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Title: Impressions of England - or Sketches of English Scenery and Society
Author: Coxe, A. Cleveland (Arthur Cleveland)
Language: English
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Sketches of English Scenery and Society.



Rector of Grace Church, Baltimore.

When I travelled, I saw many things; and I understand more than I can
                                                        Ecclus. xxxiv. 11.

Second Edition.

New York:
Dana and Company, 381 Broadway.

*        *        *        *        *

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855,
By Dana & Company,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.

R. C. Valentine,
Stereotyper and Electrotypist,
17 Dutch-st., cor. Fulton,
New York.

Geo. Russell & Co., Printers
61 Beekman-street, N. Y.

                 *        *        *        *        *


                    THE REV. JOSEPH OLDKNOW, M. A.,

                    OF CHRIST’S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,


                         BORDESLEY, BIRMINGHAM,


                           AND AS A MEMORIAL


                       I DEDICATE THESE SKETCHES.

                                               A. C. C.
                 _Baltimore_, 1855.


The following sketches pre-suppose, on the part of the reader, a
familiarity with English subjects, and with the geography, history and
literature of England. The writer has endeavored to avoid the
common-places of travel, and has made no allusion to topics which are
generally understood, such as the petty annoyances one meets at hotels,
and the coldness and phlegm of fellow-travellers. He has also forborne
to dwell on the greater evils of English society, because these have
been thoroughly discussed and exposed, as well by Englishmen as by
foreigners. Besides, our countrymen are kept constantly in view of that
side of the matter, and there would be no relish of novelty to excuse
him for treating them afresh to whole pages made up of the untrustworthy
statistics of Dissenting Almanacs, and the rant of Irish members of
Parliament. Although English travellers have often dealt unfairly with
us, he prefers to show his dislike of such examples, by forbearing to
imitate them. Nor does he regard a different course as due to his love
of country. A clergyman who devotes his life to the holiest interests of
his native land, and who daily thinks, and prays, and toils, and exhorts
others, in behalf of her wants—alike those which are purely religious
and those which pertain to letters, to education and to society in
general—may surely excuse himself from vociferous professions of
patriotism. He freely avows his love of country to be consistent with a
perception of her faults and deficiencies, and mainly to consist in a
high appreciation of her many advantages; in a sense of responsibility
for the blessings of which she has made him partaker; and in a studious
desire always to remember what is due to her reputation, so far as his
humble share in it may be concerned. Whether at home or abroad, he would
endeavour so to act as never to disgrace her; but he cannot sympathize
with the sort of patriotism which rejoices in the faults of other
countries, or which travels mainly to gloat over them. Least of all, can
he share in any petty comparisons of ourselves with our mother country.
If there be Englishmen who take any pleasure in our defects, he is sorry
for their narrowness; if any American finds satisfaction in this or that
blemish of English society, he cannot comprehend it. He considers a
sacred alliance between the two countries eminently important to
mankind; and he who would peril such interests, for the sake of some
trivial matter of personal pride, must be one of the most pitiable
specimens of human nature, be he American or Briton.

He has aimed, therefore, to present his countrymen with a record of the
pleasures which travel in England may afford to any one pre-disposed to
enjoy himself, and able to appreciate what he sees. He confesses, also,
that he has though rather confined himself to an exhibition of the
bright side of the picture, because he fears that many of his countrymen
are sceptical as to its existence. He suspects that Americans too
commonly go to England prepared to dislike it, and soon cross the
channel determined to be happy in France.

As a great measure of his own enjoyment depended upon the fact, that he
mingled freely with English society, he thinks it proper to say that he
owed his introductions chiefly to a few English friends with whom he had
corresponded for years beforehand. He supplied himself with very few
introductions from his native land, and even of these he presented only
a part; and in accepting civilities he was careful to become indebted
for them, only when he had a prospect of being able, in some degree, to
return them. As the inter-communion of the Churches tends to make the
interchange of hospitalities more frequent, he was the rather desirous
in nothing to presume on the good-will at present existing; the abuse of
which will certainly defeat the ends for which it has been so generously

Having given years to the study of the British Constitution, and to the
Literature and Religion of England, he has for a long time been
accustomed to watch its politics, and its public men. He has, therefore,
spoken of several public characters, both Whigs and Tories, in a manner
which their respective admirers will hardly approve, but, as he
believes, without prejudice, and as a foreigner may do, with more
freedom than a fellow-subject. In such expressions of personal opinion
he has given an independent judgment, and he is very sure that many of
his English friends will be sorry to see some of his criticisms on their
leading statesmen. It is but just to them to say, that in remarks on the
Sovereign, and her amiable Consort, the writer has spoken entirely for
himself, and with a freedom, in which their loyalty and affection never
allow them to indulge. He believes that an impartial posterity will,
nevertheless, sustain the views with respect to political matters which
he has expressed, and he considers it part of the duty of a traveller,
in detailing his impressions, to be frank on such subjects, in avowing
“how it strikes a stranger.”

He desires also to confess another purpose, in preparing and publishing
this little work. He has aimed to present, prominently, to his readers,
the distinguishing and characteristic merits of English civilization.
Innumerable causes are now at work to debase the morals of our own
countrymen. With the contemporaries of Washington, that high social
refinement which was kept up amid all the evils of our colonial
position, has well-nigh passed away. The dignity of personal bearing,
the careful civility of intercourse, and the delicate sense of propriety
which characterized the times of our grandfathers, have disappeared. The
vulgarizing influences of a dissocial sectarianism are beginning to be
perceived. The degrading effects of sudden wealth; the corruptions bred
of luxury; the evils of a vast and mongrel immigration; and not least,
the vices communicated to our youth, by contact with the Mexican and
half-Spanish populations contiguous to our southern frontier; all these
corrosive elements are operating among us with a frightful and rapid
result. The contrast with such tendencies, of the sober and
comparatively healthful progress of society in our ancestral land, the
writer supposes, cannot but be acceptable at least to those of his
countrymen who deprecate this deterioration, and who, for themselves and
their families, are anxious to cultivate an acquaintance with those
domestic, educational and religious institutions which have given to
England her moral power and dignity among the nations of the civilized

These sketches were originally contributed to the New-York _Church
Journal_, but are here given in a revised and complete form. They are a
record of the memorable year 1851—a year to which English history will
look back as the last, and the full-blown flower of a long peace. The
revival of the imperial power in France, at the close of that year, has
opened a new era in Europe, the effects of which upon the British Empire
can hardly be foreseen.

                                                               A. C. C.
 _Baltimore_, 1855.

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS.

                               CHAPTER I.

    Holyhead—Incidents of the Voyage—Oxford stage-coach and
    Stratford guide-post—Easter-bells and Easter solemnities—An
    Elizabethan Mansion—A Roger-de-Coverley picture in real life—A
    Fancy Chapel—An old fashioned Vicarage.

                              CHAPTER II.

    Aspect of a Cathedral-town—Lichfield Cathedral, its injuries
    and restorations—St. Chad, and Stowe-Church—Lord Brooke, his
    sacrilege and retribution—Dr. Johnson and his penance—The
    Three-Crowns Inn—Evening Service at the Cathedral—A
    Midland-county custom.

                              CHAPTER III.

    Brummagem Bishops—American oak in King Edward’s
    School—New-England in Deritend—Oscott—Italian
    Catholicity—Pugin and the Papists—The Oratory and Mr.
    Newman—An Oratorian Sermon—Romish Methodism.

                              CHAPTER IV.

    Scene at a London Railway Station—A drive to
    Pall-Mall—Whitehall and Hungerford Bridge—The new Bishop of
    Lincoln—The S. P. G. House—Nell Gwynne—Westminster Abbey—The
    Jerusalem Chamber—Lord John Thynne—The Coronation Vestments.

                               CHAPTER V.

    Historic Scenes in Westminster Hall—The Scene it presents in
    our days—The New Palace and Victoria Tower—The silent
    Highway—Lambeth Palace—Chelsea, and Martin the
    painter—Whitehall Palace and Garden—Oratorio at Chelsea—Sara
    Coleridge and other members of the poet’s family.

                              CHAPTER VI.

    Bury Street, St. James—The Lungs of London—Riding in
    Rotten-Row—First view of the Crystal-palace—The venerable S.
    P. G.—The Bishop of Oxford—First glimpse of Oxford—Cuddesdon
    Palace—A Sermon at St. Ebbe’s—A country Church—Bishop Lowth’s
    Epitaph on his daughter.

                              CHAPTER VII.

    Forest-hill—A walk in the country—Miltonian scenery—Mary
    Powell’s birth-place—A dame’s School—Milton’s Well—A
    neat-handed Phillis—Elucidations on the spot—Sir William

                             CHAPTER VIII.

    Oxford—William of Wykeham—New College and its
    Gardens—Magdalen—Addison’s Walk—Scene in the
    Convocation-house—May-morning hymn on Magdalen Tower—Scenery
    of the surrounding country—Morning-bells and a walk in the

                              CHAPTER IX.

    The Queen’s Progress to the Crystal-palace—The mob in the
    Park—The Queen’s return—Her appearance at Buckingham
    Palace—Americans at a discount—The interior view of the Great
    Exhibition—A high-priced day and a low-priced day—The end of
    the bubble—Jack in the Green.

                               CHAPTER X.

    The Chapel Royal of St. James—The Duke of Wellington at his
    prayers—The Sermon—The Duke at the Holy Communion—St. Paul’s
    Cathedral—How it compares with St. Peter’s—Effect of the
    Choral Service—Dean Milman—St. Barnabas’, Pimlico, and its
    Mediævalisms—Fashion at St. George’s—The Bishop of

                              CHAPTER XI.

    Ramblings in London—All-hallows, Barking—First view of the
    Tower—The Sovereigns on horseback—Historical relics—The
    Armada and its cargo—The block and the axe—The
    jewel-room—Laud and Strafford—Prisoners’ inscriptions—The
    graves in the Tower-Chapel—The Traitors’ gate.

                              CHAPTER XII.

    House of Commons—Message from the Lords—D’Israeli—Lord
    John—The Speaker—The Abbey and Whitehall at dead of night—The
    Papal Aggression—The course of the Whigs with the Papists—The
    Irish Brigade—Lord John and D’Israeli in a personal
    debate—Feebleness of Ministerial measures.

                             CHAPTER XIII.

    Decorations of the House of Lords—Their wholesome moral—The
    future of the new Chamber—The Aristocracy—Manners in
    Parliament—The Lord Chancellor Truro—The London Police—Their

                              CHAPTER XIV.

    Exhibitions of Art—Westminster Bridge—Lambeth—A wherry on the
    River—Temple Gardens and Church—Twelfth-Night—To the ball on
    the dome of St. Paul’s—Descent to the Crypts—Nelson’s
    Tomb—The Thames Tunnel—Shipping.

                              CHAPTER XV.

    The Cries of London—Covent Garden Market—The Savoy—St.
    Clement Danes and Dr. Johnson—Anecdote of Johnson at
    Temple-bar—Lincoln’s Inn—Heralds’ College—The Times—The Old
    Bailey—A Trial for Murder—A Visit to the Dead—Milton’s
    Grave—Grub-street—Chaucer’s Tabard.

                              CHAPTER XVI.

    Charms of Society in London—The London
    Season—Breakfast-parties—Dining out—Children at the
    Dessert—Evening-parties—Historical Costumes—A literary party
    at Lady Talfourd’s—Influence of high refinement on individual
    character—Pronunciation—A breakfast at Samuel Rogers’.

                             CHAPTER XVII.

    Exeter College, Oxford—A Sunday at Oxford—Common-room of
    Oriel—Visit to Nuneham Courtenay—Parish-school—Society in
    Oxford—Life of an Oxonian Fellow—A visit to Dr. Routh—Relics
    of Laud—Oxford Martyrs—Libraries and Museum—Chapel of
    Merton—A boat-race.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.

    Iffley Church—Radley, and a walk through Bagley Wood—Making a
    Doctor of Divinity—A drive through the
    country—Parish-stocks—Incidents of the journey—Old
    villages—Descent into the Vale of Gloucester—A picture in real

                              CHAPTER XIX.

    Worcester Cathedral—Coaching to Malvern—Great and Little
    Malvern—Tewksbury—Wars of the Roses—Bredon—Sunday at
    Kemerton—May’s Hill—The Cuckoo—Gloucester—The Church at
    Highnam—Architectural beauty of Gloucester Cathedral—Effect in

                              CHAPTER XX.

    The Old Palace of St. James—Preparations for going to
    Court—The procession of carriages—The Presentation—The Queen
    and Prince Albert—A drawing-room—The Ladies—Decorations of
    the royal apartments—Portraits in the Corridor—Reflections.

                              CHAPTER XXI.

    A visit to Harrow Weald—Ascension Day—Oak-leaves in honor of
    the Restoration—Cricket—Evening Service, and a remarkable
    Sermon—Coventry—Peeping Tom and Lady Godiva—Kenilworth—The
    ruins—Guy’s Cliff—Piers Gaveson—Warwick Castle.

                             CHAPTER XXII.

    Stratford-upon-Avon—The Red-Horse Inn—Geoffrey Crayon—The
    Birth-place of Shakspeare—New-Place—Walk to Shottery—The
    Churchyard—The Church and Tomb—The Epitaph of Shakspeare’s
    daughter—Influence of the Church on the mind of Shakspeare.

                             CHAPTER XXIII.

    Nottingham—Lord Byron’s reputation—The Castle—Derby—The
    Sedan-chair—Welsh Emigrants—Chester—Eaton-Hall.

                             CHAPTER XXIV.

    St. Winifred’s Well—The Vale of Clwyd—Rhuddlan—St. Asaph—A
    Welsh Inn—Welsh hospitality—The Welsh service in a rural
    Church—The Holy Clerk of Llanerch—Mrs. Hemans—St. Mary’s
    Well—Conway Castle.

                              CHAPTER XXV.

    Bangor—Menai Straits, and a Trip to Caernarvon—Llanberis and
    Dolbardan—Caernarvon Castle—The Eagle tower—Nant
    Ffrancon—Capel Curig—Corwen—Valle Crucis—Llangollen—Miss
    Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler.

                             CHAPTER XXVI.

    Gypsies—The Man of Ross—Market day—Monmouth—Tintern Abbey in
    a storm—A Vicar’s children—The Wind-cliff—Tintern in
    sunshine—The Severn—Clifton, Bristol and St. Mary
    Redcliffe—Chatterton—Bristol Cathedral—Mrs. Mason’s tomb—A
    dissenting minister—His charity.

                             CHAPTER XXVII.

    Glastonbury—King Arthur’s coffin—Restorations at
    Wells—Ordination at Bradfield—Solemnities of the
    Jubilee—Willis’s Rooms—A Centenarian—Speeches at St. Martin’s
    Hall—The Archbishop in his Study—The Jubilee Sermons—Samuel

                            CHAPTER XXVIII.

    Jubilee-service at the Cathedral—A Lord Mayor’s Feast—Lord
    Glenelg—Eton College—St. George’s Chapel and Windsor Castle—A
    Dame’s House—A swim in the Thames—Hampton Court—Pictures and
    Cartoons—Hursley Church, and the Poet Keble—Winchester
    School—St. Cross Hospital—Relics.

                             CHAPTER XXIX.

    Winchester Cathedral—Wykeham and Wayneflete—Cardinal
    Beaufort—Bishop Fox—Stephen Gardiner—The Altar—Reliquary
    chests—Izaak Walton—An American Vicar—His
    ingenuities—Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge—George
    Herbert—Netley Abbey—The Isle of

                              CHAPTER XXX.

    St. Augustine’s, Canterbury—Queen Bertha’s Church—The
    Patriarchal Cathedral—Becket—The Black Prince—Archbishop
    Howley—The Dane John—Drive to Borne—The Judicious Hooker—One
    of the Squirearchy—Rochester—Westminster Archives—Chapel of
    Henry VII.—Grave of Addison—British Museum—Richmond
    Hill—Thomson’s grave—Pope’s skull.

                             CHAPTER XXXI.

    The Encænia at Oxford—The uproar—Bedford and John
    Bunyan—Fourth of July—The gates of Caius—Comparison of the
    two Universities—Chancellor Albert—Old Hobson—The Isthmus of
    Sues—Milton’s Mulberry—The small Colleges—The
    Fitzwilliam—King’s College—Trinity.

                             CHAPTER XXXII.

    Ely Cathedral—Its beautiful restorations—Peterborough—The
    graves of two Queens—A King of Spades—Lincoln and Bishop
    Grostete—The Cathedral—Jews’ House—The City of
    Constantine—York Minster—Ripon—Fountains’ Abbey—Durham—The
    Bishop of Exeter—The University—Newcastle—Amen Corner.

                            CHAPTER XXXIII.

    Return from Scotland—Gretna Green—Carlisle—The
    Lakes—Windermere—Dr. Arnold’s enthusiasm—An American Sunday
    and an English one—Grassmere—A Poet’s Widow—A walk to
    Keswick—Cockney rhetoric—Derwentwater—A Poet’s
    Sepulchre—Penrith—The Countess’ Pillar—Dotheboys
    Hall—Rokeby—Kirkstall Abbey.

                             CHAPTER XXXIV.

    A pilgrimage to Olney—Cowper’s services to
    Literature—Anti-Snobbery—Cowper’s pedigree—A
    lace-maker—Olney bridge—The
    Summer-house—Weston-Underwood—The Wilderness—Cowper’s
    Autograph and Adieu—The Greek Slave—White-bait at
    Greenwich—The Prime Meridian—The pensioners—Good-night.

                             CHAPTER XXXV.

    Return from the Continent—Despatches—England and Southern
    Europe—The Sepulchre of Andrewes—Westminster by
    Candlelight—St. Bartholomew’s, Moor-lane—The Anglican
    Reformers—Superficial views of travellers—Dissent in
    England—Tithes—The late Recusancy—Newman and the Dublin
    Review—The English Bible—Conclusion.

                        IMPRESSIONS OF ENGLAND.

                               CHAPTER I.

          _First and Second Thoughts—A Warwickshire Welcome._

About noon, one hazy April day, I found myself approaching the British
coast, and was informed by the Captain of our gallant steamer, that in a
few minutes we should gain a glimpse of the mountains of Wales. Instead
of rushing to the upper-deck, I found myself forced by a strange impulse
to retire to my state-room. For nearly thirty years had my imagination
been fed with tales of the noble island over the sea; and for no small
portion of that period, its history and its institutions had been a
favorite subject of study. To exchange, forever, the England of my fancy
for the matter-of-fact England of the nineteenth century, was something
to which I was now almost afraid to consent. For a moment I gave way to
misgivings; collected and reviewed the conceptions of childhood; and
then betook myself, solemnly, to the reality of seeing, with my own
eyes, the land of my ancestors, in a spirit of thankfulness for so great
a privilege. I went on deck. There was a faint outline of Snowdon in the
misty distance; and before long, as the mist dispersed, there, just
before us, was the noble brow of Holyhead.

It reminded me of the massive promontory opposite Breakneck, as we
descend the Hudson, towards West Point: but the thought that it was
another land, and an old as well as an ancestral one, strangely mingled
with my comparative memories of home. There is something like dying and
waking to life again, in leaving one’s home, and committing one’s self
to such a symbol of Eternity as the Ocean, and then, after long days and
nights, beholding the reality of things unknown before, and entering
upon new scenes, with a sense of immense separation from one’s former
self. Oppressive thoughts of the final emigration from this world, and
descrying, at last, “the land that is very far off,” were forced upon
me. We doubled the dangerous rocks of Skerries, and began to coast along
the northern shore of Anglesea: and then, with my perspective-glass, I
amused myself contentedly, for hours, as I picked out the objects
presenting themselves on the land. Now a windmill, now a village, and
now—delightful sight—a Christian spire! It was night-fall when our
guns saluted the port of Liverpool, and our noble steamer came to anchor
in the Mersey.

Our voyage had been a very pleasant, and a highly interesting one.
Extraordinary icebergs had been visible for several successive days, and
had given us enough of excitement to relieve the tediousness of the
mid-passage. Our two Sundays had been sanctified by the solemnities of
worship; and the only mishap of our voyage had been such as to draw
forth much good feeling, and to leave a very deep impression. One of the
hands had been killed by accidental contact with the engine, and had
been committed to the deep with the Burial Service of the Church, in the
presence of all on board. A handsome purse was immediately made up for
the surviving mother of the deceased; and the painful event tended
greatly to the diffusion of a fraternal sympathy among the entire
company. We became as one family: and now, before retiring for the
night, I was requested, by those who remained on board, to offer a
solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God, for our safe deliverance from the
perils of the sea. This it gave me pleasure to do; and the words of the
Psalmist rose in our evening devotions, “Then are they glad because they
are at rest; and so he bringeth them unto the haven where they would
be.” The noble vessel in which we had accomplished our voyage now lies
many fathoms deep in the sea. It was the Arctic.

On landing, in the morning, I inwardly saluted the dear soil, on which I
was permitted at last to place my feet, and on which I could not feel,
altogether, a foreigner. I ran the gauntlet of tide-waiters, and the
like, without anything to complain of, and, after a bath at the Adelphi,
made my way to St. George’s Church. Here, for the first time, I joined
in the worship of our English Mother; though it was difficult to
conceive myself a stranger, until the expression—“Victoria, our Queen
and Governor”—recalled the fact that I was worshipping with the
subjects of an earthly Sovereign, as well as among my brethren of the
glorious City of God.

A letter awaited me at the Post Office, which invited me to spend my
rest-days with a dear friend. So, after a hasty survey of Liverpool,
which I did not care to inspect minutely, I took an early evening train
for Warwickshire, and was soon speeding athwart highways, and through
hedges, towards my friend’s abode. Even my glimpses of England, from the
flying carriage, were enough to occupy my mind delightfully: and often
did some scene upon the road-side, or in the sprouting fields, recall
incidents of history, or passages of poetic description, which filled me
with emotion, and greatly heightened my preconceptions of the pleasures
before me, in the tour which I thus began.

So it happened that my first night on shore was passed beneath the roof
of a pleasant English parsonage. My host had been, for years, my
correspondent, and though we had never met before, we counted ourselves
old friends. My bed-room had been prepared for me, and furnished with
such things, in the way of books and the like, as, it was fancied, would
suit my tastes. One window overlooked the Church; and another, over the
churchyard, and its green graves, commanded a pretty view of the fields.
It was the Holy Week. I was waked every morning by the bell for early
prayers. The Bishop of W—— had sent me his permission to officiate,
and when I went to Church, it was always as a priest of the One
Communion. I was at home: as much so as if I had lived, for years, in
the house where I was a guest. We kept the holy time together, and
limited our diversions to pleasant and somewhat professional walks. We
visited, for example, a parochial establishment, in which some twenty
widows were lodged, by the benevolent charity of an individual. Every
widow had her own little cottage, and the entire buildings enclosed a
square, in which was their common garden. There was also a small chapel;
and in each little home there was a text inscribed over the fire-place,
encouraging charity, forbearance, and love to God. Here was a quiet
Beguinage, built many years ago, and never heard of: but there are many
such, in England, dear to God, and the fruits of his Church. I visited
also a school founded by King Edward Sixth; and having, on my first
landing at Liverpool, paid a visit to its Blue Coat Hospital, founded by
a prosperous seaman of the port, and furnishing a noble example to all
sea-port cities, I had seen not a little to charm me with the religion
of England, before I had been a week on her shores. Our quiet walks
through lanes and by-paths, were not less gratifying in their way. The
hedges and the fields, gardens and residences, the farms and the very
highways, were full of attractions to my eye, and the more so, because
my companion seemed to think he could find nothing to show me! He knew
not the heart of an American, fond of his mother country, and for the
first time in his life coming into contact with old-fashioned things. A
heavy wagon, lumbering along the road to market, and inscribed, “John
Trott, Carrier, Ashby-de-la-Zouche”—was enough to set me thinking of
past and present, of the poetry of Ivanhoe, and the prose of a
market-wain; and when I saw a guide-post, which for years had directed
travellers “To Stratford,” only twenty miles off, I could almost have
bowed to it. A stage coach came along, bearing “Oxford” on its panels;
and the thought that it had started that very morning from the seat of
the University, and had raised the dust of Stratford-on-Avon, made its
wheels look dignified. To enjoy England one must be an American, and a
hearty and earnest member of the Anglican Church. Even the cry of “hot
cross buns,” which waked me on Good Friday morning, reviving the song of
the nursery, and many more sacred associations with the day, made me
thankful that I was no alien to the spirit of the solemnities, which
even a traditionary cry in the streets tends to fasten upon the heart
and conscience of a nation.

Easter morning came at last, and I was up with the sun, and out for a
walk. It came with a bright sunrise, and many cheerful notes from
morning birds. I was confident I heard a lark singing high up in the
air, for though I could not see the little fellow, I could not mistake
the aspiring voice. His Easter Carol was a joyous one, and I set it to
the familiar words—

        Christ, our Lord, is risen to-day,
        Sons of men and angels say!

The hedges were just in leaf: here and there the hawthorn had blossomed,
but the weather was too cold for its silvery beauty; and one almost
pitied the few adventurous flowers, that, like good Churchmen, seemed
only to have come out in conscientious regard to the day. I finished my
morning walk by a turn or two through the church-yard, every grave of
which was sparkling with dews, illuminated by the Easter sun. How
forcibly the scene represented the resurrection: “The dew of thy birth
is of the womb of the morning.”

As I entered the parsonage, I heard the bells chiming from a distant
parish church. My reverend friend met me with the salutation—“the Lord
is risen;” to which I could not but fervently respond in the same
primitive spirit. We had a festal breakfast, after family prayers, and
soon it was time for service. I could willingly have been a worshipper
in private, but submitted to the authority of the parson, and became one
of his curates for the day. We emerged from the Vestry in due order of
the Psalmist—“the singers going before,” men and boys alike in
surplices; the latter with red cheeks, and white ribbons to tie their
collars, looking like little chubby cherubs, and when they lifted their
voices, sounding still more like them. The chancel was neatly decorated;
a few flowers placed over the altar, and an inscription on its cloth, “I
am the Bread of Life.” With the choral parts of the service I was
surprised, as well as delighted. Boys and men all did their parts, in a
manner which would have done honor to the authorities of a Cathedral,
and I observed that the congregation generally accompanied the choir,
especially the children in the galleries. I had never before heard the
Athanasian Hymn as part of the regular Service, and I was greatly
impressed by its majestic effect. After the Nicene Creed, I ascended the
pulpit, and preached “Jesus and the Resurrection,” and then, returning
to the Altar, celebrated the Holy Eucharist, according to the English
rite, administering to my reverend brethren and the lay-communicants. To
this high privilege I was pressingly invited by the pastor himself, in
token of entire communion with the Church in America; and thus I was
able to join my personal thanksgivings for the mercies of a voyage, and
my prayers for my absent flock and family, to a public exercise of the
highest functions of my priesthood, at the altar of an English Church.

The many incidents of the day, which afforded me ever fresh delight,
might lose their charm, if reduced to narration, or might strike the
reader as proofs of my facility to be gratified. But I cannot but
mention that, strolling away, in the afternoon, to see how service was
performed at another Church, I was gratified to find it filled with
devout worshippers of the plainer sort, attentively listening to a very
excellent sermon, appropriate to the day. While the preacher was warmly
enlarging upon the promise of a glorious resurrection, and I was quite
absorbed in his suggestions, I suddenly caught a glimpse, among the
crowd of worshippers, of a figure which startled me, as forcibly
illustrative of the words of the preacher, “thy dead men shall live.” It
was the recumbent effigy of an old ecclesiastic of the fifteenth
century, which I had not observed before. As if listening to the
preacher, in joyful hope, there it lay upon the tomb, hands clasped
placidly together, and looking steadfastly towards heaven! How it seemed
to join the hopes of the dead with those of the living, and to give
force to every word which fell from the pulpit concerning the glory
which shall be revealed in all those who sleep in Jesus!

With Easter-Monday our holidays, in the school-boy sense, began. My
reverend friend proposed a visit to the Vicar, to whose patronage he
owed his own incumbency of the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, in B——. Off
we started on foot, passing through the suburbs of a populous town, and
finally emerging into the open country. We came suddenly in sight of the
old Church of A——; its beautiful spire and gables admirably
harmonizing with the surrounding view, and telling a silent story of
long past years. Beyond it, a majestic avenue of elms disclosed at its
extremity a mansion of Elizabethan architecture and date; not the less
reverend in my associations for the fact that Charles the First slept in
it just before Edgehill fight, and that a cannon-ball, still lodged in
the stair-case, attests the perilous honor which his Sacred Majesty was
thus pleased to bestow on its occupant. The solemn dignity of an old
English residence of this kind, had heretofore been to me a thing of
imagination; now it was before my eye, not a whit less pleasing in its
reality. The rooks were chattering in its venerable trees, which seemed
to divide their predilections about equally with the steeple; and I am
told that they are such knowing birds, that whenever you see a rookery,
you may be sure that there is both orthodox faith, and at least one sort
of good-living in the neighborhood.

Had I challenged my friend to show me a genuine Roger-de-Coverley
picture in real life, as the entertainment of my holiday, I must have
admitted myself satisfied with this scene at A——. Not only did the old
hall, and the church, in all particulars, answer to such a demand; not
only did a river run by the church-yard; not only were fields beyond,
with cattle grazing, corn sprouting, and hedges looking freshly green;
but when I entered the church-yard gate, lo! a rustic party, in holiday
trim, were hanging about the old porch, awaiting the re-appearance of a
bridal train, which had just gone in. It wanted but the old Knight
himself and his friend the Spectator, to make the whole scene worthy of
the seventeenth century.

I entered the church, and found it in all respects just such an interior
as I had longed to see; apparently the original of many a pleasing
print, illustrating Irving’s “Sketch-Book” and similar works, the
delight of my childhood, and still affording pleasure in recollection.
Its ample nave, widened by rows of aisles, terminated in the arch of a
long chancel, at the altar of which stood not only one matrimonial
couple, but actually five or six, whom two curates were busily uniting
in the holy bonds of wedlock. When the procession returned from the
altar, they passed into the vestry to register their names, and one of
the curates coming to the door of the church, found another group of
villagers, at the font, presenting a child for baptism. Following my
friend into the vestry, I was presented to the Vicar himself, who seemed
the _genius loci_ in all respects; a venerable gray-haired old
gentleman, in his surplice, full six feet in stature, and worthy to sit
for a portrait of Dr. Rochecliffe, in Woodstock. It was now time for
service, and I was desired to robe myself, and accompany him into the
chancel, two curates, the clerk, and some singers leading the way. I was
put into a stall, marked with the name of some outlying chapelry of the
parish, and appropriate to its incumbent when present. The chancel was
filled with monuments, of divers ages and styles. At my left hand lay
the effigies of a knight and his good dame, in Elizabethan costume;
beyond were a pair of Edward III.’s time; opposite were figures of the
period of Henry VI. and much earlier; the knights all in armor, and some
with crossed legs, as a token that they had fought in Palestine. The
service was intoned by one of the curates, in a severe old tone,
authorized in Archbishop Cranmer’s time, which the Vicar afterwards
assured me was very ancient, and the only genuine music of the Church of
England. When the service was concluded, there was a churching to be
attended to, at the south porch of the church, and to this duty one of
the curates was deputed, while the Vicar himself detained us in the
chancel with an enthusiastic antiquarian illustration of the monuments,
to which I was a most willing listener. Here slept the _de Erdingtons_,
and there the _Ardens_: such and such was their story; and such and such
were the merits of the sculpture. Chantrey had visited these figures,
and assured him that they were the finest in the kingdom; and if I
imagined, at the time, that such was merely Sir Francis’ courtesy to the
worthy Vicar, I hope I may be forgiven, for some subsequent acquaintance
with such things inclines me to believe the sculptor was sincere. On the
walls were the heavy tablets of the Hanoverian period, and our attention
was directed to the marked decline of art, from the period of the
Crusades down to the Georges, growing worse and worse till George
Fourth’s time, which improved the existing style, and was succeeded by a
period of rapid return to correct taste and principle. Of all this the
Church itself bore witness. Here the worthy man pointed out marks of its
various stages of decline: here were barbarous repairs; there a sad
blunder of old Church-wardens; here a wanton mutilation of Hanoverianism
in 1790, when the very worst things happened to the holy and beautiful
house; and there, at last, was a fine restoration of our own times.

We were next conducted to the church-yard, the Vicar having doffed his
surplice, and assumed his usual habit, which partook of the dignity and
taste of its wearer in a pleasing degree. His hat was specially
ecclesiastical, and turned up at the sides, and over his cassock and
bands he wore a clerical surtout, so that as he strode over the graves,
in his small-clothes, displaying a finely proportioned leg, his entire
figure might have been thought contemporary with that of his brother of
Wakefield. We now learned the history of the Church, its great tithe,
and its various plunderings under successive bad kings. We viewed the
tower and spire from every possible point of vantage, and then went
round the walls to see where a window had been blocked up, or a doorway
broken through, or a pointed arch displaced for a square-headed
debasement of the Tudor period. I never found before so good a “sermon
in stones.” An ancient yew-tree was pointed out as having afforded
boughs, before the reformation, for the celebration of Palm-Sunday. We
adjourned to the Vicarage, where luncheon was served in the Library, a
room filled with the choicest volumes; and then we were dismissed for a
walk, promising to return, for our dinner, at five o’clock.

Our road soon brought us to E ——, where a Romish Chapel had been
lately erected, by a man of fortune, in minute and extravagant
reproduction of Mediævalism. It was a thing for a glass case; a piece of
admirable art; a complete Pugin; and no doubt in the middle ages would
have been a very suitable thing for its purposes; but, in our day, it
seemed as little suited to Rome as to Canterbury. The Pope himself never
saw such a place of worship, and would scarcely know how to use it; and
it was chiefly interesting to me as enabling me to see, at a glance,
what the finest old Parish Churches of England had been in the days of
the Plantagenets. At any rate, they were never Tridentine, and they were
always Anglican. This beautiful toy had a frightful Calvary in the
church-yard; but the interior was adorned with the finest carvings in
Caen stone, and brilliant colorings and gildings _à la Froissart_. The
pulpit was adorned with the story of Becket, in very delicate sculpture,
and around the Church were stations, or representations of the different
stages of the Passion, carved elaborately in wood, and beautifully
colored. The Virgin’s Altar and Chapel were gems of art; and, of course,
replenished with striking proofs that they “worship and serve the
creature more than the Creator.” I turned away heart-sick, that such
unrealities of a dead antiquity could be employing the whole soul of any
Englishman, and even tempting some into apostacy from the simple but
always dignified Church of their ancestors. Let taste be the handmaid of
religion, and all is well: but here was religion led captive by
antiquarian fancy.

Many other objects of interest filled up our day. We made a complete
circuit, crossing green fields, leaping ditches, and breaking through
hedges. Up hill and down dell, and through fragrant country lanes; here
a river, and there a pool; now a farm, and then a mill. Yellow gorse was
in flower by the road-sides. We met many parties of village people
enjoying their Easter sports, and dressed in holiday attire. This day,
at least, it seemed merry England still. We came to Witton Manor-house,
and thence caught a distant view of the spire, towards which it grew
time to return. Immense elms, of darker look than those of New-England,
beautified the view in every direction; and the landscape was
diversified by many smaller trees, marking the water-courses. We came
out, at last, by the old Hall, the exterior of which we closely
examined, imagining the scene around its gates when the royal Stuart
came to be its guest. Like many other mansions of the olden time, it is
deserted now; and the deepening twilight in which we viewed it,
harmonized entirely with the thoughts which it inspired. So we returned
to the Vicarage, and again were warmly welcomed. At dinner we were
presented to Mrs. ——, the Vicar’s wife, who seemed to take the
liveliest interest in my country and its Church, and kindly to
appreciate my own enjoyment of the events of the day. After dinner the
Vicar lighted his long pipe, and continued his exceedingly interesting
discourse about the olden time. I could see that he was no admirer of
the Crystal Palace, and all that sort of thing. I had met a _laudator
temporis acti_, whose character and venerable appearance gave him a
right to lament the follies of our own age; and seldom have I enjoyed
more keenly any intellectual treat than I did his arm-chair
illustrations of past and present, as compared together. On his favorite
topics of Church-music and Architecture he was very earnest and
intelligent. The Northamptonshire Churches, he assured me, were the
finest in England; and kindly introducing me to the _summa fastigia
rerum_, he took me to the very garret, to hunt up some superb plates of
his favorite localities. When I bade adieu to this Vicarage, it was as
one leaves an old friend. Such hospitality, and such heart afforded to a
stranger! Thus early had I found that old English manners are not yet
extinct, and that the fellowship of the Church admits even a foreigner
to their fullest enjoyment. It was eleven o’clock when we reached the no
less hospitable home from which I started in the morning.

                              CHAPTER II.

              _Easter Holidays—Lichfield and Dr. Johnson._

My reverend friend accompanied me to Lichfield, as our occupation for
Easter-Tuesday; kindly expressing his desire to have a share in the
enthusiasm, with which he justly imagined the first sight of an ancient
cathedral would inspire a visiter from America. And although Lichfield
is by no means one of the most impressive specimens of English cathedral
architecture, as it is small, and not very well kept, I was very glad to
begin my pilgrimage to the cathedrals with this venerable Church, the
see of the primitive and apostolic St. Chad; the scene of some of the
most severe and melancholy outrages of the Great Rebellion; and the
sacred spot, in which some of the earliest and most durable impressions
were made upon the character of the truly great Dr. Johnson. Familiar
with all I expected to see, so far as books and engravings could make me
so, it was thrilling to set out for my first visit to such a place, and
I was obliged to smother something like anxiety lest the reality should
fall far below anticipation. How would it strike me, after all? I was to
tread, at last, the hallowed pavement of an ancient minster, in which
the sacrifices of religion had been offered for centuries, and occupying
a spot which had been drenched with the blood of primitive martyrs; I
was to join in the solemn chant of its perpetual services; I was to go
round about its walls, and mark well its bulwarks, and survey its
towers, and to trace the tokens of those who had once set up their
banners there, and broken down its carved work with axes and hammers,
and defiled the place of its sanctuary. No English mind, to which
ancient things have been familiar from birth, could possibly have
appreciated my inward agitation at the prospect of such a day; and, as I
took my seat in the train, I could not but wonder at the indifference of
my fellow-passengers, to whom _booking_ for Lichfield was an every-day
affair, and whose associations with that city were evidently those of
mere business, and downright matter-of-fact.

The three spires, crowning the principal towers of the Church, soon came
in sight, and beneath its paternal shadow were clustered the humbler
roofs of the town. How like a hen gathering her chickens under her
wings, is a true cathedral amid the dwellings which it overshadows, and
how completely is its true intent set forth by this natural suggestion
of its architecture! I had never, before, seen a city purely religious
in its _prestige_, and I felt, as soon as my eyes saw it, the moral
worth to a nation of many such cities scattered amid the more busy hives
of its industry. On alighting, I could not but remark to my companion,
the still and Sabbath-like aspect of the city. “It is generally so,” he
answered, “with our cathedral towns; they are unlike all other places.”
This is their reproach in the eyes of the economist; but such men never
seem to reflect that the cathedral towns owe their existence to the fact
they are such, and would, generally, have no population at all, but for
their ecclesiastical character. Why can they not see, besides, that such
a place as Lichfield is as necessary to a great empire, as a Sheffield?
It bred a Johnson—and that was a better product for England than ever
came out of a manufactory of cotton or hardware. Probably, just such a
mind could have been reared only in just such a place. “You are an idle
set of people,” said Boswell to his master, as they entered Lichfield
together. “Sir,” replied the despot, “we are a city of philosophers: we
work with our _heads_, and make the boobies of Birmingham work for us
with their _hands_.”

But here at length is the cathedral, and service is going on! A moment’s
survey of its western front, so old, so enriched with carvings and
figures, so defiant of casual observation, and so worthy of careful
study—and we pass inside—and here is the nave, and the massive and dim
effect of the interior—somehow not all realized at once, and yet
overpowering. We reach the choir, and a verger quietly smuggles us
within. After a moment’s kneeling, we observe that the Epistle is
reading, and the service about to close. In a few minutes my first
impressions of worship in a cathedral are complete, and they are very
unsatisfactory. I had reached the sanctuary too late for the musical
parts of the solemnity, and there was rather a deficiency than an excess
of ceremonial, in the parts I saw. A moment’s inspection convinced me
that Lichfield Cathedral is, by no means, over-worked by its Dean and
Chapter. Alas! I said to myself, what we could do with such a foundation
in my own city, in America! We might have such a school of the prophets
as should be felt in all the land: we would make it the life of the
place; the seat of perpetual preachings, and prayers, and catechizings,
and councils; a citadel of power to the faith, and a magazine of holy
armor and defences for the Church. Why do not these worthy Canons wake
up, and go to work, like genuine sons and successors of St. Chad?

We now went the rounds of the Church, with the stupid verger for our
orator, and I began to experience the intolerable annoyance complained
of by all travellers. “Oh, that he might hold his tongue! We know it—we
know it—only let us alone, and here’s your shilling”—said my inmost
heart, a score of times, but still he mumbled on. He was most impressive
in detailing the exploits of the Puritans: here they hacked, and there
they hewed; this was done by Cromwell’s men—when they broke into the
old Bishops’ sepulchres; and that, when they hunted a cat, with the
hounds, through the nave and aisles. Here they _tooted_ with the broken
organ pipes, and there the soldiers mounted the pulpit, and preached _à
la Woodstock_. They went so far as to cut up their rations of flesh meat
on the altar, and they baptised a calf at the font; but, enough; mine
eyes have seen that there were such men in England two hundred years
ago, and oh, let us pray that we may not deserve such judgments again.
It was refreshing to stop before the tomb of Bishop Hacket, and to thank
God, who put it into his heart to be a repairer of the breach. The
Bishop had his failings, but what he did for his cathedral should cover
a multitude of sins, if he had so many. He was the man who, during the
worst scenes of the rebellion, was threatened by a soldier with instant
death, unless he desisted from the prayers which he was then offering,
in the Church of St. Giles, Holborn, and who answered, calmly, “you do
what becomes a soldier, but I shall do as becomes a priest,” and so went
on with the service. At the Restoration, being already three-score and
ten, he was appointed to this See. He found the cathedral almost a ruin;
thousands of round shot, and hand-grenades had been fired upon it; the
pinnacles were battered to pieces, and the walls and spires seemed ready
to fall, while the interior was a mass of filth and desolation. The very
next day after his arrival, he set his own horses to work in clearing
away the rubbish, and for eight years he devoted his wealth and labor,
and made perpetual efforts among the zealous laity of the kingdom, to
achieve and pay for the restoration of the Church, which he thus
accomplished. Finally he reconciled the holy place by a solemn
ceremonial, and re-instituted the services. When he heard the bells
ring, for the first time, being then confined to his bed-chamber, he
went into another room to hear the sound; but, while he blessed God that
he had lived to enjoy it, said it was his knell, and so, soon after,
died like old Simeon.

We paused before the busts of Johnson and Garrick, and the monuments of
Miss Seward and Lady M. W. Montague, and also before a monument lately
erected to some soldiers who perished in India, over which the flags of
their victories were displayed. The kneeling figure of the late Bishop
Ryder is pleasing and appropriate; but the object of universal
attraction is the monument of two children, by Chantrey, so generally
known and admired in prints and engravings. I cannot say that the style
of this monument comports well with the surrounding architecture, but in
itself it is beautiful, and bespeaks that sentimental love of children
for which the Church of England has made the English people remarkable,
beyond other Christian nations. The epitaph is a sad blemish, but the
reposing Innocents make you forget it. So simple and sweet is their
marble slumber, which, of itself, speaks “the Resurrection and the

The cathedral-close is open and spacious, and one gains a very good view
of the architecture, on all sides of the exterior. I sat down beneath
some trees, at the eastern extremity of the Church, and for a long while
gazed at the old stones, from the foundation to the topmost spire. They
told of centuries—how mutely eloquent! All was so still that the rooks
and jackdaws, chattering in the belfries, supplied the only sounds.
There was the bishop’s palace at my right, the scene of Anna Seward’s
bright days, and of some of Dr. Johnson’s happiest hours. The ivy almost
covers its modest but ample front. The close is a little picture of
itself; too much, perhaps, like the swallows’ nests, around the altar,
in the warm and inactive contentment with which it must tend to surfeit
any but the most conscientious of God’s ministers.

On one side of the cathedral is a pretty pool, and altogether, in this
point of observation, it presents a beautiful view. Swans are kept in
this water, and go oaring themselves about, without that annoyance from
boys and vagabonds, which prevents their being kept in public places, in
our country. They came familiarly to us, and even followed us a long
distance, as we walked on the margin of the pool, as if doing the honors
of the place to ecclesiastical visitors. We now took a walk through the
meadows, to Stowe, distant about half-a-mile, and presenting another
pleasant picture, with its old, but beautiful parish-church. Here we
found tokens of that work of Church restoration which is going on
throughout all England, and which will make the age of Victoria enviably
famous with future generations. The little Church was in perfect
keeping, throughout; severely plain, but strictly Anglican, and full of
reverend simplicity. There were some pews in the Church, but the new
sittings were all open, and apparently free. We looked with some
interest at the monument of Lucy Porter, daughter of the lady who
afterwards became the wife of Dr. Johnson. Hard by the Church is the
well of St. Chad, to which I next paid a visit, and from which I was
glad to drink. It is twined with roses, and neatly arched over with
masonry, on which is chiselled CE. EP.—that is, _Ceadda Episcopus_, and
here, in the seventh century, the holy man lived and baptized. St. Chad,
though a Saxon by birth, was in British orders, of the primitive
ante-Gregorian succession, and held the See of York, until his own
humility, and the Roman scruples of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
transferred him to Lichfield, where he lived the life of an apostle, and
from which he itinerated through the midland counties, very often, on
foot, in the spirit of a truly primitive missionary. It was with
exceeding veneration for the memory of his worth and piety, that I
visited this scene of his holy life, and blessed God for the mercies
which have issued thence, even to my own remote country. Such are the
world’s true benefactors: the world forgets them, but their record is
with God; and He will make up His jewels yet, in the sight of the
assembled universe.

Returning, we had the cathedral before us, all the way, in truly
delightful prospect. I observed the birds that darted across our path
with peculiar pleasure, and could not but remark that the sparrows were
John Bull’s own sparrows, having, in comparison with ours, a truly
English rotundity and plumpness, which should no doubt be credited to
the roast-beef of Old England, and to good ale, withal, or to something
equivalent in the diet of birds. We now took a turn into the city, and
first, went to see the house, in a window of which Lord Brooke was
seated when he received the fatal bullet from the cathedral. It seems a
great distance for such a shot; and this fact heightens the peculiarity
of the occurrence. There is a little tablet, fixed in the wall,
recording the event. As it took place on St. Chad’s day, and as the shot
was fired by a deaf and dumb man in the tower, putting out the eye with
which the Puritan besieger had prayed he might behold the ruins of the
cathedral, and killing him on the spot, it is not wonderful that the
providence was regarded as special and significant. Sacrilege has been
dangerous sport ever since the days of Belshazzar. It was a more
gratifying occupation to seek next the birth-place of Dr. Johnson, with
which pictures had made me so familiar, that when I came suddenly into
the market-place, I recognized the house and St. Mary’s Church, and even
the statue, all as old acquaintances. The pillars at the corners of the
house give it a very marked effect, and one would say, at the outset,
that it must have a history. It is not unworthy of such a man’s
nativity. The Church in which the future sage was christened is almost
directly opposite; and as I came in view of it, I looked for its
projecting clock, and found it, just as I had seen it in engravings. The
statue of Dr. Johnson is placed in the market square, just before the
house in which he first saw the light. It was the gift of one of the
dignitaries of the cathedral to the city. Did poor Michael Johnson, the
bookseller, ever console his poverty and sorrows, as he looked from
those windows on a stormy day, with visions of this tribute to the
Christian genius of his son? Perhaps, just where it stands, he often saw
his boy borne to school on the backs of his playmates, in triumphal
procession; and this incident of his childhood is now wrought into the
monumental stone. In another bas-relief, he is seen as a child of three
years old, perched on his father’s shoulder, listening to Dr.
Sacheverel, as he preaches in the cathedral. In a third is illustrated
that touching act of filial piety, the penance of the sage in Uttoxeter
market. For an act of disobedience to his poor hard-faring father, done
when he was a boy, but haunting him through life with remorse, the great
man went to the site of his father’s humble book-stall in the
market-place, and there stood bare-headed in the storm, one rainy day,
bewailing his sin, and honoring the lowliness of the parental industry
which provided for the wants of his dependent years. What moral
sublimity! worthy indeed of a memorial, and doubtless recorded in the
book of the Lamb that was slain to take away his sin!

Opposite St. Mary’s, and next door to the birth-place, we found the
“Three Crowns Inn,” where Johnson chose to stay, with sturdy
independence, when he visited Lichfield, refusing even the hospitalities
of Peter Garrick. I suppose the room in which we lunched was the scene
of another instance of true greatness in Dr. Johnson, who, with the
dignity of a gentleman, entertained here a friend of his humbler days,
“whose talk was of bullocks,” and whose personal appearance was by no
means agreeable, but to whose tiresome volubility, in things of his own
profession, the sage extended the most patient and condescending
attention. We could not but drink our mug of ale to the memory of the
immortal old man of ten thousand honest prejudices, and as many virtues;
in whom “has been found no lie,” and who has made his own massive
character, in some respects, the ideal of a genuine Englishman.

We visited the hospital and Church of St. John Baptist, a charitable
foundation of an old Bishop of Lichfield, who was also a munificent
benefactor of Brazen-nose College, at Oxford. It is a queer,
out-of-the-way, little blessing, of the sort which attracts no
attention, but which bespeaks a Church at work among the people, of the
like of which England is full. I was much pleased with this fragrant
little flower of charity, for such it seemed, hiding, like the violet,
out of sight, but heavenly when discovered. The Church of St. Michael,
Green-hill, next attracted me, standing on an eminence, and crowning it
with a conspicuous tower and spire. An avenue of venerable elms leads to
its portal, and I found it open. The font, which is a relic of very high
antiquity, has lately been restored to its place; and nearly the whole
of the nave is a late restoration. Here, then, is another proof of the
revival of primitive life and zeal in the Church of England! And all so
truly national; Anglican and yet Catholic; consistent with self, and
with antiquity, and attesting a continuous ecclesiastical life, from the
days of Ceadda, and his predecessors, until now.

The Evening Service at the cathedral was far more gratifying than the
morning’s experience had led me to anticipate. The evening sun streamed
through the windows of the clere-story with inspiring effect, and the
_Magnificat_ quite lifted me up to the devotional heights I had desired
to attain, in such a place. Then came the anthem, suitable to
Easter-week—“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.” How amiable the
beautiful and holy place in which such strains have been heard for ages!
In passing through the streets, on my way home, I saw one of the popular
sports of the Easter-holidays, peculiar to the midland counties, and a
relic of the many frolics in use before the Reformation. Some buxom
lasses were endeavoring to _lift_, or _heave_, a strapping youth, who,
in no very gallant style, repelled the embraces and salutations of his
female aggressors. I take it for granted, however, that he was not
released until he had been handsomely lifted into the air, and made to
purchase his freedom by a substantial fine. This is a custom confined,
of course, to the vulgar—but even among them, according to my judgment,
“more honored in the breach than in the observance.”

                              CHAPTER III.

                    _Birmingham—The Oratory—Newman._

Going up to London, I tarried for a few days at Birmingham, a town not
pleasing to my fancy, and yet one which no tourist in England would
choose to omit. I found it, indeed, as Leland described it three hundred
years ago, “to be inhabited of many smithes, that use to make knives,
and all manner of cutting tooles: and many lorimers, that make bittes,
and a great many naylors; so that a great part of the town is maintayned
by smithes who have their sea-coal out of Staffordshire.” To this, I
cannot help adding, in the style of old Fuller, that “there be divers
many also who do make buttons; and a great store of all things gilt, and
showy, and not costlie nor precious withal, do come out of Brummagem;
for which also the new bishoppes which Cardinal Wiseman did lately make
therein, be commonly called the Brummagem hierarchie, that is to say,
not so much Latin bishoppes as _Latten_ bishops; latten being much used
in Brummagem, and is made of stone of calamine and copper, or chiefly of
_brass_.” I confess that good part of my interest in Birmingham proper
was to see what this new hierarchy were about.

The Town-Hall has been often enough described and praised, and is, no
doubt, very fine; but I did not go to England to see Grecian temples,
and I took much more satisfaction in any old frame house of three
centuries ago, than in the frigid and formal show of all its columns.

On the whole, I think King Edward’s Grammar School the most interesting
object in the town. Though the buildings were erected very lately, they
are in the true academic style of Cambridge and Oxford. The pile is
massive and imposing, and I was pleased to find that the solid oak of
its noble rooms is the production of American forests. Here I first saw
how English boys are made scholars; the drill being obvious to even a
moment’s glance; every motion and look of the masters, who walk up and
down among the boys in their college gowns, implying a discipline and
method, of which our schools are too commonly destitute. Queen’s College
is also worthy of a visit, and I was much pleased with some of the
pictures which I saw in its hall, among which was an old one of Mary
Queen of Scots, representing her with her child, James Stuart. Who ever
conceived of Mary as a motherly creature, or of the old pedant king as
an unbreeched boy? Yet such were they in this painting, which was no
doubt true, as well as beautiful, in its time. With the churches of
Birmingham I was not particularly impressed. St. Martin’s, the “old
paroch-church” of Leland’s day, scarcely retains any remnant of its
ancient self, except the spire, which leans, and seems likely to fall.
The sovereign hill of the town is surmounted by St. Philip’s, which
ought to be a cathedral, and the seat of a school of the prophets, but
which looks like nothing more than a plethoric Hanoverian temple, in
which indolent and drowsy worldliness would be content to say its
prayers not more than once a week. I was better pleased with a church in
the suburbs, built in George Fourth’s day, and partaking both of the
merits and defects of that period of transition, when the church was in
palmy prosperity as “the venerable establishment.” Here first I saw an
English funeral, evidently of one of the humbler class, all parties
walking on foot, and the coffin carried on a bier. The curate met the
procession at the gate, in his surplice and cap, and then reverently
uncovering his head, led the way into the house of God, the consoling
words of the service gradually dying on my ear, as the rear of the
funeral train disappeared within. The parsonage is close at hand, an
ecclesiastical looking house of most appropriate and pleasing aspect;
and the abode, as I can testify from personal knowledge, of the true
spirit of an English parish priest—such an one as Hooker and Herbert
would have rejoiced to foreknow. In his Church the prayers are
perpetual; the fire never going out on the altar, and its gates standing
open, as it were, night and day. The vicinity is known as “Camp Hill,”
for here was the furious Rupert once in garrison; but a queer old house,
all gables and chimneys, is pointed out, upon the hill, as the former
lodging of his redoubtable adversary, old Noll himself. Hence we stretch
into the country, and gain those pleasant extremes of Warwickshire,
which Leland noteth, not forgetting the return by Sandy Lane, through
“Dirty End,” which, since the days of his chronicle, is euphuized into
Deritend. This place is full of what the Brummagem Cardinal would call
_slums_, and one of them, as if on purpose to affront a portion of my
countrymen, displayed to my astonishment, on a street sign, the name of
“New-England.” Did any returned pilgrim settle down here, and give the
last retreat of his poverty this name?

        “Born in New-England, did in London die,”

is a well-known epitaph, which may possibly explain this circumstance;
for, said Dr. Johnson, “who that was born in New-England, would care to
die there,” or words to that effect. Yet I confess, for life or death, I
have scarcely seen any place in our own New-England which would not be
preferable to this, although Leland calls Dirty End “a pretty street
with a mansion of tymber hard on the bank of a brook, with a proper
chapel close by.” Here I stopped before the aged front of the “Old Crown
Inn,” which I take to be the same “tymber” mansion, having all the odd
corners, and juttings-forth, and quaint appurtenances of centuries long
gone by. These out-of-the-way ramblings and searches were far more to my
taste than the gaudy sights of the shops and manufactories.

I went out to Oscott, and took a survey of the enemy’s headquarters, to
begin with. Here Tridentinism shows her best front, and yet it falls far
below what I had been led to expect. The college is built of brick, but
is prettily situated, and commands a fine view from the leads, to which
I ascended, for a prospect of the surrounding country. There is little
architectural merit in any part of the structure, and the general
appearance of things, throughout, is below that of collegiate
institutions in England, or on the Continent. I was pleased, however,
with the rooms set apart for ecclesiastical visitors, so far as their
furniture was suitable to offices of private devotion, and not merely to
those of rest and recreation; and I was not sorry to see in the Library
a pretty large selection of standard English divines, though I am
painfully suspicious that they are not there to be freely used by all
who would read and study them. The chapel is gaudy, yet in true Mediæval
character, and somewhat impressive. The other rooms are
labelled—_pransorium_, _deversorium_, and the like, or surmounted with
the names of the divers arts, as _Rhetorica_, _Dialectica_, and so on.
In the common-room are showy portraits of the chiefs of the Romish
recusancy in England, some of whom look like saints, and some like
Satan. There was a portrait of Pugin, to which I directed the attention
of the official who served as guide. He sneered significantly, and said
Pugin was a queer fellow, which meant that they had found him not so
blind as they wished him to be, to his fatal mistake in joining them. He
studied Mediæval Anglicanism, with the illusion that it was all one with
modern Tridentinism, and had left his mother Church in the vain hope
that he should find a more congenial sphere for his antiquarian tastes,
among the English Papists. But he found the past even more absolutely
ignored at Oscott than at Oxford. Anglicans are glad to retain all that
may be safely retained of their own antiquity: but Romanists are Italian
throughout, and any thing that is national, is schismatical. They know
nothing of Augustine and little of Anselm; they date from Trent, and to
that all must conform. Old liturgies, old customs, old principles, as he
in vain tried to recommend them, they laughed at as utterly obsolete:
and he in turn scoffed at their Romanesque, and their Oratorianism, as
infinitely less Catholic than the Anglican Gothic, and the Anglican
Prayer-Book. Poor fellow! he has since died in a mad-house—a noble
genius, but the victim of theory, and of unreal conceptions as to the
diseases and the cure of the times.

If I was disappointed at Oscott, much more at St. Chad’s, their new
cathedral in Birmingham. So much was said about this attempt, that I had
supposed it a _chef d’œuvre_ of the architect, and a complete trap for
_dilettanti_ Anglicans. It is the reverse of all this, being so poor,
and even niggard in its entire conception and execution, that I am sure
it must be a spoiled Pugin, if his at all. It is of brick, and of small
dimensions, and not cleanly. Its crypts are instructive as to the way in
which the crypts of the old cathedrals were formerly used, being fitted
up for masses for the dead, but not much adorned. They are damp, dark,
and somewhat offensive, as they are used for burial.

Strolling out to Edgbaston, I saw the rising walls of Newman’s Oratory.
This, too, is strictly conformed to his new Italian idea of religion,
which scrupulously eschews the old English architecture, associated as
that is with Magna Charta and the Constitutions of Clarendon, and with
three hundred years of absolute independence. This is in strict
agreement with his _development_ theory. The Romanism of the _present_
is the rule, and that is Italian: the past was immature and undigested,
and hence savored, more or less, of nationality. How vastly more
severed, then, from the historical antecedents of his country is the
British papist, than the genuine Anglican!

While I was in Birmingham, Mr. Newman yet occupied his temporary
Oratory, in the neighborhood of Camp-Hill. It was an old distillery,
and, of course, was but an ill-looking place for worship. Wishing to see
him and his sect, I went one day to the spot, and pushing aside a heavy
veil at the door, such as is common in Italian churches, found myself in
a low and dirty-looking place of worship, in which the first object that
met my eye was an immense doll of almost ludicrous aspect, near the
door, representing the Virgin, with the crescent beneath her feet.
Bishop Ullathorne proves Mohammed to have been the first believer in the
Immaculate Conception, so that we cannot but admit the propriety of the
symbol. Before this image several youth, with broad tonsures, and in
long cassocks, were kneeling, in a manner truly histrionic. One of them
rose and asked if I would like to be shown the library, and so conducted
me up a dark and narrow stair-case into a large apartment, in which were
no books, but which appeared to be hung with baize, like the rooms of an
artist. He informed me that the books were _in petto_, and would, by and
by, be manifested; apologizing for the present deficiency.

A person, in like costume with my conductor, and with a shaven crown
even more grotesque, was pacing to and fro in the room, apparently
devoting himself to a book which he held in hand. At a question of mine,
addressed to my guide, as to where Mr. Newman might be, this personage
turned sharply round and answered, “he has been all day in the
Confessional, where he would be glad to see _you_.” “Who is that
person?” I demanded, looking towards the strange apparition, as he
continued pacing up and down, and addressing my guide. “Father Ambrose,”
was the reply. “Yes, but what is his name beyond the walls of the
Oratory?” The young man, rather reluctantly, lisped out, “Mr. S——.”
“Mr. S——,” I rejoined, “late of —— College, Oxford! Can it be
possible?” I looked at him, utterly unable to conceal my surprise, and
pitied him in my heart. The youths whom I had seen were doubtless all,
like him, young men of promise and of parts only a few years since, in
Oxford; and now to see them thus ignobly captive, and performing such
unreal and corrupting dramatics, in an age of wants and works, and of
awful realities, like this! But where was the _ignis fatuus_ of the bog
into which they had fallen? Inquiring for their Master, I was informed
he was to preach in their chapel on a certain evening, and accordingly I
attended at the appointed time. It was during the Octave of Easter, and
on entering, I observed that the altar was a bank of flowers, looking
more like the shelves of a conservatory, than the table of the Lord.
Above this horticultural display towered a thing of wax and glass and
spangles, (or what seemed to be such,) as the apparent divinity of the
shrine. It was a shameful burlesque of the Virgin, and utterly
incompetent to excite one religious or reverent thought in any mind not
entirely childish, or depraved in taste. It was surrounded with tawdry
finery, and looked like the idol of a pagoda. The room was well lighted,
and filled with the sort of people usually frequenting Romish chapels in
this country. A few well-dressed persons seemed to be strangers, and
like myself were treated with great civility. The chancel was filled
with the youths I had seen before, wearing over their cassocks the short
jacket-like surplice, usual in Italy. These were offering some prayers
in English, but they could not be called English prayers; and then
followed a hymn, given out and sung very much in the style of the
Methodists. I could not distinguish what it was altogether, but the
hymn-book which they use was given me in Birmingham, and consists, in a
great degree, of such ditties as this, which they apparently address to
the image over the altar:—

        “So age after age in the Church hath gone round,
         And the Saints _new inventions_ of homage have found;
         _Conceived without sin_, thy new title shall be
         A new gem to thy shining, sweet Star of the Sea!”

Many hymns in the collection are not only lack-a-daisical in the
extreme, but highly erotic, and even nauseously carnal. I could scarcely
believe my eyesight, so senseless seemed the ceremony; and yet here were
educated men, Englishmen, sons of a pure and always majestic Church, and
familiar with the Holy Scriptures from their infancy! How shall we
account for such a phenomenon in the history of the human mind, and of
the human soul?

While the singing was going on, a lank and spectral figure appeared at
the door of the chancel—stalked in, and prostrated himself before the
altar. This was followed by a succession of elevations and prostrations,
awkward in the extreme, and both violent and excessive: but whether
required by the rubric, or dictated by personal fervor only, they added
nothing to the solemnity of the scene. Meanwhile the hymn was continued
by the disciples, as fanatically as the pantomime was performed by the
Master. But could this be the man? Could this be he who once stood in
the first pulpit of Christendom, and from his watch-tower in St. Mary’s,
told us what of the night? Was this the burning and shining light who
for a season allowed us to rejoice in his light? What an eclipse! I felt
a chill creep over me as he mounted his rostrum, and turned towards us
his almost maniacal visage. There could be no mistake. It was, indeed,
poor fallen Newman. He crossed himself, unfolded a bit of broad ribbon,
kissed it, put it over his shoulders, opened his little Bible, and gave
his text from the Vulgate—_Surrexit enim, sicut dixit_—“He is risen,
_as he said_.” The preaching was extemporaneous; the manner not fluent;
the matter not well arranged; gesticulations not violent nor immoderate;
the tone, affectedly earnest; and the whole thing, from first to last,
painfully suggestive of a sham; of something not heartily believed; of
something felt to be unreal by the speaker himself. And yet “the hand of
Joab was in it.” There was no denying the craft of no common artist. He
dwelt chiefly on _Sicut dixit_—to which he gave a very Newman-like
force, repeating the words over and over again. “_Sicut dixit_, my
friends, that is, _as he said_, but as you would not believe! This was a
reproach: as much as to say—_What did you expect? Were you not told as
much? Of course, he is risen, for he said so!_” In this way the preacher
reached the point of his discourse, which was, that “the original
disciples themselves, who thought they knew and loved Christ—nay, who
did love him, and came to embalm his body, after he was crucified—had
so little faith, as to deserve a rebuke, instead of a commendation. They
had to be harshly reminded of what Jesus had said to them with his own
mouth. Well, _just so in our day_, thousands who think they know and
love him, have yet no real faith; don’t believe, in short, what the
Church requires them to believe, and hence are strangers to the Catholic
faith.” Drawing illustrations from the days of Noe (so he called him)
and many Old Testament histories, he endeavored to show, in like manner,
that God had always required men to believe the very things they were
not willing to believe: and hence he drew his conclusion that the
slowness of men to believe all that Romanism prescribes, is mere want of
faith. It would have been quite to the point to have shown a _sicut
dixit_ in support of the matters which he endeavored to force upon us,
before he asked us to admit that denying the “Deification of Mary,” is
all the same thing as doubting the Resurrection of Christ from the dead;
but of course this joint was wanting. I was amused at the ingenuity, but
shocked at the juggle of such an argument, which was simply this—that
because it is sinful to doubt what Christ has said, therefore it is
equally sinful to doubt what _he never said_, and what is directly
contrary to many things which he did expressly say! The orator, in
delivering this apology for his new faith, by no means forgot a little
plea for himself personally, in which I saw evidence of his wounded
pride. He said, “Christ thus sent a rebuke to his disciples for not
believing what he said; and you know how hard it is, for even us, to
bear such unbelief in our friends. _We know we are sincere_; but they
say, for example, _he is artful, he don’t believe his own words, he
deceives_; or, if they don’t say that, then they say, _he is crazy, he
is beside himself, he has lost his wits_.” On this he enlarged with much
feeling, for he was pleading his own cause, and in fact he rambled on in
this direction till he had nearly forgotten his argument. But I was
amused at one instance of his forgetting himself in particular. In
referring to the hard names Christ himself had to bear, he had occasion
to quote St. Matthew xxvii., 63, where the Romish version reads, “Sir,
we have remembered that that seducer said, yet living, _etc._” But
before he knew it, he forgot that he was an actor, and unwittingly
quoted the smoother rendering of his good old English Bible, “Sir, we
remember that that deceiver said while he was yet alive.” While dwelling
on the words _that deceiver_, he bethought himself that he was quoting
heresy, and hobbled as well as he could into some other equivalent, but
whether the very words of his new Bible or not, I cannot affirm. There
were other similar haltings of the tongue, which show that a man may
have a good will to say the Romish Shibboleth, and yet betray himself
occasionally, by “not framing to pronounce it right.” Newman certainly
forgot the talismanic aspirate on this occasion; he seemed to be
conscious of playing a part, and, altogether, when he had done, I left
the place, contented to have done with him. Alas! that gold can be thus
changed, and the fine gold become so dim!

I could not learn that he was doing much by all his efforts; in fact he
was said to be somewhat crest-fallen and irritable, about things in
Birmingham. His Oratorians were going about the streets in queer, and,
in fact, ridiculous garments, and attracting stares and jibes, and no
doubt they felt themselves martyrs; but there is, after all, much sturdy
common sense in John Bull’s hatred of the absurd, and few can think any
better of folly for wearing its cap in broad daylight. The results God
only can foresee; but a delusion so patent, one would think—if it must
have its day—must also find daylight enough in the very shortest day in
the year to kill it outright.

They showed me, at the Oratory, a wax cast of the face of St. Philip
Neri, and a very pleasant and benevolent one it was. He was an Italian
Wesley, and the Pope was his bitter adversary, in his life-time,
interdicting him, and refusing him the Sacraments, and almost
excommunicating him. But somehow or other when he was out of the way, it
became convenient to canonize him, as a sort of patron of enthusiasts of
a certain class, who find in his fraternity, a free scope for their
feelings and passions. Oratorianism is the Methodism of the Trent
religion, but has a virtual creed of its own, and is as really a sect as
Methodism was in the life-time of its founder. Hence it is odious to
many even of the new converts, and many old-fashioned Romanists abhor
it. I left the Oratory of Mr. Newman with a deep impression that he has
yet a remaining character to act, very different from that in which he
now appears, but in which it will be evident that he is far from
satisfied, at this time, with the direction which he has given to his
own movement, and with the grounds on which he has chosen to rest his
submission to the Pope.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                _Arrival in London, and first two days._

In early life I had always promised myself a first view of London,
either approaching the Tower by water, and taking in the survey of
steeples, bridges, and docks, or else descending from Hampstead, on the
top of a rapid coach, and beholding the great dome of St. Paul’s,
arising amid a world of subordinate roofs, and looming up through their
common canopy of cloud-like smoke. Alas! for all such visions, we have
reached the age of the rail: and, consequently, I found myself, one
afternoon, set down in a busy, bustling station-house, with a confused
sensation of having been dragged through a long ditch, and a succession
of dark tunnels, and with a scarcely less confused conception of the
fact, that I was in London. A few policemen loitering about, and a line
of cabs and ’busses of truly English look, confirmed the conviction,
however, that I was really in the Metropolis, and I soon found myself
looking up my luggage, in the business way of one accustomed to the
place, and without a single rapture or emotion of the marvellous. Some
things were very different from an American station-house; as, for
example, the dignity of an ecclesiastical gentleman emerging from the
first-class carriages in cocked-hat, and solemn cravat and surtout, his
short-clothes eked into pantaloons by ponderous leggings, buttoned about
his black stockings, and his whole deportment evincing a reverend care
of his health and personal convenience—the inevitable umbrella
especially, neatly enveloped in varnished leather, and tucked under the
consequential arm; or again, the careful avoidance of the crowd evinced
by a dignified lady, accompanied by her maid, and watching with an
eye-glass the anxious manipulations of a footman, in showy livery,
piling up a stack of trunks, hat-boxes, and what not, all inscribed,
“Lady Dashey, Eaton Place, Belgrave Square.” Getting into a cab, with my
very democratic luggage safely rescued from the vans, and forcing an
exit through vehicles of all ranks, from the dog-cart up to the
lumbering coach, with footman behind, and my lord inside, I emerge at
length into London streets from the Euston Square Station, and begin to
make my way towards the focus of the world. How mechanically I jog
along, just as if I had lived here all my life, and without the least
conformity to the fact that my pulse is quickening, and mine eye
straining to realize a long ideal, which in a few minutes will be
substantial fact! Every street-sign arrests my eye, “Paddington New
Road,” “Gower Place,” “Torrington Square,” “Keppell Street,” “Bedford
Square,” “Great Russell Street,” “Bloomsbury,” “Bond Street,” “Seven
Dials,” “St. Martin’s Lane,” and now I begin to know where I am. There
is St. Martin’s—there the lion with a long tail on Northumberland
House—here is Trafalgar Square—I see Charles First on horseback, at
Charing Cross—and here old George Third, with his queue, at the head of
Cockspur Street—and here the Haymarket and Pall Mall, and here I am set
down at the hospitable door of a friend, first known in America, and who
has kindly insisted on my spending my first few days in London as his
guest. It was an unexpected pleasure, but a great one, to receive my
first impressions of London in the agreeable company of the Reverend
Ernest Hawkins, a person singularly qualified to share the feelings of a
stranger, but upon whose valuable time I should not have ventured to
trespass, except at his own friendly instance. After renewing the
acquaintance, formed during his short visit to our country in 1849, the
question was, Where shall we begin? A fine day was already clouded over,
and alternate light and shade were inviting and again discouraging
out-door amusements. However, a turn through St. James’s Park to
Whitehall was practicable enough, and at Whitehall I was resolved to
begin. Forth we go, step into the Athenæum Club House, and descend into
the Park, by the Duke of York’s Column, descrying through the mist the
towers of Westminster Abbey, and soon passing through the Horse-Guards,
stand “in the open street before Whitehall.” There is the
Banqueting-room—there the fatal window—here is the very spot, where
the tide turned between old and new, and parted on an axe’s edge. That
martyrdom! What that has happened in Church and State, not only among
Anglo-Saxons, but in the greater part of Europe, since 1649, has not
resulted from the deed of blood done here!

My kind friend took me out upon Hungerford Bridge, and bade me use my
eyes, and tell the different objects if I could. I turned towards
Lambeth, saw the old towers through the gray mist, and began with
indescribable pleasure to single out St. Mary’s, Lambeth, the New
Parliament Houses, Westminster Hall, the Abbey, St. Margaret’s, and so
forth, till turning round, I descried St. Paul’s, (vast, sublimely so,
and magnificently tutelary,) and nearer by, Somerset House and the
bridges, and the little steamers shooting to and fro beneath their noble
arches. Enough for a first glimpse! We went into Regent Street, and by
Burlington Arcade into Piccadilly, and turning into St. James’s Street,
I first saw the old Palace at its extremity, looking just as one sees it
in Hogarth’s picture of “the Rake going to Court,” in the last century,
old and shabby, and venerable altogether. Such was my first ramble in
London and Westminster.

I was so happy as to meet at dinner that evening, a small party of the
clergy of the Metropolis, in whose company the hours went rapidly and
delightfully by, with many warm, and, I dare say, heartfelt expressions
of interest in America and her Church; the whole presided over by my
reverend entertainer, with the most animating spirit of dignified
cordiality. The general desire which prevails to know something of a new
Bishop of the Church, may excuse my particularizing the Rev. John
Jackson, Rector of St. James’s, Westminster, and Chaplain in Ordinary to
the Queen, who was one of the party, as a person of very unassuming, but
attractive manners, of whose subsequent elevation to the See of Lincoln,
it has given me no little pleasure to learn.

With what a world of new and confused emotions, I tried to drop to sleep
after such a day! The roof beneath which I was reposing was an historic
one. Standing in the precincts of St. James’s, it had once been the
abode of the beautiful but unhappy Nell Gwynne, the one of all those
wretched creatures who disgraced the Court of the Second Charles, for
whom one feels more pity than scorn; and for whom, remembering the
comparative goodness of her natural qualities, and her own plaintive
lament over her education in a pot-house to fill glasses for drunkards,
there must have been compassion from the Father of Mercies, and possibly
pardon from the blood that cleanseth from all sin, her penitent death
being more than probable. It is certainly gratifying that a mansion once
given up to such associations is now turned into an abode of piety and
benevolence, and made the head quarters of the operations of the
venerable S. P. G. In the chamber where I was lodged, had lately rested
those estimable missionaries, Bishops Field, and Medley, and Gray, and
Strachan; and I felt unworthy to lay my head where such holy heads had
been pillowed. But a blessing seemed to haunt the spot which they, and
many like them, had reconciled to virtue, and hallowed by their pure
repose; and I slumbered sweetly, dreaming of Lud’s town, and King Lud,
and of divers men of divers ages, who had come to London, upon manifold
errands, to seek their fortunes there, and there to flourish and wax
great, or to rise and fall, until now it was my lot to mingle with its
living tides, and then to pass away again to my far-off home, as “a
guest that tarrieth but a night.”

When I rose in the morning, I looked out into the park, and now for the
first time, gained a clear idea of that strange scene described in
Evelyn’s Memoirs, as occurring between King Charles and Mistress Nelly,
while the grovelling monarch was walking with him in the Mall. The
wretched woman was standing on a terrace, at the end of her garden, and
looking over into the park, when the king turns from Evelyn, and going
towards her, holds a conversation with her in that public place and
manner. “I was heartily sorry at this scene,” says the pure-minded
journalist; and indeed it forboded no little evil to both Church and
nation, as well as to the miserable Prince who could thus debase his
crown and character, in the face of the open day, and of a virtuous man.

And now, having a whole day before me, I began by attending divine
service in Westminster Abbey. Through the park and Birdcage-walk, I went
leisurely to old Palace Yard, passing round the Abbey and St.
Margaret’s, and so entered by Poets’ Corner. Service was going on, and
of course I gave myself as much as possible to its sacred impressions,
but was unable to repress some wandering thoughts, as my eyes caught the
long lines and intersections of nave and aisles, or turned upwards to
the clere-story, where the smoky sunlight of a London morning was
lingering along the old rich tracery and fret-work, to which every
cadence of the chaunt seemed to aspire, and where just so, just such
sunbeams have come and gone as quietly over all the most speaking and
eventful pageants of the British Empire, since William First was crowned
here, in the midst of those Norman and Saxon antagonists whose blood now
runs mingled in the veins of the British people. Nay, we must send back
our thoughts at least so far as Edward the Confessor, who was also
crowned here, and whose sepulchre is hard at hand. What thoughts of
human splendor, and of human nothingness! The anthem was—_Awake up my
Glory_—and as it rose and fell, and tremulously died away, distributing
its effect among innumerable objects of decayed antiquity, I seemed to
catch a new meaning in the strain of the psalmist. How many tongues were
mute, and ingloriously slumbering around me—the tongues of poets and of
princes and of priests: but the living should praise the Lord in their
stead, and in this place that humbles the glory of men, it was good to
sing—“Set up thyself, oh God, above the heavens, and thy glory above
all the earth.” When the service was over, I preferred to leave the
Abbey, with this general effect still upon me, and to take it, at some
other time, in details: and so, with only a few glances at the familiar
objects in Poet’s Corner, I passed thoughtfully through the choir, which
is extended down the nave, and so into the south aisle, and out into the
cloisters. I took passing notice of the Andre monument, and of the
Thynne monument, which I recognized by their sculpture alone. I saw at
once that I was not likely to be satisfied with such ill-placed
memorials, interesting as they may be in themselves. In the cloisters, I
was so fortunate as to meet Lord John Thynne; and on being introduced to
his Lordship, and remarking that “I remembered very well his connection
with the Abbey, as Sub-dean, from Leslie’s Picture of the Coronation,”
(in which he bears the chalice, as the Archbishop gives the Bread of the
Sacrament to Queen Victoria,) he courteously suggested that perhaps I
might think it worth while to look at the coronation robes, which are
not usually seen by visitors, but which were in his custody, and which
he should be happy to have me see. His Lordship then led the way into
the famous Jerusalem Chamber, a place not ordinarily shown, but full of
interest, not only as the scene of the swooning of Henry Fourth, but as
the seat of the Holy Anglican Synod, which has since revived, (“Laud be
to God,”) in the same Jerusalem where Henry died. This place is by no
means such as my fancy had led me to suppose, but has the air of having
been remodeled in James First’s time, although an ancient picture of
Richard Second—I think in tapestry—is sunk in the wainscot. The
chamber is small, and of very moderate architectural merit, but must
always be a place of deep and hallowed associations. Adjoining this is
the Refectory of the Westminster school-boys, into which we were shown,
and where his Lordship reminded us that the tables were made of the oak
of the Spanish Armada. They were full of holes, burned into them by the
Westminster boys, who are always ambitious each to “leave his mark” in
this way: so that as you look at them, you may fancy this to have been
burned by little George Herbert, or Ben Jonson, or John Dryden, or
Willie Cowper, or Bob Southey—all of whom have, in their day, sat on
the forms of Westminster. Until so late as 1845, this refectory was
warmed by the ancient brazier, the smoke escaping through the _louvre_
in the roof. On coming to the Deanery, Dr. Buckland reformed this
ancient thing, and a very ugly stove now reigns in its stead, as a
monument of the Dean’s utilitarianism and nineteenth-century ideas on
all possible subjects.

After we had carefully inspected this interesting hall, Lord John was as
good as his word, and took us to see the robes, but precisely where he
took us, it would be hard for me to say. It was in some room contiguous,
where a fidgety little woman with keys in her hands, attended as
mistress of the robes, and opening the repository of the sacred
vestments, displayed them with such profound obsequiousness to the
mildly dignified ecclesiastic who conducted us, that if she called him
“my lord” once, she did so some twenty times in a single minute. The
readers of Mrs. Strickland’s “Queens of England” will not require me to
enlarge upon these superb vestments, now dimmed and faded in their
splendour by the lapse of nearly two centuries, since they were made for
the coronation of the luckless, and almost brainless, James the Second.
They are worn at coronations only, by the clergy of the Abbey, and we
had the pleasure of seeing our reverend guide in his appropriate cope as
Sub-dean; the same which he wore when Victoria was crowned, and which
has been worn by his predecessors, successively, at the coronations of
William and Mary, Queen Anne, the four Georges, and William the Fourth.
Similar vestments in form, though not in splendour, are to this day the
rubrical attire of the clergy of the English Church in celebrating the
Holy Communion, but I believe they are now never used, although they
were in use at least in Durham Cathedral, so late as the middle of the
last century. Having seen these interesting and historical vestments, we
thanked the amiable dignitary, to whom we had been indebted for so much
polite attention, and took our leave, emerging into Dean’s Yard, and so
finding our way to the New Houses of Parliament.

                               CHAPTER V.

