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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 375, January-June, 1847
Author: Various
Language: English
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  BLACKWOOD’S

  Edinburgh

  MAGAZINE.

  VOL. LXI.

  JANUARY-JUNE, 1847.

  [Illustration]

  WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, EDINBURGH;

  AND

  37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

  1847.



  BLACKWOOD’S

  EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCLXXV.    JANUARY, 1847.    VOL. LXI.



CONTENTS.

  THE COURT OF LOUIS PHILIPPE,                                     1

  MILDRED; A TALE. Chaps. IV., V., VI.,                           18

  EUGENE, MARLBOROUGH, FREDERICK, NAPOLEON, AND WELLINGTON,       34

  LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THE THAMES,                                 49

  PRUSSIAN MILITARY MEMOIRS,                                      65

  LAPPENBERG’S ANGLO-SAXONS,                                      79

  SCOTTISH MELODIES, BY DELTA,                                    91

  GENERAL MACK--A CHRISTMAS CAROL,                                92

  REFLECTIONS SUGGESTED BY THE CAREER OF THE LATE PREMIER,        93

       *       *       *       *       *

  EDINBURGH:
  WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET;
  AND 37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

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

  SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

         *       *       *       *       *

  PRINTED BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH.



BLACKWOOD’S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  No. CCCLXXV.      JANUARY, 1847.        VOL. LXI.



THE COURT OF LOUIS PHILIPPE.[1]


The schoolboy, agape at the tinsel splendour and seeming miracles of a
holiday pantomime, longs for a peep behind the pasteboard parapets that
limit his view. When the falling curtain puts a period to Clown’s
malicious buffoonery and to the blunders of persecuted and long
suffering Pantaloon, he marvels as to the subsequent proceedings of the
lithe and agile mimes who have so gloriously diverted him. He is tempted
to believe that Harlequin sleeps in his motley skin, that Columbine
perpetually retains her graceful rose-wreaths and diaphanous muslin. He
can hardly realize the relapse of such glittering apparitions into the
prosaic humdrum of every-day life, and would gladly penetrate the veil
of baize that shrouds from his eager eyes the mirth-provoking crew.
Better that he should not. Sadly would his bright illusions fade, sore
be his disenchantment, could he recognise the brilliant Harlequin in yon
shabby-genteel gentleman issuing from the stage door, and discern her of
the twinkling feet rewarding herself with a measure of Barclay for the
pirouettes and entrechats that lately ravished his youthful vision.

Not unlike the boy’s desire for a peep behind the scenes, is the popular
hankering after glimpses of royal privacy. The concealed is ever the
coveted, the forbidden the most desired. Keep an ape under triple lock,
and fancy converts her into a sylph; it was the small key, the last of
the bunch, that Bluebeard’s bride most longed to use. For the multitude,
the Chronicles of Courts have ever a strong and peculiar attraction.
With what avidity is swallowed each trivial detail concerning princes
and their companions; how anxious are the humble many to obtain an
inkling of the every-day life of the great and privileged few, to dive
into the recesses of palaces, and contemplate in the relaxation of the
domestic circle, those who in public are environed by an imposing
barrier of ceremony, pomp, and dignity. In the absence of more precise
and pungent particulars, even the bald and fulsome paragraphs of a court
circular find eager readers, who learn with strange interest the
direction and extent of a king’s afternoon ride, and the exact hour at
which some infant principule was borne abroad for an airing. Less meagre
and more satisfactory nourishment is afforded to popular inquisitiveness
by the writings of those who have lived in the intimacy of courts.
Seldom, however, do such appear during the lifetime both of the writer
and of the personages to whom they chiefly refer, and when they do they
are often valueless, further than as a sop to public curiosity. Truth is
rarely told of kings by those who enjoy, seek, or hope aught from their
favour. These split upon the reefs of flattery, as a disgraced courtier
does upon those of spite and disappointed ambition. And again, history
affords us examples of men, who, having, through misconduct or
misfortune, lost the countenance of their sovereign, resorted, to regain
his good graces, to shameless adulation and servile panegyric.

We do not include in any of the three categories just named, the author
of the book before us. We should not be justified in attributing to
interested motives his praises of his former patrons; but believe, on
the contrary, that, although familiar with courts, he is no mere
courtier. Had he been more of one, his fortunes might now be better.
From a very early age, Monsieur Appert devoted himself to the
prosecution of philanthropic plans and researches, having for their
chief objects the amelioration of the condition of the lower classes,
the reform of convicts, the education of the army, and that of children
who, by the desertion or vices of their parents, are left destitute and
unprotected. He has frequently been employed by the French government,
and has occupied various important posts. When only one-and-twenty, he
was appointed director of a model-school for the army. With reference to
his humane schemes, he has published many volumes on the education of
soldiers and orphans, on the prisons, schools, and other correctional
and benevolent institutions of France. With these we have nothing to do.
His present book is of a lighter and more generally interesting
character. For ten years he held the office of almoner to the Queen of
the French, and to her sister-in-law, Madame Adelaide. The charities of
these royal ladies are, as we shall presently show, on a truly princely
scale. To this almonership no salary was attached; M. Appert performed
its arduous duties gratuitously, and esteemed himself well rewarded by
the confidence and good opinion of the illustrious persons he served.
His income from other sources was ample; his position honourable, and
even distinguished; his friends, true or false, were reckoned by
hundreds. But misfortune, swift of foot, overtook him in the zenith of
his prosperity. Heavy pecuniary losses, chiefly resulting, as he implies
rather than informs us, from ill-advised loans and generous assistance
to unworthy persons, impaired his means. Concerning his disgrace at
court, he is more explicit. He attributes it to the envy and intrigues
of courtiers, against whom, as a class, he bitterly inveighs. That his
office was one well calculated to make him enemies, if he
conscientiously fulfilled its duties, is made evident by various
passages in his book. During ten years that he was in the daily habit of
seeing them, and of distributing the greater portion of their charities,
the queen and Madame Adelaide, he tells us, never made him the slightest
reproach; but, on the contrary, invariably approved his proposals and
requests, none of which, he adds, tended to his personal advantage. The
king, on various important occasions, showed great confidence in him,
and a strong sympathy with his philanthropic labours. Nevertheless, the
occult, but strong and persevering influence employed against M. Appert,
at last prevailed, and he was removed from the court, laden with costly
presents from the royal family, who assured him that they would never
forget, but always acknowledge, his long and devoted services. After his
disgrace, he sold a villa he possessed at Neuilly, and left Paris, with
the intention of founding an experimental colony of released convicts,
and of the children of criminals. Whether this experiment was carried
out, and how far it succeeded, he does not inform us. He is now
travelling in Germany, visiting the schools, prisons, and military
institutions, and writing books concerning them. The King of Prussia has
received him favourably, and given him every encouragement; the
sovereigns of Belgium, Denmark, Bavaria, Saxony, and Wurtemberg, have
written him flattering letters, and promised him all facilities and
assistance during the stay he proposes making in their respective
dominions.

It was at Berlin, in the spring of the present year, that M. Appert
completed, after very brief labour, his three volumes of Memoirs. He
confesses that they were written in haste, and whilst his mind was
preoccupied with the objects of his German tour. This is to be
regretted, for the result proves that the work was too quickly done to
be well done. The motive of his precipitation is unexplained, and we are
not told why it was necessary to complete, by the 15th of March, a book
destined to appear but in late autumn. Did the _snail-wagen_ pace of the
German _buchdruckerei_ need half a year for the printing of a thousand
pages? Surely not; and surely M. Appert might have given himself a
little more time,--have indulged us with more detail,--have produced,
instead of a hasty outline, a finished picture. His materials were
ample, his subject most interesting; he is no novice in the craft of
authorship. Besides his opportunities of observation at court, he has
enjoyed the acquaintance, in many cases the intimacy, of a vast number
of notable persons, military, diplomatic, scientific, literary.
Ministers and deputies, peers of France and nobles of the old regime,
generals of the empire and distinguished foreigners, were reckoned upon
his list of friends; many of them were regular partakers of his
periodical dinners at his Paris hotel and his Neuilly villa. It was in
his power, we are convinced, to have produced a first-rate book of its
class, instead of these hasty and unsatisfactory sketches. Each night,
he tells us, especially since the year 1826, when he was first attached
to the Orleans family, he wrote down, before retiring to rest, the
events of the day. And yet such is his haste to huddle over his work
that he cannot wait to receive his voluminous memoranda and
correspondence, but trusts entirely to his memory. As far as it goes,
this serves him pretty well. “Whilst correcting the last page of these
_souvenirs_, I have received the enormous mass of notes and autograph
letters which ought to have been of great utility in the composition of
the book; and, on referring to the various documents, I am surprised to
find that my memory has served me faithfully upon every subject of
interest, and that I have nothing to rectify in what I have written.”
Nothing, perhaps, to rectify, but much, we should think, to add.
Monsieur Appert’s notes, judging from one or two verbatim specimens,
were both copious and minute, and must include very many interesting
particulars and anecdotes of the remarkable persons with whom he came in
contact during the varied phases of a busy and bustling life. Could he
not, without indelicacy or breach of confidence, have given us more of
such particulars? His memoirs would have gained in value had he deferred
their publication some ten or fifteen years; for then many now living
would have disappeared from the scene, and he might have spoken freely
of things and persons concerning whom he now deems it prudent or proper
to be silent. But personal recollections of the present French court,
even when loosely and imperfectly set down, cannot fail to command
attention and excite interest. And much that is novel and curious may be
culled from M. Appert’s pages, although we regret, as we peruse them,
that they should have suffered from too great haste and an overstrained
discretion.

M. Appert opens his memoirs in the year 1807, in the prosperous days of
Napoleon, whose ardent admirer he is. The earlier chapters of his book,
relating to the Empire and the Restoration, have less to recommend them
than the later ones, and we shall pass them rapidly over. At the age of
fifteen he became a pupil of the imperial school of drawing. Here he
carried off the first prizes, was made sub-professor, and hopes were
held out to him that he should take a share in the education of the King
of Rome. But this was in 1812; the decline of the empire had begun,
Russia had given the first blow to Napoleon’s seemingly resistless
power;--the hopes of the young professor were never realized. Upon the
return of the Bourbons, after Waterloo, he lost his sub-professorship,
on account of his well-known Bonapartism; and because, whilst giving a
lesson in mathematics, he employed, to mark the curves and angles of a
geometrical figure, letters which made up the words “_vive l’Empereur!_”
Soon afterwards, however, he again obtained occupation, although of a
far humbler description than that to which he had once aspired. He was
employed in the organization of elementary and military schools, upon
the plan of mutual instruction. In this he was most successful, and his
reports to the Minister of war proved that, in three years, one hundred
thousand men might be taught to read, write, and cipher, at the small
expense of three hundred thousand francs, or half-a-crown per man. In
1820, although then only twenty-three years old, he was intrusted with
the inspection of the regimental schools of the royal guard and first
military division; and his connexion with the army brought him
acquainted with many of the Bonapartist plots at that time rife.
Although often confided in by the conspirators, who were aware of his
attachment to the Emperor, he took share in none of their abortive
schemes for placing Napoleon the Second on the throne of France; but,
nevertheless, he was looked upon with suspicion by the government of the
Bourbons. Still, however, he was permitted to become the director,
without a salary, of a school established in the prison at Montaigu,
appropriated to military criminals. To this prison, in the year 1822,
were sent two non-commissioned officers, by name Mathieu and Conderc,
implicated in the conspiracy for which General Berton lost his head.
Yielding to his sympathies and to the prayers of these two young men,
who were bent upon escape or suicide, M. Appert promised to assist their
flight. He did so, successfully, and the consequence was his own
imprisonment at La Force, where he was placed in the room subsequently
occupied by the poet Beranger. Pending his trial, he had for servant a
celebrated thief of the name of Doré, of whom Vidocq, the thief-taker,
more than once makes mention in his curious books. This Doré, who, for a
robber, was a very decent fellow, and who served M. Appert with the
greatest punctuality and fidelity, once had the audacity, alone and
unassisted, save by his own ingenuity, to stop a diligence full of
passengers. With a skill that would have made him an invaluable
confederate for a London or Paris _kite-flyer_, he constructed several
excellent men of straw, the size of life, and quite as natural--at least
in the dark. These he invested with the needful toggery--neither fresh
nor fashionable, we presume, but serving the purpose. Finally, he
fastened sticks, intended to represent muskets, to the shoulders of the
figures, which he posted in a row against trees bordering the high road.
Up came the diligence. “Halt!” shouted Doré, in the voice of a Stentor;
“Halt! or my men fire!” The frightened driver pulled up short; conductor
and passengers, seeing a row of figures with levelled fire-arms, thought
they had fallen into the power of a whole army of banditti, and begged
for mercy. Doré came forward in the character of a generous protector,
sternly ordered his men to abstain from violence and remain where they
were, and collected from the trembling and intimidated passengers their
purses, watches, and jewels. “I forbid you to fire,” he shouted to his
quaker gang, whilst pocketing the rich tribute; “they make no
resistance; I will have no useless blood-shed.” The conductor, delighted
to save a large sum of money secreted in a chest, quietly submitted: the
passengers were too happy to get off with whole skins, and the women
thanked the spoiler, called him a humane man, and almost kissed him, out
of gratitude for him sparing their lives. The plunder collected, the
driver received permission to continue his journey, which he did at full
speed, lest the banditti should change their minds and forget their
forbearance. Doré made his escape unmolested, leaving his straw regiment
on picket by the road side, a scarecrow, till daybreak, to the passing
traveller.

The few persons acquainted with M. Appert’s share in the escape of
Mathieu and Conderc, proved stanch upon his trial: nothing could be
proved against him, and he was acquitted. The affair gave rise to long
and bitter controversy between the Liberal and Royalist newspapers. Of
course M. Appert lost his place under government, and he now had full
leisure to busy himself with his philanthropic investigations. To these
he devoted his time; but the police looked upon him as a dangerous
character, and, in May, 1823, orders were again issued for his arrest.
Forewarned, he escaped by the garden-gate at the very moment that his
pursuers knocked at the front door. The cause for which he was
persecuted, that of Bonapartism and liberal opinions--the anti-Bourbon
cause, in short--made him many friends, and he had no difficulty in
concealing himself, although prudence compelled him frequently to change
his hiding-place. One of his first retreats was the house of Lafayette,
then looked upon as an arch conspirator, and closely watched by the
police, but who, nevertheless, afforded a willing shelter to young
Appert. A happy week was passed by the latter in the hotel and constant
society of the venerable general.

“I had his coachman’s room, and a livery in readiness to put on, in case
of an intrusion on the part of the police. I dined with him
_tête-a-tête_, and we spent the evenings together; the porter telling
all visiters, excepting relatives and intimate friends, that the general
was at his country house of La Grange.

“Monsieur de Lafayette’s conversation was most interesting, his language
well chosen, his narrative style simple and charming; his character was
gay and amiable, his physiognomy respectable and good. His tone, and
every thing about him, indicated good humour, kindness, and dignity, and
the habit of the best society. He had the exquisitely polished manners
of the old regime, blent with those of the highest classes of the
present day. His vast information, the numerous anecdotes of his
well-filled life, his immense acquaintance with almost all the
celebrated persons in the world, his many and curious voyages, the great
events in which he had borne a leading part, the historical details that
he alone could give on events not yet written down in history,
constituted an inexhaustible conversational treasure, and I look upon it
as one of the happiest circumstances of my life to have passed a week in
the intimacy of that excellent and noble general.”

All, however, that M. Appert thinks proper to record in print of these
anecdotes, historical details, &c., consists of a short conversation
with M. Lafayette, who predicted the final downfall of the Bourbons, and
the advent of a more liberal order of things. In 1828, many besides
Lafayette were ready with the same prophecy. M. Appert then asked the
general whether, in the event of a revolution, the Duke of Orleans, who
appeared sincerely liberal, who encouraged the progress of art and
science, sent his sons to the public colleges, cultivated the opposition
members, and was generally popular with the advocates of the progress,
might not become King of France.

“‘My dear Appert,’ replied the general, ‘what you say is very true, and
I myself greatly esteem the Duke of Orleans. I believe him sincere in
his patriotism, his children are very interesting, his wife is the best
of women. But one can answer for nothing in times of revolution.
Nevertheless, the Duke would have many chances in his favour; and for my
part, were I consulted, I should certainly vote for him.’

“Seven years after this curious conversation, which I wrote down at the
time, General Lafayette still entertained, and expressed at the Hotel de
Ville, the same opinion of the Duke of Orleans, now King of the French.”

From Lafayette, M. Appert transferred himself to the Duchess of
Montebello, the ex-lady of honour and confidential friend of the Empress
Maria Louisa. In her hotel he abode a month, and then went into the
country. After a while, the police, who, by not capturing him, had shown
great negligence or impotence, discontinued their persecutions, and he
was again able to appear in public.

To arrive the sooner at the reign of Louis Philippe, M. Appert does
little more than briefly recapitulate the principal events of the last
few years of the Restoration, introducing, however, here and there, a
remark or anecdote not unworthy of note. Take the following, as a
Frenchman’s opinion of the military promenade of 1823, and of its
leader, the Duke d’Angoulême.

“The battles were unimportant, our troops showed themselves brave as
ever; but, in order to flatter the prince, so much fuss was made about
the military feats of this campaign, about the passage of a bridge, for
instance, that all sensible men in France and throughout Europe,
laughed to hear so much noise for such small conquests. At last the Duke
of Angoulême returned to Paris; entertainments were given him, triumphal
arches erected, Louis XVIII. and the Count d’Artois told him he was the
greatest captain of the age; the old generals of the empire, now become
courtiers and flatterers, added the incense of their praise to the royal
commendations. The poor prince came to believe that he really was a
great warrior. A lie, by dint of repetition, acquires the semblance of a
truth, especially when it flatters our self-love, our vanity and pride.
Behold, then, Louis Antoine, _Fils de France_, a greater captain than
Bayard or Turenne. Napoleon I do not name; of him the Restoration had
made _a Corsican marquis, who had had the honour to serve, with some
distinction and bravery, in the French army under the orders of the
princes, during the reign H.M. Louis XVIII., King of France and
Navarre_.

“Before his departure for this famous war, the Duke of Angoulême’s
disposition was simple, modest, and good; when he returned he was
subject to absence of mind and to fits of passion, and his understanding
appeared weakened. Exaggerated praise, like a dizzy height, often turns
the head.

“Louis XVIII., long a sufferer from the gout, at last died, and MONSIEUR
became king under the title of Charles X. The priests and
ultra-royalists rejoiced; they thought their kingdom was come.”

In another place we find a description of the personal appearance of the
valiant commander, who, duly dry-nursed and tutored by his
major-general, Count Guilleminot, won imperishable laurels in the great
fight of the Trocadero. “Short in stature, and red in the face, his look
was absent, his gait and shape were ungraceful, his legs short and
thin.” M. Appert describes a visit paid by the duke, then dauphin, to
his cousins at the Palais Royal. “This visit, a rare favour, lasted
about twenty minutes, and when the Duchess of Orleans, according to
established etiquette, had replaced the dauphine’s cloak, the duke and
duchess conducted their illustrious visiters to the first step of the
grand staircase. Here the dauphin had a fit of absence, for, instead of
saying adieu, he repeated several times ‘word of honour, word of
honour.’ The dauphine took hold of his arm and they returned to their
carriage.” This absent man is next shown to us in a very unprincely and
unbecoming passion, for which, however, he received a proper wigging
from his royal dad. The anecdote is worth extracting.

“The sentries at the gates of the château of St. Cloud had orders to
allow no person in plain clothes and carrying a parcel, to enter the
private courts and gardens. One of the dauphin’s servants, not in
livery, wished to pass through a door kept by the Swiss guards. The
sentry would not allow it, and the servant appealed to the subaltern on
guard, who was pacing up and down near the gate. ‘You may be one of
Monseigneur’s servants,’ the officer politely replied, ‘and that parcel
may, as you say, belong to His Royal Highness, but I do not know you,
and I must obey orders.’ The lacquey got angry, was insolent, and
attempted to force a passage. Thereupon, the officer, a young man of
most estimable character, pushed him sharply away, and told him that if
he renewed the attempt he should be sent to the guard-house.

“From his window the dauphin saw admission refused to his servant.
Without reflection or inquiry, he ran down stairs like a madman, went up
to the lieutenant, abused him violently, without listening to his
defence, and at last so far forgot himself as to tear off his epaulets,
and threaten him with his sword. Then the officer, indignant at seeing
himself thus dishonoured in front of his men, when in fact he had done
no more than his duty, took two steps backwards, clapped hand on hilt,
and exclaimed, ‘Monseigneur, keep your distance!’ Just then, the
dauphine, informed of this scene, hurried down, and carried off her
husband to his apartments. ‘I entreat you, sir,’ said she to the
officer, ‘forget what has passed! You shall hear further from me.’

“The same evening the king was told of this affair, which might have
had very serious consequences, for all the officers of the Swiss guards
were about to send in their resignations. As ex-colonel-general of the
Swiss, Charles X. was too partial to them not to reprimand his son
severely for the scandal he had caused. To make the matter up, and give
satisfaction to the corps of officers, he desired the dauphine to send
for the insulted lieutenant, and, in presence of that princess, who
anxiously desired to see her husband’s unpardonable act atoned for and
forgotten, the king addressed the young officer with great affability.
‘Sir,’ he said, ‘my son has behaved most culpably towards you, and
towards me, your former colonel-general. Accept these captain’s
epaulets, which I have great pleasure in offering you, and forget the
past?’ With much emotion the dauphine added a few gracious words, and
the officer, not without reluctance, continued in the royal guard as
captain. The dauphin, who was good in the main, did not fail, the next
time he saw the new made captain, to offer him his hand in sign of
reconciliation, and, by a singular chance, this officer was one of the
last Swiss on duty with the royal family when it departed for Cherbourg
on its way into exile.”

How striking the picture of regal dignity here presented to us! The heir
to the French throne scuffling in his own palace yard with a subaltern
of foreign mercenaries, and rescued by his wife from possible
chastisement at the hands of his opponent. The king compelled to
apologize for his son’s misconduct, and almost to crave the acceptance
of a captain’s commission as plaster for the wounded honour of the Swiss
guardsman. There is an unmistakeable Bourbon character about the story.
And truly, both in great things and small, what a pitiful race of kings
were those older Bourbons! Fit only to govern some petty German state of
a few dozen square miles, where they might revel in etiquette, surround
themselves with priests and flatterers, and play by turns the tyrant and
the fool. High time was it that a more vigorous branch should oust them
from the throne of a Francis, a Henry, and a Napoleon. The hour of their
downfal was at hand, although they, as ever, were blind to the
approaching peril. And little thought the glittering train of gay
courtiers and loyal ladies who thronged to Rheims to the coronation of
Charles the Tenth, that this ceremony was the last sacrifice offered to
the last descendant of St. Louis, and that the corpse of Louis XVIII.
would wait in vain, in the regal vault at St. Denis, for that of his
successor.[2]

In 1826, M. Appert was elected member of the Royal Society of Prisons,
of which the Dauphin was president, and about the same time he became a
frequent visiter at the Palais Royal. The Duke of Orleans took much
notice of him, and begged him to pay particular attention to the schools
and prisons upon his extensive domains. Madame Adelaide (Mademoiselle
d’Orleans, as she was then styled) desired his assistance for the
establishment of a school near her castle of Randan; and the Duchess of
Orleans craved his advice in the distribution of her charities. He
passed some time at Randan, where the whole Orleans family were
assembled, and he describes their rational, cheerful, and simple manner
of life. It was that of opulent and well-educated country gentlemen,
hospitable, charitable, and intellectual. Kingly cares had not yet
wrinkled the brow of Louis Philippe; neither had sorrow, anxiety, and
alarm furrowed the cheeks of the virtuous Marie Amélie. “At that time,
both Mademoiselle and Monseigneur were gay and cheerful. Since royalty
has replaced that life of princely retirement, I have never seen them
enjoy such calm and tranquil days; I might say, never such happy ones.”
From Randan, M. Appert started on a tour to the south of France, and to
visit the galleys. When he returned to Paris, he undertook to assist the
Duchess of Orleans and Mademoiselle in their charities; and from that
time he saw them every two or three days, sometimes oftener. At last
came the July Revolution. The Orleans family were at Neuilly, and
whilst the result of the fight between king and people was still
uncertain, the duke, apprehensive of violence from the royalist party,
shut himself up in a little pavilion in the park. There his wife and
sister secretly visited him, and took him the news as it arrived from
Paris. From his retreat, he plainly heard the din of battle raging in
the streets of the capital. On the 28th of July, a cannon-ball, fired
from Courbevoye, fell near the palace, and at a short distance from the
duchess and her sister-in-law. There could be little doubt of the
intention of the shot. This circumstance made Mademoiselle think, that
in their fury the royalists might attack Neuilly, and carry off the
family. Accordingly, the duke, accompanied only by his faithful adherent
Oudard, left his retreat, and crossed the country on foot to Raincy,
another of his seats, situated near Bondy. This was on the 29th July;
the duke was dressed very simply, and wore a gray hat with a tri-colored
cockade. As soon as the cannon shot was fired from Courbevoye,
Mademoiselle said to the duchess, “My dear, we cannot stand by those
people any longer; they massacre the mob, and fire at us; we must take a
decided part.” Hastening to her wardrobe, she tore up several silk
dresses, white, blue, and red, made them into cockades, and distributed
them to the household. From that moment, it is evident, that if the
royalists had had the upper hand, the house of Orleans was ruined.

On their way to Raincy, the duke and Oudard fell in with a peasant,
digging his field as if nothing extraordinary was occurring. They asked
him the news. “_Ma foi, Monsieur_,” replied the man, “they say that the
people are thrashing the royal guard, that those stupid Bourbons have
run, and that liberty will once more triumph.”

“And the Duke of Orleans?” was the next question. “What do they say of
him?”

“No doubt he is with his cousins, since he has not shown himself at his
Palais Royal. He’s no better than the rest; a fine talker, and nothing
else.”

Not overpleased at the peasant’s reply, the duke asked no more
questions, but continued his pedestrian journey. Forty-eight hours
afterwards, however, he was at the Palais Royal, with the men of July
for his body-guard; and ten days later he was King of the French. How
far he owed his elevation to intrigues and manœuvres of his own--how far
he had aimed at the crown which thus suddenly settled upon his
brows--are questions that have been much discussed, but never
satisfactorily elucidated. M. Appert’s opinion is worth recording. To us
it appears a temperate and rational one.

“I consider it proved that the Duke of Orleans did not, as many believe,
work for the overthrow of his cousins. As a shrewd and clever man, he
could not forget the chances given to his family by the retrograde
policy of the Bourbons; he remembered that he had five sons, brought up
in the public colleges, partaking the intelligence and opinions of the
rising generation, and therefore secure of public sympathy; he bore in
mind also, that the Duke of Bordeaux, who alone stood above his sons, in
the sense of legitimacy, but far below them in the opinion of the
masses, was still very young, and liable to the diseases of childhood.
All these were so many motives for him to court that popularity which
the Tuileries each day lost. He did not omit to do so. He showed himself
cordial and affable with the popular members of the Chambers, adopted
and sustained the system of mutual instruction, which was protected by
the liberal section of the nation, in opposition to the priests, and
founded schools on that plan on his estates. A generous patron of
artists and men of letters, for political refugees, Poles, Greeks, and
Italians, he was ever ready to subscribe. In short, without conspiring,
the Duke of Orleans did as much to advance the royal destiny of his
family as the elder branch, by a completely contrary line of conduct,
did to compromise theirs.”

If these were the sole arts and conjurations used by Louis Philippe to
compass his ends, certainly no crown was ever more fairly come by than
his. And verily so uneasy a station, so thorny a seat as that of King
of the French, was scarce worth more active efforts; it would have been
dearly bought by a sacrifice of honour and principle. The life of Louis
Philippe, is one of incessant toil and anxiety; his leisure is less, his
work harder, than that of his meanest subject. Late to bed, he rises
early, rarely sleeping more than four hours; after a careful, but rapid
toilet, his day’s labour begins. He seldom breakfasts with his family;
it would take too much time; but has his frugal repast brought on a tray
to the room where he happens to be. When he was Duke of Orleans, he read
all the letters and petitions addressed to him, writing upon each an
opinion or an order for the guidance of his secretaries. This practice
he was of course obliged to discontinue when he became king. At the
commencement of his reign, the number of letters and applications of
various kinds, sent to the different members of the royal family,
amounted to the astonishing number of a thousand or twelve hundred
a-day. Although, upon an average, not above fifty of these possessed the
least interest, or deserved an answer, the mere reading and classing of
such a chaos of correspondence gave employment to several secretaries.
After a while, the flood of petitions abated, but M. Appert estimates
them, in ordinary times, at six to eight hundred daily. Of the letters,
only the important ones are laid before the King, who answers many of
them himself. He examines the reports, projects, and nominations brought
to him by his ministers, and, at least twice or thrice a-week, presides
at the council-board. Private audiences occupy much of his time; his
conferences with architects, with the intendants of the civil list and
of his private estates, are of frequent occurrence. The galleries of
Versailles, and the improvements at Fontainebleau--all made after his
plans, and in great measure under his personal
superintendence--court-balls and dinners, diplomatic audiences,
correspondence with foreign courts, journeys of various kinds, visits to
the castle of Eu and to military camps--such are a portion of the
innumerable claims upon the time of the King of the French. But, by a
clear-headed, active, and earnest man, endowed with the faculty of
order, which Louis Philippe possesses in a very high degree, much is to
be got through in a day of twenty hours; and, after doing all that has
been enumerated, and many other things of less importance, the king
still finds time to devote to his family, for the necessary healthful
exercise, and for the perusal of the principal newspapers and
publications, both English and foreign. “Each morning, either before or
after breakfast, _all_ the newspapers, political pamphlets, even
caricatures, were laid upon the table, and the king and the princes were
the first to read aloud the articles published against them. They
examined the caricatures, and passed them to the bystanders, saying,
‘What do you think of this?’”

The taunt of parsimony has ever been prominent amongst the weapons of
offence employed against the July monarchy by the French opposition
press. The avarice of the Civil List, the candle-end economies of the
Château, the _maigre chère_ of M. de Montalivet, have been harped upon
till they have become bywords in the mouths of the mob, always eager to
detect the petty failings of their superiors. They have been a fertile
subject of pun, sneer, and witticism for those pasquinading periodicals
which care little for truth or justice so long as they can tickle the
popular palate, and keep up their circulation; a perfect treasure for
such loose and ephemeral prints as the _Charivari_ and the _Corsaire_,
the _Figaro_ and the _Tintamarre_. Even graver journals, the dull and
fanatical organs of the Legitimatists, have, in a graver tone, made
scornful reference to degrading and unkingly avarice, whilst that witty
monomaniac, the editor of the “_Mode_,” has launched the keen shafts of
his unsparing ridicule against the _mesquinerie_ of the usurping
princes. It is easy to get up and sustain such a cry as this, against
which it would be beneath the dignity of the persons assailed, and of
their newspaper organs, to contend; and, when supported by a rattling
fire of squib and jeer, daily printed for the reading of a people who,
of all others, are most apt to prefer their jest to their friend, it is
any thing but surprising that a fabrication should acquire credit, a
falsehood be accepted as truth. We believe there is no ground for
accusing the Orleans family of avarice. True, they do not, in imitation
of some of their predecessors, indulge in a reckless prodigality, and
squander enormous sums upon profligate courtiers and lewd women. They
better understand the proper distribution of their great wealth. They do
not gamble, or maintain _petites maisons_, or establish a
_Parc-aux-cerfs_, or commit any other of the disgraceful extravagancies
for which so many Bourbons have made themselves conspicuous. In this
respect they have improved upon the traditions even of their own house.
Louis Philippe must be admitted to be a great improvement, both as a
private and public man, upon his dissolute and disreputable forefathers,
even by those bitter and malicious foes who convert his habits of order
and proper economy into a grave offence. We learn from M. Appert to what
extent he sins in these particulars. To preserve his health, which is
excellent, he lives very simply. At dinner, he rarely eats any thing but
soup and a solid slice of roast beef; but the twenty-five or thirty
persons who daily surround his board are subjected to no such frugal
diet. The royal table is perfectly well served; the wines, especially,
are old and delicious, and the king takes as much care of his guests as
if he were a private gentleman giving a dinner. The intendant of the
household submits each day’s bill of fare for the queen’s approval.
Such, at least, was the custom in the time of M. Appert, whose personal
experience of the court, as far as we can judge from his Memoirs,--for
he is sparing of dates,--extends up to the year 1837.

“The king takes particular care of his clothes; and I once saw him in a
very bad humour because he had torn his coat against a door. The papers
in his private study, the books in his library, are arranged with great
order, and he does not like to have their places changed in his absence.
Whilst conversing, his majesty amuses himself by making envelopes for
letters, and often makes those for the large despatches serve twice, by
turning them. He has the habit of wasting nothing, not even a thing of
small value, that can again be made available. He loves neither play nor
field-sports: of an evening, in his domestic circle, he sometimes amuses
himself with a game at billiards, but seldom for long together; for it
is very rare that he can get more than an hour to himself, uninterrupted
by the arrival of important despatches, by the visits of ministers or
foreign ambassadors.”

We discern nothing very reprehensible in the harmless little
peculiarities here enumerated. It may be stingy and unkingly to dislike
being robbed, and in that case Louis Philippe is to blame, for we are
told that he keeps a watchful eye over the expenses of his household. On
the other hand, he is generous to prodigality in the repairs and
embellishments of his palaces and domains; thus giving employment to
many, and preparing for posterity monuments of his magnificence and of
his princely encouragement of the artists and men of genius of his day.
He has no abstract love of gold, no partiality for gloating over
money-bags: his expenses, on the contrary, often exceed his income, and
entail debts upon his civil list and private fortune. He has an open
hand for his friends, a charitable heart for the poor. Party feeling
should not blind us to private virtue. Even those who least admire the
public conduct of Louis Philippe, who dislike his system of government,
and blame his tortuous foreign policy, may, whilst censuring the conduct
of the king, admit and admire the good qualities of the individual.

“I remember,” says M. Appert, when speaking of the subordinate officers
of the royal household, “that one of these gentlemen, having amassed, a
great deal too rapidly, a certain competency, asked the king’s
permission to leave his service, and return to his own province, where
an _aunt_, he said, had left him a pretty income. ‘I have not the least
objection,’ replied his majesty; ‘I only hope that I have not been your
_uncle_!’” And with this good-humoured remark, the heir, whether of dead
aunt or living uncle, was allowed to retire upon his new-found fortune.
Another anecdote, highly characteristic of him of whom it is told, may
here be introduced. The burial-place of the house of Orleans is at
Dreux. From an exaggerated feeling of regard or friendship, or whatever
it may be called, the dowager-duchess, mother of the king, inserted in
her will an earnest wish, indeed an injunction, that her intendant, M.
de Folleville, should be buried in the outer vault, which precedes that
of the Orleans family, and that a slab with his name and quality should
close his grave. The king duly complied with his mother’s wish, but
caused the inscribed side of the slab to be placed inwards, thus
fulfilling the desire of the duchess without exposing her to the
ill-natured comments of future generations.

M. Appert takes us even into the royal bed-chamber. He does so with all
proper discretion, and we will venture to follow him thither.

“The king and queen always occupy the same bed, which is almost as broad
as it is long, but whose two halves are very differently composed. On
one side is a plain horse-hair mattress, on the other an excellent
feather-bed. The latter is for the queen. The princes and princesses are
accustomed, like the king, to sleep on a single mattress. There is
always a light in their majesties’ apartment, _and two pistols are
placed upon a table near the king_.”

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown!” In this instance, however,
the pistol practice is the result probably of an old habit rather than
of any apprehension of a night attack upon the Tuileries. We have passed
the days when kings were stabbed in their beds or poisoned in their
cups; and the attempts of the Fieschis and Lecomtes do not appear to
prey upon the robust health or dwell upon the imagination of their
intended victim. With Marie Amélie it is very different. The anxieties
and sorrows she has experienced since 1830 have been terrible; and
doubtless she has wished many times that her husband had never exchanged
his retirement at Neuilly, his circle of friends at the Palais Royal,
for his present exalted but difficult and dangerous station. “Ah! M.
Appert,” she more than once exclaimed, “he who invented the proverb,
‘Happy as a king,’ had certainly never worn a crown!” When we
contemplate the careworn and suffering, but benevolent and interesting
countenance of the virtuous Queen of the French, and call to mind all
her trials during the last fifteen years, the constant attempts on the
king’s life, the death of the Princess Mary and of the much-loved Duke
of Orleans, and the perils incurred by her other sons in Africa, how can
we doubt the sincerity of this exclamation? In unaffected piety, and in
charity that blushes to be seen, this excellent princess finds
consolation. M. Appert becomes enthusiastic when he speaks of her
unassuming virtues, to which, however, his testimony was scarcely
needed. None, we believe, not even her husband’s greatest enemies, have
ever ventured to deny them.

“The queen disposes of five hundred thousand francs a-year for all her
personal expenses; and certainly she gives more than four hundred
thousand in charity of all kinds. ‘M. Appert,’ she would sometimes say
to me, ‘give those five hundred francs, we spoke of, but put them down
upon next month’s list, _for the waters are low, my purse is empty_.’”
Imposture, ingratitude, even the insolent form of the petitions
addressed to her, fail to discourage her in her benevolent mission.
“Madam,” an old Bonapartist lady one day wrote to her, “if the Bourbons
had not returned to France--for the misfortune of the nation--my beloved
mistress and protectress, the Empress Maria Louisa, would still be upon
the throne, and I should not be under the humiliating necessity of
telling you that I am without bread, and that the wretched mattress upon
which I sleep is about to be thrown out of the garret I inhabit, because
my year’s rent is unpaid! I dare not ask you for assistance, for my
heart is with my real sovereign, and I cannot promise you my gratitude.
If, however, you think proper to preserve a life which, since the
misfortunes of my country, has been so full of bitterness, I will accept
a loan: I should blush to receive a gift. I am, madam, your servant,
Ch----r.”

Here was a pretty letter to set before a queen; a mode of imploring alms
that might well have disgusted the most charitable. But what was Maria
Amélie’s reply to the precious epistle. She was accustomed to open all
the petitions addressed to her--and numerous indeed they were--with her
own hand, and to write upon many of them instructions for M. Appert.
When the impertinent missive of the Bonapartist reached that gentleman,
the following lines had been added to it:--“She must be very unhappy for
she is very unjust. A hundred francs to be sent to her immediately; and
I beg M. Appert to make inquiries concerning this lady’s circumstances.”
M. Appert, indignant at the tone of the letter, ventured to remonstrate;
but the queen insisted, and even tripled her intended donation, in case
it should be required by her singular petitioner, whom her almoner
accordingly proceeded to visit. “I knocked at a worm-eaten door, on the
fifth floor of a house in the Rue St. André des Arts, and a lady dressed
in black (it was her only gown,) opened it.

“‘Sir,’ said she, much agitated, ‘are you the commissary of police come
to arrest me for my shameful letter to the queen? You must forgive me: I
am so unhappy that at times I become deranged. I am sorry to have
written as I did to a princess whom all the poor call good and
charitable.’

“‘Be not alarmed, madam,’ I replied, taking her petition from my pocket.
‘Read her majesty’s orders; they will enable you to judge of her better
than any thing I could tell you.’

“Madame C. read the affecting words added by the queen; then, bursting
into tears, she pressed the paper to her lips. ‘Sir,’ she exclaimed,
‘give me nothing, but leave me this holy relic. I will die of hunger
with it upon my heart.’

“Madame C. proving in all respects worthy of the queen’s generosity, I
left her the three hundred francs, but had much difficulty in prevailing
on her to give up the petition, which I still preserve with respect and
veneration. This trait of the Queen of the French is only one of ten
thousand.”

Madame Adelaide d’Orleans vies in charity with her sister-in-law; and,
although she has no separate establishment at Paris, but lives always
with the king, her generosity and the expenses of frequent journeys, and
of a certain retinue which she is compelled to maintain, have sometimes
caused her temporary embarrassments. “Thus is it,” she one day said to
M. Appert, with reference to a loan she had contracted, “that royalty
enriches us. People ask what the king does with his money, and to
satisfy them, it would be necessary to publish the names of honourable
friends of liberty, who, in consequence of misfortunes, have solicited
and obtained from him sums of twenty, thirty, forty, and even of three
hundred thousand francs. They forget all the extraordinary expenses my
brother has had to meet, all the demands he has to comply with. Out of
his revenues he has finished the Palais Royal, improved the appanages of
the house of Orleans, and yet, sooner or later, all that property will
revert to the State. When we returned to France, our inheritance was so
encumbered, that my brother was advised to decline administering to the
estate; but to that neither he nor I would consent. For all these
things, people make no allowance. Truly, M. Appert, we know not how to
act to inspire the confidence which our opinions and our consciences
tell us we fully deserve.”

This was spoken on the 23d January, 1832, and written down the same
evening, by M. Appert. Madame Adelaide had then been too short a time a
king’s sister, to have become acquainted with the bitters as well as the
sweets of that elevated position,--to have experienced the thorns that
lurk amongst the roses of a crown. Doubtless she has since learned, that
calumny, misrepresentation, and unmerited censure, are inevitable
penalties of royalty, their endurance forming part of the moral tax
pitilessly levied upon the great ones of the earth.

So liberal an almsgiver as the Queen of the French, and one whose
extreme kindness of heart is so universally known, is of course
peculiarly liable to imposition; and the principal duty of M. Appert was
to investigate the merits of the claimants on the royal bounty, and to
prevent it, as far as possible, from passing into unworthy hands. For
this office his acquaintance with the prisons and galleys, with the
habits, tricks, and vices of the poor, peculiarly fitted him. He
discovered innumerable deceits, whose authors had hoped, by their
assistance, to extract an undeserved dole from the coffers of the queen.
Literary men, assuming that designation on the strength of an obscure
pamphlet or obscene volume, and who, when charity was refused them,
often demanded a bribe to exclude a venomous attack on the royal family
from the columns of some scurrilous journal; sham refugees from all
countries; old officers, whose campaigns had never taken them out of
Paris, and whose red ribbon, given to them by _l’Autre_, on the field of
Wagram or Marengo, was put into their button-hole on entering the house,
and hastily taken out on leaving it, lest the police should inquire what
right they had to its wear: such were a few of the many classes of
imposters detected by M. Appert. One insatiable lady sent, regularly
every day, two or three petitions to various members of the royal
family, considering them as so many lottery tickets, sure, sooner or
later, to bring a prize. She frankly confessed to M. Appert the
principle she went upon. “Petitions,” she said, “like advertisements in
the newspapers, end by yielding a profit to those who patiently
reiterate them. Persons who constantly see my name, and hear that I have
eighteen children, come at last to pity and relieve my distress, which
is real.” This woman was, as she said, in real difficulties, but
nevertheless it was impossible to comply with all her demands. When, by
M. Appert’s advice, the queen and Madame Adelaide refused to do so, this
pertinacious petitioner got up a melodramatic effect, borrowed from the
Porte St Martin, or some other Boulevard theatre. She wrote a letter,
announcing that if she did not receive immediate assistance she had made
every preparation to suffocate herself with charcoal that same evening.
“Then this good queen would send for me, and say, ‘Mon Dieu! M. Appert,
Madame R. is going to kill herself. It is a great crime, and we must
prevent it. Be so good as to send her forty francs.’ And to prevent my
raising objections to this too great goodness, her majesty would add
immediately, ‘I know what you are about to say: that she deceives me,
and will not kill herself; but if it did happen, God would not forgive
us. It is better to be deceived than to risk such a misfortune.’”

There exist regular joint-stock companies, composed of swindlers leagued
together for the plunder of the charitable. Some of the members feign
misfortune and misery, and send petitions to the queen, and ministers,
or to any one known as rich or benevolent; whilst others, well dressed
and decorated, assume the character of protectors of the unfortunate,
and answer for the respectability and deserts of the _protégés_. M.
Appert describes a lodging rented by one of these companies. It might
have furnished Eugene Sue with a chapter in his “Mysteries of Paris.”
“It consisted of two rooms. In one were a wretched truckle-bed, two
broken chairs, an old table; the other was well furnished with excellent
chairs, a mahogany table, and clean curtains. The door connecting the
rooms was carefully masked by a hanging of old paper, similar to that of
the outer one; the bed was a dirty straw mattress. The impostor who
occupied these lodgings received her visiters in the shabby room, and
there she looked so miserable, that it was impossible to help relieving
her. The charitable person or persons gone, she transferred herself to
the inner apartment, and led a joyous life with her confederates and
fellow-petitioners. There are in Paris as many as fifty of these immoral
associations, which the police does not interfere with, because it finds
most of their members serviceable as spies.” The suicide-dodge seems a
favourite resource of male as well as female impostors. “Mr. B.,
formerly in the army, now a gambler, always carried two loaded pistols
in his pocket, (the balls forgotten, very likely,) and when he came to
ask me for assistance, which was at least a hundred times a-year, he
invariably threatened to blow out his brains in my room; having left, he
said, a letter to a newspaper for which he wrote, publishing to Europe
the avarice of the royal family, and the baseness of those about them,
beginning, of course, with myself. When I refused to yield to his
threats, Mr. B. changed his mind, and consented to live, but with the
sole object of injuring me in every possible way; and, according to
promise, this worthy man of letters wrote against me in _his_ newspaper,
and sent anonymous letters to the Tuileries.”

Exiled Polish princes, Italian patriots, veterans of all possible armies
and services, moustached to the eyes, their coats covered with crosses,
their breasts, as they affirmed, with scars; aid-de-camps of half the
kings and generals in the world; wounded and fever-stricken soldiers
from Algeria;--these were a few of the false titles to charity
impudently advanced by the mob of rogues and impostors, who daily
crowded M. Appert’s anti-chamber, giving it the aspect of a guard-room
or of the depôt of some house of correction, and displaying in their
tales of wo astonishing address and ingenuity. And in spite of the
immense army of gendarmes and police-spies, who are supposed to envelop
France in the vast net of their vigilance--and who certainly succeed in
rendering it as unlike a land of liberty as a free country well can
be--in spite of the complicated passport system, having for one of its
chief objects the check of crime and fraud, we find that these
jail-birds “had always passports and certificates, and were often
provided with letters of recommendation from persons of rank and wealth,
who found it easier to sign their name than to draw their purse-strings.
I possess more than fifteen hundred letters and notes, large and small,
from peers of France, generals, ex-ministers, and others, recommending
petitioners; and sometimes, when I met these complaisant patrons, they
knew not even the name of those they had thus supported. The visits of
these illustrious persons often lost me a great deal of time; and what
astonished me beyond measure was, that the possession of a hundred or a
hundred and fifty thousand francs a-year did not prevent these rich
misers from tormenting me. They would lose two or three hours rather
than pay down a penny. The son-in-law of one of the richest proprietors
in France once wrote me a most humble and suppliant letter, begging me
to obtain from the Queen a grant of thirty francs to one of his
domestics, who, through old age, was compelled to leave his service.”
And many an enemy did M. Appert make by noncompliance with the requests
of the wealthy skin-flints, who sought to do a charitable act at
another’s expense. The Queen and the Princess Adelaide often received
petitions from ladies of the court, who expatiated on the interesting
and deserving character of those they recommended. Nevertheless, M.
Appert was always desired to inquire into the real merits of the case,
and frequently found that it was not one deserving of succour. Then the
queen or princess would say, when next they were importuned on the
subject, “My dear countess, M. Appert has been to see your _protégée_,
has made due inquiry, and finds that we have many upon our list in far
greater need of assistance. I am sorry, therefore, to be unable to
comply with your wishes.” Here, of course, was an enemy for poor M.
Appert, who certainly needs the approbation of his own conscience as
reward for having gratuitously held so thankless an office. His
functions were no light ones, and took up nearly his whole time. His
position relatively to the royal family compelled him to receive a vast
number of persons of all ranks and classes, some of them of no very
respectable description, but who were useful in procuring him
information. Once or twice a month the Phrenological Society held its
sittings at his house. During one of these meetings two heads were
brought into the room in a basket, and placed with great care upon the
table. “I thought they were in wax; the eyes were open, the faces
placid. Upon approaching, I recognised the features of the assassins,
Lacenaire and Avril, whom I had seen in their dungeons. ‘Do you find
them like, M. Appert?’ said the man who had brought them. I replied in
the affirmative. ‘No wonder,’ said he, ‘they are not more than four
hours off their shoulders.’ They were the actual heads of the two
murderers.” Not satisfied with having the heads, our philanthropical
phrenologist had the headsman. We have already referred to the less
scientific but more convivial meetings held at M. Appert’s house, in the
shape of dinners, given each Saturday, and at which the guests were
all, in some way or other, men of mark. Sometimes the notorious Vidocq,
and Samson, the executioner of Paris--son of the man who decapitated
Louis the Sixteenth, Marie Antoinette, and many other illustrious
victims--took their places at M. Appert’s table. When this occurred, all
his friends were anxious for an invitation. The only two who declined
meeting the thief-taker and the headsman, were the archbishop of
Malines, and M. Arnault, of the French Academy, brother-in-law of
Regnaut de St. Jean d’Angely, who was so influential a person in the
time of Napoleon. There were others, however, whom M. Arnault disliked
to meet. He had a great prejudice against writers of the romantic
school, and especially against Dumas, whom he called a washed-out negro.
If M. Appert wanted an abrupt refusal, he merely had to say to him,
“Dine with me on Saturday next. I shall have Balzac and Alexander
Dumas.” Caustic in manner, but good and amiable, M. Arnault cherished
the memory of Napoleon with a fidelity that did him honour. In the court
of his house grew a willow, sprung from a slip of that at St. Helena.
After 1830, misfortune overtook him, and M. Appert tried to interest the
king and Madame Adelaide in his behalf. He was successful, and a
librarian’s place was promised to his friend. But the promise was all
that M. Arnault ever obtained. The ill-will or obstinacy of the
minister, who had the power of nomination, is assigned by M. Appert as
the cause of the disappointment, which he hesitates to attribute to
lukewarmness on the part of his royal patrons. Louis Philippe is the
last man, according to our notion of him, to suffer himself to be
thwarted by a minister, whether in great or small things. Kings, whose
position exposes them to so much solicitation, should be especially
cautious in promising, strictly on their guard against the odious vice,
too common in the world, of lightly pledging and easily breaking their
word. They, above all men, should ever bear in mind that a broken
promise is but a lie inverted.

We return to M. Appert’s dinners. To meet Samson and Vidocq, he had
invited the late Lord Durham, Dr. Bowring, De Jouy the academician,
Admiral Laplace, and several others. The executioner sat on his right,
the policeman on his left, and both occasionally favoured him with a
confidential _a parte_. Samson was grave and serious, rather out of his
element amongst the _grand seigneurs_, as he called them; Vidocq, on the
contrary, was gay, lively, and quite at his ease.

“‘Do you know,’ said he, with a laugh, to the headsman, ‘I have often
sent you customers when I was chief of the brigade of safety?’

“‘I know you have, M. Vidocq,’ replied Samson. Then, in a low voice to
me, ‘Any where but in your house, sir, I should hardly like to dine in
company with that joker. He’s a queer one.’ Almost at the same moment,
Vidocq whispered, ‘He’s a worthy man, that Monsieur Samson; but all the
same, it seems odd to me to sit at the same table with him.’” Very good,
the spy; not bad, the hangman. In the conversation that followed, Lord
Durham and the accomplished Hermite de la Chaussée d’Antin took a share,
and Samson gave some curious details concerning his terrible profession.
He was on the scaffold when Louis XVI. was executed. “We all loved the
king in our family,” said he, “and when my father was obliged, according
to orders, to take up the head by the hair and show it to the people,
the sight of that royal countenance, which preserved all its noble and
gentle expression, so affected him that he nearly swooned away. Luckily
I was there, and being tall, I masked him from the crowd, so that his
tears and emotion, which in those days might have sufficed to bring us
to the guillotine in our turn, passed unobserved.” Presently Vidocq
ventured a joke, concerning the headsman’s office, which greatly
offended him of the axe, who muttered his displeasure in M. Appert’s
ear. “That man is as coarse as barley bread,” was his remark: “it is
easy to see he is not used to good society; _he does not behave himself
as I do_!” Poor Samson, who receives about five hundred a year for the
performance of his melancholy duties, was, in reality, very well
behaved. His appearance was so respectable, his black coat, gold chain,
and frilled shirt, so irreproachable, that on his first visit to M.
Appert, that gentleman’s secretary took him for some village mayor on
his way to a wedding, or about to head a deputation to the king. Upon
Lord Durham’s expressing a wish to see the guillotine, he obligingly
offered to show it to him. M. Appert gives an account of the visit. “On
the following Saturday, Lord Durham, accompanied by his nephew, heir, I
believe, to his title and vast fortune, came in his carriage to fetch
me. He had told so many English of our intended visit, that we were
followed by a string of vehicles, like the procession to a funeral. On
our way, Lord Durham asked me if it were not possible to buy a sheep to
try the guillotine upon. On my telling him that to do so would give just
grounds for severe criticisms, he did not press his wish. On reaching
the Rue du Marais, I went alone into Samson’s house. He was in a full
dress suit of black, waiting to receive us. He conducted our party, at
least fifty in number, to the banks of the Canal St. Martin, where, in a
coachmaker’s shed, the guillotine was kept. Here there was a fine
opportunity for the display of a genuine English characteristic. Every
body wished to touch every thing; to handle the hatchet and baskets, and
get upon the plank which supports the body when the head is fitted into
the fatal frame. Samson had had the guillotine repainted and put
together, and bundles of straw served to show its terrible power.”

