The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 69,
No. 425, March, 1851, by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 69, No. 425, March, 1851

Author: Various

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No. CCCCXXV. MARCH, 1851. Vol. LXIX.


The Dangers of the Country. 257
My Novel; or, Varieties in English Life. Part VII., 282
Legends of the Monastic Orders, As Represented in the Fine Arts. 305
Lavengro, 322
The Arts in Portugal, 338
Southey, 349
The Ministry and the Agricultural Interest, 368



To whom all communications (post paid) must be addressed.




MARCH, 1851.
Vol. LXIX.


"The apparent contradiction," says the Edinburgh Review, "between the vast amount of unrelieved misery in the country, and the vast amount of energetic benevolence now existing in this country, which strikes so many with despair, inspires us, on the contrary, with the most sanguine hopes; because, in that benevolence, we see ample means of remedying nearly all our social evils,—means heretofore impotent solely because misapplied. We agree with the Socialists in holding that the world can never have been intended to be, and will not long remain, what it is. It cannot be that the same intellect which has wrung from nature her most hidden secrets, which has triumphed over the most gigantic material obstructions, which has 'exhausted worlds and then imagined new;' which has discovered and described laws operating in regions of space separate from us by a distance so vast that human imagination cannot figure it and arithmetical language can hardly express it, should not, when fairly applied to social and administrative science, be competent to rectify our errors and to smoothe our path—unless, indeed, society take refuge in the dreary creed, which shall never be ours, that the problem before us is insoluble, and the wretchedness around us inherent and incurable."1

We entirely concur in these eloquent and just observations, though the honest and candid admissions they contain sound rather strange when coming from a journal which has, for nearly half-a-century, been the most strenuous, and not the least able, supporter of the system which has terminated in these woful results. We concur with this author in thinking, that it never was intended by Providence that things in this country should be as they now are; and that it is impossible they can long continue so. Sooner or later, if the premonitory symptoms of our diseased state continue to be disregarded by our rulers, and the influential part of the nation who now determine our policy, as they have been for a great number of years back, some terrible catastrophe will arise, like that in Ireland by the failure of the potato crop in 1846, which, amidst an appalling and perhaps unprecedented amount of human suffering, is in course of rectifying many of the social 258 evils under which that ill-starred country has so long laboured. We narrowly escaped such a catastrophe on occasion of the great monetary crisis of October 1847, by far the most serious and widespread which Great Britain has ever known; and so much was the nation in its vital resources weakened by that calamity, and so wearing-out and grievous are the causes of evil still operating amongst us, that it is much to be feared that the catastrophe we anticipate will not be deferred beyond the next of the periodical monetary crises with which the country is now so regularly afflicted.

What renders our present social condition so alarming and depressing to the contemplative mind is, that the evils which are so widespread through society have only increased with the advance of the nation in general industry, accumulated capital, and mechanical power; and at a time when universal and unprecedented exertions have been made both for the religious and moral education of the working-classes, the improvement of their habits, and the extension of their information. The most superficial observer must be aware what astonishing progress we have made since 1815. Our exports and imports have tripled—our shipping doubled2—our population advanced fully 50 per cent. Our agriculture has kept pace with this astonishing increase, insomuch that, down to the commencement of five bad years in succession, in 1836, followed by Free Trade in 1842 and 1846, our imports of wheat and flour had sunk to a hundredth-part of the food of our people. At no former period, in England's or the world's history, were such efforts made by energetic and philanthropic individuals to stem the progress of public and private disaster, or such noble and even heroic sacrifices made by the State to assuage, where it was most aggravated, the intensity of private suffering. At one period Government gave £20,000,000 to compensate the planters in the West Indies for Negro Emancipation; at another £10,000,000, to relieve the effects of famine and Irish improvidence. The efforts made in the cause of education, religious instruction, church accommodation, the relief of pauperism, the elevation of the standard of comfort, and the improvement of the habits of the poor, have been innumerable, systematic, and unwearied.

In Scotland, a new great sect of Presbyterians has grown up more suited than the Establishment to the inclinations of a large part of the people, and they have, in three years, built and provided for eight hundred new places of worship, at a cost of above £1,500,000. In Glasgow alone, thirty-two have been erected, at a cost of £107,000! besides fifteen, erected a few years before, by subscription of persons connected with the Establishment. The prodigious efforts made by the dignitaries and pastors of the Church of England, to extend the sphere and increase the utility of 259 their Establishment, are known to all the world, and have extorted the reluctant applause even of the most inveterate of their opponents. All other religious persuasions have done the same: Roman Catholics, Methodists, Wesleyans, Dissenters of all sorts, have vied with each other in zeal and efforts to extend their respective adherents, and augment the number and respectability of their places of worship. Education has shared in the general movement; and although Government has yet done little, the number of voluntary schools established in most parts of the country almost exceeds belief. At the same time, the average poor-rates of England have for the last ten years been about £6,000,000. Scotland has got a more efficient one than the cautious administration of the old law had permitted, which already expends about £500,000 yearly on the relief of indigence: and Ireland has got a new one, which at its greatest distress expended above £2,000,000 in a year, and still dispenses upwards of £1,500,000 annually. Yet, in the midst of all this prodigious increase of national industry, religious zeal, and philanthropic activity, the condition of the greater part of our working classes has been daily getting worse, and was never perhaps, as a whole, so bad as in this year, when, in consequence of Continental pacification, Bank discounts at 2½ per cent, and a great influx of Californian gold, prices of manufactured articles have risen 20 per cent, and the great manufacturing towns are in a state of general prosperity. Ample evidence of all this will be brought forward in the sequel of this essay.

Notwithstanding all this, we do not despair either of the human race or of the fortunes and social condition of this country. We are firm believers in the doctrine, derived equally from natural and revealed religion, that the greater part of the evils, individual and social, of this life are derived from the effects of human selfishness, folly, or wickedness, and that it is sin which has brought death to nations not less than individuals. Barring some calamities which are obviously beyond the reach of human remedy—such as sickness, the death of relations or friends, and external disasters, as famine or pestilence—there is scarcely an ill which now afflicts mankind which may not be distinctly traced to human selfishness or folly in the present or some preceding generation. That God will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children is indeed as loudly proclaimed in the history of man as ever it was among the thunders of Mount Sinai. But, assuming this to be the principle of the Divine government of mankind, we are confident we are within bounds when we say that four-fifths, perhaps nine-tenths, of the social and private evils which now afflict humanity, are the direct consequences of selfishness or folly in this or some recently preceding generation. Every attentive observer of the fate of individuals or families around him must see that this is the case in private life; and a very little attention alone is required to convince one that to the same cause is to be ascribed four-fifths of the social evils, great as they are, which all feel to be now so overwhelming.

We propose, first, to establish the fact that, amidst all the boasted and really astonishing increase of our national industry, the suffering and misery of the working-classes has constantly, on an average of years, gone on increasing; and then to consider to what causes this most alarming and disheartening state of things is to be ascribed. To prove the first, it is sufficient to refer to three authentic sources of information—the records of emigration, of crime, and of pauperism, for the last twenty-eight years.