                    _Sight-seeing—Westminster Hall._

My emotions on first entering Westminster Hall, were scarcely inferior
to those excited by the Abbey. Of course my first glance was towards the
oaken roof, whose noble span, and elaborate construction, have been so
largely eulogized, but which derives a richer glory than its material
one, from the moral sublimity of the historic events, to which its
venerable shadow has been lent. Beneath this roof the Constitution of
England has steadily and majestically matured for centuries; and to this
spot belongs the somewhat mysterious credit of an assimilating power,
akin to that of digestion in the human system. Whatever has been the
food, it has always managed to turn it into wholesome nutriment, and to
add it to the solid substance of the British State in the shape of bone
and sinew, or of veins and nerves. It has been the scene of violence and
outrage, and of both popular and imperial tyranny. No matter! Out of all
this evil has always come substantial good. The roof dates from Richard
Second’s time; and scene the first is the usurpation of the fiery
Bolingbroke. Here rose up that daring subject, amid astounded bishops
and barons, and crossing himself broadly on the breast, profanely
uttered the famous bravado—“In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost, I, Henry of Lancaster, do challenge this reaume
of Englande”—adding mysterious words, from which it is equally
difficult to say on what grounds he did or did not rest his claims. Here
old Sir Thomas More forfeited his head, for high treason against “the
best of princes,” as he had long called old Harry Eighth; and here sat
old Hal himself, at Lambert’s trial, interrupting every fresh rejoinder
of the reformer, with the savage assurance—“Thou shalt burn, Lambert!”
I looked towards the great window beneath which he sat—and, lo! it was
no longer a window, but an open way, just constructed for access to the
New Houses of Parliament—a noble alteration, and a very speaking symbol
too, in my opinion; for thus, in the path of history, and from the seat
of law, will the future Senate of the Empire go to their responsible
labors as stewards of the noblest inheritance that exists among mankind.
Let them think, as they pass, of Strafford and of Charles; how in
suffering and sorrow they contributed to the British people that
distinguishing element of loyalty, which has rendered healthful their
not less characteristic love of liberty. Too many, I fear, imbued with
the superficial views of Macaulay, invest with sublimer associations the
fanatical Court which tried and condemned their Sovereign. Here sat
those bold, bad men; and daring, indeed, was their work; nor do I doubt
that it has been over-ruled for good to England; but then it should not
be forgotten, that the subsequent history of progressive and rational
freedom is far more directly the result of the wholesome resistance
opposed by Church and Crown to the spirit of anarchy, than to anything
in that spirit itself. Had the King of England been a Bourbon—had the
Church of England been a Genevan or a Roman one, that flood must have
washed all landmarks away: and the fabric of Constitutional Liberty,
which now attracts the admiration of all thinking men, could never have
been constructed. Honour, then, to the martyrs of Law and of Religion,
who, beneath this roof, built up the only barrier that has turned back
the turbulent waves of modern barbarism! I stood, and thought of
Charles, with sorrow for his grievous faults, but yet with gratitude for
the manly recompense he offered here to a people whom he had
unintentionally injured through their own antiquated laws, but whom he
defended against the worse tyranny of lawless usurpation, by his
majestic protest in this Hall, and by sealing it with his blood. Here,
too, the seven bishops delivered the Church and State of England when
they stood up against the treacherous son of Charles, and completed the
triumph of the Church by proving it as true to the people, as it had
been to the throne, on the same foundation of immutable principle. This
was the roof that rang with the shouts of vindicated justice, when those
fathers of the Church were set free! I looked up, and surveyed every
beam and rafter with reverence. The angels, carved in the hammer-beams,
were looking placidly down, each one with his shield upon his breast,
like the guardian spirits of a nation, true to itself and to ancestral
faith and order. The symbol is an appropriate one; for the frame-work of
the British Constitution is like this roof of Richard in many respects,
but in none more than this—that the strength and beauty of the whole
are fitly framed together, with inseparable features of human wisdom and
of divine truth; the latter being always conspicuous, and investing all
with reverend dignity and grace.

The floor of the old Hall presents a less sentimental aspect, and might
easily plunge imagination, by one step, into the ridiculous. Here are
the barristers walking about with clients, and with each other, arm in
arm, their gray wigs of divers tails, some set awry, and some strongly
contrasted with black and red whiskers, giving them a ludicrous
appearance; while their gowns, some of them shabby enough, are curiously
tucked under the arm, or carelessly dangling about the heels, apparently
an annoyance to the wearers, in either case. The several courts were in
session, in chambers which open out of the hall, along its sides. I
stepped into the Chancellor’s Court, where sat Lord Truro, listening, or
perhaps _not listening_, to the eminent Mr. Bethell. His Lordship in his
walrus wig, with a face proverbially likened to the hippopotamus, seemed
to represent the animal kingdom, as well as that of which the mace and
seal-bag, lying before him, were the familiar tokens. The court-room is
very small, popular audiences being not desirable, and open doors being
all that popular right can require. Here the same barristers looked far
from ludicrous—their attire seemed to fit the place and its duties.
Doubtless the influence of such things is an illusion, but nevertheless
it is a useful one, and contributes to the dignity, which it only
appears to respect. We need some such things in our Republic. Next I
stepped into the Vice-Chancellor’s Court, and saw Sir J. L. Knight Bruce
administering the law; and here I was introduced to several eminent
lawyers, whose cauliflower wigs covered a world of learning and of grave
intelligence. Stepping into the Common Pleas, there sat in a row, Lord
Chief Justice Jervis, and Justices Creswell, Williams and Talfourd. I
could not but look with interest at the author of Ion, but in the
disguise of his magistracy, I looked in vain for any feature which I
could identify with his portraits. In the Court of Queen’s Bench, Lord
Campbell was presiding, with three others; in the Bail Court, I saw
Justice Coleridge; and in the Court of Exchequer, Lord Chief Baron
Pollock, with Barons Park, Platt and Martin. Thus, with the greatest
facility, and in a very short space of time, can one see the most
favoured sons of the British Themis, and gain a good idea of the dignity
and close attention to business with which these courts are managed. The
Supreme Court of our own country, is far inferior in appearance,
although it is the only American Court which admits of any comparison
with these, and yet it is allowed on all hands, that “the law’s delay”
in England is an intolerable grievance, and that the expense of
obtaining justice, at these tribunals, is of itself a crying injustice.

Sallying forth into the street, I went round to view the rising
splendours of the Victoria Tower, the massive proportions of which
almost dwarf those of the Abbey. It confuses the beholder by the
elaborate richness of its details, its profuse symbolism, and all the
variety of its heraldic and allegorical decoration. When completed, it
will give a new, but harmonious aspect, to the acres of sacred and
princely architecture which spread around; but these English builders
are very slow in its construction, and prefer that it should rise only
ten feet a year, rather than hazard its chance of continuing forever.
How differently we _go ahead_ in America! This new palace of Westminster
will still be many years in finishing, but it is worthy of the nation to
let it thus grow after its own fashion. Alas! one fears, however, that
it is to be made the scene of the gradual taking down of the nation
itself. It is too likely to prove the house in which John Bull will be
worried to death by his own family.

In company with a friend, I next “took water” at Westminster bridge, for
a trip down the river. This _silent highway_ is now as busy as the
Strand itself—the spiteful little steamers that ply up and down, being
almost as numerous and as noisy as the omnibusses. Very swiftly we glide
along the river’s graceful bend, passing Whitehall, Richmond Terrace,
and the house lately occupied by Sir Robert Peel; shooting under
Hungerford bridge, past old Buckingham house, and the Adelphi Terrace,
and so under Waterloo bridge, to the Temple Gardens, where we land, and
where I find myself delighted with the casual survey of the different
walks and buildings, and especially with the Temple Church. Emerging
into Fleet-street, choked with carts and carriages, here is Temple-bar!
Passing under its arches, we are in the Strand, and so make our way to
Charing-Cross. Having made a complete circuit, by land and water, I
again went to Westminster bridge, and stepping into a steamer sailed up
the river to Chelsea. Here we pass the river-front of the New Houses of
Parliament; and granting that there is a monotony of aspect in the long
stretch of the pile, as it rises from the water, I think it must be
allowed that, when complete, with its towers and decorations, the whole,
taking the Abbey also into view, will furnish the noblest architectural
display in the world. Westminster bridge should be reconstructed, in
harmony with the rest, and then, whoever may find fault with the scene,
may be safely challenged to find its parallel for magnificence and
imperial effect.

And yet looking to the other side of the river, how far more attractive
to my eye were the quiet gardens and the venerable towers of Lambeth!
Its dingy brick, and solemn little windows, with the reverend ivy
spreading everywhere about its walls, seemed to house the decent and
comely spirit of religion itself: and one could almost gather the true
character of the Church of England, from a single glance at this old
ecclesiastical palace, amid the stirring and splendid objects with which
it is surrounded. Old, and yet not too old; retired, and yet not
estranged from men; learned, and yet domestic; religious, yet nothing
ascetic; and dignified, without pride or ostentation; such is the ideal
of the Metro-political palace, on the margin of the Thames. I thought as
I glided by, of the time when Henry stopped his barge just here to take
in Archbishop Cranmer, and give him a taste of his royal displeasure:
and of the time when Laud entered his barge at the same place, to go by
water to the Tower, “his poor neighbours of Lambeth following him with
their blessings and prayers for his safe return.” They knew his better

We had a fine view of Chelsea Hospital, and passed by Chelsea Church,
famous for the monument of Sir Thomas More. We landed not far from this
Church, and called upon Martin, whose illustrations of Milton and
“Belshazzar’s Feast” have rendered him celebrated as a painter of a
certain class of subjects, and in a very peculiar style. He was engaged
on a picture of the Judgment, full of his mannerism, and sadly blemished
by offences against doctrinal truth, but not devoid of merit or of
interest. He asked about Allston and his Belshazzar, and also made
inquiries about Morse, of whose claim as the inventor of the Electric
Telegraph, he was entirely ignorant. Returning, we landed at Lambeth,
and my friend left his card at the Archbishop’s; observing, as we passed
into the court, that we should find the door of the residence itself
standing open, with a servant ready to receive us, as we accordingly
did. Such is the custom.

We then crossed Westminster bridge, and went to Whitehall, on foot,
visiting the Banqueting-room, now a royal chapel. The Apotheosis of
James the First, by Rubens, adorns the roof, but I tried in vain to be
pleased with it. The first question—“which is the fatal window through
which King Charles passed to the scaffold”—I asked quite in vain, for
nobody seems to be entirely sure about it. The chapel is heavy, and
unecclesiastical, although more like a sanctuary, in appearance, than
the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. We went into the court, or garden
behind the Banqueting-house, to look at James Second’s statue, by
Grinling Gibbons. It is in Roman costume, and defiled by soot and dust,
and the peculiar pointing position of one of its hands, has given
currency to a vulgar error, that it indicates the spot where the blood
of Charles fell from the scaffold. A soldier mounts guard in this place,
for it is yet regarded as a royal palace; all beside is quiet, and I
often returned to the spot during my residence in London, as one well
fitted for meditation, recalling such historical associations as memory
retained, and striving in vain to conceive it possible that here, in
very deed, such thrilling scenes were enacted two hundred years ago.
Even now there is nothing ancient about the looks of Whitehall. It
requires an effort to connect it at all with the past: and when one sees
the vane upon its roof, and imagines it the very one to which James
Second was always looking, while he prayed the Virgin and all the Saints
to keep William of Orange off the coast, even the era of 1688 seems
reduced to a modern date, and stripped of all its character as something
ancestral, and belonging to past time. I confess that in this garden of
Whitehall, I awoke from an American illusion, and began to feel that two
centuries is a very short period of time; just as afterward, on the
Continent, the scale took another slide upwards, and taught me to feel
that everything is modern which has happened since the Christian era.
This discovery gives one a curious sensation, and I am not sure that I
am the happier for having seen monuments of real antiquity, which have
had the effect of freshening the comparative antiquity of England, and
of reducing everything in America to the dead level of time present. I
was happier when I visited the ruins of the old Fort on Lake George, and
innocently imagined it a spot both ancient and august.

My reader will think my day sufficiently full already, but I must not
conclude without some reference to the pleasures of the evening. I drove
out to Chelsea, where the pupils of St. Mark’s Training College
performed the Oratorio of “Israel in Egypt.” The hail-stone chorus was
given with great effect, and several of the solos and recitatives were
creditably executed. I saw there, among others, Lord Monteagle, better
known as Mr. Spring Rice, but was more pleased with an introduction to
the head of the College, Mr. Derwent Coleridge, who showed me a very
striking portrait of his father—“the rapt one of the godlike forehead,”
and made some feeling allusions to his brother Hartley, then lately
dead. I saw also another member of this interesting family, Sara
Coleridge, one of the cleverest of womankind. Returning to London, I
stepped from the carriage at Hyde Park Corner, where chariots and wheels
of every description were still rumbling incessantly, and where the
gas-lamps made it light as day, though it was now eleven o’clock. I
looked at Apsley-house, where the Iron Duke was then living, and so made
my way along Piccadilly and St. James’s-street, as pleasantly as if I
had known them all my days, but thinking such thoughts as nothing but an
American’s earliest experiences of London life can possibly inspire.

                              CHAPTER VI.

                 _Hyde Park—Excursion to Oxfordshire._

My plan was to fix my head-quarters in London, and to make excursions
thence into the various parts of the country which I desired to see.
This enabled me to choose my times for being in the Metropolis, and also
for visiting other places; and I found it better, on many accounts, than
the more usual method of seeing London all at once, and then going
through the rest of England in a tour. I took lodgings in Bury-street,
St. James’s, a time-honored place for the temporary abode of strangers,
and in all respects convenient for my purposes. On looking into _Peter
Cunningham_, I found I had unwittingly placed myself near the old haunts
of several famous men of letters. Dean Swift lodged in this street in
1710, and Sir Richard Steele about the same time. Crabbe took his turn
here in 1817, and here Tom Moore was sought out by Lord Byron, a few
years earlier. Just round the corner, in Jermyn-street, Gray used to
sojourn; and there, too, Sir Walter Scott lodged for the last time in
London, after his return from the Continent in 1832. Hard by, still
lives old Samuel Rogers, and Murray’s famous publishing-house is but a
few steps out of the way. I was, at first, a little provoked at
_Cunningham_ for getting up a book which tends to put the most stupid
visitor of London on a footing with the man whose general reading has
fitted him to enjoy it: but many little pleasures which he thus supplied
me, by recalling things forgotten, quite altered my humour towards him;
especially as I soon reflected that the traveller to whom he only
restores such information, must always have the advantage over one who
gains it for the first time, at second hand.

I could now step into St. James’s Park, and freshen my appetite for
breakfast, while enjoying its delightful air, and venerable
associations. I soon learned how to protract my walk, passing Buckingham
Palace, up Constitution Hill, and so into Hyde Park—where one may spend
the day delightfully, and almost fancy himself in the country. Indeed,
stretching one’s rambles into Kensington Gardens, it is not easy to be
moderate in the enjoyment, or to return without fatigue; so vast is the
extent of these successive ranges, and so much of England can one find,
as it were, in the midst of London. Oh, wise and prudent John Bull, to
ennoble thy metropolis with such spacious country-walks, and to sweeten
it so much with country air! Truly these lungs of London are vital to
such a Babylon, and there is no beauty to be compared to them in any
city I have ever seen. Talk of the Tuilleries—talk of the _Champs
Elysées_—you may throw in _Luxembourg_ and _Jardin des Plantes_ to
boot, and in my estimation Hyde Park is worth the whole. I do not think
the English are half proud enough of their capital, conceited as they
are about so many things besides. They are ashamed of Trafalgar Square
and some other slight mistakes, and they always apologize for London,
and wonder what a foreigner can find to please him, in the mere exterior
of its immensity. But _foreigner_, forsooth! I always felt that an
Anglo-American may feel himself far more at home in London, than many
who inhabit there. Who are the reigning family, but a race of Germans,
never yet completely naturalized either in Church or State? What is
England to Prince Albert, except as he can use it for his own purposes?
But to me, and to many of my countrymen, it is as dear as heart’s blood;
every fibre of our flesh, every particle of our bone, and the whole
fabric of our thought, as well as the vitalizing spirit of our holy
religion, being derived from the glorious Isle, in whose own tongue we
call her blessed. It is not as unfilial to America, but only as faithful
to the antecedents of my own beloved country, that I ask no Englishman’s
leave to walk the soil of England with filial pride, and in some sense
to claim “a richer use of his,” than he himself enjoys. He dwells in it,
and uses it of necessity for some ignoble purposes; but I have no
associations with the malt-tax, or with manufactories. England reveals
herself to me only in her higher and nobler character, as the mother,
and nurse, and glorious preceptress of the race to which I belong.
Hence, I say, it is only a true American who can feel the entire and
unmixed sentiment and poetry of England.

It was soon after my arrival in the Metropolis that I went, one
afternoon, to see the display of horsemanship, in Hyde Park. Strange
that the scene of so much aristocratic display should be known as
“Rotten-Row!” It is a road for saddle-horses exclusively, and very
exclusive are the equestrians generally, who enjoy their delightful
exercise in its pale. Here you see the best of horse-flesh, laden with
the “porcelain-clay” of human flesh. The sides of the road are lined
with pedestrians, some of whom touch their hats to the riders, and are
recognized in turn; but most of them look wishfully on the sport of
others, as if they were conscious that they were born to be nobody, and
were unfeignedly sorry for it. Ha! how dashingly the ladies go by, and
how ambitiously their favored companions display their good fortune in
attending them! Here a gay creature rides independently enough, with her
footman at a respectful distance. She is an heiress, and the young
gallants whom she scarcely deigns to notice, are dying of love for her
and her guineas. Here comes an old gentleman and his two beautiful
daughters. It is Lord ——, and the elder of the twain is soon to be
married, the fortunate expectant being a nobleman of large estates. We
look in vain this afternoon for “the Duke.” But very likely we shall see
him before our walk is done. Yonder whirls a barouche, with outriders.
It is the Queen and Prince Albert taking an airing. A Bishop comes along
on horseback. “It must be one of the Irish Bishops,” said the friend
with whom I was walking, “for I certainly have never seen him before.”

I now saw the Crystal Palace for the first time, and scarcely looked at
it at all. It was just what every body knows, from ten thousand
pictures. I had a prejudice against it, at this time, heightened by the
fact that many, whom I had met, had innocently taken it for granted that
an American must, of course, have come to England to see the show. The
idea of going to England to look at anything short of England itself!
Besides, I supposed it a mere toy of Prince Albert’s—just the thing for
a Dutch folly—or, like the Russian ice-palace,

        ————“Work of imperial dotage,
        Shining, and yet so false!”

I looked, therefore, and passed by. A fine walk we had to Kensington
Gardens, and round by Bayswater, returning across Hyde Park. It was
pleasant to see the good use to which these vast grounds are put by the
People proper. Children and their nurses seem to take their fill of
them. It was George the Second, I think, who asked Walpole what it would
cost to fence in St. James’s Park, so as to keep the people out. “Only
_three crowns_,” was the reply; and the heavy Hanoverian learned an
important lesson, as to the difference between British freemen, and the
sort of people he had been wont to deal with, in his darling Electorate.

One morning I attended a meeting of the Venerable S. P. G. The estimable
Bishop of Bangor presided, and the ordinary monthly business was
despatched. On this occasion, I was so happy as to meet with Lord
Lyttleton, Mr. Beresford Hope, and others, whose names are familiar to
American Churchmen, as identified with zeal and devotion to the noble
work of Evangelization. The American Church, and her relations with her
nursing Mother, were frequently alluded to; and, as an act of Christian
recognition, I found myself admitted a corresponding member of the
Society. Though I could not suppose the compliment a personal one,
designed as it was in honor of the Orders of our Church, I felt it no
small privilege to receive this humble share in the noble organization
to which, under God, our Church owes its existence; and I felt it the
more, as being myself the descendant of a lowly but devoted Missionary,
who died in the service of the Society. I was pleased with the earnest,
but very quiet and affable spirit of this meeting. No show, nor swelling
words; and yet the spiritual interests of empires, and of national
Churches, present and yet to be, the fruits of the Society’s labors,
were deeply and religiously weighed, and dealt with. Beautiful tokens of
the Society’s fruitfulness hung round the walls—portraits of English
Missionary Bishops, such as Heber, and Selwyn, and Broughton. These are
its trophies.

My first excursion into the country was made somewhat earlier than I had
forecasted, in accepting a kind invitation to Cuddesdon, from the Bishop
of Oxford. This promised me the double pleasure of an immediate
acquaintance with Oxford itself, and of a no less agreeable introduction
to the eminent prelate, whose elevation to that See has so highly served
the dearest interests of the Church, not in England only, but also
throughout Christendom. The name of Wilberforce has received new lustre
in the person of this gifted divine; and certainly there was no one in
England whom I more desired to see, for the sake of the interest
inspired by public character and by published works. His known
hospitality, and interest in visitors from all parts of the world,
relieved me from surprise in receiving this unexpected attention, and I
felt sure I should experience no disappointment in indulging the
confidence and affection inspired by such cordiality. Arriving in
Oxford, I threw myself into a cab, and set off for the Bishop’s
residence, about eight miles distant—taking a drive through
High-street, in my way. Every object seemed familiar; I could scarcely
believe that I was, for the first time, looking at those venerable
walls. Here was St. Mary’s—here All Souls—here Queen’s—and there is
the tower of Magdalen. Even “the Mitre” and “the Angel” looked like
Inns, in which I had often “taken mine ease.” A few gownsmen were
loitering along the streets, but the town was quite deserted, it being
the Easter holiday time. Here, at last, were the old gables of Magdalen;
and now I pass the Cherwell, and get a view of Magdalen-walks on one
hand, and of Christ Church meadows on the other. And now a tollgate, and
now the country road—and I can scarce conceive that I have passed
through Oxford, and that mine eyes have really seen it, and that fancy,
and the pictures, are no longer my chief medium of knowing how it looks.
How rapidly I have lost the use of helps on which I have depended for
years! Like the lame man healed, I can hardly believe that I have gone
on crutches. But honestly, now—is the reality up to what I looked for?
Thus I thought, and questioned, as I jogged along.

Cuddesdon is the name of a little hamlet in Oxfordshire, on a wooded
hill, overlooking a wide extent of country, besprinkled with many
similar hamlets, and distinguished by a pretty parish Church, and the
adjoining residence, or palace, of the Bishop. The residence is one of
those rambling and nondescript houses, of ecclesiastical look, which one
associates with English rural scenery; but of a class which it is
difficult to characterize, except as something too modest for a
nobleman’s seat, and something too lordly for a vicarage. The nearness
of the parish Church might, indeed, suggest the idea of the parson’s
abode—but what should a parish priest want of so large a house, or of
the little private chapel which, on one side, makes a conspicuous part
of the pile? On the whole, one might conceive it the residence of a
Bishop without being told the fact, or before descrying the arms of the
See, over the entrance, encircled by the Garter, of which most noble
Order, the Bishop is Chancellor. Nothing could exceed the kindness and
affability with which the estimable prelate received me, and made me
welcome as his guest: his manner, at once dignified and engaging,
sufficing immediately to make a visitor at home in his presence, however
deeply impressed with reverence for his person. I esteemed it an
additional privilege to be presented to the Bishop’s brother, Archdeacon
Wilberforce, then just arrived at the palace from his own residence in
Yorkshire: and I soon found, among the guests of the Bishop, several
other persons of eminent position in society, from whose agreeable
intercourse I derived the highest satisfaction. I had arrived on a
Saturday, and, after a pleasant evening, the week was solemnly closed in
the private chapel, with appropriate prayers. Here, twice every day, all
the members of the household, the family, the guests, and the servants
together, are assembled before the Lord their Maker, while the Bishop,
like a patriarch, assisted by his chaplains, offers the sacrifices of
prayer and thanksgiving, and sanctifies his house. It was beautiful, on
one occasion, to see such a household together receiving the Holy
Eucharist, and it was good to participate in the solemnity. The sanctity
of my privilege, as the guest of such a family, forbids any further
allusion to the delightful scenes of domestic piety of which I was so
confidingly made a sharer; but I cannot withhold a tribute to the
character of a true Bishop, who has incidentally enabled me to testify
of at least one English prelate, that “he serves God with all his
house,” and makes that service the one thing indispensable and most
important, in all the distributions of private life, its kindly offices,
and endearing charities.

I accompanied his Lordship, next day, into Oxford, where he preached at
St. Ebbe’s to a very large congregation. This Church is very plain and
countryfied—astonishingly so for Oxford; but the worshippers were
devout and earnest in their attention. The sermon was suited to the
Service for the day, and I was not disappointed in the manner, nor yet
in the matter, of it. The Bishop is a truly eloquent man. His voice is
sweet, and often expressive of deep feeling, or of tender emotion. He
uses more action than most English preachers, or rather he has much less
of inactivity in his preaching. Occasionally he looks off from his
manuscript, and launches into warm extemporaneous address. Altogether, I
regard him as very happily combining the advantages of the English and
American pulpits. More than any other of whom I know anything, he unites
the delicacy and refinement of the former with the earnestness and
practical effect of the latter.

After a short visit to Wadham College, where I had the pleasure of
meeting the late Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dr. Symmons, we
returned to Cuddesdon. Our road lay through the village of Wheatley,
where the bells were chiming for service as we passed. Ascending the
hills, we alighted and walked; and, by and by, the good Bishop, pointing
to a little hamlet not far off, said to me, “there lived, once upon a
time, a man named John Milton. There is Forest Hill—there is
Shotover—and walking over these hills, he composed _Allegro_ and
_Penseroso_.” How it thrilled my soul, as I listened to his words, and
looked delightedly over the scenes to which he directed my attention! We
soon reached Cuddesdon, and attended divine service in the parish
Church, which was filled chiefly with a rustic people, many of them in
hob-nailed shoes, and brown frocks, neatly arrayed, but in the manner of
a peasantry, such as we know nothing about in America. The chancel of
the Church has been lately restored by the Bishop, and is in excellent
taste and keeping throughout. The Church itself is a cruciform one,
originally Norman, but much altered, and in parts injured, during
successive ages. Its aisles are early English; but many details, in
perpendicular, have been introduced in different portions of the pile.
Here and there in the wood-work are touches of Jacobean re-modeling.
Still, altogether, it is a most interesting Church, and it afforded me
great pleasure to worship there, with the rustics and their Bishop, and
with a pretty fair representation of the divers ranks of English
society, all uniting, happily and sweetly, in their ancestral worship.
It was a delicious day, and the glimpses of sky and country, which we
gained through the portals and windows, were additional inspirers of
gratitude to God. After service, the Bishop led me round the Church, and
showed me the grave where one of his predecessors had laid a beloved
child. A stone lay upon it, containing the exquisite lament of Bishop
Lowth for his daughter, which I remembered to have seen before, but
which never seemed half so touching and pathetic as now, while Bishop
Wilberforce repeated it from the chiseled inscription:—

        “Cara Maria, Vale; at veniet felicius ævum
           Quando iterum tecum, sim modo dignus, ero:
         Cara redi, læta tum dicam voce, paternos
           Eja age in amplexus, cara Maria, redi!”

That evening, as we sat at the Bishop’s table, the bells of Cuddesdon
pealed forth a curfew chime. Oh, how sweet! A lady then reminded me that
Cuddesdon was one of the “upland hamlets,” alluded to in _L’Allegro_,—

        “Where the merry bells ring round,
         And the jocund rebecks sound.”

And so happily closed my day, that, but for some reverting thoughts to
the dear home I had left behind me, I must say I went as sweetly to
sleep, in the spell of its delights, as did poor Pilgrim in that chamber
of his Progress, from whence he was sure of a view of the Delectable
Mountains as soon as he should awake in the morning.

                              CHAPTER VII.

                  _Miltonian ramble—Forest-hill, etc._

Horton, in Buckinghamshire, is supposed to have supplied to Milton the
imagery of the _Allegro_ and _Penseroso_, chiefly because he there
composed those delightful poems, in which the very essence of what is
most poetical in the scenery and rural life of England is so admirably
condensed. But if it could be shown that, so early in the maiden life of
Mary Powell as when these poems appeared, she had become the cynosure of
Milton’s eyes, and had attracted him to Forest-Hill as a visitor, it
might, one would suppose, be very fairly maintained, that this place
alone answers, in all respects, to the demands of the poetry in
question. It may at least be said with justice, that when the poet
visited Forest-Hill with his bride, he realized more perfectly there
than anywhere else, the rural delights which he has so exquisitely
detailed; and which he has invested at one time with the sprightly
aspect in which Nature reveals herself to youth and health, and, at
another, with the more sentimental beauties which she wears before the
eye of refined and meditative maturity. However, it was not for me to
settle such nice questions. Forest-Hill lies not far from Milton, where
the poet’s grandfather lived, and from which comes his name; and
Shotover-Forest, of which the grandfather was ranger, is part of the
same vicinage. It is very probable that the Powells were early friends
of the poet, and that his youthful imagination was wont to haunt the
whole hill-country thereabout, in honour of the lady’s charms to whom he
afterwards gave his hand. Such at least was my creed, for the time, when
I enjoyed a delightful walk over the scenes in the company of
intelligent persons whose remarks often heightened not a little the
extraordinary pleasures of the day.

Among the Bishop’s guests, at breakfast, there was the usual planning of
occupations for the morning, and I heard with great satisfaction the
proposal of a walk to Forest-Hill, in which it was supposed I might be
glad to share. Our party was soon made up, consisting of the Archdeacon,
the Rev. Mr. J——, Sir C—— A——, a young Etonian closely related to
the Bishop’s family, and the Bishop’s youngest son. After some
preliminary reconnoiterings about the hamlet of Cuddesdon itself, (of
which the adjoining slopes and meadows furnish very pretty views,) off
we went, well shod and with sturdy staves in hand, and in all respects
well-appointed for an English ramble; which implies everything requisite
for thorough enjoyment of the diversion. We stretched our legs, as
Walton would say, over Shotover-Hill, encountering a variety of rustic
objects in the fields and farms; here a fold of sheep, and there a
hedge, and again a ditch, or a turnip-field, but everything in its turn
was of interest to me as presenting, in some form or other, a contrast
to similar objects in my own country, the advantage being generally in
favor of England, so far as the picturesque is concerned. I can indeed
think of many a walk in America, incomparably more interesting than this
in the character of its scenery; but what I mean is, that the same kind
of country with us, would have been almost devoid of interest. Thus,
instead of presenting field after field, cultivated like a garden,
beautifully hedged and exhibiting every mark of careful husbandry; or a
succession of green pastures, in which fine cattle, and the whitest and
fattest of sheep were disposed in a manner entirely suitable to the
painter; or instead of a succession of views of the most pleasing
variety; here a hamlet and spire, and there a neat cottage, and there a
lordly mansion among trees, and there a snug farmhouse: the same number
of miles with us, over a slightly undulating country, devoted to
pasturage and farming, would scarcely have offered a single scene on
which the eye could rest with satisfaction. At length, we reached
Shotover-Lodge, which has unfortunately been rebuilt within the last
hundred years, but the original of which supplies the ideal of those
famous lines in _L’Allegro_—

        “Russet lawns and fallows gray
         Where the nibbling flocks do stray;
         Towers and battlements it sees
         Bosomed high in tufted trees,
         Where perhaps some beauty lies,
         The cynosure of neighboring eyes.”

Next we descended into a daisied meadow, and looked for the plowman and
the milkmaid, as it was yet too early for the tanned haycock, or the
mower whetting his scythe. Here the Archdeacon recalled to my mind a
criticism of Warton’s, which I had quite forgotten, asking me if I
remembered the meaning of the lines—

        “And every shepherd _tells his tale_,
         Under the hawthorn in the dale,”

in which the idea is not that of narrative, or eclogue, but the more
English one of Thyrsis turning the sheep out of fold for the day, and
counting them, one by one; that is, _telling the tale_, like the tale of
brick exacted by the Egyptians, as we read in Genesis. Many such
comments from my companions gave great inspiration to the ramble, which
brought us at last up the sides of Forest-Hill itself, where we first
encountered some cottages of surprising neatness, inhabited by thrifty
tenants, who farmed a few acres of their own hiring. Here Sir C——,
like a true Protectionist, stopped to ask a few questions of Hodge and
his family about the prospects of “the British farmer,” and the
practical results of Cobdenism; and I fancied, from the interest taken
in the disclosures by my young friend from Eton, that the lads who now
play cricket on the banks of the Thames, under “the antique towers,” are
not unlikely, at some future day, to maintain the rights of the landed
gentry, with the same primary reference to agriculture which so largely
distinguishes Mr. Disraeli. And now we came to the little Church of
Forest-Hill, where, for aught I know, Milton was married to the daughter
of the good old cavalier, but where he could not have been surrounded by
a very great crowd of rejoicing friends upon the happy occasion, as the
sacred place will scarcely contain threescore persons at a time. It has
no tower, but only one of those pretty little gable-cots for the bell,
so familiar of late in our own improving architecture of country
Churches. The altar-window is near the road, and the bell-gable is at
the other extremity, surmounting the slope of the land, on a pretty
terrace of which, embosomed among the trees and shrubs, is situated the
parsonage. The little Church itself is of the early English period, but
has repairs in almost every variety of pointed style, and some in no
style at all. It has had very little aid from the builder, however, for
nearly a century. In the early Caroline period, or a little before the
date of Milton’s marriage, it was probably new-roofed and put into good
order, possibly as the result of injunctions from the King and Council,
with some of whom, “the filthy-lying of Churches” was not reckoned a
proof of growing godliness in the nation. Accordingly I noticed on one
of the tie-beams of the roof, the inscription, C. 1630 R., and again on
the door, C. R. 1635. In the churchyard is a remarkably fine holly tree,
and, what is still more interesting, the grave of Mickle, the translator
of the Lusiad. Here he lies, ignorant alike that his Lusiad is almost
forgotten, and that his little ballad of Cumnor-Hall has reproduced
itself in the world-famous story of Kenilworth. We ventured to call at
the parsonage, where we were very courteously shown the parish-register,
a little old parchment book, in which I observed the entry of Mary
Powell’s christening, and also the record of burial of persons brought
in after such and such a fight, in the Civil Wars. In a nice little
cottage hard by, we found an old dame teaching half-a-dozen children;
and if any one marvels at my mentioning so insignificant a fact, let me
say that it was one of the most pleasing of my day’s adventures to visit
this school, which seemed to be the original of many a queer cut,
familiar from the painted story-books of the nursery. The cottage seemed
to contain but one room, the dame’s bed being turned up against the
wall, and neatly concealed by a check curtain. The windows were
casements, with diamond panes—and the walls were so thick, that the
window-sill afforded space for several boxes of plants, set there for
the sunlight. The floor was so neat, that it might have served for a
table without offence to the appetite; sundry shelves shone with
polished pewter and tin; the whitewash, without and within, was fresh
and sweet; and sundry vines were trained about the door. The little
scholars, evidently the children of laboring people, were tidy in their
appearance too, and they sat, each upon his stool, with A-B-C-Book held
demurely before the nose, and eyes asquint at the visitors. Every thing
convinced me that the old dame was a strict disciplinarian, whose “moral
suasion” consisted in the rod of Solomon, fairly displayed before the
eyes of the urchins, and no doubt faithfully used. And yet nothing could
exceed the good-nature and propriety of her appearance, except the
humility with which she seemed to regard the literary pretensions of her
academy. Good-bye, dame! Reverend is thy little starched cap, and
dignified thy seat in the corner of the chimney. True, they teach
greater things hard by, at Oxford; but thou art an humble co-worker with
its ablest Dons and Doctors: and happy are the children, who have only
to peep out of their school-house door to see the top-rounds of the
ladder, about the foot of which they climb; even the towers of Christ
Church, and of Magdalen, and the dome of the Radcliffe Library.

“Yes,” said one of my companions—“when the Great Tom of Oxford rings
its _hundred-and-one_ of a summer evening, then, standing on this hill,
you will get the meaning of Milton’s lines:—

        “’Oft, on a plat of rising ground
         I hear the far-off curfew sound,
         Over some wide-watered shore,
         _Swinging slow, with sullen roar_.’”

To which I ventured to object, that although the heavy sound of a bell
like the Great Tom would alone justify the description in the last of
these lines, I saw nothing in the view before me, to account for the
allusion to a “wide-watered shore.” This, however, was met by the
assurance that the little rivulet, which might be seen in the mead, was
not unfrequently lost in a spreading inundation, and that at such times
nothing could be more descriptive than the very words of the poem! This,
I was bound to admit as satisfactory. And now I made a discovery of my
own. Hard by the dame’s cottage I found a spring, overarched with
substantial masonry, and adorned with ivy. I suggested that John Milton
had certainly tasted of that water, for that the well was antique, and
evidently designed for the use of a gentleman’s household; to which Sir
C——, who is a judge of such matters, at one assented, pronouncing it
of the period of Mary Powell’s youth, and paying my discovery the
practical compliment of producing his sketch-book, and drawing it on the
spot. A similar drawing he made of the Powell house itself, to which we
now proceeded. It presents the remains of a much larger house, but even
in its reduced dimensions, is quite sufficient for a comfortable farmer.
Still the rose, the sweet-briar and eglantine are redolent beneath its
casements; the cock, at the barn-door, may be seen from any of its
windows; and doubtless the barn itself is the very one in which the
shadowy flail of Robin Goodfellow threshed all night, to earn his bowl
of cream. In the house itself we were received by the farmer’s daughter,
who looked like “the neat-handed Phillis” herself; although her
accomplishments were, by no means, those of a rustic maiden, for she
evidently had entered fully into the spirit of the place, and imbued
herself with that of the poetry in no mean degree. We were indebted to
her for the most courteous reception, and were conducted by her into
several apartments of the house, concerning all of which she was able to
converse very intelligently. In the kitchen, with its vast hearth and
over-hanging chimney, we discovered tokens of the good-living for which
the old manor-house was no doubt famous in its day: and in its floor,
was a large stone said to have been removed from a room, now destroyed,
which was formerly the poet’s study. The garden, in its massive wall,
and ornamented gateway, and an old sundial, retains some trace of its
manorial dignities in former times—when the maiden Mary sat in her
bower, thinking of her inspired lover; or when, perchance, the runaway
wife sighed and wept here over a letter brought by the post, commanding
Mistress Milton to return to her duty in a dark corner of London, on
pain of her husband’s displeasure, and of being made the heroine of a
book on divorce! Our fair conductress next called our attention to an
outhouse, now degraded to the office of domestic brewing, but which she
supposed to be the “still, _removed_ place” of _Penseroso_; and in proof
of the nobler office to which it had been originally designed, she
pointed out the remains of old _pargetting_, or ornamental plaster-work,
in its gables. The grace with which she used this term of art, would
have rejoiced the soul of an ecclesiological enthusiast. Moreover, she
brought forth a copy of Sir William Jones’ Letters, and pointed out to
us his description of the place, proving that our researches on
Forest-Hill can make no pretensions to originality, though certainly he
could not boast of the advantages we derived from the illustrative
powers of our hostess. It was her idea that the house had originally
been a convent; and this notion, she said, receives force from the

        “Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,
         Sober, steadfast, and demure,” etc—

imagery, which, in her opinion, could only be suggested by the
associations of the spot. Many a worse theory in literature has been
built upon foundations quite as slender; and so without committing
ourselves to this interpretation, but with many thanks for the hint, and
for all her civility, we respectfully bade adieu to the house, and its
respectable occupants, with all necessary apologies for our intrusion.

Next morning, when I met Sir C—— at breakfast, he startled me by
throwing upon the table two accurate and beautiful drawings of the well
and mansion at Forest-Hill. He had produced them from the little
sketches which I had seen him take upon the spot; and as they must have
been made either very late at night, or very early in the morning, they
were pleasing proofs of his kind disposition to gratify and oblige me,
by the gift of a memorial of our Miltonian day, that must long afford me
the additional pleasure of renewing its associations with him. In a few
hours I bade farewell to Cuddesdon; but it so turned out that some of
the acquaintances there formed, were subsequently renewed in other
places, and in travel on the Continent. Nor can I forbear to mention
with gratitude, that the kind attentions of the Bishop to his guest, so
far from ceasing when I had taken leave, were continued through the
whole period of my sojourn in England, and frequently opened to me
unexpected sources of benefit and enjoyment.

But I must not conclude without observing, with reference to
Forest-Hill, that Sir William Jones declares its groves to have been
long famous for nightingales; while, at the same time, by distinctly
recognizing the “distant mountains that seem to support the clouds,” as
part of the view to be gained from the summit of the hill, he has done
much to identify the spot as indeed the true scene of the poems. It is
allowed that nothing like mountains are to be seen from Horton; but Sir
William fully justifies the allusion, as suited to Forest-Hill, while at
the same time he removes all ground for the hackneyed complaint, that
this reference to mountains is a blemish to the poem, as being wholly
unwarranted by the character of English scenery.

                             CHAPTER VIII.

                     _Oxford—New College—Magdalen._

Now came my first day in Oxford—a day depended upon from boyhood, and
from which I had expected more quiet and meditative delight than from
any other enjoyment whatever. To every one who has made English
literature and English history a study, I need not explain why. But
Oxford has not only a literary _prestige_: it is so intimately connected
with the history of our holy religion, that all other associations
receive, as it were, an unction from this. Every college has its
history; every stone, and every tree, and every turf, suggest ennobling
reflections, as memorials of departed worth, but the hallowed memory of
Martyrs sheds over all a deep and sober glory, that awes while it
inspires. I know that our age has seen men, aye, and Oxford men, who
could sneer at the reverend names of Cranmer, and Latimer, and Ridley:
but who that has a heart not absolutely dead to generous emotion, but
must feel a warm re-action in view of such impotent malignity? Who, in
the days of the apostate and the dupe, can go to Oxford without blessing
God that other days have left us the blessed example of men faithful
unto death, and triumphing in the fire?

I stopped at “The Angel,” but it was not long before I found myself
hospitably taken up, and transported to the house of a friend in the
Turl, next door to Exeter College. My kind entertainer was one widely
known throughout Anglo-Saxondom, not only by the books which he
publishes, but by those also which he writes: and to whose elementary
works on architecture we, in America, are indebted for about all that is
popularly known of that beautiful art and science. As it was now
vacation, I had an opportunity of seeing Oxford first, as it were, in
scene, without the _dramatis personæ_; and no one is more capable than
my kind host, of explaining the antiquarian and architectural glories of
Oxford to a stranger. As he courteously gave me his valuable time, I
made my primary rounds under his guidance.

As I came into Oxford, from Cuddesdon, I heard the bells of St. Mary’s
in full peal, and experienced an exhilarating emotion that greatly
heightened my impressions. After my arrival in the Turl—a name which
indicates that the street was once a country-lane, guarded by a
_turn-stile_—I took my second walk through the city, my first having
been on the previous Sunday, passing from St. Ebbe’s to Wadham College,
with the Bishop. Now, beginning with New College and the glories of
William of Wykeham, I felt a new impulse of wonder and admiration, as if
the half had not been told me. In vain does the pedant complain of the
architecture here displaying the genius of that munificent founder, and
tell us that it marks a decline from the elevation of the decorated
period; for who can but see, in what is called decline, something much
more like an elaborate adaptation of sacred art to academic purposes,
exhibiting high invention, and a sense of the fitting and appropriate,
which proves a taste truly refined, and a fancy rich and creative? So,
at least, it strikes me; and the moral element is not less observable,
the very stones seeming vital and instinct with the designer’s great
soul and spirit. Thus the gateways, as has been well remarked, exhibit
strength and utility, with little to advertise what is within; the
domestic part is simple, and chaste and homelike; the hall bespeaks a
generous hospitality, and suggests the social and civilizing character
with which religion invests the table and the meal, and elevates it to a
feast of reason; while, at last, the chapel is full of divine majesty,
and commands abasement of self in the house of God, and at the gate of
heaven. Wykeham was, for his day, a reformer, as really as Wyckliffe,
and nothing is more certain than that the true Anglican alone has a
right to glory in his achievements. They mark a period of contest with
the papacy, every step of which contributed to the ultimate liberation
of the Church of England from its Italian yoke, and they were perfected
in that English spirit, against which the Pope was always at war, and
which late apostates from our Nicene faith detest and anathematize as
schism. True it is that we differ with Wykeham and Waynefleet in many
items of opinion and practice, in which they were no wiser than their
times; but they are one with us, historically, in the communion of the
Church of England, in the maintenance of her individuality and
independence, and in the confession of the Nicene Creed, as the
authorized symbol of Christendom. These impressions, forced upon me
within these walls, and growing on me every day that I spent in England,
returned with ten-fold power after I had seen the Continent, and again
beheld English Churches and colleges, and felt their essential
antagonism to what is Italian and Tridentine, and their almost physical
tendency towards the production of such a Church, in their ultimate
result, as the Anglican Communion is at this day, and is likely to be in
future. Let us depend upon it, and act upon it, as a fact in the
providence and design of God, that the Church of England, from the first
day she was planted until now, has been, as it were, “the Church in the
wilderness;” retaining always a primitive and individual element, and
preparing for eventual manifestation in the pure glory of the Bride, the
great adversary of the harlot, with whose painted front and virago fury
she now patiently contends.

Although the modern parts of the College are conspicuous from the
gardens, I found in them a fascination which I can hardly account for or
describe. The ancient city walls, with their bastions and defences, are
still preserved as the boundaries of the premises, and possibly it is to
them, with their embowering verdure and isolating effect, that one owes
a feeling of enchanting seclusion and quietude. Here my trans-Atlantic
eyes first beheld the loop-holes and embrasures of mediæval
fortification; first grasped the idea of intramural siege, and
bow-and-arrow fight! It struck me overwhelmingly with a sense of loss
and mental injury, that I should have known only faintly, and from
books, what thus the Oxford student receives in passive impressions of
reality—the ennobling idea of our connections with the past, and its
paternal relations to us. To see every day the walls on which one’s
forefathers, ages ago, patrolled in armor, or from which they aimed the
cross-bow; to walk and study and repose habitually under their shadow;
to have always, in sport and in toil, in sorrow and in joy, such
monuments of time and history about one: how ought it not to refine and
mature the character; and make a man feel his place between two
eternities; and inspire him to live well the short and evil day in
which, if ever, what he does for futurity must be done quickly, and with

But now, somehow or other, we emerged into “The Slipe,” where one gets a
fine external view of old wall, chapel and tower. But I was impatient to
see Magdalen College, and Addison’s Walk, and thither we bent our way.
Passing under its new and beautiful gateway, I stood before that
effective grouping of architectural detail which makes up the western
front. Here are tower, turret and portal, chapel, lodge, and
non-descript doorway; here are great window, and oriel, and all sorts of
windows besides; and trees and vines lending grace to all; and here is
that queer little hanging pulpit, for out-door preaching, which, with
all the rest, always made Magdalen, to my boyish taste, the very Oxford
of Oxford. And I am not sure that this notion was a wrong one; for now
that my ideal has received the corrections of experiment, what college
shall I prefer to Magdalen? Perfect and entire is Wadham, where, in the
warden’s lodge, I first broke academic bread; lordly is Christ Church,
with its walks and its quadrangles; lovely is Merton, as it were the
sister of Christ Church, and gracefully dependent; New College is
majestic; All Souls worthy of princes: but Magdalen alone is all that is
the charm of others, compendious in itself; yielding only a little to
each rival in particulars, but in the whole excelling them all.

In Addison’s walk I gave myself up to delightful recollections of the
Spectator, and marvelled not that the thorough-bred Englishman of that
bewitching collection, was the product, in part, of such a spot as this!
Here that great refiner of our language breathed the sentiment of his
country, and nourished the spirit that knew how to appreciate her, and
how to transfuse the love of her into others. I defy the most stupid
visitor to feel nothing of enthusiasm here! I made the circuit of the
meadow, surveyed the bridge over the Cherwell, took a view of
Merton-fields and Christ Church meadows; and, after meeting with the
late Vice-President, Dr. Bloxam, and encountering in him a cordiality of
reception which I can never forget, concluded by attending prayers in
the chapel. I was placed in a stall, and had as favorable a position,
for sight and sound, as I could have desired. The service was sung
throughout—although, as it was now vacation, comparatively few were in
attendance besides the singers themselves. I observed that here, as in
other college-chapels, the chapel itself is the choir of a cruciform
Church, the ante-chapel is the transept, and the nave is wanting. Add
the nave, that is, and you have a cathedral, or minster, complete. In
the ante-chapel of Magdalen, there are always persons devoutly following
the service; and although they can see nothing, they hear it with very
sweet effect, the chaunt being softened by their separation from the
singers, while it is articulate and altogether devotional.

Magdalen became my home in Oxford, for there I more frequently walked,
and worshipped, and visited than elsewhere—and there, for a time, I was
lodged; while in its grounds I became a frequent and familiar guest;
taking, in grateful confidence, the repeated invitations which I
received from Dr. Bloxam and other members of the College, although
obliged to decline far more of their kindness than I could possibly
accept. During this first visit I dined in the Hall, meeting a number of
eminent members of the University, and greatly enjoying their
conversation. This superb Hall is lined with portraits of the
distinguished sons of Magdalen. As I sat at meat, Addison’s portrait was
just before me, and at the end of the Hall was the portrait of one whom
I am accustomed to reverence even more, as the pattern of the true
Anglican pastor, the pure and holy Hammond. All around hung the
venerable pictures of great and historical personages, who have
illustrated their college in becoming illustrious themselves. Among such
worthies, none can forget Bishop Horne, who, although he died in 1792,
was the immediate predecessor in the presidency of Dr. Routh, the
present incumbent, now very nearly a hundred years of age. This
venerable and extraordinary man is, indeed, as was often said to
me—“the greatest wonder of Oxford.”

But how many are the sources of delight in this august University! Even
the meanest are not unworthy of note. At dinner, in the Hall, for
example, I remarked, that the queer old mug from which I was drinking,
was the gift to the College of “Robert Greville, second son of Lord
Brooke;” and when we adjourned to the common-room, for fruit and
conversation, the traditions of the spot, which were recounted, were all
of historical interest. In this very room, that sturdy champion of his
College, Bishop Hough, by boldly resisting the Commissioners of the
Popish James, with their three troops of horse at the door, paved the
way for the Revolution of 1688; and yet no College in Oxford was so much
distinguished for its subsequent loyalty to the house of Stuart as
Magdalen—following, in this, the example of Bishop Ken and the
non-jurors, who liked the usurpation of William quite as little as the
oppression of James. A Jacobite goblet was put into my hand, bearing the
inscription _Jus suum cuique_, which admirably apologizes for the
position of the College, in both these historical issues; while, on the
other side, is the legend, to which I gave emphatic utterance, as I
drank—_Vivat Magdalena!_ After an hour in the common-room, we returned
to the Hall, where the choristers were rehearsing the anthem for the
next service, and where I heard not a little sweet singing during the
evening. The fire was brightly blazing in its chimneys; and the light
and shade of the vast apartment, with its pictures reflecting the
playful glare from painted armor, or robes of lawn, and academic
scarlet, to say nothing of the visages of ancient worthies clad in such
array, very much heightened the effect of the scene.

Before returning to London, besides making a general survey of the city,
I became somewhat more particularly acquainted with Christ Church, its
hall, and common-room: and with its chapel, which is the cathedral. In
Oriel College, also, I passed some pleasant moments, and drank of the
College beer, from an old traditional cup of the time of Edward Second.
I also worshipped at St. Mary’s, and did the same at St. Thomas’s, a
picturesque and venerable fabric in the outskirts of the city, near the
site of Oseney Abbey. Here the late restorations were very fine; and,
although it is a parochial Church only, the service was sung. I observed
a somewhat excessive external devotion on the part of a few of the
worshippers, which struck me unfavorably; but, perhaps, in times of less
dubious allegiance to the Church, I should not have noticed it as
peculiarly pharisaical. I paid a visit to the Bodleian and the Picture
Gallery, and inspected the architecture of “the Schools;” and, finally,
saw some ceremonies in the Convocation House, which were very well worth
seeing, as illustrating the academic system of Oxford. Several
masters-of-arts were made, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Plumptre, presiding,
in his scarlet robes; but all was done with an entire absence of pomp,
and in presence of very few spectators. I was the more surprised, as
this was the first day of Easter-term; and, from the general peal from
towers and steeples, one might have supposed it a great day. Even the
ceremony of admitting the new proctors, and the Latin speech of one of
them going out, seemed hardly to have any interest for the academics, or
others. The Heads of Houses were assisting, and looked well; and, when
all was over, there was a procession, the Vice-Chancellor going in
state, solemnly preceded by the bedels, with their maces—profanely
called _pokers_ by the undergraduates. There was, however, no strut, but
rather the contrary. You saw, at a glance, that all this was the
mechanical routine of the University, done as business; and so regarded
by every body concerned. It is only when men are _acting_ that they
become sublimely ridiculous.

This remark applies to the May-morning celebration, on top of the Tower
of Magdalen. To read of it, one would think it must be a romantic, or
enthusiastic, piece of absurdity: but done, as a matter of course, and
in continuity, year after year, from ancient times, it has, on the spot,
a very different effect. The custom dates from 1501, the first year of
the 16th century, when, in gratitude for a royal benefaction from Henry
VII., a Hymn to the Holy Trinity, with the Collect of Trinity Sunday,
and other solemnities, were instituted as a commemoration, to be
celebrated on the first day of May. The produce of two acres of land,
part of the royal gift, was at the same time to be distributed between
the President and fellows. It now goes to pay for an entertainment
supplied to the choristers, in the College-hall, at which a silver
grace-cup is passed around with great formality. The boys have a
complete holiday, moreover, and from sunrise to sunset are set free from
College-bounds; but it must be understood that the boys here spoken of
are those of the school and choir—not the undergraduates, of whom there
are precious few at Magdalen—which is not an educational establishment,
but a society of educated men, devoted to academic pursuits. But I
suppose I need not explain the difference between such Colleges and our
own, now so generally understood. To remedy what is considered by the
progress-men a crying evil, and to turn the splendid revenues of
Magdalen to the largest benefit of the largest number, is one of the
professed purposes of the late Royal Commission: but, unfortunately, no
confidence can be placed in its professions. Were the thing in the hands
of true Churchmen, and relieved from the tinkering of Lord John Russell,
there can be no doubt that a competent and moderate University reform
might vastly augment the resources of the Anglican Communion, and
furnish a noble and safe expansion to her missionary and colonization
enterprises. The Lord hasten such a genuine improvement, and deliver the
University from the rash and presumptuous hands of political capitalists
and adventurers!

I was premonished by one of _the Dons_, that there would be very little
danger of over-sleeping on a May-morning in Oxford, for that an old
remnant of Druidical times still flourishes unrestrained among the lads
of the town. This is nothing less than the blowing of all sorts of
dissonant horns, about the streets, in honor of the British Flora, from
the earliest peep of May-day; as if to remind every body of the shame of
sleeping when nature is displaying her fairest and most fragrant charms.
Awakened, then, by the promised croaking, up I rose, and repaired to the
College, towards which the whole tide of early-risers was setting. Here,
those who are not admitted to the Tower, station themselves in the
street below, or line the bridge of the Cherwell, awaiting the aerial
music. As I slowly wound my way to the top of the tower, I caught
beautiful views through its loop-holes, and breathed occasional puffs of
delicious air. On the summit were gathered almost as many gownsmen, and
others, as half the place would hold: the other half was railed off for
the singers—men and boys, in their surplices and caps, with sheets of
music in their hands. The view of the surrounding country, towards
Forest-hill and Cuddesdon, or round by Nuneham and Stanton Harcourt, to
Woodstock, was exceedingly lovely—and, of course, the more so, for the
inspiration of the hour. As the clocks of Oxford chimed the hour of
five, every head was reverently uncovered—and, while the morning sun
made all the landscape glitter, forth broke the sweet music of the old
Latin hymn:—

        “Te Deum patrem colimus,
         Te laudibus prosequimur:
         Qui corpus cibo reficis,
         Cœlesti mentem gratia.”

Alas! it was too soon over; for while it lasted, looking up into the
blue heavens, one could almost imagine himself amid the clouds, and
surrounded by the melodies of the heavenly host. As soon as it was done,
the bells beneath us began their chorus, and the tower fairly rocked and
reeled. After lingering for a time, to survey the effects of a bright
morning on the domes and spires of the University, and on the aged trees
of Christ-Church meadows and the windings of the river, I descended to
the walks, and there passed an hour, sauntering about, as it were, in
the very foot-prints of Addison and Bishop Horne. The bells discoursed
their music for a full hour; the rooks chattered, and made holiday in
the tree-tops; the sweet-briar and rose perfumed the cloisters; the deer
bounded across the College park; and wherever I went, or wherever my eye
rested, I saw nothing to remind me that this world is a wretched and
work-day world, and that England is full of misery and sin. For a time,
rhyme seemed reason, and fancy fact. In the enchantment of that
delightful May-morning, one might be forgiven for loving life and being
fain to see many such good days.

                              CHAPTER IX.

                   _The Crystal Palace—Opening, etc._

Having frankly confessed my prejudices against the Great Exhibition, I
must now as frankly own that I am ashamed of them. The whole thing was
indeed strongly marked by the spirit of the age, and was, therefore,
such as no one who sees and understands the faults of our own times can
enthusiastically admire. Yet, little by little, I saw so much in it
which illustrates the better elements of that spirit, and which is
capable of being directed to noble results in behalf of the whole family
of man, that, to some degree, I rejoice in the complete success of that
splendid experiment. I was nicely punished for my folly at the outset,
in losing the pageant of the opening, of which I took no pains to be a
spectator, until it was quite too late to obtain admittance. If I lost
any thing, however, I suffered in good company. I am astonished, at this
time, to remember the indifference of many Englishmen, in different
ranks of society, to the entire project, until its success was
demonstrated. From _The Times_, which was a great grumbler at first, and
from old _Blackwood_, which railed at the _Temple of Folly_, down to the
shopkeepers in Regent-street, there was a wide-spread feeling of
contempt for Prince Albert’s hobby, as likely to cost more than it would
come to: while sincere apprehensions were entertained that something
revolutionary and bloody might be the result of the collection of vast
bodies of men, with a large proportion of foreign republicans among
them, into the bosom of the Metropolis. How idle all this seems now! At
the time, I am sure, very few were satisfied that it was altogether
idle; and I fancy the Queen and Prince Albert themselves wished the
thing well over, for some time before it was fairly inaugurated.

I went into Oxfordshire without making any plans to see the show, and
remained over the morning of the first of May, to hear the hymn on the
Tower of Magdalen. This was the day of the opening of the Palace, and
accordingly I immediately hastened to London, to see how it would end.
Riot and murder were the very least of evil results predicted by some,
and our American press had anticipated nothing less than general pillage
and insurrection. On arriving in London, I found that if I had only
secured my ticket beforehand, I might have been at the show, as well as
at the Oxford solemnity; for it was yet early in the day. Immense masses
of men were pouring into Hyde Park, as I drove down the Edgeware road,
and the crowd and crush of vehicles was not less surprising. It was with
difficulty that I made my way through Piccadilly, especially as my cab
emerged into the vicinity of Hyde-Park-corner. The police were
everywhere on duty, but there was no mob, properly speaking, to require
their interference. Thousands of the humbler classes, men, women and
children, in their best clothes, were endeavouring to enjoy the holiday,
and get a sight of the Queen. That was all, at this hour—and so it
continued through the day. Towards noon, the crowd in the Park grew
oppressive, and the slightest accident might have bred a confusion, in
which life would have been sacrificed; but there was absolutely nothing
but good-natured pushing and thrusting, and the occasional squall of an
infant, whose mother was more engaged to save her tawdry finery, than to
secure the safety of her child.

Finding myself one of the people, I resolved to enjoy a nobody’s share
of the sight-seeing. Some English friends whom I found in the same
predicament, and who assured me I had lost nothing worth a guinea to
see, volunteered to accompany me into the Park, where they thought it
not unlikely the most exciting scenes of the day would come off. So
then, we elbowed and pushed our progress into the Park, and were elbowed
and pushed in return quite as much as we cared to be. At last, it became
impossible to fight it out three abreast, and we agreed to “divide and
conquer.” The last I saw of my friends, one was here and the other
there, amid a crowd of hats and faces swaying about, with exclamations
and entreaties in behalf of coats and shins, and toes, and umbrellas. We
looked laughing adieus, and saw each other no more. At length I found
myself in the line of the Queen’s procession, and hired a convenient
standing-place to see her progress to the Palace. On she came at last,
preceded by those superb horse-guards, who dashed magnificently through
the crowd, and were themselves the finest military spectacle I had ever
beheld. Several of the Court carriages followed, one containing the
Crown-Prince of Prussia; and then came the Queen’s, distinguished by
many horses, coachmen, and footmen; the coach itself glittering with
gold; the horses splendidly caparisoned; and the servants in showy
liveries, with powdered hair, cocked-hats, and immense nosegays thrust
into their bosoms. The cockneys, however, had expected to see the
coronation coach, and were accordingly much disappointed with this
modicum of show. Then followed more horse-guards, kicking up the gravel
into the faces of the plebeians, and sinking, with their haunches to the
earth, as their riders spurred them into proud prancings and
curvettings, as if to intimate that the very beasts knew they were
attending the Sovereign of many Empires to a festival of all nations.
Whew! how they dashed along! and soon a discharge of artillery announced
her arrival at the Palace; nor was it long before another discharge of
the guns proclaimed the ceremony concluded, and the Great Exhibition
opened. Everybody looked happy and contented; and everybody, with wife
and children in the bargain, appeared to be on the spot.

As the royal carriage passed, I observed the Queen to be apparently
uneasy, and apprehensive. The glass was up, and she was giving herself
that constant motion which was Louis Philippe’s art of safety on like
occasions. Without any distrust of her people, she may have remembered
the attempt of the madman, Oxford, and she knew that any similar
desperado must have a better chance of success on a day like this. I saw
the little princes, and the royal head, therefore, to great
disadvantage; but fortune favored me with a fuller satisfaction on their
return. While everybody was pressing towards the Crystal Palace, I now
turned against the tide, and gradually extricating myself from the Park,
passed down Constitution Hill, and finally arrived at Buckingham Palace
just in time to get a full view. The crowd here was very light, and I
saw everything to great advantage. The Queen was evidently in high
spirits, the glass down, and she bowing most maternally. I was within a
few feet of her, and lifted my hat in homage to the broad, good-humoured
smile with which she seemed to regard her enthusiastic subjects. The
grand-daughter of George the Third looks exceedingly like her venerable
ancestor, and a glance suggested to me what must have been his
appearance in his younger days. Her features are by no means unfeminine,
though far from delicate; she was a little flushed, and hence less fair
than she is painted; but her exhilaration at the happy conclusion of her
morning, gave an attractiveness to her expression which she lacked when
I afterwards saw her, on more splendid occasions, languid with the
routine of a drawing-room at St. James’s, and sick enough, I dare say,
of its heartlessness and formality. After the Queen passed into her
residence, I supposed the pageant ended, but shortly after there arose a
shout, which convinced me I was mistaken. I turned, and saw her
exhibiting herself to the people in the balcony of the palace, in the
centre of a very splendid group, and with the little Prince of Wales,
and the Princess Royal, at her side. The Princess Alice, the Crown
Prince of Prussia, and the Duchess of Sutherland, were in the splendid
circle, but the Prince Consort I did not discover. The shouts of the
people were not so vociferous as I should have anticipated; and the
royal party soon withdrew. I afterwards learned that this was a novel
proceeding, and was meant by her Majesty as an act of most gracious and
particular condescension. I trust my republican interest in the
spectacle was none the worse, however, for being wholly unsuspicious of
the gratitude with which it should have been mingled. I looked not
without reverence, at the Sovereign Lady, and not without solemn
thoughts of futurity at her lovely little family of children. But the
influence of my country was so far upon me, that I never conceived at
the time, that her Majesty was doing more than might have been expected
of her, in honour of her loyal and most decorous people.

To Americans in London the Crystal Palace soon became a sore subject. We
were the laughing-stock of nations; and I confess, when I first visited
the vast desert at the American end of the show, in which many of the
articles exhibited were even worse than the lack of others which ought
to have been there, I felt myself disposed, for a minute, to blush for
my country. It would have been the very poverty of patriotism to plead
that a few items of our contribution were of very great merit; and
self-respect would not permit me to multiply apologies, or even
explanations. What was really good spoke for itself. What was bad, or
indifferent, was simply inexcusable. The fact is, our progress in the
arts of civilization was not at all represented; and after observing the
things which attracted attention, from other countries, I felt sorry
that nobody had thought of making similar exhibitions for us. It really
pained me to reflect, that I had seen much more attractive exhibitions
in our provincial towns; and I was quite sure that one day’s work, in
each of our great cities, might have sufficed to collect a far better
show of industrial produce out of the ordinary market. Fortunately, the
yacht “America” came in at the last moment to “pluck up our drowning
honour by the locks;” and if we could but stop bragging about it, that
would be enough, until some future occasion may afford us an opportunity
of showing what American mechanics and manufacturers are able to achieve
in their various departments of skill and ingenuity.

I was pained to observe the feeling engendered by the Exhibition between
England and America, and by the highly-irritated recriminations of
ill-bred representatives of both countries, on the spot. On the other
hand, I was sometimes amused by the ludicrous attempts of some
well-meaning Englishman to be complimentary. He would choke out
something about the “Greek Slave,” and then pass rapidly to speak of his
delight in meeting with a model of Niagara Falls: an execrable thing,
which only served still further to confuse the unusually mudded ideas of
that prodigy of Nature, entertained by the English generally. As it was
simply an immense map of the Niagara, it of course represented the Falls
on such a scale as entirely deprived them of sublimity and beauty: and
so, when the speaker would enlarge upon the magnificence of this feature
of our country, I usually took some satisfaction in confessing that the
better half of the Falls is, after all, on the British side, and that I
was sorry he could find nothing to praise that was entirely ours. The
only instance in which I encountered rudeness upon this subject, was an
absurd one, in a railway carriage, when a Paisley manufacturer, a little
the worse for whiskey, and very rich in his brogue, after some impudent
remarks, which led me to decline conversation, stuck his face into mine,
with the startling announcement—“_ye can’t mak’ shawls in your

On my first visit to the Exhibition, I must own that my prejudices were
utterly dispelled. The meagre effect of the exterior was forgotten in
the enchantment of the view within. It was a high-priced day, when rank
and fashion had the scene to itself. The place where the interest of the
whole was concentrated was that beneath the transept, commanding, as it
did, the entire view; and where the great trees, preserved within the
building, furnished a comparative measure of the whole. The crystal roof
showered a soft day-light over the immense interior; the trees and
curious plants gave it a cheerful and varied beauty; the eye bewildered
itself in a maze of striking objects of luxury and taste; musical
instruments, constantly playing, bewitched the ear, their tones
blending, from various distances and directions, in a kind of harmonious
discord; fountains were gurgling and scattering their spray, like
diamonds and pearls; and, amid all, moved the high-born beauty, and the
rank and pride of England, mixed with auxiliar representatives of
foreign states, but not unconscious of their own superiority, even while
they seemed to forget that they were insular, in their easy transition
through the pavilion, from England to France, and from France to
Austria, and from Austria to India and China. I thought of “the kingdoms
of the world and the glory of them:” did the vision which the Tempter
disclosed to the Man of Sorrows glitter more ravishingly than this?

But others have written so well on this magnificent spectacle, that I
must not enlarge upon my own impressions. It grew upon me, to the last.
It was an encyclopædia, which I am glad to have consulted. It was, in
fact, a great piece of luck to a traveller. How much of Europe it showed
him in a day: how many leagues of travel it would have cost to have
gained the information, with respect to divers countries, which here
unfolded itself beneath one mighty roof! I am convinced, moreover, that
its influence, on the whole, was good. It was opened and dedicated by
prayer, and the blessing of the Primate; it was presided over by the
religious spirit of the British Empire; it illustrated the pacific and
domestic influences of a female reign; it furnished a striking proof of
the stability and self-reliance of the Government, as well as of the
tranquil prosperity of the state; it united many nations in a common and
friendly work; it furnished a touching but sublime commentary upon the
lot of man, to eat bread in the sweat of his brow, and it redeemed
itself from the spirit of that other Babel, upon the plains of Shinar,
by bearing, inscribed upon its catalogue, the text—“The earth is the
Lord’s, and all that therein is: the compass of the world, and they that
dwell therein.”

On one of the days which admitted “the people,” I took my stand in a
corner of the quiet gallery, over the transept, and looked down on the
swarming hive with a meditative pleasure. England was there, city and
country, the boor and the shopkeeper, and all sorts and conditions of
men. The unspeakable wealth of nations stood secure, and glittered,
untouched, among them all. All men are brothers, indeed; and tears came
to my eyes as I surveyed those sons of toil gazing for a moment upon
luxury, and trying to extract a day’s satisfaction in beholding the
pomps and vanities which Providence helps them, so sternly, to renounce.
Each soul—worth infinitely more than all; and the purchase of the blood
that is beyond all price! Oh God, how solemn the theatre, in which such
a scene was presented to my eye; and what thoughts it gave me of glory
and of vanity, of human joys and sorrows; of the speedy day when all
that multitude shall have passed from a world as transient as the show
which then amused them; and of the day not very distant, when they, with
all nations, shall stand before the Son of Man!

It is a good thing that the better counsel prevailed, and that the
Crystal Palace, when it had served its purpose, was taken utterly away.
It is now a thing of history, so far as Hyde-Park is concerned; and the
Transept Tree will long be its best memorial to surviving generations.
In this way its memory will have a moral value, till the end of time. A
bubble, like the world, it has glittered and vanished. An epitome of
nations and kingdoms, and manners and men, it has served its purpose,
and been removed by its imperial architects. Who can doubt that, in like
manner, when their noble ends are accomplished, the heavens shall be
folded up as a vesture; and “the great globe itself, with all which it
inherits,” shall forever pass away, according to His promise, who is
King of kings and Lord of lords?

It would have been pity not to have seen poor _Jack-in-the-Green_, on a
May-day, in London; and yet I had quite forgotten the sweep, and his
right to a share in the festival, until I saw the sight itself, as I
chanced to be passing through one of the streets of the West-end. A
chimney of green things, it seemed to be; walking along, and nearly or
quite concealing the occupant, who gave it motion, while a crowd of boys
did honour to the show. The game seemed to consist, in pausing before
certain doors, and soliciting a gratuity. Certain it is, that no one can
grudge a penny to such an applicant, or behold the one day’s sport of
the poor climbing-boy, without wishing he may succeed in trying to make
the most of it. Lady M. W. Montague is said to have invented this
beneficial anniversary of sweepdom, and the moving obelisk of green
seemed to me no unmeet memorial of her benevolence. Better this, than
the column of the Place Vendôme, unless it be better to be remembered
for levying a world-wide tribute of blood and tears, than for giving one
new object of hope and joy to the children of sorrow!

During the residue of the week I was engaged in the ordinary lionizing,
but met several agreeable persons in company, dining one day at the
Rectory of St. George’s East, and another day at Clapham. My first
impressions of the enormous extent of London were gained in passing
between these limits, and yet as vast a suburb lay unexplored beyond the
former, as I had travelled through to reach the latter. Clapham is
called four miles from the metropolis, but one reaches it, by omnibus,
with no very clear idea of having left London at all. And so, in every
direction, London seems interminable, and villages known to us from
books as highly rural, and as affording delightful retreats from the
city, are found, to our surprise, to be incorporated with the great
Babel itself, and that by no means as its extremities.

                               CHAPTER X.

                   _St. James—Wellington—St. Paul’s._

I had been invited by Dr. Wesley, Dean of the Chapel Royal of St.
James’s, to attend service there on Sunday morning. It was the Second
Sunday after Easter. The old clock above the palace gate-way pointed
eight o’clock as I entered the colour-court, and saw the flag of the
regiment on duty, drooping about its staff, inscribed with the names of
famous victories. All the region round about seemed to be fast bound in
slumber. It was the cool, quiet Sunday morning of smoky London, to which
only the most casual glimmer of sunlight gave any warm announcement of
the advancing day. How still it seemed! A solitary sentinel, in scarlet,
stood, six feet high, at the gate. “Service begun yet?” said I; and he
answered, mechanically, “yes, the Duke just gone in.” I passed on;
knocked at the door of the chapel; mentioned the Dean’s name as my
warrant, and was admitted. The beadle, in livery, showed me to a seat,
and after my devotions, I was able to look around. It was a plain place
of worship, and quite small; just large enough for the royal household,
none of whom, however, were now present, the Court being at Buckingham
Palace. The book in my seat was stamped with the royal initial of
William Fourth, and marked for some great officer of the household.
There was one seat between me and the pulpit, the seats running along
the wall, like stalls, and not as ordinary pews. The altar at the end of
the Church, beyond the pulpit, was the conspicuous object of course, and
the window above it—which one might hardly take for an altar-window in
the street-view—gave the chief light to the holy place. Was this the
same chapel in which Evelyn so often anxiously marked the behaviour of
Charles and the Duke of York, at the celebration of the Eucharist? The
place has been much changed, but I indulged the idea of its essential
sameness. On the altar were the usual candlesticks, and the glittering
gold plate of great size and massiveness, in the midst of which was
conspicuous the Offertory-basin, bearing the royal cypher of Queen Anne.
There was no one in the chapel but the beadle and—one other person, in
the seat next me, at my right. There, in a dim corner, directly under
the pulpit—quite crouchingly and drawn together, eyes shut, and white
head bowed down, Roman nose and iron features, and time-worn wrinkles,
all tranquilized—sat in silence the hero of Waterloo. He was in the
plainest morning dress of an English gentleman, frock-coat of blue, and
light trowsers. I scarcely looked at him, and yet gained, in a moment,
an impression of his entire person, which I shall never lose.
Occasionally I could not resist the temptation of a glance at the great
man, but who would venture to stare at the Duke of Wellington in such a
place, and at such a time? The Dean of the chapel entered, with another
clergyman, who was habited for the pulpit. A clerical personage,
attended by two ladies, at the same time, came in as I had done, and,
during the sermon, there were four other persons present. The Dean began
the Communion Service, which surprised me, as I had expected the usual
Morning Prayer. Was the Duke about to communicate? Was I to see him in
the most solemn act of our holy religion? Was I to kneel beside him to
receive the same cup of salvation and bread of life? It gave me solemn
thoughts of our common insignificance, in presence of Him whose majesty
filled the place, and on whose glorious Cross and Passion, I endeavoured
to fix all my thoughts. For ages in this chapel, sovereigns and princes
had literally brought gold and incense, (as they do still, annually, on
the Feast of the Epiphany,) and offered their vows unto the King of
kings; and now, there I knelt with the greatest human being on the
footstool; the first man of the first nation; the great man of the
greatest Empire on which the sun ever shone; a man of blood, of battles,
and of victories, coming as a worshipper of the Prince of Peace, to
crave salvation and receive its pledge! ‘And yet, a greater than Solomon
is here,’ said my inward thought, ‘and therefore let this impressive
moment be a foretaste of that terrible hour when the Judge of all the
earth shall sit upon his throne, and when all worldly glories must
shrink to nothingness before His Majesty.’

I could not but observe the Duke, at the saying of the Nicene Creed. As
usual, in England, he faced about to the East, and at the name of Jesus,
the great Captain of his salvation, he bowed down his hoar head full
low, as if he were indeed a soldier of the cross, and not ashamed to
confess the faith of Christ crucified. The Duke was certainly not as
eminent for sanctity as for his many other qualities; but who shall say
that his worship was that of the formalist, or that the secret of his
soul, which is with God, may not have presented to His eye the
contrition and the faith of a sinner “much forgiven!” Surely, the
splendours which seem so attractive to the superficial, must, long
since, have become burdensome to him; and few, so well as he, have been
able to confirm by experience the faithful witness of inspiration, that
“man at his best estate is altogether vanity.”

The Dean is a grandson of the celebrated Charles Wesley, and I was
somewhat disappointed that he was not the preacher. The text, it seemed
to me, had been selected not without reference to the great person,
whose attendance at the chapel is sometimes solitary, and who having
entered on his eighty-third year on the preceding Thursday, might be
supposed to regard this Sunday as one of more than ordinary solemnity.
“_Though thy beginning was small, thy latter end shall greatly
increase_”—(Job viii:7)—such was the text, and the reverend preacher
dwelt on the approach of death, and spoke of “men covered with worldly
wealth and honours, making their end in remorse and misery.” If the
deafness of the Duke did not prevent his hearing, many parts of the
sermon must have affected him, but he retained the immoveable and drowsy
look of which I have spoken before, and sat close in his corner. The
residue of the service proceeded as usual; five persons, myself and the
beadle included, being the only persons present besides the officiating
clergy. The collection at the Offertory was duly made as in parish
churches, and at the proper time (the beadle opening the doors of our
pews) the altar was surrounded. Supposing that some etiquette might be
observed in such a place, I was very much pleased to find that the
contrary was the case; and that all present were expected to approach
the altar together. The Duke tottered up, just before me, and I knelt
down at his side, just where the beadle indicated my place. Of course I
had other things to think of at such a solemn moment, and I know nothing
of his deportment, at the sacrament, except that it seemed humble and
reverential. When all was over, and the Duke had retired, the Dean, who
had beckoned me to remain, for the consumption of the residue of the
sacrament, expressed great satisfaction at the presence of an American
clergyman, and spoke affectionately of our Church. He told me that the
Duke communicated thus regularly on the first Sunday of every month: and
I was glad, as I left the chapel, that I had been so happy as to see him
for the first time when engaged in such a duty. He is now gone to the
dread realities we there confessed; and there is something peculiarly
touching in the recollection of that morning at St. James’s, when that
cup of salvation, out of which kings and queens have, so often, drank
their weal or woe, passed from his lips to mine. It made me feel, at the
time, both out of place, and yet at home; for what had I to do in a
royal chapel, and in the company of the worldly great? and yet I was
there because it was my Father’s house, and because my right to the
children’s bread is the same as theirs, even the mercy which redeemed
all men’s souls at the same unspeakable price.

When I next saw the Duke of Wellington, I had the honour of being
presented to him, and of observing his person and his manners more
narrowly, in a scene of private festivity. I saw him once again, and
that, too, was at St. James’s, amid all the splendours of the Court,
dressed in his military uniform, and glittering with decorations. Even
there he was the “observed of all observers,” and long will it be before
such another shall be seen amid its splendours, giving, rather than
receiving lustre, in the face of the throne itself. But to have seen the
old hero bowing at the throne of grace, and asking mercy as a miserable
sinner, through the precious blood-shedding of Jesus Christ, will often
be one of the things which I shall most pleasingly recall, when I see
some poor dying cottager, or tenant of a garret, taking into his hand,
with as good a right, the same cup of salvation.

When I first came into the neighborhood of St. Paul’s, I was far more
impressed than I had expected to be with its dingy, but still sublime
exterior. With this Cathedral I had no very agreeable associations.
Erected during the first period of decline in correct taste and sound
theology, subsequent to the Rebellion, it naturally partakes of the cold
formality of the age, and is altogether as Anti-Anglican as pedantry and
an over-estimation of the classical in art could make it. It is in the
style of a Roman Basilica, rather than of an English Church, and is far
more suitable to Tridentine notions, than any Church in England erected
before the Reformation. Still, it is beautiful; I think exceedingly so:
and St. Peter’s, in the Vatican, is as inferior to this, in model, as
this is inferior to St. Peter’s in dimensions and internal magnificence.
I give my opinion boldly, for I feel sure that there can be no just room
for difference of opinion as to this matter. The more I saw of St.
Peter’s, the less was I satisfied with its ill-conceived and awkwardly
developed bulk; while every time I saw St. Paul’s, I found myself more
and more in love with its rich combinations of grace and majesty. How it
came to pass that Michael Angelo and his partners produced only a
magnificent monster, while Sir Christopher Wren came so near producing a
model of magnificence, it may be hard to tell; but though the latter has
its faults, no one can do less than admit, that if the immensity of St.
Peter’s embodied the same outline and proportions which are preserved in
St. Paul’s, the whole effect of the front, as you approach it between
the colonnades of Bernini, would be inconceivably better. St. Paul’s
unfortunately has no such approach; but its great dome looms before you,
as you begin to ascend Ludgate-hill, for all the world like a peak of
the Alps descried through the gorge of Gondo. When the promised
improvements are made in the neighborhood of the churchyard, and when a
better finish and composition of details are adopted at the eastern end,
or choir, of the cathedral, it may safely lay claim to the finest _coup
d’œil_ of its kind in Christendom. Its defects are notorious, but they
appear to me of minor importance; and the double portico, at the west
end, so mercilessly criticised by the mere grammarians of architecture,
strikes me as worthy of high commendation, as a happy license in the
poetry of the art, distinguishing a Christian Church from a heathen
temple. The Pantheon and Madeleine at Paris are doubtless more correct,
but they look—the one as if Voltaire and Rousseau might have ordered it
expressly for their Mausoleum, and the other as if Julian himself had
built it in grateful remembrance of his early friends, the Parisians.

I leave my readers to imagine the sort of enthusiasm with which I first
sauntered about the purlieus of the cathedral, and inquired of my
guide-book the actual site of the old Paul’s Cross, and strove to
conjure up the images, thereto pertaining, by witness of the chronicler.
Alas! how much rather would I have seen the old Paul’s, which poor Laud
so munificently repaired in the ill taste of his day; and that old
pulpit, in which Richard Hooker wagged his venerable head, than all this
Italian and classical display of Wren’s! There is no relish of the past
in it: and it has little that is truly religious in its effect on the
mind. Yet as being St. Paul’s, one feels that a Greek and Roman
composition would not befit any other of the apostles, so well as it
does the one that was a Roman citizen, and the Doctor of the Gentiles.

Going to St. Paul’s to morning service, on Sunday, the fourth of May, I
entered the south transept, and for the first time beheld its interior.
The effect of the immense vault of the dome, as it first struck my
sight, was overpowering—the more so, because at that moment, a single
burst of the organ, and the swell of an _Amen_ from the choir, where
service was already begun, filled the dome with reverberations, that
seemed to come upon me like thunder. I was so unprepared for anything
impressive in St. Paul’s, that I felt a sort of recoil, and the blood
flushed to my temples. I said to an American friend, who happened to be
with me—“after all, ’tis indeed sublime!” I now went forward with
highly excited expectations, and the voice of the clergyman intoning the
prayers, within the choir, increased my anxiety to be, at once, upon my
knees. I glanced at the monument of Howard, and entered beneath the
screen. The congregation seemed immense. A verger led us quite up to the
altar, and as he still found no place, conducted us out into the aisle,
where I passed the kneeling statue of Bishop Heber, with a trembling
emotion of love and admiration, and so was led about and put into a
stall, (inscribed, “Weldland,” with the legend, _Exaudi Domine
justitiam_,) where, kneeling down, I gave myself up to the solemn
worship of God. And solemn worship it was! I never, before or since,
heard any cathedral chaunting, whether in England or on the Continent,
that could be compared to it for effect. The clergyman who intoned the
Litany, knelt in the midst of the choir looking towards the altar. Even
now I seem to be hearing his full, rich voice, sonorously and
articulately, chaunting the suffrage—_by thy glorious Resurrection and
Ascension_—to which organ and singers gave response—_Good Lord deliver
us_—as with the voice of many waters. Then, as the next suffrage was
continued, the throbbings and echoes of this organ-blast supplied a sort
of under-current to its simple tone, at first pouring down from the dome
like the floods of Niagara, and then dying off along the distant nave
and aisles like mighty waves of the ocean. Tears gushed from my eyes,
and my heart swelled to my throat, as this overwhelming worship was
continued. It was all so entirely unexpected! Cold, cheerless, modern,
all but Hanoverian St. Paul’s—who dreamed of such a worship here! Yet
so it was; and I am sure, from subsequent experience, that it is capable
of being made a most attractive cathedral, and a very useful one. Knock
away that detestable screen, and put the organ in a better place;
confine the choir to the clergy, and compel all the canons, singers and
officials of every grade to be there; fit up the Altar end, and make it
new with a pictured window, in keeping with the architecture and
vastness of the place; subdue the light; set the pulpit at the head of
the nave, and let the entire Church be filled with worshippers and
hearers: and then, with a little decoration, and warm colouring to aid
the improved effect, we shall hear no more of the chilliness and poverty
of this august interior. It might be made a great Missionary Church for
the seamen and other laboring classes of the city and port of London;
while the aisles should furnish a succession of chapels, for services at
successive hours, and for Sunday schools, and catechizings. Church
Societies also, such as the S. P. G., might be allowed their chapels, in
which, before sailing, Missionaries might receive the Sacrament, or
offer thanks after arriving at home. One would think, moreover, that a
fitting use might be found for the great balcony, over the lower
portico, at the west-end, if only the Dean and Chapter would imitate the
May-morning hymn of Magdalen, and, in that public place, offer annual
prayers and thanksgivings to God, for the health, peace, and prosperity
of the vast Metropolis, to which they might make themselves the very
centre of spiritual life, by a little inventive effort, in the line of
useful and benevolent reform. Oh, for a besom and a reformer first, and
then for the line and plummet of the builder!

