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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 63, No. 387, January, 1848
Author: Various
Language: English
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                              BLACKWOOD'S

                               Edinburgh

                               MAGAZINE.

                              VOL. LXIII.

                         JANUARY--JUNE, 1848.

                            [Illustration]

                 WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, EDINBURGH;

                                  AND

                     37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

                                 1848.



                              BLACKWOOD'S

                          EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

          NO. CCCLXXXVII.     JANUARY, 1848.     VOL. LXIII.



                      CONTENTS.


  THIRTY YEARS OF LIBERAL LEGISLATION,               1

  SOMETHING LIKE A COUNTRY-HOUSE,                   28

  EVENINGS AT SEA.--NO. III., THE SURGEON,          33

  FLÉCHIER'S CHRONICLE OF CLERMONT ASSIZES,         47

  DON JOHN OF AUSTRIA,                              70

  A NIGHT'S PERIL,                                  83

  SWITZERLAND AND ITALY,                            98

  THE PERIODICAL LITERATURE OF AMERICA,            106

  IRELAND AND THE MINISTERIAL MEASURES,            113

  NOTE.--BLACKWOOD AND COPYRIGHT IN AMERICA.       127


                              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. CCCLXXXVII.     JANUARY, 1848.     VOL. LXIII.



THIRTY YEARS OF LIBERAL LEGISLATION.


"EXPERIENCE," says Dr Johnson, "is the great test of truth, and is
perpetually contradicting the theories of men." "If an empire," said
Napoleon, "were made of granite, it would soon be reduced to powder by
political economists." Never was there a period when the truths stated
by these master minds were so clearly and strikingly illustrated as the
present; never was there an epoch when the necessity was so fearfully
evinced of casting off the speculative dogmas of former times, and
shaping our course by the broad light which experience has thrown on
human transactions. If this is done, if wisdom is learnt by experience,
and error expelled by suffering, it is yet possible to remedy the
evils; though not before a frightful and _yet unfelt_ amount of misery
has been encountered by the people.

For the last thirty years, the liberal party have had the almost
uncontrolled direction of the affairs of the nation. One by one,
they have beat down all the ancient safeguards of British industry,
and given effect to the whole theoretical doctrines of the political
economists. So complete has been their ascendency in the national
councils--so entire in general the acquiescence of the nation in their
direction, that without one single exception ALL their doctrines have
been carried into practice; and the year 1847 exhibits a fair, and
it may be presumed average result of the liberal system when reduced
into execution. The result is so curious, its lessons so pregnant with
instruction, its warning of coming disaster so terrible, that we gladly
avail ourselves of the opening of a new year, to portray them in a few
paragraphs to our readers.

The first great change which took place in British policy was in 1819,
by the famous Bank Restriction Act, passed in that year. Everyone
knows that the obligation on the Bank of England to pay in specie,
was suspended by Mr Pitt in February 1797; and that under that system
the empire continued to rise with all the difficulties with which it
was surrounded, until in the latter years of the war it bore without
difficulty an annual expenditure of from £110,000,000 to £120,000,000
annually. But under the new system introduced in 1819, the currency
was restricted by imposing on the bank the obligation of paying its
notes, when presented, not in gold _or silver_, but in GOLD ALONE. The
currency was based on the article in commerce _most difficult to keep_,
most easy of transport, most ready to slip away--the most precious
of the precious metals. The result has been that the nation,--which,
with a population of 18,000,000 of souls, raised without difficulty
£71,000,000 annually by taxes, and from £30,000,000 to £40,000,000
annually by loans in 1813, 1814, and 1815, of which at least a half was
sent abroad, and wholly lost to the nation--is now, with a population
of 28,000,000, not able to raise in round numbers above £51,000,000 on
an average of years by taxation, and is brought to the verge of ruin by
the purchase of £33,000,000 worth of foreign grain in 1846 and 1847,
and the expenditure of £35,000,000 in 1846, and £25,000,000 in the
first six months of 1847 on domestic railways, every shilling of which
last sum was spent at home, and puts in motion industry within the
nation.

The next great change was made in the year 1821, when the reciprocity
system was introduced by Mr Huskisson. This subject has acquired great
importance now, from the avowed intention on the part of government,
scarcely disguised in the opening speech of this session of Parliament,
to follow up the labours of the committee which made such laborious
inquiries last session, by a bill for the total abolition of the
Navigation Laws. We shall not enlarge on this subject, the vastness and
importance of which would require a separate paper. Suffice it to say,
therefore, that here too, experience has decisively warned us of the
pernicious tendency of the path on which we have entered, and of the
truth of Adam Smith's remark, that "though some of the regulations of
this famous act may have proceeded from national animosity, they _are
all as wise as if dictated by the most deliberate wisdom_. As defence
is of much more importance than opulence, the act of Navigation is
perhaps the wisest of all the commercial regulations of England."[1]
It appears from the parliamentary tables compiled by Mr Porter, that,
while the British tonnage with the Baltic powers had increased from
1801 to 1821, under the protective system, to a very considerable
degree, theirs with us had declined during the same period; under the
reciprocity system, our tonnage with them had on the whole decreased
to _a third_ of its former amount, while their shipping with us had,
during the same period, quadrupled.[2] It further appears, from the
same tables, that the great increase which has taken place during the
same period, has arisen from the prodigious growth of our colonial
trade, or increase of the countries with whom we had concluded _no_
reciprocity treaties, but left them on the footing of the protection
of the old Navigation Laws. And though the profits of shipping of all
sorts have received a vast addition, from the enormous importations
consequent upon Sir R. Peel's free-trade measures, yet the returns of
these years prove that the greater part of this increase has accrued
to foreign states and powers, which may at any time turn the maritime
resources thus acquired against ourselves. Suffice it to say, as an
example of this truth, that of the ships which, in 1846, imported
four million nine hundred thousand quarters of corn into the British
harbours, no less than three-fourths were foreign vessels, and only
one-fourth British. Nevertheless, so insensible are political fanatics
to the most decisive facts, when they militate against their favourite
theories, that it is in the full knowledge of these facts that
government are understood to be prepared to introduce, even in this
session of parliament, a measure for the abolition, or at least the
essential abrogation, of the Navigation Laws.

The third great change made during the last quarter of a century has
been in the government of Ireland. Here, if any where, the liberal
system has received its full development, and has had the fairest
opportunity for displaying its unmixed blessings. The Catholic
disabilities, which we had been told for thirty years were the main
cause of its distressed condition, were repealed in 1829. A large
measure of parliamentary reform--larger than the most vehement Irish
patriots ventured to dream of--was conceded in 1832. Corporate reform
succeeded in 1834; the Protestant corporations were dispossessed of
power; the entire management of all the boroughs of the kingdom was
put into the hands of the Romish multitude; and a large portion of the
county magistracy were, by the appointment of successive liberal Lords
Chancellor, drawn from the better part of those of the same religious
persuasion. The Protestant clergy were deprived of a fourth of their
incomes to appease the Romish Cerberus; and, to avoid the vexation of
collecting tithes from persons of a different religious belief, they
were laid directly as a burden on the land; Maynooth was supported
by annual grants from government; the system of national education
was modified so as to please the Roman Catholic clergy. Monster
meetings, where sedition was always, treason often, spoken, headed by
O'Connell, were allowed to go on, without the slightest opposition,
for two years; and when at length the evil had risen to such a height
that it could no longer be endured, the leading agitator, after being
convicted in Ireland, was liberated, in opposition to the opinion of a
great majority of the twelve judges, by the casting-vote in the House
of Peers of a Whig law-Lord. British liberality, when the season of
distress came, was extended to the famishing Irish with unheard-of
munificence; and while the Highlanders, who suffered equally under
the potato failure, _got nothing_ but from the never-failing kindness
of British charity, Ireland, besides its full share of that charity,
received a _national_ grant of TEN MILLIONS STERLING, of which no less
than eight millions were borrowed by Great Britain.

What have been the results? Has crime decreased, and industry improved,
and civilisation advanced, under the liberal system? Has attachment to
the British government become universal, and hatred of the stranger
worn out, in consequence of the leniency with which they have been
treated, and the unparalleled generosity with which their wants have
been supplied? The facts are notoriously and painfully the reverse.
Hatred of the Saxon was never so general or so vehement; idleness
and recklessness were never so wide-spread; destitution was never so
universal; life and property was never so insecure,--as after this
long system of concession, and these unparalleled acts of private and
public generosity. The Irish Repealers declare, that though Ireland,
like England, has been blessed with an uncommonly fine harvest, there
are _four millions_ of persons in that country in a state of hopeless
misery; and supposing, as is probably the case, that this statement
is exaggerated, the authentic reports to Parliament on the state
of the poor prove that there are above two millions of paupers, or
a full fourth of the population, in a state verging on starvation.
A new so-called Coercion Bill has been brought into Parliament in
consequence of the great increase of crimes of violence, and, above
all, of cold-blooded murders; and on the necessity that existed for its
introduction the present Secretary of State must speak for himself.
Sir George Grey said, on November 30, 1847, on moving the first reading
of the Coercion Bill, that during the six months ending October 1846,
the heinous crimes of violence over Ireland stood as follows:--

  "Homicide,                                      68
  Attempts upon life by firing at the person,     55
  Robberies of arms,                             207
  Firing into dwelling-houses,                    51

For the six months ending October 1847, the number increased to--

  Homicides,                                      96
  Attempts upon life by firing at the person,    126
  Robberies of arms,                             530
  Firing into dwelling-houses,                   116

It would thus be seen that there was a fearful increase in the amount
of these four classes of crime. The whole of Ireland was implicated in
the shame and disgrace consequent upon this large increase of crime.
Looking at the police returns for the month of October, (for from that
period it was that those crimes commenced to increase at such a fearful
rate,) he found the following results for the whole of Ireland:--

  Homicides,                                      19
  Firing at the person,                           32
  Firing into dwelling-houses,                    26
  Robberies of arms,                             118
                                                 ---
              Making a total of cases,           195

Looking at the districts in which these crimes were committed, he found
that the total number of all those crimes committed in three of the
counties of Ireland, _i.e._, Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary, was to the
whole of Ireland as 139 to 175, or that 71 per cent of the whole amount
of crime was committed in those three counties, which did not include
more than 13 per cent of all Ireland."

Such has been the result of liberal government during twenty years
in Ireland. And it is particularly worthy of notice, that the three
counties in which this unenviable pre-eminence of atrocious crime
exists, viz., Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary, are precisely those in
which the Romish faith is most inveterate, and the authority of the
priesthood most unbounded.

The next great change introduced by the liberal party, was by the
carrying through of the Reform Bill, and settling the constitution
upon an entirely new basis by the act of 1832. We do not propose at
present to resume any part of that great debate, in which at the time
this Magazine took so prominent a part. We have seen no cause to
change any of the opinions then expressed, and only pray God that the
predictions then made may not be too faithfully verified. As little
shall we inquire whether the changes which have since ensued, and
under which the nation is now so grievously labouring, are or are not
to be ascribed to the constitution of government as then framed, and
the urban ascendency which the bestowing of two-thirds of the seats in
the House of Commons upon towns necessarily occasioned; we are content
to accept the constitution, as new-modelled by the Reform Bill, as
the constitution of ourselves and our children, and to support it as
such. We know that by it the government of the country is substantially
vested in the majority of eight hundred thousand electors. We aim
only at explaining facts and dispelling illusions to these electors.
Suffice it to say, therefore, that, whether the Reform Bill has worked
for good or for evil as regards the industrious classes; whether it
has substituted or not substituted moneyed for landed ascendency;
whether or not the first devil has been expelled, but straightway he
has returned with seven other devils worse than himself, and the last
state of the man is worse than the first--in any of these cases the
liberal party have got nothing to say, and have no title to complain of
the results which have followed. They got every thing their own way;
they remodelled the constitution according to the devices of their own
hearts, and if they are now suffering, they are reaping the fruits of
the seed which they themselves have sown.

But of all the innovations of the liberal party, that of which the
consequences have been most disastrous within the sphere of their
immediate influence, and which have now been demonstrated in the most
decisive way by the results of experience, are the changes they have
made on our West India colonies. They exhibit a series of alterations
so perilous, so irrational, so disastrous, that we do not hesitate
to say they are unparalleled in the annals, extensive as they are, of
human folly and perversity. Only think what they were!

We first, in 1807, abolished the slave trade in our dominions. So
far there can be no doubt that the step taken was both just and
expedient--just, because the iniquitous traffic in human flesh should,
at all hazards, be stopped in a Christian state; expedient, because
we already possessed, in the colonies themselves, a large negro
population, perfectly capable, if well treated, of keeping up and
increasing their own numbers, and performing all the field operations
requisite for the cultivation of produce, which at that period employed
two hundred and fifty thousand tons of British shipping for its
transport, and maintained a population that consumed £3,500,000 worth
of British manufactures. But as the British colonies were thus deprived
of the aid of imported forced labour, which the rival sugar colonies
of Cuba and the Brazils enjoyed, of course it was indispensable that
the labour of the black cultivators in the British islands should be
perpetuated, and the proprietors maintained in the means of getting
that work from _them_ which they were prohibited from acquiring from
foreign labourers. The way to do this, and withal to give the greatest
possible security and means of improvement to the black population of
which they were susceptible, was evident, and was clearly and forcibly
pointed out at the time. It was to maintain slavery in the meantime,
doing every thing possible to mitigate its severity, till the negro
population had come so much under the influence of artificial wants as
to be ready, for their enjoyment, to submit to regular and continuous
toil; to regulate their days of forced labour, and give them some
days in the week to work for themselves, of which they might reap the
fruits; and to allow every negro, who could thus amass a sum equal to
his price, to purchase his freedom from his master. By this simple
system, no one could become free without having proved himself fit to
be a freeman, and therefore the whole evils of premature emancipation
were avoided. It was thus that slavery wore out almost without being
noticed in the European kingdoms; it was thus it almost disappeared,
insensibly and without a convulsion, in Spanish South America.

Instead of this wise, judicious, and really humane course, what
have we done? Why, we first, by the act of 1834, abolished slavery
altogether in the British dominions, upon giving a compensation to the
proprietors, which, large as it was, was not, on an average, the fourth
part of the value of the slave population set free, at the expiration
of a prospective apprenticeship of seven years; and at the end of four
years, deeming that first time too long, we set them free altogether!
We thought, in our wisdom, that a nation required no longer time to
serve the apprenticeship to freedom than a freeman did to become expert
in a trade. We proposed to do in a few years what nature could only
accomplish in centuries. The consequences, so often and so fatally
predicted, immediately ensued. The emancipated black population either
refused to work, or did so at such high wages, and in so desultory
a manner, that the supply of sugar rapidly declined in the British
islands. It, in consequence, rose considerably in price in the mother
country; and upon that, partly under the influence of the free trade
mania, partly from a desire to appease the clamorous multitude in the
British towns, who had begun to feel, in the enhanced price of that
article, the inevitable consequences of their own actions, we did a
thing so unjust, so monstrous, so cruel, so inconsistent with all our
former professions, that we believe the annals of the world may be
searched in vain for its parallel. It was this:--

We first reduced to a half of its former amount the protective duty on
foreign slave-grown sugar, and then, by the act of 1846, in pursuance
of Sir R. Peel's principles, and with his approbation, passed an act
for the progressive reduction, during three years, of the duties on
foreign sugar, until, in 1849, those on foreign and colonial were to
become equal to each other! That is, having first deprived our own
colonies of their slave labour for less than a fourth of its value, we
proceeded to admit foreign sugar RAISED BY SLAVES to the supply of the
British markets, on terms which in two years will be those of perfect
equality. We have seen what came of the attempt in the Mauritius, to
compete with slave-labour by means of the labour of freemen. Even
though the attempt was made under the most favourable auspices, with
the colossal capital of Reid, Irving, and Company, and an ample supply
of hill coolies to carry it on, the immense wealth of that house
was swallowed up in the hopeless attempt, and it became bankrupt in
consequence. Experience had long ago proved in St Domingo that the
black population, when not compelled, will not raise sugar; for that
noble island, which, anterior to the emancipation of its slaves by
the Constituent Assembly of France, raised and exported 672,000,000
pounds of sugar, now _does not export a single pound_; and instead
of consuming as then £9,890,000 worth of French manufactures, does
_not import a single article_.[3] To provide against this evidently
approaching crisis in the supply of sugar for the British market, we
have thrown open our harbours to _slave-grown sugar_ from every quarter
of the globe; and from the rapid decline in the produce of the West
Indian islands, even before this last _coup-de-grace_ was given them
by the application of free trade, principles to their produce, it is
painfully evident that a result precisely similar is about to take
place in the British colonies.[4] And it is little consolation to find
that this injustice has recoiled upon the heads of the nation which
perpetrated it, and that the decline in the consumption of British
manufactures by the West India islands is becoming proportioned to the
ruin we have inflicted on them.[5]

But most of all has this concatenation of fanaticism, infatuation, and
injustice proved pernicious to the negro race, for whose benefit the
changes were all undertaken. Happy would it have been for them if the
British slave trade had never been abolished; that they had crossed
the Atlantic chiefly in Liverpool or Glasgow slave-ships, and been
brought to the British West India islands! For then the slave trade
was subject to our direction, and regulations might have been adopted
to place it on the best possible footing for its unhappy victims. But
_now_ we have thrown it entirely into the hands of the Spaniards and
Portuguese, over whom we have no sort of control, and who exercise
it in so frightful a manner that the heart absolutely sickens at the
thought of the amount of human suffering, at the cost of which we have
reduced the price of sugar to sixpence a pound. Compared with it, the
English slave-ships and English slavery were an earthly paradise. Mr
Buxton, the great anti-slavery advocate, admitted, some years ago, that
the "number of blacks who now annually cross the Atlantic, is _double
what it was_ when Wilberforce and Clarkson first began their benevolent
labours."[6] _Now_, under the fostering influence of free trade in
sugar, it may reasonably be expected that in a few years _the whole_,
or nearly the whole sugar consumed by Europe, will be raised by the
slave colonies, and wrung by the lash from the most wretched species
of slaves--those of Cuba and Brazil! Moreover, the slave trade, to
supply them, will be _triple_ what it was in 1789, when the movement
in favour of the negro population began! Thus, by the combined effects
of fanaticism, ignorance, presumption, and free trade, we shall have
succeeded, by the middle of this century, in totally destroying our own
sugar colonies; adding, to no purpose, twenty millions to our national
debt; annihilating property to the amount of £130,000,000 in our own
dominions; doubling the produce of foreign slave possessions; cutting
off a market of £3,500,000 a-year for our manufactures: and tripling
the slave trade in extent, and quadrupling it in horror, throughout the
globe.

Grave and serious matter for consideration as these results afford, all
of which, be it observed, are _now ascertained by experience_--they
yet sink into comparative insignificance compared with the gigantic
measures of "free trade and a fettered currency," which have now spread
ruin and desolation through the heart of the empire. It is here that
the evil now pressing is to be found; it is from hence that the cry of
agony, which now resounds through the empire, has sprung. And unless a
remedy is applied, and _speedily applied_, to the enormous evils which
have arisen from the reckless and _simultaneous_ adoption of these
powerful engines on human affairs, it may safely be affirmed that the
present distress will go on, with slight variations, from bad to worse,
till the empire is destroyed, and three-fourths of its inhabitants are
reduced to ruin. These are strong expressions, we know; but if they
are so, it is from the testimony of the government, and the ablest
advocates for the free trade and bullion system, and the facts which we
see around us, that we are reluctantly compelled, not only to use them,
but to believe they are true. Hear what the _Times_ says, on the aspect
of national monetary and commercial affairs:--

"In our wide sea of difficulties, therefore, we are without rudder or
compass. We cannot base our proceedings on a calculation that the Bank
Charter Act will be carried out; nor can we, on the other hand, assume
that an inconvertible currency will be authorised, and thus frame our
future contracts accordingly. All that we can discern before us is
declining trade and grinding poverty, bankrupt railways, and increased
taxation; but whether the lesson will be prolonged in its bitterness,
and its salutary effect retarded by measures of national dishonour,
is a point upon which it would be vain to prophesy. _Three years back
an indignant negative might have been given to such a conjecture, but
since then demoralisation has been rapid_, and time alone can determine
if, by the deliberate proceedings of the legislature, the record of it
is destined to become indelible."--_Times_, 26th November 1847.

This is tolerably strong evidence from the leading and ablest free
trade and bullionist journal. Strong indeed must have been the
testimony of facts around them, when the well-informed and powerful
writers in the _Times_ put forth such admissions as to the state of
the country. Observe, the emphatic words wrung by woful experience
from this journal. "Three years back an indignant negative would
have been given to such conjectures; but SINCE THEN the progress of
demoralisation has been rapid." Sir R. Peel's Bank Act was passed in
1844, and his free trade measures in 1846. And be it observed that
that state arose _entirely under their own system_; at a time when the
Bank charter stood unchanged, and free trade, the grand panacea for
all evils, was, and had been in a great degree, for years, in full and
unrestrained operation. We shall see anon whether the Irish famine
and English railways had any thing material to do with the matter.
Strong as it is, however, this testimony is increased by the real
evidence of facts in every direction, and of the acts and admissions
of government. These are of such a kind as a few years ago would have
passed for fabulous. They have outstripped the most gloomy predictions
of the most gloomy of the Protectionists; they have out-Heroded Herod
in the demonstration of the perilous tendency of the path we have so
long been pursuing. They could not have been credited, if not supported
by the evidence of our own senses, and the statements of ministers of
high character, from undoubted and authentic sources of information.
We subjoin a few of them, of universal and painful notoriety to every
inhabitant of the empire at this time; not in the belief that we, in
so doing, can add any facts not previously familiar to the nation, but
in order that these facts, now so well known, should get into a more
durable record than the daily journals, and not pass for fabulous in
future, and it is to be hoped, happier times.

The first is, that the interest of money has, by the recommendation,
and indeed express injunction of government, been raised to _eight
percent_. This grievous and most calamitous effect, which was never
heard of during the darkest period of the Revolutionary war, which
did not ensue even at the time of the Mutiny of the Nore, or the
suspension of cash payments in 1797,[7] has been publicly announced to
the nation, in the Premier's and Chancellor of the Exchequer's Letter
to the Directors. It is well known that, high as this rate of interest
was, it was _less_ than had been previously taken by private bankers,
which had risen to nine, ten, and even fourteen or fifteen _per cent_.
for short periods. These are the rates of interest which, anterior to
their conquest by the British government, were common amidst Asiatic
oppression in the distracted realm of Hindostan. They had not been so
high in England before for a century and a quarter. It was reserved
for Great Britain, in the middle of the nineteenth century, to render
universal, by the effects of domestic legislation, at the end of thirty
years' peace, and when in a state of entire amity with all the world,
a rate of interest unknown for a century before in the British empire;
which could previously be hardly credited as having existed, even in
the days of feudal barbarity; and which had latterly been known only
amidst the predatory warfare, fierce devastations, and universal
hoarding of specie, under the native powers of Hindostan.

In the next place, the public revenue for the quarter ending 1st
October, 1847, is £1,500,000 less than it was in the corresponding
quarter of the preceding year, which itself was below the corresponding
quarter in 1845. Here then is an ascertained falling off of £1,500,000
a quarter, or SIX MILLIONS A-YEAR, in a revenue not exceeding
£52,000,000 of net income, and of which upwards of a half is absorbed
in paying the dividends on the public debt. There is no reason to hope
for an amendment in the next or the succeeding quarter; happy if there
is not a still greater falling off. This is, be it observed, in the
thirty-second year of peace, when in amity with all the world, and
when the war income-tax, producing £5,200,000 a-year, is added to the
national income! But for that grinding war-addition, laid on to meet
the disasters of the Affghanistaun expedition, and kept on to conceal
the deficiency of income produced by Sir R. Peel's free trade measures,
the deficiency _would be above £11,000,000 a-year_. And this occurs
just after a proper and suitable thanksgiving for an uncommonly fine
harvest; when all the world is at peace; five years after Sir R. Peel's
tariff in 1842, which was to add so much to our foreign trade; three
years after the act of 1844, which was to impose the requisite checks
on imprudent speculation; and eighteen months after the adoption of
general free trade, and the abolition of the corn laws by the act of
July 1846, by which the commerce and revenue of the country were to be
so much improved!

In the third place, nearly the whole railways in progress in the United
Kingdom have been stopped, or are to be in a few days, in consequence
partly of this exorbitant rate of interest, partly of the impossibility
of getting money even on these monstrous and hitherto unheard-of terms.
It is calculated that three hundred thousand labourers, embracing with
their families little short of a million of persons, have been from
this cause suddenly thrown out of work, and deprived of bread. Already
the effects of this grievous and sudden stoppage are apparent in the
metropolis, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and other great cities,
in the groups, at once pitiable and alarming, of rude and uncouth,
but sturdy and formidable labourers, who are seen congregating at
the corners of the principal streets. But if this is the effect of
the sudden stoppage on the mere navigators, the hod and barrow-men,
what must it be on the vast multitude of mechanics and iron workmen,
thrown idle from the inability of the railway companies, at present, at
least, to go on with their contracts? So dreadful has been the effects
of this stoppage in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire, the two principal iron
districts of Scotland, that before these pages issue from the press,
forty thousand persons in the former county, and thirty thousand in
the latter, including the families of the workmen, will be out of
employment in the iron and coal trades alone! The greater part of
this immense and destitute mass will fall on Glasgow, where already
half the mills are stopped or on short time, and in which city, since
the beginning of the year, no less than 49,993 Irish[8] have landed,
nine-tenths of whom were in the last stage of destitution, and no
inconsiderable part bringing with them the contagion of typhus fever.

In the fourth place, the great marts of manufacturing industry, both
for the home and the export trade, are in nearly as deplorable a
condition as the iron trade; and the multitude who will be out of bread
in them is not less appalling than in the railway and iron departments.
As a specimen of the condition to which they have been brought by the
combined operation of free trade and a fettered currency, we subjoin
the weekly return of the state of trade in Manchester for the week
ending November 23. It is well known that this return is made up under
the direction of the admirable police of that city, with the utmost
accuracy.

Weekly return made up to yesterday, (November 23), in the improved
form, of the state of the various cotton, silk, and worsted mills, and
other large establishments and works in Manchester:--

  +-----------------+---------+----+----+----+-------+-------+-------+------+
  | Description of  |Full Time|    |    |    |       |       |       |      |
  |Mills, Factories,|         |    |    |    |       |       |       |      |
  |      &c.        | (a)| (b)| (c)| (d)| (e)|  (f)  |  (g)  |  (h)  |  (i) |
  +-----------------+----+----+----+----+----+-------+-------+-------+------+
  |Cotton Mills,    |  91|  44|  10|  21|  16| 28,033| 15,060|  6,079| 6,894|
  |Silk Mills,      |   8|   2| ...|   6| ...|  3,009|    621|  2,138|   250|
  |Smallware Mills, |  18|  11|   3|   3|   1|  1,937|  1,232|    601|   104|
  |Worsted Mills,   |   2|   2| ...| ...| ...|    155|    155|    ...|   ...|
  |Dye Works,       |  20|   3| ...|  17| ...|  1,675|    470|    862|   403|
  |Hat Manufactures,|   2| ...|   1|   1| ...|    107|      7|     49|    51|
  |Mechanists,      |  32|   7|  10|  12|   3|  6,079|  2,777|  1,615| 1,687|
  ------------------+----+----+----+----+----+-------+-------+-------+------+
  |     Totals,     | 173|  69|  24|  60|  20| 40,995| 20,322| 11,284| 9,389|
  +-----------------+----+----+----+----+----+-------+-------+-------+------+

  Key:
  (a) Total No. of Mills, Works, &c.
  (b) No. working full time, with full complement of hands.
  (c) No. working full time with a portion only of hands employed.
  (d) Short Time.
  (e) Stopped.
  (f) Total No. of hands.
  (g) No. working full time.
  (h) No. working short time.
  (i) No. wholly out of employment.

From this Table it appears that out of 40,995 workers employed in the
factories of Manchester, 11,284 are working short time, and no less
than 9,389 are _wholly out of employment_. This last class, with their
families, cannot embrace less, at the lowest computation, than thirty
thousand souls, who are entirely destitute. The state of matters in
Glasgow is at least as bad; about half of the mills there are shut,
or working short time. And this is the condition of our manufactures,
we repeat, in the thirty-second year of profound peace, when we are
engaged in no foreign war whatever; when, so far from being distressed
for the ordinary supply of subsistence, we have just returned thanks to
heaven for the finest harvest reaped in the memory of man; and when,
under the combined operation of home produce and an immense foreign
importation, wheat is selling for 52s. the quarter; three years after
the imposing of the golden fetters which were for ever to preclude
improvident speculation; and a year and a half after the adoption of
the free trade principles, which were to open up new and unheard-of
sources of manufacturing prosperity.

In the fifth place, if the general state of our exports, and of the
importation of the raw material, from which they are prepared, is
considered, it will not appear surprising that the principal marts of
manufacturing industry should be in so deplorable a situation. The
declared value of the exports of our manufactures, for nine months,
ending October 10, in each of the following years, have stood thus,
according to Lord John Russell's statement:--

                                  1845.        1846.        1847.
  First nine months of year,  £41,732,143  £40,008,874  £39,975,207
  Single month of October,      5,323,553    5,477,389    4,665,409[9]

This decline is of itself sufficiently alarming, the more especially
when coming in the wake of the great free trade change, from which so
great an extension of our exports was predicted. Here is a decline
of exports in two years of three millions, which in last October had
swelled to a decrease of NEARLY A MILLION in a single month. But from
the following Table it appears that this falling off, considerable
as it is, exhibits but a small portion of the general decline of
manufacturing industry in the nation; and that the stoppage of industry
for the home market is much more serious.

RAW MATERIAL IMPORTED, JAN. 5 TO OCT. 10.

  |                      |     1845.    |     1846.    |     1847.    |
  |                      |              |              |              |
  |  Flax, cwt.,         |   1,048,390  |     744,861  |     732,034  |
  |  Hemp,               |     624,866  |     588,034  |     465,220  |
  |  Silk, raw, lbs.     |   2,865,605  |   3,429,260  |   3,051,015  |
  |  Do. thrown,         |     311,413  |     293,402  |     200,719  |
  |  Do. Waste, cwt.     |      11,288  |       6,173  |       7,279  |
  |  Cotton Wool, cwt.   |   5,495,799  |   3,866,089  |   3,423,061  |
  |  Sheep's Wool, lbs.  |  57,308,477  |  51,058,209  |  43,348,336  |

This Table exhibits an alarming decline in the importation of all
the materials for our staple manufactures, except raw silk, which
has considerably increased. That increase has not arisen from any
increased sale of articles of clothing, viewed as a whole, in the
nation since 1845, but solely from the great extent to which, since
that time, the fashion of ladies' dress has run in favour of silk
attire. And, accordingly, the decline in wool and cotton imported is so
very considerable, that it amounts, since 1845, to fully a fourth. We
are aware how much the price of cotton rose in 1845; but it has since
rapidly declined; and yet, even at the present low prices, Lord George
Bentinck stated in his place in the House of Commons, in the course of
the debate on bringing up the address in this session of Parliament,
without contradiction from the practical men there, that so miserable
were the prices of export markets just now, that cotton manufactured
goods were exported cheaper than the raw material from which they are
formed could be imported to this country.

It is a poor set-off to these facts demonstrating the declining state
of our foreign manufactures, to say that the exportation of iron and
machinery has greatly increased during the same years, and that we
have imported enormously all kinds of foreign subsistence.[10] So it
has been; but what does that indicate? The first, that foreigners,
under our liberal system of free trade, even in the articles vital
to our manufacturing wealth, are largely importing the machinery
which is to enable them to rival our staple manufacturing fabrics;
and the iron rails which are to give them the means of bringing
their establishments, for practical purposes, nearer each other, and
compensating the immense advantages we have hitherto derived from the
narrowness and compact nature of our territory, and our insular and
highly favourable maritime situation. The last, which undoubtedly has
risen in so short a time to a height which the most decided and gloomy
Protectionist never ventured to anticipate,[11] only demonstrates that
free trade is even more rapidly than was anticipated by its opponents,
working out the downfal of our agricultural industry, and reducing us
to the pitiable condition of the Roman empire, when, instead as of old
sending supplies of provisions to the legions from Italy into distant
provinces, they were entirely fed by them, and the life of the Roman
people was committed to the chances of the winds and the waves.

In the sixth place, the depreciation of property and ruin to
individuals which has ensued and is going on from the present
crisis, is so prodigious, that the mind can scarcely apprehend it,
even by the aid of the most ardent imagination. Not to mention the
extreme embarrassment to merchants which must ensue from the present
extravagant rate of interest and discount, and which must in most
branches of commerce _entirely absorb the profits of stock for this
year_--not to mention the vast number of the most respectable houses
which have sunk under the pressure of the times--not to mention
the prodigious burden imposed on landed proprietors and debtors in
mortgages and bonds on personal security, by the general rise of
interest to five per cent. and often above that sum, from three and a
half or four _per cent_--let us endeavour to estimate, on something
approaching to authentic data, the depreciation and destruction of
property which had taken place even so early as 26th October last, when
Government most properly stepped in to arrest the ruinous effects of
Sir Robert Peel's currency bill of 1844.

We estimate the National Debt, funded and unfunded, in round numbers
at £800,000,000; the railway property, which now produces a revenue of
above £9,000,000 a-year, of which half is profit, at £100,000,000;[12]
bank and other joint stock at as much; and the capital embarked in
commerce and manufactures at £500,000,000. Thus, the loss on the
moveable property of Great Britain by the present crisis, may be
estimated as follows:--The three per cents. in August, 1845, were at
£100-7/8, and for a considerable time were about 100: when Lord John
Russell stepped in by his letter of 26th October, 1847, to arrest
the consequences of Sir Robert Peel's bill of 1844, they were at 79;
and the effect of that partial remedy, even with the bank advances
for a month after at eight per cent., has been to raise them to 85.
The depreciation of funded property, till the Act of 1844 was broken
through, had been in two years from 100 to 80, or a fifth. Take the
depreciation of all other moveable property engaged in fluctuating
employments, on an average at the _same amount and no more_. We need
not say how this understates the matter. How happy would a large part
of the railway stockholders, merchants, and manufacturers of the United
Kingdom be, if the depreciation of their property could truly be
estimated at no larger an amount! But take it on an average as a fifth
only,--the strength of the argument, as Mr Malthus said of his famous
arithmetical and geometrical progression, will admit of almost any
concession. The depreciation and destruction of property since 1845,
will then stand thus:--

  Funded property,            £800,000,000
  Railway property,            100,000,000
  Banking and other
    joint-stock companies,     100,000,000
  Capital invested in
    commerce and manufacture,  500,000,000
                             -------------
                           £ 1,500,000,000
  Depreciated, a-fifth,        300,000,000

Here, then, is the result of thirty years' legislation, during which
time, under different administrations, some bearing the names of Tory,
others of Whig, liberal principles in every department of government
have been without intermission in the ascendant. The Catholic
emancipators, the Negro emancipators, reciprocity advocates, reformers,
self-government men, bullionists, and free-traders, have got every
thing their own way. The triumph over the old system was not immediate;
it took a quarter of a century to complete it: like Wellington at
Waterloo, it was late in the evening before the victory was gained.
But gained it has been; and that not in one branch of government, but
in every branch. The ancient system has been universally changed,
and to such an extent, that scarcely a vestige of it now remains
in the policy of Government. So uniform has been the alteration in
every thing, that one would think our modern reformers had adopted
the principle of their predecessors in the days of Calvin, who stood
up to pray for no other reason but because the Roman Catholics knelt
down. And what have been the results? Ireland, with some millions
of paupers, in a state of anarchy and crime unparalleled in modern
Europe; a hundred millions of property almost destroyed in the
West Indies; the slave trade, tripled in extent, and quadrupled in
horror throughout the globe; an irresistible ascendency given in
the Legislature to urban electors; all protection to agriculture
destroyed; from ten to twelve millions of quarters of grain--a full
sixth of the annual subsistence--imported in a single year; the
national independence virtually destroyed, by being placed to such an
extent at the mercy of foreigners, for the food of the people; foreign
shipping rapidly encroaching on British, so as to render the loss of
our maritime superiority, at no distant period, if the same system be
continued, a matter of certainty; the practical annihilation of the
sinking fund; the permanent imposition of the war income-tax, in the
thirty-second year of profound peace; a falling off in the revenue at
the rate of six millions, and in our exports at the rate of twelve
millions a-year; the depreciation and destruction of property to the
amount of three hundred millions in two years in Great Britain; and,
finally, the general stoppage of railway undertakings over the whole
country, and the shutting or putting on short time of half the mills
in our manufacturing cities, for whose benefit all these changes were
intended! We doubt if the history of the Fall of Rome exhibited such
a uniform and multifarious decay in an equal period; certainly no
parallel to it has yet been presented in the annals of modern Europe.

If we thought that this long and portentous catalogue of disasters
was unavoidable, and could not be remedied by human wisdom, we would
submit to it in silence, and we trust with resignation, as we do to the
certainty of death, or the chances of plague, pestilence, or famine,
arising from the dispensations of Providence, for wise and inscrutable
purposes, but over which we have no control. But this is very far from
being the case. We believe, as firmly as we do in our own existence,
that they are _entirely of our own creation_,--that they are the
result solely and exclusively of false principles diffused through our
people, and false measures in consequence forced upon our Government;
and that, though the consequences of these false principles must be
long and disastrous, yet it is still possible to remedy the evil, to
convert a land of mourning into a land of joy, and restore again the
merry days to Old England. The retreat from the ways of error never
was to nations, any more than individuals, by any other path but the
path of suffering; but if the retreat is made, and the suffering borne,
we trust in the good providence of God, and energy of the British
character to repair all that is past.

The distress which prevails in the nation, and, most of all, _in the
commercial districts and cities_, being universal and undeniable, the
supporters of the present system, which has led to such results, are
sorely puzzled how to explain so decisive and damning a practical
refutation of their theories. The common theory put forth by the free
traders and bullionists is, that it is the railways and Irish famine
which have done it all. This is the explanation which for months has
been daily advanced by the _Times_, and which has been formally adopted
by the leaders of government in both Houses. We are a miserably poor
nation; we have _eaten up our resources_; the strain upon our wealth
has been greater than we could bear. This, of having eaten up our
resources, has, in a peculiar manner, got hold of the imaginations
of the able writers in the _Times_; and, forgetting that a great
importation of food was the very thing which they themselves had held
forth as the great blessing to be derived from free trade, they give
the following alarming account of the food devoured by the nation in
the first nine months of 1847:--

"Of live animals and provisions imported in 1847, there is an excess
over last year of more than 100 per cent., of butter (duty paid) 35
per cent.; of cheese 15 per cent.; of grain and flour 300 per cent.;
of coffee (duty paid) between 8 and 9 per cent.; of sugar (duty paid)
15 per cent., and of spirits (duty paid) 25 per cent. _This has all
been eaten and drunk._ But how, it will be said, is it possible it can
have been paid for? and what a splendid export trade the nation must
have carried on, when all this has taken place, and only six millions
of bullion have disappeared! Unfortunately, however, the explanation
lies deeper. Although we have been extravagant in our living, we have
starved our manufactories. We have sold our goods wherever we could
find a market for them, and we have abstained from purchasing the
materials out of which we may make more. We have not increased our
export trade. It shows, in fact, a diminution as compared with last
year; but in our avidity to consume luxuries, we have foregone, as we
could not sustain the expenditure of both, keeping up the stock by
which our mills and manufactories are to be fed."--_Times_, November
24, 1847.

So that the free traders have at last discovered that the unlimited
importation of food is not, after all, so great a blessing as they had
so long held forth. They have found to their cost that there is some
little difference between sending _thirty millions_ in twelve months
in hard cash to America and the Continent for grain, and sending it
to Kent, Yorkshire, Essex, and Scotland. They have discovered that
there is such a thing as a nation increasing its imports enormously
and beyond all example, and at the same time its exports declining
in the same proportion, from the abstraction of the circulating
medium requisite to carry on domestic fabrics. All this is what the
Protectionists constantly predicted would follow the adoption of free
trade principles; and they warned government in the most earnest manner
two years ago, that no increase of exports, but the reverse, would
follow the throwing open our ports to foreign grain; and that, unless
provision were made for extending the currency when our sovereigns were
sent abroad for foreign grain, general ruin would ensue. Two years ago
Mr Alison observed:--

"Holding it to be clear that, under the free trade system, a very
large importation of grain into these islands may be looked for now,
even in ordinary seasons, and an _immense one in bad harvests_, it
is essential that the country should look steadily in the face _the
constant drain upon its metallic resources which such a trade must
occasion_. Adverting to the disastrous effects of such an exportation
of the precious metals in 1839, from a _single year_ of such extensive
importation of foreign corn, it is impossible to contemplate without
the most serious alarm the conversion of that drain into a permanent
burden upon the specie of the country. As the change now to be made
will undoubtedly depress agricultural industry, it is devoutly to
be hoped that, as some compensation, the _expected increase_ of our
manufactures for foreign markets may take place. But this extension
will, of course, require a proportional augmentation of the currency to
carry it on. And how is that to be provided under the metallic system,
when the simultaneous import of foreign grain is _every day drawing
more and more of the precious metals out of the country, in exchange
for food_?"--(_England in 1815 and 1845_, third edition, _Preface_,
page xi. published in April 1846.)

But let it be conceded that the government and the _Times_ are in the
right on this point; that the importation of grain, coexisting with the
absorption of capital in the railways, was more than so poor a nation
as Great Britain could bear, and that the dreadful crisis which ensued
was the consequence--we would beg to ask, _who has made us so poor_?
We shall lay before our readers a few facts in regard to the resources
of this miserably poor nation--this poverty-stricken people, who have
eaten up their little all in the form of 10,000,000 quarters of grain
and 176,000 live cattle, imported in the last nine months. We shall
show what they were before the free trade and fettered currency system
began; and having done so, we shall repeat the question,--"Who has made
us so poor?"

This miserable poverty-stricken people, in the years 1813, 1814,
and 1815--in the close of a bloody and costly war of twenty years'
duration, during which they raised £585,000,000 by loans to government,
and, on an average, £50,000,000 annually by taxes, from a population,
including Ireland, not in those last years exceeding 18,000,000 of
souls--made the following advances and contributions to government for
the public service:--

  -----------+----+------------+-------------------------+------------+-
             |    |            |     Debt contracted.    |            |
             |    |            +-------------------------+            |
  Population.|    | Raised by  |            |            | Total Debt |
             |    |  Taxes.    |   Funded.  | Unfunded.  | contracted.|
  -----------+----+------------+------------+------------+------------+-
  17,750,000 |1813| £68,748,363| £52,118,722| £55,478,938|£107,597,660|
  17,900,000 |1814|  71,134,503|  39,692,536|  53,841,731|  92,934,267|
  18,150,000 |1815|  72,210,512|  50,964,366|  46,968,138|  97,932,501|
             |    +------------+------------+------------+------------+-
  In 3 years,|    |£212,093,378|£142,175,624|£156,288,807|£298,464,428|
  -----------+----+------------+------------+------------+------------+-
                                                         --+------------
                                                         |   Total
                                                         |  Payments
                                                         |  into the
                                                         | Exchequer.
                                                         --+------------
                                                         |£176,346,023
                                                         | 164,068,770
                                                         | 170,143,016
                                                         --+------------
                                                         |£510,557,809
                                                         --+------------

If any one supposes these figures are inaccurate, or this statement
exaggerated, we beg to say they are not our own. They are copied
_literatim_ from Porter's _Parliamentary Tables_, vol. i. p. 1; and
we beg to refer to that gentleman at the Board of Trade, to whom, on
account of his well-known accuracy, the Chancellor refers for all his
statistical facts, for an explanation of these, we admit, astounding
ones.

Was the capital of the country exhausted by these enormous
contributions of A HUNDRED AND SEVENTY MILLIONS annually to the public
service, in the twentieth year of the most costly war on record? So far
from it, the great loan for 1814 of £39,000,000 was made at the _rate
of_ £4, 11s. 1d. PER CENT; that of 1813 at £5, 10s. on an average; that
of 1815 at £5, 11s. _per cent._[13] And it is evidently immaterial
whether the immense amount of £100,000,000 debt, funded and unfunded
together, was contracted in the form of direct loan to government, or
of Exchequer bills issued from the Treasury, and forming the unfunded
debt. Such bills required to be discounted before they were of any
value; and their proceeds, as Mr Porter very properly states, were so
much money paid into the public treasury. They were an exchange of the
capital of the nation for Treasury bills, and were, therefore, just as
much a draft on that capital as the exchange of the sums subscribed in
loans for the inscription of certain sums in the 3 _per cent._ consols.

In the next place, this poor nation, which has now nearly eaten up its
resources in a single season, in the year 1844 possessed, in the two
islands, real or heritable property of the yearly value of £105,000,000
sterling,[14] corresponding to a capital, at thirty years' purchase,
of £3,150,000,000; and at twenty-five years' purchase, to one of
£2,625,000,000. These figures are ascertained in the most authentic
manner; that of England by the Report of the Lords' Committee on the
burdens of real property;[15] that of Ireland by the Poors' Rate
returns; and that of Scotland from an estimate founded on the amount of
income-tax paid, as no poors' rate as yet extends universally over the
country.

Further, we have the authority of Lord Palmerston, in the debate in
last session of Parliament on foreign loans, for the assertion that
this poor nation has advanced £150,000,000 in loans to republics since
1824, or to monarchies surrounded with republican institutions; the
greater part of which has been lost. Yet so far have these copious
drafts been from exhausting, or even seriously trenching, on the
capital of the nation, that it appears from the subjoined valuable
table, furnished from returns allowed to be taken from the great
bill-broking house of Overend and Gurney in London,[16] that during
that whole period the interest of money, even in the years when the
pressure was severest, never rose above _6 per cent._, and immediately
after fell to 3½ or 3 _per cent._, and in 1844 and 1845, it is well
known, it was still lower, at some times as low as 2½ _per cent._

Again, the income-tax returns for 1846, of this miserably poor nation,
exhibit a revenue of £5,200,000 yearly drawn from this source, though
the tax is only 7d. in the pound, or £2, 18s. 4d. _per cent._, and
though the tax did not legally go below incomes of £150, and in
practice generally excluded those under £200 a-year. The income-tax,
in the last year of the war, produced £15,000,000 at 10 _per cent._,
reaching all incomes above £60 a-year. Had the same standard been
adopted in 1842, when it was reimposed by Sir R. Peel, it would have
produced at least £18,000,000 yearly, which sum, increased by 33 _per
cent._ from the enhanced value of money by the operation of the act of
1819, would correspond to about £24,000,000, according to the value of
money in 1815. This proves that the wealth of the nation had _more than
kept pace_ with the increase of its population; for the numbers of the
people in the two islands in 1815 were 18,000,000, and in 1845 about
28,000,000, or somewhat above 50 _per cent._ increase.

Lastly, this miserably poor nation, which has eaten up its resources
in the shape of quarters of grain and fat bullocks in a single year,
exported and imported in the three years 1812, 1814, and 1815, and
1843, 1844, and 1845, before free-trade began, respectively as follows:

            Exports.           Imports.
         Official value.    Official value.

  1812,    £29,508,517        £24,923,922
  1813--Records destroyed by fire.
  1814,     34,207,253         32,622,711
  1815,     42,875,996         31,822,053

  1843,   £117,877,278        £70,093,353
  1844,    131,564,503         75,441,555
  1845,    132,444,503         85,281,958

Such were the commercial transactions of this nation, which, in the
interval from 1815 to 1845, had become so miserably poor.

Keeping these facts in view, we again ask: Having down to 1845 been
so rich, _what has since made us so poor_? The free-traders and
bullionists tell us it was neither the abolition of the corn-laws nor
the Bank Charter Act. Then what is it which in so short a time has
produced so great, so terrible a revulsion? Government, and their
organs in the press, assert that it was the Irish famine, and the
absorption of capital in railways. To avoid any chance of misconception
on so vital a point, we subjoin the words of the Chancellor of the
Exchequer in the debate on the currency on 30th November 1847, as
reported in the _Morning Post_ of December 1, which were in substance
the same as those employed by the Marquis of Lansdowne in the House of
Lords:--

"Up to October there had been no great pressure; but in that month the
pressure rapidly rose by reason of the _abstraction of capital for
railways and corn_. The House would be surprised to hear the amount of
capital thus abstracted for corn in fifteen months.

  June 1846 to January 1847,   £5,139 000
  January 1847 to July 1847,   14,184,000
  July to October,             14,240,000
                              -----------
                      Total,  £33,563,000

Then as to the capital absorbed in railroads, it had been in each year,
from 1840, on an average, to

  1843,                      £4,500,000
  1844,                       6,000,000
  1845,                      14,000,000
  1846 { First half-year,     9,000,800
       { Second half-year,   26,600,000
  1847,  First half-year,    25,770,000
  1847,  Last half-year,     38,000,000

the latter being, of course, estimated on the supposition of the
expenditure having continued at the same rates."--_Morning Post_,
December 1, 1847.

Now of all the marvellous statements that ever were put forth by a
government to explain a great public disaster, we do not hesitate to
say this is the most marvellous. For let it be conceded that these
are the real causes of the distress,--that it is the railways and the
importation of foreign corn which have done it all--Who introduced the
railways and let in an unlimited supply of foreign corn? Who passed
all the railway bills, and encouraged the nation in the undertakings
which are now held forth as so entirely disproportioned to its
strength? Who took credit to themselves for the prosperity which the
construction of railways at first occasioned, and dwelt with peculiar
complacency, in the opening of the Session of 1846, on the increased
produce of the excise, and diminution of crime, as indicating at once
the augmented enjoyments and diminished disorders of the poor? Who
disregarded the cautious, and as the event has proved, wise warnings
of Lord Dalhousie at the Board of Trade? Who opened the railway of
the Trent Valley with a silver trowel, and enlarged in eloquent terms
on the immense advantages which that and similar undertakings would
bring to the country? Sir Robert Peel and the party who now put down
the whole evils which have ensued to the foreign corn and railways.
Was a single word heard from them condemnatory of the mania which had
seized the nation, and prophetic of the disasters which would ensue
from its continuance? Did Sir Robert Peel warn the people that the
currency was put on a new footing; that the act of 1844 had forbid its
extension beyond thirty-two millions issuable on securities, and that
as credit was thus materially abridged, the capital of the nation would
be found inadequate to the undertakings in which it had engaged? Quite
the reverse; he did none of these things. He encouraged the embarking
of the capital of the nation in railways to the extent of above two
hundred millions,[17] all to be executed in the next four years; and
now we are told that the disasters which have ensued are mainly owing
to that very unmanageable railway progeny which he himself produced!

Again, as to the importation of foreign grain, the second scape-goat
let go to bear the sins of the nation--who let that scape-goat loose?
Who introduced the free trade system, and destroyed the former
protection on native agriculture, and disregarded or ridiculed all
the warnings so strenuously given by the Protection party, that it
would induce such a drain on the metallic resources of the country as
must induce a speedy monetary crisis, and would subject the nation
permanently to that ruinous wasting away which proved fatal to the
Roman empire, when the harvests of Egypt and Libya came to supplant
those of Italy in supplying the cities of the heart of the empire
with food? Who declared that the great thing is to increase our
importations, and that provided this is done the exportations will take
care of themselves? Who laughed at the warning, "Two things may go out,
manufactures _or specie_"? It was Sir Robert Peel and his free trade
followers who did all these things; and yet he and his party, in or out
of administration, (for they are all his party,) coolly now turn round
and tell us that the misery is all owing to the foreign corn and the
railways, which they themselves introduced!

The Irish potato rot of 1846, it is said, occasioned the great
importation of grain, which for the next winter and spring deluged the
country; and but for them we should have been landed in the horrors of
actual famine over a great part of the country. We entirely agree with
this statement. The Protectionists always were the first not only to
admit, but _urgently to insist_ that absolute freedom of importation
should be allowed _in periods of real scarcity_. The sliding-scale
formerly in use expressly provided for this; for the duty began to
fall when wheat reached sixty-three shillings, and declined till at
seventy-three shillings it was only one shilling a-quarter. It was
on the propriety of admitting grain duty-free in periods of _average
or fine harvests_, such as we have just been blessed with, that they
were at issue with their opponents. Under the old system, nearly all
the grain which was imported in the winter of 1846 and spring of 1847,
would have come in, for the duties became nominal when wheat rose to
seventy-three shillings a-quarter, and it rose during that period
to one hundred and five and one hundred and ten shillings. What the
Protectionists said, and said earnestly, when this vast importation,
_necessary at the time_, was going on, that it _anticipated_ the
effects of a free importation of grain, and by its effect on the
currency, while it lasted, might teach the nation what they had to
expect when _a similar drain_, by the effects of free trade, _became
perpetual_. Eight months ago, on March 1, 1847, we made the following
observations in this Magazine:-

"The quantity of grain imported in seven months only, viz. from 5th
July 1846, to 5th February 1847, exceeded six millions of quarters, at
the very time when our exports were diminishing. It may be imagined
how prodigious must have been the drain upon the metallic resources of
the country to make up the balance. The potato rot, it is said, has
_concealed_ the effects of free trade. Quite the reverse. Providence
has done the thing at once. We have got on at railway speed to the
blessings of the new system. Free trade was to lead to the _much
desired substitution of six millions of quarters of foreign, for six
millions of quarters of home growth in three years_. But the potato rot
has done it _in one_. The free trade policy could not have done it so
expeditiously, but it would have done it as effectually. It is a total
mistake, therefore, to represent the famine in Ireland and the West of
Scotland as an external calamity which has concealed the effects of
free trade. _It has only brought them to light at once._"--LESSONS FROM
THE FAMINE. _Blackwood's Magazine_, March 1847.