At another dinner, to which Samson and Vidocq were invited, Balzac and
Dumas were present, and the talk was most amusing. For romance writers,
the conversation of such men must possess especial interest and value.
Of Vidocq, M. Appert speaks very highly, with respect both to his head
and heart. He began life as a soldier under Dumouriez, and was sent to
prison for forging a passport. Endowed with great intelligence and
physical strength, and with a restless activity of mind and body, he
made his escape, and opened a negotiation for a free pardon, on which
condition he promised to render great services to the police. His offer
was accepted and he kept his word. M. Appert considers his skill as a
police agent unsurpassable. It is perhaps in gratitude for that
gentleman’s good opinion that Vidocq has bequeathed him his head, should
he die first, for the purpose of phrenological investigations. We find
two or three interesting traits and anecdotes of the thief-catcher. A
report once got abroad that he had an only daughter to marry, and as he
was supposed to be rich, he immediately received a host of offers for
her hand, many of them from young men of excellent family, but in needy
circumstances. Vidocq, who had no children, was vastly amused at this
sudden eagerness for the honour of his alliance. Samson has two pretty
daughters, who are well brought up and even accomplished, and who will
probably marry the sons of the executioners of large towns. Hangmen,
like kings, can only wed in their own sphere. “Samson, who was grateful
for the politeness shown him by Lord Durham, thought it might please
that nobleman to possess the clothes worn by remarkable criminals, and
offered to send them to me. Thus I had for some time in my possession
the coats worn at their execution by Fieschi, Lacenaire, and Alibaud. It
was one of Samson’s assistants who brought them, and each time I gave
him fifteen francs as compensation, the clothes being his perquisites.”
M. Appert relates many other curious particulars concerning French
executioners, and gives a remarkable letter from Samson himself,
relating to the guillotine, to the punishment of branding, and to the
old tax called _navage_, which was formerly levied, to the profit of the
headsman, on all grain and fruits entering Paris. This tax gave rise to
many disputes and discussions between the country people and the men
appointed to collect it, who received from the peasants the title of
_valets de bourreau_. From that time dates the French proverb, “Insolent
as a hangman’s lacquey.”

Of the four sons of Louis Philippe, M. Appert speaks in terms of very
high praise. Doubtless they are well-informed and accomplished princes,
although, as yet, none of them have given indications of striking
talents or high qualities; possibly because they have lacked
opportunities for their display. Not one of them enjoys the prestige and
popularity of the late Duke of Orleans. The Prince de Joinville, by his
handsome person, and frank, off-hand manners, also by his antipathy,
real or supposed, to the English, and by his occasional indulgence in a
bit of harmless clap-trap and rhodomontade, has acquired the favour and
good opinion of certain classes of the French people, who behold in him
the man destined, at some future day, to humble the maritime power of
England, and to take the British fleet into Brest or Cherbourg, as
Gulliver towed the hostile men-of-war into the port of Liliput. We trust
it will be long before he has an opportunity of displaying his prowess,
or of disappointing the expectations of his admirers. The Duke of
Nemours, against whom nothing can be alleged, who has distinguished
himself in Algeria, and who is represented, by those who best know him,
as a man of sense and moderate views, zealous for the welfare of his
country, has been far less successful than his nautical brother, in
captivating the sympathies of the bulk of the nation. This can only be
attributed to his manners, which are reserved, and thought to indicate
pride; but this seeming haughtiness is said to disappear upon nearer
acquaintance. Of the two younger brothers, the characters have yet to be
developed. It has been affirmed that the natural abilities of the Duke
of Aumale are superior to those of either of his seniors. As far as can
be judged by the scanty opportunities they have hitherto had of
displaying them, the military talents of the French princes are
respectable. Their personal courage is undoubted. But for the opposition
of the king and of their anxious mother, they would, according to M.
Appert, be continually in Africa, heading and serving as examples to the
troops. Bravery, however, whose absence is accounted a crime in the
private soldier, can hardly be made a merit of in men whose royal blood
raises them, when scarcely beyond boyhood, to the highest ranks in the
service. And the best wish that can be formed on behalf of the princes
of France, of their country, and of Europe, is that their military
experience may ever be limited, as, with some slight exceptions, it has
hitherto been, to the superintendence of field-days, and the harmless
manœuvres of Mediterranean squadrons.



MILDRED;

A TALE.

CHAP. IV.


A few days afterwards the Bloomfields also and Miss Willoughby left
Brussels for Paris.

It is far from our purpose to follow them step by step upon their route.
The little love-affair we have undertaken to relate, leads us a dance
upon the Continent; but we have no disposition to play the tourist one
moment more than is necessary; and as no incidents connected with our
story occurred in Paris, we shall not loiter long even in that gayest
and most seductive of capitals. He who knows Paris--and who does
not?--and at all understands what sort of traveller Mildred was, will
easily conceive the delight she felt in visiting the public monuments,
ancient and modern; in observing its populace, so diversified and mobile
in their expression, so sombre and so gay; in traversing the different
quarters of a city which still retains in parts whatever is most
picturesque in the structures of the middle ages, whilst it certainly
displays whatever is most tasteful in modern architecture, and which, in
fact, in every sense of the word, is the most complete summary of human
life that exists upon the face of the earth.

What modern city can boast a point of view comparable to that which
bursts upon the stranger as he enters the _Place de la Concorde_! What
beautiful architecture to his right and to his left!--the _Palais
Bourbon_, the distant Madeleine, the Chamber of Deputies--whilst before
him runs the long avenue of the Champs Elysées, terminated by its
triumphal arch. No crowding in of buildings. No darkening of the air.
Here is open space and open sky, trees and fountains, and a river
flowing through the scene. There is room to quarrel, no doubt, with some
of its details. Those two beautiful fountains in the centre are
beautiful only at a certain respectful distance; you must not approach
those discoloured nymphs who are each squeezing water out of the body of
the fish she holds in her arms. Nor can we ever reconcile ourselves to
that Egyptian obelisk which stands between them; in itself admirable
enough, but as much out of place as a sarcophagus in a drawing-room. But
these and other criticisms of the like kind, are to be made, if worth
while, on after reflection and a leisure examination; the first view
which the scene, as a whole, presents to the eye, is like enchantment.
So at least Mildred thought, when, the morning after their arrival,
(while the breakfast was waiting for her uncle, who was compensating
himself for the fatigues of the journey,) she coaxed her aunt to put her
arm in hers, and just turn round the corner--she knew from the map where
she was--and take one look at it whilst the sun was shining so brightly
above them.

Nor are there many cities, however boastful of their antiquities, which
present more picturesque views than meet the eye as, leaving the garden
of the Tuileries, you proceed up the river; and the round towers, with
their conical roofs, of the _Palais de Justice_, rise on the opposite
banks, and you catch glimpses of _Notre Dame_. In London, the houses
have crowded down to the edge of the water, and are standing up to their
ankles in it, so that the inhabitants may walk about its streets all
their lives, and never know that a river is flowing through their city.
From the centre of one of its bridges they may indeed assure themselves
of the fact, and confirm, by their own observations, what they had
learned in the geographical studies of their youth, that London is built
on the river Thames; but, even from this position, it is more wood than
water they will see. The shipping, and the boats of all kinds, blot out
the river, and so crush and overcharge it that it is matter of wonder
how it continues to exist and move under such a burden. It is otherwise
in Paris. There one walks along the quay, and sees the river flowing
through the city.

In spite of its revolutions, of its innovations, of its impatient
progress, there is much still in Paris to carry back the thoughts of a
visitor to antiquated times. If the Madeleine is a Grecian temple, if he
finds that religious ceremonies are performed there with an elegance and
propriety which propitiate the taste of the profane, if they fail to
satisfy the fervour of the devout--a short walk will bring him to the
venerable church of St. Germain, hard by the Louvre, where he will
encounter as much solemnity and antiquity as he can desire; an
antiquity, however, that is still alive, that is still worshipping as it
used to worship. He will see at the further extremity of the church a
dark, arched recess, imitative of a cavern or sepulchre, at the end of
which lies the Christ, pale and bleeding, visible only by the light of
tapers; and, if he goes to matins there, he will probably find himself
surrounded by a crowd of kneeling devotees, kneeling on the stone
pavement before this mediæval exhibition. Two distant ages seem to be
brought together and made contemporaries.

But we will not be tempted to loiter on our way even at Paris; we take
post horses and proceed with our party to Lyons.

A long ride, what an exceptional state it is!--what a chapter
apart--what a parenthesis in life! The days we pass rolling along the
road are always dropped out of the almanack; we have lost them, not in
the sublime sense of the Roman emperor, but fairly out of the calendar;
we cannot make up the tale of days and weeks. We start--especially if it
is in a foreign country that we are travelling--with how much
exhilaration! Every thing is new, and this charm of novelty lends an
interest to the most trivial things we encounter. Not one of the least
amusements of travel is this passing, in easy and rapid review, the
wayside novelties which the road, the village, and the street that we
scamper through, present to us. The changing costume of the peasant--the
whimsical, traditionary head-dress of the women, which, whimsical as it
is, retains its geographical boundaries with a constancy rarely found in
any _flora_ of the botanist--the oddly constructed vehicles, carts
fashioned upon all conceivable plans, and drawn by horses, or mules, or
oxen harnessed and decorated in what seems quite a masquerading
attire--these, and a thousand other things, in their nature the most
common and familiar, claim for _once_ the power to surprise us. All the
common-place of daily life comes before us,

    “Trick’d in this momentary wonderment.”

Here in the south of France, for instance, a cart-horse approaches you
with a collar surmounted by a large upright horn, and furnished,
moreover, with two long curving _antennæ_ branching from either side,
which, with the gay trappings that he wears, give to an old friend the
appearance of some monstrous specimen of entomology; you might expect
him to unfold a pair of enormous wings, and take flight as you advance,
and not pass you quietly by, as he soon will, nodding his head in his
old familiar style, and jingling his bells. While the mind is fresh,
there is nothing which does not excite some transitory pleasure. But
when the journey is felt to be growing long--very long--what a singular
apathy steals over us! We struggle against this encroaching torpor--we
are ashamed of it--we rouse the mind to thought, we wake the eye to
observation--all in vain. Those incessant wheels of the carriage roll
round and round, and we are rolling on as mechanically as they. The
watch, which we refrain from consulting too often, lest the interest of
its announcements should be abated, is our only friend; we look at it
with a secret hope that it may have travelled farther than we venture to
prognosticate; we proclaim that it is just two o’clock, and in reality
expect that it is three, and try to cheat ourselves into an agreeable
surprise. We look, and the hands point precisely at half-past one!

“What a _business-like_ looking thing,” said Mildred, as she roused
herself from this unwelcome torpor, “seems the earth when it is divided
into square fields, and cut into even furrows by the plough!--so
palpably a mere manufactory for grain. Oh, when shall I see it rise, and
_live_ in the mountain?”

“My dear Mildred,” said her aunt, gently jogging her, “do you know that
you are talking in your sleep?”

“I have been asleep, my dear aunt, or something very like it, I know;
but I thought just then I was quite awake,” was Mildred’s quiet reply.

When the party reached Lyons, there was some little discussion as to the
route they should take into Italy. Mildred had hoped to cross the Alps,
and this had been their original intention; but the easy transit down
the river, by the steam-boat, to Avignon, was a temptation which,
presenting itself after the fatigues of his long journey from Paris, was
irresistible to Mr. Bloomfield. He determined, therefore, to proceed
into Italy by way of Marseilles, promising his niece that she should
cross the Alps, and pass through Switzerland on their return home.

Accordingly, they embarked in the steamer. Here Mr. Bloomfield was more
at his ease. One circumstance, however, occasioned him a little alarm.
He was watching, with some curiosity, the movements of two men who were
sounding the river, with long poles, on either side of the vessel. The
reason of this manœuvre never distinctly occurred to him, till he heard
the bottom of the boat grating on the bed of the river. “No danger!”
cried the man at the helm, who caught Mr. Bloomfield’s eye, as he looked
round with some trepidation. “No danger!” muttered Mr. Bloomfield. “No
danger, perhaps, of being drowned; but the risk of being stuck here fast
in the midst of this river for four-and-twenty hours, is danger enough.”
After this, he watched the motions of these men with their long poles
with less curiosity, indeed, but redoubled interest.

It was in vain, however, that he endeavoured to communicate his alarm to
Mildred, who contented herself with hoping, that if the boat really
meant to stop, it would take up a good position, and where the view was
finest. With her the day passed delightfully. The views on the Rhone,
though not equal to those of the Rhine, form no bad introduction to the
higher order of scenery; and she marked this day in her calendar as the
first of a series which she hoped would be very long, of days spent in
that highest and purest excitement which the sublimities of nature
procure for us. On the Rhine, the hills rise from the banks of the
river, and enclose it, giving to the winding stream, at some of its most
celebrated points of view, the appearance of a lake. It is otherwise on
the Rhone. The heights are ruder, grander, but more distant; they
appertain less to the river; they present bold and open views, but lack
that charm of _tenderness_ which hangs over the German stream. In some
parts, a high barren rock rises precipitately from the banks, and, the
surface having been worn away in great recesses, our party was struck
with the fantastic resemblance these occasionally bore to a series of
vast architectural ruins. A beautiful sunset, in which the old broken
bridge, with its little watch-tower, displayed itself to great
advantage, welcomed them to Avignon.

Again, from Avignon to Marseilles, their route lay through a very
picturesque country. One peculiarity struck Mildred: they were not so
much _hills_ which rose before and around her, as lofty rocks which had
been built up upon the plain--abrupt, precipitous, isolated--such as
seem more properly to belong to the bottom of the sea than to the
otherwise level surface over which they were passing. As their most
expeditious conveyance, and in order to run no risk of the loss of the
packet, our travellers performed this stage in the _diligence_, and
Mildred was not a little amused by the opportunity this afforded of
observing her fellow-passengers. It is singular how much accustomed we
are to regard all Frenchmen as under one type; forgetting that every
nation contains all varieties of character within itself, however much
certain qualities may predominate. Amongst her travelling companions was
an artist, _not_ conceited, and neither a coxcomb nor an abominable
sloven, but natural in his manners, and, as the little incident we shall
have occasion to mention will prove, somewhat energetic in his
movements. In the corner opposite to him sat a rather elderly gentleman,
travelling probably in some mercantile capacity, of an almost infantine
simplicity of mind, and the most peaceable temperament in the world; but
who combined with these pacific qualities the most unceasing
watchfulness after his own little interests, his own comfort and
convenience. The manner in which he cherished himself was quite amusing;
and admirable was the ingenuity and perseverance he displayed in this
object; for whilst quietly resolved to have his own way in every thing,
he was equally resolved to enter into collision with no one. He was
averse to much air, and many were the manœuvres that he played off upon
the artist opposite, and on the controller of the other window, that he
might get them both arranged according to the idea which he had formed
of perfect comfort. Then, in the disposition of his legs, whilst he
seemed desirous only of accommodating his young friend opposite, he so
managed matters as to have his own limbs very comfortably extended,
while those of his “young friend” were cramped up no one could say
where. It greatly facilitated these latter manœuvres, that our elderly
gentleman wore large wooden shoes, painted black. No one could tread on
_his_ toes.

Sedulous as he was to protect himself against all the inconveniencies of
the road, he seemed to have no desire to monopolize the knowledge he
possessed requisite to this end, but, on the contrary, was quite willing
to communicate the results of his travelling experience. He particularly
enlarged on the essential services rendered to him by these very wooden
shoes--how well they protected him from the wet--how well from external
pressure! He was most instructive also and exact upon the sort of
garments one should travel in--not too good, for travel spoils them--not
too much worn, or too slight, for in that case they will succumb under
the novel hardships imposed upon them. Pointing to his own coat, he
showed how well it illustrated his principles, and bade the company
observe of what a stout and somewhat coarse material it was fabricated.
Warming upon his subject, he proceeded to give them an inventory of all
the articles of dress he carried with him in his portmanteau--how many
coats, shirts, pantaloons, &c. &c. All this he gave out in a manner the
most urbane and precise, filling up his pauses with a short dry cough,
which had nothing to do with any pulmonary affection, but was merely an
oratorical artifice--a modest plan of his own for drawing the attention
of his hearers.

Unfortunately he had not long succeeded in arranging matters to his
perfect satisfaction, when a little accident robbed him of the fruit of
all his labours. The artist, in his energetic manner of speaking, and
forgetting that he had been induced by the soft persuasions of his
neighbour to put up the window (an act which he had been led into almost
unconsciously) thrust his elbow through the glass. Great was the
consternation of our elderly traveller, and yet it was in the gentlest
tone imaginable that he suggested to the artist the propriety, the
absolute necessity, that he should get the window mended at the next
place where they would stop to change horses. Mended the window
accordingly was. When the new glass was in, and paid for, and they had
started again upon their journey, _then_ the friendly old gentleman
placed all his sympathies at the command of the young artist. He was of
opinion that he had been greatly overcharged for the window--that he had
paid twice as much as he ought. Nay, he doubted whether he ought to have
paid any thing at all--whether he could be said to have broken the
window--for, as he now began to remember, he thought _it was cracked
before_.

Mildred could hardly refrain from a hearty laugh at what she found to be
as amusing as a comedy.

First the town of Aix, then that of Marseilles, received our travellers.
Of Aix, Mildred carried away one impression only. As they entered into
the town with all the rattling vehemence which distinguishes the
diligence on such occasions, there stood before her an enormous
crucifix, a colossal, representation of the Passion; and underneath it a
company of showmen, buffoons of some description, had established their
stage, and were beating their drums, as French showmen can alone beat
them, and calling the crowd together with all manner of noise and
gesticulation. Strange juxtaposition! thought Mildred--the crucifix and
the mountebank! But not the fault of the mountebank.

What execrable taste is this which the Catholic clergy display! That
which is fit only for the sanctuary--if fit at all for the eye of man,
or for solitary and desolate spots--is thrust into streets and
market-places, there to meet with a perpetual desecration. That which
harmonizes with one mood only, the most sad and solemn of the human
mind, is dragged out into the public square, where every part of life,
all its comedy and all its farce, is necessarily transacted. If the most
revolting contrasts occur--no, it is not the fault of the profane
mountebank.

Marseilles, with all its dirt and fragrance, left almost as little
impression upon her mind. The only remembrance that outlived the day was
that of the peculiar dignity which seemed to have been conferred upon
the market-women of the town. At other places, especially at Brussels,
our party had been not a little amused by inspecting the countenances of
the old women who sat, thick as their own apples, round the _Grand
Place_, or on both sides of the street. What formidable physiognomies!
What preternatural length of nose! What terrific projection of chin! But
these sat upon the pavement, or on an upturned wicker basket; a stool or
a low chair that had suffered amputation in the legs, was the utmost
they aspired to. Here the market-women have not only possessed
themselves of huge arm-chairs, but these arm-chairs are elevated upon
the broad wooden tables that are covered with the cabbages, and carrots,
and turnips, over which they thus magisterially preside. Here they have
the curule chair. Manifestly they are the _Ædiles Cereales_ of the town.
Our travellers did not, however, see them in their glory; they saw only
down the centre of the street the row of elevated chairs, which, if
originally of ivory, had certainly lost much of their brightness and
polish since the time when the Roman Senate had presented them. The
Court was not sitting as they passed.

The following day saw them in the steam-boat bound for Genoa. In a few
hours they would be coasting the shores of Italy!

We cannot resist the opportunity which here occurs of showing, by an
example, how justly our Mildred may be said to have been a solitary
traveller, though in almost constant companionship. She was alone in
spirit, and her thoughts were unparticipated. The steam-boat had been
advertised to leave Marseilles at four o’clock in the afternoon. The
clock had struck six, and it was still stationary in the harbour,--a
delay by no means unusual with steam-boats in that part of the world.
Mildred stood on the deck, by the side of the vessel, watching the
movements of the various craft in the harbour. To her the delays which
so often vex the traveller rarely gave rise to any impatience. She
always found something to occupy her mind; and the passing to and fro of
men in their usual avocations was sufficient to awaken her reflection.
At a little distance from the steamer was a vessel undergoing some
repairs; for which purpose it was ballasted down, and made to float
nearly on one side. Against the exposed side of the vessel, astride upon
a plank, suspended by a rope, swung a bare-legged mortal most raggedly
attired, daubing its seams with some most disgusting-looking compound.
The man swinging in this ignominious fashion, and immersed in the filth
of his operation, attracted the notice of Mildred. What an application,
thought she, to make of a man! This fellow-creature of mine, they use
him for this! and perhaps for such as this only! They use his legs and
arms--which are sufficiently developed--but where is the rest of
him?--where is the man? He has the same _humanity_ as the noblest of us:
what a waste of the stuff, if it is worth any thing!

This last expression Mildred, almost unconsciously, uttered
aloud,--“What a waste of the stuff, if it is worth any thing!”

“My dear,” said Miss Bloomfield, who sat beside her, “it is nothing but
the commonest pitch or tar. How can you bear to look at it?”

“Dearest aunt,” said Mildred, “I was not thinking of the pitch, but the
man.”

“What _can_ you be talking of, my child?” said her aunt, in utter
amazement.

But there was one behind them who appeared to have understood what
Mildred was talking of, and who now, by some observation, made his
presence known to them. As she turned, she caught the eye of--Alfred
Winston.

They met this time as old acquaintances; and that glance of intellectual
freemasonry which was interchanged between them, tended not a little to
increase their feeling of intimacy.

“And you too are going into Italy?” she said. “But how is it that _you_
select this route?”

“I made an excursion,” he replied, “last summer into Switzerland and the
north of Italy, which accounts for my _turning_ the Alps on this
occasion.”

The vessel now weighed anchor. Departure--and a beautiful sunset--made
the view delightful. But daylight soon deserted them. Mr. Bloomfield
came to take the ladies down to the cabin, where a meal, which might be
called either dinner or supper, was preparing. Mildred would rather have
remained on deck; but as _he_ had expressed his intention of doing so,
she thought it better to descend with the rest.

Amongst the company in the cabin she immediately recognised one of her
fellow-travellers of the previous day. There was the elderly gentleman
with his black wooden shoes, and his short dry cough, gently but
strenuously chiding the _garçon_ for his delay. In these vessels the
passage-money includes provisions, so that, eat or not, you pay; and our
experienced traveller, having taken due precaution, as he soon
afterwards informed all the company, _not_ to dine, was very excusably
somewhat impatient. Mildred was amused to find him supporting his
character throughout with perfect consistency. Although every one but
himself was suffering from heat, he--anxious only for the public good,
and especially for the comfort of the ladies--maintained a strict watch
upon both door and, window, and would have kept both, if possible,
hermetically closed. And as the waiters handed round the soup, or any
thing that was, fluid, he, with a mild solemnity of manner, warned them
not to _arroser_ his coat, not to sprinkle that excellent garment which
was doubtless destined, under so considerate a master, to see many years
of service.


CHAPTER V.

The next morning Mildred had risen with the dawn, leaving her aunt and
the rest of the passengers locked in their slumbers. What a delightful
sensation awaited her as she rose from the close cabin of the steamer,
and, ascending upon deck, met the breeze, the sunrise, the dancing
waters of the Mediterranean, and hailed at her side the mountain coast
of Italy! It was the first time in her life she had seen the blue hill
crested with the snowy summits of the more distant and lofty
mountain,--a combination which the art of the painter is daily
attempting to imitate, but the etherial effect of which it never can at
all approach. What an enchantment is the first view of the greater
beauties of nature! The first lake--the first mountain--the first time
we behold the eternal snow, white as the summer cloud, but which passes
_not_ away--is an era in our existence,--a first love without its
disappointment. The inhabitant of a mountainous country, though he may
boast his greater intimacy with nature, though he may have linked all
the feelings of _home_ with her grandeur and sublimity, can never know
what the dweller in the plain and the city has felt, who, with matured
taste, with imagination cultivated by literature, stands, in all the
vigour of his mind, for the first time before the mountain! It was but a
distant view of the Alps that Mildred now obtained; but that snowy ridge
against the blue sky--that moved not, that was not cloud--exercised an
indescribable fascination over her.

Winston was also soon upon deck; but, observing how well she was
employed, he was careful not to disturb her. He well knew how essential
was solitude to the highest gratification which either art or nature
afford. It is but a secondary or declining excitement that we feel when
we are restless to communicate it to another. The heart is but half
full of its object, that, to complete its pleasure, craves for sympathy.

It was not till they were within sight of Genoa that he ventured to
approach the side of the vessel where she was sitting.

“Now,” said he, with a smile, “it is permissible to talk. We approach
the shore too near for picturesque effect; and the town of Genoa, seen
here from the bay, whatever tourists may assert, is neither more nor
less than what a sea-port town may be expected to be.”

“Yes,” said Mildred; “I was just observing to myself that a hilly coast,
delightful to him who is on it, and delightful to the distant spectator,
is at a certain mid-way station seen to great disadvantage. It has lost
the cerulean hue--that _colour laid in the air_--that visible poetry
which it had appropriated to itself; it has lost this enchantment of
distance, and it is still too remote for the natural beauty of its
several objects to be perceived. These are dwarfed and flattened. The
trees are bushes, mere tufts of green; the precipices and cliffs are
patches of gravel darker or lighter. For the charm of imagination it is
too near; for the effect of its own realities, too remote. And yet--and
yet--see what a _life_ is thrown over the scene by the shadow of that
passing cloud, moving rapidly over the little fields, and houses, and
the olive groves! How it _brightens_ all, by the contrast it forms with
the stream of light which follows as rapidly behind it! I retract--I
retract--Nature has a pencil which never is at fault; which has always
some touch in reserve to kindle every scene into beauty.”

“But the town----”

“Oh, I surrender the town. Certainly, if this is the view which tourists
admire, they shall never have the moulding of my anticipations. The sail
by the coast has been delightful; but it is precisely here, in presence
of this congregation of ordinary buildings, that the pleasure deserts
us.”

“People,” said Winston, “have described Genoa the Proud as if its
palaces stood by the sea. They have combined, I suspect, in one view all
that the exterior and the interior of the town had presented to them.
They have taken the little privilege of turning the city inside out;
just as if one should make up a picture of the approach to London by the
river Thames, by lining its banks with sections cut out of Regent’s
Park. But here we are at anchor, and shall soon be able to penetrate
into this city of palaces.”

They landed, and Alfred Winston assisted the ladies to disembark, but
showed no symptoms of any intention to attach himself to their party. He
did not even select the same hotel. But as all travellers are seeing the
same sights, visiting the same churches, the same palaces, the same
points of view, it was not possible for them to be long without meeting.
And these casual encounters seemed to afford to both parties an equal
pleasure.

We have seen that there was a strain of thought in Mildred’s mind, which
found neither sympathy nor apprehension with her companions. Mr.
Bloomfield was, indeed, more intelligent than his sister; but his
half-perceptions, coupled unfortunately with no distrust whatever of
himself, made him the more tedious companion of the two; for he would
either inflict upon her some misplaced flippancy, or some wearisome
common-place; which last he doubted not was extremely edifying to his
niece. Good man! he little suspected that the great difference between
himself and his niece consisted in this, that he was indeed incapable of
receiving any edification from her; whilst she, in her own silent way,
would often extract from the chaff he dealt in, some truth for herself.
Her responsive “Yes,” was, often yielded in assent to a meaning other
and higher than he was aware he had expressed. To her, therefore, the
intellectual sympathy which she found in their fellow-traveller was
peculiarly grateful; it was as novel as it was agreeable.

If she had refused to be pleased with the applauded view of the bay of
Genoa, she was unfeignedly interested in the interior of the town. Nor,
perhaps, is there any town in Italy, with the exception of Venice, which
makes a more striking impression upon the traveller. He walks through a
street of palaces, the painted fronts of many of which remind him of the
scenes of the theatre--so that he can hardly believe himself to be in a
real town; he sees the orange-tree upon the terrace above him, and its
veritable golden fruit hangs over his head--is hanging in the open air:
he feels he is now really in Italy! he sees the light arcade running by
the side of the palace, with its decorated arch, its statues, its vases;
and as he passes along the street, the open portico partly reveals the
branching staircase, and the inner court, with its deserted galleries,
and its now so solitary fountain. And as he walks on--in striking
contrast--narrow, very narrow streets, at his right or at his left,
descend upon him, dark and precipitous as a mountain gorge, bringing
down the clattering mule, laden ingeniously enough with whatever is
elsewhere stowed into a cart, or the antique sedan, the only vehicle in
which a living man could navigate those straits. Then the multitude of
priests and friars, black and brown--the white muslin veil thrown over
the heads of the women, or the gaudy scarf of printed cotton substituted
by the poorer sort (Miss Bloomfield exclaimed, and very naturally, that
they had got their bed furniture about their ears)--all this, and much
more, which it is not exactly our purpose to describe, give to the town
an air of complete originality. The very decay, in some parts, of its
antique state and grandeur, adds to its interest. One looks into the
deserted porch, deserted of all but that sleepy shoe-black, who has
installed himself in its shade with the necessary implements of his
calling; and one sees the fountain still bubbling up, still playing
there before its only companion, that stained and mutilated statue, who
looks on with how pensive, how altered, how deploring an aspect!

The young priests, with their broad hats and well draped vests of
spotless black cloth, Mildred thought the best dressed men she had any
where seen. The finished dandy looks contemptible by the side of these.
She could not pass the same compliment on the brown friar, corded and
sandeled, with his low brow and his bare shaven crown. In vain does he
proclaim that his poverty is voluntary, and most meritorious: he has a
sad, plebeian aspect; and even his saintly brother in black manifestly
looks down upon him, as they meet upon the pavement, as belonging to the
democracy of their sacred order. Voluntary poverty! the faith in the
existence of such a thing is rarer even than the thing itself; it is
worn out; and in this age a mendicant friar can be nothing more than a
legalised beggar, earning his subsistence (as the Church, we suppose,
would explain it) by the useful office of stimulating the charity of
men; there being in the natural constitution of society so few occasions
for the practice of benevolence.

Our fellow-travellers had met in the church of the _Annunciation_, one
of the most gorgeous structures which the Catholic religion has erected
for its worship. It would be almost impossible for gilding, and
painting, and all the decorative arts, to produce any thing more
splendid than the interior of this temple. Neither Versailles nor Rome
has any thing to compete with the sumptuous effect which is here
produced by these means. By drawing a red silk curtain across the upper
windows, there is thrown over the gilding so rich a hue, that the roof
and pillars glow as if with molten gold. High up, within the dome, there
stand, in pairs, one at each side of every window, gilded statues; and
these, in the red light thrown upon them, look as if invested with
flame. They reminded Mildred of some description she had read in
Southey’s _Curse of Kehama_.

Winston was disposed to quarrel with the building as being too gorgeous;
but Mildred, who resigned herself more readily to genuine and natural
impulses of pleasure, and who at all times expressed the unaffected
dictates of her taste, would not acquiesce in any censure of the kind.

“No,” she maintained, “if the artist aim at being gorgeous, he must stop
at no half measures. There is a higher aim, no doubt, where form and
proportion ought more strictly to predominate over colour, and all the
splendour of marble and of gilding. But if he is resolved to dazzle
us--if to be sumptuous is his very object, let him throw timidity to the
winds; let him build--as he has done here--in gold; let him paint--as on
this ceiling--in such glowing colours as even this roof of flame cannot
overpower. Look up the dome; see how these clouds are rolling down upon
us!”

“But,” said Winston, still disposed to be critical, “there is something
else in that dome which seems disposed to fall; and which, from its
nature, ought to manifest no such tendency. Do you remark those small
Corinthian pillars placed round the upper part of the dome--how they
lean inward? A pillar is the last thing which ought to look as if it
needed support; yet these evidently, unless fastened to the wall, would,
by their own gravity, fall down upon us. This is surely contrary to the
simplest rules of taste, yet it is not the first time I have observed in
Italy this species of ornament.”

“I acquiesce in your criticism,” said Mildred, with a smile; “now point
me out something to admire.”

They sat down quietly on one of the benches, placed there for the
service of the faithful, to survey at leisure this sumptuous edifice,
and let its impression sink into their memory. But this pleasure was not
a little interrupted by the devotees in their neighbourhood--dirty,
ragged, squalid men and women, mumbling and spitting--spitting and
mumbling. They were unreasonable enough to feel that the devotion of
these people was quite an intrusive circumstance. For such
worshippers!--such a temple!--thought Mildred. They were jabbering their
prayers, like idiocy, behind her. “Let us move away,” she whispered.
“After all,” said Winston, as they retired, “it is for their idiocy, and
not our admiration, that the temple is built.”

On leaving this building they directed their steps towards the suburbs
of the town, and entered a church which, in its modest appearance,
formed a strong contrast with the one they had just visited. A level
space before it, planted with trees, gave it the air of an English
parish church. Neither the interior nor the exterior presented any
architectural display. Whilst Mr. and Miss Bloomfield were walking up to
the altar, and taking, as in duty bound, a survey of the whole building,
Mildred and her companion lingered near the entrance, attracted by some
monumental tablets set up against the walls. The bas-reliefs on one, or
two of these were remarkable for their beauty, their elegance and
tenderness, and the inscriptions accorded with them, and seemed full of
feeling.

“I am glad,” she said, “we happened to enter here. I was beginning to be
a little out of humour with my catholic brethren; but these tablets
bring me back to a charitable and kindly mood.”

Winston joined her in reading some of the inscriptions.

“It is really,” said he, “the first time I can remember to have been
affected by monumental inscriptions, or to have read them with any
pleasure or patience. In an English churchyard, the tombstone either
_preaches_ at you--and that with such an offensive dogmatism as none but
a dead man would venture to assume--or it presents a fulsome collection
of laudatory phrases, shovelled upon the dead with as much thought and
consideration as were the dirt and clay upon his coffin. If verse is
added, it seems to have been supplied, with the stone, by the
stone-mason; the countrymen of Milton--and not alone the poor and
ignorant--select, to be engraved on the enduring marble, some pitiable
doggerel that ought never to have been heard beyond the nursery, so that
few persons stop to read the epitaphs in our churchyards, unless in a
spirit of mockery, and with the hope of extracting a jest from them.”

“For which reason, amongst others,” said Mildred, “I generally avoid
them. I would respect the dead,--and the living in their affliction. But
what a natural, humane, tender, and faithful spirit are some of these
written in! And this beautiful figure of a young girl ascending to the
skies, embracing the cross in her arms,--what a sweet piety it breathes!
How well it bears out the inscription underneath, the _conceit_ in which
might otherwise have at least failed to please,--

    è fatta in cielo quale parve in terra
               --un angelo.

“And here--how full of tenderness--how full of faith--seem these simple
words!--

    Quì dorme in pace
    la gentile e virtuosa giovine Maria, &c.
    Voleva all’ amplesso di Dio.

“And this,--

      O Ginevra,
    Unico nostro tesoro!
    Arridi a noi dal cielo
      cara angioletta,
      e ne prega da Dio
    novella prole che ti somigli,
    a rendere meno acerbo,
    il dolore della tua partita.

“Earth and Heaven--how they mingle here!”

“Is it poetry or religion that we are reading?” said Winston. “It seems
to me as if these people had suddenly turned their poetry into faith.”

“Or have some of us been turning our faith into poetry? I believe,”
added Mildred, “that, in every mind, not utterly destitute of
imagination, the boundaries of the two are not very rigidly defined.
There is always something of faith in our poetry, and something of
poetry in our faith.”

They were now joined by Mr. and Miss Bloomfield, who had made their tour
of the church; and the whole party retraced their steps towards their
hotel. Winston felt that he had not once indulged Mr. Bloomfield in an
opportunity of venting his lamentations over the evils of travel, and
the discomforts of foreign parts; he therefore asked that gentleman how
he had found himself accommodated at the hotel at which he had
descended.

“Ay,” said Mr. Bloomfield, delighted to have a topic on which he could
feelingly expatiate, “_Descended!_--’tis the Frenchman’s phrase. I know
that I have _ascended_ to my hotel, and to no trivial elevation. Why,
the hotel itself does not begin till where another house might end, and
where it ends might be a problem for astronomers to calculate. The
ladies got deposited somewhere beneath the clouds; but for myself I am
really at a frightful altitude. I was conducted up a dark
stone-staircase with an iron-bannister; after some time my guide
branched off laterally through by-passages, with unglazed openings,
having the most cheerless look-out imaginable, and across damp
landing-places contiguous to sinks, and what seemed wash-houses, and
where you heard the perpetual dripping of water. All this lay in the
road to my bed-room; but the bed-room was not reached yet. I had again
to mount--to mount--till I was almost giddy. When at length I attained
the apartment destined for me--the only one, I was assured, vacant in
the hotel--and was left up there alone in it, I felt so removed from all
human fellowship, all succour or sympathy from the inhabitants of the
earth below, that I do declare, if I had not been a little initiated on
the journey--if I had come direct from my English home at Wimborne--and
if, moreover, I was not here in character of protector to two ladies,
and therefore bound to carry a bold face in all extremities--I do
declare that I should have thrown myself down in utter despair upon the
floor, and there lay till the undertaker should come and take me down
again!--it seemed the only mode of descent that was at all practicable.”

“Certainly it would be the easiest and the safest,” said Winston,
humouring his vein of exaggeration. “And yet it is hardly upon the
_floor_ that you would have thrown yourself--which being probably of
painted tiles, would have given you a cruel reception. You would rather
have chosen Captain Shandy’s attitude, when he was overwhelmed with
grief, and flung yourself face foremost upon the bed.”

“Very true. And as to that same bed, whether owing to the fatigue of my
toilsome ascent, or to some good properties of its own, I must confess I
never slept on any thing more agreeable. Yet, on examination, I found it
stuffed with the dried leaves of the Indian corn. Strange substitute for
a feather bed! It is inconceivable how comfortable I found it. And to be
the dried leaves of Indian corn--a sort of straw, in short. And the next
morning when I woke, and saw by daylight the light and elegant drapery
of my bed, and looked up at the gaily painted ceiling--I suppose in this
country the pigeon-houses have their ceilings painted--I could hardly
believe that I was in an attic--raised even to the fifth power of an
attic.”

When Alfred Winston mounted to _his attic_ that night--as Mr. Bloomfield
persisted in calling every elevated dormitory--he ought, if fatigue was
sufficient to ensure it, to have slept soundly too. But he did not. He
did not sleep at all. And the result of this sleepless night was a
resolution, which does not seem strictly consequent thereon,--a
resolution to rise with the dawn, and leave Genoa immediately.

The fact was, that this Mildred Willoughby was exercising over him, not,
as is often said, a fascination “for which he could not account,” but
one for which he could account too well. She realized all that he had
ever pictured to himself of feminine charms,--his ideal of
woman,--grace, beauty, tenderness, and a mind highly cultivated. But he
had not come to Italy to fall in love. Besides, what had he, in Italy or
elsewhere, to do with love? It was a thing out of his calculation at all
times and places, and just now more than ever. How could he see
Italy--see any thing--with this Mildred by the side of him? He would
escape from this dangerous party. It was their intention, he had heard,
to proceed to Pisa; he would start at once to Florence, and visit Pisa
on his return. By this means he should get the start of them, and he
would keep it.

By eight o’clock that morning he was travelling on the road to Florence.

The Bloomfields were a little surprised at not encountering their
agreeable companion again; and at length concluded that he had taken his
departure. Rather abruptly, to be sure, yet what claim had either on the
other to any of the ceremonies of social intercourse? They were mere
travellers, whom hazard had thrown together.

“After all,” said Mr. Bloomfield; “we have never been introduced.”

“Very true,” said Miss Bloomfield, “that never struck me.”

Mildred was silent.



CHAPTER VI.


Winston so far succeeded in his design, that by hastening from Genoa,
and leaving Pisa unvisited, he was enabled to view the galleries of
Florence without being disturbed by any other beauty than that which
looked on him from the walls, or lived in the creations of the sculptor.
From Florence he had proceeded to Rome, and had surveyed its antiquities
and the marvels of art it contained, still undistracted by the too
fascinating Mildred.

But although he had secured his solitude from interruption by a person
likely to interest him too keenly, he was not equally resolute, or
equally successful, in keeping himself aloof from certain
fellow-travellers with whom he had scarce one thought or one taste in
common. Our readers may remember a young lady whom we attempted to
describe, figuring not very advantageously at the ball-room at Brussels.
This damsel belonged to a mamma who, in her own way, was a still greater
oddity, and who, indeed, ought to be made responsible for the grotesque
appearance of her daughter on that occasion. She insisted upon it that,
as all the world knew they were travellers, just looking in, as it were,
as they were passing through the town, they might very well go to the
ball in their travelling dresses; and as she was one of those who held
rigidly to the prudent maxim that “any thing was good enough to travel
in,” these dresses were not likely, be the occasion what it might, to be
remarkable for their freshness.

Mrs. Jackson was the widow of a citizen of London who had lately died,
leaving her and her daughter a very ample fortune. Now, although Mr.
Jackson had, ever since his marriage, been adding hundred to hundred by
the sale of wax and tallow candles in the city, yet had he continued to
inhabit the same little house at Islington into which he had first
packed himself with dear Mrs. Jackson immediately after the honeymoon;
nor had he, in any one way, made an effort to enjoy his increasing
income. An effort it would have been. What more did Mr. Jackson want?
What more _could_ he have enjoyed? The morning took him to his warehouse
in the city, and the afternoon brought him back with an excellent
appetite for an excellent dinner, and quite sufficiently fatigued to
enjoy that comfortable digestive nap, in which Mrs. Jackson also joined
him; and from which he woke up only the better prepared for the hearty
slumbers of the night. His wealth, had he been obliged to spend it,
would have added to his discomfort, instead of diffusing over him, as it
did, a perpetual pleasant glow of self-importance. A larger and finer
house, with the toil of receiving company in it, would have distressed
him beyond measure. It was bad enough to be compelled, occasionally, to
take his spouse to the theatre, or to a Christmas party: such
enterprises were looked forward to with uneasy apprehension; and the
gratification of having _got over_ them was the only one they afforded
him. His ledger--his newspaper--his dinner and a fireside, quiet but not
solitary, this was the summary of his happiness. His little wine-glass,
as Boswell would have expressed it, was quite full; you would only have
made a mess of it, and spoilt all, by attempting to pour in a whole
tumbler-full of happiness.

One daughter only had blessed the nuptials of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. She
was still at boarding-school when her father died. But, after this
event, her fond mamma could no longer bear the separation; and home she
came, bringing with her that accurate and complete stock of human
knowledge and female accomplishments which is usually derived from such
establishments, namely, infinite scraps of every thing and every thing
in scraps, with the beginning of all languages, of all arts, and all
sciences. There was in her portfolio a map of China, faithfully
delineated, and a group of roses not quite so faithful. She had strummed
one sonata till she played it with all the certainty of animal instinct,
and she had acquired the capability of saying, “How d’ye do?” in at
least three several languages beside the English.

But the loss of “Jackson” even the society of the accomplished Louisa
could not compensate. The widow was very dull. Her comfortable house at
Islington ceased to bring comfort to her; and she was tormented by a
most unusual restlessness. Her daughter, who had heard from her
favourite companion at the boarding-school, of the charms of foreign
travel,--of the romantic adventures, and the handsome counts and barons
that are sure to be encountered on the road, took advantage of this
restlessness to persuade her mamma to take a tour on the Continent.
After much discussion, much hesitation, infinite talking, and reading of
guide-books, and exploring of maps--they started.

Absurd!--impossible!--exclaims the intelligent reader--that good Mrs.
Jackson should commit herself and her daughter to all the casualties of
travel without a male companion. And for what purpose? What pleasure
could rocks and mountains, or statues and pictures, give to her, that
would be worth the trouble of getting to them? Very absurd and quite
impossible! we ourselves should, perhaps, have exclaimed, had we been
inventing incidents, and not recording a mere sober matter of fact. But
so it was. And, indeed, let any one call to mind the strange groups he
has encountered--scrambling about the Continent, the Lord knows why or
wherefore--and whatever difficulty he may have in explaining Mrs.
Jackson’s motives, he will have none in believing her conduct, were it
twice as absurd. Of pleasure, indeed, she had little, and very much
tribulation. To be sure she felt quite at home upon the steam-boat on
the Rhine;--“it did so remind her” of a trip she once took to Greenwich
with the dear departed. And then it was very amusing and instructive to
both herself and her daughter to find out all the places as they passed
on that “Panorama of the Rhine” which lay extended on their laps before
them. Being on the spot, they could study the map with singular
advantage. But it was not always they had a map of the country to look
at, nor even anyone to tell them the names of the places. The idea of
seeing a place and not knowing its name!--this always put Mrs. Jackson
in a perfect fever: as well, she would say, shake hands with the Lord
Mayor, and not know it _was_ the Lord Mayor! And then what she suffered
who can tell, from the strange outlandish viands put before, and alas!
too often put within her? and that daily affliction--imposed on her
with such unnecessary cruelty--of eating her meat without vegetables, or
her vegetables without meat?

Still on she went--bustling, elbowing, sighing, scolding,
complaining--but nevertheless travelling on. Being at Rome, in the same
hotel with Winston, and finding that he had answered one or two of her
questions very civilly and satisfactorily, both she and her daughter had
frequently applied to him in their difficulties. And these difficulties
generally resulted from a lack of knowledge so easily supplied, that it
would have been mere churlishness to withhold the necessary information.

These difficulties, however, seemed to increase rather than diminish
with their sojourn at Rome; and well they might. Louisa Jackson found
them the most convenient things imaginable. She had been all the way on
the look-out for adventures, counts, and barons, and had hitherto met
with nothing of the sort. But Alfred Winston was as handsome as any
count need be--why not fall in love with him? A gentleman she was
convinced he was; of wealth she had sufficient, and to do her justice,
had quite generosity enough to be indifferent as to his possessions; and
for the rest, she would let her eye, let her heart, choose for her. The
brave Louisa! And her eye and her heart--which mean here pretty much the
same thing--had made no bad selection. As she had mentally resolved to
bestow herself, and all her “stocks, funds, and securities,” upon our
hero, and as she had wit enough to see that her only hold upon him at
present, was through his compassion for their embarrassments, she was
determined to keep an ample supply of them on hand.

They came sometimes without being called for, and without the least
collusion on her part. It was from no principle of economy, but from a
curiosity which could not be gratified so well in any other manner, that
Mrs. Jackson and her daughter occasionally ventured to thread their way
on foot through the streets of Rome. On one of these expeditions they
found themselves in the neighbourhood of the Pantheon. Opposite this
building there is a sort of ambulatory market, outrivalling all other
markets, at least in the commodity of noise--a commodity in which the
populace of Rome generally abound. On approaching it you think some
desperate affray is going on; but the men are only parading and vaunting
their disgusting fish, or most uninviting vegetables. The merits of
these they proclaim with a perfect storm of vociferation. Mrs. Jackson,
who had heard of revolutions on the Continent, did not doubt for a
moment but that one of these frightful things was taking place before
her. She and her daughter hurried back with precipitation, haunted by
all the terrors of the guillotine and the lamp-post. Louisa remembered a
certain beautiful princess she had read of, who had been compelled to
drink a cup of blood to save her father. What if they should treat her
as they did the beautiful princess, and offer her such another cup, and
force her to drink it, as the only means of saving her mother? Her
heroism did not desert her. She resolved she would _drink half_. But as
they were hurrying away full of these imaginary dangers, they rushed
upon one of a more real though less imposing description. It is no joke
in the narrow streets of Rome, to meet with a string of carts drawn by
huge oxen, wallowing along under their uneasy yokes. Just such a string
of carts encountered them as they turned one of the many narrow streets
that conduct to the Pantheon. The enormous brutes went poking their
spreading horns this way and that, in a manner very quiet perhaps in the
animals apprehensions, but very alarming to those of Mrs. Jackson; huge
horns, that were large enough, she thought, to spit an alderman, and
still have, room for her at the top. The two ladies, seeing the first of
these carts approach, had drawn-up close against the wall, and placed
themselves on a little heap of rubbish to be more completely out of the
way. To their dismay the line of these vehicles seemed to be
endless--there was no escape--in that position they had to stand, while
each brute as he passed turned his horns round to them, not with any
ferocious intention, but as if he had a great curiosity to feel them,
and examine their texture--an attention which would have been highly
indecorous, to say the least of it.

What could Winston do, who encountered them in this predicament, but
offer his escort? He calmed their various terrors--both of mad bulls and
of revolutions--reconducted them to the Pantheon, and secured an
exceedingly happy day for one at least of the party.

Winston had now been some time in Rome, and with an inconsistency so
natural that it hardly merits the name of inconsistency, he found
himself looking about in the galleries and churches for Mr. Bloomfield
and his party, and with a curiosity which did not bespeak a very violent
determination to avoid them. He began to think that they had lingered a
long while at Florence. He had forgot the danger--he remembered the
charm.

One morning--having stolen out early and alone from his hotel--as he was
engaged in viewing, for perhaps the last time, the sculpture of the
Vatican, he observed standing before the statue of the Amazon, a female
figure, as beautiful as it, and in an attitude which had been
unconsciously moulded into some resemblance of the pensive, queen-like
posture which the artist has given to the marble. It was Mildred. He
hesitated--he approached. She, on her part, met him with the utmost
frankness. His half-uttered apologies were immediately dropped. He
hardly knew whether to be pleased or mortified, as she made him feel
that the peculiar footing on which they stood tasked him to no
apologies, no ceremonial, that he was free to go--and withal very
welcome to return.

“You are before the Amazon,” said he: “it is the statue of all others
which has most fascinated me. I cannot understand why it should bear the
name it does. I suppose the learned in these matters have their reasons:
I have never inquired, nor feel disposed to inquire into them; but I am
sure the character of the statue is not Amazonian. That attitude--the
right arm raised to draw aside her veil, the left hand at its elbow,
steadying it--that beautiful countenance, so full of sadness and of
dignity--no, these cannot belong to an Amazon.”

“To a woman,” said Mildred, “it is allowed to be indifferent on certain
points of learning; and, in such cases as this, I certainly take
advantage to the full of the privilege of my sex. I care not what they
call the statue. It may have been called an Amazon by Greek and
Roman--it may have been so named by the artist himself when he sent it
home to his patron: I look at it as a creation standing between me and
the mind of the artist; and sure I am that, bear what name it may, the
sculptor has embodied here all that his soul had felt of the sweetness,
and power, and dignity of woman. It is a grander creation than any
goddess I have seen; it has more of thought----”

“And, as a consequence, more of sadness, of unhappiness. How the mystery
of life seems to hang upon that pensive brow! I used to share an
impression, which I believe is very general, that the deep sorrow which
comes of thought, the reflective melancholy which results from pondering
on the bitter problem of life, was peculiar to the moderns. This statue,
and others which I have lately seen, have convinced me that the sculptor
of antiquity has occasionally felt and expressed whatever could be
extracted from the mingled poetry of a Byron or a Goethe.”

“It seems that the necessity of representing the gods in the clear light
of happiness and knowledge, in some measure deprived the Greek artist of
one great source of sublimity. But it is evident,” continued Mildred,
“that the mysterious, with its attendant sorrow, was known also to him.
How could it be otherwise? Oh, what a beautiful creation is this we
stand before! And what an art it is which permits us to stand thus
before a being of this high order, and note all its noble passions! From
the real life we should turn our eyes away, or drop them, abashed, upon
the ground. Here is more than life; and we may look on it by the hour,
and mark its graceful sorrow, its queen-like beauty, and this
over-mastered grief which we may wonder at, but dare not pity.”

They passed on to other statues. They paused before the Menander,
sitting in his chair. “The attitude,” said she, “is so noble, that the
simple chair becomes a throne. But still how plainly it is _intellectual
power_ that sits enthroned there! The posture is imperial; and yet how
evident, that it is the empire of thought only that he governs in!”

“And this little statue of Esculapius,” she added, “kept me a long while
before it. The healing sage--how faithfully is he represented! What a
sad benevolence! acquainted with pain--compelled to inflict even in
order to restore.”

They passed through the Hall of the Muses.

“How serene are _all_ the Muses!” said Winston. “This is as it should
be. Even Tragedy, the most moved of all, how evidently her emotion is
one of thought, not of passion! Though she holds the dagger in her
down-dropt hand, how plainly we see that she has not used it! She has
picked it up from the floor after the fatal deed was perpetrated, and is
musing on the terrible catastrophe, and the still more terrible passions
that led to it.”

They passed through the _Hall of the Animals_; but this had
comparatively little attraction for Mildred. Her companion pointed out
the bronze centaur for her admiration.