From the table given below, it appears that while, in the year 1826, immediately following the dreadful monetary crisis of December 1825,—by far the severest which had then been felt—the total emigration from the British Islands was under twenty-one thousand; in the year 1849, being the fourth year of Free Trade, and in its last six months one of great commercial activity, it had reached the enormous and unprecedented amount of THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND! In twenty-five years of almost ceaseless Liberal government, and carrying out the principles, social and political, of the Political Economists, 260 the number of persons driven into exile had increased fifteen-fold. So extraordinary and decisive a proof of the progressive increase of suffering in a people is perhaps not to be found in the whole annals of mankind. The emigration-returns for 1850 have not yet been made up, but that they will exhibit a result not less striking and woful than the preceding years may be judged of by the facts, that the emigration from Liverpool, which in 1849 was 154,400, had risen in 1850 to 174,260; and that the emigrants who landed at New York alone, in 1850, were 212,796—of whom 116,552 were Irish, and 28,125 English subjects, the remainder being chiefly Scotch and Germans.3

We say, and say advisedly, that this prodigious flood of emigrants were, for the most part, driven into exile by suffering, not tempted into it by hope, and that its progressive increase is the most decisive proof of the enhanced misery and suffering of the working classes. The slightest consideration of the last column of the table below4 must demonstrate this. Every known and deplored year of suffering has been immediately followed by a great increase in the number of emigrants in the next, or some subsequent years. Thus, in the year 1825, the total emigration was only 14,891; but the monetary crisis of December in that year raised it to 20,900 in the next year. In the year 1830, the last of the Duke of Wellington's administration, the emigration was 56,907; but in the two next years, being those of Reform agitation and consequent penury, these numbers were almost doubled: they rose to 83,160 in 1831, and to 103,140 in 1832. With the fine harvests and consequent prosperity of 1833 and 1834, they sank to 44,478; 261 but the bad seasons of 1838, 1839, and 1840 made them rapidly rise again, until they became,

1840, 90,743
1841, 118,592
1842, 128,342

The Railway Mania and artificial excitement of 1843 and 1844 brought down these numbers to one half—they were 57,212 and 70,686 in these two years successively. But the Currency Laws of 1844 and 1845, and Free Trade of 1846, soon more than quadrupled these numbers; and they have never since receded, but, on the contrary, rapidly increased ever since. The numbers were:—

Currency Acts, 1845, 93,501
Free Trade, 1846, 129,851
Irish Famine, 1847, 258,270
Free Trade, 1848, 248,089
Free Trade, 1849, 299,4982

More convincing proof that emigration is, for the most part, the result of general distress, and that the intensity and wide spread of that distress is to be measured by its increase, cannot possibly be imagined.

In the next place, the criminal records for the same period, since 1822, demonstrate, in a manner equally decisive, that amidst all our advances in civilisation, wealth, and productive industry, the causes producing an increase of crime have been equally active; and that, abreast of the distress which drove such prodigious and increasing multitudes into exile, have advanced the social evils which have, in an equal ratio, multiplied the criminals among those who remain at home.

From the table quoted below, it appears that, since the year 1822, serious crime, over the whole empire, has advanced fully 300 per cent; while the numbers of the people, during the same period, have not increased more than 30 per cent, which of itself is a very great and most surprising increase for an old state. It has advanced from 27,000 to 75,000. In other words, serious crime, during the last twenty-five years, has advanced TEN TIMES as fast as the numbers of the people.5


The same table is equally valuable in another point of view, as demonstrating, that it is to a general and progressive increase of distress that this deplorable result is to be ascribed. Every year of great and general suffering has been immediately followed in the next and the succeeding ones by a sudden start in crime, which has again as regularly receded, when a returning gleam of prosperity has for a time illuminated the prospects of the working-classes in the community. Thus, the dreadful monetary crisis of December 1825 was followed next year by a considerable increase of commitments: they rose from 31,828 to 38,071. The numbers again fell to 33,273 and 36,009 in 1829 and 1830, which were years of comparative comfort. The Reform agitation, and consequent distress of 1831 and 1832, raised them again to 49,523 in 1834; while the Joint-stock mania and fine harvests of 1835 lowered it to 44,803. The bad harvests, great importation, and consequent monetary crisis of 1839 and 1840 raised them most materially; they amounted to 54,244 and 54,892 in those years respectively. The fine harvests and Railway mania of 1844 and 1845 lowered them to 49,565 and 44,536; but the Irish famine and Free-trade measures of 1846, followed, as they necessarily were, by the dreadful monetary crisis of October 1847, raised them again to an unprecedented amount, from which they have never since receded. In 1848, they were 73,780; in 1849, 74,162; of which, last year, no less than 41,980 were in Ireland, being nearly 4000 more than 1848—albeit the harvest of 1849 was very fine, and the preceding year had been the year of the Irish rebellion, and when that country might be presumed to be still labouring under the effects of the famine of autumn 1846.

The poor's rate from 1822 to 18496 263 affords an equally conclusive proof of the steady increase of pauperism—varying, of course, like the crime and emigration, with the prosperity and suffering of particular years, but exhibiting on the whole a great and most portentous increase. This appears even when it is measured in money; but still more strikingly and convincingly when measured in grain—the true test both of its amount and its weight, as by far the greatest part of it is laid out in the purchase of food for the paupers, and the price of that food is an index to the ability of the land to bear it. It is to be recollected that the new Poor Law, which was introduced to check the rapid and alarming increase in the poor's rates of England and Wales, was passed in 1834, and came into full operation in 1835, and has since continued unaltered. It certainly effected a great reduction at first; but that it was not lasting, and was speedily altered by the Free-Trade measures, is decisively proved by the following table, furnished by Mr Porter. The in-door and out-door paupers of England since 1840 have stood thus to 1848:—

1840, 1,199,529
1841, 1,299,048
1842, 1,427,187
1843,, 1,539,490
1844, 1,477,561
1845, 1,470,970
1846, 1,332,089
1847, 1,720,350
1848, 1,626,201
Progress of the Nation, 3d Ed. p. 94.

These are the results exhibited in England and Wales. The poor's rates since 1837 have doubled in real weight, and we need not say that they are calculated to awaken the most alarming reflections; the more especially when it is recollected that the year 1849 was one of reviving, and, during its last six months, of boasted commercial prosperity. But the matter becomes much more serious, and the picture of the social condition of the island much more correct and striking, when the simultaneous measures, adopted during the last five years in Scotland and Ireland, are taken into consideration.

We need not tell our readers that, prior to 1844, Ireland had no poor law at all; and that although Scotland had a most humane and admirable poor law on its statute-book, yet its operation had been so much frittered away and nullified, by the unhappy decision of the Court of Session, which gave no control to the local courts over the decisions of the heritors and kirk-sessions (church-wardens of parishes), thereby in effect rendering them judges without control in their own cause, that it, practically speaking, amounted to almost nothing. But as the evils of that state of things had become apparent, and had been demonstrated luce meridianâ clarius, by Dr Alison and other distinguished philanthropists, an efficient statute was passed in 1845, which corrected this evil, and has since produced the following results, which may well attract the notice of the most inconsiderate, from the rapid increase which pauperism exhibits, and the extraordinary magnitude it has already attained in Scotland—

Years Sums raised Number of Poor,
fixed and casual
Registered Paupers
1840 £202,812
1841 218,481
1844 258,814
1845 306,044 63,070 or 1 in 42 62,070 or 1 in 42
1846 435,367 69,432 — 1 — 38 69,432 — 1 — 38
1847 533,073 146,370 — 1 — 17.8 74,161 — 1 — 35.3
1848 583,613 227,647 — 1 — 11.5 77,732 — 1 — 33.7
1849 202,120 — 1 — 12.96 82,357 — 1 — 31.8
Poor-Law Report, Scotland, Aug. 1849.


