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Title: Contributions to All The Year Round
Author: Charles Dickens, - To be updated
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Contributions to All The Year Round" ***

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Transcribed from the 1912 Gresham Publishing Company edition (_Works of
Charles Dickens_, _Volume_ 19) by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org

                          [Picture: Book cover]

                           _All The Year Round_

                             CHARLES DICKENS


Announcement in _Household Words_ of the Approaching               475
Publication of _All The Year Round_ (May 28, 1859)
The Poor Man and his Beer (April 30, 1859)                         477
Five New Points of Criminal Law (September 24, 1859)               485
Leigh Hunt: A Remonstrance (December 24, 1859)                     485
The Tattlesnivel Bleater (December 31, 1859)                       487
The Young Man from the Country (March 1, 1862)                     497
An Enlightened Clergyman (March 8, 1862)                           502
Rather a Strong Dose (March 21, 1863)                              504
The Martyr Medium (April 4, 1863)                                  510
The Late Mr. Stanfield (June 1, 1867)                              516
A Slight Question of Fact (February 13, 1869)                      518
Landor’s Life (July 24, 1869)                                      519
Address which Appeared Shortly previous to the Completion          526
of the Twentieth Volume (1868) intimating a New Series of
_All The Year Round_


AFTER the appearance of the present concluding Number of _Household
Words_, this publication will merge into the new weekly publication, _All
the Year Round_, and the title, _Household Words_, will form a part of
the title-page of _All the Year Round_.

The Prospectus of the latter Journal describes it in these words:


“Nine years of _Household Words_, are the best practical assurance that
can be offered to the public, of the spirit and objects of _All the Year

“In transferring myself, and my strongest energies, from the publication
that is about to be discontinued, to the publication that is about to be
begun, I have the happiness of taking with me the staff of writers with
whom I have laboured, and all the literary and business co-operation that
can make my work a pleasure.  In some important respects, I am now free
greatly to advance on past arrangements.  Those, I leave to testify for
themselves in due course.

“That fusion of the graces of the imagination with the realities of life,
which is vital to the welfare of any community, and for which I have
striven from week to week as honestly as I could during the last nine
years, will continue to be striven for “all the year round”.  The old
weekly cares and duties become things of the Past, merely to be assumed,
with an increased love for them and brighter hopes springing out of them,
in the Present and the Future.

“I look, and plan, for a very much wider circle of readers, and yet again
for a steadily expanding circle of readers, in the projects I hope to
carry through “all the year round”.  And I feel confident that this
expectation will be realized, if it deserve realization.

“The task of my new journal is set, and it will steadily try to work the
task out.  Its pages shall show to what good purpose their motto is
remembered in them, and with how much of fidelity and earnestness they

                “the story of our lives from year to year.

                                                        “CHARLES DICKENS.”

Since this was issued, the Journal itself has come into existence, and
has spoken for itself five weeks.  Its fifth Number is published to-day,
and its circulation, moderately stated, trebles that now relinquished in
_Household Words_.

In referring our readers, henceforth, to _All the Year Round_, we can but
assure them afresh, of our unwearying and faithful service, in what is at
once the work and the chief pleasure of our life.  Through all that we
are doing, and through all that we design to do, our aim is to do our
best in sincerity of purpose, and true devotion of spirit.

We do not for a moment suppose that we may lean on the character of these
pages, and rest contented at the point where they stop.  We see in that
point but a starting-place for our new journey; and on that journey, with
new prospects opening out before us everywhere, we joyfully proceed,
entreating our readers—without any of the pain of leave-taking incidental
to most journeys—to bear us company All the year round.

_Saturday_, _May_ 28, 1859.


MY friend Philosewers and I, contemplating a farm-labourer the other day,
who was drinking his mug of beer on a settle at a roadside ale-house
door, we fell to humming the fag-end of an old ditty, of which the poor
man and his beer, and the sin of parting them, form the doleful burden.
Philosewers then mentioned to me that a friend of his in an agricultural
county—say a Hertfordshire friend—had, for two years last past,
endeavoured to reconcile the poor man and his beer to public morality, by
making it a point of honour between himself and the poor man that the
latter should use his beer and not abuse it.  Interested in an effort of
so unobtrusive and unspeechifying a nature, “O Philosewers,” said I,
after the manner of the dreary sages in Eastern apologues, “Show me, I
pray, the man who deems that temperance can be attained without a medal,
an oration, a banner, and a denunciation of half the world, and who has
at once the head and heart to set about it!”

Philosewers expressing, in reply, his willingness to gratify the dreary
sage, an appointment was made for the purpose.  And on the day fixed, I,
the Dreary one, accompanied by Philosewers, went down Nor’-West per
railway, in search of temperate temperance.  It was a thunderous day; and
the clouds were so immoderately watery, and so very much disposed to sour
all the beer in Hertfordshire, that they seemed to have taken the pledge.

But, the sun burst forth gaily in the afternoon, and gilded the old
gables, and old mullioned windows, and old weathercock and old
clock-face, of the quaint old house which is the dwelling of the man we
sought.  How shall I describe him?  As one of the most famous practical
chemists of the age?  That designation will do as well as another—better,
perhaps, than most others.  And his name?  Friar Bacon.

“Though, take notice, Philosewers,” said I, behind my hand, “that the
first Friar Bacon had not that handsome lady-wife beside him.  Wherein, O
Philosewers, he was a chemist, wretched and forlorn, compared with his
successor.  Young Romeo bade the holy father Lawrence hang up philosophy,
unless philosophy could make a Juliet.  Chemistry would infallibly be
hanged if its life were staked on making anything half so pleasant as
this Juliet.”  The gentle Philosewers smiled assent.

The foregoing whisper from myself, the Dreary one, tickled the ear of
Philosewers, as we walked on the trim garden terrace before dinner, among
the early leaves and blossoms; two peacocks, apparently in very tight new
boots, occasionally crossing the gravel at a distance.  The sun, shining
through the old house-windows, now and then flashed out some brilliant
piece of colour from bright hangings within, or upon the old oak
panelling; similarly, Friar Bacon, as we paced to and fro, revealed
little glimpses of his good work.

“It is not much,” said he.  “It is no wonderful thing.  There used to be
a great deal of drunkenness here, and I wanted to make it better if I
could.  The people are very ignorant, and have been much neglected, and I
wanted to make _that_ better, if I could.  My utmost object was, to help
them to a little self-government and a little homely pleasure.  I only
show the way to better things, and advise them.  I never act for them; I
never interfere; above all, I never patronise.”

I had said to Philosewers as we came along Nor’-West that patronage was
one of the curses of England; I appeared to rise in the estimation of
Philosewers when thus confirmed.

“And so,” said Friar Bacon, “I established my Allotment-club, and my
pig-clubs, and those little Concerts by the ladies of my own family, of
which we have the last of the season this evening.  They are a great
success, for the people here are amazingly fond of music.  But there is
the early dinner-bell, and I have no need to talk of my endeavours when
you will soon see them in their working dress”.

Dinner done, behold the Friar, Philosewers, and myself the Dreary one,
walking, at six o’clock, across the fields, to the “Club-house.”

As we swung open the last field-gate and entered the Allotment-grounds,
many members were already on their way to the Club, which stands in the
midst of the allotments.  Who could help thinking of the wonderful
contrast between these club-men and the club-men of St. James’s Street,
or Pall Mall, in London!  Look at yonder prematurely old man, doubled up
with work, and leaning on a rude stick more crooked than himself, slowly
trudging to the club-house, in a shapeless hat like an Italian
harlequin’s, or an old brown-paper bag, leathern leggings, and dull green
smock-frock, looking as though duck-weed had accumulated on it—the result
of its stagnant life—or as if it were a vegetable production, originally
meant to blow into something better, but stopped somehow.  Compare him
with Old Cousin Feenix, ambling along St. James’s Street, got up in the
style of a couple of generations ago, and with a head of hair, a
complexion, and a set of teeth, profoundly impossible to be believed in
by the widest stretch of human credulity.  Can they both be men and
brothers?  Verily they are.  And although Cousin Feenix has lived so fast
that he will die at Baden-Baden, and although this club-man in the frock
has lived, ever since he came to man’s estate, on nine shillings a week,
and is sure to die in the Union if he die in bed, yet he brought as much
into the world as Cousin Feenix, and will take as much out—more, for more
of him is real.

A pretty, simple building, the club-house, with a rustic colonnade
outside, under which the members can sit on wet evenings, looking at the
patches of ground they cultivate for themselves; within, a
well-ventilated room, large and lofty, cheerful pavement of coloured
tiles, a bar for serving out the beer, good supply of forms and chairs,
and a brave big chimney-corner, where the fire burns cheerfully.
Adjoining this room, another:

“Built for a reading-room,” said Friar Bacon; “but not much used—yet.”

The dreary sage, looking in through the window, perceiving a fixed
reading-desk within, and inquiring its use:

“I have Service there,” said Friar Bacon.  “They never went anywhere to
hear prayers, and of course it would be hopeless to help them to be
happier and better, if they had no religious feeling at all.”

“The whole place is very pretty.”  Thus the sage.

“I am glad you think so.  I built it for the holders of the
Allotment-grounds, and gave it them: only requiring them to manage it by
a committee of their own appointing, and never to get drunk there.  They
never have got drunk there.”

“Yet they have their beer freely?”

“O yes.  As much as they choose to buy.  The club gets its beer direct
from the brewer, by the barrel.  So they get it good; at once much
cheaper, and much better, than at the public-house.  The members take it
in turns to be steward, and serve out the beer: if a man should decline
to serve when his turn came, he would pay a fine of twopence.  The
steward lasts, as long as the barrel lasts.  When there is a new barrel,
there is a new steward.”

“What a noble fire is roaring up that chimney!”

“Yes, a capital fire.  Every member pays a halfpenny a week.”

“Every member must be the holder of an Allotment-garden?”

“Yes; for which he pays five shillings a year.  The Allotments you see
about us, occupy some sixteen or eighteen acres, and each garden is as
large as experience shows one man to be able to manage.  You see how
admirably they are tilled, and how much they get off them.  They are
always working in them in their spare hours; and when a man wants a mug
of beer, instead of going off to the village and the public-house, he
puts down his spade or his hoe, comes to the club-house and gets it, and
goes back to his work.  When he has done work, he likes to have his beer
at the club, still, and to sit and look at his little crops as they

“They seem to manage the club very well.”

“Perfectly well.  Here are their own rules.  They made them.  I never
interfere with them, except to advise them when they ask me.”


                      From the 21st September, 1857

     _One half-penny per week to be paid to the club by each member_

1.—Each member to draw the beer in order, according to the number of his
allotment; on failing, a forfeit of twopence to be paid to the club.

2.—The member that draws the beer to pay for the same, and bring his
ticket up receipted when the subscriptions are paid; on failing to do so,
a penalty of sixpence to be forfeited and paid to the club.

3.—The subscriptions and forfeits to be paid at the club-room on the last
Saturday night of each month.

4.—The subscriptions and forfeits to be cleared up every quarter; if not,
a penalty of sixpence to be paid to the club.

5.—The member that draws the beer to be at the club-room by six o’clock
every evening, and stay till ten; but in the event of no member being
there, he may leave at nine; on failing so to attend, a penalty of
sixpence to be paid to the club.

6.—Any member giving beer to a stranger in this club-room, excepting to
his wife or family, shall be liable to the penalty of one shilling.

7.—Any member lifting his hand to strike another in this club-room shall
be liable to the penalty of sixpence.

8.—Any member swearing in this club-room shall be liable to a penalty of
twopence each time.

9.—Any member selling beer shall be expelled from the club.

10.—Any member wishing to give up his allotment, may apply to the
committee, and they shall value the crop and the condition of the ground.
The amount of the valuation shall be paid by the succeeding tenant, who
shall be allowed to enter on any part of the allotment which is uncropped
at the time of notice of the leaving tenant.

11.—Any member not keeping his allotment-garden clear from seed-weeds, or
otherwise injuring his neighbours, may be turned out of his garden by the
votes of two-thirds of the committee, one month’s notice being given to

12.—Any member carelessly breaking a mug, is to pay the cost of replacing
the same.

                                * * * * *

I was soliciting the attention of Philosewers to some old old bonnets
hanging in the Allotment-gardens to frighten the birds, and the fashion
of which I should think would terrify a French bird to death at any
distance, when Philosewers solicited my attention to the scrapers at the
club-house door.  The amount of the soil of England which every member
brought there on his feet, was indeed surprising; and even I, who am
professedly a salad-eater, could have grown a salad for my dinner, in the
earth on any member’s frock or hat.

“Now,” said Friar Bacon, looking at his watch, “for the Pig-clubs!”

The dreary Sage entreated explanation.

“Why, a pig is so very valuable to a poor labouring man, and it is so
very difficult for him at this time of the year to get money enough to
buy one, that I lend him a pound for the purpose.  But, I do it in this
way.  I leave such of the club members as choose it and desire it, to
form themselves into parties of five.  To every man in each company of
five, I lend a pound, to buy a pig.  But, each man of the five becomes
bound for every other man, as to the repayment of his money.
Consequently, they look after one another, and pick out their partners
with care; selecting men in whom they have confidence.”

“They repay the money, I suppose, when the pig is fattened, killed, and

“Yes.  Then they repay the money.  And they do repay it.  I had one man,
last year, who was a little tardy (he was in the habit of going to the
public-house); but even he did pay.  It is an immense Advantage to one of
these poor fellows to have a pig.  The pig consumes the refuse from the
man’s cottage and allotment-garden, and the pig’s refuse enriches the
man’s garden besides.  The pig is the poor man’s friend.  Come into the
club-house again.”