“You must break a centaur in half,” said she, “before I can admire it.
And, if I am to look at a satyr, pray let the goat’s legs be hid in the
bushes. I cannot embrace in one conception these fragments of man and
brute. Come with me to the neighbouring gallery; I wish to show you a
Jupiter, seated at the further end of it, which made half a Pagan of me
this morning as I stood venerating it.”

“The head of your Jupiter,” said Winston, as they approached it, “is
surpassed, I think, by more than one bust of the same god that we have
already seen; and I find something of stiffness or rigidity in the
figure; but the impression it makes, as a whole, is very grand.”

“It will grow wonderfully on you as you look at it,” said Mildred. “How
well it typifies all that a Pagan would conceive of the supreme ruler of
the skies, the controller of the powers of nature, the great
administrator of the world who has the Fates for his council! His power
irresistible, but no pride in it, no joy, no triumph. He is without
passion. In his right hand lies the thunder, but it reposes on his
thigh; and his left hand rests calmly upon his tall sceptre surmounted
by an eagle. In his countenance there is the tranquillity of
unquestioned supremacy; but there is no repose. There is care; a
constant, wakefulness. It is the governor of a nature whose elements
have never known one moment’s pause.”

“I see it as you speak,” said Winston. Winston then proposed that they
should go together and look at the Apollo; but Mildred excused herself.

“I have paid my devotions to the god,” she said, “this morning, when the
eyes and the mind were fresh. I would not willingly displace the
impression that I now carry away for one which would be made on a
fatigued and jaded attention.”

“Is it not godlike?”

“Indeed it is. I was presumptuous enough to think I knew the Apollo. A
cast of the head--esteemed to be a very good one--my uncle had given me.
I placed it in my own room; for a long time it was the first thing that
the light fell upon, or my eyes opened to, in the morning; and in my
attempts at crayons I copied it, I believe, in every aspect. It seemed
to me therefore that on visiting the Apollo I should recognise an old
acquaintance. No such thing. The cast had given me hardly any idea of
the statue itself. There was certainly no feeling of old
acquaintanceship. The brow, as I stood in front of the god, quite
overawed me; involuntarily I retreated for an instant; you will smile,
but I had to muster my courage before I could gaze steadily at it.”

“I am not surprised; the divinity there is in no gentle mood. How
majestic! and yet how lightly it touches the earth! It is buoyant with
godhead.”

“What strikes me,” continued Mildred, “as the great triumph of the
artist, is this very anger of the god. It is an anger, which, like the
arrow he has shot from his bow, spends itself entirely upon his victim;
there is no recoil, as in human passion, upon the mind of him who feels
it. There is no jar there. The lightning strikes _down_--it tarries not
a moment in the sky above.”

We are giving, we are afraid, in these reports of Mildred’s
conversation, an erroneous impression of the speaker. We collect
together what often was uttered with some pauses between, and, owing to
a partiality to our heroine, we are more anxious to report her
sentiments than those of her companion. She is thus made to speak in a
somewhat elaborate style, very different from her real manner, and
represented as rather the greater talker of the two; whereas she was
more disposed to listen than to speak, and spoke always with the
greatest simplicity--with enthusiasm, it is true, but never with effort,
or display of diction.

The delight which Winston experienced, (having already surveyed them for
and by himself,) in retracing his steps through the marvels of Rome with
such a companion, is indescribable. The pictures in the Borghese, and
other palaces, broke upon him with a second novelty, and often with a
deeper sentiment. But was there no danger in wandering through galleries
with one by his side to whose living beauty the beauty on the canvass
served only to draw renewed attention and heightened admiration? If he
fled at Genoa, why does he tarry at Rome? There are some dangers, alas!
that are seen the less the greater they become. He was standing with her
before that exquisite picture in the Borghese palace representing the
Three Ages; a youth is reclining in the centre, and a nymph is playing
to him upon two flutes. He had seen it before, but he seemed now to
understand it for the first time. “How plainly,” he murmured to himself,
“is youth the _all_ of life! How plainly is love the _all_ of youth!”

As he was now somewhat familiar with Rome, he could be serviceable to
the Bloomfield party in the capacity of cicerone. They were pleased with
his services, and he found every day some incontrovertible reason why he
should bestow them. The embarrassments of Louisa Jackson and her mamma
were quite forgotten; nor could their difficulties excite a moment’s
compassion or attention. In vain did Louisa sigh; no inquiry was made
into the cause of her distress. In vain did she even, with plaintive
voice, ask whether, “being a Protestant, she could take the veil, and be
a nun?” the question was unheeded, and its deep significance
unperceived.



EUGENE, MARLBOROUGH, FREDERICK, NAPOLEON, AND WELLINGTON.


Five generals, by the common consent of men, stand forth pre-eminent in
modern times for the magnitude of the achievements they have effected,
and the splendour of the talents they have displayed--Eugene,
Marlborough, Frederick, Napoleon, and Wellington. It is hard to say
which appears the greatest, whether we regard the services they have
rendered to their respective countries, or the durable impress their
deeds have left on human affairs. All had difficulties the most serious
to contend with, obstacles apparently insurmountable to overcome, and
all proved in the end victorious over them. All have immortalized their
names by exploits far exceeding those recorded of other men. All have
left their effects durably imprinted in the subsequent fate of nations.
The relative position of the European states, the preservation of public
rights, the maintenance of the balance of power, the salvation of the
weak from the grasp of the strong, has been mainly owing to their
exertions. To their biography is attached not merely the fortune of the
countries to which they belonged, but the general destinies of Europe,
and through it of the human race.

To give a faithful picture, in a few pages, of such men, may seem a
hopeless, and to their merits an invidious task. A brief summary of the
chief actions of those of them to ordinary readers least known, is,
however, indispensable to lay a foundation for their comparison with
those whose deeds are as household words. It is not impossible to convey
to those who are familiar with their exploits, a pleasing _resumè_ of
their leading features, and salient points of difference; to those who
are not, to give some idea of the pleasure which their study is
calculated to afford. Generals, like poets or painters, have certain
leading characteristics which may be traced through all their
achievements; a peculiar impress has been communicated by nature to
their minds, which appears, not less than on the painter’s canvass or in
the poet’s lines, in all their actions. As much as grandeur of
conception distinguishes Homer, tenderness of feeling Virgil, and
sublimity of thought Milton, does impetuous daring characterize Eugene,
consummate generalship Marlborough, indomitable firmness Frederick,
lofty genius Napoleon, unerring wisdom Wellington. Greatness in the
military, as in every other art, is to be attained only by strong
natural talents, perseveringly directed to one object, undistracted by
other pursuits, undivided by inferior ambition. The men who have risen
to the highest eminence in war, have done so by the exercise of
faculties as great, and the force of genius as transcendent, as that
which formed a Homer, a Bacon, or a Newton. Success doubtless commands
the admiration of the multitude; military glory captivates the
unthinking throng; but to those who know the military art, and can
appreciate real merit, the chief ground for admiration of its great
masters, is a sense of the difficulties, to most unknown, which they
have overcome.

PRINCE EUGENE, though belonging to the same age, often acting in the
same army, and sometimes commanding alternately with Marlborough, was a
general of an essentially different character. A descendant of the House
of Savoy, born at Paris, in 1663, and originally destined for the
church, he early evinced a repugnance for theological studies, and,
instead of his breviary, was devouring in secret Plutarch’s lives of
ancient heroes. His figure was slender, and his constitution at first
weak; but these disadvantages, which caused Louis XIV. to refuse him a
regiment, from an opinion that he was not equal to its duties, were soon
overcome by the ardour of his mind. Immediately setting out for Vienna,
he entered the imperial service; but he was still pursued by the enmity
of Louvois, who procured from Louis a decree which pronounced sentence
of banishment on all Frenchmen in the armies of foreign powers who
should fail to return to their country. “I will re-enter France in spite
of him,” said Eugene; and he was more than once as good as his word.
His genius for war was not methodical or scientific like that of Turenne
or Marlborough, nor essentially chivalrous like that of the Black Prince
or the Great Condé. It was more akin to the terrible sweep of the Tartar
chiefs; it savoured more of oriental daring. He was as prodigal of the
blood of his soldiers as Napoleon; but, unlike him, he never failed to
expose his own with equal readiness in the fight. He did not reserve his
attack in person for the close of the affray, like the French Emperor,
but was generally to be seen in the fire from the very outset. It was
with difficulty he could be restrained from heading the first assault of
grenadiers, or leading on the first charge of horse. His first
distinguished command was in Italy, in 1691, and his abilities soon gave
his kinsman, the Duke of Savoy, an ascendant there over the French. But
it was at the great battle of Zenta, on the Teife, where he surprised
and totally defeated Cara-Mustapha, at the head of 120,000 Turks, that
his wonderful genius for war first shone forth in its full lustre. He
there killed 20,000 of the enemy, drove 10,000 into the river, took
their whole artillery and standards, and entirely dispersed their mighty
array.

Like Nelson at Copenhagen, Eugene had gained this glorious victory by
acting in opposition to his orders, which were positively to avoid a
general engagement. This circumstance, joined to the envy excited by his
unparalleled triumph, raised a storm at Court against the illustrious
general, and led to his being deprived of his command, and even
threatened with a court-martial. The public voice, however, at Vienna,
loudly condemned such base ingratitude towards so great a benefactor to
the imperial dominions: the want of his directing eye was speedily felt
in the campaign with the Turks, and the Emperor was obliged to restore
him to his command, which he, however, only agreed to accept on being
given _carte blanche_ for the conduct of the war. The peace of
Carlowetz, in 1699, between the Imperialists and the Ottomans, soon
after restored him to a pacific life, and the study of history, in
which, above any other, he delighted. But on the breaking out of the war
of the Succession, in 1701, he was restored to his military duties, and
during two campaigns measured his strength, always with success, in the
plains of Lombardy, with the scientific abilities of Marshal Catinat,
and the learned experience of Marshal Villeroi, the latter of whom he
made prisoner during a nocturnal attack on Cremona, in 1703. In 1704, he
was transferred to the north of the Alps to unite with Marlborough in
making head against the great army of Marshal Tallard, which was
advancing, in so threatening a manner, through Bavaria; and he shared
with the illustrious Englishman the glories of Blenheim, which at once
delivered Germany, and hurled the French armies with disgrace behind the
Rhine. Then commenced that steady friendship, and sincere and mutual
regard, between these illustrious men, which continued unbroken till the
time of their death, and is not the least honourable trait in the
character of each. But the want of his protecting arm was long felt in
Italy: the great abilities of the Duke de Vendôme had well-nigh
counterbalanced there all the advantages of the allies in Germany; and
the issue of the war in the plains of Piedmont continued doubtful till
the glorious victory of Eugene, on the 7th Sept. 1706, when he stormed
the French intrenchments around Turin, defended by eighty thousand men,
at the head of thirty thousand only, and totally defeated Marshal Marsin
and the Duke of Orleans, with such loss, that the French armies were
speedily driven across the Alps.

Eugene was now received in the most flattering manner at Vienna: the
lustre of his exploits had put to silence, if not to shame, the
malignity of his enemies. “I have but one fault to find with you,” said
the Emperor when he was first presented to him after his victory, “and
that is that you expose yourself too much.” He was next placed at the
head of the Imperial armies in Flanders; and shared with Marlborough in
the conduct, as he did in the glories, of Oudenarde and Malplaquet.
Intrusted with the command of the corps which besieged Lille, he was
penetrated with the utmost admiration for Marshal Boufflers, and
evinced the native generosity of his disposition, by the readiness with
which he granted the most favourable terms to the illustrious besieged
chief, who had with equal skill and valour conducted the defence. When
the articles of capitulation proposed by Boufflers were placed before
him, he said at once, without looking at them, “I will subscribe them at
once: knowing well you would propose nothing unworthy of you and me.”
The delicacy of his subsequent attentions to his noble prisoner evinced
the sincerity of his admiration. When Marlborough’s influence at the
English Court was sensibly declining, in 1711, he repaired to London,
and exerted all his talents and address to bring the English council
back to the common cause, and restore his great rival to his former
ascendency with Queen Anne. When it was all in vain, and the English
armies withdrew from the coalition, Eugene did all that skill and genius
could achieve to make up for the great deficiency arising from the
withdrawal of Marlborough and his gallant followers; and when it had
become apparent that he was over-matched by the French armies, he was
the first to counsel his Imperial master to conclude peace, which was
done at Rastadt on the 6th March, 1714.

Great as had been the services then performed by Eugene for the
Imperialists, they were outdone by those which he subsequently rendered
in the wars with the Turks. In truth it was he who first effectually
broke their power, and for ever delivered Europe from the sabres of the
Osmanlis, by which it had been incessantly threatened for three hundred
years. Intrusted with the command of the Austrian army in Hungary, sixty
thousand strong, he gained at Peterwardin, in 1716, a complete victory
over an hundred and fifty thousand Turks. This glorious success led him
to resume the offensive, and in the following year he laid siege, with
forty thousand men, to Belgrade, the great frontier fortress of Turkey,
in presence of the whole strength of the Ottoman empire. The obstinate
resistance of the Turks, as famous then, as they have ever since been,
in the defence of fortified places, joined to the dysenteries and fevers
usual on the marshy banks of the Danube in the autumnal months, soon
reduced his effective force to twenty-five thousand men, while that of
the enemy, by prodigious efforts, had been swelled to an hundred and
fifty thousand around the besiegers’ lines, besides thirty thousand
within the walls. Every thing presaged that Eugene was about to undergo
the fate of Marshal Marsin twelve years before at Turin, and even his
most experienced officers deemed a capitulation the only way of
extricating them from their perilous situation. Eugene himself was
attacked and seriously weakened by the prevailing dysentery: all seemed
lost in the Austrian camp. It was in these circumstances, with this
weakened and dispirited force, that he achieved one of the most glorious
victories ever gained by the Cross over the Crescent. With admirable
skill he collected his little army together, divided it into columns of
attack, and though scarcely able to sit on horseback himself, led them
to the assault of the Turkish intrenchments. The result was equal to the
success of Cæsar over the Gauls at the blockade of Alesia, seventeen
centuries before. The innumerable host of the Turks was totally
defeated--all their artillery and baggage taken, and their troops
entirely dispersed. Belgrade, immediately after, opened its gates, and
has since remained, with some mutations of fortune, the great frontier
bulwark of Europe against the Turks. The successes which he gained in
the following campaign of 1718 were so decisive, that they entirely
broke the Ottoman power; and he was preparing to march to
Constantinople, when the treaty of Passarowitz put a period to his
conquests, and gave a breathing time to the exhausted Ottoman empire.[3]

From this brief sketch of his exploits, it may readily be understood
what was the character of Eugene as a general. He had none of the
methodical prudence of Turenne, Marlborough, or Villars. His genius was
entirely different: it was more akin to that of Napoleon, when he was
reduced to counterbalance inferiority of numbers by superiority of
skill. The immortal campaigns of 1796, in Italy, and of 1814, in
Champagne, bear a strong resemblance to those of Eugene. Like the French
Emperor, his strokes were rapid and forcible; his _coup-d’œil_ was at
once quick and just; his activity indefatigable; his courage undaunted;
his resources equal to any undertaking. He did not lay much stress on
previous arrangements, and seldom attempted the extensive combinations
which enabled Marlborough to command success; but dashed fearlessly on,
trusting to his own resources to extricate him out of any difficulty--to
his genius, in any circumstances, to command victory. Yet was this
daring disposition not without peril. His audacity often bordered on
rashness, his rapidity on haste; and he repeatedly brought his armies
into situations all but desperate, and which, to a general of lesser
capacity, unquestionably would have proved so. Yet in these difficulties
no one could exceed him in the energy and vigour with which he
extricated himself from the toils: and many of his greatest victories,
particularly those of Turin and Belgrade, were gained under
circumstances where even the boldest officers in his army had given him
over for lost. He was prodigal of the blood of his soldiers, and, like
Napoleon, indifferent to the sacrifices at which he purchased his
successes; but he was still more lavish of his own, and never failed to
share the hardships and dangers of the meanest of his followers. He was
engaged in thirteen pitched battles, in all of which he fought like a
common soldier. He was in consequence repeatedly, sometimes dangerously,
wounded; and it was extraordinary “that his life escaped his reiterated
perils.” He raised the Austrian monarchy by his triumphs to the very
highest pitch of glory, and finally broke the power of the Turks, the
most persevering and not the least formidable of its enemies. But the
enterprises which his genius prompted the cabinet of Vienna to
undertake, were beyond the strength of the hereditary states; and for
nearly a century after, it achieved nothing worthy, either of its
growing resources, or the military renown which he had spread around its
annals.

FREDERICK II., surnamed THE GREAT, with more justice than that title has
elsewhere been applied in modern times, was born at Berlin on the 24th
January, 1712. His education was as much neglected as ill-directed.
Destined from early youth for the military profession, he was in the
first instance subjected to a discipline so rigorous, that he conceived
the utmost aversion for a career in which he was ultimately to shine
with such eclat, and, as his only resource, threw himself with ardour
into the study of French literature, for which he retained a strong
predilection through the whole of his subsequent life. Unfortunately his
education was almost entirely confined to that literature. That of his
own country, since so illustrious, had not started into existence. Of
Italian and Spanish he was ignorant. He could not read Greek; and with
Latin his acquaintance was so imperfect, as to be of no practical
service to him through life. To this unfortunate contraction of his
education his limited taste in literature, in subsequent life, is
chiefly to be ascribed. He at first was desirous of espousing an English
princess; but his father, who was most imperious in his disposition,
decided otherwise, and he was compelled, in 1733, to marry the Princess
Elizabeth of Brunswick. This union, like most others contracted under
restraint, proved unfortunate; and it did not give Frederick the
blessing of an heir to the throne. Debarred from domestic enjoyments,
the young prince took refuge with more eagerness than ever in literary
pursuits; the chateau of Rhinsberg, which was his favourite abode, was
styled by him in his transport the “Palace of the Muses;” and the
greatest general and most hardy soldier of modern times spent some years
of his youth in corresponding with Maupertuis, Voltaire, and other
French philosophers, and in making indifferent verses and madrigals,
which gave no token of any remarkable genius. He had already prepared
for the press a book entitled “Refutation of the Prince of Machiavel,”
when, in 1740, the death of his father called him to the throne, its
duties, its dangers, and its ambition.

The philosophers were in transports, when they beheld “one of
themselves,” as they styled him, elevated to a throne: they flattered
themselves that he would continue his literary pursuits, and acknowledge
their influence, when surrounded by the attractions, and wielding the
patronage of the crown. They soon found their mistake. Frederick
continued through life his literary tastes: he corresponded with
Voltaire and the philosophers through all his campaigns: he made French
verses, in his tent, after tracing out the plans of the battles of
Leuthen and Rosbach. But his heart was in his kingdom: his ambition was
set on its aggrandizement: his passion was war, by which alone it could
be achieved. Without being discarded, the philosophers and madrigals
were soon forgotten. The finances and the army occupied his whole
attention. The former were in admirable order, and his father had even
accumulated a large treasure which remained in the exchequer. The army,
admirably equipped and disciplined, already amounted to 60,000 men: he
augmented it to 80,000. Nothing could exceed the vigour he displayed in
every department, or the unceasing attention he paid to public affairs.
Indefatigable day and night, sober and temperate in his habits, he
employed even artificial means to augment the time during the day he
could devote to business. Finding that he was constitutionally inclined
to more sleep than he deemed consistent with the full discharge of all
his regal duties, he ordered his servants to waken him at five in the
morning; and if words were not effectual to rouse him from his sleep, he
commanded them, on pain of dismissal, to apply linen steeped in cold
water to his person. This order was punctually executed, even in the
depth of winter, till nature was fairly subdued, and the king had gained
the time he desired from his slumbers.

It was not long before he had an opportunity of evincing at once the
vigour and unscrupulous character of his mind. The Emperor Charles VI.
having died on the 20th October, 1740, the immense possessions of the
house of Austria devolved to his daughter, since so famous by the name
of MARIA THERESA. The defenceless condition of the imperial dominions,
consisting of so many different and discordant states, some of them but
recently united under one head, when under the guidance of a young
unmarried princess, suggested to the neighbouring powers the idea of a
partition. Frederick eagerly united with France in this project. He
revived some old and obsolete claims of Prussia to Silesia; but in his
manifesto to the European powers, upon invading that province, he was
scarcely at the pains to conceal the real motives of his aggression. “It
is,” said he, “an army ready to take the field, treasures long
accumulated, and perhaps the desire to acquire glory.” He was not long
in winning the battle, though it was at first rather owing to the skill
of his generals, and discipline of his soldiers, than his own capacity.
On the 10th April, 1741, the army under his command gained a complete
victory over the Austrians, at Mollwitz, in Silesia, which led to the
entire reduction of that rich and important province. The king owed
little to his own courage, however, on this occasion. Like Wellington,
the first essay in arms of so indomitable a hero was unfortunate. He
fled from the field of battle, at the first repulse of his cavalry; and
he was already seven miles off, where he was resting in a mill, when he
received intelligence that his troops had regained the day; and at the
earnest entreaties of General afterwards Marshal Schwerin, he returned
to take the command of the army. Next year, however, he evinced equal
courage and capacity in the battle of Czaslau, which he gained over the
Prince of Lorraine. Austria, on the brink of ruin, hastened to disarm
the most formidable of her assailants; and, by a separate peace,
concluded at Breslau on June 11, 1742, she ceded to Prussia nearly the
whole of Silesia.

This cruel loss, however, was too plainly the result of necessity to be
acquiesced in without a struggle by the Cabinet of Vienna. Maria Theresa
made no secret of her determination to resume possession of the lost
province on the first convenient opportunity. Austria soon united the
whole of Germany in a league against Frederick, who had no ally but the
King of France. Assailed by such a host of enemies, however, the young
king was not discouraged, and, boldly assuming the initiative, he gained
at Hohenfriedberg a complete victory over his old antagonist the Prince
of Lorraine. This triumph was won entirely by the extraordinary genius
displayed by the King of Prussia: “It was one of those battles,” says
the military historian, Guibert, “where a great master makes every thing
give way before him, and which is gained from the very beginning,
because he never gives the enemy time to recover from their disorder.”
The Austrians made great exertions to repair the consequences of this
disaster, and with such success, that in four months Prince Charles of
Lorraine again attacked him at the head of 50,000 men near Soor.
Frederick had not 25,000, but with these he again defeated the Austrians
with immense loss, and took up his winter quarters in Silesia. So vast
were the resources, however, of the great German League, of which
Austria was the head, that they were enabled to keep the field during
winter, and even meditate a _coup-de-main_ against the king, in his
capital of Berlin. Informed of this design, Frederick lost not a moment
in anticipating it by a sudden attack on his part on his enemies.
Assembling his troops in the depth of winter with perfect secrecy, he
surprised a large body of Saxons at Naumberg, made himself master of
their magazines at Gorlitz, and soon after made his triumphant entry
into Dresden, where he dictated a glorious peace, on 25th December,
1745, to his enemies, which secured, permanently, Silesia to Prussia. It
was full time for the Imperialists to come to an accommodation. In
eighteen months Frederick had defeated them in four pitched battles,
besides several combats; taken 45,000 prisoners, and killed or wounded
an equal number of his enemies. His own armies had not sustained losses
to a fifth part of this amount, and the chasms in his ranks were more
than compensated by the multitude of the prisoners who enlisted under
his banners, anxious to share the fortunes of the hero who had already
filled Europe with his renown.

The ambitious and decided, and, above all, indomitable character of
Frederick, had already become conspicuous during these brief campaigns.
His correspondence, all conducted by himself, evinced a vigour and
_tranchant_ style, at that period unknown in European diplomacy, but to
which the world has since been abundantly accustomed in the
proclamations of Napoleon. Already he spoke on every occasion as the
hero and the conqueror--to conquer or die was his invariable maxim. On
the eve of his invasion of Saxony, he wrote to the Empress of Russia,
who was endeavouring to dissuade him from that design:--“I wish nothing
from the King of Poland (Elector of Saxony) but to punish him in his
Electorate, and make him sign an acknowledgment of repentance in his
capital.” During the negotiations for peace, he wrote to the King of
England, who had proposed the mediation of Great Britain:--“These are my
conditions. I will perish with my army before departing from one iota of
them: if the Empress does not accept them, I will rise in my demands.”

The peace of Dresden lasted ten years; and these were of inestimable
importance to Frederick. He employed that precious interval in
consolidating his conquests, securing the affections by protecting the
interests of his subjects, and pursuing every design which could conduce
to their welfare. Marshes were drained, lands broken up and cultivated,
manufactures established, the finances were put in the best order,
agriculture, as the great staple of the kingdom, sedulously encouraged.
His capital was embellished, and the fame of his exploits attracted the
greatest and most celebrated men in Europe. Voltaire, among the rest,
became for years his guest; but the aspiring genius and irascible temper
of the military monarch could ill accord with the vanity and insatiable
thirst for praise in the French author, and they parted with mutual
respect, but irretrievable alienation. Meanwhile, the strength of the
monarchy was daily increasing under Frederick’s wise and provident
administration. The population nearly reached 6,000,000 of souls; the
cavalry mustered 30,000, all in the highest state of discipline and
equipment; and the infantry, esteemed with reason the most perfect in
Europe, numbered an hundred and twenty thousand bayonets. These troops
had long been accustomed to act together in large bodies; the best
training next to actual service in the field which an army can receive.
They had need of all their skill, and discipline, and courage, for
Prussia was ere long threatened by the most formidable confederacy that
ever yet had been directed in modern times against a single State.
Austria, Russia, France, Sweden, and Saxony, united in alliance for the
purpose of partitioning the Prussian territories. They had ninety
millions of men in their dominions, and could with ease bring four
hundred thousand men into the field. Prussia had not six million of
inhabitants, who were strained to the uttermost to array a hundred and
fifty thousand combatants--and even with the aid of England and Hanover,
not more than fifty thousand auxiliaries could be relied on. Prussia had
neither strong fortresses like Flanders, nor mountain chains like Spain,
nor a frontier stream like France. It was chiefly composed of flat
plains, unprotected by great rivers, and surrounded on all sides by its
enemies. The contest seemed utterly desperate; there did not seem a
chance of escape for the Prussian monarchy.

Frederick began the contest by one of those strokes which demonstrated
the strength of his understanding and the vigour of his determination.
Instead of waiting to be attacked, he carried the war at once into the
enemy’s territories, and converted the resources of the nearest of them
to his own advantage. Having received authentic intelligence of the
signature of a treaty for the partition of his kingdom by the great
powers, on 9th May 1756, he suddenly entered the Saxon territories, made
himself master of Dresden, and shut up the whole forces of Saxony in the
intrenched camp at Pirna. Marshal Brown having advanced at the head of
60,000 men to relieve them, he encountered and totally defeated him at
Lowositz, with the loss of 15,000 men. Deprived of all hope of succour,
the Saxons in Pirna, after having made vain efforts to escape, were
obliged to lay down their arms, 14,000 strong. The whole of Saxony
submitted to the victor, who thenceforward, during the whole war,
converted its entire resources to his own support. Beyond all question,
it was this masterly and successful stroke, in the very outset, and in
the teeth of his enemies, adding above a third to his warlike resources,
which enabled him subsequently to maintain his ground against the
desperate odds by which he was assailed. Most of the Saxons taken at
Pirna, dazzled by their conqueror’s fame, entered his service: the Saxon
youth hastened in crowds to enrol themselves under the banners of the
hero of the North of Germany. Frederick, at the same time, effectually
vindicated the step he had taken in the eyes of all Europe, by the
publication of the secret treaty of partition, taken in the archives at
Dresden, in spite of the efforts of the electress to conceal it.
Whatever might have been the case in the former war, when he seized on
Silesia, it was apparent to the world, that he now, at least, was
strictly in the right, and that his invasion of Saxony was not less
justifiable on the score of public morality, than important in its
consequences to the great contest in which he was engaged.

The allies made the utmost efforts to regain the advantages they had
lost. France, instead of the 24,000 men she was bound to furnish by the
treaty of partition, put 100,000 on foot; the Diet of Ratisbon placed
60,000 troops of the empire at the disposal of Austria; but Frederick
still preserved the ascendant. Breaking into Bohemia, in March 1757, he
defeated the Austrians in a great battle under the walls of Prague, shut
up 40,000 of their best troops in that town, and soon reduced them to
such extremities, that it was evident, if not succoured, they must
surrender. The cabinet of Vienna made the greatest efforts for their
relief Marshal Daun, whose cautious and scientific policy were
peculiarly calculated to thwart the designs, and baffle the audacity of
his youthful antagonist, advanced at the head of 60,000 men to their
relief. Frederick advanced to meet them with less than 20,000
combatants. He attacked the Imperialists in a strong position at Kolin,
on the 18th July, and, for the first time in his life, met with a bloody
defeat. His army, especially that division commanded by his brother, the
prince-royal, sustained severe losses in the retreat, which became
unavoidable, out of Bohemia; and the king confessed, in his private
correspondence, that an honourable death alone remained to him. Disaster
accumulated on every side. The English and Hanoverian army, his only
allies, capitulated at Closterseven, and left the French army, 70,000
strong, at liberty to follow the Prussians; the French and troops of the
empire, with the Duke of Richelieu at their head, menaced Magdeburg,
where the royal family of Prussia had taken refuge; and advanced towards
Dresden. The Russians, 60,000 strong, were making serious progress on
the side of Poland, and had recently defeated the Prussians opposed to
them. The king was put to the ban of the empire, and the army of the
empire, mustering 40,000, was moving against him. Four huge armies, each
stronger than his own, were advancing to crush a prince who could not
collect 30,000 men round his banners. At that period he carried a sure
poison always with him, determined not to fall alive into the hands of
his enemies. He seriously contemplated suicide, and gave vent to the
mournful, but yet heroic, sentiments with which he was inspired, in a
letter to Voltaire, terminating with the lines--

    Pour moi, menaçé de naufrage,
    Je dois, en affrontant l’orage
    Penser, vivre et mourir en roi.

Then it was that the astonishing vigour and powers of his mind shone
forth with their full lustre. Collecting hastily 25,000 men out of his
shattered battalions, he marched against the Prince of Soubise, who, at
the head of 60,000 French and troops of the empire, was advancing
against him through Thuringia, and totally defeated him, with the loss
of 18,000 men, on the memorable field of Rosbach. Hardly was this
triumph achieved, when he was called, with his indefatigable followers,
to stem the progress of the Prince of Lorraine and Marshal Daun, who
were making the most alarming progress in Silesia. Schweidnitz, its
capital, had fallen: a large body of Prussians, under the Duke de
Bevorn, had been defeated at Breslau. That rich and important province
seemed on the point of falling again into the hands of the Austrians,
when Frederick reinstated his affairs, which seemed wholly desperate, by
one of those astonishing strokes which distinguish him, perhaps, above
any general of modern times. In the depth of winter he attacked, at
Leuthen, on the 5th December, 1757, Marshal Daun and the Prince of
Lorraine,--who had 60,000 admirable troops under their orders,--and, by
the skilful application of the _oblique_ method of attack, defeated them
entirely, with the loss of 30,000 men, of whom 18,000 were prisoners! It
was the greatest victory that had been gained in Europe since the battle
of Blenheim. Its effects were immense: the Austrians were driven
headlong out of Silesia; Schweidnitz was regained; the King of Prussia,
pursuing them, carried the war into Moravia, and laid siege to Olmutz;
and England, awakening, at the voice of Chatham, from its unworthy
slumber, refused to ratify the capitulation of Closterseven, resumed the
war on the continent with more vigour than ever, and intrusted its
direction to Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, who soon rivalled Turenne in
the skill and science of his methodical warfare.

But it was the destiny of the King of Prussia--a destiny which displayed
his great qualities in their full lustre--to be perpetually involved in
difficulties, from the enormous numerical preponderance of his enemies,
or the misfortunes of the lieutenants to whom his subordinate armies
were intrusted. Frederick could not be personally present every where at
the same time; and wherever he was absent, disaster revealed the
overwhelming superiority of the force by which he was assailed. The
siege of Olmutz, commenced in March 1758, proved unfortunate. The
battering train, at the disposal of the king, was unequal to its
reduction, and it became necessary to raise it on the approach of Daun
with a formidable Austrian army. During this unsuccessful irruption
into the south, the Russians had been making alarming progress in the
north-east, where the feeble force opposed to them was well-nigh
overwhelmed by their enormous superiority of numbers. Frederick led back
the flower of his army from Olmutz, in Moravia, crossed all Silesia and
Prussia, and encountered the sturdy barbarians at Zorndorf, defeating
them with the loss of 17,000 men, an advantage which delivered the
eastern provinces of the monarchy from this formidable invasion; dearly
purchased, however, by the sacrifice of 10,000 of his own best soldiers.
But, during the king’s absence, Prince Henry of Prussia, whom he had
left in command of 16,000 men, to keep Marshal Daun in check, was
well-nigh overwhelmed by that able commander, who was again at the head
of 50,000 combatants. Frederick flew back to his support, and, having
joined his brother, took post at Hohenkirchen. The position was
unfavourable: the army inferior to the enemy. “If Daun does not attack
us here,” said Marshal Keith, “he deserves to be hanged.” “I hope,”
answered Frederick, “he will be more afraid of us than the rope.” The
Austrian veteran, however, saw his advantage, and attacked the
Prussians, during the night, with such skill, that he threw them into
momentary confusion, took 150 pieces of cannon, and drove them from
their ground, with the loss of 7000 men. Then it was that the courage
and genius of the king shone forth with their full lustre. Though
grievously wounded in the conflict, and after having seen his best
generals fall around him, he rallied his troops at daybreak,--formed
them in good order behind the village which had been surprised, and led
them leisurely to a position a mile from the field of conflict, where he
offered battle to the enemy, who did not venture to accept it. Having
remained two days in this position to re-organize his troops, he
decamped, raised the siege of Niesse, and succeeded in taking up his
winter quarters at Breslau, in the very middle of the province he had
wrested from the enemy.

The campaign of 1759 was still more perilous to Frederick; but, if
possible, it displayed his extraordinary talents in still brighter
colours. He began by observing the Austrians, under Daun and the Prince
of Lorraine, in Silesia, and reserved his strength to combat the
Russians, who were advancing, 80,000 strong, through East Prussia.
Frederick attacked them at Cunnersdorf, with 40,000 only, in an
intrenched position, guarded by 200 pieces of cannon. The first onset of
the Prussians was entirely successful: they forced the front line of the
Russian intrenchment, and took 72 pieces of cannon. But the situation of
the king was such, pressed on all sides by superior armies, that he
could not stop short with ordinary success; and, in the attempt to gain
a decisive victory, he had well-nigh lost all. The heroism of his troops
was shattered against the strength of the second line of the Russians; a
large body of Austrians came up to their support during the battle, and,
after having exhausted all the resources of courage and genius, he was
driven from the field with the loss of 20,000 men and all his artillery.
The Russians lost 18,000 men in this terrible battle, the most bloody
which had been fought for centuries in Europe, and were in no condition
to follow up their victory. Other misfortunes, however, in appearance
overwhelming, succeeded each other. General Schmellau capitulated in
Dresden; and General Finch, with 17,000 men, was obliged to lay down his
arms in the defiles of the Bohemian mountains. All seemed lost; but the
king still persevered, and the victory of Minden enabled Prince
Ferdinand to detach 12,000 men to his support. The Prussians nobly stood
by their heroic sovereign in the hour of trial; new levies supplied the
wide chasms in his ranks. Frederick’s great skill averted all future
disasters, and the campaign of 1759, the _fourth_ of the war, concluded
with the king still in possession of all his dominions in the midst of
the enormous forces of his enemies.

The campaign of 1760 began in March by another disaster at Landshech,
where ten thousand Prussians were cut to pieces, under one of his
generals, and the important fortress of Glatz invested by the Austrians.
Frederick advanced to relieve it; but soon remeasured his steps to
attempt the siege of Dresden. Daun, in his turn, followed him, and
obliged the Prussian monarch to raise the siege; and he resumed his
march into Silesia, closely followed by three armies, each more numerous
than his own, under Laudon, Daun, and Lacey, without their being able to
obtain the slightest advantage over him. Laudon, the most active of
them, attempted to surprise him; but Frederick was aware of his design,
and received the attacking columns in so masterly a manner, that they
were totally defeated, with the loss of 12,000 men. Scarcely had he
achieved this victory, when he had to make head against Lacey, withstand
Daun, repel an enormous body of Russians, who were advancing through
East Prussia, and deliver Berlin, which had been a second time occupied
by his enemies. Driven to desperate measures by such an unparalleled
succession of dangers, he extricated himself from them by the terrible
battle and extraordinary victory of Torgau, on November 3, 1761, in
which, after a dreadful struggle, he defeated Daun, though intrenched to
the teeth, with the loss of 25,000 men--an advantage dearly purchased by
the loss of 18,000 of his own brave soldiers. But this victory saved the
Prussian monarchy: Daun, severely wounded in the battle, retired to
Vienna; the army withdrew into Bohemia; two-thirds of Saxony was
regained by the Prussians; the Russians and Swedes retired; Berlin was
delivered from the enemy; and the fifth campaign terminated with the
unconquerable monarch still in possession of nearly his whole dominions.

The military strength of Prussia was now all but exhausted by the
unparalleled and heroic efforts she had made. Frederick has left us the
following picture of the state of his kingdom and army at this
disastrous period:--“Our condition at that period can only be likened to
that of a man riddled with balls, weakened by the loss of blood, and
ready to sink under the weight of his sufferings. The noblesse was
exhausted, the lower people ruined; numbers of villages burnt, many
towns destroyed; an entire anarchy had overturned the whole order and
police of government: in a word, desolation was universal. The army was
in no better situation. _Seventeen pitched battles_ had mowed down the
flower of the officers and soldiers; the regiments were broken down and
composed in part of deserters and prisoners: order had disappeared and
discipline relaxed to such a degree that the old infantry was little
better than a body of newly-raised militia.”[4] Necessity, not less than
prudence, in these circumstances, which to any other man would have
seemed desperate, prescribed a cautious defensive policy; and it is
doubtful whether in it his greatness did not appear more conspicuous
than in the bolder parts of his former career. The campaign of 1761
passed in skilful marches and countermarches, without his numerous
enemies being able to obtain a single advantage, where the king
commanded in person. He was now, literally speaking, assailed on all
sides: the immense masses of the Austrians and Russians were converging
to one point; and Frederick, who could not muster 40,000 men under his
banners, found himself assailed by 120,000 allies, whom six campaigns
had brought to perfection in the military art. It seemed impossible he
could escape: yet he did so, and compelled his enemies to retire without
gaining the slightest advantage over him. Taking post in an intrenched
camp at Bunzelwitz, fortified with the utmost skill, defended with the
utmost vigilance, he succeeded in maintaining himself and providing his
troops for two months within cannon-shot of the enormous masses of the
Russians and Austrians, till want of provisions obliged them to
separate. “It has just come to this,” said Frederick, “who will starve
first?” He made his enemies do so. Burning with shame, they were forced
to retire to their respective territories, so that he was enabled to
take up his winter quarters at Breslau in Silesia. But, during this
astonishing struggle, disaster had accumulated in other quarters. His
camp at Bunzelwitz had only been maintained by concentrating in it
nearly the whole strength of the monarchy, and its more distant
provinces suffered severely under the drain. Schweidnitz, the capital
of Silesia, was surprised by the Austrians, with its garrison of 4000
men. Prince Henry, after the loss of Dresden, had the utmost difficulty
in maintaining himself in the part of Saxony which still remained to the
Prussians: in Silesia they had lost all but Glogau, Breslau, and Neiss;
and, to complete his misfortune, the dismissal of Lord Chatham from
office in England, had led to the stoppage of the wonted subsidy of
£750,000 a-year. The resolution of the king did not sink, but his
judgment almost despaired of success under such a complication of
disasters. Determined not to yield, he discovered a conspiracy at his
head-quarters, to seize him, and deliver him to his enemies. Dreading
such a calamity more than death, he carried with him, as formerly in
similar circumstances, a sure poison, intended, in the last extremity,
to terminate his days.

“Nevertheless,” as he himself said, “affairs which seemed desperate, in
reality were not so; and perseverance at length surmounted every peril.”
Fortune often, in real life as well as in romance, favours the brave. In
the case of Frederick, however, it would be unjust to say he was
favoured by Fortune. On the contrary, she long proved adverse to him;
and he recovered her smiles only by heroically persevering till the
ordinary chance of human affairs turned in his favour. He accomplished
what in serious cases is the great aim of medicine; he made the patient
survive the disease. In the winter of 1761, the Empress of Russia died,
and was succeeded by Peter III. That prince had long conceived the most
ardent admiration for Frederick, and he manifested it in the most
decisive manner on his accession to the throne, by not only withdrawing
from the alliance, but uniting his forces with those of Prussia against
Austria. This great event speedily changed the face of affairs. The
united Prussians and Russians under Frederick, 70,000 strong, retook
Schweidnitz in the face of Daun, who had only 60,000 men; and, although
the sudden death of the Czar Peter in a few months deprived him of the
aid of his powerful neighbours, yet Russia took no farther part in the
contest. France, exhausted and defeated in every quarter of the globe by
England, could render no aid to Austria, upon whom the whole weight of
the contest fell. It was soon apparent that she was over-matched by the
Prussian hero. Relieved from the load which had so long oppressed him,
Frederick vigorously resumed the offensive. Silesia was wholly regained
by the king in person: the battle of Freyberg gave his brother, Prince
Henry, the ascendant in Saxony; and the cabinet of Vienna, seeing the
contest hopeless, were glad to make peace at Hubertsbourg, on 15th
February, 1763, on terms which left Silesia and his whole dominions to
the King of Prussia.

He entered Berlin in triumph after six years’ absence, in an open
chariot, with Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick seated by his side. No words
can paint the enthusiasm of the spectators at the august spectacle, or
the admiration with which they regarded the hero who had filled the
world with his renown. It was no wonder they were proud of their
sovereign. His like had never been seen in modern times. He had founded
and saved a kingdom. He had conquered Europe in arms. With six millions
of subjects he had vanquished powers possessing ninety millions. He had
created a new era in the art of war. His people were exhausted,
pillaged, ruined; their numbers had declined a tenth during the contest.
But what then? They had come victorious out of a struggle unparalleled
in modern times: the halo of Leuthen and Rosbach, of Zorndorf and
Torgau, played round their bayonets; they were inspired with the energy
which so speedily repairs any disaster. Frederick wisely and
magnanimously laid aside the sword when he resumed the pacific sceptre.
His subsequent reign was almost entirely pacific; all the wounds of war
were speedily healed under his sage and beneficent administration.
Before his death, his subjects were double, and the national wealth
triple what it had been at the commencement of his reign: and Prussia
now boasts of sixteen millions of inhabitants, and a population
increasing faster in numbers and resources than any other state in
Europe.

No laboured character, no studied eulogium, can paint Frederick like
this brief and simple narrative of his exploits. It places him at once
at the head of modern generals,--if Hannibal be excepted, perhaps of
ancient and modern. He was not uniformly successful: on the contrary, he
sustained several dreadful defeats. But that arose from the enormous
superiority of force by which he was assailed, and the desperate state
of his affairs, which were generally so pressing, that a respite even in
one quarter could be obtained only by a victory instantly gained, under
whatever circumstances, in another. What appears rashness was often in
him the height of wisdom. He could protract the struggle only by strong
and vigorous strokes and the lustre of instant success, and they could
not be dealt out without risking receiving as many. The fact of his
maintaining the struggle against such desperate odds proves the general
wisdom of his policy. No man ever made more skilful use of an interior
line of communication, or flew with such rapidity from one threatened
part of his dominions to another. None ever, by the force of skill in
tactics and sagacity in strategy, gained such astonishing successes with
forces so inferior. And if some generals have committed fewer faults,
none were impelled by such desperate circumstances to a hazardous
course, and none had ever so much magnanimity in confessing and
explaining them for the benefit of future times.

The only general in modern times who can bear a comparison with
Frederick, if the difficulties of his situation are considered, is
Napoleon. It is a part only of his campaigns, however, which sustains
the analogy. There is no resemblance between the mighty conqueror
pouring down the valley of the Danube, at the head of 180,000 men,
invading Russia with 500,000, or overrunning Spain with 300,000, and
Frederick the Great with 30,000 or 40,000, turning every way against
quadruple the number of Austrians, French, Swedes, and Russians. Yet a
part, and the most brilliant part of Napoleon’s career, bears a close
resemblance to that of the Prussian hero. In Lombardy in 1796, in Saxony
in 1813, and in the plains of Champaigne in 1814, he was upon the whole
inferior in force to his opponents, and owed the superiority which he
generally enjoyed on the point of attack to the rapidity of his
movements, and the skill with which, like Frederick, he availed himself
of an interior line of communication. His immortal campaign in France in
1814, in particular, where he bore up with 70,000 men against 250,000
enemies, bears the closest resemblance to those which Frederick
sustained for six years against the forces of the Coalition. Rapidity of
movement, skill in strategy, and the able use of an interior line of
communication, were what enabled both to compensate a prodigious
inferiority of force. Both were often to appearance rash, because the
affairs of each were so desperate, that nothing could save them but an
audacious policy. Both were indomitable in resolution, and preferred
ruin and death to sitting down on a dishonoured throne. Both were from
the outset of the struggle placed in circumstances apparently hopeless,
and each succeeded in protracting it solely by his astonishing talent
and resolution. The fate of the two was widely different: the one
transmitted an honoured and aggrandized throne to his successors; the
other, overthrown and discrowned, terminated his days on the rock of St.
Helena. But success is not always the test of real merit: the verdict of
ages is often different from the judgment of present times. Hannibal
conquered, has left a greater name among men than Scipio victorious. In
depth of thought, force of genius, variety of information, and splendour
of success, Frederick will bear no comparison with Napoleon. But
Frederick’s deeds as a general were more extraordinary than those of the
French emperor, because he bore up longer against greater odds. It is
the highest praise of Napoleon to say, that he did in one campaign--his
last and greatest--what Frederick had done in six.

If the campaigns of Eugene and Frederick suggest a comparison with those
of Napoleon, those of Marlborough challenge a parallel with those of the
other great commander of our day--Wellington. Their political and
military situations were in many respects alike. Both combated at the
head of the forces of an alliance, composed of dissimilar nations,
actuated by separate interests, inflamed by different passions. Both had
the utmost difficulty in soothing their jealousies and stifling their
selfishness; and both found themselves often more seriously impeded by
the allied cabinets in their rear, than by the enemy’s forces in their
front. Both were the generals of a nation, which, albeit covetous of
military glory, and proud of warlike renown, is to the last degree
impatient of previous preparation, and frets at the cost of wars, which
its political position renders unavoidable, or its ambitious spirit had
readily undertaken. Both were compelled to husband the blood of their
soldiers, and spare the resources of their governments, from the
consciousness that they had already been strained to the uttermost in
the cause, and that any farther demands would render the war so
unpopular as speedily to lead to its termination. The career of both
occurred at a time when political passions were strongly roused in their
country; when the war in which they were engaged was waged against the
inclination, and, in appearance at least, against the interests of a
large and powerful party at home, which sympathized from political
feeling with their enemies, and were ready to decry every success and
magnify every disaster of their own arms, from a secret feeling that
their party elevation was identified rather with the successes of the
enemy than with those of their own countrymen. The Tories were to
Marlborough precisely what the Whigs were to Wellington. Both were
opposed to the armies of the most powerful monarch, led by the most
renowned generals of Europe, whose forces, preponderating over the
adjoining states, had come to threaten the liberties of all Europe, and
at length produced a general coalition to restrain the ambition from
which so much detriment had already been experienced.

But while in these respects the two British heroes were placed very much
in the same circumstances, in other particulars, not less material,
their situations were widely different. Marlborough had never any
difficulties approaching those which beset Wellington to struggle with.
By great exertions, both on his own part and that of the British and
Dutch governments, his force was generally equal to that with which he
had to contend. It was often exactly so. War at that period, in the Low
Countries at least, consisted chiefly of a single battle during a
campaign, followed by the siege of two or three frontier fortresses. The
number of strongholds with which the country bristled, rendered any
farther or more extensive operations, in general, impossible. This state
of matters at once rendered success more probable to a general of
superior abilities, and made it more easy to repair disaster. No
vehement passions had been roused, bringing whole nations into the
field, and giving one state, where they had burnt the fiercest, a vast
superiority in point of numbers over its more pacific or less excited
neighbours. But in all these respects, the circumstances in which
Wellington was placed, were not only not parallel--they were contrasted.
From first to last, in the Peninsula, he was enormously outnumbered by
the enemy. Until the campaign of 1813, when his force in the field was,
for the first time, equal to that of the French, the superiority to
which he was opposed was so prodigious, that the only surprising thing
is, how he was not driven into the sea in the very first encounter.

While the French had never less than 200,000, sometimes as many as
260,000 effective troops at their disposal, after providing for all
their garrisons and communications, the English general had never more
than 30,000 effective British and 20,000 Portuguese around his standard.
The French were directed by the Emperor, who, intent on the subjugation
of the Peninsula, and wielding the inexhaustible powers of the
conscription for the supply of his armies, cared not though he lost
100,000 men, so as he purchased success by their sacrifice in every
campaign. Wellington was supported at home by a government, which,
raising its soldiers by voluntary enrolment, could with difficulty
supply a drain of 15,000 men a-year from their ranks, and watched by a
party which decried every advantage, and magnified every disaster, in
order to induce the entire withdrawal of the troops from the Peninsula.
Napoleon sent into Spain a host of veterans trained in fifteen years’
combats, who had carried the French standards into every capital of
Europe. Wellington led to this encounter troops admirably disciplined,
indeed, but almost all unacquainted with actual war, and who had often
to learn the rudiments even of the most necessary field operations in
presence of the enemy. Marlborough’s troops, though heterogeneous and
dissimilar, had been trained to their practical duties in the preceding
wars under William III., and brought into the field a degree of
experience noways inferior to that of their opponents. Whoever weighs
with impartiality those different circumstances, cannot avoid arriving
at the conclusion that as Wellington’s difficulties were incomparably
more formidable than Marlborough’s, so his merit, in surmounting them,
was proportionally greater.

Though similar in many respects, so far as the general conduct of their
campaigns is concerned, from the necessity under which both laboured of
husbanding the blood of their soldiers, the military qualities of
England’s two chiefs were essentially different, and each possessed some
points in which he was superior to the other. By nature Wellington was
more daring than Marlborough, and though soon constrained, by necessity,
to adopt a cautious system, he continued, throughout all his career, to
incline more to a hazardous policy. The intrepid advance and fight at
Assaye; the crossing of the Douro and movement on Talavera in 1809; the
advance to Madrid and Burgos in 1812; the actions before Bayonne in
1813; the desperate stand made at Waterloo in 1815--place this beyond a
doubt. Marlborough never hazarded so much on the success of a single
enterprise: he ever aimed at compassing his objects by skill and
combination, rather than risking them on the chance of arms. Wellington
was a mixture of Turenne and Eugene: Marlborough was the perfection of
the Turenne school alone. No man could fight more ably and gallantly
than Marlborough: his talent and rapidity of eye in tactics were, at
least, equal to his skill in strategy and previous combination. But he
was not partial to such desperate passages at arms, and never resorted
to them, but from necessity or the emergency of a happy opportunity for
striking a blow. The proof of this is decisive. Marlborough, during ten
campaigns, fought only five pitched battles. Wellington in seven fought
fifteen, in every one of which he proved victorious.[5]

Marlborough’s consummate generalship, throughout his whole career, kept
him out of disaster. It was said, with justice, that he never fought a
battle which he did not gain, nor laid siege to a town which he did not
take. He took above twenty fortified places of the first order,
generally in presence of an enemy’s army superior to his own.
Wellington’s bolder disposition, more frequently involved him in peril,
and on some occasions caused serious losses to his army; but they were
the price at which he purchased his transcendent successes. But
Wellington’s bolder strategy gained for him advantages which the more
circumspect measures of his predecessor never could have attained.
Marlborough would never, with scarcely any artillery, have hazarded the
attack on Burgos, nor incurred the perilous chances of the retreat from
that town; but he never would have delivered the South of the Peninsula
in a single campaign, by throwing himself, with 40,000 men, upon the
communications, in the North, of 200,000. It is hard to say which was
the greater general, if their merits in the field alone are considered;
but Wellington’s successes were the more vital to his country, for they
delivered it from the greater peril; and they were more honourable to
himself, for they were achieved against greater odds. And his fame, in
future times, will be proportionally brighter; for the final overthrow
of Napoleon, and destruction of the revolutionary power, in a single
battle, present an object of surpassing interest, to which there is
nothing in history, perhaps, parallel, and which, to the latest
generation, will fascinate the minds of men.