In the year 1850, a year of unusual commercial prosperity, the sums assessed for the relief of the poor in Glasgow alone, irrespective of buildings and other expenses connected with them, was £87,637, and with these expenses £121,000.8

In Ireland, the growth of the Poor Law, from its first introduction, has been still more rapid and alarming, as might have been anticipated from the greater mass of indigence and destitution with which it there had to contend. The sums raised for relief of the poor in that country, the nominal rental of which is £13,000,000, has stood thus for the last three years—

Sept. 29
Collected Expended Indoor Paupers,
1846 £359,870 £350,667
1847 585,507 717,713 75,376
1848 1,559,248 1,732,597 150,000 833,889
1849 1,648,337 2,177,651 203,199 666,224
1850 1,561,846 1,274,125 264,0489 141,077
Third Annual Report, Ireland, p. 7.

On 3d July 1847, no less than 3,020,712 persons were fed by the public in Ireland, being about 40 per cent on the whole population—certainly, at that date, under 8,000,000. Well may the Edinburgh Review say, in reference to this astonishing subject—

"The collection in the year 1847-8 is remarkable: three times the amount of the collections of 1846-7, five times the amount of the collections of 1845-6. A tax unknown in Ireland ten years before was levied in the Year 1848 to the extent of one-ninth of the rateable property of the country, and that in a period of unprecedented depression and embarrassment. In the same year the expenditure had risen 150 per cent above that of 1847, and 500 per cent above the expenditure of 1846. The expenditure in 1848-9 exceeds that of 1847 by the large sum of £445,054."10

The diminished expenditure of 1850 is mainly owing to the reduction in the price of provisions in that year, which has caused the cost of an in-door pauper to decline from 2s. 2d., which it was in April 1847, to 1s. 2d., or nearly a half, to which it fell in autumn 1849, which it has never since exceeded. Measured by quarters of grain, the poor's-rate of Ireland, in 1850, was fully twice as heavy as it was in 1848, when the effects of the disastrous famine of 1846 were still felt.

After these broad and decisive facts, drawn from so many official sources, and all conspiring to one result, it may seem unnecessary to go further, or load these pages, for which matter abundant to overflowing still remains, with any farther proof or illustration of a thing unhappily too apparent. But as our present system is mainly calculated for the interests of our great manufacturing cities, and, at all events, has been brought about by their influence, and is strictly in conformity with their demands, we cannot resist the insertion of an extract from an eloquent speech of a most able, humane, and zealous minister of the Free Church in Glasgow on the moral and religious state of the working-classes in that vast and rapidly-increasing city, which now has little short of 400,000 inhabitants within its bounds.

"I know," said Dr Paterson, "that many congregations, not of the Free Church, both feel and manifest an anxious and enlightened concern in this cause. I do not attempt to describe their efforts, simply because I am not in a position to do them justice. I hail them, however, as fellow-labourers. I rejoice to know that they are in the field to some extent already, and I shall rejoice still more to see their exertions multiplying side by side with our own. Certain I am that nothing short of a levy en masse of whatever 265 there is of living Christianity in the city, in all the branches of the Church of Christ which it contains, will suffice to make head against the augmenting ignorance and ungodliness, and Popery and infidelity, with which we have to deal. My other observation is for the members of our own church. Some of them will, perhaps, be startled by this movement, simply because it in adding another to our already numerous schemes—and because it may aggravate the difficulty we already feel of carrying them on. Here, they may say, is the beginning of new demands upon both our money and our time. To such a complaint I have no other answer to make but one—but it is one that seems to me to be decisive. My answer is, that this movement, whatever it may cost, is a matter of life and death. If we do not destroy this evil, it will destroy us."

These are certainly strong expressions, but they come from one well acquainted, from personal visitation in his parish, which is one of the most densely peopled in Glasgow, and second to none in zeal and ability to combat the enormous mass of destitution, crime, sensuality, and civilised heathenism with which he has to deal. And that he does not exaggerate the evil, and speaks from accurate information, not vague imagination, is evident from the details which he gives.

"I begin with the Old Wynd, which is the western boundary of the parish, and of which only the one side, therefore, is in the Tron parish. That one side contains 102 families and 504 individuals. Among that population there are possessed in all only 11 church sittings, or little more than 2 to the 100. Of the 102 families, only 14 profess to be in the habit of going to any place of worship. In the New Wynd, there are 350 families and 1976 individuals, possessing in all 66 church sittings, or little more than 3 to the 100. Of the 350 families, only 67 profess to be in the habit of attending any place of worship. Lastly, the Back Wynd contains 137 families and 752 individuals, who possess in all only 6 church sittings, or less than 1 to the 100! Of these 137 families, only 13 profess to attend any place of worship. Here, then, in these three Wynds, constituting but a section of the parish, we have a population of 3232 individuals, with only 83 church sittings, or little more than an average of 2½ to the 100. Of the 589 families of which that population consists, the enormous number of 495 families, by their own confession, are living in habitual and total estrangement from the house of God. In these appalling circumstances, it will not surprise the presbytery to learn, that in the whole of the three Wynds there were found no more than 117 Bibles—in other words, that scarcely one family in five were possessed of a copy of the Word of God."

Again he says—

"During the first ten of the last thirty years—that is, from 1821 to 1831—the population increased at the rate of about 5000 a-year. During the second ten of these years—that is, from 1831 to 1841—it increased at the rate of 8000 a-year. During the third ten of these years—that is, from 1841 to 1851—it is believed, on good grounds, that the increase will average 12,000 a-year. Let any man consider these facts, and then, if he has courage to look forward at all, let him try to picture to himself the state of Glasgow when another thirty years shall have run their course. If the same ratio of increase holds on—and I know of no good reason for doubting that it will—we shall have in thirty years a population nearly equal in numbers to that of Paris; and most assuredly, if the Christian churches do not speedily arouse themselves, it will be by that time like Paris in more respects than one. We may have the numbers of the French capital, but we shall have their infidelity, their Popery, their licentiousness, and their lawlessness too. If our efforts did not keep pace with a population growing at the rate of 5000 a-year, how are such efforts to do alongside of a population growing at the rate of from 12,000 to 15,000 a-year? If in the race of the last thirty years we fell at least twenty years behind, how tremendously and how ruinously shall we be distanced in the next thirty years to come! 'If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses! And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan!'"

