotia, and Phocis. The insurgents first appeared
near Livadia, one of the best cities in northern Greece. On the
thirteenth, they occupied Thebes without opposition. Immediately after,
Odysseus propagated the revolt in Phocis, where he had formerly
commanded as a lieutenant of Ali Pacha's. Next arose the Albanian
peasantry of Attica, gathering in armed bodies to the west of Athens.
Towards the end of April, the Turks, who composed one fifth of the
Athenian population (then rated at ten thousand), became greatly
agitated; and twice proposed a massacre of the Christians. This was
resisted by the humane Khadi; and the Turks, contenting themselves with
pillaging absent proprietors, began to lay up stores in the Acropolis.
With ultra Turkish stupidity, however, out of pure laziness, at this
critical moment, they confided the night duty on the ramparts of the
city to Greeks. The consequence may be supposed. On the eighth of May,
the Ottoman standard had been raised and blessed by an Tman. On the
following night, a rapid discharge of musketry, and the shouts of
_Christ has risen! Liberty! Liberty!_ proclaimed the capture of
Athens. Nearly two thousand peasants, generally armed with clubs, had
scaled the walls and forced the gates. The prisoners taken were treated
with humanity. But, unfortunately, this current of Christian sentiment
was immediately arrested by the conduct of the Turks in the Acropolis,
in killing nine hostages, and throwing over the walls some naked and
headless bodies.

The insurrection next spread to Thessaly; and at last even to
Macedonia, from the premature and atrocious violence of the Pacha of
Salonika. Apprehending a revolt, he himself drew it on, by cutting off
the heads of the Christian merchants and clergy (simply as a measure of
precaution), and enforcing his measures on the peasantry by military
execution. Unfortunately, from its extensive plains, this country is
peculiarly favorable to the evolutions of the Turkish cavalry; the
insurgents were, therefore, defeated in several actions; and ultimately
took refuge in great numbers amongst the convents on Mount Athos, which
also were driven into revolt by the severity of the Pacha. Here the
fugitives were safe from the sabres of their merciless pursuers; but,
unless succored by sea, ran a great risk of perishing by famine. But a
more important accession to the cause of independence, within one month
from its first outbreak in the Morea, occurred in the Islands of the
Archipelago. The three principal of these in modern times, are Hydra,
Spezzia, and Psarra. [Footnote: Their insignificance in ancient times
is proclaimed by the obscurity of their ancient names--Aperopia,
Tiparenus, and Psyra.] They had been colonized in the preceding
century, by some poor families from Peloponnesus and Ionia. At that
time they had gained a scanty subsistence as fishermen. Gradually they
became merchants and seamen. Being the best sailors in the Sultan's
dominions, they had obtained some valuable privileges, amongst which
was that of exemption from Turkish magistrates; so that, if they could
not boast of _autonomy_, they had at least the advantage of
executing the bad laws of Turkish imposition by chiefs of their own
blood. And they had the further advantage of paying but a moderate
tribute to the Sultan. So favored, their commerce had flourished beyond
all precedent. And latterly, when the vast extension of European
warfare had created first-rate markets for grain, selecting, of course,
those which were highest at the moment, they sometimes doubled their
capitals in two voyages; and seven or eight such trips in a year were
not an unusual instance of good fortune. What had been the result, may
be collected from the following description, which Mr. Gordon gives us,
of Hydra: "Built on a sterile rock, which does not offer, at any
season, the least trace of vegetation, it is one of the best cities in
the Levant, and _infinitely superior to any other in Greece_; the
houses are all constructed of white stone; and those of the
aristocracy--erected at an immense expense, floored with costly
marbles, and splendidly furnished--_might pass for palaces even in
the capitals of Italy_. Before the revolution, poverty was unknown;
all classes being comfortably lodged, clothed, and fed. Its inhabitants
at this epoch exceeded twenty thousand, of whom four thousand were
able-bodied seamen."