The real amount of the famine in Ireland, of which so much has been
said, was very much magnified, however, by the fears of some parties
and the interested exaggerations of others. The deficiency in the
two islands has been stated variously, at from sixteen to twenty
million pounds worth. Take it at the larger sum to avoid all idea of
misrepresentation--what is this to the total agricultural produce of
Great Britain and Ireland? That is estimated by Mr Porter on very
rational grounds at three hundred millions annually, in produce of
all kinds. The subtraction of twenty millions worth;--_a fifteenth
part_, at the very utmost, could never account for the prodigious
rise of prices from forty-nine shillings a-quarter to one hundred
and ten shillings, which wheat rose to in March 1847. It was the
impulse given to speculation in grain, by the sudden throwing open
of the ports by Sir Robert Peel's free trade measures, which really
occasioned the prodigious importation so much exceeding what was
required, which actually took place. The defalcation occasioned by
the Irish potato rot, and the deficiency of the oat-crop in Great
Britain, was at the very utmost a fifteenth part of the annual supply.
But the grain imported in the first nine months of this year has
exceeded ten millions of quarters, being a full _sixth_ part of the
annual consumption of the nation, which for the use of man and animals
together is estimated at sixty million quarters. And hence the rapid
fall of prices which followed the fine harvest of 1847, from one
hundred shillings to fifty shillings, which has involved in ruin so
many houses concerned in the corn trade.

But what is particularly worthy of notice, and what we in the most
earnest manner beg to impress upon our readers as by far the most
luminous and important fact which the recent discussions in parliament
have elicited, is this. It is stated, as has been already noticed, by
the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the sum paid for foreign grain
in the three months ending November 30th 1847, that is in the months
of September, October, and November, 1847, had reached the enormous
and unprecedented amount of £14,240,000! The same statement was made
by Lord Lansdowne in the House of Lords; and the Chancellor of the
Exchequer added, that to be sure of the figures, he had them remitted
to and corrected by Mr Porter. Now, this immense importation, be it
recollected, took place IN THE FACE OF THE FINEST HARVEST KNOWN FOR
YEARS, and for which a public and solemn thanksgiving has just been
returned. We say nothing of the prospects of foreign importation which
this fact opens to our agricultural interests,--that furnishes ample
subject for future consideration; what we pray the public attention
to, is the warning which it gives of the effects of free trade upon
the _monetary concerns_ of the nation, and above all on the credit of
the trading and commercial classes. This is the importation, in an
uncommonly fine season, with a noble harvest in both islands, just
reaped! The dreadful monetary crisis of October 1847, which rendered
the suspension of the Bank Charter Act, on the 25th of that month,
indispensable, was evidently owing to the prodigious importation which
all the fineness of the preceding harvest could not check. The crisis
of April 1847, may with justice be ascribed to the failure of the
potato crop in Ireland, and would probably have come on, though not
with the same intensity, though the change on the corn laws had been
made by Sir Robert Peel in the July preceding. But it is rather too
much to go on talking in December 1847, about the failure of the crop
of 1846 in Ireland, four months after one of the finest crops in the
memory of man had been reaped in the British dominions.

This points to one great and lasting truth, the due appreciation of
which by the people of Great Britain is of such paramount importance,
that it will be cheaply purchased even at the cost of all the misery
and destruction of property which the late crisis has occasioned in
the British empire. This is, that the great importation of grain,
and consequent abstraction of the precious metals consequent upon
the free-trade system, may be expected _to be permanent_. We have
repeatedly warned the nation in every possible form that this would
be the case, but our warnings during the free-trade mania met with no
attention. Now, however, it has been proved by the event that they were
too well founded. The old and rich state will always be undersold by
the young and poor one in the supply of grain for its own market. The
grain-growing state never will take manufactures to any proportional
extent, but _always will take gold in exchange_. This was the case with
Rome in ancient days; this is the case with England in these times.
The steam-engine and machinery do little or nothing for agriculture,
though every thing for manufactures. The great grain states are always
those nations in which the labouring-class are poor, or have few
artificial wants, and consequently take few or no manufactures. Poland,
the Ukraine, the Valley of the Mississippi, are examples. Gold is what
they want, and what they will have; for it is the cheapness of their
production which enables them to export to advantage. So universal is
this truth, of such paramount importance is it upon the fortunes of an
old and highly civilised state, that, it may safely be affirmed, its
existence in its old age depends on the requisite safeguards against
the danger thence arising being established. Such are the effects of
the constant drain of gold and importation of grain on such a state in
its advanced stages, that even the strongest nation will sink in time
under the strain, as Rome did, if nothing is done to avert the danger.

The present dreadful crisis under which the nation is labouring,
therefore, is not owing to a want of capital for all its undertakings,
nor to any present deficiency in our native supply of food. It is
in vain that Sir R. Peel, to throw the blame off the Bank Charter
Act, says it is all owing to a deficiency of capital to carry on our
undertakings. Has the Right Hon. Baronet forgotten that, so recently as
_March last_, the Chancellor of the Exchequer borrowed £8,000,000 for
the destitute Irish at £3, 7s. 6d. _per cent._? Was this like a nation,
the capital of which was exhausted? Has he forgotten that, till within
these few months, the funds were from 88 to 90, and interest generally
at 3 or 3½ _per cent._? What has come of all this capital since
August last? Has it vanished before the genial showers and bright sun
which gave us so fine a harvest? But if deficient capital has been the
cause of our disasters, how has it happened that Lord John Russell's
letter of 25th October, authorising the Bank to make advances beyond
what the Act allowed, has already had a sensible effect in arresting
the disorder, at least in the metropolis? Can it be said that that
letter added one pound to the realised capital of the country? It might
as well be affirmed that it added a cubit to every man's stature in
it, or a quarter to the produce of every field it contained. Then how
has it to some degree arrested the panic in London, raised the 3 _per
cents._ from 79 to 86, and lowered the interest of money from 8 or 9
to 6 or 7 _per cent._? Evidently by its effect upon CREDIT; because
it begat a hope--not likely, we fear, to be realised--that government
had at last become sensible of the ruinous effect of the Bank Charter
Act, and would speedily restore the circulation of the country to
that amount, which the magnitude of its population and transactions
imperatively required.

To illustrate the terrible and all-powerful operation of this
deplorable Act on the best interests of the country, let it be supposed
for a moment that the _whole_ currency of the country, without any
change in its laws as affecting debtor and creditor, were to be
withdrawn. What would be the result? Evidently that every man and
woman it contained, from Queen Victoria and the Chancellor of the
Exchequer downwards, would become bankrupt. A nation possessing real
property, as the income-tax and poor-rate returns show, of the value of
£3,000,000,000 sterling, and moveable property of £2,000,000,000 more,
would, without the exception of a single living creature in it, become
bankrupt because £70,000,000 or £80,000,000 was withdrawn from its
circulation, while its laws remained unchanged. By these laws, every
debtor must discharge his liabilities _in money_; and therefore, if
the whole money was withdrawn, no debt could be discharged at all, and
universal bankruptcy would ensue.

Now, the contraction of the currency to any considerable extent
operates, so far as it goes, in just the same way on general credit
and the national fortunes. When money becomes scarce, no one can,
without difficulty, discharge his obligations, because the banks, who
are the reservoirs from which payment of all considerable transactions
are drawn, cannot afford the usual accommodation. Those who are not
in first-rate credit can get nothing from them at all, and at once
become bankrupt. The sum-total of difficulty and embarrassment thus
occasioned, is not to be measured by the amount of specie or bank-notes
actually withdrawn from circulation by the Bank of England, though
that on occasion of the present crisis has been very considerable. It
is to be measured by the shock given to credit; the increase in the
practice of hoarding, which a feeling of general insecurity never fails
to engender; the reluctance in the country banks to make advances;
the universal effort made to recover debts at the very time when the
means of discharging them have been rendered most difficult; the rapid
diminution in the private bills put in circulation from the experienced
impossibility of getting them discounted. The contraction of the
currency on the part of the Bank of England, from July 1846, when it
was £21,000,000, to September 1847, when it was only £17,840,000, was
no less than £3,160,000. Including the simultaneous and consequent
contraction by the country banks in Great Britain and Ireland, the
diminution of the paper currency was above £5,000,000. But this,
considerable as it is, was but a small part of the evil. The bills in
circulation in Great Britain in 1839 were estimated by Mr Leatham, a
most experienced Yorkshire banker, at £130,000,000. In 1845, it may
safely be assumed, that they had reached £160,000,000 or £170,000,000.
Without a doubt this immense sum was reduced by at least a fourth,
probably a half, from the contraction of the currency consequent on
the Bank Act of 1844. It is this prodigious contraction, the necessary
consequence of the banks having been rendered unable or unwilling
to discount bills, which is the real cause of the present universal
distress and general stoppage of all undertakings. And it was the more
ruinous from the circumstance, that it occurred at _the very time_
when, from the vast encouragement given by government to domestic
railways by the bills they passed, and to foreign trade from the
abolition of the main duties protective of industry by them, the nation
was landed in transactions of unheard-of magnitude, and producing an
unparalleled strain upon its metallic resources.

This last is a consideration of such paramount importance, that it is
of itself adequate to explain the whole phenomena, which have occurred;
and yet, strange to say, it has hitherto met with very little attention
either in or out of Parliament. The point to which we allude, and to
which we crave, in an especial manner, the attention of the nation,
is _the progressive and now alarming disproportion between the money
value of our imports and our exports_ which has grown up ever since Sir
Robert Peel's tariff was introduced in 1842, and which has now, from
the action of the free-trade in corn, risen to such a height as to be
absolutely frightful. The declared or money values of our total exports
and official value of our imports since Sir Robert Peel's tariff was
passed in 1842, have stood as follows:--

Imports, official value.

  1841,                 £64,377,962
  1842,                  65,204,729
  1843,                  70,093,353
  1844,                  75,441,555
  1845,                  85,281,958
  1846,                 Not made up.
  Three first quarters of
    1847,               Not made up.

Exports, declared value.

  1841,                 £51,604,430
  1842,                  47,361,043
  1843,                  52,278,449
  1844,                 Not made up.
  1845,                  53,298,026
  1846,                  57,279,735
  1847,                  39,240,000

The imports for 1847 have not yet been made up, and cannot be till
January next, when the year is concluded. But in the figures we have
given, there is abundant room for the most serious reflection. The
fact which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has mentioned as to the
sums paid _for grain alone_, in fifteen months, having reached the
enormous and unprecedented amount of £33,000,000, leaves no room
for doubt that, in the year 1847, our imports _will have reached
£100,000,000, while our exports have sunk below £50,000,000_.[18] Now,
how was this fearful balance paid? The answer is evident. In cash. Here
then, without going farther, is a balance on the exports and imports
already returned, in 1846, of _forty millions_ against the nation, on
the transactions of the present year, of probably not less than FIFTY
MILLIONS STERLING.[19] Whoever considers these figures with attention,
will be at no loss to perceive from what cause in the main the present
disasters have arisen.

To give only one example of the way in which, under the system of
free importation, the balance of trade has been turned against this
country, we subjoin the official returns of the progress of our trade
with America since Sir Robert Peel's tariff was introduced in 1842,
and for five years previously.[20] From that it appears that the trade
with that country, which in 1830 was £8,000,000 on each side, has now
so immensely changed, especially since the tariff of 1842, that, while
our exports to it in 1845 were £10,000,000, our imports from it were
£22,000,000! How was the balance of £12,000,000 paid? The answer is,
_in money_; and that money it was which enabled them to conquer the
Mexicans. We shall look with anxiety for the returns of our exports to,
and importations from America for the last two years. When they appear,
it will at once be seen where the money, the want of which is now so
severely felt, has gone, under the fostering influence of free trade.

Sir Robert Peel says that the Americans have tried the system of paper
money, and they have had enough of it. We thank the Right Honourable
Baronet for having reminded us of this example of the effects of a
contracted currency. It appears that in 1836 the imports of English
manufactures into the United States were £15,116,300. In the next
year they were only £5,693,094 official value; and the declared or
real value in that year was only £4,695,225; and the declared value
of the imports from Great Britain in 1842, was only £3,528,807.[21]
What occasioned this extraordinary defalcation, we shall inform the
Right Honourable Baronet. In spring 1837, the metallic system was
introduced by General Jackson, then President of the United States,
(by his refusal to take any thing but specie in payment of government
claims,) the country being at the time engaged in vast railway and
other undertakings, with the concurrence and by the authority of
government. Thence the prodigious falling off in the imports from this
country, under which our own manufacturers suffered so severely, and
from which they have scarcely yet recovered. Thence the destruction
of three-fourths of the mercantile capital of the United States. May
heaven avert a similar catastrophe, resulting from the same policy, in
this country!

The causes, then, to which the present dreadful crisis is owing, are as
plain as if the proofs of them were to be found in Holy Writ. We shall
simply record what Sir Robert Peel and the bullion party have done for
the last five years, and then ask whether under such a system it was
possible a catastrophe could be averted.

In the first place, they introduced the tariff of 1842, which so
materially diminished the duties on importation in this country, and
gave so great an impulse to the introduction of foreign articles of all
sorts into the consumption of the people, as raised our imports in 1845
to £85,000,000, while our exports were only £53,000,000, exhibiting a
balance of £32,000,000 against the country, which of course required to
be paid in the precious metals.

Secondly, having established this great drain of nearly _thirty
millions_ annually on the metallic resources of the country, Sir Robert
Peel next proceeded to pass the Bank Charter Acts, for England of 1844,
and for Scotland and Ireland of 1845, which limited the bank notes of
the empire, issuable on securities, to £32,000,000,[22] and enacted
that for every note issued beyond that amount, a sovereign should be in
the bank's strong-room to represent it.

Thirdly, having imposed these firm restrictions on the increase of the
paper circulation, and left no room for an augmentation to meet the
growing wants of the community but by an addition to the stores of
bullion in the country, and compelled a proportional contraction of the
currency when the bullion was withdrawn, the Right Honourable Baronet
and his administration next passed railway bills to the amount of above
£150,000,000 sterling, to be executed in the next three years, and gave
every facility to the undertaking of such projects, by lowering the
deposits required from ten to five _per cent._ on the estimated cost of
the undertakings.

Fourthly, when the strain on the metallic resources of the country was
beginning to be felt, from the immense balance of thirty millions in
our commerce against us, and the calls on railway shares were becoming
considerable, the Right Honourable Baronet next, as a permanent system,
not an extraordinary remedy to meet a temporary disaster, introduced a
free trade in grain, which was immediately applied by his successors to
sugar. He thus sent thirty-three millions, in gold and silver, abroad
in fifteen months. The consequence has been that the imports of the
empire have probably become _double_ its exports in money value; that a
balance of nearly £50,000,000 has this year been sent abroad in payment
of articles of import; that the sums paid for grain alone in the three
months immediately _following the finest harvest on record_, have
exceeded £14,000,000; that nearly all the railways in the country have
been stopped from the necessary contraction which, under the existing
law, this export of specie occasioned to the currency; that distress of
dreadful magnitude pervades the mercantile and manufacturing classes;
and that our exports have fallen off at the rate of a million a-month,
and our revenue above six millions a-year.

Such are the principles and results of that splendid combination
effected by modern wisdom--FREE TRADE AND A FETTERED CURRENCY. And as
these results flow naturally and necessarily from the principles put in
practice, it is evident that they may be expected in a less or greater
degree _to be permanent_, so long as these principles regulate the
policy of government.

Suppose a general at the head of one hundred thousand men were to
double, by orders issued or licenses granted from head-quarters, the
distance to be marched, and the work done by the men, and _at the
same time_ to establish a system which sent half of the commissariat
stores out of the camp,--what could be expected from such a policy
but starvation, discontent, and ultimate mutiny among the soldiers?
Or suppose a master manufacturer, as a great improvement on the
machinery of his mill, were to introduce a system which abstracted
the oil in proportion to the quickened movement of the wheels, or
diminished the moving power in proportion to the increase of the work
to be done,--what could be expected from such a change, but that the
machine would stop when it had most work to do? And yet, is not a
currency, and _a sufficient currency_, as necessary to an industrious
nation as food to the soldier, or coals to the steam-engine, or oil
to the wheels? Can we be surprised that such a system, when applied
to a nation, terminated in disappointment and ruin? But one result of
inestimable value has followed from its adoption; it is in periods
of suffering that truth is learned, because the consequences of
error are experienced. It is now seen what the true principles on
the subject are, because the effects of the opposite principles have
been demonstrated. With truth may it be said, that Sir R. Peel is the
philosopher who "HAS INSTRUCTED US IN THE CURRENCY."

It is the same thing, it is often said, whether we send specie abroad
in return for imports or manufactures of our own creation, for specie
is not the growth of this country, and it could only have been brought
here in return for some produce of ours previously exported. The
common sense of mankind, founded on experienced suffering arising
from the abstraction of specie, has ever repudiated this doctrine of
the schools; and present experience has amply demonstrated that, how
specious soever it may appear, there is some fallacy in it. Nor is it
difficult to see what that fallacy is. If we send manufactures abroad
in exchange for specie, we make a fair exchange; but if, having got
the specie, we send IT abroad _again_, instead of manufactures, to buy
food,--we have _only one_ export of British produce to set off against
_two_ imports of foreign. For instance, if we send £5,000,000 worth of
manufactures to South America to buy that amount of specie, it is a
fair exchange, and there is no unfavourable balance established against
us. But if, having got the £5,000,000 worth of specie, we again send
it to North America for grain, which is imported into this country,
instead of sending £5,000,000 worth of manufactures, we have, on the
whole, only exported £5,000,000 worth of manufactures for £10,000,000
worth of produce, bullion and corn imported: that is, there is a
balance of trade to the amount of £5,000,000 established against us,
which, to that extent, is a drain on our metallic resources. Had we
sent £5,000,000 worth of manufactures instead of the same amount of
specie to North America to buy food, our exports on the whole would
have been £10,000,000 instead of £5,000,000; and the difference of
£5,000,000, instead of being _a deduction from_, would have been _an
addition to_ the metallic resources, that is, the life-blood of the
nation. It is because a great import of grain invariably leads to such
an export of specie, that it is so hazardous a trade for a nation: it
is because Sir R. Peel's policy contracted the paper currency at the
very time that he sent the metallic abroad in quest of food, that he
has brought such calamities on the State.

The Right Hon. Baronet's defence of his policy is mainly to be found in
the following paragraph of his late able speech, in the close of the
currency debate:--

"I think there has been some misapprehension as to the objects
contemplated by the Act of 1844. I do not deny that one of them was
the prevention of the convulsions that had theretofore occurred in
consequence of the Bank of England not taking due precautions as to the
regulation of its issues. I did hope, after the experience of former
crises, that the Bank of England would adhere to those principles of
banking which the directors acknowledged to be just, but from which
they admitted they have departed. (Hear, hear, hear.) I am bound to
admit that in that hope, and in that object, I have been disappointed;
and I also admit, seeing the number of houses that have been swept
away--some of which, I fear, were long insolvent--(Hear, hear)--and
others which, being solvent, have suffered from the failure of other
houses--I am bound to say that in that object of the Bill I have been
disappointed. (Hear, hear.) It was in the power of the Bank to have, at
an early period of the distress, raised the rate of discount, and to
have refused some of the accommodation they granted between 1844 and
1846. (Hear, hear, hear.) I cannot, therefore, say that the defect is
exclusively, or mainly, in the Bill--(Hear, hear)--but my belief is,
that executive interference might have been given without the necessity
of the authority of the noble lord."--_Morning Post_, Dec. 2, 1847.

The observations which have now been made, show that these remarks
are not only unfounded, but precisely the reverse of the truth. Had
the Bank of England drawn in their discounts, and raised the rate of
interest between 1844 and 1846, at the very time when the railway and
free-trade work, into which Sir Robert Peel had plunged the nation,
was at its height, what must have been the result? Nothing but this:
that the catastrophe which has ensued would have come on two years
sooner than it has actually done. The Right Hon. Baronet would have
been prevented from making his emphatic speech on the admirable effects
of his policy, and the diminution of crime, in the opening of the
Session of 1846; he would have found the jails and the workhouses full
enough, at the period of that glowing eulogium on free-trade policy
and its effects. By making liberal advances to railway companies in
1844 and 1845, the Bank of England, and the other banks which followed
its example, only enabled the country for a time to do the work upon
which Sir Robert Peel had set it. By enabling, by similar advances,
the manufacturers for two years longer than they otherwise could have
done, to send a large export of manufactures abroad, the Bank, for
that period, averted or postponed the catastrophe which must ensue in
a commercial state, when its imports, for a series of years, have come
greatly to exceed its exports. It is because the contraction of the
currency, rendered imperative on the Bank by the Right Hon. Baronet's
bill, has disabled our manufacturers from carrying on their operations
to their wonted extent, that the import of the raw materials employed
in manufactures, has decreased during the last eighteen months to such
an extent, our export of manufactures declined in a corresponding
degree, and the drain of specie abroad to pay for the enormous
importations simultaneously introduced, increased to such a ruinous
extent.

Sir R. Peel reminds us of the great catastrophe of December 1825,
and observes that that disaster, at least, cannot be ascribed to his
Bank Charter Act, and that it arose from the everlasting tendency to
overtrading in the people of this country. Again we thank the Right
Hon. Bart. for reminding us of that disastrous epoch, which, in the
still greater suffering with which we are now surrounded, had been
well-nigh forgotten. We entirely agree with him as to the magnitude
of that crisis, and we will tell him to what it was owing, and how it
was surmounted. It was owing to Mr Secretary Canning, in pursuance
of liberal principles, "calling a new world into existence," by
violating the faith and breaking through the duties of the old one.
It arose from the prodigious loans sent from this country to prop
up the rickety, faithless, insolvent republics of South America, and
the boundless incitements held out to wild speculation at that period
by "Mr Prosperity Robinson," especially in South American mining
speculations. It arose from all this being done and encouraged by the
government, at the very time when the act of 1819, introduced by Sir R.
Peel, compelled the Bank,--though drained almost to the last guinea,
by the prodigious quantity of gold sent headlong to South America to
support these speculations, induced or fostered by the government,--to
pay all its notes in gold. This was what induced the crisis. And what
arrested it? Lord Ashburton has told us it was the issue of £2,000,000
of forgotten _bank-notes_, drawn out of a cellar of the Bank; but
which sum, inconsiderable as it was, proved sufficient to arrest the
consequences of the gold being all sent away to South America, in
pursuance of liberal principles, to prop up "healthy young republics,"
carved out of the dominions of an old and faithful ally. Sir R.
Peel, two-and-twenty years afterwards, has repeated the same error,
by sending the gold to North America in the midst of great domestic
transactions for grain, but he has not repeated the same remedy.

In truth, the system now established in regard to the bank by the acts
of 1819 and 1844, _necessarily_ induces that very feverish excitement
in periods of prosperity, and sudden contraction in those of adversity,
of the consequences of which Sir R. Peel so loudly complains. When the
bank is obliged to accumulate and keep in its vaults so prodigious
a treasure as £15,000,000 in prosperous times, and £9,000,000 or
£10,000,000 in those of adversity, _lying_ dead in its possession;
_how is it to indemnify itself for so vast an outlay_, without,
whenever an opportunity presents itself, pushing its circulation to
the utmost? The very interest of this treasure amounts, at 5 _per
cent._, to above £700,000 a-year; at 7 _per cent._, the present rate,
it will reach a million. How is this sum to be made up, the expense
of the establishment defrayed, and any profit at all realised for the
proprietors, if paper, to a large amount, is not pushed out whenever an
opportunity presents itself for doing so to advantage?

Again, in adverse times, when there is a heavy drain upon the
establishment for buying foreign grain, or discharging adverse
exchanges, how is the bank to avoid insolvency, without at once, and
suddenly, contracting its issues? The thing is unavoidable. Undue
encouragement to speculation in prosperity, and undue contraction
of credit in adversity, is to the Bank, since the acts of 1819 and
1844, not merely an essential preliminary to profit, but in trouble
the condition of existence. Yet Sir R. Peel complains of the Bank
doing that which his own acts have rendered indispensable to that
establishment.

Sir R. Peel asserts that many of the houses which have lately become
insolvent, have done so from excessive imprudence of speculation; and
he succeeded in eliciting some cheers and laughter from the House of
Commons, by contrasting in some extreme cases the amount of the debts
brought out in bankruptcy with the assets. Without deeming it necessary
to defend the conduct of all the houses, the affairs of which have
been rendered public by the vast corn trade and railway speculations
into which he plunged the nation, it seems sufficient to observe, that
_all_ fortunes made by credit must, if suddenly arrested in the course
of formation by such a contraction of the currency as we have lately
experienced, exhibit the same, or nearly the same, results. Fortunes,
with the magnitude of which the Right Hon. Baronet and Mr Jones Loyd
are well acquainted, might possibly, if they had been thrown on their
beam-ends suddenly, by such a tornado, have exhibited, when in growth,
not a much more flattering feature. But the "Pilot who weathered the
storm" was then at the helm, and he weathered it for their fortunes not
less than for those of the country. He _aided_ commercial distress in
adversity by increasing, instead of _aggravating_ it by contracting,
the currency. It is credit which has made us what we are, and credit
which must keep us such. Had the monetary system of Sir R. Peel been
adopted forty years ago, as the bullion committee said it should, we
shall tell the Right Hon. Baronet what would have been the result.
Great Britain would have been a province of France: the fortunes of
all its merchants would have been destroyed: the business talents of
Mr Jones Loyd would probably have procured for him the situation of
cashier of the branch of the Bank of France established in London; and
possibly the rhetorical abilities of Sir R. Peel might have raised
him to the station of the English M. De Fontaine, the orator on the
government side in the British Chamber of Deputies, held under an
imperial viceroy on the banks of the Thames.

Sir R. Peel admits his bill has failed in checking improvident
speculation in the nation; nor could he well have maintained the
reverse, when the most extravagant speculations on record, at least in
this island, succeeded, in the _very next year_, the passing of his
bill. Experience has proved that it required to be suspended by the
authority of the executive when the disaster came; and the effect of
that suspension has already been to raise the _three per cents_ from
79 to 86. It is ineffective during prosperity to check imprudence; it
requires to be suspended in adversity, because it aggravates disaster.
This is all on the Right Hon. Baronet's own admission. What good then
has it done, or what can be ascribed to it, to counterbalance the
numerous evils which have followed in its train?

Sir R. Peel says the experience of the last half century proves, that
every period of prosperity is followed by a corresponding period of
disaster, and that it is under one of the latter periods of depression
that the nation is now labouring. We agree with the Right Honourable
Baronet that for thirty years past this has been the case, and we will
tell him the reason why. It is because for that period his principles
have been in operation. But there was a period before that when no such
deplorable alternations of good and evil took place; when the nation
in prosperity was strong without running riot, and the government in
adversity checked disaster, instead of aggravating it. It was the
period from 1793 to 1815, when a currency adequate to the wants of the
nation was supplied for its necessities, and our rulers had not yet
embraced the principle that, in proportion as you increase the work
men have to do, and enlarge their number, you should diminish their
food. It was the period when Mr Pitt or his successors in principle
were at the helm. Three commercial crises came on at that time, all
occasioned by the abstraction of specie for the use of the great armies
then contending on the Continent,--those of 1793, 1797, and 1810. In
the first, the panic was stopped by Mr Pitt's advance of £5,000,000
exchequer bills; in the second, by the suspension of cash payments;
in the third, when gold was so scarce that the guinea was selling
for twenty-five shillings, by the issue of bank-notes to the extent
of £48,000,000. That last period, which under the present system
would at once have ruined the nation, was coincident with its highest
prosperity: with the Torres Vedras campaign, and a revenue raised by
taxes of £65,000,000 yearly. All the panics on record have arisen from
the abstraction of gold in large quantities, and have been cured by the
issue, sometimes speedy, sometimes tardy, of a corresponding amount
of paper. Sir R. Peel's policy doubles the evil, for it at once sends
abroad the cash under his act of 1846, even in the finest seasons,
to buy grain, and, under the act of 1844, at the very same moment
contracts the currency, by the increase of which alone the evil could
be remedied.

Sir R. Peel, however, has completely, as already noticed, instructed
us in the true principles of the currency. It is his policy which has
brought them to light. He contracts the currency when gold is scarce,
and expands it when it is abundant. The true principle is just the
reverse: it is to contract the paper when gold is abundant, and an
expansion of the currency is therefore little needed: and to expand
it when it is scarce, and therefore an addition to it is imperatively
called for. The price of gold will at once tell when the one or the
other requires to be done.

We conclude in the words we used on _this day twenty-two years_, on
Jan. 1, 1826, immediately after the cessation of the dreadful panic
of December 1825:--"It may be that the Ministry is right, and that
all these changes are wise and necessary, but we cannot discover it.
The more accurately we examine, the more firmly we are convinced of
the truth of our own opinions. Time has brought no refutation to us,
whatever it may have done to those from whom we differ; in so far as
experiment has gone, we may point to it in triumph in confirmation
of our principles and predictions. If at the last we be proved to be
in error, we shall at least have the consolation of knowing that we
have not erred from apostasy; that we have not erred in broaching new
doctrines and schemes, and supporting innovation and subversion; that
we have not erred in company with the infidel and revolutionist,--with
the enemies of God and man. We shall have the consolation of knowing
that we have erred in following the parents of England's greatness,--in
defending that under which we have become the first of nations, and in
protecting the fairest fabric that ever was raised under the face of
heaven, to dispense freedom and happiness to our species. Our error
will bring us no infamy, and it will sit lightly on our ashes when we
shall be no more!"



SOMETHING LIKE A COUNTRY-HOUSE.


THERE is an ancient mansion we often go to, just where the hills of
Herefordshire rise confounded with those of Radnor, built in the reign
of James I., but in a style that tells of the traditions of rather an
earlier epoch, and, as common report goes, due to the genius of Inigo
Jones. It is erected in a long line east and west, with the principal
fronts north and south; on either side of the mansion prim-looking
gables rise over the windows of the third storey, and stately chimneys
keep guard on the roof above. The windows are all ample, well and fitly
monialled and transomed. The colour of the stone is a rich warm-tinted
gray, passing on the southern front into orange-shades of glorious hue;
and the whole edifice wears the aspect of nobility and good taste.
Ample gardens with terraces and lawns are spread around, and the tall
avenue of limes that leads down from the ancient gates on the main
road, is answered by a goodly belt of contemporaneous oaks and beeches
circling round the gardens, and shutting them out from the rest of
the estate. When you enter the great hall, you observe large square
bay windows, and, in the recesses, deer-skins spread out for carpets,
with halberts and other arms filling up the corners. The lower rooms
are all wainscoted with black oak, and the furniture, mostly as old
as the mansion itself, is of that solid stately kind which befitted
the dignified style in which our ancestors gloried to live. As you
mount the ample stairs, you find yourself amidst an endless series of
portraits, from the time of the bluff tyrant King Hal, down to the
homely age of good King George,--stiff gentlemen and ladies in doublets
and ruffs,--others with cuirasses and long flowing hair, and black
dresses and love-locks, be-speaking the well known cavalier principles
of the House in the times of the rebellion; and ever and anon gentlemen
in long three-quarter frames, with many a square yard of pink or blue
velvet for their coats, cuffs turned up to their elbows, waistcoats
big enough to make surtouts for any of us degenerate moderns; the
forefinger and thumb of one hand on the pummel of the sword, the other
gently placed on some gilded table,--the head turned disdainfully
aside, or else courting with graceful pride some comely dame in a green
negligé, or habited as a shepherdess,--the Corydon and Chloe of the
court of Queen Anne. The staircase leads to an enormous drawing-room,
that looks as if some three or four other rooms had been thrown into
one, with two bay-windows on one side, and a fireplace--ah! such a
fireplace!--on the other. But here no personages more ancient than
the days of George the Second are allowed to show their canvasses on
the walls,--the great grandfathers and grandmothers of the present
possessors,--the men looking like rakish Quakers, the ladies all in
flimsy white muslin, straw hats, and powdered locks. They may have more
interest for those to whom they are related, but we always consider
them much worse company than their progenitors on the staircase,--those
glories and beauties of an earlier day, whom they are themselves
destined to join hereafter, when thrust out from their present quarters
by a future squire. A stray Sir Joshua may be seen in one corner of the
room, and an early Sir Thomas is by one of the windows. The furniture
here is of that remarkable, rickety kind, which our own dads admired so
much when this nineteenth century of ours was making its appearance,
and which--but we may have bad taste herein--we would willingly consign
_en masse_ to the kitchen fire or the broker's shop.

Not far from the drawing-room door runs off one of the many long
corridors of the mansion, and then at the end is the Closed Chamber.
It has never been opened since the year 1718, when the young lady,
one of the daughters of the house, that used to sleep in it, lost her
lover who had been out for the "right cause," and lost his head for his
loyalty to a dethroned sovereign; and she, poor girl, walked into the
great fish-pond one night, and was found in the tangled weeds by the
old gardener next morning. The squire of that day, her disconsolate
father, had the pond immediately drained off, and it is now one of the
prettiest flower parterres of the garden: but the lady's elm is still
pointed out at one end--a shattered withered trunk--'twas under it the
poor thing's body lay. And now at nightfall, and in the depth of the
night itself, long-drawn sighs and the rustling of stiff silk may be
heard along the passage and by her room-door, while within,--but no
one knows nor even talks of what is within,--all that is really known
is, that once in the autumn, 'tis now fifty years ago, when the old
housekeeper was alive, on a peculiarly still night, while the master
was away up in London, and no one but two or three servants left in the
gloomy mansion, the door of the chamber burst open with a loud noise,
and such a crash was heard within, followed by an unearthly shriek,
that the people in the servants' hall below nearly went out of their
minds through fright. Next morning, when the gardener had called in the
village constable and the smith, and all three had mounted the stairs
and had come to the mysterious door, they found within a wainscoted
room a worm-eaten bed of ancient form, all in a heap on the floor; one
of the windows was broken in, the cobwebs were blowing about in the
wind that whistled through the apartment; over the chimney-piece was a
portrait, so black that it could be hardly made out, only they could
see that it had once shown the lineaments of a young and a female face:
but there was nothing, absolutely nothing to indicate the cause, of
the disturbance during the night. It is true that the smith, as he was
going out, picked up a ribbon near the chimney, which he maliciously
declared he knew to be Betty the housemaid's garter, but nothing more
ever came of it, so the window was mended, the shutters were closed,
and the door has ever since been fastened up with stout coffin screws.
There's not a servant that would go to the end of that passage at night
and listen with her ear at the keyhole, (though they all say they
would not mind doing it at any other door in the house) no, not for a
twelvemonth's extra wages.

We have slept in many a chamber of that goodly and hospitable mansion:
there was the bachelor's room, a nice little square apartment, about
twice as high as it was broad, all panelled in oak, which, however,
some Goth of a squire had painted light blue; with a fireplace that
would let not only the bachelor, but eke the bachelor's better half,
creep inside on a winter's night; and with a curious kind of a bed,
not higher from the ground than your knee, but with thin light posts
spiring up some dozen of feet aloft, and supporting a superfluity
of green damask, enough to make a tent with. In the panel over the
fireplace was an apology for a looking-glass, once deemed no doubt an
uncommonly correct thing, all cut in facettes and diamonds at the
sides and diversified with bouquets of flowers tied by true-lovers'
knots in the middle. 'Twas no doubt a bridal gift to some fair lady in
the time of King Charles, and then might have gloried in a frame of
gold; but now its glories are departed, and, for us at least, it served
no higher purpose than to display the horrors of our bristly chin.
There's no position in the world more comfortable for a bedroom mirror
than over the fireplace; shaving can there be conducted with science
and with gusto. And every other panel opened by some wonderful kind of
fastening, into a cupboard big enough to stow away more habiliments
than ever in our bachelor days we were likely to possess. A quaint
little goggle-eyed commode, tortured into fanciful elegance, filled up
one corner of the room; and a nondescript _table de toilette_ occupied
the other. Here, in a three-cornered arm-chair, the senior piece of
furniture in the whole room, have we watched over the flickering ashes
of the wood-fed fire for hours; and often when we had shaken hands with
our worthy host at ten, have we prolonged our vigil till early morn,
amused with the acute ribaldry of _Tom Jones_, or lost in the intricate
wit of _Tristram Shandy_. The wintry blasts would make the old casement
rattle, but we only gave the flaming log another turn,--crack! crack!
would go the wood, over went another leaf of the book, and so we
continued till taper and eyelid alike failed us.

The Yellow Room was also a capital place to take up your quarters in
for the night; there was very pretty sleeping in that vasty bed, where
some four might snore side by side, and yet never doubt but that they
were each sole occupant of the couch. But it was somewhat melancholy
to turn in there by yourself; your taper, though it burned as bright
as wax could make it, served to illumine only a small portion of the
middle space, while in each corner of the apartment was a mass of black
nonentity, of darkness visible, that might make you superstitious
and ghostlike. It was something like going to bed in Westminster
Hall, and from the fireplace to the bedside, when in the last stage
of dishabille, was quite a journey. But there was such a host of
arm-chairs with soft downy cushions, such a bevy of footstools, such
a goodly couple of ottomans, such a preponderating wardrobe, and such
ample splashing-room on the marble surface of the toilette, that here
you could expatiate in the morning, and could walk in and out and round
the chairs and tables and footstools and ottomans, and back again, for
a mile or two before breakfast, simply while dressing. Here were some
famous pictures of Cupids and Venuses, and a view of the park-gates,
and a drawing of the alcove at the end of the long walk, and an
enormous sampler that must have taken two or three years to work, with
B. W. A.D. 1732, ending the series of devices. Here, too, were some
portly bottles of arquebusade, and elder-flower water always kept over
the mantel-piece, and a set of steps, like a small flight of stairs,
to mount up into bed by; but the books on the shelves were of a staid
and approved description,--Dryden's _Virgil_, _The Spectator_, and _The
Whole Duty of Man_, keeping in countenance the sober black-letter Bible
and Common Prayer, that held their accustomed station by the bedside.
This was the chamber where the neighbouring squires and their dames,
when they "crossed the country in a carriage and four," coming some
five-and-twenty miles to dinner, used to be lodged for the night. It
had once been the nuptial chamber of our worthy host, but he has long
since betaken himself to a quieter and less expansive berth.

Up above, and on the higher storey of the house, runs a long gallery,
from one end right to the other--like the corridor of a barrack--with
bedroom doors opening into it on either side at frequent intervals.
Here are lodged the young ladies and gentlemen of the family; the
governess and the tutor. The nursery is at one extremity, and the
ladies' working-room at the other. The gallery is thickly matted all
the way along; and on its walls are hung all those productions of the
arts which are not judged of sufficient excellence to be admitted down
stairs. There is an enormous map of the estate, and a bird's-eye view
of the house, and the first flower-piece by aunt Mary, when she was a
little girl at school in Bath, and Mr Henry's black spaniel stuffed,
under a glass case. Here, on a wet day, the children can take their
wonted exercise, and have even a game at cricket if necessary; here the
lady's-maid and nurse-maid sit in the afternoon and work; here, any one
who is a very particular friend of the family is allowed to come up
and "see the children;" here you may have a swing or a romp according
as you are inclined; and here, you cannot but confess, that you have
found out one of the most useful and comfortable features of the whole
edifice,--an in-door promenade, a domestic gymnasium.

We have been admitted into every room in the house, big and little,
up stairs and down stairs. We know the quaint little smoking parlour
that was, now turned into the squire's "office," or justice-room. Here
he meets his steward and sits at a desk like any dirty cotton lord in
his factory; here he keeps his guns and fishing rods; and here, on a
small set of shelves, are his books--"Burn's Justice," and "Taplin's
Farriery;" here one of his dogs is sure to be lying before the fire,
and some aged tenant or other is ever coming in to ask for some little
favour or other, which the kind landlord seldom refuses; here he
determines what fields shall be put down in turnips this year, and what
vagabonds shall be put in the stocks; in short it is the sacrarium
of the house,--the place where the _primum mobile_ of the whole is
stationed; and, in our eyes, one of the snuggest and most useful
appendages of the mansion.

Leading out from this room is a door that you might suppose would
conduct you into a closet--but no; it opens on a flight of steps,
down which you descend a little, and then find yourself at the edge
of an opening that looks like a well. This was part of the ancient
manor-house, or castle, which was destroyed in one of the Border feuds,
when the Welch and English, in the time of Owen Glyndwr, used to give
each other rather warm reception. It then formed the dungeon or prison,
which each chieftain of the march country had within his residence,
and where he could detain refractory tenants or unpleasant neighbours.
The worthy squire has now turned it into his Madeira cellar, and keeps
in it a hogshead of the most particular East India that ever left the
island and crossed the Line. He has it under his own special lock and
key; tastes it only now and then, and threatens to keep it in the cask
till his son comes of age.

The real cellars themselves are goodly things to see; none of your
cramped up wee bits of things that they build now-a-days, but where,
besides the usual stock of beer and strong ale, for the general run
of the house and neighbourhood, there is left room enough for stowing
away a hogshead brewed on the birth of each child of the family, and
destined to remain there till they each attain their one-and-twentieth
year. They are fourteen in number, and bear the names of those in whose
honour they were filled; there, then, is Master Thomas and Miss Lucy,
and Miss Susan and Master William; and so on, through the whole of
the rising generation. As for the wine-cellar, 'tis an unfathomable
recess; there is port and claret in it enough for the whole county;
and the fountain in the court might be made to run sherry for a week
before the stock would be exhausted. A pile of champagne-cases stands
at one end, and some dozen bins of the extra particulars are built up
by themselves. It would do good to the heart of any man to wander about
these cellars for a morning.

And it is not far to the church--just beyond the outer garden-hedge
where you cross the deep ha-ha, made to keep rabbits and cattle out,
and close to the clump of birch-trees that rise on the hill,--an
ancient edifice, with a bit of architecture of every period that
English antiquaries can boast of. The tower "ivy-mantled," according
to the most approved rule; the peal of bells thoroughly harmonious,
and allowing triple-bob-majors to be rung on them with the full
swing of the lustiest youths of the village. In the chancel is a
formidable-looking pew, put up in Charles's time, all in black oak,
with quaint figures of angels and dragons, and fantastic flowers,
sprawling over every vacant space. Within, it is right comfortably
carpeted and cushioned; in the midst is a stove to keep out the
cool humours of the church, and to comfort the squire's lady on a
Christmas morning; while round the walls of the little chapel, which
the pew fills, are all the family monuments, from the stiff-necked
and stiff-ruffed knight of the days of the virgin Queen, down to the
full-bottomed wig and portentous bands of the judge in the time of
George II. A little plain white marble slab in one corner bears the
simple inscription,--

  MARIA.

  1820.

But at this I have often observed that the good lady of the house never
looks; and once, during the sermon, I saw the squire, while listlessly
gazing upon it, allow the tears to glide down his cheeks as though he
was a child.

There's a summer-house at the end of the nut walk, so hidden by bushes
and winding paths, that it is hard to find the entrance,--a low
squat-looking kind of a place, built in the Dutch fashion, with four
windows, one in each side, and with a dome on the top; it stands close
by a pond, and is all grown over with ivy. Indeed, when you arrive at
the door, you have to remove the clematis and damask rose twigs with
your hand, ere you can obtain an entrance. On the walls are numerous
names commemorated both with pencil and knife; and in particular,
under a true lover's knot, are deeply cut the letters M and H. It is
a standing joke at the squire's table between himself and the amiable
hostess--but I never could get to the bottom of it--only if any of the
children or the company should by any chance make even the most distant
allusion to their having been near the summer-house during the day, the
squire immediately calls out, "Let me have a glass of that port!--Mary,
my love, do you remember the summer-house?"--to which the invariable
reply is,--"Henry, dear, I thought you had been more sensible: you
must not, indeed!" However, the gardens are truly delightful,--full of
rich parterres, and clumps of flowering shrubs; with trim-cut walks
of yew and beech, over which the various kinds of the pine tribe and
the cedar of Libanus rear their heads in sombre luxuriance. You may
walk, I forget how many miles, in the garden, without going over the
same ground twice in the same direction; but the gardener is apt to
exaggerate on this head. There is enough variety to occupy the most
fastidious for an afternoon, and beauty enough to occupy the lover of
nature for a week.

Time passes happily and swiftly in a home like this; rides and
field-sports, and public business, take up the mornings of the
gentlemen; the fine arts, the interchange of neighbouring courtesies,
and the visiting of the village give occupation to the ladies.
Hospitality, and the sweetest display of domestic elegance, shed
an indescribable charm over the cheerful evenings passed in their
society,--the family are the honour and main stay of the parish, and,
indeed, of many an adjoining one; while the house and grounds are the
pride and boast of all that side of the county.



EVENINGS AT SEA.--NO. III.


THE ship's surgeon was a favourite with us all, he was a pale sickly
little man, of some five or six-and-thirty years of age, with lank
yellow hair, and very little of it, even such as it was. He was so
quiet and unassuming, that he rarely joined in the conversation, but he
listened with great attention, even to the dullest among the narrators,
and whenever any thing pathetic was brought forward, a misty twinkling
was sure to be visible in the tender-hearted little doctor's small
green eyes. The qualities of his head were unfortunately not equal to
those of his heart; every effort he had made to establish himself in a
practice had failed; in these attempts he had consumed the pittance of
his inheritance, and he was now obliged to obtain a living in the not
very lucrative or agreeable situation of surgeon to a sailing packet.
As he seldom spoke on any subject, and scarcely ever of himself, it was
some time before we discovered, that, in the pursuit of professional
advancement, he had for a short period given his services to the
unfortunate British Legion, during the late civil war in Spain. With
great difficulty we persuaded the modest little man to give us the
benefit of some of his recollections, while an actor in those scenes
of stirring and melancholy interest. He commenced timidly, but warmed
with his theme as it continued, and although somewhat discursive and
unconnected in his narrative, he did not fail to interest his hearers.
Thus he spoke.


THE SURGEON.

My father had been a medical officer in the East India Company's
service, but died while I was still very young. My mother was left with
me and two sisters, many years older than myself, to provide for, out
of her widow's pension, and a small sum of money her husband had saved
during his stay in India. We took up our abode in an humble but neat
house, not far from London, and as soon as I was of sufficient age, I
was set to work to prepare myself for my late father's branch of the
service, as inexpensively as possible.

My progress was not very rapid, although I was by no means an idle boy;
indeed, on the contrary, I did my very utmost to get on, as the best
way to reward my poor mother for the strict economy that enabled me to
be kept at school. On account of my steady ways, the other boys often
teased me, and laughed at me a good deal, but being convinced that I
was doing what was right, I bore it as I best could.

However, on one occasion I did give way to bad temper; on returning to
school after the vacation, I was about to unpack my little trunk, and
arrange its contents, in the chest of drawers, when one of the boys who
used to annoy me most came into the room. He saw that my clothes were
not very new, though they were as well brushed and as tidily packed as
if they had been better; and my linen was, perhaps, a little coarse,
but then my mother had mended it all very neatly, and had it washed
as white as snow before I left home. He teased me about having such
"poor things," as he called them, and threw some dirty water upon them.
This made me very angry, but when he laughed at the careful way my
mother had packed them, my passion got the better of me, and I tried to
put him out of the room. I was but a weak boy, however, and he was a
strong one, so he beat me till I was not able to stir, and then threw
all my neat clothes out over the floor and stamped upon them. This
made a great impression on me at the time; I do not think I shall ever
altogether forget it, but I am very proud to feel that I soon forgave
it, and the day came some years after when I had the power to do this
boy a great kindness; I gladly did what I could for him, but he proved
himself altogether ungrateful for it.

In due time I left school, and entered upon the study of medicine; it
was necessary for me to work hard for my final examination, not being
as I before said, naturally very quick in learning. When the time
came I was so frightened and anxious, that I could scarcely answer a
word, and although, perhaps, better prepared than some of those who
passed, I was turned back. My poor mother was much grieved at this, but
tried to cheer me on to better success next time. I was also greatly
discouraged; nevertheless I sat down patiently to begin my studies over
again, and at last succeeded in getting my certificates.

My next step was to place over our door a board, bearing my name
in gilt letters, with "Surgeon" under it, and a hand with a finger
pointing round the corner to the little side door where the patients
were to enter. I also put an advertisement in a newspaper, and told
those among the neighbours with whom we were acquainted that I had
now started in business. Being of a hopeful disposition, I expected
that every day some lucky chance would occur to bring me at once into
great practice; as I had often read and heard of this having happened
with other people. But a long time passed away, and no sudden occasion
arrived where my help was called for; except, indeed, one frosty
morning when a poor old man slipped on the pavement close by our house,
and broke his arm. Seeing "Surgeon" over my door, some people carried
the sufferer there, and as I was in waiting, left him in my charge. I
took great pains with this my first case, but was very nervous about
it, feeling sure that all eyes were upon me; besides, the poor old man
told me that, if the use of his arm were not soon restored to him, he
should be driven to go to the workhouse. He could not move that day, so
I made up a sort of bed for him in the surgery; the following evening
his son came for him, and took him away. I had no money to give him,
but seeing that his shoes were very bad, I let him have a pair of
mine, that were not quite worn out; he then went his way, after having
thanked me heartily. I pitied the poor old man very much, and would
have been glad to have heard that he had done well; besides, there was
my professional vanity interested in the business; it so happened,
however, that I never heard any thing more of my patient.

At last, I began to fear that my gilt sign-board, advertisement and
all, had fairly failed; no one called for me. I was very unhappy to be
such a burden to my mother, instead of helping her on, as I had hoped
to do; but she never complained of this; she knew I would willingly
work if I had the opportunity, and--as she said, "I could not make the
people break their arms."

While thinking over my affairs, one January morning, at the door of the
surgery, a young man passed by, whose face appeared familiar: he first
looked at me, then at the sign-board, and at once claimed acquaintance
as an old school-fellow. I invited him in, and we sat down together; he
asked me if I was getting on well, and had many patients. I told him
no, but did not omit to say that some months before I had set an old
man's arm with great skill. As we talked on, however, it came out that,
in spite of my old man's arm, I was in very low estate, and willing
to undertake any honest labour, to get my bread, and help my mother.
After a little thought, he asked me if I should like to be a military
surgeon. I supposed he was bantering me as they used to do at school,
for I had no great friends to get me such promotion; but he seemed
serious, and said, "I think I can get you a commission as surgeon in
the army, that is, in General Evans' army in Spain." I had not heard or
read of that General at the time, for I never saw newspapers, except
the old one, in which my advertisement was printed. I was, however,
rejoiced to hear of this opening, and when my old school-fellow left
me, promising to let me know in a day or two as to what he could do for
me, I went straight to my mother to tell her of my good fortune. She,
good soul! did nothing but cry all the evening, and try to dissuade
me from going; but I had made up my mind, come what might, to be a
burthen upon her no longer. I did not tell her this as a reason, for
it would have had no weight with her; but I dwelt very much upon the
great advantage it would certainly be to me, and how getting such an
appointment would be the high road to my fortune. In short, if she was
not convinced, she at least saw there was no use in opposing me, so
she reluctantly consented. In a short time my friend came to inform me
that I had been appointed a supernumerary assistant surgeon upon the
staff of the British Legion, then at San Sebastian; that a steamer was
to sail from Greenwich in a few days, to carry out stores, and some
recruits to the army, and that I was to take medical charge of the
latter. My friend was also to go in the same vessel. I was very busy
till I sailed in selling whatever I could part with, getting my outfit,
and above all, in trying to comfort my mother and sisters. I provided
myself with a Spanish grammar, that while on the voyage I might lose
no time in learning the language of the country where I was going. At
length the day of parting came; I shall say nothing about that; indeed,
I have said a great deal too much of myself already, but I wanted to
show how I came to be in Spain. For the future I shall speak more of
other people.

The men on board the steamer were a very turbulent and evil disposed
set, apparently the dregs of the population; most of them were
Londoners, probably well-known to the police. There was one among them,
seemingly a broken down gentleman, the most desperate character I ever
met. He struck his officer soon after we started, and vowed he would
throw him overboard, for refusing to allow more brandy; but for this
he was cruelly flogged, and as he was of a tender constitution, he
remained under my care all the rest of the voyage.

We arrived at San Sebastian on the forenoon of the sixth day after
our departure. The climate had changed rapidly since we left England
behind us. On this morning the sun was shining cheerily, and the air
genial as in our May. The harbour is a wondrously beautiful sight.
Two high rocks rise boldly out of the sea; the little bay lies,
crescent-shaped, between them, its waters deep blue, the sandy shore a
golden yellow. The country beyond, for some distance, is undulating,
of a rich verdure, saddened and beautified by ruined convents and
villages. Next come the Pyrenees, clothed with dark-oak forests nearly
to their summits; their crests huge rocks strangely shaped. Those great
mountains are thrown together confusedly; you might think they were
the waves of some stormy sea suddenly turned into stone. Many among
them are of a great size; far as the eye can reach rises peak over
peak, bluer and fainter in the distance, the outline more irregular
and indistinct, till at last the blue of earth and the blue of heaven
are one. The rugged little island of Santa Clara is midway between
the rocky points of the crescent-harbour; it lies to the right hand
as we enter the shallow and dangerous waters. On the headland beyond
stands a lighthouse, now turned into a fortress. We could see in the
distance little dark figures moving about this tower like mites on a
cheese, and swarming up to the top, probably to look at us. "Those are
Carlists," said my friend. How I strained my eyes to see them! Real,
living enemies--men pledged to slay us with shot and steel--in fight or
in calm vengeance! But we have left our homes and come over the sea to
slay them! A few days, and we shall meet once, we who have never met
before--some of us not to part again, but to lie down in a long sleep
close together, perhaps to cross each other's path no more in this wide
world. Away, among those blue mountains, mothers are sadly thinking of
their soldier sons, the little moving specks before us, perhaps almost
as sadly as mine thinks of me. That sun warms us and our foes alike;
and, from far beyond, He who bade men to "love one another," looks down
with sorrowing pity on us both. I spoke some of these thoughts to my
schoolfellow; they did not please him much; so he told me that I was
only a doctor, and knew nothing about glory. I had then no more to say.