The examination of the comparative merits of these two illustrious
generals, and the enumeration of the names of their glorious triumphs,
suggests one reflection of a very peculiar kind. That England is a
maritime power, that the spirit of her inhabitants is essentially
nautical, and that the sea is the element on which her power has chiefly
been developed, need be told to none who reflect on the magnitude of her
present colonial empire, and how long she has wielded the empire of the
waves. The French are the first to tell us that her strength is confined
to that element; that she is, at land, only a third-rate power; and that
the military career does not suit the genius of her people. How, then,
has it happened that England, the nautical power, and little inured to
land operations, has inflicted greater wounds upon France by _military_
success, than any other power, and that in almost all the pitched
battles which the two nations have fought, during five centuries, the
English have proved victorious? That England’s military force is
absorbed in the defence of a colonial empire which encircles the earth,
is indeed certain, and, in every age, the impatience of taxation in her
people has starved down her establishment, during peace, to so low a
point, as rendered the occurrence of disaster, in the first years
consequent on the breaking out of war, a matter of certainty; while the
military spirit of its neighbours has kept theirs at the level which
ensures early success. Yet with all these disadvantages, and with a
population which, down to the close of the last war, was little more
than half that of France, she has inflicted far greater _land_ disasters
on her redoubtable neighbour than all the military monarchies of Europe
put together.

English armies, for 120 years, ravaged France: they have twice taken its
capital; an English king was crowned at Paris; a French king rode
captive through London; a French emperor died in English captivity, and
his remains were surrendered by English generosity. Twice the English
horse marched from Calais to the Pyrenees; the monuments of Napoleon in
the French capital at this moment, owe their preservation from German
revenge to an English general. All the great disasters and days of
mourning for France, since the battle of Hastings,--Tenchebray, Cressy,
Poitiers, Azincour, Verneuil, Blenheim, Oudenarde, Ramilies, Malplaquet,
Minden, Quebec, Egypt, Talavera, Salamanca, Vittoria, Orthes, the
Pyrenees, Waterloo,--were all gained by English generals, and won, for
the most part, by English soldiers. Even at Fontenoy, the greatest
victory over England of which France can boast since Hastings, every
regiment in the French army was, on their own admission, routed by the
terrible English column, and victory was snatched from its grasp solely
by want of support on the part of the Dutch and Austrians. No coalition
against France has ever been successful, in which England did not take a
prominent part; none, in the end, failed of gaining its objects, in
which she stood foremost in the fight. This fact is so apparent on the
surface of history, that it is admitted by the ablest French historians,
though they profess themselves unable to explain it.

Is it that there is a degree of hardihood and courage in the Anglo-Saxon
race which renders them, without the benefit of previous experience in
war, adequate to the conquest, on land, even of the most warlike
Continental military nations? Is it that the quality of dogged
resolution, determination not to be conquered, is of such value in war,
that it compensates almost any degree of inferiority in the practical
acquaintance with war? Is it that the North brings forth a bolder race
of men than the South, and that, other things being equal, the people in
a more rigorous climate will vanquish those in a more genial? Is it that
the free spirit which, in every age, has distinguished the English
people, has communicated a degree of vigour and resolution to their
warlike operations, which has rendered them so often victorious in land
fights, albeit nautical and commercial in their ideas, over their
military neighbours? Or is it, that this courage in war, and this vigour
in peace, and this passion for freedom at all times, arise from and are
but symptoms of an ardent and aspiring disposition, imprinted by Nature
on the races to whom was destined the dominion of half the globe?
Experience has not yet determined to which of these causes this most
extraordinary fact has been owing; but it is one upon which our military
neighbours, and especially the French, would do well to ponder, now that
the population of the British isles will, on the next census, be _thirty
millions_. If England has done such things in Continental warfare, with
an army which never brought fifty thousand native British sabres and
bayonets into the field, what would be the result if national distress
or necessities, or a change in the objects of general desire, were to
send two hundred thousand?



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THE THAMES.

PART II.


----Rushing along, leaving innumerable chimneys behind pouring out
sempiternal smoke; the air filled with a perpetual clank of hammers, the
crashing of enormous wheels, and jangling of colossal chains; every
human being within sight being as black as a negro, and the gust from
the shore giving the closest resemblance to a blast between the tropics.
Our steamer played her part handsomely in this general effort to stifle
the population, and threw columns of smoke, right and left, as she moved
through the bends of the river, thick enough to have choked an army of
coal-heavers. I am as little of a sentimentalist as any man; I have
always pronounced Rousseau an impostor. I regretted that the pillory has
been abolished in the days of the modern novelists of France; but I was
nearly in a state of suffocation, and some allowance must be made for
the wrath of asphyxia. As I looked on the fuliginous sky, and the
cineritious earth, on the ember-coloured trees, and half vitrified
villas, the whole calcined landscape, I involuntarily asked myself, what
is the good of all this hammering, forging, and roasting alive? Is man
to be made perfect in the manner of a Westphalia ham? or is it to be the
crowning glory of a nation, that she is the great nail-maker to the
civilized globe? Is her whole soul to be absorbed in the making of
chain-cables and cotton-twist? Are all her aspirations to breathe only
linsey-woolsey, Yorkshire broadcloth, and Birmingham buttons? Are the
cheeks of her maids to grow pallid, for the sake of clothing the lower
portion of a Hindoo mountaineer in flannel, and the forehead of an
African savage in book-muslin? Or are our men, by nature the finest race
in the world, to be crippled into the physiognomy and faculties of
baboons, merely to make shawls for the Queen of Madagascar, or slippers
for the great Mogul?

I was startled, by an universal run towards the head of the steamer.
Men, women, children, lap-dogs, and all rushed forward, followed by an
avalanche of bandboxes, which, heaped half chimney high, had heaved with
a sudden lurch of the helm, and over-spread the deck with a chaos of
caps, bonnets, and inferior appendages to the toilet. In the cloud of
smoke above, around, and below, we had as nearly as possible run ashore
upon the Isle of Dogs. The captain, as all the regular reports on
occasions of disaster say, behaved in this extremity “with a coolness, a
firmness, and a sagacity worthy of all admiration.” He had made nine
hundred and ninety-nine voyages, to Margate before; it was therefore
wholly impossible that he could have shot the head of his ship into the
mud of the left bank of the Thames on his thousandth transit. The fact,
however, seemed rather against the theory. But as I was not drowned, was
not a shareholder in the vessel, and have an antipathy to
courts-martial, I turned from the brawling of the present, to the
bulletins of the past, and thought of Dog-land in its glory.


THE ISLE OF DOGS.

“_On Linden when the sun was low._”

    Ten thousand years the Isle of Dogs,
    Lay sunk in mire, and hid in fogs,
    Rats, cats and bats, and snakes and frogs--
            The tenants of its scenery.

    No pic-nic parties came from town,
    To dance with nymphs, white, black, or brown,
    (They stopped at Greenwich, at the Crown,
            Neglecting all its greenery.)

    Dut Dog-land saw another sight,
    When serjeants cried, “Eyes left, eyes right,”
    And jackets blue, and breeches white,
            Were seen upon its tenantry.

    Then tents along the shore were seen,
    Then opened shop the gay Canteen,
    And floated flags, inscribed,--“The Queen.”
            All bustle, show, and pennantry.

    There strutted laughter-loving Pat,
    John Bull (in spirits rather flat,)
    And Donald, restless as a rat,
            Three nations in their rivalry.

    There bugle rang, and rattled drum,
    And sparkled in the glass the rum,
    Each hero thinking of his plum,
            The prize of Spanish chivalry.

    At last, Blue-Peter mast-high shone,
    The Isle of Dogs was left alone,
    The bats and rats then claimed their own
            By process sure and summary.

    The bold battalions sail’d for Spain,
    Soon longing to get home again,
    Finding their stomachs tried in vain
            To live on Spanish _flummery_.

A cloud of smoke, which the wrath of Æolus poured upon our vessel, as a
general contribution from all the forges along shore, here broke my
reverie, by nearly suffocating the ship’s company. But the river in this
quarter is as capricious as the fashions of a French milliner, or the
loves of a figurante. We rounded a point of land, emerged into blue
stream and bright sky, and left the whole Cyclopean region behind,
ruddied with jets of flame, and shrouded with vapour, like a
re-rehearsal of the great fire of London.

I had scarcely time to rejoice in the consciousness that I breathed
once more, when my ear was caught by the sound of a song at the
fore-part of the deck. The voice was of that peculiar kind, which once
belonged to the stage coachman, (a race now belonging alone to
history,)--strong without clearness; full without force; deep without
profundity, and, as Sydney Smith says, “a great many other things
_without_ a great many other things;” or, as Dr. Parr would tell
mankind,--“the product of nights of driving and days of indulgence; of
facing the wintry storm, and enjoying the genial cup, the labours of the
Jehu, and the luxuries of the Sybarite,”--it was to Moore’s melody,--

      ----“My dream of life
    From morn till night,
    Was love, still, love.”


THE SONG OF THE MAIL-COACHMAN.

      Oh, the days were bright
      When, young and light,
        I drove my team,
      My four-in-hand
      Along the Strand,
        Of bloods the cream.
      But time flies fast:
      Those days are past,
        The ribbons are a dream:
    Now, there’s nothing half so quick in life
        As steam, still, steam.

      The Bristol Mail,
      Is but a snail,
        The York stands still,
      The Liverpool
      Is but a stool--
        All gone down hill.
      Your fire you poke,
      Up springs your smoke,
        On sweeps the fiery stream:
    Now, there’s nothing half so quick in life
      As steam, still, steam.

      Along the sky
      The sparkles fly,
        _You_ fly below,--
      You leave behind
      Time, tide, and wind,
        Hail, rain, and snow.
      Through mountain cores
      The engine snores,
        The gas lamps palely gleam:
    Oh, there’s nothing half so quick in life
      As steam, still, steam.

      You see a hill,
      You see a mill,
        A bit of sky;
      You see a cow,
      You see a plough,
        All shooting by.
      The cabins prance,
      The hedgerows dance,
        Like gnats in Evening’s beam:
    Oh, there’s nothing half so quick in life
        As steam, still, steam.

      You hear a sound,
      You feel a bound,
        You all look blue.
      You’ve split a horse,
      A man’s a corse.
        All’s one to you.
      Upon the road
      You meet a load,
        In vain you wildly scream.
    Oh, there’s nothing half so quick in life
        As steam, still, steam.

      You come full front
      Upon a hunt,
        You hear a yell;
      You dash along,
      You crush the throng,
        Dogs, squires, pell-mell.
      You see a van;
      The signal man
        Is snugly in a dream.
    Oh, there’s nothing half so quick in life
      As steam, still, steam.

      You see a flash,
      You feel a crash,
        From toe to chin.
      You touch a bank,
      You top a tank,
        You all plump in.
      You next engage
      The three-mile stage,
        And long for my old team,
    Your trial’s o’er, you trust no more,
      To steam, steam, steam!

The romantic disappears from the world every day. Canals and docks now
vulgarize this tract of the shore, and the whole scene will yet undergo
the fate of Billingsgate. But it has a story as romantic as that of
Romeo and Juliet; excepting the masquerade, the moonlight, and the
nightingales of Verona.

The Isle flies from me, and I must give but the outline.

The daughter of the old Baron de Bouvraye, one of the followers of
William the Norman, and lord of the country for leagues along the
northern shore of the Thames, was the court beauty of the time. With the
Norman dignity of form, she had the Saxon beauty of countenance; for the
Baron had wedded a Saxon heiress. The charms of the Lady Blanche de
Bouvraye, were the theme of the whole race of troubadours; and the most
popular poem of Guido de Spezzia was written on the incident of her
dropping her wimple at a court ball. It was said that she had a thousand
lovers; but it is certain, that suitors crowded from every part of
Christendom to claim her hand--a number probably not diminished by the
knowledge that she was to succeed to the immense possessions of the
barony.

But, to the sorrow of some, the indignation of others, and the
astonishment of all, the Lady Blanche laughed at the idea of love.
William, not accustomed to have his orders disputed, commanded the
beautiful heiress to fall in love with some one or other at a moment’s
delay. But she laughed at the herald who bore the command, and bade him
tell his master, that though armies might be commanded, and crowns
conquered, Blanche de Bouvraye would be neither. William was indignant,
and ordered the herald to prison for a month, and to be fed on bread and
water, for the audacity of bringing back such an answer. But the lady
was unchanged. The Baron remonstrated, and demanded whether she was
prepared to see his line extinguished, and his lands go to strangers.
She laughed and said, that as the former could not be while she lived,
and the latter could take place only after she was dead, she saw no
reason why she should concern herself on the subject. The abbess of the
famous convent of the Celestines, near the ford of the river Rom, where
the town of Romford has since grown up, was sent to argue with her. But
her answer was the question, “Why had not the abbess herself married?”
Her father confessor was next sent to her. But she sportively asked him,
“Where were _his_ wife and children?”--a question which, though put in
all innocence, so perplexed the good father, that, not desiring to be
the penitent instead of the confessor, he returned with all possible
speed to his convent.

Yet the Lady Blanche’s eye often exhibited the signs of weeping, and her
cheek grew pale. All was a problem, until a handsome youth, the son of a
knight on the Kentish shore, was seen one night touching a theorbo under
her window, and singing one of the Tuscan love songs, which the
troubadours had brought into England.

This was enough for the suspicions of the Baron. The young minstrel was
seized, and sent to join the Crusaders then embarking for the Holy Land;
and the lady was consigned to the Baron’s castle in Normandy. As
Shakspeare said four hundred years after,

    The course of true love never does run smooth.

It would take the pen and song of ten troubadours to tell the adventures
of the lady and the youth. In the fashion of the age, they had each
consulted an astrologer, and each had been told the same fortune, that
they should constantly meet, but be constantly separated, and finally be
happy.

In Normandy, the Baron’s castle and the lady had fallen together into
the hands of the troops who had rebelled against William, when a band of
the crusaders on the march, commanded by her lover, rescued her. The
lady was next ordered to take up her abode in a convent in Lombardy, of
which her father’s sister was the abbess. The vessel in which she
embarked was driven up the Mediterranean by a storm, and wrecked on the
shore where the army of the crusaders was encamped. Thus the lovers met
again. By the Baron’s order, the lady returned once more to Europe; but
when in sight of the Italian coast, the felucca was captured by an
Algerine, and, to her astonishment, she found in the pirate’s vessel her
lover, who had been wounded and taken prisoner in battle with the
Saracens, and sold into slavery. Again they were separated; the lady
was ransomed by her father; and the lovers seemed to have parted for
ever.

But the stars were true. The lover broke his Moorish chains, and the
first sight which the lady saw on her landing at Ancona, was the
fugitive kneeling at her feet.

I hasten on. As the vessel in which they sailed up the Thames approached
the baronial castle, they saw a black flag waving from the battlements,
and heard the funeral bell toll from the abbey of the Celestines. The
Baron had been laid in the vault of the abbey on that day. Their hopes
were now certainty: but the lady mourned for her father; and the laws of
the church forbade the marriage for a year and a day. Yet, this new
separation was soothed by the constant visits of her lover, who crossed
the river daily to bask in the smiles of his betrothed, who looked more
beautiful than ever.

The eve of the wedding-day arrived; and fate seemed now to be disarmed
of the power of dividing the faithful pair; when, as the lover was
passing through a dark grove to return to the Kentish shore for the last
time, he was struck by an arrow shot from a thicket, fainted, and saw no
more.

The morning dawned, the vassals were in array, the bride was in her silk
and velvet drapery, the bride’s maids had their flower-baskets in their
hands, the joy-bells pealed, a hundred horsemen were drawn up before the
castle gates,--all was pomp, joy, and impatience,--but no bridegroom
came.

At length the mournful tidings were brought, that his boat had waited
for him in vain on the evening before, and that his plume and mantle,
dabbled with blood, had been found on the sands. All now was agony. The
bank, the grove, the river, were searched by hundreds of eager eyes and
hands, but all in vain. The bride cast aside her jewels, and vowed to
live and die a maid. The castle was a house of mourning; the vassals
returned to their homes: all was stooping of heads, wringing of hands,
and gloomy lamentation.

But, as the castle bell tolled midnight, a loud barking was heard at the
gate. It was opened; and the favourite wolf-hound of the bridegroom
rushed in, making wild bounds, running to and fro, and dragging the
guard by their mantles to go forth. They followed; and he sprung before
them to the door of a hut in a swampy thicket a league from the castle.

On bursting open the door, they found a man in bed, desperately torn,
and dying from his wounds. At the sight, the noble hound flew on him;
but the dying man called for a confessor, and declared that he had
discharged the arrow by which the murder was committed, that he had dug
a grave for the dead, and that the dog had torn him in the act. The next
demand was, where the body had been laid. The dying man was carried on
the pikes of the guard to the spot; the grave was opened; the body was
taken up; and, to the astonishment of all, it was found still with
traces of life. The knight was carried to the castle, restored, wedded,
and became the lord of all the broad acres lying between the Thames and
the Epping hills.

He had been waylaid by one of his countless rivals, who had employed a
serf to make him the mark for a cloth-yard shaft, and who, like the
Irish felon of celebrated memory, “saved his life by dying in jail.” The
dog was, by all the laws of chivalry, an universal favourite while
living; and when dead, was buried under a marble monument in the Isle;
also giving his name to the territory; which was more than was done for
his master; and hence the title of the Isle of Dogs. Is it not all
written in _Giraldus Cambrensis_?

----Enter Limehouse Reach.--The sea-breeze comes “wooingly,” as we wind
by the long serpent beach; the Pool is left behind, and we see at last
the surface of the river. Hitherto it has been only a magnified
Fleet-ditch. The Thames, for the river of a grave people, is one of the
most frolicsome streams in the world. From London Bridge to the ocean,
it makes as many turns as a hard-run fox, and shoots round so many
points of the shore, that vessels a few miles off seem to be like
ropemakers working in parallel lines, or the dancers in a quadrille, or
Mr. Green’s balloon running a race with his son’s (the old story of
Dædalus and Icarus renewed in the 19th century); or those extravaganzas
of the Arabian Nights, in which fairy ships are holding a regatta among
meadows strewn with crysolites and emeralds, for primroses and the
grass-green turf.

But what new city is this, rising on the right? What ranges of enormous
penthouses, covering enormous ships on the stocks! what sentinels
parading! what tiers of warehouses! what boats rushing to and fro! what
life, tumult, activity, and clank of hammers again? This is Deptford.

“Deep forde,” says old Holinshed, “alsoe called the Goldene Strande,
from the colour of its brighte sandes, the whiche verilie do shine like
new golde under the crystalle waters of the Ravensbourne, which here
floweth to old Father Thamis, even as a younge daughtere doth lovinglie
fly to the embrace of her aged parente.”

But Deptford has other claims on posterity. Here it was that Peter the
Great came, to learn the art of building the fleets that were to cover
the Euxine and make the Crescent grow pale. At this moment I closed my
eyes, and lived in the penultimate year of the 17th century. The scene
had totally changed. The crowds, the ships, the tumult, all were gone; I
saw an open shore, with a few wooden dwellings on the edge of the water,
and a single ship in the act of building. A group of ship carpenters
were standing in the foreground, gazing at the uncouth fierceness with
which a tall wild figure among them was driving bolts into the keel. He
wore a common workman’s coat and cap; but there was a boldness in his
figure, and a force in his movement, which showed a superior order of
man. His countenance was stern and repulsive, but stately; there was
even a touch of insanity in the writhings of the mouth and the wildness
of the eye; but it did not require the star on the cloak, which was
flung on the ground beside him, nor the massive signet ring on his hand,
to attest his rank. I saw there the most kingly of barbarians, and the
most barbarian of kings. There I saw Peter, the lord of the desert, of
the Tartar, and of the polar world.

While I was listening, in fancy, to the Song of the Steppe, which this
magnificent operative was shouting, rather than singing, in the rude joy
of his work, I was roused by a cry of “Deptford!--Any one for Deptford?
Ease her; stop her!”

I sprang from the bench on which I had been reclining, and the world
burst upon me again.

“Deptford--any one for Deptford?” cried the captain, standing on the
paddle-box. None answered the call, but a whole fleet of wherries came
skimming along the surge, and threw a crowd of fresh passengers, with
trunks and carpet-bags numberless, on board. The traveller of taste
always feels himself instinctively drawn to one object out of the
thousand, and my observation was fixed on one foreign-featured female,
who sat in her wherry wrapt up in an envelope of furs and possessing a
pair of most lustrous eyes.

A sallow Italian, who stood near me, looking over the side of the
vessel, exclaimed, “FANNI PELLMELLO,” and the agility with which she
sprang up the steps was worthy of the name of that most celebrated
daughter of “the muse who presides over dancing,” as the opera critics
have told us several million times.

The sallow Italian was passed with a smile of recognition, which put him
in good spirits at once. Nothing vivifies the tongue of a foreigner like
the memory of the _Coulisses_, and he over-flowed upon me with the
history of this terrestrial Terpsichore. It happened that he was in Rome
at the time of that memorable levee at which Fanny, in all her
captivations, paid her obeisance at the Vatican; an event which
notoriously cost a whole coterie of princesses the bursting of their
stay-laces, through sheer envy, and on whose gossip the _haut ton_ of
the “Eternal City” have subsisted ever since.

The Italian, in his rapture, and with the vision of the danseuse still
shining before him at the poop, began to _improvise_ the presentation.
All the world is aware that Italian prose slides into rhyme of
itself,--that all subjects turn to verse in the mind of the Italian, and
that, when once on his Pegasus, he gallops up hill and down, snatches at
every topic in his way, has no mercy on antiquity, and would introduce
King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, dancing a quadrille with Prince
Albert and Queen Victoria.


THE PRESENTATION.

    The month was September,
    The day I remember,
        (’Twas the _congé_ of Clara Novello),
    I saw troops under arms,
    Dragoons and gendarmes,
        Saluting sweet Fanny Pellmello.

    At St Peter’s last chime
    A chorus sublime
        (By-the-by, from Rossini’s Otello),
    Was sung by Soprani,
    In homage to Fanny,
        The light footed Fanny Pellmello.

    As she rush’d on their gaze,
    The Swiss-guard in amaze,
        Thought they might as well stand a Martello;
    All their muskets they dropp’d,
    On their knees they all popp’d,
        To worship sweet Fanny Pellmello.

    To describe the _danseuse_,
    Is too much for _my_ muse;
        But if ever I fight a “duello,”
    Or quarrel at mess,
    It will be to possess
        Such a jewel as Fanny Pellmello.

    On her brow a tiara,
    Like the lady’s in Lara,
        Or a portrait of thine, Biandello;
    With a twist and a twirl,
    All diamond and pearl,
        In bounded sweet Fanny Pellmello.

    All the men in the cowls,
    Were startled like owls,
        When the sunbeam first darts in their dell, O;
    As she flash’d on their eyes,
    All were dumb with surprise--
        All moon-struck with Fanny Pellmello.

    As she waltzed through the hall,
    None heard a foot fall,
        All the chamberlains stood in a spell, O;
    While, silent as snow,
    She revolved on her toe,
        A la Psyche--sweet Fanny Pellmello.

    _Whom_ she knelt to within
    I can’t say, for my sin;
        Those are matters on which I don’t dwell, O;
    But I _know_ that a Queen
    Was nigh bursting with spleen
        At the diamonds of Fanny Pellmello.

    Were I King, were I Kaiser,
    I’d have perish’d to please her,
        Or dared against all to rebel, O;
    I’d have barter’d a throne
    To be bone of thy bone,
        Too exquisite Fanny Pellmello.

    If Paris had seen
    Her _pas seul_ on the green,
        When the goddesses came to his cell, O,
    Forgetting the skies,
    He’d have handed the prize
        To all-conquering Fanny Pellmello.

    Achilles of Greece
    Though famed for caprice,
        Would have left Greek and Trojan _in bello_,
    Cut country and king,
    And gone off on the wing
        To his island with Fanny Pellmello.

    Alexander the Great,
    Though not over sedate,
        And a lover of more than I’ll tell, O,
    Would have learn’d to despise
    All his Persians’ black eyes,
        And been faithful to Fanny Pellmello.

    Marc Antony’s self
    Would have laid on the shelf
        His Egyptian so merry and mellow;
    Left his five hundred doxies,
    And found all their proxies
        In one, charming Fanny Pellmello.

    The renown’d Julius Cæsar,
    With nose like a razor,
        And skull smooth and bright as a shell, O,
    Would his sword have laid down,
    Or pilfer’d a crown,
        At thy bidding, sweet Fanny Pellmello.

    His nephew Augustus,
    Not famous for justice,
        (Unless when the gout made him bellow,)
    His nose would have curl’d
    At the pomps of the world,
        For a cottage with Fanny Pellmello.

    The Emperor Tiberius,
    (A rascal nefarious,)
        Though all things on earth he would sell, O,
    Would have bid Rome adieu,
    To the Alps flown with you,
        And play’d shepherd to Fanny Pellmello.

    That Bluebeard, young Nero,
    (Not much of a hero,
        For a knave earth has scarce seen his fellow,)
    Though his wife he might smother,
    Or hang up his mother,
        Would have worshipp’d sweet Fanny Pellmello.

    Nay, Alaric the Goth,
    Though he well might be loath
        His travelling baggage to swell, O,
    Would have built you a carriage,--
    Perhaps offer’d marriage,--
        And march’d off with Fanny Pellmello.

    Fat Leo the Pope,
    In tiara and cope,
        Who the magic of beauty knew well, O,
    Would have craved your permission
    For your portrait, by Titian,
        As Venus--sweet Fanny Pellmello.

    The Sultan Mahmood
    Who the Spahis subdued,
        And mow’d them like corn-fields so yellow,
    Would have sold his Haram,
    And made his salām
        At thy footstool, sweet Fanny Pellmello.

    Napoleon le Grand
    Would have sued for thy hand,
        Before from his high horse he fell, O;
    He’d have thought Josephine
    Was not fit to be seen,
        By thy beauties, sweet Fanny Pellmello.

----But the Thames, like the world, is full of changes. As the steamer
ran close in under the right shore, I observed a small creek, as
overgrown with sedge, as silent and as lonely as if it had been hid in a
corner of Hudson’s Bay. It was once called Julius Cæsar’s bath, from the
tradition, that when marching at the head of the Tenth Legion, on a
visit to Cleopatra, then resident in Kent! he ordered his whole brigade
to wash the dust from their visages preparatory to appearing before her
majesty and her maids of honour. But this was the age of romance. An
unwashed age followed, and the classical name gave way to the exigencies
of things. The creek was called the “Condemned Hole,” and was made the
place for impounding vessels caught in the act of smuggling, which were
there secured, like other malefactors, in chains. It may not unnaturally
be concluded, that the spot was unpopular to the tribe of gallant
fellows, who had only followed the example of Greek, Saxon, Dane, and
Norman; and who saw the beloved companions of many a daring day and
joyous night (for if the sailor loves his ship, the smuggler adores her)
laid up under sentence of firewood. By that curious propensity, which
makes the fox so often fix his burrow beside the kennel, the surrounding
shore was the favourite residence of the smuggler; and many a
broad-shouldered hero, with a visage bronzed by the tropic sun, and a
heart that would face a lion, a fire-ship, or any thing but his wife in
a rage, was seen there taking his sulky rounds, and biting his thumb
(the approved style of insult in those days) at the customhouse
officers, who kept their uneasy watch on board. With some the ruling
passion was so strong, that they insisted on being buried as near as
possible to the spot, and a little churchyard was thence established,
full of epitaphs of departed gallantry and desperate adventure--a sort
of Buccaneer Valhalla, with occasional sculptures and effigies of the
sleepers below.

Among those the name of Jack Bradwell lived longest. The others
exemplified what Horace said of the injustice of fame, they “wanted a
poet” to immortalize them; but Jack took that office on himself, and
gave the world an _esquisse_ of his career, in the following rough
specimen of the Deptford muse of 1632:--


EPITAPH.

    Fulle thirtie yeares, I lived a smuggler bolde,
    Dealing in goode Schiedam and Englishe golde.
    My hande was open, and my hearte was lighte;
    My owners knew my worde was honour brighte.
    In the West Indies, too, for seven long yeares,
    I stoutlie foughte the Dons and the Mounseers.
    Commander of the tight-built sloop, the Sharke,
    Late as the owle, and early as the larke,
    I roamed the sea, nor cared for tide or winde,
    And left the Guarda Costas all behinde.
    Until betrayed by woman’s flattering tongue,
    In San Domingo my three mates were hung.
    I shot the Judge, forsook the Spanish Maine,
    And to olde Englande boldlie sailed againe.
    Was married thrice, and think it rather harde,
    That I should lie alone in this churchyarde.

But the march of mind is fatal to sentiment. A few years ago all
vestiges of Jack were swept away. A neighbouring tanner had taken a
liking to the spot, purchased it, planted his pits in it, and carried
off Jack’s monument for a chimney-piece!

----But what hills are those edging the horizon, green, soft, and sunny.
I hear a burst of sonorous bells--

    Over this wide-watered shore,
    Swinging slow with sullen roar.

No; Milton’s bells are monastic; the solemn clang of some huge
cathedral, calling the brethren to vespers, and filling the air with the
melancholy pomp of the antique cloister.--These are gay, glad,
tumultuous, a clang of joy. It is the Queen’s accession. Flags are
flying on every ship and steeple, and I hear a distant cannonade. The
guns of Woolwich are firing in honour of the day.

And what palace is looming on my right? Greenwich Hospital. A façade
worthy of Greece; ranges of Corinthian columns; vast courts expanding in
front; groves and green hills in the rear; and on the esplanade, a whole
battalion of one-legged or one-armed heroes, formed in line, and, as we
arrive, giving three cheers to the “glory” of her Majesty.

I leave the chroniclers to tell, that this noble establishment was
founded by William the Dutchman, of freedom-loving and French-hating
memory; that the call for public munificence was answered, as such calls
always are, by England; and that at this hour it pensions nearly forty
thousand as brave veterans as any in the world.

What magnitude of benevolence was ever equal to this regal and national
benefaction? In what form could public gratitude have ever been more
nobly displayed? Or by what means, uniting the highest charity to the
most just recompense, could comfort have been more proudly administered
to the declining days of the British seaman. In the long course of a
hundred and fifty years, what thousands, and tens of thousands, must
have been rescued, by this illustrious benevolence, from the unhappiness
of neglected old age! To what multitudes of brave old hearts must it
have given comfort in their distant cottages, and what high
recollections must the sight of its memorials and trophies revive in the
men who fought under Rodney and Howe, St. Vincent and Nelson! Those are
the true evidences of national greatness. Those walls are our witnesses
to posterity, that their fathers had not lived in vain. The shield of
the country thrown over the sailor and the soldier, against the chances
of the world in his old age, is the emblem of a grander supremacy than
ever was gained by even its irresistible spear.

----But the steamer has made a dash to the opposite bank, and we glide
along the skirts of a small peninsula, marked by a slender stone pillar,
where the border of Essex begins.

At this spot, a couple of hundred years ago, a mayor of London had been
hanged; for what reason, Elkanah Settle, the city laureate, does not
aver, further than that “wise people differed much on the
subject,”--some imagining that it was for bigamy; others, that it was
for having, at a great banquet given to the king by the corporation of
spectacle-makers, mistaken the royal purse for his own; but the chief
report being, “that he was hanged for the bad dinners which he gave to
the common-councilmen.” The laureate proceeds to say, that at this spot,
whenever the mayor of London went down with the Companies in their
visitation of the boundaries, the barges all made a solemn stop. The
mayor, (he was not yet a lord,) with all the aldermen, knelt on the
deck, and the chief chaplain, taking off his cap, repeated this
admonition:--

            Mister Mayor, Mister Mayor,
            Of a sinner’s death beware.
            Liveth virtue, liveth sin
            Not without us, but within.
            Man doth never think of ill,
            While he feedeth at his will.
            None doth seek his neighbour’s coin,
            When he seeth the sirloin.
            No man toucheth purse or life,
            While he thus doth use his knife.
            Savoury pie and smoking haunch
            Make the hungry traitor staunch.
            Claret spiced, and Malvoisie,
            From ill Spirits set us free,
            Better far than axe or sword
            Is the City’s well filled board.
            Think of him once, hanging there,
            Mister Mayor, Mister Mayor,
    _Chorus._--Beware, Beware, Beware!

The various corporate bodies chanted the last line with unanimous
devotion; the mayor and aldermen then rose from their knees, and the
whole pageant moved on to Blackwall to DINE.

Who has not heard of Blackwall? more fashionable for three months in the
year than Almacks itself for the same perishable period; fuller than
Bond Street, and with as many charming taverns as Regent Street contains
“Ruination shops,” (so called by Lady J. the most _riante_ wit of the
day,) those shops where one can purchase every thing that nobody wants,
and that few can pay for. Emporiums, as they name themselves, brilliant
collections of all that is dazzling and delightful, from a filigree
tooth-pick, up to a service of plate for a royal visitation.

Blackwall is a little city of taverns, built by white-bait, as the
islands in the South Sea are built by the coral insect. The scenery is a
marsh, backed by the waters of a stagnant canal, and lined with
whitewashed warehouses. It is in fact a transfer of Wapping,
half-a-dozen miles down the Thames. But Blackwall disdains the
picturesque; it scorns exterior charms, and devotes itself to the solid
merits of the table, and to dressing white-bait with a perfection
unrivalled, and unrivalable in the circumference of the terrestrial
globe.

Blackwall deserves to be made immortal, and I gave it a passport to
posterity, in an Ode.


ODE TO BLACKWALL.

    Let me sing thy praise, Blackwall!
      Paradise of court and city,
    Gathering in thy banquet-hall
      Lords and cockneys--dull, and witty.
    Spot, where ministers of state,
      Lay aside their humbug all;
    Water-souchy, and white-bait,
      Tempting mankind to Blackwall.

    Come, ye Muses, tuneful Nine,
      Whom no Civil List can bribe,
    Tell me, who come here, to dine,
      All the great and little tribe,
    Who, as summer takes its rounds,
      O’er Whitechapel, or Whitehall,
    From five shillings to five pounds,
      Club for dinner at Blackwall.

    There the ministerial _Outs_,
      There the ministerial _Ins_,
    One an emblem of the pouts,
      T’other emblem of the grins;
    All, beneath thy roof, are gay,
      Each forgetting rise or fall,
    Come to spend _one_ honest day,----
      All good fellows, at Blackwall.

    There I see an old Premier,
      Very like a “Lord at nurse,”
    Rather _near_, rather near,
      Dangling a diminish’d purse.
    Grieving for the days gone by,
      When he had a “house of call,”
    Every day his fish and pie,
      Gratis--_not_ like thine, Blackwall.

    There I see an Irish brow,
      Bronzed with blarney, hot with wine,
    Mark’d by nature for the plough,
      Practising the “Superfine.”
    Mumbling o’er a courtly speech,
      Dreaming of a palace Ball,
    Things not _quite_ within his reach,
      Though _quite asy_ at Blackwall.

    There the prince of Exquisites!
      O’er his claret looking sloppy,
    (All the ladies know, “he writes,”
      Bringing down the price of poppy,
    Spoiling much his scented paper,
      Making books for many a stall,)
    Sits, with languid smile, Lord Vapour,
      Yawning through thy feast, Blackwall.

    By him yawning sits, Earl Patron,
      Well to artists (_too_ well) known.
    Generous as a workhouse matron,
      Tender-hearted as a stone:
    Laughing at the pair, Lord Scoffer
      Whispers faction to F--x M--le.
    _Asking_ an “official offer,”
      _Ainsi va le monde_ Blackwall.

    But, whence comes that storm of gabble,
      Piercing casement, wall, and door,
    All the screaming tongues of Babel?
      ’Tis the “Diplomatic corps,”
    Hating us with all their souls,
      If the knaves have souls at all.
    I’d soon teach them other _roles_,
      Were I Monarch of Blackwall.

    Then, I hear a roar uproarious!
      ----“There a Corporation dine,”
    Some are tipsy, some are “glorious,”
      Some are bellowing for wine;
    Some for all their sins are pouting,
      Some beneath the table fall;
    Some lie singing, some lie shouting,--
      Now, farewell to thee, Blackwall.

----Stopped for five minutes at the handsome pier, waiting for the
arrival of the railway passengers from London. The scene was animated;
the pier crowded with porters, pie-men, wandering minstrels, and that
ingenious race, who read “moral lessons” to country gentlemen with their
breeches’ pockets open, and negligent of their handkerchiefs.

----Stepped on shore, and, tempted by the attractions of one of the
taverns, ordered a bottle of claret, on the principle of the
parliamentary machines for cleansing the smoke-conveying orifices of our
drawing-rooms. The inconceivable quantity of fuliginous material, which
I had swallowed in my transit down the river, would have stifled the
voice of a _prima donna_. The claret gave me the sense of a recovered
faculty, and as I inhaled, with that cool feeling of enjoyment which
salutes the man of London with a consciousness that sea-breezes are in
existence, I had leisure to glance along a vista of superb saloons,
which would have better suited a Pasha of Bagdad, than the payers of the
income tax in the dingiest and mightiest city of the known world.

Yet all was not devoted to the selfish principle. In a recess at the end
of the vista was a small bust--a sort of votive offering to the “memory
of Samuel Simpson, formerly a waiter in this tavern for the space of
fifty years,” this bust having been “here placed by his grateful master,
Thomas Hammersley.”

I am proud to have seen, and shall be prouder to rescue, the names of
both those Blackwall worthies from oblivion. They have long slept
without their fame; for the bust is dated A.D. 1714, the year which
closed the existence of that illustrious queen, Anna, whose name, as
Swift rather saucily observed, like her friendships,

    Both backward and forward was always the _same_.

An honour shared in succeeding ages only by the amiable Lord Glenelg.

But inscribed on the pedestal was an epitaph, which I transferred to my
memoranda.


EPITAPH.

    Bacchus! thy wonders fill the wondering world!
    Thrones in the dust have by thy cups been hurl’d.
    Yet, still thou had’st for mankind _one_ surprise:
    There was _one_ honest drawer! and here he lies.
    Sam Simpson, of the Swan, who, forced to wink
    At drinking hard in others, did _not_ drink.
    A man who, living all his life by sots,
    Yet fairly drew, and fairly fill’d his pots.
    Steady and sure, his easy way held on,
    Nor let his chalk score _two_, when called for _one_.
    If man’s best study is his fellow man,
    Reader, revere this hero of the Can.
    ’Twere well for kings, if many a king had been
    Like him who sleeps beneath yon Churchyard-green.

“There is nothing new under the sun,” saith Solomon; and as the late
Lord Mayor said, “I am quite of Solomon’s opinion.” Here is Crabbe,
fifty years before he was born. Here is his pomp and his particularity;
his force and his facility; his pungency and his picturesque. Is the
theory of transmigration true? and has the Blackwall tavern-keeper only
reappeared in the Rutlandshire parson? Let the antiquarians settle it
among them. I leave it to occupy the life of some future Ritson, to
poison some future Stephens with his own ink; and to give the whole race
of the Malones the shadow of an excuse for their existence in this
world.

But, I hear the snort of the locomotive; I see the cloud of steam
rushing towards the pier. The bell rings, the chaos of trunks and
passengers is rolled on board. I follow, and Blackwall fades in the
distance, as the poets say, “like a dream of departed joys.”

----Came in sight of a promontory, Purfleet, flanked by an immense row
of dark-roofed ominous-looking buildings,--these are the gunpowder
depôts of the navy and army of the empire. I pretend to no exclusive
poltroonery; but I must acknowledge that I highly approved of the speed
which carried us past them. If they had blown up at the moment, in what
region of the atmosphere should we have been, steamer and all, in five
seconds after. Yet, how many things might have turned our whole cargo
into gas and carbon at the instant? a flash of lightning; the wire of a
Voltaic machine, apparently as harmless as a knitting needle in the
hands of an old spinster; the spark of a peasant’s pipe; the scrape of a
hob-nailed shoe! Within a hundred yards of us there lay, in “grim
repose,” a hundred thousand barrels of gunpowder. We might have lighted
them from the sparks of our funnel, and committed an involuntary suicide
on the most comprehensive scale.

But we should not have perished unknown. As the maid, in Schiller’s
famous Monologue, sings,--

    Even in the solitudes
    Of the Transatlantic woods,
    Where the elk and bison stalk,
    Men of that dark day should talk.
    Old men by their fireside sitting,
    Maidens in the sunset knitting,
    Still should think of that dark day.
    Till the world itself grew gray.

If the magazine at Purfleet were to explode, the Thames would be routed
out of its bed, and carried into Tunbridge Wells; Woolwich would be a
cinder, Gravesend an ash-pit, Chatham a cemetery, Blackwall a nonentity,
the Tunnel a tomb, and one half of the mighty metropolis itself but a
recollection.

Yet human beings actually _live_ at Purfleet! actually eat, drink, and
sleep, with this volcano beside their pillows; Essex picnics are eaten
within sight of this earth-shaker. Nay, balls have been given; and
creatures, calling themselves rational, have danced quadrilles, with the
salient temerity of the incurably insane. What a short-sighted and
saltatory thing is human nature!

Among the changes produced by the new importation of passengers, it was
my fate to be placed beside the Authoress; who did me the honour of
thinking me worthy of her notice, and who rapidly admitted me into the
most unbounded confidence, respecting the merits of her own
performances, and the demerits of all the world of authorship besides. I
listened with the most profound submission; only filling up the pauses,
when she stopped to take breath; by a gesture of acquiescence, or that
most valuable of all words, “Yes.” She “had met me,” in a hundred
places, where I was not conscious of having ever been; and “recognised
my style” in a hundred volumes which I had never read. In short, she was
charmed with me; and confessed, after half an hour of the most
uninterrupted eloquence on her side; that “though evidently cautious of
giving an opinion,” I should thenceforth be ranked by her, among the
most brilliant conversationalists of the day.

Must I acknowledge, that I forgot as expeditiously as I learned, and,
excepting _one_ recollection, all was a blank by dinner time.

But we _had_ met once before, in a scene, which, on afterwards casually
turning over some papers, I found recorded on those scraps of foolscap,
and in those snatches of rhyme, which argue, I am afraid, a desultory
mind. So be it. I disdain to plead “not guilty” to the charge of
perfection. I make no attempt to exonerate myself of the cardinal
virtues. I write poetry, because it is “better behaved” than prose; and
in this feeling I give the history to a sympathizing world.


THE POET’S AUCTION.

    As I stroll’d down St. James’s, I heard a voice cry,
    “The auction’s beginning, come buy, sir, come buy.”
    On a door was a crape, on a wall a placard,
    Proclaiming to earth, it had lost its last bard.
    In I rambled, and, climbing a dark pair of stairs,
    Found _all_ the blue-stockings, all giggling in pairs;
    The crooked of tongue, and the crooked of spine,
    _All_ ugly as Hecate, and old as the Nine.
                                                              Tol de rol.

    There were A, B, C, D,’s--all your “ladies of letters,”
    Well known for a trick of abusing their betters;
    With their _beaus_! the old snuffling and spectacled throng,
    Who haunt their “_soirees_” for liqueurs and souchong;
    There was “dear Mrs. Blunder,” who scribbles Astronomy--
    Miss Babble, who “owns” the “sweet” Tales on Gastronomy;
    Miss Claptrap, who writes the “Tractarian Apologies,”
    With a host of old virgins, all stiff in the ologies.
                                                              Tol de rol.

    There sat, grim as a ghoul, the sublime Mrs. Tomb,
    With rouged Mrs. Lamp, like a corpse in full bloom,
    And the hackney-coach tourist, old Mrs. Bazaar,
    Who lauds every ass with a ribbon and star;
    Describes every tumble-down Schloss, brick by brick,
    And quotes her flirtations with “dear Metternich;”
    With those frolicsome ladies who visit harāms,
    And swallow, like old Lady Mary, their qualms.
                                                              Tol de rol.

    There was, dress’d _à la Chickasaw_, Miss Chesapeak,
    Who makes novels as naked as “nymphs from the Greek;”
    Mrs. Myth, with a chin like a Jew’s upon Hermon;
    Mrs. Puff, who reviewed the archbishop’s last sermon;
    Miss Scamper, who runs up the Rhine twice a-year,
    To tell us how Germans smoke pipes and swill beer.
    All the _breakfasting_ set: for the bard “drew a line,”
    And ask’d the Magnificoes only, to dine.
                                                              Tol de rol.

    There stood old Viscount Bungalow, hiding the fire,
    As blind as a beetle, the great picture-buyer;
    With Earl Dilettante, stone-deaf in both ears,
    An opera-fixture these last fifty years;
    Little Dr. de Rougemont, the famous Mesmeric,
    Who cures all the girls by a touch of hysteric;
    And Dean Dismal, court-chaplain, whose pathos and prose
    Would beat Mesmer himself at producing a doze.
                                                              Tol de rol.

    And there, with their eyes starting out of their sockets,
    A tribe, whose light fingers I keep from my pockets,
    _Messieurs les Attaches_, all grin and moustache,
    With their souls in full scent for our heiresses’ cash.
    Four eminent lawyers, with first-rate intentions
    Of living the rest of their lives on their pensions,
    With six heads of colleges, hurried to town,
    To know if Sir Bob, or Lord John, would go down.
                                                              Tol de rol.

    “Here’s a volume of verse,” was the auctioneer’s cry.
    “What! nobody bids!--Tom, throw that book by.
    Though it cost the great author one half of his life,
    Unplagued (I beg pardon) with children or wife.
    Here’s an Epic in embryo, still out of joint,
    Here’s a bushel of Epigrams wanting the point,
    With a lot of _Impromptus_, all finished to fit
    A dull diner-out with _extempore_ wit.                    Tol de rol.

    “Here’s a sonnet, inscribed ‘To the Shade of a Sigh.’
    A ‘Lament’ on ‘The Death of a Favourite Fly;’
    And, well worth a shilling, that sweetest of lays--
    To the riband that tied up a ‘Duchess’s stays.’
    Here’s a note from a Young-England Club, for a _loan_,
    Lord B----’s famous speech on ‘The Sex of Pope Joan,’
    With the bard’s private budget of H--ll--d House stories,
    Of Tories turned Whigs, and of Whigs _turning_ Tories.
                                                              Tol de rol.

    “What! nobody bids! Must I shut up the sale?
    Well; take all the verses at so much per bale!
    I come to the autographs:--One from _the_ Duke,
    Assigning the cause for cashiering his cook;
    A missive from Byr-n,--a furious epistle,--
    Which proves that a bard may pay “dear for his whistle;”
    With letters from geniuses, sunk in despair
    By the doctrine, that ‘Poets should live upon air.’
                                                              Tol de rol.

    “A scrap from Bob Burns, to d--n the Excise,
    Where they sent him to perish--(a word to the wise;)
    A line from Sir W-lt-r, in anguish and debt,
    To thank his good king for _what never came yet_;
    A song from the minstrel of minstrels, T-m M--re,
    To laud his ‘dear country’ for keeping him poor;
    With a prayer from old Coleridge, in hope that his bones
    Might escape all the humbug of ‘National stones!’
                                                              Tol de rol.

    “Here’s a note to T-m C-mpb-ll, (indorsed, ‘_From a Peer_,’)
    To mulct Income-tax from his hundred a-year;
    Pinn’d up with a note from his _Chef_ to his Grace,
    That he ‘must have five hundred, or throw up his place;’
    Here’s an epitaph written by Haydon’s last pen--
    Poh! Genius may die in a ditch or a den!
    The country wants none of it, female or male,
    So, as no one bids sixpence, I’ll shut up the sale.”
                                                              Tol de rol.



PRUSSIAN MILITARY MEMOIRS.[6]


“_Vieux soldat, vieille bête_,” is a French proverb, implying an
exceedingly low estimate of the mental acuteness of the veteran soldier.
We do not know that English soldiers are quicker witted than French
ones; better educated we know they are not, except, as we love to
believe, in what pertains to push of bayonet. But in how much more
flattering terms is couched the popular opinion in this country,
concerning the capacity and wit of the man of musket and sabre. On this
side the Channel, to be an “old soldier” implies something remarkably
knowing--a man quite “up to snuff,” and a trifle above it. “He’s too old
a soldier for that,” signifies that the “_he_” is a very sharp and wary
dog, the last fellow to be taken in or made a fool of. “He came the old
soldier over me,” is a common cant acknowledgment of having met more
than one’s match--of having been overreached or outwitted. Other similar
phrases are there, familiar to most ears, and unnecessary to cite. They
concur to show a prevailing belief, that a long habit of scarlet--we
mean no pun--and familiarity with pipeclay, or else the many
vicissitudes and much experience of life they argue, polish the
soldier’s faculties to a particularly sharp point, and remove from his
character each vestige of the unsophisticated, as effectually as he
himself, with sand and oil-rag, would rub all stain of rust from
scabbard or barrel. There is exaggeration in this notion. It is not
unusual to find in veteran soldiers, a dash of _naive_ simplicity, even
of childish credulity, co-existent with much shrewdness and knowledge of
the world. For this incongruity, let physiologists account; we shall not
investigate its causes. The remark applies to soldiers of most
countries; for, with certain shades of difference, derivable from
climate, race, and national customs, the soldier is the same every
where. The original material is various, but the moulds in which it is
fashioned are to a great extent identical. Divide the whole population
of Europe according to trades and professions, and in the military class
shall the least diversity be found.

We strongly suspect that Baron von Rahden, whose “Wanderings” we noticed
in a previous number of this Magazine, and from whose agreeable pages we
propose again to glean, is a fine example of the compound character
above described. On duty, none more matter-of-fact than he, none more
prompt and keen in conduct and language; but, suspend the activity of
camps, and dangers of the fight, remove him for a moment from his
battalion’s ranks and the routine of service, and behold! he builds up
all idyl about a peasant girl and cow; or, better still, and more fully
confirming our opinion, treats you with all gravity and deep conviction
to a spice of the supernatural. Of his ghostly gambols we will forthwith
give a specimen.

It was in the month of October, 1812, that a party of young cadets, of
whom the baron was one, left Breslin for Berlin, there to pass their
examination as officers. The ordeal to which the aspirants hastened was
severe and dreaded, and the journey was no very soothing preparation for
the rigours of the examiners. German roads and diligences were far less
respectable then than now, and the lumbering carriage in which the
cadets, in company with Polish Jews, market-women, baskets, bags, and
blankets, prosecuted their journey, was a bone-setter of most inhuman
construction. Its wooden lining was clouted with nails, compelling the
travellers to preserve a rigid perpendicular, lest a sudden jolt should
diminish the number of their teeth, or increase that of the apertures of
their heads. About midnight this modern barrel of Regulus reached a
large town, and paused to deposit passengers. The halt was of some
duration, and the cadets dispersed themselves about the streets. One of
them, designated by the Baron under the initial Von L., did not
re-appear till the post-horn had sounded its fourth signal, when he came
up in haste and agitation and threw himself into the carriage, which
immediately drove off. The next day this youth, who had been silent and
gloomy since the halt of the previous night, was taken grievously ill, a
misfortune attributed by his comrades to a plentiful breakfast of sour
milk and sausages. On their return from Berlin, however, Von L., whose
health was still delicate, and depression visible, showed, on passing
the scene of their midnight halt, symptoms of uneasiness so strong as to
excite suspicion that his illness had had some extraordinary cause. That
this suspicion was well founded, he, at a later period, confessed to
Baron von Rahden, who tells the story in his friend’s own words.

“Being very thirsty,” said Von L., “I lingered at the great fountain on
the market-place, and there I was presently joined by a young peasant
girl, carrying a great earthen pitcher. We soon became great friends. It
was too dark for me clearly to distinguish the features of my little
Rebecca, but I nevertheless readily complied with her tittered
invitation to escort her home. Arm in arm we wandered through the narrow
by-streets, till we reached a large garden, having a grated door, which
stood half open. Here the damsel proposed that we should part, and
nimbly evaded my attempt to detain her. She ran from me with suppressed
laughter. I eagerly followed, soon overtook her, and, by flattery and
soothing words, prevailed on her to sit down beside me upon a bank of
soft turf in the shadow of overhanging trees. Here, for a short quarter
of an hour, we toyed and prattled, when I was roused from my boyish
love-dream by the distant sound of the post-horn. I sprang to my feet;
at the same instant, with a peal of shrill wild laughter, my companion
disappeared. My light and joyous humour suddenly checked, I looked about
me. I was now better able to distinguish surrounding objects; and with
what indescribable horror did I recognise in the supposed garden a
churchyard, in the turf bank a grave, in the sheltering foliage a
cypress. And now all that related to the maiden seemed so mysterious,
her manner occurred to me as so strange and unearthly! How I found out
the gate of the cemetery, I know not. I remember stumbling over the
graves and rushing in the direction whence the postilion’s horn still
sounded, pursued by echoes of scornful laughter. Shuddering and
breathless, I at length rejoined my comrades, but the impression made
upon me by that night’s adventure has never been effaced.”

So much for the Baron’s friend. Now for the Baron himself, who relates
all this, be it observed, with a most commendable solemnity, implying
conviction of the supernatural nature of his comrade’s adventure. “With
reference to this unnatural occurrence,” he says, “I frequently met my
friend during the war and the early years of the peace, but never
without that incident recurring to me, and the more so, as from that day
forward, melancholy settled upon Von L.’s manly and handsome
countenance. He strove, with indifferent success, as it appeared to me,
to combat his depression by dissipation and worldly pleasures; but the
expression of his dark eye was ever one of severe mental suffering. He
never married or partook of the peaceful joys of domestic existence.
During the War of Liberation he distinguished himself by daring courage
and reckless exposure of his life, was repeatedly wounded, and died
suddenly at the age of thirty, in the full bloom and strength of
manhood. He is still well remembered as a gallant officer and thorough
soldier.