We select this as a picture of our great manufacturing towns, in which the greatest and most unbounded prosperity, so far as mere production goes, has prevailed, generally speaking, for the last thirty years; in which the custom-house duties have increased, since 1812, from £3000 a-year to £660,000, and the river dues from £4500 to £66,000 in the 266 same period; but in which the sums expended in poor-rates and pauper burials were, in round numbers,—

Poor Rates. Pauper Burials.
1848 £180,000 4042
1849 132,000 3577
1850 120,00011 2381

Indicating the deplorable destitution of multitudes in the midst of this growing wealth and unparalleled increase of manufacturing and commercial greatness. In the last year, out of 10,461 burials, no less than 2381, or nearly a fourth, were at the public expense.12

Of the wretched condition of a large class of the operatives of Glasgow—that employed in making clothes for the rest of the community—the following striking account has been given in a recent interesting publication on the "Sweating System," by a merchant tailor of the city:—

"The out-door or sweating system, by which the great proportion of their work is produced, has had a fearful debasing effect on journeymen tailors. Work is given out to a person denominated a "middle-man." He alone comes into contact with the employer. He employs others to work under him, in his own house. The workmen have no respect for him, as they have for an ordinary employer; nor has he the slightest influence over them, in enforcing proper conduct or prudent habits. On the contrary, his influence tends only to their hurt. He engages them to work at the lowest possible prices—making all the profit he can out of them. He ordinarily sets them down to work in a small, dirty room, in some unhealthy part of the city. They are allowed to work at irregular hours. Sunday, in innumerable instances brings no rest to the tailor under the sweating system; he must serve his slave-driver on that day too, even if he should go idle on the other days of the week. No use of churches or ministers to him; his calling is to produce so-called cheap clothes for the million—Sunday or Monday being alike necessary for such a laudable pursuit, though his soul should perish. Small matter that: only let the cheap system flourish, and thereby increase the riches of the people, and then full compensation has been made, though moral degradation, loss of all self-respect, and tattered rags, be the lot of the unhappy victim, sunk by it to the lowest possible degree."13

Such is the effect of the cheapening and competition system, in one of our greatest manufacturing towns, in a year of great and unusual commercial prosperity. That the condition of the vast multitude engaged in the making of clothes in the metropolis is not better, may be judged of by the fact that there are in London 20,000 journeymen tailors, of whom 14,000 can barely earn a miserable subsistence by working fourteen hours a-day, Sunday included; and that Mr Sidney Herbert himself, a great Free-Trader, has been lately endeavouring to get subscriptions for the needlewomen of London, on the statement that there are there 33,000 females of that class, who only earn on an average 4½. a day, by working fourteen hours. And the writer of this Essay has ascertained, by going over the returns of the census of 1841 for Glasgow, (Occupations of the People,) that there were in Glasgow in that year above 50,000 women engaged in factories or needle-work, and whose average earnings certainly do not, even in this year of boasted commercial prosperity, exceed 7s. or 8s. a week. Their number is now, beyond all question, above 60,000, and their wages not higher. Such is the cheapening and competition system in the greatest marts of manufacturing industry, and in a year when provisions were cheap, exports great, and the system devised for its special encouragement in full and unrestrained activity.

Facts of this kind give too much reason to believe that the picture drawn in a late work of romance, but evidently taken by a well-informed observer in London, is too well founded in fact:—

"Every working tailor must come to this at last, on the present system; and we are lucky in having been spared so long. You all know where this will end—in the same misery as 15,000 out of 20,000 of our class are enduring now. 267 We shall become the slaves, often the bodily prisoners, of Jews, middle-men, and sweaters, who draw their livelihood out of our starvation. We shall have to fare as the rest have—ever decreasing prices of labour, ever increasing profits, made out of that labour by the contractors who will employ us—arbitrary fines, inflicted at the caprice of hirelings—the competition of women, and children, and starving Irish—our hours of work will increase one-third, our actual pay decrease to less than one-half. And in all this we shall have no hope, no chance of improvement in wages, but even more penury, slavery, misery, as we are pressed on by those who are sucked by fifties—almost by hundreds—yearly out of the honourable trade in which we were brought up, into the infernal system of contract work, which is devouring our trade, and many others, body and soul. Our wives will be forced to sit up night and day to help us—our children must labour from the cradle, without chance of going to school, hardly of breathing the fresh air of heaven—our boys, as they grow up, must turn beggars or paupers—our daughters, as thousands do, must eke out their miserable earnings by prostitution. And after all, a whole family will not gain what one of us had been doing, as yet, single-handed. You know there will be no hope for us. There is no use appealing to Government or Parliament."14

We shall only add to these copious extracts and documents one illustrative of the state to which the West Highlands of Scotland have been brought by Free Trade in black cattle and barilla, the staple of their industry:—

Price of the Estate, £163,779.

Years. Receipts. Expenditure on
1847 £4,1347 07 07 £7,3057 07 0
1848 1,781 0 0 4,253 0 0
1849 1,109 0 0 1,294 0 0
1850 1,345 0 0 1,126 0 0
Inverness Courier.

Couple this with the facts that, in 1850, in the face of average prices of wheat at about 40s. a quarter, the importation of all sorts of grain into Great Britain and Ireland was about 9,500,000 quarters—of course displacing domestic industry employed previous to 1846 in this production; so that the acres under wheat cultivation in Ireland have sunk from 1,048,000 in 1847, to 664,000 in 1849; and there will be no difficulty in explaining the immense influx of the destitute from the country into the great towns—augmenting thus the enormous mass of destitution, pauperism, and wretchedness, with which they are already overwhelmed.

Such is a picture, however brief and imperfect, of the social condition of our population, after twenty years of Liberal government, self-direction, and increasing popularisation, enhanced, during the last five years, by the blessings of Free Trade and a restricted and fluctuating currency. The question remains the most momentous on which public attention can now be engaged. Is this state of things unavoidable, or are there any means by which, under Providence, it may be removed or alleviated? Part of it is unavoidable, and by no human wisdom could be averted. But by far the greater part is directly owing to the selfish and shortsighted legislation of man, and might at once be removed by a wise, just, and equal system of government.

There is an unavoidable tendency, in all old and wealthy states, for riches to concentrate in the highest ranks, and numbers to become excessive in the lowest. This arises from the different set of principles which, at the opposite ends of the chain of society, regulate human conduct in the direction of life. Prudence, and the desire of elevation, are predominant at the one extremity; recklessness, and the thirst for gratification, at the other. Life is spent in the one in striving to gain, and endeavouring to rise; in the other, in seeking indulgence, and struggling with its consequences. Marriage is contracted in the former, generally speaking, from prudential or ambitious motives; in the latter, from the influence of passion, or the necessity of a home. In the former, fortune marries fortune, or rank is allied to rank; in the latter, poverty is linked to poverty, and destitution engenders destitution. These opposite set of principles come, 268 in the progress of time, to exercise a great and decisive influence on the comparative numbers and circumstances of the affluent and the destitute classes. The former can rarely, if ever, maintain their own numbers; the latter are constantly increasing in numbers, with scarcely any other limit on their multiplication but the experienced impossibility of rearing a family. Fortunes run into fortunes by intermarriage, the effects of continued saving, and the dying out of the direct line of descendants among the rich. Poverty is allied to poverty by the recklessness invariably produced by destitution among the poor. Hence the rich, in an old and wealthy community, have a tendency to get richer, and the poor poorer; and the increase of wealth only increases this tendency, and renders it more decided with every addition made to the national fortunes. This tendency is altogether irrespective of primogeniture, entails, or any other device to retain property in a particular class of society. It exists as strongly in the mercantile class, whose fortunes are for the most part equally divided, as in the landed, where the estate descends in general to the eldest son; and was as conspicuous in former days in Imperial Rome, when primogeniture was unknown, and is now complained of as as great a grievance in Republican France, where the portions of children are fixed by law, as it is in Great Britain, where the feudal institutions still prevail among those connected with real estates.