Dean Milman appeared in the pulpit, and preached a well-written sermon
(from Acts xvii. 26,) with evident reference to the influx of divers
nations at the inauguration of the Great Exhibition. But the Apostle,
for whom the cathedral is named, would have preached very differently, I
am persuaded, to the assembled Gentiles. In the congregation, I
discovered many foreign faces, and recognized, (by the familiar tokens
of angular features, goat-locks under the chin, and collars turned
down,) not a few of the more inquisitive and irreverent class of our own
countrymen, who seemed to think the rhetorical powers of the worthy Dean
altogether inferior to those of the stump, the camp-meeting, and the
Tabernacle in Broadway. I must allow that, if such were their
impressions, they are not much to blame. The editor of Gibbon, and of
Horace, has other claims to our respect, and richly deserves an eminent
station in the Academy, or in schools of Taste and Art; but the
orthodoxy of a Hooker, and the zeal of a Whitefield, are the better
qualifications for such a post as the Deanery of St. Paul’s ought to be.
Even a little enthusiasm might be excused in cathedral preaching, as
vastly preferable to the frigid decorum of a style and manner quite too
rigidly harmonious with the Corinthian and classical details of the
surrounding architecture.

The same day I attended Evening Service at St. Barnabas’, Pimlico, of
which everybody has heard something. At this time Mr. Bennett had ceased
to be the incumbent, and I was informed that the less defensible
practices of this Church had been discontinued, in obedience to the
injunctions of the Bishop. I cannot say I saw anything that need have
given great offence, in ordinary times and circumstances: but I saw not
a little which, in the time of apostacies and scandals, would more
inevitably scandalize the weaker brethren, than would many far more
serious sins against charity and brotherly kindness. Had these things
been other than absolutely indifferent in themselves, or had they been
less seemingly imitative of some ceremonies foreign to our primitive
Catholicity, one might have said, at any rate, that they were quite as
tolerable as the corresponding ultraisms of the opposing extreme in the
Church. I certainly tried to feel both charity and fraternal sympathy
for the brethren of St. Barnabas’, for I had heard them well-reported of
for many good works. Yet, my impressions were not altogether favorable.
On the whole, the effect was that of formalism beyond anything I ever
saw in our Communion. The architecture was somewhat too highly charged
with mediævalism for reformed Anglican worship, but would be not less
inappropriate, in several particulars, to modern Romanism. It was
antiquarian, rather than practical in any respect. The service seemed to
be performed in the same æsthetic and almost histrionic spirit, even
where the rubric was strictly complied with. One could not say just what
was inexcusable, and yet felt that little was done unto edifying. The
evil seemed to be that its _good_ was made to be _evil spoken of_, by
the excessive and unnatural, if not unreal way in which it was
exhibited. Good there was, undoubtedly, in the original idea of this
Church, and one scruples to impeach the motive of such displays of zeal
for the glory of God: but we have the positive rule of St. Paul, given
by precept and example, that everything beyond what is the ordinance and
custom of the Church, is to be subordinated to the great work of
evangelizing men compassed with infirmities, and who oppose to the
Gospel the divers prejudices of the Gentile and the Jew. I am very much
afraid the contrary is the rule at St. Barnabas’. After the Evening
Service, the congregation was dismissed without a Sermon. Although the
assembly was far from large, and however true it may be that prayers are
better than preaching, in certain circumstances, I certainly felt that a
few words of exhortation might have added a spirit of reality to the
solemnities, and could not have seemed out of place on the Lord’s Day,
even at Evening Service. Still it is but just to say that the services
are so arranged, in this church, as to secure an average both of
teaching and worship, much greater than is usual elsewhere. With all
this, why cannot a _bonâ fide_ English air of earnestness be given to
the whole thing? Let us have a _living_ ceremonial, at least, and a real
one. The reading which I heard was not English reading: if the preaching
be of the same sort, no wonder the people consider the whole a mere
imitation of foreign performances. An external standard, and not the
spirit of the English rubric, appears to be before the eyes of the
ministers; just as a similar standard, and not the law, seems to have
guided Dr. Lushington in his late decision against them. Strange that
while his judgment demolishes furniture to which nothing but bigotry can
object, he leaves the brazen doors of the chancel, which are repugnant
to common sense, as they almost conceal the altar.

Later in the evening, I attended St. George’s, Hanover-Square, the
Church so distinguished for marriages in high-life, and for a
fashionable _prestige_ altogether. Here one sees _Hanover_ indeed! The
names of its successive Churchwardens are emblazoned on the galleries,
and I observed that they were generally those of noblemen and gentry.
Fashion was much too prominent. A young and well-looking preacher, in
Episcopal robes, appeared in the pulpit, and discoursed articulately,
and with some spirit, (on Rev. xxii. 17,) though not remarkably in other
respects. This was the new Bishop of Nova Scotia, who has since entered
into the labors of his missionary field with great diligence and

I had attended four distinct services in divers parts of the Metropolis
this day, and I was informed that I might easily have attended as many
more. Very different hours are kept in different parishes; and it is not
unusual for one, two, or even three Morning Services to be celebrated in
the same Church, to accommodate different classes of worshippers. Such
is one fruit of the awakened vitality of the Church of England.

                              CHAPTER XI.

                          _Rambles—The Tower._

In Paternoster-Row I cruised about, and came to Amen Corner quite too
soon for satisfaction. I strove also to understand the precise bounds of
Little Britain, as I plodded therein, and bethought me of its right
worshipful reputation for books and men of letters in olden times. In
Cheapside, I could see nothing but John Gilpin and his family, till I
came to Bow Church, and, by good luck, heard a full peal of the very
bells that make cockneys, and that whilom made poor Whittington o’ the
Cat a Lord Mayor. What they were ringing for did not appear, as the
Church was shut. So I fared on through the Poultry and Corn-hill, paying
due deference to the Royal Exchange, till on a sudden, by some odd
crooks and twistings through the very ventricles of this heart of the
Metropolis, I came before the Tower. It gave me a thrill of emotion to
see it before me: and ‘here is Tower-Hill,’ said I—‘here stood the
scaffold—and I am sure these walls must have been the last things seen,
before they closed their eyes forever, by Strafford, and by Laud, and by
so many before and after.’ And these the towers of Caesar, and their
history the history of England almost ever since his conquest!

The Church of All-Hallows, Barking, happened to stand open, much to my
satisfaction, as I was threading a very narrow and old-fashioned street
near the Tower; and I entered, with a thrill of emotion, to behold the
venerable interior, where the service for the burial of the dead was
read over the bleeding corpse of Archbishop Laud, as it was brought in
just after the axe had made him a martyr, and here temporarily interred.
I remembered that Southey remarks that the Prayer-Book itself seemed to
share in his funeral, for on the same day, the Parliament made it a
crime to use it in any solemnity whatever: and I endeavored to recall
the scene of desolation which must then have smitten to the heart any
true son of the Church of England who was its spectator, beholding, as
he did, the Primate of all England going down into the sepulchre, as the
last, apparently, of his dignity and order; the Church herself beheaded,
if not destroyed, with him; and the Prayer-Book reading its own burial!
Thank God, there I stood, two hundred years later, a living witness of
the resurrection of that Church and its ritual, and of its powerful
life, in the new world of the West. I trust I did not offer a vain
thanksgiving upon the spot. I then looked at the old tombs and brasses,
which are interesting, if not fine. Here kneel a worshipful old knight
and his dame, with their nine or ten children, demurely cut in
alabaster, upon the common tomb of the parents; and there is a brass,
said to be Flemish, commemorating another pair, who were laid to rest
the same year that saw Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More beheaded and
interred in this same Church. Here, too, is some fine carving; and some
of the pews have curious adornings, in token of their being the place
for magistrates and high parochial functionaries, of divers degrees.
Surely, no one should fail to see this Church when he visits the Tower.

And now I turned towards that old historic pile, repeating, as it rose
upon my sight, those striking lines of Gray’s—

        “Ye Towers of Julius, London’s lasting shame,
         With many a foul and midnight murder fed!”

Its very foundations were laid in blood, if so be, indeed, as the old
chronicler asserts, “its mortar was tempered with the blood of beasts;”
and for long ages it has never slaked its thirst for the blood of human
beings, till now, in the halcyon days of Victoria, it stands a lonely
monument of those barbarian elements, out of which has risen the nobler
fabric of British freedom. Nor should it be forgotten, that popular
violence as well as princely tyranny, has glutted the spot with murder.
Of the many worthies whom we must remember here, none were more grossly
butchered than Laud and Strafford, the victims of a ravening fanaticism;
unless we except those gentler sufferers, whose sex and spotless
innocence leave their murderers without even the appearance of excuse. A
cold chill fell upon me as I entered the fatal precincts, thinking how
many had passed the same gates never to return. If there be a haunted
spot in all the world, it should be this Tower; and, indeed, strange
stories are on credible record, which might well assist the fancy in
conceiving that the ghosts of its old tenants, of the fouler sort, do
sometimes revisit the scene of their dark and dreadful deaths.

The red-liveried yeomen, in the costume of the guards of Edward VI.,
receive you as you enter the gate beneath its old portcullis, and these
are themselves no poor auxiliaries to your efforts at reproducing the
past. One of them (they are popularly known as _beef-eaters_) conducts
you to the Armory and Jewel-room forthwith, it being taken for granted
that you have come to see these things particularly. Imagine yourself,
then, passing through an immense outer-wall, in the circuit of which are
set, like sentinels, the several inferior citadels, known as the Bloody
Tower, the Beauchamp Tower, and the like. You gain the open court, or
area, and in the centre rises the immense quadrangular and turreted
mass, which overhangs this part of London: it is the Keep, or White
Tower, called also Cæsar’s, though built by William the Norman. You pass
the Bloody Tower, in which the young princes were smothered by the
hunch-back Richard, and are shown into the Armory. Here you see, amid
all sorts of bristling weapons, the sovereigns of England, from Edward
I. to James II., all on horseback, and most of them in the armour of
their times. The growth and decline of knightly harness is thus
exhibited entire, from the “twisted mail” of Edward’s hauberk, down to
the merely ornamental breast-plate of the recreant Stuart. What a
procession! Some of the visors are down, and others are lifted—but to
an imaginative eye, every figure appears instinct with vitality. Their
very steeds, in their plated steel and ancient housings, seem clothed
with thunder. Elizabeth, of course, retains her own fantastic costume,
but there she sits before you, in spite of her peacock display, a
glorious memorial of Tilbury, and you can fancy her prancing before her
troops, and inspiring them to repel the “foul scorn” of the Armada. That
very suit of armour, now stuffed with the resemblance of her father, was
once worn by bluff old Hal himself; and further on, is the beautiful
array of steel, in which the goodly limbs of the Royal Martyr were once
actually encased. Nor are the heroes of this august Valhalla without
other trophies of their times and achievements. Here are bills, pikes
and partizans, Lochaber-axes and glaives, broadswords and stilettoes;
and then all manner of fire-arms, from the earliest and heaviest
matchlock down through all the grades of muskets, to musketoons,
pistols, and pistolets. And then there are saw-shot, and bar-shot, and
spike-shot, and star-shot; and then culverins and petards; and weapons
offensive and defensive of all sorts and kinds. And they bear marks of
having been well used in their day. Here the wars of the Roses have
battered a helmet and pierced a shield: through that hole in the
corslet, once spouted the rich blood of a hero at Tewksbury: that visor
was rusted by the last sigh of another such as Marmion, on
Flodden-field. Even this bludgeon of a staff, with pistols at the
handle, has dealt midnight blows in the hands of the British Blue-beard,
as he patrolled the streets of his capital, in the spirit of Haroun Al
Raschid, somewhat heightened by the spirit of wine.

I was not above looking curiously and thoughtfully at the exhibition of
Popery, displayed in the relics of the Armada. At the Crystal Palace
there was a very bold and enticing parade of the modern instruments of
this Protean enthusiasm, in the shape of candlesticks and monstrances,
thuribles and pyxes, and all sorts of embroideries, spangles, laces, and
millinery. By such things it would convert England now. In Elizabeth’s
day, its missionaries were less attractive. Bilboes, collars,
thumb-screws, and iron cravats; stocks, fetters, and manacles; a sort of
portable Inquisition was, in short, the great reliance of the Pope in
those times, for the reduction of the heretic English: and here, no
doubt, old Fuller would go on to say, that “if forsooth we should feel
closely about the fine things of even modern Poperie, we might,
perchance, find a prickly point, or a sharp edge, or a rough chain, if
not faggots and gun-powder also, stowed away among all their fancy
stuffes and petticoats.” I could not satisfy myself with looking at
these antiquarian treasures however, nor shall I attempt to satisfy my
reader by detailing them. Let him think how he would feel to touch the
very axe that divided the little fair neck of Anne Boleyn, and the
stiffer sinews of the Earl of Essex. Even the block on which old Lovat
laid his worthless head, loaded with crimes as many as his hoary hairs,
gives one a shudder, though no man pitied him when he fell. It is,
moreover, a monument of interest, because there the axe stayed, and has
never since been lifted on the head of a British subject. He died in
1746, in the cause of the young Pretender; and possibly this fact
suggested to me the thought, (by which alone I can convey any just idea
of this Armory,) that the whole exhibition seems to be a complete
property-room of the Waverley novels. If the characters of those
successive tales could have deposited in one room the antiquarian
implements and costumes to which they gave a sort of resurrection, they
would have furnished us with very much such a collection as that of this
Armory of the Tower.

A new stone strong room has been built for the Royal Jewels, and one now
sees the Regalia by day-light. It is a glittering show; but nothing
seems to be very ancient in the collection, except the spoon wherewith
anointing oil has been poured on all the royal heads that have been
crowned since the days of Edward the Confessor. How many Archbishops
have held its handle; how many princes have been touched with its bowl!
At the bare thought, all the history of England seemed to rise before my
sight, and I felt that there is a value in such symbols of a Nation’s
continuous existence. When displayed, not as gewgaws of a vulgar pomp,
but as the memorials of a fruitful antiquity, they cannot but inspire a
sentiment of veneration in every beholder, and serve to keep alive the
vestal flame of loyalty and love for a throne which is invested, indeed,
with traditional splendours, but which rests on the surer foundations of
existing freedom and righteous law.

When I stood again in the open court, I longed to be told nothing so
much as where the old Archbishop was confined, when he gave Strafford
that parting benediction. It had been arranged by Usher, their common
friend, that they should thus take leave of one another. The noble
Strafford came forth walking to the scaffold on Tower-hill, but craved
permission to do his last observance to his friend. For a moment he
feared the old primate had forgotten him, but just then he appeared at
the dismal window of his own prison. “My Lord—your prayers and your
blessing”—said Strafford, kneeling down: and the benediction was given
accordingly; after which the primate swooned in a fit of sorrow, while
the stout Earl rising, said, “God protect your innocence,” and then
stepped onward with a military bearing, and passed to his execution, as
if it were to a triumph. Somewhere here, all this went on! I could
almost fancy it before my eye. Then, too, I thought of Raleigh. And
here, hard by, was the undoubted spot, within the walls, where stood the
scaffold on which suffered the Queens Anne Boleyn and Katharine Howard;
and Lady Jane Gray, more lovely and more innocent than either. But it
was not the thing to be looking at such a spot in broad daylight. How
much I should have been pleased with the privilege of lodging, just one
night in the White Tower, not to sleep, but to stand at my window and
look out upon the Court, and upon Tower-hill, by pale moonlight, and
so—to think, and think, and think!

By dint of perseverance, I gained admission to the Beauchamp Tower,
occupied at present by some officers as a mess-room. The apartments are
covered with carvings and inscriptions, the work of many illustrious
prisoners, in past times, and with some that merely tell of human
sorrow, mysteriously, and without the name of any one that is known, to
satisfy the curiosity they excite. A rich carving, in which figures the
well-known _bear and ragged staff_, reveals the prison thoughts of
Dudley, Earl of Warwick, father-in-law to the Lady Jane. There is
another inscription, very naturally ascribed to poor Lord Guilford
Dudley—the simple letters IANE. His sweet Jane was soon to breathe her
farewells to him from her own lonely cell, and, after seeing his
bleeding corpse brought in from the scaffold, to follow him to the
block. The initials R. D. betray the work of another Dudley, who lived
to be the favorite of Elizabeth, and the dismal husband of Amy Robsart.
Here figure also memorials of Henry’s victims, and of the Marian
Confessors, and not a few of those who suffered under the last of the
Tudors. Underneath these rooms is the “rats’ dungeon,” where many have
suffered the extreme of human agony; and directly overhead is “the
doleful prison” of Anne Boleyn. Remorseless, indeed, must have been the
heart of her husband, if in truth she sent him the letter, said to have
been endited there, and if, after reading it, he could still abandon to
the block the head that had so often reclined in his bosom.

I was resolved not to leave these awful precincts until I had also
visited the Church of _St. Peter ad Vincula_, the burial-place of so
many of those whom I had thus endeavored to recall to mind. After some
patience and perseverance I was admitted, and stood upon what a clever
writer has justly called one of the saddest spots on earth. So many
graves, of so many destroyed worthies, are here gathered together, that
one necessarily thinks, as he stands by them, of the day of judgment.
What a resurrection there will be in this place at that day—a
resurrection of the just and the unjust! The Church is sadly disfigured,
and should be reverently restored, but its pointed arches and mural
monuments, with kneeling figures, and one rich altar-tomb, with
effigies, still elevate the interior above an ordinary effect. Near this
tomb repose the bodies of the weak Kilmarnock and the sturdy Balmerino;
and upon my saying something about them to the sexton, he told me that,
in digging lately, he had come to the relics of their coffins. He then
lifted a cushion in one of the seats, and showed me the coffin-plates,
which he had taken from the earth. Sure enough, there they were, quite
legible, inscribed with their names and titles, and the sad date, 1746.
I remembered how I had read in a contemporary number of “The Gentleman’s
Magazine,” and in Horace Walpole’s gossip, the contrary impressions made
upon these Jacobites by the scene in which they were to suffer.
Kilmarnock acted pitiably, for his conscience was alive to his sin and
folly; but Balmerino was troubled with very little of a conscience
whatever, and what he had was such as to persuade him that he was dying
in a good cause. The old hero cried “God save King James,” to the last;
and, striding up to his coffin, put on his glasses, and read this very
inscription, and said it was all right. Now, I was reading it fresh from
the earth, after a hundred years had gone by. It greatly moved me. Then,
I thought of Laud hobbling into this chapel, lame and feeble, leaning on
his servant, but standing up amid the people, while the preacher railed
at him; said preacher wearing his gown over a buff jerkin, as the
holder, at the same time, of a parochial benefice in Essex, and the
captaincy of a troop of horse in the rebel army! But where did memories
begin or end, when I tried to collect them in such a place? Here lies,
beneath the altar, the daring Duke of Monmouth, hacked and hewed to
death by his awkward headsman; and, not less barbarously murdered, here
lies that venerable lady, the last of the Plantagenets. Cromwell lies
there, for helping Henry Bluebeard; and there, too, More and Fisher, for
resisting him; Anne Boleyn and Lord Rochford lie there, for being
innocent; and Katherine Howard and lady Rochford, for being guilty. Two
Dukes are buried between the two Queens; and there Lord Guilford Dudley
once more reposes with his lovely Lady Jane. Here lies brother slain by
brother, the slayer sharing, in his turn, the fate of the slain; and
these, with Monmouth, mercilessly condemned by his uncle, and the two
Queens murdered by their own husband, seem to accomplish the melancholy
record with associations of crime the most complicate, and of
accountability the most dreadful that can well be imagined. Oh, God!
what reckonings yet to be settled by Thee alone, are laid up against
that day, even in the little compass of these walls.

I made a parting circuit to survey the Bloody Tower and its
sharp-toothed portcullis—the only one in England that still rises and
falls in a gate-way, and refuses not its office; the Bowyer’s Tower, in
which poor Clarence was drowned in Malmsey; the Brick Tower, said to
have been the prison of Lady Jane Grey; and the Salt Tower, which, with
its adjoining wall, I found nearly demolished, and in process of
restoration. Finally, I went round upon the water-side and surveyed the
Traitor’s Gate, so called. Here, then, are the jaws of this devouring
monster, sated at last, apparently; but who knows? Under that arch have
passed, one after another, those great historic characters, whose names
we have already reviewed. They abandoned hope when they entered here;
and almost always with good reason. One alone on whom, in youthful
sorrow, and by a sister’s cruel injunction, these massive gates yawned
and closed, became, in turn, their mistress; and—alas! for human
nature—made them often gape for others. Think of Elizabeth Tudor
passing under this arch, the captive of the Bloody Mary! Who then could
have foreseen the days of Hooker, and of Burleigh, and of Shakspeare?
Think of old Laud in his barge, day after day, returning through this
arch from his trial, to his prison, exhausted and panting like a hart
pierced by the archers, from the cruel shafts of Prynne and his
confederates, but accompanied, perhaps, by his noble defender, Sir
Matthew Hale. Oh! could he but have seen the Anglican Church of the
nineteenth century, how thin would have seemed the clouds which were
gathering around her at that awful period, and which he feared, no
doubt, were to overwhelm her forever. Such were some of the thoughts,
partly sad, but largely grateful, with which I found myself chained to
the place; and even when it was time to go, still disposed to linger
about the spot, and bend musingly above the Traitors’ Gate of the Tower.

                              CHAPTER XII.

                 _Two Nights in the House of Commons._

As soon as I could devote an evening to the purpose, I made my first
visit to the House of Commons, going at a very early hour in the
afternoon, and sitting through the whole till after midnight. This
House, since removed to the new Palace, then held its sessions in what
was formerly the House of Lords, said to be the scene of all the
historic events which have illustrated that body for ages, down to the
reign of William Fourth. It was fitted up for the Commons after the fire
of 1834, which destroyed St. Stephen’s Chapel. It was, first of all, the
hall of Edward Confessor’s Palace; was subsequently the scene of a
fierce passage in the life of Cœur-de-Lion; and also of that romantic
incident which Shakspeare makes the first scene in his Richard Second.
There Bacon presided, and was impeached, and fell. Lord Chatham’s
expiring effort was made there; and there he thundered those noble
remonstrances against the American war, in which our own history is so
intimately concerned. Its fitting-up, however, for the temporary use of
the Commons, gave it a very modern appearance, and it was as plain as
can well be imagined. Before I returned to America, its interior had
been pulled to pieces, and the materials sold under the hammer. I saw
it, therefore, in the Omega of its legislative uses, centuries having
expired since its Alpha. Mr. Lawrence, our worthy Ambassador, had kindly
supplied me with a ticket, which admitted the bearer to the diplomatic
benches. These are on the floor of the House, and are only separated
from those of the members by a nominal division; so that, in fact, I
found myself surrounded by them. At first the House was thin, and it
grew thinner towards seven o’clock; but at about nine o’clock it began
to fill again, the members returning from their dinners, most of them in
full dress. The earlier hours were consumed in dull and unimportant
matters, and business seemed to drag on like the daylight, till the
place began to be as stupid as it was dark and gloomy; when suddenly the
Speaker touched a bell, and a flood of soft light was showered from the
ceiling, not a lamp or burner being visible. This mode of illumination
was quite new to me, although I have heard of similar effects produced
in the same way in America. It seemed to quicken and cheer up
everything, till the Speaker left his place suddenly, (for refreshments,
it was said,) and then all stood still, the members yawning and lounging
about, and talking in a very undignified manner. When the Speaker
returned, business seemed to have begun. A message was received from the
House of Lords, with the usual formalities; but, I observed that as the
messenger backed out, making his three bows, he stumbled, and excited a
laugh, at which he also laughed, and then retired, winking and
exchanging grimaces with sundry acquaintances, as much as to say—who
cares. He was dressed in wig and gown, and was probably one of the
clerks of the Lords; and he was attended in the Commons by the
Sergeant-at-Arms, who was dressed in court-costume, and during the
ceremony carried the Mace on his shoulder. The sight of “that bauble”
revived the recollection of scenes in the House of Commons of a very
different character.

The great business of the evening was a debate on the Malt-tax, which
brought out all the strength of the House, and enabled the opposition to
talk “Protection,” with a show of very great sympathy for the distresses
of “the British farmer.” Mr. Disraeli made a great speech, in his way;
but it is a very poor way, his whole manner being declamatory and
sophomorical in the extreme. I had met him several times as I sauntered
through Pall Mall, and looked in vain for any traces in his face and
manner of the clever author of Coningsby and its successors. A jaunty
and rather flashy young man, with black ringlets, twisted about a face
quite devoid of elevated expression—such was the impression he gave me
in the open air, and in the House of Commons I saw nothing at variance
with it. He is certainly a man of parts, but that such as he should have
forced his way to the Leadership of the House of Commons, only proves
the extreme mediocrity of this generation. That he is a Jew is a great
bar to his advancement, although he is a Jewish Christian. He affects,
however, to be very proud of his _Oriental_ origin, and perhaps he may
be so; but one feels that he cannot be confided in, and that he is a
mere adventurer. He seemed to me to ape Sir Robert Peel, in his way of
thrusting his arm behind the skirts of the coat, and exposing the whole
waistcoat in a flaring manner. I have heard as good talking at a
debating club as he treated us to that night in the House of Commons.
Still he made some good hits at Ministers, and was often interrupted by
cries of _hear, hear, hear_, which are rather muttered than vociferated
around the benches. He has since been Chancellor of the Exchequer,
himself adopting the very policy which he then abused in terms the most
noisy and passionate.

Ministers were, of course, not slow in replying, and I had a chance of
beholding some of the expiring grimaces of Lord John Russell, whose
feeble government was just ready to fall to pieces of itself. I knew the
man as soon as I saw him in the House. There he sat, under a hat that
seemed to extinguish his features, trying to laugh and look
good-natured. At last he rose, and I observed that the familiar
caricatures of _Punch_ were in fact good likenesses. He is his own
caricature. A diminutive utterer of “great, swelling words;” paltry, and
yet pompous; and altogether as insignificant a person as I ever saw
dressed in brief authority. He had only a few plain things to say, and
yet he contrived to utter them, as if he were saying—“I am Sir Oracle.”
Cries of _divide_ had circulated pretty freely during the whole debate,
and now I saw a division. A personage who had been very polite to me
during the evening, volunteered to put me where I might see the whole
process. Just before the division, members came running in from the
clubs, and the “whipper-in” returned to his seat, having discharged his
duty in securing the attendance of votes for the Government. Members had
been pairing off the whole time, apparently to attend a ball or the
Opera, as the pairs were nearly always in full dress. Their negotiations
seemed to be made near the bar of the House, and the Speaker was
constantly silencing the buzz of members and spectators, by the cry of
“order—order,” or “order at the bar,” which Mr. Shaw Lefevre knows how
to speak most potently. At length for the division, the galleries were
cleared at the sound of certain bells, which the Speaker appeared to
pull; but my kind Mentor clapped me into a sort of lobby, like a closet,
in the door of which was a pane of glass, through which I saw the entire
performance at my ease, and quite by myself. Less fortunate visitors
were entirely ejected, and then the members themselves went into the
lobby, and so passed in again, their names being pricked by the tellers
as they passed, and the whole operation taking but a few minutes. The
Ministry had a handsome majority. Before the House rose that evening,
there was another division; and it so happened that I heard most of the
men of mark. Sir Charles Wood, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Hume and
Bright, the amusing Colonel Sibthorp, and the Milesian Reynolds, all
talked, and some of them several times. Mr. Keogh excited the
significant cry of _oh, oh_, with laughter, and made some sport by
rejoining, “the gentlemen may cry _oh_, but still it is true.” An
allusion to the Scottish Universities brought Sir Robert Inglis to his
feet, and he said a few pertinent words, in a manner worthy of himself
as the best specimen in the House of a true English gentleman of the old
school. Mr. Sidney Herbert spoke in a handsome manner, and Mr. Gladstone
also made a very spicy little speech, which seemed to annoy his
opponents not a little. The House sat till two o’clock, but I finally
gave it up, and left before the end. As I came out into Old Palace Yard,
and saw the towers of the Abbey in the still solemnity of the night, it
seemed more strikingly majestic than before. I thought what mighty
interests of Empires had been settled here, and how often Chatham, Fox,
Pitt and Canning, had emerged at midnight from such scenes as I had just
left, looking on the same towers, beneath which they now moulder in the
dust. The sombre mass of the Abbey seemed a commentary on the hot
debates from which I was retiring; a speaking monitor of the transient
interests of the present, and of the eternal issues of futurity, as well
as of the unchangeableness of the past.

As I walked slowly to my lodgings, I passed Whitehall. Scarce any one
was in the street, and all was silence. I stopped, and gazed on the
white walls of the Banqueting-room, and said to myself, ‘how strange!
here I am alone on this most memorable spot, in the deep and solemn
night. Can it be that here, where all is now so quiet, there stood two
hundred years ago a crowd of human beings, every one of whom was
experiencing, at the moment, emotions the most singularly mixed and
tumultuous that ever agitated the human soul? Can it be that from this
same white wall issued the figure of King Charles, and that there—just
there—he knelt at the block, and in a moment was a headless corpse?
Even so! Here rose that groan of a mighty multitude, sighing as one man,
and there the ghastly headsman stood, holding up the royal head by its
anointed locks, and crying—_this_ _is the head of a traitor!_’ I almost
turned about to see whether Cromwell’s troopers were not charging down
upon me, so strong was the impression of the spot; but just then, the
sight of a solitary policeman, patrolling beneath a gas-lamp, recalled
me to myself, and I fared thoughtfully, by the statue at Charing-Cross,
towards my temporary home.

The Papal aggression was still, in spite of the Crystal Palace and its
wonders, an absorbing topic, and my second visit to the House of Commons
had been set for an evening when a debate upon that exciting subject was
to be part of the entertainment. I felt sure that such an evening in the
House would be, in some measure, an historical one, and might be useful
to me through life, in watching the course of religious and political
events. Besides, I wanted to hear a debate that should enable me to
compare, by its unity of subject, a Parliament of Victoria, with those
of the Plantagenets and Tudors. I had my desire.

It seems impossible for the American mind to appreciate rightly the very
grave injury which has been done to the British nation by the attempt of
the Papal Court to erect Episcopal Sees, and bestow corresponding titles
within the jurisdiction of the British Church, and under the shadow of
the British Crown. But when it is considered that the Pope has thus
attempted to exercise a power to which he could never have aspired even
when England wore his yoke, and which would not now be suffered by any
Popish sovereignty in Europe; when, to say nothing of the outrage to the
Church of England, the direct attempt upon the allegiance of subjects is
considered, and its bearings upon the future are duly weighed: no
well-informed mind can hesitate a moment as to the propriety of the
feelings which it so generally inflamed, or retain any other
astonishment, than a profound one, at the feebleness and utter
imbecility of the measures with which the advisers of the greatest
Sovereign in existence have allowed her to meet the invasion. It was not
a moment for hesitation, or for consulting economics; a demand should
have been made upon the Pontiff for an immediate alteration of his
attitude towards England, and the least attempt to palter on his part
should have been responded to by a British fleet off Civita Vecchia. If
France was an obstacle to such a demonstration, and if “the peace of
Europe” must be kept at all hazards,—even the hazard of a speedy
Armageddon to pay for it—if such be the England of 1850—alas for the
extinction of the England of 1588! Is the spirit of Elizabeth past

Since 1830, the whigs, laboring, as Mr. Macaulay now confesses, under a
delusion as to the ameliorated spirit of the Papacy, have gradually
advanced the Romanists to great power and influence. They had introduced
them to parliaments; had flattered them with ecclesiastical titles; and
unavailingly tried to propitiate them with gifts. Finally, hoping to
secure the Pope’s aid in the management of Ireland, they had advanced,
step by step, to a point from which they could not recede, and at which
they ventured to go further, and actually invite him to the daring
encroachment, which to their horror and amazement, set all England in a
blaze. At every step of this infamous and foolish compromise with Rome,
true Churchmen had protested, and pleaded, and struggled in vain; but
these true men were now confounded in the disgrace of an alarming
apostacy, owing to a popular misapprehension, and it was easy to turn
the whole fury of the fire upon them. Lord John, detected in the very
act of inviting the Pope’s attempt, had the cunning to point at them,
and lay it on the “Tractarians.” The trick succeeded: the Romanizers
were gratified, for they wished well to any but the friends of a Church
which they meant to abandon and destroy; the Evangelicals swelled the
outcry, which brought popular gales to their own canvass; and the
Ministry chuckled behind their fingers. The Romanists were triumphant,
since they had the Ministry in their power; and the only real sufferers
by all the tumult and indignation thus aroused, were the very class who
alone had contested every inch of ground with Popery and the Whigs, from
the “Emancipation” of 1829, to its sequel and direct consequence, the
“Aggression,” twenty years afterwards!

Such was the very just review of the existing question, which in
different ways was brought before the House on the evening of the ninth
of May, 1851. The debate was on a motion of Mr. Urquhart, to the effect
that “the act of the Pope had been encouraged by the conduct and
declarations of her Majesty’s Government; and that large expectations of
remedy had been stimulated by Lord John’s letter to the Bishop of
Durham, which his measures had entirely disappointed.” The member
pressed his resolution (offered as an amendment to the proposed bill) by
a reference to the history at which we have glanced, and by calling to
mind some former passages in the political life of the Prime Minister,
which it could scarcely have been comfortable for him to hear just at
that moment. Sir George Grey, in a very feeble speech, replied in behalf
of his friend, from the Treasury bench, and amused himself at some
length, at the expense of Mr. Urquhart, without really affecting his
argument. Lord John Manners retorted with not a little force, at least
in his matter. He declared the proposed amendment a mere truism, and yet
one of practical utility. Lord John had successfully thrown dust in the
eyes of the people. Lord Powis and Mr. Dudley Perceval had in vain
endeavored to place the facts before the country. Then followed a
passage of pungency and truth. “The Prime Minister,” he said, “had twice
encouraged the acts against which his puny and delusive legislation was
now directed; had twice defeated the modest attempt of the Church of
England to place Bishops of her own in the great towns now occupied by
the Pope; had granted to Popish Bishops, in all the Colonies, precedence
over Anglican Bishops; had yielded similar favors to the Romish
titularies in Ireland; had pertinaciously resisted the fair demands of
the Irish Church for Scriptural Education; and yet—after a public
policy which had been one unvaried monotone of insult and wrong to the
Church of England—had contrived, by one magic stroke of the pen, to
place himself before the country as the champion of English
Protestantism, and as the only effectual antagonist of the encroachments
of the Church of Rome.” A Romish member now rose, and, while opposing
the amendment, paid a singular tribute to its truth. “He was not the man
to blame the noble Lord for encouraging the Pope’s measures; but he
blamed him for now attempting to contend with the direct consequences of
his own flattering policy.” After a rambling and incoherent speech, of
tiresome length, from a Mr. Stanford, who supported the amendment, Sir
Robert Inglis rose and opposed it with characteristic dignity, and with
that grave and sober earnestness which, under the manifest control of
taste and judgment, seems always uppermost in all his utterances. He
showed that, if the amendment were passed, it would defeat the bill.
However true, therefore, he must oppose it, because the bill was all
that the Government had offered to do, and something must be done. He
had no objection to calling on the Government to do more; he thought
that Lord John might fairly be asked to meet, in full, the expectations
he had excited; but he could not vote for an amendment which would
effectually prevent the doing of anything to carry out the just wishes
of the country.

Sir Robert, during his remarks, dropped an expression, for the first
time, if I am not mistaken, which soon became familiar. He spoke of the
opposition of the _Irish Brigade_, referring to the Romish members then
sitting, and voting together, with an appearance of complete drill, and
of absolute obedience to one command. The expression was repeated as a
quotation by another member, and raised a laugh, as something freshly
caught up, and this seemed to mark it as a hit. Finally, Mr. Reynolds,
the apparent leader of the Brigade, gave it complete success by replying
to it. Sir Robert, after quietly delivering his remarks, had walked
round from his seat, and was conversing with a friend, (while he twirled
in his hand a rose, that he had taken from his button-hole,) when Mr.
Reynolds stepped into his place, with a sort of bog-trotting movement,
and facetiously remarked that, it might seem strange to see him
standing, as it were, in the shoes of the venerable baronet, who had
just called him and his countrymen, “the Irish Brigade.” He then
acknowledged that they were banded together against the bill, and
“against every other, good or bad, which its author might propose.” He
thus avowed their purpose, to throw their entire force against the
Government, until Lord John should be driven out of power. He then went
on with Irish volubility, and the no less characteristic accent of the
Patlander, to belabor Lord John’s bill. He told not a little truth:
called it “_sham_ legislation;” stuck out his finger towards the
Minister, and said, “If ye pass it, ye dare not put it into execution.”
Here, however, he gave it the praise of being quite the thing for its
purpose—“a cruel and persecuting measure—which, as such, had received
the approbation of _the Protestant watchdog of Oxford University_.” By
this epithet, significant of high fidelity, but not intended to be
particularly respectful, he gave Sir Robert a Rowland for his Oliver.

The residue of this gentleman’s speech was amusing enough, as coming
from a Papist. He was for liberty of conscience; couldn’t bear to think
of religious persecution; and, as for the Queen, she had no subjects in
the world that could compare with her Irish subjects, for the devoted
affection with which they regarded her. One would think it a pity that
such homage as he professed for a heretic sovereign, had not been as
fashionable among his co-religionists in the days of Guido Fawkes, or of
the Spanish Armada.

At last, Lord John himself rose to reply. I thought of the history of
the house of Bedford, from the back-stairs of Henry VIII., when, as
Burke expresses it, “the lion having gorged his share of the
Ecclesiastical carcase, flung the offal to his jackal,” down to the
council-chamber of Victoria, where the jackal still waits on the lion,
in the shape of this insatiable devourer of the Church’s bread, and not
less insatiable thirster for her blood. How should he dare lift up his
voice to apologize for the brand of infamy which this evening’s debate
had stamped upon his career as a Minister, or rather which it merely
showed to have been already set by his own hands! Forth he stepped, like
himself alone, and with the same pomposity to which I have already
adverted, went through a few incantations, which ended in a fresh
transformation of the diminutive conjurer before us, into a most earnest
“deviser of securities for the crown and the nation.” He called the
opposition “mean and shabby”—for such courtesies seem to be the seven
locks of a rhetorical Samson, in his conception—and with a front of
brass, only equalled by the audacity of his imputations upon true sons
of the Church of England, declared “there had been nothing in the
conduct of the Government which had a tendency to provoke the
aggression.” He sat down, in his littleness, and was instantly pounced
upon by Disraeli, from the opposite side of the table, as it were by a
hungry terrier. “Is it a fact,” then, said he, “or is it not, that the
First Minister of the Crown has himself in this House expressed an
opinion, that _he saw no harm in Romish Bishops assuming territorial
titles in this realm of England_? Is it a fact, or is it not, in the
recollection of this House, and in the burning memory of this country?
Is it a fact, or is it not, that a Secretary of State, in another place,
has expressed his hope that Romish Bishops would soon take seats as
Peers of Parliament in the House of Lords? Is it a fact, or is it not,
that a member of the Cabinet has been sent as Plenipotentiary to Italy,
and held frequent and encouraging conversations with the Pope? Is it a
fact, or is it not, that the Pope condescended to intimate to said
Ambassador his gracious purposes to do something _that might affect
England_; and is it a fact, or is it not, that the Plenipotentiary
thought it unnecessary to inquire what it might be?”

Lord John here rallied, and interrupted the speaker, by saying that “he
had admitted the fact of a _report that the Pope said so_, but had also
stated that Lord Minto denied having heard it.” Thus terrier seemed to
have rat in his fangs, but rat could still show his teeth to terrier. It
was the first impeachment to which he had ventured any reply; and, by
replying to this, he convicted himself of the more grave charges, which
he was obliged to hear in silence, with his hat slouched down over his
criminal features. Who can feel any respect for an English patrician,
caught in such a felony, and proved as truly a moral delinquent, on a
gigantic scale, as ever a petty thief at the Old Bailey on a small one?
Oh! for a conscience in mankind to save their sympathy for the poor
wretch in the bail-dock, and to consign to merited infamy the titled and
decorated offender, whose crime is unfaithful stewardship in the State,
and treason to the Crown Imperial of the Most High God! I have no
abstract prejudice against a peerage. For my own country only do I
deprecate the idea of an aristocracy; but what are patricians worth, if
they cannot present to the State, in which they are an organic part, a
high and wholesome example of integrity and honour? In my heart,
therefore, as I looked at this scion of the house of Bedford in his
moral degradation, I felt—would that he might know the unaffected pity
with which a republican looks at him from this gallery, as a man, in
this great crisis of history, false to his rank, false to his sovereign,
false to his country, and false to his Redeemer.

Mr. Disraeli paid no attention to his disclaimers, but, as it were,
buffeted him smartly with another hit—“Is it a fact, or is it not, that
the Vice-Royalty of Ireland was in indirect communication with the Pope,
and expressed affection for his person, and reverence for his
character?” This brought out enthusiastic cheers; and Lord John tried to
emerge from beneath his hat, to look contemptuous. Ministers had a small
majority. But Lord John must have felt that his time was coming, while,
no doubt, Mr. Disraeli began to draw as near in fancy, to the envied
bench on which he sat so little at ease. The latter had done decidedly
better than when I heard him before; but, when the division was taken, I
could not but say to myself—is this all that England’s Senators have to
say in such a matter? I felt that there were few of them alive to the
importance of the thing in hand; and that no one seemed equal to the
support of old England in consistency with herself. Was this, indeed,
the Senate in which Burke had uttered his voice? Was it the hall in
which Chatham had rescued from the last disgrace the honour of his
country? And were there to be no words, like his—burning words—living
words—immortal words—to prove forever that England took not her shame
in abject submission! At least no such words were spoken. There was not
even a John of Gaunt there, to bewail the disgrace of “the dear, dear

        “Dear for her reputation through the world;”

and, notwithstanding the eminent exceptions to the remark, I said to
myself, as I left the House after midnight—I seem to have been hearing
only a “debate in the Senate of Lilliput.”

It seemed strange, before I sat at breakfast, early next morning, to
take up the _Times_, and read, in four or five columns, a very tolerable
report of the whole proceedings, and many of the words which seemed,
even then, to have scarcely ceased to sound in my ear. I cannot but add
the remark, that it is a great pity the amendment, which I had heard
debated, failed to pass. It would have loaded Lord John with the full
consequences of his own conduct, and it would have saved England from
the degradation of enacting a law, devised as a mere expedient, and
which affords to the enemy the darling satisfaction of defying it with

                             CHAPTER XIII.

            _The House of Lords—Their Lordships in Session._

The new House of Lords is a superb specimen of modern art; and, in every
way, is worthy of the hereditary Senate of the British Empire. Perhaps
it is too small for full effect, and yet, if larger, it would hardily
answer the purposes of speaking and hearing. Its dimensions, however,
are symbolical of its character, as intended for the use of a very
select assembly; and would seem to indicate, moreover, (to copy once
more the manner of Fuller,) that the Whigs are not to reign forever,
seeing that if such as my Lord John Russell should long continue in
power, there would need be built a much larger hall to contain all the
broken lawyers, hack politicians, Popish Bishops, and rich Jews, who
might justly expect, from former examples, to be fitted up with
coronets, coats of arms, and patents of nobility. The like idea seems to
obtain, moreover, in the decorations of the hall, in which History is
artfully blended with Religion and Chivalry; implying, if my republican
comprehension can rightly interpret this writing on the wall, that to be
a true patrician, one must have historical antecedents, and should
represent some great fact in the annals of one’s country; and that such
antecedents, to be made honourable to an individual, must be sustained
by personal worth, and by that refined and sublimated virtue which is
called honour. Thus, for example, a Nelson or a Wellington is a nobleman
by the historic origin of his family, although of modern date; while,
with respect to “all the blood of all the Howards,” it is equally true,
that if devoid of corresponding traits of magnanimity and honesty, its
degenerate inheritor is, after all, only fit to be hooted at as a
poltroon and a villain. This principle I fully understand, American as I
am. I feel that something is due to the worthy representative of a name
illustrious in the annals of a great nation; but your mere Lord
Moneybags, or the spiritless and unprincipled shadow of a name that was
once right-honourable, are creatures with whose acquaintance I should
feel it somewhat discreditable to be bored. Every man who has moral
worth, and who respects himself accordingly, must entertain a degree of
honest contempt for such company, somewhat akin to that of good old
Johnson, in his thread-bare coat, when he wrote his inimitable letter to

However, their Lordships’ House! There is the Throne; and I defy any one
to look at the Throne of England without veneration. It is a gorgeous
seat, over which appear the royal arms, while on its right and left are
seats for the Prince Consort and the Prince of Wales. A splendid canopy
overhangs the dais on which these seats are ranged, and the dais itself
is covered with a carpet of “scarlet velvet pile, spotted with heraldic
lions and roses.” The ceiling is ribbed with massive gilded bands, and
richly bossed and set with devices in all the colours of blazonry.
Between the lofty windows are niches intended to receive the bronze
statues of the old Magna Charta Barons, while the windows themselves are
filled with stained glass, commemorative of the Kings and Queens of
England. The subordinate ornaments and furniture are all in keeping. On
the right hand of the Throne, are the seats appropriate to the Bishops,
where the Church “lifts her mitred front” before the Sovereign, and
teaches her by whom she reigns, and how she may execute judgment. But
directly in front of the Throne is the _woolsack_, covered with red
cloth, and otherwise made suitable to “the keeper of the Queen’s
conscience,” who ordinarily sits thereon. Before this are the clerks’
table and seats, and then the bar; while on either hand range the
crimson benches of the Peers. At the end of the hall is the reporters’
and strangers’ gallery, of very small dimensions, from which, however,
one gets the best view of the whole interior, and of the striking
pictures over the Throne. These are happily chosen as to subjects, and
well executed as frescoes. In the centre is the Baptism of King
Ethelbert—the symbol of a truly Christian realm: on one side is the
Black Prince receiving the Garter—a symbol of genuine chivalry; and on
the other is Henry, Prince of Wales, submitting to imprisonment for an
assault upon Judge Gascoigne—a most speaking exhibition of the
time-honoured relations subsisting between British Royalty and British
Law. It will be a wholesome thing for every future Prince of Wales to
look at this picture, before he presumes to sit down under it. It may
really have an important influence in moulding the character of future
Kings. God grant it may!

In surveying this splendid apartment, the mind naturally goes forward,
since it presents the fancy with no past history. What is to be its
future? Is this House to be the scene of a further development of vast
imperial resources? Is it to be graced by a perpetuated aristocracy,
surviving every change in society and in arts, by the force of their own
character, as furnishing a high example to mankind of “whatsoever things
are lovely and of good report?” Is this roof to resound with the voices
of high-minded men, asserting from age to age their privilege to be
foremost in defence of religion and of humanity, and to do and to suffer
for the good of their fellow-subjects, and the welfare of mankind? Is
the British Peerage to grow brighter with high moral qualities, than
with hereditary honours, and to be cherished by an enlightened spirit of
public virtue as a standard of all that is honourable, and as a pattern
of what is most excellent in the ideal of the true Christian gentleman?
Or must the sad reverse be true, and must this House be the scene of the
last act in the eventful history of England? Shall a factitious nobility
be crowded into these chief seats of the realm; men devoid of ennobling
antecedents, and not less so of honour and of worth? Shall the decay of
a mighty Empire be marked by such a House of Lords as may facilitate the
plans of the demagogue, sinking the Sovereign to a Doge, and the Church
to a State hireling, and giving to the Commons the unrestrained
privilege of revolution and anarchy? These are questions which a
well-wisher to the British Empire cannot but suggest, in view of events
which have lately taken place; and especially in view of the fact, that
the House of Lords has not unfrequently of late suffered itself to be
disgraced by breaches of Christian courtesy, not to say of common
decency, which, if multiplied in such a conspicuous place, must tend to
barbarize the world. Let us hear no more of disgraceful scenes in the
American Congress, till hereditary noblemen, who have little else to do,
can furnish mankind with a wholesome example of high legislative
decorum! For unless noblemen will reflect upon their position, and act
upon convictions of what is necessary to the credit of their rank, in a
day when true gentlemen are by no means rare, outside their glittering
circle, and even among plain republicans, they must not wonder if they
too should become as a worn-out form, or an exploded theory. Who knows
how soon this superb hall of legislation may be exhibited as the chief
memorial of their existence? If the British Peerage proves untrue to the
Church of England, and degrades itself to the bare responding of an
_Amen_ to every momentary _Credo_ of Ministers and Commons, what use of
such machinery? This palace shall be even as those of Venice. This
gorgeous interior shall be kept under the key of the mere _cicerone_,
and shown as a thing of the past to the staring traveller, as he marvels
over tarnished gilding and faded damask, and at every tread disturbs the
dust upon its floor, or breaks through cobwebs dangling from its

When one sees, in the writings of such a man as Dr. Arnold, confessions
of annoyance, if not of a sense of injury, from the existence of a
privileged class, to which merit must constantly give way, where
otherwise it would be entitled to precedence; and when one discovers,
even in the highest seats of British intellect and piety, a certain
deference to mere rank, which seems humiliating; and when one finds
something of the spirit of _tuft-hunting_ diffused through all classes
alike, from the Tory school-boy to the Whig Bishop; one feels indeed
that there may be arguments against the aristocratic element in society,
which have never been stated in their list of grievances by political
agitators. But, after all, in an old country like England, the
aristocracy exists, and there is no destroying it without destroying the
nation. The infernal _guillotine_ itself cannot wholly make way with it,
as France has learned to its sorrow. What then? It must be modified and
perpetuated. It must be purified, and worked in with society, as its
ornament, but not its fabric. This is what is done already in England.
The nobility, the clergy, the gentry, the literati, the professional
classes, and then the people—after all, in England they are one; “shade
unperceived and softening into shade,” and joined and knit together by
habits, tastes, alliances, and interests, in a wonderful order. Much yet
remains to be done, and will be done, to smooth down remaining
asperities between rank and rank; but the British aristocracy may be
said, even now, to be a genuine one, identified with everything great
and good in the nation, and, on the whole, presenting a wholesome
example to other classes in the State. In all probability, so virtuous
an aristocracy has never been seen elsewhere among mankind. Among them
may be found specimens of human nature, whose physical and mental
endowments, together with their moral worth, and intellectual
accomplishments, entitle them to the highest admiration of their
fellow-men. We are too well aware that side by side with such, may sit,
adorned with equal rank and titles, some wretch, whose coronet has been
purchased by infamy, and whose hereditary decorations are but the
mockery of a character, every way pestilent and detestable. The English
themselves are used to it; but it strikes a republican with amazement
that such creatures should be noble, even “by courtesy.”

To see the House, as I saw it first, empty, and for the sake of its
architecture and decoration, one gets a ticket by applying at the
adjoining office of the Lord Chamberlain, on specified days. To attend
the sessions of the House of Lords, one must possess an autograph order
by a Peer. With this I was kindly supplied, not only for one night, but
for four; the orders being given me in blanks, which I was permitted to
fill with any dates that might best suit my convenience. It so happened
that little was going on in the House of Lords while I was in London,
and I did not see it to advantage. As I heard several of its most
eminent members elsewhere, however, and frequently met with them in
society, I had less to regret than would otherwise have been the case.
In the House itself, I saw enough to familiarize me with its appearance
and manners, and the rest is easily imagined, when one has before him
the _Times’_ report of any particular scene.

Lord Truro, sitting on the woolsack, was the first object that struck me
on entering—and it was by no means a majestic one. He is a _Russell_
Chancellor, and of course no Clarendon. Shades of Somers and of Eldon,
what a figure I saw in your old seat! The sight of the Bishops, in their
robes, with the old Primate, in his wig, reminded me of Chatham’s appeal
to “that right reverend bench, and the unsullied purity of their lawn.”
Their Lordships were few in number, and among them the Bishop of Oxford
was the man of mark. I doubt if he has his equal in the House for
“thoughts that breathe and words that burn.” The Lords temporal were
lounging about their benches, hats on or off, as chanced to be, and what
little speaking I heard, was by no means such as to rouse them to
particular attention. A hesitating, stuttering, and very awkward
utterance would even seem to be the fashion in this noble House. I
looked in vain for Lord Brougham, not because I have any great respect
for him, but because one may be pardoned for trying to see such a
curiosity, when it is, possibly, just under one’s nose. He has been
vastly over-rated, and will soon be forgotten. In general, their
Lordships looked like well-bred gentlemen, and there was about them a
certain air of travel and of finish, which marks the habituated man of
the world. Some of them were plainly dressed, but others were evidently
men of fashion. One thing they ought to know and feel, and that is—that
much is given them, and much will be required of them. No doubt every
position has its qualifying disadvantages and trials; yet it must be
allowed that no station in which a human being can find himself placed
by his Creator, affords so many advantages, at the very outset, for
usefulness and happiness in life, as that of a young English Peer of
competent fortune and sound mind, with a healthful body, and a good
education. What a hint for such a man is that challenge of nature’s own
nobleman, St. Paul—_Who maketh thee to differ from another, and what
hast thou that thou didst not receive?_

An incident which created some excitement in fashionable circles,
shortly after the opening of the Crystal Palace, will illustrate one
feature of British civilization which will not be out of place in
connection with these remarks on the aristocracy. Everybody has heard of
the London Police, their admirable drill, and great efficiency. Their
impartial enforcement of the rules of the Great Exhibition was
peculiarly illustrative of these characteristics, and also of the spirit
of law and order, as paramount and inflexible in the Metropolis. No
departure from these rules was allowed to any one; and carriage after
carriage, all blazing with heraldic splendours, and filled with rank and
beauty, was forced to change its route by the simple waving of a
policeman’s finger. It so happened that a dashing young fellow, a scion
of the noble house of S——, driving his own equipage through Hyde Park,
ventured to disobey. On this the policeman seized the horse’s head, and
backed him. The hot-blooded Jehu instantly raised his whip, and struck
the policeman several violent blows over the face and head. The result
was his immediate arrest; and on being carried before the Magistrate,
young S—— found himself committed for ten days imprisonment, which he
accordingly fulfilled with exemplary submission, wearing jail-clothes,
and performing sundry penances, precisely as if he had been the humblest
offender in the land. On the same day that this happened, a cabman whom
I had engaged to take me, in a hurry, to a certain part of the town,
drove me rapidly through St. James’s Park, and was just making his
escape into the street, near Buckingham Palace, when he was stopped, in
the gate, by a policeman, and ordered instantly back, with a threat of
severe punishment should he again trespass where he knew that only
private carriages were admitted. As my time was precious, I ventured to
interpose, and exhausted every art, in vain, to induce the inexorable
policeman to allow the cab to pass on. He little knew my sincere respect
for him, and the real satisfaction I took in thus finding him “a brick
for his principles.” Finally, I offered to alight, and discharge the
cabman there; but this also the policeman respectfully forbade. “It
would never do,” he said, “to allow cabmen to take such liberties; the
cab must go back;” but then he advised me not to pay the fellow a single
penny, as he was not entitled to anything but an arrest, for exemption
from which he might be thankful. I was exceedingly annoyed, in spite of
my admiration for authority, but thought it best to submit without
further parley. Next day I heard of the fate of the Honorable Mr. S——,
and, on the whole, felt glad that I had got off so easily. Thus it seems
that law is law in London, for all classes alike; and if the stranger,
in his cab, is not permitted to violate it, he may at least console
himself with the fact that he would fare no better if he were a
home-born aristocrat in a dashing tilbury. It is this well-defined
system of society, in which every man knows his rights, and where even
privilege is limited, and as absolutely held in check as license, that
makes even humble life in England, in spite of all its burdens, a life
of liberty and contentment. Theoretical equality may exist with far less
of real independence, and we who value ourselves on self-government, are
perhaps in danger of finding ourselves without government, and too
jealous of authority to submit even to law.

                              CHAPTER XIV.

            _St. Mary’s, Lambeth—Temple—St. Paul’s—Tunnel._

Time never need hang heavily on one’s hands in London. A stroll in the
Parks is an unfailing resource in fair weather: when it was wet, I used
to take refuge under cover of some exhibition. The National Gallery, in
Trafalgar Square, and the Vernon Gallery, gratuitously opened to the
public, in Marlborough House, were quite a resource; although the annual
show of pictures in the former was nothing extraordinary. The portrait
of Dr. Wiseman was displayed there, and a sight of it cured me of all
curiosity to see more of him. Its coarse and sensual effect afforded a
very striking contrast to the refined and intellectual head of the
Bishop of London, which was hung _vis-à-vis_, perhaps not without
design. But of pictures I do not propose to speak particularly.

In the cool of a charming May morning I sauntered forth, and crossed
Westminster Bridge. It was too late for the full enjoyment of
Wordsworth’s emotions, on that thoroughfare, for already the city was
astir; and yet there was enough in the scene it commanded to make one
stop a few moments and conjure up the imagery of his inimitable

        “Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
         All bright and glittering in the smokeless air!
           Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep:
         The river glideth at his own sweet will;
           Dear God! the very houses seem asleep,
         And all that mighty heart is lying still!”

So I passed on to Lambeth, and came by Bishop’s Walk, under the walls of
the Archbishop’s gardens, to Morning Prayer at St. Mary’s. It was here,
under the shadow of this Church, that the poor Queen of James, the
Runagate, stood shivering on a stormy night, with her unfortunate little
babe packed up in a basket, awaiting a start to France. Had the baby
only cried, how different might have been the history of the British
Crown and nation! A great many Scotchmen would have lived quietly
through the greater part of the succeeding century, who (as the baby
slept soundly) were only born to be hanged, shot, and beheaded; and
then, in all probability, we should have had no Waverley novels!
However, I now found the Church a ruin; only its tower standing, and a
bit of the chancel, while the rebuilding was going bravely on. But I am
glad to say that the daily service was not therefore interrupted. The
chancel was roughly boarded up, and protected from the weather, and
there a good congregation was at prayer when I entered, two curates
officiating. I was rejoiced to worship there, in such a primitive way.
The bones of the brave old primate Bancroft, and of good Archbishop
Tenison were beneath us as we knelt; and the meek Secker reposes hard

After breakfast, at the Rectory, in a room overlooking the
archiepiscopal grounds, I went to the river, and hunted up one of those
deposed and antiquated things—a _wherry_, resolved to go by water, in
the old fashioned way, from Lambeth to the Temple. Now, then, I was
legitimately afloat upon “the silent highway,” only that the hideous
little steamers would destroy my anti-modern imaginations, as they
paddled triumphantly by. I was trying to imagine myself in the primate’s
barge, with Cranmer or with Laud; or again, as I “shot the bridge, with
its roar of waters,” I conjured up the day when Dryden, with his
fashionable companions, took water, that they might the better hear the
distant guns, by which they knew “the fleet, under his Royal Highness,
was then engaging the Dutch upon the coast, and that a great event was
then deciding.” Ah! it was the poetry of the Thames to go upon it with
oars, and to hear the waterman lament the degenerate days of steam; or
to draw out his _Allegro_ by questions about the “champion of the
river,” and the great rowing match soon to come off, to the probable
discomfiture of that hero’s further claims to that dignity. The salt
talked very bad _dry_ English, but his _wet_ vocabulary was truly rich;
and I left his boat at Blackfriars Bridge, with a sort of feeling that,
instead of a few paltry shillings he had earned by his conduct on the
voyage, the not unusual compliment to affable sea-captains, of “a vote
of thanks, and a piece of plate.”

I now went to the Temple Gardens, where, according to great Will, began
the wars of York and Lancaster, by the plucking of the two roses; and,
for a while, I sauntered about those pleasant walks, in the company of
one of the benchers, feeling very much as if I had found a little Oxford
on the margin of the Thames. After a subsequent visit to the room which
Dr. Johnson once inhabited, and sauntering through courts and alleys,
where one sees many a celebrated name painted over a door, as a business
sign, we entered the Temple Church. Great restorations have been made
here of late, at an immense expense, and generally in good taste and on
correct principles, save that unsightly seats, too much like pews,
encumber the space in front of the altar, which ought to be entirely
open. What a reverend old Church; built in the twelfth century by
Crusaders, and consecrated by a Patriarch of Jerusalem! Under its walls,
inside, lies Selden, and outside, lies Oliver Goldsmith; but, to me, its
most sacred interest is the fact, that here the immortal Hooker erected
those noble defences of the Church of England which broke the rising
tide of Puritanism, and ultimately saved us from its floods. Here that
great “Master of the Temple,” while his inmost soul was panting for a
quiet country cure, bore patiently the heat and burthen of the day, in
wearisome conflict with the dogged Travers, who could always preach
“_Geneva_ in the afternoon, against the morning _Canterbury_.” On
entering “the Round,” you are struck with its venerable effect,
heightened by the fine figures of the old Templars, stretched,
cross-legged, upon the floor. These figures were sadly mutilated, but
have been admirably restored. The Round is free from pewing, and opens
into the choir, where the benchers’ stalls are ranged on either hand.
The two societies of the Middle and Inner Temple worship here together,
and their respective arms—a Pegasus and a Lamb—are interchanged in the
showy decorations of the vaulting.

I ascended into the _triforia_ by a cork-screw staircase, pausing to
enter the famous Penitential Cell—a dismal hole in the wall, in which a
refractory Templar was sometimes confined, but which offered him the
consolations of religion, by means of a hagioscope, or slit in the
masonry, through which he could see the altar of the Church, and join in
the devotions of his brethren—though it may be feared he more generally
responded to their chant with anything but benediction. In the
_triforia_ are happily preserved all the monuments which lately
disfigured the walls below: and so set are the benchers against any
renewing of a bad example, that I was told they had resisted the
erection of even Hooker’s bust in the choir. This I was sorry to hear,
as one really felt the want of it on looking about the walls which once
reflected the sounds of his earnest and persuasive voice. And what was
my surprise, on my next visit, to find a workman setting it there, just
as it should be! It was covered. I begged him to let me see it. ‘Honour
to thy old square cap, thou venerable and judicious Richard,’ said my
inmost heart, as the well-known features emerged in all their dignity;
and then I asked if I was so fortunate as to be the very first to salute
it. The workman, who was the sculptor himself, assured me that I was.
‘It is well,’ I answered, ‘that an American clergyman should have the
privilege. We know how to value in America the great defender of Law and
of Religion, and much as England owes to Hooker, America owes infinitely
more, or will do so when the Church shall have proved herself, as she
will in the end, the salvation of the Republic.’

Under the roof of the Middle Temple Hall, where the benchers, barristers
and students still dine together, was first acted on Twelfth night,
1602, Shakspeare’s play, so called. A visit to that noble hall, and a
sight of its celebrated equestrian Charles First, by Vandyck, gave me
great delight. There are also several other royal portraits, and many
heraldic memorials of the great historic lawyers who once “ate their
terms” within its walls. The hall of the Inner Temple is less striking,
but of similar character. One wonders what future Lord Chancellor sits
daily at these boards, among the students. But in the Inner Temple, I
thought chiefly of that gentle Templar, more gentle than its armorial
Lamb, who once sat with them, the author of “the Task.”

My next visit was an ambitious one. I spent an hour, or so, in climbing
to the ball of St. Paul’s, within which, of course, I ensconsed myself,
and indulged in very sublime reflections. The fact is, however, that it
was very hot, and when some half dozen cockneys had wedged themselves
in, after me, I verily thought the chances lay between smothering and
being toppled down in a lump into the street (400 feet below) like a big
pippin; for the ball shook and trembled upon the rods which support it,
in a manner by no means soothing to excitable nerves. I was glad when I
got safely back to the “Golden Gallery,” and could cool myself, and look
down on the roofs and chimneys of the million at one glance. Here is
your true view of London! Here that “mighty heart” is seen, and felt,
and heard in its throbbings. Here a thoughtful man finds food for
reflection, and a benevolent one for interceding prayer. Oh, God! to
think of the life and death, the joy and misery, the innocence and the
guilt, and all the mixed and mingled passions, emotions, thoughts, and
deeds which are going on beneath these roofs, along those labyrinthine
streets, and alleys, and in all this circuit of miles and miles, and
close-packed human beings! God alone understands the issues there
deciding: it is too much for one to dwell upon a single moment; but,
thank God for the assurance that “He remembereth that we are but dust:”
yea, thank God, for a Saviour and an High Priest, who can be touched
with the feeling of human infirmities!

In the successive stages of mounting to the ball, one passes, of course,
many objects of interest. The original model of St. Paul’s is well
worthy of inspection, as conveying Wren’s own ideal of the cathedral. He
was so attached to it, that he cried when forced to depart from it; but
it strikes me as greatly inferior to the actual design. It might better
suit the _dilettanti_, but except in the unreality of the second story,
which is a mere screen to the roofing and buttresses, I can see nothing
to regret in the substitution. The model room is also the depository of
sundry old and tattered flags, which, after escaping “the thunder of the
captains, and the shoutings,” were formerly suspended in the dome. It
was fashionable to say that they desecrated it—but why so? The God of
battles and the Prince of Peace are one: and I can see no reason why the
flags of Waterloo should not be hung up before the Lord of Hosts, in His
Holy Temple. The question is merely one of taste; but the flags may be
as well considered as tokens of peace, as trophies of war; and why
should not the providence of God, as the giver of all victory, be thus
recognized, by a significant acknowledgment, that to Him, and not to the
Duke of Wellington, for example, we owe the general peace which has for
so long a period blessed the world, since the overthrow of Napoleon? It
is a sublime association with this cathedral, that it was first used for
Divine Service in celebrating the Peace of Ryswick, which, with all its
faults, has secured to England inestimable blessings: and, perhaps the
virtual appeal to God, which is made by connecting His awful name with
the awful issues of battles, may have a happy effect on the national
conscience. It may make men afraid of mere wars of ambition; may keep in
view the fact, that peace only should be the end of conflict; and may
also correct the sentimentalism which fails to see that war may
sometimes be a just and a holy exertion of that magistracy with which
God has girded the loins of rulers, and for which they are responsible
to Him who commands them not to “wear the sword in vain.”

The Library is a place of little interest to one who has but little
time. You look with reverence at the great bell, which thunders out the
death of time from hour to hour, and only tolls when a Prince’s
departure, or that of some great ecclesiastic, is to be announced to the
nation. The vastness of the clock and its dial, give you fresh
impressions of the enormous scale of everything about you, and the
Whispering Gallery is reached with a sense of fatigue, which quite
accords with this effect. Here a bore of a fellow shows off the petty
experiment of the whisper, and stuns you by slamming a door; after which
you are vexed to find that the paintings of the dome have disappeared
under the humid influences of the London climate. It is only when these
first annoyances are over, that you regain entire command of your
thoughts, and are able to measure “the length and breadth, and depth and
height,” of the noble dome within whose concavity you are now walking
about, and perchance listening to the glorious swell of the organ below.
The architecture of this dome becomes easily understood, as one ascends
between its inner and outer surfaces, and one cannot but regret to find
that the former is so vastly disproportioned to the latter. Here the
triumph of Michael Angelo, and the one grand superiority of St. Peter’s,
begins to be powerfully felt. Wren has constructed his dome prosaically;
the rhetoric and the poetry of architecture are sublimely displayed in
the work of the mighty Florentine.

During the ascent, you emerge from time to time to open air, and get
external views from the successive galleries. London chimneys are, at
first, below you, and then the steeples, and then even its canopy of
smoke and vapour; and all its mingling sounds come to your ear at last
like the murmur of the sea. “How dizzy ’tis to cast one’s eyes so low.”
The elevation is indeed considerable; but with such a Babel at one’s
feet; with the fleets and the treasures of nations all in sight; and
with a million of men swarming like ants in their mole-hill, just below,
it is one’s own fault if the moral elevation be not far more sublime,
and if the impressions of the hour are not forcibly suggestive of a
glimpse of the world from the mansions of eternity.

After a very cursory inspection of the ill-judged sculpture in the nave
and transepts, and a more affectionate visit to the statue of Howard, to
the kneeling figure of Heber, and that of Bishop Middleton, which
represents him as confirming two Indian children, I had time to survey
the crypts before the Evening Service. Here lie Reynolds, and West, and
Lawrence, and several of their brothers of the Academy; and here, in a
sort of chapel, which admits the external air and light through a
grating, lies the architect himself—the truly great Sir Christopher.

        “Lie heavy on him earth, for he
         Laid many a heavy load on thee!”

But now you come to the circular vault, upheld by massive pillars, and
lighted partially from the dome above, but more strongly by gas-burners,
where you stand before the sepulchre of Nelson. The sarcophagus is an
empty relic of Cardinal Wolsey’s ambition, but looks so modern, that one
is tempted to believe he ordered it in prophetic spirit, expressly for
its present purpose. After all, it is not Nelson’s sepulchre, for he is
buried under it. The hero and the ecclesiastic have alike been compelled
to accept a “little earth for charity,” and this hollow semblance of a
coffin dangles like that of Mohammed, between them. Alas! that Nelson’s
tomb should suggest any meaner thoughts than those of his genius and
glory; but it was in fact a relief to turn to the simple monument of
Collingwood, and to be able to say, here lies not only a decaying hero,
but a slumbering Christian.

I looked for the monument of Dr. Donne with especial interest. You grope
amid interesting relics of old St. Paul’s, a fragment of Lord Chancellor
Hatton’s effigy, a piece of Dean Colet’s, and another of Sir Nicholas
Bacon’s. At last, in one corner of a dismal cell, feebly lighted by a
grated window from without, you see the old worthy, in his shroud,
precisely as Walton describes the figure, but leaning against the wall
like a ghost, or rather like one of the dried corpses in the Morgue, on
the Great St. Bernard. You think of his truly heavenly mind, and strange
life; of his rusty old poetry, and sound old sermons; of his ancestor,
Sir Thomas More, and of his descendant, William Cowper. It is strange
that no one ever thinks of Cowper as the inheritor of this double
genius, and as owing some features of his intellect not less to the
rhyming Dean of St. Paul’s, than to the author of _Utopia_. One would
hope that under the Deanship of another poet, the graceful and scholarly
Milman, this one historic relic of the old cathedral, and of a brother
of the sacred lyre, might be set in a fitter place, or at least more
decently erected in the place where it now seems irreverently set aside
to moulder and be forgotten.

The _Thames Tunnel_ was pronounced, by Canning, “the greatest bore in
England:” he was bored to death by applications for Government aid in
completing it, and hence spoke feelingly. It is now apparently done,
though not finished, and is a cockney wonder, well worth a visit. Were
it only in actual use as a thoroughfare under the bed of the Thames,
thus realizing the original conception, it would not be without an
element of true sublimity; but to see it degraded to a miserable show,
scarcely paying for its keeper, and serving only to enable the visitor
to say that he has walked under the Thames, is enough to justify one in
naming it a folly. Its uses, however, may even yet be demonstrated to be
great, and I cannot but feel that this noble work has not been executed
for naught. It will even yet have a history. Pity it is that the Duke of
Wellington had no occasion to use it, in planning the defences of the
city on the memorable tenth of April, 1848. It needed but the passage of
a single regiment, under his command, through this mysterious
excavation, for actual purposes of surprise and stratagem, to give the
place a charm forever; and had such a passage been by chance
accomplished in the night, and led by the Duke in person, for the sake
of some masterly result, a new and romantic interest would have been
added as well to his own marvellous story, as to that of the Tunnel
itself. If the caverny wine vaults of the London Docks were but
connected with the Tunnel on one side, and the Tower on the other, so
that there might be a sub-marine passage to the Tower, from the Surrey
side, it would at least furnish associations of a military character to
this daring achievement of Brunel.

Such were some of the random suggestions of my fancy, as I descended the
shaft, on the Wapping-side. I entered the dark hole, with a vague
realization of the descent of the Trojan hero into the shades of old.
The first glance reveals a narrow street, with very narrow side-walks,
or _trottoirs_, arched over with masonry, which is quite devoid of
anything remarkable in itself. It is here and there a little
damp-looking, but not more so perhaps than tunnels under ground. Gas
burns along the dismal vault, but hardly lights it; enabling one to
amuse himself with the thought of seeing fire beneath a river, and to
pick his way comfortably; but otherwise only rendering darkness visible.
The corresponding way, or the other half, is quite filled up with stalls
and shops, in which they offer, here a raree-show, and there
refreshments. A wretched grinding organ fills the cavern with doleful
music, and little peddlers offer things for sale. So few, however, seem
to be passing, that one wonders how they find it worth while to carry on
this mermaid merchandise. You are so bored with their importunity, that
it is not without an effort that you compose yourself, and reflect that
fishes are swimming, and that the keels of countless ships, with the
wealth of nations in their holds, are passing over your head, and that
the very smallest breach in the arch above would “hurl an ocean on your
march below.” This is the one great idea of the Tunnel. I passed through
and emerged at Rotherhithe, and then descending, returned in the same
way. It occurred to me, what if Guy Fawkes the Second should fill this
place with gunpowder, and touch off the magazine, by electric telegraph,
just as a royal fleet was passing the critical point! Strange to say, it
might be so arranged, by means of the telegraph and Cardinal Wiseman,
that the Pope himself, sitting in his armchair at the Vatican, might
produce this terrible explosion in the Thames; and I suppose he is quite
as likely to do it, as he is to effect the other results which he and
the Cardinal (or the Cardinal and he) are actually attempting.

The shipping which one beholds in the vicinity of the Tunnel, is such as
to produce a powerful impression upon the mind, in favour of the vast
scale on which the commerce of London is maintained with the whole
world. Truly—“the harvest of the river is her revenue, and she is a
mart of nations.” As compared with the port of New-York, the narrowness
of the river here rather increases than lessens the effect, bringing the
forest of masts and the bulk of steamers close together, while, in our
great harbour, they are stretched along such a circuit of shore, or
anchored in such an expanse of water, as materially diminishes the
general impression of multitude and immensity. It must be remembered,
however, that in estimating the tonnage of London, a vast number of
vessels are included which are never thought of at the Custom-house in
New-York. Thus, our river craft, which supply the city with produce for
the market, such as eggs, poultry and the like, with the whole fleet of
our domestic steamers, go for nothing with us; while on the contrary,
the hoys that bring the like from the Low Countries and the coast of
France, with the steamers that ply to other British ports, are all
religiously reckoned in the commercial lists of the British Metropolis.
With this abatement, one is surprised to see how respectable a
proportion the tonnage of New-York bears to that of the populous Tyre of
England; a proportion which is probably destined to a direct reversal at
no distant period, when once the Pacific and the Australian and Asiatic
coasts are fairly opened to our direct trade through the Isthmus of

                              CHAPTER XV.

                     _London Sights and By-places._

It is surprising how deep-rooted in one’s mind is the nonsense
literature of the nursery, and how practically useful it often renders
itself in the serious occasions of life. The _Cries of London_, and the
rhymes of _Mother Goose_ may often point a moral of grave importance to
mankind; but not less were they serviceable to me, in enlivening many a
nook and corner of the great Metropolis, whenever I gave myself up to a
city stroll, as I frequently did, without plan, and in the merest mood
of adventure. ‘Heigho! here is Holborn’—or again—‘this, then, is
Eastcheap’—or similar exclamations in view of St. Bride’s or St.
Helen’s—such were my entertainments, as I moved musingly along, among
stock-jobbers and Jews. The sight of Pannier Alley, or Pudding Lane, I
am free to confess, raised emotions truly lively and refreshing; and
seldom was I in want of associations, equally sentimental and profound,
while I traversed, with all the reverence of a pilgrim, the mighty
realms of Cockaigne.

From Charing-cross to Temple-bar, in spite of the modern improvements,
one picks not a little of this sort of pleasure as he saunters along.
Turning aside for a moment, let us step into Covent-gardens. There is
the Church, so memorable from Hogarth’s picture; and so illustrative of
the piety and taste of the Russels, one of whom being forced to build it
here, amid his thousand tenants, gave Inigo Jones the order, and
suggested the munificence of his plans in the words—“anything—a barn
will do.” Accordingly, a barn it is. I searched its precincts for the
grave of Butler, that marvellous Daguerreotypist of Puritanism, whose
rhymes and aphorisms will live as long as the language which they so
curiously shape and conjure into forms the most congenial to their pith
and purpose. In the market one lingers amid the fruits and flowers,
which here, every morning, offer to the Londoners a toothsome and
brilliant display. “Buy my roses”—“cherry ripe, cherry
red”—“strawberries, your honour”—and “flowers all a-blowing, all
a-growing”—such are the sounds with which you are for a moment
emparadised, albeit in London streets. Here also you spy an alderman’s
dinner at every turn, and wonder how Chatterton could have contrived to
starve, within call of such a surfeit. But alas! full many a ragged
visitor looks on with lean and hungry stare, and famishes the more
bitterly for the sight of plenty, which he cannot enjoy.

But resuming our walk, we again step aside to look at the Savoy. To do
this, we pitch down hill, towards the Thames; and there is all that
remains of the famous Palace, in the little homely old Church, to which
I did reverence in gratitude to God for the famous Conference, which
resulted in enriching the Prayer-book with several good things, (and
with the significant addition of two words in the Litany, _rebellion_
and _schism_, amongst the rest,) as the result of the Restoration. Next
we survey the splendours of Somerset House, not without regretting the
obliteration of the old historical landmarks which it has deposed. In
the middle of the street, before it, is the Church of St.
Mary-le-Strand, where stood, in good old times, that famous May-pole, so
profane and odious to the Round-heads, but which makes so picturesque a
figure in our visions of the past. It perished honourably at last, for
when no longer used for Spring dances and revels, it was given to Sir
Isaac Newton, who hung his telescope thereto, and made it serve him in
exploring the stars. So come we to St. Clement Danes, where grave
visions of Johnson, keeping Easter, and approaching the Holy Sacrament
with fear and trembling, give dignity to its otherwise lack-lustre
appearance. And here is the Bar, where we enter Fleet-street and the
city, and where less serious memories of the great moralist afflict
one’s desire to preserve propriety. Fancy him here, with Boswell to look
at him, holding on to a post, and making the night resound with his
_ha-ha_, as he burst into earth-shaking laughter over his own wit. Even
in his day, this gate of the city used, occasionally, to be set with the
grim heads of decapitated traitors, and I remembered that, for once,
poor Goldsmith got the better of him here, by an apt allusion to the
ghastly spectacle. They had been moralizing together in Westminster
Abbey, where Johnson had pointed to the busts in Poets’ Corner, and
whispered, in a ponderous Latin quotation, to his brother poet—“perhaps
our heads shall yet be set with theirs.” Poor Goldy kept his wit pent up
till he arrived at this spot, when, pointing Johnson to the grim skulls
of his fellow-Jacobites, he slyly repeated—“perhaps our heads shall yet
be set with theirs!” In further honour of these worthies, I hunted up
that orthodox chop-house, “the Mitre,” and explored with awe the dingy
precinct of “Bolt-Court:” nor should I have forgotten, before leaving
the Strand, to make worthy mention of “Clement’s Inn,” where I surveyed,
for a few minutes, what remains of that ancient haunt of Falstaff’s
memories; remembering too that “forked radish” of a man whom Falstaff’s
recollections did so vilely disparage. But time would fail me to detail
my various _ins_ and _outs_, as I surveyed the streets of London from
St. Dunstan’s to Whitefriars.

In company with a gentleman of the Middle Temple, I went one morning to
Lincoln’s Inn, and surveyed its Hall and Library, which have been lately
restored, in the style and taste of the olden time. I had the pleasure
of looking at Lord Erskine’s statue, under the kindly guidance of one of
his descendants. In the chapel, the pulpit where Heber used to preach,
was my chief object of interest. Lincoln’s Inn Fields attracted my
attention, for a time, though it is hard to conjure up, in such a spot
as it is at present, the scaffold and the block, and poor Lord William
Russell saying his last prayers. To the Temple gardens I then repaired
for a little stroll, and there encountered the Crown-prince of Prussia,
making his survey of the place, attended by his suite. He moves rapidly,
and cuts a good figure. What he is, we shall be likely to know if we
live to see him reign. From the Temple to _Alsatia_ is but a step, and
here I walked in painful honour of Nigel Olifaunt, as long as the sights
and smells, which still preserve a thievish richness, would allow a mere
romance to support my enthusiasm. And so from Whitefriars to
Blackfriars, where, upon the very walls of ancient London, “the Times
Newspaper” now flourishes, in its modern offices, and oft “_with fear of
change_, perplexes monarchs.” I had been so happy as to make the
acquaintance of Mr. Walter, its eminent proprietor; and under his
hospitable roof, in Upper Grosvenor-street, I met with some of the most
agreeable personages whom I encountered in the society of the
Metropolis. The day’s adventures closed with a visit to Herald’s
College, and to Doctors’ Commons. A slight inspection of the latter
sufficed; but as I was in company with one who had business at the
former, I lingered for a while in its worshipful chambers, and was glad
to see something of the process of the anti-republican mystery to which
it is devoted. Here are the historic books, from which pedigrees are
furnished; and here are the authorities for quarterings and
emblazonings, and all such changes in coat-armour as marriages and
entailments may make necessary. Some interesting relics are shown of the
days when knights and tournaments, and battles too, were in higher
esteem than now; and one cannot but be entertained with the beautiful
drawings and colourings of the divers artists here employed to “gild the
refined gold” of British gentility. In the quadrangle of the College are
the escutcheons of the Stanleys, marking the site of the ancient Derby

I had met, more than once, with Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd, and by his
invitation, I took an opportunity to be a spectator at the Old Bailey
one morning, when some flagrant criminals were to be tried. It is a
horrid spectacle, but one would see everything, except the last act at
Newgate, on many reasonable grounds. I shuddered as I entered the street
before the prison, where such crowds of brutal human beings have long
been wont to congregate around the gallows. Dr. Dodd was not hanged
here, but I could think of him only as I entered the doleful little
courtroom in which he was tried. I found an inferior magistrate trying
some petty offenders; but when this was over, the judges, in their robes
and wigs, made their appearance, preceded by the sheriff, dressed in a
full court suit, and bearing a drawn sword. The judges were Baron
Alderson, and my kind friend, Judge Talfourd. I was seated, by his
order, in a raised box, or pew, at the side of the bench, apparently
reserved for invited strangers. Directly one _Francis Judd_, a youth of
seventeen, was put to the bar, to be tried for the murder of his father!
There was about the very opening of this trial something stern and
awful, which the poor prisoner appeared to feel. He stood pale and
haggard, picking the sprigs of rue, which, according to custom, were
stuck in the spikes before him, and seemed simply sensible of the fact
that he was in the clutches of the law. There was a majesty about the
administration of justice here, which is utterly wanting in our courts.
The case was opened with short speeches—the witnesses were
examined—the instrument which dealt the death blow was produced, and
some bloody relics were exhibited by the policemen who had detected the
culprit. The case was clear against the lad, but he looked stupidly
on. Then came the summing up. His counsel admitted the deed,
but claimed that it was only manslaughter. The judge told the
jury it was for them to say whether it was murder or not. They conferred
awhile—they looked at the prisoner, and he at them—they gave their
verdict—_manslaughter_. Baron Alderson, who seemed to have his black
cap just ready to put on, thrust it aside, and lifting his glass to his
eye, to survey the poor wretch, said:—“Francis Judd, the jury have
found you guilty of manslaughter. For my own sake, and far more for
yours, I thank God they have. Had it been a verdict of murder, I could
not have found fault with it, and my duty would have been more, far
more, painful than it is now. I have looked in vain for proper signs of
emotion in you during this trial. I am sorry you have not shown some
feelings of horror at your awful guilt. A father’s slaughter! The weapon
with which you struck the old man’s gray head brought before your eyes,
and even the covering of his pillow, stained with the blood! Poor youth,
he may have been stern with you, but still he was your father. Your
punishment will be severe, but it will give you time to meditate and
repent—the sentence of the court is, that you be transported for life.”
The whole trial had just taken one hour and a half by the watch. Yet all
had been fair, and merciful. What a contrast to an American trial!
Francis Judd was then removed, and soon another culprit, bullet-headed
and brute featured, was standing in his place. I had seen enough, and,
bowing to Judge Talfourd, I took my departure. I passed St. ’Pulchre’s,
whose bell still tolls the knell of the convicts, and whose solemn clock
is their last measure of time.