“Whilst on a visit to the town of N., a few years ago, my evening walk
frequently led me, in company with a much esteemed friend, to the
churchyard where Von L., after his short and melancholy career, had at
last found repose. During one of these walks, my companion related to me
the following story:--At the hour of twelve, upon three successive
nights, the sentry, whose lonely post was adjacent to the cemetery, had
challenged the rounds, as they approached through the deep shadow of an
arched gateway. To his question, ‘Who makes the rounds?’ was each time
replied, in deep sepulchral tones, ‘Captain von L.’ and at the same
instant the visionary patrol vanished. So runs the guard-room tale.”
Which the Baron is sufficiently reasonable to treat as such, although he
assures his readers that, even after an interval of three-and-thirty
years, he does not write down the details of his melancholy friend’s
adventure with the mysterious _aquaria_ without something very like a
shudder. In a collection of _Mahrchen_ this very German story might have
been accepted as an endurable fragment of imaginative _diablerie_, but
coming thus in the semi-historical autobiography of a hero of Leipzig
and Waterloo, and Knight of the Iron Cross, it certainly subjects the
writer to the application of the uncomplimentary French proverb already
cited.

As a boy--and during his German and French campaigns, he was but a
boy--Baron von Rahden showed an odd mixture of the manly and the
childish. Cool and brave in the fight, bearing wounds and hardship with
courage and fortitude, the loss of a trinket made him weep; an elder
comrade’s rebuke rendered him down-cast and unhappy as a whipped
school-boy. Scarcely had he joined his regiment, when he was admitted to
the intimacy of a Lieutenant Patzynski, an experienced officer and crack
duellist. It was a mode amongst the young officers, when sitting round
the punchbowl, to enter into contracts of brotherhood. The process was
exceedingly simple. The glasses clattered together, an embrace was
given, and thenceforward the partakers in the ceremony addressed each
other in the second person singular, in sign of intimacy and friendship.
Emboldened by the patronage of the formidable Patzynski, and heated by a
joyous repast, Von Rahden one day approached Lieutenant Merkatz, who was
considerably his senior both in rank and years, and proffered him the
fraternal embrace. “With the greatest pleasure, my dear boy,” replied
Merkatz, who had observed with some disgust the forward bearing of the
unfledged subaltern, “but on one condition. You shall address me as
_Sie_, and I will call you _Er_.” The former being the most respectful
style of address, the latter slighting and even contemptuous, only used
to servants and inferiors. Cowed by this unkind, if not undeserved
reproof, Von Rahden retreated in confusion. Subsequently he met many
unpleasant slights and rebuffs from Merkatz; but they did him good, and
his persecutor eventually became his warm friend. This, however, was not
till the recruit had proved his manhood in many a hot fight and sharp
encounter. “Forward,” said the stern Prussian soldier on the field of
Lutzen, when, borne back bleeding from the foremost line of skirmishers,
he met Von Rahden hurrying to replace him. “Forward, boy! Yonder will
you find brothers!” In the smoke of the battle, not in the fumes of the
orgie, were the esteem and friendship of Germany’s tried defenders to be
conquered. After the battle of Kulm, Von Rahden bought a French watch,
part of a soldier’s plunder; and his pride and delight in this trinket
were, according to his own confession, something quite childish. His
comrades, with whom he was a favourite, bore with his exultation.
Merkatz alone showed a disposition to check it. He had assumed the
character of a surly Mentor, resolved, apparently, to cure his young
comrade of his follies, and drill him into a man. He now assured Von
Rahden that if he did not leave off playing with, and displaying, his
watch, he would knock it out of his hand the very first opportunity.
This soon presented itself. Whilst bivouacking in the mountains of
Bohemia, the two officers chanced one night to be seated near each other
at the same fire, and Von Rahden, forgetting his companion’s menace,
repeatedly pulled out his watch, until Merkatz, with a blow of a stick,
shivered it to pieces. “Although, in general, when my comrades’ jokes
displeased me, I was ready enough to answer them with my sabre, on this
occasion I was so astonished and grieved, that I burst into tears, and
retreated to my couch in the corner of the hut, where I sobbed myself to
sleep.” This whimpering young gentleman, however, was the same, who,
only a few days previously, in the hottest moment of the battle of Kulm,
had led his men, encouraging them by voice and deed, up to the very
musket-muzzles of the parapeted Frenchmen, and who, twice already, had
been wounded amidst the foremost of the combatants. At the fight of May,
too, although that was somewhat later, his bravery was such as to
attract the notice of Prince Augustus of Prussia. The men of his
battalion were weary and exhausted by a hard day’s combat, when,
suddenly and unexpectedly, they were again ordered forward into a fierce
fire of artillery. They murmured and hesitated, and for a moment refused
to advance. “Upon this occasion, I was fortunate enough to contribute,
by boyish and joyous humour, for which the men all liked me, and by my
contempt of danger, in restoring courage and confidence. Shot and shell
flew about us, and the younger soldiers were hard to keep in their
ranks. I ran forward thirty or forty paces to the front, and several
shells happening to fall close to me without bursting, I laughed at and
cut jokes upon them. At last the men laughed too, and came willingly
forward. Such little incidents occur in far less time than it takes to
tell of them. So it was here; but we had effected what we wanted--the
men were in better humour. I had no idea that Prince Augustus had
observed my behaviour, which was certainly rather juvenile; and when I
saw him standing near me, I was ashamed and drew back; but he called out
to me, and said, in a loud voice, ‘Very good! very good! Lieutenant
Rahden,’ and then spoke a few words to Count Reichenbach. From that day
I found great favour with our illustrious general of brigade. The first
proof of it was the Iron Cross.”

Von Rahden’s final reconciliation with Merkatz took place under the
enemy’s fire. It was the day after Montmirail, and Blucher’s _corps
d’armée_, after gallantly protecting Ziethen’s beaten troops from
Gronchy’s cavalry, itself retreated towards Etoges. At about half a
league from that place, whilst marching along a road that ran between
vineyards, the French tirailleurs attacked them, and cavalry patrols
came in to inform the Field-marshal that Etoges was occupied by the
enemy. But the Baron shall tell the story himself.

“In darkness, surrounded by foes, ignorant of the ground we manœuvred
upon, a handful of men against a powerful force, and our old Father
Blucher, with the elite of his generals, in danger of being taken--all
this made up an alarming picture. But the greater the need, the prompter
the deed. In an instant it was decided to throw out skirmishers into the
vineyards, whilst the battalions, formed close and compact round the
Field-marshal, should cut their way along the road. Count Reichenbach
gave his orders accordingly; and his adjutant, Lieutenant Merkatz, who
sat chilled and weary upon his horse, turned mechanically to me, and
desired me to extend my skirmishers on the left of the road. This was
beyond a joke: I had been skirmishing the whole day, perpetually under
fire, and hard at work since nine in the morning. Tired to death, I had
been heartily glad to rejoin my battalion, and now I was ordered out
again into the cold dark night, and on the most uncertain service. All
my old grudge against Merkatz recurred to me, and, as it was not my turn
for the duty, I answered him in loud and marked tones, ‘Order out
somebody else, and don’t be too lazy to ride to the next company.’ When,
however, Count Reichenbach turned round, and with some displeasure
desired me to speak less loud in the neighbourhood of the
General-in-chief, I became more complying, and only argued that my large
cloak, which I carried rolled over my shoulder, would hinder me in the
vineyards. ‘Give me the cloak here,’ replied Merkatz: ‘I am freezing
upon my horse.’ What could I do? Time pressed: so venting my ill humour
in a few grumbling words, I threw my cloak to the adjutant, and hurried
with my skirmishers to the vineyard. I had taken but a few steps,
however, when an arm was thrown round me. It was that of Merkatz.
‘Listen, Rahden,’ said he; ‘before we part, perhaps for ever, become my
brother for life, and let us forget all past unkindness.’ I replied by a
hearty embrace, for I had long esteemed Merkatz as one of the bravest of
my comrades, and, elated at the atonement he now made me for having
refused my friendship at the commencement of the previous campaign, I
pressed forward cheerfully into the fight.”

The French cavalry had been several hours in possession of Etoges, had
removed the railings from the wells, and sawn the timbers of a bridge
which crossed a broad and muddy stream. As soon as the Prussians set
foot on it, it broke down, and an awful confusion ensued. The panic was
aggravated by the darkness, and by the fire of the enemy, who blazed at
the Allies from behind trees and houses. In attempting to jump the
stream, Von Rahden fell in, and all his efforts only sank him deeper in
the mud. A number of soldiers, who had also missed the leap, struggled
beside him, involuntarily wounding each other with their fixed bayonets.
Von Rahden gave himself up for lost. “I uttered a short prayer, gave one
thought to my distant home, and awaited the death blow. My senses had
already half left me, when I heard a well-known voice exclaim,
‘Lieutenant, where are you?’ With a last effort I raised myself, and saw
Schmidt, my sergeant of skirmishers, peering down into the ditch. He
held out his musket. I seized it with the grasp of desperation, and the
brave fellow dragged me up. Barefoot, and covered with mud, I followed
in the stream of fugitives. So great was the hurry and disorder of the
flight, that if the enemy had sent a single squadron after us, thousands
of prisoners must have been taken. It seems incomprehensible that they
did not pursue; but I think I may safely affirm, that a young Russian
officer, whose name I do not know, saved the army by his presence of
mind. In a loud voice, he shouted several times, ‘Barabanczek!
Barabanczek!’ which means a drummer. A number of drummers and buglers
gathered around him and beat and blew a charge. The French did not
suspect the stratagem; and supposing that reinforcements were coming up
under cover of the night, they would not risk, by a pursuit, the
advantage they had already gained. My friend, Merkatz, was amongst the
prisoners taken upon that disastrous evening; but he soon managed to
escape, leaving behind him, however, his own horse, and my warm and much
prized cloak.”

A terrible campaign was that of 1813-14; and the man who had made it,
from Lutzen to Paris, might well style himself a veteran, though his
whole military career were comprised in the short ten months of its
duration. What incessant fighting! not occasional battles, with long
intervals, varied by insignificant skirmishes, but a rapid succession of
pitched and bloody fields. No rest or relaxation, or pleasant repose in
comfortable quarters, but short rations and the bivouac’s hard couch as
sole solace for the weary and suffering soldier. The hardships of the
allied armies are briefly, but frequently and impressively adverted to
by the Baron von Rahden. As if the ravages of lead and steel were
insufficient, disease and exposure added their quota to the harvest of
death. “Although in the height of summer,” says the Baron, speaking of
the month of August, 1813, “we had had, for three days past,
uninterrupted rains, and the fat black soil was so soaked, that our
progress was painfully difficult. We could bivouac only in meadows, and
on the uncut corn. In fallow or stubble fields we must have lain in mud.
We were very ill fed; the commissariat stores were far in rear, detained
in the mountain passes, and for several days our only nourishment
consisted of wild fruits, potatoes and turnips, which the men dug up in
the fields. Our clothes and equipment, to the very cartouch-boxes, were
wet through, and not a ray of sun, a tree or house, or even a bivouac
fire, was there for warmth or shelter.” With vermin also, bequeathed to
them often by their Cossack allies, the Prussians were grievously
tormented. “In our camp, by Chlumetz, in Bohemia, where we passed some
days, we had rain and other bivouac calamities to put up with. The straw
served out to us had already been slept upon; and the consequence was,
an invasion of our clothes and persons by certain small creeping things
of a very unpleasant description. Whether they were of Austrian or
Russian extraction I am unable to state; nor did it much matter: we
succeeded to them. Looking out of my hut one morning, I saw a man issue
from one of the straw-built sheds occupied by the soldiers, and run,
wringing his hands, to an adjacent wood. I followed him, to prevent
mischief, and recognised an old friend and fellow cadet, Von P. He was
in the greatest despair. The soldiers had turned him out of their
temporary abode. The poor fellow swarmed with vermin. I succeeded in
calming him, fetched him clean linen, and after a careful examination of
his clothes in a neighbouring oat-field, he returned with me to my hut,
which he thenceforward inhabited. Should the Russian commandant of the
Polish fortress of Czenstochau chance to read these pages, and remember
the above incident, let him give a friendly thought to his old brother
in arms, who will soon again have to speak of the brave Von P., of the
Second Silesian Regiment.” If, in the rugged Bohemian mountains,
hardships were to be anticipated, in the plains of Champagne things
might have been expected to go better. If possible, they went worse. “To
speak plainly,” says the Baron, referring to the campaign in France,
which commenced very early in the year, “filth and ordure were our
couch; rain, ice, and snow, our covering; half-raw cow’s flesh, mouldy
biscuits, and sour wine lees, our nourishment; for heart and mind, the
sole relaxation was shot, and blow, and stab. Some one has said, ‘Make
war with angels for twenty years and they will become devils.’ To that I
add, ‘Six months of such a life as we then led, and men would turn into
beasts.’” Little wonder if soldiers thus situated greedily seized each
brief opportunity of enjoyment. The cellars of Ai and Epernay paid heavy
tribute to the thirsty Northern warriors. We are told of one instance
where a whole division of the allied army was unable to march, and an
important military operation had to be suspended, in consequence of a
Pantagruelian debauch at a chateau near Chalons, where champagne
bottles, by tens of thousands, were emptied down Prussian and Muscovite
gullets. The sacking of their cellars, however, was not the only evil
endured at the hands of the invaders by the unlucky vine-growers. Wood
was scarce, the nights were very cold, and the sticks upon which the
vines were trained, were pulled up and used as fuel. Sometimes, in a
single night, many hundreds of thousands of these _echalas_ were thus
destroyed, every one of them being worth, owing to the hardness and
rarity of the wood required for them, at least two _sous_. Their second
visit to France hardly entered into the anticipations of the reckless
destroyers, or they would perhaps have had more consideration for that
year’s vintage.

From a host of anecdotes of Baron von Rahden’s brother-officers, we
select the following as an interesting and characteristic incident of
Prussian camp-life three-and-thirty years ago. It is told in what the
Baron calls his poetical style:

“My captain, a Pole by birth, was brave as steel, but harsh and rough as
the sound of his name. He was deficient in the finer feelings of the
heart, in philanthropy, and in a due appreciation of the worth of his
fellow-men. Although a good comrade to us young officers, he was a
tyrant to his inferiors. His envy and jealousy of his superiors he
barely concealed under an almost exaggerated courtesy. Such was Captain
von X.

“It was the eve of the battle of Leipzig, and a violent gust of wind had
overthrown the fragile bivouac-huts, at that time our only protection
from the cold and wet of the October nights. The rain fell in torrents,
and, in all haste, the soldiers set to work to reconstruct their
temporary shelter. The more cunning and unscrupulous took advantage of
the prevailing confusion to consult their own advantage, without respect
to the rights of others. The objects which they coveted, and
occasionally pillaged, would, under other circumstances, have been of
little worth: they consisted of straw, branches, and stakes, invaluable
in the construction of our frail tenements. As in duty bound, our
military architects first built up the captain’s hut, within which he
took refuge, after ordering me to remain outside and preserve order. As
junior officer of the company, this fatigue-duty fairly fell to me, in
like manner as the first turn for an honourable service belonged to the
senior; but, nevertheless, I felt vexed at the captain’s order, and
could not help wishing him some small piece of ill luck. My wish was
very soon realized.

“Our major’s hut, more carefully and strongly constructed, had resisted
the hurricane: it stood close beside that of the captain. The major was
long since asleep and snoring; but his servant, a cunning, careful dog,
was still a-foot, and watched his opportunity to get possession of a
long bean-stick, to be used as an additional prop to the already solid
edifice under which his master slumbered. The unlucky marauder had not
remarked that this stake formed one of the supports of the captain’s
dormitory. He seized and pulled it violently, and down came the hut,
burying its inmate under the ruins. There was a shout of laughter from
the spectators of the downfal, and then the Pole disengaged himself from
the wreck, cursing awfully, and rushed upon the unfortunate fellow who
had played him the trick. Pale and trembling, the delinquent awaited his
fate; but his cry of terror brought him assistance from his master, who
suddenly stepped forth in his night-dress, a large gray cavalry cloak
thrown about him, and a white cloth bound round his head. The major was
an excellent and kind-hearted man, loved like a father by his men, but
subject to occasional fits of uncontrollable passion, which made him
lose sight of all propriety and restraint. Without investigation, he at
once took his servant’s side against the captain, in which he was
certainly wrong, seeing that his worthy domestic had been caught in the
very act of theft. He snatched the bean-stick from the man’s hand: the
captain already grasped the other end; and, for some minutes, there they
were, major and captain, pulling, and tugging, and reeling about the
bivouac, not like men, but like a brace of unmannerly boys. Myself and
the soldiers were witnesses of this singular encounter. Accustomed to
regard our superiors with fear and respect, we now beheld them in the
most childish and ludicrous position. Astonishment kept us motionless
and silent. At last the captain made a violent effort to wrest the pole
from his antagonist: the major held firm, and resisted with all his
strength; when, suddenly, his opponent let go his hold, and our major, a
little round man, measured his length in the mud. In an instant he was
on his feet again. Throwing away the bean-stick, and stepping close up
to his opponent, ‘To-morrow,’ said he, ‘we will settle this like men:
here we have been fools; and you, captain, a malicious fool.’

“‘I accept your invitation with pleasure,’ replied the captain, ‘and
trust our next meeting will be with bullets. But, for to-day, the pole
is mine.’ And he seized it triumphantly.

“‘Certainly; yours to-day,’ retorted the major. ‘To-morrow we will fight
it out upon my dirty cloak.’

“The morrow came, and the battle began, not, however, between major and
captain, but between French and Prussians. Silent we stood in deep dark
masses, listening to the music of the bullets. ‘Firm and steady!’ was
the command of our little major--of the same man who, a few hours
before, had played so childish a part. Skirmishers were called in, and a
charge with the bayonet ordered. The foe abandoned his first position.
Animated by success, we attacked the second. Our battalion hurried on
from one success to another, and my gallant captain was ever the first
to obey, in the minutest particular, the orders of our famous little
major. The noble emulation between the two brave fellows was
unmistakeable. In their third position the French defended themselves
with unparalleled obstinacy, and our young soldiers, in spite of their
moral superiority, were compelled to recede. ‘Forward, my fine fellows!’
cried the major; ‘Follow me, men!’ shouted the captain, and, seizing the
sinking standard, whose bearer had just been shot, he raised it on high,
and dashed in amongst the foe. With a tremendous ‘Hurra!’ the whole line
followed, and Napoleon’s ‘Vieille Garde’ was forced to a speedy retreat.

“The major gazed in admiration at his bitter opponent of the preceding
day. Calling him to him, he clasped him in his arms. For a moment the
two men were enveloped in the cloak upon which they were to have fought.
Words cannot describe that scene. Suddenly a cannon-ball boomed through
the air, and, lo! they lay upon the ground, shattered and lifeless,
reconciliation their dying thought. The fight over, and our bivouac
established in a stubble-field, we paid then the last military honours.
Fifty men, all that remained of my company, followed their bodies, and a
tear stood in every eye as we consigned the gallant fellows to one
grave.”

With bitter and ill-suppressed rage did the military portion of the
French nation, after a brief but busy campaign, see themselves compelled
to submission, their emperor an exile, their hearths intruded upon by
the foreigners who, at Jena and Wagram, Austerlitz and Marengo, had
quailed and fled before their conquering eagles. Resistance, in a mass,
was no longer to be thought of: the French army was crushed, crippled,
almost annihilated, but its individual members still sought
opportunities of venting their fury upon the hated victors. By sneer,
and slighting word, and insulting look, they strove to irritate and lure
them to the lists; and their provocations, even the more indirect ones,
rarely failed of effect. On the duelling-ground, as in the field, steady
German courage was found fully a match for the _brio_ and presumption of
these French _spadassins_. After the capitulation of Paris, Von Rahden’s
regiment was sent into country-quarters at Amiens, and they were but a
few days in the town before the ill-smothered antipathy between Gaul and
German broke out into a flame.

“When we were fairly installed in our quarters, and the first little
squabbles and disagreements between towns-people and soldiers had been
settled, chiefly by the good offices of the authorities, we officers
gave ourselves up to the pleasures of the place, amongst which a large
and elegant _café_ was not to be forgotten. In this coffee-house the
tables were of marble, the walls covered with mirrors, the windows and
doors of plate-glass, in gilt frames. All was gold and glitter, and the
_dames de comptoir_ might, from their appearance, have been fashionable
ladies, placed there to lead the conversation. All this was very new and
attractive, and well calculated to dazzle us young men. Accordingly,
from early morn till late at night, hundreds of officers, of all arms,
sat in the _café_, drinking, playing, and sighing.

Happening one forenoon to be orderly-officer, I received several
complaints from soldiers concerning the younger son of the family upon
which they were quartered. He had returned home only the day before, had
shown himself very unfriendly towards the men, and did his utmost to
irritate their other hosts against them. Upon inquiry, I found the
complaint to be just, and that a young and handsome man, of military
appearance, was doing all in his power to excite ill-will towards us.
After several warnings, which were unattended to, I was compelled to
arrest and put him in the guard-room, menacing him with further
punishment. This done, I joined my comrades at the _café_.

“That day our favourite place of resort presented an unusual aspect. A
regiment of French hussars, on its march westwards, had halted for the
night at Amiens, and upwards of twenty of the officers were now seated
in the coffee-house. There was a good deal of talk going on, but not so
much as usual; and the division between the different nations was
strongly marked. To the right the hussars had assembled, crowded round
three or four tables; on the other side of the saloon sat fifty or sixty
Prussian infantry officers. The situation was not the most agreeable,
and there was a mutual feeling of constraint. Presently there came to
the coffee-house (by previous arrangement, as I am fully persuaded) one
of those Italian pedlars, for the most part spies and thieves, of whom
at that time great numbers were to be met with in France and other parts
of the Continent. Stopping at the glazed door opening into the street,
he offered his wares for sale. Soon one of the hussar officers called to
him in excellent German, and asked him if he had any pocket-books to
sell. He wanted one, he said, to note down the anniversaries of the
battles of Jena, Austerlitz, &c. Although this inquiry was manifestly a
premeditated insult, we Prussians remained silent, as if waiting to see
what would come next. The pedlar supplied the demands of the Frenchman,
and was about to leave the room, when one of our officers, Lieutenant
von Sebottendorf, of the 23d infantry regiment, called to him in his
turn, and observed, in a loud voice, that he also required a
pocket-book, wherein to mark the battles of Rossbach, the Katzbach, and
Leipzig. The names of Rossbach and Leipzig served for a signal. As by
word of command, the hussars sprang from their chairs and drew their
long sabres; we followed their example, and bared our weapons, which for
the most part were small infantry swords. In an instant a mêlée began;
the French pressing upon Sebottendorf; we defending him. At the same
moment the hussar trumpets and our drums sounded and beat in the
streets. As officer of the day, those sounds called me away. With great
difficulty I got out of the café, and hurried to the main-guard, which
was already menaced by the assembled hussars. I had just made my men
load with ball-cartridge--we had no other--when luckily several
companies came up and rescued me from my very critical position. Nothing
is more painful than to be compelled to use decisive and severe measures
in such a conjuncture, at the risk of one’s acts being disapproved and
disavowed.

“Meanwhile, in the coffee-house, a somewhat indecorous fight went on,
the mirrors and windows were smashed, and the scuffle ended by the
officers forcing each other out into the street. All these affronts
naturally would have to be washed out in blood. In a quarter of an hour
our battalions were drawn up in the market-place: the general commanding
at Amiens, and who just then happened to be absent, had given the
strictest orders, that, in case of such disturbances, we were not to use
our arms till the very last extremity. We were compelled, therefore,
patiently to allow the French to march through our ranks, on foot and
with drawn sabres, challenging us to the fight, as they passed, not with
words, certainly, but by their threatening looks. Amongst them I saw, to
my great astonishment, the young civilian whom I had that morning put in
confinement, and who now passed several times before me, in hussar
uniform, and invited me to follow him. In the confusion of the first
alarm, he had escaped from the guard-room, put on regimentals, and now
exhaled his vindictiveness in muttered invectives against me and the
detested Prussians. Of course I could not leave my company; and, had I
been able, it would have been very foolish to have done so.

“In a short half-hour the French and Prussian authorities were
assembled. The hussars received orders to march away instantly, and we
were to change our quarters the next day. Before we did so, however,
rendezvous was taken and kept by several hussar officers, on the one
hand, and by Lieutenant Sebottendorf, his second, Merkatz, and six
others of our regiment, on the other, to fight the matter out.
Sebottendorf and his opponent, who had commenced the dispute, also began
the fight. They walked up to the barriers, fixed at ten paces; the
Frenchman’s shot knocked the cap off the head of our comrade, who
returned the fire with such cool and steady aim, that his opponent fell
dead upon the spot. Another hussar instantly sprang forward to take his
turn with Merkatz. I looked about for my young antagonist; but no one
had seen him since the previous day, nor did the French officers know
whom I meant; so it is possible that, favoured by the confusion of the
previous day, he had donned a uniform to which he had no right. There
was no more fighting, however. After long discussions and mutual
explanations, matters were peaceably arranged. The officer who had
caused the strife, alone bore the penalty. He was carried away by his
comrades, and we repaired to our new cantonments. The brave Von
Sebottendorf had vindicated with fitting energy and decision the fame
and honour of the Prussian officer.”

The month of February, 1815, witnessed the return to Germany of Von
Rahden’s battalion. A soldier’s home is wherever the quarters are best;
and it was with many regrets that the Baron and his comrades left the
pleasant cantonments and agreeable hospitality of gay and lively France,
for the dull fortress of Magdeburg. The Baron shudders at the bare
recollection of the unwelcome change, and of the subsequent reduction
of his regiment to the peace establishment. Nor, according to his
account, did any very hearty welcome from their civilian countrymen
console the homeward-bound warriors for stoppage of field-allowance and
diminished chance of promotion. They were received coldly, if not with
aversion. Instead of good quarters and wholesome food, bad lodgings and
worse rations fell to their share. Stale provisions, the leavings, in
some instances, of the foes from whom they had delivered Germany, were
deemed good enough for the conquerors of Kulm and Leipzig. Fatigue
duties replaced opportunities of distinction, economy and ennui were the
order of the day, and, amongst the disappointed subalterns, for whom the
war had finished far too soon, but one note was heard, a sound of
discontent and lamentation. It was the first opportunity these young
soldiers had of learning that the man-at-arms, prized and cherished when
his services are needed, is too often looked upon in peace time as a
troublesome encumbrance and useless expense.

Suddenly, however, and most unexpectedly, came the signal for renewed
activity. On the 29th of March, intelligence reached Magdeburg that
Napoleon had escaped from Elba, and, after a triumphant march of twenty
days, had resumed his seat upon the imperial throne. Joyful news for the
ambitious subaltern, eager for action and advancement; less pleasant
tidings to the old officer, who believed his campaigns at an end, and
hoped tranquilly to enjoy his well-earned promotion. Cockade and sabre
instantly rose in public estimation; and those who, a day previously,
had cast sour glances at the neglected soldier, now lauded his valour
and encouraged his aspirations. Forgetting the toils and perils of
recent campaigns, old Blucher’s legions joyfully prepared for another
bout with the Frenchman. Once more the march was ordered Rhine-wards;
and, on the 18th April, Von Rahden and his battalion crossed that river
at Ehrenbreitstein.

An accident, the overturn of a carriage, by which he was severely hurt,
separated the Baron, for some time, from his regiment. He rejoined it at
Liege; to the great surprise of all for his death had been reported, and
his name struck off the strength. The officers gave him a dinner,--the
men welcomed his appearance on parade with a triple hurra. Happy in
these proofs of his fellow-soldiers’ esteem he looked forward joyfully
and confidently to the approaching struggle. It soon came. In the night
of the 15th June the alarm sounded: Bülow’s corps hastily got under
arms, and marched to the assistance of Prince Blucher. Front three in
the morning till one in the afternoon they advanced without pause or
slackening; then a short halt was ordered. The sound of Blucher’s cannon
was plainly heard. He was hard pressed by the French: but a burning sun
and a ten hours march had exhausted the strength of Bülow’s troops; rest
and refreshment were indispensable. It was not till eleven at night that
they reached Gembloux, and there met the old field-marshal’s disordered
battalions in full retreat from the disastrous field of Ligny.

Of the battle of Waterloo, the Baron of course saw but the close.
Nevertheless he had a little hard fighting and received a wound at the
taking of Planchenoit, which was full of French troops, principally
grenadiers of the guard. “The order was given. ‘The second regiment will
take the village by storm.’ My brave colonel was the first man in the
place; but he was also the first killed: a shot from a window knocked
him over. Notwithstanding this loss, in an instant we were masters of
the village. At its farther extremity was the churchyard, surrounded by
a low wall, and occupied by two battalions of the old Imperial Guard.
Hats off! He who has fought against them will know how to admire them.
Like a swarm of bees, my regiment, whose ranks had got disordered during
the short fight in the village, dashed forward with lowered bayonets
against the cemetery. We were within fifteen paces of it. ‘Shoulder
arms!’ cried the French commander. More than once had the guardsmen
found the sign of contempt profit them, by confusing their antagonists,
and startling them into a hasty and irregular discharge. This time it
did not answer; in five minutes the churchyard was ours. Scarcely had
we won, when we again lost it. Thrice did it change hands, and the
ground was heaped with dead. The third encounter was terrible--with the
bayonet, just below the lime trees that shaded the cemetery gate. We
officers took the muskets of the fallen, and fought like common
soldiers. Some of the French officers followed our example; others,
standing in the foremost rank, did fearful execution with point of
sword. Here fell my dearest friend, thrust through the heart; I sprang
forward to revenge his death, when a bronzed hero of the Pyramids shot
me down.” The wound was not very severe; and, although the ball could
not be extracted, the Baron, after a month’s stay at Brussels, was able
to rejoin his battalion, then quartered in Normandy. Thence, early in
August, he marched to Paris, to take share in the grand ceremony of
blessing the colours of the Prussian regiments.

“On a splendid summer’s day, (2d September, 1815,) 25,000 to 30,000
Prussians, comprising the whole of the guards, six infantry and six
cavalry regiments of the line, were formed up in the Champ de Mars in
one great square. In its centre was an altar, composed, military
fashion, of drums, and covered with red velvet, upon which lay the Iron
Cross. The Emperors Alexander and Francis, our noble king, and all the
generals of the Allies, stood around and listened bareheaded to the
impressive thanksgiving offered up by Chaplain Offelsmeyer. Here the
colours of the various regiments, surmounted by the Iron Cross, and
having the Alliance ribband--white, black, and orange--and the ribband
of the medal cast out of captured artillery for ‘Prussia’s brave
warriors’ fluttering from their staves, received, in the hands of our
king and his imperial friends, a high and rare consecration.” As the
blessing was spoken over the lowered colours, a numerous park of
artillery fired a royal salute, and then, in review order, the troops
defiled before the King of Prussia. “When the infantry of the line had
passed, the officers were allowed to fall out and look on, whilst the
guards and grenadiers marched by. It was a splendid sight, especially at
the moment when the two emperors, at the head of their Prussian
grenadier regiments, lowered swords, and paid military honours to our
King.” The honours of the day were for Frederick William the Third; and
the sovereigns of Russia and Austria, Baron von Rahden tells us, reined
back their horses and kept a little in rear, that they might not seem to
appropriate a share of them. “Only one soldierly figure, astride, proud
and stately, upon a splendid charger, had taken post on the same line
with the King of Prussia, some twenty paces to his right. Alone, and
seemingly unsympathizing, he beheld, with thorough British phlegm, the
military pageant. It was the Duke of Wellington, the bold hero of
Eastern fight, the prudent general in the Peninsula, the fortunate
victor of Waterloo. Accident and the crowd brought me close to his
horse’s breast; and, with the assurance of a young man who feels himself
an old and experienced soldier, I contemplated his really lofty, and
proud, and noble appearance. I should find it very difficult to describe
the Duke as he then was. Not that one line has been effaced of the
impression stamped upon my memory whilst I stood for more than half an
hour scarce three paces from his stirrup. But tame and feeble would be
any portrait my pen could draw of the flashing eagle eye, the hawk’s
nose, the slightly sarcastic expression of the pointed chin, and
compressed, seemingly lipless, mouth. His hair was scanty and dark;
neither moustache nor whisker filled and rounded his thin oval
physiognomy. His high forehead, that noblest feature of the masculine
countenance, I could not see, for a long narrow military hat, with a
rather shabby plume, was pressed low down upon his brows. For two
reasons, however, the impression the English leader that day made upon
me, was not the most favourable: I was vexed at his placing himself thus
intentionally apart from, and on the same line with my king; and then it
seemed to me unnatural that his deportment should be so stiff, his bust
so marble-like, and that at such a moment his features should not once
become animated, or his eye gleam approval.”

This was not the last sight obtained by the Prussian lieutenant of the
British field-marshal. In 1835 Baron von Rahden came to London. During
the siege of Antwerp he had served as a volunteer under General Chassé,
and had drawn a large military _tableau_ or plan of the defence of the
citadel. This he had dedicated to the King of Holland, and now wished to
confide to an English engraver. To facilitate his views, Chassé gave him
an introduction to the Duke. We will translate his account of the
interview it procured him. He went to Apsley House in Dutch uniform, his
Iron Cross and medal, and the Prussian order of St. Anne, upon his
breast, the latter having been bestowed upon him for his conduct at
Waterloo, or La Belle Alliance, as the Prussians style it. He was
introduced by an old domestic, who, as far as he could judge, might have
been a mute, into a spacious apartment.

“I had waited almost an hour, and became impatient. I was on the point
of seeking a servant, and causing myself to be announced a second time,
when a small tapestried door, in the darker part of the saloon, opened,
and a thin little man, with a stoop in his shoulders, dressed in a dark
blue frock, ditto trousers, white stockings, and low shoes with buckles,
approached without looking at me. I took him for servant, a steward, or
some such person, and inquired rather quickly whether I could not have
the honour to be announced to the Duke. The next instant I perceived my
blunder; the little stooping man suddenly grew a head taller, and his
eagle eye fixed itself upon me. I at once recognised my neighbour on the
Champ de Mars. Rather enjoying my confusion, as I thought, the Duke
again turned to the door, and, without a word, signed to me to follow
him. When I entered the adjoining room he had already taken a chair,
with his back to the light, and he motioned me to a seat opposite to
him, just in the full glare from the plate-glass windows. We conversed
in French; I badly, the Duke after a very middling fashion. With
tolerable clearness I managed to explain what had brought me to London,
and to crave the Duke’s gracious protection. In reply the Duke said that
‘He greatly esteemed General Chassé, who had fought bravely at Waterloo
under his orders: that he was pleased with his defence of Antwerp,’ &c.
At last he asked me ‘by whom my plan,’ which lay upon the table beside
him, and which he neither praised nor found fault with, ‘was to be
engraved.’

“‘_Chez M. James Wyld, géographe du roi_,’ was my somewhat over-hasty
answer.

“‘_Géographe de sa Majesté Britannique_,’ said the Duke, by way of
correction.

“A few more sentences were exchanged, doubtless of very crooked
construction, as far as I was concerned,--for I was a good deal
embarrassed; and then I received my dismissal.

“The _Géographe de sa Majesté Britannique_ told me, some weeks
afterwards, that the Duke had been to him, had bought several military
maps and plans, and, as if casually, had spoken of mine, which hung in
the shop, had said that he knew me,” &c.

Notwithstanding the Duke’s kind notice and patronage, Captain von Rahden
takes occasion to attack his grace for an expression used by him in the
House of Lords in 1836, during a debate on a motion for the abolition of
corporal punishment in the army. The Duke maintained that such
punishment was necessary for the preservation of discipline; and on the
Prussian army being cited as a proof of the contrary, he referred, in no
very flattering terms, to the state of discipline of Blucher’s troops in
1815. There was some talk about the matter at the time, and an indignant
answer to the Duke’s assertion, written by the German general, Von
Grolman, was translated in the English journals. Baron von Rahden
himself, as he tells us, took advantage of being in London on the
anniversary of Waterloo, 1836, to perpetrate a little paragraph
scribbling, in certain evening papers, with respect to the battle, and
to the share borne in it by old MARSCHALL VORWAERTS and his men. That
the campaigns of 1813-15 were most creditable to Prussian courage and
patriotism, none will dispute; that the discipline of the Prussian army
was then by no means first-rate, is equally positive. Nay, its
mediocrity is easy to infer from passages in Baron von Rahden’s own
book. Without affirming it to have been at the lowest ebb, it was
certainly not such as could find approval with one who, for five years,
had ranged the Peninsula at the head of the finest troops in Europe. As
to who won the battle of Waterloo, the discussion of that question is
long since at an end. The Baron claims a handsome share of the glory for
his countrymen, and insists, that if they were rather late for the
fight, they at least made themselves very useful in pursuit of the
beaten foe. “If their discipline, had been so very bad,” he says, “they
could hardly, on the second day after a defeat, have come up to the
_rescue_ of their allied brethren.” The arrival of the Prussians was
certainly opportune; but, had they not come up, there cannot be a doubt
that Wellington, if he had done no more, would have held his own, and
maintained the field all night: for he commanded men who, according to
his great opponent’s own admission, “knew not when they were beaten.”

“Old General Blucher was a sworn foe of all unnecessary wordiness and
commendation. ‘What do you extol?’ he once said, to put an end to the
eulogiums lavished on him for a gloriously won victory. ‘It is my
boldness, Gneisenau’s judgment, and the mercy of the Great God.’ Let us
add, and the stubborn courage and perseverance of a faithful people and
a brave army. Without these thoroughly national qualities of our troops,
such great results would never have followed the closing act of the
mighty struggle of 1813, 1814, and 1815. General Gneisenau’s
unparalleled pursuit of the French after the battle of La Belle
Alliance, could never have taken place, had not our troops displayed
vigour and powers of endurance wonderful to reflect upon. The instant
and rapid chase commanded by Gneisenau was only to cease when the last
breath and strength of man and horse were exhausted. Thus was it that,
by daybreak on the 19th June, he and his Prussians found themselves at
Frasne, nearly six leagues from the field of battle, which they had left
at half-past ten at night. Only a few squadrons had kept up with him;
all the infantry remained behind; but the French army that had fought so
gallantly at Waterloo and La Belle Alliance, was totally destroyed.”

The battle won, a courier was instantly despatched to the King of
Prussia. The person chosen to convey the glorious intelligence was
Colonel von Thile, now a general, commanding the Rhine district. From
that officer’s narrative of his journey, the Baron gives some
interesting extracts.

“In the course of fight,” Von Thile _loquitur_, “I had lost sight of my
servant, and of my second horse, a capital gray. The brown charger I
rode was wounded and tired, and it was at a slow pace that I started, to
endeavour to reach Brussels that night. A Wurtemberg courier had also
been sent off, the only one, besides myself, who carried the good news
to Germany. Whilst my weary steed threatened each moment to sink under
my weight, the Wurtemberger galloped by, and with him went my hopes of
being the first to announce the victory to the king. Suddenly I
perceived my gray trotting briskly towards me. I wasted little time in
scolding my servant; I thought only of overtaking the Wurtemberger.

“At Brussels I learned from the postmaster that my fortunate rival had
left ten minutes before me, in a light carriage with a pair of swift
horses. I followed: close upon his heels every where, but unable to
catch him up. At last, on the evening of the third day, I came in sight
of him; his axle-tree was broken; his carriage lay useless on the road.
I might have dashed past in triumph; but I refrained, and offered to
take him with me, on condition that I should be the first to proclaim
the victory. He joyfully accepted the proposal; and I was rewarded for
my good nature, for he was of great service to me.”

Von Thile expected to find the king at Frankfort-on-the-Main; but he had
not yet arrived, and the colonel continued his hurried journey, by
Heidelberg and Fulda, to Naumberg.

“Five days and nights unceasing fatigue and exertion had exhausted my
strength, but nevertheless I pushed forward, and on the following
morning reached Naumberg on the Saal. In the suburb, on this side the
river, I fell in with Prussian troops, returning, covered with dust and
in very indifferent humour, from a review passed by the king. At last
then I was at my journey’s end. They asked me what news I brought: all
expected some fresh misfortune, for only an hour previously intelligence
of the defeat at Ligny had arrived, and upon parade the king had been
ungracious and out of temper. I took good care not to breathe a word of
my precious secret, and hurried on. In the further suburb I met the
king’s carriage. We stopped; I jumped out.

“‘Your majesty! a great, a glorious victory! Napoleon annihilated; a
hundred and fifty guns captured!’ And I handed him a paper containing a
few lines in Prince Blucher’s handwriting. The king devoured them with
his eyes, and cast a grateful tearful glance to Heaven.

“‘TWO HUNDRED CANNON, according to this,’ was his first exclamation, in
tones of heartfelt delight and satisfaction.

“I followed his majesty into the town. The newly instituted assembly of
Saxon States was convoked, and the king made a speech announcing the
victory. And truly I never heard such speaking before or since. I was
ordered to go on to Berlin with my good news. This was in fact
unnecessary, for a courier had already been despatched, but the king
knew that my family, from which I had been two years separated, was at
Berlin, and he wished to procure me the pleasure of seeing it. For that
noble and excellent monarch was also the kindest and best of men.”

Soon after Waterloo, Baron von Rahden appears to have left the service;
for he informs us, that between 1816 and 1830 he made long residences in
Russia, Holland, and England. Perhaps he found garrison life an
unendurable change from the stir and activity of campaigns, and
travelled to seek excitement. Be that as it may, fifteen years’ repose
did not extinguish his martial ardour. The echoes awakened by the tramp
of a French army marching upon Antwerp, were, to the veteran of Leipzig,
like trumpet-sound to trained charger, and he hurried to exchange
another shot with his old enemies. Having once more brought hand and
hilt acquainted, he grieved to sever them, and when the brief struggle
in Belgium terminated, he looked about for a fresh field of action.
Spain was the only place where bullets were just then flying, and
thither the Baron betook himself, to defend the cause of legitimacy
under Cabrera’s blood-stained banner. Concerning his travels, and his
later campaigns, he promises his readers a second and a third volume;
and the favourable reception the first has met with in Germany, will
doubtless encourage him to redeem his pledge.



LAPPENBERG’S ANGLO-SAXONS.

THE HEPTARCHY.


We are willing to acknowledge, without blindly exaggerating, our
obligations to the men of learning of Germany, in several branches of
art and science. We owe them something in criticism, something in
philosophy, and a great deal in philology. But in no department have
they deserved better of the commonwealth of letters, than in the
important province of antiquarian history, where their erudition, their
research, their patience, their impartiality, are invaluable. Whatever
subject they select is made their own, and is so thoroughly studied in
all its circumstantial details and collateral bearings, that new and
original views of the truth are sure to be unfolded, as the fixed gaze
of an unwearied eye will at last elicit light and order out of apparent
darkness and confusion.

The writer, whose chief work is now before us, cannot and would not, we
know, prefer a claim to the foremost place among those who have thus
distinguished themselves. That honour is conceded by all to the name of
Niebuhr, a master mind who stands unrivalled in his own domain, and
whose discoveries, promulgated with no advantage of style or manner, and
in opposition to prejudices long and deeply cherished, have wrought a
revolution in the study of ancient history to which there is scarcely a
parallel. But among those who are next in rank, Dr. Lappenberg is
entitled to a high position. His present work is one of the very best of
a series of European histories of great merit and utility. He has given
fresh interest to a theme that seemed worn out and exhausted. He has
brought forward new facts, and evolved new conclusions that had eluded
the observation and sagacity of able and industrious predecessors. He
has treated the history of a country, not his own, with as much care and
correctness, and with as true a feeling of national character and
destinies as if he had been a native; while he has brought to his task a
calmness of judgment, and freedom from prejudice, as well as a range of
illustration from extraneous sources, which a native could scarcely be
expected to command. It must now, we think, be granted, that the best
history of Saxon England--the most complete, the most judicious, the
most unbiassed, and the most profound, is the work of a foreigner. It
must, at the same time, be said that Lappenberg’s history could not have
exhibited this high degree of excellence, without the ample assistance
afforded by the labours of our countrymen who had gone before him, and
of which their successor has freely taken the use and frankly
acknowledged the value.

The history and character of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, have employed
the pen of the most illustrious among our native writers. One of our
greatest poets, and one of our greatest masters of prose,--Milton and
Burke--have felt the attraction and importance of the subject, at the
same time that they have given evidence to its obscurity and difficulty.
In later times men of less genius, but of more acquaintance with the
times and topics involved in the inquiry, have added greatly to our
knowledge of those important events and institutions in which the germs
of our present government and national disposition are to be found. But
Saxon England can only be thoroughly understood by means of aids and
appliances, which have been seldom possessed in any eminent degree by
the general run of our antiquarian writers. A thorough familiarity with
the Anglo-Saxon language and literature is obviously the first
requisite: yet this attainment was scarcely to be met with till within a
few years back, and even now, we fear that it is confined to a narrow
circle, and that the able men who have made progress in this arduous
path, lament that they have so slender and so scattered a train of
followers. If we can suppose inquirers studying Roman history, without
being able to conjugate a Latin verb, or to gather more than a dim
suspicion of a Latin author’s meaning, we shall have a case nearly
analogous to the condition and achievements of our Saxon scholars in the
last, and even in part of the present century. Another qualification for
the successful cultivation of this field of study, is an intimate
acquaintance with the analogous customs and traditions of kindred
countries, an accomplishment which few Englishmen could till lately
pretend to possess, but without which, a great deal of what occurs in
our own early history must seem senseless and unintelligible. The key to
many apparent mysteries in English antiquities, is often to be found in
something which has been more clearly developed elsewhere, and which may
even yet survive in a Danish song or saga, or a German proverb or
superstition.

In these respects, our kinsmen across the water have undoubtedly the
advantage of us; and to most of them the subject of English history
cannot be alien in interest or barren of attraction. It is impossible
for an enlightened native or neighbour of continental Saxony, to tread
the southern shore of the North Sea, and think of the handful of his
countrymen who, fourteen centuries ago, embarked for Britain from that
very strand, without feeling the great results involved in that simple
incident, and owning the sacred sympathies which unite him with men of
English blood. He may well remember with wonder that the few exiles or
emigrants who thus went forth on an obscure and uncertain enterprise
carried in their bark the destinies of a mighty moral empire, which was
one day to fill the world with the glory of the Saxon name, and to
revive the valour and virtue of Greece and Rome, with a new admixture of
Teutonic honour and Christian purity. He may well kindle with pride to
admire the eminence to which that adventurous colony has attained from
such small beginnings, and to consider how much the old Germanic virtues
of truth and honesty, and home-bred kindliness, have conduced to that
marvellous result; while perhaps the less pleasing thought may at times
overshadow his mind, that his country, great as she is, has in some
things been outstripped by her descendant, and that the best
excellencies and institutions of ancient Germany may have been less
faithfully preserved and less nobly matured in their native soil than in
the favoured island to which some shoots of them were then transplanted.

If some such feelings prompted or encouraged the writer of these volumes
to engage in his work, Dr. Lappenberg had other facilities to aid him in
the task. He had been sent to Scotland in early life, and had studied at
our metropolitan university where he is still kindly remembered by some
who will be among the first to peruse those pages. His residence in this
ancient city of the Angles, and his visits to the most interesting
portions of the island, must have formed a familiarity and sympathy with
our language, manners, and institutions which would afford additional
inducements and qualifications to undertake a history of England. He has
distinguished himself by other valuable compositions of a historical and
antiquarian character, and particularly by some connected with the
mediæval jurisprudence and history of his native city of Hamburgh. But
his reputation will probably be most widely diffused, and most
permanently preserved, by the admirable work which is the subject of our
present remarks.

The labours of Mr. Thorpe, so well known as one of the very few
accomplished Saxonists of whom we can boast, has now, after much
discouragement, placed the Anglo-Saxon portion of Lappenberg’s history
within the reach of English readers, and has given it a new value by his
own additions and illustrations. The translation ought to be found in
the library of every one among us who professes to study the history or
to patronize the literature of his country.

The invasion or occupation of England by German tribes is involved in an
obscurity, which does not disappear before a rigorous examination of its
traditional details. On the contrary, the more we consider it the less
certainly we can pronounce as to the truth. That on the departure of the
Romans in the fifth century, a full and continuous stream of German
population found its way into Britain, and that ere long the invading
race gained the ascendant, and planted firmly in the soil their laws,
their language, and their institutions, are facts established by a cloud
of witnesses, and by that real evidence which lawyers consider superior
to testimony. But how, or at what exact date this process commenced,
under whose leadership or auspices it was carried on, and with what
rapidity, or through what precise channels the tide flowed, are matters
of more difficulty, on which, from the want of authentic materials, it
is idle to dogmatise, however unpleasant it may be to remain in doubt.
There is no want of ancient narratives of these supposed events; but
though ancient as to us, they are neither so near the time to which they
refer, nor so clear and consistent with probability, and with each
other, as to command implicit deference.

Dr. Lappenberg, leaning perhaps too readily to the German theory of
mythes, sees little in the history and achievements of Hengist and Horsa
which can be considered authentic. Mr. Thorpe, on the other hand, is
less sceptical, and while directing our notice to the fact that the
northern tribes occasionally submitted to the command of double leaders,
he has adduced in evidence the ancient poetical celebrity of Hengist as
a Jutish hero. The episode from Beowulf, which he has inserted and ably
translated in a note, is interesting and important in this view. But,
after all, we confess that our mind remains in a state of suspense. We
think the proof sufficient neither to justify a belief in the existence
of the two chiefs, nor to authorise us in consigning them to non-entity;
and we hold it an important duty in historical criticism to proportion
our conclusions precisely to the premises from which they are deduced.
Where there is good evidence, we should believe; where the evidence is
incoherent or impossible, we should disbelieve. But there are conditions
of a historical question where we can legitimately arrive at no opinion
either way, and where we must be content to leave the fact in
uncertainty, by a verdict of _not proven_.

There is no historian, we think, who mentions Hengist or Horsa, until at
an interval of two or three hundred years after their supposed era; and
what sort of interval had thus elapsed? A period of pagan obscurity,
passed by the invaders in incessant conflicts, for a home and
habitation, or for existence itself,--a period of which not a relic even
of poetical tradition has survived, and in which the means of recording
events, or of calculating time, were wholly different from our modern
apparatus, and are too little known to let us judge of their
sufficiency. The celebrity of Hengist in the old Saxon epics, but in
which he is never, we think, connected with the invasion of England,
appears to be a double-edged weapon, and may even account for his name
being taken as a convenient stock to bear a graft of later romance. If
we add to all this the tendency of the age to fiction and exaggeration,
the marks of a fabulous character, so forcibly pointed out by Lappenberg
in the recurrence of certain fixed numbers or periods of years, chiefly
on an octonary system, as distinguished by conspicuous events, the
divine genealogies attributed to the heroes, and the resemblance in
incident to similar traditions in other ages or scenes, we shall easily
see the unsteady footing on which the question stands, and be obliged to
own, that, if our belief must be renounced in Romulus and Remus, we can
scarcely go to the stake for Hengist and Horsa. It is remarkable, that
while the Roman brothers are said to bear one and the same name in
different forms, the appellations of the Anglo-Saxon leaders are also so
far identical, as each signifying the warlike animal which is said to
have been emblazoned on the Saxon banner.

It should be satisfactory to our West-British brethren, that Lappenberg
sees no reason to distrust the existence of the illustrious Arthur, but
he admits too readily the questionable discovery of his grave.

    “The contemporary who records the victory at Bath gained by his
    countrymen in the first year of his life, and who bears witness
    of its consequences after a lapse of forty-four years, Gildas,
    surnamed the Wise, considers it superfluous to mention the name
    of the far-famed victor; but his wide-spread work, and the yet
    more wide-spread extracts from it in Beda, have reached no
    region in which the fame of King Arthur had not outstript them,
    the noble champion who defended the liberty, usages, and
    language of the ancient country from destruction by savage
    enemies; who protected the cross against the Pagans, and gained
    security to the churches most distinguished for their antiquity
    and various knowledge, to which a considerable portion of Europe
    owes both its Christianity and some of its most celebrated
    monasteries. Called to such high-famed deeds, he needed not the
    historian to live through all ages more brilliantly than the
    heroes of the chronicles, among whom he is counted from the time
    of Jeffrey of Monmouth; but, not to mention the works which,
    about the year 720, Eremita Britannus is said to have composed
    on the Holy Graal, and on the deeds of King Arthur, the rapid
    spread of Jeffrey’s work over the greater part of Europe, proves
    that the belief in the hero of it was deeply rooted. In the
    twelfth century a Greek poem, recently restored to light, was
    composed in celebration of Arthur and the heroes of the round
    table. Still more manifestly, however, do the numerous local
    memorials, which throughout the whole of the then Christian part
    of Europe, from the Scottish hills to Mount Etna, bear allusion
    to the name of Arthur; while on the other hand, the more
    measured veneration of the Welsh poets for that prince, who
    esteem his general, Geraint, more highly than the king himself,
    and even relate that the latter, far from being always
    victorious, surrendered Hampshire and Somersetshire to the
    Saxons, may be adduced as no worthless testimony for the
    historic existence of King Arthur. Even those traditions
    concerning him, which at the first glance seem composed in
    determined defiance of all historic truth,--those which recount
    the expedition against the Romans on their demand of subjection
    from him,--appear not totally void of foundation, when we call
    to mind that a similar expedition actually took place in Gaul;
    and are, moreover, informed, on the most unquestionable
    authority, of another undertaking in the year 468, on the demand
    of Anthemius, by the British general Riothamus, who led twelve
    thousand Britons across the ocean against the Visigoths in Gaul,
    and of his battles on the Loire. This very valuable narrative
    gives us some insight into the connexions and resources of those
    parts of Britain which had not yet been afflicted with the Saxon
    pirates.