The other islands were, with few exceptions, arid rocks; and most of
them had the inestimable advantage of being unplagued with a Turkish
population. Enjoying that precious immunity, it may be wondered why
they should have entered into the revolt. But for this there were two
great reasons: they were ardent Christians in the first place, and
disinterested haters of Mahometanism on its own merits; secondly, as
the most powerful [Footnote: Mr. Gordon says that "they could, without
difficulty, fit out a hundred sail of ships, brigs, and schooners,
armed with from twelve to twenty-four guns each, and manned by seven
thousand stout and able sailors." Pouqueville ascribes to them, in
1813, a force considerably greater. But the peace of Paris (one year
after Pouqueville's estimates) naturally reduced their power, as their
extraordinary gains were altogether dependent on war and naval
blockades.] nautical confederacy in the Levant, they anticipated a
large booty from captures at sea. In that expectation, at first, they
were not disappointed. But it was a source of wealth soon exhausted;
for, naturally, as soon as their ravages became known, the Mussulmans
ceased to navigate. Spezzia was the first to hoist the independent
flag; this was on the ninth of April, 1821. Psarra immediately followed
her example. Hydra hesitated, and at first even declined to do so; but,
at last, on the 28th of April, this island also issued a manifesto of
adherence to the patriotic cause. On the third of May, a squadron of
eleven Hydriot and seven Spezzia vessels sailed from Hydra, having on
the mainmast "an address to the people of the Egean sea, inviting them
to rally round the national standard: an address that was received with
enthusiasm in every quarter of the Archipelago where the Turks were not
numerous enough to restrain popular feeling."

"The success of the Greek marine in this first expedition," says Mr.
Gordon, "was not confined to merely spreading the insurrection
throughout the Archipelago: a swarm of swift armed ships swept the sea
from the Hellespont to the waters of Crete and Cyprus; captured every
Ottoman trader they met with, and put to the sword, or flung overboard,
the Mahometan crews and passengers; for the contest already assumed a
character of terrible ferocity. It would be vain to deny that they were
guilty of shocking barbarities; at the little island of Castel Rosso,
on the Karamanian shore, they butchered, in cold blood, several
beautiful Turkish females; and a great number of defenceless pilgrims
(mostly old men), who, returning from Mecca, fell into their power, off
Cyprus, were slain without mercy, because they would not renounce their
faith." Many such cases of hideous barbarity had already occurred, and
did afterwards occur, on the mainland. But this is the eternal law and
providential retribution of oppression. The tyrant teaches to his slave
the crimes and the cruelties which he inflicts; blood will have blood;
and the ferocious oppressor is involved in the natural reaction of his
own wickedness, by the frenzied retaliation of the oppressed. Now was
indeed beheld the realization of the sublime imprecation in Shakspeare:
"one spirit of the first-born Cain" did indeed reign in the hearts of
men; and now, if ever upon this earth, it seemed likely, from the
dreadful _acharnement_ which marked the war on both sides,--the
_acharnement_ of long-hoarded vengeance and maddening remembrances
in the Grecian, of towering disdain in the alarmed oppressor,--that, in
very simplicity of truth, "_Darkness would be the burier of the
dead._"

Such was the opening scene in the astonishing drama of the Greek
insurrection, which, through all its stages, was destined to move by
fire and blood, and beyond any war in human annals to command the
interest of mankind through their sterner affections. We have said that
it was eminently a romantic war; but not in the meaning with which we
apply that epithet to the semi-fabulous wars of Charlemagne and his
Paladins, or even to the Crusaders. Here are no memorable contests of
generosity; no triumphs glorified by mercy; no sacrifices of interest
the most basely selfish to martial honor; no ear on either side for the
pleadings of desolate affliction; no voice in any quarter of commanding
justice; no acknowledgment of a common nature between the belligerents;
nor sense of a participation in the same human infirmities, dangers, or
necessities. To the fugitive from the field of battle there was
scarcely a retreat; to the prisoner there was absolutely no hope. Stern
retribution, and the very rapture of vengeance, were the passions which
presided on the one side; on the other, fanaticism and the cruelty of
fear and hatred, maddened by old hereditary scorn. Wherever the war
raged there followed upon the face of the land one blank Aceldama. A
desert tracked the steps of the armies, and a desert in which was no
oasis; and the very atmosphere in which men lived and breathed was a
chaos of murderous passions. Still it is true that the war was a great
romance. For it was filled with change, and with elastic rebound from
what seemed final extinction; with the spirit of adventure carried to
the utmost limits of heroism; with self-devotion on the sublimest
scale, and the very frenzy of patriotic martyrdom; with resurrection of
everlasting hope upon ground seven times blasted by the blighting
presence of the enemy; and with flowers radiant in promise springing
forever from under the very tread of the accursed Moslem.