The town of San Sebastian lay on our left hand, walled and bastioned
in with jealous care. A sandy peninsula connects it with the land; a
huge rock, crowned with an embattled citadel, shelters it from the
sea. This was the first time I had ever seen a strange country, but
I have been much about the world since then, and have not seen so
foreign a looking place any where else, or any fairer sight than on
that January morning. Three large war-steamers lay as near the quays as
the depth of water would allow; some thousand of Spanish troops were
disembarking from them in dozens of boats and barges, each regiment, as
it was completed, throwing themselves into a long line upon the beach,
while their magnificent bands cheered them, after their weary voyage,
with hymns of liberty. Then, in a little time, they marched away to
the undulating green hills, to take up their stations among some of
the ruined villages within the lines. Thousands of the town's people,
in bright gay dresses, welcomed their landing with loud cries of joy;
hundreds of banners waved over the throng, and from a distant hill,
where the red coats of the legion caught the eye, the English cannon
thundered a salute.

My schoolfellow and I were soon ashore; and, after some little delay,
found our billets in two rooms next each other, looking out upon the
great square. Then we went forth again to see the town. Oh such strange
sights! such tall, gloomy Gothic churches, and such gaudy French shops!
such bright eyes and such glossy hair! Oh the long black veils, in
folds of wondrous grace, and the proud neck, and tiny feet, and stately
step! And sullen men, wrapped in dark heavy cloaks, and gay dragoons,
and plumed aides-de-camp, and plaided Highlanders, and sombre riflemen,
and nuns and priests, sailors and muleteers, soldiers with crutches,
bandaged heads, and pale faces, and hardy peasants with scarlet cap and
sash, and Biscayan girls with ruddy checks and long fair hair hanging
in plaits over their falling shoulders. We could scarce win our way
through this vast masquerade--our eyes confused by bright and varied
colours, and our ears by martial music, distant firing, rattling of
hoofs and wheels, and the ceaseless clamour of Babel voices. Now a
string of fifty mules would trot past us, with their jingling bells and
gay caparisons; then a half-naked crowd of drunken legionaries burst
through the throng with frantic cries and gestures; again a battalion
of Spanish grenadiers, clothed in dark gray coats, with measured step
and glittering bayonets, press up the narrow streets.

Soon after nightfall all was still in the town; the loiterers had gone
to their homes, the soldiers were recalled to their barracks, the
shops and markets were deserted. Few cared to pace the streets when
unprotected by the light of day, for the thirst for gold and blood
was strong among the fierce men brought here in those evil days; and
the turbulent legionaries at times did frightful outrage in their
drunken fury. My friend and I dined at a small inn, and about ten
o'clock at night bent our steps towards the billets. As we went our
way, we suddenly saw a bright flame shoot up from behind a street at
some distance, and, urged by curiosity, hastened to the place whence
it arose. We found a large wooden stable on fire. Many noble English
horses, belonging to the officers of the Legion were in the building;
some of the soldiers, the grooms and their families, occupied the
loft above. The mischief had but just begun; some straw was blazing
at the door; on it was lying a drunken soldier with a pipe in his
mouth, probably the cause of the fire. Though he must have been
somewhat scorched, he seemed to regard the whole matter with stupid
indifference. My friend rushed at him and shook him vigorously, calling
out, "You are on fire--the city is on fire." The drunken man barely
winked his eyes, and tried to go to sleep again, mumbling--"City! city!
what do I care for this city or any other city--barrin' the city of
Cork." However, we dragged him away, and put out the fire, already
consuming his clothes, in a wet gutter, where he went to sleep again
more at his ease, as soon as he had ceased abusing us for disturbing
him.

Meanwhile crowds of people assembled, uselessly swarming about the
burning stables, and embarrassing those really at work. The blaze
spread rapidly, and in a very short time the roof took fire. All
the horses, and, as we thought, all the people had been got out of
the building, so we stood looking on in indifference, when a poor
Irishwoman, apparently in a transport of despair, rushed through the
throng, and cried, "Oh my child! my poor child!"

"Where--where?" shouted a dozen eager voices.

"Oh God help me! up in the loft, to be sure. Oh good gentlemen! save my
child!"

It was a fearful risk--the wooden beams were blazing fiercely, smoke
and even flame burst out of the upper windows now and then; one end
of the building already tottered under the fiery storm, but the
woman's shriek sounded louder in my brave friend's ear than the roar
of the furious flame. His stout English heart was a ready prompter.
In a moment he seized a ladder, placed it against an open window, ran
up rapidly, and plunged into the smoke and flame, while a cheer of
admiration burst from the crowd below. There was a minute of terrible
suspense; he was seeking the lost child in vain. Again he rushes to
the window, half-suffocated with the smoke--"Where was the child?" he
cried; "I cannot find it." My heart sank within me as I thought of
the mother's despair; but she seemed less desperate than before, and,
running under the window, cried--"Sorra a child I have at all, your
honour; but since you _are_ up there, will you just throw me down the
bit of a mattrass that's in the corner, for it's all I have in the
world."

My friend sprang out of the window and slipped down the ladder. He
was just in time; the next moment, with a tremendous crash, the main
props gave way, and the whole, building fell into a heap of blazing
ruins. Now I only tell you this long story, to show what quaint, wild
creatures where those Irish that General Evans took with him to Spain.

In the room next to mine a young Spanish cadet, belonging to the 2d
light infantry, was billeted. He was about fourteen years of age, the
son of a grandee of Spain. As his family was great and powerful, it
was only necessary for him to go through the form of joining the army
on service, when a commission in the royal guard would be given him.
We soon made acquaintance. He was amused by my odd attempts to speak
Spanish, and I was charmed with him. He was a rarely beautiful boy;
his, regular features, long curling hair, small hands and feet, would
have given him the appearance of effeminacy, but for the vigorous
activity of his movements, and his bright bold eye. The best blood of
Old Castile flowed in his veins and mantled in his cheek. The little
cadet was most dainty in his dress; his uniform was the smartest, his
plume the gayest, his boots the brightest, his gold lace the freshest
in his regiment. His cap, epaulettes, and sword made expressly for him
very small and light, in proportion to his size; and a beautiful black
Andalusian pony to match, completed his equipments.

He rode out with me one day--that is, he rode, and I walked, soon
after we became known to each other. Our way lay through the principal
street of the town; the tall, white, solid-looking houses on each side
had balconies for every window, some of them filled with gay groups of
Spanish ladies, honouring us with their notice, as we passed. When we
approached a large handsome dwelling, with huge gates opening into a
court-yard, the black pony began to show symptoms of excitement, and
by the time we got directly opposite, he was dancing about a great
rate. The little animal was evidently accustomed at this place to such
hints of the spur and rein as would make him display his paces to the
greatest advantage. A tall, noble-looking woman and a graceful girl
leant over the railing of the balcony, and kissed their hands to the
cadet as he rode up. He answered by taking, off his gay cap and making
a low bow, while the pony pranced more than ever. "Come, Doctor," said
the youth to me, "You must know Dolòres and Pepìta." He threw his
bridle-rein to a boy, and before I could recover from my surprise, had
hurried me up stairs, and into the presence of his fair friends.

They were, sisters--Dolòres ten years older than Pepìta; both much
alike, except in the stamp of years, so deep and unsparing in that
sunny land. Their hair and eyes were black, glossy, and bright; their
complexion deep olive; their teeth of dazzling whiteness; and there
was something about the head and neck that made me, in spite of
myself, think of swans and empresses. With what stately grace they
welcomed us--with what a soft rich accent they spoke, telling us to
"live a thousand years!" The little cadet declared that he was "at
their feet;" but I suppose this was only a Spanish compliment, for
instead of placing himself there, he kissed Pepìta's hand, sat down
beside her, and began talking with perfect familiarity. Dolòres said
something to me, but I could not understand it; and being dreadfully
confused, I went to the balcony, and looked up the street. The young
girl and the little cadet had a great deal to say to each other; they
chattered and laughed merrily; then at times Pepìta would try to look
grave, and, with a solemn face, lecture the beautiful boy, shaking her
fan threateningly at him, when they would laugh more than ever.

At last I saw them looking at me, and heard him say that I was a
doctor. Pepìta seemed struck with a sudden thought at this, and rose
up, beckoning to him and me to follow. She led us across the court-yard
into a long, passage; a large heavy door was at the end. She pointed
to it, and said something to my companion in a pitying voice; then,
instantly resuming her gaiety, pulled off the cadet's cap, threw it
at him, and ran off, laughing merrily. At the end of the passage she
turned, kissed her little white hand, and we saw no more of her.

"I do love Pepìta," said the boy; "I must win a ribbon in the battle,
and then she will be so proud of her playfellow."

We opened the door and entered.

Near an open window lay an emaciated man upon a small camp bed. The
fair complexion and blue eye bespoke him an Englishman. His face was
covered with a bushy beard; his checks were hollow, his features
pinched and sharpened. Pillows supported his head and shoulders; his
arms lay helplessly on the outside of the bed, worn and thin; but the
large joints, broad bony hand, and square-built shoulders, showed how
powerful had been the frame that now lay wrecked before us. He raised
his dull sunken eyes, as if by an effort, as we entered, and when he
observed me, something like a smile of recognition passed over his wan
face. I knew him at once, though he was strangely altered; he it was
who, when a boy at school, had done me the insulting wrong. The blood
rushed red to my face for a moment; but when I thought how pale and
faint he was, it went back again, to my heart I suppose, for my pity
yearned towards the poor sufferer.

He told me in a few words, slowly and painfully, that he had been
wounded in a skirmish some weeks before, and afterwards attacked with
typhus fever. His servant had that morning deserted, carrying off the
little money he possessed, and every thing of value in the room. He was
on unfriendly terms with all his brother officers, had quarrelled with
the regimental doctor, and was now utterly destitute and helpless. The
Spanish family, in whose house he was billeted, were very kind to him,
particularly the two sisters; but they were in great poverty from these
troublous times, and had sickness also among themselves.

With some difficulty I got my billet changed to a room adjoining his;
my servant was then able to help the sick man: as I had still a little
money left, I procured the necessary medicines, and such nourishment
as I thought he might safely bear. During the day my duties in the
hospital pretty well occupied me, but at night I was always able to
sit up for some time with him, and be of a little service. As you may
suppose, I did not see the less of my young friend, the cadet, by this
change; he had so often to come to ask after the invalid for Pepìta's
information, that at length he began to take an interest himself, and
during the crisis of the complaint, at a time when I was forced to be
absent on my duties, he, with Pepìta's assistance, took my place as a
watcher, and they actually remained for hours without speaking a word
lest they should waken the sick sleeper. However, I have no doubt they
made amends for it afterwards. The sisters soon became very kind to me
for my gay little friend's sake; they joined him in teaching me their
beautiful language, and though I was very stupid about it, I could not
but make good progress under such kind teachers. The younger sister
used to laugh at me and tease me very much, but I could not help liking
her more and more; so the time passed rapidly away, and day by day the
fair Spanish girl and her boy lover wound themselves closer round my
heart, till they became dear to me as if they had been my children.

A tall, sallow, down looking Spaniard was a frequent visiter at the
house of these two sisters: he was a man of considerable wealth,
the son of a Cadiz merchant, and at this time captain of the
carbineers--the company of "élite," in the second light infantry. The
cadet and I both took a great dislike to this man, which he seemed
heartily to return; there was a treacherous villanous expression in
his averted eye that at once attracted observation, and something
inexpressibly repulsive in his manner, servile and overbearing by
turns. He appeared to possess some unaccountable influence over
Pepìta's father, for, though it was evident that his attentions and
repeated visits were disagreeable to the young lady, every opportunity
was given him of improving her acquaintance. This system was, however,
as unsuccessful as it usually is; and the sallow captain's conversation
was not the less distasteful from being obediently endured. The fact
was, that large pecuniary assistance given to the family, unknown to
its younger members, was the secret of the influence now exercised,
through their parents, over their inclinations and tastes. The captain
had become acquainted with Pepìta, been attracted by her, and had made
this obligation the means of forcing himself upon her society. He
next tried to cause the prohibition of my little friend's visits; not
indeed that he looked upon the boy in the light of a rival, but as a
constraint upon his actions, and an interruption to his plans. Upon
this point, however, Pepìta proved unmanageable; and as there could be
no fair ostensible objection to her little playfellow's intimacy, it
still continued in spite of his sullen enemy.

In the mean time my patient was rapidly recovering; with his returning
strength, I grieve to say, the natural evil of his disposition again
displayed itself. He borrowed yet another small sum from my scanty
store, under the pretence of obtaining some warm clothes to enable him
to face the wintry air; but instead of so applying it, he lost most of
it at play the first day he was allowed to venture out. The captain of
carbineers was the winner, and thus an acquaintance commenced between
these men. They were in many respects kindred spirits--rapacious,
profligate, and unprincipled,--and soon contracted a close alliance,
offensive and defensive: the wealth and cunning of the one, and the
recklessness and ferocious courage of the other, made their partnership
most dangerous to any who might cross their path. The convalescent,
unrestrained for a moment by any feeling of gratitude towards me or my
little favourite, at once joined in a scheme against us. They could not
venture upon using open violence, as that probably would have defeated
its own object, by exciting the sympathies of our kind hosts in our
favour, but they agreed to entrap us into play, and thus drive us into
such necessities as might place us completely in their power. The
Spaniard knew that his chance of gaining Pepìta's favour was but small
until her little favourite and guardian was out of the way; and his
unworthy associate, as long as money was supplied, was indifferent as
to what service might be required of him in return.

In due course of time the day came when the convalescent was pronounced
cured, and fit for duty; to celebrate this event the captain of
carbineers asked him to an entertainment, and the cadet and myself were
also invited. We of course determined not to accept the hospitality
of the man we disliked and suspected; but he pressed us very much;
the ungrateful Englishman seconded him strongly, urging upon us that
he could not enjoy his restored health, if those to whom he owed his
recovery refused to join in his gladness. At length we reluctantly
consented, and at seven o'clock in the evening all four assembled
at the hotel. This was the opportunity fixed upon to carry out the
designs against us. I shall not enter into the details of that unlucky
evening; they succeeded but too well in their plans. Finding that it
was in vain to tempt me to play, they made me drink the health of my
late patient, in some drugged liquor I suppose, for soon after I fell
into a deep sleep, and when I awoke, found myself alone in the room
where we had dined, and the light of the sun streaming in through the
windows. It was well on to mid-day.

Several minutes passed before I could recollect where I was, and how
I had come there. When I had in some measure collected my scattered
thoughts, and shaken off the heavy lethargic feeling that still weighed
upon me, I hastened to seek my beloved little companion, anxiously
wondering what could have become of him. I learned at the house where
he lived that he had returned very late the night before, apparently
tired and excited; and that early this morning he had received orders
to join a portion of his regiment that was posted on the lines two
miles from the town. When my daily duties were ended I walked off to
where the cadet had been sent. He seem oppressed and worn out with
fatigue and want of rest; I found him lying on a bank beside his tent
thinking sadly on Pepìta, his gay dress disordered, his long dark hair
damp and neglected, and his eyes red with weeping. I took the poor
child by the hand, and tried to comfort him in my best Spanish, but for
a long time he would only answer, me with sobs, and at length he sobbed
himself to sleep. I wrapped his little cloak round him, and watched
patiently till he awoke, after about an hour's refreshing rest: then he
found words, and told me all that had occurred to him since I had gone
to sleep at the unlucky entertainment.

The host soon pleaded some excuse and left us, when the Englishman
immediately proposed play; dice were laid on the table, but the cadet
refused for a long time: he had never played in his life, nor felt its
horrible temptations. But in his education this maddening vice had
not been guarded against; no one had taught him that its beginning,
was furious avarice,--its end destruction and despair. He was simply
innocent of all knowledge of its pleasures and its woes. The tempter
told him that to play was manly, and that if he feared to lose money,
he had no spirit. So he played, and lost all he had, and much more.
When too tired to go on, he wrote an acknowledgment of what he owed,
under the direction of his dangerous associate; and then, very wretched
and frightened at what he had done, went home and slept. He would
not go, however, till the Englishman promised to see me safely to my
billet. I need not add that the promise was not kept. It was about
midnight when the cadet went away. My late patient then examined me
closely to see that I slept soundly; finding there was but little
chance of my interfering with their plans, he quietly shut the door,
and left me, hastening to seek his employer and relate his success. A
relation of my little friend, residing in the town, had been requested
to watch over him, and supply his wants, while remaining at San
Sebastian. To this person the captain of carbineers went early the next
morning, and by affecting an interest in the boy, as a brother officer,
managed to persuade the guardian to request that his ward might be
removed at once from the garrison, to save him from the bad company and
dissipated habits he had fallen into. The written acknowledgment of the
heavy gambling debt, contracted only the night before, was handed in
while the accuser was yet speaking, with a demand for payment from an
officer of the Legion waiting outside. This appeared proof conclusive.
In half an hour the cadet was on his way to the lines, under strict
orders not on any account to re-enter the city. Before he left, he had
sent in all directions vainly searching for me to advise him in his
emergency, and to make some effort to have this cruel and unaccountable
sentence reversed.

The first week of March approached its end. From day to day the order
to advance into the Carlist country was expected; the city and the
surrounding neighbourhood were full of troops, the streets and roads
literally blocked up with guns, ammunition waggons, and bullock-carts,
passing and repassing for the armament or supply of the different
divisions of the army. General officers were observed in frequent
consultation with their leader. Aides-de-camp galloped about in all
directions. Large buildings were cleared out, and churches prepared as
hospitals with grim rows of iron bedsteads ranged along the vaulted
aisles. Steamboats buzzed backwards and forward, between the harbour
and the neighbouring port of Passages. Deserters came and went. Vague
rumours seemed to float in the air. Some great and terrible day was
plainly close at hand.

Information worthy of being relied on was obtained, that the greater
part of the troops had been removed from our front for some remote
operations, and that there now remained a force inferior to our own.
But this was the flower of the Carlist army. Stout Chapelchuris--the
"white caps" of Guipuzcoa, hardy shepherds from the hills of Alava,
with the Requetè--the fiercest soldiers of Navarre. Their watch-fires
blazed each night on the rugged slopes of the Pyrenees; and as the
morning sun lighted the deep gorges of the mountains, from every hamlet
and shady valley along the line arose their stirring shout, "For God,
and for the King." All day long, in sunshine or in storm, they laboured
at their intrenchments. The musket was laid carefully aside, and the
pick-axe supplied its place. They dug, and delved, and toiled, fencing
round each Biscayan cottage as if it were a holy place. Every gentle
slope on the projecting spurs of the great mountains was cut and carved
into breastworks and parapets; every ivied wall of their rich orchards
was pierced with loopholes, every village church turned into a citadel.
Men worked, women aided, children tried to aid. The hated Christinos,
and the still more hated English were before them; behind them lay
their own loved and lovely land. And still, as they toiled, when
betimes the wearied arm ached and the faithful spirit drooped, a shout
would roll along the valleys and echo among the hills that nerved them
with fresh strength, and cheered them with a firmer hope--"For God, and
for the King."

Late on the afternoon of the 9th of March, aides-de-camp were sent to
all parts of the lines with strict orders that no one should, on any
account, be allowed to pass out. An hour after nightfall, the whole
army was put in motion, the main part filed on to the glacis of the
fortress of San Sebastian, battalion after battalion formed in close
column, piled their arms, and lay down in their ranks, preserving a
profound silence: the artillery horses were harnessed, and remained in
readiness within the city walls. By about two o'clock in the morning,
each corps had taken up its place. About eight thousand men were
assembled on the space of a few acres; scarcely a sound was heard, not
a creature moved through the streets of the town, not a solitary lamp
made "visible" the darkness of the night. The sentries paced their
round upon the walls as at other times, and their measured tread was
distinct and clear in the noiseless air. And yet, though I saw nothing
and heard nothing of them, I _felt_ the crowded thousands round me;
there was a heaviness and oppression in the atmosphere like the threat
of a coming storm, and the ground seemed slightly to tremble, or rather
throb, as if in sympathy with the hearts that beat above in hope or
fear.

But among the dwellings within the city, there was anxious hurrying
from room to room, and from hundreds of windows straining eyes strove
against the thick darkness of the night:--wives, mothers, sisters, and
those who, though they bore none of those hallowed names, yet loved
most tenderly some one in the assembled host about to brave the chance
of life or death. Dolòres and Pepìta were alone in their large gloomy
house; their father was on the walls with his company of the national
guard. The convalescent was with his regiment on the glacis; I was
there too, attached for the time to the same corps, and the odious
captain of carbineers was also at the muster. And where was Pepìta's
play-fellow? They had not seen him since the night of the ill-fated
entertainment. The second light infantry were drawn up close to the
ramparts; of course, the brave boy is there too. "Ay de mi!" said the
younger girl to Dolòres, "that I should not see the dear child before
the battle." "It can't be helped," answered her sister, "and it is now
full time to go to rest; we are alone in the house too, and midnight
has struck long since." But Pepìta would not be persuaded; she seated
herself in her father's great chair, and bade Dolòres goodnight. The
elder sister, seeing her determination, kissed her and went her way.
After a little time, the young girl began to yield to fatigue; she
cried heartily with anxiety for her dear child, but at length overcome
by drowsiness, laid her soft round arm upon the table close by, her
head then drooped gently till resting upon it, and she fell sound
asleep; while her long black hair, broken loose from its bands, flowed
in rich profusion over her graceful neck. She dreamed of her boy lover,
for a fond sweet smile played upon her parted lips.

Now a little scene passes that it saddens me to recall to memory. The
boy lover has contrived to get away from his regiment unobserved, and
has reached the well-known door; it is only closed, not locked. He
opens it very gently, and walks with noiseless footsteps into the room,
so noiseless that the sleeper is not awakened, kneels down beside her,
and for many minutes gazes on her lovely face in silent happiness. But
time flies fast. He rises, takes gently in his hand one of her long
locks, cuts it off, and puts it in his bosom; then bends over her,
presses his lips softly to hers for a moment, and hastens away. And yet
that night she only dreamed that he had bidden her farewell.

The cadet had not long rejoined his regiment, where I had sought him,
when our conversation was interrupted by a loud trumpet-blast--the
sound for the advance.--Ere it had ceased to echo, a broad blue flame
shot up into the dark sky from the roof of a house in the centre of the
city, illumining the sea and land around with a dismal and sinister
light. For an instant, thousands of startled upturned faces shone livid
in the sudden gleam, then vanished into darkness deeper than before.
But soon, on a neighbouring hill beyond the lines, another flame bursts
forth; again from a high peak of the Pyrenees; and again and again,
further and further away to the mountains of Navarre, the traitor
signal fire flashed forth the notice of our march,--and from that hour
every city and town, village and hamlet of the north sent forth its
armed men to crush us in defeat.

A few battalions went on in front, the artillery followed, next came
the main body of the army. We crossed the little river Urumea over the
wooden bridge close to the town, followed the road towards Passages for
some distance, and then turned into the hilly lands to the south-east
of San Sebastian. The heads of columns took positions on or near Alza
heights, forming by regiments as they came up, still under cover of
the darkness. But though the march was conducted with great order and
silence, the heavy rumbling of the guns over the stony roads, and the
measured tramp of thousands of armed men were plainly heard for many
miles around. By dawn of day the army was in order of battle, with the
artillery in position commanding the Ametza hill, where a small Carlist
force was intrenched.

Between these opposing forces was a hatred far deadlier than the
usual animosity of war. The Christinos and Carlists thirsted for each
other's blood, with all the fierce ardour of civil strife, animated
by the memory of years of mutual insult, cruelty, and wrong. Brother
against brother--father against son--best friend turned to bitterest
foe--priests against their flocks--kindred against kindred. "For God
and for the King,"--"For Liberty and Spain." But to our foes, we of the
British Legion were the most odious of all; strangers, mercenaries,
heretics, scoffers, polluters of their sacred soil; so did they term
us. For us there was no quarter; in the heat of battle, or by cold
judicial form, it was all the same: to fall into their hands was
certainly a tortured death. Their king had issued the bloody mandate;
they were its ready executioners. At different times, and under
different circumstances, many of our men had fallen alive into their
hands, but the doom of these unfortunates was always the same. About a
week since, five Scottish soldiers, while cutting wood, unarmed, in a
grove close by our lines, were suddenly seized, bound, and carried away
to Hernani, the nearest town; they were tied to stakes in the great
square, and shot to death, slowly, with many wounds, commencing at
the feet, and gradually rising higher, till a kind bullet struck some
vital spot. One of these victims was a brawny giant with a huge black
bushy beard; I recollect him well, it was said he had been the Glasgow
hangman. Our men swore frightful vengeance; a black flag--unsanctioned
by the authorities--waved over Alza fort; and as orders were given by
the generals for the safety of the enemies who might be taken, it was
agreed among the soldiers that there should be _no prisoners_.

Some shots from the English artillery on Alza heights began the battle;
as the smoke curled up in white wreaths through the pure morning air,
the deadly missiles fell lazily into the Carlist breastworks, and burst
with destructive accuracy. At the same time, the Irish brigade of the
Legion crossed the valley between us and the enemy at a rapid pace--for
a time hidden in the mists of the low grounds--but as they neared the
hostile parapets they re-appeared, ascending the sloping hill, then
their pace increased to a run, and at last they broke, and rushed like
a flock of wolves upon the foe. The Carlists waited till the assailants
were close at hand, fired one sharp rattling volley into their leading
files, and, abandoning the position, fled rapidly down the opposite
side of the hill. An English brigade, consisting of the rifles and two
London regiments, had at the same time attacked the intrenchments on
our right, threatening to cut off a retreat should an effort be made to
hold them against the front attack. My duties lay with this portion of
the army.

Some time was now passed in pushing our line forward to the new
position we had so cheaply gained. The English brigade skirmished
against feeble detachments of the Carlists in the hollow to our right,
by the banks of the Urumea. In front of the Ametza heights, lay a
lovely valley ornamented with picturesque cottages and orchards; to the
left there projected into the low grounds a wide elevated platform from
the stony hill of San Gerònimo; beyond this stony hill was the main
road to France, the object of our expedition. Some Spanish battalions
were pushed across the low grounds to our left front, and briskly
attacked the platform; they made, but slow progress, for the Carlists
fought stoutly for every foot of ground. Soon, however, the lumbering
guns followed, and opened their murderous fire; fresh troops pushed on
till the platform was gained, and the defenders retired slowly up the
stony hill. But here there was a check. Protected by their parapets,
and aided by the difficulties of the rocky slope, the Carlists held
their ground, determined, come what might, to cover the great French
road. Battalion after battalion of the Christinos, charged this height
in vain. The regiment of the Princessa, more than two thousand strong,
the pride of the sunny south, was beaten back three times, and left its
best and bravest dead among the rugged rocks.

Among the inhabitants of these Biscayan provinces, some few had
joined the constitutional cause. Perhaps their motives for so doing
may not have been purely political, or altogether abstract ideas
about liberal governments. However, they formed themselves into a
free corps about one thousand strong, and from their fierce courage,
hardihood, and knowledge of the country, they were more useful to
their friends, and dangerous to their enemies, than any troops in
the Queen's army. The fact was, that a great proportion of them were
deserters, malefactors escaped from justice, or desperate, villains
from other European nations. They wore red jackets like the Legion,
with waist-belts containing their bayonet and ammunition, a blanket
twisted like a rope, passing round over the left shoulder and under
the right arm, was their only additional burthen, and a red flat cap
or Boyna completed their equipment; this last was called in the Basque
tongue Chapelgorri, and from it the corps derived its name. They chose
their own officers, owned but little obedience even to the generals,
claimed the right of leading the advance, gave or took no quarter, and
plundered unmercifully upon all occasions. These peculiar regulations,
though rendering them terrible in war, were attended with certain
inconveniences to the members of the corps. They were hunted like wild
beasts by their enemies, often condemned and shot for mutiny by their
own leaders, and stabbed in midnight by brawls by one another. The
result of all this was that on the morning of the 10th of March, only
three hundred and eighty Chapelgorris remained alive, to march under
their chief "El Pastor."

At break of day, these fierce freebooters had started off on their own
account from our far left, and made a dash at a place called Renteria,
some distance within the Carlist country. Their attack was unexpected,
and after a few random shots, the village was abandoned to them. In
this poor place, there was very little plunder to be found, but they
took what they could, and destroyed the rest; they chanced, however,
upon some gold and silver communion plate in the churches; this they
put upon a mule's back, and with laudable precaution sent to the rear;
then having done as much with fire and steel as their limited time
would permit, they plunged into the deep woody ravines lying between
them and the hill of San Gerònimo, and with desperate daring made
straight for the scene of strife, through this difficult and hostile
country.

Just as the regiment, of the Princessa was driven back from their last
fierce struggle among the rocks on the hill side, the Chapelgorris,
to the great surprise of both friends and foes, emerged from a shady
hollow, and shouting like fiends, charged suddenly upon the rear of the
Carlists. For a little, they carried all before them, and at one time
had actually cleared the parapets that had been so long and bravely
defended; but, seeing the weakness of their assailants, and that the
attack was unsupported, the Carlists soon rallied, and with a force of
ten to one charged down the bloodstained hill. The Chapelgorris held
their vantage ground for many minutes, fighting desperately hand to
hand with bayonet thrust, and even with the deadly stab of their long
knives; but at length some squadrons of Lancers made their way through
the rough stones, and piked them without mercy. About half their
number, mostly wounded, made their way back into the Christino lines,
and having lighted fires, proceeded with perfect unconcern to cook
their dinners.

As I said before, the Christino troops held the broad elevated platform
at the foot of the Stony Hill. To the right, between this high ground
and the river Urumea, the English brigade of the Legion held the
valley. At the extreme advance, by the bank of the stream, on a rising
ground, there stood a small cottage, surrounded by a low stone wall,
enclosing the little orchard; a handful of men of a London regiment,
commanded by my late patient, were thrown into it, with orders to
defend it as long as possible, and then to make good their retreat,
should they see that the army found it necessary to retire. I was sent
with this small detachment to assist the wounded. Our position was
completely isolated from all communication with the main body, but
to the left rear our flank was protected by a thickly wooded conical
hill, held by half a battalion of the second Spanish light infantry;
to the left rear of that again, was the broad platform, where our main
force lay; from this elevation a threatening row of guns looked out
upon the conical hill, extending their protection over its defenders.
As long as this connecting position between us and the platform was
held, we were safe, for the Urumea covered our right flank but the
force appointed for this duty was under the command of the sullen and
treacherous captain of carbineers. During the early part of the day,
while the strife was raging upon the hill of San Gerònimo, we were in
comparative quiet, only intent upon holding our ground, while, with the
exception of a few daring skirmishers, every now and then rebuked by
the artillery on the platform, the enemy offered us no annoyance.

About four o'clock in the afternoon, when all our repeated attacks
upon the Stony Hill on the left had plainly failed, and it became
evident that some other means must be found of forcing our way to the
great French road, our chiefs began to withdraw their troops from the
extreme left, narrowing their front preparatory to returning within the
lines for the night. These movements released the stout defenders of
San Gerònimo, and flushed with their success, but unwearied by their
labours, they passed rapidly along the slope of the valleys in front
of the platform from left to right; sheltered from the fire of our
artillery by the shade of the thick woods, they formed their columns
for a desperate attack upon our extreme right--the cottage where I was,
and the conical hill, upon the possession of which our safety depended.
While these new dispositions were being made, the firing almost ceased
along the whole line. We guessed pretty well what was coming, and
prepared as best we might for the approaching storm.

Presently thousands of bayonets glittered in the bright sun-light among
the trees in our front; the heads of three heavy columns issued from
the wood and pushed across the valley against our positions. The main
force assailed the platform, but could make no head against the fire of
the artillery, and the masses of troops defending it; another body of
some strength rushed up to our cottage stronghold, swarmed round it,
and poured a deafening roar of musketry upon the doors and windows; we
were instantly driven from the orchard to the shelter of the dwelling,
but there we held our own, and the stout Londoners dealt death among
the foe. Several men had been killed, and some badly wounded, while
retreating from the orchard into the cottage, so my hands were full. I
did my utmost, but could not keep pace with the work of destruction.
The fire waxed heavier; the Carlists, though suffering severely,
pressed closer and closer round us, animated with the hope that we
might fall into their hands; but the conical hill is not yet assailed,
and till it is lost our retreat is safe. The third attacking column has
disappeared in a ravine to our left. Where will that storm burst? See,
there they are! now they rise up from the deep hollow--the glittering
bayonets and the terrible "white caps;" and now with a fierce shout,
louder than the roar of the battle, they dash against the conical hill.
We see no more; the thick woods conceal alike our friends and foes.

My late patient, the commander of our little garrison, had been already
wounded in the head, but refused my aid with horrid oaths. A torn
handkerchief was wrapped round his temples, his face and long grizzled
beard were stained with blood, begrimed with smoke and dust; he had
seized the musquet and ammunition of a fallen soldier, and fearless of
the deadly hail of bullets, stood upright before a window firing with
quick precision, then rapidly reloading. Nevertheless, every now and
then, he cast an anxious look beyond, to see how fared the strife upon
the all-important hill.

And now the roar of musketry is heard among the trees, and a thick
cloud of smoke hangs over the scene of the struggle, concealing the
fortunes of the fight. But see! From the back of the hill furthest from
the enemy, a tall man, in the uniform of an officer, hastens stealthily
away; he crosses towards the river close to the cottage; though hidden
by a bank from the Carlists, we see him plainly from the upper windows;
his object is probably to escape unobserved down by the stream into the
lines. He has thrown away his sword, his eyes are bloodshot, his face
pale with deadly fear, and wild with terror. We look again: eternal
infamy! it is the captain of carbineers. Immediately after this, the
defenders of the hill, deserted by their leader and pressed by the
superior force of the Carlists, gave ground, broke, and fled the
valley. "That accursed coward has betrayed us," shouted our commander,
fiercely. "But he shall not escape us, by ----." As he spoke he aimed
at the fugitive and pulled the trigger, but before he finished the
sentence, I heard a dull, heavy splash, as of a weight falling upon
water; the musket dropped from his grasp, he threw his long sinewy arms
up over his head, and fell back without a groan. A bullet had gone
through his brain; meanwhile the object of his wrath ran rapidly past
and gained the sheltering underwood by the stream in safety.

Our soldiers, instead of being daunted by the loss of their commander,
were inspired with the energy of despair. They knew they might not hope
for mercy from their fierce assailants, and determined to struggle to
the last. All retreat was cut off, but as long as their ammunition
lasted they could keep at bay. This, however, began soon to fail. They
rifled the pouches of their dead comrades, and still, though almost
against hope, bravely held on the fight.

The Carlists upon the conical hill were now exposed to the fire from
the guns of the platform, and though in a great degree sheltered
by the trees, they suffered severely. The Christino forces were,
however, being gradually withdrawn from the field of battle, and the
chances of our perilous situation being observed by our friends,
became momentarily less; a vigorous rush upon the conical hill to gain
possession of it, even for a few minutes, might enable us to extricate
ourselves, but in the roar and confusion of the battle our little band
was forgotten by the Spanish force, left to cover the withdrawal of the
army--forgotten by all but one,--the gallant young cadet, my generous
friend. He knew that I was in the beleaguered cottage, disgracefully
left to its fate by a portion of his own regiment; he saw that we still
held out,--that there was hope that we might yet be saved. He hastened
to the commanding officer of his corps, told of our perilous situation,
and pointed out the means of extricating us. The orders were, that this
regiment,--the second light infantry, should check the Carlist advance,
till the main body of the Christinos had fallen back upon the positions
taken in the morning. The generous boy who had gained a hearing by
his gallant conduct through the day, urged his cause so earnestly,
that at last it won attention; he pointed out how the recovery of the
conical hill would effectually secure the retirement of the troops from
annoyance, and that they would have the glory of saving the detachment
of the Legion from destruction. The colonel, a gallant old soldier,
himself an Englishman by birth, leant no unwilling ear, and the
regiment received the order to advance.

Meanwhile, we saw with bitter sorrow battalion after battalion
withdrawing from the platform, and the Carlist reserves advancing down
the valley in our front to press on the retiring army. But when we had
almost ceased to hope, a dark green column emerged from the woods in
our rear by the water side, and in serried ranks, with steady step,
marched straight upon the fatal hill. It dashes aside the opposing
crowds of white-capped skirmishers like foam from a ship's prow; it
gains the slope and nears the wooded brow, still, with unfaltering
courage, pressing on, though men are struck down at every step. They
are now close at hand; we feel their aid; our assailants slacken their
fire, and give way; the path is nearly clear: when the hill is won we
are saved. We can now plainly distinguish our deliverers--the Second
Light Infantry, and in front of the leading rank the gallant cadet
toils up the bloody hill. A crashing volley staggers the advancing
files; but the youth cheers them on--one effort more. Hurrah, brave
boy! hurrah for the honour of Castile! They follow him again; the brow
is gained, they plunge into the wood; another rattle of musketry, and
the Carlists are driven from the hill.

We seized the golden opportunity, and bearing with us those of the
wounded who survived, made good our retreat. The few still capable of
any exertion joined our brave deliverers, and retired slowly with them,
but the Carlists pressed upon us no more that night.

The evening was falling fast, and the long shadows of the mountains
covered the field of blood, when I sat down at the advanced post of
our lines to await the returning column and meet the gallant boy,
our deliverer from the merciless enemy. They marched slowly up along
the road; for many wounded men, borne on stretchers, or supported by
their companions, encumbered their movements. Then, as company after
company filed past, I looked with anxious straining eyes for my dear
young friend. But he came not. Even in the pride of their brave deed
the soldiers seemed dull and sorrowful without his airy step and
gallant bearing to cheer them on. Last in the ranks came a tall bearded
grenadier, carrying something in his arms--something very light, but
borne with tender care. It was the young cadet. His eyes were closed;
his face wore a smile of ineffable sweetness, but was white as marble,
and, like the smile on the features of a marble statue, there may be
never again a change; for the fair child was dead.

The Captain of the ship had joined our group some time before, and
listened attentively to the latter part of the story. When it came to
this point, he cried out somewhat impatiently, "Hillo, Doctor! if you
have nothing pleasanter to tell us, the sooner we turn in the better."



FLECHIER'S CHRONICLE OF CLERMONT ASSIZES.[23]


MANY of our readers, unacquainted with his writings, will remember
the name of the gentle prelate and renowned rhetorician who delivered
the funeral oration of the great TURENNE, accomplishing the mournful
but glorious task with such eloquence and grace that the composition
constitutes his chief claim to the admiration of posterity. We should
say, perhaps, that it _did_ constitute his principal hold upon the
world's memory, previously to the year 1844, date of exhumation of a
work likely to command readers longer than his _Oraisons Funébres_,
or, than any other portion of the ten serious volumes published
under the incorrect title of _œuvres Completes_. We can imagine the
astonishment of an erudite book-worm, suddenly encountering, when
winding his way through dusty folios and antique black letter, a
sprightly and gallant narrative, sparkling with graceful sallies and
with anecdotes and allusions _à la_ Grammont; and finding himself
compelled, by evidence internal and collateral, to accept the mundane
manuscript as the work of a grave and pious father of the church. A
courtly chronicle, in tone fringing on the frivolous, and often more
remarkable for piquancy of subject than for strict propriety of tone,
suddenly dragged from the cobwebbed obscurity of an ancient escritoire
and put abroad as the production of a South, a Tillotson, or a Blair,
would astound the public, and find many to doubt its authenticity. In
bringing forward the earliest work of the amiable bishop of Nismes, the
librarian of the town of Clermont had no such scepticism to contend
against. Moreover, he had arguments and proofs at hand sufficient
to confound and convince the most incredulous. True, there was vast
difference in tone and subject between the literary pastime of the
Abbé, and the results of the grave studies and oratorical talents of
the reverend churchman and renowned preacher; but affinities of style
were detectible by the skilful, and, in addition to this, there had
crept out, at sundry periods of the present century, certain letters
of Fléchier[24]--letters not to be found in the so-called "complete
editions" of his works--whose strain of graceful levity and exaggerated
gallantry indicated a talent distinct from that to which he owes a fame
now daily diminishing; and prepared the few whose notice they attracted
for a transition from grave didactics and inflated declamation to
lively _badinage_ and debonair narrative. The masses knew little about
the matter, and cared less. Latin verses, complimentary discourses, and
funeral orations, dating from a century and a half back, and relating
to persons and events great and brilliant, it is true, but now seen
dim and distant through the long vista of years, are not the class of
literature to compel much attention in this practical and progressive
age. As a constructor of French prose, Fléchier is unquestionably
entitled to honourable mention. If his claims to originality of genius
were small, he at least was an elegant rhetorician and a delicate and
polished writer, to whom the French language is under obligations.
As a man of letters, he formed an important link between the school
of Louis XIII. and that of the _Grand Monarque_; he was one of the
first to appreciate grace of diction, and to attempt the elevation
and correction of a spurious style. His florid eloquence, however,
not unfrequently wearies by its stilted pomposity, and, save by a few
scholars and literati, his works are rather respected than liked, more
often praised than read. He wrote for the century, not for all time.
And his books, if still occasionally referred to, each day drew nearer
to oblivion, when the publication of the _Mémoires sur les Grands-Jours
tenus à Clermont_ came opportunely to refresh his fading bays. The
lease of celebrity secured by ten studied and ponderous tomes, exhaling
strong odour of midnight oil, had nearly expired, when it was renewed
by a single volume, written with flowing pen and careless grace, but
overlooked and underrated for nearly two centuries.

Although scarcely essential to a just appreciation of the book
before us, we shall cursorily sketch the career of Esprit Fléchier,
esteemed one of the ablest of French pulpit orators,--one of the most
kind-hearted and virtuous of French prelates. Born in 1632, in the
county of Avignon, he early assumed the sacerdotal garb, and obtained
occupation as teacher of rhetoric. At the age of eight-and-twenty,
business resulting from the death of a relation having taken him to
Paris, he conceived an affection for that capital and remained there.
Having no fortune of his own, he was fain to earn a modest subsistence
by teaching the catechism to parish children. Already, when professing
rhetoric at Narbonne, he had given indication of the oratorical talents
that were subsequently to procure him the highest dignities of the
church, the favour of a great king, and the enthusiastic admiration
of a Sévigné. At Paris he busied himself with the composition of
Latin verses, for which he had a remarkable talent, and celebrated in
graceful hexameters the successes and virtues of ministers, princes,
and kings. The peace concluded with Spain by Mazarine, the future
prospects of the dauphin of France, the splendid tournament held by
the youthful Louis, in turn afforded subjects for the display of his
elegant Latinity. Fléchier had the true instinct of the courtier,
exempt from fawning sycophancy, and tempered by the dignity of his
sacred profession. And when he condescended to flatter, it was with
delicacy and adroitness. Ambitious of the patronage of the Duke of
Montausier, he knew how to obtain it by a judicious independence of
tone and deportment, more pleasing to that nobleman than the most
insinuating flattery. A constant guest in the Salon Rambouillet, he
made good his place amongst the wits frequenting it, and when its
presiding genius expired, it fell to him to speak its funeral oration.
This was the commencement of his fame. From the hour of that brilliant
harangue, his progress was rapid to the pinnacle of royal favour and
priestly dignity. Unanimously elected member of the academy, he became
almoner to the dauphiness, and was long the favourite court preacher,
petted by the king and by Madame de Maintenon. His nomination as bishop
was delayed longer than the high favour he enjoyed seemed to justify.
At last, in 1685, he received his appointment to the see of Lavaur. The
words with which Louis XIV. accompanied it, were characteristic of the
selfish and smooth-spoken sovereign. "Be not surprised at my tardiness
in rewarding your great merits: I could not sooner resolve to resign
the pleasure of hearing you." His promotion to the bishopric of Nismes
followed two years later, and there he founded the academy, and abode
in the constant practice of all Christian virtues, until his death,
which occurred in 1710, five years sooner than that of his royal patron
and admirer. This provincial residence could hardly have been a matter
of inclination to one who had so long basked in the warm sunshine
of court favour. But the self-imposed duty was well and cheerfully
performed. And we find the mild and unambitious churchman deprecating
the benefits showered on him by the king. "It is a great proof your
goodness," he wrote to Louis, when appointed to the rich and important
see of Nismes, "that you leave me nothing to ask but a diminution of
your favours." Strict in his own religious tenets, he was tolerant of
those of others, and more than once, during the cruel persecutions
of the Huguenots, his sacerdotal mantle was extended to shield the
unhappy fanatics from the raging sabres of their pitiless foes. "He
died," says St Simon, "distinguished for his learning, his works, his
morals, and for a truly episcopal life. Although very old, he was much
regretted and mourned throughout all Languedoc."

It is pleasing to trace so virtuous a career, its just reward and
peaceful termination; otherwise we might have been contented to refer
to the period when Fléchier was tutor to the son of M. Lefevre de
Caumartin, one of the king's council, master of requests, and bearer of
the royal seals at the tribunal of the Grands-Jours. The future bishop
had been at Paris about two years, when he accepted this tutorship.
Four years more elapsed; he was in priest's orders, and already had
some reputation as a preacher, when he accompanied M. de Caumartin to
Clermont. It was in 1665, and Louis XIV. had convoked the exceptional
court occasionally held in the distant provinces of France, and known
as the Grands-Jours. "This word," says M. Gonod, in his introduction
to Fléchier's volume, "which excited, scarcely two centuries ago, such
great expectations, so many hopes and fears, is almost unknown at the
present day; and one meets with many persons, otherwise well informed,
who inquire 'what the Grands-Jours were?' They were extraordinary
assizes, held by judges chosen and deputed by the king. These judges,
selected from the parliament, were sent with very extensive powers, to
decide all criminal and civil cases that might be brought before them,
and their decisions were without appeal. They inherited the duties of
those commissioners, called _missi dominici_, whom our kings of the
first and second dynasties sent into the provinces to take information
of the conduct of dukes and counts, and to reform the abuses that
crept into the administration of justice and of the finances. The rare
occurrence of these assizes, and the pomp of the judges, contributed to
render them imposing and solemn, and obtained for them from the people
the name of Grands-Jours. They were held but seven times in Auvergne,"
(the dates follow, commencing 1454;) "and of those seven sittings,
the most remarkable for duration, for the number and importance of
the trials, for the quality of the persons figuring in them, and for
their result, are, without the slightest question, those of 1665-6.
They lasted more than four months, from the 26th September to the 30th
January. More than twelve thousand complaints were brought before them,
and a multitude of cases, both civil and criminal, were decided. And,
amongst the latter, whom do we see upon the bench of the accused? The
most considerable persons, by birth, rank, and fortune, of Auvergne and
the circumjacent provinces, judges, and even priests!" Here we find
the true reason why Fléchier's interesting memoirs of this important
session have so long remained unprinted, almost unknown. It were idle
to assert that want of merit caused them to be omitted, or at best
passed over with a cursory notice, by collectors and commentators of
Fléchier's writings. We have already intimated, and shall presently
prove, that, both as a literary composition, and as a chronicle of
the manners of the times, this long-neglected volume is of great
merit and interest. And had these been less, this was still hardly a
reason for grudging the honours and advantages of type to a single
volume of no very great length, at the cost of the integrity of its
author's works. If not included in any of the partial editions of
the bishop's writings, or printed with his posthumous works at Paris
in 1712, a nook might surely have been reserved for it in the Abbé
Ducreux's complete edition, or in the less estimable one of Fabre de
Narbonne. But no--such favour was not afforded. M. Fabre dismisses
it with a curt and flippant notice, and Ducreux confines himself to
a careless abstract, inserted in the tenth volume of his edition, as
a sort of sop to certain persons who, having obtained access to the
manuscript, were sufficiently judicious to hold it in high estimation.
The Abbé alleged as his reason, that he thought little of the style,
which he considered strange and negligent. We will not do him the
unkindness to accept this as his real opinion. His true motive, we
cannot doubt, was more akin to that loosely hinted at by M. Fabre,
who, as recently as the year 1828, intimates that there might be
some "imprudence" in raking up these old stories. In 1782 M. Ducreux
may have been justified in apprehending detriment to his interests,
and perhaps even danger to his personal liberty, as the possible
consequence of his giving too great publicity to the chronicles of
the Grands-Jours. The Bastille and _Lettres-de-Cachet_ were not then
the mere empty sounds they were rendered, seven years later, by the
acts of a furious mob and a National Convention. There was still "snug
lying" in the fortress of the Porte St Antoine, for impertinent scribes
as for suspected conspirators. We cannot doubt that, by the affected
disparagement of Fléchier's book, the Abbé Ducreux sought to veil his
own timid or reasonable apprehensions, feigning, like the fox in the
fable, to despise what he was unable (or dared not) to make use of.
"This narrative," says M. Gonod, speaking of the _Mémoires_, "in which
the manners and morals of the nobility and clergy of the period are
sometimes painted in such black colours, could not, as will be seen
on perusal, be brought to light in the time of its author. More than
a century later, the Abbé Ducreux did not deem it advisable to print
it in a complete form. 'What interest,' he says, 'could the reader
find in the recital of those old stories, some of revolting atrocity,
others studiously malicious, and of depravity calculated only to shock
susceptible imaginations and generous hearts? The history of crime
is already too vast and too well known; it is that of virtue, and of
actions honourable to humanity, that we should endeavour to preserve
and disseminate.' Admitting this principle, M. Gonod very justly
remarks, "the first thing to do would be to pass a spunge over history;
and the virtuous Abbé forgot that nothing is more adapted to inspire
horror of crime than the contemplation of its hideous face, and of the
penalties that follow in its train. On the other hand"--and here we
have the true reason--"the Abbé Ducreux feared to retrace these facts
at a time when the descendants of the men most compromised in those
terrible trials held the first places in the church, the magistracy,
and the army: it would have been wounding them, he says, without
utility to the public." Nearly sixty years later, M. Fabre de Narbonne
allows himself to be fettered by similar unwillingness to offend the
posterity of the noble and reverend criminals of 1666; for thus only
can be explained his intimation of the possible imprudence of reviving
those judicial records. In 1844, the librarian of Clermont writes
thus: "This reason"--he refers to that alleged by Ducreux--"which I
respect and approve, is extinct for us. Of all those families, two
only, I think, are still in existence; and I believe that the present
representatives of those once odious names are personally known in
too honourable a manner to have to dread from Fléchier's narrative
any lesion to their honour. I must add, moreover, that with respect
to one, every thing has been long since published by Legrand d'Aussy,
Taillandier;[25] and that the other has received communication from
me of all relating to his family, and sees no objection to its
publication." From this paragraph it is manifest, that M. Gonod
was not quite at his ease as to the effect of his publication. He
_thinks_ one thing, _believes_ another, assumes altogether a doubting
and deprecatory tone, defending himself before attack. The worthy
bibliophilist and editor was evidently in some slight trepidation as
to the reception of his literary foster-child by the descendants of
the dissolute and tyrannical nobility arraigned before the tribunal
of the Grands-Jours. His apprehensions were not unfounded. It is
certainly difficult to understand what could be risked and who offended
by the resuscitation--after one hundred and eighty years, and when
French institutions and society had been so completely turned upside
down by successive revolutions--of these antiquated details of feudal
oppression, priestly immorality, and magisterial corruption. It argues
singular tenuity of epidermis on the part of French _gentilâtres_ of
the nineteenth century, that they cannot bear to hear how their great
grandfather, seven or eight times removed, oppressed his vassals by
enforcing odious privileges, hung up his lady's page by the heels till
death ensued, poisoned his wife, or confined a serf[26] in a damp
closet where he could neither sit nor stand, and where his face lost
its form and his garments acquired a coat of mildew. Why the disclosure
of these crimes--atrocious though they are, and characteristic of a
barbarous state of society--should disturb the repose or cloud the
countenances of the far-removed posterity of the feudal tyrants who
committed them, is no easy question to answer. Are these susceptible
descendants apprehensive lest the crimes of the French aristocracy,
two hundred years ago, should acquire a peculiarly swart hue, in the
eyes of existing generations, by contrast with the immaculate purity
of corresponding classes in the nineteenth century? The misdeeds of
a Senegas and a Montvallat, extenuated by the circumstances of the
times, by a ruder state of society and greater laxity of morals, might
well be forgotten in the infamy of a Praslin and a Teste. Whatever the
reason, however, the fact is that the publication of the Grands-Jours
was viewed with displeasure by various Auvergnat families. The edition
consisted, we believe, of seven or eight hundred copies, of which the
public bought a portion, and the remainder were purchased and destroyed
by those whom the contents of the volume offended. The book is now
unobtainable; and there appears little probability of a reprint in
France. Under these circumstances, it is surprising that the Brussels
publishers--whom no trashy French novel can escape--have not laid their
piratical claws upon a book of such attractive interest.