In the next place, this tendency in old and opulent communities has been much enhanced, in the case of Great Britain, by the extraordinary combination of circumstances—some natural, some political—which have, in a very great degree, augmented its manufacturing and commercial industry. It would appear to be a general law of nature, in the application of which the progress of society makes no or very little change—that machinery and the division of labour can add scarcely anything to the powers of human industry in the cultivation of the soil—but that they can work prodigies in the manufactories or trades which minister to human luxury or enjoyment. The proof of this is decisive. England, grey in years, and overloaded with debt, can undersell the inhabitants of Hindostan in cotton manufactures, formed in Manchester out of cotton grown on the banks of the Ganges or the Mississippi; but she is undersold in grain, and to a ruinous extent, by the Polish or American cultivators, with grain raised on the banks of the Vistula or the Ohio. It is the steam-engine and the division of labour which have worked this prodigy. They enable a girl or a child, with the aid of machinery, to do the work of a hundred men. They substitute the inanimate spindle for human hands. But there is no steam-engine in agriculture. The spade and the hoe are its spindles, and they must be worked by human hands. Garden cultivation, exclusively done by man, is the perfection of husbandry. By a lasting law of nature, the first and best employment of man is reserved, and for ever reserved, for the human race. Thus it could not be avoided that in Great Britain, so advantageously situated for foreign commerce, possessing the elements of great naval strength in its forests, and the materials in the bowels of the earth from which manufacturing greatness was to arise, should come, in process of time, to find its manufacturing bear an extraordinary and scarce paralleled proportion to its agricultural population.

Consequent on this was another circumstance, scarcely less important in its effects than the former, which materially enhanced the tendency to excess of numbers in the manufacturing portions of the community. This was the encouragement given to the employment of women and children in preference to men in most manufacturing establishments—partly from the greater cheapness of their labour, partly from their being better adapted than the latter for many of the operations connected with machines, and partly from their being more manageable, and less addicted to strikes and other violent insurrections, for the purpose of forcing up wages. Great is the effect of this tendency, which daily becomes more marked as prices decline, competition increases, and political associations 269 among workmen become more frequent and formidable by the general popularising of institutions. The steam-engine thus is generally found to be the sole moving power in factories; spindles and spinning-jennies the hands by which their work is performed; women and children the attendants on their labour. There is no doubt that this precocious forcing of youth, and general employment of young women in factories, is often a great resource to families in indigent circumstances, and enables the children and young women of the poor to bring in, early in life, as much as enables their parents, without privation, often to live in idleness. But what effect must it have upon the principle of population, and the vital point for the welfare of the working-classes—the proportion between the demand for and the supply of labour? When young children of either sex are sure, in ordinary circumstances, of finding employment in factories, what an extraordinary impulse is given to population around them, under circumstances when the lasting demand for labour in society cannot find them employment! The boys and girls find employment in the factories for six or eight years; so far all is well: but what comes of these boys and girls when they become men and women, fathers and mothers of children, legitimate and illegitimate, and their place in the factories is filled by a new race of infants and girls, destined in a few years more to be supplanted, in their turn, by a similar inroad of juvenile and precocious labour? It is evident that this is an important and alarming feature in manufacturing communities; and, where they have existed long, and are widely extended, it has a tendency to induce, after a time, an alarming disproportion between the demand for, and the supply of full-grown labour over the entire community. And to this we are in a great degree to ascribe the singular fact, so well and painfully known to all persons practically acquainted with such localities, that while manufacturing towns are the places where the greatest market exists for juvenile or infant labour—to obtain which the poor flock from all quarters with ceaseless alacrity—they are at the same time the places where destitution in general prevails to the greatest and most distressing extent, and it is most difficult for full-grown men and women to obtain permanent situations or wages, on which they can maintain themselves in comfort. Their only resource, often, is to trust, in their turn, to the employment of their children for the wages necessary to support the family. Juvenile labour becomes profitable—a family is not felt as a burden, but rather as an advantage at first; and a forced and unnatural impulse is given to population by the very circumstances, in the community, which are abridging the means of desirable subsistence to the persons brought into existence.

Lastly the close proximity of Ireland, and the improvident habits and rapid increase of its inhabitants, has for above half a century had a most important effect in augmenting, in a degree altogether disproportioned to the extension in the demand for labour, the numbers of the working classes in the community in Great Britain. Without stopping to inquire into the causes of the calamity, it may be sufficient to refer to the fact, unhappily too well and generally known to require any illustration, that the numbers of labourers of the very humblest class in Ireland has been long excessive; and that any accidental failure in the usual means of subsistence never fails to impel multitudes in quest of work or charity, upon the more industrious and consequently opulent realm of Britain. Great as has been the emigration, varying from 200,000 to 250,000 a-year from Ireland, during the last two years to Transatlantic regions, it has certainly been equalled, if not exceeded, by the simultaneous influx of Irish hordes into the western provinces of Britain. It is well known15 that, during the whole of 270 1848, the inundation into Glasgow was at the rate of above 1000 a-week on an average; and into Liverpool generally above double the number. The census now in course of preparation will furnish many most valuable returns on this subject, and prove to what extent English has suffered by the competition of Irish labour. In the mean time, it seems sufficient to refer to this well-known social evil, as one of the causes which has powerfully contributed to increase the competition among the working-classes, and enhance the disproportion between the demand for, and the supply of, labour, which with few and brief exceptions has been felt as so distressing in Great Britain for the last thirty years.

Powerful as these causes of evil undoubtedly were, they were not beyond the reach of remedy by human means—nay, circumstances simultaneously existed which, if duly taken advantage of, might have converted them into a source of blessings. They had enormously augmented the powers of productive industry in the British Empire; and in the wealth, dominion, and influence thereby acquired, the means had been opened up of giving full employment to the multitudes displaced by its boundless machinery and extended manufacturing skill. Great Britain and Ireland enjoyed one immense advantage—their territory was not merely capable of yielding food for the whole present inhabitants, numerous and rapidly increasing as they were, but for double or triple the number. The proof of this is decisive. Although the two islands had added above a half to their numbers between 1790 and 1835, the importation of foreign grain had been continually diminishing; and in the five years ending with 1835, they had come to be on an average only 398,000 quarters of grain and flour in a year—being not a hundredth part of the whole subsistence of the people. Further, agriculture in Great Britain, from the great attention paid to it, and the extended capital and skill employed in its prosecution, had come to be more and more worked by manual labour, and was rapidly approaching—at least, in the richer districts of the country—the horticultural system, in which at once the greatest produce is obtained from the soil, and the greatest amount of human labour is employed in its cultivation; and in which the greatest manufacturing states of former days, Florence and Flanders, had, on the decay of their manufacturing industry, found a never-failing resource for a denser population than now exists in Great Britain.