NOTE.--We have thought that we should do an acceptable service to the
reader by presenting him with a sketch of the Suliotes, and the most
memorable points in their history. We have derived it (as to the facts)
from a little work originally composed by an Albanian in modern Greek,
and printed at Venice in 1815. This work was immediately translated
into Italian, by Gherardini, an Italian officer of Milan; and, ten
years ago, with some few omissions, it was reproduced in an English
version; but in this country it seems never to have attracted public
notice, and is probably now forgotten.

With respect to the name of Suli, the Suliotes themselves trace it to
an accident:--"Some old men," says the Albanian author, reciting his
own personal investigations amongst the oldest of the Suliotes,
"replied that they did not remember having any information from their
ancestors concerning the first inhabitants of Suli, except this only:
that some goat and swine herds used to lead their flocks to graze on
the mountains where Suli and Ghiafa now stand; that these mountains
were not only steep and almost inaccessible, but clothed with thickets
of wood, and infested by wild boars; that these herdsmen, being
oppressed by the tyranny of the Turks of a village called to this day
Gardichi, took the resolution of flying for a distance of six hours'
journey to this sylvan and inaccessible position, of sharing in common
the few animals which they had, and of suffering voluntarily every
physical privation, rather than submit to the slightest wrong from
their foreign tyrants. This resolution, they added, must be presumed to
have been executed with success; because we find that, in the lapse of
five or six years, these original occupants of the fastness were joined
by thirty other families. Somewhere about that time it was that they
began to awaken the jealousy of the Turks; and a certain Turk, named
Suli, went in high scorn and defiance, with many other associates, to
expel them from this strong position; but our stout forefathers met
them with arms in their hands. Suli, the leader and inciter of the
Turks, was killed outright upon the ground; and, on the very spot where
he fell, at this day stands the centre of our modern Suli, which took
its name, therefore, from that same slaughtered Turk, who was the first
insolent and malicious enemy with whom our country in its days of
infancy had to contend for its existence."

Such is the most plausible account which can now be obtained of the
_incunabula_ of this most indomitable little community, and of the
circumstances under which it acquired its since illustrious name. It
was, perhaps, natural that a little town, in the centre of insolent and
bitter enemies, should assume a name which would long convey to their
whole neighborhood a stinging lesson of mortification, and of
prudential warning against similar molestations. As to the
_chronology_ of this little state, the Albanian author assures us,
upon the testimony of the same old Suliotes, that "seventy years
before" there were barely one hundred men fit for the active duties of
war, which, in ordinary states of society, would imply a total
population of four hundred souls. That may be taken, therefore, as the
extreme limit of the Suliote population at a period of seventy years
antecedently to the date of tke conversation on which he founds his
information. But, as he has unfortunately omitted to fix the exact era
of these conversations, the whole value of his accuracy is neutralized
by his own carelessness. However, it is probable, from the internal
evidence of his book, which brings down affairs below the year 1812,
that his information was collected somewhere about 1810. We must carry
back the epoch, therefore, at which Suli had risen to a population of
four hundred, pretty nearly to the year 1740; and since, by the same
traditionary evidence, Suli had then accomplished an independent
existence through a space of eighty years, we have reason to conclude
that the very first gatherings of poor Christian herdsmen to this
sylvan sanctuary, when stung to madness by Turkish insolence and
persecution, would take place about the era of the Restoration (of our
Charles II.), that is, in 1660.

In more modern times, the Suliotes had expanded into four separate
little towns, peopled by five hundred and sixty families, from which
they were able to draw one thousand first-rate soldiers. But, by a very
politic arrangement, they had colonized with sixty-six other families
seven neighboring towns, over which, from situation, they had long been
able to exercise a military preponderance. The benefits were
incalculable which they obtained by this connection. At the first alarm
of war the fighting men retreated with no incumbrances but their arms,
ammunition, and a few days' provision, into the four towns of Suli
proper, which all lay within that ring fence of impregnable position
from which no armies could ever dislodge them; meantime, they secretly
drew supplies from the seven associate towns, which were better
situated than themselves for agriculture, and which (apparently taking
no part in the war) pursued their ordinary labors unmolested. Their
tactics were simple, but judicious; if they saw a body of five or six
thousand advancing against their position, knowing that it was idle for
them to meet such a force in the open field, they contented themselves
with detaching one hundred and fifty or two hundred men to skirmish on
their flanks, and to harass them according to the advantages of the
ground; but if they saw no more than five hundred or one thousand in
the hostile column, they then issued in equal or superior numbers, in
the certainty of beating them, striking an effectual panic into their
hearts, and also of profiting largely by plunder and by ransom.