Written during the four months that Fléchier passed at Clermont as one
of the household of M. de Caumartin, the _Mémoires_ are intended less
as an historical record of the assizes than as a general diary of all
the amiable Abbé saw, heard, and collected during his stay in Auvergne.
Their nature scarcely admitting publication during the author's
lifetime, we must consider their composition to have been a pastime,
a manner of dispelling the tedium of long mornings in a provincial
town. "Assuredly," a clever French critic has said, "no author ever
wrote for himself alone; in literature, as on the stage, monologues
are purely conventional; in reality, one speaks to the public, without
seeming so to do." If ever there was an exception to this rule, it was
in the case of Fléchier. During the Grands-Jours, Clermont, crowded
with functionaries and their families, with plaintiffs, defendants, and
witnesses, from every part of the extensive district[27] over which the
court had jurisdiction, was a grand focus of gossip and scandal; and
by this, Fléchier, as one of the household of so important a person
as M. de Caumartin, was in the best possible position to benefit. It
is by no means improbable, that a desire to retain the many pungent
anecdotes that reached his ear, and also the more important and
striking of the proceedings before the court, stimulated him to indite
the four hundred and fourteen folio pages of manuscript now printed,
with introduction, notes, and appendix, in an octavo volume of four
hundred and sixty. He may have anticipated lively gratification in
refreshing his memory, at some later and more tranquil period of his
life, by a reference to the annals of those gay and bustling days. He
may have had in view the delectation of the witty Parisian _coteries_
by whom he was already held in high and well-merited esteem. And
the modest preceptor, foreseeing not, at that early period of his
career, the eminence he was destined to attain, may have indulged in
pleasing visions of posthumous fame, founded on this graceful volume
of memoirs. What we cannot suppose him to have contemplated, was its
immediate publication; and to this we must attribute the capricious
disorder, the frequent transitions, the sprightly _naiveté_ and piquant
negligence of a book written (as so few are written) for the author's
private gratification, or at most for that of a limited circle of
friends. With regard to the intrinsic merit of the work, we can hardly
do better than quote M. Gonod. "Independently," says that gentleman,
"of the curious facts it reveals, of the manners (still too little
known) which it retraces, it will be for the intelligent reader one of
the most precious literary monuments of the age of Louis XIV. It was
composed ten years after Pascal's 'Provinciales,' when Corneille had
already produced his masterpieces, at the moment that Molière brought
out his 'Misanthrope,' when Racine prepared his 'Plaideurs,' and his
'Britannicus,' and Boileau published his first satires. These memoirs
add a new gem to Fléchier's literary crown, by displaying qualities
not to be traced in his previously-published works. Here one does not
find that scientific formality of style which procured him the name of
a skilful artisan of words; but the author, still young, and writing,
as we may say, in play, or to exercise his easy pen, lets the latter
run on at random, whence often arises a certain _laisser-aller_, an
apparent negligence, of which Legrand d'Aussy, who criticises it, felt
neither the charm nor the value. Had he found declamation against
reigning abuses, against the nobility, or against what he called
superstition, he would have admired it. But the scholarly harmony of
the style, the vein of subtle and delicate wit pervading the work, have
completely escaped him. Let others having more right to be severe than
the author of the 'Voyage en Auvergne,' point out occasional prolixity,
romantic adventures, digressions, a superabundance of antitheses; let
them even blame the coolness with which Fléchier--in times when such
circumspection was necessary--relates horrible facts. I leave them to
play this easy part, and prefer receding with the author to a period
whose private and intimate customs are little known to me, observing
with him the follies, and listening to the gossip of the day, laughing
with him, enjoying his gaiety, and, at the same time, acquiring
knowledge." Then come a few words of compliment and gratitude to the
enlightened minister (M. Villemain) who encouraged the publication of
the _Mémoires_. In the main we agree with M. Gonod, and are much more
disposed to give ourselves up to the charm--scarcely admitting exact
definition--which we find in Fléchier's work, and to cull the flowers
of instruction and amusement so liberally scattered through his pages,
than to sit down with the dogged brow of a hypercritic to pick out
errors and carp at deficiencies. The kind-hearted Abbé, by his decorous
gaiety, inoffensive satire, and occasional tinge of tender melancholy,
surely deserves this much forbearance. Nor can we, considering the
unassuming nature of his work and the circumstances under which it was
written, allow ourselves to be angry with him for the abrupt flights
and transitions by which he so frequently passes from the annals
of crime to the recital of follies, from the lady's bower to the
ensanguined scaffold, from the dark details of feudal oppression to the
trivial tattle of the town; careless in some instances to terminate
history or anecdote, to dispel the doubts and gratify the curiosity of
the reader. Whilst recognising the historical importance and interest
of a grave and minute account of the sessions of the Grands-Jours, we
do not quarrel with our Abbé for not having transmitted it to us, but
accept his heterogeneous tragi-comic volume as a graphic and amusing
sketch of the vices, follies, and tone of French society in the
twenty-third year of the reign of Louis, surnamed the Great.

At the last stage before Clermont, the town of Riom, Fléchier abruptly
commences his narrative. It was the place of rendezvous for the members
of the tribunal, who halted there to shake their feathers and prepare
their pompous entry into Clermont. "At Riom," says the Abbé, "we began
to take repose and congratulate ourselves on our journey. We were so
well received by the lieutenant-general, and were lodged in his house
with so great cleanliness and even magnificence, that we forgot we
were out of Paris." The hospitable seneschal, moreover, took pleasure
in showing his honourable guests all that was remarkable in the town
and its environs, especially a young lady of great attractions, whose
numerous charms of person and mind made her to be considered in that
country as one of the wonders of the world. She was about twenty-two
years of age, daughter of a certain President Gabriel de Combes, and
without being a perfect beauty, she was deemed irresistible when
desirous to please. The great praises Fléchier heard of her, raised his
expectations to a high pitch, and when he saw her, he was disappointed.
He admitted many merits, but also discovered defects. A person of
quality belonging to that country, and whose name is not given,
combated this depreciatory opinion, which the gentle Abbé willingly
waived, merely expressing surprise that a lady of such merit should
have passed her twentieth year without making some great marriage.
The worthy country gentleman, his interlocutor, was astonished at his
astonishment, being unable to conceive that the adventures of this
pearl of Auvergne had not been trumpeted in the remotest corners of the
kingdom. When at last convinced of Fléchier's ignorance, he volunteered
to dispel it; and the Abbé, evidently delighted to be initiated into
the _chronique scandaleuse_ of Riom, gave him all encouragement. But
because they were not at their ease for such discourse, but importuned
by many compliments, in the drawing-room where this occurred, they got
into the honest gentleman's carriage, and were driven to a certain
garden, which passed for the Luxembourg of the district, and was
much frequented in the fine season by the Riom fashionables. "There
are fountains," says Fléchier, "and grottos, and alleys separated by
palisades of a very agreeable verdure, which divert the eyes, and thick
enough to keep the secrets exchanged by lovers, when they walk and talk
confidentially. Although it was one of the finest of autumnal days,
the arrival of Messieurs des Grands-Jours kept every body in the town,
and we found more tranquillity and solitude than we had hoped for."
Amidst the discreet shades of this suburban Eden, Fléchier learned
the gallant adventures of Mademoiselle de Combes, which he professes
to set down verbatim, although it is easy to judge, how greatly the
narrative is indebted to his consummate art as a narrator, far superior
to what could reasonably be attributed to the Auvergnat squire or noble
from whom he derived the facts; to say nothing of the impossibility
of retaining word for word, and upon once hearing it, a narrative
extending over thirty pages. But, throughout the volume, the same thing
occurs. Give Fléchier a story to tell, and he imparts to it a character
entirely his own, arranging it with infinite grace, attributing motives
to the personages, and placing imaginary conversations in their mouths.
This story of Mademoiselle de Combes, for instance, in itself a very
simple case of jilting, acquires, in his hands, an interest peculiarly
its own, and we follow it to the end with unabated amusement. A young
gentleman of Clermont, of the name of Fayet, rich and amiable, of
agreeable person and noble and generous disposition, and well allied,
returned to his native town, after completing his studies at Paris,
to marry Mademoiselle Ribeyre, daughter of the first president of the
Court of Aids at Clermont. The marriage had been arranged between
the respective parents, but some difference supervening, the lady's
father broke off the match, and to prevent any possible renewal of
negotiations, gave his daughter to M. Charles de Combes, so that
Fayet arrived to find his mistress snatched from him, and to witness
a rival's wedding instead of celebrating his own. Many persons would
have been sensibly affected by such a misadventure, but he consoled
himself with a good grace for the loss of a bride whom he had known
little and loved less, paid the usual civilities to the new-married
couple, and soon found himself on a friendly footing in their house.
There he met the sister-in-law of his former intended, Mademoiselle
de Combes, then a young girl of fifteen, endowed with every grace of
mind and person that can be expected at that age, and her favour he
seriously applied himself to gain. "He found a virgin heart," says
Fléchier, "upon which he made a tolerably favourable impression; he
made more expense than ever, gave magnificent entertainments, acquired
the good will of most of the persons who habitually saw his mistress,
and did all in his power to place himself favourably in her opinion,
knowing well that esteem leads to tenderness by a very rapid road.
On occasion he would address a few words to her in a low voice; and
in his conversation would opportunely introduce generous and tender
sentiments. These, the young lady, who had infinite wit and sense,
well knew how to apply; but although she was already a little touched,
she had the art to dissimulate so naturally that it was impossible to
penetrate her thoughts, and even those she most trusted knew nothing of
her new-born inclinations." Such power of dissimulation, at so early
an age, might have alarmed the lover, and given the aspirant to her
hand matter for reflexion. Instead of that, it served to stimulate his
passion, and he pressed the siege of her heart with renewed vigour. In
a long conversation, detailed by Fléchier in the graceful but insipid
language of the period, where the voice of passion seems cramped and
chilled by the necessity of polished periods and elegant diction, Fayet
paved the way to a declaration, which he had already commenced, when
interrupted by the entrance of the sister-in-law. But his discourse,
and the constancy of his attentions, had touched the heart, or at
least wrought upon the imagination of the obdurate fair one; and the
gallant, perceiving his advantage, impatiently awaited an opportunity
to renew the attack. It soon occurred, whilst walking with some ladies
and cavaliers in the same garden where Fléchier heard the tale.
Accident divided the party, and the lovers found themselves alone.
With trembling and hesitation, for his sincere and ardent passion made
him dread the possibility of a refusal which his reason forbade him
to think probable, Fayet avowed his love. The lady affected dismay,
and uttered a cry, says the Abbé, that nearly pierced the paling; but
she ended by permitting him to love her, and after two or three more
interviews, confessed a reciprocal flame. Their amorous joy, however,
was converted into bitterness and despair by the positive refusal of
the President de Combes to sanction their union. The magistrate's
motives for this refusal were in the highest degree absurd. One
was, that M. Ribeyre having declined the alliance of Fayet, it was
to be inferred the latter had less fortune than he received credit
for; the second, still more ridiculous, was an idea that it would be
disgraceful to his daughter to marry a man whom his daughter-in-law
had refused. Fayet, we are told, was near dying of grief on receiving
this rude and unforeseen blow. Retiring to his apartment, he wrote a
despairing billet to his mistress, who, although also very desponding,
returned an encouraging and consolatory reply, and there ensued an
animated correspondence and long series of secret interviews, known
of course to everybody but to the parents who forbade them. At last,
the vigilance of the latter became excessive: Mademoiselle Combes,
never suffered out of sight of her mother, who even slept in her room,
was compelled to scribble her love-letters in haste, by favour of a
half-drawn curtain and a ray of lamplight, whilst the good lady was
absorbed in her evening devotions; until at last, by reason of this
painful constraint, or from some other cause, she fell into a state of
languor, and was taken to the baths of Vichy. "She there recovered her
health," says Fléchier, who manifestly sympathises with the sufferings
of these constant lovers; "but the miracle was less owing to the waters
than to secret interviews with her lover. He followed her in disguise,
and remained hidden in a house adjacent to the baths, whither, under
some pretext, a good lady conducted her, and thence, after a space of
conversation, led her back to her mother. Never were the waters of
Vichy more eagerly desired, or taken with more pleasure." After this,
Mademoiselle de Combes, hoping to alarm her parents into acquiescence,
took refuge in a convent, where she was received on condition that she
should break off all intercourse with the world. But the superior, a
lady of quality and friend of both parties, favoured the reception of
letters, and even visits from Fayet to his mistress. The lover was
smuggled by female friends as far as the convent grating. At last,
Madame de Combes persuaded her daughter to return home, and treated
her more kindly than before, but continued stanch in her opposition
to the marriage. To be brief, this state of affairs lasted eight or
nine years. "The thing went so far," says the Abbé, "that they swore
fidelity before the altar, making profane vows in holy places, and even
writing promises signed with their blood, and committing other follies
peculiar to persons whom a violent passion blinds. By this time the
lady was in her twenty-fourth year, and seeing herself near the age
when the law exempts children from the control of their parents, she
exhorted Fayet to perseverance, writing him to that effect."

Just at this time, M. Bernard de Fortia, a friend and college-comrade
of Fayet, was appointed to the high office of Intendant of Auvergne.
He was a widower, and, on arriving at Clermont, _il se pourvut d'abord
d'une galanterie_. The object of his attentions was a young girl of
eighteen, whose _embonpoint_ added several years to her apparent age,
and who was generally known as _la_ Beauverger. "For we are accustomed
thus to abridge the manner of naming, and find the word _Mademoiselle_
useless, the name of the family sufficiently indicating the quality."
With the unaffected ease and lively conversation of this lady, the
Intendant was much pleased and amused, and saw a good deal of her,
being also greatly diverted by her letters. "Sometimes she began them
by some extravagance, as when she wrote to him: '_The devil take
you, sir!_' at others by tender pleasantries and by naivetés of her
invention. Writing easily, she wrote much; and as she was one day
told that if she continued she would produce more volumes than Saint
Augustin, 'Ay, truly,' she replied, 'though, like him, I were to write
only my confessions.'"

To the admirer of this brisk and buxom damsel, Fayet addressed himself
as to an old friend, and in all confidence, to intercede for him
with the parents of Mademoiselle de Combes. Fortia promised his best
services, went several times to the house, and assured his friend
that he took all care of his interests, but that it would be unwise
to precipitate matters. These assurances he renewed in his letters to
Fayet, who, being compelled about this time to make a journey to Paris,
was received on his return with every mark of joy by the mistress of
his affections. Still, although she had reached her twenty-fifth year,
she seemed in no hurry to take the steps necessary to their marriage;
she was less eager to hear from her lover, and less assiduous in
writing to him. Some time afterwards, Fayet discovered that she was in
correspondence with M. Fortia, and chancing to see one of her letters,
he nearly fainted with surprise and grief at its contents. "Do not
press me, Sir, I entreat you," wrote the perfidious beauty, "to reply
very exactly to the last passage in your letter. You well know that
word is difficult to utter, and still more so to write; be satisfied
with the assurance that as a good Christian I strictly obey the
commandment that bids me love my neighbour. Another time you shall know
more." Poor Fayet sought his mistress, who denied having written to
Fortia, and protested that her sentiments were unchanged. Persuaded of
her dissimulation, and overwhelmed with sorrow, he addressed her in a
strain of feeling wholly thrown away upon the calculating and deceitful
damsel. "If my suspicions are just, Madam," he said amongst other
things, "and you are more moved by the fortune of an Intendant than by
the sincere passion of a lover lacking such brilliant recommendations,
I feel that you will render me the most miserable of men; but I consent
to be miserable so that you be the happier." The lady consoled him,
taxed him with injustice in thus suspecting her after ten years'
fidelity, dismissed him only half persuaded, and wrote to him that
same evening to beg him to return her letters. Fayet saw that he was
sacrificed. He sent back the letters, retaining only a few of the best,
especially the one written in blood. To add to his annoyance, his false
friend the Intendant had the hypocritical assurance to protest that he
had done all in his power for him, but that, finding all in vain, he at
last, subjugated by the lady's charms, had pleaded his own cause. He
then told him in confidence that he was to be married in a few days,
and, with more anxiety than delicacy, entreated him to say how far his
familiarity with Mademoiselle de Combes had been carried during the
ten years' courtship. Gentle creature as the jilted suitor evidently
was, he could not resist the temptation thus indiscreetly held out,
and, without compromising to the last point the lady's reputation, he
contrived, by his ambiguous replies, greatly to perplex and torment
his rival. The latter, in his uneasiness, consulted other persons;
the report of his indiscretion got wind, and was made the subject of
songs and pasquinades, rather witty than decent. The marriage, which
was to have taken place in a few days, had been several months pending
when Fléchier heard the story, and the general opinion was, that the
Intendant was only amusing himself, and that it would never occur.
Meanwhile poor feeble Fayet could not get cured of his love; he thought
continually of his lost mistress, took pleasure in praising and talking
of her, sought excuses for her conduct, and only spoke of her as his
"adorable deceiver." "The incidents of your narrative," says Fléchier,
when thanking the obliging gentleman for the pleasure he had procured
him, "are very pleasant, and you have told them so agreeably, that I
find them marvellously so. If you ask my opinion, I take part with
Fayet against his false mistress, and I wish that, for her punishment,
the Intendant may amuse her for a while and then leave her; that she
may then seek to return to Fayet, and that Fayet may have nothing to
say to her. Heaven often punishes one infidelity by another." The
_adorable trompeuse_, as we are informed by a note, ultimately married
neither Fortia nor Fayet, but became the wife of a M. de la Barge.

If we have thus lingered over the love story with which Fléchier
commences his _Mémoires_, it is because these milder episodes are,
to our thinking, more agreeable to dwell upon, and, in their style
of telling, more characteristic of the writer, than the details of
barbarous crimes and sanguinary scenes with which, at a later period of
the volume, we are abundantly indulged. We will get on to the staple of
the book, the proceedings of the Grands-Jours. This tribunal, although,
as already mentioned, it took cognisance of all manner of causes, civil
as well as criminal, and judged offenders of every degree, from the
meanest peasant to the highest noble, was intended chiefly for the
benefit of the turbulent and tyrannical nobility, who in those latter
days of expiring feudality, still oppressed their weaker neighbours,
murdered their dependents, and kept up bloody feuds amongst themselves.
Such excesses and injustice were common in Bretagne, Dauphiné, and
other provinces of France; but we cannot trace them as having taken
place any where quite so late as in Auvergne, whose remote position and
mountainous configuration, as well as the rude and obstinate character
of its inhabitants, gave greater liberty and pretext for a state of
things recalling in some degree the lawless periods of the middle ages.
"The license that a long war has introduced into our provinces," says
the King's letter to the _Echevins_, or chief magistrates of Clermont,
"and the oppression that the poor suffer from it, having made us
resolve to establish in our town of Clermont in Auvergne, a court
vulgarly called the Grands-Jours, composed of persons of high probity
and consummate experience, who, to the extent of the authority we
have intrusted to them, shall take cognisance of all crimes, and pass
judgment on the same, punishing the guilty, and powerfully enforcing
justice; we will, and command you, &c." "This letter," (of which the
remainder refers to the quarters to be provided for the judges, and to
the consideration to be shown to their persons and quality,) "read,
with sound of trumpet, upon the principal squares and cross-streets of
the town, produced an effect difficult to describe. One can form an
idea of it, only when the picture of the Grands-Jours, unrolled before
our eyes by Fléchier, shall have permitted us to imagine the system
of oppression under which the people groaned. The letter was like a
signal of general deliverance." (Introduction, p. xix.) Of deliverance,
that is to say, for the lower orders, the vast majority, who foresaw,
in the severity and omnipotence of the dreaded tribunal, revenge for
their long sufferings at the hands of arrogant and lawless masters.
The aristocracy of the province, on the other hand, few of whom could
boast clear consciences, beheld the arrival of the royal commissioners
with feelings far less pleasing; and although a body of them, including
many notorious delinquents, went out to meet and welcome the Messieurs
des Grands-Jours, the ceremony was scarcely at an end when most of them
took to flight, to await in distant hiding-places the subsidence of
the storm of retribution. These were the gentlemen referred to in the
popular song of the day, composed for the occasion, and which resounded
in the streets of Clermont on the morrow of the receipt of the King's
letter. It is given, at its full length of twenty-two couplets, in
the appendix to the _Mémoires_, and breathes a bitter hatred of the
unfeeling nobles and insolent retainers who ill-treated the people--a
savage joy at their impending castigation. One of the verses may be
quoted, as comprising the principal hardships and extortions suffered
by the peasantry.

  A parler Français,
  Chaque gentilhomme
  Du matin au soir
  Fait croitre ses cens,
  Et d'un liard en a six.
  Il vit sans foi,
  Prend le pré, le foin,
  Le champ et les choux du bonhomme;
  Puis fait l'économe
  De ses pois, de son salé,
  Bat celui qui lui déplaît;
  Et, comme un roi dans son royaume,
  Dit que cela lui plaît.[28]

"_Tel est notre plaisir_," such is our pleasure, the customary
termination of all royal edicts and ordinances, was the closing
phrase of the letter already cited, conveying the King's will to the
authorities of Clermont. And the insolent assumption of the Auvergnat
nobles had to yield to the strong will and energetic measures of the
fourteenth Louis. Without dreaming of disputing the royal mandate, the
guilty fled in confusion and dismay.

"On my arrival at Clermont," says Fléchier, "I remarked universal
terror, there, and throughout the country. All the nobility had taken
to flight, and not a gentleman remained who did not examine his
conscience, recall the evil passages of his life, and endeavour to
repair the wrongs done his vassals, in hopes of stifling complaint.
Numerous were the conversions wrought, less by the grace of God than by
the justice of man, but which were not the less advantageous for being
compulsory. Those who had been the tyrants of the poor became their
suppliants, and more restitutions were made than had been operated
at the great jubilee of the holy year. The arrest of M. de la Mothe
Canillac was the chief subject of consternation." Evil was the fate
of the unlucky delinquents who fell into the clutches of the dread
tribunal, before the severity of its zeal had been appeased by the
infliction of punishment, and daunted by the popular effervescence its
first sanguinary measures occasioned. The Viscount de la Mothe was
the most estimable of the numerous and powerful family of Canillac;
he was much esteemed in the province, and by no means the man who
should have been selected for condign chastisement, as an example
to titled evil-doers. Nevertheless, the judges had scarcely arrived
at Clermont, when their president, Monsieur de Novion, (himself
distantly connected by marriage with the Canillac family,) and Talon,
the advocate-general, agreed to arrest M. de la Mothe. The provost of
Auvergne and his archers found him in bed, and so surprised was he
at the intimation of arrest, that he lost his presence of mind, and
gave up some letters he had just received from a mistress. At dinner,
that day, his friends had bantered him about the Grands-Jours, but he
thought himself so innocent, that he could not believe his danger. Nor
would he, perhaps, have been interfered with, but for reasons which
ought never to have swayed ministers of justice. The name of Canillac
was in ill repute, as that of a turbulent and tyrannical family: M. de
Novion desired to strike terror and prove his impartiality by arresting
a man of first-rate importance, who was also a connexion of his own;
and, moreover, the Viscount had borne arms against the king in the
civil wars. The crime alleged against him could hardly be deemed very
flagrant, and did not justify, at least in those days, the rigour of
his judges. During the wars, M. de la Mothe had received a sum of
money from the Prince de Condé, to be employed in levying cavalry.
The Viscount sought assistance from his friends, and especially from
a certain M. d'Orsonette, to whom he remitted five thousand francs
to equip a troop of horse. The levies not coming in fast enough to
please the prince, he flew into a passion with the Viscount, who,
proud as Lucifer, would not put up with blame, abandoned Condé, and
demanded an account from d'Orsonette of the cash intrusted to him.
This person, however, neither produced his recruits nor restored the
enlistment money, and, whilst acknowledging the debt, showed little
haste to discharge it. Ill blood was the consequence; the two gentlemen
met, each with retainers at his back, a fight ensued, D'Orsonette was
wounded and his falconer killed. All this was an old story in 1665, and
a malicious animus appeared in the eagerness of the court to revive
it. La Mothe even obtained letters of pardon for the offence, but by
a legal quibble these were nullified and made to serve against him.
The evidence was very contradictory as to who had been the assailant,
although it seemed well established that the Viscount had greatly
the advantage of numbers. At the worst, and to judge from Fléchier's
account, the offence did not exceed manslaughter and would have been
sufficiently punished by a less penalty than death, to which M. de
la Mothe was condemned, and which he suffered four hours afterwards.
Fléchier displays some indignation, cloaked by his habitually-guarded
phrase, in his comments on the hard measure of justice shown to the
poor Viscount. "I know," he says, "that many persons, who judge
things very wisely, thought the president and M. Talon might well
have consulted the principal of those Messieurs" (the members of the
tribunal) "on this affair, and especially M. de Caumartin, who held so
high a rank among them; and that they would have done better not to
have thus spread the alarm amongst a great number of gentlemen, who
took their departure immediately after this arrest. To prevent the
escape of a man who was only half guilty, they lost the opportunity
of capturing a hundred criminals; and every one agrees that this
first arrest is a good hit for the judge, but not for justice." There
was one very singular circumstance in the case, and which could have
been met with, as the Abbé observes, only in a country so full of
crime as Auvergne then was. The accuser, the person who laid the
information, and the witnesses, were all more criminal than the accused
himself. The first was charged by his own father with having killed
his brother, with having attempted parricide, and with a hundred
other crimes; the second was a convicted forger; and the others, for
sundry crimes, were either at the galleys or in perpetual banishment,
or actually fugitives. So that, to all appearance, the Viscount must
have been acquitted for want of testimony, had not the president, by
a pettifogging manœuvre, not very clearly explained but manifestly
unfair, managed to turn against him his own admissions in the letters
of pardon granted by M. de Caumartin, and in which it was customary to
set down the criminal's full confession of his offences. Fléchier's
account is, however, too disconnected and imperfect to afford us a
clear view of the singular system of jurisprudence argued by this
remarkable trial and sentence. The versatile Abbé does not plume
himself on his legal knowledge, and indeed is rather too apt, as many
will think, to turn from the rigorous and somewhat partial proceedings
of the tribunal, to flowery topics of gallant gossip. The town of
Clermont finds little favour in his eyes, and he doubts that there
is one more disagreeable in all France, the streets being so narrow
that one carriage only can pass along them; so that the meeting of two
vehicles caused a terrible blaspheming of coachmen, who swear there,
Fléchier thinks, better than anywhere else, and who assuredly would
have set fire to the town had they been more numerous, and but for the
many beautiful fountains at hand to extinguish the flames. "On the
other hand, the town is well peopled, the women are ugly but prolific,
and if they do not inspire love, they at least bear many children. It
is an established fact, that a lady who died a short time ago, aged
eighty years, made the addition of her descendants, and counted up four
hundred and sixty-nine living, and more than a thousand dead, whom she
had seen during her life. After that, can one doubt the prodigious
propagation of Israel during the time of the captivity, and may not
one ask here what the Dutch asked when they entered China and saw the
immense population, whether the women of that country bore ten children
at a time?" If Fléchier, when inditing the lively record of his
residence in Auvergne, contemplated the probability of his manuscript
some day finding its way into print, it is evident that he cared little
for the suffrages of the ladies of Clermont. Had he valued their good
opinion, or expected the _Mémoires_ to be submitted to them, he would
hardly have ventured to note thus plainly--not to say brutally--his
depreciation of their personal attractions. Ugly, child-bearing
housewives! Such crude uncivil phrase would have been more appropriate
in the day of the eccentric monarch who used firetongs to remove a
love-letter from a lady's bosom,[29] than in that of the graceful
lover of La Vallière, who cloaked the extremity of egotism under the
most exquisite external courtesy. Not often do we catch Fléchier thus
transgressing the limits of polite comment. His keen perception of
the ridiculous more frequently finds vent in sly and guarded satire.
But the rusticity and want of court-usage of the Auvergne dames meet
in him a cruel censor. "All the ladies of the town come to pay their
respects to our ladies, not successively, but in troops. Each visit
fills the room; there is no finding chairs enough; it takes a long
time to place all these little people; (_ce petit monde;_) you would
think it a conference or an assembly, the circle is so large. I have
heard say that it is a great fatigue to salute so many persons at one
time, and that one is much embarrassed before and after so many kisses.
As the greater number (of the visitors) are not accustomed to court
ceremony, and know nothing but their provincial customs, they come in
a crowd, to avoid special notice, and to gain courage from each other.
It is a pleasant sight to see them enter, one with her arms crossed,
another with her hands hanging down like those of a doll; all their
conversation is trivial (_bagatelle_;) and it is a happiness for them
when they can turn the discourse to their dress, and talk of the
_points d'Aurillac_."[30] Even the homage paid to his own talents and
growing reputation is insufficient to mollify the Abbé and blunt the
point of his sarcastic pen. A capuchin monk of worldly tastes, who
passed his time at watering places, coquetting with sick belles and
belles lettres, had read some of Fléchier's poetry, and spread his
fame amongst the Clermont blue-stockings. Forthwith the Abbé received
the visits of two or three of these _précieuses languissantes_, who
thought, he informs us with less than his usual modesty,--"that to be
seen with me would make them pass for learned persons, and that wit is
to be acquired by contagion. One was of a height approaching that of
the giants of antiquity, with a face of Amazonian ugliness; the other,
on the contrary, was very short, and her countenance was so covered
with patches, that I could form no opinion of it, except that she had
a nose and eyes. It did not escape me that she was a little lame, and
I remarked that both thought themselves beautiful. The pair alarmed
me, and I took them for evil spirits trying to disguise themselves
as angels of light." Then comes a dialogue, _à la_ Molière--clumsy
compliments on the one hand, modestly declined on the other, and at
last the ladies take their departure, after turning over the Abbé's
books, and borrowing a translation of the "Art of Love." "I wish,"
concludes the Abbé, "I could also have given them the art of becoming
loveable." These incidents and digressions, petty in the abstract, will
have a collective worth in the eyes of those who seek in the _Mémoires_
what we maintain ought to be there sought:--a valuable addition to our
knowledge of the manners, follies, and foibles of a very interesting
period.

The comprehensive nature of the court of the Grands-Jours, competent
to judge every description of case, is one cause of the motley
appearance of Fléchier's pages. There was little sorting of causes,
civil or criminal, but all were taken as they came uppermost, and
strong contrasts are the result. We pass from farce to tragedy, and
thence again to comedy, with curious rapidity of transition. Now we are
horrified by the account of an atrocious assassination or wholesale
massacre; turn the leaf, and we trace the derelictions of a rakish
husband, or the scandalous details of conventual irregularities.
Here we have a puissant count or baron brought up for judgment, or,
more often, condemned by default; thereafter followeth the trial and
sentence of a scoundrel-peasant, or unlucky _fille-de-joie_. The
Grands-Jours would certainly have been improved by the establishment
of a court of appeal; many of the sentences needed revision, and
the errors committed were seldom on the side of mercy. The reproach
usually made to partial judges, of favouring the rich, and dealing
hardly with the poor, would here have been unjustly applied, for it
was the wealthy and powerful whom this tribunal chiefly delighted to
condemn. These, it is true, in some degree neutralised the effects
of such disfavour by getting out of the way; but their houses were
razed, their lands confiscated, or struck with a heavy fine, and they
themselves were frequently decapitated in effigy, a ceremony to which
they attached but slight importance. After the execution of poor
Canillac, the court flagged a little in their proceedings, and resumed
their energy only towards the close of the session, and under terror
of its further prolongation--one having already taken place. "Then,"
says Fléchier, "they applied themselves without pause or relaxation to
the consideration of important offences, and despatched them so rapidly
that they did not give us time to make ourselves thoroughly acquainted
with the circumstances." Assassinations, abductions, and oppression,
were the usual subjects of their deliberations; and so numerous were
the condemnations, that in one day thirty persons were executed in
effigy. These pasteboard punishments must seriously have diminished
the _prestige_ of the Grands-Jours, by imparting an air of ridiculous
impotency to their proceedings. And amongst others, the Marquis of
Canillac, a cousin of La Mothe, and the biggest and oldest sinner in
the province, was greatly diverted by the bloodless beheading of his
counterfeit. Fléchier believes it was matter of deep regret to this
hardened offender that he could not look on at his own execution, as
he had done once before when similarly condemned by the parliament of
Toulouse. "He had seen his execution himself from an adjacent window,
and had found it very pleasant to be at his ease in a house whilst he
was beheaded in the street; and to see himself die out of doors, when
perfectly comfortable at his fire-side." Judging from the smallness
of the sum (thirty livres) set down in the account of expenses of the
Grands-Jours as paid the painter, the decapitated portraits were by
no means masterpieces of art, nor probably was it deemed necessary to
obtain a very exact resemblance of the contumacious originals.

Although none ever ventured to cast a doubt on Fléchier's strict
orthodoxy, he made himself remarkable by a spirit of tolerance unusual
in that age, by discountenancing superstition, and by his enlightened
disapproval of the abuses of the conventual system. A great doubter
of modern miracles, he scrupled not, when a bishop, to protest in
a letter to his flock, relating to some miraculous cross, against
"those who put their confidence in wood and in lying prodigies." His
natural good sense and kindness of heart made him oppose the compulsory
profession of young women. In the _Mémoires_, he relates an anecdote
of a young girl, at whose reception as a nun M. Chéron, the grand
vicar of Bourges, was requested to assist. The vicar, having donned
his sacerdotal robes, asked the novice, in the usual formula, what she
demanded. "I demand the keys of the monastery, Sir, in order to leave
it," was her firm reply, which astonished all present. The vicar could
not believe his ears, till she repeated her words, adding, that she
had chosen that opportunity to protest against her destiny, because
there were abundant witnesses. "If the girls who are daily sacrificed
had as much resolution," says Fléchier, "the convents would be less
populous, but the sacrifices offered up in them would be more holy and
voluntary." When invested with the episcopal purple, the worthy man
acted up to these sound opinions. "I may be allowed," says M. Gonod
in his appendix, "to cite, to his glory and to that of religion, his
conduct with regard to a nun at Nismes, who had not, like her sister
at Bourges, had the courage to demand the keys of the convent, and who
subsequently yielded to another description of weakness. Fléchier,
then bishop of Nismes, extended to her his paternal hand, and in this
instance, as in many others, approved himself of the same merciful
family as a Vincent de Paul and a Fénelon." This story is told by
D'Alembert in his "Eulogiums read at the public sittings of the
French Academy," p. 421. An unfortunate girl, whom unfeeling parents
had forced into a convent, was unable to conceal the consequences
of a deplorable error, and her superior confined her in a dungeon,
where she lay upon straw, scarcely nourished by an insufficient
ration of bread, and praying for death as a rescue from suffering.
Fléchier heard of it, hastened to the convent, and after encountering
much resistance, obtained admission into the wretched cell where
the unfortunate creature languished and despaired. On beholding her
pastor, she extended her arms as to a liberator sent by divine mercy.
The prelate cast a look of horror and indignation at the abbess. "I
ought," he said, "if I obeyed the voice of human justice, to put you
in the place of this unhappy victim of your barbarity; but the God of
clemency, whose minister I am, bids me show, even to you, an indulgence
you have not had for her. Go, and for sole penance, read daily in the
Evangelists the chapter of the woman taken in adultery." He released
the nun, and caused every care to be taken of her, but she was past
recovery, and died soon afterwards, blessing his name.

How can we, after reading such traits as this, criticise with any
severity the occasional levity displayed in the _Mémoires_? How dwell
invidiously on the small frivolities and flippancies of the Abbé, whose
after life was a pattern of Christian virtue and charity? Short of a
degree of perfection impossible to humanity, we can scarcely imagine
a more charming character than that of Fléchier, whose very failings
"leaned to virtue's side." His sincere benevolence and gentle temper
display themselves in each page of his book, in every recorded action
of his life. His professed principles--from which we can nowhere trace
his practice to have differed--breathed a very different spirit to
that usually attributed to the Roman Catholic priesthood. "Violence
and oppression," he says, in a letter to M. Vignier, "are not the
paths the gospel has marked out for us." His smallest actions were
inspired by the same kindly maxims, by a spirit of tolerance and
compassion for human frailty. The vein of satire we have exemplified by
extracts is tempered by a tone of good-humoured _bonhomie_; and such
sallies, moreover, could not have been intended to wound the feelings
of persons in whose lifetime, it is pretty evident, Fléchier did not
destine his book to publication. Neither can fault be fairly found
with the occasional freedom of his language and peculiarity of his
topics. What we esteem license in these strait-laced days, was regarded
as decorous, and passed without censure or observation in those in
which he wrote; and the most rigorous will admit the absence of all
offensive intention. The Abbé is a chronicler; as such he puts down
facts, unmutilated and unabridged. If the words in which he clothes
them have sometimes more of the courtier's easy pleasantry than of the
churchman's grave reserve, we must make allowance for the spirit of the
age, look to intention rather than form, and we shall admit that his
_gaillardises_ are set down all "in the ease of his heart," without the
least design of conveying impure thoughts or immodest images to the
imaginations of his contemporaries or of future generations. "If any
wonder," says M. Gonod, "at Fléchier's language, as being sometimes
rather free, I tell them he derived his freedom from his virtue;
unreproached by his conscience, he thought he might speak plainly:
_omnia munda mundis_. As an historian, he understood the historian's
duty differently from the Abbé Ducreux, differently from this or that
obscure critic who may dare attack him; he took as a guide this maxim:
'Ne quid falsi dicere audeat, ne quid veri non audeat.'--(_Cic. de
Orat._ ii. 15.) We must also revert to the times in which he wrote; do
we not see, if only by Molière's comedies, how much more prudish and
reserved our language has become?"

Amongst the long list of crimes of which the Grands-Jours took
cognisance, that of sorcery was not forgotten. "Conversation is an
agreeable thing," says Fléchier, after three or four pages of gossip,
including an anecdote of Mademoiselle de Scudéry and her brother, who
had been arrested at Lyons on suspicion of high treason, for having
discussed rather too loudly the manner of slaying the king in a
projected tragedy--"but exercise is also necessary, and I know nothing
pleasanter than to take the country air after having passed several
hours discoursing in one's apartment. So we got into our coaches with
some ladies, and went to visit the source of the Clermont fountains,
one of the curiosities of the country." His elegant account of these
springs and the surrounding scenery is alone sufficient to establish
his reputation as a proficient in the descriptive art, and loses
little by comparison with Charles Nodier's brilliant description of
the same spot, the Tivoli of Auvergne. "On our return home we found M.
l'Intendant there before us. He had come from Aurillac, and had had
great difficulty in getting through the snow which had already fallen
in the mountains. He had caused a president of the election of Brioude
to be arrested, accused of several crimes, and especially of magic.
One of his servants deposed that he had given him certain characters
which made him sometimes rise from the ground, when at church, in
sight of all the congregation. The Intendant having questioned the
accused on this subject, he was so disconcerted that he nearly lost
his senses; he fell into a furious passion, and then entreated they
would not press him further, that he was not disposed to acknowledge
any thing that day, but that on the morrow he would confess all the
irregularities of his life. His prayer was granted, and M. de Fortia
gave him in charge to four of his people. I do not know if the devil
had promised to rescue him from the hands of a Master of Requests,
or if, by his art, he bewitched his keepers; but it is certain he
made his escape to the woods and mountains, where they have now for
three days pursued him. Here is an instance how the devil is friendly
and of good faith with those who love him, and how he deceives even
Intendants. I was very sorry to miss this opportunity of hearing news
of the witches' sabbath and of learning the secret of the characters;
perhaps some good angel, hostile to his demon, will deliver him again
into the hands of justice." This tone of mockery, when referring to
a belief pretty universal in those days,--the belief, namely, in
witchcraft and sorcerers--contrasts oddly enough with the strain of
grave credulity in which the same writer tells the touching tale of a
shepherd and shepherdess who gathered flowers together in the meadows,
held tender rendezvous in a green alley formed by nature at the foot
of a rock, made reciprocal presents of fruits and flowers, and drank
the water of the limpid fountain out of the hollow of each other's
hands. This loving pair, the Corydon and Phillis of Auvergne, were
ultimately united in the bonds of wedlock, when, behold, a malicious
farmer, two of whose ducks had been devoured by Phillis's poodle, laid
a spell upon them, greatly to the hindrance of the connubial felicity
they had so fondly anticipated. The charm was dissolved by the prayers
and interposition of Mother Church; and this little history, Fléchier
admonishes us, "shows that we ought not to treat these enchantments as
fables." Notwithstanding which injunction we should think the Abbé was
indulging in a bit of grave fun, did he not quote Hincmar, archbishop
of Rheims, and Virgil's Eclogues and other authorities, in support of
the authenticity of these malevolent practices.

It could hardly have excited surprise, if, in a narrative of criminal
assizes written by a churchman, the misdeeds of the priests had been
softened down, lightly passed over, or even entirely suppressed.
The least jesuitical of Abbés might have reconciled such a course
to his conscience by the argument that, although the crimes of the
individuals merited infamous publicity, the interests of religion and
of the ecclesiastic body would suffer by their revelation. No such
plausible plea is set up by Fléchier, either mentally or openly. He is
unsparing in his censure of the laxity of the clergy, and records their
derelictions as freely and unreservedly as those of the lay population.
A sincere lover of religion, he entertained an honest detestation for
those who, under its mask, violated its tenets; and he pillories a
priest as readily and heartily as he does Mad Canillac, or Montvallat
the extortioner, or any other of the profane and tyrannical gentry
of Auvergne. And some very pretty tales he finds to tell about his
brethren in black, conveying most unflattering ideas of their morality
and Christian virtues. Amongst others, is that of a certain _curé_
of St Babel, who was condemned to death for murder, upon very strong
evidence--a companion of the slain man having sworn positively to the
murderer's identity, and there being besides a mass of circumstantial
evidence. When the _curé_ had been hung his innocence was discovered.
He denied to the very last moment the crime for which he suffered,
avowing, however, that he was guilty of many others. And some of his
offences, written down by Fléchier, deserved severe castigation,
although the gallows was rather too violent a penalty for them. He was
particularly blamed for his amours, and so indiscreet in the choice of
time and place, that he was known to make love to a servant maid whilst
her mistress lay dying in an adjoining apartment, anxiously awaiting
the last sacrament. "He forgot where he was," says Fléchier, "and
love overcame duty. Instead of hearing the confession of the one, he
made a declaration to the other, and far from exhorting the sick woman
to a pious death, he solicited the healthy one to an evil life." And
then this antithetical chronicler proceeds, rather unnecessarily, to a
_verbatim_ report of the libertine _curé's_ love speeches, adding, we
suspect, some slight embellishments of his own. The priest's profligacy
was indirectly the cause of his death, for the murder for which he
undeservedly suffered was committed on a peasant who had detected him
in an intrigue, and fastened him into a barn with one of the objects
of his illicit flame. When, a day or two afterwards, the author of
this practical joke was set upon and slain, suspicion naturally fell
on him who had been its object, and he was arrested by the lieutenant
of the watch, who apparently anticipated an attempt at evasion, for
"he insinuated himself into his house under pretence of having masses
said, and conducted him very adroitly to Clermont." Upon the day of
this man's condemnation or execution, (it does not appear very clearly
which of the two is meant,) a ray of sunshine again seduced Fléchier
and his company out of the town, and they made an expedition to the
country-house called Oradoux, then and still the property of the
family of Champflour. The grounds were rendered very agreeable to the
party by a multitude of purling streams, whose waters were applied
to various fantastical purposes, "making very pleasant figures," as
Fléchier informs us. "One finds basins supplied by a thousand streams,
floating islands forming small apartments, where all manner of parties
of pleasure take place; an aviary enclosing cascades, a grotto whence
the water flows on all sides by a hundred little leaden tubes, and a
Diana in a niche who throws up streamlets of water, and is completely
covered by a liquid veil falling unceasingly and always preserving its
form." Whilst perambulating these aqueous parterres, the Abbé fell in
with a canon, seemingly a worthy and sensible man, who had sought that
retirement with a view to serious meditation. Unrestrained by this
latter consideration, Fléchier, having formed at first sight so good
an opinion of the stranger's worth and wisdom, courteously addressed
him. "I saluted him as civilly as I could, accosting him with a smiling
air, in which was mingled, however, a little of my habitual gravity."
The canon took the interruption kindly, and the pair walked and
talked together. Their dialogue is given at length in the _Mémoires_,
indebted, no doubt, to Fléchier's nimble pen for many flowers of style,
and, perhaps, for much of the subject matter. The church of Clermont
was the subject of discourse, and from the church a transition to the
bishops was very easy. Various saints, and more than one sinner, had
ruled the diocese of Clermont; and in the latter class was reckoned a
certain Joachim d'Estaing, who had worn the mitre for the first six
and thirty years of the seventeenth century. He was stone blind, but
the infirmity affected him little. When overtaken by it (at an early
age) he took for his motto: _Charitate et fide, non oculis, Christi
diriguntur oves_. Charitable he was, faith he may have had, his cecity
was perhaps no absolute impediment to the discharge of his pastoral
duties; but neither charity, faith, nor blindness, sufficed to restrain
him within the limits of ecclesiastical decorum. Such a rattling,
love-making, rollicking boy of a bishop had seldom been heard of. His
principal occupations were making war with his chapter and pleading
against his canons. These maintained their privileges with much vigour
and success. So that when he was on the point of death, some one having
exhorted him to do good to a chapter whose tranquillity he had so long
troubled:--"I have done them more good than all my predecessors," was
his sharp and prompt reply, "since in pleading against them, I have
established their privileges upon an immoveable basis." When overtaken
by blindness, he had assigned to him, as an episcopal aide-de-camp,
André de Sausia, Bishop of Bethlehem, who, proceeding to perform some
particular duties in the church of Clermont, the canons shut the door
against him, pretending that only the bishop of Clermont had that
privilege. Thereupon M. L'Estaing, having obtained the sanction of
the temporal authorities, burst open the doors with battering-rams,
"not unlike those formerly used by the Romans." On another occasion,
the Viscount de Polignac, governor of the province, having had a
praying-desk (_prie-Dieu_) placed for him in the nave of the church,
without regard to a previous warning that the King alone had that
right, the blind bishop had sufficient courage and decision to expel
him the sacred edifice. Fléchier does not give the details of this
scandalous scene, but they are to be found in contemporary authors. The
bishop, it appears, used force to expel M. de Polignac, who ordered his
guards to fire, when one of the bishop's gentlemen prevented bloodshed
and sacrilege by swearing that if they made a movement, he would run
his sword through the Viscount's body. The bishop's firmness, although
it had a degree of violence less becoming in a church dignitary than
in a temporal warrior, is approved by Fléchier as an episcopal virtue.
The faults he finds with the diocesan of Clermont are of a different
stamp. He deplores his weaknesses, as tending, by example, to the
encouragement of immorality, and to the disrepute of the church. "All
the balls were held at his house, which, instead of an abode of prayer
and penitence, was one of festival and rejoicing; and he appeared there
not as a bishop instructing his flock, but as a gentleman in a violet
coat, saying soft things to the ladies. His manner of saluting these
was other than paternal; and, passing his hands over their faces, he
would form an exact estimate of their appearance, never deceiving
himself as to their beauty, blind though he was; having his discernment
in his hands as others have in their eyes, and, like a good shepherd,
knowing all his sheep." These facial manipulations were of small
impropriety compared to other particulars of the bishop's conduct and
discourse. Under such a prelate, the conduct of the clergy was not
likely to be very exemplary, and accordingly we read that canons were
seen habitually dressed in coloured clothes, throwing aside their
ecclesiastical garb when service was over, and appearing covered with
gay ribbons. They left the altar to run to the playhouse, escorting
ladies thither, and making a scandalous mixture of worldly vanity and
external piety. The parish priests were no better; and we are told
of one so fond of the chase that he passed all his time in it, to
the neglect of his parochial duties. To such an extent did he carry
his passion for field sports, that, when conveying the consecrated
wafer to a distant farm, he was known to make his clerk carry his
fowling-piece, so that he might have a shot at any game he met upon
the road. Which piece of profanity elicits from the worthy Fléchier an
angry and indignant ejaculation. It is not surprising that, under the
lax rule of Monseigneur Joachim, the clerical profession was in favour
with the idle and dissolute. During his time a vast number of religious
fraternities sprang up in the diocese; no less than eight convents and
monasteries being established in the town of Clermont. An ordinance,
published in 1651, by Jacques Pereyret, canon of the cathedral church,
is directed at ecclesiastics who "frequent public games, taverns,
and gambling tables; buying and selling at fairs and markets; having
commerce with persons of profligate life, and abandoning themselves
to all manner of vices and excesses," &c. &c. This state of things,
however, was not limited to the diocese of Clermont, but was at that
time only too general in France. The following is curious, on account
both of the state of things it exhibits, and of the cavalier manner
in which Fléchier refers to his holiness the Pope. "So great were the
irregularities of the clergy of Clermont, that there exists a papal
bull exempting the canons and the children they might have had, by any
crime whatever, from the bishop's jurisdiction. This bull appeared to
us of an extraordinary form, and we admired the effrontery of the court
of Rome and of the canons of that day."

We find several ladies, amongst them some of high family and name,
appearing as plaintiffs or defendants before the tribunal of the Grands
Jours. The commencement of the third month's sitting, was signalised
by "an audience that every body found very diverting, because there was
pleaded the cause of the Countess of Saigne against her husband, on a
pleasant difference they had together." The old count had committed
the common blunder of marrying a young and pretty wife, who became
desirous of a separation, and brought a variety of scandalous charges
against him. She had the sympathy and support of many of her own
sex, and especially of the _grisettes_, whom the reverend Fléchier
gravely defines as "young, _bourgeoises_, having rather a bold style
of gallantry, and priding themselves on much liberty." Finally,
the count and countess made up their quarrel. The affair of Madame
de Vieuxpont, a Norman lady, was of a more serious nature. She was
arraigned for conspiracy against the _procureur du Roi_ at Evreux,
against whom she conceived so violent an animosity, that she resolved
to ruin him at any price, and to that end associated herself with an
intendant of woods and forests, a serjeant, and three or four other
persons. Her plot being ripe, she accused the obnoxious magistrate
of conspiracy against the state, of having called the king a tyrant,
and of a design to establish in France a republic after the model of
Venice. The unfortunate functionary was arrested and sent to Paris,
where he died before his trial was at an end, and narrowly escaped
posthumous condemnation. At last his memory was cleared by a decision
of the Chamber of Justice, and his perjured accusers were brought
before the Grands-Jours. M. Talon, the public prosecutor, pressed for
the perpetual banishment of Madame de Vieuxpont and the confiscation
of all her property. She was even in fear of capital punishment, and
her countenance brightened greatly when the decision of the court,
condemning her to three years' exile and a fine of two thousand livres,
was intimated to her. She was a lady of violent character, and had
lived on very bad terms with her husband, in whose death some hinted
her agency; but this, Fléchier charitably remarks, was perhaps a mere
calumny, invented in retaliation of those wherewith she had assailed
other persons. It is distinctly stated, however, that she went so far
as to challenge her husband to fight a duel; and when he declined a
combat in all respects so singular, her mother wounded him with a
pistol-shot,--an advertisement, the Abbé quietly remarks, never to fall
out with one's mother-in-law. Then we have the story of a handsome
village maiden, who might have pleased the most fastidious courtiers as
well as the bumpkins of Mirefleurs. She was besieged by admirers, from
amongst whom she selected one whom she loved with great fidelity. And
after her marriage, one of her former suitors risking a daring attempt
upon her virtue, she mustered the courage of Lucretia, to protect
herself from the evil designs of a modern Tarquin. Finding tears and
entreaties unavailing, and as the sole means of preserving her honour,
she seized a halbert that stood in a corner of the chamber, and
inflicted a deadly wound on her insolent pursuer. "She pierced," says
Fléchier, in his flowery style, and not in the very best taste, "the
wretch's heart that burned for her; two or three ardent sighs escaped
it, and he expired." The testimony of the neighbours, whom she called
in, and her reputation for virtue, absolved her in the eyes of her
judges. But when the Grands-Jours came, the relatives of the deceased
revived the case; and that tribunal--upon what grounds it is difficult
to say--condemned the woman and her family to a heavy fine. There seems
to have been scanty justice. At the present day in France, the verdict
of justifiable homicide does not preclude a civil action for damages;
but these would now hardly be granted by any French court in such a
case as the above. The justice of the Grands-Jours was evidently of a
very loose description. They had not to dread the revision of a higher
court, or the lash of newspaper satire; the king would not trouble
himself much about them, so long as they duly scourged the tyrannical
counts and barons who impoverished the country and caused discontent
amongst the peasantry; and thus, unfettered by any of the usual
checks, the bench of gentlemen in square caps, loose cloaks, flowing
curls, and delicate moustaches, represented in the frontispiece to M.
Gonod's publication, certainly did render some very inexplicable and,
as it appears from Fléchier's chronicle, very iniquitous judgments.
Whilst they blundered and mismanaged in their department, an elderly
lady of great enterprise and activity made herself exceedingly busy in
hers. It was a jurisdiction she had created for herself, without the
least shadow of a right, and it is inconceivable how she was allowed
to exercise, even for a day, her self-conferred authority. Madame
Talon, the respectable mother of the advocate-general, had no sooner
arrived at Clermont, than she undertook the whole police regulation
of the town, imposing taxes, correcting weights and measures, fixing
a tariff of prices, and lecturing the Clermont ladies as to the mode
of distributing their alms. At last the housewives of Auvergne would
stand this no longer, and then she turned her attention to monastic
abuses, and hospital regulations. She was evidently an officious
nuisance; and although Fléchier supports her, it is after a feeble
manner, his faint praise strongly resembling condemnation. "When people
do good," he says, "it is impossible to keep the world from murmuring.
Some say she would do better to alter her head-dress, which is a very
extraordinary one; others have remarked, that she wears a spreading
cap, bearing some resemblance to a mitre, which is the livery of her
mission and the character of her authority. Others complain, that she
spoils every thing instead of doing good, prevents charities by her
rigorous examination of charitable ladies, destroys the hospital by
endeavouring to regulate it, because she sends away those who, to her
thinking, are not ill enough, leaving it empty, &c., &c. And it is
said, she ought not to meddle so much, examining every thing, even to
a prison allowance and an executioner's wages; but," concludes the sly
Abbé--who doubtless concealed a little solemn irony under this long
recapitulation of charges and brief acquittal of the accused--"Virtue
is generous and puts itself above all such murmurs."