I went into the crypts of one of the old London Churches, to survey its
Norman architecture, and there found myself standing amid piles of
coffins, of all sizes and descriptions. Open gratings let in the light
from the streets, and disclosed the passers-by, who seemed unconscious
of the fact, that catacombs were so near. I never was in such an awful
place before. The smell was not so bad as I should have supposed would
be the case, and chloride of lime was sprinkled liberally about. But
here were the coffins of a family, piled one upon another—a consumptive
mother, and her one, two, three, five, or six children, in successive
stages of decay. What a story it told—that pile of mortality! Here was
a coffin, so large that Goliath might lie in it. “Eight men never
carried that coffin,” said the sexton, and on it I read the name of some
beef and pork consuming Londoner, whilom a substantial pillar of the
Exchange. The sexton next brought me to a case, which he opened,
exhibiting the dried corpse of a female. “This was here,” said he, “in
the time of the great fire of London, and was then dried as you see.”
Next he came to a sort of chest, standing upright, and opening like a
closet. He opened it, and displayed two mummy-like figures, singularly
dried, and undecayed. He moved their horrid heads upon their shoulders,
and said—“They were twin brothers that were hung, sir, long ago, sir,
in George Third’s time.” I mentioned what I had seen to a friend in the
Temple. “I am surprised,” said he, “but you have seen the poor fellows
whose fate sealed that of Dr. Dodd. They are the two Perreaus hanged for
forgery in 1776; of whom Lord Mansfield said to the King—‘they must be
regarded as murdered men, if your Majesty pardons Dr. Dodd.’”

At another time, I paid my respects to the famous “London-stone,” a
Roman relic set in the wall of St. Swithin’s, and familiar to
Shakspeareans, as the throne of the redoubtable Jack Cade. Of course, I
went to see Smithfield, reeking with smells, even when void of cattle
and swine, and donkeys, but still venerable for the fires of martyrdom
with which it was once illuminated. Hard by is St. Bartholomew’s, whose
tower once reflected the light of those flames of the Bloody Mary. So
too, I visited old St. John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, familiar from the
vignette on the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” and suggestive of Cave, and of
Johnson’s first ventures upon his patronage. I went through and through
the gate, and surveyed both sides with curious interest. There it has
stood since the Crusades, and the dust and cobwebs in its old turrets
have been gathering for ages undisturbed. An old inhabitant told me she
once opened a dark stair-way, and tried to go up, but the dry dust
nearly choked her. So lounging about, I ranged through Aldersgate,
Charterhouse-Square, and the Barbican, and, of course, to St. Giles’,
Cripplegate. There I visited the grave of Milton, once so rudely
profaned during the repairs of the Church, and still almost unmarked.
Here Cromwell was married, while as yet “guiltless of his country’s
blood,” and here lies buried Foxe, the Martyrologist. Holy Bishop
Andrewes was once incumbent of St. Giles’, and this is its fairest
memory. In the churchyard is a great curiosity, nothing less than a
portion of the old wall of London. Its foundations are of Roman origin,
and what I saw was, doubtless, built by Alfred, to keep off the Danes! I
had never seen a piece of masonry so interesting. It is a bastion of
massive structure, yet by no means formidable as the fortifications of a
city. And did the soldiers of immortal Alfred really man this wall; and
did London ever need such a bulwark against the Danes?

My Miltonic enthusiasm being now excited, I sought out Bunhill fields,
and the Old Artillery ground, near which he once dwelt. Moreover, I
fared through Grub-street, in whose garrets have dwelt the rhyming
tribes, idealized by Hogarth’s _Distressed Poet_, from time immemorial.
Tom Moore enjoys a laugh at our American “Tiber,” formerly “Duck Creek;”
but what shall excuse the fact,—which, by the slightest substitution, I
may tell in his own line—

        “That what was _Grub_-street once is _Milton_ now!”

The corporation of London must have made this change after a very heavy
dinner. Grub-street, however, has been always famous for very light
ones; and if Milton did verily inhabit here, in her day, it is not
surprising that Mary Powell bewailed her maiden life, and ran away into
Oxfordshire. But enough of him and her. My reader will be more gratified
to learn that on crossing to Southwark, I had no difficulty in
discovering the mean and narrow entrance to an old-fashioned court, over
which is still legible, the following inscription—“This is the inne
where Sir Jeffry Chaucer and the nine-and-twenty pilgrims lay, in their
journey to Canterbury, Anno 1383.” It was “the Tabard” then, and it is,
by some strange corruption, “the Talbot” now. Here then was that charmed
spot, from which went forth those devotees of St. Thomas-à-Becket, who
talked so merrily, and often so well; and whose quaint portraiture as it
has been preserved by genius, so embalms the peculiarities of thought,
of manners, and of language, which characterized our English
forefathers, in that marvellous age, when Wycliffe in prose, and Chaucer
in poetry, laid the foundation of our Anglo-Saxon Literature, and
scattered many goodly seeds of a reformation in religion. I was
entranced by the associations of the place, for it is yet an Old English
Inn, and looks as if it might still be the identical hostelry, built as
it is around the inn-yard, with galleries, and ancient windows, and odd
devices. It is but a halting-place for wagoners and countrymen; but, in
spite of myself, I could not resist the temptation to enter its humble
door, and order a little something, for Chaucer’s sake, to refresh a

But, to resume my rambles, behold me, by various crooks and turns,
visiting Houndsditch and Billingsgate, and St. Ethelburga’s, and St.
Helen’s. This St. Helen, by-the-way, is the mother of Constantine, and a
part of London wall she built herself; so that, from England to
“stubborn Jewry,” her architecture is her monument. I surveyed what is
left of Crosby Hall; visited “the old lady in Threadneedle-street,”
otherwise called the Bank of England; and, returning, heard the
stupendous bells of Bow in their full harmony. That day was the festival
of “the Sons of the Clergy.” I arrived at St. Paul’s in time to see the
procession entering the great western door; the Archbishop, the Bishop
of London, and the Lord Mayor, with other worshipful civic dignitaries,
making its most conspicuous part. I lingered without the choir, till the
services were quite advanced, and again had an opportunity of enjoying
the effect of the distant service, and the rich reverberations of the

                              CHAPTER XVI.

                           _London Society._

I have spoken of my daily occupations with little or no allusion to
that, which proved to me the chief charm of life in London, its
delightful society. It would be a poor tribute to modern civilization to
regard the social pleasures of a brilliant capital, as presenting a
secondary topic of remark; and yet so sacred are even the most public of
domestic civilities, that whatever goes on under a private roof, seems
necessarily invested with a character, to which types cannot do justice,
without, at the same time, becoming sacrilegious. The ethics of travel
are, even yet, by no means settled; for persons who should be
authorities, have been often betrayed into the setting of an example,
which, if all were free to follow it, would permit society to be
infested with hordes of literary pirates, whose flag would be fatal to
the freedoms and confidences of civilized intercourse, everywhere. On
both sides of the Atlantic such social corsairs have too frequently
paraded their spoils. It is not so much with the fear of their ignominy
before mine eyes, as in view of that Golden Rule which they have
flagrantly transgressed, that I shall restrict myself, in my narratives,
to the most general allusions to social scenes, and to the mention of
such names only as are more or less publicly known.

One needs only a few competent letters as a passport to English
hospitality. After first introductions, the way of the stranger who
behaves himself, is as open as in his own land. Hospitality is, in fact,
a truly English virtue. Nowhere else does the word imply so much genuine
kindness. Nowhere else does it so completely make the stranger at home.
Morning, noon, and night, it follows you up with its benevolent
perseverance, and seems to exact the minimum of ceremony in return. It
does not satisfy itself with politeness; it shows you the soul of
friendship; and that, while it allows you all the freedom of a
passenger, when you might otherwise feel embarrassed by your inability
to reciprocate such proofs of good will. The truth is, there is real
heart in the civilities which are proffered, and where politeness is
rooted in sincerity, it is always considerate, inventive and unfailing.
An English gentleman, whatever his circumstances, as soon as he knows
that you are entitled to his attentions, does all that he can to make
you really happy. If his means are small he is not ashamed to offer you
the best he can give, and he is pleased with his success, if he feels
that you have accepted his hospitality in the spirit which prompted it.
Contented, self-respecting, hearty Christian love is the root of the
matter, in those true specimens of English nature, which are uppermost
in my memory, as I write, and “whatsoever things are lovely” are but the
generous product of that sound and healthful stock. Happy is he who has
made a genuine Englishman his friend, for such a friendship implies the
fullest confidence, and is a tribute to accredited integrity and worth.

In London, during “the season,” there is an incessant round not only of
fashionable entertainments, but also of such as are indeed feasts of
reason and of soul. You are invited to breakfast at ten or eleven
o’clock, and are sure to meet an agreeable company, as few as the
Graces, or as many as the Muses. One after another the guests drop in,
in morning dress, and among them are a number of ladies who sit at table
in their bonnets, and generally add not a little to the liveliness of
the company. There is nothing, perhaps, before you besides an egg, with
your tea and toast; but the side-board is loaded with substantials, and
you have a variety of fruits to conclude the repast. The party conduct
themselves as if time were plenty, and easy conversation goes round;
your host occasionally drawing you out, on subjects upon which you are
supposed to be informed. After an hour or more, there is a general
breaking up, and Sir Somebody begs you to take a seat in his carriage,
which is waiting at the door, or Mr. Blank proposes walking with you to
the “University Club House;” or you draw off to keep some other
engagement. Ten to one you breakfast somewhere else to-morrow, as the
consequence of making yourself as little disagreeable as possible
to-day; and so it goes on to your heart’s content, through the week.

You are invited to dinner, at any hour from five to eight, sometimes, of
course, very unceremoniously, and sometimes in full form. You go at the
hour appointed, and discover that punctuality has ceased to be
fashionable in London. I was often surprised to observe the latitude
given to guests, and taken by the cook. At dinners, everything goes on
as with us, save that there is some form in announcing the guests, and
also in placing them at table. The servant vociferously proclaims “Mr.
Green”—as he flings open the door of the drawing-room, and if for a
moment you find yourself abashed by the noise which you find yourself
making, it is afterwards very agreeable to know who is who, upon the
arrival of others. A reverend personage enters in an ecclesiastical
coat, with silk apron, or cassock, and you hear him proclaimed as “the
Lord Bishop of ——,” or as “the Dean of ——.” A pleasing, but
quiet-looking gentleman appears, under the sound of a name familiar as
that of one of her Majesty’s Cabinet Ministers. “Lord ——” is
announced, and you behold a somewhat _distingué_ figure, wearing a
glittering decoration around the neck, or upon the breast. Several
literary or professional personages complete the company; and when the
ladies are waited upon to the dining-room, you are sure to be paired
with the suitable party, and to find yourself placed with careful
reference to your insignificance or importance, as the case may be. As
to the table, the good old English courses seem to be giving way to
foreign customs, as with us. It is not unusual to sit down to flowers
and fruits, and confectionary, and to see nothing else for your dinner,
except as the soup and other dishes are brought you in succession, the
meats being carved by the servants, and all the old-fashioned notions,
as to vegetables and side dishes, very much Frenchified, and
revolutionized. Grace before meat, and after the removal of the cloth,
was always faithfully performed in the circles which I frequented; but I
was sorry to hear that this new style of serving the table has somewhat
affected those Christian proprieties, by confounding “the _egg_ and the
_apples_,” and leaving one in doubt as to where the dinner proper
begins, or where it arrives at a legitimate conclusion.

The conversation at these dinners never seemed to me as animated as that
of breakfast parties. Even the half hour after the withdrawal of the
ladies, and the disappearance of servants, was less sociable and
sprightly. I must say, however, that I entirely disagree with the
profound Mr. Boswell, as regards the introduction of children at the
dessert, which, in my opinion, greatly enlivens such occasions. In they
come, rosy and beautiful, fresh from the nursery toilet, and bringing
joy and hilarity in their eyes and faces! The son and heir steals up to
his father; a lovely girl is permitted by mamma to come timidly to you.
I was, indeed, a little surprised at a nobleman’s table, when his boy, a
youth of twelve or fourteen, came to his side, to find the little fellow
introduced as “Lord C——,” instead of _Harry_ or _Willie_, as it would
have been with us; but, as nothing could exceed the familiar and
affectionate manner in which the title was spoken, I saw at once that it
was natural enough to others, however unwonted to my Republican ear, to
see a mere child so formally announced. After this announcement he was
called simply “C——,” as if it had been his Christian name, and I was
pleased with his simple and unaffected manners throughout. English
children appear to be “under tutors and governors,” and generally behave
with becoming deference to elder persons. I remember not a few of my
little friends in England, with real affection. Blessings, then, I say,
on the children, and may it never be unfashionable for them to be seen
amid fruit and flowers, at an American or an English table!

I accepted a few invitations to evening parties, but what to call them I
hardly knew. The superb apartments, in which they were given, were
crammed with the company; there were perpetual exits and entrances;
cries were constantly heard below of—“Lady K——’s carriage stops the
way;” while the incessant grinding of wheels in the street proclaimed
the arrival and departure of the great and the gay, as they went the
rounds of many a similar scene during the same evening. At a splendid
residence in Piccadilly, I was presented on such an occasion to the Duke
of Wellington. He wore a plain black suit, with a star on the breast of
his coat; and when I first saw him he was standing quite apart, with a
noiseless and even retiring dignity of appearance, to which his white
head gave the chief charm. I had no idea that I was near him, till
turning suddenly, his unmistakeable figure was before me. The rooms were
one blaze of rank and fashion; but for a while I could see no one but
the old hero. When I was introduced, I could do little more than bow,
and accept his polite recognition, for he was quite deaf, and I had
observed that conversation was evidently distasteful to him.

On another evening, just after the Queen’s State Ball, I was amused to
meet, in a similar scene, the dresses and costumes which had lately
figured at the Palace. They were of historical character, and hence
peculiarly interesting. Here was Henrietta Maria, the Queen of Charles
First, and there was a lady of the Court of Charles the Second. The
stiff court fashions of the Georges were also represented, and one could
easily imagine himself among Chesterfields and Rochesters. But, thank
God, the British Peerage, in our day, is dignified by better men, and
amid this brilliant masquerading, I first met with young Lord Nelson, so
justly beloved for his active interest in all good works, and found him
most agreeable in conversation, which, even in such an assembly, was
entirely in keeping with his character. Here, too, I saw and conversed
with the Duke of Newcastle, since an important member of the British
Ministry, but then, and always, as I feel sure from his unaffected tone
of remark, not less than from his general reputation, an earnest
Christian, anxious to be a faithful steward, and to do what he can for
the extension of the kingdom of Christ among all mankind.

The general interest felt in this country in the author of _Ion_, may
excuse my particular mention of a party at Lady Talfourd’s, in which the
literary and legal professions were more fully represented. Here one saw
the Barons of Westminster-Hall in their proper persons, without the
burthen of robes and wigs: while moving about the rooms, one encountered
a poet or popular novelist, and not least, the amiable host himself. He
made kind inquiries concerning several of my distinguished countrymen,
and touching upon matters of law, paid a very high compliment to the
ability and legal skill with which the trial of Professor Webster had
been managed in Boston. Judge Talfourd appeared then in the prime of
life, and inspired me with respect by his modest but dignified personal
demeanour. He has since died a death, on the bench, more impressive than
that of heroes on the field.

With regard to the tone of society in general, I think every stranger
must be struck with its elevation, whether intellectually or morally
considered. An English gentleman is generally highly educated. Society
consists of cultivated persons, male and female, whose accomplishments
are not displayed, but exist as a matter of course, and as essential to
one’s part in the duties and civilities of life. No one ventures to feel
better informed than his neighbour, and hence there is a general
deference to other men’s opinions, and a reserve in expressing one’s
own, which is highly significant of extreme civilization and refinement.
Such a state of society, however, has its drawbacks. Character often
becomes neutralized, and genius itself dulled and flattened, where to
distinguish one’s self is felt to be an impropriety, and where the
manifestation of decided thought or feeling would be eccentric, and even
rude. Hence I observed a sort of uniformity in manner and expression,
which is sometimes depressing; and when upon some private occasion, I
discovered that the smooth, quiet personage whom I had seen only in the
dull propriety in which the pressure of company had held him, like a
single stone in an arch, was a man of feeling, of taste, of varied
information, and accurate learning, I said to myself—‘what a lamentable
waste is here!’ This man who should have been enriching the world with
his stores of erudition and of reflection, has never conceived of
himself as having anything to impart, or by which his fellow-man should
profit. His accomplishments are, like his fortune and respectability,
his mere personal qualifications for a position in society, in which he
is contented merely to move, without shining, or dispensing anything
more than the genial warmth of good humour and benevolence. There are
thousands of such men in England, living and dying in the most exquisite
relish of social pleasures, and deriving daily satisfaction from their
own mental resources, but contributing nothing to the increase of the
world’s intellectual wealth, and never dreaming of their attainments as
talents which they are bound to employ. They live among educated
men—knowledge is a drug in their market: of course they know this or
that, but so does everybody else, and what have they to confer? It would
be an impertinence for them (so they seem to feel) to teach or to
dictate an opinion. Dr. Johnson has left a remark, in the records of his
biographer, upon this tendency of refinement to abase individual merit,
and I am sure a dogmatist like himself would not now be supported in
English society. So very odd and unaccountable a phenomenon, even were
his manners less forbidding, would be intolerable in intelligent
circles, to say nothing of those of splendour and fashion. England
exhibits just now the smooth and polished surface of a social condition
which has no marked inequalities. Even rank fails to create those chasms
and elevations which were once so striking and formidable. Gentlemen are
very nearly alike, whatever their antecedents. All are well-informed,
all have travelled, all are well-bred, and alike familiar with the
world. The Universities, too, have done not a little to assimilate
characters. Minds have been fashioned in one mould, and opinions shaped
by one pattern. Even language and expression, and personal carriage are
reduced to a common formula. I closely watched the pronunciation of
thorough-bred men, and often drew them into classical quotations, to
observe their delicacy in prosody, and their manner of pronouncing the
Latin. I prefer very much the German or Italian theories of classical
orthoepy; but for mere _longs and shorts_, there is no such adept as an
English tongue. They carry it into the vernacular, however, against all
analogy, and often startle an American by what seems elaborate pedantry
and affectation. You are confounded by an allusion to Longfellow’s
_Hyperion_—accent on the penultimate; or you are puzzled by the inquiry
whether any _doctrinal_ differences exist between the English and
American Churches—second syllable made studiously long! Yet the man
would be thought an intolerable ass who should display his knowledge of
purely French or Teutonic derivatives, by a similar deference to
etymology: and no one thinks of carrying out this principle in all words
of like analogy. Usage, however, with all its caprices, settles every
dispute; and we Americans have no resource but conformity, unless we
prefer to appear provincial. English usage must be the law of the
English tongue, and the fashions of the court and capital are the
standard of usage.

Among the authors of England, I had desired to see especially Mr. Samuel
Rogers, who is now the last survivor of a brilliant literary epoch, and
whose long familiarity with the historical personages of a past
generation, would of itself be enough to make him a man of note, and a
patriarch in the republic of letters. Though now above ninety years of
age, he still renders his elegant habitation an attractive resort, and I
was indebted to him for attentions which were the more valuable, as he
was, at that time, suffering from an accident, and hence peculiarly
entitled to deny himself entirely to strangers. His house, in St.
James’s-street, has been often described, and its beautiful opening on
the Green Park is familiar from engravings. Here every Englishman of
literary note, during the last half century, has been at some time a
guest, and if its walls could but _Boswellize_ the wit which they have
heard around the table of its hospitable master, no collection of
_Memorabilia_ with which the world is acquainted, could at all be
compared with it. Here I met the aged poet, at breakfast; Sir Charles
and Lady Lyell completing the party. He talked of the past as one to
whom the present was less a reality, and it seemed strange to hear him
speak of Mrs. Piozzi, as if he had been one of the old circle at
Thrale’s. When a boy, he rang Dr. Johnson’s bell, in Bolt Court, in a
fit of ambition to see the literary colossus of the time, but his heart
failed him at the sticking point, and he ran away before the door was
opened. Possibly the old sage himself responded to the call, and as he
retired in a fit of indignation, moralizing on the growing impertinence
of the age, how little did he imagine that the interruption was a signal
tribute to his genius, from one who, in the middle of the nineteenth
century, should be himself an object of veneration as the Nestor of

                             CHAPTER XVII.


My reader will be ready to forget London for a time; and perhaps also to
accompany me on an excursion. I went to Oxford, for a few days, to keep
some appointments, and found it far more delightful than before, as the
men were all up, and everything looking bright and lively. The trees in
the gardens and meadows were in fine leaf; and many shrubs in full
blossom, so that what Nature has done for Oxford began to be as apparent
as the enchantments it derives from Art. In the gardens of Exeter
College I observed a Virginia creeper, luxuriantly covering the walls,
and had a good opportunity of contrasting its effect with that of the
ivy, for which, in our country, it is so generally substituted. It is
certainly more cheerful, but lacks the dignity of its sullen rival.
There is a fig-tree trained against the college walls, said to be that
favourite of one of its former worthies, which a graceless Soph once
stripped of its fruit, leaving only a single fig, which he labelled, “a
fig for Dr. Kennicott.” Many are the minor traditions of Oxford, of a
similar sort. Every tree and shrub seems to have a history, and “green
memories” are here something more than a figure of speech.

A Sunday at Oxford affords one, at least, the opportunity for constant
attendance upon Divine Service. I went, at 7 o’clock, to St. Mary’s,
where the Holy Eucharist was celebrated, and where I thankfully received
the Sacrament, with a considerable number of the parishioners, and
members of the University. After breakfast, at Jesus College, I returned
to St. Mary’s, to hear the Bampton Lecturer—Mr. Wilson, of St John’s.
The lecture was delivered, of course, before the University, the
Undergraduates filling the gallery, and the Dons the nave below. The
lecturer, preceded by the bedels, entered in company with the
Vice-Chancellor, to whom he bowed, as he turned to the pulpit stairs.
Mounting to his place, and covering his face with his cap, he offered
his private prayers, and then began the bidding-prayers, in the usual
form—making special mention of St. John’s College, and of its
benefactors, “such as were Archbishop Laud, etc.” But let no one imagine
that this was an instance of spontaneous reverence for the Anglican
Cyprian, for the lecture which followed might have moved the very bones
of the martyr in his grave, so utterly did it conflict with the
doctrines of the Church. It was evidently received with great
dissatisfaction. It was decidedly clever, as to form and structure; but
savoured of _Bunsenism_ quite too much for the taste of a genuine
Churchman. It was read in a dull, dry manner, more befitting the
doctrine than the occasion. But, I must own that I greatly admire this
way of University preaching; and the freedom of a sermon, thus
delivered, by itself, apart from the service, and as a distinct thing,
having its own time and object. Subsequently, the Church having been
emptied, and filled again by a different congregation, the parochial
service and sermon went on in all respects, as usual. Then, in the
afternoon, there was a sermon before the University, preceded by the
bidding-prayers, as in the morning; save that the preacher made special
mention of Oriel College, of which he was a member, commemorating its
benefactors, “such as were King Edward the Second, etc.” Then followed a
powerful sermon, which evidently produced a great sensation. The Church
was crowded, for the preacher was a general favourite. His manner was
earnest, and often eloquent: and, in tones of most solemn and vigorous
rebuke, he protested against the slavish dependence to which the State
seemed resolved to reduce the Church. The Gorham case seemed to be in
the preacher’s mind, and perhaps the flagrant elevation to the
Episcopate of Dr. Hampden.

The parochial service again followed; after which I dined in the Hall of
Oriel, where I met the preacher among his old collegians, and greatly
enjoyed the company in general. After dinner, we went to service in the
College Chapel; and after this there were still services in several
places, though I did not attend them. It would have been hard to have
named an hour in the whole day when services were not going on somewhere
in this City of Holy Places.

In the Common-room of Oriel, I met with a very agreeable person, to whom
I owed not a little of subsequent pleasure, and to whom I became warmly
attached. At his instance, during the week, I substituted the more
_recherché_ pleasure of a visit to Nuneham Courtenay, for the more
ordinary cockney pilgrimage to Blenheim. I went in his company, and in
his own carriage, and had no reason to regret my adoption of his advice.
The grounds of Nuneham are proverbial for the beauty of genuine English
landscape, and a range in this noble park affords continual prospects of
cultivated fields, and snug hamlets, and the silvery windings of the
Isis through the meads. The gardens and shrubbery are interspersed with
urns and tablets and inscriptions, in the Shenstone style, and among
them I observed a cenotaph of the poet Mason. The taste of the more
artificial charms of Nuneham is somewhat antiquated, and smacks of the
Hanoverian age, now happily departing: but it does one good to see these
things, as illustrating the period to which they belong. I was all the
time thinking of Jemmy Thomson, as I rambled among the elms and yews of
Nuneham; and especially when I came to a clump of those spreading
beeches, with smooth columnar trunks, on which his swains were wont to
endite their amatory verses. Glimpses of Oxford, which one catches now
and then, add a special charm to this noble demesne, and the Thames
glitters here and there in the view to enliven a broad survey of rural
scenery, which can hardly be said to lack anything appropriate to its
English character. The Church of Nuneham is the grand mistake. It looks
like a fane erected to the goddess of the wood, by some ancient Grecian,
and provokes something less pleasing than a smile, when one learns that
it is the successor of a genuine old English church, which was judged a
blemish to the classical charms of the house and gardens. Of the
rectory, although it is of modern design, I can speak with more
satisfaction. It is a charming residence, such as an American parson
seldom inhabits, but which one loves to see others enjoying, and
adorning with every domestic grace. Here we lunched, substantially,
concluding our repast with gooseberry-tart and cream, such as no one
ever tastes except in England; thus gaining a conception of the rich
glebe and pasturage of Nuneham, which a more sentimental tourist might
fail to carry away from a mere feast of the eye.

We visited the parish-school, and I was particularly struck with the
neatness and order of the little academy, and not less with the
exactness of the instruction. The children of the peasantry were the
scholars, and, instead of jackets, the boys nearly all wore the little
plaited shirt of coarse brown linen, so familiar to us from pictures,
but so unlike anything worn by American children, however humble in
station. They were very closely examined by their teachers, and their
answers were generally correct. America was pointed out on the map, and
when I was introduced to the little urchins as an American, it was
amusing to see their surprise. They seemed to pity me for living so very
far away! Then they were catechized. It did me good to hear the familiar
words, so often uttered by little voices around the chancel rails of my
own parish-church, now repeated, in the same way, by these little
English Christians. Some of the subsidiary questions amused me, and not
less the answers, especially those under the phrase—“to honour and obey
the Queen, and all that are put in authority under her.” Then came the
clause—“to order myself lowly and reverently to all my betters.” “And
who are your betters?” asked the master: to which, “Lady Waldegrave,”
and other names of the gentle inhabitants of Nuneham Courtenay, were
most loyally responded. In practical matters of a more strictly
religious character, the questions and replies were highly gratifying,
and often caused the tears to spring in my eyes, in view of the manifold
blessings which such instructions cannot fail to convey to a nation, and
to the souls of all who receive them. Alas! for the schools of our
country, where the children come together under the blight of divers
creeds, or of utter unbelief, and where in solemn deference to the
spirit of sect and party, religion is daily less and less a tolerated
element in the training of immortal souls!

We drove pleasantly back to Oxford, passing Sanford, and Cowley, and
Iffley, and stopping at the Church of Littlemore, which has been lately
much improved, and in which we found service going on. A drive into
Oxford, from almost any direction, cannot fail to please, so inspiring
is the sight of the city itself, and our return from Littlemore
afforded, at least to myself, some new and charming views of its
prominent features, which were now becoming quite familiar.

For several days I lingered in the bewitching society of the University,
sharing its hospitalities, and daily revelling in the inspection of its
curiosities and antiquities. With what a spell does the enjoyment of
those mornings and evenings revive in my fancy as I write. A
breakfast-party at Merton, the cool breeze of the morn coming in at the
windows, fragrant from the meadows; an extemporary lunch in the crypts
of St. John’s, tapping the college beer, and inspecting the ancient
masonry of its Gothic vaults, once the substructions of a monastery; a
dinner in the lordly hall of Magdalen, with dessert and conversation in
the Common-room; an evening party at Oriel, among wits, and poets, and
divines! Who would not allow that such are substantial pleasures,
realizing “those Attic nights, and refections of the gods,” of which our
fancy is full, in the earlier enthusiasm of classical pursuits! And then
the discourse was so animating and refreshing. No hackney talk of dull
common-place sentiment, or of small-beer literature; but a roving,
haphazard, review of grave and gay together; a deep and earnest
discussion of religious themes; a sprightly dash into politics; quick
questions and replies about America, and republics, and democracies;
illustrative quotations of a fresh and spontaneous character, often
garnished with some ingenious misapplication, or original supply of
words, for the sake of sport; a sharp debate about the civil wars; a
dissection of Macaulay; a clever story of old Parr; and reviving
anecdotes of Oxford and old times; with a glow of kindly and religious
feeling in all, without cant or ostentation; these were the filling up
of successive days and nights in those halls and chambers of dear, dear
Oxford, which I cannot remember without a grateful thrill, and which I
can only put aside from covetous regret, by calm faith that “it is more
blessed to give than receive.” After all, it is in every way more worthy
of a Christian, to toil in the wilderness, than to recline in the
bowers, and to enter into the labours of by-gone generations. Yes—dear
as are the delights of a life in academic shades, and unparalleled as
are the advantages of mind and body with which Oxford ennobles her
children, I would prefer a Divinity chair at Nashotah, to a fellowship
at Magdalen, or to the richest benefice which the University can bestow.
It is hazardous to enjoy too much; and how great the responsibility in
such a world as this, of receiving anything for which we may fail to
make a return to God and men, and which must go to make our stewardship
more fearful, against the day of account!

We have gifts differing. Far be it from me to insinuate that the life of
an Oxford Fellow is ordinarily an idle or useless one. Many of them are
as laborious and as useful men as ever wrote or thought, and great are
the blessings which they diffuse around them. Too often have their
generous hospitalities been mistaken for habitual self-indulgences; and
even guests who have tasted their wine without a murmur, have sometimes
gone away to complain of convivialities, of which they were themselves
the exacting proponents. But when the question is not as to them, but as
to ourselves, we are surely at liberty to prefer our humbler and less
favoured lot! Shall we repine because we are Americans, and because we
shall never live to see an Oxford in our own dear country? God forbid! I
love to think that it is theirs to enjoy, and mine only to remember; and
that if toil and self-denial are the lot of an American clergyman, he
is, nevertheless, fulfilling a mission more immediately like that of his
glorious Master, and less fraught with temptations to make one’s heaven
this side the grave.

I had seen the Duke of Wellington and Samuel Rogers. There was one whom
I desired to see besides, and on some accounts, with deeper interest, to
complete my hold upon the surviving past. For sixty years had Dr. Routh
been president of Magdalen, and still his faculties were strong, and
actively engaged in his work. I saw him in his 97th year; and it seemed
as if I had gone back a century, or was talking with a reverend divine,
of the olden time, who had stepped out of a picture-frame. He sat in his
library, in gown and bands, wearing a wig, and altogether impressing me
as the most venerable figure I had ever beheld. Nothing could exceed his
cordiality and courtesy, and, though I feared to prolong my visit, his
earnestness in conversation more than once repressed my endeavour to
rise. He remembered our colonial clergy, and related the whole story of
Bishop Seabury’s visit, and of his application to the Scottish Church,
which Dr. Routh himself first suggested. ‘And now,’ said I, ‘we have
thirty Bishops and 1,500 clergy.’ He lifted his aged hands, and said, “I
have, indeed, lived to see wonders,” and he added devout expressions of
gratitude to God, and many inquiries concerning our Church. I had
carried an introduction to him from the Rev. Dr. Jarvis, and at the same
time, announced the death of that lamented scholar and divine, whose
funeral I had attended a few days before I sailed from America. He spoke
of him with affection and regret, and also referred to his great regard
for Bishop Hobart. I could not say farewell to such a patriarch, in the
meaningless forms of ordinary intercourse, and, as I rose to depart, I
craved his blessing, and humbly knelt to receive it. He placed his
venerable hand upon my head, and said—“God Almighty bless you, for
Jesus Christ’s sake,” and so I took my departure, with my heart full,
and with tears in my eyes.

Going, quite alone, to St. John’s College, I indulged myself in
delightful meditations as I lounged in its gardens, and watched the
young gownsmen shooting arrows at a target, or enjoying themselves about
the walks. I went into the quadrangle, that munificent monument of
Laud’s affection for his beloved college. I passed on to the chapel. The
door was not locked, and I entered it alone. Beneath the altar lies the
Archbishop’s mutilated corpse; and there, too, lies the stainless Juxon,
whom he loved so well, and who served the last moments of Charles the
First with the holy offices of the Church. I gave myself up to the
powerful impressions of the spot, and spent a few minutes in very solemn
meditations. In the library of the college I afterwards saw the pastoral
crook of the martyred Primate; the little staff which supported his
tottering steps on the scaffold, and the cap which covered his venerable
head only a few minutes before it fell from the block.

In the street, before Balliol College, the martyrs Latimer and Ridley
were burned. Perhaps the precise spot is not known; but among the
paving-stones, there is fixed in the earth a little cross, sunk to a
level with the street, and simply designating the supposed site of the
stake. It was one of my pleasures, during this visit to Oxford, to meet
with Bishop Otey, then just arrived from America; and I had the pleasure
of conducting that excellent missionary prelate to this sacred spot of
suffering for Christ. I shall never forget the enthusiasm with which he
uncovered his head, as he stood there, and blessed God for the testimony
of His Martyrs; and I am sure he will forgive this allusion to the
scene, for it greatly impressed me at the time, and even now seems very
striking. “We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, as
shall never be put out”—said old Latimer to Ridley, in 1555, and in
spite of fire and faggot, and Armada, and Gunpowder plot, and Father
Petrie, and Father Newman, there stood in 1851, the Bishop of Tennessee,
blessing God for the light of that candle in the wilds of America! A
superb memorial of the three Oxford Martyrs stands not far from the
place where they suffered—and should have stood just here, where it
would have been more conspicuous and appropriate—but I felt that such
an incident far more powerfully attested the prophecy. How strange it
seemed, in St. Mary’s, on the preceding Sunday, to reflect that from
those very aisles, not longer since than three such lives as Dr. Routh’s
might measure, the venerable Primate of all England had been ruthlessly
dragged forth, by the hands of brethren in the priesthood, and by the
same hands burnt to death, hard by, with the mockery of thanksgiving to
God, and in the name of zeal for His glory! Truly, Rome may thank
herself for the abhorrence with which the universal Anglo-Saxon race
(among whom a few emasculate exceptions are not to be reckoned,) regard
alike her blandishments and her cruelties.

How rapidly flew the hours in which I lounged in the Bodleian and other
libraries, or went from college to college, to inspect its pictures and
antiquities! Here, a manuscript of Cædmon, which the Anglo-Saxon
professor kindly interpreted to me as I inspected it; and there, a
_Chaucer_, and “the Game of Chesse,” from the primitive press of Caxton,
exposed to my admiring gaze the small beginnings of the wonderful
Literature of the English tongue. In the Ashmolean Museum I beheld, with
still greater reverence, the jewel once worn by the immortal Alfred, to
which I felt that Victoria’s _Koh-i-noor_ was but a twinkling and
lack-lustre pendant. In the curious old muniment-room of Merton, I was
scarcely less pleased to behold the venerable charters and patents,
engrossed in ancient characters, and sealed with quaint historic seals,
by which their lands and hereditaments are still retained, and from
which the whole Collegiate System of Oxford is derived. The chapel of
this charming college is worthy of the noble foundation to which it
belongs; and, as my amiable _cicerone_ was an accomplished architectural
artist and antiquarian, I was not allowed to inspect its details
superficially. His own hand had, very recently, restored the elaborate
decorations of the vaulting, in beautiful colours and designs; and he
appeared to appreciate the high privilege which he had enjoyed, of
mingling his own handiwork, in this manner, with that of ancient and
inventive genius. His mediæval tastes had perhaps become a hobby with
him; I observed, with pain, some morbid symptoms of unreality in his
excessive devotion to the mere æsthetics of religion; but did not then
suppose, as since has proved the sad result, that he was destined to add
another to those children of the captivity, who, by the rivers of
Babylon, have so estranged themselves from Sion, that their tongue seems
indeed to have been smitten with the palsy of untruth, and their right
hand to have forgotten its cunning.

I saw, one pleasant evening, the first boat-race of the season. Going
into Christ Church Meadows, in company with several gownsmen, we soon
joined a crowd of under-graduates, and others who were seeking the banks
of the Isis. The rival boats were still far up the stream, but here we
found their flags displayed upon a staff, one above the other, in the
order of their respective merit, at the last rowing match. The flag of
Wadham waved triumphant, and the brilliant colours of Balliol, Christ
Church, Exeter, etc., fluttered scarce less proudly underneath. What an
animated scene those walks and banks exhibited, as the numbers
thickened, and the flaunting robes of the young academics began to be
seen in dingy contrast with the gayer silks and streamers of the fair!
Even _town_, as well as _gown_, had sent forth its representatives, and
you would have said some mighty issue was about to be decided, had you
heard their interchange of breathless query and reply. A distant gun
announced that the boats had started, and crowds began to gather about a
bridge, in the neighbouring fields, where it was certain they would soon
be seen, in all the speed and spirit of the contest. Crossing the little
river in a _punt_, and yielding to the enthusiasm which now filled the
hearts and faces of all spectators, away I flew towards the bridge, and
had scarcely gained it when the boats appeared—Wadham still ahead, but
hotly pressed by Balliol, which in turn was closely followed by the
crews of divers other colleges, all pulling for dear life, while their
friends, on either bank, ran at their side, shouting the most
inspiriting outcries! The boats were of the sharpest and narrowest
possible build, with out-rigged thole-pins for the oars. The rowers, in
proper boat-dress, or rather undress, (close-fitting flannel shirt and
drawers,) were lashing the water with inimitable strokes, and “putting
their back” into their sport, as if _every man_ was indeed determined
_to do his duty_. “Now, Wadham!” “Now, Balliol!” “Well pulled, Christ
Church!” with deafening hurrahs, and occasional peals of laughter, made
the welkin ring again. I found myself running and shouting with the
merriest of them. Several boats were but a few feet apart, and stroke
after stroke not one gained upon another, perceptibly. Where there was
the least gain, it was astonishing to see the pluck with which both
winner and loser seemed to start afresh; while redoubled cries of “Now
for it, Merton,” “Well done, Corpus,” and even “Go it, again”—which I
had supposed an Americanism—were vociferated from the banks. All at
once—“a bump!” and the defeated boat fell aside, while the victors
pressed on amid roars of applause. The chief interest, however, was, of
course, concentrated about “Wadham,” the leader, now evidently gained
upon by “Balliol.” It was indeed most exciting to watch the half-inch
losses which the former was experiencing at every stroke! The goal was
near; but the plucky Balliol crew was not to be distanced. A stroke or
two of fresh animation and energy sends their bow an arm’s length
forward. “Hurrah, Balliol!” “once more”—“a bump!” “Hurrah-ah-ah!” and a
general cheer from all lungs, with hands waving and caps tossing, and
everything betokening the wildest excitement of spirits, closed the
contest; while amid the uproar the string of flags came down from the
tall staff, and soon went up again, with several transpositions of the
showy colours—Wadham’s little streamer now fluttering _paulo-post_; but
victorious Balliol flaunting proudly over all. It was growing dark; and
it was surprising how speedily the crowd dispersed, and how soon all
that frenzy of excitement had vanished like the bubbles on the river.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                  _Iffley—A Drive Across the Country._

A visit to Magdalen School, and a subsequent dinner with the scholars,
(who are the singers in the chapel), was another of my pleasures, from
which I derived fresh convictions of the superior training of English
school-boys, alike in physical, mental, and moral discipline. Everything
was done with method and precision. The boys looked fresh and rosy, and
perfectly happy, and yet their master was as evidently strict with them,
as he was also kind. Some of them will win scholarships in the college,
and from that, fellowships; and so will make their way to the highest
posts of honour and usefulness, for which they will be thoroughly
furnished in all respects. There is a new Educational College at Radley,
several miles from Oxford, of which the projector and founder is the
well-known Mr. Sewell, of Exeter—by whose kind invitation I went out,
one day, to visit it. I was kindly accompanied by a distinguished Fellow
of Oriel, who with several young men, whom he had enlisted for the
purpose, gave me a row up the Thames to Iffley. We took our boat, in
Christ Church meadows, and so went over the scene of the race which I
have endeavoured to describe. I was unfortunately made steersman, and
more than once found myself running the bow of the boat into the bushes,
while I stared around me, at every beast and bird, and at every wall,
and every bush, and at every green thing, with a greener look no doubt,
to my unlucky companions, than anything in the scene besides. It was the
Thames—or the Isis if you please—it was the river of the Oxonians; and
I lost myself, in contemplations, on the most trifling suggestion of
novelty, or of age, which surrounding objects presented. This little
voyage was realizing to me the dreams of many years; and when we landed
near the picturesque old mill, with which so many drawings and
engravings have made every one acquainted, I felt that anything but my
pilotage was to be credited with our escape from shipwreck. My
conscience accuses me of having paid attention to everything except my
immediate duty.

Iffley Church, as every Ecclesiologist will tell you, is a study of
itself. Five windows in this Church are said to present the
characteristics of five periods of pointed architecture, extending
through as many centuries; while the details of enrichment and design
afford innumerable specimens of inventive art, embracing somewhat of the
rude and elemental Saxon, with the riper and more varied beauties of
Norman embellishment. The church is supposed to have been built in the
earlier part of the twelfth century; it affords many interesting
examples of subsequent alteration and repair; and has lately received
much attention, in the way of retouching and restoring its olden
beauties. In the churchyard is the remnant of its ancient cross, and
also a yew tree scarcely less aged, but much decayed. The font, which
stands near the door, is of large dimensions and of very curious
construction, generally supposed to be Norman, and of the same date with
the Church. Although the beautiful interior retains some useless
appendages of mediæval rites no longer practised, it is a most fitting
and becoming Anglo-Catholic church, and one in every way satisfactory,
as it stands, to the purposes of the English Liturgy. Without and
within, it was, at the time I visited it, the most interesting object of
its kind which I had ever seen.

On resuming our boat, which had been lifted above the dam by means of a
lock, we rowed about a mile further up the river, and then, taking to
the fields, went across them to Radley. Here I met Mr. Sewell, and went
with him to see Radley Church, a picturesque little temple, and then
over his college, chapel and grounds. This college is a very interesting
experiment, and aims to combine, on a plan somewhat novel, several
important elements of academic and religious life. The taste which has
presided over its establishment is very apparent, and not less the
benevolence and piety of its founder. I was surprised to find it,
although so entirely new, presenting everywhere the appearance of age
and completeness. The architecture of the chapel especially, though
plain in comparison with that of almost all older structures of a
similar kind, is yet very effective; and the service, as performed in
it, by the aid of the pupils, was exceedingly inspiring and refreshing.
After a visit which I was kindly led to protract beyond my intent, I
returned to Oxford on foot, in the company of Mr. Sewell. Our path lay
through Bagley-Wood, and never shall I forget the charming
conversational powers of my guide, or the pleasure of wandering, with
such a companion, through the tangled and briery copse, and intervening
glades of that academic forest. At last we struck the Abingdon road, and
entered Oxford by the bridge under the Tower of Magdalen.

Amid so many recollections of a graver character, there is one connected
with Oxford which never revives without exciting a smile. I went one day
into the _House of Convocation_, where the Vice-Chancellor was
conferring degrees, in a business way, very few, besides those
immediately interested, being present. Among the candidates was one very
portly individual, who, either from his advancing years, or because of
some new preferment, had felt it his duty to incur the expense of being
made, in course, a Doctor of Divinity. It was evidently many years since
the proposing Doctor had been familiar with University forms and
ceremonies; and it appeared to me that some very rustic parish had
probably, in the meantime, enjoyed the benefit of his services. When the
performance required him to do this, or that, it was apparent that the
worthy divine was not a little confused, while it was still more
painfully clear, that his confusion afforded anything but feelings of
regret to the junior portion of the academical body which surrounded
him. When required to kneel before a very youthful looking proctor, an
audible titter went the rounds, as his burly figure sank to the floor,
amid the balloons of silk with which he was invested, to say nothing of
the gaudy colours which he now wore, for the first time, with
ill-suppressed satisfaction. But the _Oath of Abjuration_ was to be
administered, and this proved the most critical part of the proceedings:
for, oath as it was, it was made almost a farcical formality, by the
manner in which it was taken. As this oath is a little antiquated, at
any rate, and seems hardly demanded by the present relations between a
powerful sovereign and the mere shadow of a pontiff who now apes
Hildebrand, on the Seven Hills, it would seem good taste to go through
with it with as little display of furious Protestantism as possible. So
evidently thought the proctor, but not so the Doctor elect, whose
powerful imagination probably suggested to him that Victoria was Queen
Elizabeth, and Dr. Wiseman a Babbington, as no doubt he is. If her
Majesty labours under similar impressions, she has at least one loyal
subject, and it would have done her heart good to have heard the
utterance of his loyalty on this occasion; for with most earnest
emphasis did he swear, that “he did from his heart detest and abjure, as
impious and heretical, that damnable doctrine and position, that princes
excommunicated by the Pope, _may be deposed or murthered by their
subjects_,” &c., &c. So, no doubt, thought and felt all present; but as
the Doctor seemed to consider himself, for the moment, a sort of Abdiel,
and spoke with an epic dignity somewhat unusual to the Convocation
house, it was irresistibly ludicrous to behold the smothered merriment
of the youthful Oxonians, who shook their sides while the Doctor
fulmined, and who seemed to think both him and the Pope a little too old
for Young England and the nineteenth century.

My excursion to Nuneham Courtenay proved but the preface to a much more
important episode, in company with the same agreeable friend who was my
guide on that occasion, and who now drew me into a change of plans and
purposes, to which I owed much subsequent pleasure. We were at breakfast
together, in the rooms of a common friend at Merton, when the scheme was
perfected for a drive through Oxfordshire, in his private carriage, and
for several subsequent excursions, of which the centre should be his
residence, near Cheltenham. A friend, then keeping his terms for a
Master’s degree, at New Inn Hall, gave us his company for a few hours,
on the way; and a delightful companion he proved, not only for his
essential qualities as such, but because he happened to have been a
tourist in America, and was able to imagine, in some degree, how an
American must regard the contrast continually furnished him by a tour in
England. Our road first took us over a corner of Berkshire, through a
pleasing variety of hills and vales, sighting Cumnor on the left, and
passing Wytham on the other hand, and so again entering Oxfordshire, by
a bridge over the Thames, which here makes a bend among the little
mountains. Our first stage was complete when we arrived at Eynsham,
where we drew up at the village inn, and contrived to pass an hour very
pleasantly, although, from the appearance of the place, one would say,
at first, it was fit only to sleep in. How quiet a village can be, even
in populous and busy England, and so hard by Oxford! There stood the
slender market-cross that had survived the storms of centuries, and the
more violent batterings of Puritan iconoclasts. Broken and bruised as it
was, it seemed good for centuries more, amid so peaceful a community as
now surrounds its venerable tutelage. Whether the exemplary character of
the present inhabitants be owing at all to the parish stocks, which
stand near the cross, in most Hudibrastic grouping with surrounding
objects, I cannot determine; but there they are, and I could fancy a
stout brace of Puritans, of Butler’s sort, undergoing its salutary
penance; or even one of Hogarth’s unlucky wights experiencing the rude
sympathies of men and boys in the passiveness of its bondage. How
speaking a picture of rigorous parochial justice those queer old stocks,
under lee of the market-house, afforded to my imagination! How many
vagrant feet and ankles have there been relieved from the curse of Cain!
how many a vagabond they have furnished with persuasives to rest and
meditation! Really—one could not be properly pensive, in sight of such
a commentary on human guilt and misery: for the parish stocks are but of
distant kin to gallows and guillotine, and hardly more than little
brothers of whipping-post and pillory; their ignominy being rather that
of ridicule than of scorn, and their severity being the very least of
all the penalties of law. I did not know that such instruments of
wholesome discipline were still in existence under the English sceptre,
and hence my amusement and surprise to behold them, and to find so many
memories of their history reviving at the sight; among which were
prominent those classical verses of the Anti-Jacobin—

        “Justice Oldmixen put me in the parish-
                              Stocks, for a vagrant.”

Verily a queer old place is Eynsham, from the days of King Ethelred, the
Unready, who had a villa here, and those of King Stephen, who gave it
the very equivocal privilege of a market “on the Lord’s day,” under the
patronage of its Abbot and its monks. On inquiring for the remains of
the Abbey, we were informed that some new relics of its ancient chapel
and cemetery had just been discovered in a neighbouring field. We had
therefore the pleasure of seeing, sure enough, the encaustic tiles of
its sanctuary, just laid bare, after ages of concealment in the earth.
They were of various patterns and devices, St. George and the Dragon
forming, apparently, a conspicuous part of the design. But the old
gardener who showed us these discoveries, went on to tell us that in
digging further, he had just laid bare some _frames_ which he should
like to have us see, and so leading us to another part of the ground, he
showed us _the frames_, indeed, which proved to be nothing less than the
skeletons of the old monks of Eynsham, protruding from their graves.
Often had these same “frames” sung in the choir, and walked over those
same tiles we had just been viewing. How old they might be we could not
say; but they were the bones of old Christians, and most probably of
Christian priests, and there they had been laid in hope of the
Resurrection, so that it seemed to me almost profane to be staring at
them, as if they were a show. _Requiescant in pace._

The village church had been an appurtenance of the Abbey, and was, no
doubt, comely in its day. It had suffered not a little, however, from
whitewash, and other _Churchwarden-isms_. There had evidently been a
fine rood-loft, but every vestige of it was gone, save that there was
the solid stair-way in the wall, and there again the door-way, still
open, through which the ancient Gospeller used to make his appearance in
the loft, to read the Holy Evangel for the day. ‘Poor fellow,’ thought
I, ‘when did he climb those steps, and issue from that door, for the
last time? Was he indeed a Gospeller, grateful for a chance thereafter
to read the Word of God, in the vulgar tongue; or was he some Marian
Monk, who had raked the coals about Latimer and Ridley, in Oxford, and
who trembled, while he sung his Latin Missal, lest the news of
Elizabeth’s accession should prove too true?’ How strange it would seem
to an American priest, to find himself officiating, Sunday after Sunday,
in a church whose very walls are a monument, not only of the
Reformation, but of “Hereford Use,” and “Salisbury Use,” or other usages
now forever superseded, but which had a long existence, and have left
their mark, alike in stone and timber, and in the vernacular Liturgy of
the Church of England!

We left the little village, and pursued our journey very pleasantly till
we met the Oxford coach coming down, in full drive, but stopping as we
hailed it, in behalf of our friend of New Inn Hall. He was obliged to
return, for sleeping a single night out of Oxford, during his term,
would disqualify him for his degrees. So we reluctantly saw him climb to
a lofty seat, among a motley crew of passengers, and whirl away, as we
waved him our adieu. We continued our journey to Witney, where again we
paused, to survey its ancient cruciform Church—which would make a fine
cathedral in America—and to take our luncheon with the good vicar, who
received us very hospitably. I was surprised at the greatness of the
Church, and the beauty of many of its details, but I believe it was once
an Abbey Church, and its architectural merits are such as to have
furnished not a few favourite examples to ecclesiological publications.
The village itself is a decayed one, having formerly been of consequence
as the seat of a famous blanket manufacture, which made “Witney” a
household word with housewives, especially in cold weather. Our drive
next brought us to Minster-Lovel, the scene of the “Old English Baron;”
and next to a “deserted village,” which looked as little like Auburn as
possible, for it had been built by a pack of infidels, to show the world
what a village ought to be, and so had speedily become as dead as
Pompeii. It was now “for sale,” but no one seemed disposed to buy, and I
suspect it may yet be had at a bargain. England is no soil for fools to
flourish in; and it is a pity that when they find it out, they are so
wont to come to America, where they join the Mormons, or set up for
superfine republicans, and vent their hatred of England in our
newspapers, which are then quoted by the writers in the _London Times_,
as proof of American feelings towards the mother country.

The country we were now traversing had once been scoured by the troopers
of the fiery Rupert, and my friend, whom I will call Mr. V——, finding
my enthusiasm rising at the mention of his clarion and jack-boots, began
to play upon me by suggesting that some mounds which we saw in the
distance were the remains of one of his encampments. This was a very
fine idea, but, resolved to hunt up the local traditions with respect to
it, I asked a passing boor if he could tell me anything about the
barrows. Oh, for a page of “the Antiquary,” to give my reader some
conception of the effect produced by the reply! “Prætorian
here—Prætorian there,” said old Edie Ochiltree, “I mind the bigging
o’t;” and with equal bathos responded my boor—“Them there be some old
brick-yards!” “Alas!” cried I—“it is Monkbarns and castrametation, over
again;” and a laugh arose from the Oxford pilgrims, at which the boor
startled, and fled away, no doubt with strong persuasion that we were a
pair of madmen, just broke loose from the deserted settlement aforesaid,
of which, I should have mentioned, the neighbouring peasantry seemed to
entertain a very wholesome fear.

Commend me to Burford, our next halting-place, as a village of most
exemplary independence of this nineteenth century. Some old houses,
which struck me as I entered it, bore an inscription by which I learned
that a good burgess built them for a charitable use in the time of Queen
Elizabeth. I should think no house had been built in Burford since that
date, so entirely unlike a modern town is its chief street, with all its
lanes and by-ways. Here, now, was England—the England we read of! None
of your Manchesters and Liverpools, but an innocent, sleepy old village
that was of vast repute when those snobbish places were unknown. Here
met a Church Synod, A. D., 685, to settle the question about the British
Easter usages, and here worthy Peter Heylin was born in 1600. The little
river Windrush runs through the place, and on its banks stands the
ancient Church of St. John the Baptist, to which we repaired forthwith.
Here we found an unexpected treat, in the exceeding richness of its
Norman architecture, and in the many delicate traces of its former
perfection, which had escaped the ravages of time. The tower and spire,
the south porch and the windows, afforded a most entertaining and
instructive study. Some old inscriptions remained, entreating the
passer-by to pray for the departed soul of such and such benefactors.
The interior enchanted me. Here was a “Silvester aisle,” in which, for
generation after generation, certain worthies of that name have been
buried under costly monuments, most curious to behold. But what pleased
me most was one of those huge monuments, like an ancient state-bed, with
canopy and posts complete, on which lay, side by side, a worthy knight
and his dame, persons of a famous repute under Queen Elizabeth, and the
grand-parents of the stainless Falkland. “Sir Launcelot Tanefield” was
the name of the knight, and if I mistake not, he was, at one time, Lord
Chief Justice of England, and Burford was his native place. From this
charming old Church I could hardly tear myself away. I suspect few
travellers have visited it, and I congratulated myself on having met
with such a friend as V——, to draw me out of the beaten track, and
show me something of England, that is England still.

Continuing our journey, we passed an old Manor house, picturesquely
seated in a valley, at which I could have looked contentedly for an
hour, so entirely did it answer to my ideas of many a manorial
residence, which had pleased my boyish fancy, in novels and romances.
Next we passed Barrington Park, the seat of Lord Dynevor, and soon
after, another beautiful park, the seat of Lord Sherborne. And now, our
journey lay over one of the Cotswold hills, which reminded me somewhat
of a drive over Pokono, in Pennsylvania, so lonely and even wild did it
seem, in comparison with the country we had just been traversing. We
came to North Leach, where again we alighted to survey a Church, perched
on a rising ground, above the houses of the village, which are mostly
very old, with curious gables, and built along narrow lanes, in very
primitive style. This Church had suffered more from accidental causes,
than that at Burford, but was scarcely less interesting to me. Its
curious gurgoyles particularly arrested my attention, and within, some
good brasses, and other monuments. It has a fine porch, and its general
architecture seems of a period somewhat between the decorated and the
perpendicular. We were now in Gloucestershire, and I shall never forget
that it was in passing over a hill near Stow-on-the-Wold, that I first
heard the nightingale. “There,” said V——, “there is Philomela! not
mourning, but wooing; ’tis her love-note”—and I listened with a sense
of enchantment. Perhaps I was in the mood to be delighted, for certainly
I had never spent a day in such charming travel before, and I was
conscious of a pleasure, which I cannot describe, arising from the
realization of my dreams, in forecasting, through a long series of
years, such a journey through England.

In descending the Cotswold hills, I caught, here and there, some
enchanting views; little churches perched upon the brows of hillocks, or
half buried in the vales; or farm-houses and cottages not less
beautifully situated; or the seats of country squires and other gentry,
embosomed amid trees, or lifting their chimnies above a few lordly elms.
But the charm of all was yet reserved for me; and just after sunset, as
we wound around a broad hillside, I came upon a scene, at which, it
seemed to me, I might have gazed all my life without weariness or
satiety. ‘Stop—stop! my dear V——, where are you driving?’ said I,
beseeching him to rein up, and let me look for a few minutes on as
perfect a picture of English scenery as ever Gainsborough portrayed, all
spread before us, without a blemish; its lights and shadows just as an
artist would have them; and yet vivid with nature, beyond all that an
artist could create. The time, remember, was evening, in one of its
sweetest effects of sky and atmosphere, cool and calm; the lighter
landscape deeply green; the shadows brown and dying into night; the
water shining here like burnished steel, and there lying in shade, as
darkly liquid as a dark eye in female beauty. The view was a narrow
dell, just below the road, in which stood an old manor house, ivied to
its chimney tops, and encircled by a moat. Smoke of the most delicate
blue was floating thinly from its chimnies, into the clear air; and just
at hand was peeping, from a dense growth of trees, the belfry of a very
tiny Church, which seemed to be there only on purpose to complete the
picture. Cattle were grazing in the meads, and under a vast and sombre
yew tree, sat a group of farm-servants, shearing the largest sheep of
the flock, the wool flaking off upon the green grass, like driven snow.
While we gazed on this living picture, with mute pleasure, the soft
notes of a bird added sweet sounds to the enchantment of sight, and I
sat, as in a spell, without speaking a word. My friend V—— himself,
who had been laughing at me all day, for my enjoyment of what to him
were common and unsuggestive objects, fairly gave up at this point, and
owned it was a sight to make one in love with life. Even now I have
lying before me a letter in which he refers to this view of “the
sheep-shearing,” and concludes by the pathetic announcement that the
horse to which we were indebted for that day’s progress, has since been
sold to a coach proprietor, and now runs leader from Evesham to
Stratford. “Little thinks he,” continues the letter, “as the lash of the
cruel Jehu touches his flank, of the classic ground he travels; little
recks he of Harry of Winchester, Simon de Montfort, or our friend
Rupert—for Rupert had a desperate struggle thereabouts—or yet of Queen
Bess, as he enters Bedford, in Warwickshire, or even of the immortal
Will, as he halts at Stratford.”

So winding down our road, amid firs and oaks, and enjoying new beauties
at every turn, we came through Charlton Kings, into the broad and
teeming vale, adorned by modern Cheltenham. It is a noble amphitheatre,
to which the bold outline of the Cotswold hills gives dignity, and which
abounds with minor charms on every side. I was soon lodged at my friend
V——’s, after due introduction to his family, including a visit to the
nursery, where some lovely children were allowed to salute me with their
innocent kisses, and thus to make me sure of a welcome to their father’s

                              CHAPTER XIX.


My first excursion with my friend V——, was to Worcester and Malvern.
In Worcester of course the great attraction is the cathedral, and
thither we went immediately upon our arrival, and found Service going
on. We lingered without the choir, and listened to the anthem, as it
rose from the voices within; and then, as the prayers went on, in the
monotone of chaunting, varied by the occasional cadence of the priest,
and the sweet response of the singers, we had an opportunity of worship
which I trust was not only enjoyed, but reverently appropriated in
devotion. Service ended, the verger, with his mace, issued from the
doors of the choir, preceding the singers in their surplices, and the
residentiary canons—far too feeble a force, however, for a cathedral,
in which “the spirit of a living creature” should always be “within the
wheels,” giving motion and reality to the routine of daily prayers, and
fasts, and festivals. There is no excuse for the present condition of
the English cathedrals. They require the most thorough reforms to make
them felt as blessings. At Worcester I began to feel that such was the
case, and the painful conviction increased upon me, throughout my
subsequent tour.

We now surveyed the venerable temple, and experienced the usual
annoyance of the verger’s expositions. Here was the monument of King
John; and there the chapel tomb of Arthur, Prince of Wales, the first
husband of Queen Katherine of Arragon. Here, too, are shown the statues
of St. Oswald, an early bishop of this see, and of Wolstan, another
bishop who laid the foundation of the existing cathedral, in the
eleventh century. The choir is impressive, but the eastern window struck
me as too predominantly green, and altogether as somewhat kaleidoscopic.
Among the more modern monuments, a small bas-relief, by Bacon, struck me
as very meritorious. A widow with her three children gathered about her,
and bending to the storm of sorrow, was the fitting memorial of a
departed husband and father. Or was it that the group reminded me of the
treasures of my own far-off home, and of the scene which an Atlantic
storm might so easily create around the fireside that would be trimmed
for my return! At any rate, it touched me, and reminded me that I was in
a house of prayer, where ejaculations might be wafted from the heart,
and answered three thousand miles away. Other associations made me pause
before the tomb of Bishop Hough, that brave old president of Magdalen,
to whose resistance of the Popish James I have referred before. The
sculpture is by Roubilliac, but is free from the usual affectations of
that artist; and the scene in Magdalen College is represented on the
base of the monument. We lingered about the exterior for some time, and
were particularly struck with the flying buttresses of the choir, as the
most pleasing portion of the venerable structure. After a visit to one
of the prebendal residences in the cloisters, we loitered about the town
for an hour, and then took the top of the stage-coach for Malvern.

Several coaches were starting at the same time for diverse points of the
compass, and here we had before us something of the moribund system of
travel of the days of George the Fourth. The flaming red liveries of the
whip and the guard, with the notes of the bugle as we whirled over the
Severn, gave one a sense of the poetry of locomotion which suggested
some foolish sighs over the achievements of invention, and the age of
the rail. However, it was something to be thankful for, that there was
as yet no tunnel under Malvern hills. Crack went the whip—and away
sprung the horses, and very soon the tower of the cathedral was all we
could see of Worcester. We passed the Teme, and drove through Powick and
Mather. The fields were fragrant with the blossoms of the bean; the open
road-side was garnished with flowering furze; and the cottages stood
forth, neat and comfortable, amid embowering laburnums, and lilacs, and
guelder-roses. ‘Ah, yes—I grant you, England is a beautiful country,
but you Englishmen don’t know how to enjoy it half as much as your
American cousins; not that we have not glorious scenery at home, but
that we have no such garden, as England seems to be, from one sea to the
other.’ So I said to my companion.

We ascended the Malvern hills, on a brisk trot, by a good road
stretching along the face of the hills, and soon entered the smart and
showy town of Great Malvern itself, which overhangs the charming vale of
Gloucester, and affords a view of the winding Severn, and many beautiful
villages, churches, and seats. The towers of several abbeys, with those
of the cathedrals of Gloucester and Worcester, adorn the prospect, and
the distant ridge of the Cotswolds completes the picture. The Abbey
Church of Great Malvern proved, of itself, sufficient to reward our
visit to the place, but my friend V——, found at one of the hotels, a
party of his friends enjoying a brief sojourn in this delightful
retreat, for the benefit of its air and springs—for “Ma’vern,” as
everybody knows, is a fashionable watering-place. Good reason have I to
remember the spot where I first met the amiable W——s, to whose
subsequent attentions I owed so much pleasure on my northern tour; and I
trust they too may be willing to remember our holiday at Malvern. I was
particularly gratified with the adventurous spirit of the ladies, who
insisted on doing us the honours of the place, considering us as their
guests. Under their kindly guidance we climbed the hills, and visited
the Holy Well, and the well of St. Ann’s, and finally reached the summit
of the Malverns, where we gained a magnificent sight into Herefordshire,
and could see to the best advantage the nearer beauties of the vale of
the Severn. We walked along the ridge, pausing to rest awhile, and to
enjoy the scenery, near the Worcestershire beacon, and so passing down
on the Hereford side, and returning through a gap called the Wych, we
parted with our fair guides at Malvern Wells, and taking a post-chaise
started on a delightful drive across the valley.

It was a beautiful afternoon, and our route took us through a great
variety of country scenes. Now we skirted the base of the Malverns; and
now reached the picturesque Church of Little Malvern; and now descended,
amid overhanging trees, into the valley of the Severn, partly darkened
by the stretching shadow of the hills, and partly glittering with
reflections of the descending sun. My friend V——, who seemed to have
friends everywhere, was so well acquainted with the neighbouring gentry,
that he was quite at liberty to enliven our drive, by leaving the high
road and crossing the park of this or that beautiful residence which
happened to lie in our way. Thus we gained fine views of several elegant
mansions and their surrounding grounds. At the lodge of one of these
parks, as we entered, I was struck with a curious tree, called the
peacock yew, from the showy _pavonazetto_ of its foliage: but the
oddities of nature, after all, are far less attractive than her ordinary
beauties. At last we re-crossed the Severn, and entered Tewksbury. It
has been justly remarked that this place appears to have stood still for
five hundred years. Its massive abbey, with its magnificent Anglo-Norman
tower, has the advantage therefore of standing in the company of
contemporary walls and roofs, instead of being an insulated lump of
Mediævalism, in a mass of nineteenth century brick and plaster. I was
wholly unprepared for so splendid a specimen of cathedral architecture
as this abbey proved to be; and when I entered the sacred place, I was
quite overwhelmed with its effect. It is of great length, and the aisles
are separated from the nave by a series of immense Saxon pillars, which
convey an idea of strength and sombre dignity wholly different from the
impressions produced by the light and springing shafts of the
perpendicular and decorated Gothic. Its great window is a solitary
example of such vast and solemn combinations of proportion and detail;
its Norman arches being deeply recessed in the gigantic wall, and its
height commensurately sublime. While we surveyed this stupendous
interior, the rich shadows and faint illuminations produced by the close
of day, greatly heightened the impressiveness of the architecture and
the awful associations of this ancient sanctuary and cemetery. It was
indeed sublime to reflect that under the shade of these walls was waged
the last battle of the House of Lancaster, and that the noble ashes of
its heroes were everywhere under foot, as we paced its aisles. We
surveyed one after another the tombs of Clarence, of Somerset, of
Wenlock, and De Clifford, moralizing on the Providence which reduced the
Norman blood of England just in the time and manner best suited to give
the Commons room to rise; and which laid these proud patricians in the
dust, that out of the dust might spring the freedom and the power which
now invest the world with Anglo-Saxon glory. God only is wise—God only
great! Issuing from a small door in one of the aisles of the abbey, we
entered a green and peaceful meadow, to which the deepening twilight
gave a grave and rich effect, heightened not a little by the shadows of
the abbey towers, and by the croaking of rooks and daws among the
buttresses and pinnacles. Here was the fatal field where the red-rose
was smothered forever in red blood. “Lance to lance, and horse to
horse”—here its fated champions struck the last blow for Margaret and
her son. Here the young prince himself asserted, face to face with
usurping York, the rights which his fathers had not less usurped from
the fallen Plantagenet; and here, for his boldness and for his fatal
royalty, he fell beneath the rapier, the last blood of Lancastrian
majesty spouting from his many wounds. Can it be, so green a field was
ever so crimson? It was impossible to conjure up the scenes of a period
so long gone by; and yet not less impossible to stand on such a field,
without some communion with the spirit of departed ages.

With a worthy clergyman of Tewksbury, we finally quenched our enthusiasm
in a cup of tea, and buried the swelling thoughts of Margaret’s wrongs,
under the juicy morsels of a mutton-chop. As we sat at our repast, I
observed that our reverend entertainer had “a river at his
garden’s-end.” “Yes,” was his reply—“the Avon!” I had supposed it the
Severn, of course; but when he thus reminded us of its noble confluent,
after our historical communion with Shakspeare in the battle-field, all
my enthusiasm returned again, and, in spite of tea and mutton-chop, I
felt a thrill to find myself so near the river of the immortal Swan of
Stratford. Here, indeed, it finds its fitting union with the larger
waters, and runs with Severn to the sea. But now, it seemed to me
fragrant and vocal with a spirit caught from the banks of Stratford
churchyard, and its murmurs continually repeated the lines—

        “Clarence is come; false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,
         That stabbed me in the field, by Tewksbury.”

During my visit at Cheltenham, we contrived to spend a Sunday in the
country—and such a Sunday as should realize my ideas of an English
Sunday among a rural population. Early in the morning we went to Bredon,
and there surveyed its parish Church, just opened for Divine service,
and exhibiting a neat interior, which, but for my growing familiarity
with so many superior examples, I should have considered very
noteworthy. In the floor of the nave is a plain slab covering the grave
of “Bishop Prideaux, 1650.” This Church, too, showed the hand of the
restorer, and had been much improved and beautified in the spirit of
what I suppose will be called the Victorian Restoration. Leaving this
Church, we started over the field for Kemerton. It was a beautiful
morning—what I am wont to call a _George-Herbert-Sunday_; and as I went
through the fragrant meads and harvest lands, or turned into a shady
lane, amid the hawthorn hedges, I felt those quiet influences stealing
over me which are the sweetest preparation for enjoyment in the house of
God. By and by we descried above the foliage the tower of Kemerton
Church; and hard by was the parsonage, where that estimable dignitary,
the venerable Archdeacon Thorp, gave us a most cordial welcome. Before
service, my friend V—— called me aside into the churchyard, and
pointed to a little grave beautifully decorated with fresh flowers. I
understood at once that it was the grave of a beloved child he had
lately lost, and whose transient but lovely life had shed a charm around
these scenes of its sweet and holy habitation, and endeared them to the
hearts of all who knew him. For a moment I entered into the sorrows of a
bereaved parent, and wept with one that wept.

The service in Kemerton Church is performed in some respects very
simply, in others, one might say, elaborately, for most of it is sung.
There is no organ, and the singers are plain farmers and village-lads,
yet they have places in the chancel, and wear surplices, and sing with
very agreeable effect. When Morning Service was over, I proposed a quiet
ramble through the fields, with my friend, for my heart was quite full
of the solemnities of which the Holy Communion formed a part. As we were
about to leave, we observed the bell-ringers taking their stand under
the tower, which opened into the Church, with great reverence and
propriety in their behaviour. The Archdeacon informed us that they were
all worthy parishioners, who understood the nature of the humblest
office in the house of God, and who rung the bells with a sense of
serving the temple, and sounding forth the glory of the Lord. When we
had gone about a quarter of a mile from the Church, we heard the bells
ringing, accordingly, and sweet music did they discourse. They seemed
indeed full of Sabbath blessing; full of peace and good will to men.
“This, dear V——,” said I, “This is enchanting, and more, ’tis
heavenly! Shall I ever forget this peaceful Sunday noon in England?” As
I looked around, all seemed, as the Gospel would make the whole earth
appear, if only sinful men would let it; all blossomed as the rose. A
church but a few rods in one direction—and another less than a mile
before us—and many others near us, all around! All _churches_ too—not
so many tokens of religious strife and schism, but each to its own
little nest of villagers, the centre of one faith, of one baptism, and
the worship of one Lord. Ah—here is the true glory of England! Mile
after mile, in some counties, seems to be marked by church after church;
each beautiful in its kind, the monument of ancestral piety among its
rural worshippers, and the tutelary of their rude forefathers’ graves,
that cluster beneath its eaves. One wonders what a dissenter is made of,
when he beholds these rural churches, and their happy influence over a
rustic population. We extended our walk to Overbury Church, an old
Norman structure of small dimensions, beautifully restored, and in
perfect repair. The congregation had just withdrawn, and the breath of
prayer seemed lingering in the sanctuary. My ramble was completed before
the Evening Service began, and certainly never saw I Sunday so liveried
before, to celebrate the holy tide. The hawthorn was everywhere in
flower; butter-cups, daisies, lilacs, cowslips, and every variety of
contemporary blossom, were to be seen in all the fields and
cottage-gardens; and the very sheep and cattle, resting in the shadow of
the trees, seemed to know it was the holy day. Where else, save in
England, is holy tide ever so entirely what holy tide should be?

The Evening Prayer was divided, as in all the English cathedrals, so
that the sermon followed the second lesson. Then came the Canticle, and
the rest of the prayers. This arrangement follows the original idea of
_Catechising_ at the Evening Prayer, and has many advantages. I was
privileged to be the preacher, and I spake with a sincere appreciation
of the duty, as a privilege indeed. It appeared strange to me, when
service was over, to reflect that Kemerton Church is many hundred years
old, and yet that, in all probability, never had any one stood in its
pulpit before, who was not a subject of the English crown.

Among the valuable acquaintances which I formed at Cheltenham, I reckon
myself fortunate in that of the Rev. Alexander Watson, now of
Marychurch, Devon, so well known by his many publications in defence of
Church doctrine, and in aid of practical religion. It was in his company
that I visited Gloucester, and added to my stock of travelling
experiences another day of memorable enjoyment. After a pleasant
breakfast party, at his hospitable table, we started in a private
carriage, for a somewhat circuitous drive, to that “godly city;” passing
Leckhampton, under lee of the tallest peaks of the Cotswolds, and so by
Birdlip Wood, and Cooper’s Hill. Far away, on the other side of the
valley, a prominent headland was pointed out to me, as May’s Hill. It is
a not less conspicuous landmark from the Severn, and once served to save
from shipwreck a mariner, named May, just returning from the sea; in
consequence of which, he planted its summit with a clump of trees, and
made provision for keeping them there perpetually. At a little distance
I descried a hamlet, and a Church, which my friend pointed out to me as
_Chozen_, at the same time informing me that it was spelt _Churchdown_.
This is but one of many amusing specimens of the wide variance which
often exists, between the spelling and pronouncing of English proper
names. At Shurdington we paused to visit its pretty Church, surrounded
by a shady field, and found it undergoing entire restoration at the
expense of the curate. Both the restoration, and the munificence of its
promoter, were the rather interesting, as being no uncommon things. Such
proofs of life and godliness are everywhere encountered, at the present
day, in England. I found myself more and more delighted, as we drove on,
with the scenery, and often with the road itself, so beautifully hedged
and shaded, and affording so many points of interest to an observing
eye. Here was the tower of Badgworth Church, and here was Brockworth.
Churches everywhere—and everywhere, upon the face of field and farm,
the tokens of that industry and thrift, of that order and decency, with
which the Church alone can ennoble the aspect of civilization. The same
charm which I had observed in the features of society, and which I had
traced to harmony in religion, appeared to me, here and elsewhere,
transferred in a great degree to the very soil, to its culture, and to
its embellishment. Nature itself seemed to have borrowed a grace, and a
glory, from the holy Faith, of which such monuments were visible at
every turn, in spires and towers peering above the green trees, and
gleaming amid the wide-spread bounties of God, whose adorable name they
seemed to display as the giver of all. As we slowly ascended the slope
of Cooper’s Hill, walking behind our carriage, and surveying the scene
to right and left, with reflections such as these, we heard a note from
the deep foliage of Birdlip Wood, which arrested us, and brought to my
mind many scraps of poetry, such as Logan’s, or Wordsworth’s—

        ————shall I call thee bird,
        Or but a wandering voice?

It was the cuckoo! I had never heard it before, except in wooden
imitation from the perch of a German clock. I shall not soon forget its
effects, upon the still beauty of the hour and the scene, as I heard it
for the first time, in nature’s own sweet modulations and heart-touching

Hucklecot new Church we only sighted, but at Upton St. Leonard’s we made
a halt, and visited the Church, the parsonage, and the school. The
Church was a gem of its kind, with interesting monuments and
architectural objects, and had been freshly restored. The schools were
lately built by a munificent lady of rank, and the parsonage was
apparently new; the whole furnishing another instance of what is going
on, almost universally. Passing Robinwood-hill on the left, as we
continued our drive, we soon entered Gloucester, of which the glorious
cathedral tower had long been the conspicuous object in our view.

Here we visited the Church of St. Mary-de-Crypt, (lately restored) where
the admirers of Whitfield would chiefly think of him, and where,
perhaps, he ought to have been more thought of by the Church, and so
saved from the extravagances of his subsequent career. We went also to
see St. Michael’s and St. Mary-de-Lode, (fresh restorations again) and
finally visited the scene of Bishop Hooper’s fiery martyrdom. The death
of Hooper dignifies the otherwise inglorious memory of a prelate who did
not a little to spoil his own work as a reformer, by tampering with
Geneva. And it is curious how much of puritanism he seems to have
bequeathed to his see; Glos’ter having been the proverbial haunt of the
“godlie” in Cromwell’s time, and having bred the zealous evangelist, to
whom I have already alluded as originally illuminating with his
enthusiasm, the cold interior of St. Mary-de-Crypt. Strange, that after
beginning here as a deacon of the Church, he should now lie buried under
a puritan pulpit in New England, having completely revolutionized the
Calvinism of our own country, and entailed upon it the _Convulsionism_
of which it is now expiring. Had the zeal of Whitfield been according to
his knowledge, and had the dormant Hanoverian age, which produced him,
by the law of reaction, only known how to use him, he might have left
behind him some less equivocal fruits of missionary enterprise.

Before speaking of the cathedral, I must allude to our visit to Highnam,
on the other side of the Severn. Here we found a Church, lately erected
entire, at a cost of £30,000, by a single individual—nave, chancel,
tower, and spire complete, and all affording a model of ecclesiastical
art, worthy of standing in the neighbourhood of some of its noblest
originals. To see a Victorian Church, and one thus erected by private
munificence, comparing so favourably with some of the most admired
specimens of the middle ages, not only in general construction, but in
the most elaborate details, was indeed refreshing to the eye and to the
heart. The chancel and altar were especially noteworthy, adorned as they
were with the most delicate sculpture, in Caen stone, and instinct with
the life and beauty of a healthful symbolism. Into the chancel opened a
small sepulchral chapel, which exceedingly interested my feelings, and
warmed my admiration of the whole. Two memorial windows were dedicated,
each to the remembrance of a departed child, and between them stood, in
a niche, the marble bust of their departed mother. Blessed religion of
Jesus, which makes the dead in Christ so dear, and which so beautifies
their memory: which so sanctifies the ties of earth, and so triumphs
over death, in its power to render them eternal! Here was a family nest,
indeed, hung upon the altar of the Lord of Hosts! My eyes glistened as I
read, beneath the lovely effigy of the Christian wife and mother, an
inscription to “Anna Maria Isabella G—— P——; in fulfilment of whose
pious purpose this Church was erected to the glory of God, by her
husband.” Then followed the texts—including an allusion to the
children, as well as their mother—“And they shall be mine in that day
when I make up my jewels:”—“The Lord grant unto them that they may find
mercy of the Lord in that day.” I can scarcely remember anything of the
kind which ever more powerfully touched the springs of Christian
sympathy within me; those sacred springs of the heart, which can never
issue in their fullest flow, till they have been fed by the hallowed
love of the husband and the father.

Returning to the town, I devoted nearly the whole of the remainder of
the afternoon to the cathedral; accompanied most of the time, by the
friend to whom I had owed the pleasures of the day, and to whom I at
last bade a reluctant farewell. I had been greatly benefited, not only
by his intelligent conversation on indifferent topics, but by his
earnestness in those particularly, which Christian priests should
discuss most freely in each other’s company. He left me to the kind
attention of a worthy dignitary of the cathedral, the Rev. Sir John
S——, in the enjoyment of whose polite hospitalities I spent the
evening of this charming day.

The exterior of the cathedral, as seen from every point of vantage, in
neighbouring gardens, or from the solemn seclusion of the surrounding
precincts, was not less striking, in its way, than that of any similar
structure I had yet beheld; but the internal survey was more impressive,
by far, than that of any other, except Westminster Abbey. It is one of
the largest of its class of buildings, and in its different portions,
presents an epitome of pointed art, in its several stages of progress
through a period of five hundred years. Here is the Anglo-Norman nave,
with massive columns, like those of Tewksbury; then comes the choir,
with its rich and delicate elaborations; and then the Lady-Chapel, which
is a little paradise of architecture. The solid crypts beneath, dating
from the tenth century, present a singular instance of groining, in
their square and solid ribs, entirely unadorned; while the cloisters, in
the style of the fifteenth century, seem to have exhausted the skill of
the architect, in the exceeding richness of their tracery, and pendant
vaulting. The very defects of the building seem to have contributed to
its graces, for when I had admired the aerial effect of a slender arch,
springing athwart the transepts and attaching itself to the roof, as if
its solid stone were a mere hanging festoon, I was told that this was,
in fact, a blemish, and had been introduced into the original plan, only
to strengthen the walls. I went into the triforia, and tried the
whispering-gallery, but had no time to amuse myself with such small
experiments, amid so many incentives to a higher employment of my
opportunities. I am sorry that the marvellous beauty of the Lady-Chapel
still demands the hand of a restorer. The “godly” Cromwellians have left
the traces of their hammers on all its carved work, and it is sadly
despoiled. Would that the same skill and taste which reared the Church
at Highnam might be permitted to make this holy place worthy of an
English cathedral! That the English people still suffer these
mother-churches of the nation to remain as too many of them are, is one
of their greatest national disgraces. When they are restored as they
might be, and managed as they should be, then, and not till then, must
they command the unmingled admiration and delight of every intelligent

After a thorough inspection of the cathedral, in the broad light of day,
I was kindly invited by Sir John to visit it again, as the day was about
to close. We entered, by his private key, and were alone in the vast and
awful interior. Going into the nave, he said to me, as I paused to
observe the solemn perspective—“Whose bones, do you suppose, are now
beneath your feet?” I stepped aside, as he added, “You are standing on
the grave of Bishop Warburton.” So much wit and genius in the dust! Yet
in what nobler sepulchre could earth to earth be delivered, to await the
resurrection? Hard by, are the monuments of two of the world’s
benefactors; that of Jenner, who poured water upon the flame of the
noisome pestilence, and that of Raikes, who first “gathered the
children” into Sunday Schools. There is another modern monument,
deserving of mention, as one of that purely Anglican type, which tends
to _divinify_ domestic love, and the holy relations of the wife and
mother. A female figure, with a babe, appear in the radiant marble,
invited by angels into Paradise, from the waves of the sea. It is from
the pure chisel of Flaxman, and commemorates one who died in the perils
of childbirth, while encompassed by the perils of the great deep.