The poor man’s friend.  Yes.  I have often wondered who really was the
poor man’s friend among a great number of competitors, and I now clearly
perceive him to be the pig.  _He_ never makes any flourishes about the
poor man.  _He_ never gammons the poor man—except to his manifest
advantage in the article of bacon.  _He_ never comes down to this house,
or goes down to his constituents.  He openly declares to the poor man, “I
want my sty because I am a Pig.  I desire to have as much to eat as you
can by any means stuff me with, because I am a Pig.”  _He_ never gives
the poor man a sovereign for bringing up a family.  _He_ never grunts the
poor man’s name in vain.  And when he dies in the odour of Porkity, he
cuts up, a highly useful creature and a blessing to the poor man, from
the ring in his snout to the curl in his tail.  Which of the poor man’s
other friends can say as much?  Where is the M.P. who means Mere Pork?

The dreary Sage had glided into these reflections, when he found himself
sitting by the club-house fire, surrounded by green smock-frocks and
shapeless hats: with Friar Bacon lively, busy, and expert, at a little
table near him.

“Now, then, come.  The first five!” said Friar Bacon.  “Where are you?”

“Order!” cried a merry-faced little man, who had brought his young
daughter with him to see life, and who always modestly hid his face in
his beer-mug after he had thus assisted the business.

“John Nightingale, William Thrush, Joseph Blackbird, Cecil Robin, and
Thomas Linnet!” cried Friar Bacon.

“Here, sir!” and “Here, sir!”  And Linnet, Robin, Blackbird, Thrush, and
Nightingale, stood confessed.

We, the undersigned, declare, in effect, by this written paper, that each
of us is responsible for the repayment of this pig-money by each of the
other.  “Sure you understand, Nightingale?”

“Ees, sur.”

“Can you write your name, Nightingale?”

“Na, sur.”

Nightingale’s eye upon his name, as Friar Bacon wrote it, was a sight to
consider in after years.  Rather incredulous was Nightingale, with a hand
at the corner of his mouth, and his head on one side, as to those
drawings really meaning him.  Doubtful was Nightingale whether any virtue
had gone out of him in that committal to paper.  Meditative was
Nightingale as to what would come of young Nightingale’s growing up to
the acquisition of that art.  Suspended was the interest of Nightingale,
when his name was done—as if he thought the letters were only sown, to
come up presently in some other form.  Prodigious, and wrong-handed was
the cross made by Nightingale on much encouragement—the strokes directed
from him instead of towards him; and most patient and sweet-humoured was
the smile of Nightingale as he stepped back into a general laugh.

“Order!” cried the little man.  Immediately disappearing into his mug.

“Ralph Mangel, Roger Wurzel, Edward Vetches, Matthew Carrot, and Charles
Taters!” said Friar Bacon.

“All here, sir.”

“You understand it, Mangel?”

“Iss, sir, I unnerstaans it.”

“Can you write your name, Mangel?”

“Iss, sir.”

Breathless interest.  A dense background of smock-frocks accumulated
behind Mangel, and many eyes in it looked doubtfully at Friar Bacon, as
who should say, “Can he really though?”  Mangel put down his hat, retired
a little to get a good look at the paper, wetted his right hand
thoroughly by drawing it slowly across his mouth, approached the paper
with great determination, flattened it, sat down at it, and got well to
his work.  Circuitous and sea-serpent-like, were the movements of the
tongue of Mangel while he formed the letters; elevated were the eyebrows
of Mangel and sidelong the eyes, as, with his left whisker reposing on
his left arm, they followed his performance; many were the misgivings of
Mangel, and slow was his retrospective meditation touching the junction
of the letter p with h; something too active was the big forefinger of
Mangel in its propensity to rub out without proved cause.  At last, long
and deep was the breath drawn by Mangel when he laid down the pen; long
and deep the wondering breath drawn by the background—as if they had
watched his walking across the rapids of Niagara, on stilts, and now
cried, “He has done it!”

                     [Picture: Forming the Pig-clubs]

But, Mangel was an honest man, if ever honest man lived.  “T’owt to be a
hell, sir,” said he, contemplating his work, “and I ha’ made a t on ’t.”

The over-fraught bosoms of the background found relief in a roar of

“Or—DER!” cried the little man.  “CHEER!”  And after that second word,
came forth from his mug no more.

Several other clubs signed, and received their money.  Very few could
write their names; all who could not, pleaded that they could not, more
or less sorrowfully, and always with a shake of the head, and in a lower
voice than their natural speaking voice.  Crosses could be made standing;
signatures must be sat down to.  There was no exception to this rule.
Meantime, the various club-members smoked, drank their beer, and talked
together quite unrestrained.  They all wore their hats, except when they
went up to Friar Bacon’s table.  The merry-faced little man offered his
beer, with a natural good-fellowship, both to the Dreary one and
Philosewers.  Both partook of it with thanks.

“Seven o’clock!” said Friar Bacon.  “And now we better get across to the
concert, men, for the music will be beginning.”

The concert was in Friar Bacon’s laboratory; a large building near at
hand, in an open field.  The bettermost people of the village and
neighbourhood were in a gallery on one side, and, in a gallery opposite
the orchestra.  The whole space below was filled with the labouring
people and their families, to the number of five or six hundred.  We had
been obliged to turn away two hundred to-night, Friar Bacon said, for
want of room—and that, not counting the boys, of whom we had taken in
only a few picked ones, by reason of the boys, as a class, being given to
too fervent a custom of applauding with their boot-heels.

The performers were the ladies of Friar Bacon’s family, and two
gentlemen; one of them, who presided, a Doctor of Music.  A piano was the
only instrument.  Among the vocal pieces, we had a negro melody
(rapturously encored), the Indian Drum, and the Village Blacksmith;
neither did we want for fashionable Italian, having _Ah! non giunge_, and
_Mi manca la voce_.  Our success was splendid; our good-humoured,
unaffected, and modest bearing, a pattern.  As to the audience, they were
far more polite and far more pleased than at the Opera; they were
faultless.  Thus for barely an hour the concert lasted, with thousands of
great bottles looking on from the walls, containing the results of Friar
Bacon’s Million and one experiments in agricultural chemistry; and
containing too, no doubt, a variety of materials with which the Friar
could have blown us all through the roof at five minutes’ notice.

God save the Queen being done, the good Friar stepped forward and said a
few words, more particularly concerning two points; firstly, that
Saturday half-holiday, which it would be kind in farmers to grant;
secondly, the additional Allotment-grounds we were going to establish, in
consequence of the happy success of the system, but which we could not
guarantee should entitle the holders to be members of the club, because
the present members must consider and settle that question for
themselves: a bargain between man and man being always a bargain, and we
having made over the club to them as the original Allotment-men.  This
was loudly applauded, and so, with contented and affectionate cheering,
it was all over.

As Philosewers, and I the Dreary, posted back to London, looking up at
the moon and discussing it as a world preparing for the habitation of
responsible creatures, we expatiated on the honour due to men in this
world of ours who try to prepare it for a higher course, and to leave the
race who live and die upon it better than they found them.


THE existing Criminal Law has been found in trials for Murder, to be so
exceedingly hasty, unfair, and oppressive—in a word, to be so very
objectionable to the amiable persons accused of that thoughtless act—that
it is, we understand, the intention of the Government to bring in a Bill
for its amendment.  We have been favoured with an outline of its probable

It will be grounded on the profound principle that the real offender is
the Murdered Person; but for whose obstinate persistency in being
murdered, the interesting fellow-creature to be tried could not have got
into trouble.

Its leading enactments may be expected to resolve themselves under the
following heads:

1.  There shall be no judge.  Strong representations have been made by
highly popular culprits that the presence of this obtrusive character is
prejudicial to their best interests.  The Court will be composed of a
political gentleman, sitting in a secluded room commanding a view of St.
James’s Park, who has already more to do than any human creature can, by
any stretch of the human imagination, be supposed capable of doing.

2.  The jury to consist of Five Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty-five

3.  The jury to be strictly prohibited from seeing either the accused or
the witnesses.  They are not to be sworn.  They are on no account to hear
the evidence.  They are to receive it, or such representations of it, as
may happen to fall in their way; and they will constantly write letters
about it to all the Papers.

4.  Supposing the trial to be a trial for Murder by poisoning, and
supposing the hypothetical case, or the evidence, for the prosecution to
charge the administration of two poisons, say Arsenic and Antimony; and
supposing the taint of Arsenic in the body to be possible but not
probable, and the presence of Antimony in the body, to be an absolute
certainty; it will then become the duty of the jury to confine their
attention solely to the Arsenic, and entirely to dismiss the Antimony
from their minds.

5.  The symptoms preceding the death of the real offender (or Murdered
Person) being described in evidence by medical practitioners who saw
them, other medical practitioners who never saw them shall be required to
state whether they are inconsistent with certain known diseases—but,
_they shall never be asked whether they are not exactly consistent with
the administration of Poison_.  To illustrate this enactment in the
proposed Bill by a case:—A raging mad dog is seen to run into the house
where Z lives alone, foaming at the mouth.  Z and the mad dog are for
some time left together in that house under proved circumstances,
irresistibly leading to the conclusion that Z has been bitten by the dog.
Z is afterwards found lying on his bed in a state of hydrophobia, and
with the marks of the dog’s teeth.  Now, the symptoms of that disease
being identical with those of another disease called Tetanus, which might
supervene on Z’s running a rusty nail into a certain part of his foot,
medical practitioners who never saw Z, shall bear testimony to that
abstract fact, and it shall then be incumbent on the Registrar-General to
certify that Z died of a rusty nail.

It is hoped that these alterations in the present mode of procedure will
not only be quite satisfactory to the accused person (which is the first
great consideration), but will also tend, in a tolerable degree, to the
welfare and safety of society.  For it is not sought in this moderate and
prudent measure to be wholly denied that it is an inconvenience to
Society to be poisoned overmuch.


“THE sense of beauty and gentleness, of moral beauty and faithful
gentleness, grew upon him as the clear evening closed in.  When he went
to visit his relative at Putney, he still carried with him his work, and
the books he more immediately wanted.  Although his bodily powers had
been giving way, his most conspicuous qualities, his memory for books,
and his affection remained; and when his hair was white, when his ample
chest had grown slender, when the very proportion of his height had
visibly lessened, his step was still ready, and his dark eyes brightened
at every happy expression, and at every thought of kindness.  His death
was simply exhaustion; he broke off his work to lie down and repose.  So
gentle was the final approach, that he scarcely recognised it till the
very last, and then it came without terrors.  His physical suffering had
not been severe; at the latest hour he said that his only uneasiness was
failing breath.  And that failing breath was used to express his sense of
the inexhaustible kindness he had received from the family who had been
so unexpectedly made his nurses,—to draw from one of his sons, by minute,
eager, and searching questions, all that he could learn about the latest
vicissitudes and growing hopes of Italy,—to ask the friends and children
around him for news of those whom he loved,—and to send love and messages
to the absent who loved him.”

                                * * * * *

Thus, with a manly simplicity and filial affection, writes the eldest son
of Leigh Hunt in recording his father’s death.  These are the closing
words of a new edition of _The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt_, published by
Messrs. Smith and Elder, of Cornhill, revised by that son, and enriched
with an introductory chapter of remarkable beauty and tenderness.  The
son’s first presentation of his father to the reader, “rather tall,
straight as an arrow, looking slenderer than he really was; his hair
black and shining, and slightly inclined to wave; his head high, his
forehead straight and white, his eyes black and sparkling, his general
complexion dark; in his whole carriage and manner an extraordinary degree
of life,” completes the picture.  It is the picture of the flourishing
and fading away of man that is born of a woman and hath but a short time
to live.

In his presentation of his father’s moral nature and intellectual
qualities, Mr. Hunt is no less faithful and no less touching.  Those who
knew Leigh Hunt, will see the bright face and hear the musical voice
again, when he is recalled to them in this passage: “Even at seasons of
the greatest depression in his fortunes, he always attracted many
visitors, but still not so much for any repute that attended him as for
his personal qualities.  Few men were more attractive, in society,
whether in a large company or over the fireside.  His manners were
peculiarly animated; his conversation, varied, ranging over a great field
of subjects, was moved and called forth by the response of his companion,
be that companion philosopher or student, sage or boy, man or woman; and
he was equally ready for the most lively topics or for the gravest
reflections—his expression easily adapting itself to the tone of his
companion’s mind.  With much freedom of manners, he combined a
spontaneous courtesy that never failed, and a considerateness derived
from a ceaseless kindness of heart that invariably fascinated even
strangers.”  Or in this: “His animation, his sympathy with what was gay
and pleasurable; his avowed doctrine of cultivating cheerfulness, were
manifest on the surface, and could be appreciated by those who knew him
in society, most probably even exaggerated as salient traits, on which he
himself insisted _with a sort of gay and ostentatious wilfulness_.”

The last words describe one of the most captivating peculiarities of a
most original and engaging man, better than any other words could.  The
reader is besought to observe them, for a reason that shall presently be
given.  Lastly: “The anxiety to recognise the right of others, the
tendency to ‘refine’, which was noted by an early school companion, and
the propensity to elaborate every thought, made him, along with the
direct argument by which he sustained his own conviction, recognise and
almost admit all that might be said on the opposite side”.  For these
reasons, and for others suggested with equal felicity, and with equal
fidelity, the son writes of the father, “It is most desirable that his
qualities should be known as they were; for such deficiencies as he had
are the honest explanation of his mistakes; while, as the reader may see
from his writings and his conduct, they are not, as the faults of which
he was accused would be, incompatible with the noblest faculties both of
head and heart.  To know Leigh Hunt as he was, was to hold him in
reverence and love.”