Amidst the bustle of judicial proceedings, whilst each day some
sanguinary drama was recapitulated before the court, whilst sentences,
often of savage severity, were recorded, and executions, for the most
part in effigy, were of daily occurrence, time was still found for
gaiety and amusement. Balls and assemblies went on, encouraged by the
President de Novion, in order to do pleasure to his daughters; and
all the ladies of quality in the province, as well as those gentlemen
who had managed to compound their offences, having established
themselves for the time at Clermont, there was no lack of dancers. And
the grave members of the tribunal did not disdain to mingle in these
terpsichorean gambols. But somehow or other there was always disorder
at the assemblies. Decidedly the demon of discord was abroad in
Auvergne. "Sometimes the ladies quarrelled, menaced each other, after
the manner of provincial dames, with what little credit they chanced to
possess, and were on the point of seizing each other by the hair and
fighting with their muffs. This disturbed the company, but they managed
to appease the disputants; and a few more _bourrées_ and _goignades_
were danced." The _bourrée d'Auvergne_, now confined to peasants and
water-carriers, was at that time a favourite and fashionable dance.
"There are very pretty women here," says Madame de Sévigné, writing
from Vichy, the 26th May, 1676. "Yesterday, they danced the _bourrées_
of the country, which are truly the prettiest in the world. They
give themselves a great deal of movement, and _dégogne_ themselves
exceedingly. But if at Versailles these dancers were introduced at
masquerades, people would be delighted by the novelty, for they even
surpass the _Bohemiennes_." Fléchier was scandalised by this peculiar
movement or _dégognement_, esteemed so captivating by the Marchioness.
He makes no doubt that these dancers are worthy successors of "the
Bacchantes of whom so much is spoken in the books of the ancients. The
bishop of Aleth excommunicates in his diocese those who dance in that
fashion. Nevertheless, the practice is so common in Auvergne, that
children learn at one time to walk and to dance."

Did space permit, we would gladly accompany the Abbé on other of the
excursions in the environs of Clermont, for which he continually finds
excuse in the necessity either of escorting ladies or of enjoying
the winter sunbeams. As at Riom, he always manages to pick up some
anonymous but intelligent acquaintance, to enlighten him concerning
the gossip of the country, and to father those sallies and inuendoes
of which he himself is unwilling to assume the responsibility. His
account of a visit to the Dominican convent is full of quiet satire.
He was accompanied by his friend Monsieur de B---- "a sensible man,
well acquainted with the belles lettres, and of very agreeable
conversation." M. de B---- is made the scapegoat for the sly hits at
the abuses of the church, and at the pictures and records of miracles
to which they are introduced by a simple and garrulous monk. There were
few founders of religious orders, they were informed, of such good
family as St Dominick, who was a grandee of Spain, and consequently
far superior to St Ignatius, whose nobility the Jesuits vaunted, and
who, after all, was but a mere gentleman. There were, of course,
many pictures of the grandee upon the church and cloister walls,
representing him engaged in various pious acts. "In one of them he was
depicted presenting a request to the Pope, surrounded by his cardinals,
whilst on the same canvass was seen the horse of Troy, dragged by Priam
and by the gentlemen and ladies of the town, with all the circumstances
related by Virgil in the second book of the Æneid." Fléchier was
considerably puzzled by this mixture of sacred and profane personages;
but his guide explained its singularity by assigning the picture to
a pious and learned monk, as well read in Virgil and Homer as in his
breviary, who made a good use of his reading, and was particularly
happy in employing it to the glorification of God and the saints.
Another picture represented a Dominican holding a pair of scales, in
one of which was a basket full of fruit, and in the other an empty
basket, with the inscription _Retribuat tibi Deus_. The promissory
note of the Jacobins was so heavy that it outweighed the laden basket.
The guide would fain have expatiated on the beauty of this allegory,
suggested, as he maintained, by a miracle actually wrought in favour of
his order, but Fléchier cut him short in his homily, and passed on to
the next painting, the representation of one of those "piously impious"
legends, as M. Gonod justly styles them, so often met with in monkish
chronicles. This one, in which the Saviour of mankind is represented
as supping with and converting a beautiful Roman courtesan, shocked
the religious feelings of the Abbé Fléchier in the year 1666, although
in the year 1832, it was not deemed too irreverent for reproduction in
a work entitled "Pouvoir de Marie," written by the notorious Liguori,
and published at Clermont Ferrand, by the Catholic Society for pious
books. "I could not help telling him," says Fléchier, "that I had seen
pictures more devout and touching than this one; that these disguises
of Jesus Christ as a gallant, were rather extraordinary; that there
are so many other stories more edifying, and, perhaps, truer...." Here
the monk interrupted the Abbé, and was about to repeat a whole volume
of miracles, compiled by one of the brotherhood, when the vesper bell
summoned him to prayer, to the great relief of Fléchier, who manifestly
disapproved as much the profane travesty of holy things, as the
lying miracles by which the Dominicans strove to attract into their
begging-box and larder the contributions of the credulously charitable.

We perhaps risk censure by terminating this paper without a more
minute consideration of the Grands-Jours themselves, the ostensible
subject of Fléchier's book, and without examining in greater detail
the nature of the crimes and characters of the culprits brought before
the arbitrary tribunal. Although we have shown that a large portion
of the _Mémoires_ consists of matters wholly unconnected with the
proceedings of the court, it must not be thence inferred that the Abbé
neglects his reporting duties, and does not frequently apply himself
to give long and elaborate accounts of the trials, especially of the
criminal ones. Many of these are sufficiently remarkable to merit a
place in the pages of the _Causes Célébres_. Some have actually found
their way thither. In Fléchier's narrative, their interest is often
obscured and diminished by wordiness and digression; and persons
interested in the civil or criminal jurisprudence of the period will
surely quarrel with the divine, who is a poor lawyer, apt to shirk
legal points, or, when he endeavours to unravel them, to make confusion
worse confounded. The state of society in Auvergne, in the seventeenth
century, is exhibited in a most unfavourable light. We find a brutal
and unchivalrous nobility, deficient in every principle of honour, and
even of common honesty, unfeeling to their dependents, discourteous to
ladies, perfidious to each other. Here we behold a nobleman of ancient
name offering his adversary in a duel the choice of two pistols, from
one of which he has drawn the ball, with a resolution to take his
advantage if the loaded weapon is left him, and to find a pretext for
discharging and reloading the other, should it fall to his share. He
gets the loaded pistol, and shoots his man. A gentleman of rank and
quality enforces the _droit de nôces_, formerly known in Auvergne by
a less decent name--but language, as Fléchier says, purifies itself
even in the most barbarous countries. And certainly there was much
of the barbarian in the Auvergnat, even so late as 1666. The odious
exaction referred to was compounded by payment of heavy tribute, often
amounting to half the bride's dowry. The Baron d'Espinchal was another
brilliant specimen of the aristocracy of Auvergne. After committing a
series of crimes we have no inclination to detail, he pursued his wife
(a daughter of the Marquis of Châteaumorand) with gross insult, even in
her convent-sanctuary at Clermont. The unfortunate lady had contracted
such a habit of fear, that she could not be in his presence without
trembling; and on his putting his hand to his pocket to take out his
watch, whilst separated from her by the grating of the convent parlour,
she thought he was about to draw a pistol, and fell fainting from her
chair. Numerous traits of this description prove baseness and brutality
as well as vice on the part of the higher orders of the province, who
appear to have been deficient in the military virtues and redeeming
qualities sometimes found in outlawed and desperate banditti. We should
have had less gratification in dwelling upon the crimes and excesses
narrated in the _Mémoires_, than we have derived from the consideration
of their lighter passages, and of the occasional eccentricities and
many admirable qualities of their estimable and reverend author.



DON JOHN OF AUSTRIA.


DON JOHN of Austria, the illegitimate son of the Emperor Charles V.
(for an account of whose life we purpose to lay under contribution
several curious documents lately published at Madrid) was born in 1545.
His parentage on the mother's side is not quite so certain. Brantôme,
Moreri, and others, after mentioning the Countess Barbe de Blomberghe
as Don John's putative mother, assert that, although Charles's
mistress, she certainly was not mother to Don John, whose parentage,
they hint, should be laid at the door of some far nobler dame. But
Ranke, and the best informed modern historians, affirm that Barbe de
Blomberghe was really Don John's mother. This lady belonged to a noble
family of Flanders, and was a celebrated beauty of her day. After
his love for her was extinct, Charles V. gave Barbe de Blomberghe,
with a large dowry, in marriage, to a certain Seigneur Rechem, who
held considerable possessions in the province of Luxemburg, and lived
constantly at Antwerp.

Don John's early life was passed in the farm-house of a rich peasant in
the vicinity of Liege, where the young lad was subjected to all manner
of privations, and early inured to hard labour and coarse fare,--a
fitting preparation for his future career. Brantôme mentions it as a
fact much to Don John's credit, that, in spite of this humble education
as a peasant, he showed no trace of vulgarity in after life, but, on
the contrary, that he had excellent and noble manners in the field and
in drawing-rooms. The emperor, Charles V., sent for the lad, when he
grew up, to come to Spain, rewarded the honest peasant for his trouble,
and announced to Don John the secret of his birth. Although the Emperor
loved the boy as the son of his old age, he gave him nothing during
his lifetime, of which the ardent young prince much complained, saying
that "the Emperor, having acknowledged him as his son, should have
given him the means of living befitting his rank and birth." At his
death, Charles left Don John nothing but a strong recommendation to his
successor Philip II. The only wish which escaped the dying monarch was,
that Don John should be educated for the church.

Meanwhile, Don John, who was but one year younger than Don Carlos, was
brought up with Philip's ill-starred son: and at this period of his
life a circumstance occurred which greatly influenced Don John's future
destiny. The boy revealed to Philip II. some hare-brained folly of
his son Don Carlos. This conduct gave the Spanish monarch so high an
opinion of his young brother's integrity and honour, that he determined
not to follow out Charles V.'s intentions, but to educate Don John for
the military, instead of the ecclesiastical profession. This was not
done, however, without strong opposition from some of Philip's royal
council. The conduct of Don John, however pleasing to Philip II., drew
upon the young prince the bitter animosity of Don Carlos who, ever
after, treated his companion with marked indignity: his hatred one day
went to the length of twitting Don John with his illegitimacy. Don
Carlos called him a bastard, _hijo de puta_. "Yes," said Don John, "I
am a bastard; but my father is a better man than yours:" whereupon the
two lads came to blows.

Passing over much of his early life, we come to the year 1569, when
Don John was sent against the Moors of Grenada. In this expedition
he developed considerable military talents, and gave such evidence
of personal courage, that the old captains and veteran soldiers who
remembered the early campaigns of his father, Charles V., called out
with one accord, "Ah! this is a true son of the Emperor." _Ea! es
verdadero hijo, del Emperador._ Don John returned from this campaign
covered with glory, and with the reputation of being one of the best
captains of the age.

Meanwhile, the infidels were making rapid progress in another part
of the globe. The taking of Cyprus by the Turks alarmed all Europe
to such a degree, that a league was formed between the Pope, the
Venetians, and the Spanish monarch, in order to put a stop to any
further inroads in this quarter; a fleet was manned, soldiers were
levied, to stem the threatened invasion of Christendom. Don John, whose
reputation was now exceedingly great, was selected for the command
of the allied forces. It had previously been offered to the Duke of
Anjou. At this time of his life, Don John was six-and-twenty, in the
full bloom of youth and manly strength. Lippomano, a Neapolitan,
describes him as "a person of a most beautiful presence and of
wonderful grace; with but little beard and large mustachios. His
complexion is fair, and he weareth his hair long and turned back over
his shoulders, the which is a great ornament unto him. He dresses
sumptuously, and with such care and neatness, that it is a sight to
see." "Moreover," adds Lippomano, "he is active and well-made, and
succeedeth beyond measure in all manly exercises."[31] No one rode,
no one wielded the sword better than the young hero, who, moreover,
had all the popular qualities fitted to ingratiate him with women and
soldiers--he was gracious, affable, and open-handed. Even at this
early age, Don John lamented that he had not already won by his own
right handsome independent kingdom of his own. To the attainment of
this object he looked confidently to the league or to the Venetians;
and the great victory of Lepanto, which he gained at the head of the
allied fleets,--to which period in the life of our hero we have now
arrived,--seemed to justify his expectations; in this, however, he was
doomed to be disappointed.

The battle of Lepanto was fought on the 7th October, 1571. On the
side of the allies were about two hundred large galleys, six smaller
ones, and twenty-two other vessels; of these, eighty-one galleys
and thirty frigates belonged to Spain, the rest to his holiness the
Pope, and to the Venetians. The armament on board consisted of about
twenty-one thousand fighting men, of whom eleven or twelve thousand
were Spaniards, the rest Italians and Germans. Don John, like a good
general, had carefully seen that the galleys were well-provided
with ammunition: each galley, in addition to its regular crew and
armament, had one hundred and fifty extra soldiers on board. The
Turkish fleet consisted of two hundred and twenty-five large galleys,
and seventy other smaller vessels, on board of which were, in all,
about twenty-five thousand fighting men. The Turks came sailing down
the wind, full upon the allied fleet, with a confidence acquired by
the frequency of their victories over the Spanish vessels, which they
had been in the habit of seizing and carrying as prizes into Argel
and other ports. The Turks, moreover, had the advantage of the sun
in their backs, and consequently it poured its hot rays full in the
face of the Christian host. Don John of Austria was at first in some
trouble, as Don Alvaro de Bazan, the Marquis de Santa Cruz, commanding
the Neapolitan squadron, was by some means detained behind, as well as
Don Juan de Cardona, who had gone with eight galleys to reconnoitre
a distant port. Don John, however, despatched a few quick-sailing
frigates in search of them, the moment the Turkish fleet hove in
sight. Meanwhile, Don John and the crew of his vessel, as well as the
crews and soldiers of all those galleys which were near him, raised
crucifixes and standards, knelt down on the decks of their vessels, and
made humble supplication to the Almighty to give them the victory. Don
John, with a soldier's heart, had a strong dash of the priest in his
composition. Absolution was likewise given, during this interval of
peace, to all who might so soon render up their souls to God, by Fray
Juan Machuca, Alonso Serrano, Juan de Huarca, and other Franciscan and
Capuchin friars and Jesuits who accompanied the expedition. Luckily,
at this moment the wind lulled, and the Turkish squadron was forced
to come slowly on with their oars. This happy incident gave Don John
plenty of time to arrange his order of battle.

It was mid-day on the 7th October 1571 before the two armadas came
together, and Don John fired a gun as a signal to his fleet to commence
the attack. By this time, most fortunately, the Marquis de Santa Cruz,
with the Neapolitan galleys, had arrived. Don John ordered all the
brigantines and other light and fast-sailing vessels to retire from the
scene of action, so that no one might think of escaping, but should
fight to the last. When the armadas approached each other, Don John
ordered the trumpets to sound the charge, and exhorted his people to
prepare for action. On nearing the Turkish fleet, Don John was able to
recognise the galley of the Turkish admiral, Basa Hali, (Ali Pasha)
by its ensign and sacred standard. Don John ordered his own vessel
to bear down upon the Turk, who reserved his fire until the Spanish
vessel was within half a boat's length, when he fired three shots;
the first carried away some of the bulwarks of the vessel, killing
several of the galley-slaves at their oars; the second passed over
the caboose or kitchen on board Don John's vessel, which was occupied
by soldiers armed with arquebuses; while the third shot went over the
heads of several soldiers who were intrenched in one of the boats on
deck. Don John, who had likewise reserved his fire, now poured in a
volley, which did infinite mischief to the Turk; and the two galleys
ran into one another with a mighty crash, and got hopelessly entangled.
The battle now became general, and raged furiously on both sides. No
less than eleven other vessels were engaged in the immediate vicinity
of Don John and Ali Pasha, and all the several crews fought hand to
hand. The Turkish admiral was supported by seven other Turkish galleys,
while Don John was assisted by five large vessels of his own side, of
which one was the Roman galley, La Grifona, commanded by Marco Antonio
Colonna, and the others were Venetian or Spanish. For one whole hour
the fighting continued without either party apparently getting the best
of it. Twice did the Spaniards carry the decks of the Turkish admiral's
vessel, and twice were they driven back with tremendous slaughter.
Once they had almost reached the Turkish flag-staff. The caboose of
Don John's vessel, filled with picked men under Don Pedro Zapata, did
infinite service; one man alone fired forty rounds of cartridge. At
the end of an hour and a half's hard fighting, victory inclined to the
side of the Spaniards. The Pasha and above five hundred of his men
were killed, his sons made prisoners, his standard pulled down, and
the Cross planted in its stead. About the same time the other galleys
near Don John's vessel likewise forced their way through the Turkish
squadron. Don John now ordered victory to be loudly proclaimed, and had
time to look about him, so as to bring assistance where it was most
needed.

On his return from his reconnoitering cruise, Don Juan de Cardona,
admiral of the Sicilian forces, had fallen in with some fifteen
Turkish galleys, which he kept employed until Don John of Austria bore
down triumphantly to his assistance, and captured the infidels. Of
five hundred Spaniards who were with Don Juan de Cardona, not fifty
escaped without a wound of some sort. It was in this same battle of
Lepanto that Miguel Cervantes lost his arm, and most of our readers
will recollect how the brave soldier tells the story of his own life
in the fortieth chapter of Don Quixote de la Mancha. The Marquis de
Santa Cruz fought most bravely, and twice narrowly escaped death--two
shots from an arquebuse glanced off from his armour of proof. In this
battle the Turks lost 117 galleys and some other smaller vessels;
117 cannon, 17 mortars and 256 smaller guns, and 3,486 slaves; all
which booty was divided among the Spaniards, the Venetians, and the
Pope. The sacred standard of Mecca, of which Luis Marmol has written
a glowing description, was sent, together with the news of this great
victory, to Philip II., and reached the Escurial in November 1571. This
standard was about as large as a sheet; the white ground was covered
with writing in the Arabic character, and most of the letters were
gilt. It was burnt in the great fire which destroyed the monastery of
the Escurial in 1671, just one hundred years after it had graced those
walls.

When the news of this great victory reached Philip II., he was
attending vespers at the church of the Escurial. A loud "_Te Deum
laudamus_" was immediately sung with the whole strength of the choir,
and the following day a solemn procession took place "_in gratiarum
actione_," at which the austere monarch assisted. We cannot do better
than quote a short letter, written to Philip's trusty and confidential
secretary, Antonio Perez, by one Francisco Murillo, who was engaged in
the battle of Lepanto; the letter is dated the 9th October 1571, two
days after the victory.

"Illustrious Sir,--_Te Deum laudamus, te Deum confitemur!_ God and
his illustrious Mother have been pleased to give us the victory over
the Turkish fleet, and His omnipotence hath been most clearly made
known, inasmuch as this proud and great armada hath been broken and
conquered. We fought valiantly some two or three hours; many of our
galleys were engaged with two, three, or four of the enemy's vessels.
The number of the Turkish vessels, as far as I could learn, amounted
to about 270, rather more than less; in the which they had stowed as
many men at arms as they could collect in all Greece, both cavalry and
infantry, the best they could find; and they were directed to come in
search of us--for such were the orders from Constantinople. Some of the
vessels of the armada, and some foot-soldiers, having been despatched
on the approach of Don John of Austria, to consult with the Turk as to
what was to be done, the Seignior ordered the Turkish fleet to seek
until it found us. Nor had they much trouble therein: for the very
same morning on which they left the port with this intent, namely,
on Sunday the 7th October, the day of St Mark, Pope and Confessor,
the two fleets came in sight of each other, near some islands called
Le Corcholare, (?) whither they were coming with the same intent as
ourselves, namely, to anchor. When we made this mutual discovery,
nothing was to be done save to prepare for action. The Turks were
amazed at the smallness of our number, and thought that we should fly;
but they were speedily undeceived, and very much to their cost; for, in
the short space of time I have mentioned, not a vessel of theirs but
was taken, sunk, or burnt, or had fled. Many escaped by running their
smaller vessels ashore, and Uchali,[32] with a part of his galliots,
escaped. The Admiral Pasha died fighting, but his two young sons were
taken. Many other notorious corsairs were likewise taken or killed.
I cannot exactly say the number of vessels taken or destroyed; but I
think for certain they are above two hundred; and the best is that, of
our squadron, no captain-general or person of any importance is missing
or even wounded; of the others I only know of Captain Francisco de
Cordoba, the nephew of the Marquis of Santa Cruz, who was killed by an
arquebuse-shot; of other folk but few are killed or wounded. It is the
work of God and not of man. You will be pleased to hear that not one
of our vessels but has another in tow, which it has taken, and that we
all did well. The galley in which I was did the least of all; we fought
the Turk who was opposed to us, attacked the infidels' vessel by the
poop, throwing into it shot, stones, and fire until it surrendered; and
we captured two flags which hung at the stern. Some soldiers got good
booty in clothes. After this we secured some others, and drove so many
ashore that it is a shame to tell; and in all our vessel we had not
so much as six wounded, and not one killed. Many of our galley-slaves
who were released fought like lions, and restored to liberty an
infinite number of Christian captives who were in the Turkish fleet;
among these were more than 2,000 Spaniards, and many women and children
whom the Turks had seized in Cephalonia and other parts. Had not the
season been so far advanced, we might have gone safely as far as
Constantinople; at any rate we might have taken all Greece and the
Morea; but it is already winter, and, moreover, we have not sufficient
provisions aboard.

"Don Bernardino de Cardenas died of a spent ball from an arquebuse,
which struck him on the breast; although the ball did not enter the
flesh, Don Bernardino fell and never rose again. The Count de Bianco,
and a few other gentle folks, likewise fell fighting valiantly. Captain
Juan Rubio is safe and sound, after performing marvels with his crew;
for he fought with three large galleys at once, and made them all
yield; but neither he nor I have got a single maravedi. It would have
been no bad thing to have stumbled across a good purse full of ducats.
But you, sir, will remember your servants; we have no hope from any
one after you but in God, who we pray may keep you and your house in
that health and in that increase of wealth which we, your servants, do
desire. From Le Corchorale, this 9th October 1571. Illustrious sir,
I kiss your hands. I entreat you to send a servant with this, on the
first opportunity, to my brother the canon. I take this liberty as the
affair is of importance."[33]

Two years after the battle of Lepanto, Don John of Austria gained
fresh laurels at Tunis and Biserta: and these victories seem to have
confirmed him in his ambitious projects of obtaining an independent
kingdom. Juan Soto, a man of much experience in military matters,
who, at the time of the expedition to Grenada, had been placed about
his person as secretary by Ruy Gomez de Silva, Prince of Eboli, and
who had served with Don John all through the Moorish and Italian
campaign, appears to have much encouraged Don John in these ambitious
aspirations. By allusions to the former pomp and splendour of ancient
Carthage, Juan Soto inspired Don John with the idea of erecting Tunis
into an independent kingdom; the Pope even was induced to recommend
this scheme to Philip II.'s favourable consideration. But the monarch
had no wish to lose so able a general as Don John, to whom he looked
for the extension of the Spanish monarchy; still less could he think
of establishing a rival and independent kingdom at Tunis. A despatch
was therefore forwarded to Don John, in which all the reasons for the
dismantling of Tunis were urgently put. But Don John disobeyed orders,
and fortified the town, in the vain hope of erecting Tunis into the
capital of his future kingdom. Shortly afterwards, the town fell again
into the hands of the Turks. Juan Soto was shrewdly suspected at
head-quarters of advising this act of disobedience to royal orders. It
was therefore deemed expedient to remove the scheming and dangerous
secretary; but some prudence was necessary lest Don John might see
through the suspicions of the Spanish court. Juan Soto was accordingly
rewarded by promotion, and made Proveedor-general of the armada. Juan
Escovedo, a creature of Philip II., who, as we shall subsequently see,
became far more dangerous than his predecessor in office, was placed
about Don John as his secretary. Soto, however, was too useful to
Don John to be so easily parted with, and we still find him acting,
in conjunction with Escovedo, in the capacity of secretary, as late
as 1577. Philip II. soon discovered to his cost that the change of
secretaries brought no change of policy; nay, Escovedo proved a more
willing tool, and inspired Don John with far loftier schemes of
ambition than Soto, his predecessor in office, had ever conceived.

In the year 1576 Philip II. thought fit to take Don John of Austria
from the scenes of his triumph in the Mediterranean, and to remove him
from his dreams of independent kingdoms at Tunis into the midst of
European intrigues. Don John was sent to take command of the forces
in the Low Countries, where the ferocious and iron rule of the Duke
of Alva, and of his successor, Don Luis de Requesens, the commendador
mayor of Castile, had plunged the Flemings deeper into rebellion, and
had obliterated the little loyalty to the crown of Spain which still
lingered in the Low Countries. Don John was selected for this post
from his likeness to his father, the late Emperor Charles V., whose
memory the Flemings still cherished, and from his connexion with the
country, his supposed mother belonging to one of the best families in
Flanders. For these reasons, this appointment was held likely to be
popular, and to lead to good results. Don John was ordered to proceed
without delay to his new government; and his secretary, Escovedo, came
to Madrid to procure money and other matters necessary for his master's
new office.

While Escovedo was in Madrid, apparently engaged in these details,
Antonio Perez, Philip's confidential secretary, accidentally discovered
from the Pope's nuncio, who asked him if there was about the court
such a person as one Escovedo,[34] that Don John's ambitious views
were by no means extinguished. As his brother's policy would not
permit him to found a new empire at Tunis, the Pope, the Guises, and
Don John had planned an expedition for the conquest of England. Mary,
queen of Scots, was to be released from prison; Elizabeth dethroned;
England brought back to the bosom of the Catholic church under the
guidance of Mary, queen of Scots, and her new husband, Don John of
Austria--for this marriage formed part of the project. Here was a
scheme to captivate an ambitious, chivalrous young prince! The nuncio
in answer told Perez that, in a despatch which he had received from
Rome, he was instructed to interest Philip II. in this expedition,
and to request the Spanish monarch to aid Don John in this meditated
attempt upon England. This was not quite new to Perez; some vague
surmises had already been excited against the doings of Escovedo and
Don John, by hints thrown out by Don Juan de Zuniga, the Spanish
minister in Rome, whose suspicions had been excited by the frequent
communications between Escovedo, the Pope, and the Guises. Antonio
Perez, now that he held the threads of the plot in his hand, instantly
informed Philip of the whole project. At this inauspicious moment Don
John himself, against Philip's peremptory orders to proceed direct to
the Netherlands, reached Barcelona, with two fast-sailing galleys, and
hurried on to Madrid, where he found his brother Philip fully apprised
of his scheme. But such was Don John's manly air, such the influence
which his straight-forward conduct exercised over the suspicious nature
of Philip II., that the Spanish monarch yielded a reluctant assent
to his brother's plans of aggrandisement, and promised to allow him
to make use of the Spanish veterans in aid of his expedition against
England, after he had pacified the Low Countries. Perez says that
Philip consented to this scheme with the view of encouraging Don John
of Austria to use greater diligence in Flanders. Full, therefore, of
his new government and of his own ambitious projects, Don John left
Spain; and on the 17th October 1576, we find the following letter from
him to his friend and adviser Don Garcia de Toledo, Marquis of Villa
Franca, whose reputation as a general was founded upon the capture from
the Moors of the impregnable fortress of El Peñon de Velez.

"....Concerning my own journey I desire to say as much as the time will
allow me, leaving to others to tell you more at length how I shall go.
I journey to Flanders in disguise through France, and, next to God, the
disguise will save me. I go, not a little contented to be able to do
you some service;--(Don John had busied himself much in procuring for
Don Garcia the promise of a grandeeship of the first class);--"desiring
to encounter perils, and by no means fatiguing myself with these
new labours which I have undertaken. Money is short, and my present
necessities great. In the end God hath to take up this his cause in
every way, and to aid me individually with a miracle. You must let me
know where I shall receive your letters, and I will advise you, God
willing, of my safe arrival: and I beseech you to tell me alway of your
health, and to advertise me, as is your habit, of your opinion as to my
doings; and to make use of me in all ways as a sincere friend, and as
such I congratulate you on the marriage of Don Pedro, and on the state
in which the Señora Doña Elvira is; and may it all turn out as you may
best desire. From the Pardo, the 17th Oct., 1576. At your service, DON
JUAN."[35]

We gather the particulars of his journey through France from Brantôme,
who says that "Don John without any great suite, and in order to go
with greater certainty, rode post with six companions only; having with
him Señor Don Otavio Gonzagua as his confidant, and a French postilion,
whom he found in Spain, as his guide; the latter was, moreover, an
excellent companion, and knew every road, lane, and bye-path in France.
This man led Don John across France in most dangerous and unquiet
times: in Guyenne they were on the eve of a war, which indeed broke
out some three months after. Don John arrived in Paris, and got off
his horse at the hotel of the Spanish Ambassador in the street of St
Anthoine."[36] That same night he seems to have gone to a great ball
at the Louvre, where he was much struck with the beauty of the Queen
of Navarre, before whom he stood like one entranced. The following
day, Don John, still full of Marguerite of Navarre, saw the palace
and the other sights of Paris, and started again on his journey,--no
one having an idea, till he was gone, that he had been in Paris at
all. He travelled again in disguise, and on horseback, to the Duchy of
Luxemburg, and thence to Flanders, where he found that Antwerp had just
been taken and sacked. Shortly after his arrival peace was concluded;
one of the first conditions of which was the departure of all Spanish
troops by land. We shall see that they were forced to go to Italy
instead of by sea to England, and were said to be so charged with booty
that they could scarce walk. We find Don John writing in the following
terms to Don Garcia de Toledo, on the 21st February, 1577, after peace
had been concluded.

"Most illustrious sir,--Not to tire you with a long letter, I will
refer you to my secretary, Juan de Soto, who will inform you of the
state in which things are here, and by the grace of God they are better
than could be expected, as every thing was, when I came, as bad as
possible. To God be rendered thanks, in that he hath given me patience
to suffer what it appeared impossible for any human creature to bear,
before this blind people could be brought out of their passion, which
kept their minds so hardened against their own peace and quiet. But
since his Divine Majesty has permitted things to come to this pass, I
trust that with time the whole machine will come round to its proper
place. The moment any thing of consequence occurs I will let you know;
and I entreat of you to inform me of the state of your health, of which
I have heard nothing since I reached Luxemburg, which is now more than
three months and a half. I know not how to account for this, as I do
not hear that the passes are closed.... Some of the conditions of this
peace are hard, most hard; but necessary to save religion and to ensure
obedience. Time will do something, and already much has been done by
the grace of God. At your service, DON JUAN."[37]

But now, when Don John fully expected to reap the benefit of peace,
and to employ his Spanish veterans in the conquest of England, he saw
all his hopes frustrated. The states of Flanders steadily refused to
allow the Spanish troops to be embarked on board ally vessels in their
harbours, lest they should be used against Zealand and Holland, but
demanded, in a peremptory tone, that the troops should be instantly
despatched by land, according to the treaty. Moreover, Philip resisted
the pressing appeal of the Pope's nuncio to interfere in this matter.
Thus was England saved from the horrors of an invasion,--curious that
for once in their lives Elizabeth of England and Philip of Spain should
have had similar interests at heart![38]

Don John's ambitious spirit still drove him to seek some means of
acquiring an independent kingdom, either in the East, in England,
France, or Spain. Much to Philip's disquiet, Don John now held constant
communication with the Guises; emissaries went to, and came frequently
from, Rome, without Don John ever acquainting his suspicious brother
with his intrigues. Escovedo was exceedingly busy, and Perez was
employed by Philip II. to worm out the secret, which he did by the
most dishonourable artifices. He entered into a secret correspondence
with Escovedo, and, after blaming Don John's secretary for writing to
the Pope without Philip's knowledge, Perez assured Escovedo that their
correspondence should be kept profoundly secret from the king. All this
time the wily secretary of state showed all the letters and despatches
to Philip, who frequently amended the drafts of the minutes with his
own hand. Nay, to obviate suspicion, Perez occasionally put in some
abuse of the monarch.[39] Don John, in moments of disappointment, wrote
to Perez--For the sake of his life, of his honour, of his soul, he
must quit Flanders--he would leave his post when people least expected
it--although this crime might be punished with blood.[40] He talked of
entering France "at the head of a band of adventurers, consisting of
6000 infantry and 2000 horse."[41] Moreover, Don John was frequently
heard to say, "Escovedo and money--money and Escovedo." The latter
became exceedingly bold, and said that, after conquering England, it
would be easy to gain Spain: that with the ports of Santander and
the Peña de Mogron, a footing might be gained in Castile. But what
brought matters to a crisis was the demand made by Escovedo, who
was now in Spain, to be instantly appointed governor of the Peña de
Mogron. Philip, seeing in this demand confirmation strong of his worst
suspicions, thought Escovedo too dangerous a person to be allowed to
live, and Perez was ordered to despatch this intriguing emissary.
Poison was administered in vain; at last Escovedo was stabbed in the
streets of Madrid by one Insausti, on the 31st March 1577. But for
the whole of this most curious chapter in the history of Antonio
Perez, whose airs of authority had made him detested,--for a full
comprehension of Don John's ambitious views,--of the part which
Escovedo played in this drama,--of his murder by the command of Philip,
and the manner in which the guilty accessary, Antonio Perez, was made
the scape-goat of the whole transaction, and offered up as a sacrifice
to the long-cherished hatred of Escovedo's family, and of his rival
Mateo Vasquez--of the insurrection in Arragon, and other matters
connected with this transaction,--we must refer our readers to Mons.
Mignet's interesting work on Philip II. and Antonio Perez, where they
will find the whole story handled with admirable precision by a master
of his art.[42]

The murder of Escovedo must have opened Don John's eyes, and shown him
that Philip would never allow him to acquire a separate and independent
kingdom. Don John's ambitious spirit seems now to have preyed upon
itself, and his constitution to have suffered from this internal
struggle: he had frequent fits of melancholy, accompanied by attacks
of low fever; and occasionally expressed an earnest desire to leave a
career for which he daily felt an increasing dislike, and to be allowed
to retire into some monastery. This feeling was much aggravated by the
failure of the negotiation in the Netherlands, and by the prospect
of a long and lingering war, in which none of those bold dashes and
brilliant adventures, which formed so great an attraction to one of
Don John's chivalrous and enthusiastic nature, were to be expected.
At length, after several small successes, after a victory at Namur,
Don John was seized with the putrid fever, of which he died on the
1st October 1578, in the 33d year of his age, and with him perished
all his ambitious designs. On opening the body, Don John's heart was
found much diseased, and his skin was as if it had been burnt; many
attributed his death to poison. His last dying request was to be buried
in the Escurial, near the bones of his father, the Emperor Charles V.
We cannot better close this slight sketch of one so early snatched from
a career of glory, than by quoting an interesting and detailed account
of his last hours, written by his confessor, an eye-witness of his
death.


"TO HIS MOST CHRISTIAN MAJESTY.

"Your Majesty will have heard, by letters from the Prince of Parma and
from Prince Octavio Farnese, the trouble which it hath pleased God
to bring upon us by the death of Señor Don John of Austria: and to
accomplish that which he hath so many times commanded me to do, during
his life, as well as somewhat to relieve the grief which I know will
seize upon your Majesty's royal heart, I will relate the prayer which
Don John desired me to make to your Majesty in his name, and with all
humility, for the repose of his soul, the which I believe, and do dare
to affirm, is now in the enjoyment of that crown of glory which all
who sacrifice their life for the law and the gospels in the service
of their king, are wont to receive as their reward. And no one went
through greater or indeed equal labours and troubles than did this most
Christian and obedient gentleman.

"All the time, most powerful Sir, that his highness Don John was in
the castle of Namur,--or, at any rate, most of the time,--he passed
in making his peace with God, and in ordering his worldly affairs. He
manifested unto me many times his strong wishes therein, entreating me
to beseech God, by the merits and zeal of the invincible Emperor, his
father and master, to employ his person in the defence of the Catholic
faith, and to allow him to die before he should do, or suffer any thing
to be done, which should offend God even in the smallest matter. He
even said more: that he never could think of your Majesty, his father
and master, without ardently desiring to assist in the defence and
spread of the holy Catholic faith, and in enforcing obedience to your
Majesty, who, he hath told me an infinite number of times, was his
master, his father, his brother, and his whole wealth on this earth.

"Two days before the victory of Gemblours, Don John sent for me and
told me that, although he did not then intend to engage the enemy,
still, considering the many chances of war, he desired to make a
general confession from the time when he could first remember to have
had the use of his reason. This was the more easy for his highness,
from the frequency with which he hath attended the holy offices of the
church since he hath been in these parts: as rarely a month passed that
he hath not communicated and confessed twice,--nay sometimes thrice.
Thus on that night, after having made a clean breast, and disposing of
his affairs as if he were truly about to render an account unto God at
that moment,--as in fact he did in the spirit--his highness, with an
appearance of deep feeling and great humility said, as he walked up and
down the room, 'Reverend Father--in order that you may, once for all,
know my last will and testament, and my wish in other matters besides
those of which I have lately discoursed while I was at your feet, and
that you may never put to me any other questions, for I have nothing
further to say--I beg you will observe these three matters:--1st, My
soul I commend unto God, and to my father.--2d, As to what regardeth my
body, I well know how little it availeth where it lie until the day of
judgment: but I wish you, in my name, to entreat his Majesty the king,
my master,--looking to what the Emperor my father requested of his
Majesty, as well as to the way in which I have served him,--to grant me
this favour--that my bones may rest somewhere near those of my father.
In this guise my services will be amply satisfied and recompensed.--3d,
As to these old rags which I have here, I know not how to dispose of
them; but as I am the Emperor's son, and the Emperor recommended me
as such to his Majesty, and as I die in his Majesty's house, and in
his service, let him, like a true father and master, dispose of my
possessions--not only as if they belonged to his son, but to his
servant and slave; and I would do the same were the whole world mine.'

"Don John entreated me most fervently to beg your Majesty, in
consideration of this his expressed wish, to pardon him if at any time
in Italy or elsewhere he hath used your Majesty's moneys more than was
fitting. He said very many other things to the same effect, the which,
although I remember me of them, I will not write, in order not to wring
your royal heart any further; and thus in that same night he repented
him of his sins with as much fervency as if the last hour of his
life had actually come, desiring to have some opportunity to receive
the most holy sacrament on the following morning: this, however, was
not possible until two days after that most famous and miraculous
victory. The Saturday before the day of Pentecost, while we were before
Philippeville,--acting upon the leave which his highness had formerly
given me, I did entreat him almost with reproaches not to place a
life, so useful to the church and to his brethren, in such frequent
and imminent danger, nor to take upon himself labours to which his
bodily strength was unequal, whatever his wishes and courage were. His
highness replied; 'Reverend father, this life and much besides I owe to
God, and to the king my master, to whom, as I have oftentimes said and
now repeat, I leave my bones and all I possess, should I die here in
his territories.'

"On the first of August--for I pass over many details in order not
to weary your Majesty; the night before his highness (who is in
heaven) bestirred himself against the enemy before Malines, he made a
general confession of his sins, placing himself in the hands of God,
preparatory to receiving the most holy sacrament on the following day;
confessing again afterwards, and saying that that was a good testament
when a man commended his soul to God, his body to the company which he
loved best, namely that of his father and master, and his property in
the hands of him who knew better than he how to take the burden of it.
And, in truth, his highness only used it in your Majesty's service.

"Finally, the second day on which he sickened, he said that although
the physicians declared his malady not to be dangerous, he did,
nevertheless, feel himself exceeding ill and worn. But what gave him
infinite pleasure was to see that he was so poor that nothing on earth
could prevent him from speedily being with God, more especially having
his Lord and father in heaven, and on earth your Majesty as his lord
and brother. And he was most confident that, if his affairs were left
in your Majesty's hands, they would have that end and success which was
proper. This same day he did ask me many questions touching the virtue
of martyrdom, desiring to have some share of its merits, giving signs
of his having many times entreated God for martyrdom.

"The following day, the 25th September, he confessed like one chosen
of God, telling me that he knew his days to be numbered, and that his
only regret was the little he had done for the service of God and of
your Majesty; but that he trusted in God and in the Virgin Mary, that
they would take this death as for their glory, for that of the Catholic
Church, and of your Majesty, and for God's service; and that he wished
to make the world understand that, as during life he had not been
devoted to the church, as had originally been his father's wish, in
death he wished to be so, in as much as depended upon him. He besought
his brother and master to remember him of his servants, to whom he
owed much for being good and faithful to God, to himself, and to your
Majesty: and very many of them were poor, having served him by land and
by sea; many of them, moreover, had been taken away from their homes,
and he had not a maravedi wherewith to pay them their salaries, which
had been owing to them for some time. Your Majesty was also to remember
his highness's mother, whom he regarded and loved as a mother, and a
young brother, whom he knew to be such. He likewise mentioned other
persons, whose names in due time I will make known unto your Majesty.
His highness concluded by saying, 'since on earth I do not possess
an acre I might call my own, is it not just, Reverend father, that I
should desire some space in heaven?' His highness then desired that
Otavio de Gonzagua should have the command, on account of the good
will which he saw in him to your Majesty's affairs, as well as to his
highness. His highness ended by saying that, if he were not deserving
of having his bones placed beside those of his lord and father, he
desired to be buried at the church of our Lady of Monserrat, whom all
his life through he held in particular affection.

"On the morning of Friday, the 26th September, on my going to see him,
Don John complained to me that the physicians had used force to compel
him to drink a potion: this annoyed him much, as he thought it would
interfere with his receiving the holy sacrament. On my telling Don John
it was of no importance, he requested me to inquire of the physicians
if he ran any risk should he put off communicating for another day,
or if he left it even until the following Sunday, when he thought to
gain the jubilee. The physicians told him that his illness was not so
dangerous but what he might put off receiving the holy sacrament till
then, or even later; and therefore, on Sunday, the 28th, he reconciled,
himself with God, with such fervour, that it much pained me to see the
pain in which he was, knowing that it would add to his malady. And
while I was performing mass in his room, he requested to be allowed to
touch the face of his God with an air of incredible devotion, saying
'Bring unto me, most Reverend father, the visage of my God;' and while
he thus uttered words of such Christian import, he received the most
holy sacrament. And on being asked if it were his pleasure to receive
extreme unction, he requested it with much earnestness as a very
precious gift and much to be desired.

"The mass over, Don John named the Prince of Parma as his successor,
until your Majesty should be pleased to appoint some one else. Two
hours afterwards delirium came on, and nothing that he said was clear
save when he talked of God. The names of Jesus and of our Lady were
mentioned; and when he was told to take or to do this in their name, he
did it with much obedience and willingness.

"Don John passed Monday and Tuesday in great trouble and pain, and
he wandered in his mind, which ran upon ordering intrenchments to be
thrown up, or cavalry and ammunition to be sent here and there, saying
alway, in answer to every question, that thus it concerned the service
of your Majesty.

"This same Tuesday night, I inquired of him whether he wished to have
the sacrament of extreme unction administered, and he answered as if he
were suffering no pain whatever,--'Yea, father! Jesus! quick, Reverend
father!' and he received it with an appearance of praying, although we
could not distinguish what he said, as he did not speak clearly.

"Early in the morning of Wednesday, the 1st October, which was the day
of his death, and about one hour and a half before his decease, I asked
him if he wished to hear mass, and he made a sign with his head in the
affirmative. When the _corpus_ was raised, they who were standing at
his bed-side advised him of it; and although his eyes were shut, and
we thought that his senses were wandering, his highness immediately
clasped his hands together, and hastily tore off from his head some
plasters and a cap, the better to adore with his heart that God and
Saviour whom he could not see with his eyes. The rest of the time,
until his decease, which took place at about one o'clock in the day, we
passed in helping him to call upon the name of Jesus and of the Virgin
Mary; and all who were present were filled with grief,--although, on
the other hand, they were rejoiced to see such manifest tokens of the
glory to which he was fast attaining: and thus he departed from our
hands without a sigh, like a bird on its way to heaven.

"This, most powerful sir, was the end of the life of this son and
servant of your Majesty, as he was wont to call himself. And, as far as
I can see, for thirty and three years he hath performed the wishes of
the two fathers whom he had in this life--that is to say, of his lord
and father the Emperor, and of your Majesty, seeing that his highness
hath informed me that his Majesty the Emperor wished him to be in holy
orders, and your Majesty desired him to be a soldier. But his highness,
like an obedient son, died as poor as a friar, and in an humble barrack
like a soldier; for I promise your Majesty that the room wherein he
died was a sort of garret over a stable, that in this he might imitate
the poverty of Christ; and without doubt, most Christian Sir, for
four or five months before his death, he was constantly occupied in
works of charity, piety, and humility. His whole pleasure consisted
in visiting the sick--of which there were many in the camp,--and in
accompanying the holy sacrament, giving these wretched men charity
with his own hand, receiving with the utmost compassion the poorest
and most wretched soldiers, until he could procure carts in which to
convey them to the hospital; constantly urging me to see that in the
hospitals nothing was wanting, and particularly ordering me to see that
the sacraments were duly administered to the sick, that none should
die without this great comfort. He appointed a separate hospital for
those who had contagious disorders, and charged me to see that none of
those should die unaneled. And since his Holiness gave him authority
to name some one as vicar-general, to have full power in all matters
ecclesiastical--whereof I understand his highness hath informed your
Majesty by means of the Archbishop of Toledo--he determined to root out
of the army all blasphemies, oaths, and evil doings, and in particular
the sin of heresy, promising me that he would not favour any one, even
if he were especially attached to his person; and he punished those who
sinned in this manner in the army with such vigour, that, at the end of
three months, the men, especially the Spaniards, were more like monks
in a convent than like soldiers in a camp. And this most excellent
prince acted in such a manner that, now when the soldiers see him dead,
they cannot but believe that he had a spirit of prophecy touching his
death. Nay, they do say that it does not appear to them as if his death
were after the manner of men, but that he flew like an angel of heaven
up to his God.

"Otavio Gonzagua performs, and has performed on his part whatsoever
was ordered by the Señor Don John, taking advice in all matters of the
Prince of Parma, and waiting like all of us to receive the commands of
your Majesty, whose royal person may our Lord guard and prosper for
many years to come, as is most necessary for the Church.

"From Namur, this 3d October 1578."[43]

Don John died in the fortress commanding the town of Namur; and on the
3d October, his body, placed on a bier, covered with cloth of gold, was
conveyed by several gentlemen to the cathedral. Don John was dressed in
full armour, the order of the Golden Fleece was placed round his neck,
and on his head was a plain cramoisy cap, over which was a crown of
cloth of gold, covered with jewels; his fingers likewise were loaded
with rings. In this guise the body was carried forth, escorted by all
the clergy of the place, by several monks and their bishops. All the
assembled crowd shed tears, and made loud lamentation as the cavalcade
passed. The bier was placed on a raised platform in the church, and,
after the service had been performed, the corpse, was lowered into a
vault near the high altar, where it remained until it was carried into
Spain in the following year.

Don John's corpse was then cut into three pieces, and placed in three
small chests lined with blue velvet, the better to enable it to pass
secretly through France. On the 18th March 1579, the cavalcade left
Namur, and, passing by Meziers and Paris, arrived at Nantes, where the
whole party embarked, and reached Santander on the 6th May. On the
22d the funeral procession arrived at the monastery of Parreces, five
leagues from Segovia, where it was met by Busto de Villegas, Bishop
of Avila, by Juan Gomez, the Alcalde of the Court, accompanied by
some alguazils, by twelve of the royal chaplains, and other people
belonging to the court. The three portions of Don John's body were now
joined together and placed in a coffin, covered with black velvet;
on the outside was sewn a cross of cramoisy velvet, upon which were
emblazoned golden nails. The coffin was made to open at the side, in
case any desire might be expressed to see the dead body within. The
cavalcade swelled as it approached the monastery of the Escurial, where
it arrived on the evening of Sunday the 24th May 1579, accompanied by
above four hundred men on horseback.

We will now follow an account given by Fray Juan de San Gerònimo, a
monk of the Escurial, of what happened on the occasion. It seems the
monks came out to meet the procession:--

"And because," says Fray Juan de San Gerònimo, "the Reverend Prior
was absent at the general chapter, holden this year of 1579 at San
Bartolemé el Real, the Vicar Fray Hernando de Torrecillas performed
the offices in his stead, and went forth with the ministers in their
full canonicals: all of the which halted at a table, over which was a
dais of rich brocade, raised in the midst of the principal cloister,
where the gentlemen bearing the pall placed the body. The choristers
immediately began to chant the '_Subveniti Sancti Dei_;' whereupon they
all returned in procession to the church; and these same gentlemen
who bore the corpse on their shoulders placed it on the platform
which had been raised for it, when the Reverend father vicar read the
funeral oration in the presence of the whole convent; the bishop and
the pall-bearers being ranged round the raised platform. When this
was finished, the Reverend fathers went to the choir to sing a vigil,
and the bishop, with his company, adjourned for a while to take rest.
The following day, which was the 25th, high mass was sung, the bishop
assisting the choristers in the choir. When mass was over, the monks
went into the chapel where the corpse was, and sang the responses,
accompanied by the organ, while the monks of San Lorenzo answered them
in recitative without music."[44]

After this a formal ceremony was gone through. Philip's secretary,
Gastelia, read a royal order from his Majesty, directing the friars of
the convent of San Lorenzo to receive the body of his dear brother, the
most illustrious Don John of Austria. Fray Juan de San Gerònimo thus
concludes his account:--

"And after the reading of the said letter, the followers of Don John
let down the corpse into the vault which had been prepared for it
underneath the high altar, and placed it among the other corpses of
the royal family. This was about eleven o'clock in the day. After this
ceremony we all went to dinner."

At which excellent occupation we cannot do better than leave them.



A NIGHT'S PERIL.


TWO days before I sailed from Mauritius, I was sitting at breakfast
on one of the packages containing my traps. The walls were stripped
of their pictures, the cherished whips and pipes were gone from the
chimney-piece--the crockery which ministered to my occasions was
borrowed. The Sarah transport floated in the harbour, and almost sent
the tail of her pendant into my window.

There was no mistake about it,--I was on the move; and, of course, as I
was bound to Old England, I ought to have been in ecstatics. But there
is no such thing as "of course," in human affairs. Of them, the tide
is subject to so many perturbations, that, like Mrs M'Stinger, there
is no saying which way they may head at any moment. For myself, I have
ever been somewhat of a cosmopolite, and felt it to be bad policy for
a creature of condition so erratic as man, to circumvent too closely
with particulars of locality his idea of home. It is a narrowing of
our capabilities to anchor our hopes in some village or county, and
to persuade ourselves that thence they cannot be started without
shipwreck. If ever any of the sons of men were senseless of ambition,
and the _auri sacra fames_--those circulating forces that draw men
from the native hearth, and prevent the stagnation of societies--they
would need a triple defence against Necessity to fortify such a
position. When this "Daughter of Jove" descends in her might, and hurls
them from their strongholds--when go from home they must, even then
will men sometimes go resistingly, which is the same thing as to go
painfully. A man who should cling to some particular post or pillar
till torn thence by mechanical force, would probably be wounded in the
struggle. And so is it that the mental lacerations which some emigrants
exhibit as the work of cruel necessity, are but the effect of their
own obstinate clinging to some spot or outward object from which the
fiat of necessity has separated them. Such men are cruel to themselves,
and must often move the pity of their fellow-wayfarers. Such men are
to be seen nursing their sorrows, blinding their eyes, and denying
the sympathies of their immortal and infinite spirits. _The World_ is
man's habitation; and a good Providence has so adorned its every part,
that no where can we be called to dwell where a wise man may not be
happy and at home. The sacred asylum of home, is of no geographical nor
material limitation. Its building is of love, and faith, and peace;
and these foundations may be laid any where, for they dwell within the
spirit of man, and are evoked by the voice of wisdom. Be wise, then,
oh wanderer from the land of thy sires! Open thine arms to thy new
brethren and sisters, and live no longer as though possessing no higher
innate powers than an oyster or a cauliflower. Here, where you are, you
have what may serve your present aptitude; for aught more you must wait
till hereafter.

I by no means intend to infer that it required any high strain of
philosophy to accommodate one's self to the circumstances of a few
years' sojourn at Mauritius. One might, perhaps, assume it to be one
of the most beautiful islands in the world. The good merchants and
planters exhibit hospitality in its very pink, and abundantly evoke
for your benefit the resources of the island. Objections, on the score
of climate, I look upon as unworthy of a prudent traveller; for to
one who will be at the pains of a little concession to circumstances,
all climates soon become the same. 'Tis but an extra cloak at St
Petersburg, and an hour or two's siesta at Calcutta. The one really
assailable point in the constitution of Mauritius, is, that it is a
little out of the twopenny-post line,--but as I was not in love, this
mattered little to me.

When I say that I was not in love, I must be understood as speaking
irrespectively of Mauritius. Till I set foot on those bewitching shores
I had deservedly enjoyed the character of a hard-hearted, impregnable
bachelor. It would be tedious to sum up the names of my messmates,
whom one after another I had seen fall victims to eyes that had vainly
expended fascination on me. The girls always gave me up as a bad job
within three weeks of our arriving at new quarters. But now my time was
come--_dedi manus_--I had stretched my tether to the utmost; and soon
after I had set foot on the island of Paul and Virginia I had ceased to
be a freeman.

Now, put all these things together, and you will not be surprised to
hear that I was not out of my wits with joy, at being ordered home.