But, more than all, England possessed, in her immense and rapidly-increasing colonies in every quarter of the globe, at once an inexhaustible vent and place of deposit for its surplus home population, the safest and most rapidly-increasing market for its manufacturing industry, and the most certain means, in the keeping up the communication between the different parts of so vast a dominion, of maintaining and extending its maritime superiority. This was a resource unknown to any former state, and apparently reserved for the Anglo-Saxon race, whom such mighty destinies awaited in the progress of mankind. The forests of Canada, the steppes of Australia, the hills of New Zealand, the savannahs of the Cape, seemed spread out by nature to receive the numerous and sturdy children of the Anglo-Saxon race, whom the natural progress of opulence, the division of labour, the extension of machinery, and the substitution of female and juvenile for male labour, were depriving of employment in their native seats. In the colonies, manual labour was as much in demand as it was redundant in the parent state. No machinery or manufactures existed there to displace the arm of the labourer's industry; the felling of the forest, the draining of the morass, the cultivation of the wild, chained the great majority of the human race to agricultural employments, for generations and centuries to come. Even the redundant number and rapid increase of the Celtic population in Ireland could not keep pace with the demand for agricultural labour in our Transatlantic dominions. The undue preponderance of the female sex, felt as so great and consuming an evil in all old and wealthy cities, might be rendered the 271 greatest possible blessing to the infant colonies, in which the greatest social evil always experienced is the excessive numbers of the male sex. All that was required was the removal of them from the overburdened heart to the famishing extremities of the empire; and this, while it relieved the labour, promised to afford ample employment to the national navy. The magnitude of this traffic may be judged of by the fact that the 212,000 emigrants who arrived at New York in the year 1850 were brought in 2000 vessels. At the same time the rapid growth of the colonies, under such a system, would have furnished a steady market for the most extensive manufacturing industry at home, and that in a class of men descended from ourselves, imbued with our habits, actuated by feeling our wants, and chained by circumstances, for centuries to come, to the exclusive consumption of our manufactures. What the magnitude of this market might have been may be judged of by the fact that, in the year 1850, Australia and New Zealand, with a population which had not yet reached 250,000 souls, took off in the year 1850 £2,080,364 of our manufactures, being at the rate of £8 a-head; while Russia, with a population of 66,000,000, only took off £1,572,593 worth, being not 6d. a-head.16

The social evils which at first sight appear so alarming, therefore, in consequence of the extension of our manufacturing population, and the vast increase of our wealth, were in reality not only easily susceptible of remedy, but they might, by a wise and paternal policy, alive equally to the interests represented and unrepresented of all parts of the empire, have been converted into so many sources of increasing prosperity and durable social happiness. All that was required was to adopt a policy conducive alike to the interests of all parts of our varied dominions, but giving no one an undue advantage over the other; legislating for India as if the seat of empire were Calcutta, for Canada as if it were Quebec, for the West Indies as if it were Kingston. "Non alia Romæ alia Athenæ," should have been our maxim. Equal justice to all would have secured equal social happiness to all. The distress and want of employment consequent on the extension of machinery, and the growth of opulence in the heart of the empire, would have become the great moving power which would have overcome the attachments of home and country, and impelled the multitudes whom our transmarine dominions required into those distant but still British settlements, where ample room was to be found for their comfort and increase, and where their rapidly increasing numbers would have operated with powerful effect, and in a geometrical ratio, on the industry and happiness of the parent state. Protection to native industry at home and abroad was all that was required to bless and hold together the mighty fabric. So various and extensive were the British dominions, that they would soon have arrived at the point of being independent of all the rest of the world. The materials for our fabrics, the food for our people, were to be had in abundance in the different parts of our own dominions. We had no reason to fear the hostility or the stopping of supplies from any foreign power. The trade of almost the whole globe was to Great Britain a home trade, and brought with it its blessings and its double return, at each end of the chain.

These great and magnificent objects, which are as clearly pointed out by Providence as the mission of the British nation—and which the peculiar character of the Anglo-Saxon race so evidently qualified it to discharge—as if it had been declared in thunders from Mount Sinai, were in a great degree attained, though in an indirect way, under the old constitution of England; and accordingly, while it lasted, and was undisturbed in its action by local influences in the heart of the empire, distress was comparatively unknown at home, and disaffection was unheard of in our distant settlements. The proof of this is decisive. The tables already given in the former part of this paper demonstrate when distress at home and 272 sedition abroad seriously set in, when emigration advanced with the steps of a giant, and crime began to increase ten times as fast as the numbers of the people—and the poor-rates, despite all attempts to check them by fresh laws, threatened to swallow all but the fortunes of the millionnaires in the kingdom. It was after 1819 that all this took place. Previous to this, or at least previous to 1816, when the approaching great monetary change of that year was intimated to the Bank, and the contraction of the currency really began, distress at home was comparatively unknown, and the most unbounded loyalty existed in our colonial settlements in every part of the world. But from that date our policy at home and abroad underwent a total change. Everything was changed with the change in the ruling influences in the state. The words of the Christian bishop who converted Clovis were acted upon to the letter—"Brulez ce que vous avez adoré; adorez ce que vous avez brulé." The moneyed came to supplant the territorial aristocracy, the interests of realised capital to prevail over those of industry and wealth in the course of formation. The Reform Bill confirmed and perpetuated this change, by giving the moneyed class a decided majority of votes in the House of Commons, and the House of Commons the practical government of the country. From that moment suffering marked us for her own. Misery spread in the heart of the empire; many of its most flourishing settlements abroad went to ruin; and such disaffection prevailed in all, that Government, foreseeing the dissolution of the empire, has already taken steps to conceal the fall of the fabric by voluntarily taking it to pieces.

Without going into details, unhappily too well known to all to require any lengthened illustration, it may be sufficient to refer to three circumstances which have not only immensely aggravated the internal distress and external disaffection of the empire, but interrupted and neutralised the influence of all those causes of relief provided for us by nature, and which, under a just and equal policy, would have entirely averted them.

The first of these, and perhaps the most disastrous in its effects upon the internal prosperity of the empire, was the great contraction of the currency which took place by the bill of 1819. By that bill the bank and bankers' notes, which at the close of the war had amounted, in Great Britain and Ireland, to about £60,000,000 in round numbers, were suddenly reduced to £32,000,000, which was the limit formally imposed, by the acts of 1844 and 1845, on the circulation issuable on securities in the country. We know the effect of these changes: the Times has told us what it has been. It rendered the sovereign worth two sovereigns; the fortune of £500,000 worth £1,000,000; the debt of £800,000,000 worth £1,600,000,000; the taxes of £50,000,000 worth £100,000,000 annually. As a necessary consequence, it reduced the average price of wheat from 90s. to 40s.; and the entire wages of labour and remuneration of industry, throughout the country, to one-half of their former amount. The prodigious effect of this change upon the real amount of the national burdens, and the remuneration of the industry which was to sustain it, may be judged of by the invaluable table quoted on the next page, which is stated to be taken from Mr Porter's valuable work on the Progress of the Nation, published in 1847, and furnished by that gentleman with his wonted courtesy to the Midland Counties Herald, to the end of 1850. Its import will be found to be correctly condensed in the following statement, by that able writer Gemini, contained in the same paper of January 30:—

S. D.
"The average price of wheat from 1800 to the close of the war, was, 90 7
The average price of wheat from the passing of the Corn Law of 1815 to 1827, each inclusive, 67 2
The average price of wheat from the passing of the Corn Law of 1828 to 1841, each inclusive, 58 10
The average price of wheat from the passing of the Corn Law of 1842 to 1849, each inclusive, 53 6
The average price of 1850 40 2


During the war the average quantity of wheat required to be sold to pay one million of taxation amounted to 220,791 quarters. The quantity required to be sold to pay one million of taxation, according to the prices of 1850, amounts to 497,925 quarters, or 56,343 quarters more than double the quantity required to be sold during the war. The enormous increase in the burdensomeness of taxation may be thus clearly estimated."