These quotations are made here, with a special object.  It is not, that
the personal testimony of one who knew Leigh Hunt well, may be borne to
their truthfulness.  It is not, that it may be recorded in these pages,
as in his son’s introductory chapter, that his life was of the most
amiable and domestic kind, that his wants were few, that his way of life
was frugal, that he was a man of small expenses, no ostentations, a
diligent labourer, and a secluded man of letters.  It is not, that the
inconsiderate and forgetful may be reminded of his wrongs and sufferings
in the days of the Regency, and of the national disgrace of his
imprisonment.  It is not, that their forbearance may be entreated for his
grave, in right of his graceful fancy or his political labours and
endurances, though—

    Not only we, the latest seed of Time,
    New men, that in the flying of a wheel
    Cry down the past, not only we, that prate
    Of rights and wrongs, have loved the people well.

It is, that a duty may be done in the most direct way possible.  An act
of plain, clear duty.

Four or five years ago, the writer of these lines was much pained by
accidentally encountering a printed statement, “that Mr. Leigh Hunt was
the original of Harold Skimpole in _Bleak House_”.  The writer of these
lines, is the author of that book.  The statement came from America.  It
is no disrespect to that country, in which the writer has, perhaps, as
many friends and as true an interest as any man that lives,
good-humouredly to state the fact, that he has, now and then, been the
subject of paragraphs in Transatlantic newspapers, more surprisingly
destitute of all foundation in truth than the wildest delusions of the
wildest lunatics.  For reasons born of this experience, he let the thing
go by.

But, since Mr. Leigh Hunt’s death, the statement has been revived in
England.  The delicacy and generosity evinced in its revival, are for the
rather late consideration of its revivers.  The fact is this:

Exactly those graces and charms of manner which are remembered in the
words we have quoted, were remembered by the author of the work of
fiction in question, when he drew the character in question.  Above all
other things, that “sort of gay and ostentatious wilfulness” in the
humouring of a subject, which had many a time delighted him, and
impressed him as being unspeakably whimsical and attractive, was the airy
quality he wanted for the man he invented.  Partly for this reason, and
partly (he has since often grieved to think) for the pleasure it afforded
him to find that delightful manner reproducing itself under his hand, he
yielded to the temptation of too often making the character _speak_ like
his old friend.  He no more thought, God forgive him! that the admired
original would ever be charged with the imaginary vices of the fictitious
creature, than he has himself ever thought of charging the blood of
Desdemona and Othello, on the innocent Academy model who sat for Iago’s
leg in the picture.  Even as to the mere occasional manner, he meant to
be so cautious and conscientious, that he privately referred the proof
sheets of the first number of that book to two intimate literary friends
of Leigh Hunt (both still living), and altered the whole of that part of
the text on their discovering too strong a resemblance to his “way”.

He cannot see the son lay this wreath on the father’s tomb, and leave him
to the possibility of ever thinking that the present words might have
righted the father’s memory and were left unwritten.  He cannot know that
his own son may have to explain his father when folly or malice can wound
his heart no more, and leave this task undone.


THE pen is taken in hand on the present occasion, by a private individual
(not wholly unaccustomed to literary composition), for the exposure of a
conspiracy of a most frightful nature; a conspiracy which, like the
deadly Upas-tree of Java, on which the individual produced a poem in his
earlier youth (not wholly devoid of length), which was so flatteringly
received (in circles not wholly unaccustomed to form critical opinions),
that he was recommended to publish it, and would certainly have carried
out the suggestion, but for private considerations (not wholly
unconnected with expense).

The individual who undertakes the exposure of the gigantic conspiracy now
to be laid bare in all its hideous deformity, is an inhabitant of the
town of Tattlesnivel—a lowly inhabitant, it may be, but one who, as an
Englishman and a man, will ne’er abase his eye before the gaudy and the
mocking throng.

Tattlesnivel stoops to demand no championship from her sons.  On an
occasion in History, our bluff British monarch, our Eighth Royal Harry,
almost went there.  And long ere the periodical in which this exposure
will appear, had sprung into being, Tattlesnivel had unfurled that
standard which yet waves upon her battlements.  The standard alluded to,
is THE TATTLESNIVEL BLEATER, containing the latest intelligence, and
state of markets, down to the hour of going to press, and presenting a
favourable local medium for advertisers, on a graduated scale of charges,
considerably diminishing in proportion to the guaranteed number of

It were bootless to expatiate on the host of talent engaged in formidable
phalanx to do fealty to the Bleater.  Suffice it to select, for present
purposes, one of the most gifted and (but for the wide and deep
ramifications of an un-English conspiracy) most rising, of the men who
are bold Albion’s pride.  It were needless, after this preamble, to point
the finger more directly at the LONDON CORRESPONDENT OF THE TATTLESNIVEL

On the weekly letters of that Correspondent, on the flexibility of their
English, on the boldness of their grammar, on the originality of their
quotations (never to be found as they are printed, in any book existing),
on the priority of their information, on their intimate acquaintance with
the secret thoughts and unexecuted intentions of men, it would ill become
the humble Tattlesnivellian who traces these words, to dwell.  They are
graven in the memory; they are on the Bleater’s file.  Let them be
referred to.

But from the infamous, the dark, the subtle conspiracy which spreads its
baleful roots throughout the land, and of which the Bleater’s London
Correspondent is the one sole subject, it is the purpose of the lowly
Tattlesnivellian who undertakes this revelation, to tear the veil.  Nor
will he shrink from his self-imposed labour, Herculean though it be.

The conspiracy begins in the very Palace of the Sovereign Lady of our
Ocean Isle.  Leal and loyal as it is the proud vaunt of the Bleater’s
readers, one and all, to be, the inhabitant who pens this exposure does
not personally impeach, either her Majesty the queen, or the illustrious
Prince Consort.  But, some silken-clad smoothers, some purple parasites,
some fawners in frippery, some greedy and begartered ones in gorgeous
garments, he does impeach—ay, and wrathfully!  Is it asked on what
grounds?  They shall be stated.

The Bleater’s London Correspondent, in the prosecution of his important
inquiries, goes down to Windsor, sends in his card, has a confidential
interview with her Majesty and the illustrious Prince Consort.  For a
time, the restraints of Royalty are thrown aside in the cheerful
conversation of the Bleater’s London Correspondent, in his fund of
information, in his flow of anecdote, in the atmosphere of his genius;
her Majesty brightens, the illustrious Prince Consort thaws, the cares of
State and the conflicts of Party are forgotten, lunch is proposed.  Over
that unassuming and domestic table, her Majesty communicates to the
Bleater’s London Correspondent that it is her intention to send his Royal
Highness the Prince of Wales to inspect the top of the Great
Pyramid—thinking it likely to improve his acquaintance with the views of
the people.  Her Majesty further communicates that she has made up her
royal mind (and that the Prince Consort has made up his illustrious mind)
to the bestowal of the vacant Garter, let us say on Mr. Roebuck.  The
younger Royal children having been introduced at the request of the
Bleater’s London Correspondent, and having been by him closely observed
to present the usual external indications of good health, the happy knot
is severed, with a sigh the Royal bow is once more strung to its full
tension, the Bleater’s London Correspondent returns to London, writes his
letter, and tells the Tattlesnivel Bleater what he knows.  All
Tattlesnivel reads it, and knows that he knows it.  But, _does_ his Royal
Highness the Prince of Wales ultimately go to the top of the Great
Pyramid?  _Does_ Mr. Roebuck ultimately get the Garter?  No.  Are the
younger Royal children even ultimately found to be well?  On the
contrary, they have—and on that very day had—the measles.  Why is this?
_Because the conspirators against the Bleater’s London Correspondent have
stepped in with their dark machinations_.  Because her Majesty and the
Prince Consort are artfully induced to change their minds, from north to
south, from east to west, immediately after it is known to the
conspirators that they have put themselves in communication with the
Bleater’s London Correspondent.  It is now indignantly demanded, by whom
are they so tampered with?  It is now indignantly demanded, who took the
responsibility of concealing the indisposition of those Royal children
from their Royal and illustrious parents, and of bringing them down from
their beds, disguised, expressly to confound the London Correspondent of
the Tattlesnivel Bleater?  Who are those persons, it is again asked?  Let
not rank and favour protect them.  Let the traitors be exhibited in the
face of day!

Lord John Russell is in this conspiracy.  Tell us not that his Lordship
is a man of too much spirit and honour.  Denunciation is hurled against
him.  The proof?  The proof is here.

The Time is panting for an answer to the question, Will Lord John Russell
consent to take office under Lord Palmerston?  Good.  The London
Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater is in the act of writing his
weekly letter, finds himself rather at a loss to settle this question
finally, leaves off, puts his hat on, goes down to the lobby of the House
of Commons, sends in for Lord John Russell, and has him out.  He draws
his arm through his Lordship’s, takes him aside, and says, “John, will
you ever accept office under Palmerston?”  His Lordship replies, “I will
not.”  The Bleater’s London Correspondent retorts, with the caution such
a man is bound to use, “John, think again; say nothing to me rashly; is
there any temper here?”  His Lordship replies, calmly, “None whatever.”
After giving him time for reflection, the Bleater’s London Correspondent
says, “Once more, John, let me put a question to you.  Will you ever
accept office under Palmerston?”  His Lordship answers (note the exact
expressions), “Nothing shall induce me, ever to accept a seat in a
Cabinet of which Palmerston is the Chief.”  They part, the London
Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater finishes his letter, and—always
being withheld by motives of delicacy, from plainly divulging his means
of getting accurate information on every subject, at first hand—puts in
it, this passage: “Lord John Russell is spoken of, by blunderers, for
Foreign Affairs; but I have the best reasons for assuring your readers,
that” (giving prominence to the exact expressions, it will be observed)
PALMERSTON IS THE CHIEF.’  On this you may implicitly rely.”  What
happens?  On the very day of the publication of that number of the
Bleater—the malignity of the conspirators being even manifested in the
selection of the day—Lord John Russell takes the Foreign Office!  Comment
were superfluous.

The people of Tattlesnivel will be told, have been told, that Lord John
Russell is a man of his word.  He may be, on some occasions; but, when
overshadowed by this dark and enormous growth of conspiracy, Tattlesnivel
knows him to be otherwise.  “I happen to be certain, deriving my
information from a source which cannot be doubted to be authentic,” wrote
the London Correspondent of the Bleater, within the last year, “that Lord
John Russell bitterly regrets having made that explicit speech of last
Monday.”  These are not roundabout phrases; these are plain words.  What
does Lord John Russell (apparently by accident), within eight-and-forty
hours after their diffusion over the civilised globe?  Rises in his place
in Parliament, and unblushingly declares that if the occasion could arise
five hundred times, for his making that very speech, he would make it
five hundred times!  Is there no conspiracy here?  And is this
combination against one who would be always right if he were not proved
always wrong, to be endured in a country that boasts of its freedom and
its fairness?

But, the Tattlesnivellian who now raises his voice against intolerable
oppression, may be told that, after all, this is a political conspiracy.
He may be told, forsooth, that Mr. Disraeli’s being in it, that Lord
Derby’s being in it, that Mr. Bright’s being in it, that every Home,
Foreign, and Colonial Secretary’s being in it, that every ministry’s and
every opposition’s being in it, are but proofs that men will do in
politics what they would do in nothing else.  Is this the plea?  If so,
the rejoinder is, that the mighty conspiracy includes the whole circle of
Artists of all kinds, and comprehends all degrees of men, down to the
worst criminal and the hangman who ends his career.  For, all these are
intimately known to the London Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater,
and all these deceive him.

Sir, put it to the proof.  There is the Bleater on the file—documentary
evidence.  Weeks, months, before the Exhibition of the Royal Academy, the
Bleater’s London Correspondent knows the subjects of all the leading
pictures, knows what the painters first meant to do, knows what they
afterwards substituted for what they first meant to do, knows what they
ought to do and won’t do, knows what they ought not to do and will do,
knows to a letter from whom they have commissions, knows to a shilling
how much they are to be paid.  Now, no sooner is each studio clear of the
remarkable man to whom each studio-occupant has revealed himself as he
does not reveal himself to his nearest and dearest bosom friend, than
conspiracy and fraud begin.  Alfred the Great becomes the Fairy Queen;
Moses viewing the Promised Land, turns out to be Moses going to the Fair;
Portrait of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, is transformed, as if
by irreverent enchantment of the dissenting interest, into A Favourite
Terrier, or Cattle Grazing; and the most extraordinary work of art in the
list described by the Bleater, is coolly sponged out altogether, and
asserted never to have had existence at all, even in the most shadow
thoughts of its executant!  This is vile enough, but this is not all.
Picture-buyers then come forth from their secret positions, and creep
into their places in the assassin-multitude of conspirators.  Mr. Baring,
after expressly telling the Bleater’s London Correspondent that he had
bought No. 39 for one thousand guineas, gives it up to somebody unknown
for a couple of hundred pounds; the Marquis of Lansdowne pretends to have
no knowledge whatever of the commissions to which the London
Correspondent of the Bleater swore him, but allows a Railway Contractor
to cut him out for half the money.  Similar examples might be multiplied.
Shame, shame, on these men!  Is this England?