    “Arthur fell in a conflict on the river Camel, in Cornwall,
    against his nephew, Medrawd; his death was, however, long kept
    secret, and his countrymen waited many years for his return, and
    his protection against the Saxons. The discovery of his
    long-concealed grave in the abbey of Glastonbury, is mentioned
    by credible contemporaries, and excited at the time no suspicion
    of any religious or political deception. Had the king of
    England, Henry the Second, who caused the exhumation of the
    coffin in the year 1189, wished merely, through an artifice, to
    convince the Welsh of the death of their national hero, he would
    hardly himself have acted so conspicuous a part on the occasion.
    Poem and tradition bear witness to the spirit and his ashes, and
    the gravestone to the life and name of Arthur. Faith in the
    existence of this Christian Celtic Hector cannot be shaken by
    short-sighted doubt, though much must yet be done for British
    story, to render the sense latent in the poems of inspired
    bards, which have in many cases reached us only in spiritless
    paraphrases, into the sober language of historic criticism.”

It appears not unlikely, that the period fixed by the traditions for the
arrival of the Saxons does not truly indicate the first settlement of
their countrymen on our shores. In East Anglia, (Norfolk and Suffolk) as
well as in Northumbria, and perhaps indefinitely to the north-east,
successive colonies of German immigrants had probably found a home on
islands at the mouths of rivers, or on barren tracts of sea-beach, along
a thinly peopled and ill cultivated country. The cautious and tentative
occupation of the shore thus taken, may have ultimately suggested the
invitation of the Saxons, or facilitated their invasion of Britain in
the deserted and distracted state in which the Romanised inhabitants
were left, when their masters and protectors withdrew.

The introduction of Christianity among the English Saxons, is the first
great event in their annals, that stands brightly out in the light of
history. To whom we are indebted for this mighty and merciful
revolution, does not, we think, admit of controversy. Though no friends
to the corruptions or ambition of Rome, we cannot withhold from the
Roman see the honour that here belongs to it, and for the service thus
rendered to England, to Europe, and to mankind, the name of Gregory the
Great deserves a place in a nobler calendar than that in which the
saints of his own church are enrolled. The liberal spirit in which the
mission was in some respects organized, deserves high praise. “It is my
wish,” writes Gregory, “that you sedulously select what you may think
most acceptable to Almighty God, be it in the Roman, or in the Gallican,
or in any other church, and introduce into the church of the Angles that
which you shall have so collected; for things are not to be loved for
the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things.” The
intervention of the Pope was the more meritorious and seasonable from
the conduct of the British clergy, in leaving their Saxon conquerors
without an attempt to convert them. Such a course may have been natural
and excusable, but it was not prompted either by Christian love or by
enlightened policy; and we cannot altogether refrain from reading in the
subsequent massacre of the monks of Bangor by the Pagan sword of
Ethelfrid, the retribution which Augustine had denounced as awaiting the
Celtic Church, for not preaching to the Angles the way of life.

The Irish clergy, useful as they afterwards were, had not then advanced
so far in their progress, as to reach the Anglican border. It was in the
year 563 that St. Columba passed over from Ireland to the Northern
Picts, in whose conversion he was occupied about thirty years. And it
was in 597 that Ethelbert of Kent was baptized, and was followed soon
after to the font by ten thousand of his subjects. Whether there was any
connexion between these simultaneous movements, beyond the ripening of
events for so desirable a result, has not, so far, as we know, been
traced by any inquirer.

The rapidity with which Christianity was then accepted implies a
remarkable condition of the public mind. The bigotry, and even the
confiding belief of the old religion, must in a great measure have
passed away, and a certain dissatisfaction have come to be felt with its
creed and its consolations. This is peculiarly visible in the course
which the conversion took in Northumbria, where, if we can trust the
traditionary accounts, a spirit of philosophical inquiry had pervaded
the nobility, and even the priesthood, implying a high degree of
intellectual advancement, and an earnest sense of the religious
necessities of our nature. Let us take the well-known incidents of this
event as they are given in the poetry of Wordsworth, rather than in any
prose narrative.


PAULINUS.

    But to remote Northumbria’s royal hall,
    Where thoughtful Edwin, tutor’d in the school
    Of sorrow, still maintains a Heathen rule,
    Who comes with functions apostolical?
    Mark him, of shoulders curved, and stature tall,
    Black hair, and vivid eye, and meagre cheek,
    His prominent feature like an eagle’s beak;
    A man whose aspect doth at once appal
    And strike with reverence. The monarch leans
    Tow’rd the pure truths this delegate propounds;
    Repeatedly his own deep mind he sounds
    With careful hesitation,--then convenes
    A synod of his counsellors:--give ear,
    And what a pensive sage doth utter, hear!


PERSUASION.

    “Man’s life is like a sparrow, mighty king!
    That, stealing in while by the fire you sit
    Housed with rejoicing friends, is seen to flit
    Safe from the storm, in comfort tarrying.
    Here did it enter--there, on hasty wing
    Flies out, and passes on from cold to cold;
    But whence it came we know not, nor behold
    Whither it goes. Even such that transient thing,
    The human soul, not utterly unknown
    While in the body lodged, her warm abode;
    But from what world she came, what wo or weal
    On her departure waits, no tongue hath shown;
    This mystery, if the stranger can reveal,
    His be a welcome cordially bestowed!”

The Christian doctrine once planted in the hearts of Englishmen was
never eradicated, but a storm passing over Northumbria levelled, for a
while, the ripening harvest with the soil. Penda of Mercia, a man of
remarkable character and fortune, “the last unshaken and powerful
adherent of Paganisim among the Anglo-Saxons,” swept like a tempest over
the scene, and seemed to blast the growing hopes of the Christian
husbandman, while the native princes, in whom, from a national respect
for royal lineage, the government was nominally left, relapsed into the
errors of the old faith. The deliverance, however, was at hand, from a
quarter then beginning to send forth its beneficial influences. Oswald,
a Bernician prince, educated among the Scots, or converted Picts,
assembled a few followers under the banner of the cross, and restored to
his country independence and Christianity.

    “History informs us that Oswald’s cross decided the fate of
    Britain for ever. Oswald obtained the sovereignty of Bernicia,
    and also of Deira, being entitled to the latter country by his
    maternal descent, his mother ‘Acha,’ the sister of Eadwine,
    being descended from Aelle. He was acknowledged as Bretwalda the
    sixth who held that dignity, and is said to have reigned over
    the four tongues of Britain, of the Angles, the Britons, the
    Picts, and the Scots. Oswald combined great vigour with much
    mildness and religious enthusiasm. By him Christianity was
    introduced anew into his kingdom, but it was that of his
    teachers, the Scots, by whom Aidan was sent to him from the isle
    of St. Columba, (Hii or Icolmkill,) and to whom as an Episcopal
    seat, he granted the isle of Lindisfarne, now Holy Island, the
    hallowed abode of many heroes of the Christian faith. Severity
    towards himself and the powerful, humility and benevolence
    towards the poor and lowly, activity in the cause of religion,
    zeal for learning, were the admirable qualities that were
    praised in Aidan, and shed the purest lustre on the old Scottish
    Church to which he belonged; and few will feel disposed to doubt
    that the general impression which the lives of such men made on
    the minds of people disgusted with Paganism, together with the
    internal truth of the Christian doctrines, has ever, and in a
    greater degree, contributed to their first conversion, than even
    the most convincing and solid arguments. How else could the
    so-often, vainly attempted conversion of the Northumbrians have
    been effected by Aidan, who, sprung from a hostile race, sent
    from a hostile school, strove to propagate the doctrines of the
    defeated Scots and Picts, the former oppressors of the Britons,
    in a tongue for which Oswald himself was compelled to act as the
    interpreter?

    “Of Aidan’s fitness for the pious work committed to him, a
    judgment may be formed from the following anecdote related by
    Beda. At the solicitation of Oswald, a priest had been sent by
    the Scots to preach the word to the Pagans of Northumbria, who,
    proving unqualified for the task, and unwelcome to the people,
    through the austerity of his character, returned to his country,
    where, in an assembly of his brethren, he declared his inability
    to effect any good among a people so ungovernable and barbarous.
    On hearing this declaration, Aidan, who was present at the
    meeting, said to him, ‘Brother, it seems to me that you have
    been harsher than was fitting towards such uninstructed hearers,
    and have not, in conformity with apostolic usage, first offered
    the milk of milder instruction, until, gradually nourished by
    the divine word, they might become capable both of receiving the
    more perfect, and of executing the higher precepts of God.’ A
    discussion, to which these words gave rise, terminated in the
    unanimous declaration, that Aidan was worthy of the Episcopal
    dignity, and that he ought to be sent back to the ignorant
    unbelievers.

    “In such, and in every other manner possible, Oswald promoted
    the religion of the Cross, planted by him, not in his own
    kingdom only, but in the states encircling the British empire.
    In this he followed the impressions of his youth, and the
    conviction which had steeled his arm to victory. He might also
    have cherished the hope that in a British Christian church, the
    surest spiritual support would be found to consist in the union
    of all the tongues of Britain.”

For some time the Catholic and Columban clergy lived and laboured
together in the common cause of true religion, with mutual charity and
increasing usefulness. But the desire for external unity, so attractive
in theory, so unattainable in practice, disturbed this pleasing repose;
and, in the struggle that ensued, the victory was on the side of the
Romish system, aided perhaps by superior learning and experience, and
perhaps by the great advantage which dictatorial intolerance often
possesses, in religious matters, over an enlarged liberality. On weak or
ill-instructed minds, the bold assertion of an exclusive access to
salvation, so dogmatically claimed by bigots of all churches, will
generally prevail over opposing doctrines, which invest the choice of a
sect with a less hazardous responsibility. The scene at the Synod of
Whitby reveals a part of the truth, but perhaps a part only; and views
of deeper policy may have been concealed under the somewhat slender
pretext which led to this momentous change.

    “An important measure, both for the benefit of the church and
    the closer union of the Anglo-Saxons, was reserved for King
    Oswiu. The Anglo-Saxons, according as they had been converted by
    Augustine and his followers, or by those of Columba, were
    attached to the Roman Catholic, or to the British Church. The
    majority of the ecclesiastics, at least of the more
    distinguished, belonged to the latter; hence arose a difference
    in religious views and worship, not only in the several
    kingdoms, but in the several provinces, which threatened to
    become extremely dangerous to the new faith. We see this
    religious discussion introduced through marriages even among the
    royal families, and that Oswiu himself celebrated the Easter
    festival, according to the Scottish practice, on a different day
    from that observed by his queen, Eanflœd, a daughter of the King
    of Kent. Ealhfrith also, the son, and co-regent with Oswiu, was,
    through the persuasion of his friend Cenwealh, favourable to the
    Roman church. Differences of this kind, though affecting
    externals only, greatly endangered the Christian faith among a
    people scarcely weaned from the worship of their forefathers,
    and acquainted with Christianity only in the closest connexion
    with the new external observances. Colman, a Scot, the third
    bishop of Lindisfarne, after the death of Finan, zealously
    strove to establish the principles of his sect. A synod was
    called at Streoneshealh, (Whitby) in which, under the presidency
    of Oswiu, the most distinguished ecclesiastics of each church
    defended their respective doctrines. Among the partisans of Rome
    were Agilbert, bishop of Wessex, and Wilfrith, (Wilferth) the
    future celebrated bishop of York. The disputation was maintained
    on both sides with learning and acuteness, and the Scottish
    clergy might have succeeded in settling for ever a strong
    barrier against the Catholic pretensions of the Roman church, if
    the king, wavering under the weight of so many conflicting
    arguments, had not remarked, that the Scots appealed to St.
    Columba, but the Catholics to the Apostle Peter; for Wilfrith
    had not forgotten to adduce, in support of the Roman tenets,
    that Peter was the rock on which the Lord had founded his
    Church, and that to him were committed the keys of Heaven. ‘Has
    Columba also received such power?’ demanded the king. Colman
    could not answer in the affirmative. ‘Do you both agree, that to
    Peter the Lord has given the keys of Heaven?’ Both affirmed it.
    ‘Then,’ said the king, ‘I will not oppose the Heavenly porter,
    but to my utmost ability will follow all his commands and
    precepts, lest, when I come to the gates of Heaven, there be no
    one to open to me, should he, who is shown to have the key in
    his custody, turn his back upon me.’ Those sitting in the
    council, as well as those standing around, noble and vulgar,
    alike anxious for their eternal salvation, approved of this
    determination, and were thus, in the usual spirit of large
    assemblies, and without further investigation of the arguments
    adduced, impelled to a decision by the excited feelings of the
    moment. The Scots either returned to their friends, or yielded
    to the opinion of the majority, and thus, by the learning of
    their school, became useful to the Anglo-Saxons; but, together
    with these apparently trivial externals, the great latent
    influence was sacrificed, which their church would probably have
    acquired in opposition to the then less firmly established one
    of Rome.”

The arrival of Theodore, an able and accomplished Asiatic, appointed to
the primacy by the Pope, and the co-operation of Wilfrith, just
mentioned, an Anglo-Saxon of transcendant talents and unconquerable
zeal, confirmed throughout England the ascendency of Romish influence,
which had thus been established in Northumbria, and which, from the
first, had been recognised in Kent.

We may speculate, with Lappenberg, on the results to be expected if
this controversy had terminated differently. A victory of opinion,
gained in England by the followers of Columba, might have laid the
foundation of a United Church, comprehending all the races that
inhabited the island, and sufficiently powerful to contest with Italy
the guidance of Christian principles over the rest of Europe, and to
confine the Roman Bishoprick within narrower and safer bounds.

    “The British Church, established probably on the oldest direct
    traditions from Judea, in closest connexion with conversions of
    the highest importance in the history of mankind, appeared, no
    less by its geographical position than by its exalted spiritual
    endowments, fitted to become the foundation of a northern
    patriarchate, which, by its counterpoise to Rome and the rest of
    the south, its guardianship over a Celtic and Germanic
    population, sanctified by the doctrine of Christ, might have
    been the instrument to impart to those within its pale, that
    which both meditative and ambitious men in the middle-age
    sometimes ventured to think on, but which, in comparatively
    modern times, Martin Luther first strove to extort for Romanized
    Europe.”

The picture is pleasing if we contemplate these possibilities merely on
“the side that’s next the sun.” We fancy a church system extending over
Northern Europe, pure in its doctrines and peaceable in its policy, free
from foreign influence and intrigue, and in harmony with the frank and
earnest character of the nations it embraces within its bosom. We
imagine, too, that Rome herself, uninjured by the intoxication of a
wealth and power too great for any clerical rulers to bear meekly and
innocently, would have retained something more of apostolical truth and
simplicity; and that the two rivals might have run a friendly race of
Christian zeal and diligence. But there are also opposite contingencies
which may reconcile us to the course, in which events have been directed
by a wisdom greater than our own. We might have seen perhaps in our own
region the establishment of a church at variance with that of Rome, in
some essential articles of faith in which we now agree with her. We
might have been born under a great Arian or Pelagian heresiarchy,
enervating or polluting all our best elements of action; or, if _we_ had
remained pure, the unaided energy of the Roman See might have sunk under
the formidable errors with which she was at one time threatened, and the
limits of orthodox Christendom might have been fearfully abridged. As it
is, by the unity that for a time was attained even at a serious
sacrifice, the preservation and extension of the apostolic faith may
have been secured until the fulness of time arrived, when the
Reformation set men free from a bondage that had ceased to be necessary,
and had begun to be pernicious.

The ascendency of the Romish church brought with it another
compensation, in the influx of southern art and classical learning. It
cannot be doubted that our religious connexion with Christian Rome, was
mainly instrumental in rendering us familiar with Roman and even with
Grecian antiquity: and who shall say what might have been our mental
condition if we had wanted all the ennobling and ameliorating influences
which have thence been derived? A Saxon or a Celtic tendency
predominating in our literature, and in our habits of thought and
action, and excluding perhaps benigner elements of sentiment and
reflection, might have made us a rude and rugged people, brave and
impetuous, ardent and impassioned, but without either the refinement of
taste, the soundness of judgment, or the depth of philosophy, which have
been the fruits of that ingrafted instruction which has softened and
subdued our native character. On the whole, then, let us be grateful for
what we are: not repining at having learned our religion from Rome, and
not regretting that we are now emancipated from our schoolmistress, and
at liberty to judge and to act for ourselves.

With other arts and knowledge, as Lappenberg observes,

    “Architecture also came in the suite of the Roman Church. The
    Scottish clergy, from the preference, perhaps, of the northern
    nations for that material, had built their churches of wood,
    thatching them with reeds, an example of which existed in the
    new Cathedral at Lindisfarne. It was at a later period only that
    reeds were exchanged for sheets of lead, with which the walls
    also were sometimes covered. Wilfrith sent for masons from
    Kent, and the abbot Benedict for workmen from Gaul. The stone
    basilica, erected by Paulinus, at York, which had fallen into a
    disgraceful state of dilapidation, was restored by Wilfrith, the
    roof covered with lead, the windows filled with glass, till then
    unknown among his countrymen. At Ripon, he caused a new basilica
    of polished stone to be erected, supported by pillars with a
    portico. The consecration--at which the Kings Ecgfrith and
    Ælfwine were present--was concluded by a feasting reminding us
    of Pagan times, which lasted during three days and nights. The
    four gospels, written with golden letters on purple vellum,
    adorned with paintings, in a case of pure gold set with precious
    stones, enables us to judge both of the wealth and munificence
    of the patrons of Wilfrith.

    An edifice still more remarkable was erected by the bishop at
    Hexham, which, it is said, had not its like on this side of the
    Alps. Benedict’s structure, too, at Wearmouth was the work of
    masters from Gaul, after the Roman model. Thus, we perceive, in
    the instance of the most memorable buildings of which mention is
    found in the history of the Anglo-Saxons, how their architecture
    sprang from that of ancient Rome, however it may have been
    modified in England, to suit a difference of circumstances and
    climate.”

The details we possess of the exertions of Benedict, mentioned in the
preceding extract, and generally distinguished by the name of Benedict
Biscop, are especially interesting, and present a remarkable view of the
actual importation and progress of those arts of civilization, to which
the Saxons but a century before were utter strangers. He was the
builder, and first abbot of St. Peter’s monastery at Weremouth:--“A
man,” as Bede tells us in his Lives of the Abbots of that locality, “of
a venerable life, (we use Dr. Giles’ translation,) blessed (benedictus)
both in grace and in name; having the mind of an adult even from his
childhood, surpassing his age by his manners, and with a soul addicted
to no false pleasures. He was descended from a noble lineage of the
Angles, and by corresponding dignity of mind, worthy to be exalted into
the company of the angels. Lastly, he was the minister of King Oswy, and
by his gift enjoyed an estate suitable to his rank; but at the age of
twenty-five years he despised a transitory wealth, that he might obtain
that which is eternal.” He visited Rome five times, and never returned
with empty hands. After being settled at Weremouth in the year 674,
Benedict visited Gaul, and brought with him masons and glass artificers,
to build his church in the Roman style. He then made his fourth voyage
to Rome, (we quote again from Bede,)

    “And returned loaded with more abundant spiritual merchandise
    than before. In the first place, he brought back a large
    quantity of books of all kinds; secondly, a great number of
    relics of Christ’s Apostles and Martyrs, all likely to bring a
    blessing on many an English church; thirdly, he introduced the
    Roman mode of chanting, singing, and ministering in the church,
    by obtaining permission from Pope Agatho to take back with him
    John, the arch chanter of the church of St. Peter, and Abbot of
    the Monastery of St. Martin, to teach the English.”--Further,
    “he brought with him pictures of sacred representations to adorn
    the church of St. Peter, which he had built; namely, a likeness
    of the Virgin Mary, and of the twelve Apostles, with which he
    intended to adorn the central nave, on boarding placed from one
    wall to the other; also some figures from ecclesiastical history
    for the south wall, and others from the Revelation of St. John
    for the north wall; so that every one who entered the church,
    even if they could not read, whereever they turned their eyes,
    might have before them the amiable countenance of Christ and his
    Saints, though it were but in a picture, and with watchful minds
    might revolve on the benefits of our Lord’s incarnation, and
    having before their eyes the perils of the last judgment, might
    examine their hearts the more strictly on that account.”

Some years afterwards, he made his fifth voyage

    “From Britain to Rome, and returned (as usual) with an immense
    number of proper ecclesiastical relics. There were many sacred
    books and pictures of the saints, as numerous as before. He also
    brought with him pictures out of our Lord’s history, which he
    hung round the Chapel of Our Lady in the larger monastery; and
    others to adorn St. Paul’s church and monastery, ably describing
    the connexion of the Old and New Testament; as, for instance,
    Isaac bearing the wood for his own sacrifice, and Christ
    carrying the cross on which he was about to suffer, were placed
    side by side. Again, the serpent raised up by Moses in the
    desert, was illustrated by the Son of Man exalted on the cross.
    Among other things, he brought two cloaks, all of silk, and of
    incomparable workmanship, for which he received an estate of
    three hides, on the south bank of the river Were, near its
    mouth, from King Alfred.”

A glimpse of the pictures thus imported into England, in the seventh
century, and of the gazing multitudes who would crowd around them, would
carry us back almost to the childhood of modern art, and to the infancy
of English taste.

The establishment, however, of Roman influence in England was partial
after all, and ecclesiastical authority was not independent of the
State. The Anglo-Saxon clergy, as Lappenberg observes, were not so free
as their brethren on the continent, and many are the complaints that
their subjection to secular power seems to have called forth,
particularly as to their liability to the _trinoda necessitas_ of
fortress and bridge money, and contributions for military levies. The
weaker hold maintained by the Papal power helped to promote the use of
the vernacular tongue in their church service, and the diffusion of
vernacular versions of Scripture, as well as other benefits of which we
are still reaping the good fruits.

The permanent importance of the struggles then maintained for
ecclesiastical ascendency, and the profession and pursuits of the only
men by whom history could be written, have necessarily given an undue
prominence to those actors on the scene who belonged to the church, and
have left the laymen and even the royal personages of the period in
comparative obscurity. As illustrating the workings of Roman influence
on the minds of men, we may select two examples of distinguished
churchmen of Northumbria, the one representing the secular, and the
other the monastic portion of the clergy, and in whom the different
elements entering into the spirit of the times were very variously
exhibited.

    “Wilfrith, though not of noble birth, was endowed with all those
    natural advantages, the influence of which over rugged,
    uncivilized people appears almost fabulous. In his thirteenth
    year, the period at which an Anglo-Saxon youth was considered of
    age, he resolved to leave his parents and renounce the world.
    Equipped suitably to his station, he was sent to the court of
    Oswiu, and, through the influence of the Queen Eanflœd, was
    received into the monastery of Lindisfarne by the chamberlain
    Cudda, who had exchanged earthly joys and sorrows for the
    retirement and observances of a cloister. There he was as
    remarkable for humility as for mental endowments. Besides other
    books, he had read the entire Psalter, according to the
    emendation of St. Jerome, as in use among the Scots. His anxious
    desire to behold and pray in the church of the apostle Peter
    must have been the more grateful to the queen and her Roman
    Catholic friends, from the novelty and singularity of such a
    wish among his countrymen. In furtherance of his object, she
    sent him to her brother Earconberht, King of Kent, where he made
    himself familiar with the doctrines of the Roman Church,
    including the Psalms according to the fifth edition. He was
    attached as travelling companion to Benedict, surnamed Biscop, a
    distinguished man, who, at a later period, exerted himself so
    beneficially in the cause of the Church, and in the civilization
    and instruction of the Northumbrians. Benedict died abbot of the
    monastery founded by him at Wearmouth, an establishment not less
    famed for arts and scientific treasures, than ennobled through
    its celebrated priest, the venerable Beda. On Wilfrith’s arrival
    at Lyons, Dalfinus, the Archbishop, was so struck by his
    judicious discourse, comely countenance, and mature
    understanding, that he retained him long with him, offered to
    adopt him for his son, to give him the hand of his brother’s
    daughter, and to procure for him the government of a part of
    Gaul.

    “But Wilfrith hastened to Rome, acquired there a thorough
    knowledge of the four Gospels, also the Roman computation of
    Easter, which, as we have already seen, he afterwards so
    triumphantly employed, and at the same time made himself
    familiar with many rules of ecclesiastical discipline, and
    whatever else was proper for a minister of the Roman Church. On
    his return, he passed three years at Lyons, with his friend
    Dalfinus, and extended his knowledge by attending the most
    learned teachers. He now declared himself wholly devoted to the
    Church of Rome, and received from Dalfinus the tonsure of St.
    Peter, consisting of a circle of hair in imitation of the crown
    of thorns, while the Scots shaved the entire front, leaving the
    hair only on the hinder part of the head. Here he nearly shared
    the fate of his unfortunate friend, the archbishop, in the
    persecution raised against him by the Queen Baldhild, the widow
    of Clovis the Second, and the mayor of the palace, Ebruin; but
    the comely young stranger, through the extraordinary compassion
    of his persecutors, was saved from the death of a martyr. He now
    hastened back to his country, where he was honourably received
    by King Ealhfrith, consecrated abbot of the monastery of Ripon,
    and regarded as a prophet by high and low. After the disputation
    with Bishop Colman at Whitby, Oswiu and his son, with their
    witan, chose the abbot Wilfrith for Bishop of York, who passed
    over to Paris to be consecrated by Agilbreht. On his return to
    Northumbria, he was driven by a storm on the coast among the
    Pagan south Saxons, who proceeded vigorously to exercise the
    right of wreck on the strangers. The chief priest of the
    idolaters stood on an eminence for the purpose of depriving them
    of power by his maledictions and magic, when one of their
    number, with David’s courage and success, hurled a stone at him,
    from a sling, which struck him to the brain. At the fall of
    their priest, the fury of the people was excited against the
    little band, who succeeded however, after a conflict, four times
    renewed, in re-embarking with the return of the tide, and
    reached Sandwich in safety.”

Wilfrith in his absence had been deprived of the See of York, and on his
return retired with real or affected submission to his cloister at
Ripon; but the see was restored to him by the influence of Theodore.
Various events hastened an outbreak of dissensions among the higher
clergy, and of the jealousy of the secular towards the ecclesiastical
power.

In order partly to curtail the dimensions of Wilfrith’s power, the See
of York was divided into two dioceses; and the influence and
remonstrances of the bishop were unavailing to avert the blow. He set
out, therefore, on a journey to Rome, to appeal to the Papal authority;
but he had enemies abroad as well as at home, and was only saved from
their hostility by a storm, which drove his vessel to the coast of
Friesland, and secured for him the honour of being the first of the
numerous English missionaries who bore the tidings of the Gospel to the
continental Pagans of the North.

Resuming his journey, after a year, he laid his complaints before the
Roman See, and was here also the first in a less honourable path,--no
previous appeal to the Papal protection having ever been attempted by
Anglo-Saxon churchmen. The thunders of the Vatican sounded, as yet, but
faintly in British ears; and Wilfrith, on his return, was consigned to a
prison, instead of obtaining that restoration of his honours which Pope
Agatho had ventured to decree.

Driven from Northumbria a homeless exile, Wilfrith fled to the shores of
Sussex, the scene of his former peril and preservation, and, renewing
his efforts against the remains of Pagan barbarism still lingering in
that quarter, he taught the natives the lore of a better life, both in
worldly and in spiritual things, and established a bishopric, to the
charge of which he was himself elevated.

Again reconciled to Theodore, he was appointed to the See of Litchfield,
the fourth that had fallen to him, and he afterwards had the glory of
declining an offer of the archiepiscopate of Canterbury. After
recovering the bishopric of York, he once more lost it by becoming
involved in new disputes and contests for the superiority of the Romish
discipline, and, in his seventieth year, carried another appeal to the
Papal Chair, which, on this occasion, had the satisfaction of finding
that both Wilfrith and his enemies pleaded to its jurisdiction. Wilfrith
was exculpated by the Pope, but could only obtain from the Anglo-Saxon
Prince of Northumbria the See of Hexham and the monastery of Ripon.
“After a few years passed in almsgiving and the improvement of church
discipline, Wilfrith died in his seventy-sixth year, a man whose
fortunes and activity in the European relations of England were long
without a parallel.” He completed what Augustine began, and united the
English Church to that of Rome in matters of discipline. Even his
influence, however, could not destroy the independence of his
countrymen, who, as Lappenberg observes, “even after they were no longer
Anti-Catholic, continued always Anti-Papistical.”

The two achievements which occur as episodes in this singular biography,
the commencement of a Christian mission in Germany, and the conversion
of the last remnants of Paganism in England, would have been enough to
immortalise their author, independently of his influence on the outward
discipline of the Church.

To the chequered and restless career of Wilfrith, thus divided between
clerical ambition, and Christian usefulness, a striking contrast is
presented in the peaceful life of one who is the honour of Saxon
England, and the brightest, or the only bright name in European
literature during the centuries that intervened between Theodoric and
Charlemagne.

    “But no one imparts to the age of the ‘Wisest King’ greater
    brilliancy than the man just named, whom the epithet of ‘The
    Venerable’ adorns, whose knowledge was profound and almost
    universal. Born in the neighbourhood of Wearmouth, he enjoyed in
    that abbey the instructions of Benedict, its first abbot, of
    whom we have already had occasion to make honourable mention, as
    well as those of his successor, Ceolfrith, equally distinguished
    for his zeal in the promotion of learning. In the neighbouring
    cloister of Jarrow, Beda passed his life in exercises of piety
    and in varied study; and gave life and form to almost all the
    knowledge which the age could offer him. If, on a consideration
    of his works, it must appear manifest that that age possessed
    more means of knowledge, both in manuscripts and learned
    ecclesiastics, than we are wont to ascribe to it; and even if we
    must recognise in Beda the high culture of the Roman church,
    rather than Anglo-Saxon nationality, yet the acknowledgment
    which his merits found in Rome during his life, and shortly
    after his death, whereever learning could penetrate, proves that
    in him we justly venerate a wonder of the time. His numerous
    theological writings, his illustrations of the books of the Old
    and New Testaments, have throughout many ages, until the total
    revolution in that branch of learning, found readers and
    transcribers in every cloister of Europe. His knowledge of
    Greek, of medicine, of astronomy, of prosody, he made
    subservient to the instruction of his contemporaries; his work
    “De sex hujus seculi ætatibus,” though less used than it
    deserves to be, is the basis of most of the universal chronicles
    of the middle age. But his greatest merit, which will preserve
    his name through all future generations, consists in his
    historic works, as far as they concern his own native land. If a
    second man like himself had arisen in his days, who with the
    same clear, circumspect glance, the same honest and pious
    purpose, had recorded the secular transactions of his
    forefathers, as Beda has transmitted to us those chiefly of the
    church, then would the history of England have been to posterity
    almost like revelation for Germanic antiquity.”

It seems like a miracle to witness within a century of their country’s
conversion, two native names so remarkable as these. Under the influence
thus exerted, which in the one man was purely good, and in the other had
more good in it than evil, an active spirit of religion was necessarily
introduced, and the national character underwent a mighty change. The
condition of public feeling at this period is strongly illustrated in
the concluding chapter of Bede’s History.

    “Such being the peaceable and calm disposition of the times,
    many of the Northumbrians, as well of the nobility as private
    persons, laying aside their weapons, rather incline to dedicate
    both themselves and their children to the tonsure and monastic
    vows, than to study martial discipline. What will be the end
    hereof, the next age will show. This is, for the present, the
    state of all Britain; in the year, since the coming of the
    English into Britain about 285, but in the 731st year of the
    incarnation of our Lord, in whose reign may the earth ever
    rejoice; may Britain exult in the profession of his faith; and
    may many islands be glad, and sing praises in honour of his
    holiness!”

_What will be the end hereof the next age will show!_ These are ominous
words, of which we are soon to find the fulfilment in many grievous
revolutions and disasters. And yet amid all these it is impossible to
depreciate the value and operation of the peaceful interval that
preceded them, or to deny that, though other things might fall or fade
away for a time, the great work of the diffusion of Christian
civilisation was destined ever to make more rapid progress, even by the
help of those very events which seemed to threaten its extinction.



SCOTTISH MELODIES BY DELTA.


ERIC’S DIRGE.

    Shon’st thou but to pass away,
    Chieftain, in thy bright noon-day?
      (All who knew thee, love thee!)
    Who to Eric would not yield?
    Red hand in the battle field,
    Kinsman’s idol, Beauty’s shield,
      Flowers we strew above thee!

    Eagle-like, in Glory’s sky,
    Soar’d thy dauntless spirit high;
      (All who knew thee, love thee!)
    Scion of a matchless race,
    Strong in form, and fair of face,
    First in field, and first in chase,
      Flowers we strew above thee!

    Three to one Argyle came on,
    Yet thy glance defiance shone;
      (All who knew thee, love thee!)
    Fear thine Islesmen never knew;
    We were firm, tho’ we were few;
    And in front thy banner flew:--
      Flowers we strew above thee!

    What mere men could do was done;
    Two at least we slew for one;
      (All who knew thee, love, thee!)
    But, ah fatal was our gain!
    For, amid the foremost slain,
    Lay’st thou, whom we mourn in vain:
      Flowers we strew above thee!

    Mourn!--nor own one tearless eye,
    Barra, Harris, Uist, and Skye!
      (All who knew thee, love thee!)
    Eric! low thou liest the while,
    Shadowed by Iona’s pile;
    May no step thy stone defile:--
      Flowers we strew above thee!


THE STORMY SEA!

    Ere the twilight bat was flitting,
    In the sunset, at her knitting,
    Sang a lonely maiden, sitting
      Underneath her threshold tree;
    And, as daylight died before us,
    And the vesper star shone o’er us,
    Fitful rose her tender chorus--
      “Jamie’s on the stormy sea!”

    Warmly shone that sunset glowing;
    Sweetly breathed the young flowers blowing;
    Earth, with beauty overflowing,
      Seem’d the home of love to be,
    As those angel tones ascending,
    With the scene and season blending,
    Ever had the same low ending--
      “Jamie’s on the stormy sea!”

    Curfew bells remotely ringing,
    Mingled with that sweet voice singing;
    And the last red rays seem’d clinging
      Lingeringly to tower and tree:
    Nearer as I came, and nearer,
    Finer rose the notes, and clearer;
    Oh! ’twas heaven itself to hear her--
      “Jamie’s on the stormy sea!”

    “Blow, ye west winds! blandly hover
    O’er the bark that bears my lover;
    Gently blow, and bear him over
      To his own dear home and me;
    For, when night winds bend the willow,
    Sleep forsakes my lonely pillow,
    Thinking of the foaming billow--
      “Jamie’s on the stormy sea!”

    How could I but list, but linger,
    To the song, and near the singer,
    Sweetly wooing heaven to bring her
      Jamie from the stormy sea:
    And, while yet her lips did name me,
    Forth I sprang--my heart o’ercame me--
    “Grieve no more, sweet, I am Jamie,
      Home returned, to love and thee!”


GENERAL MACK--A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

_To the Tune of “No one else could have done it.”_

    At the taking of Ulm, some forty years back,
    “No one could have done it” but General Mack:
    Like “The League,” the besiegers were certainly strong,
    But to Mack, without doubt, did the triumph belong:
    “In vain,” people cried, “must have been the attack,
    But for one single man--gallant General Mack!”

    Yet “the Hero of Ulm,” doesn’t stand quite alone,--
    For we have a General Mack of our own;
    And when any strong Fortress in which he commands,
    Any morning is found in The Enemy’s hands,
    We cry till our voices are ready to crack,
    “Pray, who could have done it but General Mack?”

    In the time of _old_ Mack, although only a lad,
    What delight in the name must the stripling have had!
    How the opening buds of political truth
    Must have swell’d in the heart of the generous youth,
    As he nobly resolved to pursue the same track,
    And become, in due season, a General Mack!

    “If perchance,” he would say, “the time ever should be,
    When some fortress as strong is entrusted to _me_--
    If its chosen defenders I ever should lead,
    Here at once is a system that’s sure to succeed!
    How soon may the boldest and bravest attack
    Be brought to an end, by a General Mack!”

    In days when they tell us that prophets are rare,
    This was, for a young one, you’ll own, pretty fair;
    For in due course of time, (not to dwell upon dates,)
    Full many a fortress had open’d its gates;
    And I could not admit, though I were on the rack,
    Any one could have done it but General Mack.

    On each new exploit, the same wonderment ran--
    “You’ll allow that this Mack _is_ a wonderful man.
    All the optics of friends and of foes he defies--
    He is always preparing some pleasant surprise--
    What a squint you must have, if you see on what tack,
    He next is to go--honest General Mack!”

    Oh, gallant commander! I hear people say,
    These triumphs of yours have at length had their day.
    I will not determine how far that may be,
    But I’m sure they have not been _forgotten_ by me;
    And a Carol for CHRISTMAS you never shall lack,
    As long as your name shall be GENERAL MACK!



REFLECTIONS SUGGESTED BY THE CAREER OF THE LATE PREMIER.


We have heard a great deal said of late against what are termed
“personalities”--a term which, I suppose, implies remarks or reflections
on the personal conduct of an individual. If a statesman is hard pressed
on some unpleasant point, he escapes by saying, that it is only a
“personality,” and that to “bandy personalities” is a thing from which
he is precluded by his dignity. If a discussion in Parliament turn much
upon these personalities, they are treated by those who may find them
distasteful, as a totally irrelevant matter, interrupting the true
business of the House; and if they are noticed, it is done as if it was
a pure πάρεργον, a gratuitous piece of condescension on the
part of the person replying to the attack. It seems to be laid down as a
sort of axiom by many, that political questions should be discussed
solely on their own merits, abstaining from all remarks on personal
character, more especially in Parliament, where all such reflections are
condemned as pure waste of the time of the House.

That political questions should be discussed on their own merits, and
that those merits are in no way affected by the character of any
individual whatever, is perfectly true; but if it be meant to be
inferred that the personal character of public men is therefore a matter
of no importance, a subject which is to be veiled in a sacred silence,
and never to be examined or discussed, such a sentiment is eminently
flimsy and false, one which could only find general acceptance in a
poor-minded age, to which material interests were of greater value than
the far higher ones of national character. For that the national
character is greatly affected by the personal character of its leading
public men, is a truth that will scarcely be called in question. The
venality and corruption which more especially disgraced the ministry of
Walpole, and infected, in a greater or less degree, that of his
successors, may reasonably be expected to have exercised a widely
debasing influence on the nation at large, an expectation amply
confirmed (to say nothing of native testimonies) by the estimates which
foreign writers of that time draw of the national character of England.
The intriguing and profligate character of many of the public men under
Charles II. had, no doubt, a similarly evil influence on the popular
mind; and generally, all insincerity in high places must be looked on as
a bane to the country. Most widely should we err, if, in estimating the
career of these statesmen, we looked only to the outward character of
their measures, in a commercial, economical, or political point of view.
However beneficial many of their measures may have been in these
respects, if their own character was not sincere and honest, if these
measures were brought about not by fair and open means, but by artful
and underhand intrigues, by false professions, by duplicity, and
insincerity, by venality, whether of the open bribe, or the insidious
government influence, we pass a verdict of censure on their career, we
reject them from the rank of the true patriots, the sacred band, who
have earned renown as the pure benefactors of their country,--“Quique
sui memores alios fecere merendo.”

If we looked only at the commercial or practical consequences of his
measures, the career of Walpole might be esteemed glorious--for I
believe it is generally considered that his measures were sagacious and
successful. But the venal character of his administration is a blot that
no one may remove, and this stain on his personal character neutralises
(as far as he is concerned) all the effect of his measures. Posterity,
accordingly, has done him justice, and has assigned him his fitting
rank--he takes his place among the skilful statesmen, not among the
great patriots. Who will be able to alter this decision? Who shall have
influence to induce the world to raise him to the higher rank,--to make
us couple the name of Walpole with those of Aristides, Phocion, and
Demosthenes?

Since, then, this personal character exercises so wide an influence for
good or for bad upon the character, and therefore on the destinies, of a
nation, are we to be told, that it is not a subject of discussion, that
it is shrined in an inviolable asylum, removed from the free exercise of
thought; that we must confine our views to the character of measures,
and not dare to direct them to the character of men? Who is it, in
writing the history of Charles I. who has not pointed out the lamentable
defect in the character of that unfortunate prince, that his friends
could not rely on his professions? And if there be a statesman of the
present day, whose friends cannot rely upon his professions, are we
totally to abstain from making any reflection, either mentally or
verbally, on so lamentable a defect? By whom are we taught this new and
precious doctrine? Certain members of the late Government take upon them
to be our chief instructors in it; more especially, perhaps, Mr. Sidney
Herbert. Sharp expressions had been raining pretty thick from his foes,
amid which he and his colleagues (proh nefas!) had been termed
“Janissaries!”

    Talibus exarsit dictis violentia Sidnei;
    Dat gemitum;

and he delivers an able lecture to his opponents on their strong and
ungentlemanly language. After this, let us take care what we are about:
let us say nothing ungentlemanly respecting the conduct of Walpole:
whatever we may think of the personal character of Cromwell, let us, in
our language at least, observe the established courtesies and urbanities
of discussion.

“Not so,” perhaps says Mr. Herbert. “I make a distinction: I do not mean
to debar you from free discussion on the characters of the dead; but
what I desire is, that you abstain from meddling with the conduct of the
living.” Where is it, then, that he has found this doctrine? Were those
who blamed, and strongly too, the conduct of Shaftesbury, and
Bolingbroke, and Walpole, when alive, culpable? Was it only permitted to
do so after their death? Is Aristophanes thought peculiarly guilty for
having blamed Cleon while alive and in power? Is Socrates stigmatised
for having wounded the feelings of any demagogue of the day, or of the
thirty tyrants? Is Cicero reproached for his ungentlemanly tone towards
Catiline, his disregard of the feelings of Verres, his total want of
courtesy and urbanity even to so eminent and distinguished a man as
Antony? Or in our own days, is Lord Lyndhurst blamed for having again
happily applied the language of Cicero to denounce the conduct, or
rather misconduct, of O’Connell? No; if their censure was deserved, they
are honoured for having decidedly expressed it. And when, indeed, is it
of greater importance that a true estimate should be formed of the
character of public men, than while they are yet alive,--while that
character is still exercising its widely-acting influence, and while
mistakes in respect to it may lead to the most pernicious consequences?
It is during their lifetime that we should discuss the characters of
such men as O’Connell and Peel. A true estimate of their character after
death is, doubtless, better than nothing; but a true estimate of it
during life is better still. The proverb tells us, that “late is better
than never;” but it does not deny that early is better than late.

“Well, then,” perhaps Mr. Herbert may reply, “you may, if you please,
judge their character while they are yet alive, but this must be in
proper time and place; I must request you to abstain from doing so in
Parliament. Strong language in Parliament on personal character is a
thing which I can never approve; here I must insist on the use of mild
language, on a gentlemanly and courteous tone of discussion.”

And what, we would ask, is the object of Parliament, if not to discuss
impartially, but firmly and decidedly, all important subjects that
deeply concern the public weal? And what subject more important than the
conduct of the men who hold the helm? Since how long is it that
Parliament has been considered as having no right to form or to express
any opinion on this subject? Since how long has the new doctrine been
held or been acted on, that they are only to regard measures, and not
the conduct of men? This is calling on them to abdicate one of the
highest and most important of their functions; for the public character
of statesmen is at least as important a consideration as that of the
measures they propose; frequently of much greater importance. And in
what place can such opinions be more fitly expressed, or with greater
weight and propriety, than within the walls of Parliament; of that
assembly, whose duty it is to deliberate on all matters concerning the
national welfare?

“Well, then,” perhaps says our Parliamentary master of the ceremonies,
“let us grant even this point; still I must insist on their expressing
such opinions in courteous and gentlemanly language.”

We should be much obliged to our preceptor, if he would inform us of the
precise mode in which this is to be done. We suppose he will grant that
if such opinions are to be expressed at all, the thing chiefly desirable
is, that the expression of the opinions be _true_; that the language
employed convey an accurate and well-defined idea of the real sentiments
entertained by the speaker.

Now, if the deliberate opinion which the speaker wishes to convey to the
assembly be, that a public man is insincere, underhand, and artful, one
whose convictions have no genuine strength, one whose professions cannot
be trusted, we would fain be informed how these ideas can be accurately,
truthfully, and unmistakeably conveyed, in gentlemanly, courteous, and
pleasing language. Our tutor must give us a list of expressions by which
this can be effected, before he blame us for not making use of them. But
even suppose that his ingenious intellect should enable him to
accomplish this, we would still desire to be informed what would be the
use of it, and why, if we wish to express our opinion of a person’s
insincerity, the discourteous word of “insincere,” which is now in use,
should not be as good as the most gentlemanly and elegant detour that
could be invented even by Mr. Herbert’s ingenuity.

Or take the very word of “_Janissary_,” which forms the bone of
contention. The Janissaries were a body who acted under orders of their
chief, without perhaps troubling themselves much about the abstract
merits of the case. If bidden by their General to do a thing, they did
it; if bidden to abstain, they abstained. Such conduct is not altogether
unknown among the politicians of England. If, then, the word Janissary
convey an accurate idea, well applicable to certain individuals, why
should its use be so atrocious? Really, we are at a loss to comprehend
the storm of indignation excited in the late Government by the simple
word Janissary. We have heard of a fish-woman who patiently endured all
the opprobrious epithets heaped on her by one of her fellows, till this
latter happened to apply to her the term of “individual.” What the term
of “individual” was to the fish-woman, the term of “Janissary” seems to
have been to certain members of the late Peel cabinet. We will, however,
grant that its application was somewhat unjust, though quite in a
different way from what those parties suppose. Leaving it to them to
defend themselves, we must take up the part of the Janissaries, whose
feelings seem to have been totally disregarded in the whole matter. Let
us remember that they no longer exist; victims of a melancholy end, they
are incapable of speaking for themselves; be it then allowed to us to
see that fair play is done them. Is it just, we ask, that their name
should be so scornfully rejected as the _ne plus ultra_ of reproaches by
English statesmen? What great guilt are they charged with, that it
should be thus opprobrious? Not, surely, that they were paid: I have
some doubts even whether such was the case; but, granted that they were,
so are our soldiers, so are our officials. Whatever were their errors,
they were bold and brave, true and consistent to their Mussulman
principles. They were not basely subservient to government influence;
their fault lay rather the other way. It was not that they truckled to
the Prime Vizier, but that they did not sufficiently respect their
Sultan. Their misconduct has been expiated by their death. Peace be with
their ashes! Let us not add insult to injury. It is not for Peel and his
followers to spurn at and dishonour their name. Considering the recent
conduct of so many of our public men, may we not reasonably think that
it is a greater insult to the Janissaries to apply their name to some of
our statesmen, than it is to those statesmen that the name of Janissary
should be applied to them. Would not the shade of an old Janissary be
fully as indignant if he heard himself termed a paid English official,
as the English official in his full-blown virtue could be at being
called a paid Janissary?

The contrast of all these indignant professions of our statesmen with
their actual practice, has not the best effect. The present is not the
time best fitted for these displays; the brilliancy of public virtue has
not of late been so lustrous as to justify this tone of triumph over the
poor Ottomans. If these epithets are so distasteful to our public men,
there is a far better mode of repelling them than these angry
protestations. Let them act with that openness, sincerity, and candour
which England looks for in her statesmen, and they need not fear far
harder terms than this much dreaded name of Janissary.

But enough of this digression, which is purely incidental. We have
merely wished to state a principle, let others accommodate it to the
rules of Parliamentary warfare. Enough has been said for our object, to
vindicate the utility of a review of the public character of leading
statesmen, and the right of expressing a judgment upon it in firm and
decided language.

That the practice of defaming the character of a public man without
cause, simply because he is a political opponent--a practice too much
employed in the party political warfare of the day--is one deserving the
severest reprobation: this is a truth that no one ought to deny. But the
evil of this practice consists, not in the decided tone of the language,
nor in the severity of the opinion expressed, but in the absence of all
just cause to warrant the strength of the censure.

But to argue, that because many people are blamed unjustly, no one is to
be blamed justly--that the abuse of censure precludes the use of it,--is
a mode of reasoning which cannot for a moment be admitted. We all know,
that if we are forbidden from using everything that may be abused,
nothing of any worth or importance would be left; and it is an old
remark, that the very best and most useful things, are precisely those
that are liable to the easiest and greatest abuses.

If I thought that the views which I entertain on the conduct of the late
Premier were in the least degree the result of political prejudices, I
should carefully abstain from giving them publicity. But I am not
conscious of being swayed by any such motives. With regard to the
greater part of the actual measures brought forward by Sir R. Peel, as
far as I know them, I feel no reason to disapprove of them. With regard
to many of his measures, which are wanting in any specific or decided
character, it is natural that no very decided opinion should be felt.
They are good, for all I know to the contrary, as far as they go. With
respect to the more prominent measure of Catholic Emancipation, it is
one that has my hearty approval. With respect to the bulk of his
financial measures, I believe them, from general report, to be sagacious
and skilful. But, it will be said, you have a strong opinion in favour
of Protection, and here your political prejudices warp your judgment.
Such, I can safely say, is by no means the case. I by no means entertain
any fixed and definite opinion, either for or against the actual measure
of the repeal of the Corn Laws. I have not obtained sufficient knowledge
of the facts of the case, to enable me to come to such a decisive
opinion; and so little am I suited at present for a staunch
Protectionist, that I feel in perfect readiness, if greater knowledge,
or the practical result of the working of the measure should convince me
of its utility, to recognise its value and importance; nay, I will even
say, that in the state of excitement into which the public mind had been
worked on the subject, I rejoice at the experiment being made, for if it
work well, so much the better, and if it work ill, our laws are not as
those of the Medes and Persians. Its evils can be stopped in time, and
if so, will be far less than those arising from permanent disaffection
among the people. Certainly, many of the principles urged in its
support, I consider fallacious, and some of those fallacies I have
endeavoured to expose; but I know perfectly well, that people may form a
correct practical judgment, though unable to explain, philosophically,
the true principles on which that judgment is really based. No earnest
free-trader, who advocates his cause from a sense of its truth, could
wish such fallacies to remain without exposure. If their view is true,
it cannot but gain instead of lose, by being removed from the
treacherous support of unsound principles.

But I feel quite sure that I entertain no prejudice against any man,
merely on account of his being a free-trader. I dislike all whose
suspicious conversion prevents full confidence in the sincerity of their
motives. I feel no sympathy with those who, with the ignoble violence of
petty minds, preach up a war against the aristocracy, impugn all motives
but their own, and seem to anticipate with triumph the downfal of those
above them, and their own seizure on rank and power in their turn.[7]
But then, it is not here the free trade that I dislike, but, in the one
case, the insincerity; in the other, the bigotry and narrow-mindedness.
But with a reasonable and liberal-minded free-trader, such as many of
the Whig party doubtless are, who is willing to do justice to other
motives than his own, and is actuated by a sincere and earnest belief in
the truth of his principles, I feel perfectly sure that no animosity
vitiates my feelings towards him, and that I could be as good friends
with him as with any person whatever. I believe, indeed, that there are
few people in England less under the influence of party or political
prejudice than myself, nor less unfitted, so far as their absence is
concerned, for forming an impartial estimate of a public man’s
character. I feel, therefore, no apprehension, in the present case, of
being influenced, even unconsciously, by unworthy motives, but simply by
the desire of expressing my opinion on conduct which appears to me to
call for grave and decided censure. My judgment is not based on any
isolated or doubtful expression, nor on minute and recondite
circumstances: it is the simple reading of those plain and unmistakeable
characters which more conspicuously mark Sir Robert Peel’s career, which
are known and admitted by all, and which lie within the comprehension of
all.

For my own part, I knew next to nothing of his former political conduct,
till the discussion caused by recent circumstances; a vague knowledge of
some change in his opinion on the Catholic Question, was nearly the
whole information I possessed of the career of a man respecting whom,
feeling no great admiration of his character, I never took any lively
interest. Nor can I say, that at present I have any thing but the most
elementary knowledge of the circumstances of his political life. I know
no more than those leading events which form the salient points in his
career, which, however, it seems to me, are quite sufficient for a just
conclusion,--a conclusion which, perhaps, is the less likely to err, as
founded on simpler premises, and freer from all subtle minutiæ.

I take then the facts which, as far as I can learn, are admitted by
all,--himself among the rest. If there be any error in my statement of
them, it certainly does not arise from design.