Comment is unnecessary, illustration superfluous, on such a result.

Years. Amount of
revenue paid
into the
the produce
of taxation.
of wheat
per qr.
estimated in
qrs. of
wheat, at the
average price
of the year.
Rent of 200
acres of
land, at 30s.
per acre,
estimated in
qrs. of wheat.
Price of
wheat at
a seven
per qr.
£ S. D. qrs. qrs. bus. S. D.
1800 34,145,584 113 10 5,999,224 52 5 ...
1801 34,113,146 119 6 5,709,313 50 1 ...
1802 36,368,149 69 10 10,415,698 85 7 ...
1803 38,609,392 58 10 13,125,005 101 7 ...
1804 46,176,492 62 3 14,835,820 96 5 ...
1805 50,897,706 89 9 11,342,107 66 6 ...
1806 55,796,086 79 1 14,110,706 75 6 84 8
1807 59,339,321 75 4 15,753,802 79 5 79 2
1808 62,998,191 81 4 15,491,358 73 5 73 7
1809 63,719,400 97 4 13,093,027 61 5 77 8
1810 67,144,542 106 5 12,619,177 56 3 84 5
1811 65,173,545 95 3 13,684,383 62 7 89 2
1812 65,037,850 126 6 10,282,604 47 4 94 5
1813 68,748,363 109 9 12,528,175 54 3 98 10
1814 71,134,503 74 4 19,139,328 80 6 98 8
1815 72,210,512 65 7 22,020,994 91 4 96 5
1816 62,264,546 78 6 15,863,578 76 3 93 7
1817 52,055,913 96 11 10,742,406 61 7 92 4
1818 53,747,795 86 3 12,463,256 69 4 91 6
1819 52,648,847 74 6 14,133,918 80 4 83 4
1820 54,282,958 67 10 16,004,803 88 5 77 8
1821 55,834,192 56 1 19,911,153 106 7 75 1
1822 55,663,650 44 7 24,970,609 134 7 72 1
1823 57,672,999 53 4 21,627,374 112 4 68 6
1824 59,362,403 63 11 18,574,937 93 7 63 9
1825 57,273,869 68 6 16,722,297 87 4 61 2
1826 54,894,989 58 8 18,714,200 102 2 58 11
1827 54,932,518 58 6 18,780,348 102 4 57 7
1828 55,187,142 60 5 18,268,847 99 2 58 3
1829 50,786,682 66 3 15,331,828 90 4 61 4
1830 50,056,616 64 3 15,581,825 93 4 62 11
1831 46,424,440 66 4 13,997,318 90 4 63 3
1832 46,988,755 58 8 16,018,893 102 2 61 10
1833 46,271,326 52 11 17,488,375 113 3 61 0
1834 46,425,263 46 2 20,112,027 130 0 59 3
1835 45,893,369 39 4 23,335,611 152 4 56 3
1836 48,591,180 48 6 20,037,600 123 6 53 8
1837 46,475,194 55 10 16,647,830 107 3 52 6
1838 47,333,460 64 7 14,658,103 92 7 52 3
1839 47,844,899 70 8 13,541,009 84 7 54 0
1840 47,567,565 66 4 14,341,979 90 3 55 11
1841 48,084,360 64 4 14,948,505 93 2 58 6
1842 46,965,631 57 3 16,407,207 104 6 61 0
1843 52,582,817 50 1 20,998,129 119 6 61 3
1844 54,003,754 51 3 21,074,635 117 0 60 7
1845 53,060,354 50 10 20,876,204 118 0 58 8
1846 53,790,138 54 8 19,679,318 109 6 56 4
1847 51,546,265 69 9 14,780,291 86 0 56 10
1848 53,388,717 50 6 21,144,046 118 7 54 10
1849 52,951,749 44 3 23,932,993 135 4 53 0
1850 ...... 40 2 ...... 149 3 51 6

Midland Counties Herald, January 31, 1851. The prices of wheat here given are the average prices of the year.

In the next place, prodigious as was the addition which this great 274 change made to the burdens, public and private, of the nation, the change was attended with an alteration at times still more hurtful, and, in the end, not less pernicious. This was the compelling the bank to pay all their notes in gold, the restraining them from issuing paper beyond £14,000,000 bond on securities, and compelling them to take all gold brought to them, whatever its market value was, at the fixed price of £3, 17s. 10½d. the ounce. This at once aggravated speculation to a most fearful degree in periods of prosperity, for it left the bank no way of indemnifying itself for the purchase and retention of £15,000,000 or £16,000,000 worth of treasure but by pushing its business in all directions, and lowering its discounts so as to accomplish that object; and it led to a rapid and ruinous contraction of the currency the moment that exchanges became adverse, and a drain set in upon the bank, either from the necessities of foreign war in the neighbouring states, the mutation of commerce, or the occurrence of a large importation of grain to supply the wants of our own country. Incalculable as the distress which those alternations of impulse and depression have brought upon this great manufacturing community, and immeasurable the multitudes whom they have sunk, never more to rise, into the lowest and most destitute classes of society, their effect has by no means been confined to the periods during which they actually lasted. Their baneful influence has extended to subsequent times, and produced a continuous and almost unbroken stream of distress; for, long ere the victims of one monetary crisis have sunk into the grave, or been driven into exile, another storm arises which precipitates fresh multitudes, especially in the manufacturing towns, into the abyss of ruin. The whole, or nearly the whole, of this terrific and continued suffering is to be ascribed to the monstrous principles adopted in our monetary system—that of compelling the banks to foster and encourage speculation in periods of prosperity, and suddenly contract their issues and starve the body politic, when a demand for the precious metals carries them in considerable quantities out of the country. A memorable instance of the working of that system is to be found in the Railway mania of 1845 and 1846, flowing directly from the Acts of 1844 and 1845, which landed the nation in an extra expenditure of nearly £300,000,000 on domestic undertakings, at a time when commerce of every kind was in a state of the highest activity, followed by the dreadful crash of October 1847, which, by suddenly contracting the currency and ruining credit, threw millions out of employment, and strained the real capital of the nation to the very uttermost, to complete a part only of the undertakings which the Currency Laws had given birth to. And the example of the years 1809 and 1810—when the whole metallic currency was drained out of the country by the demands for the war in the Peninsula and Germany, but no distress was experienced, and the national strength was put forth with unparalleled vigour, and, as it proved, decisive effect—proves how easily such a crisis might be averted by the extended issue of a paper currency not liable to be withdrawn, when most required, by a public run for gold.