Mine was one of those complicated cases of love that will occur
sometimes; not _one_ flame, but many consumed me,--not _one_ image of
female loveliness, but many such specimens, beset my reveries. I would
turn out in the morning with the perfect conviction that Maria was the
real girl after all, and so rest satisfied, till some person or thing,
envious of my peace, would call up to my mind's eye, Lucie, or some
other of the score of pretty names that rejoice Echo in that favoured
spot. Thus did I shift my allegiance from one to another, and live
in such uncertainty, that had Hymen's self decked for me the altar,
I should have been so long in settling what name should thereon be
inscribed, that he would infallibly have put his torch out in disgust.

So tempered I sat breakfasting. With the confusion of softer feeling,
which I have tried to describe, was mingled a little indignation at
a letter which I had just received from my old friend Jack Hardy. He
did me to wit, that he had heard of my goings on, and congratulated
me on being ordered off, before I was regularly nabbed. In case of
the worst,--and this was the part for which I could have thrashed
him,--in case of the nabbing aforesaid having actually taken place, he
suggested, that I need be under no alarm, since now I had an obvious
opportunity of going home to "consult my friends." Considering how
often I had myself used this weary old joke, I remember it did seem
to me a little odd, that I should so wince at it then. "Nabbed,"
thought I, "I only wish that Jack, or any body else, would tell me by
whom." And then I began to think, how like my state was to that of
a hypochondriac, who, assailed by fifty symptoms at once, knows not
which to regard, and so misses the cause of all the evil. Authorities
agree in stating, that a man can be in love with but one person at one
time; so in spite of appearances, I was obliged to conclude that some
one particular young lady was the motive power of the distraction I
exhibited.

But little mattered it who, or how many, the girls might be; I was
going to leave them all. Soon Mauritius and its happy company would
have to exist for me dreamily, and as an image of the past, the vivid
lights of its actuality pushed into obscurity by some harsher present.
Soon the popular ----th, would be gone, and be succeeded by some other
no less popular regiment--and then, thought I, how long will the girls
be before their grief finds consolation from among the new arrivals?
Will any inconsolable one remember us? Will any remember me? A buzz of
the island patois broke in upon my meditations, just as I was beginning
to make out the image of one fair friend, who seemed to stand forth in
favourable relief from among the multitude. It was very annoying to be
forced from hope just nascent in distinguishable form; but the ideal
must ever, experimentally, give way to the real.

I approached the window, where a Babel of tongues was raging, "_Gaitli
donc, gaitli! li grand mossieu, su li petit cheval_."[45]

The cause of the commotion was apparent, in the person of my friend
Hamilton, who, at the precise moment of my reaching the window, had
managed to make his way through the crowd, and was dismounting. I
might have guessed, before seeing him, who was the comer, for he
never stirred out, in his then fashion, without causing a disturbance
of the popular quiet. He was a tremendous big fellow, who had a
fancy for riding the smallest poney, that would keep his legs well
bent up from trailing on the ground. This sight, for some reason or
other, particularly tickled the fancy of the local vagabonds; and
they habitually made point of affording him a guard of honour on his
excursions.

On this occasion the noise waxed louder than usual, and soon let me see
that something more than common was in the wind. As soon as I could
make out the personal appearance of the steed, I saw that his garniture
was out of the ordinary equestrian fashion. About his saddle was slung
a collection of parcels, and over his neck depended two uncovered,
and uncommonly good-looking bottles. Besides this, Hamilton had in his
hands a basket, and was evidently made up in all respects for a start
or a cruise some whither.

"Whither away my man?" said I as he entered, mustering up the most
facetious look I could, to hide the possible traces of melancholy on my
physiognomy; for I knew him of old as a desperate roaster.

"Where you are coming with me, Jack," replied Hamilton, "so get your
traps together in a quarter less no time."

"But, my good fellow, I cannot; you know I sail the day after
to-morrow, and have lots to do. Besides, to tell you the truth, I am a
little, just a little out of sorts."

"Melancholy, and so forth," said my friend, "but let me tell you
that's exactly the reason why I've come to fetch you. Here, read this
_billet-doux_, and then give me your answer."

He threw me a pretty, little, three-cornered, rose-coloured, scented
note, whose superscription set my heart palpitating. It was the
calligraphy of Virginie G----, and addressed itself, comprehensively,
"To all whom it might concern."

In pretty mock heroics, it set forth the commands of certain
undersigned fair inhabitants of the colony, to all and sundry the
officers of Her Majesty's ----th regiment, to repair to a spot, some
little distance on the other side of the harbour, there to hold _fête
champêtre_, by way of parting festivity. I looked over the names of
the fair despots, and saw that among them were most of those who had
especially made happy the last few years of my experience. Virginie
G---- herself was certainly the one on whom I thought the most
frequently in connexion with the two days that alone remained to me.

"My dear fellow," said I, when I had spelt over the list of names,
"here is enough to tempt one; but let us be discreet as we grow old.
What can come of my going, but fresh regrets? Can I forget that in two
days I am off, bag and baggage, and that some new fellow will succeed
to all my tender interests here, just as naturally as he will to my
quarters." Hamilton had lit a cigar, and smoked on thus far in silence,
though I felt that he was watching me.

"I have not done my business yet," said he, "nor shall I without a
little bit of treachery. Virginie wrote that letter."

"There's no treachery in telling that, for I knew it at once."

"But there is treachery in telling that she laid her commands on me to
show the document to you: more especially, as I believe she would blush
extravagantly, if she thought you knew it."

Now let me say, that though I had for Virginie that kind of sentiment
that made me feel ill at ease under the inquisitorial eye of my friend,
I had never felt sure that she cared for me _accordingly_. Some girls
are so excessively tender, that they can spare more love to a canary
bird, than others can afford to a declared suitor. Virginie was of
this affectionate sort; so, though she had been tender to me, I lacked
assurance that this tenderness contained in it any thing of distinction.

I will confess, then, that it touched me rather, to hear that she had
actually vouchsafed me a particular remembrance.

"Jack," said my friend, "you must come. I'll be candid, and tell you at
once that I've read you like a book. You're in love with one of those
girls, and don't exactly know which it is. Well and good--that has been
many a good fellow's lot before you. However, here's a chance for you
to try to learn your own mind."

"Alas! and much good that would do me!"

"Good--of course it will. You will have them all together, and there's
nothing like comparison for helping on a judgment. Besides, if you do
nothing else, you will at least have a pleasant day, and leave a good
impression."

I cannot say that I felt particularly disposed to join a mirthful
party. But at least I should see once more assembled in their glory the
kind creatures on whom I depended for pleasant recollections. I should
be able to see whether any of them appeared sorry to leave us, who had
borne them company in so many a deed of mirth. And as at all events I
should escape a fair portion of the twice twenty-four hours' moping
that otherwise must be endured, I determined to go, though at the risk
of sharpening the regrets of parting.

There was also another reason why I was the readier to go; and as
thereby hangs the adventure of this present inditing, I may as well
explain at once. This was the last day on which I could write myself
owner of my pretty little Mudian boat, the Wave. I had sold her off
with my nag and the usual encumbrances, and the next day she was to be
the property of a new master. Any one who knows the island within the
last few years will remember the Wave, that used to beat every thing in
her waters. The only thing that at all came up to her was the launch of
the old Bucephalus. This was the fancy boat of the first lieutenant,
who after many experiments had hit upon the lug as the becoming rig.
With the wind well on the quarter, the old launch would beat me, and
close hauled I would beat her; but which after all was the better boat
was a question we could never settle. However, it was for no want of
trying. As surely as it blew at all fresh, so surely would the little
Wave be seen cruising about among the shipping, and passing under the
stern of the Bucephalus; and so surely also would the launchers be
piped away on board the big craft. Many was the prophecy uttered that
the little barkey would be my coffin, and so once she certainly would
have been, had we not had water ballast aboard, when she capsized in a
heavy squall, to which I would not shorten sail.

I liked mightily the idea of a farewell cruise in my poor little
boat, in such pleasant company. Objections touching her unprovisioned
state were met at once by Hamilton, who had laid in abundance, and
was carrying about him some of the odd trifles forgotten in the first
instance. He had fully bargained to go in my boat, and as my companion.
Boating was no usual fancy of his; but somehow he had a great idea
of my nautical skill, and a high opinion of the craft herself, that
made him sometimes willing to enlist as my companion. He was a very
good fellow, but, I am bound to say, more useful and agreeable on
shore than at sea. He would sit down in the little hatch and smoke his
pipe rationally enough when all was smooth. But directly we felt the
wind, and began to lie over the least bit in the world, you might see
him eyeing the dingy's skulls, or any stray bit of plank as a stand
by in case of capsize. Once I saw him pull his jacket off for a swim
ashore when well out of soundings. Put all this together, and you will
understand my friend to have been of a temperament nervous as touching
the water. However, he was a very good fellow; more particularly one
to whom I least feared to communicate any little romantic episode that
might turn up. A good deal in this way I had already told him; and, far
from laughing at me, he had seriously set himself to help me at my need.

We settled then that we should go together to take this last day's sail
out of the Wave, and to make the most of the ladies' society, before
the act of severing should take place. It would be difficult to say
what were the hopes that seemed to peep out at me from the prospect
of our arrangement; but plainly enough I did encourage the hope of
some good that was to come of it. Perhaps I was brightened up by the
change for the better that my lively and somewhat whimsical friend had
introduced into my morning society. Certainly he was much wittier, and
more amusing than my own thoughts, which had been my only companionship
before. At any rate, having once agreed to the convention, I set about
the preparation of myself and my traps with a good will. The day was
lovely, and by happy accident not too hot. A light breeze was springing
up which would carry us nicely out of the harbour. The only difficulty
in the way of a start was touching the due manning of my craft, as
Pierre and his little son Antoine, who had composed my former crew, had
been paid off the day before, and were shipped aboard another craft
by this time. Right sorry, too, they had been at the change, for both
skipper and craft had been exactly to their taste. I was not up to
navigating the boat entirely by myself, and had no great opinion of the
value of my friend Hamilton as a watch-mate. However, he volunteered
with such hearty good will, and the weather promised to afford so
little room for seamanship, that I thought he might do at the pinch. It
was the first time we had ever been out alone, for, frequently as we
had been together, he had been constant to his character as a passenger.

"Now Hamilton," said I, "you must work your passage. You must stand by
to clap on a rope, or run to the tiller."

"Ay, ay," said he, "never fear; I'll not shirk my work. I've had a wet
jacket before I saw your craft. Did I never tell you about my cruise on
the Cam?"

"Never, Tom."

"Then you do not know half my nautical experiences. Let me ask you how
often you have been capsized in one day?"

"Never but once, I am happy to say, and that was when Pierre held on
too long at the sheet, against that old launch of the Bucephalus."

"I've been before this twice fairly foundered, and once hard and
fast ashore in one day. I was on a visit to Bob S----'s brother at
Magdalen, and among the amusements of the season was boating: most
unseasonable work it was just then, for the weather was bitter cold.
We started, a lot of us, intending to navigate the river as far as
Ely. None of us happened to know any thing about nauticals, so we
blindly submitted ourselves to the guidance of a fresh-man who wore a
remarkably hard-a-weather pilot-coat, and waddled in walking like a man
unused to terra firma. He took the command as naturally as possible;
never dreaming of so far doubting our judgments as to mistrust his own
ability. We had hardly got well away, when a squall laid us right over,
and fairly swamped the boat. This we regarded as an accident that might
overtake the most skilful; and I verily believe that we even the more
highly esteemed our Palinurus on account of the coolness which, we must
all do him the justice to say, he exhibited. But when, soon after, he
ran us regularly under water, we began to be suspicious, and hints
flew about that he had undertaken more than he was up to. On this Mr
Tarpaulin, with all imaginable complacency, asked us what the row was
about, and whether we thought that any of us would have done better, if
this had been the first time in our lives that we had exercised naval
command. After this confession, we were no more surprised at accidents.
We regarded it as rather an easy let off that the concern was driven
hopelessly hard ashore, in a stiff clayey soil, that allowed no idea of
getting her off that night. All this may sound very little to a regular
old salt, like yourself; but add to this little sketch the idea of a
driving sleet, and a seven or eight miles' walk to Ely at midnight,
without shoes, which the greedy loam sucked from off our feet, and the
_ensemble_ of hardship is enough to satisfy a landsman like myself.
Since that time I have been little given to boating, and, as you know,
never go out except with you."

"Well I'll try never to play you such a trick as did your tarpaulin
friend. But the sea is a ticklish element, and the sky is a treacherous
monitor."

"They never, either of them, promised better than they do to-day, so
let us be off, or Virginie will start in search of pleasure with a
cloud on her pretty face."

We bundled up our traps and started accordingly. The distance between
my quarter and the little mole where the Wave lay rocking in the gentle
undulations was soon passed over. I felt the influence of feelings far
more serious than I wished to have perceived, and Hamilton evidently
respected them. Like a good fellow, he pulled away at his cigar and
said nothing. His little animal, under the guardianship of one of
the ragged _gamins_, had preceded us to the waterside, and was there
waiting our arrival, in order to the due discharge of its burden.

Poor little Wave! she was not accustomed to be lying in harbour when
her sister craft were under weigh. One might have fancied that, with a
sentiment of desolation, she allowed her burgee to droop listlessly,
flapping it against her mast, as a bird makes sorrowful action with her
wings. It did seem too bad to sell her;--and again I went over in my
mind the bargain I had driven, and the price I had taken for her. After
all, the conclusion was unavoidable, that I could not take her with
me,--and, besides, I was going where could not use her.

All the rest of the fellows had started, and already were hidden from
us, as we then stood, round the rocky point. There was no one to hail
for a dingy, and we were beholden to a dusky gentleman in a country
boat for a passage alongside. We had a job to get the anchor up; for it
had so happened that when last we came in all the buoys were occupied,
and as I had little idea of wanting to use her again, I had let go
her anchor. When we were fairly under weigh, I began to look a little
into our capabilities. She had been sold "all standing," so that the
general complexion of her gear was much what it had been under my
catering. But there were already some symptoms of a change of masters.
The sail locker was empty; and I remembered that her old suit had been
exempted from the general bill of sale, and made over as a legacy to
old Pierre. He had walked off with them; and thus we were left with
no second suit of sails in case of accident. Those on deck were all
she had to show. However, this deficiency was far from causing me any
alarm; nothing in the way of sea accident seemed less probable than
that we should carry away any of her rags that day. We were going,
merely for easy locomotion, amidst a fry of small craft, some of whom
would be sure to lend us whatever by any accident we might want. My
present mate, moreover, had a special objection to "carrying on." There
was a convention between us, by virtue of which it was understood that
whenever he came with me, we were to slope along on an even keel. His
apprehension of disaster comprehended nothing but fear of a capsize
from carrying too much sail. I think he would have preferred going
unprovided as we were, to leaving it in my power to make sail in case
of accidents. All he realised was, that without sail a craft would
not "turn the turtle;" and as to her fetching port, he had in this
particular a blind confidence in the skill of his skipper for the time
being.

There was scarcely enough wind for us to work out of the harbour,
as the set of the sea carried us strongly towards the bluff of rock
that stretches nearly across the entrance. But as I have said, there
were few boats could go to windward of the Wave, and perhaps none
that "went about" more readily, and with less loss. So we managed to
shave past, and came into full view of the little squadron. We were
signalised at once, not by the ordinary bits of bunting, but by general
acclamation, and waving of handkerchiefs by our fair friends. On board
the largest yacht, a committee of ladies had established themselves,
with plenary powers of command. This was the Queen Bee, whose motions
the rest were to follow. At the moment of our coming in sight she set
the example of making sail, and making the best of our way to our
rendezvous; and forthwith all the rest, who had been lying-to for
us, followed her motions. The idea of the party was to get, as best
we could, with the light breeze that then served, to the rendezvous.
For our return, we were almost sure of the land-breeze, which would
help us along homeward without any trouble. They were all in tip-top
spirits,--especially, I thought, on board the Commodore. In about half
an hour we ranged up along-side of her, and there we found collected
what might be called the bouquet of the party. Among them was Virginie,
whom I had half hoped to find, but whom I could not flatter myself
that I really did find, subdued at the parting with so many of her
friends--more especially at parting with myself. She bore the air of
happiness triumphant. Still I could not but fancy, when she waved her
pretty hand to me, that it was with something of _empressement_. I know
that I must have been considerably _empressé_ in my salutation; for a
host of latent associations stirred within me, at this, as I deemed
it, farewell meeting. I had no desire to make myself ridiculous; so I
kept my own counsel as well as I could. But I felt seriously unhappy,
and repented for the moment that I had obeyed the invitation. I will
not detail the history of the fête--it passed with every advantage of
weather and sociability. The poor sentimentalists, if any there were
besides myself, must have felt themselves sadly out of their element.
All seemed as jovial as though no such thing as parting existed as a
human necessity. Amid all I grew sadder and sadder, and blamed my own
folly in coming. Already I thought that many of the damsels showed an
unaccustomed disregard of my presence, as though it were no longer
worth while to distinguish with attention a man who was on the eve of
leaving them for ever. Virginie was unequivocally an exception to this
rule. She was, as she ever had been, kind; and made many inquiries as
to my future movements, even speculating on our meeting again. But she
seemed thoroughly content that I should go, and as though no such dream
had ever entered her head as that I might, under any circumstances,
remain with her. Altogether I was so far from entering into the spirit
of the party that I suffered an access of misanthropy. In my own mind
I condemned her as having been utterly spoiled by education and early
associations. She had been used to intimacy with so many, and such
constantly changing friends, that she was utterly incapable of the
stability of friendship. The devotion of love could not, I thought, be
found with her; and without this devotion hearts are not given.

On the melancholy pasturage of my own thoughts I became at last so
visibly doleful, that I acted quite as a wet blanket on the party.
Some of the giddier among the girls rallied me, more wittily than
compassionately, on my love-tokens; and wished to try me by a sort of
jury, to discover which of themselves it was that caused my grief. The
effect of this badinage on me was to kindle no little exasperation
against the principal persecutors, and to make me pretty considerably
unamiable to all. I felt that I was behaving in a way that would be
likely to leave behind me no good impression, and yet I could not
constrain myself to propriety.

Thus far my expedition seemed to have answered ill. I have now to tell
how it anon seemed to threaten worse, and then turned out in the happy
issue which I at present enjoy.

The time came for us to think of returning. There was every probability
of our finding this an easy task, as we were able pretty well to
calculate on the rising of the land-breeze. The wind had fallen during
the day, and for some hours there had been a dead calm. The breeze
that was to succeed it was very long in coming. The revellers were so
well pleased with their entertainment that no thought was breathed of
getting ready for a start, till the gentle sighing of the neighbouring
sugar canes told us that the elements would serve our turn. Such a
large and straggling party was not got together and re-embarked without
difficulty; and the upshot of all was that, by the time we were under
weigh homewards, it was well on in the evening. This gave us little
uneasiness; the nights were clear, the breeze was generally steady, and
as the land lay pretty well astern, the only difficulty that occurred
to me was concerning the orderly behaviour of some of the men, who had
taken too much wine to be quite manageable.

As it concerns our subsequent adventure, I may as well say that none
of the uproarious ones were on board the Wave. They none of them
would patronise a craft (so they said) which was commanded by such
a long-faced skipper. So Hamilton and myself were the complement
returning, as we had been coming. He was as sober as a judge, and just
as much disposed as ever to be "handy Billy," or, in common language,
to do a turn of work wherever he might be useful. I should think that
we must have numbered, in all, at least twenty boats. It did not seem
unlikely that some of them might fall on board of each other, as they
were crowded very thickly, and some of them kept poor watch. Some of
the steersmen were too jolly to be careful, and the girls did not by
any means call them to order. It is almost a peculiarity of colonial
girls to be without fear. Perhaps it is because they see so much of
change, that few things strike them as strange,--and it is strangeness
that generally terrifies. As I had sold my yacht, and bargained for
her price, I felt that I ought to be particularly careful of what had
become another man's property. I was unwilling to run the risk of
injuring even her paint-work, which I supposed to be about the extent
of damage threatened by a collision. So I held on till the whole set
of them were started, and then got under weigh, keeping in their wake.
There was no great distance between us, only just sufficient to keep
us well clear of them.

Merry sounds of song and talk resounded from the tiny specks that
floated on ocean. Good-humoured hails were sent back to me, and many
an offer made of a tow-rope to help me to my station. Some of them had
musical instruments with them, and gave the harmony of voice and string
to be blended with the evening air. A happier or securer party never
enjoyed themselves, nor any, I should say, that fancied for themselves
a more perfect exemption from the possibility of danger.

Things went thus for about an hour and a half, the gradual change
of evening into night being scarcely perceptible in the lengthened
twilight. The wind, which had been gradually falling, seemed then
fairly to expire. Nothing more was to be done by sailing, and the boats
remained bobbing up and down in the slight swell, without the least
homeward motion. It was plainly a case of "out oars." Sadly against
the grain did it go with us to pull off our jackets and set to work;
but there remained no choice. We could not stay there all night, and
if we meant to fetch our port we must pull. Some of them managed very
well, as they were helped by the man-of-war boats that had joined the
cruise. They got considerably ahead, and thus a division was produced
in our little flotilla. The Wave was amongst the sternmost, as for want
of hands we had been able to do but little; and besides that, we were
in no working humour. One by one they all forged ahead so far as to be
out of sight at that time of night; yet still not so far but that we
occasionally heard them hailing, or singing at their oars.

As we had no fancy for a hard spell at pulling, we took things coolly
as they came. We kept all sail set to take advantage of any little
breeze that might come, and meanwhile waited as patiently as we could.
Some three-quarters of an hour probably passed in this way, and then
the face of the night began to undergo a change. The clouds showed a
disposition to concentrate in a particular point over to landward, and
light catspaws to play upon the water. Soon the breeze steadied a bit,
and allowed us to lie on our course; and before long we were going
through the water at the rate of five knots. We held on thus, till I
knew that we must be coming close on to the ugly reef that lies about
three miles S.S.W. of Port St Louis. The clouds had become blacker,
and without doubt a squall was brewing. Judging from experience, I
fancied that it would be only of rain; and, at any rate, it seemed
not yet to be so near as to require us to take in canvass. So we held
on everything, and I ran forward to look out for the reef, and left
Hamilton at the tiller. I at no time particularly liked to have him for
a steersman, but now I had no choice, for he would not by any means
have done for a look-out man.

"Now Hamilton," I said, "look out, keep her as she goes a bit, and have
one eye to windward, for there is a regular sneezer brewing, and we
shall have it hot and strong in a jiffey."

As I ran forward, I looked at him to see whether he appeared to be at
all in a stew, but was rejoiced to find him cool as a cucumber. He
stepped confidently to his post, and looked out to windward like a
regular sea-dog.

We had now come to that point of our course where the wind ceased to
be right astern. The head of the coast makes it necessary to beat up
a bit, in order to weather the headland. We were perfectly able to do
this, and to have even a point or two to spare, only we should want a
more skilful helmsman than Hamilton. However, we were just clearing the
reef, and in a minute or so more I should be able to return to my post.
Meanwhile, I kept her as she was a bit, till I should be able to put
her round myself.

I had been for some minutes too much occupied with the pilotage to
think of the weather, so had implicitly trusted the observation of this
to my watch-mate. He ever and anon reported things looking worse and
worse.

A fine dust of rain, as it were beating into my face, made me look up,
and I saw that we were in for it.

"Stand by there," I sang out.

"Ay, ay," said Hamilton, and he did stand by with the air of a regular
blue jacket.

This was all the caution for which I had time. The same moment the
squall broke heavily upon us, and the poor little Wave was thrown
nearly right on her beam ends.

"Luff there," I cried, "luff, man, quick."

"Ay, ay," was the ready rejoinder, but alas! just the contrary was the
thing done. Whether Hamilton was flurried, or whether he never rightly
knew what luffing meant, he put the helm hard up. In swinging off
before the squall, she caught the full force of the wind, and for one
moment I thought all was over with us. She went so far over that it
seemed impossible that she should not capsize. But at the same instant,
and before one could well think of the predicament, a jerk was felt,
an explosion as of a pistol was heard, and the little craft righted.
The mainsail had been blown clear away from the stay-rope, and was
fluttering about in ribbons.

In a moment I saw the danger of our position. The squall had been the
first burst of a regular built gale, which was now blowing tremendously
off shore. Had we been all a-taunto we might have managed to beat
against it, but even then it would have been a tedious business, and
would have required careful steering. At present, with only our jib
standing, it was perfectly impossible to dream of such a thing. No
earthly power could prevent our drifting out to sea.

Does any man who has not been placed in such a position, think that
he can realise the feelings of two human beings thrown thus, like us,
waifs on the wide ocean. I believe that no man can; but to assist the
imagination of such a one, let him consider one or two things. The
waters before us came, with scarcely the break of an island, from the
ice-fields of the south pole,--and behind us the waste might almost
be called boundless. In a few minutes we should, as things went, find
ourselves clear of the lee of the land, and then the Indian coast might
be considered the nearest breakwater. The billows that would roll after
us would come with all the force collected within such mighty limits,
under the excitement of the gale. Had our bark been of proportions to
combat the elements, we could have found no safety in an unvictualed
refuge. She would at most have afforded us the means of prolonging
agony. But I cannot say that the want of provisions seemed to me then
to enhance the horrors of our condition. Our death by drowning seemed
so certain, and so immediately imminent, that no room remained for
remoter apprehensions.

For one moment, I believe, we both lost our self-possession. Hamilton
was alarmed at the heeling over, and at the noise, but, when the boat
righted, he seemed to think all the danger was over. My blank look,
however, somewhat alarmed him, and he did not quite understand why it
was that we were sailing off shore at such a rate. "Halloo," said he,
"what makes you look so grave? A miss is as good as a mile. We're all
right now, a'int we?" I did not answer him in words; but leaving him to
gather intelligence from my looks, I ran to the tiller to see whether
there remained any hope of getting her sufficiently near to the wind to
enable us to fetch any part of the coast.

The attempt was but a forlorn hope. I might just as well have tried to
sail her in the wind's eye. I could not "bring her to" in the least,
but she went tearing on right before the wind. "Hamilton," I said, "we
are in a bad way. She cannot beat against this gale under her jib, and
you know that we have not a stitch of spare canvass."

Strange as it may seem, he did not seem at first to catch the idea of
the danger we really were in. He had so accustomed himself to think of
one kind of peril only, that he could see nothing alarming in our state
so long as we carried on under easy canvass.

"Do you mean to say," he at last asked gravely, "do you mean to say
that we are in any danger?"

"Danger!" I said, "do you think there is much safety to be found in a
craft like this, out on the Indian Ocean, with a gale blowing?"

"Out on the ocean!"--here his face fell with the expression of a
dawning apprehension; "what have we to do with the ocean?"

"How are we to keep out of it? Our last chance was to get her round and
run her on the reef,--a poor chance, but all that we could dream of.
You saw me try her just now, and saw that it was impossible."

"Then you mean to say nothing can prevent our drifting out to sea?" My
silence and dejection gave him the sorrowful answer.

Poor Hamilton! he was a brave enough fellow in his way, and willing
to stand any risk for the good of the service,--this was all in the
way of business, and he felt it to be right enough,--but the idea of
being drowned on a pic-nic excursion seemed to strike him as something
altogether out of his way. I will not say that he was afraid on the
occasion, because I do not believe he would admit the influence of
fear. But he gave me the idea of a man labouring under the strangeness
of an inadmissible proposition. It seemed as though a strong sense of
injured innocence were mixed with his apprehensions, as if he felt
himself to have been _done_ and ill-treated.

"You don't mean to say that you cannot get her round?" this was said
to me in a tone that seemed to imply that I could if I would. "If I
could," I answered, "I should have run her on the reef; she would
certainly soon go to pieces there, but it was our only chance."

"Never mind her going to pieces," said he; "I will pay half the damage."

It annoyed me, even at that terrible moment, to hear our condition made
a question of pounds, shillings, and pence. I felt angry, too, with
him, when I reflected that we had been brought to this predicament
simply by his clumsiness. I so far gave way to anger as to tell him
that, if we got safe to land I never would go sailing with him again,
nor trust myself on salt water with a watch-mate who didn't know what
"luff" meant, and who wanted to sail in the wind's eye under a jib.
Poor Hamilton, who now seemed fully to appreciate our peril, contented
himself with assuring me that I might rest quiet, for I never should go
sailing again with him, or with anybody else.

A growing and abiding sense of the truth of this probability soon
checked the spirit of squabbling within each of us. We were every
moment drifting out farther and farther. So long as the lights of the
island had been visible, they had imparted some degree of comfort. They
at least showed whither our course would lay in case matters should so
far mend as to enable us to choose our own course. But our distance was
each moment increasing, and the night was waxing darker continually.
A few more minutes, and the lights were hidden from us; and we were
left simply and literally without any knowledge of our position, on the
Indian Ocean. The sea had got up, prodigiously, the wind blew harder
than ever, and the night was as dark as pitch. Though she was flying
before the wind, we could not keep the sea out of her,--it washed in
over her quarter every few minutes, and it was all that we could do to
keep her free by baling. Happily we had a couple of buckets with us,
that served the turn well.

I shudder when I look back to this part of that fearful night. Later
on in the season of our peril we did not feel so acutely the horrors
of our position, because our sensibilities had been then pretty well
exhausted by the struggle for existence. So little hope remained at
last that our spirits scarcely retained the vitality necessary for
suffering. We were as though already dead, and already taken away from
living pains and feelings. But with the earlier part of the evening
are connected associations of far more active pain--I mean during
that part when I had not resigned hope. I know that there is a theory
current that the living spirit never resigns hope; that a man sinking
alone in the midst of the Atlantic, or bowed down for the stroke of
the descending guillotine, never believes it to be impossible that
he shall escape. I cannot pledge my own experience to the truth of
this theory. The spirit of man is so firmly wedded to hope, that it
is in extremity only that this blessing can be torn from us. But the
divorce may be effected at last, even while the tide of life beats
in the veins. I am quite sure that, during some hours of this night,
we both felt perfectly devoid of hope, and that we could not have
felt more certain of death had we actually passed the gloomy portals.
But this was only latterly, when our physical energies had succumbed
under protracted exertion, when every expedient we could devise for
prolonging our chance seemed to have failed. At first I could not make
up my mind that our case was hopeless, nor familiarise myself with the
idea of approaching death. No rational ground remained of expecting any
thing that could rescue us; and yet I could not forego the expectation
that something would turn up. Our perishing seemed too bad a thing to
be true. It could not be that our jocund morning should have such an
issue; that we, so recent from the companionship of youth and grace,
should be hurried to the contact of death. And yet all the while that I
thus yielded to the promptings of natural instinct, I felt that we were
drifting on each moment rapidly to the catastrophe.

While any room for activity remains, there is to be found some relief
in exertion. The full bitterness of our condition was not felt till we
had tried every device that we could think of, and had been reduced to
inaction--without resignation. Our last resource was one on which I
had been sanguine enough to build up some hope. It occurred to me that
if we were to let go her anchor, the weight of that, together with her
eighteen fathom of chain, might bring her bodily up. I only regretted
that we had no spare spars wherewith to form a sort of breakwater,
for I have great faith in the powers of a boat to ride out a gale and
heavy sea under the lee of such a defence. Still I thought that we
might manage to check her way effectually before we had driven too far
out to sea; and then in the morning we might still find ourselves in
sight of the island. There are circumstances under which one learns to
make much of a very little hope, and I had made the most I could of
this. We watched till we got into a smooth place, and then "let go."
The extremity of peril had been reserved for this moment. The sudden
check certainly brought her up as we expected, but other effects of
our manœuvre followed which were beyond our calculation. She rounded
to abruptly, and swung head to wind. But the weight of her anchor and
chain hanging at her bows seemed as if they would pull her under water.
The depression was so great that we saw that not a minute was to be
lost, and that our only chance lay in heaving up again as quickly as
possible. In our haste we both ran forward to the windlass, and by so
doing nearly completed our destruction, for the additional weight had a
most alarming effect on her immersion. It became evident that we must
at once get rid of the weight, and that it must be done without any
additional strain. Our only plan was to slip the cable, and let both
it and the anchor go by the run. This I accordingly did; but not even
in this extreme peril without a pang of regret. Being relieved, she
rose instantly, and in a moment was before the wind again. It had been
a narrow escape for us, and, but that we had chosen a smooth place, we
must have been swamped there and then. She had shipped a great deal of
water, and we had hard work to clear her; and then once more all our
work to begin again, for she shipped seas almost as quickly as we could
bale them out.

For some little time we worked like men, and as if we really thought
that we might work to good purpose. But soon it became quite manifest
that we must be beaten. Our utmost exertion barely sufficed to keep
her clear; and any little respite that we allowed to ourselves begat
a terrible accumulation of water. This could not go on long. Hamilton
was the first to admit this conclusion, and to give up the struggle for
existence. I observed the particular moment when hope died within him,
and noted it by the token of his sinking listlessly on the locker, and
expressing in his countenance no sign of interest in our proceedings.
To him there remained no more of the interest of speculation; there
was for him but one idea, that of death, present and painful. I cannot
say that I considered it all over with us yet. I am far from laying
claim to any superior degree of courage, or thinking myself a braver
man than was my companion. Perhaps my love of life was greater--at any
rate I did not yet give in, and by after inquiry I know that Hamilton
did. I am thankful that it was so; for my experience made me afterwards
acquainted with this state of feeling, and taught how paralysing
are its effects. It may be that, had I earlier shared my friend's
despondency, we neither should have survived to tell the tale. What I
contrived to do, though little enough, was yet sufficient probably
to make the difference of some hour or so in our foundering, and this
respite proved our salvation.

Each moment that passed was bearing us out continually farther into the
waste of waters. The gale howled, the waters foamed in rage, and washed
over our gunwale; my shipmate had resigned himself to his fate, and
replied not by word or sign to any consolation that I tried to suggest.
All ground of hope seemed stricken from us; and yet, by a sort of
perversity, I would not consent to the verdict that seemed to have gone
forth against us. Such a struggle against adverse circumstance, where
it is according to the habitual tone of a man's spirit, entitles him to
the name of magnanimous; with me, it was rather a particular phase of
obstinacy. One single chance yet remained to us--scarcely enough for
rational hope; but yet enough to justify resistance to actual despair.
As the wind then blew, it was just possible that we should drift off
the Island of Bourbon, or, at any rate, come near enough to be picked
up by some of her vessels. It was, indeed, a slender chance, but being
our all, I made the most of it; so much, indeed, did I make of it,
that I verily believe I should have felt quite confident of making
the port, if I had had the means of steering. As it was, we drifted
along, without any sail set, and without any compass to point us our
whereabout. But the time was coming for me when I was to experience the
pangs that attend the death of hope within us. This I regard as the
painful part of this night's history. In the earlier stage, there was
the relief of exertion; in the later stages there was the insensibility
of apathy. The time of sharp anguish was during the transition from the
one state to the other.

The _coup-de-grace_ came thus. Some half hour or so after the affair of
the anchor, while we were drifting before the sea, we perceived a light
ahead. Of course, this must be a vessel, most probably a _chasse marée_
belonging to the island. It was scarcely possible that we should reach
this vessel, but of course we were violently agitated, at sight of
her, with new-born hope. Hamilton even roused up and did what he could
to help in keeping us afloat; which condition it was very doubtful
whether we should be able to preserve long enough to enable us to come
up with the stranger. She proved to be beating to windward, and we saw
presently that one of her tacks would bring her within hail of us. To
see this was to pass at once from despair to confidence. We regarded
ourselves as saved, and scarcely heeded the time that must pass before
she could come up with us; a time, every minute of which was fraught
with peril, that might shut out from us the prospective help. As she
drew near, one only fear remained, lest she might pass us unobserved in
the obscurity of night; and so diminutive, an object were we, and so
little to be expected in that place, that there was some room for the
fear. As she neared us we shouted loudly, but the din of the elements
was not to be overcome by our puny voices. But on a night like that,
it was necessary to keep a good look-out, and we knew that she must
have watchful eyes peering into the darkness. I had on board a brace
of pistols ready charged, which having been stowed away in the locker
had been kept dry. We fired one after the other, when quite close to
the vessel, and succeeded in attracting their notice. We even made out
in the murky air, to which our eyes were becoming accustomed, one or
two figures of men, who ran forward to see what was the matter. But the
_chasse marée_ held on her way, unheeding. When almost under her bows,
we called out to them in agony, to heave to, and take us on board. But
to our utter horror they held on their way, taking no notice of us
except by some unintelligible cries. The _chasse marée_ passed on, as
if she thought it matter of little heed that two human beings were left
to perish in the elemental strife of that dark night.

To this moment I cannot understand this adventure. It is scarcely
possible to believe that any ship's crew of men could have the horrid
barbarity to leave unsuccoured a boat perishing in that wild night. And
yet it is, perhaps, quite impossible to believe that they could have
thought us sea-worthy and safe. Our signal, our cries, the dismantled
condition of our boat, all spoke for themselves. Bitter, surely,
must be the recollections of that vessel's company! dark must be the
character of that life, in which such an act of barbarism was an
unobserved passage. That skipper's worst enemy might wish for him that
he might have the knowledge of our escape; that so the pillow of his
death may be spared the visitation of that terrible reminiscence.

We looked a moment at each other aghast. We could not believe that the
promised succour had eluded us; that we were deserted by brother man
on the wide ocean. But wind and water raging around us howled into our
very souls the fact. From that time I may say that I gave up hope, that
I became as dead; and when at last safety sprang up, it was as from the
grave that I rose to grasp it.

From this time I have little more to speak of than a dull and stupid
endurance. A period of pain there was to go through, when my mind was
bewildered with thoughts of home, and of those I loved in my present
abode. There was a bitter pang to think that I must resign my young
existence, and there was a realising of the pains of suffocation. I
thought it was a horrid death to drown. I remembered the popular idea
of death by drowning as coming easily; but I _felt_ this to be wrong,
and knew by anticipation that I should have a cruel struggle when the
water occupied my nose and mouth. Both my companion and myself seemed
reduced at last to apathy. We neither spoke nor moved; and both,
evidently, thought it vain to continue any longer the struggle for
existence. We bade each other farewell, and then uttered no more words.
What remained to us of life was given to inward discipline, and to that
communing of which the wise man speaks not lightly.

The events that I have been describing, with I fear but little
distinctness of arrangement, had carried us on to about midnight. It
is difficult to estimate properly the duration of time under such
circumstances; but so nearly as I can guess, it must have been about
ten o'clock when the _chasse marée_ passed us. It must have been
little less than two hours that intervened between this time and the
happy turn for the better that was awaiting us. My wonder is that we
lasted so long; I cannot conceive how it was that the boat kept above
water. The sea washed in continually, and we did nothing to oppose its
progress. Certain it is that nothing in the history of escapes, with
which I am acquainted, was ever more narrow than my own escape; nor
ever did a boat float so exactly up to the indispensable point.

From the stupor of despair I was aroused by the report of a musket; it
was enough to break the spell and re-awaken the love of life within
us. Somebody was near, and we might yet be saved. Another, and another
report followed, and a blue light blazed forth. We then distinctly
saw, and not very far from us, a brig hove to, and, as we had not the
least doubt, making signals to us. Joyously we sprang to renewed life
and hope. We again loaded our pistols and answered the signals of our
unexpected deliverer. To our unspeakable joy these were perceived, and
soon we saw the brig fill her sails and bear away after us. Our plight
was yet bad enough. We certainly were above water, and in sight of
succour; but it was very doubtful whether we should be able to last
long enough to avail ourselves of the assistance that approached. Our
gunwale was nearly level with the water, and in a few more minutes
would be submerged. Oh! how did we long to be able to throw overboard
every weighty article, and yet we feared to stir lest we should farther
disturb the equilibrium. We sat still and motionless on the stern
locker, measuring with our eyes the decreasing distance between us and
the brig, and calculating the chances which each moment increased in
our favour. We feared that the brig might run us down; but we did wrong
to her skilful master. They ranged up nearly alongside of us, with
main-topsail aback, and threw us out a rope. Hamilton was first, and
easily drawn on board, at the expense of little more than an ordinary
ducking. My turn came next; and I might have escaped as well as he did,
but my worldly feelings had wonderfully revived, and I was no longer
content to come off with the mere saving of life; I wanted also to save
the boat, which, be it remembered, I had sold, but for which I had not
received the purchase-money. I thought that if I could manage to make
fast a rope to the step of her mast we might hoist her in bodily, and
save her after all. The rescue would then be complete of the whole
party. I sang out to them to stand by to haul us in, and rope in hand
ran forward to make fast to the mast. But it was not to be. The gallant
little boat had done her utmost; and now her time was come. She had
saved our lives, but was herself to go down to the abyss of waters. She
gave a heavy lurch, and I felt that she was settling. With scarcely the
warning of a moment, she dipped her bows under, and sank at once and
suddenly like a stone. In that moment the waters were boiling around
me, the greedy waves sucked me under; but I held fast the friendly
rope. I was drawn on board, but not without some difficulty; for my
prolonged exertions had severely tried my powers of endurance, and I
could hardly hold on long enough. But saved we were. As I trod the
schooner's deck,--as I saw her make sail, and brave the elements which
had so nearly wrought our destruction, I felt as though I had seen an
angel's arm stretched forth to pluck us from the gulf of waters. I
wanted no explanation of the causes which had led her forth; she had
met us in extremity, and was to me the arm of Providence. The rescue is
as providential in cases where the peril is over in a moment. But there
does not seem to be room for such deep impression, where peril merely
flashes as the lightning across one's path. The bitterness of death
must be tasted by him who is to appreciate the sweetness of deliverance.

On board, we found ourselves in familiar company. Several of our
friends were there, and gave us the history of our rescue. At the time
when the squall had come on, the other boats had been, as I have said,
well ahead of us, and clear of the reef. Some of them had had a little
trouble in getting to their moorings, but all were present at muster
except ourselves. This would not perhaps have alarmed them, had not the
hours continued to pass away without our appearance. By and by their
fears were fully excited by the arrival of a man who from the point
had seen the accident. He declared that he had seen us blown out to
sea, and his report was corroborated by our non-appearance. On this a
regular alarm had been sounded in the island. The good old governor
had despatched his tender to look out for us, and I know not how many
volunteers had started on the same errand. Many were the good fellows
who had braved the horrors of that stormy night, that they might have
the hope of helping us. The brig was a merchant craft, whose skipper
and owner had been induced to start on the cruise. She had been
throwing out signals for an hour and a half, and was nearly giving up
the search as a bad job. Well for us that she did not!

It was gray morning when the good skipper set us on shore; and I might
very well end my yarn, with telling how we heartily shook each other by
the hand, and how then I betook myself to those quarters which I had so
little expected ever to revisit. But circumstances deeply affecting my
after life came as sequels to this adventure, and I think the account
of them should come here also. I reached my room without having met a
single individual; and tired, wet, and worn out with mental agitation,
I threw myself on my bed and slept soundly. My dreams naturally
followed in the train of what had been my waking thoughts. Again I
was afloat, and again underwent the terrors of foundering at sea. The
phantasy of a dreaming spirit presented to my ear the lamentations of
my friends. As waking, I had thought in the hour of peril of some one
or two who would lament my sad doom; so in my sleep I went yet a step
beyond this, and seemed to hear the utterance of the lamentations.
These waxed more and more distinct, till the reality of them broke the
spell of dreams. I awoke, and yet heard the same conversation.

"Poor fellow! what a dreadful thing!" said one voice.

"Shocking!" said another, which I knew to be that of my old boating
antagonist, the first lieutenant of the Bucephalus. "Shocking! I
always prophesied that that craft would be his coffin, but little did
I think my words would come true."

The good fellow actually wept as he spoke.

"And that poor fellow, Hamilton, who scarcely ever set foot afloat?"

"Well, they're both gone, but not without our doing, all we could to
give them a chance--that's one comfort."

I was now fully awake to the consciousness that I was alive and
well--and to the understanding that these mates of mine were lamenting
my loss. I did not waste any words in endeavouring to convince them
that they were mistaken, but, jumping out of bed, I stood before them.
The men stared as if they had seen a veritable ghost, but, recovering
themselves in a moment, almost wrung my arm off in congratulatory
shaking. Intense astonishment was mingled with their delight, and they
were perfectly vociferous in demanding an explanation of the phenomenon
I presented in my own living person. It turned out that they had been
cruising about pretty nearly the whole night, in the hope of falling
in with me. They had full confidence in my resolution; and knew that
I would not give in while a chance remained, and so they hoped I
would manage to keep afloat, till some one of the numerous boats that
were out should fall in with me. I have no doubt that they would have
prolonged their search throughout the night, had they not fallen in
with a craft, (by the description, I doubt not the identical _chasse
marée_ that so cruelly deserted us,) which gave them to understand that
they had seen us go down. "_Fin, fin, allés_,"[46] with expressive
pointing to the depths of ocean, was the answer they had received to
their inquiries. With heavy hearts they had returned home; and without
meeting any but those whose search had been as ineffectual as their own.

"And now, Jack," said my friend the lieutenant, "now that we have got
you within hail once more, safe and sound, who do you suppose it was
that sent me here this morning?"

"To tell you the truth, I thought it was a little sentimental excursion
on your own account."

"Not a bit of it. A cleverer head than mine or yours either ordered
the expedition. Virginie would have it that any intelligence about you
would be in one's way here."

"Then you told her nothing of the authentic account of our foundering?"

"Indeed but I did--but she would not believe it. Depend upon it,
instinct is a fine thing. Her instinct has proved better than our
reason,--for she would have it that you were not drowned, and that news
would find its way here."

Then we entered into a sort of _resumé_ of the shore-going events of
the last night; of all that the governor had done, and the good fellows
who had volunteered to row guard all night with lights. Then it was
told me that the ladies had been deeply affected, but none so deeply
as Virginie. She had taken no rest all night; but with tearful eyes
had looked out for concerted signals of intelligence, and breathlessly
questioned every messenger. My sailor friend had been in the same
boat with her, and had won from her expressions of gratitude, by his
determination to pass the whole night, if necessary, in the search
for me. At that moment when we stood speaking, she did not know of my
safety.

I determined to be myself the announcer of my prorogued existence,
and set off at once to the residence of her father. I had prepared
speeches of thankful acknowledgment of her interest in my welfare, and
was maturing the intention of letting her see that love for her had
been kindled in my breast. But my fine resolves were rendered of little
effect, and my speeches broken short by the young lady, who, the moment
she beheld me, threw herself--her dear self--right into my arms. She
did, indeed, without the least preamble or apologetic qualification.

There is but one issue to such a predicament as this. I had not much
time, certainly, for wooing; but I am happy to say, that before long I
was wed, and that now I am the husband of Virginie.



SWITZERLAND AND ITALY.


IT is not one of the least curious incidents of the times in which we
live, that two directly opposite movements should have taken place in
the countries on either side of the Alps, and that their results should
have been so extremely different from what might have been expected.
In one,--the chosen land of freedom, as it has been called, the last
home and refuge of Liberty, when she had deserted other and more genial
climes,--the so-called liberals, the democrats, the radicals, have just
undertaken a successful crusade against freedom of conscience, and have
subdued the aristocratic defenders of religious liberty, even amidst
the strongholds of their mountains. In the other,--long the supposed
seat of despotism in its purest and most unmitigated form, where
liberty and freedom of opinion had not, except during the storm of the
French Revolution, ever shown any signs of existence,--a most decisive
and energetic movement in favour of political freedom has taken place,
and has been originated by the very chief and organ of what the
Transmontane people generally consider as the concentrated expression
of all that enslaves and subdues the mind. The facts have certainly
been unexpected; they have burst upon European statesmen, or at least
upon those of the northern and western courts, unawares; and their
ultimate consequences appear to be as much beyond their ken as they
are beyond their control. The Swiss Federation, notwithstanding the
proffered mediation of the great powers, have settled their own matters
among themselves; and the Italians seem inclined to _laver leur linge
sale en famille_, as Napoleon used to recommend people to do when the
operation was of a more than usually unpleasant nature, without saying
"by your leave, or with your leave," to any of the barbarians that
dwell on the northern sides of the Alps. Austria and France are equally
balked in their views upon Switzerland and Italy; and the only power
that seems likely to gain any thing by these events will be, in spite
of herself, "the perfidious Albion." As usual, however, with English
diplomatists, but still more as usual with Whig officials, and with the
gaping good-natured multitude of the British Islands, those advantages
that may accrue to our country will come, not through any astuteness of
the government, or its servants, but through the sheer force of events
urging themselves on in their inevitable course, and filling up the
series of secondary causes and effects that compose the history of the
world.

To any one contemplating the enviable position and the natural
advantages of Switzerland, and still more to any one looking at the
fundamental character of the Swiss people, it would seem one of the
most difficult political problems to find any cause for internal
quarrel and disunion, much less for civil war. Blessed as they are
with a country that necessitates all the skill and industry of man
to bring forth its full powers, but which, when man tills its bosom,
and pours the sweat of his brow into its lap, yields him the sweet
return of abundant competence and varied riches, the Swiss have long
been looked up to with justice as one of the most truly prosperous
and thriving people of Europe. They have not been tempted to throw
aside the agricultural occupations of their country for the dangerous
and transitory fluctuations of commerce; they have remained strong
in their national and natural simplicity; rich, and more than rich,
in the produce of their lands, raised by the labour of their arms;
and, amid the many changes of other states, when once the fever of
the revolutionary malady had left them, tranquil and contented, and
objects of envy to all surrounding people. Thus national ambition was
of necessity limited; external aggrandisement and colonial extension
they could know nothing about; their territory was safe from foreign
aggression, or was supposed so, and their energies could only expend
themselves on the affairs of their own country. Switzerland remained
till within the last few years, as it had always been, the "cynosure
of neighbouring eyes" to all Europe; and scarcely a traveller ever
wandered amidst its vales and mountains, but sighed after a dwelling
in that fairy land, and longed for it as his country by adoption next
after the land of his birth. Of all people in the world, the Swiss, to
external spectators at least, seemed to have the least to wish for,
and the least cause to be discontented either with their country or
themselves.

And yet, of a sudden, up rises a storm; the Federation splits; and,
before men can come to comprehend what the mountaineers are quarrelling
about, swords are drawn, shots are fired, a couple of towns are
captured, and the war is declared at an end almost before it was known
to have commenced. It has been like a drama at the opera. _Scene_,
a rocky district, with a town in the distance: enter a chorus of
peasants, who sing about liberty. Alarums: a band of soldiers rush in
and drive them off the stage. Grand cantata of the president,--and the
curtain falls. Some connoisseurs in the boxes call for the manager, and
ask when the opera is going to begin, as they wish to intervene: the
manager enters from the side-door, bows humbly, and intimates that they
may have their tickets returned if they please, the play being over.
General disappointment!

Something like this would be the dramatised history of the late
Helvetic disturbances; so brief, and we may almost say so ridiculous,
has the whole seemed. In most countries, when a civil war is
proclaimed, and one-third of the nation declares its intention of
separating from the other two-thirds, a struggle of some length and
earnestness of purpose may be with tolerable certainty predicted: even
in Belgium, we should suppose that a civil war would take a month
or two before it could be finally extinguished. But in Switzerland
it appears that the feelings of the belligerents, whatever may have
been their previous intensity, have found an easy vent for rapid
evaporation; and after one or two passes with the sword, the weaker
combatant has dropped his point and given up.

There must have been something false and spurious at the bottom of all
this, or all the braggadocio of the Federalists and the Sonderbund
could never have been dissipated by a few shots at Fribourg and
Lucerne: one of the two parties at least could not have been in
earnest, or they never would have knocked under so easily and so
speedily. Political reasons for war cannot become on a sudden so
thoroughly fallacious, nor military resources so thoroughly exhausted,
as that one day's skirmishing at Fribourg, and two day's fighting
near Lucerne, could suffice to settle the quarrel. We are inclined,
therefore, to suspect the weaker party to have been conscious of wrong
in this case, though to any impartial observer the acts of aggression
lay all at the door of the stronger.

How stood the matter? The central cantons, strong in their mountain
fastnesses, and on the borders of their sublime lakes, have maintained,
under republican forms, the true aristocratic spirit, and the ancient
religion of Switzerland. Those encircling these central states, the
dwellers in the champaign country and in the cities, have gone into
the follies of democracy, and have abandoned more or less the dignity
of the old Swiss character, to ape the vices, political and social,
of the neighbouring people, whether French or German. Ever since the
factious burst of pseudo-patriotism, during the _in_glorious "Three
days" of 1830, the inhabitants of the northern Swiss towns have had
their heads running on the visionary schemes that have distracted
Frenchmen's brains; and like daws in peacocks' feathers, or servants
in their masters' cast-off clothes, have been trying to imitate the
"virtues," political and social, of the Gallic people. Hence has arisen
the Radical party in the larger cantons; hence has arisen the crowds
of infidels and debauchees which have latterly disgraced the petty
capitals of those cantons; hence the Catholics have been persecuted
and robbed in Argau, and the respectable people of Geneva ousted out
of the government by the rabble of that city. Hence came the outcry
against the Jesuits, and the former quarrel with Lucerne, in which,
however, that city came the best out of the struggle: hence an infinity
of petty jealousies and heartburnings, and acts of oppression, on the
part of the Radical majority against the Catholic minority, and hence
finally the recent resort to arms. The Radical and the stronger cantons
have considered it injurious to their own interests, and derogatory to
their own dignity, that the freedom of opinion which they claim for
themselves should exist in its full integrity among their Catholic and
less powerful brethren. They have insisted on the abolition of certain
religious orders of men within the limits of their territories; and,
because the others have claimed the liberty guaranteed by the Federal
compact, they have envenomed the quarrel so far, as to bring it to
the decision of might rather than of right. It is in fact, however, a
struggle of the democratic against the aristocratic party, of which
the Catholic question is only a particular phase; the real bone of
contention was, whether the Democrats or Radicals should be endangered
in their predominance in the Diet, by the compact votes of the
Aristocrats or Catholics. The expulsion of the Jesuits was only a very
subordinate part of the question; and, as it now stands decided, the
supremacy of the Radical and Democratic faction is firmly established.