Less pleasing, yet even more impressive, was the quaint effigy, in old
carved oak, of Robert, Duke of Normandy, surnamed Curthose. You touch it
and it moves, and you involuntarily start. It is, of course, very light,
and lies upon the tomb so loosely that it is easily disturbed; and then,
it seems as if the old Norman were about to rise and confront you, as an
audacious intruder upon his repose. But how shall I describe the effect
of the marble effigy of poor King Edward the Second, as I saw it, in the
solemn twilight, and in the unbroken silence of the deserted cathedral?
There was that outstretched figure, and that sad outline of a face
composed in death, and hands clasped in resignation; but its dread
appearance was as if imploring God, against the cruel murderers who had
done him such awful violence. I thought of Gray’s sketchy but
descriptive lyric, and muttered to myself:—

        “Those shrieks of death through Berkeley’s roofs that ring;
         Shrieks of an agonizing king.”

The neighbouring peasant woke at the outcry of the tortured sufferer,
and crossed himself; for he suspected what the devil was doing in the
castle. Here now lies the victim of that horrid regicide, but there is
something in the sculpture of his visage, that reminds the visitor, that
“God shall bring to light the hidden things of darkness.” This powerful
impression lingered with me, as I paced the cloisters, and revived, when
at a late hour of the night I was awakened by the chimes of the
cathedral clock charming the darkness with a solemn tune, and lifting
the thoughts of the listener to communion with his God.

                              CHAPTER XX.

                       _The Court of St. James._

Who knows not by heart the face of the Royal Palace of St. James? That
such a house should have been a Palace in the days of Wolsey, seems
strange enough to one who has seen at Oxford what even a college was, in
Wolsey’s conception: but that it should still be a Palace, when Pall
Mall and St. James’s-street are full of club-houses, that would scarcely
take any part of it for a kitchen, with the condition of setting it on
their own ground—this seems stranger still. Yet a Palace may it long
continue; for not until the government of England shall be that of some
revolutionary _parvenu_, will it cease to be a speaking symbol of the
genuine dignity of the British Crown! The Queen of England can afford to
hold her Court in an old, worn-out mansion, and to let the opulence of
her subjects erect the most striking contrast at its side. Build as they
may—St. James is not cast into the shade: it is historical and royal.
There are few illustrations to be found more _à propos_ to the
superiority of a mental over a physical grandeur.

In returning to London from my Glo’stershire excursion, one of my
purposes was to be presented at Court; a gratification which I had been
advised to allow myself, and which the American Minister had politely
proffered me. An experienced courtier supplied me with the necessary
hints as to dress, and the etiquette of the Court; and accordingly, on a
levee day, I was duly presented, as preparatory to going to Court, on
the more splendid occasion of a drawing-room. The presentation of
gentlemen always takes place at a levee, and no one of the male sex can
attend a drawing-room who has not been previously presented. Ladies do
not attend levees at all, and consequently a levee is a very dull
affair, when compared with the brilliant spectacle which they make of a
drawing-room, not less by their beauty, than by the glitter of their
diamonds, and the flaunting of their trains.

As a clergyman, I was freed from any great burden of expense in the
matter of costume, canonicals being the proper dress for one of the
priestly function, and my ordinary suit of robes being in very good
condition. A pair of enormous shoe-buckles was almost the only
additional item to be thought of; and an Oxford cap was pronounced by my
kind adviser, Sir John S——, quite as proper as the absurd little
apology for a three-cornered hat, (tucked under the arm,) which is
considered the more exquisite finish to the clerical exterior, on such
occasions. My next concern was to furnish myself with a Brougham, (or
chariotee,) and with a driver wearing a sort of livery; hackney-coaches
not being sufferable within the precincts of the Palace. A couple of
cards, of unusual magnitude, one of which bore the name of my presenter,
with my own, was the last requisite; and thus munimented, I had only to
fall into the line of aristocratic equipages, sweeping down St.
James’s-street, and to await my turn for alighting at the doors of the

How different the scene in Hogarth’s day, when they went to Court in
sedan-chairs, and when the “Rake, arrested for debt,” (as portrayed in
his dramatic colours,) was the very ideal of a courtier. Yet there
stands the old Palace, precisely as it figures in that graphic picture,
and here are the successors of the characters who fill up its
back-ground, if not those of the hero himself! Such were my reflections
as I found myself moving, very leisurely, in the procession of wheels,
along the splendid street, amid crowds of gaping spectators, kept at
respectful distance by the heels of the horses of the mounted guards,
and by the vigorous exertions of the police. My further reflections were
not of a very self-sufficient sort; for who could be very much elated at
finding himself cutting so little of a figure, and, in fact, making an
absolute blemish, in such a pageant? Yet, I had no occasion to be
ashamed, as I felt that my hired brougham was as much the thing for my
republican self-respect, as the gilded coaches and gorgeous liveries
before me and behind me were for titled lords and ladies. In fact, if I
could not be vain, I was not without a little Johnsonian pride, in the
entire consistency and reality of my turn-out. Hired court-dresses, and
swords, and buckles, have been not unheard-of things for an appearance
at Court. I was at least habited in no borrowed plumes, and was going in
the same vestments which I had often worn in my pulpit, to be presented
by the representative of my own Government, as a plain American
parish-priest. As for my hired brougham, it was countenanced by so many
of its own kind, that its humble appearance occasioned no surprise even
among the staring crowd, it being quite usual for professional gentlemen
to use such an equipage. But the carriages of the nobility, in general,
are truly superb: that is to say—if they are not ridiculous. They look,
for all the world, (with their gilding, emblazonings and trappings,
their powdered coachmen, and footmen holding on behind, three in a row,
with staves and cocked hats,) like the carriage of Cinderella in the
nursery-book. And indeed, on a drawing-room day, the fair creatures
within, in their ostrich-plumes, and lace, and diamonds, as revealed to
vulgar eyes through the glass-windows, often seem to realize the
fabulous beauty of Cinderella herself with their dazzling complexions
and delicate airs. Not alone the vulgar, however, but many of the
personal friends of the fair parties are viewing them, all the time,
from the neighbouring balconies and shop-fronts. The levee attracts less
of a crowd, and yet there was crowd enough, and very stupid was my
approach to Pall-Mall. There—you wait till called in your turn, and
meanwhile have time to look at the mounted trumpeters, pursuivants, and
guards, in liveries of scarlet and gold, drawn up before the gates. At
last, setting forward, you enter the court-yard, with as much of a
flourish as your whip can make for you, and alight at the door of the
Palace, making your way, first along a corridor, and then slowly up a
grand stair-case, to the suite of apartments opened for the occasion. As
you enter these apartments, you throw your card into a basket, and pass
on amid files of yeomen of the guard, wearing the Tudor livery, and
holding their halberds, and looking like old statues of wood or stone,
or rather like the wax figures in a museum. When the time comes for you
to enter the royal presence, you are met at the door of the throne-room
by a gentleman in waiting, to whom you deliver your second card, that
you may be properly announced. This card is handed to another official,
and you are ushered through a file of ladies of honour towards her
Majesty, who stands beneath a canopy, with Prince Albert at her side,
the centre of the brilliant circle, and (as I am glad to say) making a
truly royal appearance. Here your name is called out, and that of the
party who presents you, and then—an American simply advances and bows
to the Queen, repeats the salaam to her princely consort, and so retires
backwards, not turning his heel upon the royal presence. A British
subject goes through the more formidable ceremony of falling on one
knee, and kissing the royal hand. Now it so happened that her
Majesty—owing no doubt to my attire, which was the same as that of her
own clerical subjects—evidently mistook me for one; and my gallantry
was in consequence sorely put to the test,—for, advancing with great
dignity, the Queen was just proffering her hand, and I was beginning to
balance between the republicanism of my knee, and the courtesy of my
heart, when the anxious official promptly repeated the form—“presented
by the _American_ Minister.” Of course her Majesty took the hint, and
most gracefully withdrew, with a courteous recognition and a pleasant
smile, while I finished my democratic homage with as much
self-possession as was in my power, repeated my obeisance to Prince
Albert, and bowed myself backward through the gorgeously apparelled
circle of _diplomats_, making my especial respects to our own Minister,
and so retiring into the adjoining apartment.

On this occasion the Queen’s appearance impressed me, in all respects,
more favorably than I had expected; but, on the other hand, Prince
Albert struck me as less princely, and less intelligent, than I had
supposed him to appear. A lady would here interpose with the question as
to her Majesty’s dress, and I must allow that, from my own observation,
I could not speak with certainty on that important subject, but the
_Times_ next morning asserted it to have been—“a train of white watered
silk, _chenée_ with gold, and green and silver, trimmed with tulle and
white satin ribands, and ornamented with diamonds; and a petticoat of
white satin and tulle, with satin ribands to correspond; and a
head-dress of emeralds and diamonds.” The Duchess of Sutherland and Lady
Jocelyn were conspicuous among the ladies in attendance, and Prince
Albert was attended by Lord George Lennox, with his groom and his
equerry. It would have been a very magnificent spectacle, had not the
small and stifled appearance of the throne-room given a cramped look to
the royal party, and detracted from the majesty which always requires
“ample room and verge” for its full effect on the imagination.

The drawing-room was held in honour of the Queen’s birthday, about a
week later. I could now go freely, without the ceremony of a
presentation, merely depositing my card in the basket, from which, I
suppose, the Times reports of attendants at the Palace are made up. In
approaching St. James, everything was as before, save that the crowd was
greater, and the carriages conveying ladies of rank more superb. On
alighting, and entering the corridor, I was enchanted by the display of
splendour and beauty which filled it, and in which there was everything
but order to make it all that one could imagine of a courtly pageant.
Brilliant indeed; but such a jam! The crowd was a perfumed and dazzling
one; but not less a crowd than one in the streets. Here were peers and
peeresses of every rank, and the daughters of peers, and new brides, and
many a young beauty coming for the first time, and trembling with
excitement, yet bewildered with delight. There is no denying the
striking beauty of many of these high-born damsels; their complexions
were lily-and-rose, and health was as generally characteristic of their
appearance as beauty. I observed the trepidation of some of them, as
their finery was subjected to the pressure of the patrician throng, and
as they gathered their trains over the ivory arm, evidently thinking
anxiously of the critical moment when they must allow it to flaunt
gracefully, and catch it up not less so, in the presence of their
Sovereign. No doubt all had been practised for weeks beforehand, till
each was an adept, in the eyes of waiting-maids and mammas. Mingled with
these gay creatures were grave judges in their wigs, and fierce-looking
officers in their uniforms, and wild-looking Highland chieftains,
bare-legged, but plaided and plumed, and making a showy figure in their
clan-tartans. One of the yeomen-of-the-guard remarked, in my hearing, as
I passed, that this was the greatest attendance at Court he had ever
known. The Crystal Palace had filled the town, and there were many
foreigners. I saw some Persian and other Oriental costumes in the
throng; and, on the whole, the poorest figures were those in the
ordinary gentleman’s court suit, with the cocked-hat, and hair-powder of
the last century. This style of dress seemed to be avoided as far as
possible, military uniforms predominating. In mounting the great
stair-case, if our progress was slow, there was everything to relieve
its tediousness. The ascending rows of glittering uniforms and fine
female figures were a study in themselves. I observed the lovely Lady
——, whom I had met a few hours before, at a breakfast, and was amused
with the entire change of her appearance which those few hours had made.
Lord Lyttleton, who had been at the same breakfast party, now appeared
in a military suit. Quite a number of the clergy were interspersed among
the fair and brave; and as a polite young officer offered me precedence,
and cautioned me to beware of his spurs, he whispered—“_Cedant arma
togæ_ is about all the Latin I retain.” Gaining a landing on the
stair-case, we were next amused by observing the great personages
descending by a corresponding stair-case, from the royal presence. A
servant called for the carriage of each party, as they successively
appeared, and so one always knew who was coming. At last came a great
man whom all knew without any help, as he tottered down, dressed in his
Field-Marshal’s uniform, of which the gay decorations strangely
contrasted with his white head and bowed shoulders. As I watched the old
hero descending, step by step, I could not but think of the lower
descent he must soon make into the dust, and oh! what a moral was
furnished, at that moment, by the glittering honours he wore upon his
breast. Dukes, earls, and cabinet ministers, and several ambassadors,
with wives and daughters, came following each other in splendid
succession, till at last I gained the ante-chamber, and had something
else to look at. Here I could move more freely, and renew my impressions
of the Palace. Several persons whom I had met elsewhere were so polite
as to join me, and to enter into conversation, which very pleasantly
beguiled the time. The exits and entrances were in themselves enough to
amuse and fill up one’s time. Almost every variety of official
decoration and costume, known to heralds and antiquarians, seemed to be
worn by somebody, and amongst the comers and goers were some
distinguished individuals in arts and arms. In this room were one or two
of Lely’s pictures, and among them, if I remember rightly, that of
Catharine of Braganza. Queen Anne also looked on us, from the walls, and
her Majesty’s odious old great-great-grandfather, George the Second. As
I fell into the line which moved toward the throne-room, I came to a
window looking over the park and private garden of the Palace. Oh! what
tales of Caroline, and Hanoverian, gossip and scandal, the sight
recalled. There was her Majesty’s state carriage, awaiting the
conclusion of the ceremonies, to convey her back to Buckingham Palace.
The squab of a driver was sleeping on his box—a mere mortal in spite of
his livery, his hair-powder, and the nosegay in his bosom. In my turn, I
passed before her Majesty, much as before. I hardly saw, in full, the
ceremony of a female presentation, although there were several just
before and after me, for the crowd was intolerable, and my escape from
the presence of royalty into the freer apartments beyond, was truly
refreshing. I passed into an armory, or room ornamented with such old
weapons and defences as one sees at the Tower. Finally, as before, I
left the Palace through a long corridor, ornamented with portraits of
the Kings of England, down to Charles the First. This portrait reminded
me of the last night on earth of that sovereign, which he passed beneath
this roof: and of the last sacrament which he received, in the chapel of
St. James. This is the most sacred association with the Old Palace, and
it is the only one that is enough sacred, to sink the ill memories of
its Georgian traditions. The English underestimate Charles the First,
and do not seem to reflect that many of those elements of their
Constitution, on which they are most wont to value themselves, have been
bequeathed to them by the spirit in which he maintained the royalty, and
suffered for the Church. If the brutal Cromwell is remembered with
commendation, because of some liberties which were the secondary results
of his usurpation, why should not the failings of Charles be forgotten,
in gratitude for the great conservative principles which he taught the
English people, by the signal ability with which he baulked his
adversaries in debate, and by his truly sublime behaviour in the last
stages of his reign? Say what they will, thought I, as I looked at his
portrait—had Charles the First been a Louis the Sixteenth, I should
not, to-day, have seen a descendant of Alfred on the Throne of Great

                              CHAPTER XXI.


I went into the country on Ascension Day to keep the feast, at an
interesting place in the neighbourhood of Harrow. As I was rushing at
the last minute to gain a seat in the railway train, I saw a hand
beckoning me from one of the carriages, and so took my seat beside the
Bishop of Oxford. He was going to spend the day at the same place, a
fact of which I had not the least idea beforehand, but which, of course,
greatly heightened my anticipations of pleasure, on making the
discovery. Arrived, the Bishop was received by the Rev. Mr. ——, and I
was kindly invited to accompany him to breakfast, after a brief survey
of the attractions of the place. First, we went with our reverend host
to see a sort of training school, in which he was giving some young men
of limited means all the substantial parts of a University education. We
went into their chapel, and joined in the devotions with which they
began their day. We were then conducted through the establishment
connected with which was a printing press, worked by the pupils, and a
chemical laboratory, in which they were producing stained glass for the
chapel. In the garden I saw a novelty in the horticultural art, which
struck me as not unworthy of imitation. A small piece of ground had been
ingeniously shaped into a miniature Switzerland. Here, for example, was
the Righi, with a corresponding depression for the Lake of the Four
Cantons. A bucket of water poured into such a depression, makes the
little scene into an artificial reality, serving to convey a
geographical idea much more forcibly than any map could possibly do.
From this college we went to an “Agricultural School,” where some plain
farmer’s boys, in their working attire, were gathered to prayers before
engaging in the labour of the day. A certain amount of education is
furnished to these lads, in return for their toil, and they pay some
fees beside; the plan proposing to elevate this class of the peasantry,
especially in morals and religious knowledge. Thence, we went to the
parish-schools which were also opened by prayer; and then the children
were catechised, in the presence of the Bishop. After this we adjourned
to breakfast, and then went to the Church; a very plain, but substantial
and architectural one, lately substituted for its dilapidated
predecessor. The Bishop preached, entirely extemporaneously, having been
pressed into the service against his intentions. As he eloquently
exhorted us to follow our ascended Lord, I could not but think how
entirely different from the ordinary American notion of an English
Bishop, in labors and in spirit, was this estimable prelate. The Holy
Communion followed, and there was a large number of devout partakers,
representing all classes of society. I was glad to see, for example,
some plain farmers, in their frocks, and two of the railway-guards, in
their liveries.

While walking through the lanes, with the Bishop and this laborious
pastor, a little boy ran up to us with oak-leaves, and a branch
containing oak-apples. It was the 29th of May; and the Bishop playfully
asked the lad why he carried them. “To remember King Charles,” said the
little fellow—as he further enforced the sale of these memorials of the

During the residue of the day, I shared the labours of the pastor, as he
went about the parish, visiting here a sick person, and there a poor
one; and, towards evening, returning to the grounds of the training
school, I joined in a game of cricket, which the young men were playing
in high glee. Chasing the ball as it bounded over the field, or hid
itself in the hedge; scratching my hands with nettles, and joining in
the shouts of frolic, with these happy youths; and finally sitting at my
leisure to watch the beautiful evening sky, against which stood out the
graceful spire and foliage of Harrow-on-the-Hill, while the neighbouring
bells of Stanmore pealed a sunset song, I could not but murmur to
myself, with Gray—

        “I feel the gales that from ye blow,
         A momentary bliss bestow,
           As, waving fresh their gladsome wing,
         My weary soul they seem to soothe,
         And, redolent of joy and youth,
           To breathe a second spring.”

In rambling about, we had a good view of the former residence of Queen
Adelaide, in which she had lately died. She was much beloved and
respected for her unaffected piety, and her manifold good works.

In the twilight we went to church again. The service was sung to a very
pleasing chant, in which all joined with heart, and then the pastor
entered the pulpit, and preached, extemporaneously, on the text, “_It is
expedient for you that I go away._” The sermon was an allegory, of
exceeding beauty, perfectly sustained throughout, and that, to all
appearance, without effort. I shall never forget it, nor the powerful
impression it produced at the time. I have, since, quoted it entire, in
my own pulpit, (with full credit to the source from which it was
derived,) and was happy to observe the effect it was capable of
producing, even at second hand. I left the scene of this pleasing day’s
experiences, with a sweet elevation of feeling, inspired by the
solemnities in which I had engaged, and by the sermons which I had been
so fortunate as to hear. Oh! lovely Church of England, how little they
know thee who revile thee! how unworthy of their baptism are they who
have cast themselves from thy motherly bosom!

My next excursion was into Warwickshire. I went first to Coventry, a
city of which one of my humble ancestry was Mayor, more than two
centuries ago, and for which I entertained a sort of hereditary respect.
It retains much of the aspect it must have borne during that worthy’s
incumbency; for a more mediæval-looking town I saw not in England. Still
unmodernized are its ancient streets and alleys. The houses jut out,
story above story, their gables fronting the way, and so close together,
in the upper parts, that neighbours may light their pipes with each
other across the street, as they lean out of their windows. The famous
three spires of Coventry belong to as many different churches, but seem
to equalize the place in cathedral glories with Lichfield, its sister
see. The spire of St. Michael’s, which is chief among them, is, indeed,
singularly beautiful: and the triplet is well harmonized, and gives the
town a majestic appearance as one approaches it. A town of many spires,
in America, is generally a town of many wrangling creeds; and the major
part of the steeples are but vulgar rivals, realizing the droll idea of
Carlyle’s eel-pot, in which each individual eel is trying to get his
head higher than his neighbour’s. The fact, however, is less droll than
melancholy, when one thinks of the sickening results, upon a community,
of so many religions, all claiming to be reputable types of Christ’s
dear Gospel, although so widely differing among themselves that some
must necessarily be its pestilent antagonists. Dissocial habits; cold
incivilities; open wars; disgraceful rivalries; bickering animosities;
and a degraded moral sentiment—these are the things signified by your
poly-steepled towns in our own land, and God only knows the irreligion
and the contempt for truth, which are festering within them, as the
result of these acrid humours; but as yet, it is not generally so in
England. The three spires of Coventry all point faithfully to the throne
of the Triune God, and are symbols of one Lord, one faith, and one
baptism. Oh, that all who dwell under their shadow knew the blessings of
their ministrations, and received them in spirit and in truth!

The melodious bells of St. Michael’s rung, as I lingered about its
venerable walls; but the interior was undergoing a costly restoration,
and was so obstructed with scaffolding, that I could catch but little of
the effect of its solemn length of nave and chancel, and of the
intersecting arches of its aisles. I afterwards visited Trinity; and
also the ancient St. Mary’s Hall, the scene of the civic pomps of
Coventry, and filled with antiquarian interest in itself and in its
contents. It was not difficult to conjure up the ancient shows of the
adjoining church-yard when Holy Week was celebrated by dramatic
mysteries. But what interested me more than all the rest, was the
grotesque head of a mediæval clown, projecting from an old house, with a
most striking expression of vulgarly impertinent curiosity. The reader
of Tennyson’s exquisite _chef d’œuvre_, will, of course, recognise
“Peeping Tom” in this description. Fabulous may be that beautiful legend
of the Lady Godiva, but the men of Coventry believe it still: and still,
on every Friday in the week of Holy Trinity, its annual fair is opened
with a commemorative procession, in which a fair boy, dressed in
well-knit hosiery, but apparently naked, rides through the ancient
streets, with long and golden hair flowing from head to foot, and
covering his body, as the representative of the sweet bride of Earl
Leofric, who made the burghers of Coventry toll-free, and “gained
herself an everlasting name.” They were making great preparations for
this pageant when I was there, but on the whole I preferred not “to
march through Coventry with them.”

From Coventry to Kenilworth, of course. It was late in the afternoon
when I started the rooks in those old ruins, and sat down to watch their
flight about its ivied towers. Here was, indeed, a place for thought,
and for sentimentalism. How the romance of Scott, that once so bewitched
me, (as I read it, stretched in boyish luxury upon the floor of the
verandah of an American villa, on the dear banks of the Hudson,) now
rose about me in a strange dream of reality; and how tormenting the
endeavour to separate the true history from the charming fable! Here the
finely wrought Gothic masonry, and delicate mouldings, and deeply
recessed windows of the great banqueting-room, stand without a roof; and
the ivy that climbs the solid walls, and twists among the shattered
mullions and transoms, is rooted inside of the once hospitable hall, and
beneath the very point in space, where once the haughty Queen Elizabeth
sat in state, on a splendid dais, with Burleigh, and Leicester, and
Raleigh around her, while these cold, damp walls lifted about them their
magnificent tapestries, and gorgeous blazonries of heraldic honour. In
that bay window she once reclined, to look over the park, and to think
thoughts too deep for utterance. The rich architectural work of these
chambers betrays their former splendid uses; and one grudges, to the
great serpent-like convolutions of the ivy-vines, the sole
proprietorship of their surviving graces. Yet there they hang their
melancholy leaves; and the beautiful desolation is possibly rich enough
in its moral effect on the heart of the visitor, to make one contented
on the whole, that the pile was once so great in design, and so
exquisite in detail, and that the ruin is now so complete. Poor Amy

Up and down I went, thinking only of her wrongs. Now the worn steps
wound up to a turret, and now descended to a secret postern. Here was
the orchard, and there the lake, and there the plaisance: now you look
out of a prison-like window, and now you stand in the deep recess of a
lordly oriel. Going into the ancient grounds, I scattered a hundred
sheep, and away they went, bounding over grass as green and velvety, as
they were white and fleecy. These are the successors of those red deer,
fallow deer, and roes, which once stored the chase. The “swifts” darted
from bush to bush, and the thrushes fluttered in the hawthorn; and then
all was as still as if the past hung over the place like a spell, and as
if it were haunted with its own history. Of all this noble castle, there
remains only one outer part, which can shelter a human inhabitant. The
barbican, beneath which Elizabeth must have made that superb entrance,
is still a dwelling; but its occupant is a plain farmer, who would, no
doubt, prefer to be more snugly housed. It seemed strange to find such a
picturesque abode devoted to so homely a use. How glad I should be to
hire it, myself, for a summer lodge, provided I might have the range of
the surrounding domains, without the annoyance of everybody’s intrusion,
and provided I had nothing better to do than to read romances and

Here this farmer lives, in a room of panelled oaken wainscot, enclosed
by walls that might defy artillery. The chimney-piece is a massive bit
of antiquity, partly alabaster curiously wrought, and partly wood of
rich and costly carving. The ragged-staff of Dudley is conspicuous, in
the decorations; it betrays the relics of its former gilding; the
speaking initials R. L. tell the story of its origin, and the motto
_Droit et Loyal_ shows itself, as if in mockery of historical justice,
amid the arms and cognizances of the once proud possessor of the
princely castle of Kenilworth.

The long twilight enabled me to visit Leamington Priors, and to get a
very pleasing impression of its trim and fair abodes, and showy modern
streets. Then away, by night, to Warwick, where I slept at the “Warwick
Arms,” after such a comfortable supper, as one finds nowhere, at the
close of a traveller’s day, except at an English Inn.

It proved a most beautiful morning, next day, and I was up very early,
resolved, before tasting breakfast, to taste all the sweets of the hour
of prime, in one of the most beautiful rural districts of England. I
walked out some two or three miles, on the Kenilworth road, to Guy’s
Cliff, and to the scene, beyond it, of Piers Gaveson’s murder. The
beauty of the day and of the Scenery, the song of birds, and the
blossoms of the hawthorn along the road, were singularly in keeping with
the imagery by which the poet has pictured the early history of a reign,
strikingly coincident with that in which Gaveson’s fortune was made and

        “Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
           While proudly riding o’er the azure realm,
         In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes,
           Youth on the prow, and pleasure at the helm!”

At length, leaping a slight fence, I made my way through a clovered
field, and then through a pretty grove, to what was once Blacklow hill.
Here is still a sort of cave, which I readily found among the hazels;
and on the eminence above it, rises a strongly built and severe looking
monument, surmounted by a cross of solid proportions, the whole
singularly adapted to the place and purpose. It is a work of late years,
and the happy thought of the proprietor of Guy’s Cliff. There was
something stirring, too, in reading, in the loneliness of that morning
hour, the following inscription on the face of the monument, viz:—“_In
the hollow of this rock was beheaded, July 1, 1312, by barons lawless as
himself, Piers Gaveson, Earl of Cornewall, the minion of a hateful king,
and in life and death a memorable instance of misrule._” What a picture
of the ferocious past was conjured up by that expression—“beheaded by
barons as lawless as himself.” The sweet Avon was flowing through the
meads below; there gleamed the feudal towers of Warwick, in the glowing
sunrise; and just so it was, that July morning, five hundred years ago,
when this rock rang with oaths and curses, the barkings of that fierce
Guy de Beauchamp, whom Gaveson had called “the black hound of Arden.”
That insult was here avenged in blood; but it only served to fire the
thirst of the regicide. Those features upturned to heaven, in the choir
of Gloucester, and those imploring hands of poor King Edward, came back,
in thought, once more.

Pictures have made my readers familiar with the scenery of Guy’s Cliff.
There it stands, on the Avon—in unpretending beauty, ivied up to its
chimnies, here an oriel, and there a turret, the very ideal of a fair
lady’s bower, and one of the goodliest of “the merry homes of England.”
There is a mill over against it, where I stood and admired its quiet
romance, in the glory of that summer morning, as the gilding of the
sunlight lay on the cold gray of its towers. At the mill, the
farmer-lads were washing sheep, and as they plunged in the fleecy ewes,
and soused them over and over again, in the sparkling waters of the
Avon, I thought an artist would ask no fairer study, for his pencil,
than the scene before me. I confess I could not safely look on it
without repeating the _Tenth Commandment_, and I quite deposed my
project of renting the Gate-house of Kenilworth, in thinking how much
better I should like Guy’s Cliff for my habitation.

My walk into Warwick, again, was full of pleasure. I heard the clock
strike in the tower of St. Mary’s, which I saw over a forest of trees,
gaily lighted by the sun; and then came a tune from its chime. I paused
before old houses, and stared at the curious ancient gateway, under
which we had passed in the night. After breakfast I visited the Church,
and especially the Beauchamp Chapel, where the ancient lords of Warwick
lie on their proud tombs, in sculptured mail, beside their dainty dames,
in more delicate attire. This chapel is, of its kind, the finest in the
kingdom; the superb tomb of Charles the Bold and Mary of Burgundy, when
I saw it at Bruges, reminded me of it, and seemed less imperial. I
cannot now recall it in detail, as I wish I could, for the sake of
accurate criticism; but at the time I was greatly struck with the state
and splendour of such _beauty—for ashes_! Fulke Greville’s monument is
also memorable, if only for the striking tribute it pays to private
friendship; for the inscription furnished by himself ekes out the fact
of his being “Councillor to King James,” by that of his claim to write
himself—“The friend of Sir Philip Sydney.”

I went over Warwick Castle, of course, and surveyed the grounds from the
porter’s lodge, where are shown the armour and the porridge-pot of great
Guy, and fair Phælice’s slippers, to the garden-house, wherein is kept
the gigantic vase from Tivoli. What eyes for natural beauty had those
builders of old times! The Avon seems just here to be made for Warwick
Castle, and Warwick Castle seems made for it. On the whole, I have seen
no residence in Europe, save Windsor Castle, that seemed to me more
princely than this. ’Tis not the creation of vulgar opulence, or of an
Aladdin-like fortune—but it seems the growth of ages, and the natural
concentration of architectural beauty and strength. From its windows
such a view of the landscape—in the landscape such views of it! And
then its relics and antiquities; its pictures and its portraits; its
bed-rooms, and halls, and drawing-rooms; its boudoirs, and its bowers;
its chapel, and its whole together—who can but wonder at them, and who
would want them? Mine is not so vast an ambition—such “an unbounded
stomach.” On the whole I am so reasonable a man, that to gratify my
utmost longings for a home—this side “the house not made with hands”—I
would take Guy’s Cliff, and leave Warwick Castle untroubled by any writ
of ejectment from even a roving wish, or wild, ungoverned thought.

                             CHAPTER XXII.


Only nine miles to Stratford-upon-Avon! With what a flush of delighted
expectation I climbed the coach, and left the Warwick Arms, in the hope
of beholding with my eyes, in less than two short hours, the home of
Shakspeare, and that world-famous church to which he bequeathed his
bones! And yet there was something like a misgiving at the heart. My
imagination had been familiar, for years, with a certain ideal of
Stratford, that had grown into my whole structure of thought concerning
Shakspeare and his times. It had been constructed from here a print, and
there a traveller’s tale, and had taken life and beauty from detached
anecdotes, and little inklings of historic light, that had come sweetly
to me from my boyhood, in some inexplicable manner. In part the product
of enthusiastic study, when college oil, that should have been burned in
honour of Euclid, and Napier, and Newton, was stealthily sacrificed at
the shrine of the great master of the human heart, I had possessed for
years, a Stratford of my own; a pet village of my soul, such as
Shakspeare should have lived in: and now—in a few hours, all this was
to be deposed forever; dull realities were to eclipse the brilliant
picture of the fancy, and thenceforth I must know only the Stratford of
fact. Would the realization pay me for the downfall of the vision? Alas!
what is life but a continual balance between loss and gain; what
pleasure do we acquire, without the sacrifice of something almost as
sweet? How long the boy looks at his bright penny before he gives it for
the toothsome sugar-plum; and how often the bright penny comes back to
him, as the substantial wealth, of which the moment’s gratification has
deprived him.

As the coach began to draw near Stratford, I found myself greatly
excited; and every object began to assume a sort of conscious connection
with immortal genius. The very road,—but much more the trees,—and even
more, those features of the landscape which might be supposed unchanged
by the lapse of centuries, seemed instinct with their past communion
with a great creative mind. His spell was on them. He had once been
familiar with these scenes. He had gathered many an image, many a
thought, and, I doubt not, many a refreshing hope, from intercourse with
their spring and summer beauties; and they had been not less instructive
to him, perhaps, in the season of the sere-leaf, or in that of the
wintry wind. Yonder was Charlecote—beyond the Avon: its park still
stretching thro’ the vale, and hiding the old historic hall. But the
thought of that juvenile deer-stalking, gave speaking life to even the
distant scene. There is some sensitive principle in our nature, to which
such associations so powerfully appeal, that nothing is more real, for a
time, than the communion we hold with departed greatness, through the
medium of objects with which it was once conversant. This reality I
never felt so strongly as now. At last we came in sight of that
“star-ypointing pyramid”—the spire of Stratford. The gentle tumult of
feelings with which it ruffled my inmost nature, for a moment, and the
calm enjoyment that succeeded, were enough to pay me for crossing the

I was duly set down at the Red Horse Inn, and ushered into the trim
little parlour, and even into the elbow-chair, of which I had read,
aforetime, in the pages of Geoffrey Crayon. Mine host readily recognizes
an American, and never fails to produce, on such an occasion, the
“sceptre” of the said Geoffrey, wherewith he once poked the coals, in
the smoking grate of said parlour, and, for a tranquil moment, was
“monarch of all he surveyed.” Indeed, if Shakspeare reigns in Stratford,
it must be allowed that the Red Horse is, nevertheless, the principality
of Crayon, and that it is rapidly rising into a formidable rivalship of
New Place, and the Guildhall, on the strength of Crayon’s reputation, to
say nothing of the landlord’s ale. In short, no visitor to Stratford has
ever left there such a lasting impression of his footsteps, as our own
delightful Irving: and it was pleasant, indeed, thus, at the very
threshold of my visit, to find, even in the broad glare of Shakspeare’s
glory, the star of our countryman revolving steadily in its own peculiar
orbit, and shining as no mean satellite of that great central sun of
Anglo-Saxon literature.

I should be a bold man, indeed, to attempt to add anything to Irving’s
description of Stratford-upon-Avon. I have only the adventures of my day
to tell of, and they were few and simple. I followed in the beaten track
to the old tumble-down cottage, which is called the birth-place of
Shakspeare, and which was doubtless the scene of his infancy. I
recognized at once, the original of many a well-thumbed print, and of
many a descriptive page. Timber from the forest of Arden; clay from the
bed of the Avon; sticks and mud at best compose the nest in which the
Mighty Mother brought the immortal Swan to light. It was once a better
nest than now. A butcher has degraded it to serve as shambles, and it
has yet the appearance of a stall for meat, although it is no longer
used, except as a relic, the show-woman being its only tenant. Here, in
spite of its transmutations, you cannot but fancy the elder Shakspeare,
“with spectacles on nose,” sitting in the spacious chimney, and teaching
little Will his alphabet, or telling him, beside the winter’s fire, of
the “mysteries” he had seen played, near by, at Coventry, when he was a
boy. Through the door, you seem yet to see the marvellous urchin, with
his satchel, creeping unwillingly to school: or, back he comes, with
shining face, to tell that the Queen’s players have just arrived from
London, to play “Troy-town,” at the Guildhall! Here, at all events, day
after day went over that mysterious young head, filling it with
impressions, not one of which ever seems to have escaped it, and
preparing its tenant genius to be the great bridge between old and
modern England, by means of which, feeling, as well as fact, runs on
continuously, in the line of English History, and gives it a unity and a
vitality which the annals of other nations lack. Oh, strange, immortal,
universal Will! How supernatural the interest that hangs about thine
every step, from the cradle to the grave.

You ascend a few creaking stairs, and you are in the very room where the
first of his Seven Ages was, no doubt, duly signalized by himself,
“mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.” How many lives have been the
mere pendants of the life that here flickered in its first lighting, and
which a puff of air might have put out—the world none the sadder for
its loss! Yet now, how supreme the dominion of that one soul, these
scribbled walls attest; where vulgar enthusiasm is not more legible,
than that of the worldly great, of foreign scholars and sovereign
princes, and of intellectual autocrats scarce less imperial than
Shakspeare himself. How powerful the inspiration of the _genius loci_,
is best proved by the fact that among the scribblings one reads the
autograph of Walter Scott. Verily, there is no fame like Shakspeare’s!
Subduing, as he does, the instincts of all classes alike, and entering
as he does, into the sympathies of all nations, he must be regarded less
as a man of genius, than as a noble instrument of God, for subordinating
human passions and affections to some superior purpose of His own,
perhaps not yet conceived. The rise of a Christian literature, and that
the purest which the world has ever possessed, is dated from the age of
which he was the bright peculiar star; and the whole Anglo-Saxon race
must ever recognize in him the original master of many of its forms of
thought, a rich contributor to its idiom and language, and the
constructor of some of its strongest sentiments of civilization, of
morals, and of religion.

The site of the New Place is occupied by a solid mansion, which, devoid
of interest in itself, commands a moment’s attention, as occupying the
spot on which Shakspeare’s prosperous days were passed, and which was
emphatically his home. All that remains of him, in this place, and its
immediate neighbourhood, is nevertheless soon seen and dismissed, as
nothing but the enthusiasm of an idolator would detect anything
specially attractive in a statue set up by Garrick at the Town Hall, and
a few other memorials, too minute, or too modern, to deserve much delay
in their inspection. I reserved my raptures for the walk to Shottery.
Striking into the fields, I pleased myself with the conviction that air
and earth are still very much the same in them, as when the boy
Shakspeare played truant, and sported among their sweets. The birds and
the flowers are still as gay as when he preferred to learn their
lessons, rather than the schoolmaster’s; and when I turned into a shady
lane, all green and white with hawthorn, or plucked the peas’ blossom in
the upland, or the buttercup and daisy in the meadow, I felt sure that
his foot had fallen where they grew, and that they had given him
pleasure, and taught him morals, which the world has willingly taken at
second-hand, and will never “willingly let die.” Yes, the very labouring
oxen, and the pasturing cows, seemed to me of a superior breed.
Short-horn, or Devonshire, or whatever they may be to the farmer, they
were, in my esteem, not less than Shaksperean beef fed on the grass of
Stratford, and feeding my imagination with images of the animated nature
of the same scenery, as it was three hundred years ago. I came to
several pretty farm cottages, with shrubbery in their little door-yards,
and at one of these I knocked, thinking it must be Anne Hathaway’s; but
the damsel who opened the door seemed not much flattered by the inquiry,
for Anne, though she was Shakspeare’s wife, was not an honest woman, by
the parish register, and has little honour in her own village. However,
the damsel pointed out my way, with milk-maid courtesy, and away I went
with traveller-like apologies. Here, then, at last, was the scene of
Will’s discreditable courtship; and here, if they deceived me not,
descendants of the Hathaways live still. The house is in two parts, like
nave and chancel in ecclesiastical architecture; timbered and plastered,
like the birth-place aforesaid, and thatched in the picturesque style so
dear to Crayon artists and sketchers; its little windows peeping out of
the straw, like sharp eyes under the shaggy brows of an old pensioner,
sunning himself in front of an ale-house. I am glad to say that roses,
and other flowers, were duly set about the cottage, as one which I
plucked, and brought away, bears witness. They showed me some old
Hathaway furniture, and among others an enormous bedstead of Elizabethan
date, on which, they would have me believe, that many of the poet’s
dreams had visited him. There was also an ancient oaken chair: and
finally, some bed and table linen was taken out of an old chest. It was
evidently homespun, and they believed it to be Anne’s work, as well as
property. With this view of the matter, however, the initials E. H. did
not entirely agree, and although I was inclined to yield this objection
at the moment, when credulity was allowable, I do not now flatter myself
that I have seen the bedstead or the bed-clothes of Shakspeare. It is
something better that I have seen the Church in which he was christened,
and where he now lies, under the chancel; and where he was taught to
pray; and where he often knelt, one would fain believe, in true
contrition; and where he learned, from some lowly parson, unknown to
fame, many of those sublime and gospel verities, which have given, even
to his poorer themes, their savor of immortality.

The avenue of limes which leads to the church-porch, is rather stiff
than otherwise. The “way to Parish Church” was probably unpaved, and
perhaps unshaded, when Will tottered over it, to be catechised; or when,
in maturer years, he sought the House of God with reverence, among the
multitude that kept holy day. The Church itself is of Anglo-Norman date,
and was originally such in its architecture, but has frequently been
altered and repaired, at various periods. It is cruciform, and would be
not unworthy of a visit for its own sake. The churchyard is full of
graves, and the Avon flows under its walls. I sat there, for nearly an
hour, quite alone, trying to grasp the full idea of the spot. A lubberly
scow came paddling along on the turbid river; and the rooks started up,
and then lighted upon the old gray tower; and some sheep came nibbling
among the graves; and finally, two or three children ran about me, and
kept me company, for awhile; but oh! how unconscious seemed all these of
the great reality of the place, and how still and solemnly the poet
slumbered on, in his sepulchre, unconscious of this prosy nineteenth
century, which thus wags on without him. I took out my tablets in a sort
of reverie; wrote down the date, and scribbled on at random, as follows:
‘Here, in the churchyard of Stratford, I am sitting on the stone-wall,
which defends it from the Avon, and at the foot of which, its fringe of
flags grows rank, amid the slime. The sun, through the half-misty
atmosphere, is falling tenderly on the limes; birds are singing; a rook
cawing; nobody is near, but the breeze whispers, socially, through the
elms overhead. How still the old spire points up to heaven! How dearly
the grass clings to the tower and belfry, growing there in every “coigne
of vantage!” And this quiet old chancel, too! Within these walls was
Shakspeare made a member of Christ, and here he waits the Judgment. Oh,
Will! how much for thee imports the Scripture, “_by thy words_ thou
shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned!”’

The old legendary sexton of Irving’s visit has passed away, and another
reigns in his stead. Availing myself of his keys, I excused him from any
further effort of his tongue, and surveyed the solemn interior in peace.
Here, too, the hand of restoration has been freshly at work, and has set
the holy house in order. The Church which enfolds the tomb of Shakspeare
is dedicated to the Holy Trinity—the God who made him, and whom he
adored. The meagre god of unbelief would never have filled such a soul
as his, or moved him to kneel down; but how often that overwhelming
Mystery of Faith must have thrilled him here, as he repeated the creed,
or chanted the _Te Deum!_ At last I stood before the famous bust, and
looked upon that sublime forehead, and those composed features, and said
to it silently those brotherly lines of Milton, which the sight brings
naturally to mind. Then I read the inscription, and spelled out, letter
by letter, the words of that imprecatory verse, in which Shakspeare’s
self is as legible as anything else. “Good friend, for Jesu’s sake,”
etc.—_Amen_, was my response. It was a moment to remember, but not to

I next tried to satisfy myself as to the sense of _Mistriss Hall’s_
epitaph, which is ambiguous; and on which the inspection of the original
throws little additional light. It tells us _first_, that she was “witty
above her sexe,” and _second_, that she was “wise to salvation,” and
then adds:

        “Something of Shakspeare was in _that_—but _this_
         Wholly of him, with whom she’s now in blisse.”

Now, of course, this _him_ must mean her Saviour, with whom she is in
Paradise; yet, it may mean, for all that, her father Shakspeare; and the
question is, was not the ambiguity a quaint conceit, and intended to be
a doublet? If so, as it has often struck me, whatever we may think of
its taste, it is an important testimony to the maturer character of the
poet; since its secondary meaning would be, to give it in
paraphrase—that her wit had something in it of Shakspeare, but that her
piety was wholly learned of her father, with whom she now reaps its
reward. Now if we exclude this idea, it would almost seem to force us
into the sad reverse; for certainly, as it is first read, it seems to
imply that she was not indebted to her father for any of her religion,
though she was for her wit. Of course, it may be answered, that _wisdom
unto salvation_ is so exclusively from Christ, as its meritorious cause,
that nothing else is to be taken into account, as its instrument; but is
this the sole idea of the verse? Very likely; and yet after all, I
wonder that its ambiguous character has never attracted the attention of
the many who have raked and scraped the very dust of Stratford for
something rich and strange. Certain it is, that, like many readings of
Shakspeare himself, it wants but a change of emphasis, from word to
word, to give two or three different senses, any one of which is
tolerable, although it is an intolerably bad epitaph, after all.

I believe the droppings of this Church of Stratford bedew the works of
Shakspeare, from the first sonnet to the last play, and that here he was
schooled to that strict law of his dramas, which runs through all, and
by which he always “shows virtue her own feature, and scorn her own
image,” instead of fitting the mask of propriety upon the front of
shame. More than all, it was here that he learned that reverence for the
name of Jesus, with which he so often embalms his pages, and which so
often makes them melodious to a believer’s ear and heart. How much, too,
the first and second lesson out of “the Bishop’s Bible”—how much the
Epistle and Gospel, and the Psalter, taught him, not only of sonorous
English, but of Christian doctrine and morals! I am sure these
influences may be detected in his works; and as I looked at the very
spot where his young idea was taught to shoot toward heaven, I felt that
this was the sublimest association of the place. Here once (my fancy
suggested) he may have heard in the lesson for the day—_suffer chyldren
to come unto Me_, and then, a few verses afterwards, he must have been
struck with the contrast, when the parson read on—_it is easier for a
camell to go thorow a nedle’s eye_, etc. He was now a prosperous man,
and had just purchased New-Place, and obtained a grant of Arms. His
conscience therefore pricked him with the question—Was he one of the
rich men for whom admission into heaven was to be so hard? The parson
mounted the pulpit, and quoted much learned stuff out of Sir John
Maundeville, to explain the orientalism of the lesson: and among other
things, he threw out the idea that the postern gate of an Eastern city
was so small, that it was impossible for a beast of burthen to pass
through it, and was usually called “the needle’s eye,” and hence the
force of the comparison. All this, Shakspeare, who was thinking his own
thoughts, heard only incoherently, and he got a somewhat confused idea
of the _postern_ and _needle_; but being, just then, at work on his
Richard the Second, he goes home, and puts his Sunday reverie into the
mouth of his hero, thus:—

        “My thoughts of things divine are intermixed
         With scruples, and do set the word itself
         Against the word,
         As thus—_Come little ones_; and then, again,
         _It is as hard to come, as for a camel_
         _To thread the postern of a needle’s eye._”

Such at least is the story, which this passage suggests to me as, very
possibly, the way in which it came to him. I often trace to a similar
source, that is, to the open Scriptures, and the vernacular services of
the Church of England, the innumerable Siloan streams which freshen and
even sanctify his verse. The great themes of redemption may be found
richly illustrated in many passages; and I think I could select from his
works enough of sacred poetry to fill a little volume, and one fit to be
kept as a companion to the Prayer-Book and the Christian Year. I cannot
credit the scandal that Shakspeare died of a debauch, nor do I believe
he was less than an ordinary Christian. While the secrets of his heart
are with his God, we may at least, in Christian charity, believe that
the friend of publicans and sinners may have seen in him a practical
dependence upon that Atonement which, by the mouth of Portia, he has
preached so well:—

                                —“Therefore, Jew,
        Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
        That in the course of justice none of us
        Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy.”

As I departed, I plucked a branch of ivy from the Church wall, near the
spot where his dust awaits the resurrection. It was brought home with me
to America—the land in which he has more readers than anywhere else in
the whole world. How little he foresaw this, when in compliment to James
the First, he recorded (if the passage be his own) the prediction that
James should “make new nations;” adding—what proves rather true of

        “Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
         His honour, and the greatness of his name
         Shall be!”

A threatening rain prevented my walking to Charlecote, but I went away
contented. I was inclined to indulge a little in Jacques’ vein, and the
melancholy clouds began to favour us with congenial tears, as—reduced
to sober prose—I made my way in the storm, on the top of a stage-coach,
through what was once the Forest of Arden.

                             CHAPTER XXIII.

              _Haddon Hall—Chatsworth—Shrewsbury—Chester._

After renewing my acquaintance with the hospitable friends at B——,
with whom I had passed my Easter, I made an excursion into Derbyshire,
with an episodical trip to Nottingham. My chief attraction to this
latter place was that of an invitation from sundry relatives of my B——
friends to visit them, though the town is certainly well worthy of being
visited for itself. For the sake of poor Kirke-White, one would wish to
hunt up his lowly birth-place, and some would say that Newstead Abbey
deserves a traveller’s homage. In fact, the Park and Abbey are the great
charm of the neighbourhood, to most visitors; but I must own that I
could not bring myself to make a pilgrimage to the scene of those orgies
for which it is chiefly distinguished. On making some such remark to a
worthy ex-magistrate of the borough, I was struck with the downright
English common sense of his reply,—“You are quite right”—said he—“no
one thinks much of Lord Byron, in these parts, where he was known; he
cheated the tradesmen with whom he had dealings, and made himself so
odious, that when his remains were brought through Nottingham, to be
buried, we could not make up our minds to pay him any honours!” So much
for romance and misanthropy! Genius, without honour and morality, is
despicable indeed: and one even doubts the sentimental refinement of the
man, of whom an intimate friend and companion could say, with anything
like epigrammatic truthfulness, that “he cried for the press, and wiped
his eyes with the public.”

A visit to the castle, and its caves, to which my reverend friend from
B—— conducted me, well repaid us for our walk to the eminence on which
it stands in ruins. It belonged to the late Duke of Newcastle, and was
burned, as I remember very well, during the Reform riots, by an
infuriate mob: but it is supposed, that the stiff old aristocrat whom
they meant to injure, was very well pleased with the outrage. He did not
inhabit it; he was well reimbursed for his loss; and was relieved from
the tax of keeping up an unnecessary residence. The caves which
undermine the castle, are famous for their historical connection with
the story of the “She-wolf of France:” for through them was made the
entrance into the fortress, which resulted in the arrest of Isabella and
her paramour. They still point out a certain cave, as Mortimer’s; but
the whole rock is riddled by fissures and loop-holes, and appears to be
very soft and friable. From the summit one gets a beautiful view of
Clifton-grove and the Vale of Trent; and on another side of Belvoir
Castle, (pronounced _Beaver_,) the seat of the Duke of Rutland. The
“Field of the Standard” is near the castle, and I surveyed, with deep
feeling, the spot where King Charles set up his ensign, to be torn down
by the storm the same night, and to be even more unfortunate, in the
issue, than the omen seemed to require. After a visit to a few of the
churches and public buildings, and a single night under one of its
roofs, I was off to Derbyshire.

With Derby itself I was not long detained, though I cannot but remember,
with pleasure, the acquaintance I formed there with several very
agreeable persons. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Derby is the
historical reminiscence, that here the progress of the Stuart standard
was finally, and forever arrested. It is surprising that “Royal Charlie”
ever succeeded in pushing his invasion to this point: but thus much he
effected, in the fatal ’45, and the spot where he was lodged, in Derby,
is still shown by the townsfolk, with interest, if not enthusiasm.

Even railway glimpses of Derbyshire give one many pleasurable emotions,
abounding as it does in beautiful valleys and streams, and in abrupt
rocky hills—jocosely described by Walton, as frightful and savage, to
such a degree that he affects surprise at the sight of a church among
them, and asks whether there be verily any Christians in such a country.
When, at last, I found myself strolling along the Wye, and conversing
with an angler, in the green mead, just within sight of the battlements
of Haddon Hall, all the delicious nature and good humour of old Izaak
came upon me, and observing that nothing near me seemed to be of modern
fashion, I was almost transported back two centuries, and fancied myself
for a moment at his side, learning, like _Venator_, to love angling, and
so to weather the evil days of Cromwell—studying to be quiet in that
vocation, and to mind my own business, as the apostle doth enjoin. It
had been my purpose to visit Dove-dale, in honour of Walton, but this I
found impracticable, and the nearest I could come to it was now
realized. Blessings on his worthy memory! for though I be not an
accepted brother of the angle, having never enjoyed great luck when I
have gone a fishing, yet do I allow the art all honour, and do consider
it the becoming recreation for a Churchman; admitting its connection
with the catechism, and saying _Amen_ to divers other postulates of
Walton, of like grave and self-evident character.

I must own that I found Haddon Hall of considerably less dimensions than
I had foreshadowed to my fancy. I had supposed its smallest chamber one
of those gigantic apartments, in which candles and fire-light must
strive in vain to throw their illumination from the chimney-piece to the
opposite wainscot; or in which a nocturnal guest might find the freest
exercise of imagination, in looking after noises, towards the dark
distance, from the lamp at his bedside, of the waving hangings and
creaking doors. It is not altogether such a house as that; and yet if
there be a better site for the residence of a ghost, or a troop of them,
I have never seen it. Your nervous man should never try to lodge there.
It is stripped of nearly all its furniture, save only such as is
requisite to give full effect to midnight sounds and mysterious
moanings. Its history is lost in that of the dim and traditionary ages
of the Plantagenets; the windows of its lonely chapel bear the date
1427; and the last touches of the builder were given to it at least
three hundred years ago. There it stands—a relic of the domestic
architecture of feudal England. Here are turreted and embattled
gate-ways, and quadrangular courts, enclosed as if to stand a siege. The
kitchen is designed for the largest hospitality; spits, dressers and
chopping block, all speaking of the bountiful housekeeping of the olden
time—to say nothing of the vast chimneys, which seem made to roar with
Christmas fires perpetually. You ascend a great stair-case, on which it
seems almost profane to set a modern foot, so entirely does it bespeak
its ancient right to be trodden by the doughty and dainty steps of lords
and dames, in the attire of by-gone centuries. You enter a room hung
with antique tapestry, now ready to drop into tatters. You push-to the
old squeaking doors, and drop these hangings, and it no longer appears
how you got in, or how you may get out. You understand at once the
allusions of many an old play, and almost expect to find some thievish
figure lurking behind the arras. Hangings they truly are, for hooks are
built into the wall, and to these the arras are attached. But the “Long
Gallery” is the place in which a ghost would naturally air himself. It
is wainscoated and floored with oak, and ornamented with various carved
devices and emblems, such as the rose, and the thistle, and the boar’s
head; and then it has deep recessed window-seats and oriels; and some of
them look out on the sunny terraces of the garden, and suggest vague
ideas of romance, and create phantom ladies of olden time, to fill up
the scene, and rich illustrative stories to make them interesting. No
doubt real hearts have throbbed here with high and tender emotions: and
events which we know only as the dry details of history, have filled
these silent chambers with notes of joy or sorrow, with the wail of the
widow or the forlorn maiden, or with the voice of the bridegroom and the
bride. The stately Elizabeth is said to have once figured in this
gallery, at a ball.

The architecture of the great hall is severely antique, and suggests a
rude and uncivil age, in spite of its air of dignity and hospitality.
The men who dined here evidently wore swords, and the loving-cup and
health-drinking were no mere ceremonies; the party who drank, as he
lifted his arm, looking narrowly at the friend who stood up to guard
him. A hand-cuff which is fastened to the wood-work seems to hint that
guests were sometimes troublesome after taking plenty of sack. I could
think of nothing but Twelfth-night revels in this curious old place,
adorned as it is with the antlers of stags that were hunted long ago,
and whose venison once smoked on the board.

The terraced gardens, with their shades, and balusters, and steps, and
walks, and portals, are in keeping with all the rest, and the tale of
the Lady Dorothea Vernon, and of her mysterious elopement, is enough to
fill them with the charm of romance. From one of the towers you look
down upon the whole range of roofs and courts, and then gaze far away
over a beautiful view of the vale of Haddon. Before you depart you are
shown some ancient utensils belonging to the place, such as jack-boots,
and match-locks, and doublets. These are kept in the apartment of my
reverend brother, the domestic chaplain, whoever he may have been; but
whether he had any use for such things I cannot bear testimony. The
adjoining chapel in which he officiated is very small, and quite plain.
The ancient piscina, beside the altar, tells its simple story of the
rites which, according to the mediæval liturgy of England, hallowed it
of yore. It conjured up before my fancy the midnight mass of Christmas,
as described by Scott—

        “That night alone, of all the year,
         Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear.”

It was, at any rate, no Tridentine Eucharist, though it was a mutilated
one; and sad as were the scenes of debauchery with which those
solemnities are associated, I could not but trust that, even here,
Christ crucified had been truly worshipped, of old, on the solemn feast
of his Nativity, and on many other occasions of Christian joy or
penitence. Who would not cling to such communion with ancient piety? And
yet this natural sympathy, when morbidly developed, has done more than
all things else together, to bewitch the imaginative with Romanism, and
to make them slavish captives to a Church which has retained nothing
mediæval except that newfangled creed, to which the departed spirit of
Mediæevalism has bequeathed none of its poetry, and which only exists as
the inanimate slough of its superstition.

Compared with Haddon Hall, the superb modern residence of Chatsworth
struck me as tame and spiritless. The mansion has indeed a pleasant
seat: and the deer, bounding over the velvet turf of its park, or the
peacock, strutting amid its balusters and fountains, give it indeed a
lordly look of opulent show, without much ease. Yet what is it, at best,
but the dull round of “my lord’s apartments,” without one association
beyond that of my lord’s great wealth and luxury? I should be ashamed to
confess, indeed, that I was not pleased with the pictures, and more than
pleased with the exquisite carvings and magnificent sculpture, viewed
merely as works of art; but I was fatigued with the vast worldliness of
such a house, and felt that it would better have suited a Hadrian, than
it does a Christian nobleman of England. Such a residence as Warwick
Castle comes to its possessor historically, and a nobleman may well keep
it up; but Chatsworth seems built for display, and must be altogether
too much for comfort. I am glad if its possessor enjoys it—but I should
rather dwell in the humblest parsonage in England. Nature itself, as
seen from the windows of Chatsworth, has a combed and dressy look. Its
vast conservatory—the original of the Crystal Palace—is well worth a
visit, and its gardens are curious enough, but the water-works are
elaborately frivolous. I was promised a fine artificial cataract—but
lo! in the side of a beautiful hill I saw a stone stair-case, and
by-and-by the water came sluggishly down stairs, like a little girl, in
white dress, afraid to let go of the hand rail, as she leaps timidly
from step to step. “Good morning, Miss Cataract,” said I, “that will

The same clipped and artificial beauty belongs to the neighbouring
village of Edensor, and the whole seems the more unreal as contrasting
violently with the natural features of this wild and ruggedly beautiful
country. I am glad to have seen Chatsworth, but I should not care to see
it again, though the desolate Haddon Hall never recurs in my memory,
without awakening fresh longings to be once more in Derbyshire, and to
saunter again along its rushing Wye.

With my visit to Matlock Bath, I was much better satisfied. Here indeed
is Derbyshire, in spite of spruce inns and fashionable boarding-houses.
I scampered over the hills, (having first climbed them with more
pleasure than fatigue,) and went from view to view with increasing
transports. This region is all cliff and ravine, and precipice and
chasm; yet in every direction the eye is refreshed and delighted, and
the mind takes pleasure alike in thinking that it is scarcely English
scenery, and that it is yet strikingly unlike anything but England after
all! These sharp outlines, and bold walls of rock, for example, you say
are somewhat Swiss; but as you look over them, towards the horizon, you
see that their foliage and their verdure are English, absolutely; and
then, looking down the chasm, at your feet, you see a trim and neat
little village, and houses set in gardens, and peeping out from
shrubbery, and especially a church, altogether such as no one ever sees
save in England only! I entered the Speedwell mine, and went through the
usual experiments with lights amid the spar, but, on the whole, the
subterranean part of Matlock was what I liked least about it. I felt
lonely, however, in enjoying my ramble about so beautiful a place, and
the company of certain loved ones in America was longed for over and
over again to make it all that I desired. From this delightful place I
made my way to Shrewsbury.

Beautiful is Shrewsbury, without and within! Its spires and its towers
give you far-off promise of a place worthy of the traveller’s halt, and
when you enter its old-fashioned streets, you are not disappointed. I
found the market-place, with its hall and surrounding mansions, quite as
unmodernized as those of towns in the north of France. The projecting
gable of many an old timbered house confronts you as you go hither and
thither through the borough, and very often the woodwork of such houses
is fancifully arranged and ornamented, in a manner highly effective and
picturesque. Their modern tenants paint the timbers with grave, but
appropriate colours, and whitewash the plastered walls which intervene,
thus bringing out the full design of the ancient architect in a neat and
striking manner. I saw, in one of the streets, a chair carried by
bearers, precisely as in Hogarth’s prints, and which seemed to have been
in use ever since Hogarth’s day. Its occupant was a portly female, who
might have graced the Court of Queen Anne, so far as her appearance was
concerned, and what with such an apparition, in a place altogether so
antique, I found myself for a moment quite in doubt whether the
nineteenth century were actually in existence, with its many inventions.

I went through the beautiful and finely-wooded field called _the
Quarry_, and the walk called _St. Chad’s_, and crossed one of the
bridges over the Severn to the Abbey Church. Here I found some
interesting monuments and architectural curiosities; and the
neighbourhood seemed to abound in similar relics of what must once have
been a very large conventual establishment. At St. Mary’s, there was a
Jesse-window and some tombs, which afforded me a gratifying occupation
for awhile; then the ruins of an old castle, such as they are, attracted
me; and, though last, not least, the fragments of a very ancient church,
being merely its chancel, dedicated to St. Chad. The school in which Sir
Philip Sydney was reared, and where Fulke Grevil became his friend,
still swarms with the ingenuous youth of England, and I encountered them
at every turn, in the highways and by-ways of the town. What an element
of education it must be of itself for a lad to be sent to a school that
has such a history! Such thoughts made me faint of heart for a moment,
when I felt the irreparable poverty of my own country in historical
associations. The inestimable dowry of a glorious antiquity can never
mingle its ennobling qualities with our national character. We may, and
we do, enjoy immense compensations; but what reflective American does
not give way at times to a melancholy sense that he has indeed “no past
at his back,” and that God has isolated him involuntarily, by this great
fact, from the fellowship of nations! “But here comes a Shrewsbury boy,”
said I, amid such thoughts, “what cares he for Sydney, more than an
ordinary American lad at school?” Sure enough! Why then be sentimental?
It is, after all, only a certain class of minds, that receives powerful
impressions from anything past or future: and I believe an American
youth can enjoy such impressions effectively, by means of a healthful
imagination, while an English youth may often find it hard to divest the
realities with which he is daily conversant, of the degrading effects of
familiarity. Such is my calmer judgment.

I tasted the famous “Shrewsbury cakes” at the station-house, and having
spent several hours “by Shrewsbury clock,” in this pleasing survey of
the old borough, I left it with regret, purposing to return, and to make
excursions from it to a neighbouring seat to which I had been kindly
invited, and also to Hodnet, which I greatly desired to see, in honour
of the gentle and beloved Heber. In these plans, however, I was
disappointed. As you leave Shrewsbury for the north, you gain a most
agreeable view of the town, which stands on a fair peninsula in the
bright embrace of the Severn. It is a place full of poetry. On one side
are the Welsh Mountains; on the other, amid Salopian fields, you descry
the columnar monument of Lord Hill; but the tall spires and the Abbey
Tower tell more eloquently of Hotspur.

At Chirk station a Welsh family entered the train, gabbling their
consonants most unintelligibly; but I soon discovered from their adieus,
and their tears and sighs, that they were emigrants going to Liverpool
to ship for America. This stirred up a warm home-feeling: I found that
one of them could talk English, and I was not long in finding a way to
their hearts. They were going to Wisconsin, and were very willing to be
advised on ordinary matters. I tried, also, to impress them with my own
ideas of the privileges they might enjoy under the care of the Nashotah
Missionaries; but I fear they were dissenters, as the Welsh peasantry
too often are, and that my endeavours to add to the burthens of my
esteemed brethren of that diocese were quite unavailing. I slept that
night at Chester.

But I despair of describing Chester. Elsewhere in England you meet with
ancient houses and picturesque streets; but Chester is all antiquity.
What you would go miles to see, when in search of the quaintly
beautiful, is here multiplied before you in almost every house. In the
first place it is a walled town. I made the circuit of the walls in the
morning, with constant emotions of astonishment; for they are in good
repair, and seem even yet to have their use, whereas, I had imagined
them to be mere relics of the past. I came to the Tower upon the wall,
from the summit of which Charles the First beheld the total rout of his
army. It is a mere watch-tower; but as the memorial of a great event, it
would be hard to imagine a monument more striking. There is much more to
interest the passenger as he goes on, looking now into houses built into
the wall like swallows’ nests, and now into church-yards, and now into a
race-course, and again into a river: but a thoughtful tourist, and
especially one from America, will find it hard to think of anything but
that Tower, and the mighty issues which were once deciding before it, in
view of an august and awfully interested spectator. Poor King! as he
descended from it, what must have been his emotions?

The streets of Chester are said still to preserve the outlines of the
Roman camp, from which the town derives its name. They are a great
curiosity in themselves, and seem to have been cut down into the rock,
while the houses were reared on the banks, above the level thus
obtained. And such houses! Gable after gable, timbered, pargetted,
enriched with carving, and jutting over the street—each one “a picture
for painters to study!” And where are the _trottoirs_, or side-walks?
Lo! the houses all run down to the carriage-way; but what should be
their front rooms, above the basement floor, are mere verandahs, through
the whole line of which freely walks the public, always under cover, and
always at home! These “rows” (even more than the walls) are the feature
of Chester which most strikes the stranger; especially as the opposite
houses, which he beholds in passing through them, are full of curious
objects for any one whose eye delights in the antique. On one, for
example, are rich emblematic or fanciful decorations and carvings; on
another, a scene from Scripture history is cut in uncouth style; while
another bears the legend: _God’s providence is mine inheritance_, 1652.
A good inheritance always, but especially in Cromwell’s time. The
guide-book says, that in the great plague of the year thus designated,
this house was the only one which the destroying angel did not visit.
Hence the pious inscription.

But there is no doing justice to old Chester, on a tourist’s page. Its
cathedral is a poor one, and so crumbling are its walls and buttresses,
that every shower washes down a plentiful soil, from the decomposing
stone. I lingered without weariness, however, in its aisles and
cloisters, and must say that its service was sung delightfully, although
the singers were few, and the clergy fewer still. The same disgraceful
poverty and lifelessness, which I had remarked elsewhere, characterized
the visible force of the establishment; and I could not but say to
myself, if this feeble performance is, nevertheless, so edifying and
effective, what might not be the blessed result of a vitalized cathedral
body, serving God night and day in His Temple, as God should be always
served, in this rich and ancient Church of an empire which professes to
be Christian, and which God has so unspeakably exalted among the nations
of the earth.

The other ecclesiastical objects of the town were duly visited, and then
I took a boat on the Dee, and was rowed toward Eaton Hall, which I
finally reached on foot, after a walk through the surrounding park. This
was, till very lately, regarded as the finest possible specimen of
modern Gothic, in the domestic line, and a vast amount of Cockney
admiration has been wasted on it. I found it undergoing repairs, which
must greatly improve it; but, after all, it is a meagre thing, when one
has seen the Gothic of the cathedrals, or of such a castle as
Kenilworth. I did not see much of the interior, as visitors were
necessarily excluded, in favour of the workmen; and so after visiting
the conservatories, and various outlying dependencies of this great
house, I left it, not greatly overwhelmed with what I had seen. I was
better pleased with my return voyage, on the Dee, and with the
river-view of Chester.

                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                          _A Trip into Wales._

From the walls of Chester, one has a very tempting prospect before him
in the mountains of Wales. To Wales I now took my way, and first of all
alighted at Holywell station, to visit the wondrous shrine and fountain
of St. Winifred. A Welsh lady had advised me, by all means, to pay this
homage to her native place, and had sportively prepared me to see
something very strange, indeed, in the legendary well of its tutelar.
The story which she told me was this, in short: that the well had sprung
from the earth, in the olden time, just where the head of the Holy
Winifred, fair and lovely as it was, touched the earth, when her
barbarous lover, Caradoc, smote it off, to revenge his disappointed
passion. Be this as it may, I found, in Holywell, a very remarkable pool
and fountain, by which lay a great number of impotent folk, as formerly
they did at Bethesda, in Jewry, waiting for the moving of the waters.
But no—these waters always move. The fountain gushes up with violence,
and runs with a full tide. Whether it cures or not, I cannot say. It is
supposed to do so; and is used for healing purposes by hundreds. The
crutches of many of those who have been healed, are reverently hung up
over the well; and several inscriptions have been cut, deep in the stone
walls and pillars of the Church which rises above it, expressive of
gratitude for cure. Here James the Second came to worship, in his
dotage, in 1686. The Irish Romanists, and modern converts, consider it a
sort of duty to uphold the miraculous reputation of the well, and are
very zealous in such tributes to the legend and the saint. One may
certainly believe that it is a healing spring, without swallowing the
whole story about St. Winifred; and for one, I am far from unwilling to
see such springs resorted to, and used, in a religious spirit, as the
gift of God. Nay, if we might but have the truth, and not a
“superstitious vanity,” I should rejoice to see them connected with the
memory of God’s saints; and, as I washed in the crystal waters, I
allowed myself to believe that the spot had indeed been famous for some
holy martyrdom, which perverse ingenuity has distorted into the fable
aforesaid—of which I have only given the least ridiculous part. A fine
and fragrant moss, which grows about the well, and some red spots in the
stone, have furnished additional material to the fabulists, which
tradition has not failed to preserve; but the light and graceful temple
which rises over it, with a figure of the saint, and which is ascribed
to Margaret, the mother of Henry the Seventh, is its most substantial
monument. It is now a chapel of the adjoining parish church, and I found
it filled with plain benches, and used for a Sunday-school room, and for
service in the English tongue.

But I was _en route_ for the vale of Clwyd, (pronounced _Clooyd_,) and
so landing at Rhyl, I took a Welsh jaunting-car to St. Asaph. At the
very entrance of the vale stands an old historic castle, in utter ruins,
but overhung with ivy, and nobly bastioned, and presenting a very
venerable appearance. It was built before the Norman invasion, and
stands near the scene of that ancient battle, still commemorated in the
national air—_Morva Rhuddlan_—which is full of traditional melancholy
and plaintive sweetness. Near Rhuddlan Castle a bridge spans the Clwyd,
adding a very picturesque feature to the scene; and just as you descend
to the bridge, you observe, on the projecting wall of a mean cottage,
the following inscription: “_This fragment is the remains of the
building in which King Edward the First held his Parliament, A. D.
1283_.” Oh! what a romantic land is Wales. England is fine prose; but
Wales is all poetry. Even here I fell in love with it; for Rhuddlan is a
truly historic pile. Almost its meanest memory is that of the progress
of the second Richard, who tarried here on his way to Flint, to be
deposed by Bolingbroke. Its latest memory, however, is that of the
national Bardic Festival, called an _Eisteddfod_, which was celebrated
here in 1850, with sad if not fatal results. A staging gave way, during
the performance, and several of the fair and noble received severe

I enjoyed a pleasant ride to St. Asaph, which finally disclosed to my
view a cathedral of very unpretending dimensions, on a pretty hill, with
a few houses grouped under its shadow, and a sightly bridge of stone.
This the _City_ of St. Asaph! Even so—for it is an ancient Episcopal
See, and therefore it is a city, while Liverpool is but a town.
Therefore do I love St. Asaph, because, of all cities I ever saw, it
looks most like a village. Indeed, as a village it would be much to my
liking, as still and quiet above most villages, and sweetly embosomed
among trees, over which the solid tower of the ancient church presides
with a motherly air, and ticks a sleepy time from its solemn clock. It
was Saturday night when I reached the Mostyn Arms, and ordered my
supper, and my bed-room. ‘Here then,’ said I, ‘I will spend a Sunday in
supremest loneliness; here I know nobody and am known of none; I will be
a mystery to mine host of the inn, who seems to have no other guest,
dropping nothing of mine errand in these parts, but going my way on
Monday morning, with an air of dignified secrecy, and leaving him to
imagine, as he may, what could have brought me to St. Asaph.’

A quiet breakfast at the inn was served with such noiseless neatness and
despatch, at the appointed hour, that I grew sad with my bachelor
comfort, feeling first, that I ought not to enjoy so much, except at
home, and then longing to be there. It was not my hostess’s
unimpeachable fare; bread all crisp without, and all snowy sponge
within; butter golden and fragrant; prawns, gathered freshly from the
clean sands of Rhyl; eggs, that were never cold, and that now were hot
to the very second of culinary time; and divers varieties and fruits
that feasted the imagination even more than they gratified the taste; it
was not this substantial and meritorious breakfast that made the Mostyn
Arms a delightful resting-place; but it was that entire order and
decency that invested all, and that forbade the idea of a _hotel_, and
seemed to remind me that it was Sunday; it was this that first charmed
me, and then made me lonely, and then positively sad. There is often a
domestic character about such an inn, in England and Wales, that is
positively religious. I remember one, in which the innkeeper always
invited his guests to family prayers.

The cathedral is the very plainest of its kind, but the choir is not
without effective dignity and beauty. I attended the morning service,
which was that of Pentecost, with exceeding pleasure; and yet I observed
with pain, that except the children of the Sunday-school, there were few
present, who were not, unmistakeably, of the higher classes, or at least
of those which are considered very respectable. Where were the poor? The
liveried servants of the neighbouring gentry, in their powder and plush,
were perhaps of the humblest class represented; but, of course, they are
not the people. I was pleased, however, to see several of them kneeling
with their masters’ families at the Holy Communion.

After service, I was lingering among the tombs, in the churchyard, and
had particularly observed that of the excellent Bishop Barrow, when one
of the clergy approached me, and said, “You are a clergyman, I’m sure; I
beg you’ll come home with me to dinner!” Never was I so much surprised,
in my life, by such a salutation. Welsh hospitality was proving more
than a Highland welcome! I expressed my scruples to accept an invitation
which was probably based on the idea that I was an Englishman, and a
clergyman of the National Church; but only so much the more did my new
acquaintance press me to dine with him, offering to take me, after
dinner, to a little Welsh parish, in the mountains, where he promised
that I should hear the service in Welsh, and also a Welsh sermon, from
himself. So very attractive a bill it was impossible to resist, and
presenting my card, I promised to be at the appointed place, at the
proper hour. But I little knew how great a pleasure was in store for me.

I easily found my way to the house, which stood back from the road; a
modest mansion, encircled with trees and shrubs. My friend himself
opened the door, uttering a Welsh salutation, which he interpreted to me
by a warm grasp of the hand, while he pointed me to a Welsh inscription
on the wall—that text of the beloved disciple, which enjoins him who
loves God to love his brother also. I was yet in the first flush of
grateful excitement, when I was ushered into a small drawing-room, where
a lady advanced and gave me a cordial greeting. The clergyman introduced
me to his wife, and to another lady who was with her, and pointing to a
portrait on the wall, which I immediately recognized, said, “you will
perhaps be glad to know that you are in a poet’s house, that this is the
poet’s likeness, and that my wife is the poet’s sister.” I started and
said—“Can it be that this is Rhyllon?” I saw, in an instant, that I was
so happy as to have found my way, in this manner, to the residence of
the late Mrs. Hemans, and to an acquaintance with that sister, of twin
genius, whose music is as widely known as some of the most popular of
Mrs. Hemans’ delightful lyrics.

I was made to feel at home, without further preface, and the dinner-hour
passed delightfully, in conversation suited to the day and the services
of the morning, with many recognitions of the power of our holy religion
to obliterate differences of nationality and of education, and to bind
entire strangers in practical brotherhood. The hour came to repair to
the mountain sanctuary, which proved to be several miles distant, and
the whole party of us went together, in a Welsh vehicle of peculiar
shape, but well suited to the road. As we began to ascend into the
hills, a fine view of the vale of Clwyd presented itself. From the great
mountain ranges, on the north and west, to the crowned crag on which
rises the Castle of Denbigh, the eye took a majestic sweep, over one of
the loveliest valleys in Great Britain, and one full of romance and
poetry. At last we came to the Church, a most primitive little
structure, of ancient date, with a mere bell-gable, instead of a tower
and spire, but of a most ecclesiastical pattern in every respect. The
villagers of Tremeirchion were crowding the doorway, and on entering, I
found a large assembly of the Welsh peasantry, neatly attired, and
exceedingly intelligent in their appearance. A Welsh Prayer-book was put
into my hand, which, being a strict translation of the English, I was
enabled to use very profitably, in following the service. The whole was
novel and attractive. I observed some old tombs and monuments, and was
particularly pleased to find the altar, the candlesticks, and other
parts of the Church, garnished with Pentecostal flowers—alike fragrant
and suggestive of festive emotions, in harmony with the blessed day of
the Holy Comforter. But the sweet and simple worship of the villagers
absolutely enraptured me. Their responses were given in earnest, and
their chants were particularly touching. I was especially pleased with
the _Gloria Patri_, which, as perpetually recurring, I soon caught up,
and was able to sing with them, in a language of which, in the morning,
I had not known a word. Even now it lingers in my ear, with all the
charms of that plaintive intonation which seemed to me characteristic of
the Welsh tongue, and which singularly comports with its _prestige_, as
the language of an ancient and romantic people, whose nationality has
been never subdued, notwithstanding the ages of its absorption into that
of a stronger race.

The sermon was delivered with emotion, apparently extemporaneously, and
was heard with fixed attention throughout. From the text, which I picked
out in a Welsh Testament, I was able to gather some of its drift, and
frequently to detect a scriptural quotation. It was evidently a
Whitsuntide sermon, and the Holy Ghost, his gifts and consolations, were
the blessed theme. A sweet hymn concluded the service; and then, in the
churchyard, this excellent pastor presented me to several of his worthy
parishioners. How was I surprised when one of them asked me, in English,
if I had ever been at Nashotah! A friend and relative of his had
emigrated to Wisconsin, and had there been taken up by the brethren of
that Mission, concerning which he had sent home many interesting
accounts. I can scarcely do justice, with my pen, to the thrill of
feeling inspired by finding that the blessed influences of Nashotah were
felt, by brethren of a diverse tongue, far away over sea and land, in
that lonely nook of the Welsh mountains.

Deep in the wall of Tremeirchion Church is set the ancient tomb of an
old priest of Llanerch, who was once its pastor. He was the wonder of
his age for wisdom, and especially for the lore with which, like
Solomon, he spake of trees and of plants. It was he who first translated
the _Te Deum_ into Welsh, and such was his sanctity that Satan could
gain no advantage over him, except through his love of science. So then,
as the story goes, Satan promised to reveal to him some mighty secret of
nature, on condition that, after death, he might claim him; and that,
whether buried in the Church, or without, there should be no release
from the bond. The wily clerk accepted the bargain, and became so wise
that all the land confessed his astonishing attainments, as beyond
comparison, in their day; but Satan, for once, was outwitted. The sage
took good care that his body should be buried neither without nor within
the Church; and accordingly it is shown to this day, as part of the wall
itself, and jurists are agreed that Satan must be nonsuited whenever he
ventures to set up a claim against the holy clerk of Llanerch.

When I ventured to contrast, in conversation with my friend, the
delightful fervour of this service, with the coldness of that which I
had attended in the morning, at the cathedral, he answered, with
feeling:—“We Welshmen love our own language; we talk English in traffic
and in business, but Welsh is the language of our hearts. The Church has
too generally neglected or even outraged this principle. Our Bishops
have been seldom able to address us in the speech of our affections; the
dissenters have earned many captive, merely by employing the tongue of
the people, in their exciting harangues. Where the Welsh are served in
their own tongue by their hereditary Church, they seldom forsake her,
and my little parish is but a small example of what might be universal,
if the Welsh were but considered worthy of being conciliated, by a
tribute to their hereditary feelings, and their unconquerable
nationality.” These appeared to me the counsels of truth and soberness.
The Welsh are truly a people, in spite of their ancient subjugation, and
deserve to be treated as such, all the more for their loyalty to the
British Crown, and for the remarkable partiality which they seem to
entertain towards the Prince of Wales, whose dignity I discovered to be
something more, after all, than a mere fiction of heraldry.

Our drive home was full of beautiful views, and after descending into
the valley, we pursued our way through Llanerch park, a fine estate,
with which I was much pleased, although the agreeable company into which
I had fallen might have made me satisfied with a scene far less lovely
in itself. I spent a long evening at Rhyllon, restrained from departing
by their kind importunities, and not unwilling to prolong a personal
interview which must necessarily be the last, as well as the first, of
what I could not but recognize as an enduring friendship. Conversation
very naturally turned upon the departed glories of Rhyllon, as the nest
of that tuneful nightingale, who filled up a most brilliant era of
British poesy, by the graceful addition of a genuine female genius. I
had always admired Mrs. Hemans, chiefly because of her truly feminine
muse; because, in other words, her poetry is such as man can never
produce. Unlike others of her sisterhood, she seems to have been
unambitious of masculine effort, content to be her own fair self, and to
give utterance to the delicious sentiments, the gushing affections, and
the rapt enthusiasm which belong to the heart of woman. Delightful
songstress! it was happiness, indeed, to linger for a moment in her
charming abode, and to gather from the conversation of those who had
known and loved her, such hints of her life and character as a delicate
fondness for her memory was not unwilling to drop in conversation, for
the benefit of a sincere admirer. It was all the more valuable, too, as
mingling with many personal recollections of Bishop Heber, whose
connections with St. Asaph made him very frequently a guest at Rhyllon.
It may be imagined that I was loth to say farewell; but at last I tore
myself away with those pains of parting, which are the penalty of a
traveller’s friendships. The clock of the old cathedral tolled eleven as
I passed under its aged tower on my return to the inn.

In the morning I rose early, and took a walk down the vale, some two or
three miles, to a secluded spot, where ancient piety had erected a
chapel over a fountain, and where it now stands in one of the most
picturesque piles of ruin I ever beheld. This was a favorite haunt of
Mrs. Hemans, and one to which she has devoted some sweet verses. It
goes, among the English, by the title of “St. Mary’s Well,” but the
Welsh call it _Pfynonver Capél_, a very musical and pleasing name, as
they pronounce it. There it stands in a green mead, under the shade of a
tufted hill, enwound with ivy and covered with venerable moss; you enter
the door, and in the sacred floor you behold a pool of lucid water,
encompassed with an ancient kerb of stone, which preserves all the grace
of outline of the base of a massive column in a Gothic cathedral. The
old architect has shown, in this peculiarity of his pool, a truly
inventive genius. I am sure the legends of the sacred spot must have
been many and most romantic.

A hurried walk back to St. Asaph, concluded my sojourn in the vale of
Clwyd. Verily, “it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps;” my
plans in visiting this retired spot had all been frustrated; but so
happy a disappointment has seldom fallen to my lot. The very slender
enjoyment of puzzling mine host, with surmises as to my mysterious
errand, had been lost in one of the richest pleasures of my life, and I
went my way from a place which I had sought a few hours before as
containing nobody to whom I could make myself known, feeling that it
would be dear to me till death, as the home of beloved friends.