In so small and select a community, where so much must continually
depend upon individual qualities and personal heroism, it may readily
be supposed that the women would play an important part; in fact, "the
women carry arms and fight bravely. When the men go to war, the women
bring them food and provisions; when they see their strength declining
in combat, they run to their assistance, and fight along with them;
but, if by any chance their husbands behave with cowardice, they snatch
their arms from them, and abuse them, calling them mean, and unworthy
of having a wife." Upon these feelings there has even been built a law
in Suli, which must deeply interest the pride of women in the martial
honor of their husbands; agreeably to this law, any woman whose husband
has distinguished himself in battle, upon going to a fountain to draw
water, has the liberty to drive away another woman whose husband is
tainted with the reproach of cowardice; and all who succeed her, "from
dawn to dewy eve," unless under the ban of the same withering stigma,
have the same privilege of taunting her with her husband's baseness,
and of stepping between her or her cattle until their own wants are
fully supplied.

This social consideration of the female sex, in right of their
husbands' military honors, is made available for no trifling purposes;
on one occasion it proved the absolute salvation of the tribe. In one
of the most desperate assaults made by Ali Pacha upon Suli, when that
tyrant was himself present at the head of eight thousand picked men,
animated with the promise of five hundred piastres a man, to as many as
should enter Suli, after ten hours' fighting under an enfeebling sun,
and many of the Suliote muskets being rendered useless by continual
discharges, a large body of the enemy had actually succeeded in
occupying the sacred interior of Suli itself. At that critical moment,
when Ali was in the very paroxysms of frantic exultation, the Suliote
women, seeing that the general fate hinged upon the next five minutes,
turned upon the Turks _en masse_, and with such a rapture of
sudden fury, that the conquering army was instantly broken--thrown into
panic, pursued; and, in that state of ruinous disorder, was met and
flanked by the men, who were now recovering from their defeat. The
consequences, from the nature of the ground, were fatal to the Turkish
army and enterprise; the whole camp equipage was captured; none saved
their lives but by throwing away their arms; one third of the Turks
(one half by some accounts) perished on the retreat; the rest returned
at intervals as an unarmed mob; and the bloody, perfidious Pacha
himself saved his life only by killing two horses in his haste. So
total was the rout, and so bitter the mortification of Ali, who had
seen a small band of heroic women snatch the long-sought prize out of
his very grasp, that for some weeks he shut himself up in his palace at
Yannina, would receive no visits, and issued a proclamation imposing
instant death upon any man detected in looking out at a window or other
aperture--as being _presumably_ engaged in noticing the various
expressions of his defeat which were continually returning to Yannina.

The wars, in which the adventurous courage of the Suliotes (together
with their menacing position) could not fail to involve them, were in
all eleven. The first eight of these occurred in times before the
French Revolution, and with Pachas who have left no memorials behind
them of the terrific energy or hellish perfidy which marked the
character of Ali Pacha. These Pachas, who brought armies at the lowest
of five thousand, and at the most of twelve thousand men, were
uniformly beaten; and apparently were content to be beaten. Sometimes a
Pacha was even made prisoner; but, as the simple [Footnote: On the same
occasion the Pacha's son, and sixty officers of the rank of _Aga_,
were also made prisoners by a truly rustic mode of assault. The Turks
had shut themselves up in a church; into this, by night, the Suliotes
threw a number of hives, full of bees, whose insufferable stings soon
brought the haughty Moslems into the proper surrendering mood. The
whole body were afterwards ransomed for so trifling a sum as one
thousand sequins.] Suliotes little understood the art of improving
advantages, the ransom was sure to be proportioned to the value of the
said Pacha's sword-arm in battle, rather than to his rank and ability
to pay; so that the terms of liberation were made ludicrously easy to
the Turkish chiefs.