Sir, look again at Literature.  The Bleater’s London Correspondent is not
merely acquainted with all the eminent writers, but is in possession of
the secrets of their souls.  He is versed in their hidden meanings and
references, sees their manuscripts before publication, and knows the
subjects and titles of their books when they are not begun.  How dare
those writers turn upon the eminent man and depart from every intention
they have confided to him?  How do they justify themselves in entirely
altering their manuscripts, changing their titles, and abandoning their
subjects?  Will they deny, in the face of Tattlesnivel, that they do so?
If they have such hardihood, let the file of the Bleater strike them
dumb.  By their fruits they shall be known.  Let their works be compared
with the anticipatory letters of the Bleater’s London Correspondent, and
their falsehood and deceit will become manifest as the sun; it will be
seen that they do nothing which they stand pledged to the Bleater’s
London Correspondent to do; it will be seen that they are among the
blackest parties in this black and base conspiracy.  This will become
apparent, sir, not only as to their public proceedings but as to their
private affairs.  The outraged Tattlesnivellian who now drags this
infamous combination into the face of day, charges those literary persons
with making away with their property, imposing on the Income Tax
Commissioners, keeping false books, and entering into sham contracts.  He
accuses them on the unimpeachable faith of the London Correspondent of
the Tattlesnivel Bleater.  With whose evidence they will find it
impossible to reconcile their own account of any transaction of their

The national character is degenerating under the influence of the
ramifications of this tremendous conspiracy.  Forgery is committed,
constantly.  A person of note—any sort of person of note—dies.  The
Bleater’s London Correspondent knows what his circumstances are, what his
savings are (if any), who his creditors are, all about his children and
relations, and (in general, before his body is cold) describes his will.
Is that will ever proved?  Never!  Some other will is substituted; the
real instrument, destroyed.  And this (as has been before observed), is

Who are the workmen and artificers, enrolled upon the books of this
treacherous league?  From what funds are they paid, and with what
ceremonies are they sworn to secrecy?  Are there none such?  Observe what
follows.  A little time ago the Bleater’s London Correspondent had this
passage: “Boddleboy is pianoforte playing at St. Januarius’s Gallery,
with pretty tolerable success!  He clears three hundred pounds per night.
Not bad this!!”  The builder of St. Januarius’s Gallery (plunged to the
throat in the conspiracy) met with this piece of news, and observed, with
characteristic coarseness, “that the Bleater’s London Correspondent was a
Blind Ass”.  Being pressed by a man of spirit to give his reasons for
this extraordinary statement, he declared that the Gallery, crammed to
suffocation, would not hold two hundred pounds, and that its expenses
were, probably, at least half what it did hold.  The man of spirit
(himself a Tattlesnivellian) had the Gallery measured within a week from
that hour, and it would not hold two hundred pounds!  Now, can the
poorest capacity doubt that it had been altered in the meantime?

And so the conspiracy extends, through every grade of society, down to
the condemned criminal in prison, the hangman, and the Ordinary.  Every
famous murderer within the last ten years has desecrated his last moments
by falsifying his confidences imparted specially to the London
Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater; on every such occasion, Mr.
Calcraft has followed the degrading example; and the reverend Ordinary,
forgetful of his cloth, and mindful only (it would seem, alas!) of the
conspiracy, has committed himself to some account or other of the
criminal’s demeanour and conversation, which has been diametrically
opposed to the exclusive information of the London Correspondent of the
Bleater.  And this (as has been before observed) is Merry England!

A man of true genius, however, is not easily defeated.  The Bleater’s
London Correspondent, probably beginning to suspect the existence of a
plot against him, has recently fallen on a new style, which, as being
very difficult to countermine, may necessitate the organisation of a new
conspiracy.  One of his masterly letters, lately, disclosed the adoption
of this style—which was remarked with profound sensation throughout
Tattlesnivel—in the following passage: “Mentioning literary small talk, I
may tell you that some new and extraordinary rumours are afloat
concerning the conversations I have previously mentioned, alleged to have
taken place in the first floor front (situated over the street door), of
Mr. X. Ameter (the poet so well known to your readers), in which, X.
Ameter’s great uncle, his second son, his butcher, and a corpulent
gentleman with one eye universally respected at Kensington, are said not
to have been on the most friendly footing; I forbear, however, to pursue
the subject further, this week, my informant not being able to supply me
with exact particulars.”

But, enough, sir.  The inhabitant of Tattlesnivel who has taken pen in
hand to expose this odious association of unprincipled men against a
shining (local) character, turns from it with disgust and contempt.  Let
him in few words strip the remaining flimsy covering from the nude object
of the conspirators, and his loathsome task is ended.

Sir, that object, he contends, is evidently twofold.  First, to exhibit
the London Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater in the light of a
mischievous Blockhead who, by hiring himself out to tell what he cannot
possibly know, is as great a public nuisance as a Blockhead in a corner
can be.  Second, to suggest to the men of Tattlesnivel that it does not
improve their town to have so much Dry Rubbish shot there.

Now, sir, on both these points Tattlesnivel demands in accents of
Thunder, Where is the Attorney General?  Why doesn’t the _Times_ take it
up?  (Is the latter in the conspiracy?  It never adopts his views, or
quotes him, and incessantly contradicts him.)  Tattlesnivel, sir,
remembering that our forefathers contended with the Norman at Hastings,
and bled at a variety of other places that will readily occur to you,
demands that its birthright shall not be bartered away for a mess of
pottage.  Have a care, sir, have a care!  Or Tattlesnivel (its idle
Rifles piled in its scouted streets) may be seen ere long, advancing with
its Bleater to the foot of the Throne, and demanding redress for this
conspiracy, from the orbed and sceptred hands of Majesty itself!


A SONG of the hour, now in course of being sung and whistled in every
street, the other day reminded the writer of these words—as he chanced to
pass a fag-end of the song for the twentieth time in a short London
walk—that twenty years ago, a little book on the United States, entitled
_American Notes_, was published by “a Young Man from the Country”, who
had just seen and left it.

This Young Man from the Country fell into a deal of trouble, by reason of
having taken the liberty to believe that he perceived in America downward
popular tendencies for which his young enthusiasm had been anything but
prepared.  It was in vain for the Young Man to offer in extenuation of
his belief that no stranger could have set foot on those shores with a
feeling of livelier interest in the country, and stronger faith in it,
than he.  Those were the days when the Tories had made their Ashburton
Treaty, and when Whigs and Radicals must have no theory disturbed.  All
three parties waylaid and mauled the Young Man from the Country, and
showed that he knew nothing about the country.

As the Young Man from the Country had observed in the Preface to his
little book, that he “could bide his time”, he took all this in silent
part for eight years.  Publishing then, a cheap edition of his book, he
made no stronger protest than the following:

    “My readers have opportunities of judging for themselves whether the
    influences and tendencies which I distrusted in America, have any
    existence but in my imagination.  They can examine for themselves
    whether there has been anything in the public career of that country
    during these past eight years, or whether there is anything in its
    present position, at home or abroad, which suggests that those
    influences and tendencies really do exist.  As they find the fact,
    they will judge me.  If they discern any evidences of wrong-going, in
    any direction that I have indicated, they will acknowledge that I had
    reason in what I wrote.  If they discern no such thing, they will
    consider me altogether mistaken.  I have nothing to defend, or to
    explain away.  The truth is the truth; and neither childish
    absurdities, nor unscrupulous contradictions, can make it otherwise.
    The earth would still move round the sun, though the whole Catholic
    Church said No.”

Twelve more years having since passed away, it may now, at last, be
simply just towards the Young Man from the Country, to compare what he
originally wrote, with recent events and their plain motive powers.
Treating of the House of Representatives at Washington, he wrote thus:

    “Did I recognise in this assembly, a body of men, who, applying
    themselves in a new world to correct some of the falsehoods and vices
    of the old, purified the avenues to Public Life, paved the dirty ways
    to Place and Power, debated and made laws for the Common Good, and
    had no party but their Country?

    “I saw in them, the wheels that move the meanest perversion of
    virtuous Political Machinery that the worst tools ever wrought.
    Despicable trickery at elections; under-handed tamperings with public
    officers; cowardly attacks upon opponents, with scurrilous newspapers
    for shields, and hired pens for daggers; shameful trucklings to
    mercenary knaves, whose claim to be considered, is, that every day
    and week they sow new crops of ruin with their venal types, which are
    the dragon’s teeth of yore, in everything but sharpness; aidings and
    abettings of every bad inclination in the popular mind, and artful
    suppressions of all its good influences: such things as these, and in
    a word, Dishonest Faction in its most depraved and most unblushing
    form, stared out from every corner of the crowded hall.

    “Did I see among them, the intelligence and refinement: the true,
    honest, patriotic heart of America?  Here and there, were drops of
    its blood and life, but they scarcely coloured the stream of
    desperate adventurers which sets that way for profit and for pay.  It
    is the game of these men, and of their profligate organs, to make the
    strife of politics so fierce and brutal, and so destructive of all
    self-respect in worthy men, that sensitive and delicate-minded
    persons shall be kept aloof, and they, and such as they, be left to
    battle out their selfish views unchecked.  And thus this lowest of
    all scrambling fights goes on, and they who in other countries would,
    from their intelligence and station, most aspire to make the laws, do
    here recoil the farthest from that degradation.

    “That there are, among the representatives of the people in both
    Houses, and among all parties, some men of high character and great
    abilities, I need not say.  The foremost among those politicians who
    are known in Europe, have been already described, and I see no reason
    to depart from the rule I have laid down for my guidance, of
    abstaining from all mention of individuals.  It will be sufficient to
    add, that to the most favourable accounts that have been written of
    them, I fully and most heartily subscribe; and that personal
    intercourse and free communication have bred within me, not the
    result predicted in the very doubtful proverb, but increased
    admiration and respect.”

Towards the end of his book, the Young Man from the Country thus
expressed himself concerning its people:

    “They are, by nature, frank, brave, cordial, hospitable, and
    affectionate.  Cultivation and refinement seem but to enhance their
    warmth of heart and ardent enthusiasm; and it is the possession of
    these latter qualities in a most remarkable degree, which renders an
    educated American one of the most endearing and most generous of
    friends.  I never was so won upon, as by this class; never yielded up
    my full confidence and esteem so readily and pleasurably, as to them;
    never can make again, in half a year, so many friends for whom I seem
    to entertain the regard of half a life.

    “These qualities are natural, I implicitly believe, to the whole
    people.  That they are, however, sadly sapped and blighted in their
    growth among the mass; and that there are influences at work which
    endanger them still more, and give but little present promise of
    their healthy restoration; is a truth that ought to be told.

    “It is an essential part of every national character to pique itself
    mightily upon its faults, and to deduce tokens of its virtue or its
    wisdom from their very exaggeration.  One great blemish in the
    popular mind of America, and the prolific parent of an innumerable
    brood of evils, is Universal Distrust.  Yet the American citizen
    plumes himself upon this spirit, even when he is sufficiently
    dispassionate to perceive the ruin it works; and will often adduce
    it, in spite of his own reason, as an instance of the great sagacity
    and acuteness of the people, and their superior shrewdness and

    “‘You carry,’ says the stranger, ‘this jealousy and distrust into
    every transaction of public life.  By repelling worthy men from your
    legislative assemblies, it has bred up a class of candidates for the
    suffrage, who, in their every act, disgrace your Institutions and
    your people’s choice.  It has rendered you so fickle, and so given to
    change, that your inconstancy has passed into a proverb; for you no
    sooner set up an idol firmly, than you are sure to pull it down and
    dash it into fragments: and this, because directly you reward a
    benefactor, or a public-servant, you distrust him, merely because he
    _is_ rewarded; and immediately apply yourselves to find out, either
    that you have been too bountiful in your acknowledgments, or he
    remiss in his deserts.  Any man who attains a high place among you,
    from the President downwards, may date his downfall from that moment;
    for any printed lie that any notorious villain pens, although it
    militate directly against the character and conduct of a life,
    appeals at once to your distrust, and is believed.  You will strain
    at a gnat in the way of trustfulness and confidence, however fairly
    won and well deserved; but you will swallow a whole caravan of
    camels, if they be laden with unworthy doubts and mean suspicions.
    Is this well, think you, or likely to elevate the character of the
    governors or the governed, among you?’

    “The answer is invariably the same: ‘There’s freedom of opinion here,
    you know.  Every man thinks for himself, and we are not to be easily
    overreached.  That’s how our people come to be suspicious.’

    “Another prominent feature is the love of ‘smart’ dealing: which
    gilds over many a swindle and gross breach of trust; many a
    defalcation, public and private; and enables many a knave to hold his
    head up with the best, who well deserves a halter: though it has not
    been without its retributive operation, for this smartness has done
    more in a few years to impair the public credit, and to cripple the
    public resources, than dull honesty, however rash, could have
    effected in a century.  The merits of a broken speculation, or a
    bankruptcy, or of a successful scoundrel, are not gauged by its or
    his observance of the golden rule, ‘Do as you would be done by’, but
    are considered with reference to their smartness.  I recollect, on
    both occasions of our passing that ill-fated Cairo on the
    Mississippi, remarking on the bad effects such gross deceits must
    have when they exploded, in generating a want of confidence abroad,
    and discouraging foreign investment: but I was given to understand
    that this was a very smart scheme by which a deal of money had been
    made: and that its smartest feature was, that they forgot these
    things abroad, in a very short time, and speculated again, as freely
    as ever.  The following dialogue I have held a hundred times: ‘Is it
    not a very disgraceful circumstance that such a man as So-and-so
    should be acquiring a large property by the most infamous and odious
    means, and notwithstanding all the crimes of which he has been
    guilty, should be tolerated and abetted by your citizens?  He is a
    public nuisance, is he not?’  ‘Yes, sir.’  ‘A convicted liar?’  ‘Yes,
    sir.’  ‘He has been kicked, and cuffed, and caned?’  ‘Yes, sir.’
    ‘And he is utterly dishonourable, debased, and profligate?’  ‘Yes,
    sir.’  ‘In the name of wonder, then, what is his merit?’  ‘Well, sir,
    he is a smart man.’

    “But the foul growth of America has a more tangled root than this;
    and it strikes its fibres, deep in its licentious Press.