I continued my journey by railway towards the Menai Straits, catching
pleasant views by sea and land, especially those of Abergele and Gwyrch
Castle. At Conway I stopped for an hour to survey the interesting ruins
of its castle, into which the railroad has made its way, piercing the
ancient walls, after spanning the river with a tubular bridge, and thus
adding the utilitarian wonders of modern architecture to the decaying
splendours of the mediæval builder. The castle is a mass of ruin within,
but retains all its external form and comeliness of tower and
battlement. It was built by Edward I., and was the scene of many of the
gayest revelries of his court, during the period in which he forged the
chains of the Principality. I found the descriptions of my guide-book so
literally correct, with respect to its present condition, that I need
only transcribe them. “The walls on all sides are covered with a green
drapery of luxuriant ivy, and a meadow of grass lies in the open area of
its courts. The warden’s duty is supplied by a whole tribe of crows,
whose solemn parley is heard the instant that a stranger’s foot
approaches, and the towers are all alive with blackbirds, and birds of
all colours, whose notes resound the livelong day, throughout the
deserted domain.” From the summit of one of the towers I had a fine view
of the Conway, and of its widening entrance to the sea. A fisherman’s
boat, left on the sands by the receding tide, added to the spirit of the
scene, which in every respect was worthy of an artist’s study.

                              CHAPTER XXV.

                    _Welsh Scenery and Antiquities._

The railway between Conway and Bangor runs along the sea-shore, close
under the lee of the bold and rocky promontories, that defy the waves,
on this imperial coast. Often indeed we found ourselves plunged into the
black night of the tunnels which become necessary, in many places, from
the precipitous nature of these cliffs, but, in general, I found even
the distasteful confusion of a railway train incompetent to detract much
from the emotions of sublimity inspired by the passage along such a
shore. On one side, the sea was foaming under us, and on the other
Penmaenmawr lifted its gigantic bulk to the clouds. Occasionally, as at
Aber, we passed a beautiful glen, descrying waterfalls and other
picturesque scenery; and by keeping a good look-out, I had a full view
of the cavern called Ogo, which opens to the sea, high up in a
calcareous cliff, with a mouth, singularly like the arched entrance of a
gothic minster. It is said to have afforded a retreat, in ancient times,
to the invading army of England. At last, we descried the baronial
towers of Penrhyn Castle, beautifully situated, on the foundations of an
old Welsh palace, the fame of whose bold chiefs has, for ages, been the
theme of bardic eulogy in Wales; and soon after, we were set down, at
Bangor. It is a city in a vale, enclosed by an amphitheatre of hills,
and opening to the sea, with a fine view of the Menai Straits, and of
the very striking water-front of Beaumaris, on the opposite shore of

I found the cathedral, though an important feature in a view of the
town, a very humble specimen of its class; and the service which I
attended, during a pouring rain, was indifferently performed. I
retreated to the finely-situated hotel on the straits, and near the
Menai Bridge, where, in the company of many other disappointed tourists,
I was forced to grumble away an afternoon, from which I had expected no
little pleasure. An angry wind was chafing the surface of the Menai
water, and the little steamers, and other vessels, that went furiously
by, were the only objects to animate the otherwise gloomy spectacle, on
which I gazed listlessly, from the windows of the George Hotel.

The next morning, though with an unsettled sky, gave us better weather,
and I went forth to view the scenery, and to cross the Menai
Suspension-Bridge, which, though now eclipsed by its neighbour, the
far-famed Tubular, is to me much the more interesting of the two, as
really a beautiful specimen of art, and not unworthy of the surrounding
scenery. Crossing this bridge, and finding on the other shore of
Anglesea a little steamer, with a load of Whitsuntide excursionists,
going down to Caernarvon, I lost no time in getting on board, and soon
had the satisfaction of passing under both the chain-bridge and the
tube, and of realizing, from that position, the immense height at which
they overhang the tides of the Menai. As creations of genius, they are
indeed sublime; and when a coach is seen creeping over the one, in
bigness as it were a fly; or when a railway train thunders through the
other, and yet seems in comparison with it a mere toy, as it emerges and
smokes along its way, one gets an idea of the immensity of each
conception, which invests mechanic art with something like the
attractive splendours of the painting and the poem. In the evening, as
the sun was near its setting, I surveyed the great tube at my leisure,
and walked over its roof, while a train was passing under me. It was
surprising to observe its untrembling strength, and its security at so
great a height, and with a span so vast: but I was even more delighted
with the views it afforded me, of the glorious scenery, mountain and
marine, with which it is encompassed. They are singularly enriched with
the charms of art and nature. The shipping, the suspension-bridge, with
its arches and festoons; the towns of Beaumaris and Bangor; the tall
column of the Marquis of Anglesea, and many pleasant villages and seats,
as you look towards Caernarvon, afford a pleasing addition to the richly
wooded shores, the flowing waters, the indented line of coast, the
swelling hills, and last, but not least, the glorious succession of
peaks that stretch along the eastern background from Snowdon, to the
Great Orme’s Head, which rises like a wall from the sea.

But I must not forget my excursion to Caernarvon, through these straits,
which resemble so much the picturesque rivers of my own land. Many
objects of interest enlivened the trip; but when, at last, the old walls
of Caernarvon Castle rose before my sight, in all their feudal grandeur
and historic dignity, I felt like one inspired with rapture, though not
the less impressed with a sense of something awful and august. The
character of Edward as a tyrant and a conqueror, seemed to stand before
me in monumental gloom and massive solemnity—and when I thought of the
feeble cries of the first Prince of Wales, as he came to light in this
stronghold of feudal tyranny, and coupled them with those midnight
shrieks, at Berkeley, on the Severn, in which his inglorious life was
extinguished, I realized afresh all those creeping chills of terror,
with which the wildest imagery of romance affects the sensitive
imagination of childhood. There it stood, magnificently irregular in
outline, frowning over the little town beneath, like a coarse bully
domineering over a timid boy. Its towers are really stupendous, and the
aspiring parapets and embattled turrets, that bristle up from their grim
summit, make a strangely confused, but self-consistent figure, against
the mountain back-ground, or the clear blue sky overhead. With such a
fortress in full sight, it was most thrilling to give its history a
mental review. Piled there by a cruel conqueror, to overawe the Welsh
people, six hundred years ago, it seems less terrible with regard to
them, than with reference to the story of his Queen, and his child. Such
a nest for a new-made mother, and her babe! In the depth of winter, the
stern husband sent Queen Eleanor here, to give birth to her child. In
one of its most gloomy recesses the royal infant was born; and thus the
insulting victor was enabled to continue the sovereignty of Wales, in
his own family, while literally fulfilling his pledge, to give the Welsh
a prince—born in their own country, who could speak no English, and
whose character was without fault! Such a sovereign they had promised to
accept, and to obey; and hence the title of the eldest son of British
sovereigns ever since. Thus, what is morally a mean and knavish fraud,
is clothed, in historic narrative, with the glory of a warlike
stratagem, and survives in imperial heraldry as if there were no truth
in the saying of the poet, that the herald’s art can never “blazon evil
deeds, or consecrate a crime.”

I was not altogether fortunate in my holiday, for the weather was
alternating, continually, between shower and sunshine, and when I was
fairly on the top of a stage-coach, for Llanberis, I found, to my
sorrow, that shower was about to predominate for a time. However, to
Llanberis I went, reserving a close inspection of the castle to my
return. At intervals, I could get some idea of the loveliness of that
charming lake, and of the wild glories of its surrounding scenery; but
ill-luck prevailed, and Snowdon wore his cap of clouds, nearly all the
time, and I was forced to retire at last, somewhat surly with
disappointment. I visited, however, the ruins of Dolbardan Castle, the
central fortress of a chain of similar muniments, by which the ancient
clans of Wales endeavoured to secure these mountain passes against the
invaders. It stands, in picturesque dignity, upon the peninsula, which
divides the waters of Llanberis into twin lakes, and is apparently the
guardian of both. Here some Welsh lads, with a donkey, were sheltering
themselves from the rain, and, by dint of much entreaty, and a very
tempting appliance of money, I gained from them a Welsh song, which
growing somewhat animated as they proceeded, cheered up the sombre
scene, and gave to those antiquated ruins a moment’s restoration of the
echoes of minstrelsy, and of the musical tongue with which they
resounded of yore, in peace and war, when the figures of bards and
heroes were the familiar tenants of the spot. As I returned to
Caernarvon, the rain began to abate, and gradually the clouds withdrew,
to my great satisfaction. The castle again rose before me, reviving the
impressions with which I had first beheld it, but less stern, perhaps,
from the land side, than when beheld from the sea. I was soon beneath
its walls, which I first surveyed, in circuit, with increased
astonishment and pleasure. The materials for this vast structure are
said to have been furnished, in part, by the ruins of Segontium, the
neighbouring station of the ancient Roman army; but the feudal character
now impressed on the old stones is, to me, far more interesting than
their primitive history. The eagle-tower, in which the young Prince is
said to have been born, is itself a fortress of massive solidity, and
presents to the waters a front of bold defiance; while on the other
side, now blocked up and forlorn of aspect, beneath a lofty arch, is the
gate, by which the expectant mother entered the gloomy hold, and which
still goes by her name. The remains of a moat and drawbridge are
visible, and so are the grooves in which the iron-toothed portcullis
once rose and fell. I entered by a gate which looks toward the town, and
over which is sculptured a rude effigy of the royal builder, deeply
scarred by time. Within, the huge walls appear as an empty shell; they
rise, like those of the great Roman amphitheatre, around an area of
desolation. Here and there, indeed, are the remains of state apartments,
and of royal chambers, still marked by delicate architectural tracery
and handsome enrichment; but you tread on hillocks and grassy verdure,
which swell above their buried splendours, and everywhere the ruin
appears absolute and complete. By time-worn and dangerous stairways of
stone, you wind up to the summits of the towers, and your guide
constantly cautions you to beware of slipping, or of setting foot upon
treacherous places. To me, the greatest interest was presented by the
narrow corridors, which run between the inner and outer walls of the
entire circuit, lighted only by the loop-holes, through which the signal
horn was once sounded, and the arrow shot forth, and which open into
embrasures that were filled of yore with armed men. Here is the
projecting battlement, by which they protected the gateway below, its
floor is perforated for the discharge of missiles, and to enable the
defenders of the castle to pour down scalding water, and melted lead,
upon the heads of its assailants. In perambulating these gloomy
recesses, I gained distinct ideas of mediæval life and warfare, from
which my knowledge of history, such as it is, received a vast
augmentation of freshness and reality.

Dismissing my guide, I sat down on the summit of the eagle-tower and
lost myself in revery. The daws, chattering amid the battlements, alone
interrupted the solemn stillness of the moment. Before me was Snowdon,
now disrobed of the clouds he had worn through the day, and lifting a
bald crown of snow to the skies. The serried outline of his dependant
mountains beautifully varied the scenes toward which they stretched away
on every side. I turned, and there was the broad glare of the descending
sun upon the sea: I was looking towards my own dear home. In the midst
of meditative pleasures, I longed for the companionship of many, between
whom and me there rolled a thousand leagues of ocean; and, for awhile I
forgot, in the melancholy of that reflection, the romantic impressions
which are peculiar to the spot. When I recovered my thoughts, it was
only to feel more forcibly the solemnity of the short life, in which we
stand between so dread a past, and so momentous a future; and before I
descended from that lofty station, I knelt and worshipped Him who,
alone, is Everlasting.

The weather increased in serenity as the day declined. I heard the
clatter of hoofs, and a coach-horn sounding in the streets, and hastily
took my seat, for a drive to Bangor, relinquishing a projected tour
through Beddgelert and Tremadoc, which I had found impracticable, with
reference to other plans. My drive in return was not less agreeable than
my sail in coming. Everywhere the scene was beautiful, and I was amused
with the chatter of a couple of Welsh peasant women, in short petticoats
and men’s hats, who had mounted the coach-top and sat by my side.

We had bright moonlight that evening, on the waters of the Menai, and a
band amused us, with music, in the grounds of the hotel. I was agreeably
surprised to hear, in close connection with the national air of England,
the sprightly strain of “Hail Columbia,” which, however inferior as a
musical composition, had a strong power over me, as I heard it then, and
I breathed a warm aspiration to God for a blessing on my native land.

We were favoured with a glorious morning, and I took stage-coach, soon
after breakfast, for a drive through North Wales. After whirling through
the suburbs of Bangor, and traversing the “Bethesda slate-quarries,” we
entered the terrific pass of Nant Ffrancon. On a reduced scale, the
scenery here is quite Swiss. The rains had swelled the mountain
torrents, and everywhere they were leaping down the steeps, in beautiful
threads of silver, which terminated in fine cascades. The road wound
along the side of a mountain, with a deep descent beneath; and there was
spread out a broad green valley, level as a floor, with a river winding
through, and the figure of an angler stalking along its bank. On the
further side of the vale rose another mountain, abruptly, to the skies.
I was reminded of Nant Ffrancon afterwards, in the Swiss Oberland, after
crossing the Brunig into the Vale of Meyringen, as I was making my way
towards Interlachen. These Welsh Alps are indeed destitute of snowy tops
and descending glaciers. Yet they are full of sublime features; and the
flocks which climb their sides, with fleeces of milky whiteness, give a
pastoral air to the solitude, which subdues the otherwise repulsive
aspect of some of their features.

It is vain for me to attempt a minute description of the pleasures of
this day’s drive. The scenery was richly varied, and after seeing the
finest scenery of Savoy, and of the Swiss Cantons, I still recall it
with satisfaction, and long to go through it once more. Our way lay
along the skirts of the dreary Lake Ogwen, and then over its desolate
heath; from which our emerging into the enchanting Yale of Capel Curig,
was like turning from a page of Dante’s Inferno to a passage in his
description of Paradise. Here majesty and loveliness indeed combine, in
the sweet diversity of woods and waters, and vales and mountains, to
furnish an ideal of natural beauty, which might satisfy a poet or a
painter. Amid all, rises the glorious summit of old Snowdon, of which I
obtained my finest impressions from this spot. The scenery of the river
Swallow, by which our way continued, is marvellously picturesque, and
its waterfall is admirable, even to the eye of an American. Near
Bettws-y-coed, the panorama assumed a more pastoral character, and gave
us a glimpse into the Vale of Llanrwst; and then, for a long time, every
turn opened new scenes of beauty and delight. At Cerrig-y-Druddion, if
the scenery was distasteful again, not so were the trout from the
mountain streams, on which I made a delicious repast. It was from this
place, to which the poor prince had made good his retreat, that the
primitive Caradoc, with his family, were carried prisoners to Rome,
where he made that famous speech, which is the memorial of his name.
Through various scenes of interest, which I might be more willing to
enumerate, were only their names pronounceable, I reached Corwen, where
was the hold of Glendower, and where, in the ancient Church, I visited
the tomb inscribed _Jorwerth, Vicarius de Corvaen Ora pro eo_. At the
inn sat an old blind Welshman, playing the Welsh harp, and soliciting
charity, which, for Homer’s sake, no one could refuse. Thenceforward the
scenery again increased in interest.

The Vale of Edeyrnion opened into our view as we continued our journey
along the windings of the beautiful outlet of the Bala Lake, and from
hence to Llangollen, beauty, rather than grandeur, was characteristic of
the scenery. But no every-day sort of beauty is to be imagined when I
speak of this charming region, at which it was a feast to look, even for
a moment. The swells and slopes of the land; the variety of the foliage;
the graceful curves of the river-banks; and the outlines of the
mountainous distance, with the hues which various tillage, and crops,
gave to the meadows and the upland, were continual sources of delight,
in which there was no monotony, and no surfeit. Nothing was wanting, but
only the kindling eye of some enraptured friend to meet my own, and a
voice to say with mine, “This indeed is a paradise!” Such would be the
exclamation of any admirer of natural scenery, at the point where the
ruinous pile of the Abbey of Valle Crucis lifts into view the arch and
tracery of its great East window, amid the harmonious boughs and verdure
of gigantic trees. It is a favourite view with painters, and has become
familiar from the efforts of both pencil and burin. Scarcely less so is
the conical hill, which overhangs Llangollen, and on the summit of which
some remnants of wall that serve to give a very picturesque completeness
to its outline, retain the name of Castell Dinas Bran, with the
reputation of a primeval British work. At Llangollen, a handsome bridge,
which spans the river Dee, blends with the prospect of the town in
pleasing proportion. I climbed a little eminence, and broke through a
sort of copse, into the pleasant grounds of Plas Newydd, the famous
retreat of two eccentric ladies, who, not quite a hundred years ago,
while Llangollen was yet unsung and unknown, became recluses of the
Vale, and lived here in philosophical contempt of the world, and in
ardent communion with nature. They both rest in the parish churchyard,
where one stone records their several dates, and those of an humble
girl, who was long their faithful servant. As they were persons who had
figured in the gay world, their story has become a sort of local
tradition, which is always repeated with respect; and portraits of Miss
Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler, in full Welsh costume, are sold in the
shops, and hung up at the inn. I could not greatly admire their cottage;
but it was, no doubt, quite snug, and pretty enough for two old ladies
that were of a mind to be philosophers.

                             CHAPTER XXVI.

              _The Wye and the Severn—Bristol and Wells._

The next day found me again ascending the Malvern hills, on a coach-top,
the guard playing the merriest notes, upon his horn, as we rapidly
trotted through the town. After another view of the vale of Gloucester,
we turned into Herefordshire, and descended into the valley that spreads
from the western slope of the Malverns. We had fine views of Edensor,
the estate of Lord Somers, and of a monumental column, upon the crown of
a hill. I was glad, too, to see on the roadside, marking some parochial
boundary, a stone cross, such as is frequent on the Continent, and
might, without any evil, be a familiar object in any Christian country.
As we approached Ledbury, we met a band of gipsies in their proverbial
rags and wretchedness, skulking along the road, and exhibiting very few
of those bewitching peculiarities of appearance with which painters and
romancers are fond of investing them. I had never met them before, and
was sorry not to be able to stop and talk with them. An impression of
awe haunted me for some time as I meditated upon their mysterious
barbarism, and tried to recall the glimpse of their weird features,
which I had caught as they passed by. I never saw any of their kind, on
any other occasion afterwards, and think they must be growing scarce,
even in England.

At Ledbury I was particularly struck with an outside view of the parish
Church, which is but one of a thousand churches in England which of
themselves are enough to reward a traveller for journeying through it.
Sir Walter Scott has justly awarded to them the credit of being the most
beautiful temples in the world, and the most becoming for their holy
purposes. Our next stage brought us to Ross so famous for the memory of
John Kyrle and his beneficent deeds. Its “heaven-directed spire”
surmounts the hill, on which the town is built; and every where, in
Ross, the traces of his good works, as well as many of the works
themselves, survive to consecrate his name. The house in which he dwelt
is adorned with a medallion portrait of “the man of Ross,” sunk in the
wall, and visible to every passenger. He was indeed all that the poet
has made him in descriptive verse; and he was something more, for he was
a zealous Churchman, and a faithful attendant upon the daily service. I
made my way to the Church, and was pleased to find its churchyard cross
entire, and a cross upon its gable. The interior, though very old
fashioned, was adorned with flowers, in honour of Pentecost, and its
monuments are many and curious. Among them was one of those altar-tombs,
on which lie at full length a knight and his sweet dame, the latter with
her delicate hand held in his rough grasp, as if their union were
inseparable by death itself. I was deeply touched by such a memorial of
love, which we must believe to have been sincere, and to which fancy
attributes all that is constant on the part of the lady, and all that is
chivalrous on the part of her lord. But where is the monument of Kyrle?
There is a bust and an inscription, but his monument, like Christopher
Wren’s, is the Church itself; for he built its spire, and something more
beside. There is a story, too, that when the bells were cast, he was
present, and threw into the melting metal a silver tankard, from which
he and the workmen had just drunk to the king’s health. As I was passing
round, the sexton said to me, “you shall now see something that you
never saw before,” and he pointed out a couple of elm trees, growing in
the Church, and reaching to the roof. What is the more remarkable, they
are growing in the pew where the Man of Ross was accustomed to worship,
as if to testify the fidelity of God to the promise—“He shall be like a
tree, planted by the water-side, his leaf also shall not wither.” One
would almost believe that they must have been planted on purpose, but
the truth is rather the reverse. They are in fact the fruit of Kyrle’s
own planting; for he set a row of elms in the churchyard, which were cut
down by a churlish vicar, but from which these shoots have sprung up in
the house of God, as it were in silent remonstrance. It is hard not to
see something providential in the coincidence, by which, what would be a
curiosity anywhere, is thus connected with the blessed example of one of
the most benevolent and virtuous of mankind. The trees screen one of the
windows, and appear to thrive in the climate of the sanctuary, their
leaves putting forth earlier, and falling later than those of the trees
in the churchyard.

A fair was going on in the town, and the streets were filled with the
peasantry. Everywhere pedlars were setting forth the merits of their
wares, and among them was a fellow bawling—“Here’s the last dying
speech and confession, &c.”—as he exhibited the doleful print of a
gallows and its dangling victim. Such incidents are not rarely met in
the narratives of a certain class of novelists, and I have certainly
read, somewhere, of just such a market-day as I encountered at Ross. I
walked slowly down the hill into the valley of the Wye, turning
constantly to observe the fine situation of the town, till the coach
overtook me. The country here is rich but simply pretty, and as yet it
revealed none of the glories for which the Wye is celebrated. Goodrich
Court, a modern mansion, is a fine object, however, and the remains of
Goodrich Castle are an imposing feature in the scene; and all the more
so for its association with the cavaliers, from whom it was finally
taken by Cromwell, and reduced to ruins. As you enter Monmouthshire, a
glorious view begins to open, and from about this point the scenery of
the river increases in wildness and grandeur. I was, at first, at a loss
to know why Wordsworth should have called the Wye sylvan, for such was
far from being its character, in Herefordshire; but now the entire
appropriateness of the epithet was disclosed, and yet I am well aware
that I lost many of the finest features of the stream by not descending
it in a boat. With Monmouth itself, I was somewhat disappointed, its
Church having suffered many things of many churchwardens, and the
remains of the priory, where Henry the Fifth was born, having become
incorporated with the modern walls of a boarding-school. I left Monmouth
with gratitude to Fluellyn for his idea of its wondrous resemblance to
Macedon, which I should not have imagined, had he not helped the world
to it. The glories of the scenery round St. Briavel’s and near the tiny
little Church at Llandogo, should have had the further benefit of his
minute and luminous descriptive powers, as I can liken it to nothing
else in the world but itself, for its combination of simply rural
features, with those which are highly picturesque. An American is struck
with the charm imparted to such scenery, by a pretty church or a neat
and secluded hamlet, quite as much as he is impressed by the scenery
itself; and I was often led to think what the valley of the Mohawk might
be, had it the advantage of that still retirement, and of those Arcadian
groves, which impart a peculiar effect to the sterner beauties of the
Wye. At Tintern Parva we were shown the ancestral habitation of
Fielding, and passed a new church which was well worthy of note. But the
neighbourhood of Tintern Abbey eclipsed every other thought, and I
strained my sight for the earliest possible glimpse of the delightful
vision. A storm which had been threatening, broke upon us,
unfortunately, at the critical point, and I first beheld that
magnificent ruin in circumstances which increased its desolation. In
spite of the rain, however, I embraced an opportunity of entering its
walls and surveying it for a few moments, amid the wild confusion of the
elements. The rain dashing through its rich but broken tracery, and the
wind tossing the gorgeous drapery of its mantling ivy, with the
melancholy sighs it gave amid the columns, and along the aisles,
deepened the solemn impression of the spot, and gave a heightened
interest to the thoughts of its former sacred uses, when it resounded
with the chant of priests and the swells of music from the organ. As I
purposed a more leisurely visit in fairer weather, I was willing to have
seen it thus amid storm and tempest. I resumed my journey to Chepstow;
and as the storm soon abated, and was succeeded by sunshine, I had many
fine views of the windings of the river, some of which are very bold,
sweeping, amid precipitous banks, crowned with the richest foliage and
verdure. Chepstow itself has many beauties, as seen from the Wye, and
after slightly surveying the town and castle, I crossed the iron bridge,
and drove to Tidenham, where a kind welcome awaited me at the vicarage,
from one with whom I had corresponded long before I left America. I was
sorry, however, to find myself a source of disappointment to the
children of my kind entertainers, who had been unable to divest
themselves, notwithstanding the benevolent dissuasions of their parents,
of the romantic idea that the American visitor would present himself in
aboriginal costume, and contribute to their amusement by exhibiting his
red visage, and lending them his bow and arrows. Their father is now a
Missionary Bishop, in Africa.

This vicarage is of modern erection, but in very good ecclesiastical
style, and has a pretty garden, in which I saw my amiable friend the
vicar taking the air, when I rose in the morning. I was glad that so
pleasant an abode had fallen to the lot of so good a man. After
breakfast, while he visited his poor and sick, I went on a little pony,
with a servant at my side, to Cockshoot Hill, which looks down upon the
Wye nearly opposite the Windcliff. Tidenham itself stands on a narrow
peninsula, with the Wye on one side, and the broad Severn on the other,
and just below Cockshoot Hill this peninsula forces the river Wye to
make an extraordinary bend beneath its precipitous banks, on which
stands the pretty hamlet of Llancaut. The view, at this point, is
therefore peculiarly fine, and affords, in one spot called
“Double-view,” the unusual spectacle of both rivers—the Wye, with its
sylvan charms on one hand, and the expanse of the Severn, with its ships
and steamers, on the other. I was best pleased with the Wye, the
Windcliff, the projecting rocks called the Twelve Apostles, and the
entire scene on that side, as far as the eye could stretch, above and
below. The farms and fruit-trees of the peninsula were also pleasing in
their way, and the more so, because it was now the season of blossoms,
and every breeze was fragrant. My return was enlivened by views of the
Severn, which were often much heightened in effect by the turns of the
road, and the openings amid thick trees, through which I descried them;
and I was gratified to be joined by a labouring man, who insisted on
walking with us, and pointing out favourite prospects, apparently not so
much in hopes of a fee, as to testify his regard for a guest of the
vicar, of whom he spoke in unbounded terms of respect, as the blessing
of the country round. I found the Church opened, and service going on:
and when it was over, was informed by the vicar himself of the various
merits of the sacred place as an architectural specimen. The font was an
ancient Norman one, of lead, and is regarded as curious. So are the
windows, which exhibit a semi-flamboyant tracery, by no means common. A
gradual restoration is going on, at the expense of the vicar and his
personal friends; but I was amused by the white-washed tower, which
remains thus disfigured, while the rest of the Church has been reduced
to its natural color. It seems that this white tower has long been a
landmark of the Severn, and serves a useful purpose, in the piloting of
vessels. With an interference which would strike us Americans as very
arbitrary, the Government, therefore, forbade that the tower of Tidenham
Church should be made to look any less like a whited sepulchre; and so
it stands, as a pillar of salt, to this day.

The rest of the day was devoted to an excursion to Tintern, to which the
ladies contributed their agreeable society. The party proved a very
cheerful one, and we encountered scarcely any fatigue of which our
fairer associates did not bear their full share. In surveying the
remains of Chepstow castle, only, were we without their company. I found
it a noble ruin, even after my visit to Caernarvon. It was reduced to
ruin by Cromwell, after a desperate fight, but one of its towers was
long afterwards—for twenty years—the prison of Henry Marten, the
regicide. It must once have been a splendid hold of feudalism, and its
halls and windows still retain many traces of the Saxon and Norman
richness of its original beauty.

We climbed the Windcliff, and thence surveyed the combined glories of
land, and sea, and of inland stream, which are its peculiar charm. Where
else can be seen such a prospect: such inland river scenery, blended
with the view of a broad arm of ocean, side by side, and apparently not
united? It would be vain for me to attempt description, but I found it
all I could ask; and on that breezy height recalled to mind those
incomparable lines of Wordsworth, composed upon the spot or near it, in
which he exhorts the lover of Nature to store up such scenes in memory,
and thus make “the mind a mansion for all lovely forms.” There are caves
below, through which one of my female friends led me like a Sybil; and
then I went under her kind escort through a wild American-like wood, to
rejoin our carriage. Two miles more of delightful scenery, and I stood
again in Tintern Abbey, and wandered through its holy aisles, and
climbed to its venerable summit. Here, over the lofty arches of the
transept, I walked, as in a path through a wood, the shrubbery growing
wildly on both sides, as on the brow of a natural cliff. White roses
flourish there in abundance; and it is only at intervals that you can
get a glimpse of the Abbey-floor beneath. Around you is a beautiful
prospect of the river, and of an amphitheatre of hills; and when you
stand in the aisles below, and view these same hills through the broken
windows, you feel that they should never have been glazed, except with
transparent glass. On the whole, when the beauty of its situation is
fully taken into consideration, in addition to the original graces of
its architecture,—its graceful pillars, its aerial arches, its gorgeous
windows,—and when we observe the fond effect with which nature has
clothed the pile in verdure, as if resuming her power with tenderness,
and striving to repair the decays of art, with her own triumphant
creations; when all these, and other attractions which cannot be
enumerated in description, are united in the estimate, I cannot but give
to Tintern Abbey the credit of being the fairest sight, of its kind,
which ever filled my vision. I have since seen many similar objects,
combining architectural beauties with those of nature, but were I
allowed to choose one more glimpse of such a picture, among all, I think
I should say to the enchanter—“let me have another look at Tintern.”

Crossing the broad mouth of the Severn, in a little steamer, we entered
the Avon, of a fine afternoon, just as a fleet of similar steamers,
taking the tide at flood, were hurrying out to sea. It was a most
animating sight, as one after another chased by—this for London, that
for Dublin, another for Glasgow, and so on; all flaunting the red cross
of St. George, and displaying a full company on deck. I was agreeably
surprised by the beauty of this river, which is varied by woods and
cliffs, and many striking objects, among which a little ruinous chapel,
upon a verdant peninsula, particularly struck me, and the more so, as
having been formerly used by fishermen, before going upon their voyages
in the channel, as a place of prayer for protection and success. But
this river has an historical claim upon the affectionate regard of
America, as having sent forth two expeditions to our shores, of the
greatest consequence to our whole continent. Upon these waters crept
forth to sea, in 1497, the little “Matthew,” on whose deck stood
Sebastian Cabot, “uncovering his fine Venetian head” to take a last
farewell of his native city, as he boldly stood out to the ocean in
search of the New World. Upon that expedition depended the discovery of
the mainland of America, and the occupation of the northern half by the
Anglo-Saxon race. To this glorious reminiscence has been added the fine
contrast presented by the “Great Western,” as she launched forth, in
this same river, only a few years ago, in her majestic strength, to
inaugurate a new era in the art of navigation, and to unite the Old
World and the New by bonds of intercommunication, which imagination
itself had never ventured to portray in their present stage of wonderful
development. “Upon no waters,” says a popular writer, “save those of the
winding Avon, have two such splendid adventures as these been

Passing under the heights of Clifton, and landing in Cumberland basin, I
climbed the steep, took my lodgings at Clifton, and then went on foot
into Bristol, over Brandon-hill, enjoying the magnificent panorama which
unfolds on every side, and comprehends the finest features of town and
country, of water and of land. My first thought was the famous Church of
St. Mary Redcliffe, and thither I took my way. The poetry of Chatterton
was the delight of my boyhood, and this Church I had long desired to
see. I found it undergoing restoration, but not the less open to
inspection. It is indeed a masterpiece of architecture; its clustered
pillars, and the fan-like spread of its vaulting, with its fourfold
aisles, and rich quatrefoil windows, affording the keenest satisfaction
to the artist, and affecting every man of taste with overwhelming
emotions of religion, which may well be made salutary to the soul. Here
are some pictures by Hogarth, of a character superior to his general
efforts; one of which, representing “the Ascension of our Lord,” shows
him to have possessed fine sensibilities, and a delicate appreciation of
the more poetical provinces of his art. The monument of “Master
Canynge,” the Mayor, who figures so richly in the “Bristowe tragedy,”
attracted my profound attention, as did also several others less
mentionable, though very interesting. Of Chatterton himself, no monument
is to be seen, save the old muniment-room, and the chests, from which he
fished his bold idea. The monument, which was erected a few years since
to his memory, has for some reason been removed, and now lies
dishonoured in the crypt. It is impossible to think of that marvellous
boy without pity, in spite of his moral delinquencies; and I can
scarcely read the ballad of Charles Bawdin without tears, excited as
much by the fate of its author, as of its hero. His moral perceptions
must have been of a fine cast, or he never could have conceived that
poem; and who would not choose to believe that had he encountered mercy
and loving-kindness from those who ought to have befriended him, his
splendid genius might have been made a rich blessing to himself and to
the world?

As the solemn twilight was coming on, I visited the cathedral. I had not
promised myself much from such a visit, for ’tis a mutilated pile, of
which the entire nave is lacking. Yet, whether it was the effect of the
dim and dying daylight, or whether the architecture and the sepulchral
charms of the holy place overpowered me, I left it with the profoundest
impressions of awe and tender emotion. The old Norman Chapter-house is
an architectural gem, with its intersecting arcades, its rich diapering,
and nail-head ornaments, its twisted mouldings, and spiral columns, and
the zig-zag groinings of its roof. In the vestry I was shown a curious
Saxon carving of Christ saving a soul. My attention was also directed,
by the sub-sacrist who attended me, to the ruins of the Bishop’s palace,
which fell under the violence of the mob, in 1831, when good Bishop Gray
so beautifully distinguished himself and his Order, by exhibiting an
apostolic harmony of meekness and resolution. But it was in walking the
aisles of the cathedral itself, under the deepening shadows of the
evening, that I experienced the full effects which such a place should
inspire. From the old and decaying monuments of knights and their dames,
I passed with elevated feeling to the modern achievements of Bacon and
of Chantry. A kneeling female figure, reflecting the faint light from
its pale features and white drapery, and standing out of the darkness,
like a pure soul emerging from the valley of the shadow of death, gave
me a sensation of unspeakable reverence. Hard by, a chequered day-beam
played on the fine outline of a bust of Robert Southey, and this
apparition also affected me; but when I came to the little tablet which
marks the grave of Mrs. Mason, and spelt out, word by word, the
incomparable tribute of conjugal love which it bears, I was overwhelmed;
and as I read (I am not ashamed to own it) my tears dropped upon the
marble floor. There was barely daylight enough for the effort, but I had
known the poem from my earliest childhood, and possibly to this fact I
must attribute its overpowering effect upon my feelings. It is to be
condemned perhaps as an epitaph; but who can think of criticism when
borne along on such a tide of heavenly affection and triumphant faith? I
trembled to think I was standing upon the relics of so much loveliness
and purity.

        “Take, holy earth, all that my soul holds dear!”

She must have been an angel, to have inspired so much feeling as agony
has compressed into that one line! and then, what an image of more than
mortal beauty rises before us as we read—

        “Speak, dead Maria! breathe a strain divine,
         Even from the grave thou shalt have power to charm.”

And did ever love paint such a portrait, in a few touches of passionate
apostrophe, as in those in which the heart of her husband speaks on?

        “Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee;
           Bid them in duty’s sphere as meekly move!
         And, _if as fair, from vanity as free_;
           As firm in friendship, and _as fond in love_!”

Never was the glory of true female character so enshrined in language
before; but this is not all! The ideal of the Christian woman is brought
out in its completeness in what follows:—

        “Tell them—though ’tis an awful thing to die,
         ——’Twas _even to thee_!”

Here is the tender form, and timid step, with all the heroism of the
female saint, descending into the dark valley: and at the same time here
is the transcendent tribute—

        ’Twas _even to thee_!

And now comes triumphant faith:—

           ——“Yet that dread path once trod,
        Heaven lifts its everlasting portals high,
          And bids the pure in heart behold their God.”

I am probably failing in my desire to carry my reader along with me in
my own conception of the exceeding merit of these verses, as embodying
some of the sublimest, and some of the tenderest affections of the
regenerate heart, with the smallest possible sacrifice of that eloquence
which is generally mute, in proportion to its expressiveness: but I
cannot deny myself the pleasure of recording the fact, that their power
over my own feelings, as I read them on the spot, and in the
circumstances which I have hinted, was such as beggars description.

A moonlight ramble on the heights of Clifton, and another in the early
morning, next day, concluded my rapid visit to this region; and I took
the top of the coach soon after to the city of Wells. This little
journey over the Mendip hills, which gave me frequent opportunities for
walking, was enlivened by the conversation of a sharp-featured little
dissenting minister, who volunteered his opinions upon all subjects, and
who seemed peculiarly anxious to give me his own opinions of the clergy
of the Church. “There are,” said he, with an oracular look, and the keen
expression of a desire to know how the fact might strike me, “there are
18,000 Church clergymen in England: of these, there may possibly be
4,000 who are in different degrees evangelical; 4,000 are vicious and
idle; and 10,000, including all the young clergy, are _Puseyites_, who
neither know how to teach the Gospel, nor what the Gospel is!” He
thought there was no prospect of any disruption between Church and
State; and, at last, whispered in my ear, that he had serious thoughts
of emigrating to America. I was amazed at this little man’s utterly
unconscious lack of Christian charity. Of the 10,000 clergy whom he thus
denounced in the gross, as evil-minded men, I had myself been for weeks
closely associated with many, in whom I had seen exemplified every
Christian grace, and from whom I had gathered lessons of practical
piety, for which I had reason to bless God. For patience in tribulation,
and for pastoral fidelity; for lives devoted to the good of men, and
fervent with zeal for the glory of God, I had never seen their equals;
and now, to hear them stigmatized in a manner so cool and professional,
by one who soon betrayed his personal animosity by adding—“and us,
dissenting preachers, they treat as a race of upstart tinkers”—made me
lament for poor human nature and its deceitful workings even in good
men’s hearts! I consoled my friend by hinting that, in America, the
Presbyterian and Congregational pastors had long professed a somewhat
similar contempt for the clergy of the Church, having for nearly two
centuries been the religious chieftains of our country; but I ventured
to intimate that we did not on that account feel the less respect for
ourselves, or think it right to deny them the credit of many estimable
qualities, and the right of being judged by Him who alone searcheth the
heart. I believe it was after this, that the worthy man proposed adding
himself to our population; a scheme in which I could not discourage him,
convinced, as I was, that a taste of our religious condition might
perhaps change his views as to the comparative evils of the English
Church, and those of the Saturnalia of unbelief which are fast
developing under the influences of our illimitable sectarianism.

                             CHAPTER XXVII.

                    _Glastonbury—Wells—The Jubilee._

I found in the ruins of the abbey at Glastonbury a full reward for my
efforts to pay them a visit. The architecture of these ruins is of a
character widely different from that of Tintern; and the surrounding
scenery, though marked by one bold eminence called the Tor, is that of a
fat agricultural region, wholly unlike the romantic valley of the Wye.
Yet the old wattled church of the early Britons which once stood here;
the tradition that Joseph of Arimathea proclaimed the gospel on this
spot; the legendary interest that attaches to the memory of St. Dunstan,
and the superb remains of what was once the richest monastery in the
kingdom, invest the now silent precincts of the Abbey with peculiar
charms. The chapel called St. Joseph’s is still an exquisite specimen of
art, and in its crypt is a spring reputed to derive extraordinary
virtues from some association with his visit. A huge stone coffin, lying
empty and dishonoured in the aisle of the Abbey Church, was shown to me
as having once contained the corpse of King Arthur. Here again was the
figure of an old abbot; and as I strode over the clovered floor of the
holy place, amid broken corbels and shattered columns, I found an artist
seated among them, at his task, sketching the beautiful remnant of an
old turret, which rises amid the surrounding wreck, almost the only
uninjured memorial of the former glory of the pile. At a distance, which
gives one an idea of the great extent of the old establishment, stands
the kitchen of the monastery still entire. It is an octagon, of vast
circumference, and contains several curious relics of the Abbey. I next
visited St. Benedict’s Church, which disputes with several others the
claim of being the oldest in the kingdom; and so, taking a post-chaise,
drove back to Wells, after a due reverence to the celebrated thorn which
is said to be the lineal successor of St. Joseph’s walking-stick, and
which blooms every year, at Christmas as well as in the early summer. Of
its blossoming at Christmas, or Epiphany, I suppose there can be no
doubt. I was assured, on the spot, that such was the case. King Charles
used to make merry with the papists by calling their attention to the
fact that it refused to observe the Gregorian Calendar; and when, in
1752, New Style was introduced into England, some two thousand of the
neighbouring peasantry assembled to watch this thorn on Christmas-eve,
who, when they found it stubbornly postponing its homage, but punctually
putting forth blossoms at Old Christmas, as usual, refused to recognize
the novelty, and kept their holidays accordingly. It must be supposed,
therefore, that Twelfth day is the real festival which it honours with
its strange efflorescence.

The cathedral of Wells struck me as surpassing all that I had yet seen,
in its way. The exterior view is fine, and the front is enriched with
the most lavish display of sculpture, kings, queens, and saints, each in
an embellished niche, and all together conveying a most gorgeous
impression to the beholder. But the interior was far more impressive.
Its nave was fitted with a pulpit and benches, and had the appearance of
being used and frequented. But the choir and Lady-chapel were in process
of restoration, on a magnificent scale, and appeared, indeed, quite new.
Here was a modern work, not inferior to the old: and when I observed the
rich effect of the creamy Caen stone, contrasted with the dark and
polished pillars of Purbeck marble, and marked the effective
introduction of colours and gilding, amid the delicate foliations and
tracery of stalls and tombs, then, first, I understood what must have
been the magnificence of these cathedrals, when new and entire! It was
pleasing to see such proof that the Church is still instinct with all
the spirit of mediæval taste, under the influences of restored purity of
religion; and that all the cunning of Bezaleel can be still employed by
our reformed ritual, though the craft of Demetrius, in making shrines
for idolatrous services, is no longer required.

I will not weary my reader with the numerous details of this glorious
pile, nor with those of the Bishop’s palace, its moat and drawbridge;
nor yet with memories of the blessed Bishop Ken, which still linger in
fragrance about these holy places: but I must observe, that the present
Bishop has done a good work in restoring to his cathedral the important
feature of a theological school. In his palace is their chapel, a most
appropriate one; and as I went through the cathedral, it was pleasant to
see several students in their gowns, lingering here and there in the
aisles, and vanishing and re-appearing amid the columns.

A romantic drive from Wells, full of interesting views, brought me to
Bath. Here, too, was much to see; but its Abbey is a poor object after
Wells, and the town of Beau Nash need not long detain an ecclesiastic. I
left, in the night, for Berkshire; and next day, which was Sunday, was
present at an Ordination, held at Bradfield Church, by the Bishop of
Oxford. The Church, and neighbouring College, at which I was a guest,
are well worthy of description; but I have only space to add, that the
ceremonial of Ordination differed from our own only in the minute
particulars of the oath of supremacy, and in the Bishop’s sitting in his
chair while administering the imposition of hands. Thirteen priests, and
a larger number of deacons, were admitted to Orders. The preacher was
the estimable Sir George Prevost; and at Evening Prayer, I had the great
satisfaction of addressing the newly ordained clergy, by appointment of
the Bishop, and afterwards of dining with him, and them, at the College,
where I am happy to testify that all things were done unto edifying,
until the close of the day. I was charmed with the Bishop’s manner in
private intercourse with his younger clergy; and not less gratified to
learn that the Ordination had been preceded by his personal conference
with each individual, in which the awful responsibilities of the
ministry had been freely enforced, and fully recognized. Those whom I
had seen ordained, had come to that solemnity, therefore, with the
fullest sense of its unspeakable consequences to their souls; and, so
far as could be ascertained, with holy resolutions to be faithful unto

The solemnities of the Jubilee of the Venerable S. P. G., now called me
back to London, and to a renewal of its social pleasures. On the morning
of the 16th of June, I attended, at Westminster Abbey, with a large
number of the clergy, the opening services. It was a memorable occasion;
the choir of the Abbey being filled with a dense crowd of worshippers,
among whom, to judge by their looks and complexions, were men “out of
every nation under heaven.” The Bishop of London was the preacher, and
gave us an appropriate sermon, characterized by the finish for which his
performances are noted, and not deficient in feeling or fervour. It
contained gratifying allusions to the American Church, one of whose
prelates, Bishop Otey, was present, in the sanctuary, and assisting in
the services. A large number of communicants knelt at the altar; and
while several of my English friends made an effort to receive at the
hands of the Bishop of Tennessee, in gratifying their feelings of
Catholic intercommunion, I found an equal satisfaction in receiving the
Holy Sacrament from the Archbishop of Canterbury. During the whole
solemnity, which filled up several hours, my mind was powerfully
impressed with the historical spirit of the place; and while I listened
to the sermon, glancing occasionally upward to the vaulted roof, or
allowing my eye to wander away among the columns of the nave or choir,
it was impossible to divest myself of associations the most sublime,
that seemed to swarm around me, like “a cloud of witnesses,” blending
the interminable past with the momentary present. Here we were, in our
turn, upon the stage, the great actors of past centuries lying all
around us! Through yonder gate, beneath the great rose-window, pomp and
procession have entered this holy place, age after age; and here, one
after another, each as real in its time as that which occupies us now,
have the great solemnities of the nation been celebrated. These arches
and aisles looked just as they look this minute on the day when Laud
ushered in King Charles to receive his crown, and when, just here, he
was presented, to the Lords and Commons assisting at that pregnant
moment, as their anointed Sovereign. The thought of all that has since
passed on the same spot, seemed to compress into the mere drama of an
hour, the mighty history of which such was the opening scene. Then the
thought of the entire ignorance of futurity, by which such a pageant was
made real in its time! Imagination places us back among the men of a
by-gone age; but we cannot strip our individuality of its historic
knowledge, and we behold their doings with the eyes of a seer. I seemed
to be listening to the shout of “Long live King Charles”—and at the
same moment foreseeing the scaffold at Whitehall. I seemed to wonder
that others could be ignorant of what was coming: and to feel compelled
to forewarn the King of the dreadful future. Just so the jubilant
coronation of Charles the Second, and the melancholy inauguration of his
successor, flitted before me, with the events of years condensed into a
moment: and then again I found myself going back to the days of
Elizabeth and her hateful sire; and so mounting to the Plantagenets and
Normans. It is said that we cannot think of two things at once: but
certainly, while I was absorbed in the sermon, I was yet occupied with
such thoughts as these, and, in fact, was giving the preacher the full
benefit of all this as a background, while I looked on him as the
prominent figure of the picture. The psalms for the day had been
exceedingly suggestive and appropriate; they were the _Deus venerunt_,
the _Qui regis Israel_, and the _Exultate Deo_; and all the while I was
mentally contrasting 1851 with 1651, and saying, “What hath God
wrought!” That day, two hundred years ago, the Puritans were in the
Abbey, making havoc of its holy things, and exulting over the
annihilation of the Church of England. They supposed her exterminated,
“root and branch:” it was a felony to read one of her ancient Collects
in the poorest cottage of the land. And now! I was surrounded by
representatives of her communion, who had come up to keep her one
hundred and fiftieth missionary festival from the uttermost parts of the
earth. Beside the Primate of all England, stood before me the Bishops of
Argyle, of Jamaica, and of Tennessee. Around me were kneeling Africans,
Asiatics, and Americans, with the islanders of the South Seas, all
partakers of her holy fellowship: and passing from such a past to such a
present—what a leap my spirit took into the future. Another
jubilee—and another! Who shall set a limit to the ingathering of
nations; to the latter-day triumphs of the Gospel!

        “Visions of Glory, spare my aching sight;
         Ye unborn ages crowd not on my soul.”

When the services were over, it took some time to emancipate myself from
the spell of the place, and I wandered to and fro in the Abbey. A dear
friend, a fellow of Oriel College, caught me by the hand, and pointed to
the slab beneath my feet. It covered Samuel Johnson. “Surely old
Samuel’s bones must have been stirred to-day by the Church’s Jubilee,”
said I, “but don’t think you have shown me his grave for the first time;
I already know all the choice spots in this floor, and have knelt on
that very slab, and given God thanks for his servant Samuel.”

I dined that day with a party of zealous Churchmen, and supporters of
the S. P. G.; and, in the evening, went to an ecclesiastical
conversazione at Willis’ Rooms. We drove, in a private carriage, through
Hyde Park and St. James’s, and were set down at “Almack’s” as superbly
as if we had come on as gay an errand as is the more usual one of its
visitors. But those brilliant rooms were now thronged with a graver
company, the object of the festivity being to do honour to foreign
ecclesiastics and pastors, who might be in London on occasion of the
Jubilee and the Crystal Palace. I was presented to the Primate, who
conversed with a simplicity of manner the most impressive, and invited
me to Lambeth with a sort of cordiality, the very reverse of that
stateliness and etiquette which it was not unnatural to expect in the
address of one so exalted in station. I was much pleased with his
venerable appearance, and accepted the kind appointment of an hour,
which he named, for my visit to the Archiepiscopal palace, with peculiar
pleasure. His Grace was surrounded by his brother Bishops, among whom I
saw, for the first time, the Archbishop of Dublin; a prelate of
acknowledged talent, but whose gifts would have better fitted the
Academy than the throne of a Primate. An Oriental Archimandrite
completed the group in this quarter; and other parts of the rooms
swarmed with solemn looking men, talking German and French with their
English entertainers, or vainly essaying civilities in Low Dutch and
Danish. One of these personages, who looked as if he might have figured,
with credit to himself, at the Synod of Dort, attacked me in the dialect
of the Flemings, to my utter consternation. I could only stammer out a
little gibberish, as a reply, and precipitately sounded a retreat, in
utter distrust of my ability to sustain a further conversation with my
unknown colloquist to mutual satisfaction. I soon afterward made the
acquaintance of the Chevalier Bunsen, with whom, as one of the
curiosities of the age, I was not sorry to have this opportunity of
exchanging a few words. The Chevalier is at home on every subject, and I
found him communicative on the favourite topic which I ventured to
start, by referring to a common friend, whom he had known very well in
Rome. One after another I encountered, during the evening, many eminent
and agreeable personages, among whom were officers of the army,
dignitaries of the Church, several Bishops, and the Earl of Harrowby.
The company was altogether a brilliant one, in spite of the polemical
figures who constituted so important a part of it; and the stars and
decorations of the nobility, and of foreign officials, were quite
conspicuous, among the white neckerchiefs and black broadcloth of the
ecclesiastics and pastors.

I breakfasted, next morning, with the Rector of St. Martin’s in the
Fields, and then accompanied him, on a visiting tour, about his parish.
First, I went to the parish-school, which had lately been rebuilt, and
was deemed a model. Prince Albert, who interests himself in such things,
was to visit it that very day, and I was kindly asked by the Rector to
be of the company, but was otherwise engaged. One of the peculiarities
of this building was its ingenious contrivance of a play-ground—if that
may be so called, which was some fifty or sixty feet above the earth.
Land being costly in the parish of St. Martin’s, the building was
planned with a double roof, the lower one being flat, and surrounded
with a high fence, affording a safe and ample space for the recreation
of the children; while the roof above them served as an awning against
the sun, or as a shelter from the rain. A fine view, and as pure an
atmosphere as London can afford, were additional advantages of the
arrangement. Next, we visited the parochial baths and wash-houses, in
which the poor have the best opportunity for washing and drying clothes,
and also of keeping their persons in a neat and wholesome condition, at
the cost of a few pennies. The benevolence and utility of the
establishment must be obvious. Next the Rector took me to see Coleman,
one of his parishioners, who was then in his 102d year, and a fine and
healthy-looking man at that. What is better, he is unfeignedly pious,
and joined devoutly in the prayers which were offered by his pastor,
responding with fervour, and saying, in reply to one of his
questions—“I know that my Redeemer liveth.” This aged Christian owes
his serene and consoling faith, under God, to his early training in the
charity school, established in this parish by Archbishop Tennison. He
was a pupil in that school when George the Second died, and remembers
the tolling of the great bell of St. Paul’s, to announce the event. He
also remembers the Coronation of George the Third, and the procession,
which he saw as it went to the Abbey, on that occasion. Think of his
living to see, as he did, the procession of Victoria to the Crystal
Palace, with the same pair of eyes! It was gratifying to hear his
testimony to the vast improvement in manners which has been going on in
London since he was a boy. He remembers the nights and days which
Hogarth has so frightfully depicted; and he says, too truly, that to be
a gentleman, was to be a rake, almost universally, when he was a boy.
“It was as much as one’s life was worth,” he says, “to walk the streets,
at night, in those days.” The same day, I heard Mr. Sydney Herbert
remark, in his speech at St. Martin’s Hall, that this age is reputed
better than its antecessors, chiefly because, while it cares not what a
man may be at heart, it compels him to be decent.

This meeting at St. Martin’s Hall, by the way, must not be forgotten. It
was part of the Jubilee. Prince Albert presided, and did so, I must
allow, in a very princely style, so far as his personal bearing was
concerned. As he entered, which he did with great dignity, the whole
assembly rose, and sang _God Save the Queen_. This struck me as
exceedingly handsome and appropriate: but I was not so well pleased with
the fulsome adulation with which some of the speakers, afterwards,
seemed to think it necessary to bedaub him. He was himself guilty of a
flagrant breach of propriety, as it struck me, in alluding to William of
Orange, who happened to be on the throne when the Charter of the S. P.
G. was signed and sealed, as “the greatest sovereign who ever reigned in
Great Britain.” To this ill-judged compliment to one of the foreign
adventurers who have succeeded in planting themselves in British
palaces, a few gaping mouths in the auditory ejaculated the response,
“hear, hear”—for which the sentence was evidently a studied catch: but
I am glad to say that the greater part of the assembly was not such as
to be so entrapped. It was a failure, absolutely, though the _Times_
reported “great applause,” as a matter of course. When a prince
condescends to set up for a critic upon royalty, he deserves no better
success: and the ill taste of this particular attempt, on such an
occasion, seemed to me offensive in the extreme. It is plain that the
prince has learned his historical alphabet from Macaulay, and has
studied no further: but I considered this straw as indicative of a
coming wind, with which the founder of the House of Coburg should not
have threatened the Church so soon. He may yet reap the whirlwind
himself, or bequeath it to his children: for it is evident, to me, that
amiable and estimable as he is, in many respects, and beloved as he is
by a loyal people as the consort of their Queen, he is an alien to true
British feeling, and an enemy to the Anglican Church. He would Germanize
the nation if possible; above all, he longs to Bunsenize the national

On the whole, I found myself too much of an American Churchman to relish
this meeting. It was humiliating to see the venerable Archbishop paying
such deference to one who, though so nearly allied to the throne, is in
no wise entitled to especial homage from so august a personage as the
Primate of all England: and I considered it insufferable that such
official personages as Lord John Russell, and Earl Grey, should be chief
speakers, merely because of their position, although flagrant enemies of
the Church’s holiest principles. A more turgid piece of bombast than the
former delivered, I have never chanced to hear, and his whole appearance
was, to me, ludicrously revolting. It must not be supposed, however,
that the meeting went off without effect. It was nobly redeemed by
admirable speeches from Sydney Herbert, the Duke of Newcastle, Sir
Robert Inglis, and the Earl of Harrowby, as well as from the Bishops of
Oxford and London. Lord Harrowby, in particular, reflecting on the
Walpoles and the Graftons of former ministerial epochs with just
severity, gave Lord John some wise counsels, while apparently
congratulating him on his widely different policy, in patronizing
Missions! Mr. Sydney Herbert was truly eloquent, and threw out several
sparkling abstractions, which greatly raised my estimate of his mental
power; but the natural orator, among them all, was the Bishop of Oxford,
whose delightful voice, pleading for the creation of a staff of native
Missionaries in Africa, India, and China, infused a thrill of feeling
through every heart, as he wound up with the scriptural example of those
whose first transports, in receiving the Gospel, found vent in the
expression—“We do hear them speak, _in our tongues_, the wonderful
works of God.”

As duly appointed, I waited on the Archbishop at Lambeth, and was
received with very little ceremony, into his study,—a spacious
apartment, plainly furnished, and overlooking the garden of the Palace.
His manner was, as before, extremely simple and affable; and he
conversed upon divers ecclesiastical subjects with an appearance of
zeal, and with a general tone of elevated churchmanship, for which he is
certainly not celebrated as a Primate. It was with the profoundest
reverence that I listened to the successor of Augustine and of Cranmer;
and not without deference did I venture to express myself, in his
presence, even on American subjects. As I rose to depart, he followed me
to the door of the room, with something exceedingly winning and paternal
in his farewell; and kindly invited me to dine with him, on a day which
he named, as the only one when he expected to be at home for some time.
This pleasure I was forced to deny myself, owing to a previous
engagement; and I accordingly concluded my visit to Lambeth, at this
time, by going the usual rounds in company with an official, to whom His
Grace committed me. My readers may well imagine my emotions in surveying
the Lollard’s Tower, the gallery of historic portraits, the library, and
other apartments, of this most interesting pile; but perhaps they might
not wholly appreciate the feelings with which I knelt in the chapel, and
returned thanks for our American Episcopacy, on the spot where it was
imparted to the saintly White. I lingered, for a long time, in the
gardens, thinking of Laud, of Juxon, and of Sancroft; and dwelling, with
peculiar gratification in my imagination, upon the scenes between Laud
and “Mr. Hyde,” of which these gardens were the witness, as mentioned in
the pictured pages of Clarendon.

The solemn octave of the Jubilee included Sunday the 22d of June, on
which day special sermons were preached in many pulpits, in London, and
collections made in behalf of the Society. I received an appointment to
preach at Bow Church, and accordingly did so, taking as a text Genesis
ix. 27, and endeavouring to show that the existence of our own Church,
in the Western World, is a fulfilment of the prophecy, “God shall
enlarge Japhet, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” But a greater
privilege awaited me in the evening of the same day, when it was my
happy lot to perform a similar duty, in the Temple Church, standing in
Hooker’s pulpit, and preaching to a congregation of the highest
intelligence and character, upon the spread of the Church in America. It
was a fine afternoon, and that glorious Church was filled with such an
assembly as I had never before seen gathered together on an occasion of
ordinary worship. Besides the Bishops of Winchester and Edinburgh, who
happened to be present, with the Master of the Temple, and other clergy,
the benchers were numerously represented, and the finest legal talent of
the empire was undoubtedly there collected. To judge by the large
attendance of ladies, (some of them of the highest rank,) the Templars
were also accompanied by their families: to whom, I suppose, the music
furnishes a powerful attraction, as it is justly celebrated; and the
organ, though selected two hundred years ago, by the critical ear of the
bloody Judge Jeffreys, is of a tone proverbially sweet. The attendance
of strangers, drawn together by the same attraction, was also very
large, the round church as well as the choir, being apparently filled. I
was much moved by the anthem—“Tell it out among the heathen that the
Lord is King”—and when it was time for me to ascend the pulpit, and to
preach to such an Areopagus, it may be imagined that it was not without
feelings of emotion, such as I had never before experienced in the
performance of my official duties. That old historic spot, where Hooker
had struggled to preserve the falling Church of a single kingdom, was
now occupied by my pilgrim feet; and coming from a new world, I was to
attest, before such an assembly, and in the presence of God, the
blessings which that noble struggle had secured, not to England only,
but through her to the wilds of America, and to the unborn generations
of a new and mighty people in another hemisphere. The text was the
prophecy of David, (Psalm xlv. 17,) “Instead of thy fathers thou shalt
have children, whom thou mayest make princes in all lands:” and it was
my effort, (as I trust I may say, without too free a personal
confession) to improve so interesting an opportunity, in commending my
country to the respect of those who heard me, while confessing the just
claims upon her gratitude, of the Mother land, from which she is proud
to derive the blessings of the Gospel, and the institutions of
enlightened freedom, guarded by the supremacy of law. After service, the
Master of the Temple, taking me into his adjoining residence, showed me
a table which once belonged to his great predecessor, Hooker, and
allowed me to sit down in Hooker’s chair. He also showed me some
memorials of Bishop Heber, whose missionary labours in India he had
assisted, as his chaplain. The evening was passed under the domestic
roof of Dr. Warren, the eminent bencher, whose remarkable production,
“Ten thousand a-year,” has added to his other distinctions, that of
reforming the romance literature of the age, and of introducing a tone
of high Christian morality, in place of that fashionable depravity which
Bulwer had caught from Byron, and substituted for the decent propriety
of Scott. To his polite hospitalities I was indebted for some of my
happiest hours in London: and the conclusion of this Holy Day was
rendered memorable by many warm expressions of regard for my country and
her Church, inspired by his conversation, in the genial society of his
family and friends.

                            CHAPTER XXVIII.

              _Lord Mayor’s Banquet—Eton College—Hampton._

The Jubilee festival at Westminster Abbey was not allowed to supersede
the annual sermon at St. Paul’s; and accordingly, on the 18th of June, I
attended the service in the cathedral, and heard the Bishop of St.
Asaph. The service was performed with the aid of “all the choicest music
of the kingdom,” for the choirs of the royal palaces of Windsor and St.
James’s were added, on this occasion, to the ordinary musical force of
the cathedral, with very great effect. The clergy, with the Bishops,
entered in procession through the nave, and the Lord Mayor in robes, and
with the civic sword borne before him, figured in the pageant, and
occupied his stall. The sermon was scarcely audible where I sat, within
the rails of the sanctuary, but it seemed to be earnestly delivered.
Then came the Hallelujah Chorus—which I certainly never before heard so
impressively performed. “And He shall reign for ever and ever—King of
kings, and Lord of lords!” The reverberations of the dome, and the long
resounding echoes of those noble aisles prolonged the strain, and made
it like the voice of many waters in the new Jerusalem.

It was _Waterloo-day_; and, while the Duke was supposed to be feasting
his friends at Apsley House, the Lord Mayor, at the Mansion-house, gave
a city feast to the Clergy of London, with others, among whom I had the
honour of being numbered. It was, in fact, a dinner given to the S. P.
G., in honour of its Jubilee; and I owed my invitation to the kind
offices of the Bishop of Oxford. The Mansion-house is the official
residence of the Lord Mayor, and it is a conspicuous object in
Lombard-street, near the Bank of England. On arriving, we were shown
into an ante-room, where the Lord Mayor received us, and we were
presented to the Lady Mayoress. The room was filled with company, and
here I met several distinguished personages whom I had not seen before.
I was particularly pleased with being introduced, by Dean Milman, to Dr.
Croly, for whose genius and productions I have a high regard. The dinner
was served in the Egyptian Hall, so called from its original resemblance
to a hall described by Vitruvius. It is a spacious banquet-room, and
looks very well when lighted, although destitute of such specimens of
art as would best furnish its nudity of wall, and its many “coignes of
vantage.” The chief table crossed the hall at one end, and at right
angles with this, four long tables stretched through the apartment. The
Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress sat in state at the head, the former
wearing his glittering collar and jewel, as well as his robes, with the
city mace, sword, and other splendid insignia displayed before him. The
Archbishop, with the Bishops, were seated on his right and left, dressed
in their silk gowns and cassocks, in which costume all the clergy
present were attired. The ladies made a very superb appearance, and I
should suppose the whole company numbered about two hundred persons. The
display of plate, and the general show of splendour, was sumptuous, in
all respects, answering to one’s ideas of a Lord Mayor’s feast. An
old-fashioned civic custom, moreover, was observed with a certain degree
of punctilio, which, while highly becoming, was yet to me highly
amusing, and made me feel, all the time, as if I were dining with the
great Whittington himself, especially when his Lordship sent me a glass,
and invited me to the high honour of drinking with him. The mayor of
such a metropolis is, indeed, for the time, a right worshipful
personage, and in the then incumbent I saw before me a most pleasing
representative of the magistracy of the greatest capital of Christendom.
He is attended with a degree of state quite worthy of a sovereign. It
was odd, I must own, to see his chaplain come forward, in the style
described by the cynical Macaulay, and, after saying grace, retire. So,
too, the presence of his post-boy, in flaming jacket and short-clothes,
and glittering cap, with many other servants, in showy and old-fashioned
liveries, gave an antique appearance to the magnificence of the scene.
The dinner was served with like attention to ancient ceremonies, soup,
venison, comfits and all. Before the dessert, instead of finger-glasses,
golden ewers were borne about, filled with rose-water, and thus every
body performed his abstersion most fragrantly. At the head of each table
was then set an enormous golden chalice, with a cover curiously wrought,
the Lord Mayor having a still more magnificent one placed before him.
What next? The toast-master appeared behind his lordship’s chair, and
began—“My Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, my Lord Bishop of London”—and
so on through the roll of Bishops—“my Lords, Ladies and gentlemen! the
Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress greet you in a loving cup, and give you a
hearty welcome.” The Mayor and Mayoress then rose, and taking the loving
cup in hand, she uncovered it for him, with a graceful courtesy, to
which he returned a bow, and then drank, wiped the chalice with his
napkin, allowed it to be covered, and then sat down, while the lady,
turning to the Archbishop, who rose accordingly, repeated the ceremony,
save that he uncovered the cup, and it was her turn to taste the
draught. Thus the cup went round. It was my duty to begin the rite at
the table at which I sat, and happily I received the kindest
instructions beforehand from my partner, so that I did my duty well
enough for a novice: but a more beautiful ceremony, as the pairs
successively rose and sat, along the splendid room, I never beheld. I
thought of Vortigern and Rowena: but the origin of the custom is said to
have been even before the days—

              When they carved at the meal
              In their gloves of steel,
        And drank the red wine thro’ the helmet barr’d;

and when, as one lifted his arm to drink, it was deemed a necessary
precaution that one should stand up to guard him from a fifth-rib. With
less ceremony, the custom still obtains in the halls of Oxford; but
where the ladies take a part in it, it is certainly a most graceful
embellishment of feasting.

Instead of the usual grace after meat, a party of male and female
singers appeared at the foot of the hall, and reverently sang a little
hymn, all the company rising. His Lordship then informed the company
that “on occasion of receiving his friends at the Mansion-house, it was
his privilege to dispense with all rules save those which governed the
ancient entertainments of the city of London, one of which enabled him
to request the ladies to remain at the table, and to hope for the
continued honour of their company during the evening.” After this
velvety preface, he pronounced the first toast, with a similar softness,
and then the toast-master shouted—“My lords, ladies and gentlemen, the
Lord Mayor has given _the Queen_.” All rose, and drank loyally, and then
came “God save the Queen,” which was heartily sung. “Please to charge
your glasses for the next toast,” was the perpetual cry of the
toast-master for the next hour, and always the toast was announced with
like formality, the speeches and the music, that followed, being all
that could be desired. The venerable Archbishop, whose wig gave him a
reverend air of the last century, was peculiarly happy in replying to
the usual compliments to their right reverend lordships, who all stood
while he spoke in their name. The Bishop of Winchester, his younger
brother, who wore his jewel as prelate of the order of the Garter, made
a very fine appearance. The Bishop of Oxford also wore his decoration as
chancellor of that order; and I observed that, on such occasions, he
always wore it with the rosette face displayed, while, in divine
service, over his Episcopal costume, the other face was exhibited; and
very appropriately, as it consists of a pearl ground, with a simple
cross, as in an armorial shield. A trifling fact! and yet where one is
closely observing the peculiarities of a Church, thus intimately working
in with all the civil and social institutions of a mighty empire, the
man is a fool who would not be willing to note it. It is with a view to
a just delineation of these workings, as they are, that I often refer to
incidents, of little account in themselves. This dinner at the
Mansion-house was especially noteworthy, as contrasted with the spirit
of a civic banquet in our own great towns; and I must own, that if it be
desirable that the genius of Christianity should interpenetrate, and
transfuse all the forms of civilized life, the contrast is not in our

The entertainment concluded at a comparatively early hour; and then I
drove to another, at the residence of the estimable Miss Burdett Coutts,
in Piccadilly. Here, among other celebrated men, in the most brilliant
party I ever saw, I first met Lord Nelson; and yet again next morning, I
met him, before breakfast, attending the daily service at Curzon chapel.
The week passed delightfully, in frequent social festivities; and I
cannot but particularize a pleasant breakfast party at Mr. Beresford
Hope’s—and one of those admirably contrived ones, at Sir Robert
Inglis’, in which everybody is so sure to meet with everybody and every
thing that is agreeable. On another occasion, at his table, I sat next
to Lord Glenelg, and ventured to engage him in conversation on the
subject of the hymns of his brother, the late Sir Robert Grant, which
are so prominent in our Church Collection, alike for their scholarly and
refined taste, and their devotional fervor. He seemed pleased to learn
of the value set upon them in America; and soon after, on returning to
my lodgings, I found upon my table, as a present from his lordship, a
beautiful copy of his brother’s poems, which I shall always highly

During the week, I went up to Eton—the place of places, which I had
longed to see, and where I was now invited to visit an enthusiastic
Etonian. This excursion involved, of course, a visit to Windsor, whose
imperial towers so magnificently over-shadow the nest of the choicest
progeny of England. Never did I receive such ideas of the moral grandeur
of the British Constitution, as comprehending Church, State and Society,
as, when, from the fields of Eton College, I surveyed the unparalleled
abode of the British sovereign; and then, from the terrace of the
castle, looked back upon that nursery of British youth; its studious
halls, its venerable chapel, its ample fields for sport, and the crystal
waters of the Thames, flowing between; fit emblem of joyous youth,
passing on to the burthen of the world and the ocean of eternity.

When Gray looked from that terrace, over the same scene, and conceived
his incomparable Ode, he said all that one ought to say, and I will
attempt no more. One question, however, which he could only ask, it is
reserved for us to answer.

        Who foremost now delight to cleave,
        With pliant arm thy glassy wave, &c.?

Among the boys whom he then saw running and swimming, and driving hoop
and playing cricket, in the old familiar scene, was he who afterwards
conquered Napoleon. I saw the name of Wellesley, with those of Fox and
others as celebrated, carved in the college oak. There, too, were the
busts of Hammond and Pearson, and of Gray himself. The famous men of
Eton seemed to be around me in legions. Who could not catch manliness
and might amid such associations? All day I loitered about those meads,
and towards evening went upon the Thames with a merry party, to see a
juvenile boat race, in the Oxford fashion. Oh, the sport of those happy
boys! One boat swamped, but the little fellows swam lustily to shore,
and ran home laughing. It was the fragrant hay-time. Every
prospect—every breeze was pleasing. As the boats hurried by, and those
patrician lads pulled away at their oars, like day-labourers, I saw how
the mind and muscles are alike developed at Eton. How can the body be
feeble, that is reared with such lusty exercise: how can the mind but
conceive high thoughts, that pursues its very sports with “those antique
towers” on one hand, and that stupendous castle, lifting its gigantic
bulk, and stretching its majestic walls, upon the other? The boys look
upon the right, and there sages, patriots, heroes, priests and princes
have been bred: they turn to the left, and there their Sovereign lives
in august retirement; her imperial banner waves above the keep; and
beneath that solemn chapel sleeps the Royal Martyr, and the dust of
mighty kings, whose names are the material of history.

I made the usual circuit of the castle; but with the details which every
guide-book furnishes, I would not fatigue my readers. For the mere show
of royal furniture, my mind could find little room; and mere
State-apartments, as such, were even a distasteful sight. But the noble
architecture, and unrivalled site of the castle; its histories, and the
charm which association gives to every tower and window, and to the
whole scene with which it fills the eye—these are the sublime elements
with which Windsor inspires the soul, and impregns the imagination. _Hoc
fecit Wykeham_—is the inscription one catches, deep cut in the wall of
one of the towers: an _equivoque_ which the ambitious architect is said
to have interpreted, as implying that _the work was the making of him_,
when asked by his royal patron how he dared to claim the castle as a
creation, and turn it into a memorial of himself. But who can
appropriate Windsor? The humble poet, by a single song, has taken its
terrace to himself; and every stone, and every timber, might bear some
appropriate and speaking legend. I thought chiefly of Charles the First.
How he loved this castle! How he would have adorned it, and what a home
of worth and genius he would have made it, had he not fallen on evil
times! That truly English heart beat warmly here, a few weeks before it
ceased to beat forever; and along this esplanade was borne his bleeding
body, (on which fell the symbolic snow of a passing cloud,) to its last
sublime repose. “So went the white king to his rest,” says a quaint
historian: and when, at Evening Prayer in St. George’s chapel, I
reflected that his solemn relics were underneath, I felt a reviving
affection for his memory, almost like that of personal love. The dying
sunbeams gilded the carvings of the sanctuary and the banners of the
knights; I sat in one of the stalls near the altar, and observed near me
the motto—_cœlum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt_. When at
length the anthem swelled through the gorgeous chapel—_Awake up my
glory_—I could not but respond, inwardly, that it was meet that the
glory of God should be thus perpetually uplifted in the palace of a
Sovereign, whom he has so magnified in the earth. And to which of her
Sovereigns does England owe it, that she is not now either a cracked
Commonwealth, without God and without government, or else an iron
despotism, in the grasp of successful usurper? He who sleeps under that
chapel said that he died “a martyr for the people:” and so he did. On
the principle by which Macaulay attributes the liberties of England to
her Cromwells, we might attribute salvation to Judas and Pontius Pilate.

In the twilight I returned to Eton, and went and mused in the chapel,
after searching out the slab that covers Sir Henry Wotton. Then to one
of the _Dames’_ houses, (a tasteful abode,) where several oppidans were
domiciled, with whom I attended family prayers. These oppidans are the
_day-scholars_ of Eton: having no rooms in the college, and sharing none
of its funds. They are the greater part of the Etonians, the sons of
gentlemen and of the nobility, who, of course, do not require the
scholarships. After a sweet sleep, interrupted by hearing the clock
strike and the chimes playing at Windsor, I rose to another delightful
day, and soon after breakfast attended the service in the chapel. Five
hundred and fifty boys were here gathered as worshippers. The service
was an hour long, it being the Anniversary of the Queen’s Accession.
Yet, for the whole time, did those youths maintain the decorum of
gentlemen, and worship with the fervor of Christians. This reverence in
worship is said to have greatly increased during late years among the
Eton boys, many of whom are communicants. It speaks well for their
homes, as well as for their college. What promise for the future of the

In short, the boys of Eton seem to study well, to play well, to fare
well, to sleep well, to pray well. It was a holiday, and I went into the
grounds to see the cricket match: I visited the library, the boys’
rooms, and the halls. It is a literal fact, that they still revere their
“Henry’s holy shade;” for pictures of “the meek usurper,” are to be
found in almost every chamber. Last of all, I went to the river with an
Etonian friend, stripped, and plunged in. I could not leave that spot
without a swim; and accordingly, after a struggle with father Thames, I
emerged, and soon after left Eton in a glow of genial warmth and lively
enthusiasm. If “manners maketh man,” Eton cannot fail to be the nursery
of great men, so long as it is true to itself and to the Church of God.

My next visit was to Hampton Court, for which I found a day quite
insufficient, when reduced to the actual hours which one is permitted to
devote to the survey of such a wilderness of natural and artificial
charms, and to the enjoyment of their historical interest. In the
grounds of the palace, and in Bushy Park, I found a formal grandeur, so
entirely becoming a past age, and so unusual in this, that it impressed
me with feelings of melancholy the most profound. Those avenues of
chestnuts and thorns, those massive colonnades and dreamy vistas, wear a
desolate and dreary aspect of by-gone glory, in view of which my spirits
could not rise. They seemed only a fit haunt for airy echoes, repeating
an eternal _Where?_ Nothing later than the days of Queen Anne seems to
belong to the spot. You pass from scenes in which you cannot but imagine
Pope conceiving, for the first time, his “Rape of the Lock,” into a more
trim and formal spot, where William of Orange seems likely to appear
before you, with Bishop Burnet buzzing about him, and a Dutch guard
following in the rear. Then again, James the Second, with the Pope’s
nuncio at his elbow, and a coarse mistress flaunting at his side, might
seem to promise an immediate apparition; when once more the scene
changes, and the brutal Cromwell is the only character who can be
imagined in the forlorn area, with a file of musketeers in the
back-ground, descried through a shadowy archway. Here is a lordly
chamber where the meditative Charles may be conceived as startled by the
echo of their tread; and here another, where he embraces, for the last
time, his beloved children. There, at last, is Wolsey’s Hall, and here
one seems to behold old Blue-beard leading forth Anne Boleyn to a dance.
It still retains its ancient appearance, and is hung with mouldering
tapestry and faded banners, although its gilding and colors have been
lately renewed. The ancient devices of the Tudors are seen here and
there, in windows and tracery, and the cardinal’s hat of the proud
churchman, who projected the splendors of the place, still survives, in
glass, whose brittle beauty has thus proved less perishable than his
worldly glory.

Yet let no one suppose the magnificence of Hampton Court to consist in
its architecture. One half is the mere copy of St. James’s, and the
other is the stupid novelty of Dutch William. The whole together, with
its parks, and with its history, is what one feels and admires. I am not
sure but Royal Jamie, with his Bishops and his Puritans on either side
was as often before me, when traversing the pile, as anything else: and
for him and his Conference the place seems fit enough, having something
of Holyrood about it, and something Scholastic, or collegiate, also.
Queen Victoria should give it to the Church, as a college for the poor,
and so add dignity to her benevolence, which has already turned it into
a show for the darling “lower classes.” I honour the Queen for this
condescension to the people; and yet, as I followed troops of John
Gilpins through the old apartments, and observed their inanimate stare,
and booby admiration, it did strike me that a nobler and a larger
benefit might be conferred upon them, in a less incongruous way. Perhaps
the happiest thought would be to make it for the clergy just what
Chelsea is to the army, and Greenwich to the naval service.

Among the interminable pictures of these apartments, some most precious,
and some execrable, the original Cartoons of Rafaelle of course arrest
the most serious and reverent attention. There hang those bits of paper,
slightly colored, but distinctly crayoned and chalked, on which his
immortal genius exhausted its finest inspiration! Who knows not, by
heart, the Lame Man at the Beautiful Gate, St. Paul Preaching at Athens,
the Sacrifice at Lystra, and Elymas struck blind? These are the
autographs of those sublime works; and the Vatican itself may envy their
possession to Hampton Court. But, beyond their antiquarian interest, I
must own they have not for me the attractiveness of a beautiful copy: it
would be a fine thing to own Shakspeare’s autograph of Hamlet, but who
would not rather read and study the play in the clear type and paper of
a modern edition? Next to the Cartoons, I found most interesting the old
historic canvas of Holbein, with its paste-board figures; and after
that, the intensely significant series, which may be picked out, from
room to room, as displaying the spirit of English reigns. Look at that
glorious Van Dyck! How the rich romance of the Cavaliers invests its
mellow lights and melancholy shades! There the voluptuous age of the
Restoration swims before the eye in the dreamy coloring of Lely. See how
old Kneller hardens every tint, and stiffens every line, as he essays to
paint for William of Orange! Then comes Reynolds, throwing a hectic
brilliancy over the starched figures and unyielding features of the
Georgian age; and last of all West, with his brick-dust Hanoverians,
surrendering art itself a prisoner to the intolerable prose and
incurable beer-drinking of his times! Here and there I found a Lawrence,
instinct with the spirit of a happy revival, and giving promise of
better things to come. The collections are also rich in specimens of
Flemish and Italian art; and warmed me with a desire hardly felt before
in England, to be off on a contemplated tour of the Continent.

On my way to Winchester, I was led to stop for an hour at Basing-stoke,
by an idle curiosity to behold a place in which some of my forefathers
once resided. It gave me an opportunity of visiting the tomb of the
elder Warton, close by the altar of the parish Church. From Winchester I
went by post, in the twilight, over downs, and through dingles and
dales, to Hursley, where I entered the Church, and found Mr. Keble and
his curate celebrating Evening Prayers. I had brought with me, from
Hampton Court, a feeling of overpowering depression, and having seen the
admired poet in circumstances so fitting to his character as a Christian
priest, I was about to turn away, and drive back to Winchester, when
another impulse suddenly prevailed, and I ventured to present myself. I
had a preconception of his piety and unworldliness, that affected me
with awe, and embarrassed me, in approaching him; nor did anything in
his cordiality divest him of something that restrained me in his
presence. Nothing could be more simple and unaffected than his manner;
and yet, in a word, it was as if George Herbert had risen from his
grave, and were talking with me, in a familiar way. He would not hear of
my departure, but instantly made me his guest; and thenceforth I was in
a dream, from the time that I first saw him till I bade him farewell.
Nothing could be more kind than his hospitality; nothing more delightful
than the vision on which I opened my eyes, in the morning, and looked
out on his Church, and the little hamlet contiguous. Hursley is a true
poet’s home. It is as secluded as can well be imagined. England might
ring with alarms, and Hursley would not hear it: and it seems all the
more lonely, when one learns that Richard Cromwell retired hither, from
a throne, and after waxing old in a quiet contentment, died here in
peace, and now sleeps beneath the tower of the Church, just under the
vicar’s windows, with all the cousinry of the Cromwells around him. A
wise fool was Richard! But to think of a Cromwell lying still, in such a
Church as Mr. Keble has made this of Hursley! It has been lately
rebuilt, from the foundation, all but the tower, and its symbolism and
decoration are very rich, though far from being overdone. The taste that
has enshrined itself in “the Christian Year,” has here taken shape in
stones. One of the windows, the gift of friends, is an epitome of that
delightful work, and displays the chief festivals, beginning with the
Circumcision. In the minute adornment of the corbels, my attention was
called to a beautiful idea, which runs through the whole series, and
which is said to furnish the hint for interpreting the ornaments of
older churches. Entering the south porch, you observe the sculptured
heads of the reigning sovereign and the present bishop of the See; and
then, at the door, those of St. Helena, and St. Augustine of Canterbury.
At the chancel arch are St. Peter and St. Paul; and over the altar,
beneath the arch of the East window, are the figures of our Lord, and of
His Virgin Mother. Thus, from the present, the mind is carried on to the
past; and from pastors and rulers, through doctors and apostles, up to
Christ. The north porch exhibits the heads of Ken and Andrewes, of
Wykeham and Fox; while the corbels of the exterior arch of the east
window, bear those of Ambrose and Athanasius. The tower of the Church is
finished by a graceful spire, and the gilded cock surmounts the pile—

                                “——to tell
        How, when Apostles ceased to pray, they fell.”

A grateful feeling comes over me at every remembrance of my visit to
Hursley, for I felt all the time like an intruder, receiving privileges
beyond my power to repay, while my kind entertainer seemed as one who
desires no such tribute to his genius as mere tourists are wont to
afford. An inferior character might be flattered to find himself sought
out, of every traveller; but all the heartfelt kindness of the vicar of
Hursley was no disguise, to me, of a spirit that loves the Paradise of a
blessed seclusion from the world, and which nothing but benevolence can
prompt to welcome the stranger, that desires to see him face to face,
and to thank him for the soothing influences and inspiring harmonies of
his perennial songs.