These eight wars naturally had no other ultimate effect than to extend
the military power, experience, and renown, of the Suliotes. But their
ninth war placed them in collision with a new and far more perilous
enemy than any they had yet tried; above all, he was so obstinate and
unrelenting an enemy, that, excepting the all-conquering mace of death,
it was certain that no obstacles born of man ever availed to turn him
aside from an object once resolved on. The reader will understand, of
course, that this enemy was Ali Pacha. Their ninth war was with him;
and he, like all before him, was beaten; but _not_ like all before
him did Ali sit down in resignation under his defeat. His hatred was
now become fiendish; no other prosperity or success had any grace in
his eyes, so long as Suli stood, by which he had been overthrown,
trampled on, and signally humbled. Life itself was odious to him, if he
must continue to witness the triumphant existence of the abhorred
little mountain village which had wrung laughter at his expense from
every nook of Epirus. _Delenda est Carthago! Suli must be
exterminated!_ became, therefore, from this time, the master
watchword of his secret policy. And on the 1st of June, in the year
1792, he commenced his second war against the Suliotes, at the head of
twenty-two thousand men. This was the second war of Suli with Ali
Pacha; but it was the tenth war on their annals; and, as far as their
own exertions were concerned, it had the same result as all the rest.
But, about the sixth year of the war, in an indirect way, Ali made one
step towards his final purpose, which first manifested its disastrous
tendency in the new circumstances which succeeding years brought
forward. In 1797 the French made a lodgment in Corfu; and, agreeably to
their general spirit of intrigue, they had made advances to Ali Pacha,
and to all other independent powers in or about Epirus. Amongst other
states, in an evil hour for that ill-fated city, they wormed themselves
into an alliance with Prevesa; and in the following year their own
quarrel with Ali Pacha gave that crafty robber a pretence, which he had
long courted in vain, for attacking the place with his overwhelming
cavalry, before they could agree upon the mode of defence, and long
before _any_ mode could have been tolerably matured. The result
was one universal massacre, which raged for three days, and involved
every living Prevesan, excepting some few who had wisely made their
escape in time, and excepting those who were reserved to be tortured
for Ali's special gratification, or to be sold for slaves in the
shambles. This dreadful catastrophe, which in a few hours rooted from
the earth an old and flourishing community, was due in about equal
degrees to the fatal intriguing of the interloping French, and to the
rankest treachery in a quarter where it could least have been held
possible; namely, in a Suliote, and a very distinguished Suliote,
Captain George Botzari; but the miserable man yielded up his honor and
his patriotism to Ali's bribe of one hundred purses (perhaps at that
time equal to twenty-five hundred pounds sterling). The way in which
this catastrophe operated upon Ali's final views was obvious to
everybody in that neighborhood. Parga, on the sea-coast, was an
indispensable ally to Suli; now, Prevesa stood in the same relation to
Parga, as an almost indispensable ally, that Parga occupied towards
Suli.