    “Schools may he erected, East, West, North, and South; pupils be
    taught, and masters reared, by scores upon scores of thousands;
    colleges may thrive, churches may be crammed, temperance may be
    diffused, and advancing knowledge in all other forms walk through the
    land with giant strides; but while the newspaper press of America is
    in, or near, its present abject state, high moral improvement in that
    country is hopeless.  Year by year, it must and will go back; year by
    year, the tone of public opinion must sink lower down; year by year,
    the Congress and the Senate must become of less account before all
    decent men; and year by year, the memory of the Great Fathers of the
    Revolution must be outraged more and more, in the bad life of their
    degenerate child.

    “Among the herd of journals which are published in the States, there
    are some, the reader scarcely need be told, of character and credit.
    From personal intercourse with accomplished gentlemen connected with
    publications of this class, I have derived both pleasure and profit.
    But the name of these is Few, and of the others Legion; and the
    influence of the good, is powerless to counteract the moral poison of
    the bad.

    “Among the gentry of America; among the well-informed and moderate;
    in the learned professions; at the bar and on the bench; there is, as
    there can be, but one opinion, in reference to the vicious character
    of these infamous journals.  It is sometimes contended—I will not say
    strangely, for it is natural to seek excuses for such a disgrace—that
    their influence is not so great as a visitor would suppose.  I must
    be pardoned for saying that there is no warrant for this plea, and
    that every fact and circumstance tends directly to the opposite

    “When any man, of any grade of desert in intellect or character, can
    climb to any public distinction, no matter what, in America, without
    first grovelling down upon the earth, and bending the knee before
    this monster of depravity; when any private excellence is safe from
    its attacks; when any social confidence is left unbroken by it; or
    any tie of social decency and honour is held in the least regard;
    when any man in that Free Country has freedom of opinion, and
    presumes to think for himself, and speak for himself, without humble
    reference to a censorship which, for its rampant ignorance and base
    dishonesty, he utterly loaths and despises in his heart; when those
    who most acutely feel its infamy and the reproach it casts upon the
    nation, and who most denounce it to each other, dare to set their
    heels upon, and crush it openly, in the sight of all men: then, I
    will believe that its influence is lessening, and men are returning
    to their manly senses.  But while that Press has its evil eye in
    every house, and its black hand in every appointment in the state,
    from a president to a postman; while, with ribald slander for its
    only stock in trade, it is the standard literature of an enormous
    class, who must find their reading in a newspaper, or they will not
    read at all; so long must its odium be upon the country’s head, and
    so long must the evil it works, be plainly visible in the Republic.”

The foregoing was written in the year eighteen hundred and forty-two.  It
rests with the reader to decide whether it has received any confirmation,
or assumed any colour of truth, in or about the year eighteen hundred and


AT various places in Suffolk (as elsewhere) penny readings take place
“for the instruction and amusement of the lower classes”.  There is a
little town in Suffolk called Eye, where the subject of one of these
readings was a tale (by Mr. Wilkie Collins) from the last Christmas
Number of this Journal, entitled “Picking up Waifs at Sea”.  It appears
that the Eye gentility was shocked by the introduction of this rude piece
among the taste and musical glasses of that important town, on which the
eyes of Europe are notoriously always fixed.  In particular, the feelings
of the vicar’s family were outraged; and a Local Organ (say, the
Tattlesnivel Bleater) consequently doomed the said piece to everlasting
oblivion, as being of an “injurious tendency!”

When this fearful fact came to the knowledge of the unhappy writer of the
doomed tale in question, he covered his face with his robe, previous to
dying decently under the sharp steel of the ecclesiastical gentility of
the terrible town of Eye.  But the discovery that he was not alone in his
gloomy glory, revived him, and he still lives.

For, at Stowmarket, in the aforesaid county of Suffolk, at another of
those penny readings, it was announced that a certain juvenile sketch,
culled from a volume of sketches (by Boz) and entitled “The Bloomsbury
Christening”, would be read.  Hereupon, the clergyman of that place took
heart and pen, and addressed the following terrific epistle to a
gentleman bearing the very appropriate name of Gudgeon:

                                     STOWMARKET VICARAGE, _Feb._ 25, 1861.

    SIR,—My attention has been directed to a piece called “The Bloomsbury
    Christening” which you propose to read this evening.  Without
    presuming to claim any interference in the arrangement of the
    readings, I would suggest to you whether you have on this occasion
    sufficiently considered the character of the composition you have
    selected.  I quite appreciate the laudable motive of the promoters of
    the readings to raise the moral tone amongst the working class of the
    town and to direct this taste in a familiar and pleasant manner.
    “The Bloomsbury Christening” cannot possibly do this.  It trifles
    with a sacred ordinance, and the language and style, instead of
    improving the taste, has a direct tendency to lower it.

    I appeal to your right feeling whether it is desirable to give
    publicity to that which must shock several of your audience, and
    create a smile amongst others, to be indulged in only by violating
    the conscientious scruples of their neighbours.

    The ordinance which is here exposed to ridicule is one which is much
    misunderstood and neglected amongst many families belonging to the
    Church of England, and the mode in which it is treated in this
    chapter cannot fail to appear as giving a sanction to, or at least
    excusing, such neglect.

    Although you are pledged to the public to give this subject, yet I
    cannot but believe that they would fully justify your substitution of
    it for another did they know the circumstances.  An abridgment would
    only lessen the evil in a degree, as it is not only the style of the
    writing but the subject itself which is objectionable.

    Excuse me for troubling you, but I felt that, in common with
    yourself, I have a grave responsibility in the matter, and I am most
    truly yours,

                                                              T. S. COLES.

    To Mr. J. Gudgeon.

It is really necessary to explain that this is not a bad joke.  It is
simply a bad fact.


“DOCTOR JOHN CAMPBELL, the minister of the Tabernacle Chapel, Finsbury,
and editor of the _British Banner_, etc., with that massive vigour which
distinguishes his style,” did, we are informed by Mr. Howitt, “deliver a
verdict in the _Banner_, for November, 1852,” of great importance and
favour to the Table-rapping cause.  We are not informed whether the
Public, sitting in judgment on the question, reserved any point in this
great verdict for subsequent consideration; but the verdict would seem to
have been regarded by a perverse generation as not quite final, inasmuch
as Mr. Howitt finds it necessary to re-open the case, a round ten years
afterwards, in nine hundred and sixty-two stiff octavo pages, published
by Messrs. Longman and Company.

Mr. Howitt is in such a bristling temper on the Supernatural subject,
that we will not take the great liberty of arguing any point with him.
But—with the view of assisting him to make converts—we will inform our
readers, on his conclusive authority, what they are required to believe;
premising what may rather astonish them in connexion with their views of
a certain historical trifle, called The Reformation, that their present
state of unbelief is all the fault of Protestantism, and that “it is high
time, therefore, to protest against Protestantism”.

They will please to believe, by way of an easy beginning, all the stories
of good and evil demons, ghosts, prophecies, communication with spirits,
and practice of magic, that ever obtained, or are said to have ever
obtained, in the North, in the South, in the East, in the West, from the
earliest and darkest ages, as to which we have any hazy intelligence,
real or supposititious, down to the yet unfinished displacement of the
red men in North America.  They will please to believe that nothing in
this wise was changed by the fulfilment of our Saviour’s mission upon
earth; and further, that what Saint Paul did, can be done again, and has
been done again.  As this is not much to begin with, they will throw in
at this point rejection of Faraday and Brewster, and “poor Paley”, and
implicit acceptance of those shining lights, the Reverend Charles
Beecher, and the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher (“one of the most vigorous
and eloquent preachers of America”), and the Reverend Adin Ballou.

Having thus cleared the way for a healthy exercise of faith, our
advancing readers will next proceed especially to believe in the old
story of the Drummer of Tedworth, in the inspiration of George Fox, in
“the spiritualism, prophecies, and provision” of Huntington the
coal-porter (him who prayed for the leather breeches which miraculously
fitted him), and even in the Cock Lane Ghost.  They will please wind up,
before fetching their breath, with believing that there is a close
analogy between rejection of any such plain and proved facts as those
contained in the whole foregoing catalogue, and the opposition
encountered by the inventors of railways, lighting by gas, microscopes
and telescopes, and vaccination.  This stinging consideration they will
always carry rankling in their remorseful hearts as they advance.

As touching the Cock Lane Ghost, our conscience-stricken readers will
please particularly to reproach themselves for having ever supposed that
important spiritual manifestation to have been a gross imposture which
was thoroughly detected.  They will please to believe that Dr. Johnson
believed in it, and that, in Mr. Howitt’s words, he “appears to have had
excellent reasons for his belief”.  With a view to this end, the faithful
will be so good as to obliterate from their Boswells the following
passage: “Many of my readers, I am convinced, are to this hour under an
impression that Johnson was thus foolishly deceived.  It will therefore
surprise them a good deal when they are informed upon undoubted authority
that Johnson was one of those by whom the imposture was detected.  The
story had become so popular, that he thought it should be investigated,
and in this research he was assisted by the Rev. Dr. Douglas, now Bishop
of Salisbury, the great detector of impostures”—and therefore
tremendously obnoxious to Mr. Howitt—“who informs me that after the
gentlemen who went and examined into the evidence were satisfied of its
falsity, Johnson wrote in their presence an account of it, which was
published in the newspapers and _Gentleman’s Magazine_, and undeceived
the world”.  But as there will still remain another highly inconvenient
passage in the Boswells of the true believers, they must likewise be at
the trouble of cancelling the following also, referring to a later time:
“He (Johnson) expressed great indignation at the imposture of the Cock
Lane Ghost, and related with much satisfaction how he had assisted in
detecting the cheat, and had published an account of it in the

They will next believe (if they be, in the words of Captain Bobadil, “so
generously minded”) in the transatlantic trance-speakers “who professed
to speak from direct inspiration”, Mrs. Cora Hatch, Mrs. Henderson, and
Miss Emma Hardinge; and they will believe in those eminent ladies having
“spoken on Sundays to five hundred thousand hearers”—small audiences, by
the way, compared with the intelligent concourse recently assembled in
the city of New York, to do honour to the Nuptials of General the
Honourable T. Barnum Thumb.  At about this stage of their spiritual
education they may take the opportunity of believing in “letters from a
distinguished gentleman of New York, in which the frequent appearance of
the gentleman’s deceased wife and of Dr. Franklin, to him and other
well-known friends, are unquestionably unequalled in the annals of the
marvellous”.  Why these modest appearances should seem at all out of the
common way to Mr. Howitt (who would be in a state of flaming indignation
if we thought them so), we could not imagine, until we found on reading
further, “it is solemnly stated that the witnesses have not only seen but
touched these spirits, and handled the clothes and hair of Franklin”.
Without presuming to go Mr. Howitt’s length of considering this by any
means a marvellous experience, we yet venture to confess that it has
awakened in our mind many interesting speculations touching the present
whereabout in space, of the spirits of Mr. Howitt’s own departed boots
and hats.

The next articles of belief are Belief in the moderate figures of “thirty
thousand media in the United States in 1853”; and in two million five
hundred thousand spiritualists in the same country of composed minds, in
1855, “professing to have arrived at their convictions of spiritual
communication from personal experience”; and in “an average rate of
increase of three hundred thousand per annum”, still in the same country
of calm philosophers.  Belief in spiritual knockings, in all manner of
American places, and, among others, in the house of “a Doctor Phelps at
Stratford, Connecticut, a man of the highest character for intelligence”,
says Mr. Howitt, and to whom we willingly concede the possession of far
higher intelligence than was displayed by his spiritual knocker, in
“frequently cutting to pieces the clothes of one of his boys”, and in
breaking “seventy-one panes of glass”—unless, indeed, the knocker, when
in the body, was connected with the tailoring and glazing interests.
Belief in immaterial performers playing (in the dark though: they are
obstinate about its being in the dark) on material instruments of wood,
catgut, brass, tin, and parchment.  Your belief is further requested in
“the Kentucky Jerks”.  The spiritual achievements thus euphoniously
denominated “appear”, says Mr. Howitt, “to have been of a very disorderly
kind”.  It appears that a certain Mr. Doke, a Presbyterian clergyman,
“was first seized by the jerks”, and the jerks laid hold of Mr. Doke in
that unclerical way and with that scant respect for his cloth, that they
“twitched him about in a most extraordinary manner, often when in the
pulpit, and caused him to shout aloud, and run out of the pulpit into the
woods, screaming like a madman.  When the fit was over, he returned
calmly to his pulpit and finished the service.”  The congregation having
waited, we presume, and edified themselves with the distant bellowings of
Doke in the woods, until he came back again, a little warm and hoarse,
but otherwise in fine condition.  “People were often seized at hotels,
and at table would, on lifting a glass to drink, jerk the liquor to the
ceiling; ladies would at the breakfast-table suddenly be compelled to
throw aloft their coffee, and frequently break the cup and saucer.”  A
certain venturesome clergyman vowed that he would preach down the Jerks,
“but he was seized in the midst of his attempt, and made so ridiculous
that he withdrew himself from further notice”—an example much to be
commended.  That same favoured land of America has been particularly
favoured in the development of “innumerable mediums”, and Mr. Howitt
orders you to believe in Daniel Dunglas Home, Andrew Davis Jackson, and
Thomas L. Harris, as “the three most remarkable, or most familiar, on
this side of the Atlantic”.  Concerning Mr. Home, the articles of belief
(besides removal of furniture) are, That through him raps have been given
and communications made from deceased friends.  That “his hand has been
seized by spirit influence, and rapid communications written out, of a
surprising character to those to whom they were addressed”.  That at his
bidding, “spirit hands have appeared which have been seen, felt, and
recognised frequently, by persons present, as those of deceased friends”.
That he has been frequently lifted up and carried, floating “as it were”
through a room, near the ceiling.  That in America, “all these phenomena
have displayed themselves in greater force than here”—which we have not
the slightest doubt of.  That he is “the planter of spiritualism all over
Europe”.  That “by circumstances that no man could have devised, he
became the guest of the Emperor of the French, of the King of Holland, of
the Czar of Russia, and of many lesser princes”.  That he returned from
“this unpremeditated missionary tour”, “endowed with competence”; but not
before, “at the Tuileries, on one occasion when the emperor, empress, a
distinguished lady, and himself only were sitting at table, a hand
appeared, took up a pen, and wrote, in a strong and well-known character,
the word Napoleon.  The hand was then successively presented to the
several personages of the party to kiss.”  The stout believer, having
disposed of Mr. Home, and rested a little, will then proceed to believe
in Andrew Davis Jackson, or Andrew Jackson Davis (Mr. Howitt, having no
Medium at hand to settle this difference and reveal the right name of the
seer, calls him by both names), who merely “beheld all the essential
natures of things, saw the interior of men and animals, as perfectly as
their exterior; and described them in language so correct, that the most
able technologists could not surpass him.  He pointed out the proper
remedies for all the complaints, and the shops where they were to be
obtained”;—in the latter respect appearing to hail from an advertising
circle, as we conceive.  It was also in this gentleman’s limited
department to “see the metals in the earth”, and to have “the most
distant regions and their various productions present before him”.
Having despatched this tough case, the believer will pass on to Thomas L.
Harris, and will swallow _him_ easily, together with “whole epics” of his
composition; a certain work “of scarcely less than Miltonic grandeur”,
called The Lyric of the Golden Age—a lyric pretty nigh as long as one of
Mr. Howitt’s volumes—dictated by Mr. (not Mrs.) Harris to the publisher
in ninety-four hours; and several extempore sermons, possessing the
remarkably lucid property of being “full, unforced, out-gushing,
unstinted, and absorbing”.  The candidate for examination in pure belief,
will then pass on to the spirit-photography department; this, again, will
be found in so-favoured America, under the superintendence of Medium
Mumler, a photographer of Boston: who was “astonished” (though, on Mr.
Howitt’s showing, he surely ought not to have been) “on taking a
photograph of himself, to find also by his side the figure of a young
girl, which he immediately recognised as that of a deceased relative.
The circumstance made a great excitement.  Numbers of persons rushed to
his rooms, and many have found deceased friends photographed with
themselves.”  (Perhaps Mr. Mumler, too, may become “endowed with
competence” in time.  Who knows?)  Finally, the true believers in the
gospel according to Howitt, have, besides, but to pin their faith on
“ladies who see spirits habitually”, on ladies who _know_ they have a
tendency to soar in the air on sufficient provocation, and on a few other
gnats to be taken after their camels, and they shall be pronounced by Mr.
Howitt not of the stereotyped class of minds, and not partakers of “the
astonishing ignorance of the press”, and shall receive a first-class
certificate of merit.