After having been for some time in the government with Canning, he
refused to hold office under him, and went into opposition, from a
strong and decided feeling (as was professed by himself) against the
Catholic claims which that statesman advocated.

Amid the ranks of this opposition, were some partisans, more zealous
than scrupulous, who carried on their party warfare in an unduly violent
way, which produced an effect much deeper than political attacks usually
do, on the generous and sensitive mind of Canning. This misconduct,
though confined to few, and little thought of at the time by their
associates, has, by its result, cast somewhat of a shade over the whole
of this opposition.

Owing at length to the efforts of his party, Sir R. Peel is brought in,
as the Protestant champion, to resist the Catholic claims, which the
great bulk of that party look upon as fraught with danger both to the
spiritual and temporal welfare of the State.

This party, which places him in power, never for a moment doubts that
his opinion coincides with their own, nor does he ever express a
sentiment which could lead them to suppose that they were mistaken in
their conviction. His actions and his speeches are perfectly in harmony
with that opinion, and all tend to confirm them in unlimited confidence.

When, however, he is seated in office, and while they are still enjoying
their opinion in perfect security, lie astonishes them by proposing and
passing the very measure which they imagined it was his principal object
to resist.

On the sudden and unexpected triumph of the principles of reform, which
raised the Whigs to power, Peel is again reduced to the ranks of
Opposition, and we here find him strenuously attacking all their
principles, which he denounces as dangerous to the institutions of
Church and State. He thus rallies round himself a party termed
Conservative, whose object is to resist these encroachments, which they
look on as irreligious, destructive, and anarchical.

This party gradually gains ground, while the Whigs decline in
proportion. At length, when the Whigs begin to devote their attention to
the development of free-trade principles, the storm, under Peel’s
auspices, is roused to the highest pitch, and the Whigs fall prostrate
under their triumphant adversaries.

Peel then comes into power, (for the second time,) supported by a large
majority. He stands forth in the character of “Defender of the Faith,”
and of the institutions of Church and State, and, generally, as the firm
antagonist of all Whiggish principles.

But more especially does he stand forth as the great Champion of
Protection--to resist the menacing encroachments of Free Trade--to check
all advances in the direction of that dimly seen and dreaded
catastrophe--the Repeal of the Corn Laws. Here, again, his party
entertain the strongest conviction that his opinions on this subject
coincide with their own; and on the strength of this conviction they
take their measures in full security on the most important matters.

Sir R. Peel, as before, never for a moment leads them to infer, by any
word or action, that this conviction is erroneous; on the contrary, for
a considerable period of time, he gives repeated assurances, in the
strongest language, of his support of the principle of Protection.

Nevertheless his measures, as it is soon observed, are all imbued with
the precise policy which he had formerly so denounced in his
opponents--a discovery which excites considerable dissatisfaction among
his followers, though they reconcile themselves to it, as they best may,
on the plea of the necessity of the times. Not for a moment, however,
are they induced to doubt of his firm determination to uphold the Corn
Laws.

No sooner, however, has the repeal of these laws (by the declaration of
the opposite party and the strength of public opinion) become feasible,
than, without giving any previous intimation of his real opinion, while
his party are still in complete security, and relying on his support, he
proposes and carries the very measure which they believed him to be
heartily endeavouring to oppose, and for the sake of resisting which
they had placed him in power, and supported him.

Before quitting power, he makes a speech explanatory of his views and
principles, in which he expresses his adoption of all those principles
of policy which, when the Whigs were in power, he had so resolutely
denounced, and his perfect readiness to assist in developing their
doctrines much further than they themselves had done.

Such is a simple outline of the facts,--facts of no dubious or recondite
nature, but notorious, and not, I apprehend, capable of denial.

It is from these facts that my opinion is formed, that Sir R. Peel’s
career is deserving of the gravest censure: it is from these that I draw
the conclusion, by some so much deprecated, and venture to pronounce,
without feeling much risk of error, that Sir R. Peel, in his public
conduct, is insincere, a man unworthy of all trust and confidence. A
most unwarrantable attack, exclaim his partisans; an imputation that can
only be the result of the venomous malignancy of a political opponent!
Who else would dare to brand such a man with the odious crime of
insincerity, to assert that he is not worthy of being trusted--to impute
to a statesman of such pure and exalted virtue the detestable guilt of
political hypocrisy!

How far the simple ideas of right and wrong may be altered by a tenure
of office, or by long acquaintance with political affairs, we are
fortunately ignorant; but unless they undergo some improvement, or at
least some modification, we are at a loss to account for all the
indignation manifested at these charges by the principal members of the
late ministry, and by other leading political luminaries, and are
tempted to inquire whence arise such great angers in these celestial
minds? To our unsophisticated intellect it seems, that to say that Sir
R. Peel is insincere, is only saying, in a concise and general way, what
is conveyed in the simple statement of the above facts, with somewhat
more of detail. What better exposition of the word _insincerity_ could
we give to a person desirous of receiving it than the plain recital of
Sir R. Peel’s conduct, as given above? That conduct is little else than
the very definition of the word. Is not a man said to be insincere when,
either by words or deeds, or by their omission, he wilfully leads people
to believe that he holds opinions which he really does not, and to act
in important matters upon that supposition;--when, knowing that they
believe him to support their cause, and that they are placing their
trust in him accordingly, he does not undeceive them, as one word of his
might do, but suffers them complacently to remain in their error?

Is not a man said to be unworthy of trust, or faithless, who, while he
knows that a trust of the greatest importance is reposed in him, and who
has tacitly acknowledged the acceptance of that trust, is seeking all
the time the ruin of that cause, the defence of which has been intrusted
in full confidence to him?

Is not a man said to be a hypocrite who acts outwardly a part which is
at variance with his inward convictions? Is not a man a hypocrite, who
outwardly so behaves himself, that he is looked upon as the Protestant
champion, while inwardly he is casting about how to carry the Catholic
claims? Is not he a hypocrite whose demeanour is such that he is clapped
on the political stage as the hero of Protection, whilst inwardly he is
thinking of the time when he shall be cheered as the Repealer of the
Corn Laws?

Now, that Sir R. Peel was ignorant that his party reposed trust in him,
and believed his views to coincide with their own, is, I imagine, what
nobody, not even himself, could for a moment pretend. It may be looked
on as a fact that cannot be disputed, that he knew that a large body of
men believed him to hold a certain class of opinions, while he himself
knew that he was holding the contrary,[8] and that nevertheless he
suffered them to repose trust in him, without ever undeceiving them of
their error, which a word of his would have sufficed to do, and allowed
them to act in security on matters of importance upon that erroneous
belief.

He is placed, then, in this dilemma;--that if he acknowledges the fact
he acknowledges the insincerity; if he denies the fact, nobody will
believe the denial; and so far from escaping from the odium of
insincerity, he will only prove it the more, by adding one piece of it
to another. Any way, then, he cannot escape this charge of insincerity,
which is complained of as so peculiarly distasteful. To what purpose,
then, are all these high-sounding speeches, this tone of injured
innocence, this indignation at the slightest hint of the names of deceit
or hypocrisy? It falls powerless on his accusers; it is not they who
laboriously strain to prove the charges, it is the facts which speak for
themselves. But what is the use, alas! of all this declamation against
the unhappy facts, which are in no degree moved or affected by it? Here,
again, if the reputation of sincerity be so much valued, would it not
have been a far better method of securing it, instead of making all
these laboured professions of esteem, to have simply observed its rules
in practice? How is it that so mature and able a statesman overlooked so
simple and obvious a course? Let politics explain the mystery.

The fact that he himself professes to see nothing in the least degree
blamable in his conduct, nothing that can in any way be qualified as
insincere, and that some of his partisans are indignant at such terms
being applied to it, is a useful example, to show how political
prejudices can blind the mind to the simplest moral truths.

The only line of defence that he could reasonably take, would be to
grant the insincerity, but to maintain that it was rendered necessary
and justifiable by circumstances. Thus, (taking the second case, of the
repeal of the Corn Laws,) his partisans might argue, that the measure
was one most highly beneficial to the country; that it was of vital
importance as well for its commercial interests, as also to allay the
strong and growing discontent which had taken hold of the nation; that
the concealment and dissimulation of which such complaint is made, were
necessary to obtain these benefits. Had Sir R. Peel avowed at an early
stage his real views, the prejudices of the Protectionists would
immediately have displaced him from power. It was necessary not to
awaken these prejudices, and this end was obtained by concealing his
true sentiments; by suffering them to repose their trust in one who was
really their enemy, which, it is admitted, was certainly a piece of
hypocrisy. “But then,” would they say, “mark the advantages of this
hypocrisy. Peel is thus enabled quietly to watch his opportunity. The
Whigs, finding the current of opinion strongly setting for free trade,
declare their adherence to it. Now, then, they are fairly compromised,
and Peel has the game all to himself. If he goes out, and the Whigs come
in, they will not be able to carry it, for when Peel is out of office,
not a dozen of his party will vote in favour of Free Trade. They will
not be able then to make any head, and if they come in they will be
immediately displaced again. Peel all the time, with that hypocrisy
which you so much blame, has kept his own plans snugly locked up in his
impenetrable breast, and is still looked upon by the unconscious
Protectionists as their hero and champion, so much so, that they refuse
to believe any rumours which may be floating about to the contrary.
Thanks then to this hypocrisy, he smoothly comes in again as before, but
the case, now that he is once more in office, is widely altered. If the
Whigs had proposed the measure, perhaps not a dozen of his party would
have supported it. But now that he is in office, the ‘_government
influence_’ is in his hands;” (that “_government influence_,” a phrase
after Mr. Sidney Herbert’s own heart which means, I believe, being
interpreted, that mixture of motives which combines, with the purest
public duty, certain visions of peerages, salaries, offices of various
kinds, and all the undefinable tribe of loaves and fishes.) “Will Peel
find only a dozen free-traders among his ranks now? Rest assured that a
wonderful liberality will be diffused among them; for the government
influence has the property of making many a man a free-trader, who
otherwise would have lived and died a staunch Protectionist. A round
hundred will be converted in addition to the former dozen, by the magic
of this government influence. This, in addition to the Whigs, who would
any way vote for free-trade, will be sufficient to carry the measure
with a good majority.

“Do not then let us blame so loudly this hypocrisy, before we have
examined how far it has been advantageous. In the present case, it has
hastened on a most beneficial measure, and we may well overlook in
regard to that a little falsehood and deceit. If the Protectionists have
been taken in, it is no very great matter; they are not people to be
pitied; they should have looked sharper about what they were doing. Peel
had shown them before what they might expect in the Catholic business;
and it is their own fault if such old birds let themselves be caught,
twice running, with chaff.”

This, altering somewhat the expressions to suit the dignity of his
language, is the line of defence that Sir R. Peel ought to adopt.
Admitting the insincerity, which it is useless to attempt to deny, he
should rest his case on the necessities of the State, on the important
benefits of his measure. In this view it will be a case of a conflict of
duties,--of the duty of truthfulness and sincerity, which in ordinary
cases is binding--and the duty to his country; and he may say, that
considering his duty to his country as greater than his duty of
sincerity to the Protectionists, he considered himself justified in
deceiving them, with a view of benefiting the nation. In this case,
however, we must remark, that he ought to acknowledge the deceit, and
feel compunction for it; for the breach of a duty, even when sacrificed
to a superior one, should not (as the moralists and as reason tell us)
take place in a virtuous mind without pain.[9] This pain, however, Sir
R. Peel is particularly unwilling to acknowledge; he strenuously insists
on feeling no humiliation or compunction of any kind for any part of his
conduct, by which assertion he gives us no favourable impression of the
nature of his mind; while by taking up so foolish and exaggerated a
posture, he materially injures the strength of his defence.

That the duty of truth, though paramount in ordinary circumstances, is
not so in all, and requires in certain cases to be sacrificed to
superior duties, is what all must on reflection admit.[10] The wife who
saved her husband by a falsehood, is immortalized as the “splendide
mendax” of Horace, and many other cases might be quoted in point. There
is no reason why a statesman also might not, in some circumstances, be
“splendide mendax,” but it is a dangerous aim, and he must take especial
care, that the natural meanness of the “mendacia” do not more than
counteract the splendour of his measures.

In estimating such conduct, two points come into consideration, the
splendour of the benefit obtained, and the character of those upon whom
the deceit is practised. Thus, in the above case of Hypermnestra, the
benefit obtained was the preservation of her husband’s life, a benefit
of the greatest importance to him, and one which her duty to her husband
made it imperative upon her to seek. Moreover, the conduct of those whom
she deceived was such, that the duty of sincerity towards them was
scarcely binding; for they themselves were endeavouring to compass an
act of the greatest guilt, one which involved not only deceit, but
murder. In every way her conduct was perfectly right, and justly is she
celebrated as “splendide mendax.”

Let us then examine, on both these points, the conduct of the late
Premier; let us weigh Peel against Hypermnestra. Let us scrutinise the
character of his “mendacia,” and see whether it should be ranked in the
category of “splendida” or “ingloria.”

First, then, as to the benefits which his recent conduct has conferred
upon his country.

Admitting (what, however, we cannot hold as any way proved at present)
that the measure itself of free-trade in corn, is one of the highest
benefit to the country,--granting that the promises held out by its most
sanguine advocates, shall be copiously fulfilled,--it still remains to
inquire, how far the country’s possession of those benefits will be
attributable to the conduct of Sir R. Peel, who, up to the eleventh
hour, was their strenuous and consistent opponent.

It is a generally admitted truth, that under the constitution we now
possess, as soon as public opinion is decidedly formed in favour of any
principle, that principle must triumph over all opposing influences. If,
then, public opinion were strongly pronounced in favour of free-trade in
corn, if the majority of the electors, who, under our constitution,
represent by the members they send to Parliament the deliberate opinion
of the nation, were strongly and decidedly in favour of the measure, why
should they be unable to give effect to those opinions?--what need would
they have of all the circuitous and underhand process employed by the
late Premier? No damage could have been done in this case to their cause
by Sir R. Peel’s avowal of his real opinions, instead of the close
secrecy in which, for purposes best known to himself, he thought fit to
veil them for so long a period. Granted, that by so doing he would have
been displaced from office; the country would not have felt at all
embarrassed by such an event--it would have had no difficulty on that
account in finding men who could execute its deliberate opinion. However
desirable it may be to Sir Robert, that he should have been the minister
to pass the measure, that his name might be associated with it, and that
it should cast a halo on his career, all that is a matter of pure
indifference to the nation, and cannot be looked on in the light of a
benefit. If the opinions of the actual Parliament were the only
obstacle, a dissolution was nigh at hand, or might have been resorted to
at any moment, when the country could have had no possible difficulty in
expressing its real opinions, and carrying them into effect, either
through him or others. However much, then, it might be advantageous to
himself, we cannot see what benefit, in such a case, free-trade can have
derived from the sinister support of all this disingenuous conduct.

But, if the merit attributed to him be, that by means of his skilful
artifices, and by the government influence at his disposal, he succeeded
in carrying the measure before it was the deliberate opinion of the
House, or of the majority of the electors of the country, then it is
plain that his conduct has been unconstitutional, and deserving far more
blame than praise. In this case the majority would have been obtained by
improper influences, not by the deliberate convictions of sincere and
earnest men, and would have been forced, by a species of trick, by the
minority of the electors on the majority. We all know to some extent
what “government influence” means--though the idea of it is so
mysterious and vague, that it is impossible to give a very precise
definition. Without asserting that it is an influence of any very
dishonourable kind, (as times go,) we may safely assert that it is not
of the most honourable. Motives resulting from sincerity and truth, are
certainly more estimable than those which result from government
influence. We should have thought that a minister, however useful he
might find it in practice, would carefully abstain from making much
direct reference to it in public. That a statesman should boast of the
success with which, by his eloquence and earnestness, he had advocated a
principle--of the impression which his arguments had made on the minds
of his hearers,--of how he had consistently supported it from the time
while it was yet weak and doubtful, till its triumphant success had
crowned his arduous exertions, this we could readily understand,--this
would be a just subject of self-gratulation. But if he has no proofs of
having persuaded the minds of men by reason; if, on the contrary, his
arguments have all tended to plunge them deeper into error and delusion,
we cannot understand how he should think it a matter of boast, that he
had persuaded their minds by “government influence.” Such a boast
appears to us not to be of the most honourable kind to himself, and
certainly not very complimentary to those who had supported him. If we
ourselves had voted for a minister, and had heard him afterwards
declare, that he believed us to have done so from “government
influence,” we should certainly look upon it as a species of insult.
Sir R. Peel, however, in giving his own account of his share of merit in
promoting the measure, makes no scruple of attributing it all to his
well-timed use of “government influence.” After particularly insisting,
that Lord John Russell cannot claim much merit in the affair, he
explains to us what amount properly falls to himself. “The real state of
the case,” says he, “was, that parties were nearly equally balanced, and
THAT THE GOVERNMENT INFLUENCE WAS THROWN INTO THE SCALE.” With his
wonted egotism, he does not seem to think it possible, that the
gentlemen of his party may have given their vote without reference to
him, solely as the result of their genuine convictions. Such is the
reward which his unhappy followers receive from the master whom they so
faithfully supported. We do not say that they may not have deserved it,
but we think they had a right to look for it from other hands.

By his own account, then, the matter stands thus: the merit of the
affair is to be shared between Cobden and Peel. In this division of
labour, Cobden has all the clean work, and Peel all the dirty. Cobden
converts all those whose minds are amenable to persuasion, and Peel all
those whose minds are amenable to “government influence.”

Sir Robert Peel, however, seems most perfectly satisfied with his
exploit, and never for a moment to doubt that it entitles him to the
greatest applause. St. Augustine could not speak with more exultation of
converting millions of Pagans to Christianity by the fervour of his
eloquence, than Sir R. Peel does of his illustrious feat of converting
some hundred ignoble minds to free-trade by his paltry government
influence. This is the glorious, the devoted deed, upon which he rests
his claims to immortality; this it is which is to enshrine his name amid
the gratitude of an admiring posterity. On account of this he trusts
that “his name will be gratefully remembered in those places which are
the abode of the man whose lot it is to labour, and to gain his bread
with the sweat of his brow, when he recruits his strength with abundant
and untaxed food, the sweeter because no longer leavened with a sense of
injustice.” What this abundance of food will actually turn out to be,
and when it is to begin, (for I apprehend that as yet, although the law
is in operation, no labourers have been incommoded with plethora,) we
will not here endeavour to determine. But even if it should turn out to
be an abundance altogether unlooked for and unprecedented, we would not
have Sir Robert Peel imagine that much of the labourer’s gratitude will
go to him. The labourer is generally a shrewd man, with a good share of
honest common sense; and he neither likes his bread nor his minister to
be leavened with the taint of injustice. He is perfectly capable of
discriminating between those who consistently advocate a cause, and
those who, having profitably opposed it in the hour of its weakness,
when they might have aided it, embrace it at the eleventh hour, in the
time of its triumph, when it is capable of aiding them. It is not on
time-serving patriots, such as these, that posterity confers her
gratitude. Posterity gives her gratitude to the upright and sincere, not
to the crafty, servile, and deceitful. Posterity admires those who
convert their fellows to truth by persuasion, she scorns those who can
only convert them to dishonour by government influence.

If, then, the majority of electors were in favour of free-trade, Peel’s
artifices were null and superfluous; if they were not yet in favour of
it, they were unconstitutional. He either did no good whatever to the
cause, or he passed it sooner than constitutional principles warranted.
In the latter case he might claim some merit for anticipating, by a
brief period, the time when it would have been duly carried by a
majority of the electors. A short additional interval of the enjoyment
of free-trade is then, it appears, the utmost extent of his services.
Against this are to be placed all the evils arising from his peculiar
mode of passing the measure,--the shock given to confidence in public
men by such sudden inconsistency,--the general lowering of political
character by his craftiness and duplicity,--the disgust excited at the
avowed and conspicuous part which government influence has played on the
occasion. The country feels justly offended with the minister, who, in a
free nation, where the conscientious voice of the majority should alone
decide, attempts to anticipate that decision by the voice of those who
are biassed by lower and unrecognised motives, and who scruples not to
boast of the success of such a method, and lay claim to merit on its
account. It feels justly offended also at the discovery, that no less
than a hundred of its representatives, who are looked on as the elite of
the land, are capable of voting on a measure of first-rate importance,
on other grounds than their own heartfelt convictions; that they are
ready to vote against it if proposed by A, and for it if proposed by B.
Even the cause of free-trade receives its share of damage by becoming
associated with the odium of such mischievous proceedings. This, indeed,
is felt and acknowledged by many of the free-traders themselves. I may
quote, as an illustration, some expressions in a published letter of Mr.
Vernon Smith, that has fallen under my eye. He states as a motive for
declining office, that “he should be very sorry in his person, however
humble, to sanction the belief that official emolument is a motive of
action among public men. Sufficient shock” he says, “has already been
given to public virtue;” and he subsequently adds, speaking of the Corn
Bill, “We have to await many mischiefs from its mode of settlement.”

For our part, had we been free-traders, most earnestly should we have
implored that our cause might not be encumbered with the sinister aid of
Sir Robert Peel.

Weighing, then, well all the circumstances of the case; considering the
relative value of moral and economical advantages; nay, even looking
principally merely to the latter, it appears to me, as the result of Sir
R. Peel’s recent proceedings, that no residuum of benefit to the country
is left, but a very considerable amount of injury. Such a result is not
one of sufficient lustre and brightness to enable us to grant him the
title in question of “splendide mendax.”

Let us, however, inquire into the other point, as to the character of
those who were the dupes of his insincerity, and how far the duty of
sincerity between him and them was binding.

The duty of sincerity between a leading statesman and that body of men
who were termed his party, does not result from any verbal promise given
by one to the other, but is a tacit compact, arising from the nature of
things, mutually understood, though not defined; and, precisely on
account of its tacit nature, and of so much being left to good faith, is
perhaps the more incumbent on an honourable mind. Not, indeed, that the
party who have placed a public man in power, have therefore the smallest
right to claim an influence over his opinions;--not that because they
think they have done a service to him, they are to claim his support of
their views as a recompense for that service. He is perfectly free to
hold what opinions he pleases, but he is under an obligation honestly to
profess those opinions. He is free to change them when he likes, but he
is bound to give an intimation of those changes. This is not a case of
services bandied to and fro between one party and another, but it is a
mutual duty which all public men owe to each other for the furtherance
of the welfare of the State. Unless public men of all parties and
positions are sincere in the avowal of their opinions, public business
sustains severe injury. For in this, as in other things, isolated
individuals can accomplish little; men must combine their efforts, and
organise themselves, that they may act effectually; and in order to do
this, they must know the general tenor of each other’s opinions, and
count on their support or their hostility accordingly. If they once took
to deceiving one another on these points; if a body of Whigs came over
to the Tory benches, (or _vice versâ_,) and acted and spoke like Tories,
merely with the view of deceiving them, leading them into erroneous
calculations, and then profiting by the error they had caused, such
conduct would justly be stigmatised as baneful and dishonourable. For
public men act and concert measures in matters of the greatest
importance upon the belief which they thus entertain of the general
views of others, and unless they can act in security on this belief,
there is an end of all public confidence. But this general sincerity of
profession and behaviour, though binding on all, even the humblest
member of the House, is more especially so on the leading and more
distinguished statesmen, inasmuch as its breach in their case is
productive of greater evils. A knowledge of their real views is of the
greatest importance to all parties, whose measures vitally depend on the
opinion they entertain of the general views of these statesmen. Upon
this belief they securely act in matters of the greatest importance;
upon this they support or oppose a ministry; and if they are deceived in
this belief, they are thus induced to act in a way which they would, if
they knew the truth, think contrary to the public welfare. If a man
should knowingly induce in another, though without any actual falsehood,
an erroneous belief, and suffer him to act in consequence in a way
prejudicial to his private fortune, (of which we have seen many
instances in the late railroad transactions,) such conduct is justly
denounced as highly censurable. But much more censurable is the conduct
of him who induces an erroneous belief in another, so as to lead him to
act in a way prejudicial (under his views) to the public welfare. By how
much the public welfare is dearer to the high-minded man than his own
individual fortune, by so much is the misconduct of the hypocrite in
Parliament greater than that of the hypocrite upon ’Change. When,
therefore, a Prime Minister knowingly suffers an erroneous belief to
exist in the minds of men, owing to which they give him their support,
which support, if they knew his real views, they would think injurious
to the public welfare, he is committing a breach of a solemn trust; he
is suffering, or rather he is inducing, men to act contrary to the
dictates of their conscience, to do that which he knows they will
afterwards repent of, as contrary to what they deem the interests of
their country; and his conduct is in every way deserving of the
strongest and severest censure.

That Sir Robert Peel knew that men looked upon him as a Protectionist,
while he knew that he was not one; that he knew that, in consequence of
this belief, they supported him; that he knew that if they were aware of
his real views, they would instantly withdraw their support, and that as
soon as they discovered them they would grievously repent of that which
they had given him, as having been contrary to the real interests of
their country;--that he knew all this, and that, nevertheless, he
concealed his real views from these men, and allowed them to retain
their erroneous belief, and to act consequently in a way diametrically
opposite to their conscientious convictions, though a single sentence of
his would have sufficed to dispel their error, and enable them to
further their country’s interests conformably with their own
views--this, I say, is matter of fact, which he would in vain attempt to
deny.

This case, then, exactly corresponds with the preceding; he has broken a
solemn though tacit trust; he has given a severe blow to public
confidence; he has culpably suffered honourable men to deceive
themselves in matters deeply concerning the public welfare; and his
conduct, therefore, exposes him to a severer censure than I have any
wish to seek for language to express.

And when honest men, who have been for a long time conscientiously
supporting him, find that he has been tacitly deceiving them, and
concealing from them his real views,--that he has been sporting with
their convictions, and using them for nothing more than tools for his
own secret purposes,--shall we wonder that they feel just indignation at
such conduct, and that they express their feelings in stronger terms
than suit the delicate ears of Mr. Sidney Herbert?

Sir R. Peel has indeed attempted, in a broken kind of way, to excuse his
conduct, by saying,--“I never told you so and so; if you supported me
without knowing my real opinions, it was your own fault. I did not _say_
any thing that you can charge me with as a falsehood.” Without
mentioning that, in this case, great suspicion is cast on many even of
his verbal professions, which come down to no distant period, surely a
sexagenarian Premier can scarcely need to be told, that there is a
deceit in actions not less than in professions. Does he think it an
excuse that he did not deceive others, but only allowed them to deceive
themselves? A pleasant kind of sincerity! Why, this is no more than the
excuse of a school-boy, who thinks it a sufficient salve to his
conscience that he has skilfully managed to deceive without uttering any
thing directly false with his lips. And this is the excuse put forth by
an English Minister! Miserable excuse, that fitly crowns the
deceit--paltriness of mind, almost inconceivable!

Still worse is it, when he attempts to justify his conduct by taunting
his friends with a previous inconsistency of their own, which they had
been reluctantly induced to commit through him, in order to support him
in power.[11] We cannot understand why he should thus delight in
exposing the not very pleasing recesses of his ignoble nature.
Certainly, “Quem Jupiter vult perdere, prius dementat.” Otherwise he
must see that such palliations as these are far more injurious to his
character than the severest attacks of his foes.

The only case in which this duty of sincerity towards public men could
at all cease to be binding, and admit of a valid excuse, would be, when
those upon whom the deceit was practised were not men conscientiously
seeking the public good, but were acting from unworthy views, for
private or for class interests. In this case, we will admit that the
duty of sincerity would not be of any very strict obligation. This is
doubtless the view that is taken by many people of the conduct of the
Protectionists; by all that numerous class represented by Messrs.
Bright, Villiers, &c.--men who, however sincere themselves, are not
probably endowed by nature with very comprehensive or liberal minds.
From these gentlemen we hear nothing but attacks on the character of the
whole body of the landlords; they look on them as a selfish oligarchy,
sacrificing the public good to their own class interests. Such views
having been industriously propagated by the League, are entertained with
more or less of bitterness by a considerable body of the people. It is
on this account that Sir R. Peel’s conduct has met with so much applause
among them; this it was which animated the cheers that consoled him on
his resignation of power; his treachery to the Protectionists, so far
from appearing censurable in the eyes of these admirers, has rather
enhanced the merit of his success. But such views, however they may suit
the minds of those whose passions are aroused in the party warfare of
the day, can meet with no acceptance from the impartial judge. It is
impossible to admit for a moment that a very large portion of the whole
population of the country, including not only landlords but people of
all classes, merchants, tradesmen, and operatives, were so lamentably
destitute of all regard for their country, and that public spirit was
entirely monopolised by the party advocating free-trade. Neither can we
admit that the large body of Protectionist members in the House, forming
upwards of a third of the whole, were all playing so unworthy a part.
For, adding them to the converts of “Government influence,” we should
thus have more than half the House of Commons acting upon questionable
motives--a prospect certainly not cheering, nor honourable to the
country.

Sir R. Peel, indeed, with his usual magnanimity, does not scruple to
adopt, in a great measure, the above view; and, seeing how little he
spares the feelings of his own devoted supporters, we cannot expect him
to show much tenderness to those who have become his foes. Accordingly,
we find him making frequent hints at these unworthy motives; indeed, but
for some such belief, we cannot understand how he could have justified
to himself his deceitful conduct. In his last words, on laying down his
power, he does not conceal his sentiments:--“I shall leave a name,” says
he, “execrated by every monopolist, who, from less honourable motives,
clings to Protection for his own individual benefit,”--a sentiment
warmly, applauded by Messrs. Bright, Villiers, & Co.

The generosity of nature displayed in this parting blow is indeed worthy
of admiration! We should scarcely think that it was pronounced by a man,
who, up to the age of fifty-six, had done every thing in his power to
uphold this very monopoly and oppose the Repeal of the Corn Laws, and
who had strongly denounced all imputations of the above kind, in the
language of its early and consistent supporters. How noble must be the
man, who, having for all his life courted and flattered the aristocracy,
and thus obtained power as their champion, now gives them a parting
kick, and delivers them over to popular odium as monopolists, after
having obtained for himself popularity and influence at their expense!

Really, let us remark, when Sir Robert scruples not to express such
views, he has no reason to be indignant if the stones of his opponents
break some of the panes of his own glass house, even though they damage
a few of the artificial flowers, which he has been striving to rear
there with so much care.

But, as we observed before, the impartial judge cannot accept this
opinion of Sir Robert’s. He will proportion his praise and blame pretty
nearly equally between both parties. He will hope that in both, the main
body of men are acting on sincere and worthy motives; in both he must
acknowledge it to be probable that there are a few whose motives are of
a less estimable kind. But he will not put all the virtue on one side,
nor all the selfishness on the other. We have yet to learn that Sir
Robert is in any way qualified to pass his censure on the body of
English gentlemen. The less he says upon these points the better. In the
impartial estimate of the three parties, it is he and his that will come
by far the worst off.

We cannot then admit that the character of the parties deceived, in any
way justified the insincerity; no sufficient excuse is found upon this
head, and the breach of the duty remains exposed to grave and severe
censure. England does not recognise such conduct in her Ministers. She
has long been accustomed to pride herself on a general openness and
sincerity of dealing; and that honesty which she looks for in the
humbler walks of life, she claims in a yet more imperative degree from
her leading and conspicuous statesmen. She reprobates among these all
deceitful and underhand conduct, all espionage and mystery; she loves
not the secret opener of letters, even though the plea of utility be at
hand to excuse his conduct; nor is the government influence, Sir
Robert’s darling, at all palatable to her taste. Such proceedings she
thinks more fitted to the court of the despot, to the sinuous policy of
the Oriental Divan; in a free country she demands that public men should
be honest and straightforward, and should not, from whatever motives,
suppress and mask the genuine convictions of their mind. She looks not
on language as a method of concealing the thoughts, but as a method of
declaring them. The recent conduct of Peel has been in every way alien
to her principles. It was a skilful _coup d’état_, well suited to a
Turkish Vizier, but totally inappropriate to an English Minister.

Having, then, examined the insincerity on both the points proposed, we
find that in neither does it wear an aspect of splendour or of
brilliancy, but much of the reverse. We refuse it then the title of a
splendid insincerity, but we qualify it as poor, culpable, and
inglorious.

Sir R. Peel, however, gives us quite a different account of the matter:
he puts in his claim to a generosity of the purest and most exalted
kind. “What possible motives could I have had,” he asks, “except the
most devoted and patriotic? See what an enormous sacrifice I have made!
To afford my country the blessings of Free Trade, I have given up my
power and the confidence of a large party, every thing, in a word, which
is chiefly valuable to a public man. I have come forward and boldly
avowed the truth, in spite of all the taunts of inconsistency and
apostasy to which I inevitably exposed myself. But these I esteem as
nothing in comparison with the good of my country. For my part, I
declare that the proudest moment of my life was when I avowed my
opinions to my colleagues, and proposed measures for opening the
ports.”

It is curious to observe how completely blind Sir Robert Peel seems to
be, to the point on which his conduct is really blamable. He insists
much on his perfect integrity in proposing the measure, seeing that he
thought it highly beneficial to his country. Surely so self-evident a
truism can scarcely need so much parade: surely it is an acknowledged
fact that a statesman is not to blame for proposing measures which he
deems to be highly beneficial. Sir Robert was doubtless most perfectly
right in proposing his measure; nobody, I apprehend, at all blames him
on that head. He was doing his simple duty, considering what his views
were upon the subject. But that for which he is justly blamable, is for
not having done so before. He was culpable for suppressing so long his
real opinions, for professing to deem free trade injurious, while really
he thought it beneficial. He is culpable for the general mask which he
has so long thrown over all his real character and opinions, leading
astray the minds of men, and ruining public confidence. This is the
point to which blame attaches, and on this he is perfectly silent. We
should be glad to know whether it was from motives of a very high and
exalted virtue, that he so long suffered his colleagues, and the public
generally, to deceive themselves? Was it from any very stoical sense of
duty that he so long passed himself off for a protectionist, when really
a free trader? Was it from any very intense and devoted patriotism that
for so long he bitterly denounced Whig principles, when, as it now turns
out, he thoroughly approves of them in his heart? Was it any great
stretch of self-sacrifice, any very generous magnanimity, to obtain
power, and so long to retain it, upon false pretences? This is the point
which it would be desirable for him to clear up. Instead of this, we
have much declamation, quite beside the purpose, on his virtue in coming
forward and avowing his real opinion. What! is it then any such
excessive stretch of virtue, that a man should actually tell the truth?
Is it any thing so marvellous in a statesman, that he should advocate a
measure which he thinks vitally necessary for his country? Sir R. Peel
seems to think that when it entails, as in his own case, the sacrifice
of power, such conduct is eminently praise-worthy and meritorious. Why,
it is his bare duty and nothing more; it is what he ought to have done
years ago, holding the views he does; or, rather, he should never have
entered on that power at all. Surely power and place are not so dear to
statesmen that they should think it very arduous and patriotic to
sacrifice them for their duty to their country. Not to do so would be
highly blamable, to do so is simply right, but in no way a subject for
praise or self-glorification. And yet Sir R. Peel naively tells us, that
the proudest moment of his life was when he declared his real sentiments
to his colleagues, and avowed his advocacy of free trade. A strange
subject of pride, to fulfil (much too late) a duty of common honesty!
Wondrous triumph of virtue, to put a tardy close to a culpable and
pernicious dissimulation, which had already been productive of great
harm! And this is the glorious feat, which, as Sir R. Peel informs us,
afforded him the proudest moment of his life! Curious, unenviable
career, of which such is the proudest moment?

It seems then to be “the enormous sacrifice” which he has made, upon
which he rests his claim to devoted virtue. “I have sacrificed,” says
he, every thing that “is dear to a public man.” Certainly, we do not
deny that he has made many sacrifices. He has sacrificed his former
supporters, handing them over to discomfiture and to the public odium as
monopolists. By his course of dissimulation and deceit he has also
sacrificed his character, and with it all claims to public confidence.
But these sacrifices are not of any very sublime and devoted nature. It
is not by a sacrifice of character that a claim to exalted virtue can
best be established. The method is ingenious, but somewhat Irish,[12]
and likely to meet with no solid success. There remains, then, the
sacrifice of power, to which we will grant its share of merit, (provided
it is not made a matter of boast.) We learn, however, from some of his
new admirers, that it has not been laid down for nought. It appears to
have been exchanged for a good equivalent of popularity and influence,
upon which it is hinted that a firmer power is to arise ere long, much
grander and more durable than the last. Mr. Wakley, for instance,
informs us that “at this moment Sir R. Peel is the most popular man in
the kingdom; that he is beloved, nay adored, by the masses, who believe
that no man has ever before made such sacrifices on their behalf.” And
that most probably “he (Sir R. Peel) will shortly return to power upon
the shoulders of the people, and will remain there just as long as he
pleases.”

If this be so, what shall we say of the sacrifice? Had Sir Robert
advocated this measure while it was weak, and while such advocacy
entailed a real sacrifice, then might he justly put in his claim to
heroism and devotion. But he gained his power by opposing it while weak,
he did not adopt it till it was strong, and capable of supporting that
power. He rejected it when its adoption would have weakened him, he
embraced it when his adherence procured for him an extensive (though
ill-deserved) popularity and influence. By associating his name with it,
he has obtained renown, frequently the dearest reward of ambition. In no
way are the circumstances of his conduct such as to support his claims
to intense and exalted patriotism. It is not for men of time-serving
convictions like these, to aspire to the rank of Aristides or
Washington.

If, indeed, we go back to the characters of antiquity, we find others
much better suited to our man, than these exalted natures; but there is
one especially whose resemblance is such that we cannot help suspecting
that there must be more than chance in it. He is described by
Aristophanes, and with such lively and accurate traits, that no one can
fail to recognise the type of our present hero. It has not, indeed, been
reserved for the nineteenth century to discover that a measure promising
cheap food is well suited to procure popularity and power, and that the
favour of the people can most readily be obtained by courting that
highly important organ, its stomach. (Nor can we altogether blame this
judgment of the “popular bellua.”) The late contest between our
political leaders is most amusingly similar to that described in the
“Knights,” between the two candidates for the good graces of the
Athenian Demos.

    R. ὁρᾷς· ἐγώ σοι πρότερος ἐκφέρω δίφρον.

    P. ἀλλ’ οὐ τράπεζαν· ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ προτεραίτερος.

    R. ἰδοὺ φέρω σοι σάχχαρον Κύβης ἐγὼ,
       ἤρτυνε δ’ αὐτὸν δοῦλος Ἀφρικανικός.

    P. ἐγὼ δὲ μᾶζαν Ἰνδικὴν μεμαγμένην.

    R. λαβέ νῦν πλακοῦντος πίονος παρ’ ἐμοῦ τόμον.

But it is when we come to the crowning trick that we more especially
recognise our patriot, that famous “coup” of the hare, which has shed
immortal lustre on the ἀλλαντοπώλης. How exactly was Cleon like
the Whigs, boasting

    Κ. ἀλλ’ οὐ λαγῷ’ ἕξεις ὁπόθεν δῷς· ἀλλ’ ἐγώ·

    ΑΛΛΑΝ. οἴμοι. πόθεν λαγῷά μοι γενήσεται;
          ὦ θυμὲ νυνὶ, βωμολόχον ἔξευρέ τι.

And how beautiful is the heaven-sent flash of genius which irradiates
the mind of the Athenian Peel, when, distracting his adversary’s
attention, by directing it to “envoys _with bags of money_,” he snatches
away the choice tit-bit, and proffers it with his own hands to the
chuckling Demos;--

    ΑΛΛΑΝ. ὦ Δημίδιον, ὁρᾷς τὰ λαγῷ’ ἅ σοι φέρω;

It is a stroke that may have been often imitated, but never surpassed,
and must excite envy even in the breast of his present successful
follower. And is not our modern trickster’s recognition of the services
of Cobden, and his own claim of merit for his skilful “government
influence,” almost prophetically expressed in the slightly varied line--

    P. τὸ μὲν νόημα Κοβδένος, τὸ δὲ κλέμμ’ ἐμόν.

and the contest for their respective claims to favour between himself
and Lord John?

    R. ἐγὼ δ’ ἐκινδύνευσ’. P. ἐγὼ δ’ ὤπτησά γε.

with the pithy judgement of the Demos,

    ἄπιθ’· οὐ γὰρ ἀλλὰ τοῦ παραθέντος ἡ χάρις.[13]

Yes, when we read this it is impossible to hesitate; an Attic colony
must have settled in England, and the sausage-seller’s progeny must
still be thriving among us. The blood of the ἀλλαντοπώλης must
yet be circulating in the veins of the κοτωνοπώλης of the day.

Yet when we read of our sausage-seller’s subsequent career, we feel that
we have done him injustice; most widely different is his policy as
Agoracritus, from any thing in the career of Peel.

In fact, our κοτωνοπώλης is the ἀλλαντοπώλης inverted.
The Athenian starts as a demagogue, and ends as a patriot. Peel starts
in the character of a patriot, and ends in that of a demagogue. The
Athenian starts with the trick of the hare, and ends in an honest and
noble policy. Peel starts with the appearance of an honest policy, and
ends with the trick of the hare.

The Athenian directs his efforts to a high and noble aim, to purify and
regenerate the Δῆμος, to purge him from the love of gain, from
fickle caprice, and overweening vanity, and lead him to higher and
nobler influences; to attune his mind to old national feelings, and
revive in him a love of his country’s institutions, before fast falling
into contempt. Under the auspices of the bard of the shining brow, we
are conducted to a glorious vision, where amid the sound of the opening
Propylæa, the regenerate Δῆμος is sitting on his throne, clad
in his long-lost ornaments, τεττιγοφόρας ἀρχαίῳ σχήματι
λαμπρός. οἷός περ Ἀριστείδῃ πρότερον καὶ Μιλτιάδῃ ξυνεσίτει·

But what is the vision to which Peel’s principles have conducted us? How
will the Δῆμος that delights his economical mind bear
comparison with that of the Athenian? The Athenian’s is sitting upon a
throne, Peel’s is standing bowing behind a counter. The Athenian’s is
animated by the love of the beautiful, Peel’s by the love of the
gainful. The Athenian’s is alive to poetry and art, Peel’s is engrossed
by industry and commerce. The Athenian’s strives to give real value to
mind, Peel’s to give exchangeable value to matter. The Athenian’s
delights in philosophical, Peel’s in commercial speculations. The
Athenian’s is a nation of heroes, Peel’s is a nation of shopkeepers.
There is the workman toiling twelve hours a-day, while Parliament
discusses the probability of a discussion on his condition. There is the
pauper, revelling in the workhouse on his diet of “abundant and untaxed
food.” There, too, is the liberal cotton lord, proud of his
intelligence, his piety, and his purse. “I thank my stars that I am not
as other men are, monopolists, aristocrats, or even as this
Protectionist. I eat slave-grown sugar. I pay half per cent income-tax
on all that I possess. I work my men twelve hours a-day, and leave them
no time for vice and idleness. I buy in the cheapest, and I sell in the
dearest market.”

There is the liberality that prefers free trade to free man, and the
principles of economy to those of humanity. There is the piety that
justifies its avarice by texts, and patronises slavery on the ground of
Christian duty. There is the philanthropy that loves itself and its tea
better than the happiness of its fellows; that dooms thousands of its
race to the lowest depths of wo, in order to save a penny on the pound
of sugar. Go, ye liberal and enlightened Christians, learn Christianity
from Voltaire. He did not bow before the idol of trade, at which you are
now prostrating yourselves; he raised his voice in the cause of humanity
against those vile principles of commercial cupidity which you have
chosen for your creed. He, pointing to the degraded negro, could
indignantly exclaim--

    “Voyez, à quel prix vous mangez du sucre en Europe!”

He did not think that market cheap, where such a price was paid for it.
Yes! while you are dealing out damnation in your bigoted sects, he was
more, far more a Christian than you are.[14]

We by no means wish to lay to Sir Robert’s charge all the evils of the
above picture; nevertheless, we think that the economical principles so
dear to his heart, have had no little share in contributing to them.
Certainly we look in vain for any efforts on his part to elevate the
national character. His last support of the sugar bill is admirably
characteristic; he is decidedly opposed to its principle, (he
sympathises indeed most warmly with the negroes,) but, nevertheless, he
is compelled as usual to support it--at a great sacrifice of course to
his feelings--owing to the peculiar position of political affairs.
Certainly, his career cuts a lamentable figure by the side of that of
Agoracritus.

Nevertheless, though we cannot think his career meritorious, it is
without doubt remarkable. This phenomenon of a man, who through life had
been regarded as a leader in the aristocratic or Tory school, casting
his skin nearly at the mature age of sixty, and soaring forth in the
sunshine of popular favour in the gaudy and pleasing colours of the
Radical, is certainly one of a curious and interesting kind. A variety
of questions are suggested by it to the inquiring spirit. For how long
has this suppression of his real opinions existed? For how long has he
been pleased, according to his phrase, to allow people to deceive
themselves? Is he still allowing them this amusing privilege? Do we even
now see him in his real colours, or is some further metamorphosis in
store? Have his changes been the sudden conversions of a facile and
unstable inconsistency, or are they the long prepared denouement of a
secret and mysterious plot? Has a tyro in politics been unlearning his
prejudices and mistakes at the expense of his country, or has a Radical
in disguise been prowling in the Tory fold, luring on the aristocracy to
their own discomfiture?

Between the two alternatives of inconsistency and insincerity, it might
be thought that his apologists would all take the first, and his
accusers the second; that while the latter attacked him for premeditate
treachery, the former might defend him on the ground of a natural
facility of disposition, which rendered him prone to sudden conversions
beneath the pressure of the times.

Such, however, by no means seems to be the case: on the contrary, the
darker and more mysterious view of his conduct is the one taken by his
most ardent admirers; (for, strange to say, such beings still exist.)
Happening to be in conversation with one of these, (a zealous Radical,)
I chanced to indulge in some animadversions on Sir Robert’s weakness, as
shown in his numerous and repeated conversions, expressing an opinion
that a statesman so exceedingly fallible must be totally unfitted to
guide the destinies of a great nation. But such, I found, was by no
means the view of my radical friend; who, somewhat to my surprise,
maintained that he was a most able and skilful man, by far the best
fitted of all our existing statesmen for the post of Prime Minister. Of
any thing like weakness he would not hear. Does Peel’s general
character, said he, savour of weakness? does he look like an innocent
child, who does not know what he is about? Depend upon it there is a
method in his inconsistency; depend upon it he has perfectly well known,
all along, the game he has been playing.

What! then, said I, do you mean to say, that all his former professions
were insincere? that when he opposed Canning on the Catholic question,
he all along looked forward to his carrying it? that when he opposed the
Whigs, he intended when in, power to adopt their principles? that when
he made such strenuous professions in favour of Protection, he all
along had an eye to the repeal of the Corn Laws?

Certainly, replied my friend, I may say not only that I think it, but
that I know it. Do you suppose that so skilful a man would make his
moves without having an eye to the game he was playing?

And is not such insincerity, said I, most detestable?

Insincerity! replied my Liberal, with a shrug of the shoulders,--it is a
fine word, a very pretty word for declamation; but, young man, when you
are as old as I am, you will know what it passes for in the political
world. Depend upon it, only those cry out about it who are hurt by it;
those who benefit by it give it quite a different name. The man who is
an apostate and a renegade to the party whom he betrays, is a virtuous
and patriotic convert to that which receives him.

Surely, cried I, if Peel has really been playing the game you attribute
to him, no one could hesitate to pronounce him insincere.

Not at all so, said his admirer, his sincerity can easily be defended. I
look upon him myself as a most sincere patriot, notwithstanding the view
that I take of his policy. His principle has been a most consistent and
patriotic one;--always to carry the popular measure, as soon as the
public mind was ripe for it.

But was not, then, his conduct to Canning most reprehensible, when he
professed such repugnance to the Catholic claims?

Not by any means; he really opposed them at the time, because the public
mind was not yet ripe for them; and he sincerely proposed them
afterwards, because it had ripened in the interim. The measure which
would have been hazardous in the former case, had become safe and
beneficial in the second. The same may be said of his apparent changes
with respect to the principles of the Whigs and the Free Traders. He
abstained from these doctrines as long as their popularity was doubtful,
and embraced them as soon as the maturity of public opinion had rendered
them wise and beneficial.

Why then, I inquired, did he profess to oppose them on principle?--why
did he not declare that he was only waiting for the public mind to
ripen? I cannot say that I got a very satisfactory answer on this head,
but it was something to the effect that the public good, statesman-like
discretion, peculiarities of political affairs, might justify some
suppression on this point.

In fact, continued my friend, his whole opposition to the Whigs and the
Reform Bill, was nothing but a piece of acting, into which he was led by
the force of circumstances. Nobody thought that the public mind was so
nearly ripe for it as it proved to be, and Peel therefore was not
prepared to take advantage of it. It was an unforeseen event which took
him by surprise, and he thus, against his will, was forced out of the
movement. But his opposition was entirely fictitious,--he was never a
Tory at heart: he might use their prejudices as tools to serve his
purposes, but he was always too wary to adopt them in reality. His heart
was always with the popular doctrines, more so than was the case with
the Whigs themselves, as his recent behaviour evinces. He is ready now
to take up and carry out their principles at a point where they
themselves hesitate to do so. This is what he has all along been aiming
at,--the post he aspires to is that of the man of the people, the leader
of the movement. He is far better fitted for this than the Whigs; he has
no sickly visions of finality. He will not scruple to carry out the
dominant wishes of the people, whithersoever they may lead. Then he has
this peculiar advantage, that while most other ministers are fettered by
their pledges and professions, these are no impediments to Peel. This is
why I look upon him as our fittest minister, because he will most fully
carry out the people’s will. As soon as that will is decidedly
expressed, his only care will be to execute it.

We ventured to raise some doubts as to the fitness of such a character
for the post of Minister. Surely, said we, _he_ can scarcely be fit for
a ruler, who is thus servile to the dominant opinion of the day. Surely
a Minister should be somewhat in advance of the mass, and rather capable
of directing their opinion than compelled to follow it.

If we look to mere outward brilliancy, replied he, that may be true, but
if we look to solid utility, the case is different. In a despotic
country, such a minister as you require might be needful; in Austria,
for instance, a Metternich may be of use to direct and anticipate public
opinion. But in a free country like ours, where public opinion is so
active, we shall never want demagogues to form it; of these there will
always be a plentiful stock; the difficulty is to find a minister who
will interpret and execute the popular will, after it has been fashioned
by these more original spirits. And this, if I mistake not, is eminently
found in Peel, as time, I suspect, will demonstrate. Think not that his
career is over; think not, as his short-sighted adversaries may imagine,
that he is extinguished as a public man. That darling wish of his heart,
to be borne triumphantly into power by the masses, as leader of the
popular movement, lies at length almost within his grasp. His recent
desertion of the aristocracy was admirably timed; though he may have
lost their support, he has gained in exchange the favour of the people.
He has craftily quitted the falling house, to take ampler lodgings in
the new and rising fabric. However powerless he may seem to the
ignorant, he has still admirable cards in his hand. His adversaries may
be formidable in number, but they are weak in intrinsic strength. No one
knows better than he how to play them off one against the other, and to
profit by their dissensions. Meanwhile he is patiently biding his time,
which, be assured, is not far distant. Politics have lately displayed
much greater wonders than the triumphant return to power of Sir Robert
Peel.

And if once he return, think not that he will easily be dispossessed of
it. He will well know how to play the part of the popular favourite.
There stands not in the House a more thorough Radical than the inner man
of Sir Robert Peel. It is from him that we shall obtain Extended
Suffrage, finally to become Universal. It is from him that we shall
obtain the diminution, and at last the abolition of Church
Establishments. It is from him, or from such as he, that we may hope
finally to obtain a Republic. You may smile, and think such a prospect
absurd. Would you have thought it more absurd, if I had told you three
years ago that from him we should have obtained Repeal of the Corn Laws?
Depend upon it, we shall yet see the day when Sir Robert shall be the
triumphant popular minister.

Heaven forbid! thought I; yet I was forced to confess that it did not
seem unlikely. I could, however, by no means join in the admiration
which my friend expressed for such a character. While granting that some
respect might be felt for the skilful δημαγωγός, who leads and
sways the popular mind, I could feel nothing but contempt for the
servile δημοπηδός, who merely watches and follows it. I rallied
him somewhat upon the magnanimous liberality, which could ally itself
with so poor and ungenerous a character, so debased, if his account were
true, by meanness, duplicity, and hypocrisy. My Radical waxed somewhat
warm, and at length he parted, in all the dignity of his liberality,
thinking me a young fool; while I returned, laughing at his generous
patriotism, and thinking him a servile-minded old humbug.[15]

The more, however, I pondered on the subject, the more did I see the
justice of his views on Peel’s character, and at length I almost
entirely coincided with him,--in every thing but his admiration.