This shocking tragedy had been perpetrated in the October of 1798; and,
in less than two years from that date, namely, on the 2d of June, 1800,
commenced the eleventh war of the Suliotes; being their third with Ali,
and the last which, from their own guileless simplicity, meeting with
the craft of the most perfidious amongst princes, they were ever
destined to wage. For two years, that is, until the middle of 1802, the
war, as managed by the Suliotes, rather resembles a romance, or some
legend of the acts of Paladins, than any grave chapter in modern
history. Amongst the earliest victims it is satisfactory to mention the
traitor, George Botzari, who, being in the power of the Pacha, was
absolutely compelled to march with about two hundred of his kinsmen,
whom he had seduced from Suli, against his own countrymen, under whose
avenging swords the majority of them fell, whilst the arch-traitor
himself soon died of grief and mortification. After this, Ali himself
led a great and well-appointed army in various lines of assault against
Suli. But so furious was the reception given to the Turks, so deadly
and so uniform their defeat, that panic seized on the whole army, who
declared unanimously to Ali that they would no more attempt to contend
with the Suliotes--"Who," said they, "neither sit nor sleep, but are
born only for the destruction of men." Ali was actually obliged to
submit to this strange resolution of his army; but, by way of
compromise, he built a chain of forts pretty nearly encircling Suli;
and simply exacted of his troops that, being forever released from the
dangers of the open field, they should henceforward shut themselves up
in these forts, and constitute themselves a permanent blockading force
for the purpose of bridling the marauding excursions of the Suliotes.
It was hoped that, from the close succession of these forts, the
Suliotes would find it impossible to slip between the cross fires of
the Turkish musketry; and that, being thus absolutely cut off from
their common resources of plunder, they must at length be reduced by
mere starvation. That termination of the contest was in fact repeatedly
within a trifle of being accomplished; the poor Suliotes were reduced
to a diet of acorns; and even of this food had so slender a quantity
that many died, and the rest wore the appearance of blackened
skeletons. All this misery, however, had no effect to abate one jot of
their zeal and their undying hatred to the perfidious enemy who was
bending every sinew to their destruction. It is melancholy to record
that such perfect heroes, from whom force the most disproportioned, nor
misery the most absolute, had ever wrung the slightest concession or
advantage, were at length entrapped by the craft of their enemy; and by
their own foolish confidence in the oaths of one who had never been
known to keep any engagement which he had a momentary interest in
breaking. Ali contrived first of all to trepan the matchless leader of
the Suliotes, Captain Foto Giavella, who was a hero after the most
exquisite model of ancient Greece, Epaminondas, or Timoleon, and whose
counsels were uniformly wise and honest. After that loss, all harmony
of plan went to wreck amongst the Suliotes; and at length, about the
middle of December, 1803, this immortal little independent state of
Suli solemnly renounced by treaty to Ali Pacha its sacred territory,
its thrice famous little towns, and those unconquerable positions among
the crests of wooded inaccessible mountains which had baffled all the
armies of the crescent, led by the most eminent of the Ottoman Pachas,
and not seldom amounting to twenty, twenty-five, and in one instance
even to more than thirty thousand men. The articles of a treaty, which
on one side there never was an intention of executing, are scarcely
worth repeating; the amount was--that the Suliotes had perfect liberty
to go whither they chose, retaining the whole of their arms and
property, and with a title to payment in cash for every sort of warlike
store which could not be carried off. In excuse for the poor Suliotes
in trusting to treaties of any kind with an enemy whom no oaths could
bind for an hour, it is but fair to mention that they were now
absolutely without supplies either of ammunition or provisions; and
that, for seven days, they had suffered under a total deprivation of
water, the sources of which were now in the hands of the enemy, and
turned into new channels. The winding up of the memorable tale is soon
told:--the main body of the fighting Suliotes, agreeably to the
treaty, immediately took the route to Parga, where they were sure of a
hospitable reception, that city having all along made common cause with
Suli against their common enemy, Ali. The son of Ali, who had concluded
the treaty, and who inherited all his father's treachery, as fast as
possible despatched four thousand Turks in pursuit, with orders to
massacre the whole. But in this instance, through the gallant
assistance of the Parghiotes, and the energetic haste of the Suliotes,
the accursed wretch was disappointed of his prey. As to all the other
detachments of the Suliotes, who were scattered at different points,
and were necessarily thrown everywhere upon their own resources without
warning or preparation of any kind,--they, by the terms of the treaty,
had liberty to go away or to reside peaceably in any part of Ali's
dominions. But as these were mere windy words, it being well understood
that Ali's fixed intention was to cut every throat among the Suliotes,
whether of man, woman, or child,--nay, as he thought himself dismally
ill-used by every hour's delay which interfered with the execution of
that purpose,--what rational plan awaited the choice of the poor
Suliotes, finding themselves in the centre of a whole hostile nation,
and their own slender divisions cut off from communication with each
other? What could people so circumstanced propose to themselves as a
suitable resolution for their situation? Hope there was none; sublime
despair was all that their case allowed; and, considering the
unrivalled splendors of their past history for more than one hundred
and sixty years, perhaps most readers would reply, in the famous words