But before they pass through this portal into the Temple of Serene
Wisdom, we, halting blind and helpless on the steps, beg to suggest to
them what they must at once and for ever disbelieve.  They must
disbelieve that in the dark times, when very few were versed in what are
now the mere recreations of Science, and when those few formed a
priesthood-class apart, any marvels were wrought by the aid of concave
mirrors and a knowledge of the properties of certain odours and gases,
although the self-same marvels could be reproduced before their eyes at
the Polytechnic Institution, Regent Street, London, any day in the year.
They must by no means believe that Conjuring and Ventriloquism are old
trades.  They must disbelieve all Philosophical Transactions containing
the records of painful and careful inquiry into now familiar disorders of
the senses of seeing and hearing, and into the wonders of somnambulism,
epilepsy, hysteria, miasmatic influence, vegetable poisons derived by
whole communities from corrupted air, diseased imitation, and moral
infection.  They must disbelieve all such awkward leading cases as the
case of the Woodstock Commissioners and their man, and the case of the
Identity of the Stockwell Ghost, with the maid-servant.  They must
disbelieve the vanishing of champion haunted houses (except, indeed, out
of Mr. Howitt’s book), represented to have been closed and ruined for
years, before one day’s inquiry by four gentlemen associated with this
journal, and one hour’s reference to the Local Rate-books.  They must
disbelieve all possibility of a human creature on the last verge of the
dark bridge from Life to Death, being mysteriously able, in occasional
cases, so to influence the mind of one very near and dear, as vividly to
impress that mind with some disturbed sense of the solemn change
impending.  They must disbelieve the possibility of the lawful existence
of a class of intellects which, humbly conscious of the illimitable power
of GOD and of their own weakness and ignorance, never deny that He can
cause the souls of the dead to revisit the earth, or that He may have
caused the souls of the dead to revisit the earth, or that He can cause
any awful or wondrous thing to be; but to deny the likelihood of
apparitions or spirits coming here upon the stupidest of bootless
errands, and producing credentials tantamount to a solicitation of our
vote and interest and next proxy, to get them into the Asylum for Idiots.
They must disbelieve the right of Christian people who do _not_ protest
against Protestantism, but who hold it to be a barrier against the
darkest superstitions that can enslave the soul, to guard with jealousy
all approaches tending down to Cock Lane Ghosts and suchlike infamous
swindles, widely degrading when widely believed in; and they must
disbelieve that such people have the right to know, and that it is their
duty to know, wonder-workers by their fruits, and to test miracle-mongers
by the tests of probability, analogy, and common sense.  They must
disbelieve all rational explanations of thoroughly proved experiences
(only) which appear supernatural, derived from the average experience and
study of the visible world.  They must disbelieve the speciality of the
Master and the Disciples, and that it is a monstrosity to test the
wonders of show-folk by the same touchstone.  Lastly, they must
disbelieve that one of the best accredited chapters in the history of
mankind is the chapter that records the astonishing deceits continually
practised, with no object or purpose but the distorted pleasure of

We have summed up a few—not nearly all—of the articles of belief and
disbelief to which Mr. Howitt most arrogantly demands an implicit
adherence.  To uphold these, he uses a book as a Clown in a Pantomime
does, and knocks everybody on the head with it who comes in his way.
Moreover, he is an angrier personage than the Clown, and does not
experimentally try the effect of his red-hot poker on your shins, but
straightway runs you through the body and soul with it.  He is always
raging to tell you that if you are not Howitt, you are Atheist and
Anti-Christ.  He is the sans-culotte of the Spiritual Revolution, and
will not hear of your accepting this point and rejecting that;—down your
throat with them all, one and indivisible, at the point of the pike; No
Liberty, Totality, Fraternity, or Death!

Without presuming to question that “it is high time to protest against
Protestantism” on such very substantial grounds as Mr. Howitt sets forth,
we do presume to think that it is high time to protest against Mr.
Howitt’s spiritualism, as being a little in excess of the peculiar merit
of Thomas L. Harris’s sermons, and somewhat _too_ “full, out-gushing,
unstinted, and absorbing”.


“AFTER the valets, the master!” is Mr. Fechter’s rallying cry in the
picturesque romantic drama which attracts all London to the Lyceum
Theatre.  After the worshippers and puffers of Mr. Daniel Dunglas Home,
the spirit medium, comes Mr. Daniel Dunglas Home himself, in one volume.
And we must, for the honour of Literature, plainly express our great
surprise and regret that he comes arm-in-arm with such good company as
Messrs. Longman and Company.

We have already summed up Mr. Home’s demands on the public capacity of
swallowing, as sounded through the war-denouncing trumpet of Mr. Howitt,
and it is not our intention to revive the strain as performed by Mr. Home
on his own melodious instrument.  We notice, by the way, that in that
part of the Fantasia where the hand of the first Napoleon is supposed to
be reproduced, recognised, and kissed, at the Tuileries, Mr. Home subdues
the florid effects one might have expected after Mr. Howitt’s execution,
and brays in an extremely general manner.  And yet we observe Mr. Home to
be in other things very reliant on Mr. Howitt, of whom he entertains as
gratifying an opinion as Mr. Howitt entertains of him: dwelling on his
“deep researches into this subject”, and of his “great work now ready for
the press”, and of his “eloquent and forcible” advocacy, and eke of his
“elaborate and almost exhaustive work”, which Mr. Home trusts will be
“extensively read”.  But, indeed, it would seem to be the most reliable
characteristic of the Dear Spirits, though very capricious in other
particulars, that they always form their circles into what may be
described, in worldly terms, as A Mutual Admiration and Complimentation
Company (Limited).

Mr. Home’s book is entitled _Incidents in My Life_.  We will extract a
dozen sample passages from it, as variations on and phrases of harmony
in, the general strain for the Trumpet, which we have promised not to


“I cannot remember when first I became subject to the curious phenomena
which have now for so long attended me, but my aunt and others have told
me that when I was a baby my cradle was frequently rocked, as if some
kind guardian spirit was attending me in my slumbers.”


“In her uncontrollable anger she seized a chair and threw it at me.”


“Upon one occasion as the table was being thus moved about of itself, my
aunt brought the family Bible, and placing it on the table, said, ‘There,
that will soon drive the devils away’; but to her astonishment the table
only moved in a more lively manner, as if pleased to bear such a burden.”
(We believe this is constantly observed in pulpits and church reading
desks, which are invariably lively.)  “Seeing this she was greatly
incensed, and determined to stop it, she angrily placed her whole weight
on the table, and was actually lifted up with it bodily from the floor.”


“And she felt it a duty that I should leave her house, and which I did.”


It was communicated to him by the spirit of his mother, in the following
terms: “Daniel, fear not, my child, God is with you, and who shall be
against you?  Seek to do good: be truthful and truth-loving, and you will
prosper, my child.  Yours is a glorious mission—you will convince the
infidel, cure the sick, and console the weeping.”  It is a coincidence
that another eminent man, with several missions, heard a voice from the
Heavens blessing him, when he also was a youth, and saying, “You will be
rewarded, my son, in time”.  This Medium was the celebrated Baron
Munchausen, who relates the experience in the opening of the second
chapter of the incidents in _his_ life.


“Certainly these phenomena, whether from God or from the devil, have in
ten years caused more converts to the great truths of immortality and
angel communion, with all that flows from these great facts, than all the
sects in Christendom have made during the same period.”


“As to the music, it has been my good fortune to be on intimate terms
with some of the first composers of the day, and more than one of them
have said of such as they have heard, that it is such music as only
angels could make, and no man could write it.”

These “first composers” are not more particularly named.  We shall
therefore be happy to receive and file at the office of this Journal, the
testimonials in the foregoing terms of Dr. Sterndale Bennett, Mr. Balfe,
Mr. Macfarren, Mr. Benedict, Mr. Vincent Wallace, Signor Costa, M. Auber,
M. Gounod, Signor Rossini, and Signor Verdi.  We shall also feel obliged
to Mr. Alfred Mellon, who is no doubt constantly studying this wonderful
music, under the Medium’s auspices, if he will note on paper, from
memory, say a single sheet of the same.  Signor Giulio Regondi will then
perform it, as correctly as a mere mortal can, on the Accordion, at the
next ensuing concert of the Philharmonic Society; on which occasion the
before-mentioned testimonials will be conspicuously displayed in the
front of the orchestra.


“On the 26th April, old style, or 8th May, according to our style, at
seven in the evening, and as the snow was fast falling, our little boy
was born at the town house, situate on the Gagarines Quay, in St.
Petersburg, where we were still staying.  A few hours after his birth,
his mother, the nurse, and I heard for several hours the warbling of a
bird as if singing over him.  Also that night, and for two or three
nights afterwards, a bright starlike light, which was clearly visible
from the partial darkness of the room, in which there was only a
night-lamp burning, appeared several times directly I over its head,
where it remained for some moments, and then slowly moved in the
direction of the door, where it disappeared.  This was also seen by each
of us at the same time.  The light was more condensed than those which
have been so often seen in my presence upon previous and subsequent
occasions.  It was brighter and more distinctly globular.  I do not
believe that it came through my mediumship, but rather through that of
the child, who has manifested on several occasions the presence of the
gift.  I do not like to allude to such a matter, but as there are more
strange things in Heaven and earth than are dreamt of, even in my
philosophy, I do not feel myself at liberty to omit stating, that during
the latter part of my wife’s pregnancy, we thought it better that she
should not join in Séances, because it was found that whenever the
rappings occurred in the room, a simultaneous movement of the child was
distinctly felt, perfectly in unison with the sounds.  When there were
three sounds, three movements were felt, and so on, and when five sounds
were heard, which is generally the call for the alphabet, she felt the
five internal movements, and she would frequently, when we were mistaken
in the latter, correct us from what the child indicated.”

We should ask pardon of our readers for sullying our paper with this
nauseous matter, if without it they could adequately understand what Mr.
Home’s book is.


Prudently avoiding the disagreeable question of his giving himself, both
in this state of existence and in his spiritual circle, a name to which
he never had any pretensions whatever, and likewise prudently suppressing
any reference to his amiable weakness as a swindler and an infamous
trafficker in his own wife, the guileless Mr. Balsamo delivered, in a
“distinct voice”, this distinct celestial utterance—unquestionably
punctuated in a supernatural manner: “My power was that of a mesmerist,
but all-misunderstood by those about me, my biographers have even done me
injustice, but I care not for the untruths of earth”.


“After various manifestations, Mr. Home went into the trance, and
addressing a person present, said, ‘You ask what good are such trivial
manifestations, such as rapping, table-moving, etc.?  God is a better
judge than we are what is fitted for humanity, immense results may spring
from trivial things.  The steam from a kettle is a small thing, but look
at the locomotive!  The electric spark from the back of a cat is a small
thing, but see the wonders of electricity!  The raps are small things,
but their results will lead you to the Spirit-World, and to eternity!
Why should great results spring from such small causes?  Christ was born
in a manger, he was not born a King.  When you tell me why he was born in
a manger, I will tell you why these manifestations, so trivial, so
undignified as they appear to you, have been appointed to convince the
world of the truth of spiritualism.’”