At Winchester, there are three great sights, besides several of minor
interest: the hospital of St. Cross, the college of Wykeham, and the
cathedral. Let me first speak of the school, a sort of Eton, but less
aristocratic, and certainly far less attractive in its site and
circumstances. It glories, nevertheless, in its founder, and in his
fellow-architect, Waynflete, and in many eminent names in Church and
State. Enough that it bred Bishop Ken; and that his initials may be
found, cut with his boyish hand, in the stone of the cloisters. In the
chapel, what chiefly arrests the eye, is the gorgeous window, with its
genealogy of the Saviour, displayed in the richest colours and designs.
The library, within the area of the cloisters, was an ancient chantry,
designed for masses for the dead in the surrounding graves: and, I
confess, I wish it were still a chapel, in which prayers might be
offered, and the dead in Christ commemorated, although not as aforetime.
Without particularly describing the hall, or refectory, I must not omit
to mention the time-honoured _Hircocervus_, or picture of “the
Trusty-servant,” which hangs near the kitchen, and which emblematically
sets forth those virtues in domestics, of which we Americans know
nothing. It is a figure, part man, part porker, part deer, and part
donkey; with a padlock on his mouth, and various other symbols in his
hands and about his person, the whole signifying a most valuable
character. This for the college menials; but the boys also are made to
remember by it, that, for a time, “they differ nothing from a servant,
though they be lords of all.” In the lofty school-room, they are further
taught, in symbols, the Medo-Persian character of the laws of the
school. A mitre and crosier are displayed as the rewards of scholarship
and fidelity; an ink-horn and a sword intimate that a blotting-out and
cutting-off await the incorrigible; while a scourge suggests the only
remedy, known to the school, short of the final penalty. Under these
salutary emblems, the Wykeham boys of many generations have read and
pondered the legends, which explain them severally, thus—_Aut
disce—aut discede—manet sors tertia cædi!_ Tables of the college laws
are set up with like publicity, after the manner of the Decemvirs. It is
evident that the Wykehamists are in no danger of forgetting that
“manners maketh men.”

Through a pleasant meadow, and by a clear stream, I made my way to the
hospital of St. Cross, founded by Bishop De Blois seven hundred years
ago: yet, in conformity with the will of that prelate, when I knocked at
the porter’s lodge, I was duly presented with a slice of bread and a
horn of wholesome beer, which I was just then quite thankful to receive,
and to despatch in honour of his memory. To such a dole is everybody
entitled who applies in the same manner: and a larger charity is, at
stated times, distributed at the same place, to the neighbouring poor.
The establishment to which I was admitted, after such an introduction,
is one of the most interesting objects I ever saw. Its old courts and
halls reminded me not a little of Haddon; a pair of leathern pitchers
were shown me, as vessels which once held ale for Cardinal Beaufort: but
its chapel is indeed a relic of surpassing interest. It is built in
cathedral form, and combines both Saxon and Norman details, with the
first formal step towards the pointed arch. From the intersection of two
of its circular arches, according to some, sprang Salisbury
cathedral—the whole idea, from crypt to the vanishing point of its
spire. And from this last remnant of conventual life, why should not the
true idea of such establishments be in a similar manner revived
throughout Christendom? Here live some dozen poor and aged men, who else
would have no home on this side heaven. Each wears a flowing garment of
black, with a silver cross shining on its cape: they call one another
brother; they study to be quiet; prayer is their only business; and
order and neatness reign throughout the holy place. No one can visit St.
Cross without praying that the Church of England may be blessed with
hundreds more of just such homes for aged poverty, and that wherever
wealth abounds in her communion, it may be devoted to erecting them.

                             CHAPTER XXIX.

              _Winchester Cathedral—Relics—Netley Abbey._

In Winchester Cathedral I attended Morning Service, on the feast of St.
John Baptist. I am sorry to say that here, too, the service is
ill-performed; not that there is nothing to enjoy in it, even now: but
that when one reflects what ought to be the daily worship of such a
cathedral, and what it might be, if the laws of the cathedral were
enforced, and if a holy zeal were more characteristic of its
dignitaries: there is nothing to say but—_shame_ on things as they are.
When will the conscience of England clamour against such disgraceful
poverty of cathedral worship; and when will the brain of England wake up
to a sense of what these churches might do for the nation, if rightly
served and administered? The feature of this cathedral which most
impresses the stranger, is its far-sweeping length of nave and choir,
with the light or shadowy vistas, through columns and arches, which seem
to multiply its interminable effect. In its details it is also very
rich, and several of its monuments are of unequalled magnificence. Here
lies, in his superb chantry, William of Wykeham, whose mitred and
crosiered effigy, stretched at full length upon his sepulchre, seems
sublimely conscious of repose, after a life of vast achievement, in
rearing schools for youth, and colleges for the learned, and palaces for
princes, and hospitals for the poor, and temples for God. Bishop
Wayneflete is not less superbly sepulchred in a small chapel, or
chantry, of elegant design, beautifully enriched, and gilded, and kept
in complete repair by the Fellows of his College, at Oxford. His effigy
bears, in clasped hands, a heart, which he thus uplifts to heaven, as it
were, in fervent response to the _Sursum Corda_ of the Liturgy. Over
against this chantry rises, in twin magnificence, that of Cardinal
Beaufort: but in spite of its placid air, beneath those solemn
tabernacles one looks upon his figure with painful remembrances of the
death-scene which Shakspeare has so powerfully depicted. “He dies and
makes no sign,” is the awful thought that haunts the mind, as one
lingers about this perpetual death-bed; and yet it is not difficult to
conclude the inspection with the more charitable ejaculation of King

        “Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.
         Close up his eyes, and draw the curtain close,
         And let us all to meditation.”

But Bishop Fox’s monument and chapel are even more affecting than any of
these, from its peculiar combination of ingenious sepulchral devices,
with elaborate graces of architecture. It is overpowering, after
examining the splendours of its canopy and fretwork, to descend to the
little grated recess beneath, where the subject of all this monumental
glory is represented in the humiliation of death and the grave. It seems
like looking into Hades. One sees a ghastly figure of emaciation and
decay; the eyes lying deep in their sockets, in a frightful stage of
decomposition, and the whole frame exhibiting the power of death over
the flesh of the Saints, but suggesting that, while patiently submitting
to the worst that worms can do, it rests in hope and speaks out of the
very grave—“I know that my Redeemer liveth.” In a corresponding chapel,
but of low architectural character, on the other side of the choir, lies
the cruel Stephen Gardiner, the unfortunate son of an adulterous Bishop,
and the fitting purveyor of fire and faggot to the Bloody Mary. The
nuptials of this sulphurous sovereign with Philip of Spain, were
celebrated, by-the-way, in the Lady-Chapel of this cathedral. Strange
that the same Church which entombs her favourite Gardiner, should also
contain the sepulchre of that bloated Hanoverian, the notorious Hoadly,
surrounded with such emblems as the cap of liberty, and the Magna
Charta, in close juxta-position with the crosier and the Holy Bible! The
character of the Bishop would have been better symbolized by some
ingenious device illustrative of the truth, that—“the ox knoweth his
owner, and the ass his master’s crib.”

One cannot but hope that the superb altar-screen of this cathedral will
be more fully restored than at present, and that a proper altar, or Holy
Table, will be added, such as may illustrate the true spirit of the
Anglican Liturgy, and the richness of its Orthodoxy. A poverty-stricken
altar is surely no recommendation of reformed religion; and were I only
an ecclesiologist, it would delight me to show that such a Holy Table as
even the Court of Arches could not presume to desecrate, might be
erected, in strict conformity with the Anglican ritual, and in perfect
keeping with such a choir, that should put to shame the tawdry
Babylonianism of the Romish altars on the Continent.

While speaking of the choir, let me not forget the little chests which
surmount the screens of the sanctuary. Who can look at them without
emotion, when informed that they contain all that remains of princes and
priests, and of mighty kings, and fair ladies, their queens. There are
the remains of Canute and of Rufus, of “Queen Emma and the Bishops Wina
and Alwyn.” On one may be read the inscription—“King Edmund, whom this
chest contains, oh, Christ receive.” Another, marking the era of the
Rebellion, with a striking trophy of its infamy, bears the legend—“In
this chest, in the year 1661, were deposited the confused relics of
princes and prelates, which had been scattered by sacrilegious
barbarism, in the year 1642.” The havoc made by the Puritans in this
holy place is everywhere painfully visible. The beautiful chapel, in the
rear of the choir, is filled with fragments of carved work and mutilated
sculpture, which bear silent witness against the “axes and hammers” of
the Puritans: while many a corresponding “stone out of the wall” seems
to cry shame, and “many a beam out of the timber, to answer it.” The
noble figure of a knight, in bronze, upon an altar tomb, bears the marks
of their indiscriminate violence, in deep cuts or hacks made by a sword,
apparently in a spirit of wanton brutality. It was refreshing to turn
from such Vandal tokens, to the simple memorial of one who lived in the
age that produced them, but whose character furnishes altogether as
striking a contrast to the turbulent spirit of his times, as the still
waters and green pastures of his native land afford to the elements of
the Lapland storm. In Prior Silkstede’s chapel, I paid a parting
reverence to the slab that covers the honourable remains of Izaak
Walton. Verily, he served God in his generation: for when they knew not
how to sport at all, he spake of fishes, and when again they sported
like fools, he spake of men.

After a walk through sweet meads, and by a clear stream, I climbed St.
Katherine’s hill, and took a full view of the city and its suburbs; and
soon after left for Salisbury. It was, indeed, a feast day, that day of
St. John the Baptist, on which I saw two such cathedrals as Winchester
and Salisbury: the former, characterized by all the grandeur of the
long-drawn aisle—the latter, by all the glory of the culminating spire.
The emotions inspired by the one were those of a well-chanted service;
but I found the effect of the other like that of a rapturous anthem. I
speak now of the external views only: and certainly my first view of
Salisbury, that fine midsummer evening, was as a vision of Paradise. The
heavenward shooting of all its parts, and the consummate unity of effect
with which they all blend in the sky-piercing pyramid, around which they
are grouped, exceeds all that I ever saw of the kind. I only grudged to
the levels of Salisbury, what ought rather to crown such a sovereign
hill as that of Lincoln.

This Church is familiar to the architect as the full-blown flower of his
art. It stands in a lonely retirement from the town, and, sitting down
in its precincts to enjoy the view, I found myself uninterrupted in my
meditations for a long, delightful hour, the only intruders being some
nibbling sheep that pastured under the walls, and the chattering rooks,
that seemed to amuse themselves in making a spiral flight round the
spire, and so winding up from its base to its tapering point. Beautiful
for its figure and its decoration, is that spire, and so is the
incomparable tower, from which it springs like a plant; and wherever the
eye rests in wandering over the splendours of its surrounding walls,
buttresses, pinnacle, arches, and gables, all is in keeping, and one
spirit seems to animate the pile. I am sorry to confess disappointment
as to the interior. It is so neglected, and has been so much impaired.
The clustered columns that support the tower have yielded to its weight,
and are visibly bowed and sprung from their piers. The chapter-house
exhibits a shameful neglect, and its beautiful decorations have suffered
from violent abuse. The present Bishop is exerting himself effectually,
however, in the work of restoration: and one cannot but hope that the
next generation will see this cathedral the seat of a living and working
system of diocesan zeal, and the centre of Gospel life and influence to
the surrounding rural district, and its many needy souls.

A series of altar tombs, in the nave and aisles, gives a peculiar effect
to the spaces between the columns, and to the arches above. Among them
is the tomb of an unfortunate nobleman, who was hanged for murder some
three hundred years since, and over which was, for a long time,
suspended the silken noose which suspended him. The tomb of a
boy-bishop, marked by a little figure in pontificals, is a curious relic
of mediæval mummeries; and not less so is the sepulchre of Bishop Roger,
a Norman, who first attracted the admiration of King Henry I., by the
galloping pace at which he contrived to get through a mass. I paid a
more reverent tribute to the plain slab that covers Bishop Jewell, who,
with all his faults, deserves the rather to be reverenced, because this
age has bred a set of men, who seem to take pleasure in spitting upon
his memory, while defiling, with equal insolence, the face of their
Mother the Church.

As evening came on, I took a post-chaise for Amesbury and Figheldean,
where I had been invited to visit that interesting personage, Mr. Henry
Caswall, a clergyman who has done, perhaps, more than any other man, to
make known, in England, the history and peculiar characteristics of the
American Church. He is by birth an Englishman; he is nevertheless in
American orders, and thus, in his person, unites the Church in which he
ministers to that in which he received his commission. The interest with
which I now sought his acquaintance may therefore be imagined. After a
pleasing drive over the downs, and a rapid inspection of the curious
remains of “Old Sarum,” I found myself in a small, but picturesque
hamlet, in which almost every house was thatched, clustered at the foot
of a knoll, on which rose the parish Church of “Filedean”—for so it is
pronounced. In a few minutes I was Mr. Caswall’s guest, and, for the
first time since leaving home, I was able to talk over American subjects
with one who entirely understood them. After a cordial reception by his
amiable family, a long and cheerful review of American matters closed
this very happy and memorable day.

I was much entertained to observe in Mr. Caswall many of those traits of
enterprise and efficiency which seemed to me to be developments of what
we should call Western life, though the English would consider them
simply American. That he is naturally enterprising and ingenious to a
great degree, I am sure no one can doubt: it was probably this
characteristic which originally led him, though a nephew of the Bishop
of Salisbury, to seek the wilds of Ohio, and to become a Missionary
under Bishop Chase. But who, that had not been disciplined to invention
in our Missionary field, could exhibit, as he does, the fruits of this
faculty, in an exuberant degree, amid all the comforts of an English
vicarage! A river runs near his Church; he has boats upon it of his own
construction, and one has paddle-wheels. In the tower of his ancient
Church, there ticks a clock of very curious mechanism: it is entirely of
his own manufacture; he cast one of its wheels in Kentucky, and bought
another in New-York! So, too, he has lately built an organ, which
discourses excellent music; and his other ingenuities are innumerable,
to say nothing of his very able works, in which he always contrives to
tell what is worth knowing, and to say what is just to the point.

In his neighbourhood is Milstone, the birth-place of Addison, to which
he conducted me with obliging enthusiasm. The native nest is a modest
parsonage, hard by the Church, which is one of the very humblest of its
kind, and has no tower. I peeped in at the windows, and saw where
Addison was baptized. Our walk was extended to Durrington, where a fine
Church was re-appearing on the foundations of a very ancient one. In the
afternoon of the same day, this kind friend took me to Amesbury, where
the remains of a Roman encampment are still visible in some trenches and
hillocks, which were made by the soldiers of Vespasian. Thence we went
to see the grounds of the once celebrated Duchess of Queensbury, and a
grotto, which was formerly frequented by the poet Gay. We passed an old
lodge upon this estate, which gave shelter, during the Reign of Terror,
to a community of French nuns. Next, we drove to the famous Stonehenge,
on Salisbury plain. To me, these gigantic remains of Druid superstition
were of surpassing interest: and while my friend explained to me the
various theories of their origin and use, I found the actual inspection
of this old scene of horrible idolatry, the rather fascinating, because
from its still existing altar, one can just descry over the hills in the
horizon, the needle-like point of the spire of Salisbury. I never felt
before, that England had once been Pagan, and that the Gospel had
conquered it, and made it all that Salisbury is, as compared with this
accursed temple of the idol Bel. The Chaldean Shepherds seem indeed to
have shared their superstition with those of Salisbury.

We drove over the plains, so called, to visit Wilton, and my attention
was continually attracted by the shepherds and their flocks, not unlike,
in some respects, to those who are seen on the Roman Campagna. Their
dogs, who do the work of men, in searching stragglers, and in driving
and tending the sheep, are interesting objects. Of course the story of
Hannah More came often to mind as we encountered these sights. But other
interesting associations were excited by the evident remains of old
Roman roads, which traversed these pasturages in ancient times. There
were, besides, some strange circular hollows, in form like saucers, of
undoubted Roman origin, which lay on either side of our way as we drove
over a sort of ridge-road. As we left the downs, we had a fine view of
the surrounding country, and descried Trafalgar House, the seat of Lord
Nelson, at a distance. We passed a noble estate of the Pembroke family;
and visited the magnificent Church, at Wilton, reared by Mr. Sydney
Herbert, at his personal expense of sixty thousand pounds. It is a
superb Anglican basilica, a curiosity in England, as departing from the
historical architecture of the realm, and closely resembling the finest
churches of Italy. It is, however, a blessing to the place, and is
largely frequented by the poor. From this splendid Church we drove to a
still more interesting one, although a church as remarkably poor as this
is costly. The smallest and plainest little Church I had yet seen in
England was reached at last, and reverently entered. A few pews, a
chancel and Holy Table of starving plainness, and a pulpit to match!
This was holy Herbert’s Church—this was Bemerton! I climbed, and then
crawled into the little box of a belfry, to see the bell which he tolled
when he was instituted; and then I went outside, and looked in at the
window, through which he was descried tarrying long at prayer, on his
face, before the altar. How a good life can glorify what otherwise would
be utterly without attractions! Even in America, I have seldom seen a
church look so mean as that at Bemerton: yet few places have I ever
visited with more of awe and affection; and verily, all the
embellishments of the Sistine Chapel failed to produce in me such a
sense of the beauty of holiness, as did the sight of the humble altar,
at which ministered before the Lord two hundred years ago, that man of
God, George Herbert.

Reaching Southampton early in the evening of a mid-summer day, I had
time enough, during the long twilight, for an excursion to Netley Abbey,
which I made in a boat, rowed by an old waterman and his son, a lad of
twelve years. The descending sun threw its radiance over the bright
Southampton water, as we left the pier, and a pathway of burnished gold
seemed to lie in our wake, as we glided rapidly along. The boy
volunteered to sing a little hymn which he had learned at Sunday School,
and, accordingly the praise of God was sweetly wafted by the sunset
breezes that played about us; and if I have heard more romantic strains
on the Venetian waters, since then, from the gondoliers, I can testify
that they were no sweeter, and not half so inspiring to a devout
disposition. This beautiful bay was filled with many sails, and the
neighbouring shores, on every side, were highly picturesque. We reached
the “glad nook,” whose corrupted Latin name survives, in _Netley_, just
in time to disturb the composures of the rook and owl, as they were
congratulating themselves on the close of the day, and settling for the
night, the one in his dormitory, and the other in his watch-tower. There
was enough of day to display the entire beauty of the ruins, and enough
of melancholy night to give them a mysterious solemnity. Here I stumbled
over piles of rubbish, overgrown with grass and wall-flowers, among
which slender trees have sprouted side by side with the branching
columns of the architect; while through graceful tracery, and broken
vaulting, I looked up into the deep heaven, and descried the first stars
as they began to twinkle in its unfathomable azure. I fancied I could
hear the gentle sigh of the waters on the pebbled beach, which spreads
hard by beneath its walls, and the charms of the spot, as a home of
religion, became very vividly impressed on my mind as the soft
susurrations appeared to bewail the loss of responsive vesper-songs from
the consecrated pile. It was a bewitching hour for such a visit: and
when I went down into crypts, and gloomy vaults, which were barely light
enough to enable me to feel my way, and to descry the surrounding
outlines of Gothic ruin, through loop-holes and doorways festooned with
luxuriant ivy, all that I ever read of romance, in its wildest forms,
seemed conjured about me. It was quite dark as we returned, but the
waters glittered with tremulous reflections of many lights on the shore;
and our little pilot sung—“There’s a good time coming, boys!” with a
sort of pathetic thrill, which made me love him, and I prayed that he
might live to see the good time which he so feelingly promised himself.
I conversed with him freely, and found that he had been taught of God,
in the bosom of the Church.

Next morning I took the steamer to Cowes. The sail down the sea of
Southampton was very pleasant, and my fancy was as busy as my sight, as
we skirted along the shore, from which the “New Forest” stretches away
towards Dorsetshire, covering many a square mile of merry England with
woods as dense as those of our own primeval wilds. How exciting to
reflection, the view of a wood which, for so many ages, has perpetuated
the violence of William the Norman, and the tragic memory of Rufus! A
gay little French woman, who knew nothing of the history, however, and
who seemed to take me for an Englishman, expressed herself, in her
sprightly vernacular, in terms of rapturous delight, with reference to
the scenery alone. She was overwhelmed with the luxurious beauty of
England, as contrasted with the penury which stares you in the face for
leagues and leagues in France, in places where nature only needs a
little aid from cultivation to assume a face as cheerful as those of its
inhabitants. When we passed Calshot Castle, and had the Isle of Wight in
full view, I was nearly as much inspired as herself. The admirable
service which the island renders to the British fleet, became apparent
as we looked towards those “leviathans afloat,” at Spithead; but I
turned with greater interest towards the Solent, and tried hard to
descry that lonely spur of Hampshire, on which stands Hurst Castle, the
scene of one of the most thrilling episodes in the closing history of
Charles the First. As we approached Cowes, it reminded me of Staten
Island, off New-York, and, at first, I hardly knew to what I owed the
association, though the similarity of scene is considerable; but when a
second glance showed me a noble ship, of unmistakeable American
proportions, with the American ensign fluttering at her peak, just under
the lee of the island, I felt the home-feeling overpoweringly, and could
have shouted my salutation to my country’s oak, with full lungs and a
fuller heart! I pointed it out to the French woman, and told her of my
country, and then I was saluted with her voluble congratulations, in
such terms as showed that she, at least, thought it a land of which one
has a right to be proud.

Osborne House is a prominent object, on the rising bank of the Medina,
as one drives from Cowes toward Newport, and I looked with no little
interest at the beautiful home in which Victoria and Albert live the
life of private people, without sacrificing the dignity which they owe
it to the nation to sustain. It delights me to say that they have the
reputation of cultivating, there, every domestic virtue; and I was
charmed with a popular print, which one sees in the neighbourhood,
representing the family at Osborne, on their knees, with the prince
reading prayers among his children.

I was fortunate in visiting this gem of the sea, during the most
pleasant part of the year. The hay-makers were at work, and everywhere a
delicious fragrance filled the air. Our drive from Newport to Chale
afforded many pleasing views, and my first view of the open sea was
enchanting. The channel was as smooth as glass, and the vessels that lay
upon it scarcely seemed to move. From the celebrated Black-gang Chine,
the view of the chalky coast of Dorset, the curving shore of
Freshwater-bay, and the bristling file of cliffs, called “the Needles,”
was truly superb. Then wheeling round the bold head of St. Catherine’s
Downs, we entered that sweet realm of Faerie, called the Undercliff,
where a palisade of rock rises on one side of the road, and the
sea-beach lies below, the exposure being such as to receive the breath
and the sunshine of the genial south, with all the vigorous breezes of
the ocean. Here the roses bloom all the year in the open air, and Nature
has made it all that Nature could, by a combination of her charms.
Indeed, the circuit of the coast, from here to Yaverland, seen, at
various hours of the day, in all the shifting effects of the sun and
shadows, affords a panorama of incomparable attractions: here a dense
grove, and there a deep cleft in the rocks, intercepting the sea-view,
and then, again, a fresh apocalypse of beauty, breaking upon the sight,
at some unexpected turn of the way. The murmur of ocean comes to the ear
just as the eye catches the numberless smiles of its surface, and a
glimpse through green foliage will often discover a brilliant
perspective, in which the blue sea, and the gray rocks, and the fading
horizon, are enlivened by a stretching show of snowy canvas, reflecting
the golden light of the sun, sail after sail, the tiniest glittering far
off on the verge of the expanse, like a star in the twilight.

The Tom-thumb Church of St. Lawrence, with walls six feet high, and all
the rest in proportion; the beauties of Ventnor, and Bonchurch, and
Shanklin Chine; in short, the entire scenery of the Undercliff is
enchanting, and bewitches one with a desire to build a tabernacle there,
and to rest from one’s labours. At Brading, I paused, in honour of good
Legh Richmond, and visited the grave of his “Young Cottager.” Ryde is a
pleasant place enough, something like our Staten Island towns in
situation, and in many other particulars. But my drive from Ryde to
Newport, through Wooton and Fern-hill, disclosed many of those inland
scenes of rural beauty, for which the Isle of Wight is unsurpassed.
Hedges, thick and green, on each side of the road, with wild woodbine
twisting all over them, and loading the air with perfumes, were the
appropriate frame-work of rich fields, waving with golden crops,
fragrant with new-mown hay, or filled with pasturing cattle, while here
and there they enclosed a little garden full of flowers, or were broken
by the prettiest cottages in all the world, neatly whitewashed, and
trimly thatched, and planted about with white and red roses, clambering
over the windows, mounting to the eaves, and even straggling among the
straw, to the ridge of the roof. Again I caught a glimpse of the towers
of Osborne; but it seemed to me that the Queen herself might be willing
to exchange them for these charming little snuggeries of her contented

But I came to the Isle, above all, to see Carisbrooke Castle, and
thither I went, after a night at Newport. It was a bright, unclouded
morning, and I went alone. Over a little bridge you pass to the great
doorway, between two massive towers, hung with verdure, and pierced with
cross-shaped arrow-slits. All was as quiet and as beautiful as if no
history brooded over the spot, with strange and melancholy witchery. The
twitter of a bird, the nodding of a wild rose in the morning breeze, the
sparkling of the dew upon the leaves, all seemed to share something of
the mysterious spell. ‘How still, and yet how speaking, thought I, this
scene of mighty personal struggles, of a crisis of ages, of overwhelming
sorrows! Is it not conscious of its own dignity? Poor Charles! after
seeing thy brief wrestling with adversity, it has lapsed into
desolation, and lets the world have its own way, while it alone wears
enduring tokens of sympathy with thee!’

I saw the window where the King made one last effort to be free. Sir
Thomas Herbert’s portraiture rose all before me, and a thousand busy
thoughts, which any one may imagine, but which language fails to arrest,
much more to convey. Ascending to the keep, surveying the undulating
scenery, and loitering here and there among the ruins, the past, the
entrancing past floated around me like an atmosphere; and I felt how
much more powerful than romance, is the charm of historic fact, when
invested with living interest, by associations of religion, by
connections with surviving realities, and by the perpetual attraction
and moral sublimity of an example of greatness and worth, tried in the
furnace of affliction.

Nor did I forget that lily among thorns, the little princess who died in
this doleful prison, of a broken heart, after bewailing her father’s
murder a single year. The sweet child, Elizabeth! what a thought it was
to imagine her moaning her young life away, amid these gloomy walls,
surrounded only by the butchers of her adored parent, mocking her woes!
Among tales of childhood’s sorrows, there have been few like hers.

Everybody has heard of “a pebble in Carisbrooke well.” I tried the usual
experiments, and saw a lamp let down in it, three hundred feet, and then
drank of the water, drawn by donkey-power, with all the sublime emotions
conceivable on such an occasion. There is a story that the well was
originally of Roman construction, and that the Romans had a fortress
here, which it first supplied. At any rate, it is a very good well, and
no doubt administered many a refreshing draught to the royal prisoners,
to whom “a cup of cold water” was well nigh all that the charity of the
place afforded.

Crossing from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth, I had a fine sight, in
the incessant broadsides which were fired by her Majesty’s ship, the
“Vengeance,” anchored at Spithead, apparently for exercise, or sport.
The gallant ship, the blazing port-holes, the rolling clouds of smoke,
and the reverberating thunders, made our transit, from shore to shore,
one of exciting interest. The “Royal George” went down just in that
anchorage, and there she lies now. I paid a visit to the “Victory,” in
the harbour of Portsmouth, after an unsuccessful effort to board the
beautiful yacht, in which the Queen makes her progresses by sea. On the
deck of the “Victory” fell the idolized Nelson: a small brass plate
marks the spot. After looking at this, and trying to reproduce the
scene, I descended to the cock-pit, and surveyed the dark and gloomy
cell in which he breathed his last, reclining against a huge rib of his
ship. Poor soul! If he had but served God as he served his King, there
would have been a glory in that death, beyond that of “victory, or
Westminster Abbey.” After a rapid survey of the dock-yards, I made my
way, by rail, to Chichester.

A fine market-cross distinguishes this city, and is kept in excellent
repair. But the great attraction is, of course, its cathedral, a
mutilated but still noble structure, which I found well worthy of a
visit. It exhibits some praiseworthy restorations, and I was pleased to
find that its nave is frequently used for sermons. It has many tombs and
monuments of note, and many of its architectural peculiarities are
attractive. Relics and antiquities connected with the history of the See
are shown, and it is painful to find, in one apartment, mysterious
evidence of the ill uses to which a church could be put, before the
Reformation. In the Bishop’s Consistory Court, there is a secret door in
the wainscot looking like a mere panel. This moves with a slide, and
covers a massive gate, with a lock, which opens into a strong room, once
used as a prison. It was no doubt the scene of suffering for conscience
sake, in the days of the Lollards.

After having so lately described other cathedrals of much greater
interest, I will only add, concerning this, that I was much pleased to
note among its monuments the modern one, by Flaxman, commemorative of
the poet Collins. Architecturally, indeed, it is out of place: but the
unfortunate bard was a native of the cathedral precinct, and the
Christian artist has seized upon that incident in his unhappy life,
which attests the consolations which highest genius may derive from the
same source that makes childhood wise unto salvation. “I have but one
book,” said he to a visitor, shortly before he died, as he held up the
New Testament, and added—“the best.”

My next stage was Brighton, where I enjoyed a sea-bath, and a brief
survey of that beautiful creation of fashion. But my chief enjoyment
here was received in the delightful hospitalities of a distinguished
family, which I shall always remember with sincere regard, as embracing
some of the most agreeable persons I have ever met. Among the varieties
of English character which have most charmed me, those to which I now
gratefully refer, are often reviving in memory, as affording a true
ideal of domestic happiness, enlivened by sentiment, and hallowed by a
spirit of devotion.

I was forced to make a very rapid survey of the southern coast, passing
by the old abbey at Lewes and the castle at Pevensey; and pausing
scarcely an hour upon the noble beach at Hastings, and amid the ruins of
its castle. With greater regret I was forced to omit visits to Battle
Abbey, to Hever Castle, and to Penshurst, to the last-named of which I
had an especial drawing, for the sake of Hammond and Sir Philip Sydney.
I was engaged to spend St. Peter’s day at Canterbury, and to be the
anniversary preacher, a privilege to which I was willing to sacrifice,
many other pleasures. Passing, therefore, through some pretty Kentish
scenery, and pausing to visit the old monuments at Ashford, I made my
way, before nightfall, to the city of pilgrimages, and was received as a
guest within the Warden’s lodge at St. Augustine’s. An anniversary
dinner was served in the hall, at which several distinguished personages
were present; and afterwards I saw the ceremony of admitting a scholar
to the foundation. I then visited the room over the gateway, which
lodged King Charles I., on his bridal tour; and, after service in the
chapel, retired to my room in this holy and religious home of the
Church’s children.

                              CHAPTER XXX.

        _St. Augustine’s Chapel—St. Martin’s—Addison—Thompson._

In the chapel of St. Augustine we kept St. Peter’s Day, and commemorated
the benefactors of the college. It was a cheering spectacle to behold
around me those missionary youths, devoted to the noblest warfare which
can enlist the energies of man, and destined, as I could not but pray,
to see and to achieve great things in the extension of the kingdom of
Immanuel upon earth. And how inspiring to them the associations with
which they are surrounded! On the very spot which they inhabit, the
Missionary Augustine preached the Gospel to their ancestors, when
Anglo-Saxons were but pagans, and now they go forth from it, as from the
very centre of Christian civilization, to bear the precious seed to the
uttermost isles of the sea, so that what England is, Australia may

In the afternoon, I preached in old St. Martin’s, which probably is the
very oldest Church in England. Its name of St. Martin is probably a
second designation, given to it when it was fitted up for the use of
good Queen Bertha, before the conversion of her husband, Ethelbert. Such
a Church is spoken of by Bede, as having been built before the Romans
left the island; and as Roman bricks, of unquestionable antiquity, are a
large portion of the material of this Church, it is on this and other
accounts generally dated from A. D. 187, and supposed to have been
originally erected by some good Cornelius of the Roman army. Be that as
it may, Queen Bertha’s tomb is in the choir to this day: and the ancient
font is with good reason supposed to be that in which Ethelbert was
baptized. What hoary antiquity, what venerable and august dignity invest
this sacred place! It is of humble dimensions, and both without and
within bears the marks of its primitive character, in its plainness and
simplicity, but it is kept in good repair, and regarded with the
affectionate reverence which is so becoming. The yews and the ivy which
adorn it with their shade, are, apparently, almost as old as the Church:
and the church-yard gently slopes from the church-door to the road-side,
giving a beautiful elevation to the old pile, and presenting a highly
picturesque effect to the passer-by.

But how shall I describe the cathedral, whose huge bulk everywhere lifts
itself into sight above this curious and reverend old town? The
metropolis of the Anglo-Catholic communion is graced by an
Archiepiscopal church, every way worthy of the majestic relations which
it bears to Christendom. There it stands, like the Church of England
itself, worthy to be “the joy of the whole earth,” and not more
magnificent and imposing, than harmoniously chastened throughout with an
air of sovereign splendour subdued by solemn propriety. There is about
it, as compared with other English cathedrals, a sort of aggregated
look, strikingly significant of the massively conglomerate body which
the Anglican Church has already become, and something of which has
characterized her from the beginning. The double cross, in form of which
the cathedral is built, very appropriately, in view of its primacy,
heightens this effect: and the result is, that its prestige is well
sustained, when the pilgrim sees before him the head church of his
religion. A blessing on its ancient towers, and may it more and more
become “dear for its reputation through the world.”

On Sunday and the day following, when I attended service in the
cathedral, I had the best opportunities for surveying it throughout,
under the attentive guidance of Lord Charles Thynne and the estimable
Archdeacon Harrison. I am glad to say that the service here was very
effectively celebrated, though a larger force would have been more
worthy of the place and of the work. The organ is quite concealed in the
triforia, and its sound is somewhat peculiar as it issues from those
high cells, in perfect unison with “the full-voiced choir below.” As to
the effect of the cathedral upon the eye, I remember no interior, save
that of Milan, which can compare with it for impressiveness; and if,
from general effect, we descend to details, this cathedral is vastly the
more solemn and magnificent of the twain. Its altar, for example, is one
of the most lofty in Christendom, the choir rising from the nave by a
long flight of steps, and the altar being elevated, in like manner, very
high above the level of the choir. The several ascents and various
levels of the Church, instead of too much breaking its whole, seem to
add an air of vastness and sublimity to the general design. But when one
surveys, now the nave, and looks upwards into the tower, and along the
far-sweeping vaultings, and now the choir and its intersecting arches
and vistas; or descends to that varied undercroft, with its chapels and
sepulchres, and twisted columns, and French inscriptions; or mounts to
make circuit of the tombs and chapels, pausing within “Becket’s Crown”
to admire its unique and anomalous elegance; and then makes his way
through the cloisters into the chapter-house, and finally escapes into
outer day, and looks up again at the vast pile, through which he has
been wondering and wandering so long—the impression left upon the mind
is one of astonishment, like that of the Queen of Sheba, when “there was
no more spirit in her.” I had seen the spot where Becket fell beneath
the stout blows of his murderers—the marble floor which received his
blood still exhibiting a speaking memorial of the tragedy, in a small
mutilation which was made in sawing out the bloody block, to be carried
to Rome as a relic; I had seen the remains of the same prelate’s shrine,
where his sovereign submitted to flagellation, where princes presented
so many costly oblations, and which once glittered with such gorgeous
wealth before the eye of Erasmus; I had seen the stone-stairs leading up
to his sepulchre, worn away by the thousands of devotees, among which I
reckoned those of certain Canterburie pilgrims, accompanied by Dan
Chaucer himself; I had seen the tomb of the Black Prince, with his
lion-like effigy—over which dangles his surcoat, a thing of tatters,
but which no one can behold without emotion, when he reflects that it
once encased the beating heart and chivalrous breast of that gallant
Plantagenet. I had beheld the recumbent effigies of the usurping
Lancaster, Henry IV., and his Queen, Joan of Navarre; and I had surveyed
the memorial works, or sepulchres, of the primates of all England, from
Lanfranc to Chichely; but after all, I bore away no remembrance more
pleasing than that of the monumental window and tomb of the late
Archbishop Howley, commemorating, as they do, a most worthy prelate, and
marking the great epoch of a revival of theology, and of practical
faith, throughout the Church of England. This tomb is surmounted by the
recumbent effigy of the Bishop, and presents a most graceful specimen of
reviving art. He is habited in his sacred vestments, to which the
addition of the cope gives completeness and effect; and as the
Archbishop wore that vestment at the coronation of Queen Victoria, there
was reality to justify its use. In short, I was glad to see that even in
the cathedral of Canterbury, and without servility in copying the
antique, our own age can erect a monument, and surmount it with a
figure, literally true to its original, which is worthy of the place as
a work of art; and which, if it is more modest than the mediæval
sepulchres which surround it, is still in perfect keeping with all their
splendour; while it tells the simple story of a primacy the most
brilliant in its contemporary achievements of any that has ever blessed
the Church of England, since the days of Augustine. It will be forever
celebrated as distinguished by the rapid extension of Anglican
Catholicity in all quarters of the globe, and by a holy effort for the
restoration of unity to the Church of God.

The city of Canterbury abounds in quaint nooks and corners—old gates,
and fragments of wall;—and, in particular, is marked by an ancient
mound, or artificial hill, called the _Dane John_, which is much
reverenced as a work of the aboriginal Britons. Some will have it that
it was raised against the Danes, as its name appears to import; but it
strikes me as something of religious origin, and not unlike those
mysterious _tumuli_ which abound in our own Western country. If truly
British, indeed, who knows but some primeval _Madoc_ built both it and

It was my fortune to hear in the cathedral, as an anthem, that _chef
d’œuvre_ of Sternhold and Hopkins, which must have been written in some
fit of poetical inspiration, vouchsafed to them for those two verses

        “The Lord descended from above
         And bowed the heavens high,” &c.

The extract has been set to noble music, but who was the composer I
cannot say. After a visit to the Deanery, and a gratifying survey of its
long gallery of ecclesiastical portraits, I was shown into the
surrounding gardens, and conducted to almost every part of the cathedral
precincts, and finally dismissed by an ancient gate, which, owing to
some tradition, retains the romantic name of Queen Bertha’s postern. But
let me not conclude my remembrances of Canterbury without a warm tribute
to the delightful society to which I was introduced at St. Augustine’s,
and among the dignitaries of the cathedral. The esteemed Warden, who
received me as his guest, and who so kindly entertained me, deserves my
most grateful acknowledgments.

On the morning of my departure, rising very early, and accompanied by a
friend, to whom I had become warmly attached since my arrival in
England, I drove out, through pleasant Kentish scenery, to the parsonage
of Borne, which is from Canterbury three miles distant, according to
Izaak Walton; following the example of the many, who once did so, to see
the face of the venerable and judicious Richard Hooker, though I could
only hope to see his tomb, and the church in which he ministered. I
shall never forget that morning drive, nor the reverence with which, at
length, I beheld Hooker’s own church, and the parsonage in which he so
loved to see God’s blessings spring out of the earth about his door. I
entered the holy place, and there was his bust, coloured by the old
artist to represent life: and looking at it, through my hands, so as to
shut out the surrounding parts of the monument, I was verily able to
conceive that I beheld good Master Hooker in his pulpit, about to speak.
It imprinted a live idea of the man upon my memory, which I would not
lose for many costlier things. The place called up many of those graphic
anecdotes which his quaint biographer has chronicled concerning him; but
I was especially reminded of that scene between the Puritan intruders
and the old parish clerk, who, when they sat down on joint stools to
partake their communion, said, as he resigned the keys with a heavy
heart, “Take the keys and lock me out, for all men will say Master
Hooker was a good man and a good scholar, and I am sure it was not used
to be thus in his days.” I could not but remember, moreover, that within
those walls Hooker had passed many a lonely Ember-day, locked up for
fasting and prayer; and ‘who knows’ said I to myself, ‘but we are even
now realizing the blessed answers to those intercessions for the Church,
in all parts of the world?’

On my way up to London, I paid a visit at S—— Park, the residence of a
young country squire, who had lately taken his degrees at Cambridge,
married, and settled here on his hereditary estate. The life of an
English gentleman, of this degree, has always struck me, as nearly the
most perfect realization of sublunary bliss, which the world affords.
Nor did the glimpse which I thus gained of such a life, in the least
disappoint me. The young mistress of the mansion, in the momentary
absence of her husband, kindly made herself my guide, over a portion of
the estate, in search of him. No ceremony—and no attempt to appear
fine. In a moment she was ready, and as she led me hither and thither,
she was not above taking me to her poultry-yard, and her dairy, and
showing me her amateur farming. We entered a fine field of standing
corn—the golden wheat of Kent—and as we passed through the narrow
foot-path, my fair guide informed me ’twas their way to parish church,
and just then I descried the church itself, at a little distance, in its
modest beauty, at the foot of a hill. A lark flew up, and she pointed at
the little fellow, as he mounted the skies, and poured out his song,
reminding me of a remark I had made to her, that we have no sky-larks in
America. She entered a pretty farm-house, where a decent-looking family
were just taking their tea: they treated her as they would have done a
descended angel, while she, in the prettiest tones, inquired whether
they “had seen their Master thereabout,” and so, thanking them,
departed. We soon encountered the young “Master,” who gave me a kind
welcome, and showed me the further attractions of the estate. Then home,
and soon to dinner, and after that, a pleasant summer evening sauntering
about the doors and under the old trees of the park, where the rooks
kept up a great cawing in consequence of our intrusion. In many
respects, the place did not differ much from many American residences
that I have visited; but in others it did, and chiefly in the entire
ease and nature with which everybody, from the squire to his humblest
menial, nay, even the house-dog, fitted his place, and seemed to enjoy
it. We have no servants in America, though we have slaves. All
white-complexioned people scorn to obey. Hence the misery and the
stiffness of housekeeping, and the deplorable multiplication of those
vulgar establishments called “fashionable hotels.” Let me add,
concerning this happy abode of unostentatious English comfort and
refinement, that what especially pleased me was the devout appearance of
the household servants at family prayers. They all joined in the
devotions, and each had a Prayer-book in hand, which appeared to be a
cherished companion of their daily routine. Happy the household where
all the inmates, from the least to the greatest, have one Lord, one
faith, and one baptism.

The ancient castle and the cathedral of Rochester were taken in my way
up to London; but, interesting as they are in themselves, I might fail
to make them attractive, in a description so vague as I should be
obliged to give them, and so, with a passing tribute to their merits, as
religious and feudal monuments of the past, I must again return to

In frequent visits to Westminster Abbey, I had become familiar with
every portion of it, including cloisters, chapter-house, and library. In
the library, by the politeness of one of the dignitaries, I was favoured
with a minute inspection of some of its most precious historical
deposites. Such were the dies from which were struck the coins of Henry
Fourth, and many succeeding sovereigns, rude works of art, depending
upon blows of the hammer to produce their impression. In the
chapter-house is the original Domesday-book, and many other historical
documents. I was shown the instrument by which Edward I. was authorized,
by twenty-three competitors, to settle the Crown of Scotland upon one of
their number. The seal of Bruce’s father is very distinctly visible.
Here are Henry VII.’s very minute instructions to his commissioners to
examine the personal claims to his choice, of a young princess, whom he
proposed to marry, with their not over-gallant reports. A superbly
decorated instrument, dated at Amiens, August 18, 1527, and signed by
Henry VIII., and Francis, was also a great curiosity. It has a golden
seal, with the legend—_Plurima servantur fœdere, cuncta fide_. Among
other parchments, one signed by Mary, as Queen of France, with her
husband Francis II., was interesting. I saw also the stamp, used by
Henry VIII., to affix his signature to parchments, in his dying days; a
prayer-book of Queen Elizabeth’s; and a fine old Missal of 1380, from
which some zealous reformer had erased the service for Becket’s-day, and
several prayers for the Pope.

But all these were inferior in interest to the tombs and chapels of the
Abbey. Many of the monuments are in wretched taste, and a general
banishment to the cloisters, of those which are not in keeping with the
architecture of the church, would be a great improvement. The residue
should then be repaired and decorated. But even as they are, they
present a most interesting epitome of history, and a most affecting
commentary on the vanity of worldly grandeur and greatness. With Henry
VII.’s chapel, and its royal sepulchres, I was greatly impressed, and
the near neighbourhood of the tombs of Mary and Elizabeth, struck me as
forcibly as if I had never heard of the strange proximity, in which
they, who once could scarcely live in the same world, here mingle their
dust with the same span of earth, and side by side, await the judgment.
Oh, what pomp of sepulture attests the universal reign of death in this
ancient temple! Here, in the chapel of Edward the Confessor, stands the
throne, which has been the glory and the shame of so many who lie
sleeping around it. The rough old stone, inserted in its base, is the
Scottish palladium; and the old monkish fable makes it one of the stones
of Jacob’s pillow, at Bethel. The monuments of Edward III., and Queen
Philippa, and that of Henry V., commanded my especial attention. Above
the latter, are preserved the saddle, shield, and helmet, which he used
at Agincourt. The body of Edward I. rests beneath a plain altar-tomb. In
the centre of the chapel is the shrine of St. Edward: and it is as near
as possible to these relics of their predecessors, that English
sovereigns are still anointed and crowned in the adjoining choir. At
such times, if these silent tombs are startled by the shouts of the
multitude that cry—_Long live the King_, how much more forcibly they
must speak to him, in their mute expressiveness, reminding him of his
nothingness, and calling him to prepare for a long home in the dust!

To the reflections of Addison and of Irving, in this consecrated pile, I
shall not attempt to add my own. The sweet interpreter of the moral of
this wonderful place, sleeps appropriately under its tutelage, and few
are the graves within it, which more affect a kindred heart. To see the
grave of Addison, which was lately marked by a small white stone, in the
pavement of one of the chapels, suggests a kind of postscript to his own
musings; and, as I stood, thoughtfully, over it, I seemed to hear his
voice, out of the sepulchre, confirming his living words. I thought,
moreover, how much has been done, since his day, to add to the interest
of the holy place—even in addition to his own grave! How many tombs I
saw, which he did not—his own among them! Addison knew nothing of
Johnson’s sepulchre; stood not by the rival relics of Pitt and Fox;
thrilled not as he approached the resting-place of a Wolfe, or a
Wilberforce; and little dreamed how much more than the shrine of Kings,
his own last bed would impress a stranger from America, in the
nineteenth century. How transcendant the enchantment with which genius
invests its possessor, where it is paired with virtue! With what
refreshment I often turned from the royal tombs to the Poets’ Corner;
and there, with what reverence did I turn most frequently to the
monuments of those whose high artistic inspiration was characterized by
the pure spirit of love to God. It was pleasing to behold the memorials
of Chaucer, and of “rare Ben Jonson;” but with a fonder veneration I
paused more frequently before that of the stainless Spenser. I thought
of his words concerning “the laurel”—and how fittingly they apply to
this Abbey, as the—

              “——Meed of mighty conquerors
        And poets sage.”

With a different sort of pleasure I surveyed the wonders of the British
Museum. There, a scholar can find all he needs in the way of literary
food, freely bestowed. I do not admire the new buildings; but the
Institution is worthy of a great nation, and reflects eternal honour on
George the Third. Will the Smithsonian, at Washington, ever rival it?
Its newest and its oldest treasures, were the great stones from Nineveh,
so cleverly described by the _Quarterly_. With what emotions I surveyed
those illegible hieroglyphics; and scraped acquaintance with those
“placid grinning kings, twanging their jolly bows over their rident
horses, wounding those good-humoured enemies, who tumble gaily off the
towers, or drown, smiling in the dimpling waters, amidst the ἀνήριθμον
γέλασμα of fish.”

The English, though a proud people, are really very moderate in their
appreciation of the manifold charms of their incomparable isle. When I
surveyed the river-view from Richmond-hill, I recalled the glorious
waters of my own dear country, and many a darling scene which is
imperishably stamped in my mind’s eye, and asked myself whether, indeed,
this was more delightful to the sight than those. I was slow to admit
anything inferior in the scenery of the Hudson and Susquehanna, when I
compared them with so diminutive a stream as the Thames, and I even
reproved myself for bringing them into parallel; but over and over again
was I forced to allow, that “earth has not anything to show more fair,”
than the rich luxuriance of the panorama which I then surveyed. A river
whose banks are old historic fields, and whose placid surface reflects,
from league to league of its progress, the towers of palaces and of
churches which, for centuries, have been hallowed by ennobling and holy
associations; which flows by the favourite haunts of genius, or winds
among the antique halls of consecrated learning; and which, after
sweeping beneath the gigantic arches, domes and temples of a vast
metropolis, gives itself to the burthen of fleets and navies, and bears
them magnificently forth to the ocean; such an object must necessarily
be one of the highest interest to any one capable of appreciating the
mentally beautiful and sublime; but when natural glories invest the same
objects with a thousand independent attractions, who need be ashamed of
owning an overpowering enthusiasm in the actual survey, and something
scarcely less thrilling in the recollection! When I afterward looked
towards Rome, and descried the dome of St. Peter’s from Tivoli, I felt,
as Gray has somewhere observed, that nothing but the intellect is
delighted there, while on Richmond-hill, the soul and the sense alike
are ravished with the view, and fail to conceive anything more
satisfying of its kind. If ever, which God forbid, the barbarian should
overrun this scene, and make ruins of its surrounding villas and
churches, the contemplative visitor of a future generation will still
linger on those heights with far more of complicated and harmonious
satisfaction than can possibly refresh the eye that wanders over the
dreary Campagna. Yet how few of the great and fashionable in England
have ever allowed themselves to appreciate the glories of their own
scenery after this sort!

But whether on those lofty banks, or down by the river-side, or wherever
I wandered amid their green retreats, I owned to myself one sad
disappointment. I repeated over and over again those verses, learned in
school-days, in which Collins bewails the poet of the Seasons:—

        “Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore,
          When Thames in summer wreaths is dressed,
        And oft suspend the dashing oar,
          To bid his gentle spirit rest.”

Where was “yonder grave,” and where “yon whitening spire?” It was with
some chagrin that I followed my directions into the dullest haunts of
the town, and into a modernized church, in an unromantic street, and
there soliloquized, over a miserable brass plate, amid a pile of
pew-lumber—“In such a grave your Druid lies!” It is amusing, on a few
square inches of worthless metal, as entirely devoid of artificial value
as it is of intrinsic worth, to observe the vanity with which a man of
rank has contrived to write his own name in as large letters as those of
the poet’s. “The Earl of Buchan, unwilling that so good a man, and so
sweet a poet, should be without a memorial, has denoted the place of his
interment, &c.”—so reads the inscription. The Earl has at least the
merit of having exactly expressed the character of his tribute, for it
_denotes_ the place, and that’s all. One would think a Scottish nobleman
might have spared a few guineas in doing something better for the grave
of his countryman.

A glimpse of Twickenham, and of the spire of the church where Pope is
entombed, were all that I allowed myself, in honour of a bard whose
faultless verse is no excuse for the frequent indecency and paganism of
its sentiment. It is a curious and revolting fact that his skull has
been purloined, and now belongs to a phrenologist. I caught a railway
view of Dachet-lane, famous for Falstaff’s experiences in the
buck-basket, and so once more to Windsor! I stopped, over a train, to
enjoy one more walk on the castle terrace, and one more look at Eton
college, and then hastened on to Oxford, to attend the Commemoration. I
accepted the hospitalities of my friends of Magdalen, who lodged me in
the rooms formerly occupied by the Bishop of Exeter.

During my visit I did not fail to see the celebrated Dr. Pusey, who
struck me as a younger man than he is generally supposed to be. His
appearance indicates nothing eccentric or ascetic, and his manners are
those of a gentleman at home in the society of his fellow-men. He has
friends and foes at Oxford, as well as elsewhere, but all seem to regard
him with respect as a man of piety and learning. To me he was less a
lion, however, because I have always regarded the application of his
name to the great movement of 1833, as a mere instance of popular
caprice. His share in it has been less than that of many others; neither
the credit of its good, nor the disgrace of its evil, belongs to him in
any superlative degree. Its progress has left him, with others, far in
the rear of its existing interests; and what has been stigmatized as
_Puseyism_ is perhaps, when fairly distinguished from the extravagances
of a few fanatics and sophists, the English phase of a world-wide return
to principles that were the life of Christianity, long before Popery was
in existence, and ages before it had bred Protestantism by its violent

                             CHAPTER XXXI.

                        _Oxford and Cambridge._

I had seen Oxford in vacation, and again during term; I had now the
privilege of attending its Encænia. The occasion brings many
distinguished persons to the University, and the pleasures of dining and
breakfasting in the college-halls, and with private parties, are greatly
enhanced by such additions to the company of eminent residents. The
ceremonies in the Academic theatre sadly disappointed me. Imagine an
open area, filled with gownsmen and their friends, and surrounded by
tiers of boxes filled with ladies, above which, near the ceiling, is
elevated a third tier, full of undergraduates. The Dons and doctors, in
their robes, sit on either side of the Vice-Chancellor, at one extremity
of the theatre, in a place something between a row of boxes and an
orchestra. In the presence of ladies and of such grave and reverend
seniors, one naturally expects decorum from all parties; but though I
had often read of the frolics in which the undergraduates are permitted
to indulge on these occasions, I confess I was not fully prepared for
the excessive and prolonged turbulence of the scene. While awaiting the
opening of the ceremonial, it was well enough to laugh at the cheers of
the youth as they called out successively the names of favourite public
personages, or at their sibilations, when the names of “Lord John
Russell” and “Cardinal Wiseman” were proposed for merited derision. But
when, again and again, as the venerable Vice-Chancellor rose to make a
beginning, his voice was vociferously outnoised by that of the boys
overhead, I began to think the joke was carried a little too far. There
had been some omission of customary music, and to supply the deficiency,
uprose those legions of youth, and shouted—_God save the Queen_, in
full chorus, stanza after stanza, till the Dons looked eminently
disloyal in their impatience. The Creweian Oration was delivered by the
Public Orator, and I was particularly desirous of marking his
pronunciation of Latin words, as well as the general merit of a
performance in which once, upon a like occasion, Bishop Lowth so
handsomely acquitted himself. But, I think, I speak within bounds when I
say that scarcely an entire sentence could be heard, from beginning to
end. All manner of outcries assailed the speaker, from his rising till
he surceased. At one time, an extremely impudent personality excited a
general smile. The orator waxed warm as he spoke, and growing quite
rubicund of visage, some flagitious freshman cried out—“Pray stop; it
makes me hot to look at you.” Several distinguished individuals, bishops
and generals, and scientific men, were presented to receive the
_Doctorate in Civil Law_, and now I supposed the hospitality of the
University would suffice to shield the eminent personages from the
annoyance of such untimely fun. But there was no cessation, and when Sir
W. Page Wood was presented, there was a merry cry of “_inutile lignum_,”
at which no one laughed more heartily than the party himself. Verily,
thought I, if this were unheard of in England, and were only set down in
the book of some peregrine Dickens, as what he saw in America, at a
Harvard Commencement, how inevitably would it figure in reviews and
newspapers as a telling fact against the disorganizing tendencies of
democratic education! In Oxford, it is regarded as a mere outbreak of
youthful merriment, and such is indeed the case: and yet, unless
_Encænia_ and _Saturnalia_ are synonymous terms, one must be allowed to
think the custom best honoured in the breach. I must add, that during
the delivery of a poem, by an undergraduate, his comrades showed more
respect, and the tumult subsided for a time, like that of Ephesus, on
the remonstrance of the town-clerk. The young poet pronounced his
numbers in the same tribune where once stood Reginald Heber, enchanting
all hearers with his “Palestine.”

A lunch in the superb new hall of Pembroke, of which many ladies partook
with the other guests, giving the hall an unusually gay appearance; a
dinner at Oriel, and afterwards sport with bowls, and other games, in
the garden of Exeter; and, finally, a very agreeable evening party at
Magdalen; these were the other occupations of the day, in which I
greatly enjoyed the society with which I mingled. I was particularly
pleased to observe the enthusiasm of the female visitors of Oxford, many
of whom had come up for the first time, and were less acquainted with
the place than myself. It was a novel pleasure, on my part, to turn
_cicerone_, and to explain to a group of English ladies, the wonders of
the University.

Next morning, after breakfast at Merton, and a lunch at Jesus College,
with some kind friends who were preparing to leave Oxford for the Long
Vacation, I went, in the company of some of them, to Bedford, and there
took coach for Cambridge. I thought of John Bunyan, who once inhabited
the county-jail, in this place, and there composed his wonderful
allegory; and as I began to travel along the banks of the Ouse, I
thought of William Cowper, who was one of the first to do justice to his
piety and genius. If the Church of England, sharing in the fault of the
times, (and visiting others with far milder penalties than both Papists
and Puritans laid upon her) was in any sort a party to his ill-usage, it
must be owned that she has done him full justice, in the end. He owed
his enlargement to the Bishop of Lincoln’s interposition, and Cowper and
Southey have affixed the stamp, and given currency to the gold of his
genius. I am ashamed that he was not taken into the Bishop of Lincoln’s
house, and made a deacon, and so cured of the mistaken enthusiasm which
was evidently the misfortune of the tinker, and not the natural bent of
the man.

Our journey lay over a dull and level country, and there was little to
enliven it, except the conversation of a young Oxonian going to see the
rival University. A cantab, returning from Oxford, maintained a
good-natured debate with him, in favour of his own _alma-mater_. We went
through St. Neot’s, where I remembered Cowper again; descried at the
distance of some twenty miles the majestic bulk of Ely Cathedral, and
finally greeted the fair vision of King’s College, conspicuous among the
other academic homes of Granta. It was the fourth of July—and thoughts
of the very different scenes through which my friends were passing in
America, were continually in my mind. Here it was not thought of, though
a day which has left its mark upon Great Britain, and the world. Was it
the day of a rebellion? By no means; unless the day that seated William
of Orange on the throne of England was such. Our fathers ceased to be
Englishmen, because a corrupt and incompetent Ministry were resolved
that they should no longer be freemen. I thank God we are no longer at
the mercy of such men as Lord John Russell, and Sir William Molesworth.
So I mused, even as I stood, for the first time, in venerable Cambridge,
where some of my forefathers were educated, and where I felt it a sort
of wrong to be disinherited of a filial right to feel at home.

I was not disappointed, disagreeably, in Cambridge, but the reverse; and
it grew upon me every hour that I was there. One of my first visits was
to the truly poetical courts of Caius, where the singular quaintness of
its three gates charmed alike my sight and fancy. “Before honour is
humility”—and here the proverb is translated into architecture. You
must pass through the gate of humility, and the gate of virtue, before
emerging through the gate of honour. Strange that the beneficent founder
of this college, like Dr. Faust, in Germany, should have left his name
to legend-makers and fabulists, and so to comedy, and the “Merry Wives
of Windsor.”

The noble twin of Oxford is certainly inferior in the appearance which
she first presents to a stranger, and yet, from the first, the chapel of
King’s is a superb sight, which even Oxford might almost grudge to her
sister. I greatly regretted reaching Cambridge during a vacation, when
comparatively few of the gownsmen were on the spot. Still, having become
so familiar with academic manners, in Oxford, it seemed hardly necessary
to do more than survey the still-life of Cambridge, in order to
understand it as well. The diversities between the Universities are
indeed many, and all my prepossessions are in favour of Oxford; and yet,
after a brief external survey of her rival, and much conversation with
some of her loyal sons, I can easily understand their attachment to her,
and the pride they take in her reputation, as well as their firm
conviction of her superiority. To an American, indeed, the late election
of so unfit a person as Prince Albert to be their Chancellor, is a
surprising thing; and it is no very bright omen, for the University,
that the prince already aims to shape it, as near as possible, after the
similitude of Bonn, his own garlicky, blouse-wearing, and pipe-smoking
_Alma Mater_, in Teutschland. But, on the other hand, the spirited
resistance which was made to that measure, in bold opposition even to
the known wishes of a beloved Queen, is instanced, by many
Cantabrigians, as a proof of devotion to great principles, of which they
have reason to be proud. They have a thousand better reasons for being
proud of their University, and would that their Chancellor, who is
otherwise so well qualified, had the power to appreciate and feel them
half as warmly as many an American does, from the depth of his soul!

Cambridge struck me as an older and less modernized place than Oxford.
Its streets are a labyrinth, and many of them present the appearance of
Continental, rather than of Insular Europe. One of the first things that
struck me was the conduit erected by the same “old Hobson” whom Milton
celebrates, and from whom comes the adage of “Hobson’s choice.” He was a
carrier, and kept horses to let, but made the Cantabs take the horse
that stood next the stable-door whenever they came to hire. He certainly
was a remarkable man, for what other carrier was ever consigned to
immortality by a monument in Cambridge, by a practical proverb, and by a
memorial in the verse of such a poet as Milton?

As the means of information respecting Cambridge are in everybody’s
hands, and as the picturesque of its colleges and grounds is familiar
from engravings, I shall spare my reader the trouble of details which
might seem a repetition of those of Oxford. In St. John’s college, which
its own men are accused of considering the University, I found the
chapel, though small and plain, a most attractive place. Its “non-juror
windows,” and other memorials, revive many historical names. I know not
why the Johnians have received the Pindaric epithet of Swine, but so it
is; and the peculiarly pretty bridge, spanning the Cam, which unites its
quadrangles and halls, has accordingly won the sportive name of the
“Isthmus of _Sues_.” In the very pleasant grounds adjacent, I plucked a
leaf from the silver-beech, said to have been planted by Henry Martyn,
and breathed a blessing on his memory. A fellow of Trinity kindly
devoted himself to showing me the attractions of his college, and they
are very great. The library is a Valhalla of literary heroes, the sons
of Trinity, whose busts adorn the alcoves: and the statue of Byron, by
Thorwaldsen, is a superb addition to its treasures of art, which, on the
whole, will do no harm here, excluded as it was from Westminster Abbey,
by a virtuous abhorrence of the bold blasphemer whom it represents, and
thus stamped as deep with infamy as it is otherwise clothed with
attractiveness. Among the relics of the collection, there were two which
any man must behold with reverence: a lock of Sir Isaac Newton’s hair,
and the original manuscripts of Paradise Lost, and of Lycidas! Then to
the chapel—that chapel which ever since I read “the Records of a Good
Man’s Life,” in school-boy days, I had longed to see, and where I had
often wished it had been my lot to pray, in college life. In the
ante-chapel, there was that statue of Newton, so beautifully described
by the author, as arresting the melancholy attentions of a consumptive
youth, as he passed it, for the last time, in his surplice, and
confessed that this had been too much his idol, in that house of God,
filling his enthusiasm with the worship of genius, when he should have
thought only of his Maker. I shall never forget the thrills of excited
imagination with which I received some of my first impressions of
Cambridge, in reading that story of Singleton: and now they all revived
as I stood upon the spot.

Among the attractions of the small colleges, I must not omit to mention
the chapel of Jesus College, which has lately undergone a thorough
restoration, and presents one of the most beautiful specimens of revived
mediævalism in art which I have ever seen. It is the work of an
accomplished gentleman of the college, assisted to some extent by the
voluntary contributions of undergraduates. Nothing of the kind which I
saw in Oxford can compare with this exquisite Oratory. I went to
Christ’s college and saw Milton’s mulberry—a pleasant memorial of his
best days; the days when he was the “lady of his college” for youthful
comeliness, and the man of his college for the genius that produced
Lycidas, and for the unsoured feelings that could yet appreciate “the
high embowed roofs,” and the “studious cloisters” by which he was there
surrounded. Happy would it have been for him, had he kept that youthful
heart! The mulberry is propped up like an old man on his staff, and
shielded from the weather by a leaden surtout, but must soon cease to be
the last living thing that connects with the name of Milton.

What a place is Cambridge, when its minor colleges suggest such names!
As I passed what was formerly Bennet college, I thought of Cowper’s
lines on his brother. There, too, was Pembroke, suggesting thoughts of
Bramhall and of Andrewes—of Andrewes whom even Milton could praise,
albeit he was a prelate. There was Peterhouse, reminding me of good old
Cosin. More than all—there was little Caius (pronounced _Keys_) where
Jeremy Taylor, the poor sizar and the barber’s son, passed so often to
and fro, beneath its quaint old gates, bearing a soul within him, which
in after years he poured forth, like another Chrysostom, and made a
treasure for all time. I am sorry to say there is another college there,
which suggests the odious name of Cromwell, the man who kindled the
fiery coals in which the golden heart of Taylor, and the hearts of
thousands more, were well refined, and seven times purified.

The Fitzwilliam Museum is a noble collection of antique sculpture and
architectural relics, with a library and paintings, and has been housed
superbly in a building, which is a great ornament to Cambridge, although
built, in modern taste, and in Grecian style, suiting the things it
contains better than the place which contains it. I received far more
pleasure, however, from a visit to the celebrated round church, which
has been lately restored, and whose name, St. Sepulchre, refers it to
the era of the Crusades. But how shall I speak of King’s College Chapel?
I was not so fortunate as to see it filled with its white-robed
scholars, but its own self was sight enough. “Such awful
perspective”—indeed! Such tints from such windows—such carvings—such
a roof! It springs and spreads above you, light as the spider’s web, and
yet it is all massive stone, and its construction is an architectural
miracle. I climbed to the roof, and walked upon that same vaulting, as
upon a solid stone-pavement. It is put together in mathematical figures,
and on principles purely scientific; but modern architects are puzzled
to explain them. Above this, there is another roof, which is exposed to
the weather, and from which one enjoys a fine view of the town and the
surrounding country. The walks and avenues of limes, which stretch
before King’s, and which connect with the grounds of Trinity and St.
John’s, are inferior to nothing in Oxford, and are generally pronounced
by Cambridge men superior to Christ church meadows and the walks of
Magdalen. I strolled among some magnificent limes in the grounds of
Trinity, which might well apologise for a student’s opinion, that no
other college in the world has such grounds and trees. As for the river
Cam, its beautiful bridges, I am sorry to say, are reflected in a very
sluggish and dirty tide, called “silvery” only by poetical license.

Dining in the hall of Trinity, I was overwhelmed by the sublime
associations of such a place, as illustrated by the portraits around me.
Everywhere were the pictures of great historic sons of this college;
here was Pearson, and there was Barrow; and before us, as we sat at
meat, were Bacon and Sir Isaac Newton. What children has this Mother
borne; not for herself, but for all mankind! And thus much I will say
for Cambridge, as compared with Oxford, that whereas amid the
architectural glories of the latter, one almost forgets the glory of her
sons, you are reminded, at every turn in Cambridge, that her chief
jewels are the great men she has brought forth. One cannot give her all
the credit, indeed: she has been singularly fortunate; but when hers are
Bacon, and Newton, and Milton, and Taylor, and stars, in constellations,
of scarcely minor magnitude, what university in Christendom can call
itself superior? If Granta has her peer, there is nothing that is more
than that on earth.

                             CHAPTER XXXII.

                      _Cathedral Tour—The Border._

A cathedral tour now lay between me and Scotland, to which I began to
make my way rapidly. All that I had yet seen of architecture, promised
to be the mere preface to what was still before me, in the splendours of
Ely, of Peterborough, of Lincoln, of York, and of Durham. To my reader
it will be impossible to convey the idea of variety and ever-novel
delight with which these successive miracles of the builder’s art
impressed me, as I passed from one to the other, from day to day; but I
will touch on the more special characteristics of each, in full
confidence that what is most striking in old historic monuments, like
these, can never tire the head that is furnished alike with eyes and

The train took me swiftly to Ely, over a fenny district, which supplied
nothing of interest, except the distant view of the towers, which loomed
up, more and more, as we drew nigh the little city. How different this
railway approach from that celebrated by Wordsworth:—

        “A pleasant music floats along the mere,
         From monks in Ely chanting service high,
         Whileas Canute the king is rowing by!”

I found this magnificent work partly in ruins—partly undergoing a
beautiful restoration; and as the pavement of the choir was torn up, I
beheld a stone-coffin, in which, perhaps, lie the bones of one of those
very monks, who were singing in the days of King Canute. At my request,
one of the workmen raised the lid of the coffin, and there lay the skull
and bones of an old ecclesiastic, the former quite entire; or, perhaps,
it was St. Ethelfreda herself, who began her building here in the
seventh century. If so, they are repairing her works, in the nineteenth,
in a spirit of nobler art, than she ever imagined. The restorations are
truly superb, and a future visitor will find the choir of Ely one of the
most impressive temples in Christendom. What an age of restorations this
is, in the Church of England! ’Tis a nobler reformation than that of
three hundred years ago—for that was, necessarily, one of haste and of
overthrow. Now a calm constructiveness is at work, holding fast all that
was gained before; but giving it the finish, which was impossible then.
And these material restorations are but the symbol of a great spiritual
awakening, concerning which, there is one painful thought which no
student of English History should ever forget. It is this, that but for
the Puritans, all this would have been done in the seventeenth century!
Greater and better men were then on the stage than any that are now
living, and all that the age of Victoria is doing for Christ, it was in
the heart of King Charles to do. It is impossible to say what might not
have been the blessed results for the Universe had the Church of England
been in a condition to tempt the Church of France to an alliance in
1682. All we can say on the other hand, is that, let Macaulay declaim as
he may, progressive freedom would have been established in England
without the paradoxical intervention of a Cromwell, while there is
nothing left us, as the direct results of Puritanism, except a few
Socinian congregations, and the “Dissenters’ Chapels’ Bill.”

The massiveness of some portions of this cathedral, and the lightness
and grace of others, are very impressive. Its length is very great, and
the vista “long drawn out.” Amid its ancient monuments I spent a solemn
hour of musing, while the light of the descending sun, through the
clere-story and lantern, showered a soft and melancholy radiance over
the whole interior, admirably harmonizing with the reflections it
necessarily inspired.

I found Peterborough another sleepy little city, and the cathedral
beautifully situated, with the Bishop’s palace hard by. It is a severe,
but grand exterior, and presides over the surrounding trees, and roofs,
like a sort of divinity. It is quite free of encroachment from other
buildings; but its close, or precinct, is guarded by a circuit of
prebendal, and other ecclesiastical houses, with turreted and arched
gateways, which seem to command a reverent approach to the sacred spot.
I omit a technical description of the architecture, but must be allowed
to give some account of the Sunday I spent there, and of one or two
little things that deeply affected me.

While the bells were thundering for Morning Service, I stood in the
nave, wholly lost in contemplation of its plain, but massive majesty. A
train of children entered, with their teachers, evidently a
Sunday-school. I watched the little procession as it wound its way amid
the columns, and turned to the left of the choir. Following them, I saw
them enter the choir, by a small side-door, and as they stepped into it,
every little foot fell on a slab of stone, in the centre of which was a
little brass plate, not so large as one’s hand. When all had gone in,
and were kneeling in their meek array, I drew near, and stooped down to
see over whose dust they had been treading. I read a few words, but they
thrilled me like electricity—“Queen Katherine, 1536!” Here, then, lies
that proud daughter of Arragon, whose mournful history has left its mark
upon nations, and upon Christendom! The scene in Shakspeare rose before
me—Pope—Cardinals—Princes—Henry VIII. This stone covers all, and
peasants’ babes trip over it as lightly as if the life that lies
extinguished there, had been as simple as their own!

In the corresponding spot, on the other side, lies just such another
slab, over another sepulchre. The body has been removed to Westminster
Abbey; but its first repose was here. The brass has been torn out; but
it once read, “Queen Mary, 1587”—for here the poor Queen of Scots was
laid, headless, and festering in her cerements, six months after that
fatal day, in the neighbouring Fotheringay Castle. The date of her
interment offers the best apology for the severity she had suffered,
although nothing can excuse the sin of Elizabeth. It was the year before
the Spanish Armada; and it is now known that she had, _two years
previously_, given her kingdom to Philip II., inviting that bloody bigot
to set up his Inquisition among her Scottish subjects, and excluding her
own son from his right. Such was her crime against her own people,
aimed, however, more especially at England, by her fanatical zeal.
Between these solemn tombs of a Queen of France, and a daughter of
Spain, I worshipped that day, and received the Holy Communion, to my
comfort. The anthem was a familiar strain, from Mozart, which we sing in
America to the Christmas hymn, set to words from the Psalter—_Quam
magnificata opera tua!_ The Bishop of Peterborough was the preacher, and
I heard him again at Evening Service. As you leave the nave through the
western entrance, you see an odd portrait set against the wall, that of
a grave-digger, spade in hand. Underneath, you read—“R. Scarlett, died
1594, aged 98.” He buried the two Queens, and the inhabitants of the
town _twice over_, as you learn from uncouth rhymes subjoined. Was ever
such a “king of spades?”

Next morning I saw “Lincoln, on its sovereign hill,” and heard the Great
Tom—“swinging slow with sullen roar.” The restorations going on in the
choir had driven the service into a little chapel, near the west end;
but the singing was very sweet, and solemn, though entirely without
ceremony. I devoted the morning to the survey of this model of art,
which I like the better, because it is, in part, a monument of the
Anglican Liberties, as they were maintained in the middle ages, against
the Roman Pontiff. The central tower is the work of brave old Bishop
Grostéte, in the thirteenth century. He was the predecessor of Wycliffe
and Cranmer, in defying the Pope, and in spite of papal anathemas, he
died in peaceful possession of his See. All honour to his pious memory.

It is the custom to admire the west front of this cathedral
extravagantly; but I confess that with all that there is to admire in
its separate parts, the whole seems, to me, ill-composed. The towers,
more particularly, strike me as possessing no unity with the mass of
architecture, behind which they rise, as from a screen, whose broad
rectangular frontage detracts from the apparent height. It is only as
seen from the foot of the hill, that the whole architectural bulk
affects the eye sublimely, towering majestically over the town, which
crouches at its base. The whole pile affords to the architectural
student every luxury of his art, both within and without; but such were
the desecrations which it suffered from the Cromwellians, that few of
those gorgeous shrines, for which it was formerly distinguished, remain,
to delight the ordinary visiter. In the cloisters have lately been
discovered some Roman remains: a mosaic pavement, in particular, such as
the traveller is so often shown in Italy. “The Jew’s house,” so called,
a relic of mediæval art, was more interesting to me, as connected with
the legend of the little martyr who lies in the cathedral, and who is
celebrated by Chaucer, in the tale of the Prioress.

The City of York makes an imposing show, crowned by the glories of its
vast minster, and walled in, like Chester, with ancient ramparts, which
nearly encircle the town. How singular the reflection that Constantine
the Great was a native Yorkshire-man, born in this town, in A.D. 272!
Here, too, his father died, in A.D. 307, and he succeeded to the empire,
going forth to reform pagan Rome, as I trust the spirit of England has
even now gone forth to do the same for Rome papal. Here, too, died the
Emperor Severus vainly striving to reconcile his sons Caracalla and
Geta. Among the monuments of the Roman Forum, these names afterward
reminded me of York; while, across the broad Atlantic, the immense city
where I had been brought up, had always been to me, her memorial. How
many were the reflections with which I walked the whole circuit of her
walls, and surveyed the town, the ancient castle, and the surrounding
scenery, and then sailed upon the river beneath! The beautiful ruins of
an old abbey, near the river, still delight the antiquarian; but after
cursorily surveying these, I hastened to the cathedral.

The western front of the minster is worthy of its extraordinary fame.
The semi-barbarian features of many of the cathedrals are here
superseded by what might seem to be the idealized perfection of their
rude details. The unity which was wanting in Lincoln, seemed to be here
complete and entire; and the rich and delicate tracery which invests it
has the appearance of an elaborate tissue of lace, fitted over the stone
after the substantial part was complete. From other points of view, the
impression is less of grace, and more of majesty. The whole is sublime
in its effect beyond that of any other cathedral that I ever saw; and
even in Milan, I could not but say to myself, as I gazed on its
wonderful _Duomo_—“after all, it is, as compared with York, only a
beautiful monster.” There is something about it which realizes the idea
of a cathedral, in its model form; and this is a charm that is wanting
in many others of its class. In its ample choir, I was more affected by
the service than at any other place, with the exception perhaps of
Canterbury, so far as it depended on the elevating influence of mere
architecture, consciously felt and employed to ennoble the sacrifice of
praise and prayer. With the survey of the chapter-house, cloisters, and
tombs, I was less interested than with repeated efforts to take in the
vast sweep of the interior, and to animate it with visions of what it
may yet become, when Deans and Canons wake up to the immense
responsibility of their opportunities to work for the glory of God. The
tone of the service, and the swell of the organ, even now, give wings to
worship, when the anthem rises beneath this lofty vault, and dies away
in the profound depth of the nave, or spreads itself amid aisles and
columns, with multiplied reverberations and undulations of harmony; but
oh! what might not be its heavenly effect, were the choir and nave all
one, and filled with kneeling thousands, lifting up their voice with one
accord in the overwhelming common-prayer of the Anglican Church! A
friend of mine, who was once present, in Yorkminster, on a Sunday,
realized something very near what I strove to imagine. The congregation
was swelled by the presence of several regiments of soldiers, who
appeared to take part in the worship, and whose gay uniforms, as they
knelt on the mosaic floor, received a richer splendour from the tinted
lights that flowed down from lofty windows, where meek saints and mighty
princes seem to live again in the lustre of their portraiture.

An early start next morning, a short railway trip, and then a
stage-coach drive of two miles, and then a walk through the fields,
brought me to S—— parsonage, before breakfast, where a kindly welcome
awaited me from my Malvern acquaintances. A day had been planned for me
by the kind lady of the parsonage, and though it threatened rain, she
laughed at the idea of abandoning it on that account. An American lady
would scarcely have thought of it, even in fair weather, as the
excursion involved not a little exercise of the foot. Off we went in a
pony-carriage to Ripon, where I had time for a hasty inspection of the
minster, lately made a cathedral. It is a severe specimen of Early
English, and affords much to interest the student; but very little to
make a story of, unless we adopt Camden’s explanation of St. Wilfrid’s
needle in the crypt. It is a narrow perforation of the masonry, through
which ladies were sometimes required to pass, when, as Fuller says,
“those who could not thread the needle pricked their own credit.”

We went through the grounds of Studley Royal, enjoying a diversified
view of beautiful park scenery, till we came to the neighbourhood of
Fountains Abbey, and exchanged our drive for a walk. We passed through
woods, and by little lakes, and over rustic bridges, and came at last
into a walk richly embowered with trees, along a height, where the
foliage completely screened the view below. Our fair conductress
promised us a lunch at a little halting-place called Anne Boleyn’s Seat.
I did not tell her that I had foreknowledge of the trick she meant to
play upon me; but I sincerely wish that I had never heard of it, for my
own sake as well as hers. Arrived at the spot, we sat down to rest, when
suddenly the lady flung open a door, and before us was such a view as
can be seen nowhere else in the world. We were balconied, in a lofty
window, and below was the beautiful valley and meadow: at the extremity
of which, rise the ancient walls, chapel window, and tower of Fountains
Abbey—the most poetical ruin in existence. All Italy has nothing to
show, that can be compared with it for beauty, especially if we take
into account the extraordinary charms of the wooded steeps that surround
it, and of the green velvet mead, from which it lifts itself like the
creation of enchantment. Its architecture is vast and majestic in scale,
and the ivy has contrived to festoon and mantle its magnificence, in
such wise as to lend it a grace it never could have possessed even in
its first glory. There is a more sylvan charm about Tintern. Fountains
Abbey is the perfection of artificial beauty, for even its surrounding
nature is impressed with a look of long and complete subjugation to the
hand of consummate art.

I assured our fair enchantress, that although I had heard of this
surprise before, her playfulness had not been lost on me. I had expected
to enjoy it only under the humdrum operation of an ordinary guide. She
had heightened the effect by her talismanic touch and artistic air, and
I was free to confess that the effect produced was such, that “the half
had not been told me.” A little streamlet runs through the meadow, like
a silver thread upon emerald; and nothing which a painter could wish is
wanting to make the scene a picture of delight. I could not but think of
the still waters, and the green pastures, and the glorious mansions of a
better world.

The Abbey was Cistercian, as the fat valley in which it stands might
indicate, according to the rhyme:—

        “Bernard the vales, as Benedict the steeps,
         But towering cities did Loyola love.”

It was founded, in fact, in the time of St. Bernard, under the first
impulses communicated to Europe by his vast enthusiasm. But it is in
vain that we look for any traces of his asceticism, in the luxurious
splendour of every portion of this noble pile. Here you enter the lordly
refectory; you pass to the ample kitchen, and ascend to the long range
of dormitories. What prince on earth is better lodged? The chapter-house
is on the same scale of dignity; and the cloisters are a long
perspective of pillared arches, through which the eye can scarcely
penetrate to the end. But the church, with its elaborate chapels, of
which nearly half the pillars are standing in their gracefulness,
beggars description. Its floor is green turf, and its walls are hung
with living tapestry; but it seems still a vast cathedral, and the more
beautiful, for its heavenly vault, and its windows, opening in all their
rich variety of form, bright glimpses of wood and sky. Everything is in
keeping, and the whole is such an epitome of the monastic system as
suggests alike its glory and its shame. The excavations are still going
on, and like those of Pompeii, they are revealing the most minute and
tell-tale particulars of monastic life. One cannot altogether regret
that such establishments are of the past, and yet the experiment of
their reform should have been fairly tried, before destruction made it
forever impossible to restore them to noble and pious uses.

Near the Abbey is a yew-tree of great antiquity, beneath which,
tradition says, the first colony of monks assembled, and planned their
future home. In a secluded spot, a little further on, I came to
Fountains Hall, a pleasant manorial residence. It was built in the time
of the first Stuart, and, I am sorry to add, of materials, quarried in
the old Abbey. Such being the case, I am glad it is not mine. Sacrilege
is so fatal a sin, that I hardly dared to take away a bit of moss from
the Abbey walls; and to remove a cubic inch of its masonry, was a
liberty from which I shrank, as a sort of irreverence to God.

Adieu to Fountains—but the scene will never leave my mental vision,
which will retain as tenaciously, also, the recollection of those whose
company enabled me to enter into the spirit of the scene, as I never can
when alone. Reluctantly bidding them farewell, I went by rail to South
Shields, on a visit to an estimable M.P., whose acquaintance I had made
in London. He is a man of great natural refinement, and of very superior
accomplishments, having greatly distinguished himself in early life, at
Oxford, though his retiring disposition has kept him from the ambitious
dignities which he might easily have commanded. Though there are few, in
England, to whom I became more attached, I must add that it was neither
from political nor religious affinities. He is as much of a dissenter as
a churchman can well be, and as little of a John Bull as an Englishman
can well be; but it is my creed, that none but the most narrow-minded
mortals limit their society to those who share their own likes and
dislikes, and never has my contempt for Sallust’s rule of friendship
been more richly rewarded than in the relations which I formed with Mr.
I——. With his liberal feelings towards America, I was particularly
gratified; and it was pleasant indeed to listen to this estimable man,
as he generously eulogized several of my countrymen, whom he had made
his friends. Most attractive too was his unassuming piety. His Greek
Testament was his familiar companion, and he was sometimes betrayed into
scholarly criticisms of its text, which I could not always adopt, but
which I was forced to admire, as drawn from stores of classical
knowledge and accuracy. I felt it a great privilege to be his guest, and
fell asleep in my chamber, full of happy reflections on the pleasures of
the day, and lulled by the sounds of the sea, which breaks on the
boundaries of his demesne. The morning light came to my window over the
German Ocean, for the King of Denmark is next neighbour to my friend in
that direction.