of Corneille--_Qu'ils mourussent_. That was their own reply to the
question now so imperatively forced upon them; and die they all did. It
is an argument of some great original nobility in the minds of these
poor people, that none disgraced themselves by useless submissions, and
that all alike, women as well as men, devoted themselves in the "high
Roman fashion" to the now expiring cause of their country. The first
case which occurred exhibits the very perfection of _nonchalance_
in circumstances the most appalling. Samuel, a Suliote monk, of
somewhat mixed and capricious character, and at times even liable to
much suspicion amongst his countrymen, but of great name, and of
unquestionable merit in his military character, was in the act of
delivering over to authorized Turkish agents a small outpost, which had
greatly annoyed the forces of Ali, together with such military stores
as it still contained. By the treaty, Samuel was perfectly free, and
under the solemn protection of Ali; but the Turks, with the utter
shamelessness to which they had been brought by daily familiarity with
treachery the most barefaced, were openly descanting to Samuel upon the
unheard-of tortures which must be looked for at the hands of Ali, by a
soldier who had given so much trouble to that Pacha as himself. Samuel
listened coolly; he was then seated on a chest of gunpowder, and powder
was scattered about in all directions. He watched in a careless way
until he observed that all the Turks, exulting in their own damnable
perfidies, were assembled under the roof of the building. He then
coolly took the burning snuff of a candle, and threw it into a heap of
combustibles, still keeping his seat upon the chest of powder. It is
unnecessary to add that the little fort, and all whom it contained,
were blown to atoms. And with respect to Samuel in particular, no
fragment of his skeleton could ever be discovered. [Footnote: The
deposition of two Suliote sentinels at the door, and of a third person
who escaped with a dreadful scorching, sufficiently established the
facts; otherwise the whole would have been ascribed to the treachery of
Ali or his son.] After this followed as many separate tragedies as
there were separate parties of Suliotes; when all hope and all retreat
were clearly cut off, then the women led the great scene of self-
immolation, by throwing their children headlong from the summit of
precipices; which done, they and their husbands, their fathers and
their sons, hand in hand, ran up to the brink of the declivity, and
followed those whom they had sent before. In other situations, where
there was a possibility of fighting with effect, they made a long and
bloody resistance, until the Turkish cavalry, finding an opening for
their operations, made all further union impossible; upon which they
all plunged into the nearest river, without distinction of age or sex,
and were swallowed up by the merciful waters. Thus, in a few days, from
the signing of that treaty, which nominally secured to them peaceable
possession of their property, and paternal treatment from the
perfidious Pacha, none remained to claim his promises or to experience
his abominable cruelties. In their native mountains of Epirus, the name
of Suliote was now blotted from the books of life, and was heard no
more in those wild sylvan haunts, where once it had filled every echo
with the breath of panic to the quailing hearts of the Moslems. In the
most "palmy" days of Suli, she never had counted more than twenty-five
hundred fighting men; and of these no considerable body escaped,
excepting the corps who hastily fought their way to Parga. From that
city they gradually transported themselves to Corfu, then occupied by
the Russians. Into the service of the Russian Czar, as the sole means
left to a perishing corps of soldiers for earning daily bread, they
naturally entered; and when Corfu afterwards passed from Russian to
English masters, it was equally inevitable that for the same urgent
purposes they should enter the military service of England. In that
service they received the usual honorable treatment, and such attention
as circumstances would allow to their national habits and prejudices.
They were placed also, we believe, under the popular command of Sir R.
Church, who, though unfortunate as a supreme leader, made himself
beloved in a lower station by all the foreigners under his authority.
These Suliotes have since then returned to Epirus and to Greece, the
peace of 1815 having, perhaps, dissolved their connection with England,
and they were even persuaded to enter the service of their arch-enemy,
Ali Pacha. Since his death, their diminished numbers, and the altered
circumstances of their situation, should naturally have led to the
extinction of their political importance. Yet we find them in 1832
still attracting (or rather concentrating) the wrath of the Turkish
Sultan, made the object of a separate war, and valued (as in all former
cases) on the footing of a distinct and independent nation. On the
winding up of this war, we find part of them at least an object of
indulgent solicitude to the British government, and under their
protection transferred to Cephalonia. Yet again, others of their scanty
clan meet us at different points of the war in Greece; especially at
the first decisive action with Ibrahim, when, in the rescue of Costa
Botzaris, every Suliote of his blood perished on the spot; and again,
in the fatal battle of Athens (May 6, 1827), Mr. Gordon assures us that
"almost all the Suliotes were exterminated." We understand him to speak
not generally of the Suliotes, as of the total clan who bear that name,
but of those only who happened to be present at that dire catastrophe.
Still, even with this limitation, such a long succession of heavy
losses descending upon a people who never numbered above twenty-five
hundred fighting men, and who had passed through the furnace, seven
times heated, of Ali Pacha's wrath, and suffered those many and dismal
tragedies which we have just recorded, cannot but have brought them
latterly to the brink of utter extinction.





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