Wonderful!  Clearly direct Inspiration!—And yet, perhaps, hardly worth
the trouble of going “into the trance” for, either.  Amazing as the
revelation is, we seem to have heard something like it from more than one
personage who was wide awake.  A quack doctor, in an open barouche
(attended by a barrel-organ and two footmen in brass helmets), delivered
just such another address within our hearing, outside a gate of Paris,
not two months ago.


“The lady of the house turned to me and said abruptly, ‘Why, you are
sitting in the air’; and on looking, we found that the chair remained in
its place, but that I was elevated two or three inches above it, and my
feet not touching the floor.  This may show how utterly unconscious I am
at times to the sensation of levitation.  As is usual, when I had not got
above the level of the heads of those about me, and when they change
their position much—as they frequently do in looking wistfully at such a
phenomenon—I came down again, but not till I had remained so raised about
half a minute from the time of its being first seen.  I was now impressed
to leave the table, and was soon carried to the lofty ceiling.  The Count
de B— left his place at the table, and coming under where I was, said,
‘Now, young Home, come and let me touch your feet.’  I told him I had no
volition in the matter, but perhaps the spirits would kindly allow me to
come down to him.  They did so, by floating me down to him, and my feet
were soon in his outstretched hands.  He seized my boots, and now I was
again elevated, he holding tightly, and pulling at my feet, till the
boots I wore, which had elastic sides, came off and remained in his


As there is a maudlin complaint in this book, about men of Science being
hard upon “the ‘Orphan’ Home”, and as the “gentle and uncombative nature”
of this Medium in a martyred point of view is pathetically commented on
by the anonymous literary friend who supplies him with an introduction
and appendix—rather at odds with Mr. Howitt, who is so mightily
triumphant about the same Martyr’s reception by crowned heads, and about
the competence he has become endowed with—we cull from Mr. Home’s book
one or two little illustrative flowers.  Sir David Brewster (a pestilent
unbeliever) “has come before the public in few matters which have brought
more shame upon him than his conduct and assertions on this occasion, in
which he manifested not only a disregard for truth, but also a disloyalty
to scientific observation, and to the use of his own eyesight and natural
faculties”.  The same unhappy Sir David Brewster’s “character may be the
better known, not only for his untruthful dealing with this subject, but
also in his own domain of science in which the same unfaithfulness to
truth will be seen to be the characteristic of his mind”.  Again, he “is
really not a man over whom victory is any honour”.  Again, “not only he,
but Professor Faraday have had time and ample leisure to regret that they
should have so foolishly pledged themselves”, etc.  A Faraday a fool in
the sight of a Home!  That unjust judge and whited wall, Lord Brougham,
has his share of this Martyr Medium’s uncombativeness.  “In order that he
might not be compelled to deny Sir David’s statements, he found it
necessary that he should be silent, and I have some reason to complain
that his Lordship preferred sacrificing me to his desire not to immolate
his friend.”  M. Arago also came off with very doubtful honours from a
wrestle with the uncombative Martyr; who is perfectly clear (and so are
we, let us add) that scientific men are not the men for his purpose.  Of
course, he is the butt of “utter and acknowledged ignorance”, and of “the
most gross and foolish statements”, and of “the unjust and dishonest”,
and of “the press-gang”, and of crowds of other alien and combative
adjectives, participles, and substantives.

Nothing is without its use, and even this odious book may do some
service.  Not because it coolly claims for the writer and his disciples
such powers as were wielded by the Saviour and the Apostles; not because
it sees no difference between twelve table rappers in these days, and
“twelve fishermen” in those; not because it appeals for precedents to
statements extracted from the most ignorant and wretched of mankind, by
cruel torture, and constantly withdrawn when the torture was withdrawn;
not because it sets forth such a strange confusion of ideas as is
presented by one of the faithful when, writing of a certain sprig of
geranium handed by an invisible hand, he adds in ecstasies, “_which we
have planted and it is growing_, _so that it is no delusion_, _no fairy
money turned into dross or leaves_”—as if it followed that the conjuror’s
half-crowns really did become invisible and in that state fly, because he
afterwards cuts them out of a real orange; or as if the conjuror’s
pigeon, being after the discharge of his gun, a real live pigeon
fluttering on the target, must therefore conclusively be a pigeon, fired,
whole, living and unshattered, out of the gun!—not because of the
exposure of any of these weaknesses, or a thousand such, are these moving
incidents in the life of the Martyr Medium, and similar productions,
likely to prove useful, but because of their uniform abuse of those who
go to test the reality of these alleged phenomena, and who come away
incredulous.  There is an old homely proverb concerning pitch and its
adhesive character, which we hope this significant circumstance may
impress on many minds.  The writer of these lines has lately heard
overmuch touching young men of promise in the imaginative arts, “towards
whom” Martyr Mediums assisting at evening parties feel themselves
“drawn”.  It may be a hint to such young men to stick to their own
drawing, as being of a much better kind, and to leave Martyr Mediums
alone in their glory.

As there is a good deal in these books about “lying spirits”, we will
conclude by putting a hypothetical case.  Supposing that a Medium (Martyr
or otherwise) were established for a time in the house of an English
gentleman abroad; say, somewhere in Italy.  Supposing that the more
marvellous the Medium became, the more suspicious of him the lady of the
house became.  Supposing that the lady, her distrust once aroused, were
particularly struck by the Medium’s exhibiting a persistent desire to
commit her, somehow or other, to the disclosure of the manner of the
death, to him unknown, of a certain person.  Supposing that she at length
resolved to test the Medium on this head, and, therefore, on a certain
evening mentioned a wholly supposititious manner of death (which was not
the real manner of death, nor anything at all like it) within the range
of his listening ears.  And supposing that a spirit presently afterwards
rapped out its presence, claiming to be the spirit of that deceased
person, and claiming to have departed this life in that supposititious
way.  Would that be a lying spirit?  Or would it he a something else,
tainting all that Medium’s statements and suppressions, even if they were
not in themselves of a manifestly outrageous character?


EVERY Artist, be he writer, painter, musician, or actor, must bear his
private sorrows as he best can, and must separate them from the exercise
of his public pursuit.  But it sometimes happens, in compensation, that
his private loss of a dear friend represents a loss on the part of the
whole community.  Then he may, without obtrusion of his individuality,
step forth to lay his little wreath upon that dear friend’s grave.

On Saturday, the eighteenth of this present month, Clarkson Stanfield
died.  On the afternoon of that day, England lost the great marine
painter of whom she will be boastful ages hence; the National Historian
of her speciality, the Sea; the man famous in all countries for his
marvellous rendering of the waves that break upon her shores, of her
ships and seamen, of her coasts and skies, of her storms and sunshine, of
the many marvels of the deep.  He who holds the oceans in the hollow of
His hand had given, associated with them, wonderful gifts into his
keeping; he had used them well through threescore and fourteen years;
and, on the afternoon of that spring day, relinquished them for ever.

It is superfluous to record that the painter of “The Battle of
Trafalgar”, of the “_Victory_ being towed into Gibraltar with the body of
Nelson on Board”, of “The Morning after the Wreck”, of “The Abandoned”,
of fifty more such works, died in his seventy-fourth year, “Mr.”
Stanfield.—He was an Englishman.

Those grand pictures will proclaim his powers while paint and canvas
last.  But the writer of these words had been his friend for thirty
years; and when, a short week or two before his death, he laid that once
so skilful hand upon the writer’s breast and told him they would meet
again, “but not here”, the thoughts of the latter turned, for the time,
so little to his noble genius, and so much to his noble nature!

He was the soul of frankness, generosity, and simplicity.  The most
genial, the most affectionate, the most loving, and the most lovable of
men.  Success had never for an instant spoiled him.  His interest in the
Theatre as an Institution—the best picturesqueness of which may be said
to be wholly due to him—was faithful to the last.  His belief in a Play,
his delight in one, the ease with which it moved him to tears or to
laughter, were most remarkable evidences of the heart he must have put
into his old theatrical work, and of the thorough purpose and sincerity
with which it must have been done.  The writer was very intimately
associated with him in some amateur plays; and day after day, and night
after night, there were the same unquenchable freshness, enthusiasm, and
impressibility in him, though broken in health, even then.

No Artist can ever have stood by his art with a quieter dignity than he
always did.  Nothing would have induced him to lay it at the feet of any
human creature.  To fawn, or to toady, or to do undeserved homage to any
one, was an absolute impossibility with him.  And yet his character was
so nicely balanced that he was the last man in the world to be suspected
of self-assertion, and his modesty was one of his most special qualities.

He was a charitable, religious, gentle, truly good man.  A genuine man,
incapable of pretence or of concealment.  He had been a sailor once; and
all the best characteristics that are popularly attributed to sailors,
being his, and being in him refined by the influences of his Art, formed
a whole not likely to be often seen.  There is no smile that the writer
can recall, like his; no manner so naturally confiding and so cheerfully
engaging.  When the writer saw him for the last time on earth, the smile
and the manner shone out once through the weakness, still: the bright
unchanging Soul within the altered face and form.

No man was ever held in higher respect by his friends, and yet his
intimate friends invariably addressed him and spoke of him by a pet name.
It may need, perhaps, the writer’s memory and associations to find in
this a touching expression of his winning character, his playful smile,
and pleasant ways.  “You know Mrs. Inchbald’s story, Nature and Art?”
wrote Thomas Hood, once, in a letter: “What a fine Edition of Nature and
Art is Stanfield!”

Gone!  And many and many a dear old day gone with him!  But their
memories remain.  And his memory will not soon fade out, for he has set
his mark upon the restless waters, and his fame will long be sounded in
the roar of the sea.


IT is never well for the public interest that the originator of any
social reform should be soon forgotten.  Further, it is neither wholesome
nor right (being neither generous nor just) that the merit of his work
should be gradually transferred elsewhere.

Some few weeks ago, our contemporary, the _Pall Mall Gazette_, in certain
strictures on our Theatres which we are very far indeed from challenging,
remarked on the first effectual discouragement of an outrage upon decency
which the lobbies and upper-boxes of even our best Theatres habitually
paraded within the last twenty or thirty years.  From those remarks it
might appear as though no such Manager of Covent Garden or Drury Lane as
Mr. Macready had ever existed.

It is a fact beyond all possibility of question, that Mr. Macready, on
assuming the management of Covent Garden Theatre in 1837, did instantly
set himself, regardless of precedent and custom down to that hour
obtaining, rigidly to suppress this shameful thing, and did rigidly
suppress and crush it during his whole management of that theatre, and
during his whole subsequent management of Drury Lane.  That he did so, as
certainly without favour as without fear; that he did so, against his own
immediate interests; that he did so, against vexations and oppositions
which might have cooled the ardour of a less earnest man, or a less
devoted artist; can be better known to no one than the writer of the
present words, whose name stands at the head of these pages.


PREFIXED to the second volume of Mr. Forster’s admirable biography of
Walter Savage Landor, {519} is an engraving from a portrait of that
remarkable man when seventy-seven years of age, by Boxall.  The writer of
these lines can testify that the original picture is a singularly good
likeness, the result of close and subtle observation on the part of the
painter; but, for this very reason, the engraving gives a most inadequate
idea of the merit of the picture and the character of the man.

From the engraving, the arms and hands are omitted.  In the picture, they
are, as they were in nature, indispensable to a correct reading of the
vigorous face.  The arms were very peculiar.  They were rather short, and
were curiously restrained and checked in their action at the elbows; in
the action of the hands, even when separately clenched, there was the
same kind of pause, and a noticeable tendency to relaxation on the part
of the thumb.  Let the face be never so intense or fierce, there was a
commentary of gentleness in the hands, essential to be taken along with
it.  Like Hamlet, Landor would speak daggers, but use none.  In the
expression of his hands, though angrily closed, there was always
gentleness and tenderness; just as when they were open, and the handsome
old gentleman would wave them with a little courtly flourish that sat
well upon him, as he recalled some classic compliment that he had
rendered to some reigning Beauty, there was a chivalrous grace about them
such as pervades his softer verses.  Thus the fictitious Mr. Boythorn (to
whom we may refer without impropriety in this connexion, as Mr. Forster
does) declaims “with unimaginable energy” the while his bird is “perched
upon his thumb”, and he “softly smooths its feathers with his

From the spirit of Mr. Forster’s Biography these characteristic hands are
never omitted, and hence (apart from its literary merits) its great
value.  As the same masterly writer’s _Life and Times of Oliver
Goldsmith_ is a generous and yet conscientious picture of a period, so
this is a not less generous and yet conscientious picture of one life; of
a life, with all its aspirations, achievements, and disappointments; all
its capabilities, opportunities, and irretrievable mistakes.  It is
essentially a sad book, and herein lies proof of its truth and worth.
The life of almost any man possessing great gifts, would be a sad book to
himself; and this book enables us not only to see its subject, but to be
its subject, if we will.