I was now among the collieries, but had no desire to know anything about
them. I saw the mouths of the doleful pits which descend to these human
burrows, and to think of the miserable population below, was enough!
There they live, and die, and are buried while they live, and are far
more wretched, I should imagine, than the servile class, in most cases,
among us. The amelioration of life in the collieries, is by no means
neglected however. England is alive to the spiritual and temporal
destitution of her poor, of every condition; and happy will it be for
us, when our national evils are as deeply felt as those of England are
by Englishmen; when they are as temperately and freely discussed, and as
boldly submitted to an enlightened spirit of progress and reform.

With my estimable friend, I visited Durham, its cathedral and
University, and enjoyed great privileges in so doing, as the result of
his kindness. On our way, he pointed out the secluded and saintly
Jarrow, and the tower of Bernard Gilpin’s Church. In this neighbourhood
occur two names that startle an American: he comes to _Franklin_, and to
_Washington_, little villages which have imparted their names to
hundreds of places in America, by first giving them to two really great
men. With us, places are named from individuals; but in England, the
reverse is more frequently the case.

“Stupendous”—is the epithet for the cathedral of Durham. It is the
poetry of the frigid zone of architecture, as Milan cathedral is of its
tropics. The first impressions, on entering, were instinctively those of
the patriarch—“how dreadful is this place—this is none other than the
House of God.” At York, I had said—‘this is the gate of heaven.’ Here
an overpowering solemnity brooded over every thought, and I less admired
than wondered. One thing was most pleasing: there is no screen, and the
eye ranges through nave and choir, unrestrained, to the altar itself to
which a bas-relief of the last supper, gives a fine effect. Under the
guidance of Canon Townsend, who had lately returned from his most
primitive visit to the Pope, we surveyed the entire cathedral and its
adjoining courts, all alike builded for everlasting, if the solidity and
grandeur of its masonry be any index of its design. We visited “the
Galilee,” and the tomb of the venerable Bede, the “nine altars,” at the
eastern end, and the tomb of St. Cuthbert. Also, the chapter-house,
hallowed by the names of Aidan and Finan, those apostles of the North,
who came forth from Iona to illuminate our Saxon ancestors. I pity the
man who claims no kin with their ancient faith and piety! They infused
into the Church of England many elements of its present character, and
Bernard Gilpin was their legitimate son, even more than Bede himself.

In the library, we were shown, by the polite dignitary who was our
guide, many antiquarian and literary curiosities. The stole of St.
Cuthbert, taken from his coffin, and some needlework of the sister of
Alfred, were of the number, and divers manuscripts, on vellum, of great
beauty, and one the autograph of Bede! Some modern copes, of the time of
Charles First, were shown us, as having been worn in Divine Service, in
the cathedral, according to the rubric, till Warburton laid them aside.
We also visited the University, which now fills the old castle of
Durham. This castle was built by William the Conqueror, and was long the
residence of the Bishops, as Lords of the Palatinate. Its old Norman
chapel is very interesting, and the modern fittings are in good taste
throughout, and turn it to good account. In one of the prebendal houses,
we found the Bishop of Exeter, a prelate of great distinction, and
celebrated for making warm friends and bitter foes. Canon Townsend gave
us our lunch, at his own table, and warmly eulogized the American
Church, which he designs to visit. He also praised our country and its
achievements. His burning desire seems to be to unite all Christians,
once more, in one holy fellowship of faith and worship, and it was in
this spirit that he visited the Vatican, and exhorted the Pope to
repent. It was the last testimony to Pius Ninth, before he dared to
commit that damning sin against Christian charity, on the 8th of
December, 1854. In my opinion, Canon Townsend need not be ashamed of
having preached the Gospel at Rome also.

I crossed the river Wear, and gained from its well-wooded bank, the best
view of the cathedral. It rises on the opposite bank, high over the
stream, like part of the rock on which it is built. It presents the
appearance of entire “unity with itself.” Massive and ponderous dignity
invests the whole pile, and with the advantage of its deep descent to
the river, I know not where to look for anything that seems at once so
fixed to the earth, and yet so aspiring in its gigantic stretch towards
heaven. The cathedral at Fribourg, in Switzerland, not only lacks its
grandeur, but is too far from the edge of the steep, on which it stands,
to derive much character from it. Durham, on the contrary, grows out of
the cliff itself, and it is hard to say where the natural architecture
terminates, and art begins.

I heard the service, in the cathedral, and it was effectively performed.
From preference, I occupied the extremity of the nave, and enjoyed its
distant effect. The Episcopal throne, in this cathedral, is a great
curiosity. Had I not been told it was a throne, I should have said it
was a gallery, or orchestra. Its style is altogether curious, and
unique; but I should think his Lordship would prefer any place in the
cathedral, to such a strange eminence. I left Durham, with great regret
that I could not linger for a long time, amid its venerable and sacred

A good portion of the succeeding day was given to Newcastle-upon-Tyne,
its smutty old-town, and its spruce and showy new-town. Here is Norman
England on one hand, and England of the Reform-bill on the other.
Standing upon one of its lofty bridges, I surveyed the town, and the
river, and felt more pleased with what I saw than I had supposed it
possible for me to be with such a coal-hole.

Out of the hole I climbed, however, to the height on which stands its
old castle, built by Robert Curthose, son of William the Conqueror. It
is a dingy tower, at best; but massive, and full of historic interest.
Its chapel, only a few yards square, and dimly lighted, is remarkable
for some of the finest specimens extant, of the Saxon arch. Its parts
are distinctly marked, as chancel, nave, sacristy, and the like; but it
is more like the chapel of an Inquisition, than of a royal castle.
Several rooms in the castle are filled with Roman relics, all found in
the neighbourhood of the town; and often, when I afterwards visited
Rome, and thought of this far distant place, did it give me new ideas of
her ancient power, to reflect upon her identity here and there, and upon
the skill in overcoming difficulties, which, in that barbarian day, made
her to be felt as really upon the Tyne, as upon the Tiber. I saw very
soon the same marks of Roman conquest, far away in Scotland, near Elgin,
and Inverness.

And to Scotland I now made my way, without stopping. Flying through
Northumberland, I caught many glimpses of its scenery and antiquities,
about Warkworth and Alnwick. Far out at sea, I spied the lofty bulk of
Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, the Iona of England. I instinctively bared
my head to it. At length I sighted Berwick-upon-Tweed, the _Amen Corner_
of England, where the Church ceases, and the Kirk begins. Anon, I was
over the Border.

                            CHAPTER XXXIII.

                      _The Lakes and the Lakers._

As I am now detailing my “Impressions of England,” I must leave out my
Scottish chapters, for Scotland is far too rich in material to be
smuggled into the world under any cover except its own. After a most
interesting visit to this romantic land, I again saw England as I
approached the Cumberland mountains, at Ecclefechan, and in spite of my
delight in Caledonia, I somehow felt that it was home. I reached “Gretna
Green” from a direction the opposite of that which is the fashion for
runaways, and hence saw nothing of “the blacksmith;” but I was informed
that he duly posts himself at the station when the train approaches from
the other direction, and very frequently finds customers. It is not now
as in the days of posting; and if a brace of lovers can make sure of a
train in advance of pursuers, they are quite safe. The next train may
bring the frantic friends and parents; but the wedding is already
performed, according to the barbarous law of North Britain. It has been
remarked as something singular, if not disgraceful, that several who
have risen to be Lord-Chancellors of the southern kingdom, were, in
early life, married in this way. After a moment’s pause at the Gretna
station, we were whirled across the Sark, with a glimpse of the Solway,
and soon I was in “merrie Carlisle.” I entered it, thanks be to Bishop
Percy, with special thoughts of “Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and
William of Cloudeslee.” The poetry of the town is, in fact, concentrated
in that ballad of ballads. As a border town, it has always been subject
to those fearful scenes and tragedies, which only war creates: and its
history is a romance, from the days of the Conquest to those of the
Pretender, whose flag once waved on its walls. It is charmingly
situated, and well watered by its three rivers; but its castle and its
cathedral are its chief objects of interest, and offer little that can
be described with effect, after a review of more striking specimens of
their kind. Among the tombs in the latter, is that of Archdeacon Paley,
the _moralist_, who “could not afford to keep a conscience.” I did not
regard it with any great emotion. The adjacent Deanery, at one time
inhabited by Bishop Percy, was more interesting to me, for whatever he
may have been as a bishop, I cannot doubt that his taste and industry in
literature have produced a vast result in the poetry and letters of his
native tongue. I have often amused myself, not only with his “ballads”
themselves, but with an effort to trace their immediate and remote
effects on the taste, and even upon the genius of England. They are very
striking, and prove what may be the lasting results of a very humble
sort of literary enterprise, when it is founded on “truths that wake to
perish never.”

I was in the region of the Lakes, and felt upon me already the powerful
influences which its great poets have left it for an heritage forever.
The noble range of the Cumberlands seemed to lift their monumental
heads, in memory of Southey and Wordsworth. I went to Kendal, and
sighted the castle where Katherine Parr was born, but was glad to take
the earliest train to Bowness. Welcome was the sight of Windermere,
brightly reflecting the evening sky, and encircled by an army of
mountains, lifting their bristling pikes as if to defend it, like a
virgin sister in her loveliness. Who can forget Dr. Arnold’s
enthusiastic return to this dear spot, from the Continent: his just
comparison of its charms with those of foreign scenes, and his close
noting of the very minutes that lingered as he hasted to his home at Fox
How? To me, there is all the heart of poetry in his honest effusion of
genuine English feeling. “I see the Old Man and the Langdale Pikes,
rising behind the nearer hills so beautifully! We open on Windermere,
and vain it is to talk of any earthly beauty ever equalling this
country, in my eyes. No Mola di Gaeta, no Valley of the Velino, no
Salerno or Vietri can rival, to me, this Vale of Windermere, and of the
Rotha. Here it lies in the perfection of its beauty, the deep shadows on
the unruffled water; and mingling with every form, and sound, and
fragrance, comes the full thought of domestic affections, and of
national and of Christian: here is our own house and home: here are our
own country’s laws and language: and here is our English Church!” Good!
glorious! every word. I can feel it all, and the last words more than he
did. It is to the Church that England owes all the rest, and yet that
_palladium_ (I hate the word) of England’s holiest, and dearest, and
best peculiarities, he would fain have Germanized! I believe, in my
heart, he was better than his theories, and would have been the first to
shrink from his own dreams of reform, had he lived to see them coming
into shape as realities. I cannot but follow his speaking
memoranda:—“Arrived at Bowness, 8.20; left at 8.31; passing Ragrigg
Gate, 8.37; over Troutbeck Bridge, 8.51; here is Ecclerigg, 8.58; and
here Lowood Inn, 9.04 and 30 seconds!” No fast man, at the Derby, ever
held his watch more breathlessly; he was speeding home, and there he was
in twenty minutes more, at his own “mended gate,” wife and darlings all
round papa, and so ends his journal! Oh, what so enviable as a home,
just here? My own is far away—and I stop at Lowood Inn, grateful for
such inns as England only affords, and proposing to spend such a Sunday
as England only hallows. I am not forgetful of my own dear land; I love
her Hudson, as I can never love even an English lake; but the janglings
of a Sunday in America, the unutterable wretchedness of perpetuated
quarrels among Christians, and all the sadness of religious disunion, in
its last stage of social disorganization, take away my sense of repose,
when I survey an American landscape, and the spires of our villages; and
who can measure the indifference, the atheism, and the godless contempt
for truth which all this breeds? Good Lord! when shall this plague of
locusts disappear from our sky? When shall all Christians who love
Christ in truth and soberness, agree to love one another?

At Lowood Inn I spent such a Sunday, as I had promised myself, at St.
Asaph. A morning and evening walk, by the lake, was its morning and
evening charm, and calm, sweet enjoyment of the service was its
substantial blessing. Here, Southey’s words came forcibly to mind, as I
recalled the common worship, in which my beloved friends, at home, were
uniting with me; the Prayer-book its blessed telegraph!

        “Oh, hold it holy! it will be a bond
         Of love and brotherhood, when all beside
         Hath been dissolved; and though wide ocean roll
         Between the children of _one_ fatherland,
         This shall be their communion: they shall send,
         Linked in one sacred feeling, at one hour,
         In the same language, the same prayer to heaven,
         And each remembering each in piety,
           Pray for the other’s welfare.”

Early on Monday morning, in a fairy-like little steamer, I made a
circuit of the lake, enjoying fine weather, and delightful views. The
clouds took the shape of everything beautiful during the day, now
hanging over the “Pikes,” like legions of angels, and now building
themselves up into domes and cathedrals, upon the summits of the
everlasting hills. As for the lake itself, it is something between Lake
George and Cayuga Lake: its scenery in some parts, even finer than the
finest of the one, and its tamer parts, almost always equal to the best
of the other. Lake George, however, in its exceeding wildness, has its
own special charm for me; and Windermere is too artificially beautiful,
on the whole, to rival it. Towards noon, I went, by coach, to Grassmere,
passing through Ambleside, and by the late residence of Wordsworth, and
enjoying the views of Rydalmere, and Knab Scaur, and then of Grassmere
itself, with its sweet church, deep in the vale. The inn at Grassmere is
well placed, on a slight ascent from the valley, and provides a
toothsome repast for the tourist. I went on horse-back, over hill and
dale, to “Dungeon Ghyll,” a cataract well known to readers of
Wordsworth, but less interesting in itself, though curious as well as
pretty, than the scenery through which one passes to get there. The
mountain ranges, and peaks, as they come into sight, and seem to shift
their positions, are sufficient, I should think, to make the region ever
new in its peculiar attractions, especially when one takes into account
the endless variety imparted to such scenes by the different seasons,
hours of the day, states of the atmosphere, and conditions of sky and
clouds. Wise poets were these Lakers! And how “Kit North” must have
revelled in these palaces of nature! As I slowly returned, I caught my
last glimpse of Windermere, and then saw the vale of Grassmere, in its
evening beauty. Arrived at the churchyard, I sought the grave of
Wordsworth. A plain grave, and his name merely. The river rushing by
lulls his repose. A carriage drove up, and seeing a female mourner
approach, attended by a servant, or waiting-maid, I withdrew, and
pretended to be otherwise engaged. The lady scattered flowers on the
grave of the poet, and stood there awhile, musing. It was his widow; and
when she had left the sacred spot, I returned, and admired the fragrant
and beautiful tokens of her affection, which, as I learned, she every
day renews. I gathered some wild flowers, growing by the grave, and
resolved to bear them to Keswick, and leave them on the grave of
Southey. This pilgrimage I was determined to make, on foot; and having
arranged for my luggage to be sent to a convenient point, I started
accordingly, late in the afternoon, with a walk of twelve miles before
me; to do which, I gave myself three hours for the walking, and one for
resting and idling. I expected to reach Keswick by early moonlight, for
the moon was new, and the days long. Mine host thought it too late for a
start, after a fatiguing day; but I had practised in Scotland, and knew
my strength, and the inspiration of the spot was such that I felt no
weariness. On the contrary, it is impossible to describe the flow of
spirits with which I began and ended this walk. Passing Helm Crag, I
decided that the “old woman” on the top, is far more like a millenial
group, in colossal sculpture, for it greatly resembles a lion with a
lamb in its embrace. At every step, Wordsworth and Southey revive in
memory; every pebble seems to have attracted their love, and taken its
place in their poetry. After a long, but gradual ascent, we reach the
cairn that covers King Dunmail’s bones, and looking back at the charming
view, say farewell to Grassmere. In the distance, ahead, what looms up?
The guide-book says Skiddaw. There once lived Southey; there now he
sleeps. As I left this neighbourhood, I observed to my surprise, another
group on the mountain, in all respects like the “old woman,” only turned
the other way. Both are formed by loose rocks on the height of the
mountain; but I have seen no mention of this one. And now my way lay
along the base of the “mighty Helvellyn.” The road was easy to the foot,
and innumerable are its charms. I came to the lovely Thirlmere, or
Leatheswater: the views of the surrounding crags, and of the water
itself, wearing a more beautiful aspect, for the hour and the departing
daylight. Blue-bells were everywhere growing by the road, in handfulls.
I stopped to examine a stone which seems to record the death of a
Quaker’s favourite horse. A carriage came along, which proved to be full
of cockney tourists. One of them descended and read, as
follows:—“Thirtieth of ninth month, 1843;

        “Fallen from ’is fellow’s side,
           The steed beneath (h)is lying;
          (H)in ’arness ’ere ’e died,
           ’Is (h)only fault was dying.”

The pathos with which these words were uttered was truly Pickwickian,
and the step from the sublime to the ridiculous was so effectually taken
by my feelings, that for a long way beyond, Helvellyn re-echoed to my
laughter. Passing Thirlmere, the sweet vale of St. John opened a
bewitching prospect, and I loved it for its name. Leaving it on my
right, I then turned toward Keswick, and as the last light of day
disappeared, there, before me, lay Derwentwater, the new moon shedding a
tremulous light on its bosom. This, then, was Southey’s own Keswick, and
Skiddaw rose over head! I slept soundly and sweetly at the “Royal Oak.”

In the morning, I took a barge, and was rowed round the lake, which did
not disappoint me. One of the men had been a servant of Southey’s, and
he told me many anecdotes of his master. “Yonder, it seems to me, I can
see him now,” said the fellow, “walking with a book in his hand.” He
described him as good to the poor, and said, “he often gave five
shillings, at a time, to my mother.” In wet weather he still took the
air, and walked well on clogs. I was much charmed with the islets of the
lake, and the singular traditions which invest them all with so much
interest. The romantic stories of the unfortunate family of
Derwentwater, whose earls were attainted for their share in the
Pretender’s rebellion, are partly connected with one of these islands,
and the lake itself seems made for a scene of romance. Windermere is not
to be compared with it. I was rowed to Lodore, and saw “how the water
comes down.” Sometimes ’tis a mere burlesque of the poem; but I saw it
in full force, and entirely justifying all the participles which the
genius of Southey has contrived to set going, like a cataract, out of
the fountain of his brain. After this, I swam in the lake, tempted to do
so by the double attraction of its pellucid waters, and its Castalian

I visited Southey’s grave, in Crosthwaite churchyard. ’Twas solemn to
see the grass growing, and its tall spears shaking in the breeze, over
the head of that fine genius, and the heart of that good and faithful
man. In the church, where he so often prayed, a superb statue of the
poet lies, at full length, on an altar-tomb. I placed in the marble hand
the flowers I had brought from the grave of Wordsworth, a tribute to
their friendship, and a token of my homage for both. Great and good men;
they were the “lucida sidera” of English literature, in a dark and evil
time and now that their sweet influence has triumphed over the clouds
and vapours which obscured their first rising, how calmly they shine, in
heaven, and brighten the scenes they have left behind!

Greta Hall, the poet’s late residence, stands a little back from the
road, in the shadow of Skiddaw. I paid a visit to a daughter of the
bard, who loves to linger near her father’s grave; and it was delightful
to observe the simplicity with which she entered into the enthusiasm of
a pilgrim to that shrine of her affections. The aged Mrs. Lovel, whose
name is familiar to the readers of Coleridge, and his contemporaries,
also allowed me to be presented to her. It was affecting to see a group
of Southey’s lovely little grand-children with her, in mourning for a
mother. They are richer in the heritage of his name and character than
if they were the heirs of the Derwentwaters, and restored to all their
honours and estates.

By coach to Penrith, by the vale of St. John, and Huttonmoor. On the
moor, I saw a cottage, with an inscription too deep for me, of which my
reader shall have the benefit. It was this:—

                   “I. W.
        This building’s age, these letters show,
        Though many gaze, yet few will know.

A Waltonian puzzle in its quaintness, not to speak of the initials!
Driving by Graystoke, in which is an old town-cross, we had a sight of
its church and castle. But two odd-looking farm-houses, which we passed,
presenting at a distance the appearance of forts, surprised me more, by
their American names, “Mount Putnam,” and “Bunker-hill.” They were built
and named soon after the battle: and the whip laughed as he slyly
surmised, that the Duke of Norfolk, to whom they belong, “must have been
afraid the ’Mericans were coming over.” At Penrith, I visited the
extraordinary grave in the churchyard, called the _Giant’s_. Its history
is lost in the obscure of antiquity; but one _Owen_ is said to lie
there, at full length, the head and footstones being fifteen feet apart.
The stones are tall needles, of curious form, and covered with Runic
carvings and unintelligible words. Not far from Penrith, are some
ancient caverns, marked by traces of gigantic inhabitants, such as
iron-gratings, and other relics worthy of the habitation of Giant

Next morning, we were favoured with a brilliant sky and cool breeze, and
I took the top of the coach for a drive across the country, through
Westmoreland, into Yorkshire. A sweet odour of hay-making filled the air
as we started; and soon we had fine views of Brougham-hall, and castle,
with a small adjoining park. A more interesting object to me was a small
column, by the roadside, celebrated by Wordsworth, called the Countess
of Pembroke’s Pillar. It was erected in the evil days of Cromwell, not
to celebrate a battle, or a crime, but as a monument of love. On that
spot, in her better days, the Lady Anne Clifford had parted, for the
last time, with her beloved mother, the Countess Dowager of Pembroke,
and she therefore caused this stone to be set as a memorial, and
inscribed accordingly. But she did yet more, for hard by is a stone
table, on which the anniversary of that parting is annually celebrated
by a dole of bread to the poor of the parish of Brougham, to pay for
which she left the annual sum of four pounds to the church forever. This
is giving a _stone_ to those who ask _bread_, in an orthodox way. The
inscription ends with _Laus Deo_; and my heart responded in the manner
which Wordsworth suggests. “Many a stranger,” he says, “though no clerk,
has responded Amen, as he passed by.” Our drive continued a pleasant one
till we came to Appleby, an interesting old town, through which runs the
river Eden. In its church are monuments of the Lady Anne Clifford and
her mother. At Brough, we came to an old castle, erected before the
Conquest. Its church has a pulpit, hewn of a single stone; and they tell
a good story of its bells. A worthy drover of the adjoining moors, once
brought a fine lot of cattle to market, promising to make them bellow
all together, and to be heard from Brough to Appleby. Accordingly with
the money they sold for, he gave the parish a peal of bells, which
constantly fulfils his vow. He deserves to be imitated by richer men. At
Brough the coach left me, and I took a post-chaise over the dreary
region of Stainmuir; dreary, just then, but not so in the
sporting-season, when the moor is alive with hunters and fowlers. At
Bowes, again, emerging from the moorlands, we came to the remains of a
castle, and to the less interesting relics of a school, which had
disappeared under the influence of a general conviction, that it was the
original “Dotheboys Hall.” A dull place is Bowes; but striking over a
rugged country, northward, I came soon into the charming valley of the
Tees, and so arrived at the secluded church and parsonage of Romaldkirk,
on a visit to a clergyman, who bearing my maternal name, and deriving
from the same lineage, in times long past, yet claimed me as a relative,
and welcomed me as a brother. I found a missionary from India,
addressing a few of his parishioners, in an adjoining school-house, and
there I first saw my hospitable friend, and joined with him in the
solemnities of a missionary meeting, among a few of the neighbouring
peasantry. With this estimable clergyman, and his family, I tarried till
the third day, enjoying greatly their attentive hospitalities, and
trying to catch trout in the Tees. The very sound of this rushing river
recalled the story of Rokeby, and amid its overhanging foliage, I almost
fancied I could see skulking the pirate-figure of Bertram Risingham.

I was not allowed to leave this happy roof unattended. The eldest son of
the family, a young Cantab, took me more than twenty miles, to Richmond,
through a most romantic country, allowing me to visit the ruins, near
Rokeby, and to stop at many interesting spots. We journeyed through
Barnard Castle, and by Egglestone Abbey, and met with several adventures
in our “search of the picturesque,” but at last emerged into the
surprising scenery of Richmond, which I found beautiful beyond all that
its name implies, and not unworthy of sharing it with its southern
namesake, on the Thames. It is the older of the two, and is remarkable
for something more than beauty. It has a touch of grandeur about it, and
the ruins of its old historic castle, on the banks of the Swale, full of
traditions of feudal sovereignty, and still massive and venerable in
appearance, give an imposing air of majesty to the town. The aspect of
the valley of the Swale is almost American, in its wildness, in many
parts, and I keenly relished even my railway journey through a region so
inviting to delay. I made my way to Leeds, where, amid smoke, and much
that is disagreeable, stands the interesting Church of St. Mary’s,
lately renewed and beautified by its faithful vicar, Dr. Hook. I had
barely time to visit this sacred place, and contenting myself with
having sighted Kirkstall Abbey, in the vale of Aire, I continued my
journey to my first English home, in Warwickshire. The glimpses of
Derbyshire scenery which I enjoyed, in my rapid journey, were full of
beauty: and the mishap of losing a trunk, gave me the opportunity of
putting to the test the fidelity of the English railway system. As soon
as I discovered that some blunder had been committed, I informed the
guard, and at the first station, telegraphic messages were despatched,
and in a short time my trunk followed me to the parsonage, where I
passed the Sunday with my friend.

                             CHAPTER XXXIV.


More than once have I betrayed, in the course of my narrative, a strong
affection for the name and memory of Cowper. To his poetry and letters,
I was introduced in early childhood, by the admiring terms in which a
beloved parent often quoted and criticised them; and no subsequent
familiarity with them has, in the least, impaired my relish for their
peculiar charms. I regard him as the regenerator of English poetry, and
as the morning-star of all that truly illustrates the nineteenth
century. A gentle but powerful satirist of the evils of his own times,
he was a noble agent in the hand of God, for removing them, and making
way for a great restoration. Without dreaming of his mission, he was a
prime mover in the great action which has thrown off the lethargy of
Hanoverianism, and awakened the Church of England to world-wide
enterprises of good; and though the injudicious counsels of good John
Newton gave a turn to his piety, which may well be deplored in its
consequences upon himself, it is ground for rejoicing that the
influences of the Church upon his own good taste, were strong enough to
rescue his contributions to literature from the degrading effects of
religious enthusiasm. If any one will take the trouble to compare “the
Task” with such a production as Pollok’s “Course of time,” he will be
struck with the force of my remark, for there the same enthusiasm
exhibits itself as developed by sectarianism. I was surprised to find
how many places in England were fraught with recollections of this
retired and sedentary poet. A distant view of St. Alban’s, the banks of
the Ouse, the churchyard of St. Margaret’s, and the school-room, at
Westminster, the gardens of the Temple, and the little village of St.
Neot’s all recalled him to mind, in his various moods, of suffering and
dejection. Even the ruins of Netley Abbey revived his memory, for there
he seems to have been filled with novel emotions, as an unwonted
tourist, with whom romantic scenes were far from familiar. The opposite
pole of poetic association became electric in Cheapside, where so many
John Gilpins still keep shop, if they do not “ride abroad.” But I
frequently passed, on the railway, a village in Hertfordshire, which is
invested with memories of a more elevated and affecting character. It
was not only the birth-place of the poet, (as well as of Bishop Ken,)
but its church-tower is that from which he heard the bell tolled on the
burial-day of his mother. Its parsonage was the scene of all those
maternal tendernesses, which he has so touchingly celebrated; and who
that has shared the love of a Christian mother, can fail to reverence
the bard, who has so inimitably enshrined, in poetry, the best and
holiest instincts of the human heart, as exhibited in the mutual loves
of the mother and her son? I could not leave England without first
paying a pilgrimage to those scenes of his maturer life, which have
become classic from their frequent mention in his poems.

As I was taking my ticket for a second-class passage to the nearest
point on the railway to Olney, I happened to meet a gentleman who had
just bought his, and with whom I had the pleasure of some acquaintance.
Knowing him to be connected, by marriage and position, with some of the
most aristocratic families in the kingdom, I very naturally said to
him—“I’m going the same way with you, but shall lose the pleasure of
your company, for I’ve only a second-class ticket.” I was amused with
his answer:—“Yes, for I’ve only a _third_-class ticket.” He briefly
explained that he was forced to economize, and that, although he did not
like it, the inconvenience of a seat among a low-class of people, for a
short time, was not so intolerable as a collapsed purse, “especially” he
added, “as I am thus enabled to travel in the first-class carriages when
I travel with my wife.” Such is the independence as to action, and the
freedom as to confession of economy, which characterize a well-bred man,
whose position in society is settled; and I could not but think how
snobbish, in the contrast, is the conduct of many of my own countrymen,
who, if they ever use prudence, in their expenses, are afraid to have it
known. An aristocracy of money is not only contemptible in itself, but
it curses a land with a universal shame of seeming prudent. It makes the
dollared upstart fancy himself a gentleman, while the true gentleman is
degraded in his own eyes, as well as in the estimation of the vulgar, by
the fact, that his house is small, his furniture plain, and his table
frugal. Hence so much _upholstery_ in America; so much hotel-life; and
such a contempt for quiet respectability.

This anecdote is not out of place in a chapter devoted to Cowper. The
poet was a man of gentle blood, and, in every sense of the word, a
gentleman. Many an English nobleman is vastly inferior to him in point
of extraction. He was descended from the blood-royal of Henry Third, and
in divers ways was allied to the old aristocracy of England. He used to
be visited at Olney, by persons of quality, in their chariots; and
titled ladies were glad to accept his hospitalities. But his home at
Olney, where he lived for years, was one of the humblest in the place,
and even his darling residence, at Weston, was such a dwelling as most
country-parsons would consider barely comfortable. Now, I do not mean to
say that John Bull prefers such an establishment for a gentlemen’s
habitation; but I do mean that nobody in England would be so insane as
to think less of a gentleman, for living thus humbly, especially if he
lived so from principle.

As I came to Newport-Pagnel, a respectable elderly person drove by, in
an open carriage, whom the whip pointed out to me as Mr. Bull; the son
of Cowper’s old friend, whom he delighted to call his dear _Taurus_.
Having a few minutes to spare in the place, and a proper introduction, I
called at his house, and was glad to be shown a portrait of the
venerable personage himself—the “smoke-inhaling Bull” of the Letters. A
lady of the family politely gave me all needed directions, but assured
me I should be greatly disappointed in Olney, where “there was nothing
to see but old houses, and a general aspect of decay.” I said—‘Yes, but
the house is there—and the summer-house—and the spire—and the
bridge?’ I was answered that these were yet remaining, though somewhat
the worse for wear and weather; and so, having succeeded in hiring a
horse, off I went, alone. As I approached the neighbourhood of Olney,
the first truly _Cowperish_ sight that struck me—and I had never seen
such a sight before in my life—was a living illustration of his

        “Yon cottager that weaves at her own door,
         Pillow and bobbins, all her little store!”

She little knew how much pleasure the sight of her gave to a passing
stranger, with whom her art had been rendered poetically beautiful, by
the charms of Cowper’s verse. This is, in fact, the secret of his spell
as a poet, the power of investing even homely things, in real life, with
a certain fascinating attractiveness. He avoids the romantic and the
poetical, in choosing his themes; but he elevates what is common to a
dignity and beauty unknown before. He is the most English of English
bards, and I love him for teaching me to see a something even in the
English poor, which makes them, to me, vastly more interesting than the
romantic peasantry of Italy. True, the latter tread the vintage, and the
other only stack the corn; but the English cottage has the Bible in it,
and its children learn the Ten Commandments, and also learn that
“cleanliness is next to godliness;” while in Italy, among fleas and
other vermin, the idle parents sit lazily in the sun, and the children
run after the traveller’s coach-wheel, lying while they beg, and showing
by their religious vocabulary, that Bacchus and Maria are confounded in
their imagination as saints of the same calendar.

At length I saw the spire of Olney, and soon I crossed the bridge, over
whose “wearisome, but needful length,” used to come the news from
London, to solace Cowper’s winter evenings. I was not long in finding
the poet’s most unpoetical home, now occupied by a petty shop-keeper,
who has turned his parlour into a stall. Here he lived, however, and
here he sang: here, motherly Mrs. Unwin made tea for him, and Lady
Austen gave him “the sofa” for his “Task.” Under these stairs once
lodged Puss, Tiney, and Bess; those happy hares which, alone of their
kind, have had a _local habitation_, and will always have _a name_. In
the garden, I saw where the cucumber-vine used to grow, and where Puss
used to ruminate beneath its leaves, like Jonah under his gourd. An
apple-tree was pointed out to me as “set by Mr. Cowper’s own hands.” The
garden has been pieced off, and to see the “summer-house,” I was forced
to enter, by a neighbour’s leave, another enclosure. Here is the little
nestling-place of Cowper’s poesy—the retreat where his Egeria came to
him. In the fence, is still the wicket he made, to let him into the
parsonage-grounds, when Newton was his confessor. ‘Here, then,’ I said,
‘one may fancy the lily and the rose, growing in rivalry; and another
rose _just washed in a shower_; and the _sound of the church-going
bell_, and a thousand other minute matters in themselves, all taking
their place in the poetic magazine of Cowper, and so coming into verse,
through his brain, as the mulberry leaf becomes silk, by another process
of spinning.’ It was a small field for such a harvest, and yet “the
Task” grew here.

And now, another mile brought me to the more agreeable Weston-Underwood,
the resort of all his walking days at Olney, and the dear retreat of his
later life; the dearer, because bestowed by the lovely Lady Hesketh.
This is, indeed, a residence worthy of a poet, and though all who once
rendered it so charming to Cowper have passed away, I was agreeably
surprised to find no important feature changed. A painful identity
belongs to it: you recognize, at every step, the fidelity of the poet’s
descriptive powers, and it seems impossible that he who has made the
scene part of himself, has been for half a century in his grave, while
all this survives. You enter the desolate park of the Throckmortons, and
there is “the alcove,” with its commanding view, so dear to the poet’s
eye, and Olney spire in the distance. You pass into “the Wilderness,”
now a wilderness indeed, for it is neglected and overgrown. Here are a
couple of urns, now green with moss, and lovingly clasped by ivy, but
each marked with familiar names, and graced by Cowper’s playful verse.
The one adorns the grave of “Neptune,” Sir John Throckmorton’s pointer;
the other is the monument of “Fop,” his lady’s favourite spaniel. I
hailed this memorial of “Lady Frog’s” pet; but was far more moved to
descry, before long, at the end of a flowery alley, the antique bust of
Homer, which Cowper so greatly valued, and to which he gave a Greek
inscription, which Hayley was proud to do into English:—

        “The sculptor? Nameless though once dear to fame;
         But this man bears an everlasting name.”

Here, then, that “stricken deer that left the herd,” was led to a sweet
covert at last, and went in and out, and found pasture, under the
guidance of one “who had himself been hurt by the archers.” With what
enchantment these haunts of hallowed genius inspired me! And yet never
felt I so melancholy before. The utter loneliness of the scene; the fact
that they who had bestowed its charm, were all, long ago, dead; and then
that painful reality—everything else there, as it should be; the Task,
no poem, but a verity, and before my eyes; but Cowper, Hayley, Austen,
Hesketh, all gone forever; these thoughts were oppressive. I sat down,
and almost wept, as I repeated the names of those who were so “lovely
and pleasant in their lives,” and who now are undivided in death! It was
an hour of deeper feeling than I had realized before, at any shrine of
departed genius, in England.

I went to the house, and rejoiced in the comfort it must have afforded
Cowper, in his latter days. It is neat and comfortable, and the village
is a pretty one, trim and thrifty in its look, and sufficiently
poetical. It has “an air of snug concealment,” which must have been most
congenial to its gifted inhabitant, and it was not unsuited to his
fondness for receiving his friends as guests. I went into the poet’s
chamber, and also into that which Lady Hesketh used to occupy. In the
former, there is a sad autograph of the poet, in lead-pencil, behind a
window-shutter. The window had been walled up, and only lately
re-opened, when the pencilling was found. It is one of the poet’s last
performances—an adieu to Weston, written there, as he left it

        “Farewell dear scenes forever closed to me,
         O for what sorrows must I now exchange ye!”

No wonder he lamented a departure from such a retreat, into nearer
proximity to the bad world. Walking in the park, beneath its avenue of
ancient limes, I envied the nibbling flocks that were straying about,
and the cattle that were reclining in their shade. So peaceful! If life
were given us for ignoble devotion to self, I know of nothing within
reach of a clergyman’s humble fortune to which I should more ardently
aspire, than such an abode as Weston, where a golden mean between what
is common and what is poetical in scenery, and situation, still offers
every inducement to a man of taste to settle down, and live contentedly;
or, like Walton, “to serve God, and go a fishing.”

On returning to London, I was rejoiced to meet an old and intimate
friend, from America, whose genius has given him distinction, at home
and abroad—Mr. Huntington, the artist. With him I, once more, visited
the Crystal Palace, and enjoyed the benefit of his criticisms in
surveying the works of art, there displayed. We were interested to
observe a constant group of admiring spectators hanging around the Greek
Slave, of our countryman, Mr. Powers. Other nude figures, although many
of them were far better calculated to appeal to coarse curiosity, were
comparatively neglected, so that we could not but consider the amount of
interest which this work secured, a proof of something superior, in its
character. I own that, for my own part, I do not like it. The subject is
a sensual one, and does not appeal to any lofty sentiment. Beauty in
chains, and exposed in the shambles, is a loathesome idea, at best.

I went with Mr. Huntington to the rooms of the British Institution, in
Pall-Mall, where is a fine collection of paintings, by British and
foreign masters. It was a great advantage to me to be prepared by the
hints of so eminent an artist, for my continental tour, and often, in
the galleries of Italy, I had occasion to thank my friend for enabling
me to appreciate many things which would, otherwise, have escaped me. At
the exhibition of water-coloured paintings, I was astonished, by the
rich collection, and the exceeding beauty of many of the pictures. The
fruit, and flower pieces, of Hunt, were almost miracles. He paints a
bird’s nest, with the eggs, and every straw, so perfect, that the bird
would infallibly attempt to sit in it, and he contrives to bestow it in
a hedge of hawthorn, so green and white, and so entirely natural, that
you would not think of taking the nest, without making up your mind to
be sorely scratched. It would make May-morning of a winter-day, to have
a few such paintings to look at, and no one who loves nature could ever
be tired of them.

The weather was as hot, at this time, in London, as it is ordinarily, at
the same season, in Baltimore or New-York. It was the middle of August,
and the moon being near the full, the nights were very beautiful; and I
observed it the more, because neither sun nor moon have much credit for
making London attractive. Late at night, I could see the Wellington
statue almost as distinctly from the Marble arch, as at Hyde-park
corner, and the scenery of the Park, by moonlight, was enchanting. When
shall we have such parks in all our large towns?

Next day, with Huntington, and Gray, both of our National Academy, I
went out to Greenwich Hospital, to survey the place, and to enjoy a
parting white-bait dinner. We went down in a steamer, enjoying the
excursion the more for our comparisons of all we saw with the Bay of
New-York, and the Hudson. It was pleasant, now and then, to discern an
American vessel, and to know her at once, by her graceful form, amid a
forest of masts.

Greenwich is the great _outside_ park of London, the resort of thousands
of her pleasure-seekers, of the humble class. The Royal Observatory
stands on a commanding eminence, and the slope of its hill towards the
river, is the favourite sporting place of mammas and children. As a
prime meridian, however, I always regret that it is not deposed, by the
religion of England, which ought to take the lead in making Jerusalem
the starting point for all Christian reckonings. The wings of the
morning should rise every day, from the Holy Sepulchre, and there
evening should come down to brood, with everything to make it the first,
and the last place, in the minds and hearts of a ransomed world.

Greenwich Hospital is, indeed, a palace of the poor. On the terrace,
between its wings, one cannot but be impressed with a sense of the
greatness of a nation which thus lodges the humblest of its worn-out
defenders. The old pensioners, hobbling about, in their blue uniforms,
and cocked-hats, move your profound respect. Their wounds, and battered
visages, seem to speak of storm and shipwreck, and of shell and
broadsides, in every climate under heaven. They can tell wonderful
things of Nelson and of Collingwood; and all seem to address you, like
Burns’ hero, with the tale,

        “How they served out their trade
         When the Moro low was laid,
                 At the sound of the drum.”

In “the Painted Hall,” which is full of pictures of naval battles, one
sees how terribly their pensions have been earned. There, too, is shown
the coat worn by Nelson, when he fell, and it is stained with his blood.
It was a comfort to turn from this temple of the Maritime Mars, to that
of the Prince of Peace. The old sailors have a superb chapel,
elaborately adorned, and furnished with an altar-piece, by West, “the
shipwreck of St. Paul.” From a little book which I picked up in Paris,
written by a Frenchman, and a Romanist, I gather that the service, in
such places, in England, is very impressive, and that the contrast, in
France, is not in favour of the Romish religion. He describes the
chaunting, and apparent devotion of the soldiers, as very striking; and
he seems to have been especially struck with their responses to the Ten
Commandments. He adds—“all that would make us laugh in France:” and he
goes on to say—“if it be answered that our soldiers are at liberty to
go to mass, I reply, that’s true; but for all that, a young conscript,
religiously educated at home, would be ridiculed so unsparingly for
continuing in his pious habits, that he could not long resist the bad
examples of his comrades.” At Greenwich, the Bible and Prayer-book are
the constant companions of many an old salt; and bad as all armies and
navies must be, I could not but think that there is a great advantage,
in the _morale_, of Chelsea and Greenwich, as compared with the

We adjourned to our _White-bait_—a fish, according to the same French
authority, most delicate and delicious, and to be eaten only at
Greenwich, because it is necessary to transfer them, instantly, from the
water to the frying-pan, and thence to the plate, and because they are
fished only in the Thames. I fully agree with Monsieur, as to the
attractions of the _plat_, especially when enjoyed in good company. The
dinner ended, my friends accompanied me to the Southwark station, at
London, where I had all things in readiness for a start: and bidding
them a warm farewell, I reached Dover in a few hours, and soon embarked
for Ostend. The sea was calm, and heaving in long, broad, glittering
swells; and as the chalky cliffs of Dover, gleaming in the cloudless
moonlight, gradually sank in the distance, I felt that no native Briton
ever waved a more affectionate salute to the bright isle, than that with
which I said _good-night_ to Albion.

                             CHAPTER XXXV.


It was four months later than the incidents of my last chapter, when
after a tour on the Continent, I found myself safely landed at Dover, in
the gray dawn of a winter’s morning. I had left Paris, in all the
frightful confusion consequent upon the _coup d’état_ of Louis Napoleon.
In touching, once more, the free and happy soil of England, if I could
not say—“This is my own, my native land,” I could yet feel that it was
the sacred land of my religion, of my parentage, and of my mother
tongue. I was, once more, at home, and ceased to feel myself a
foreigner, as I had done in France and Italy. How good and honest,
sounded again in my ears, the language of Englishmen! As “bearer of
despatches” from Paris, to our ambassador at London, I was landed with
the advantage of precedence, and very rapidly passed through the
custom-house. The state of things in France, and the feverish anxiety,
in England, to learn the changes of every hour, invested my trifling
diplomatic dignity with a momentary importance, strikingly diverse from
its insignificance at other times: and I was amused to see how much
curiosity was felt by the officials as to the mighty communications
which might be going up to London in my portmanteau. Even an old salt,
as I stepped ashore, could not forbear accosting me with—“Any news this
morning, yer honour?” ‘Bad news,’ said I, ‘the Frenchmen are going to
have a bloody day of it; be thankful you are an Englishman.’ “So I am,
your honour,” was his hearty, and most honest reply.

I had been travelling in Southern Europe, where, to borrow a thought of
Dr. Arnold’s, no one can be sure that anything is real, which he seems
to see: where _Savans_ are not scholars—where captains are not
soldiers—nor judges lawyers—where noblemen are not men of
honour—where priests are not pure—nor wives and matrons chaste. I was,
again, in the land of facts, a land deeply involved, indeed, in the sins
and miseries of a fallen world; but still a land, where, for centuries,
everything has been steadily advancing towards a high realization of
human capabilities, alike in the physical, and mental, and moral of
man’s nature. I was once more in a land where it is base to lie; where
domestic purity and piety find their noblest illustrations, whether in
palaces or cottages; and where not even luxury and pride have been able
to vitiate the general conviction of all classes, that righteousness
alone exalteth a nation, and that sin is a reproach to any people.

On arriving in London, my very first employment was to visit the tomb of
the holy Bishop Andrewes, at St. Mary’s, Southwark. The prelate is
represented, at full length, stretched upon his sepulchre, and right
dear it was, after long tarrying amid the monuments of popes and
cardinals, to behold, once more, that of an honest and true man, and a
saint of God, who, in his day and generation, was “a burning and a
shining light.” The tomb of the exemplary and amiable poet Gower, is
also in this Church, and has often been described.

Attending Evening Service at Westminster Abbey, on the following Sunday,
I was so much struck with the effect produced by the light of candles,
in the choir, that it seemed to me, I had never before fully felt the
wonderful impressiveness of that Church, nor even of the church service.
The surpliced singers, ranged in their stalls—the many faces of the
worshippers—and the lofty arches of the sombre architecture received a
new aspect, from the mingled light and shade, and the tones of worship
were imbued, by association, with something strange and solemn. Deep
under the vaultings lay the shadows, and here and there shone out a
marble figure, or glimmered a clustered column. When the organ sent its
tremulous tide far down the nave, it seemed to come back in echoes, like
the waves of the sea—the more effective, because of the distance
through which it had stretched and rolled the surge of sound; and when
the responsive _Amens_ rose, one after the other, from the voices of the
singers, plaintively interrupting the petitions, and marking the
impressive stillness of the intervals between, which were filled only
with the low monotone of prayer, then I felt how amiable are the temples
of the Lord of Hosts, and how fair a resemblance of that temple not made
with hands, where they rest not, day nor night, from their hymns, and
responsive praises. By the sides of the altar fared two immense wax
lights, giving a fine effect to the sanctuary. After the Second Lesson,
the preacher, Canon C——, ascended the pulpit, in his surplice, and
preached the sermon; after which, the Evening Prayer continued, as after
a baptism, the choir taking up the _Nunc dimittis_, followed by the
creed, the collects, the anthem, and the prayers, while the organ
thundered through the lengths and heights of the abbey. I joined the
throng which passed down the nave, and looking back again and again, I
received such powerful impressions of the sublimity of the place, as had
been wholly wanting to the effect by daylight, as experienced on former
occasions. One parting look through the western door, through the dimly
illuminated perspective, and then I turned slowly and thoughtfully away.
On the preceding Sunday, I had left the cathedral service, at Rouen, in
circumstances precisely similar, and my mind naturally fell into a
comparative train of thought. There was a great similarity in the
effects produced on the senses by the two services. A stranger to the
Latin and English languages, would have failed to note any marked
difference between them. He would have recognized the Catholic unities
of the two rites, and would have failed to observe their diversities,
papal and reformed. The French sermon had been vastly better than the
English one: the former was preached by an orator, the latter by a
spiritless and formal favourite of Lord John Russell. Yet, between the
two solemnities, in their entire effect, the disparity was greatly in
favour of the English service, which was audibly and reverently
performed, while the other was mumbled, and not understood by the
congregation. I felt that the Church of England was strong, if compared
with that of France, in her heritage of Catholic and Apostolic truth, as
distinguished from the systematic falsehoods, which have made the
religion of the other, a mere fable, in the general estimation of the
French people.

At a later hour, the same evening, it was my lot to preach in St.
Bartholomew’s, Moor-lane, in the pulpit once filled by the worthy
Archbishop Sharpe. The incumbent of this Church had lately discovered at
Sion College a collection of papers and books once belonging to the
saintly Bishop Wilson; and he placed in my hands, for that evening, the
original _Sacra Privata_ of that holy and venerable prelate. I could not
but think how much we may owe it to his prayers, that the Church of
England is now what she is, as compared with what she was in his day;
and, in preaching, I took great delight in paying a parting tribute to
that Church, as compared with the churches of the continent.

I am convinced that the debt which England and the world owe to the
Anglican Reformers of the sixteenth century, has never been properly
appreciated. Like the air which we breathe, but do not perceive, the
spirit with which they have invested the religion of England, is that of
life and health. They banished nothing but the fogs and noxious
exhalations of the middle ages; and, as the result, we find England hale
and hearty, and bearing more fruit in her age, while the churches which
allowed the Tridentine vapours to become their atmosphere, are perishing
in the agues and fevers of a long and ghastly decline. Look at Spain and

And I cannot forbear, in conclusion, to remark, that when American
travellers go to England, and copy the false statistics of some infidel
almanac, to justify their railings against the National Church, they are
about as wise as John Bull is, when he takes the statistics of our
(immigrant) pauperism and crime, as a test of the true state of American
society. It is true that there are great abuses connected with the
establishment; and it is also true that they are deplored by no class of
Englishmen, half so much as they are by the true churchman. If the
Church could be left to herself, they would be immediately reformed; but
the very creatures who rail at her, because of them, are they who refuse
to give her the freedom which she claims, and who do the most to enslave
her to the State power. I am no friend to that power in the Church of
God; but they who prate against the church, because of her misfortunes,
deserve the rebuke of all thinking men, whose knowledge of history, and
of the existing state of the world, enables them to compare what has
been done for England, by that church, even in her fetters, with what
all other religions put together have done for the residue of the world.
When we reflect upon the three great achievements of that Church for
English liberty—the Reformation, the Restoration of the Constitution
and Monarchy, and the repudiation of the Popish Stuarts, we may well
afford to laugh at such sneers as a Macaulay endeavours to raise against
her, on the ground of blemishes with which his own reckless and
treacherous political allies have deformed and afflicted her. And when
we attempt to estimate the blessings she has diffused through the whole
Anglo-Saxon people, and by them through the world, who can refrain from
blessing the dear Church which has placed the English Bible in every
cottage, and which, for three centuries, has read the _Ten
Commandments_, every Lord’s day, in the ears of millions of the people?
It is only when we think of what that Church has done, in spite of the
golden chains which fetter her, and in spite of the political miscreants
who have always hung like hounds upon her heels and hands, that we can
rightly estimate her strong vitality, and her vast beneficence.

And let it be remembered, too, that all that is good among English
dissenters, is sucked from the Church, as the parasite derives its
nourishment from the oak. The dissenters are mainly the small-tradesmen
of England, a people intelligent enough to perceive the faults of their
hereditary religion, but not generally enlightened enough to know its
value and its services to themselves. They are like the Dutch boors, who
thought the sun did no good among the Flemings, because they saw it so
seldom, and who concluded that daylight came from the clouds, which were
always visible. Whoever will take the pains to contrast the dissenters
of England with those of Germany, will learn how much even they derive
from the Church, against which they so ignorantly rail.

I desire to speak with great respect of many of the dissenters of
England, who, like their estimable Doddridge, are such by the force of
circumstances only, while they love and revere the Church of the nation;
but I have known even American Presbyterians to experience the greatest
revulsion of feeling against the mass of English dissenters, after
actual contact with their coarse and semi-political religionism. I was
not less surprised than gratified, moreover, to observe very lately, in
a widely circulated American newspaper, edited by eminent Presbyterians,
a full vindication of the Church of England from the odious and false
views current among us in America, with respect to the system of tithes.
The writer was himself an English or Irish dissenter, and he frankly
asserted the fact, that in paying his tithes, he suffered no wrong, and
contributed nothing to the establishment, which did not belong to her.
“In short,” said he, “the Church owns one-tenth of my rent, and I am
quite as willing to pay it to her, as to pay the nine-tenths to my other
landlord.” The nine-tenths might go to a popish priest; but does he who
pays it contribute to uphold Popery? No more than one who hires his
house of a play-actor, supports the stage.

But although the decline of dissent, in England, is universally
admitted, it is generally imagined that Popery is growing. So it is if
the immigration from Ireland, of thousands of _navvies_, who have built
Romish chapels and convents, out of their earnings on the railways, be
the basis of the remark. But nothing was ever more over-rated than the
late Apostacy, which is the fruit of a mere personal influence, over a
few young men at Oxford, gained by one brilliant sophist, and
perniciously directed by him towards ultramontane Romanism. It has spent
itself already in a spasmodic revolt against common sense, which is
breeding a reaction towards rationalism: but the Church of England is as
much in danger from Irvingism as from Newmanism; and Wesleyanism was
vastly more energetic against her than either. The chagrin and
disappointment of Mr. Newman himself is most apparent. After numbering
the “educated men” whom he had involved in his own downfall as _a
hundred_, he confesses that their defection from the Church has scarcely
been felt by her. “The huge creature from which they went forth,” he
says, “showed no consciousness of its loss, but _shook itself, and went
about its work as of old time_.” Yes, but with a newer and mightier
energy than ever before, and that in both hemispheres. The unhappy man
seems to have imagined that by getting into a balloon, he could kick the
earth from its orbit: but the planet still revolves around the sun,
while he dangles in the air, lost in the brilliant clouds of his own
imaginations, and fancying his petty elevation as sublime as her pathway
through the skies.

In the same manner, the Dublin reviewers are continually deploring their
powerless expenditure of vast resources against the religion of England,
which stands in its fortress of Scriptural truth, more impregnable than
Gibraltar. Let the reader reflect, for a minute, on the essential
characteristic of the Anglican Reformation, as it began under Wycliff,
in a _translation of the Scriptures_, and then weigh the importance of
the following citation from a Romish periodical.

“Who will not say,” says the _Dublin Review_, “that the uncommon beauty
and marvellous English of the Bible is not one of the great strongholds
of heresy in this country. It lives on the ear like a music that can
never be forgotten, like the sound of the church-bell, _which the
convert hardly knows how he can forego_. Its felicities often seem to be
almost things rather than mere words. It is part of the national mind,
and the anchor of national seriousness. The memory of the dead passes
into it. The potent traditions of childhood are stereotyped in its
verses. The power of all the gifts and trials of a man is hidden beneath
its words. It is the representative of his best moments, and all that
there has been about him of soft, and gentle, and pure, and penitent,
and good, speaks to him forever out of the English Bible. It is his
sacred thing, which doubt has never dimmed, and controversy never
soiled. In the length and breadth of the land, there is not a Protestant
with one spark of righteousness about him, whose spiritual biography is
not in his Saxon Bible.”

Action and reaction are always equal; and it is my own opinion that the
hand of God is visible in the permission of the late scandals, and their
sequel will demonstrate that He has been infusing into modern Romanism a
spirit which will blow it to atoms. Among the beardless boys, who have
swelled the numerical strength of the apostacy, there are some prodigals
who will yet come to themselves, and remember their father’s house with
penitent tears: and as to their leaders, the ex-Jesuit Steinmetz in his
narrative of a residence at Stoneyhurst, introduces the following
striking view of the case, which sustains my own impressions. “Though
the men of Rome,” he says, “exult in this reaction (as they call it)
which is making Oscott a _refugium peccatorum_, perhaps from among the
very men whose captive chains clank in their triumphal thanksgiving,
there will be shot the _lethalis arundo_, the deadly arrow that will
pierce and cling to the side of their mother church in the appointed
time. It is not children that they are receiving; but full-grown men,
accustomed most pertinaciously to think for themselves. They began with
being reformers, and it must be confessed with some of the boldness of
reformers. Will they be content to change their skins? To become sheep,
from having been, as it were, wolves? To smother the cunning and the
clever thought, which seems so flattering to one’s own vanity, in the
cold, dead ashes of papal infallibility? _We shall see._” This is
reasonable, and consoling. We may not live to see it; but a rebellion
against Truth must have its rebound, and Church and State will be
stronger for such rebellions in the end.

If then, the decline of English arts and arms be near, of which I am by
no means as confident as some, it will be a very slow decline, and
coincident with a new glory, and a brighter one, than England yet has
known. Instead of armies, she is now sending forth soldiers of the
Prince of Peace. She has discovered that it is cheaper and wiser to
sustain missionaries than bayonets. The era of her greatest work is
before her. She is to become the nursing mother of nations, and in her
language, the sound of the Gospel is to go forth into all lands, and
unto the end of the world. Hers is the deposit of the faith once
delivered to the saints. The Roman Churches have divorced themselves
from the promises, and in the Catholicity of England chiefly is
fulfilled the promise of Christ, to be always with His own Apostolic
commission, even to the end of the world. At the same time, there is a
moral life in English society, which must long salt the State, and
preserve it from decay. I appeal to the common sense of Christian men,
and I ask, in what other country under heaven is there such a mass of
domestic and social purity? Where else is there so large a benevolence,
so masculine a religion, so enlightened a conscience, among any people?
England has her shame as well as her glory; she is part and parcel of a
sinful world; but her light is not hid under a bushel: and if the hope
of the world be not in her candle, I am at a loss to know where to find
encouragement as a Christian, that the Gospel is to become universal. I
believe, indeed, that my own country is to share, with her, this
magnificent career of peaceful conquest. We are bone of her bone, and
flesh of her flesh: but I believe, also, that before we can heal the
nations, we must first heal ourselves of the wretched religious anarchy
which is the bane of our education, our society, and our National

After lingering for a few days in the society of my friends, in London
and Oxford, I was, once more, for a short time, the guest of the friend
to whom this memorial is inscribed, and met at his table, again, the
venerable Vicar, who was one of the first to welcome me to England. To
part with such friends, and their families, perhaps forever, was only to
become aware how deeply I had entwined with theirs, my brotherly
feelings and Christian regards. But I had been long enough enjoying
myself amid the scenes and friendships which even our holy religion,
while it alone can produce them, forbids to our self-indulgence, in a
world where every Christian is called to the work of a missionary. Much
as I longed to mingle in the delights of an English Christmas, I felt
the call of duty, and the blessedness of giving as greater than that of
receiving. My own parishioners expected to see me at the altar, on the
approaching feast, and my heart warmed towards them, as deserving my
best endeavours to gratify their reasonable wishes. Thanks, under God,
to the good steamer Baltic, and its skillful commander, I escaped the
perils of a wintry sea, and on Christmas-eve, was restored to my flock,
and family, in Hartford. On the following day, as I celebrated the Holy
Eucharist, I trust it was not without befitting gratitude to God, nor
without a new and profound sense of the blessings we owe to him, whose
Gospel is the spirit of “peace on earth, and of good-will to men.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

                           DANA AND COMPANY,

                      No. 381 BROADWAY, NEW YORK,

                 (_Sign of the Imperial Folio Bible_),

                             HAVE FOR SALE—

                            The Holy Bible,
                     _Oxford University Editions_.

They have just published:—

                       _Two Superior Editions of_

                       The Book of Common Prayer,

                            16mo. and 24mo.

Styles and Prices as follows:—


      (1) Turkey Morocco, super extra,   gilt edges      $   2.50
          antique or flexible,
      (2) The same with clasp                                3.00
      (3) Turkey Morocco, (Second Style) gilt edges          1.75
      (4) The same with clasp                                2.25
      (5) French Morocco                 gilt edges          1.25
      (6) Roan                           gilt edges          1.12
      (7) Roan                           red edges           1.00
      (8) Roan                           marble edges          88


      (1) Turkey Morocco, super extra,   gilt edges      $   2.00
          antique or flexible,
      (2) The same with clasp                                2.50
      (3) Turkey Morocco, (Second Style) gilt edges          1.25
      (4) The same with clasp                                1.75
      (5) French Morocco                 gilt edges          1.00
      (6) Roan                           gilt edges            80
      (7) Roan                           red edges             75
      (8) Roan                           marble edges          63

These Editions are printed in a superior manner, and excel other
editions, of same general style, in the size of type of the Psalms and

                 *        *        *        *        *

UNISON OF THE LITURGY. _From Advent to Ash-Wednesday._ By Archer
Gifford, A. M. _12mo. 328 pages._

_Price_, $1.00.

    It is pleasing to see a mind which has been long given to the
    duties of a severe profession, turning thus for relief and
    diversion into the brighter field of theological literature. Mr.
    Gifford has already gained a distinction in New Jersey by
    several legal works, which have had the patronage of our
    Legislature, and now we have another volume from his pen,
    intended, as it were, for a dutiful offering to his Church.

    The design of the work is to unfold and illustrate the more
    profound and unapparent excellencies of that most elaborate of
    all productions, the Episcopal Liturgy. Although there may be a
    difference of opinion as to the utility of this manual of
    devotional formularies, yet no one can fail to admire it as an
    æsthetical composition. The manner in which it has been arranged
    and ordered is most strikingly beautiful. It is a frame filled
    with moveable pieces. On no two occasions of its use does it
    appear exactly alike, but constantly assumes new combinations
    with the progressive sentiment of the ecclesiastical year. These
    ever changing portions within this unalterable framework are
    wholly of a Scriptural character. For every Sunday, two chapters
    are selected from the Old Testament, and two from the New,
    called the “Lessons;” and two brief passages, chosen for their
    weighty and emphatic import, called the “Epistle” and the
    “Gospel,” are appropriately prefixed by a comprehensive and
    leading prayer, whose substance has been gathered out of them,
    called the “Collect.” But this is not merely a superficial
    arrangement: an aim and a principle underlies it all. Every
    Sunday and Holy-day has an especial subject assigned to it,
    either doctrinal or preceptive, which runs through and dictates
    all these variations of the Service. Thus in every week the
    Scriptures are made, by these manifold citations from them, to
    cluster around some central thought and flash their light upon

    It is this which has furnished the design of Mr. Gifford’s book.
    The Prayer-Book has had many commentators, all of whom have
    alluded to the nearly-inspired wisdom of those who put it
    together. The further they penetrate it the more they seem to
    discover the long-forgotten ideal and matured plan out of which
    it grew. The remarkable fact of an intentional unison of its
    apparently diverse parts, has only been partially observed, and
    it has been left to Mr. Gifford to discover and prove in every
    case the beautiful appositeness of all to one nucleus idea.
    This, under the heading of each Sunday, he distinctly sets
    forth, and then traces its radiations first through the Collect,
    then through the Epistle, then through the Gospel, then through
    all the Lessons, to its remoter scintillations in the Catechism
    and the Articles of Religion.

    Such is the fine conception around which the above work has
    grown. The service of each Sunday is analyzed and outlined—all
    the information that could be compressed into a small space is
    given, and a rich variety of association instantly suggested to
    the devout worshipper. Probably no one could have been found
    better fitted for such a task than Mr. Gifford, and his
    cultivated taste and wide range of study have been now so
    successfully called into requisition that we find here the
    thoughts and beauties of many different writers blended about
    his own design in a many-hued mosaic.

    It is at once a noble eulogy upon the Liturgy, and a practical
    standard guide to its use. In this latter, its real purpose, it
    most admirably succeeds. The moral or spirit of each day being
    fully set forth, the attention is sustained and devotion
    quickened by the new colors and the defined interest thus thrown
    over the Service as it proceeds. A Liturgy is liable to abuse if
    people may go blindly and desultorily through it, but here the
    clue of every recurring service is seized and industriously
    pursued for them. One prominent topic is seen to draw its line
    of light round all its parts, and bind them together as with a
    girdle of gold.

    We have been glad to devote more than usual space to the notice
    of this work, because it is the production of one of our
    townsmen. A few specimen pages appeared about a year ago, which
    received the approbation of many of the most distinguished men
    in the Episcopal Church, and the author, thus encouraged, has
    put forth the present handsome volume, designing to follow it by
    another, thus completing the circle of the year.

                                         _Newark Daily Advertiser_

    The work will do good in two ways: first, by furnishing valuable
    practical matter for private reading and instruction; and
    secondly, by dissipating the mist which some writers have
    conjured up, in their efforts to show that the Prayer Book was a
    piece of patch-work, with an Arminian or a Popish Liturgy, and
    Calvinistic Articles; than which, no fancy could be more foolish
    or futile.


                 *        *        *        *        *

SERMONS FOR THE TIMES. By the Rev. Charles Kingsley, Author of “_Village
Sermons_,” “_Alton Locke_,” _etc._ _12mo., 360 pages._

_Price, 75 cents._

    These Sermons are Kingsley all over; deep, daring, dashing
    penetrating; vigorous.  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
    *   *   *   *   * It strikes us as being a kind of preaching
    that we want just now—that it is indeed preaching “for the
    times;” in character with the times, and, therefore, adapted for
    the times: yet, not in any spirit of compromise with the world
    therein, but rather combating the spirit of the world with the
    Spirit of Christ, in a matter-of-fact way. We think, therefore,
    that the Clergy may find some useful hints in the pages of this
    volume, while the Laity may peruse them with practical


    These are remarkable Sermons, as were those of his former
    volume. They are models of a plain and direct style; sparkling
    with forcible allusions and applications. They illustrate the
    teaching of our Catechism to a considerable extent, and often in
    the happiest manner, regarding it as a symbol of Catholic truth.
    They are worth reading for their power and demonstrations of
    most important doctrines, little heeded in these times, when the
    Puritan and Sectarian spirit seeks to prevail.

                                            _Banner of the Cross._

    This is a reprint of one of the most characteristic, if not one
    of the most extraordinary volumes of the day, which no one can
    read without interest, and few without profit. There is
    something striking, not to say startling, about everything the
    author says; and yet the language is so simple and appropriate,
    as to be perfectly intelligible to every one.


    A capital volume it is—his style seems to gain in directness,
    crispness, vigor, and momentum, as he grows older. It is as
    clear as English can be made. A healthy common sense rules
    throughout * * * * * * In our day when muddy heads do so greatly
    abound, a volume of such sturdy, pungent, powerful and
    illuminating Saxon, is of the highest worth.

                                                 _Church Journal._

    They are incomparable Sermons for _Lay_-reading.

                 *        *        *        *        *

SERMONS FOR THE TIMES. By the Rev. Charles Kingsley, _Author of_
“_Village Sermons_,” “_Alton Locke_,” _etc._ _12mo., 360 pages._

_Price, 75 cents._

    These sermons abound in striking thoughts, presented with
    remarkable clearness and simplicity.

                                              _Christian Witness._

    * * * * With all the faults of these sermons, we should like to
    see them in the hands of our evangelical clergy. * * *

                                             _Southern Churchman._

    These sermons were written by the same pen that wrote “Alton
    Locke,” and “Yeast.” It has been said that the author is only a
    baptised infidel, and that he desecrates his pulpit and his
    clerical character to the unhallowed purpose of promulgating a
    skepticism, whose only redeeming feature is that it is
    ill-concealed. These “Sermons for the Times” make an entirely
    different impression on us. They seem to us to be the heart
    utterances of one whose views are on some points, indeed, a
    little peculiar, but who holds, with a clear intelligence and
    lively faith, the great truths of the Gospel of Christ. If
    Infidelity can sincerely preach and practice the doctrines with
    which this volume is rife, we think it will be doing as much to
    convert the world to true religion as some religionists we wot
    of, whose strength is so exhausted in proving other folks
    heretics, that they have little left to make themselves or the
    world the servants of God. To such, and to all, we commend the
    “Sermons for the Times.” They will do all good.

                                                    _Ohio Farmer._

    This second volume of sermons by Mr. Kingsley contains the
    earnest words of an English clergyman upon the evils of the
    times. They are addressed to the hearers of a country parish
    church, in plain, honest Saxon, enforcing the Church Catechism
    and rebuking the selfishness, dishonesty, irreverence,
    profligacy and godlessness of the day. In quaint,
    straightforward simplicity, they remind us of the services of
    the good Hugh Latimer, of blessed memory.

                                            _Rome Daily Sentinel._

    The discourses are remarkable for their simplicity, yet they
    evince rare intellectual power, and each page gives evidence of
    the genius of the author.

                                      _Boston Evening Transcript._

    They are so practical and sensible that they will be read with
    profit and pleasure by all persons who are seekers after truth.

                                        _Boston Daily Advertiser._

                 *        *        *        *        *

OUR CHURCH MUSIC.—_A Book for Pastors and People._ By Richard Storrs
Willis. _12mo., 138 pages._

_Price, 50 cents._

    The Church has a good right to look to Mr. Richard S. Willis, as
    being, perhaps, of all our youthful native musicians, the one of
    whom she may expect the most true hearted and efficient service.
    His training, however scientific, has not been that which would
    qualify him the most readily for usefulness in this field: but
    there is an earnest devotion of spirit, a reaching forth after
    the deep and the true, a growing strength and manliness,
    exercised and made firm by a steady industry, which promise the
    best results. He has just issued a neat little volume on _Our
    Church Music, a Book for Pastors and People_, which is the best
    and most thoughtful practical essay that has for a long time
    appeared among us.

                                                 _Church Journal._

    Were it not for the copyright on this admirable book, we should
    be compelled to transfer large portions of it to our pages. As
    it is, we hope to give, hereafter, some specimens of it, and in
    the mean time, cordially recommend it for its interest and the
    usefulness of its suggestions.

                                             _Episcopal Recorder._

    Many of the articles collected in this pleasant and thoughtful
    volume have been already published in our columns; and we are
    glad to know that they have attracted that attention among our
    readers which they deserve. The series is now completed, by the
    addition of others, not so well adapted to a journal like this,
    because requiring diagrams, etc., to illustrate them, but
    harmonious with those in tone and teaching, and equally rich in
    useful suggestions. Mr. Willis has brought the finest musical
    cultivation of Europe to assist him in his task, but has never
    allowed his artistic taste and knowledge to overlay and smother
    his native good sense, or his instinctive perception of what is
    demanded in true church music. We have found his writings on
    this subject instructive and quickening; the more so, perhaps,
    because our own half-formed thoughts have often been brought
    back to us by him, more fully and clearly expressed than they
    had been to ourselves, and clothed with the authority that
    belongs to one who is so rapidly becoming a recognised Master in
    his chosen department.


                 *        *        *        *        *

OUR CHURCH MUSIC.—_A Book for Pastors and People._ By Richard Storrs
Willis. _12mo., 138 pages._

_Price, 50 cents._

    Mr. Willis in this work considers church music mainly as a part
    of worship, which is its true and original design, and not as a
    mere entertainment interposed between the graver offices of
    devotion and instruction. He points out the objections to the
    common modes of conducting church music, stating them with a
    good deal of force and vivacity. * * * * Mr. Willis thinks that
    to make our music what it ought to be, “we need to simplify the
    congregational style and amplify the choir style.” He gives some
    practical suggestions, well worthy of consideration, respecting
    the singing of children in churches, the position of the choir
    and organ, the importance of clergymen possessing some knowledge
    of music as an art, and the training of the youth of a
    congregation in singing. In a second part of his treatise, Mr.
    Willis considers what subjects are proper for hymns, the
    adaptation of hymns to music, the treatment of words, the
    expression given to them in singing, and the introduction of
    what he calls “secular efforts” in church music. His views on
    all these subjects bear witness to his fine taste and careful
    study of the subject. Mr. Willis has given to both the
    scientific and practical part of music the study of years, and
    is entitled to speak on the subject with a tone of decision.

                                          _New York Evening Post._

    The author is possessed of a profound scientific musical
    education, perfected in the best schools in Europe. Since his
    return home he has been engaged in editing the Musical World, a
    paper which has done more than all other publications together
    to diffuse and popularize a correct musical taste in this
    country. His journal is not confined, however, to musical
    criticism, but comprehends also every other branch of the Fine
    Arts, and is characterized by candid and intelligent exposition
    and elegant discussion. Mr. Willis has given much attention to
    _Church Music_, and the just views so ably and earnestly
    enforced in the Musical World, are beginning to produce a
    practical impression that exhibits itself extensively in
    improvements introduced into that department of public worship.
    These he has embodied into a volume bearing the title “Our
    Church Music: a book for Pastors and People.” It is full of
    interest to the pastor, the choir, and the congregation.

                                   _New York Journal of Commerce._

                 *        *        *        *        *

OUR CHURCH MUSIC.—_A Book for Pastors and People._ By Richard Storrs
Willis. _12mo. 138 pages._

_Price, 50 cents._

    A little work, designed—as the title page indicates—“for
    Pastors and People,” and one that may be advantageously studied
    by both. The author is most favorably known to our lettered and
    musical community, as editor of that excellent periodical, “_The
    Musical World_;” but he here takes his stand upon a broader
    basis. He does not treat of the choral arrangements generally
    prevalent in the tone or spirit of a Professor. He sinks the
    Art, of which he is a practised master, under the solemn claims
    of the dignity and hallowed purposes of Church worship, and
    plies his arguments for the benefit of congregations alone. He
    complains—and with reason—that in many of the American
    churches, the singing and chanting are just as much
    _performances_, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, as
    though auditors and singers were in a concert-room; and points
    out very simply and cogently how this evil has arisen, and how
    it may be modified, if not removed. Psalmody also comes in for
    an examination; and we must say we have been greatly struck with
    the combined boldness, delicacy, and religious sentiment,
    displayed by Mr. Willis, in handling a somewhat delicate
    theme—one in which many of the Clergy are averse to having
    outsiders meddle.—In short, this duodecimo of one hundred and
    thirty pages is an exceedingly suggestive little work; its
    common sense and practical view bringing it within the
    comprehension of non-professional readers. It has greatly
    interested us. May it be of use.


    A book this, full of common sense, and most happily adapted to
    the state of things in ten thousand places of worship in the
    United States. As we have turned over its pages we have
    exclaimed again and again, “How true! How well said! Would that
    everybody could read it!” The adoption of the suggestions made
    in this volume would work a speedy revolution in our Church
    music, transforming it from a mere professional display, into
    simple and beautiful, because heartfelt, worship. Let it then be
    widely circulated.

                                                    _Ohio Farmer._

    A glance over its chapter-headings will reveal to all interested
    in the subject of the volume, the richness of its themes. The
    manner of their discussion seems to us judicious and sensible,
    and almost wholly in the right direction. We do not accord with
    some of the criticisms of the work, but we certainly believe
    that its author is in advance of the world in his teachings, and
    that the study of his treatise must make our church music


                 *        *        *        *        *

HEART AND HOME TRUTHS.—By the Rev. R. Whittingham, Jr. _12mo., 188

_Price, 75 cents._

    _Heart and Home Truths_ is the modest title of a work, in which
    will be found much more than the average of deep thought, and
    true tender feeling. From the contemplation of the most familiar
    features of natural things, the nature of _Truth_ is beautifully
    illustrated, and the modes by which it is to be attained are
    shown to be in the closest analogy with the other works of Him,
    who hath composed in one Spirit, both the Book of Nature and the
    Book of Revelation. Its doctrinal tone is high and
    uncompromising, though altogether devoid of harshness; and the
    drapery of style is as rich with the embroidery of fancy and a
    glowing imagination, as the glorious face of nature itself can
    make it. This unpretending work will make a way for the Truth in
    the minds of many, upon whom a more didactic manner would be
    thrown away.

                                                 _Church Journal._

                 *        *        *        *        *

D.D., _Bishop of Vermont_. _In two vols. 12mo., 918 pages._

_Price, $2.00._

    The well-known work of the Romish Bishop, Milner, entitled,
    “_The End of Controversy_,” was recommended some years ago by
    the Romish Bishop Kenrick, to all our Bishops, as a book, the
    perusal of which would bring them into the Romish Church; a
    movement which he exhorted them to take soon, lest their
    _people_ should all go before them, and leave them alone. That
    work is still extensively circulated throughout all this
    country, and many earnest Protestants have long desired a work
    which might be a popular as well as a conclusive reply. This
    want is now supplied. Milner is plausible, ingenious, bold,
    unscrupulous, and withal _readable_. The difficulty has been
    hitherto, not to answer the book—for that has been done again
    and again—but to answer it in such a way as would enable them
    to meet the enemy upon his own ground. The well-known
    familiarity of the Bishop of Vermont with every phase of the
    Romish controversy, his thorough learning, clear reasoning, and
    brilliant and effective style, have all contributed to make this
    one of the most successful of his contributions to the cause of
    Truth. And the present position of the controversy with Rome,
    and the keenness with which public attention is aroused to meet
    her terrible aggressions, will give occasion for the circulation
    of works like this, which, without ever compromising or ignoring
    the truth still remaining in the midst of corruption, yet,
    throughout, maintains the most vigorous and triumphant
    opposition to the errors of Rome.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Mines. _12mo., 600 pages._

_Price, $1.25._

    This is now acknowledged to be the leading work in the
    Controversy between Episcopacy and Presbyterianism. It has
    already had a more extensive circulation than any other; and
    from the vigorous style of the author, his glowing and copious
    rhetoric, the popular ease with which he handles his subject,
    and the masterly skill with which he arranges his argument, so
    that the full force of every point shall, as it were, stare the
    reader in the face, there is small probability that this
    brilliant and standard work will ever be superseded.

                 *        *        *        *        *

DICTIONARY OF THE CHURCH.—By the Rev. William Staunton. _12mo., 474

_Price, $1.00._

    This is the original work, which has since been the model of
    others in England and elsewhere. In clearness of style, and
    fulness of detail as regards everything peculiar to the
    Protestant Episcopal Church in this country, it is altogether
    without a rival. It will aid many a Churchman to render a reason
    for the System of the Church; and, to those not of her
    Communion, it will explain fully everything which at first sight
    may appear to them strange or inappropriate.

                 *        *        *        *        *

THE PLAIN SONG OF THE CHURCH. _Recently Published. 16mo., 80 pages._

_Price, 38 cents._

    For congregational chanting, to be done in _unison_ by all those
    who can sing, the ancient _plain song_ of the Church is the only
    music which will ensure success. The real _Gregorians_ have been
    much talked of on this side of the water; but this is the
    _first_ and only work in which they have yet _appeared_. All
    other publications containing them, have so far modified or
    altered them, as to ruin their true effect. In simplicity and
    plasticity, in strength and dignity, and manly character, no
    other chants are to be compared with them. The above work
    includes all the Canticles of Morning and Evening Prayer,
    together with the occasional Anthems appointed for Easter Day,
    Thanksgiving, the Consecration of a Church, and the Institution
    of a Minister. It gives also the ancient notation for all the
    parts of the Service which may be performed chorally. The _canto
    fermo_ is in the ancient character; the accompaniment is in the
    modern notation.

                 *        *        *        *        *

MEN AND TIMES OF THE REVOLUTION; or, Memoirs of Elkanah Watson;
_Including Journals of Travels in Europe and America, from 1777 to 1842,
with his Correspondence with Public Men, and Reminiscences and Incidents
of the Revolution. Edited by his son_, Winslow C. Watson. _8vo., 460

_Price, $1.50._

    Mr Watson has contributed an interesting and valuable work to
    the literature of the Revolution. A worthy descendant of the
    Pilgrims, he traversed our country several times during the
    period of the War; and for about five years he travelled in
    England, France, Holland and Flanders, associating familiarly,
    at home and abroad, with statesmen, philosophers, and military
    men, a shrewd observer, diligently recording his observations
    and reflections.

                                             _Publisher’s Critic._

    “The American Merchant,” as we saw him in our boyhood at the
    Academy from the easel of the great American artist, Copley, the
    powder fresh on his hair, and the _shimmer_ of the velvet
    leaving us in doubt whether his coat was the handiwork of the
    painter or the tailor—the American Merchant, Elkanah Watson,
    lives still on the canvas of Copley, in colors that time has
    ripened, and not impaired; but all that is mortal of this man of
    Revolutionary times, has been gathered to his fathers; and his
    son, Winslow C. Watson, Esq., here presents us with a volume of
    reminiscences, whose only fault is its brevity.

                                                   _Evening Post._

    * * * * These posthumous papers will be universally welcomed by
    the public. They form an invaluable repository of facts and
    reflections, which will materially aid the researches of the
    biographer and the historian. Mr. Watson’s correspondence with
    public men, his familiar intercourse with the prominent
    characters of the Revolution, his observations in Europe at a
    time when the fortunes of America were trembling in the balance,
    exhibit in a new light the multitude of influences which, in the
    Old World and in the New, were brought to bear in favor of our
    independence, and finally led to its acknowledgment, first by
    France, Holland and Spain, and lastly by the mother country. *  *
    *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * But here we must leave this
    fascinating volume, not, however, without urging our readers to
    seek a further acquaintance with its pages.

                                        _New York Evening Mirror._

                 *        *        *        *        *

MEN AND TIMES OF THE REVOLUTION; or, Memoirs or Elkanah Watson;
_Including Journals of Travels in Europe and America, from 1777 to 1842,
with his Correspondence with Public Men, and Reminiscences and Incidents
of the Revolution. Edited by his son_, Winslow C. Watson. _8vo., 460

_Price, $1.50._

    The title-page of this volume indicates very justly its real
    character. The first seventy-five pages of the book are filled
    with exceedingly interesting reminiscences of Mr. Watson’s early
    life, including the minute details of his experience and
    observations in his travels on horseback from Connecticut to
    South Carolina and back, immediately after the commencement of
    the Revolutionary War. The following one hundred and sixty pages
    embrace a record of his experience and observation during a four
    years’ sojourn and travel in Europe, from 1779 to 1784; and the
    remaining two hundred and twenty pages are occupied with
    recollections pertaining to a multitude of places, incidents,
    and individuals, and with extracts from his correspondence with
    many persons of distinction in the past generation. The period
    through which the volume takes the reader, the rare
    opportunities afforded its author of acquiring a personal
    knowledge of its political history and the varied phases of its
    society, his quick and keen observation, and his constant habit
    of recording what he saw and heard, and his impressions in
    regard to men and events, render it not only an interesting and
    instructive volume, but an important acquisition to our sources
    of national history.

                                           _Protestant Churchman._

    This is an entertaining and instructive biography of a gentleman
    who was a leading American merchant during the Revolution.

                                             _Episcopal Recorder._

    * * * Few men had so long and varied an experience. More than
    half these memoirs is an autobiography; the remainder has been
    compiled from the manuscripts, correspondence, &c., of the
    deceased. The whole work is exceedingly entertaining, and will
    be of service to future historians.

                                    _N. Y. Commercial Advertiser._

    His travels, his extensive acquaintance with all sorts of
    people, extending up from the Revolution until a very recent
    period, make a volume of much more than ordinary interest.

                          _New Haven Morning Journal and Courier._

                 *        *        *        *        *

Transcriber’s note:

Hyphenation and archaic spellings have been retained as in the original.

Punctuation has been corrected without note. Other errors have been
corrected as noted below:

page xi, town—Litchfield Cathedral, ==> town—Lichfield Cathedral,
page 11, an ancient minister, ==> an ancient minster,
page 31, entered by Poet’s corner. ==> entered by Poets’ Corner.
page 32, objects in Poet’s Corner, ==> objects in Poets’ Corner,
page 33, the Dean’s ultilitarianism ==> the Dean’s utilitarianism
page 50, character of it scenery ==> character of its scenery
page 70, joys and sorows; ==> joys and sorrows;
page 118, busts in Poet’s corner, ==> busts in Poets’ Corner,
page 122, familiar to Shakspereans, ==> familiar to Shakspeareans,
page 123, visiting Hounsditch and Billingsgate, ==> visiting Houndsditch
  and Billingsgate,
page 140, manuscript of Cœdmon, ==> manuscript of Cædmon,
page 165, Mall and St. James’ street ==> Mall and St. James’s-street
page 166, down St. James’-street, and ==> down St. James’s-street, and
page 166, (as pourtrayed in his ==> (as portrayed in his
page 168, by Lord George Lenox ==> by Lord George Lennox
page 193, tine artificial cataract ==> fine artificial cataract
page 239, most pleasing representive ==> most pleasing representative
page 246, Hanoverians, surrending art ==> Hanoverians, surrendering art
page 259, towards the Solant ==> towards the Solent
page 276, yet, unless _Encœnia_ ==> yet, unless _Encænia_
page 288, St. Wilfrids’ needle ==> St. Wilfrid’s needle
page 304, enthusiasm exibits itself ==> enthusiasm exhibits itself

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