It appears to us that, had the cantons of the Sonderbund been governed
by clear-headed men, and their armies led by men of talent, not only
the political, but also the military, result of the contest would
have been essentially different. The cantons cannot have been united
by any very strong tie, or they never would have broken off from each
other, and made their separate submission, so speedily after the
fall of Lucerne. The forces of the Sonderbund cannot have been very
confident in their leaders' abilities, or they never would have given
up the fight while all the country on the south and east of the Lake
of Lucerne remained in their possession. And yet if they were able
only to carry on the war for ten days or a fortnight, they were very
blameable for having allowed things to come so rapidly to a crisis. It
was a political mistake of no small gravity to form the Sonderbund, and
to talk so largely of their separate existence, unless they intended
to make a more stout stand in defence of their liberties. Although
the Radicals were, like all democrats, the aggressors, still the
aristocrats should not have defied them so loudly, unless they had
better grounds for showing such confidence. The little boy who squares
his fists even at the bigger one that bullies him, deserves a sound
thrashing for his impudence, if he is ready to give up at the end of
the first round.

We believe the policy of the French government to have been the true
one on this occasion: it coincided, indeed, pretty nearly with that of
the Austrian cabinet. In fact, any government, that wishes to stand,
should be prepared to take the side of the Conservative party, wherever
that party, in the true sense of the term "Conservative," exists. It
must be prepared, at all times, to support the cause of order and
religion against that of anarchy and infidelity; and, though the French
cabinet is not overburdened with feelings of honour and delicacy, it
has a sufficiently strong instinct of self-preservation, to induce it
to side with its friends rather than with its enemies. The policy of
the Austrian government could not be for a moment doubtful. Austria has
always been the friend of order and of rational liberty; and it was
her duty, no less than her interest, to take a decided step in favour
of the Forest Cantons. We can conjecture no other reason for these two
great powers not having interfered sooner, than that they must have
been in uncertainty as to the intentions of the Whig cabinet on our
side of the channel, and that they were checked in their action by the
certainty that Prussia must take part in the contest, in virtue of the
principality of Neufchatel. And yet we doubt not that both France and
Austria will be sufferers from the impulse given to Radicalism, by the
recent petty triumph of its principles within a day's journey of their
respective frontiers. A French regiment in Geneva, and an Austrian one
in the Grisons, would have restored the balance of parties, and would
have brought back the Radicals to their proper dimensions. It may now
be confidently expected that Switzerland will become a little focus
of agitation for the discontented in both countries; and that it will
exist as a political nuisance under the nose of each of its powerful
neighbours, loudly calling for abatement.

England, which, as represented by the present tenants of Downing
Street, is no doubt inclined to intrigue with the Radicals rather
than with the Catholic party in Switzerland, may lay her account to
profit by the stagnation which this contest will occasion in Swiss
manufacturing and commercial operations; and may calculate on enriching
some of our great exporting houses at the expense of the manufacturers
of Zurich and Basle. That she intended or foresaw this result, we more
than doubt; but it will very probably be a consequence of her tardy
offer of mediation.

As it is, the dignity of position lies altogether on the side of the
Federal Diet: they have employed force successfully. Whatever be
the merits of their pretensions, they have imposed their claims on
their opponents both promptly and efficaciously; and, more by the
faint-heartedness and disunion of their enemies than by their own
valour and concert, they have established their sway in undisputed
tyranny over the whole Federation. The president of the Diet predicted
this result, and his words have come true. As in the case of the United
States and Mexico, it is the unrighteous cause that has triumphed;
and the glory, if there be any, is all on one side. But the ultimate
consequences of this state of things may be expected to bring about the
decay of the national character, and therefore to undermine the last
remaining foundations of Swiss nationality. Whenever a European war
again occurs, Helvetia will fall as an easy spoil to be partitioned
by France and Austria; and what is more, she will fall unregretted.
Her mountains, her lakes and valleys, her forests and her glaciers,
will still remain grand and beautiful, till time itself shall be no
more; but the old Switzers will have become degenerate, and will have
forgotten the glories of their former history. Some of them will be
affiliated to the restless family of the Gauls, while the remainder
will be learning over again the first rudiments of agricultural and
rural prosperity, under the sceptre of the Ostrogoths. Swiss freedom
and Swiss commerce will have disappeared from the land; and English
manufacturers will be rejoicing at the bankruptcy of one class of their
competitors in European or American markets.

In Italy, it is devoutly believed by all English politicians that the
genius of catholicism is destructive of the national spirit; and that
the long subjugation of that peninsula to the northern conqueror is
to be attributed to a prostration of moral vigour arising from the
trammels of superstition. And yet, what has happened? A new spiritual
chief ascends the throne at Rome, by accident rather than by design;
he pronounces a few magic words, and in an instant the sacred fire
of liberty, and the desire of resisting foreign oppression, pervade
the whole land. Nor are the people only affected by this universal
enthusiasm: even monarchs are carried away by the stream of popular
opinion. The King of Sardinia and the Grand Duke of Tuscany come
forward as the promoters and defenders of Italian liberty; the King
of Naples advances in the same path, though not so rapidly as the
revolutionists of his dominions could wish; and all but Lombardy
is thrown into the vortex of political reform. To Pius IX., and to
the noble conceptions of his prudent mind, the whole of the recent
movements in Italy may be fairly attributed. Not but that the public
mind was anxious for change: there have long been evils enough rankling
in the Italian breast to make change desirable. Yet had it not been for
the circumstance of a potentate, the father of his people, and the head
of the Roman Catholic religion, coming forward and proclaiming himself
favourable to a political change, the whole impulse that now has been
given to the various races of Italy would have been altogether wanting.

It would be, perhaps, idle at the present moment to speculate upon the
positive direction which this resuscitation of Italian freedom may
take; the events of a few months are not to be trusted, as affording
any very certain or fixed indication of how the current of the national
fortunes is destined to run. The Italians may, perhaps, arrive at a
gradual and moderate degree of freedom, such as may conduce to the
improvement and elevation of their national character, and to the
raising of Italy in the scale of European powers; or, on the other
hand, they may run wild into the theory and practice of revolutionary
wickedness, and may become the pest and the abhorrence of all Europe,
while they sink down to a lower and still a lower depth in the abyss
of political degradation. We hope for the former of these results, but
we know that the latter is by no means improbable; and in order to
point out where the danger of tending towards it lies, we append the
following remarks:--

In the first place, it must be sufficiently obvious to any one, ever so
little acquainted with the character of the Italian people, that the
different nations and tribes of that peninsula are by no means all in
the same degree of preparation and advancement for receiving the boon
of constitutional government. There is a very wide difference between
the inhabitants of Milan and those of Naples, between the denizens of
the Bolognese and the shepherds of the Abruzzi, and generally between
the dwellers in Italian cities and the agricultural population in
the bosom, or on the skirts, of the Apennines. But to apply the same
kind of political institutions to all the inhabitants of a district,
without regard to their various degrees of moral preparation for it,
is to confer on them a punishment rather than a boon, and to do them
evil rather than good. We have too melancholy an example of it at our
own doors, where the exaggerated philanthropy of Englishmen has given
to the Irish the same political privileges as they enjoy themselves,
to wish that such a fruitful source of evil should fall to the lot of
any other people. And so it would be with nine-tenths of the people
of Italy: however advanced may be the notions of the upper classes,
however ripe for political freedom may be the citizens of Florence or
Rome, the peasants of Lombardy and Campania would not know how to use
the advantages put within their reach, and they would but change the
rule of the few for the more terrible despotism of the many.

Before the Italians can, as a nation, be fit for what we call a free
government, they must be better educated, and better fitted by their
moral and social organisation to understand its nature and advantages.
But in order to this, we must first of all see the education of the
people taken up as a national object by the national clergy; and we
must further see the morals of the people made a point of all-paramount
importance by the same body of men, and brought forward into a place of
greater prominence than the mere practices of devotion. Can it be any
boon to confer the political rights of election and self-government on
men who are still plunged in the depths of complete ignorance? Can it
be of any use to call upon a nation for the exercise of public virtues,
when social and domestic virtues do not exist among them? Before the
Italians can be constituted as a nation of freemen, they must be formed
into families of virtuous citizens, in which decency and the natural
exercise of the affections may be firmly established. For if there be
one political axiom more fully demonstrated by the voice of history
than another, it is this, that public freedom can never exist where
private vice preponderates over private virtue; and where the sacred
ties of domestic virtue do not prevail, it is in vain to look for the
bonds of public good. It was the domestic vices of the ancient Romans
that first weakened the empire; and until their degenerate descendants
shall have awakened from their moral lethargy, that empire, that
national power, shall not rise again. It is, therefore, a favourable
indication for Italy, that the movement should have commenced with
the head of the national religion; for it may be hoped that a proper
course will be adopted by the ecclesiastical authorities, and that
the amelioration of all ranks and orders of men, clerical as well as
lay, will precede and accompany the dawn of Italian independence.
As long as the Italians remain in the state of moral weakness which,
for so many centuries, they have exhibited, they need never expect to
escape from the sway of the more virtuous nations of the north: they
will never be able to face the Germans, whether in the cabinet or the
field, until they learn to emulate them in the purity of their national
character.

It may very well be doubted whether any of the Italians, and, indeed,
any of their Transmontane admirers, know what is really fitted for
them in political institutions--what will really do them good--what
is really suited to the genius of the people and the requirements
of the country. Political institutions are like plants that cannot
always bear transferring from one region to another: they require the
process of becoming acclimatised, and, on their first introduction
into a new country, demand the fostering shelter of the hot-house and
the gardener's constant care. Because a representative constitution
is supposed to be the acme of human wisdom in the latitude of Great
Britain, it does not therefore follow that it will flourish so far
south as Naples; and because a national guard is reckoned the _ne plus
ultra_ of national institutions at Paris, we are by no means sure that,
it would produce any good results at Rome. It seems, in fact, to us to
be one of the monomanias of the present age, that the same Procrustean
bed of representative government is laid out for all people that
think they require more political liberty than they are at present in
possession of; and should the inhabitants of Timbuctoo, of Canton, of
Tobolsk, of Alexandria, and of Morocco, take it into their heads, some
fine day, to send deputations to the united _quidnuncs_ of London and
Paris, requesting the transmission of constitutions for their several
states, we have no doubt that a couple of legislative houses, and a
corps of national guards, _à pied et à cheval_, would be immediately
recommended, as equally applicable to their several wants. It seems
to be the privilege of civilised Europeans to think that the right of
governing themselves is the essence of civil freedom: far more true, in
the vast majority of cases, would it be to say, that it constituted the
essence of political thraldom. It is a social truth, most unpalatable
to ninety-nine-hundredths of mankind, but not therefore the less
true, that ninety-nine men out of a hundred are not fit to govern
themselves, even in the relations of social life, and far less in those
of political. And so it is with nations: for one nation that has really
prospered under the plan of self-government, there are ninety-nine that
have brought on themselves evils which, under a less popular system,
they would have avoided. If the physical and social condition of a
people be taken as a test; if the durability of their institutions, if
the dignity and influence of their government, be quoted, as proofs of
the advantages of their several forms of political institutions, we
really know not any constitutional form to which, _ceteris paribus_, we
could appeal as deciding the question against those of a monarchical
tendency. If the privilege of taxing themselves to an amount that
defies all power of redemption, and cripples the resources of the
nation to a point that menaces its existence as an independent power,
in the struggle of nations; if the freedom of conducting commercial
affairs in such a manner that every seventh year shall bring the whole
trading interests of a country to the very verge of bankruptcy; if the
balancing of the influence of the several classes so badly, that at
length the lower threaten to swallow up the upper in a wild flood of
irreligion and anarchical spoliation; if the system of "_propter vitam
vivendi perdere causas_" be adopted as the acme of perfection--if all
this be considered fit and proper, then let a constitutional monarchy
be preached up as the model for every nation under the sun. But we
cannot wish so ill to any of our fellow-men as to advise them to
relinquish present good, however small, for the prospect of such evil,
however seductive. We do not approve of plying the poor Red man with
fiery liquors till his tribe becomes exterminated; and in the same way
we would withhold the intoxicating draught of self-government from the
lips of those people who hitherto have sucked in their milk, as babes,
at the hands of others.

To us it is a bad sign that the Italians should be calling out for
representative assemblies, and for national guards. They are not fit
for the former, nor can they be so for the next hundred years--we
should not congratulate them even if they obtained these dangerous
tools, wherewith to play at the hazardous game of legislation: and as
for national guards, they do not want them, inasmuch as nobody is going
to invade them; and if an invasion were made by a northern nation, we
know, by long experience, that the national guard would be perfectly
useless. The Italians "don't fight;" they bluster and talk big, like
the Spaniards, and run away ere the first shot is fired. Ten thousand
Germans or Frenchmen, may march from one end of Italy to the other
without meeting any man that dares fire at them, except from behind
a rock or a stone wall. The Italians must be made of sterner stuff,
before they take upon themselves the responsibility of bearing arms.

The position of the several sovereigns in Italy is such, that their
opposition to the wishes of Austria, if that opposition be real,
creates in us some surprise. The King of Sardinia ought to know, by the
long and sad experience of those who have preceded him on his slippery
throne, that there is no chance of safety for him in a European
struggle, unless he depends on the House of Austria. France always has
been, and always will be, a treacherous neighbour to Piedmont; and she
will never cease coveting Savoy until she has made it her own, or has
been deprived even of the power of envy. The Grand Duke of Tuscany is
so closely related to the Emperor that family interests alone ought
to make their policy identical; and the King of Naples, like the King
of Sardinia, has no firmer support for his foreign power than the
friendship and countenance of the Court of Schönbrunn. The Pope is
certainly an independent prince, and at his wish to keep the Holy See
free from all foreign influence we cannot feel surprised: it is the
healthiest, because the least unnatural, symptom of the whole crisis.

For Austria, we can well conceive that the prudent and cautious policy
of that ably conducted monarchy must dictate excessive jealousy and
suspicion of these popular movements. Austria, more than any other
power in Europe, has the truest cause to pride itself on the good
results of its peculiar system of government, as demonstrated by the
solid and practical wellbeing of the States under its paternal sway.
As much as any state of the Continent has it cause to abhor those
systems of anarchy which, under the guise of patriotism, lead only to
revolution and misery: and as one of the great conservators of the
monarchical principle in politics, it is called upon, by its very
station and dignity, to check rather than to encourage what may very
possibly prove to be only a spurious attempt to gain licentiousness,
rather than freedom. Lombardy, no doubt, is allied to its illustrious
rulers most unwillingly; but it does not therefore follow that it would
be in the least degree more prosperous and happy if left to itself. On
the contrary, we have no doubt that, could Lombardy receive at once
the full license to establish its own form of government, it would
split into as many petty states as there are large cities in it, and
would be plunged into all the horrors of civil contest. It is a most
fortunate thing for the north of Italy that it is under the strong hand
of the most steady and respectable power in Europe--one whose rulers
will never set it a bad example, who are able to protect it from all
aggression, and who watch over its social and internal progress with
unceasing care. The Lombards, like the Irish agitators, may cry out
for "Repeal of the Union;" but the granting of that repeal would be
the signing of the death-warrant of national prosperity. Austria is no
enemy to rational, well-balanced liberty: there is no country in the
world where _real_ liberty and happiness are more widely diffused, or
more intensely felt. Its people are free from the clamours of noisy and
frothy patriotism, which, when stripped of its false clothing, proves
nothing more than vulgar and self-interested ambition. They enjoy all
the blessings of good government, and are able each man to sit under
his own fig tree, and to see all around him in a state of unmixed
prosperity. Such a power as this will not readily give way to the
declamations and "pronunciations" of the rabble; it will rather wait
for the amelioration of the national character; and, when it finds its
subjects fit for some of the introductory processes of self-government,
it will concede them.

We could wish to see the other powers of Italy taking advice from
Austria, and not hastening onwards too rapidly along that path, wherein
a return is so unpleasant and so difficult. Far better would it be
for them to be too slow than too hasty with political innovation: the
safety of such a retardatory course is certain, whereas the success of
a more rapid advance is exceedingly problematical.

As for England, whatever tends to the real benefit of Italy must tend
also to her advantage. She has so many commercial, if not political
relations with that country, that the well-being of a considerable
class of her customers cannot but promote the interests of her own
traders. But Italy revolutionised will not be the Italy that now
imports large quantities of our goods, and that pays for them in
valuable products of first-rate necessity to the English consumer.
Italy, well governed and prosperous, will always offer a good mart for
British goods; and therefore, upon this ground alone, Great Britain
is especially concerned to see that the Peninsula remains quiet and
healthy. But, to take a higher view of the state of things, it is the
true interest of England--whatever Radical orators and Whig statesmen
may think--to ally herself with the friends of order in Europe, and
to avoid all connexion with the promoters of wars and tumults. France
would be delighted at seeing Italy convulsed from one end to the other,
were not the crafty occupant of her throne afraid of thereby injuring
the solidity of his own dynasty. But for England, there can be no
second course to pursue; and having gained her own freedom through
the long experience and the severe trials of centuries, she can never
honestly encourage other nations to hope for similar results by the
proceedings of a few months and weeks. If she does, or rather if her
ministers tamper with the revolutionary party in Italy, or elsewhere,
instead of supporting the cause of steady government, she abdicates the
high position she holds in the European family, and deserves to lose
those multifarious advantages,--those numerous possessions, which she
holds only on the tenure of being the great supporter of reasonable
freedom, and international justice.



THE PERIODICAL LITERATURE OF AMERICA.


BRITISH readers are not unacquainted with the American newspaper press,
as, not to mention the numerous extracts from transatlantic papers in
the columns of London journals, the merits of that press formed, but a
few years ago, a topic of controversy between two London Quarterlies.
But of American magazines and reviews they seldom hear any thing. This
is certainly in no degree owing to the scarcity of these publications,
for they are as numerous, in comparison, as the newspapers, have a very
respectable circulation, (in some cases nearly four thousand,) and that
at the not remarkably low price of four or five dollars _per annum_.
Neither is it to their insignificance at home, for their editors make
a considerable figure in the literary world, and their contributors
are sufficiently vain of themselves, as their practice of signing or
heading articles with their names in full would alone show.[47] Indeed
Willis's idea (so ridiculed by the _Edinburgh_,) of a magazine writer
becoming a great lion in society, is not so very great an absurdity if
applied to American society. Nor is this due to the fact that their
topics are exclusively local; for there is scarcely a subject under
heaven of which they do not treat, and a European might derive some
very startling information from them. The _Democratic Review_, for
example, has a habit of predicting twice or thrice a-year that England
is on the point of exploding utterly, and going off into absolute
chaos.[48]

"Perhaps," interrupts an impatient non-admirer of things American
generally, "it is because they are not worth hearing any thing about."
And this suggestion is not so far from truth as it is from politeness.
Considering the great demand for periodical literature in the New
World, one is surprised to find it so bad in point of quality. Not
that the monthly and quarterly press is disfigured by the violence
and exaggeration that too often deform the daily. Over-spiciness is
the very last fault justly chargeable upon it. In slang language, it
would rather be characterised by the terms "slow," "seedy," "remarkably
mild," and the like. Crude essays filled with commonplaces, truisms,
verses of the true _non Di non homines_ cast, tales such as shop-boys
and milliners' girls delight in, and "critical notices" all conceived
in the same spirit of indiscriminating praise, make up the columns of
the monthlies; while the one or two more pretending publications which
now represent the quarterly press, are of a uniformly subdued and
soporific character.

Now the first phenomenon worthy of notice is, that this has not always
been the case. It was very different eight or nine years ago. The three
leading cities of the north, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, had
each its Quarterly: the _Knickerbocker_, a New York magazine, boasted
a brilliant list of contributors, headed by Irving and Cooper, and its
articles were frequently copied (sometimes without acknowledgment,)
into English periodicals. This change for the worse is worth
investigating, at least as a matter of curiosity.

"I don't know that it _is_ a change for the worse," says a prim
personage in spectacles. "If your periodical literature dies out
entirely, you need not be very sorry. I shouldn't be if ours did." And
then come some murmurs of "light," "superficial," "unsound," and more
to the same effect.

"My good sir, this in the face of Maga! not to mention the _Quarterly_
and the _Edinburgh_. With such _faits accomplis_ against you, what
_can_ you say?"

"I don't believe in _faits accomplis_. They are the excuse of the timid
man, and the capital of the unprincipled man. _Fait accompli_ means, in
plain English, that 'because it is so, therefore it ought to be so'--a
doctrine which I, for one, will never assent to."

"Well, there is something in that last position of yours. We will
condescend, therefore, to argue the question. Let me ask you, then,

"_First_, Do you see any _primâ facie_ improbability in supposing that
a man may write a very good essay, who could not write two good volumes
octavo; or a racy and interesting sketch, who could not put together a
readable novel; or a few graceful poems, without having matter enough
for a volume of poetry?

"_Secondly_, Is a treatise necessarily profound, because it is long; or
superficial, because it is of practicable dimensions?

"_Thirdly_, When you use the term 'superficial,' do you really
believe and mean to imply that periodical writers are in the habit of
discussing subjects which they do not understand? Would you say, for
instance, that Macaulay's reviews denote a man ignorant of history, or
that Sedgwick knows less geology than the man who wrote the _Vestiges
of Creation_, or that Mitchell knew less Greek than Lord Brougham?

"But perhaps it is the literary criticism to which you object. You
are an author yourself, perhaps, though we have not the pleasure of
recollecting you. You have written a good-sized volume of _Something,
and Other Poems_, and cannot bear that your thoughts and rhymes
should be scrutinised and found fault with by a reviewer--that your
immortal fire should be tested in so earthy a crucible. In that case
you will find many more or less distinguished names to sympathise with
and encourage you. There is Bulwer, with whom the word critic is an
exponent of every thing that is low, and mean, and contemptible; and
on our side of the water (sorry are we to say it) a much milder man
than Bulwer--Washington Irving--has spoken of the critical tribe as
having little real influence, and not deserving more influence than
they have; while of the small fry of authorlings, there is no end of
those who are ready to rate the reviewer roundly for 'finding fault
with his betters.' One cannot even condemn an epic of impracticable
length and hopeless mediocrity--nay, not so much as hint that verses
are not necessarily poetry--without being assailed by an unceremonious
_argumentum ad hominem_--'You couldn't make better.'[49] And perhaps
the critic could not. It is more reasonable to suppose that he wouldn't
if he could, entertaining the commendable conviction, that to spend
a day, much more a month or a year, in writing middling verse, is an
awful waste of time. But what an absurd irrelevancy of counter-charge!
Suppose Brummell had found fault with the (Nug ee?) or Buckmaster
of his day for misfitting him, and the schneider had replied, 'Mr
Brummell, you couldn't make as good a coat in a year.' 'Very probably
not,' the beau might have retorted; 'but my business is to wear the
coat, and yours to make it.' Must a man be able to concoct a _bisque
d'écrevisse_ himself, before he can venture to hazard an opinion on
the respective merits of the _Trois Frères_ and the _Café Anglais_? Or
shall he be denied the right of giving a decided vote and holding a
decided opinion in politics, because he has not ability or opportunity
to become a cabinet minister to-morrow? In seeking to put down, or
affecting to despise criticism, the author makes a claim which no
other distinguished character ventures. The artist does not insist on
controlling the judgment of his contemporaries,[50] still less the
statesman. Did a premier fulminate his dictum to the effect that no
journalist had a right to find fault with his measures, he would raise
a pretty swarm of hornets about his ears. By what precedent or analogy,
then, can the poet, or novelist, or historian, set himself up as
autocrat in that realm of letters, which is proverbially a republic?

"Besides, suppose for a moment that all professional critics were
Sir-Peter-Lauried in the most complete manner, who should help to guide
the popular mind in determining on the merits of a work? Are we to
trust the written puffs of the author's publisher, or the spoken puffs
of his friends? Or are _authors_ only to judge of authors, and is it
quite certain that in this way we shall always obtain unprejudiced
and competent judgments? Or shall we make an ultimate appeal to the
public themselves, and decide a book's merits by its sale--a test that
would put Jim Crow infinitely before Philip Van Artevelde? No doubt a
_bad_ critic is a very bad thing; but it is not a remarkably equitable
proceeding to judge of any class by the worst specimens of it; and
surely it is no fairer to condemn critics _en masse_, because some
of them have formed erroneous judgments or uttered predictions which
time has falsified, than it would be to condemn authors _en masse_,
because many of them have written stupid or dangerous books. Let us
ask ourselves soberly what a critic is--not the caricature of one
that Bulwer would draw, but such an idea of one as any dispassionate
and well-informed man would conceive. In the first place, criticism
depends very much on taste, and taste is of all faculties that which
is founded on and supported by education and cultivation. Therefore
the critic must be a liberally educated man in the highest sense of
the term. And as he has to be conversant with niceties of thought and
expression, philology and the classics should have formed a prominent
element in his education. We should be very suspicious of that man's
critical capacity, who had not thoroughly studied (by which we do _not_
mean being able to speak) at least one language besides his own. Then,
as a matter of course, before beginning to write about books, he must
have read many books of all sorts, and not only read, but studied and
comprehended them. All which will help us to see why the professional
critic is likely to be a better judge of books than the professional
author, because the preparation of the former renders him eminently
eclectic; while the latter is apt to have a bias toward peculiarities
of his own, and thus to judge of others by a partial standard.

"Next, the critic must be a courageous and independent man. His
judgment upon a book must be entirely irrespective of any popular
outcry for or against it. If he is at all apt to float with the
opinions of others, he cannot be the adviser and assistant of the
public, but will only encourage accidental error or premeditated
deception. For a similar reason, he will keep all personal and private
considerations out of view. He must not be supposed to know the author,
except as exhibited in his works. But while personality is the bane of
criticism, partisanship, moral or political, is so far from being a
hinderance to the critic, that it is actually an aid to him. If he has
legitimate grounds for praising a coadjutor or condemning an opponent,
he will write all the better for his partisanship; for, indulging that
partisanship, he feels himself, if he be an honest partisan, to be
also serving the public. We do not pretend to have enumerated all the
requisites for a critic. There are some natural qualities, which, if
not indispensable, are at least a great assistance. Thus we find men
who have the same immediate perception of styles that portrait painters
have of countenances, and can immediately assign to any anonymous
writing its author, though the peculiarities which distinguish that
author be so slight that it is not easy to illustrate, much less to
explain them. And thus, if you ask such a man, 'How do you know that
---- wrote this? What turn of expression or traits of style can you
point to?' He will reply, 'I can't give you any reason, only I am sure
it is so;' and so you will find it to be. He knows it, as it were,
by intuition." But we have already said quite enough on the general
question; so let us leave our friend to wipe his spectacles, and come
back to our particular case.

In examining the causes of the inferiority of American periodical
literature, the most readily assignable, and generally applicable is,
that its contributors are mostly unpaid. It is pretty safe to enunciate
as a general rule, that, when you want a good thing, you must pay for
it. Now the reprints of English magazines can be sold for two dollars
_per annum_, whereas a properly supported home magazine or review
cannot be afforded for less than four or five. Hence no one will
embark a large capital in so doubtful an undertaking; and periodical
editorship is generally a last resource or a desperate speculation. One
of the leading magazines in New York--perhaps, on the whole, the most
respectable and best conducted--was started with a _borrowed_ capital
of 300 dollars, (say £65.) But it is hardly necessary to remark that
the proprietors of a periodical should have a fair sum in hand to begin
with, that they may secure the services of able and eminent men to
make a good start. The syllogistic conclusion is obvious. At the same
time, the editor finds at his disposal a most tempting array (so far as
quantity and variety are concerned) of gratuitous contributions; for
there is in America a mob of--not "gentlemen" altogether--men and women
who "write with ease," and whose "easy writing" seldom escapes the
correlative proverbially attached to easy writing. This is, in a great
measure, owing to the system of school and collegiate education, which,
by working boys and girls of fourteen and upwards at "compositions" and
"orations" about as assiduously as Etonians are worked at "longs and
shorts," makes them "writers" before they know how to read, and gives
them a manner before they can have acquired or originated matter. Most
of these people are content to write for nothing; they are sufficiently
paid by the glory of appearing in print; many of them could write
no better if they were paid. And it certainly is a temptation to be
offered a choice gratis among a variety of articles not absolutely
unreadable, while you would be compelled to pay handsomely for one good
one.

But the specific evils of such a system are numerous. In the first
place, it prevents the editor from standing on a proper footing towards
his contributors. Many a man who is not so engrossed with business but
that he can _afford_ to write for nothing, would nevertheless find an
occasional payment of forty or fifty dollars a very timely addition to
his income, and would prefer that way of making money to many others.
But, in comparison with the editor, he appears positively a rich man,
and as such is ashamed to ask for any pecuniary recompense. He feels,
therefore, as if he were doing a charitable and patronising, or at
least a very friendly act, in contributing, and will be apt to take
less and less trouble with his contributions, and write chiefly for his
own amusement; while the editor, on his part, does not like to run the
chance of offending a man who can write him good articles occasionally,
and feels a delicacy about declining to insert whatever the other
writes.

Next, it often stands in the way of honest criticism. Men can be paid
in flattery as well as in dollars, and the former commodity is more
easily procurable than the latter. If the editor eulogises the author
of "---- and other Poems," as at least equal to Tennyson, there is a
chance that some of the "other poems," may come his way occasionally.
Of course, if he were able and willing to pay for good articles, he
could always command the services of good contributors, and need not
stoop to so unworthy a practice.

Thirdly, it destroys all homogenousness and unity of tone in the
periodical, by preventing it from having any permanent corps of
writers. The editors must furnish good articles now and then, to carry
off their ordinary vapid matter; and, accordingly, they are sometimes
under the disagreeable necessity of paying for them;[51] but not
sufficiently often to make it worth the while of a writer to whom the
pecuniary consideration is an object, to attach himself permanently
to any of their concerns. Hence, those men who expect to derive any
appreciable part of their income from writing in periodicals, are
continually changing their colours, and essentially migratory. And
as the principal attraction of the unpaid writers is their variety,
which is best provided for by frequently changing the supply of them,
while one great inducement to themselves is the gratification of their
vanity, which is best promoted by their appearing in the greatest
number of periodicals, they also become migratory and without permanent
connexion. Accordingly it is not uncommon for a periodical to change
its opinions on men and things three or four times a-year. Frequently,
too, these changes are accompanied by disputes about unsettled accounts
and other private matters, which have an awkward tendency to influence
the subsequent critical and editorial opinions of both parties.
Now and then they lead to libel suits,--sometimes to still greater
extremities. Mr Colton, editor of the _American Review_, had occasion
to dispense with the services of a young Kentuckian with whom he was
at first connected. (It is but justice to the former gentleman to say,
that there were no short-comings on his part; his only error seems to
have been entangling himself with an unworthy assistant in the first
place.) The discharged assistant forthwith issued a pamphlet against
Mr Colton, of which that gentleman had the good sense to take not
the slightest notice, and his example was pretty generally followed.
Furious at this contempt, the Southerner attacked his late principal
in the street with a life-preserver. Fortunately Mr Colton possessed
a fair share of what never comes amiss with an editor, especially an
American editor,--personal prowess. In the scuffle which ensued, he
upset his assailant, and carried off the _spolia opima_ in the shape of
the bludgeon aforesaid.

But the worst consequence of all is, the suspicion cast upon all offers
from periodicals to really eminent writers, by the failure of editors,
(through bad faith, or inability, or both,) to fulfil promises made
to their contributors. Some of these cases are positively startling.
In one instance a distinguished author was promised, _or given to
understand, that he would have_ as much as one thousand dollars a-year.
He wrote for two years steadily, and never received two cents. Another
case occurred very recently. A comic or would-be-comic, periodical
was started in imitation of _Punch_, and the proprietors offered ten
dollars a page for all accepted articles. This they paid for a few
weeks, and then, having secured on credit a supply for some time
longer, deliberately broke their word, and would at this very time, if
solvent, owe to a number of small litterateurs in New York, small sums
of five and ten dollars. In this case, retribution was speedy, for the
whole affair broke down in less than a year.

We see, then, one great radical cause of inferiority in American
periodical literature, affecting it in all its departments. But there
are other influences which especially conspire to pervert and impede
_criticism_. Some of these will be obvious, on referring back to
our hints at the requisites for a critic. We said that he should be
in the highest sense of the term a liberally educated man. Now this
is what very few of the American periodical writers, professed or
occasional, are. The popular object of education in the new world is
to make men speak fluently and write readily about any thing and
every thing--speaking and writing which, from their very fluency and
readiness, tend to platitude and commonplace. Those studies which
depend on and form a taste for verbal criticism, are pursued in a very
slovenly and unsatisfactory manner; the penchant being for mathematics,
from their supposed practical tendencies.[52] Men read much, but they
do not "mark, learn, and inwardly digest." Their reading is chiefly
of new books, a most uncritical style of reading, to which the words
_reference_, _comparison_, _illustration_, are altogether foreign.
Again, we said that our critic must not only be able to form, but
ready to express his own opinion--in short, that he must be bold and
independent. Now this is no easy or common thing in America, not so
much from want of spirit and fear of the majority as from want of
_habit_; the democratic influence moulding all minds to think alike. At
the same time, it must be admitted that a spurious public opinion does
often exercise a directly repressing influence. Cooper says, in his
last novel, that the government of the United States ought to be called
the _Gossipian_, and certainly Mrs Grundy is a very important estate in
the republic. Then there are many powerful interests all ready to take
offence and cry out. The strongest editor is afraid of some of these.
Thus the _Courier_ and _Enquirer_, which, all things considered, must
be said to stand at the head of the New York daily press, is completely
under the dictation of John Hughes and the Papist faction in that city.
By _under the dictation_, we mean that it never inserts any thing in
favour of Protestantism, nor omits any opportunity of saying something
in favour of Romanism.[53] And if these influences have such power over
a newspaper which has mercantile intelligence, advertisements, and
other great sources of support, much more must they affect a magazine
or review. One great aim of an American magazine, therefore, is to
tread on nobody's moral toes, or, as their circulars phrase it, "to
contain nothing which shall offend the most fastidious"--be the same
Irish renegade, repudiator, or Fourierite. Accordingly, nearly all
the magazines and reviews profess and practise political neutrality;
and the two or three exceptions depend almost entirely on their
political articles and partisan circulation. It was once mentioned to
us by the editor of a Whig (Conservative) Review, that he had _one_
Democratic subscriber. And we know another editor who is continually
apologising to his subscribers, and one half of his correspondents,
for what the other half write. This has not always been the case.
The _Southern Literary Messenger_ was established to write up "the
peculiar institution," and therefore only suited to and intended for
the southern market; but there was a time when, under the management
of Mr E. A. Poe, an erratic and unequal, but occasionally very
brilliant writer, it had considerable circulation in the north. And the
"Democratic Review," while it contained and paid for good articles, was
subscribed to and even written for by many Whigs.

Another enemy of true criticism in America is _provincialism_. There
is no literary metropolis which can give decisive opinions, and the
country is parcelled out among small cliques, who settle things their
own way in their own particular districts. Thus, there are shining
lights in Boston, who are "small potatoes" in New York; and "most
remarkable men" in the West, whom no one has remarked in the East.
Sometimes, indeed, these cliques continue to ramify and extend their
influence into other places. This is effected by a regular system
of flattery,--"tickle me and I'll tickle you;" nor is there even an
endeavour to conceal this. For instance, when the classical lion of a
certain clique had been favourably reviewed by a gentleman in another
city, whose opinion was supposed to be worth something, the periodical
organ of the clique publicly expressed its thanks for the favour,
and in return, dug up a buried novel of the critic's, and did its
best to resuscitate it by a vigorous puff. Here was a fair business
transaction with prompt payment. We have observed that the tendency
of American reviewing is to indiscriminate praise. The exceptions to
this, (setting aside some rare extravagances which resemble the efforts
of a bashful man to appear at ease, attempts to annihilate Cooper, or
Warren, or Tennyson, for instance) usually spring from some of the
private misunderstandings we have alluded to; _e.g._ two _litterateurs_
quarrel, one of them is kicked out of doors, and then they begin to
_criticise_ each other's writings. And the consequence is, that it is
next to impossible to pass an unfavourable opinion upon any thing,
without having personal motives attributed to you, and getting into a
personal squabble about it. When an author, or an artist,[54] or an
institution is condemned, the first step is to find out, if possible,
the writer of the review, and the next to assail him on private
grounds. Indeed, the author's friends do not always stop at pen and
paper. Some years ago, an English magazinist charged a fair versifier
of the West with having "realised" some of his inspirations,--a very
absurd claim by the way, as there was nothing in the disputed stanzas
which would have done any man much credit. Soon after, the Kentucky
papers announced that a friend of the lady had gone out express by the
last steamer, for the purpose of "regulating" the Englishman. What the
result was we have never heard.

Such are some of the causes which militate against the attainment of
a high standard in American periodical literature. For some years it
went on very swimmingly _on credit_; but it is exceedingly doubtful,
to say the least, if the experiment could be successfully repeated. We
have seen that many of these obstacles are directly referable to the
fact that the editorship of Monthlies and Quarterlies does not tempt
men of capital into it; and it is not difficult to perceive that such
of the others as are surmountable, can be most readily overcome by
remunerating those engaged in the business. If good critics are well
paid, it will be worth men's while to study to become good critics; and
if a periodical is supported with real ability, it will make its way in
spite of sectional or party prejudices, as we have seen was the case in
some instances. And since it is plain that the republication of English
magazines must interfere with the home article, the conclusion seems
inevitable that the passing of an International Copyright Law would be
the greatest benefit that could be conferred on American periodical
literature.



IRELAND AND THE MINISTERIAL MEASURES.


IT is unnecessary to remind our readers, that on more than one occasion
we pointed out to the late so-called Conservative administration the
dangers to which they were exposing the country, and the misfortunes
which were sure to arise from the fatal policy which they had adopted
for the government of Ireland. We told them on those occasions, that
the lax manner in which the laws were administered, and the indecisive
conduct of the Executive, would lead to the state of things which we
then foresaw, and which all parties now deplore. We warned them, that
tampering with the incipient evil, instead of boldly striking at its
root, would advance its growth instead of diminishing its power; and
that the welfare of all classes imperatively demanded at their hands
the repression not only of crime itself, but of those causes to which
the origin of crime was clearly traceable. Unhappily our advice was
unheeded. The Peel government persevered in the same course which its
Whig predecessors had pursued, augmented the obstacles which impeded
the due administration of the laws, and retarded the pacification of
the country by the culpable lenity which marked their proceedings
against those who perpetrated crime, as well as towards those, still
more criminal, who countenanced and abetted its commission.

The law which empowered the Crown to challenge improper jurors,
rendered a dead letter by the Whigs in order to conciliate Mr
O'Connell, was allowed so to remain by the Tories; and thus accomplices
of the criminals in the dock became arbiters of their associates' fate
in the jury-box; and it is unnecessary to say how much the impunity
procured by this means tended to increase the audacity of the violators
of the law, and to deter the mass of the people from having recourse to
the tribunals of the country for justice and protection.

An association openly aiming at the dismemberment of the empire was
not only allowed to pursue its seditious course in peace, but its
leader was flattered and courted in the senate, until, imboldened by
the subserviency of his opponents, and pressed on by the impatience
of his followers, he assumed such a menacing position, as compelled
the interference of the constituted authorities. He was condemned,
imprisoned, released, and permitted again to talk his treason and boast
his triumph to an ignorant and excitable people, who witnessed his
success without being able to appreciate the causes to which it was
attributable. While the feelings of the people were being acted upon by
the orators of Conciliation Hall, the English press accomplished the
triumph of agrarian outrage by the course which, with few exceptions,
was adopted by the leading organs of public opinion. The unfounded
statements of the demagogues, both lay and clerical, were adopted with
avidity, and commented on with surpassing ability. In every instance
the falsehood of those premeditated lies was subsequently established,
but that did not prevent the adoption of every future tale, even
though emanating from the same polluted source. The strictures based
on those untruths were assiduously copied into the Irish papers; and,
palliating as they did the crimes of the peasantry, by the ridicule,
contempt, and detestation which they excited against the owners of
the land, they tended not only to provoke and encourage the peasantry
to resistance of the law, but the effect produced by their simulated
horrors on the public mind tied up the hands of the Executive, and
rendered the acquiescence of Parliament, in such measures as might be
necessary for the preservation of the public peace, a thing scarcely
to be expected or hoped for, even had the administration the good
sense or the manliness to determine on demanding them. The writers in
the English press denounced the landlords, under all circumstances,
and for all manner of causes. If one of them dispossessed some of
his tenantry who held portions of the soil too small to afford them
support, even though given for nothing, in order that the holdings of
the others should be enlarged to such a size as would enable them to
live in comfort, he was denounced as an exterminator, even though he
largely remunerated, and then at his own expense sent the dispossessed
to countries where land was abundant and labour remunerative, and
to which the most affluent of their neighbours were every day
voluntarily emigrating. If, deterred by the abuse of the press and
the denunciations of the priest, he allowed them to continue in the
same state of misery and destitution in which he found them, he was
represented as heedless and unfeeling, and the poverty of his tenantry
(which, though willing, he dared not remedy) was made an article of
dittay against him. If he endeavoured to enforce his rents, he was
a tyrant. If he allowed them (as did Mr Ormsby Gore,) from mistaken
compassion, to run _ten and twelve years in arrear_, he was pronounced
to be "culpably negligent." In fact, no matter what he did, he was
wrong; and in their desire to convict the Irish proprietors, the press
acted on the principle of the Cork juror--"If he did not murder the
man, my Lord, he stole my gray mare."

To the many internal causes which tended to aggravate the evils of
Ireland, another, and one arising from circumstances of an extraneous
nature, was added. The British minister determined to abolish the corn
laws--to shelter himself against the attacks of his betrayed followers,
and to enlist public sympathy in his support. He _fabricated_ an
Irish famine a year before that scourge actually visited the land;
and, to prove the sincerity of his convictions and the truth of his
statements, he had recourse to the establishment of food depots at the
public expense, and to the system of public works, which effectually
demoralised the bulk of the population; and the pernicious consequences
of these measures, although now fully admitted, are yet far from having
arrived at that portentous magnitude which they are daily threatening
to assume.

While those continued and unremitting attacks of the English press
led the peasantry to look with distrust and hatred on the class above
them, the system of gratuitous relief and remuneration without labour,
which Sir Robert Peel was forced to adopt, in order to evince his own
conviction as to the truth of his statements in the House of Commons,
told with fearful effect on the morals of the people; for if it was
no crime to destroy a tyrant, so it was considered no disgrace to beg
instead of to earn; and men who a few months before would have blushed
at the thoughts of receiving public relief, were seen daily seeking
for their rations, although they had cows, horses, and sheep, and in
many instances profitable employment, which they abandoned to obtain
gratuitous support. With a feeble and apathetic government, and with a
powerful and talented press advocating their cause, influencing public
opinion in their favour, and attributing with success to the misconduct
of others the misery and destitution fairly assignable to their own
indolence and dishonesty, it is not much to be wondered at, that the
Irish peasantry should have become still more reckless and inattentive
than they were before. When the principal protection which the law
provided for the due administration of justice was withdrawn, it is
not surprising that they should have become still more turbulent and
criminal; and with the fierce denunciations of the lay and clerical
demagogues ringing in the ears of an excitable and ignorant people,
we cannot marvel at the scenes of horror and the deeds of death
now enacting in their degraded country. And yet even the appalling
catalogue laid before Parliament, gives but a faint idea of the
fearful state of society in Ireland. It is but a list of the "_faits
accomplis_;" and cannot depict the condition of those unhappy men who
"live in death," who know their doom has been sealed, whose execution
is openly spoken of as a thing certain to occur, who have no protection
but God's mercy to rely on, and who are so circumstanced, in many
instances, as not to have the means of fleeing from a country which
has become the charnel-house of their class. And who can paint the
feelings of the wives and families of those unfortunates? We ourselves
know instances of their sufferings which would harrow the soul of any
person possessed of the smallest portion of humanity.

But the other day, the wife of a clergyman, as amiable and charitable
a man as lives, drove into a neighbouring town, and in the shop of
a tradesman heard an expression of regret that certain gentlemen in
the neighbourhood were so soon to be murdered, and amongst others,
her own husband, whose charities and attention to the poor she vainly
hoped would have secured his safety. Hurrying home, she found he had
gone to attend one of his congregation, to whose sick bed he had been
summoned. Distracted by her apprehensions, she went to an adjacent
police station, and sent two of the men in the direction her husband
had taken. He returned alive--her precaution had saved him,--but when
she learned from his lips that the call was but a snare to bring
him within reach of his assassins, the shock overpowered a weak
constitution; she fell in a fit, and died entreating with her last
breath mercy for the father of her children from the assassins, by whom
in her delirium she fancied him to be surrounded. She left a large and
helpless family, whose only protection is a broken-hearted and a doomed
man; and yet there are to be found in the Senate those who protect the
system to which this amiable woman has fallen a victim, by refusing to
support even the paltry measure introduced by the government for its
suppression.

We had hoped, when parliament was summoned at an unusual season to
deliberate upon the state of Ireland, and when the condition of that
country was so strongly alluded to in the speech from the throne, that
effectual measures would have been resorted to for the suppression
of crime, and for the protection of the lives and properties of the
well-disposed portion of the Irish people. We did hope that the
clear-sightedness and decision of Lord Clarendon had prevailed; that
at last a man was found capable of threading his way through the maze
of Irish difficulties, and of enforcing his views on the apathetic
feelings of her Majesty's advisers. But we have been disappointed,
and either the present lord lieutenant is not so competent for the
performance of the arduous duties attached to his office as we had
supposed, or his exertions are paralysed and his counsels are rejected
by the imbecile administration to whose control he is subject.

The condition of Ireland is admitted by all parties to be such as no
civilised country ever before presented; and what are the remedies
propounded for its amelioration? Simply this, that two hundred
additional police should be employed--that the carrying of arms, or
their possession by a certain class of persons, in certain districts
where crime has _previously_ prevailed, should be a misdemeanour,
and that the expenses of the proceedings to enforce those enactments
should be levied on the inhabitants of the disturbed districts. But
Sir George Grey, while he read his list of horrors, was most cautious
lest he should offend the feelings of (what the member for Cork termed)
"the most endearing and religious people on the face of the earth," by
implicating more than four or five counties in the conspiracy which he
denounced; and too tenacious of the constitutional privileges of the
Irish assassins to propose their general disarmament, or the violation
of the sanctity of their homes by the efficient remedy of nocturnal
domiciliary visits. No: those visits are only to be paid by day,
when the parties suspected of the violation of the law may have full
notice of the approach of the constabulary, and, as a consequence,
full time to remove the arms of which they may be possessed; and they
are _only_ to be made in search of arms, and not at all as a means of
deterring "the endearing" people from leaving their homes at night,
to perpetrate the murders which they now accomplish by day. Another
clause is added, on the efficacy of which Sir George Grey seems to
place great reliance, but which is of so ludicrous a nature that we
scarcely know how to notice it seriously. "The justices and constables
shall have the power to call on all persons between the ages of sixteen
and sixty, residing or living in the district, to assist in the search
for and pursuit of the persons charged with the commission of crime;
and thus," triumphantly exclaims the Home Minister, "it will be the
duty of every person to join in such pursuit, and do his utmost to
assist in discovering and apprehending the offender; and any person
refusing to assist in such pursuit and search, would be guilty of a
misdemeanour, and would be liable to be imprisoned with or without hard
labour for any term not exceeding two years." There is an old adage
that "one man may take a horse to the water, but twenty can't make him
drink;" and so it will be found in reference to the operation of this
most sapient enactment. The justice or the constable may call out the
lieges, but can they induce or compel them to guide them to the haunt
of the murderer? "Not a bit of it;"--they will join most willingly in
the pursuit, but it will certainly be to mislead the pursuers; and, as
the police force is generally found sufficient to vindicate the law,
if they can only arrive when the crime is being perpetrated, they will
not summon any assistance except in those cases where the outrage has
been committed previous to their arrival; and in such instances, the
culprits will have had full time to escape, and the witnesses of the
deed, ample opportunities of arranging their plans for his protection.
We assure Sir George he will find that this clause, all-powerful as
he hopes its operation to prove for the repression of crime, will
remain a dead-letter on the statute-book; for no magistrate, who is
acquainted with the feelings of the people, would be so silly as to
expect efficient support or correct information from them; and no
officer who understood his duty, would hamper himself with a mob of
assistants, whose undoubted object it would be to deceive and thwart
him in its discharge. A story is told, that, during Lord Anglesey's
administration, when Whiteboy offences were prevalent in the South of
Ireland, a Cabinet Council was summoned, at which the then Chancellor,
(Sir Anthony Hart,) having been called upon to give his opinion as
to the best remedy to be adopted for their repression, at once, with
the feelings of an Englishman, declared,--"that he would order the
sheriff to call out the 'posse comitatûs.'" "By my sowl," interposed
Chief Baron O'Grady, in his broad Munster brogue, "my Lord Chancellor,
that's just what we want to avoid!--'the posse's' out already: may be
you could give us some method of getting them to stay at home." And so
it will be with "the posse" of Sir George Grey, if ever called out;
they will prove an encumbrance instead of an assistance to the officers
of justice. But what a lamentable state of ignorance as to the state
of Ireland does the proposal of those most absurd remedies indicate,
on the part of our present rulers! Every one at all acquainted with
the country, knows that the assassin is _never_ selected from the
inhabitants of the immediate neighbourhood where the crime is to be
committed; and yet, by this enactment, only the persons resident in
such districts are to be disarmed, or deprived of the right of openly
carrying arms. And thus, by residing beyond or by stepping over the
ditch which bounds the proscribed locality, the murderer may assert
his right of bearing arms, and defy the police to deprive him of his
gun; or, by altering his position so as to avoid the forbidden ground,
he may coolly wait the advent of his victim without the slightest
danger of molestation. "On the very day that Major Mahon was murdered,"
continues Sir George Grey, "two persons were seen lurking about, who it
was strongly suspected were the murderers. There was, indeed, no moral
doubt that they were the persons by whom the fatal act was committed.
Now, if the police had been armed with the powers which were sought for
by this bill, those persons might have been arrested; the fatal weapons
would have been taken from them, and they would have been amenable to
the law for a misdemeanour, in carrying arms contrary to the provisions
of this act, or for having arms concealed for the purpose of carrying
them to effect a murderous object." Now we deny the Right Honourable
Baronet's conclusions. This enactment could not have prevented the
assassination of Major Mahon, for his murderers had only to choose a
locality where it would not be in operation. Neither will it at all
affect the commission of other meditated murders; _for there is now
organised_ (and we give the information to her Majesty's government, if
they are not already in possession of it,) _a new society_,[55] _who
have regular hired assassins in their pay, for the purpose of pursuing,
wherever they may be found, the denounced persons who have fled the
country and escaped their vengeance._ This may appear incredible; but
it is well known and openly spoken of in the disturbed districts. One
of those bravos, the other day, in Dublin, entered the office of a
marked man, who is agent to an English gentleman, a large proprietor in
a western county; he inquired for the person of whom he was in search,
but who was fortunately absent. Suspicion having been excited by his
contradictory replies to questions which were put to him touching his
business, and from the well known fact that the gentleman he desired
to see was denounced, he was given into custody, and on his person was
found a case of loaded pistols. Now, there can be no doubt that this
man meditated murder; yet he walked off with his arms, and we should be
glad to learn how this enactment, even though it were on the statute
book, could have interfered with his proceedings. Galway, from whence
he came, might be proclaimed, but it is not possible that Dublin,
where he purposed to commit the deed, should ever come under its
operation. We admit that a general and stringent Arms act would have
afforded, both in this and Major Mahon's case, probable protection,
and possibly might have saved many other victims from a premature and
bloody death. And whose fault is it that such is not in existence?
Whose but that of the administration of which the Home Secretary is an
influential member? To overthrow a hostile government, and obtain the
reins of power for themselves, they sacrificed the peace of Ireland
and the lives of multitudes of most estimable persons; and now they
unblushingly come to parliament to ask the enactment of a measure
which they must well know will prove but a mockery and a delusion, as
a substitute for the efficient law which their factious opposition
blotted from the statute book. Have those men hearts to feel or
consciences to be smitten?--if so, what must their sufferings be at the
record of each successive murder, which adds another victim to those
already sacrificed by their fatal and unprincipled policy.

While those provisions of the proposed law, to which we have already
alluded, are utterly inefficient and valueless for the repression of
crime, there is another clause in the bill which inflicts a positive
and unmerited injustice. The proclaimed district is to pay the expense
of the additional police force, necessary for its pacification. Now,
the gentry and large farmers, who are the victims of the system sought
to be repressed, and not its supporters, will be the persons upon whom
this heavy charge must principally fall. The guilty have little or no
land, and, consequently, will be exempt from the increased taxation;
and thus the pockets of the peaceable and well-disposed will be picked,
although their persons may not be protected. We do not understand
why government, which is bound to protect the lives and properties
of its subjects, should mulct those whose safety is their peculiar
charge, because additional expense is rendered necessary to root out
crime, generated and fostered by its own incompetency or neglect. But
this is an administration of political economists, and the loyal and
peaceable portion of the Irish nation need not expect ordinary security
without the payment of an extraordinary price for it, upon the same
principle that the struggling English trader could only obtain monetary
assistance, at a rate of interest too usurious to leave the aid useful.