Mr. Forster is of opinion that “Landor’s fame very surely awaits him”.
This point admitted or doubted, the value of the book remains the same.
It needs not to know his works (otherwise than through his biographer’s
exposition), it needs not to have known himself, to find a deep interest
in these pages.  More or less of their warning is in every conscience;
and some admiration of a fine genius, and of a great, wild, generous
nature, incapable of mean self-extenuation or dissimulation—if unhappily
incapable of self-repression too—should be in every breast.  “There may
be still living many persons”, Walter Landor’s brother, Robert, writes to
Mr. Forster of this book, “who would contradict any narrative of yours in
which the best qualities were remembered, the worst forgotten.”  Mr.
Forster’s comment is: “I had not waited for this appeal to resolve, that,
if this memoir were written at all, it should contain, as far as might
lie within my power, a fair statement of the truth”.  And this eloquent
passage of truth immediately follows: “Few of his infirmities are without
something kindly or generous about them; and we are not long in
discovering there is nothing so wildly incredible that he will not
himself in perfect good faith believe.  When he published his first book
of poems on quitting Oxford, the profits were to be reserved for a
distressed clergyman.  When he published his Latin poems, the poor of
Leipzig were to have the sum they realised.  When his comedy was ready to
be acted, a Spaniard who had sheltered him at Castro was to be made
richer by it.  When he competed for the prize of the Academy of
Stockholm, it was to go to the poor of Sweden.  If nobody got anything
from any one of these enterprises, the fault at all events was not his.
With his extraordinary power of forgetting disappointments, he was
prepared at each successive failure to start afresh, as if each had been
a triumph.  I shall have to delineate this peculiarity as strongly in the
last half as in the first half of his life, and it was certainly an
amiable one.  He was ready at all times to set aside, out of his own
possessions, something for somebody who might please him for the time;
and when frailties of temper and tongue are noted, this other
eccentricity should not be omitted.  He desired eagerly the love as well
as the good opinion of those whom for the time he esteemed, and no one
was more affectionate while under such influences.  It is not a small
virtue to feel such genuine pleasure, as he always did in giving and
receiving pleasure.  His generosity, too, was bestowed chiefly on those
who could make small acknowledgment in thanks and no return in kind.”

Some of his earlier contemporaries may have thought him a vain man.  Most
assuredly he was not, in the common acceptation of the term.  A vain man
has little or no admiration to bestow upon competitors.  Landor had an
inexhaustible fund.  He thought well of his writings, or he would not
have preserved them.  He said and wrote that he thought well of them,
because that was his mind about them, and he said and wrote his mind.  He
was one of the few men of whom you might always know the whole: of whom
you might always know the worst, as well as the best.  He had no
reservations or duplicities.  “No, by Heaven!” he would say (“with
unimaginable energy”), if any good adjective were coupled with him which
he did not deserve: “I am nothing of the kind.  I wish I were; but I
don’t deserve the attribute, and I never did, and I never shall!”  His
intense consciousness of himself never led to his poorly excusing
himself, and seldom to his violently asserting himself.  When he told
some little story of his bygone social experiences, in Florence, or where
not, as he was fond of doing, it took the innocent form of making all the
interlocutors, Landors.  It was observable, too, that they always called
him “Mr. Landor”—rather ceremoniously and submissively.  There was a
certain “Caro Pádre Abáte Marina”—invariably so addressed in these
anecdotes—who figured through a great many of them, and who always
expressed himself in this deferential tone.

Mr. Forster writes of Landor’s character thus:

    “A man must be judged, at first, by what he says and does.  But with
    him such extravagance as I have referred to was little more than the
    habitual indulgence (on such themes) of passionate feelings and
    language, indecent indeed but utterly purposeless; the mere explosion
    of wrath provoked by tyranny or cruelty; the irregularities of an
    overheated steam-engine too weak for its own vapour.  It is very
    certain that no one could detest oppression more truly than Landor
    did in all seasons and times; and if no one expressed that scorn,
    that abhorrence of tyranny and fraud, more hastily or more
    intemperately, all his fire and fury signified really little else
    than ill-temper too easily provoked.  Not to justify or excuse such
    language, but to explain it, this consideration is urged.  If not
    uniformly placable, Landor was always compassionate.  He was
    tender-hearted rather than bloody-minded at all times, and upon only
    the most partial acquaintance with his writings could other opinion
    be formed.  A completer knowledge of them would satisfy any one that
    he had as little real disposition to kill a king as to kill a mouse.
    In fact there is not a more marked peculiarity in his genius than the
    union with its strength of a most uncommon gentleness, and in the
    personal ways of the man this was equally manifest.”—Vol. i. p. 496.

Of his works, thus:

    “Though his mind was cast in the antique mould, it had opened itself
    to every kind of impression through a long and varied life; he has
    written with equal excellence in both poetry and prose, which can
    hardly be said of any of his contemporaries; and perhaps the single
    epithet by which his books would be best described is that reserved
    exclusively for books not characterised only by genius, but also by
    special individuality.  They are unique.  Having possessed them, we
    should miss them.  Their place would be supplied by no others.  They
    have that about them, moreover, which renders it almost certain that
    they will frequently be resorted to in future time.  There are none
    in the language more quotable.  Even where impulsiveness and want of
    patience have left them most fragmentary, this rich compensation is
    offered to the reader.  There is hardly a conceivable subject, in
    life or literature, which they do not illustrate by striking
    aphorisms, by concise and profound observations, by wisdom ever
    applicable to the deeds of men, and by wit as available for their
    enjoyment.  Nor, above all, will there anywhere be found a more
    pervading passion for liberty, a fiercer hatred of the base, a wider
    sympathy with the wronged and the oppressed, or help more ready at
    all times for those who fight at odds and disadvantage against the
    powerful and the fortunate, than in the writings of Walter Savage
    Landor.”—Last page of second volume.

The impression was strong upon the present writer’s mind, as on Mr.
Forster’s, during years of close friendship with the subject of this
biography, that his animosities were chiefly referable to the singular
inability in him to dissociate other people’s ways of thinking from his
own.  He had, to the last, a ludicrous grievance (both Mr. Forster and
the writer have often amused themselves with it) against a good-natured
nobleman, doubtless perfectly unconscious of having ever given him
offence.  The offence was, that on the occasion of some dinner party in
another nobleman’s house, many years before, this innocent lord (then a
commoner) had passed in to dinner, through some door, before him, as he
himself was about to pass in through that same door with a lady on his
arm.  Now, Landor was a gentleman of most scrupulous politeness, and in
his carriage of himself towards ladies there was a certain mixture of
stateliness and deference, belonging to quite another time, and, as Mr.
Pepys would observe, “mighty pretty to see”.  If he could by any effort
imagine himself committing such a high crime and misdemeanour as that in
question, he could only imagine himself as doing it of a set purpose,
under the sting of some vast injury, to inflict a great affront.  A
deliberately designed affront on the part of another man, it therefore
remained to the end of his days.  The manner in which, as time went on,
he permeated the unfortunate lord’s ancestry with this offence, was
whimsically characteristic of Landor.  The writer remembers very well
when only the individual himself was held responsible in the story for
the breach of good breeding; but in another ten years or so, it began to
appear that his father had always been remarkable for ill manners; and in
yet another ten years or so, his grandfather developed into quite a
prodigy of coarse behaviour.

Mr. Boythorn—if he may again be quoted—said of his adversary, Sir
Leicester Dedlock: “That fellow is, _and his father was_, _and his
grandfather was_, the most stiff-necked, arrogant, imbecile, pig-headed
numskull, ever, by some inexplicable mistake of Nature, born in any
station of life but a walking-stick’s!”

The strength of some of Mr. Landor’s most captivating kind qualities was
traceable to the same source.  Knowing how keenly he himself would feel
the being at any small social disadvantage, or the being unconsciously
placed in any ridiculous light, he was wonderfully considerate of shy
people, or of such as might be below the level of his usual conversation,
or otherwise out of their element.  The writer once observed him in the
keenest distress of mind in behalf of a modest young stranger who came
into a drawing-room with a glove on his head.  An expressive commentary
on this sympathetic condition, and on the delicacy with which he advanced
to the young stranger’s rescue, was afterwards furnished by himself at a
friendly dinner at Gore House, when it was the most delightful of houses.
His dress—say, his cravat or shirt-collar—had become slightly disarranged
on a hot evening, and Count D’Orsay laughingly called his attention to
the circumstance as we rose from table.  Landor became flushed, and
greatly agitated: “My dear Count D’Orsay, I thank you!  My dear Count
D’Orsay, I thank you from my soul for pointing out to me the abominable
condition to which I am reduced!  If I had entered the Drawing-room, and
presented myself before Lady Blessington in so absurd a light, I would
have instantly gone home, put a pistol to my head, and blown my brains

Mr. Forster tells a similar story of his keeping a company waiting
dinner, through losing his way; and of his seeing no remedy for that
breach of politeness but cutting his throat, or drowning himself, unless
a countryman whom he met could direct him by a short road to the house
where the party were assembled.  Surely these are expressive notes on the
gravity and reality of his explosive inclinations to kill kings!

His manner towards boys was charming, and the earnestness of his wish to
be on equal terms with them and to win their confidence was quite
touching.  Few, reading Mr. Forster’s book, can fall to see in this, his
pensive remembrance of that “studious wilful boy at once shy and
impetuous”, who had not many intimacies at Rugby, but who was “generally
popular and respected, and used his influence often to save the younger
boys from undue harshness or violence”.  The impulsive yearnings of his
passionate heart towards his own boy, on their meeting at Bath, after
years of separation, likewise burn through this phase of his character.

But a more spiritual, softened, and unselfish aspect of it, was to
derived from his respectful belief in happiness which he himself had
missed.  His marriage had not been a felicitous one—it may be fairly
assumed for either side—but no trace of bitterness or distrust concerning
other marriages was in his mind.  He was never more serene than in the
midst of a domestic circle, and was invariably remarkable for a perfectly
benignant interest in young couples and young lovers.  That, in his
ever-fresh fancy, he conceived in this association innumerable histories
of himself involving far more unlikely events that never happened than
Isaac D’Israeli ever imagined, is hardly to be doubted; but as to this
part of his real history he was mute, or revealed his nobleness in an
impulse to be generously just.  We verge on delicate ground, but a slight
remembrance rises in the writer which can grate nowhere.  Mr. Forster
relates how a certain friend, being in Florence, sent him home a leaf
from the garden of his old house at Fiesole.  That friend had first asked
him what he should send him home, and he had stipulated for this
gift—found by Mr. Forster among his papers after his death.  The friend,
on coming back to England, related to Landor that he had been much
embarrassed, on going in search of the leaf, by his driver’s suddenly
stopping his horses in a narrow lane, and presenting him (the friend) to
“La Signora Landora”.  The lady was walking alone on a bright
Italian-winter-day; and the man, having been told to drive to the Villa
Landora, inferred that he must be conveying a guest or visitor.  “I
pulled off my hat,” said the friend, “apologised for the coachman’s
mistake, and drove on.  The lady was walking with a rapid and firm step,
had bright eyes, a fine fresh colour, and looked animated and agreeable.”
Landor checked off each clause of the description, with a stately nod of
more than ready assent, and replied, with all his tremendous energy
concentrated into the sentence: “And the Lord forbid that I should do
otherwise than declare that she always WAS agreeable—to every one but

Mr. Forster step by step builds up the evidence on which he writes this
life and states this character.  In like manner, he gives the evidence
for his high estimation of Landor’s works, and—it may be added—for their
recompense against some neglect, in finding so sympathetic, acute, and
devoted a champion.  Nothing in the book is more remarkable than his
examination of each of Landor’s successive pieces of writing, his
delicate discernment of their beauties, and his strong desire to impart
his own perceptions in this wise to the great audience that is yet to
come.  It rarely befalls an author to have such a commentator: to become
the subject of so much artistic skill and knowledge, combined with such
infinite and loving pains.  Alike as a piece of Biography, and as a
commentary upon the beauties of a great writer, the book is a massive
book; as the man and the writer were massive too.  Sometimes, when the
balance held by Mr. Forster has seemed for a moment to turn a little
heavily against the infirmities of temperament of a grand old friend, we
have felt something of a shock; but we have not once been able to gainsay
the justice of the scales.  This feeling, too, has only fluttered out of
the detail, here or there, and has vanished before the whole.  We fully
agree with Mr. Forster that “judgment has been passed”—as it should
be—“with an equal desire to be only just on all the qualities of his
temperament which affected necessarily not his own life only.  But, now
that the story is told, no one will have difficulty in striking the
balance between its good and ill; and what was really imperishable in
Landor’s genius will not be treasured less, or less understood, for the
more perfect knowledge of his character”.

Mr. Forster’s second volume gives a facsimile of Landor’s writing at
seventy-five.  It may be interesting to those who are curious in
calligraphy, to know that its resemblance to the recent handwriting of
that great genius, M. Victor Hugo, is singularly strong.

In a military burial-ground in India, the name of Walter Landor is
associated with the present writer’s over the grave of a young officer.
No name could stand there, more inseparably associated in the writer’s
mind with the dignity of generosity: with a noble scorn of all
littleness, all cruelty, oppression, fraud, and false pretence.


I BEG to announce to the readers of this Journal, that on the completion
of the Twentieth Volume on the Twenty-eighth of November, in the present
year, I shall commence an entirely New Series of _All the Year Round_.
The change is not only due to the convenience of the public (with which a
set of such books, extending beyond twenty large volumes, would be quite
incompatible), but is also resolved upon for the purpose of effecting
some desirable improvements in respect of type, paper, and size of page,
which could not otherwise be made.  To the Literature of the New Series
it would not become me to refer, beyond glancing at the pages of this
Journal, and of its predecessor, through a score of years; inasmuch as my
regular fellow-labourers and I will be at our old posts, in company with
those younger comrades, whom I have had the pleasure of enrolling from
time to time, and whose number it is always one of my pleasantest
editorial duties to enlarge.

As it is better that every kind of work honestly undertaken and
discharged, should speak for itself than be spoken for, I will only
remark further on one intended omission in the New Series.  The Extra
Christmas Number has now been so extensively, and regularly, and often
imitated, that it is in very great danger of becoming tiresome.  I have
therefore resolved (though I cannot add, willingly) to abolish it, at the
highest tide of its success.

                                                          CHARLES DICKENS.


{519}  _Walter Savage Landor_: a Biography, by John Forster, 2 vols.
Chapman and Hall.

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