What then shall we say of these principles, looking at them under their
moral aspect? Taking his admirer’s view, I know not how they could
escape the severest censure. But though these admirers of his make no
scruple in adopting this view, and even in warmly defending it, we
cannot but hesitate to follow their example. An insincerity so
deliberate, so calculated, is more than we can readily admit. No doubt,
his actual conduct has been such as my friend above described, as facts
sufficiently show. No doubt, he has professed one set of principles
when seeking power, and another when in possession of it. No doubt, he
has used the aristocratical element as his stepping-stone to greatness,
and has afterwards kicked it over for the popular one as its support.
But we think that these principles have acted in a great measure
spontaneously, without any very fixed and deliberate plan in his own
mind. We take his conduct to have been not so much the result of
calculation, as of the peculiar organisation of his nature. We believe
him to have been in a great measure unconscious of the inherent
servility and flexibility of his convictions. When he opposed a measure,
he probably imagined that he did so chiefly on its own merits, and was
not aware that his conversion would inevitably take place, as soon as
public opinion was ripe for that measure.

Let us, however, listen to himself, and see what light we can derive
from his own lips as to the nature of his principles. By his own
account, in the case of the Corn Laws, the suppression of his real
opinions lasted for somewhere about three years. “About three years
ago,” says he, “a great change took place in my opinions on the
subject;” but it seems that for the public good, he thought it best to
allow people to deceive themselves, and therefore carefully suppressed
all intimation of this change. So far, then, his own account tallies
with that of his admirer, and we have his own word that his insincerity,
for a considerable period of time, was deliberate and calculated. But
the actual duration of this hypocrisy it must evidently be impossible to
determine with accuracy; for if a person can, by his own avowal,
practise it knowingly and deliberately for three years, it is probable
that in a vague and unconscious way, not thoroughly known even to
himself, he has been indulging in it for a much longer period.

Again, with respect to his Whig principles, it is impossible to
determine accurately how long they have been suppressed, and he has not
favoured us on this point with much specific information; but it would
appear that they latently existed at the time that he so strenuously
opposed that government, and that the germ of Whiggery was developing
itself in his bosom, while outwardly he was shining as a high Tory.

With respect to the Catholic Question he is more communicative, and he
takes care to inform us, in a speech revised by his own hand, and
published for the benefit of posterity in Hansard, that here, too, his
duplicity had been of long standing, and very much of a deliberate and
premeditated nature. When proposing, as Minister, the measure of
Catholic Emancipation, which outwardly he had so long opposed, he
reports himself to have said, “So far as my own course in this question
is concerned, it is the same with that which suggested itself to my mind
in the year 1825, when I was his Majesty’s Principal Minister for the
Home Department, and found myself in a minority in this House on this
[the Catholic] Question.”[16] Now, the course which he was then pursuing
was that of openly advocating and supporting the Catholic claims. And
the same course, he tells us, (that, therefore, we must conclude, of his
advocating these claims,) suggested itself to his mind in 1825. His
duplicity then was of long standing; for he did not, as is well known,
suffer the public to be in the least aware of any such suggestion, from
the time when it presented itself to his mind in 1825, till 1829, when
he first avowed that favourable leaning to those claims, which had so
long lain dormant in the interior of his breast. His conduct certainly
was well calculated to prevent any suspicion of the existence of such a
tendency in his mind; for in 1827, two years after the suggestion had
offered itself, he declared himself compelled, by a painful but rigorous
sense of duty, to quit Canning’s ministry, and join the opposition
against that statesman, on account of his own deep repugnance to those
claims, and his conviction of their ruinous tendency. Nay, more, he
suffered himself to be borne into power for the ostensible purpose of
resisting those claims, and made the round of the country amid the
acclamations of his supporters, as Protestant champion, without giving
the slightest hint of the suggestion which the minority in 1825 had
awakened in his mind, and which was so shortly to develop itself in full
force, as soon as he was seated in power.

If, then, we are to believe his own account, his hypocrisy in this
matter must have been of considerable duration, of much skill, and
consummate perfidy. Though a feat of his earlier prime, it must have
been quite worthy to compare with the recent great exploit of his
maturity.

The speech from which we have extracted the above passage, is the same
which gave rise to the discussion in Parliament, in which Sir Robert’s
conduct in this business was attacked. He then endeavoured to rebut the
charges founded on it, by denying the authenticity of the expressions
attributed to him, some of which rested only on the isolated reports of
particular newspapers.[17] But the sentence above quoted stands at full
length in his own corrected report in Hansard, revised, as its title
tells us, by Mr. Secretary Peel, the authenticity of which has never
been questioned. And certainly its natural sense would lead us to
conclude, that he was ready, in the interior of his mind, in 1825, to
embrace the cause of Catholic Emancipation. If, as he would fain
demonstrate, it has a contrary meaning, it can be only, we presume, when
taken in some _non-natural sense_;--the fixing of which we leave to
those more conversant than ourselves with that very ingenious mode of
interpretation.

And if it be true that he did feel so disposed, that he was “almost
persuaded,” at that early period, of the wisdom of granting the Catholic
claims, then his subsequent behaviour in putting himself at the head of
the party who unflinchingly and undoubtingly opposed those claims, as
injurious to the country, his professing to coincide fully in their
views, and his obtaining power on the strength of those professions,
cannot but be looked on as a political manœuvre of the most disingenuous
and culpable kind.

What could have been the motive of his making so strange a confession,
is a somewhat curious subject of inquiry. We think we recognise in it an
attempt to establish a kind of vague compromise between insincerity and
inconsistency. If his conduct were attributed to mere inconsistency, he
must plead guilty to a long previous mistake, and must forfeit all
pretensions to political prudence and foresight. If, however, it were
thought that he had for a long time had a secret leaning in favour of
the Catholic claims, and had only been waiting for the ripeness of
public opinion to declare his real sentiments, then he would escape the
charge of weakness and imprudence, and would only incur the blame of a
beneficial insincerity. He would thus gain the good graces of all those
whose strong attachment to the measure would make them overlook, in
behalf of its importance, what they would consider a pardonable deceit.

This view, indeed, he could not explicitly state in so many words, as it
would have laid him too open to the accusations of his opponents; but it
can be hinted at, as in the above passage. For what intelligible meaning
can be attached to that sentence, if it do not convey the idea that his
inconsistency, after all, was not so flagrant as had been represented;
that his mind for some time previously had been leaning that way, and
that, to use his peculiar phrase, his course was “the same with that
which suggested itself to his mind in the year 1825.” We believe this
expression to be the most accurate that he could have used. The design
of supporting the Catholic claims had not then fully ripened in his
mind, he had not formed any accurate and deliberate plan of conduct; but
the possibility of doing so at some future day secretly “suggested
itself to his mind.” A scarcely audible voice whispered in his mind,
“Perhaps, Peel, some time or other, in certain contingencies, State
necessities, public duty, &c., may require that you should lend a
favourable ear to the Catholic claims.” What these peculiar
contingencies were would also be suggested by the same little voice, but
in so low a tone and in such vague terms that he himself would not be
able to render a definite account of them.

Whatever, however, be the real construction of the above passage, or of
any other similar ones that may be met with among his speeches, we
ourselves should not be disposed to attach too prominent an importance
to them. Such confessions might be admirably fitted as a taunt to him,
as an “argumentum ad hominem,” as a case of “habemus confitentem reum:”
but it is not on his own verbal expressions that the judgment on his
conduct is to be formed. Strange indeed would it be if a skilful orator
should so blunder in his speech as openly to avow an act of duplicity
and deceit; it is only matter of marvel how such expressions as that
above quoted could ever have been used. But, in a case like this, if he
wished fully to express all that he knew of his own intentions, if he
desired to unburden his mind by the fullest possible confession, he
would not be able accurately to do so, and his own estimate of his own
character would be little worth. It is an unfailing consequence with
those who practise hypocrisy in the view of deceiving others, that they
also at the same time deceive themselves. One deliberate and systematic
piece of deceit produces an incalculable amount of this subtler and
unconscious hypocrisy. It is a kind of general veil or mantle in which
the person walks, which conceals his soul even from his own view, and
deceives him as to the motives of his own actions. Under its soothing
influence no sense of insecurity is felt; and the man whose conduct is
all the time biassed by some egotistical motive, walks in the proud
conviction to himself that he is a model of patriotism and virtue. Such
an hypocrisy, to take a prominent instance, is well exemplified in the
case of Cromwell; but illustrations must be familiar to every one in the
humbler walks of life, and if he have a difficulty in discerning it in
others, he will have none if he knows how to examine himself. It is a
tendency which exists in all, and requires strong efforts for its
subjugation. All strong passions or desires carry it along with them,
unless their deceptive influence be firmly counteracted by the stronger
desire for truth and right.

In Sir Robert’s case we believe it to have arisen from the action of a
strong egotistical desire of power and fame, unchecked by any heartfelt
and earnest convictions with regard to the truth of his public
principles. His whole career is a continuous proof of this defect of all
genuine and lively seizure of the truth; for never does he advocate an
opinion while it is weak, and never does he oppose it when it is strong.
Owing to this, his principles, though he himself may have no distinct
consciousness of it, have insensibly bent themselves to the stronger
motives of ambition. He remains all the time in ignorance of the secret
bias, and is by no means aware of how far from true patriotism he is.

Accustomed to rely on the opinions of others, from the absence of all
earnest conviction in himself, he must be forced to trust to their voice
even in matters relating to his own conduct; and, when he hears the
cheers of the populace that salute him at the door of the House of
Commons, he lays the flattering unction to his soul that he is a martyr
and a patriot. How should it be otherwise? When he hears himself
applauded as an eminently virtuous and injured man, what means is there
of undeceiving him, if his own conscience be silent or confirm the
delusion? I find it well remarked to my purpose by Mencius, the Chinese
sage, speaking of some statesmen of his day, whom he declares to have
had only a false appearance of virtue,--“Having had for a long time this
false appearance, and not having made any return to sincerity and
integrity, how could they know,” he asks, “that they did not possess
it?”[18]

And when we speak of the weakness or servility of conviction, we would
by no means be understood to mean a mere liability to change. The man of
sincere and earnest mind frequently changes his opinions oftenest. The
difference lies in the motives of the change. In the case of the earnest
man these arise from his own mind, in the case of the servile-minded man
from external circumstances. Such, for instance, are political
advantages, or the number, or clamour, or strength of the advocates of
an opinion. Circumstances generally enable us to discriminate pretty
accurately. If a man always rejects an opinion when shared by few, and
always adopts it when popular and dominant; if he has nothing to say to
it when it is of no service to him, but embraces it when it is strong,
and can give him renown and popularity, we shall not probably err in
deeming that man to be of a servile mind, wanting in sincere and earnest
convictions. The truthful-minded man at once avows his change, the
servile-minded one cunningly conceals it till it suits his purpose. If,
besides this, a man be cold, pompous, and an egotist, if his character
be marked by duplicity, if his language be plausible, but unsatisfactory
if he be found to pay more deference to his foes through fear than to
his friends from affection, all these are corroborating tests of the
servile character in question. Though it may be difficult to assign its
precise tokens in words, there is less difficulty in discriminating it
in practice.

It is this total want of all earnest and heartfelt conviction of the
truth, which forms the key to the interpretation of the whole of Sir R.
Peel’s career. Deciphered by this, all the tortuous inconsistencies of
his course arrange themselves in systematic order, all the varied
hieroglyphics of his mysterious conduct yield a clear and intelligible
meaning. The man who is thoroughly convinced of the truth of his
principles, labours unceasingly to impart them to others, to urge upon
them the importance of his views, to point out the beneficial results
which must flow from his course of policy. Such an earnest conviction
animated Pitt in his resistance to the French Revolution, Canning in his
advocacy of the Catholic claims, Wilberforce in his endeavours for Negro
Emancipation; and lately, (if we may be pardoned somewhat of a bathos,)
Cobden in his war against the Corn Laws. Without meaning to assimilate
the merits, of these various efforts, they all serve as examples of the
way in which men act when animated by a genuine and sincere conviction.
But there is no principle, great or small, which has owed its advance in
public opinion to one sentence of Peel’s. Say rather, there is none
which while yet in its infancy, and in need of support, has not been
opposed by him to the best of his power. While it is weak, he raises his
tongue against it; while it is doubtful, he halts between two opinions,
and watches the struggle in cautious silence; as soon as it has become
dominant and can dispense with his support, he proffers his aid with
copious professions of zeal, and seeks to fix on his inglorious brow the
laurels that rightly belong to another.

Had he lived in the Roman world at an earlier age, when Christianity was
yet striving against the secular powers, while it was weak and
despised, who would have opposed it more loudly than the Robert Peel of
the day? who would have more warmly urged its impracticability, its
unfitness for the concerns of life? who would more eloquently have
exhorted the Roman world to hold to the wisdom of their forefathers? As,
however, the tide gradually and steadily rolled on, and day by day one
conversion followed another, these eloquent protestations would begin
somewhat to flag, and at length that plausible tongue would lie in
silence. But when at last it began to make its way among the higher
powers of the land, amid the eminent and wealthy; when finally it even
penetrated into the Court of the Emperor, and rumours began to be
whispered that he himself looked on it with no unfavourable eye, a few
days before Constantine’s conversion Pellius would announce his formal
adhesion to its principles, with an intimation that he had for some
years been leaning that way, and that “a similar course had suggested
itself to his mind,” even at the time when he took some part in the
Dioclesian persecution.[19] A skilful management of “government
influence,” pouring grace and unction on many benighted minds, would
secure him a good claim to merit, and he would doubtless be rewarded for
his seasonable change by a high post amid the officers of the regenerate
Emperor.

This time-serving conduct, skilfully managed, will frequently succeed
admirably with the world; for these children of this world are in their
generation wiser than the children of light. The sincere advocates of
principles through good and through bad report, are looked upon as
unpractical and fanciful theorists; while those who carefully watch
their opportunity, and conform themselves with good grace to the
dominant tide of opinion, are hailed as able and practical men, and even
obtain from the mass the praise of more than common honesty, inasmuch as
they are not ashamed to avow a change in their opinions. It is of such
as these that the wise Confucius pointedly says, “The most honest men of
their time are the pest of virtue.”

“What!” asks the surprised disciple Wen-tchang, “whom do you call the
most honest men of their time?”

“Those,” replies the Sage, “who direct their principal efforts to speak
and act like all the world, are the adulators of their age: these are
the most honest men of their generation.”

“And why,” says the disciple, “do you call them the pest of virtue?”

“If you wish to find a defect in them, you will not know where to lay
hold of them; if you wish to attack them in any place, you will not be
able to compass it. They participate in the poverty of the manners of
their age. That which dwells in their heart resembles integrity and
sincerity, and their actions resemble the practice of temperance and
virtue. As all the people of their country boast of them incessantly,
they believe themselves to be models of perfection. This is why I regard
them as the pest of virtue.”

“I detest,” continues Confucius, “that which has only the appearance of
reality: I detest the tares, in the fear that they will ruin the crop. I
DETEST THE SKILFUL STATESMAN, IN THE FEAR THAT HE WILL CONFOUND
EQUITY.”[20]

Might not the simple lessons of Confucius be read with advantage even in
our enlightened age, which certainly is not without its “adulators?”
Might not they do some good to Sir R. Peel, and awaken that “skilful
statesman” to a juster estimate of his real virtue?

The idea contained in the above passage is most accurately and
profoundly true, and shows, like most of his remarks, that Confucius had
a penetrating knowledge of human nature. There are, in fact, two great
classes into which mankind may be divided; those whose model of conduct
is the general conduct of the society in which they live, and those
whose model is an ideal in their own minds, unattainable indeed, and
never to be realised in practice, but the mere aiming at which elevates
their character. The first of these are the men described above by
Confucius, “whose principal effort is to think and to act just like all
the world,” whom he ironically terms “the most honest men of their
district.” And even in our day this class furnishes us with a vast
number of “most highly respectable men.” Destitute of all splendid
visions, they are never led astray into any extravagance that might
shock the decorous laws of society, and they are looked upon accordingly
as models of temperance and virtue. These are the “children of this
world” most wise in their generation: the “men of the world,” from whom
arise the sharp practical man, the skilful statesman, the time-serving
diplomatist,[21] and all the host of Vicars of Bray, whether in religion
or politics.

The others are those who derive their principles not from the
fashionable dicta of the world, nor the ruling doctrines of the age, but
from the idea of truth within their own minds; who, “though the sun were
on their right hand and the moon were on their left,” would not be
diverted from the genuine convictions of their conscience. They look not
to the flickering glare of public opinion, but to the immutable light of
truth; these are “the children of light,” the souls of pure and
high-minded virtue. From these have sprung all that humanity has of
great and noble, all those who have sacrificed on the altar of truth; in
religion the Martyrs, in philosophy the Sages, in politics the sincere
and devoted Patriots. They do not despise opinions because the world
despises them, nor do they honour them because the world does them
honour; they are “justi ac tenaces propositi viri,” who do not ebb and
flow with the tide of public opinion.

In which of these two classes Sir Robert Peel is to be placed, is what
his own conduct will decide, better than our judgment. Nevertheless, we
will hazard the opinion, that Sir Robert Peel is no child of light. We
suspect that there are _very_ few principles, for which he would suffer
himself to be burnt,--even in effigy. With no high ideal by which to
guide his conduct, with no generous or exalted views, he has ventured on
a career beyond his powers. Fitted by Nature to make an excellent
Chancellor of the Exchequer, he has not known how to content himself
with his proper post. A narrow egotist, he has attempted to guide the
destinies of a great nation. His career, as might have been expected,
has been a notable failure. If it be not exposed to very heavy blame, we
decidedly must withhold all praise from it; if it have little of the
execrable, it certainly has nothing of the admirable. Unstable as water,
how could he excel? and excellence has been wanting accordingly. His
career has been one continuous mistake; the greatest mistake of all
being that he ever began it. His only discoveries have been, that he had
previously been in error. His only victories have been over his friends,
whom thrice he has dragged through the mire of dishonour.[22] He has
portioned out triumph to his foes, defeat and bitterness to his
supporters. He quits power amid the disgust and indignation of his old
friends, and the contemptuous patronage of his new. Such has been the
career of the _safe_ man, the practical and able statesman! The generous
Canning, a man of real and noble ideas, was looked upon as dangerous,
and the wary and cautious Peel was raised to power in his stead. Could
they have foreseen--those who were toiling for their safe man, and so
alarmed at the dangerous ideas of Canning--that it was to the safe man
they were to be indebted for Catholic, Emancipation, and Repeal of the
Corn Laws? Reflect upon this, ye lovers of _safe_ men, and be wise:
choose those who are really safe, and see first that they are men at
all, and next only that they be safe ones; men--of high and bold ideas,
not crafty and narrow-minded egotists.

The above described modification of character is, no doubt, extensively
prevalent, and by its frequency in their ranks casts somewhat of a
shade over the whole body of politicians and statesmen; so much so, that
it was an axiom of one of the most distinguished of their number, that
they were all to be considered dishonest, till their conduct proved the
contrary. But, though far too many examples of it are afforded by
political history, we may safely say that seldom has a better
opportunity of studying such a character existed, than at the present
day, when it is exemplified in a far more open and unblushing way than
usual, by the two most noted actors on the political stage, the one of
England, the other of Ireland. It is impossible not to recognise the
intrinsic similarity in the characters of Peel and O’Connell, though
outwardly very differently modified by the circumstances and the tempers
of the nations with which they have had to deal. But in both, one great
characteristic is the same, that their professions have been at variance
with their convictions; that the ends to which they have secretly been
working, have been totally different from those which they put forward
to the public as their aim. Both have made use of principles and
feelings as tools to their ambition, in which they themselves did not in
the least degree sympathise; nay, which, in Peel’s case, were the secret
object of his hostility and aversion. Peel made use of the principles of
Toryism, the banner of Church and State; O’Connell of the principle of
Nationality, so dear to the Irish, the cry of Repeal, and the Parliament
in College Green. That O’Connell cares little enough about Repeal, is
now sufficiently evident; and that Peel cared absolutely nothing about
Toryism, is but a faint expression of the truth, inasmuch as his object
has evidently been to overthrow it, as soon as it had raised him to
power. O’Connell, while professedly upholding the cause of the National
and fiery Anti-Saxon party, has secretly made friends with the much less
romantic and more practical interests of the Catholic priesthood and the
Whigs; Peel, while professedly maintaining the declining cause of the
Church and State, the old institutions, the national feelings, &c., of
the country, has secretly made friends with the much less ideal and more
substantial interests of the commercial classes, and the Manchester
cotton lords. Both have ended in a complete rupture with the party of
which they were the former champion. Peel is at open war with the
Tories, O’Connell with the Nationals. The love of their former friends,
is in both cases turned into bitter disgust and contempt; and as we have
already heard violent denunciations of Peel from his old supporters, we
shall probably ere long hear equally violent against O’Connell. Both, in
fact, share the merited fate of long-continued falsity of principle;
they stand forth in their old age with their nakedness uncovered, the
contempt of all those who can penetrate the hollowness of their career.
For both the same excuse is set up, that they deceived for the good of
their country. For both the excuse is alike untenable, for nothing can
justify such deliberate tampering with the truth; and in both, their
final exposure may serve as a warning to show how delusive is such a
notion.

On the whole, however, we must greatly give the preference to the Irish
agitator; his services to his country have been much greater, his
exertions much more effective, and his career much more consistent; for,
however insincere he may be on certain points, he has never been guilty
of professing principles diametrically opposite to his convictions; he
cannot be accused of any such hypocrisy as that of professing Toryism
while in heart a Radical. He has consistently supported, and very mainly
procured, by his own exertions, many measures important to his country;
not to name others, that of Catholic Emancipation. But there is not a
single measure which owes its success to the exertions of Peel; though
he may have been the nominal instrument of carrying them, their triumph
has been in reality the work of others, and they would have been passed
with equal or greater readiness had he never existed. The Corn Bill, on
which he rests his principal claim, has doubtless lost much more by his
long-continued opposition, than it has gained by his tardy conversion.
He has done nothing but adopt those principles which had already become
dominant through the exertions of others, and has lived entirely on the
fruit of other people’s intellects. Every one must admit, that in all
this O’Connell is, beyond comparison, superior to Peel. In other
respects, too, the bold and open _bonhommie_ of the Irish agitator, is
far preferable to the cold and repulsive egotism of the English
statesman.

That the career of the man who, with weak principles, as above
described, attempts to play a conspicuous part in politics, will be
pregnant with humiliation, is what we might at once predict. In the
present instance of Peel this has been most strikingly exemplified.
Unable to nourish himself with the food of truth, he has scantily
sustained himself by eating his professions. Perpetually has he opposed,
to the best of his power, men whose principles he has afterwards been
compelled to adopt. After gaining power by such opposition, he has been
forced to confess that he gained it by injuring his country. Even should
we take the most favourable view of his conduct to Canning, that the
nature of the case will allow, how much has it still of a humiliating
character! He is reluctantly induced, at a great sacrifice to his
feelings, to join the unfortunate opposition against that statesman,
solely, as he _believes_, from a stern sense of public duty. Yet he is
obliged afterwards to confess that Canning was much wiser than himself
in the matter, and to carry the very measure on account of which his
friend had been so mercilessly assailed. He discovers that the violence
done to his feelings, not only was productive of no good to his country,
but actually of detriment. He discovers that his former objections were
not (as had been professed) to the principle of the measure, but only
because the public mind was not yet ripe for it, and that as soon as the
public mind ripened, his own would ripen too. What regret must thus be
excited in the mind awakened to the consciousness of its long mistake!

If he had been satisfied that his opposition to Canning had proceeded
from a firm and well-grounded conviction, from an unswerving sense of
public duty, his conduct, however repugnant to his feelings, would, on
the whole, be a just subject of pride, and the sacrifice of his
friendship to his duty would entitle him to gratitude and respect. But,
alas! it turns out that this firm conviction was wanting, that it was
based on a foundation of sand; that what principles he had were vague
and weak, and were liable to be biassed all the time, much more than he
knew, by extraneous and contingent circumstances. This is the reason why
they afterwards gave way, when their yielding was demanded by his
political position. The law of duty that was deemed so stern and
inflexible, proved, when the test was applied, to be pliant and elastic;
the convictions which were believed to be based on the firmest
Protestant principle, turned out to be chiefly dependent on public
ripeness. And when he reflected that he had gained his power by so
mistaken a course, by so unfounded an opposition to Canning, surely this
would call for feelings of repentance on account of his previous errors,
this would at least demand some expression of that contrition and
humiliation, which seem so distasteful to his nature. But this is what
he seems peculiarly disinclined to do, and till some such avowal of
repentance has been made, we cannot think that he will have expiated his
error.

His position with respect to the Whigs is of a similarly humiliating
kind. What must he now think of that bitter opposition which he formerly
promoted and encouraged against them, now that he discover that he is
fully prepared to carry out their extremest principles? Must it not be a
subject of penitence to him to discover, that here again his policy was,
under his present views, injurious to his country; that his power has
been based on an opposition to people wiser, as he now confesses, than
himself? Yet here, too, he most strangely resists any avowal of
contrition or humiliation.

This phenomenon is not of an amiable nature, nor one which would dispose
us to a favourable view of his career. We can scarcely, I think, wonder,
all things considered, that his previous conduct, and more especially
that towards Canning, should have been brought under discussion in
Parliament, as liable to the suspicion of premeditate duplicity and
insincerity--of having, in fact, been similar to that of his three last
years with respect to the Corn Laws. Ill, indeed, would it have spoken
for the political morality of that Honourable House, if his conduct had
been passed over without notice, as the usual and proper course which
might be looked for from a British Statesman. Upon this question we will
leave others to decide, for this is a point on which every one must
entertain his own opinion. Since such has avowedly been his conduct for
the three last years, there is nothing to prevent us from extending it
over the whole of his public life. We do not, however, purpose to enter
minutely into any such researches. We can only wonder at the very
needless amount of agitation into which his supporters were thrown, when
the subject, not long since, was broached in Parliament. A belief was
there expressed, that his conduct on the Catholic Question had been
equally insincere with his recent behaviour on the Corn Laws; that he
had then, as now, suffered his colleagues and the public to deceive
themselves, and had not openly avowed his real opinions. Sir R. Peel is
roused to the greatest indignation at such an assertion. Yet surely this
anger in him is somewhat out of place. His present insincerity, or
deceit by sufferance, he does not attempt to deny;--it would, indeed, be
useless for him to do so. Why, then, is he so indignant at the idea that
his former conduct should have been similar to his present? Was
insincerity a greater crime twenty years ago than it is now? Is deceit
in the green tree worse than it is in the dry? If his public duty in
1845 authorised him to allow Lord Stanley, Lord Ashburton, and his party
generally, “to deceive themselves,” why might it not have authorised him
in 1825 to allow Mr. Canning and Lord Liverpool to deceive themselves
also? If it be lawful for him now to mask and suppress his real
opinions, why should it not have been so then? Yet by his energetic
protestations he would seem to think that it must have been highly
censurable. Such charges could only proceed, if we believe him, from the
base and vindictive malice of political opponents. Yet what are these
charges? The charges of having done then precisely what he has avowedly
been doing now, and what it can scarcely be questioned he has done in
the case of the Whigs also; the charge of having suppressed his real
opinions, and led his colleagues and the public astray; of having
opposed a measure professedly on principle, when in reality he was only
waiting for sufficient symptoms of “public ripeness,” or for some other
favourable conjuncture, as might best suit his views.

His indignation, then, seems to me to be the severest censure that could
be passed on his conduct; and since he takes such pains to condemn
himself, we will not trouble ourselves to defend him. We will leave him
to his own tender mercies; from no quarter can his castigation proceed
better than from his own hand.

We will merely hint a few remarks on the line of defence he has adopted.
He seems to think that it all turns on some verbal expressions of his
own, and that if he establish his position on these, no possible ground
is left for suspecting him of insincerity. He insists several times, “I
repeat that the whole of this question turns on the point, Did I, or did
I not (at a certain time) use such and such expressions to Lord
Liverpool?” We cannot agree with him in thinking that the question turns
mainly upon this, or even that it is much affected by it. The question,
in our apprehension, turns upon this:--Seeing that you have been,
through an unknown portion of your career, accustomed to suppress and
mask your opinions, and allow people, as you phrase it, to deceive
themselves, have we any reason to think that your conduct was more
ingenuous in your youth than it was in your mature prime, and is in your
declining age? Seeing what your practice has recently been, we think
that people must be allowed on these matters to judge for themselves,
and to form their own opinion on your insincerity, as to its nature, its
duration, and its amount. Indeed, if the question were to be decided by
his own words, it would fare ill with his case; for, as we saw above, in
a passage of his revised and corrected speech, his own expressions on
this matter make against him more than those of his bitterest opponent
could do. Were we to believe his own assertion, that the same course
which he pursued in 1829, with respect to the Catholic Question, had
suggested itself to his mind so early as in 1825, we should be forced to
regard his conduct to Canning as disgraced by most culpable hypocrisy.
He must have opposed that statesman upon hollow and deceitful grounds,
and must have obtained power upon false pretences. We do not assert that
such was actually the case, but if we are to believe his statements it
must have been so. We can only hope that his account of the business was
incorrect, and that the foresight he would seek to attribute to himself
had no real existence. If, then, any body is maligning him, it would
seem to be himself; and when he is thus merciless to his own character,
he can scarcely wonder at some severity from the hands of his foes. We
have no wish for our part to say any thing of him so injurious, as that
which he has left on record against himself; and we will leave him
therefore, as before, to smart beneath the lash of his own
self-inflicted chastisement.

There is another charge, quite distinct from the preceding, brought
against him with respect to his conduct towards Canning; viz., that he
sanctioned the violent attacks made against that statesman by some of
his supporters.[23]

His own language, indeed, is free from this violence, but we can
scarcely avoid thinking that blame attaches to him for indifference in
the matter, for suffering his followers to employ an ungenerous mode of
warfare against his rival, when it may reasonably be supposed that a
decided expression of disapproval on his part would have gone far to put
a stop to this. His conduct in the case of the Whigs was very similar,
and their very generous behaviour at the present time to him, affords a
most striking contrast to his previous treatment of them. As to the
actual guilt to be imputed to these direct assailants of Canning, we
hear very different estimates. That their attacks had a very powerful
effect upon him personally, and were bitterly felt by him, there can be
no doubt; and there seems no good ground for questioning the opinion of
his relatives, that they had a share in hastening his death. It is
urged, however, in their behalf, that they were doing no more than what
is frequently done in politics; that they were young men, accustomed to
see violent personal attacks considered an ordinary weapon of political
warfare, and they would probably therefore think that theirs were
perfectly _en régle_; that their assaults were not more bitter than what
have often been made on other statesmen; that public men must expect
this kind of annoyance, and that it was impossible to anticipate that
they would produce so unwonted an effect in this instance. Granting them
the full benefit of these apologies, there will still remain a
considerable share of blame. If a practice is culpable, however general,
those who adopt it must bear in some measure the guilt of any evil
consequences that ensue. School-boys are in the habit of flinging stones
without any very great regard to the damage they may occasion, and the
practice among them not being looked on as blamable, we cannot, from
proofs that a boy has flung these stones, argue in him any very
peculiarly evil nature. Nevertheless, nobody can deny, that if one of
these boys, though not much more careless or vicious than his fellows,
should chance to aim so full at a more than usually delicate head, that
his stone should be the cause of death, this should be a subject of
repentance to him, a lesson that he should remember with humiliation for
the rest of his life, and one which should be frequently quoted as a
useful example of the culpability of the practice. A guilt of a nature
analogous to this is what we should attribute to these assailants; the
guilt of great wantonness and meanness, though not of _malice
prepense_.

And if a person whose years, or whose position, such as a tutor to these
boys, ought to have rendered him wiser, should have been standing by at
the time, while these stones were raining against a friend or rival of
his, with the view of diverting and pleasing him, and should have
regarded the matter with indifference, thinking to himself it is no more
than what all boys do, it is not likely that any harm will come from it
this time more than any other;--he also should look on his connivance,
under the circumstances, as matter of humiliation and repentance. A
culpability similar to this very possibly attaches to Sir R. Peel, and
if so, it should not be looked upon as in any way light and trivial,
however much it may be sought to be sheltered by custom or example.

His blame indeed in this matter would be rather negative than positive,
rather of omission than of commission, and would not therefore afford
ground for any positive charge. Very probably, by the ordinary rules of
political warfare, his conduct in this affair would be justifiable. It
would be deemed sufficient by them that he should be clear from all such
violence himself; it would not be thought incumbent on him to take any
especial pains to stop it in others. Had he, however, been of a generous
nature, we should have expected more than this; and we think in that
case he would have taken more energetic measures to repress this wanton
and culpable practice, especially against one who had been his friend.
There is certainly nothing in his conduct on this occasion to applaud;
no generous traits, as there might have been, to raise him in our
estimation. But this is more, perhaps, than we could reasonably expect;
men do not look for grapes from thistles, nor for generosity from Peels.
We cannot well make it an actual charge against a man, that he was not
generous; absence of generosity is not guilt, but poverty of character.
That Sir R. Peel’s conduct on this occasion may have evinced poverty of
character, is no more than what his general career would dispose us to
believe. A higher mind would not have been contented with doing no more
than what was ordinarily done; he would have seen more clearly the
culpability of the practice, though established by usage, and would have
blamed it in stronger language than many of his party would think it
merited. We think, therefore, that it is a passage in his career which
he should look on with deep humiliation, although we should not be
disposed to consider it the ground of any very serious charge.

It is not, however, in any way a matter of wonder that some should
entertain a severer judgment; for Sir R. Peel’s subsequent conduct has
been such, that it justifies much liberty of opinion on these matters.
It is in these cases that a perfect sincerity and ingenuousness of
conduct is of the greatest use in purging a character which may
undeservedly have been placed in untoward and suspicious circumstances.
If his own wily and deceitful behaviour has very much weakened the
defence which such a character would have afforded him, he has none but
himself to blame. We can feel no pity for him under such imputations,
for these suspicions are no more than the natural and proper punishment
which general insincerity calls down upon itself. As one of the rewards
of truthful and ingenuous conduct is that it fortifies the whole
character, and repels unmerited suspicion, so the fitting and
appropriate punishment of hypocrisy is that it throws a tarnish over the
whole career, and prevents the assumption of the high tone of blameless
and unassailable purity.

Nor can we leave unnoticed the weakness of his retort on his assailants,
when he complains so loudly of these old accusations being disturbed
after so long a slumber. He would argue from this that they arise
entirely from party malice. “I ask,” says he, “whether, if I had not
brought forward the present measure, I should have heard a word of all
these accusations?” Very likely not; we quite agree with him that in
that case they would probably have lain dormant without much revival of
notice. But so acute a mind must, one would think, perceive that their
re-appearance at the present moment might reasonably be expected,
independent of all party or unworthy motives. His whole recent conduct
has been extraordinary and unprecedented, and people are naturally
anxious to trace up the hidden springs in which so remarkable a policy
takes its rise. But more than that--it is his recent conduct which more
especially establishes his insincerity; and does he forget that it is on
the suspicion of insincerity, that the culpability of much of his
previous course depends? His career cannot well be judged _a priori_,
but it can be so much better, _a posteriori_. When he refers to the
character given him by Canning, as a testimony of his integrity, does he
think that Canning would have so expressed himself, if he had known at
that time what was to be his future conduct on the Catholic question?
Does he not see that it is his subsequent behaviour which entirely
nullifies all the praises that Canning may have bestowed upon him, even
if it were not futile in every way to refer to such compliments? And
does he not see that his recent conduct in the case of the Corn Laws
aggravates the suspicion of insincerity? It is this which has reasonably
awakened a scrutiny into the previous events of his career; it is this
which has excited that discussion which has fixed for ever an unmusical
dissonance between the names of Canning and of Peel.

For out own part, putting aside his culpability in the matter, we would
look upon his relation with these maligners of Canning, to be not so
much blamable as ominous. However much we may be disposed to acquit him
of any connivance in the matter, yet the mere fact that his power owed
obligation at its outset to so violent an opposition against a man like
Canning--an opposition which so deeply imbittered the career of that
generous and high-minded statesman, this mere fact, I say, is an
unfortunate and untoward fact, one which would stand as no happy augury
at the commencement of the brightest course of pure and irreproachable
patriotism. But when it stands at the commencement of a career like his,
of that long tissue of inconsistent profession, of masked and
disingenuous policy, it is a gloomy and an inauspicious fact, one which
fully justifies the expression of his antagonist, in calling his an
ill-omened and a sinister career.

Whatever view be taken, there is no ground for complaint, if his conduct
be strictly and rigidly scrutinised; for really, all things considered,
he is not a subject who can lay claim to any excessive and scrupulous
delicacy. For our part, when we hear his conduct to Canning censured,
though it may be too severely, we are rather disposed to reserve our
pity for Canning, than to give any portion of our tenderness to the
fragile and sensitive Peel. For is it not precisely one of the
complaints to which he is justly liable, that he was not duly alive to
the evil of such attacks when made against the character of another, and
that he profited by the support of those who made them, without any very
energetic remonstrance? Did he not stand by while the iron was eating
into the soul of his former friend, without any very great and poignant
grief, without any severe disturbance of his equanimity? He appears to
have maintained a magnanimous composure, and philosophically to have
reaped the advantages, unmindful, in his short-sighted views, of what
might happen to himself. “_Eheu! quam temere in nosmet legem sancimus
iniquam!_” Now, when his own conduct is assailed, though on just and
reasonable grounds, while that of Canning was attacked on the most
frivolous and unreasonable, whither has suddenly vanished that stoical
fortitude with which he so firmly bore up against the attacks on his
friend? Now it is his turn to wince and to complain, to protest against
all rancour in politics, to deprecate all asperity of tone, to claim a
mild and courteous mode of discussion. Maxims most good and true in
themselves, but why were they not remembered earlier? Where were they
among his former party? where were they when those unjust attacks were
made, which now form a just subject of attack in their turn? It was not
from him nor his partisans that the voice was raised which stigmatised
those proceedings. No: his present complaints are idle: to be of avail
we ought to have heard of them earlier. His position at present is no
more than the result of that natural and equitable action, by which
injustice, though late, punishes itself. It is a law of nature from
which no man may escape; neither a beggar nor a Premier. One wrong
begets another, of like brood and kind with itself. Τὸ γὰρ
δυσσεβὲς ἔργον μετὰ μὲν πλείονα τίκτει, σφετέρᾳ δ’ εἰκότα γέννᾳ.[24]
The cup which in his youth he tranquilly suffered a nobler soul to drain
to the dregs, how should he refuse in his declining years to put his
lips to the margin? Let him try its taste with the best face he can,
without superfluous whinings or complainings. He need not be
unnecessarily apprehensive of its effect; it will not act on him as it
did on a nobler nature. The chill and callous organisation of the
egotist will receive no more than a beneficial stimulus from the potion
which is death to the generous soul. The darts which would find their
way direct to the frank and open heart, will fall blunt and powerless
long before they reach those hidden and inaccessible recesses of his
own, cased as it is in a triple mail of coldness, secrecy, and
self-delusion. Should a stray one, piercing that elephantine hide,
awaken an unwonted smart, our pity would be steeled by the
reflection,--“_Pallas te hoc vulnere, Pallas immolat_,” and we should
watch the flow of blood, with no apprehension of a serious effect, but
with feelings of pleasure, arising from the sense of a somewhat
satisfied justice.

What, then, is the moral of the whole matter? A short and simple one.

LET NO ONE ASPIRE TO A LEADING PART IN POLITICS, UNLESS HE POSSESS
GENUINE AND EARNEST CONVICTIONS: LET NO ONE WHO HAS NOT SUCH FIRM
PRINCIPLES IN HIS HEART, GIVE UTTERANCE TO ENERGETIC PROFESSIONS WITH
HIS LIPS: LET NO ONE WHO HAS NOT A GREAT SOUL SET UP FOR BEING A GREAT
MAN.

       *       *       *       *       *

If Sir R. Peel’s career as a public man were over, the reflections
suggested by it, however interesting in a speculative point of view,
would not be of much immediate practical importance. But such is by no
means the case: this mysterious character is still among us, playing his
part upon the stage, and possessed of very extensive influence and
popularity. It is this, indeed, which renders his example more
peculiarly baneful and demoralising, for, owing to the favour he has
gained by his recent measures, the hollowness and insincerity of his
previous career are by many wholly overlooked. The admiration lavished
on such a policy as this, must exercise a most pernicious influence,
injurious to the character of public men, and of the nation at large.
Every thing that can counteract this mistaken tendency, would be a real
benefit; and it is chiefly with this view that we have been induced to
contribute our mite in an otherwise ungenial task. But when we find
skilful insincerity receiving the praises due only to disinterested
virtue, we feel called upon to lift our feeble voice against so fatal a
delusion. The prospect, by no means improbable, of his return to power,
renders such efforts still more important. For such an event is far more
likely than many would be inclined to deem. However deserted he may be
by his old friends, a new and rising party is gathering around him, and
the old champion of the High Tories is become the flower of the Ultra
Radicals. The strongest hopes are entertained by these of his speedy
return to the post of Minister. We are told, as quoted above, that he is
to be triumphantly borne into power on the shoulders of the people, and
in that enviable position to remain as long as he pleases; a sort of
perpetual Grand Vizier. He has made friends, it would appear, with the
Mammon of the Cotton Lords, that when the Landlords failed they might
receive him into everlasting habitations. That he has sufficient
popularity and influence for this purpose is not to be questioned, and
the jealousies of the two great rival parties are likely to be
favourable to his views. If it be true that he has all along been
working to this consummation, that his secret and steady aim has been to
come out as the Popular Minister of the movement, however severely his
previous conduct must be censured, we cannot deny it a certain amount of
skill. We hope, however, that it will meet with the ill success that it
deserves. It is impossible to think that a character like this, however
able, is fitted to govern the nation. That the popular will, whatever it
may be, will be readily executed by him, is perfectly clear; but
something more than this is necessary to constitute a good Minister.
They must indeed be a peculiar kind of Liberals who would gladly ally
themselves with such a leader as this.

    “License they mean, when they cry liberty,
    For who loves that must first be wise and good.”

Now their chosen master, Sir Robert, has unfortunately placed himself in
such a position, that he cannot be both wise and good. His course must
either have been very much mistaken, or very insincere, so that if he be
wise he cannot be good, and if he be good he cannot be wise. It is
impossible, therefore, that he can be both, though perfectly possible
that he may be neither. We cannot, then, congratulate the Ultra party
upon the acquisition that they have made; and if as friends they find
reason to be satisfied with their new champion, they will be the first
of his friends who have done so.

Surely, however, we are not yet so badly off, but that we may find men
both wiser and better for our Ministers. Let us hope that the new
government, in spite of its very inauspicious commencement, may at
least, by its honesty and sincerity, form a brilliant contrast to its
predecessor. They have a great task before them, one which will test
their worth and their abilities to the utmost, and afford the amplest
scope to their energies; viz. the improvement of the social condition of
the labouring classes. Let them know at once, and let them openly
proclaim it, that this will require far higher and more extensive
principles than those of political economy; that it will not be
accomplished by the “competition” or by the “state of nature” proposed
by an Episcopal economist, nor by the mere process of buying in the
cheapest and selling in the dearest market. Nay, let them be well
assured that it will require an infringement of this sacred principle,
however blasphemous it may sound in the ears of our Liberal
cottonocracy. It will require an interference with the market of labour,
and with the lordly privileges of capital. They must be prepared to
encounter the censure of many a dogmatic economist, the odium of many a
wealthy capitalist, and even the ingratitude of many of the people upon
whom their benefits shall be conferred. The problem is one for which
their predecessor, Sir Robert, was evidently totally unfitted, for it
will require minds above the spirit of the time, Statesmen who must
anticipate, not follow, the reigning popular doctrines. Their present
conduct will show whether they are really Liberals, or merely false and
empty assumers of the name; whether they are in possession of the high
and true principles which conduce to the virtue and happiness of States,
or whether, like the mass, they are principally engrossed in commercial
and industrial doctrines. It cannot be disguised that they have made a
very poor beginning, disgraceful to their name and to their former
achievements; let us hope that shame may serve to stimulate them for the
future to something more glorious and honourable.

Sir Robert Peel’s conduct will serve them in many matters as a useful
example, as a solemn warning, as a practical illustration of the homely
adage, that “honesty is the best policy.” We have seen enough of the
evils entailed by a masked and disingenuous policy, which delights in
allowing people to deceive themselves. Let us now contrast with it the
advantages of a sincere, open, and consistent course. Let us profit by
the late Premier’s career as an example, in which case it will not have
been without its use; and let us, by so doing, avoid the disgrace of
falling again under his power.

  _Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh._


FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Dix Ans à la Cour du Roi Louis Philippe, et Souvenirs du Temps de
l’Empire et de la Restauration._ Par B. APPERT, de la Société Royale des
Prisons de France. Berlin and Paris, 1846.

[2] According to old usage, each defunct King of France awaited, at the
entrance of the vault at St. Denis, the body of his successor, and was
not consigned to his final resting-place till its arrival.

[3] Biog. Univ. xiii. 482-491, (Eugene.)

[4] Histoire de mon Tempe par Frederick IV., p. 174.

[5] Viz. Vimiera, the Douro, Talavera, Busaco, Fuentes d’Onoro,
Salamanca, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, the Bidassoa, the Nive, the Nivelle,
Orthes, Toulouse, Quatre Bras, and Waterloo.

[6] _Wanderungen eines alten Soldaten._ Von Wilhelm, Baron von Rahden.
Berlin, 1846.

[7] Even in the House there are some free-traders by no means
irreproachable on this head, gentlemen whose speeches are profuse in
invectives against the whole body of the landlords, and who, when freed
from Parliamentary restraint, denounce them as robbers, and openly
express “their desire of levelling the aristocracy to the dust.” However
sincere these patriots may be, this ungenerous tone does not betoken
that large and comprehensive mind which we look for in a Member of
Parliament; and it is the fortunate possessors of minds like these, who,
in our days, pleasantly style themselves Liberals! _Lucus a non
lucendo._ Where will this abuse of language stop? An American
slave-breeder will be the next claimant of the name, when these
Parliamentary Thersitæ set themselves up as Liberals!

[8] And this for a considerable period of time. In the last case of the
Corn Laws, by his own account, it would seem to have been about _three
years_.

[9] See this point well put in Whewell’s Treatise on Morals--a book
which we strongly recommend to Sir Robert’s perusal, as containing many
interesting views on these topics, and likely to be of peculiar service
to _him_.

[10] _Vide_ again Whewell’s Treatise.

[11] In the matter of the Factory Bill.

[12] Simply in its peculiar naïveté. We do not mean to assimilate the
Irish character with that of Peel.

[13]

    “_Cleon._--There, I’m the first, you see, to bring ye a chair.
     _Sausage-seller._--But a table--here I’ve brought it, first and
        foremost.
     _Cleon._--See here this little half meal-cake from Pylos,
    Made from the flour of victory and success.
     _Sausage-seller._--But here’s a cake! See here! which the heavenly
        goddess
    Patted and flatted herself, with her ivory hand,
    For your own eating.
           *       *       *       *       *
     _Cleon._--This slice of rich sweet-cake, take it from me.
     _Sausage-seller._--This whole great rich sweet-cake, take it from me.
     _Cleon_ [_to the S. S._]--Ah, but hare-pie--where will you get hare-pie?
     _Sausage-seller_ [_aside._]--Hare-pie! What shall I do? Come, now’s
        the time,
    O mind, invent me now some sneaking trick.
     _Cleon._ [_to the S. S. showing the dish which he is going to
                  present._]--Look there, you poor rapscallion!
                         _Sausage-seller._ Pshaw, no matter.
    I’ve people of my own there in attendance.
    They’re coming here.--I see them.
     _Cleon._--Who? What are they?
     _Sausage-seller._--Envoys with bags of money.
     _Cleon._--Where? Where are they?
    Where? Where?
     _Sausage-seller._--What’s that to you? Can’t ye be civil?
    Why don’t you let the foreigners alone?--
          [_While Cleon’s attention is absorbed in looking for the
              supposed envoys, the Sausage-seller dexterously snatches
              the hare-pie out of his hands, and presents it to the
              Demus._]
    There’s a hare-pie, my dear own little Demus,
    A nice hare-pie, I’ve brought ye!--See, look there!
     _Cleon_ [_returning._]--By Jove, he’s stolen it, and served it up!
     _Sausage-seller._--Just as you did the prisoners at Pylos.
     _Demus._--Where did ye get it? How did ye steal it? Tell me.
     _Sausage-seller._--The scheme and the suggestion were Divine;
    The theft and the execution simply mine.
     _Cleon._--I took the trouble.
                _Sausage-seller._ But I served it up.
     _Demus._--Well, he that brings the thing must get the thanks.
     _Cleon_ [_aside._]--Alas, I’m circumvented and undone,
    Out-faced and over-impudentified.”

    _The Knights_ of Aristophanes, translated by Frere, l. 1164-9,
    and 1189-1206.

[14] We would not apply this strong language to all the advocates of the
measure, but only to those who uphold it on principle as an enlightened
and liberal one. If it is honestly put forward on low commercial
grounds, not on high moral ones; if it is frankly confessed that it is
an ignoble and selfish measure, in which our love of sugar and of
revenue prevails over the love of our fellows; if we own that we have
not virtue enough to resist these palpable and material temptations for
the sake of the impalpable and invisible ones of right and
humanity;--let it pass, (sorry though it be;)--our pious and enlightened
nation is already disfigured with too many of these commercial blots, to
make this further additional one matter of much especial censure. We can
only lament that having made some beginning in the true and good line,
we are so easily induced to give it up; that whereas before we could
point to one brilliant exception as a source of light and hope, this is
now to be extinguished, and we are to relapse into total darkness. But
it is the advocacy of this measure on principle, as an eminently liberal
and Christian one, as a triumph of truth, liberty, and reason, which is
so peculiarly disgusting, and argues the corruption of the people. It is
the sneer at every thing like true generous principle, the laugh at the
high moral, the complacency in the low commercial, the assertion of the
paramount importance of mere considerations of lucre over all the laws
of humanity, that forms the bad feature in the case of these holy
Liberals. When we find people, in a tone of profound piety, putting
forth the purely commercial principle of buying in the cheapest and
selling in the dearest market, as an inviolable law of the Great Parent
of the Universe, the infringement of which, even to avert the deepest
suffering from our fellows, is an impious rebellion against His will;
when we are implored not to do evil, that good may come, (the evil being
a want of sweetness in our tea, and the good, the preserving from
slavery and degradation a large number of our race;) when we are
exhorted to deal freely in slave produce, for the sake of promoting
“peace and good-will among all mankind;” then, I say, that this servile
liberality, this Evangelical cupidity, this Christianity of the ’Change,
is beyond all expression detestable, and more worthy of the shafts of
Voltaire’s satire than the Christianity of the Inquisition. The present
measure will probably cause a greater amount of suffering in the course
of a few years, than the Inquisition did during the whole period of its
existence.

[15] The above conversation, though with no pretensions to exact
accuracy in the expressions, is strictly founded on fact.

[16] Hansard’s Debates, vol. xx. New Series, p. 731. The speech is said,
in a note on p. 727, to have been “inserted with the permission and
approbation of Mr. Secretary Peel.”

[17] The expression which was chiefly insisted on in that discussion,
and which he strenuously laboured to disprove, was that in which he was
reported to have said, that in 1825 he gave it as his opinion to Lord
Liverpool that “something ought to be done for the Catholics.” He
strongly denied having ever used those words, and as indeed they are not
found in many of the reports of his speech, there would not appear to be
sufficient evidence that he did so. But it was labour lost to disprove
the point, for this sentence after all was by no means so clear or
explicit as that which stands in his own revised report. He might have
stated that something ought to be done for the Catholics, without its
being thereby evident, that by that something he meant the measure of
Catholic Emancipation. Some other course might have “suggested itself to
his mind,” as a solution of the difficulty. But when he tells us in so
many words, that the course which then suggested itself to his mind was
the very same which he afterwards pursued in proposing the measure of
Catholic Emancipation, no room for question is left; this is a precise
and explicit statement to which we do not see how two meanings can well
be given. When such a statement stands in his own corrected report, it
was worse than idle so strenuously to disclaim the weaker one.

[18] Meng-tseu, Book II. chap. 6, Art. 30. Pauthier’s Translation.

[19] This chronology might seem difficult to conciliate with the life of
an individual, but it must be remembered that the Robert Peel never
dies. There are always in the world not only one, but many
representatives of the character.

[20] Meng-tseu, Book II. chap. 7, Art. 37. Pauthier’s Translation.

[21] Talleyrand is a good example.

[22] Catholic Bill, Factory Bill, Corn Bill.

[23] That this opposition to Canning was characterised by a peculiar
virulence on the part of some of its members, appears to be
indisputable, inasmuch as it seems to be the received opinion of those
best acquainted with Canning, that it had a considerable share in
causing his death. Thus, not to mention other testimonies, his widow,
when Huskisson subsequently joined some of these politicians in office,
writes to him to reproach him with having joined her husband’s
murderers. Peel himself at the time did not escape from severe blame on
account of it, and one of his relatives, Mr Dawson, is mentioned as one
of the most notable of the culprits.

[24] Translated by Shelley:

    “Revenge and wrong bring forth their kind:
    The foul cubs like the parents are.”


[Transcriber’s Note:

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





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