No wonder that Mr John O'Connell should express his "agreeable
disappointment at the measures proposed," when, in common with the
generality of the public, he expected that the melancholy state of
things would have compelled even the Whigs to originate something
more stringent and effective. Nor need we be surprised, that his
gratitude overcame his discretion. This was but natural, even though it
exposed him to the lash of his more circumspect rival. We have waded
through the entire debates on the state of Ireland, from the schoolboy
puerilities of Mr Adair, to the cold-blooded per centages of Sir George
Grey, and we have discovered nothing which would lead us to anticipate
the adoption of such measures, or of such a system of government, as
would ensure the pacification, and, as a consequence, the prosperity
of that unhappy country. Enough there is of the cuckoo cries of
"developing resources," "introducing capital," "creating domestic
manufactures," &c. &c.; but we would ask those holiday declaimers how
resources are to be developed, or capital introduced, or manufactures
fostered, in a country where property has no rights, and where life has
no protection?

Whoever ventures to propose for the government of Ireland a system,
stringent and effective enough to secure the enjoyment of the fruits
of industry, and the preservation of life, is at once met with the
cry of, "you have tried coercion long enough, and it has failed--try
a conciliatory policy now, and you must surely succeed." But the
truth is, that although both systems have been tried, neither have
been judiciously applied; and it is to the shuffling and changing of
successive administrations, that all the evils which now curse the land
are mainly attributable. "You tried coercion for centuries," the Irish
_patriot_ will exclaim, "and what are you the better for it?"

It is true, that in former days, the Irish peasant was ground to the
dust, and trampled on, when he was faithful, trustworthy, honest, and
submissive. It is true the Popish priest was persecuted, and a price
set upon his head when he was intelligent, educated, loyal, and pious.
But it is equally true, that when the Roman Catholic layman was placed
upon a full equality with his Protestant fellow countryman, and the
Roman Catholic priest was recognised by the law, and protected in the
discharge of his duties, another and an equally mischievous course of
policy was adopted towards both. A sort of political saturnalia was
allowed the emancipated slaves, and they were taught to riot in the
enjoyment of newly acquired liberty. They were misled and corrupted
by cunning and designing demagogues, while the government, which
should have enforced submission to the laws when they had removed all
just causes of complaint, remained passive, until the minds of the
people were poisoned by false representations. Then first was yielded
to political combination as a matter of expediency, that which, if
conceded at all, should only have been granted as a matter of right.
And when, by intimidation and violence, the representation of the
country was vested in the heads of agitation, it became an object of
the last importance to each of the political parties who rule the
country to procure the popular support; and, to accomplish this, no
sacrifice of principle was considered too great, and no concessions
to democratic principles too exorbitant. The Whigs, after they had
coerced with success, were obliged to abandon their protective policy,
because they were denounced as "base, brutal, and bloody;" and then,
adopting the other tack, they boldly launched their bark on the sea of
conciliation. The lowest, and least intelligent class of men, and those
who, from their callings and station in life, were most exposed to
intimidation, were placed indiscriminately on the criminal jury lists.
The right which the Crown enjoys of challenging improper jurors, was
forbidden to be exercised, and, to consummate the glorious triumph of
liberality, "the beloved Normanby" commenced his tour of grace, and,
in the plenitude of his mercy, liberated those malefactors who had
been consigned to the restraint of the gaols by the vindicated laws
of their country. The Peel government followed in the same course as
to the administration of the law, established the poor-houses, issued
the land commission, and suggested the principle of tenant-right. They
permitted the most unbounded liberty of speech and of action; they
allowed hundreds of thousands of men to unite in military array, for
the purpose of dismembering the empire; they endowed Maynooth, founded
the godless colleges, and recognised the temporal rank of the Roman
Catholic prelates, by placing them in royal commissions above the heads
of temporal peers. They complimented O'Connell on his patriotism,
after they had been compelled by his boastful menaces to prosecute him
for sedition, and connived at his escape when they had procured his
conviction. And after those conciliating measures, may we not ask, what
has conciliation accomplished? The answer is obvious: its result is
to be _read_ in the list of crimes which have annihilated all law in
Ireland--it is to be _heard_ in the wailings and lamentations of those
who have been made widows and orphans by the system of assassination
which it has generated and protected.

But if we find that neither unreasonable persecution on the one hand,
nor unjustifiable concessions on the other, have been productive of
good, is that a reason why we should not now have recourse to temporary
measures which are indispensable to secure the action of the law, and
the lives of the Queen's Irish subjects? What is coercion, after all,
but an extraordinary means to enforce the law, and to support the
constitution, when the ordinary means have failed? In England, the law
is respected and obeyed, and the people have sense and discrimination
enough to perceive that their own welfare and safety are identified
with its maintenance. But in Ireland, the case is widely different; we
think it was Swift who said, "that what was considered morally wrong
in other countries was considered morally right in Ireland,"--and if
the Celt be not enlightened enough to appreciate, he must be taught to
respect, the blessings which the British constitution confers upon him.

The utter inefficacy of the measures for which the Whig administration
now seek the sanction of Parliament is not all that we have to
deplore. On reading the debate, there will be found in the tone of
the ministerial speeches, in their promises, and still more in their
omissions, much to be lamented. Instead of boldly insisting on the
vindication of the law as the primary object to be accomplished,
they, to use Sir Robert Peel's expression, "hold parley with the
assassins;" and instead of denouncing with firmness, they palliate, as
far as decency will permit, the conduct of the Irish conspirators, and
studiously avoid all allusion to the transgressions of the priests.
Crime they say, must be repressed, but "a sop is thrown to Cerberus"
at the same time, and an additional stimulus is given to agitation
by the announcement, that a landlord-and-tenant bill is under the
consideration of the government. Now we tell her Majesty's ministers
that they never laboured under a greater delusion, than to suppose
that any measure which they or any other administration can venture to
propose to Parliament, on this subject, will be sufficient to meet the
views or satisfy the wishes of the Irish peasantry; and furthermore,
that even although they did _apparently_ succeed in accomplishing this
object, by other means than a transfer of the property of the land from
the present proprietors to their tenantry, they would be just as far
as ever from effecting the pacification of Ireland. The visionary and
prosy Mr Scrope, or the egotistical Mr Crawford, may occupy themselves
in talking and attempting legislation on a subject which the one does
not understand, and the other is incapable of explaining; but any man
of common sense who comprehends and considers the question, must at
once perceive that great danger must attend on any attempt to legislate
for the exercise of private rights, and that in this instance it would
be an utter impossibility to satisfy the wishes of one party without
absolutely sacrificing the just rights of the other. And, after all,
what is this mysterious measure of "tenant-right," which like the wand
of Aladdin is at once to restore peace and establish order, and to
which the prosperity and happiness of the Protestant north is so often
and so erroneously attributed? If it be what the advocates for its
universal adoption represent it,--namely, "The right of the occupying
tenant to dispose of the interest derivable from the improvement of
his farm, should he fall into arrear or wish to emigrate, and the
possession of what remains of the purchase-money after paying all rent
due, as a recompense for his labour, skill, and expenditure,"--we at
once answer that nothing can be more reasonable, unexceptionable,
or just; but is any man so silly as to suppose that such a measure,
if carried, would satisfy the desires of the Munster peasant? As Mr
O'Connell used to say, he would cry "Thank you for nothing,"--he is
much better off at present than he could be under any such arrangement;
he in reality not only makes the want of tenant-right an excuse for his
indolence and dishonesty, but he uses it as a cloak for his meditated
spoliation.

Mr Griffith, the government valuator, stated in his examination before
Lord Devon's commission, that his valuation was based upon the market
price of certain articles of agricultural produce, which, at the time
he commenced his proceedings, were _ten per cent_ higher in value than
they were at the time when the act which authorised his valuation was
passed; and that, consequently, being restricted to the respective
values attached to each article in the schedule of that act, his
valuation was in the first instance ten per cent _under_ what it would
have been had he not laboured under such a restriction. He further
says, that while in the north the rent actually paid amounted in most
instances to from thirty to fifty per cent _above his valuation_, in
the western counties it was not much if at all more than the value he
had put upon the land; and yet, he adds, the peasantry in the north,
paying those high rents, were industrious, prosperous, and happy, while
those in the west, who held better land on so much more reasonable
terms, were steeped in misery and crime. It is then manifestly unjust
to attribute the poverty of Connaught to the exorbitance of the rents,
or the prosperity of Ulster to the moderate price exacted for the
land. But then the northern tenant is secured remuneration for his
toils if he wish to dispose of his tenant-right:--admitted,--but the
southern and western tenant has still the advantage, for he sells or is
compensated where he has never made any improvements at all. There is
no absolute law to protect the right of the tenant in either case: but
whereas custom, a due regard to justice, and we may also add, to his
own interests, induce the northern landlord to consent to a sale which
will secure not only his rent, but a thriving instead of a failing
tenant,--intimidation and violence compel the southern landlord not
only to forgive all rent due by a defaulting tenant, (and that in most
cases amounting to three or four years) but also, after he has been
put to heavy legal expenses, to _compensate_ him for leaving his house
a wreck and his land a wilderness. Under such circumstances, can it
be supposed for a moment that any landlord would refuse a tenant the
right to sell, thereby avoiding the loss of his arrears; or that he
would prefer to evict at a heavy legal expense, and then in the end
remunerate, in order that he might conciliate the outgoing tenant, and
thus escape being shot?

Tenant-right is as really, though not so ostensibly, enjoyed in the
south as in the north; and if we hear of _sales_ of tenant-right
in the one and not in the other locality, the difference arises
from the fact that the northern tenant having improved his land,
advertises his interest in it and sells, while the southern tenant
having deteriorated, instead of having improved his farm, compensates
himself for "his right of possession" by mulcting his landlord, and
levying a species of black mail under the name of "good-will" money
from his successors. Is any man weak enough to suppose that, if the
southern tenant was secured by law a right to sell that which his
indolent and lawless habits will not permit him to make, (improvements
on his farm) such a contingent right would in any wise reconcile him
to his condition, or render him more obedient to the law? Before the
emancipation act passed, it was said by the leaders of the people,
"Grant us this, and you secure peace and tranquillity to the land;"
and the same has been said with regard to every other concession
which they exacted. Peace was to follow the abolition of the tithes,
the enactment of the Reform Bill, and the recognition of the right
of the destitute to obtain support from the land: but what has been
the consequence? Each successive triumph of the Popular Party has but
imboldened their pretensions, and confirmed them in the doctrine which
they have been assiduously taught--that "to succeed they have only to
combine:"--and so it will be with tenant-right; give them what their
advocates _profess to ask for_, and you will have them clamorous for
more. This tenant question has been adopted as a sort of safety-valve
to secure an escape for the leaders of repeal, now that the delusion on
that question can no longer be upheld; and its agitation is prosecuted
with vigour by the priests, because, by means of it, they hope not only
to strike down their hated rivals, the landlords, but to secure the
overthrow of all those legal rights by which the possession of property
is guaranteed.

It is not, we presume, contemplated that land should be held without
payment of any rent, save what the tenant may see fit to give the
owner of it, after he has secured from the produce of his farm enough
for his own "comfortable and independent subsistence." Neither do we
suppose that government will sanction a law, by which the tenant in
possession shall remain so in perpetuity, subject to the payment of
such surplusage of his profits as he shall find it convenient to bestow
upon his landlord: yet those are precisely the doctrines laid down at
the tenant-right demonstrations, and any thing granted short of these
will be considered as a blinking of the question, and treated as an
attempt to delude and deceive the people.

It has been said that the well-conducted tenant has no security of
tenure, and consequently that he will not labour, when he is not
guaranteed the just remuneration for his toils. Now, it is a curious
circumstance, and ought to show the groundlessness of their complaints
on this head, that at the great popular demonstrations of Holy Cross,
Cashell, Kilmakthomas, or Wexford, not one single case was brought
forward where tenants have been deprived of their land, or despoiled
of the value of their improvements, so long as they honestly met their
engagements. There was abundance of declamation. "The tenant _might_
be turned adrift after improving the condition of his land," but there
was not a single fact adduced to show that he had been so treated. We
have gone fully into this question, for the purpose of disabusing the
minds of the ministry, and of showing them, that if they hope, by the
concession of a landlord-and-tenant bill, (founded on the demands of
its parliamentary advocates), to effect a change for the better in the
conduct and condition of the Irish people, they will find themselves
grievously disappointed. Every step which the present government have
taken to meet the wishes of the popular party in Ireland, has but led
them still deeper into the mire of social disorder. They repealed the
Arms Act, and by that most reprehensible proceeding, mainly produced
the state of anarchy and confusion which now exists; and within one
short year they are themselves compelled to pronounce condemnation
on their own imprudence. They most recklessly squandered the public
money on useless or mischievous works, sooner than expend it on the
improvement of the land, lest by benefiting the Irish proprietor they
should displease their patrons, the priests. They created a spirit of
insubordination and idleness amongst the people, by giving employment
on public works where no return was exacted by their numerous and
overpaid staff for the wages which were given, and where multitudes
were employed who did not require it, on the nomination of the priests,
while many who did were excluded from its benefits; and, to complete
the climax of their blunders, they conceded out-door relief, at a time,
and under circumstances, which must render such a measure not only a
curse to Ireland, but a grievous burden on the other portions of the
British empire. It has been declared by the minister that in twenty-two
unions the rental twice over would not be sufficient to support the
pauper inhabitants; while many of the popular Irish members maintain
that there are three times that number of unions placed in similar
circumstances, and in which the means of subsistence must come from
the Imperial treasury.

But are the Whig ministry sincere in their declarations against Irish
crime, and is incompetency their only fault?--alas! we cannot believe
it. There are amongst them shrewd and sensible men, who must have
perceived that they have been hitherto acting in error, and there can
scarcely be one so besotted or ignorant, as not to see that to the
policy they have pursued is to be attributed the ruin of the country.
But at the same time, they well know that they must obey the dictates
of their task-masters the Irish priests, or surrender their power; and
they yield themselves bound hand and foot, sooner than abandon office
which they have made so many and such shameful sacrifices of principle
to obtain. Thirty-seven Irish members are completely in the hands of
the priests, and this is a political power which Lord John Russell's
cabinet has not the courage or the strength to defy.

While her Majesty's ministers and their supporters draw the most
appalling pictures of the state of society in Ireland, and recount
horrors which are enough to curdle the blood, they one and all abstain
most scrupulously from attributing those evils to the causes which
have really produced them--they studiously avoid touching the sore
spot. It is admitted that priests denounce men from the altars, and
that such persons become immediate victims. "Did you denounce this man
from the altar?" asked a coroner the other day of a reverend gentleman
who was giving evidence at an inquest. "I did." "And he was murdered
immediately after?" "_Yes, he was murdered at five o'clock on the same
day._" Now here is a palpable admission made by a man on his oath. He
does not seek to screen himself from the consequences of his act; he
seems rather to pride himself on the speedy execution of his decree.
Henry the Second exclaimed, "Have I no friends to rid me of such a
torment?" and Becket was sacrificed; a Roscommon priest, from the altar
of God, and on his holy Sabbath, cries to his infuriated auditors,
"_This man is worse than Cromwell, yet he lives_," and Major Mahon is
savagely slaughtered! Is there any notice taken of the conduct of those
men by the law-officers of the Crown?--any condemnation pronounced
upon it by her Majesty's ministers? Not at all: although the crime
of the one is admitted on his oath, and the truth of the accusation
against the other is undenied--both, though in the eyes of God and the
law equally criminal as the wretch who executed their commands, are
"honoured and at large;" and while such things pass before our eyes,
we are told, that "to the wonderful and praiseworthy exertions of the
Roman Catholic priesthood," we are mainly indebted for not having the
country in a worse condition than it really is!

It may be said that government cannot punish priests for such monstrous
conduct--"there is no law which will reach the offenders." Be it so;
but why is not such a law enacted now, with the full knowledge of the
facts which we have stated, and of many equally criminal instances
of priestly aggression which must have been reported to them? The
ministry introduce measures for the repression of crime, without the
slightest allusion to this practice of denunciation, which may be
considered as the very source of it. They propose to punish the peasant
who commits the assassination, "but they grant entire immunity to the
priest who points out the victim and counsels the act." We are told,
however, by an authority which seldom errs, (_The Times_ newspaper,)
that there is actually in existence a law fully competent to deal with
those transgressions. And we are the more inclined to coincide with
the opinion given in _The Times_, when we see, by proceedings lately
taken in the Court of Queen's Bench in Ireland, that there is on the
Statute-Book a law rendering those who conceal a murderer liable to
be indicted as accessories after the fact. Now, perhaps, in the whole
range of legislation, nothing could be hit upon more likely to stem
the torrent of crime than such an enactment; and yet we find that
owing either to the ignorance of the law-officers of the Crown, or the
connivance of the government, it has been allowed to remain a dead
letter, and is only dragged from its hiding-place, when the Viceregal
power has been intrusted to a man of more political honesty than his
predecessors.

But though Lord Clarendon may enforce the law against the peasant,
dare he put that which would punish the priests into operation?--Their
influence in the House forbids the supposition.

Mr O'Connell managed the power which he had created with his well-known
skill and discretion; but since the sceptre has fallen into the hands
of his feeble successor, the real props of agitation have openly
assumed the position which they have long, though secretly filled. To
them every "ruined rascal" who betakes himself to the "last resource"
of patriotism must now address himself. Formerly, the candidate was
expected to pay (say £2000) for his seat; now, it may be secured by
the utter abandonment of principle, and unbounded submission to the
will of the Donors; then, aspirants with some appearance of propriety
and decency of conduct were required; now, both qualifications may be
dispensed with. The more degraded the man, the more fit he will be
considered "to do those acts which the less vile refuse to execute;" he
may be a blackleg, a swindler, or an open adulterer, and it will be no
bar to his advancement in the eyes of the Roman Catholic bishops, who,
while they profess to admire virtue, have no objection, if it secure
their purposes, to patronise vice; and who, while they preach peace and
good-will, tolerate, if they do not approve, the encourager to murder.
In what other country in the world could men have acted as it is
admitted those priests have acted, without being reached by the strong
arm of the law? of what other Christian church than that which is ruled
over by the "bigoted M'Hale," and the "vulgar and vindictive Higgins,"
would they have been allowed to continue members?

The Irish Roman Catholic priests are said to have unbounded influence
over their flocks, and we believe it: yet can a more conclusive
evidence of their unworthiness be adduced than the state in which
we find the people subjected to their spiritual care, and who are
so fatally obedient to their dictates? A dignitary of the church,
Archdeacon Laffan, contrasts the pusillanimous conduct of the cowardly
Saxon, who bears his sufferings with patience because "he can do
nothing like a man," with the gallantry of his true-hearted Tipperary
boys, who remove those who inconvenience them by the bullet! Can we
then be surprised at the criminal conduct of the unfortunate persons
consigned to such teaching? When such men are placed in authority over
those who proclaim God's word, can we be astonished to read the account
given by the priests' own organ, _The Tipperary Vindicator_, of the
posthumous honours paid by the well-instructed and Christian people
of Tipperary to the memory of departed worth? What a testimony do the
facts recorded bear, to the zeal and efficacy with which his doctrines
have been promulgated and enforced by the meek and christian Laffan!

A few months ago, we read the following description of the proceedings
which took place at the funerals of Fogarty, Rice, and Hayes, the
executed murderers of the late Mr Clarke. There was no doubt of their
guilt, no declaration of their innocence, and no grounds whatever to
question the justice of the verdict which condemned them to die. They
were not men roused by oppression to execute "the wild justice of
revenge." No; they were regular matter-of-fact men of business; hired
bravos, ready to perpetrate any murder they were paid for committing,
and who had never been injured by the person they deprived of life.
In other countries, the carcasses of such wretches would have been
shunned; contact with them would have been considered a pollution;
and assisting at their obsequies as little better than participation
in their crimes: but not so in "virtuous and moral Tipperary," the
vineyard consigned to the spiritual labours of the venerable and
apostolic Laffan. "The bodies of the _unfortunate_ men," says _The
Vindicator_, "were conveyed in funeral procession to the homes of their
respective relatives.... They were laid out and waked as if they had
not been strangled by the rope of the hangman. _They were surrounded
by those who mourned for them with as keen a sympathy, and as tender
an affection, as if they had died each on his humble pallet of straw_;
hundreds flocked around the corpse-houses from all directions; and we
shall leave others to conjecture whether the sight was calculated,
in the present alleged state of the country, by the advocates of a
Coercion Bill, to induce tranquillity, or to rake up the fires of
desperation and revenge. They had funerals. The funeral of Fogarty took
place on Saturday. It was attended, we understand, by some thousands,
who followed his remains to the grave _in crowds more numerous, with
feelings more interested, than if he had otherwise gone out of the
world_.... Hayes and Rice were buried on Sunday. _There were forty
cars, a strong body of equestrians_, and a vast crowd of pedestrians
accompanying the former. The latter was attended by one of the largest
funeral processions remembered for a long time in the district through
which the remains were conveyed." What a lesson are we taught by those
revelations! "Funeral honours paid to convicted murderers!" and the
demoralisation so wide-spread, as to induce the attendance of even the
more respectable class of farmers, whose presence was attested by the
"forty jaunting cars and the large body of equestrians," who swelled
the ranks of the admirers of assassination. Some say that the Irish
criminals are few, others, that the mass of the population is tainted
with the fatal leprosy: in either case the conduct of government should
be to repress crime with a strong hand, and with a celerity which
would strike terror into the hearts of the malefactors. The government
have to deal with a revolutionary priesthood and a demoralised people,
and it is not by such paltry expedients as their present measures,
that the one can be checked in their career, or the other awed into
submission; and to enact remedial measures while all laws are openly
set at defiance, would be but a ridiculous farce. The ministry must
be aware, although they have dishonestly concealed the fact, that
the same spirit of outrage which is evinced by acts of assassination
in the five counties they have alluded to, _is prevalent in all the
other midland and western counties_, and is rapidly extending itself
towards the north. Neither are those outrages now perpetrated solely
against those who transgress the agrarian code in respect to the
management of their estates. Assassination is found a safe, ready, and
efficient remedy for every violation of the popular will. Mr Baily
was shot, because, as chairman of a board of guardians, he refused
indiscriminate out-door relief. Mr Hassard, because he prosecuted a
steward for theft; a widow had her brains beaten out because she was
about to marry another husband; and a man named Burns was murdered at
Belturbet, merely because he thought fit to change his religion. There
is a spirit of anarchy abroad, which nothing but strong and decisive
measures can arrest, and which nothing short of martial law will enable
the executive to cope with.

Our space will not permit us to comment as fully as the importance of
the subject would require, on the other remedial measures suggested for
the benefit of Ireland by men who argue that, because such would be
beneficial in other countries, therefore they must be well adapted for
that apparently incomprehensible island. We will merely say that it is
an error to suppose that the waste lands of Ireland can be cultivated
with success by the state, or with any degree of advantage as regards
the location of the superabundant population. The expense of their
reclamation would amount to much more than the price at which the
very best ground can be purchased; and it would be manifestly absurd
to undertake, at the public expense, such an immense and profitless
work, while three-fourths of the richest soils in the country are in
a state of semi-cultivation; and where, by judicious advances, which
are sure to be repaid, an equal amount of employment may be afforded
by the landlords without any loss to the state. Neither do we conceive
that the location of the peasantry on properties under the control of
the government is at all judicious; experience teaches us the reverse.
On the estates of the Crown in Roscommon, agrarian outrages in that
county had their origin. From mismanagement or other causes which we
have not heard explained, the tenants on the Crown lands were permitted
to run many years in arrear; and now they refuse to pay any rents
whatsoever, on the ludicrous pretence "That Queen Victoria never took
out administration to King William the Fourth!" And thus they have been
allowed, by their successful resistance to the Crown, to encourage
others in a similar course of conduct towards her Majesty's lieges, who
are, in their eyes, but the subordinate owners of the soil.

The difficulty of dealing with the subject of emigration, when the
task is undertaken by men who are not practically acquainted with the
state of Ireland, and the feelings and habits of the Irish people, is
made manifest by the speeches delivered on the scheme in parliament.
Mr Hawes, when the question was brought forward last session, refused
to sanction any government system, on the grounds that voluntary
emigration was proceeding at too rapid a rate already; and that it
would be much better to keep the people at home. Now, while we advocate
a measure which would remove a certain portion of the population,
who can have no permanent occupation afforded them on account of the
numbers congregated in particular localities, and who consequently
must become a charge upon the resources of the country, we quite
agree with the under-secretary of the colonies, that nothing can be
more lamentable or more ruinous to the prosperity of Ireland than
the removal of those persons who emigrate at their own expense. But,
paradoxical as it may appear to the honourable gentleman, the system
which we consider absolutely necessary, would act as a most effectual
check to the abandonment of their country by the industrious and
comparatively wealthy, which he so justly laments. Those industrious
and well-conducted men ought to be the "thews and sinews" of the land;
but they are driven from their homes by the insecurity of life and
property in their wretched country. They cannot extend their operations
in proportion as they acquire wealth. They dare not venture to enlarge
the size of their farms, although they see the land uncultivated and
lying waste around them. Death is the penalty they are certain to
pay, if they take the ground from which others have been removed, no
matter what may have been the cause of their expulsion. They therefore
realise their property, and carry their capital and their industry to
other countries, where they can freely use the one, and fearlessly
enjoy the fruits of the other; while the idle and profligate ruffian
who is the means of driving them from the land of their birth, revels
in his crimes with impunity, and derives a legal support from the
community which he oppresses--_he_ either cannot, or he will not
emigrate. Now, it is clear, that if a system were adopted by which men
who become a charge on the public should have the option of leaving
the country at the public expense--of course we mean exclusively at
the expense of Ireland--and that at the same time the laws were so
vigorously administered, as to prevent the possibility of their earning
a livelihood by the commission of crime at home; the country would
get rid of the worst and most irreclaimable culprits, and society be
relieved from the crimes and the oppressions which they practise;
industry would be protected, and prosperity would advance. Lord
Clarendon may seek, by his well-intended advice and his remonstrances,
to stay the march of crime; but his efforts will only evince his
ignorance of the habits and prejudices of the people he has to govern.
He may subscribe his money to communicate agricultural knowledge to
those, whose poverty and misery lead him to suppose that they only
require instruction to become industrious and happy; but he should
know, that those persons to whom he so praiseworthily wishes to impart
information, _are in fact the best skilled agriculturists the country
can produce_. They compose the migratory hordes who annually proceed
to Scotland and England. There is not a man amongst them above sixteen
years of age, who has not practical experience in the very best systems
pursued in those countries to which they resort; and we would "wager
a ducat," that scores of boys may be found in Ennis and in Galway,
who could instruct his paid lecturers in the performance of the nicest
operations of agriculture. The Irish Viceroy feelingly deplored the
disappointment of his hopes with regard to the Irish Fisheries, when
giving audience to the Clare deputation. "When I came to this country,"
said his lordship, "I indulged in the hope of promoting the prosperity
of the Irish Fisheries; but I have been grievously disappointed. When
the nets and gear were redeemed from the pawn-office, the men would not
use them, or go to sea, unless they were fed; and when they were fed,
they caught no fish." The same spirit which actuated the fisherman in
this instance, actuates the agricultural peasant. He will not till his
land, not because he is ignorant of the best method of doing so with
success, but because he prefers idleness to industry, and gratuitous
support to honest independence.

We respect Lord Clarendon's talents, and admire the honesty with which
he has set about discharging the high and arduous duties of his office;
but we tell him that the pacification of Ireland can never be effected
by the powers now at his disposal, nor yet by the emasculated measures
proposed by the ministry for the adoption of parliament. Neither need
he calculate on any assistance in his efforts from the diplomatic
devices of her Majesty's advisers. Lord Minto may earwig the Pope; but
the Pope's influence is set at defiance by the Irish bishops, when it
happens not to be exerted in the furtherance of their own particular
views. The present pontiff's predecessor issued his commands, that both
priests and prelates should abstain from agitation, and avoid those
political festivals where some of their body had covered themselves
with such well-merited disgrace; but his encyclical letter was treated
as so much waste paper, and had only the effect of increasing the
custom it was intended to abolish. The Viceroy can have no hope or
expect no succour but from the efficiency of the laws, and their
uncompromising administration. Military tribunals must be substituted
for civil ones. No juror in the present state of the country will
hazard his personal safety by the due discharge of his duties, when he
sees no chance of obtaining adequate protection. Summary justice must
supersede the ordinary law's delay; immediate punishment must follow
upon conviction; agitation of every kind must be suppressed; and the
disturbers of the public peace must be dragged forth and made amenable
for their crimes, whether they be found beneath the smock frock of the
peasant, or the cassock of the priest.



BLACKWOOD AND COPYRIGHT IN AMERICA.


In connexion with an article in this Number from our able American
contributor, it may be interesting to the readers of Maga to be
informed of her precise position at present on the other side of the
Atlantic, where she is figuring as the champion of the rights of
authors, and the leader of an important revolution in literature.

Whether we consider the claims of literary men to the property of
their works as founded on inherent right, to be controlled only by
the superior good of the community,--or as supported by a mixture
of moral and equitable considerations, having reference to the
reward and encouragement of learning and talent, it is undeniable
that, without some protection of this kind, the fairer and better
productions of literature will fail, and their place be occupied by
a rank and unwholesome growth, offensive to the senses and noxious
to social life. Even the selfish and short-sighted policy of our
American brethren, which, in extending the privilege of copyright to
their own countrymen, has denied it to foreigners, is found to operate
in the most prejudicial manner upon their native literature; as no
American publisher is likely to pay its due price for any composition
of domestic genius, when he can please his customers and fill his
pocket by reprinting, without any remuneration to the author, the most
successful productions of the British press. The repression of such a
system of piracy in America, would benefit alike the foreigner, whose
copyright is thus pilfered, and the American man of letters whose
talent is borne down by so disadvantageous a competition.

The publishers of the Magazine had for many years been aware that a
cheap American reprint of the work was in regular circulation to a very
large extent and they were naturally desirous to put an end to such an
injustice.[56] While they were turning their attention to the subject,
they received in the early part of the past year, a communication from
an American gentleman, suggesting as an effectual means of redress,
the insertion in the Magazine, from time to time, of an article from
a native or naturalised citizen of the United States, who should
establish a copyright in his own person, or that of an assignee, and
thus either protect the whole work or compel the publishers of the
pirated edition to reprint it in an imperfect form, such as would
materially check their success, and, in either way, break up the system.

The tone and talent of this communication seemed to the publishers to
recommend their correspondent as himself well qualified to lead the way
in this most righteous enterprise, and the result was, the appearance
in the October number of the article "Maga in America," which has been
highly relished on both sides of the Atlantic. Of this article a proof
was despatched to Mr Jay, a solicitor of eminence in New York, who,
with the utmost promptitude, registered the copyright in his own name,
and, presenting himself to Messrs Scott, the reprinters, inquired if
they were about to publish the Magazine, as usual, that month, as he
thought it right to inform them that, by so doing, they would be placed
in a delicate position. On hearing an explanation, Messrs Scott were
considerably taken aback, and, although unwilling to acknowledge that
the game was up, they seemed to have a painful consciousness that such
was the case. The negotiation terminated in the meantime, in their
agreeing, after various letters, and not a little conversation, to
pay a sum as copyright, before they issued the October number, and a
like amount for each succeeding number, until a further arrangement
were made. It would have been very easy for the proprietors to have
brought the reprinters under heavy responsibilities, by giving them
no hint of their movements, and allowing the October number to be
published as usual, when Messrs Scott would have become liable to a
severe penalty for every copy sold. This was not done, as no blame is
attached personally to Messrs Scott, who have merely acted under a bad
system, in which any one publisher might think himself free to seize
all advantage which was open to all.

This movement has been most cordially welcomed by the American press,
and it will be a source of great pleasure and pride to the Messrs
Blackwood, if the step they have taken should in any degree, however
humble, assist in establishing, an international copyright, which
alone can effectually check a system of reprinting which is ruinous
to American authors, and only very moderately profitable to American
publishers, who are compelled, by the fear of rival reprints, to sell
at a price which leaves a narrow margin of profit, even with no expense
but paper and print. They are also in their turn afflicted with a host
of smaller weekly pirates, who select the best, or at least the most
attractive articles from all the periodicals, and serve them up in a
cheap form, not without seasoning sometimes of a very questionable
character both in taste and in morals.

The more operose contemporaries of Maga will learn with some
surprise--whether pleasant or painful, it would be presumptuous to
say--that the buoyancy of her contents seems to be used to float off
a few hundred copies of their ponderous productions, which might
otherwise be stranded without help or hope. It appears that subscribers
are obtained to no less than four quarterly publications, by the
inducement that, on such condition, they will receive _Blackwood_ at
two-thirds of the price.

_Edinburgh, January 1, 1848._

_Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._


FOOTNOTES

[1] _Wealth of Nations_, vol. ii. b. iv. c. ii. p. 195.

[2] Table showing the British and Foreign tonnage with Sweden, Norway,
Denmark and Prussia since the Reciprocity treaties with these powers in
1821.

  |    |     SWEDEN.   |    NORWAY.     |    DENMARK.   |    PRUSSIA.
  |    |British|Foreign|British| Foreign|British|Foreign|British|Foreign
  |    |Tonnage|Tonnage|Tonnage| Tonnage|Tonnage|Tonnage|Tonnage|Tonnage
  |    +-------+-------+-------+--------+-------+------+--------+-------
  |1821| 23,005|  8,508| 13,855|  61,342|  5,312| 3,969|  79,590| 37,720
  |1822| 20,799| 13,692| 13,377|  87,974|  7,096| 3,910| 102,847| 58,270
  |1823| 20,986| 22,529| 13,122| 117,015|  4,413| 4,795|  81,202| 56,013
  |1824| 17,074| 40,092| 11,419| 135,272|  6,738|23,689|  94,664|151,621
  |1825| 15,906| 53,141| 14,825| 157,910| 15,158|50,943| 189,214|182,752
  |1826| 11,829| 16,939| 15,603|  90,726| 22,000|56,544| 119,060|120,589
  |    |       |       |       |        |       |      |        |
  |1837|  7,608| 42,602|  1,035|  88,004|  5,357|55,961|  67,566|145,742
  |1838| 10,425| 38,991|  1,364| 110,817|  3,466|57,554|  86,734|175,643
  |1839|  8,359| 49,270|  2,582| 109,228|  5,535|106,960|111,470|229,208
  |1840| 11,933| 53,337|  3,166| 114,241|  6,327|103,067|112,709|237,984
  |1841| 13,170| 46,795|    977| 113,025|  3,368| 83,009| 88,198|210,254
  |1842| 15,296| 37,218|  1,385|  98,979|  5,499| 59,837| 87,202|145,499

  --PORTER'S _Parl. Tables_, vols. i. to xii., p. 50 each vol.

[3] Dumas, viii. 112; Mackenzie's _St Domingo_, i. 312.

[4] "Of the progressive decline in the powers of production of the West
India possessions generally, some idea may be formed from what has been
observed in Jamaica; for though that island labours under some peculiar
disadvantages, that fact merely increases the force of the argument
which is derived from its past experience:--

  Average of the five years ending 1807
                              --last of the slave trade,     £3,852,624
  Average of the five years ending 1815
                              --date of the Registry Act,     3,588,903
  Average of the five years ending 1823
                              --date of Canning's Resolution, 3,192,637
  Average of the five years ending 1833
                              --last five of slavery,         2,791,478
  Average of the five years ending 1843
                              --first five of freedom,        1,213,284

"The House of Assembly, from whose memorial to the government (June
1847) we borrow these facts, makes the following remarks on this
instructive table:--

"'Up to 1807 the exports of Jamaica progressively rose as cultivation
was extended. From that date they have been gradually sinking; but we
more especially entreat attention to the evidence here adduced of the
effects of emancipation, which, in ten years, reduced the annual value
of the three principal staples from £2,791,478 to £1,213,284, being in
the proportion of seven to sixteen, or equal, at five per cent., to
an investment of about thirty-two millions of property annihilated.
We believe the history of the world would be in vain searched for any
parallel case of oppression perpetrated by a civilised government upon
any section of its own subjects.'"

[5] EXPORTS TO BRITISH WEST INDIA COLONIES:--

  1827,        £3,583,222
  1828,         3,289,704
  1829,         3,612,085
  1840,         3,574,970
  1841,         2,504,004
  1842,         2,591,425
  --PORTER'S _Parl. Tables_, xii, 114.

[6] Buxton _on the Slave Trade_, 172.

[7] For a few days during the panic consequent on the Mutiny at the
Nore, the 3 per cents were at 45, but they soon rose and ranged from 55
to 58. The interest of money never exceeded 5 _per cent._, and indeed
it could not, as the usury laws were then in operation. The issue of
one pound notes in sufficient numbers by the Bank of England, after
February 1797, soon relieved the distress, extinguished the panic, and
brought us triumphantly through the war. The following are the rates of
interest and amount of bullion in the Bank of England for thirty years
past, which shows how little low interest has to do with the plentiful
stores of the precious metals:--

                             Bullion.        Rate of Discount.

  1815.--28th February    £2,037,000         Five per cent.
  1816.--29th February     4,641,000         Five per cent.
  1820.--29th February     4,911,000         Five per cent.
  1826.--28th February     2,460,000         Five per cent.
  1832.--29th February     5,293,000         Four per cent.
  1837.--28th February     4,077,000         Five per cent.
  1839.--     October      2,522,000         Six per cent.
  1840.--25th February     4,311,000         Five per cent.
  1847.--13th November     9,258,520         Eight per cent. _min._

The rate of eight per cent. has not been charged by the Bank of England
before for upwards of a century and a quarter.

[8] Report of the Glasgow Poor Inspector, 28th November, 1847.

[9] Mr Newdegate's Speech in Parliament, December 2, 1847.

[10]

  TO OCTOBER 10
        IN EACH YEAR.             1845.          1846.          1847.
      Machinery,                £644,839       £897,442       £942,533
      Iron and steel,          2,854,048      3,374,335      4,096,367
                             -----------    -----------    -----------
                              £3,498,887     £4,271,777     £5,038,900

[11] AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE IMPORTED FROM JANUARY 5 TO OCTOBER 10.

                                     |    1845. |   1846.  |   1847.  |
                                     |----------+----------+----------|
  |Live animals,                     |   19,593 |   85,542 |  172,355 |
  |Provisions, beef, pork, &c. cwts.,|  109,550 |  206,455 |  403,877 |
  |Butter, cwts.,                    |  189,056 |  177,165 |  243,140 |
  |Cheese, do.,                      |  183,891 |  216,191 |  243,601 |
  |Grain in quarters,                |1,336,739 |2,635,218 |7,905,419 |
  |Grain in flour and meal, cwts.,   |  394,908 |2,631,341 |7,900,880 |

  The grain imported in nine months measured in quarters
  will stand thus:--
    In quarters,                                         7,905,419
    In flour and meal, cwts.,                            2,650,263
                                                        ----------
                In nine months, quarters,               10,555,682

The greatest import in any one year before was in 1841, when it was
4,772,641 quarters.

[12] The sum invested in railways from 1841 to 1845, was £154,716,937;
of which £114,513,035 was subscribed capital, and £46,203,902
authorised to be borrowed. See _Parl. Returns_, Nos. 159, 1844; and
637, 1845. Since that time it has at least risen to £200,000,000, of
which _half_ may be considered productive.

[13] See _Parl. Debates_, xxviii. 66, 67.

[14]

  Viz. England,             £85,000,000
       Scotland, about        5,000,000
       Ireland,              16,000,000
                            -----------
                           £105,000,000

[15] _Lords' Report on Real Property_, pp. 8, 9. In our last Number we
stated the amount of heritable property at £63,000,000, from a desire
to be within rather than beyond the truth. But the latter figure was
taken from the Poors' Rate return, which, as the Lords' Report justly
states, is always below the truth; and their own report of £85,000,000
is taken from the rating for the property tax, founded on the returns
by the occupants.--See _Lords' Report on Real Property_, p. ix.

[16] RATE OF DISCOUNT OF FIRST-CLASS BILLS AT THE UNDERMENTIONED
PERIODS.

      |Jan.|Feb.|Mar.|Apr.|May.|Jun.|Jul.|Aug.|Sep.|Oct.|Nov.|Dec.
  ----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----
  1824| 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3½
  1825| 3½ | 3  | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 4  | 4  | 4  | 4  | 4  | 4½ | 4½
  1826| 5  | 5  | 5  | 5  | 5  | 4½ | 4½ | 4  | 4  | 4  | 4  | 4
  1827| 4  | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3¼ | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3
  1828| 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3½
  1829| 4  | 3½ | 3½ | 4  | 3½ | 3½ | 3½ | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3  | 3
  1830| 3  | 3  | 2¾ | 2¾ | 2½ | 2½ | 2½ | 2½ | 2½ | 2¾ | 3  | 4
  1831| 3¼ | 3  | 3½ | 3½ | 4  | 4  | 4  | 3½ | 3½ | 4  | 4  | 4
  1832| 4  | 3½ | 3¼ | 3¼ | 3¼ | 3¼ | 3  | 3  | 3  | 2¾ | 2¾ | 2¾
  1833| 2¾ | 2½ | 2¼ | 2¼ | 2½ | 2½ | 2½ | 2½ | 3  | 3  | 3½ | 3½
  1834| 3½ | 3  | 2¾ | 3  | 3¼ | 3¼ | 3¼ | 3¼ | 4  | 3¾ | 3¾ | 3¾
  1835| 3¾ | 3¼ | 3½ | 3¾ | 3¾ | 4  | 4  | 3½ | 3¾ | 3¾ | 3¾ | 3¾
  1836| 3¾ | 3¾ | 3½ | 3¼ | 3¼ | 4  | 4  | 4½ | 5  | 5  | 5½ | 5½
  1837| 5½ | 5½ | 5½ | 5½ | 4½ | 4½ | 4½ | 4  | 3½ | 3½ | 3¼ | 3½
  1838| 3½ | 3  | 3  | 2¾ | 2½ | 2¾ | 3  | 2¾ | 3  | 3  | 3¼ | 3½
  1839| 3¾ | 3¾ | 3¾ | 3¾ | 4  | 5  | 5½ | 6  | 6½ | 6½ | 6½ | 6½
  1840| 6  | 4¾ | 4¾ | 4¾ | 4¼ | 4¾ | 4½ | 4½ | 4¾ | 5  | 6  | 5¾
  1841| 5½ | 5  | 5  | 4½ | 4½ | 5  | 4½ | 4½ | 4¾ | 5  | 5½ | 5
  1842| 4¾ | 4½ | 3¾ | 3¾ | 3¼ | 3½ | 3¼ | 3  | 2½ | 2¾ | 2½ | 2½
  1843| 2½ | 2¼ | 2  | 2  | 2  | 2¼ | 2¼ | 2  | 2  | 2¼ | 2  | 2½
  1844| 2¼ | 2  | 2  | 2  | 1¾ | 2  | 2  | 1¾ | 2  | -- | -- | --

[17] The following is the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer
on the sums authorised by government to be expended, and actually
expended, in each of the undermentioned years:--

                    Authorised
  Year.            Expenditure.
  1840              £4,000,000
  1841               3,500,000
  1842               6,000,000
  1843               4,500,000
  1844              18,000,000
  1845              59,000,000
  1846             124,500,000
  1847              38,300,000

These are the sums authorised to be expended by the acts passed in
each of these years. The following table shows, as nearly as can be
estimated, the sums actually expended:--

                                 Actual
  Year.                       Expenditure.
  1841                         £1,470,000
  1842                          2,980,000
  1843                          4,435,000
  1844                          6,105,000
  1845, first six months        3,510,000
  1845, second six months      10,625,000
  1846, first six months        9,815,000
  1846, second six months      26,670,000
  1847, first six mouths       25,770,000

Supposing the actual expenditure, under existing railway acts, to have
proceeded at the same ratio for the next three years the following
would have been the results:--

                        Estimated
  Year.                Expenditure.
  1847                 £64,000,000
  1848                  70,000,000
  1849                  47,000,000
  1850                  10,000,000

[18] That this statement is not exaggerated will appear evident from
the following returns:--

  Corn, flour, meal, live animals, &c.,       1845.       1847.
  imported to October 10,                  £4,410,091  £31,241,766

This of itself, coupled with the simultaneous contraction of the
currency and fall of the exports, will explain the whole catastrophe.

[19] The following table of the prodigious advance in the importation
of two articles alone, tea and sugar, will show how rapidly they have
increased in the three last years, at the very time that our exports
were diminishing:--

                   1845.                1846.                  1847.
  Sugar, cwt.    4,413,969            4,469,772              6,510,693
  Tea, lb.      36,825,461           41,432,794             44,912,880

                  1846 to 1845.        1847 to 1845.
  Sugar, cwt.       55.803 incr.      2,096,724 incr.       £4,193,448
  Tea, lb.       4,607,278 incr.      8,087,419 incr.          803,741
                                                            ----------
                                                            £4,997,189

[20] --Mr Newdegate's Speech, _Morning Post_, December 2, 1847.

[21] Parliamentary Paper, 30th July, 1843.

[22] Viz. in round numbers:--

  England,                £14,000,000
  Country Banks,            8,000,000
  Ireland,                  6,400,000
  Scotland,                 3,300,000
                        -------------
                          £31,700,000

[23] _Mémoires de Fléchier sur les Grands-Jours tenus à Clermont, en
1665-66_: publiés par B. Gonod, Bibliothécaire de la Ville de Clermont.
Paris 1844.

[24] These letters were addressed to a young Norman Lady, Mademoiselle
Anne de Lavigne, who wrote sonnets in the Scudéry style, and with whom
Fléchier kept up a gallant and high-flown correspondence in mingled
prose and verse. As far as can be ascertained the _liaison_ was an
innocent one; it is quite certain that it caused no scandal at the
time. Most of the letters bear date three or four years subsequently to
the _Grands-Jours_.

[25] _Voyage en Auvergne_, and _Resumé de l'Histoire d'Auvergne_.

[26] From the end of the fifteenth century there were no serfs in
Auvergne, as is shown by the municipal law of 1510; "_Toutes personnes
estans et demeurans au dict pays sont francs et de franche condition._"
All persons being and dwelling in the said country are free and of
free condition. Nevertheless, there were still "_héritaiges tenus à
condition de mainmorte_."--(_Coutume, titre_ xxvii. _art._ 1.) But
on the confines of Auvergne, in the Pays de Combrailles, there were
persons "_de serve condition, de mainmorte et de suyte_;" _ibid. art._
2, which means that the servitude of those persons was attached to
their flesh and bone; that it followed them every where, even when they
abandoned their inheritance and fled the country. One is glad to hear
Fléchier and Talon stigmatising, in the names of religion and humanity,
those iniquitous rights, which subsisted more than a century after
them. _Personal_ servitude was abolished only by an edict of August
1779; for which Louis XVI. and his minister Necker are to be thanked.
It took ten more years and the revolution of 1789 to do away with
_real_ servitude, which was general in France.--_Mémoires_, p. 112.

[27] This included Upper and Lower Auvergne, the Bourbonnais, the
Nivernais, the Forez, the Beaujolais, the Lyonnais, the Pays de
Combrailles, Berry and the Upper and Lower Marche.--Vide _Mémoires_,
Introduction, xvi.

[28]

  In plain good French,
  Each gentleman
  From morn till night
  Doth swell his rents,
  And multiply his gain.
  Observes no faith,
  Takes field and hay,
  The farmer's grass and grain;
  Then plays the steward
  With his pease and pork,
  And cudgels all at leisure;
  And like a king, with crown on head,
  Proclaims it his good pleasure.

[29] An anecdote told of Louis XIII. and Mademoiselle d'Hutefort.

[30] A species of thread lace, in which there was formerly a great
trade in Upper Auvergne. It is now scarcely used except by peasant
women, and its manufacture is almost abandoned.

[31] Ranke, _Fürsten und Völker_, vol. i. p. 170.

[32] Uchali was a famous renegade, a Calabrian by birth, who, from
being a slave of the Grand Seignior's, became King of Argel.--See
Brantôme, _Hommes Illustres_, vol. i. p. 286.

[33] _Documentos ineditos para la Historia de España_, vol. iii. p. 224.

[34] _Memorial de Antonio Perez del Hecho de su Caso_, p. 300.

[35] DOCUMENTOS INEDITOS PARA LA HISTORIA DE ESPAÑA, vol. iii. p. 178.

[36] Brantôme, HOMMES ILLUSTRES.

[37] DOCUMENTOS INEDITOS PARA LA HISTORIA DE ESPAÑA, vol. iii. p. 182.

[38] Ranke, FÜRSTEN UND VÖLKER VON SUD EUROPA, vol. i. p. 178.

[39] _Memorial de Antonio Perez del Hecho de su Caso_, pp. 304-308.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] _Antonio Perez et Philipe II._, par Mons. Mignet, 1 vol. 3d ed.

[43] _Documentos ineditos para la Historia de España_, vol. vii. p.
247-257.

[44] _Documentos ineditos para la Historia de España_, vol. vii. p. 265.

[45] "Look there, look at the big gentleman on the little horse."

[46] "Gone, gone."

[47] One of the superficial peculiarities of American magazines is that
the names of _all_ the contributors are generally paraded conspicuously
on the cover, very few seeking even the disguise of a pseudonym. The
number of "most remarkable" men and women who thus display themselves
in print is surprising.

[48] This periodical is particularly unfortunate in its predictions.
Last year one of them was absolutely falsified _before_ its appearance.
The _Democratic_ introduced a biographical sketch of an eminent
politician, with the announcement that "before another number was
issued, the people of his State would have re-elected him to the
highest office in their gift." Accident delayed the publication of this
prophecy for a short time, and it appeared the very day after Mr ----
had been _defeated_ by a large majority. Thereupon some editors on the
other side stated that the _Democratic Review_ was to be discontinued,
"as we learn from its own columns," which may have been a good joke
or not, according to tastes. Certainly the editor of the _Democratic_
did _his_ best to make it so, by publishing a serious and angry
contradiction of the report.

[49] We have heard this _argument_ again and again in America,
generally in reference to the seediest of verses; and there could not
be a greater proof of the vagueness and erroneousness of American
public opinion as to the nature and object of criticism, and the
qualifications for exercising it.

[50] As a general rule, that is: we in America have lately met with
some striking exceptions.

[51] Even then, the price is what in Great Britain would be considered
small. The _American Review_ pays two dollars (8s. 8d.) a page, and
some of the other periodicals from a dollar to a dollar and a half.

[52] It is hardly necessary to expatiate on the absurdity of this
fallacy. Every man who reads any thing better than newspapers, finds
frequent use for his classics in the way of explaining quotations,
allusions &c., while nothing can be imagined more utterly useless
in every-day life than Conic Sections and Differential Calculus, to
any man not professionally scientific. But because arithmetic is
the introductory branch of mathematics, and also the foundation of
book-keeping, it is thought that working a boy at mathematics will make
him a good man of business.

[53] On one occasion, when a converted priest was lecturing against
Romanism, the _Courier_ and _Enquirer_ recommended the intervention
of that notorious popular potentate _Judge Lynch, who intervened
accordingly_.

[54] These attempts at undue influence and direct intimidation are not
confined to the natives; foreigners are very quick at catching them.
This very winter an Italian musician endeavoured to expel one of the
editors of the _Courier and Enquirer_ from his concert-room, because
that paper had not seen fit to praise him so much as others did, or as
he himself wished and expected.

[55] "The Mary Ann Greens."

[56] It may be worth while to insert here a copy of the American
advertisement of the April Number, in which a denunciation of American
piracy, which had been inserted in an article on the "Model Republic,"
is actually put forward as a _puff_ of the reprint.

                         Blackwood's Magazine

            FOR APRIL, will be published TO-MORROW MORNING.

                               CONTENTS.

     I. Cromwell.
    II. Lays and Legends of the Thames--Part III.
   III. Letters on the Truths contained in Popular Superstitions,
        No. 2--Vampyrism. No. 3--Spirits, Goblins, Ghosts.
    IV. A New Sentimental Journey.
     V. The Fighting Eighty-Eighth.
    VI. Lord Sidmouth's Life and Time.
   VII. How they manage Matters in the Model Republic.
  VIII. Horæ Catalinæ--No. 2.
    IX. Lessons from the Famine.

Extract from the article on the "Model Republic":--

"When these malignant pages arrive in New York, every inhabitant of
that good city will abuse us heartily, except our publisher. But great
will be the joy of that furacious individual, as he speculates in
secret on the increased demand of his agonized public. Immediately he
will put forth an advertisement, notifying the men of 'Gotham' that he
has on board a fresh sample of British Insolence, and hinting that,
although he knows they care nothing about such things, the forthcoming
piracy of Maga will be on the most extensive scale."

  Price of BLACKWOOD, 3 dol. a-year. Single numbers 25 cents.
                                            L. SCOTT & CO. Publishers,
                                                    112 Fulton Street.



  Transcribers Notes:

  Punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected.

  Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

  Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

  Italics are shown thus: _sloping_.

  Small capitals have been capitalised.

  On page 22, --Mr Newdegate's Speech, has been given the
  value "Footnote 19:", omitted from the text.

  On page 107 the transcriber could not construe the word (Nug ee?).
  A search for Mr Brummell's tailor or another name for
  an outfitter proved fruitless.

  Due to a lack of space in 'THIRTY YEARS OF LIBERAL LEGISLATION', the
  last column of a table has been placed below the body of the table.
  Similarly a table in footnote 2 has been condensed at the cost of
  some aesthetics.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 63, No. 387, January, 1848" ***

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