In the third place, to crown the whole, and as if to put the keystone in the arch of public distress, Free-Trade in every department was forced upon the country by Sir Robert Peel and his successors in 1846, 1847, and 1849, under the dictation of the Manchester school, and to promote the interest of master-manufacturers by lowering the wages of labour and of realised capital, by cheapening the price of everything else, and raising the value of money. We see the effects of this already evinced in every department to which the system has applied; and we see the commencement only of the general ruin with which it is fraught. In agriculture, Great Britain and Ireland, which were, practically speaking, in ordinary seasons self-supporting, have come already to import from nine to ten millions of foreign grain for the support of the inhabitants, besides sheep and cattle in an equal proportion. At least fifteen millions yearly is sent out of the country, for the most part in hard cash, to buy food, which formerly was nearly all spent in it, 275 and enriched all classes of its people. The exchangeable value of what remains has been lowered by at least £75,000,000 annually, and of course so much taken away from the means of supporting domestic labour, and paying the national defences and the interest of public and private debt. The West Indies, formerly the right arm of the naval strength of England, and no small source of its riches, have been totally ruined; and, as a necessary consequence, the exports of our manufactures to those once splendid settlements, which, prior to the commencement of the new measures in 1834, had reached £3,500,000 a-year, had sunk in 1850 to £1,821,146! Canada has been so much impoverished by the withdrawing of all protection to colonial industry, which has annihilated its intercolonial trade with the West Indies, and seriously injured its export trade in grain and wood to this country, that the British exports to that country, which in 1839 amounted to £3,047,000, had sunk in 1850, notwithstanding the subsequent addition of above 50 per cent to its population, to £2,280,386.

Canada. West Indies.
1839 L.3,047,671 L.3,986,598
1840 2,847,970 3,574,970
1841 2,947,061 3,504,004
1850 2,280,386 1,821,146

In Ireland from four to five hundred thousand acres have gone out of the cultivation of wheat alone; although the calamitous failure of the potato crop in 1846, and the subsequent doubts as to the success of that prolific esculent, should have tended to an increase of cereal crops as the only thing that could be relied on, and undoubtedly would have done so, but for the blasting influence of Free Trade, which deprived the farmer of all hope of a profitable return for agricultural expenditure. As a necessary consequence, above 200,000 cultivators have disappeared from the soil of the Emerald Isle in the four last years; about 250,000 of them or their families are immured, idle and miserable, in the Irish workhouses, and above 40,000 in its prisons; while above 200,000 persons from that island alone, and 300,000 from the two islands, are annually driven into exile! Lastly, as if Free Trade had not worked sufficient mischief on the land, it has invaded the sea also; no longer can the Englishman say—

"His march is on the mountain wave
His home is on the deep."

The ocean is fast becoming the home for other people, to the exclusion of its ancient lords. One single year of Free Trade in shipping, following the repeal of the Navigation Laws, has occasioned, under the most favourable circumstances for testing the tendency of the change, so great a diminution in British and increase in foreign shipping in all our harbours, that it is evident the time is rapidly approaching, if the present system is continued, when we must renounce all thought of maintaining naval superiority, and trust to the tender mercies of our enemies and rivals for a respite from the evils of blockade and famine.17


The vast emigration of 300,000 annually which is now going on from the United Kingdom, might reasonably be expected to have alleviated, in a great degree, this most calamitous decrease in the staple branches of industry in our people; and so it would have, certainly, had a wise and paternal Government taken it under its own direction, and sent the parties abroad who really were likely to want employment, and whose removal would at once prove a relief to the country from which they were sent, and a blessing to that for which they were destined. But this is so far from being the case, that there is perhaps no one circumstance in our social condition which has done more of late years to aggravate the want of employment, and enhance the distress among the working-classes, than the very magnitude of this emigration. The dogma of Free Trade has involved even the humble cabins of the emigrant's ship: there, as elsewhere, it has spread nothing but misery and desolation. The reason is, that it has been left to the unaided, undirected efforts of the emigrants themselves.

Government was too glad of an excuse not to interfere: the constantly destitute condition of the Treasury, and the ceaseless clamour against taxation, in consequence of the wasting away of the national resources under the action of Free Trade and a contracted currency, made them too happy of any excuse for avoiding any payments from the public Treasury, even on behalf of the most suffering and destitute of the community. This excuse was found in the plausible plea, that any advances on their part would interfere with the free exercise of individual enterprise—a plea somewhat similar to what it would be if all laws for the protection of paupers, minors, and lunatics, were swept away, lest the free action of the creditors on their estates should be disturbed. The consequence has been that the whole, or nearly the whole, of the immense stream of emigration which general distress has now caused to flow from the British Islands, has been sustained by the efforts of private individuals, and left to the tender mercies of the owners or freighters of emigrant ships. The result is well known. Frightful disasters, from imperfect manning and equipment, have occurred to several of these misery-laden vessels. A helpless multitude is thrown ashore at New York and Montreal, destitute alike of food, clothing, or the means of getting on to the frontier, where its labour could be of value; and the competition for employment at home has been increased to a frightful degree by the removal of so large a proportion of such of the tenantry or middle class as were possessed of little capitals; and had the means either of maintaining themselves or giving employment to others. At least L.3,000,000 yearly goes abroad with the emigrant ships, and that is drawn almost entirely from the lower class of farmers, the very men who employ the poor. The class who have gone away was for the most part that which should have remained, for it had the means of doing, something in the world, and 277 employing others; that which was left at home, was that which should have been removed, because they were the destitute who could neither find employment in these islands, nor do anything on their own account from want of funds. Hence above a million and a-half of persons in Great Britain, and above seven hundred thousand in Ireland, on an average of years, are constantly maintained by the poor-rates, for the most part in utter idleness, although the half of them are able-bodied, and their labour—if they could only be forwarded to the frontier of civilisation in America—would be of incalculable service to our own colonies or the United States.

The very magnitude of the trade employed in the exportation of the emigrants, and the importation of food for those who remain, has gone far to conceal the ruinous effects of Free Trade. Between the carrying out of emigrants, and the bringing in of grain—the exportation of our strength, and the importation of our weakness—our chief seaports may continue for some time to drive a gainful traffic. The Liverpool Times observes:—

"The number of emigrant vessels which sailed from Liverpool during the last year, was 568. Of these vessels, many are from 1500 to 2000 tons burden, and a few of them even reach 3000 tons. They are amongst the finest vessels that ever were built, are well commanded, well-manned, fitted out in excellent style, and present a wonderful improvement in all respects, when compared with the same class of vessels even half a dozen years ago. Taking the average passage-money of each passenger in these vessels at £6, the conveying of emigrants yields a revenue of upwards of £1,000,000 sterling to the shipping which belongs to or frequents this port, independent of the great amount of money which the passage of such an immense multitude of persons through the town must cause to be spent in it. In fact, the passage and conveyance of emigrants has become one of the greatest trades of Liverpool."—Liverpool Times, Jan. 10, 1851.

The number of emigrants from the Mersey and the Clyde, since the days of Free Trade began, have been prodigious, and rapidly increasing. They have stood thus:—

Year. Liverpool. Clyde.
1847 134,524 7,728
1848 131,121 10,035
1849 153,902 14,968
1850 174,187 14,203

It was precisely the same in the declining days of the Roman empire—the great seaport towns continued to flourish when all other interests in the state were rapidly sinking; and when the plains in the interior were desolate, or tenanted only by the ox or the buffalo, the great cities were still the abodes of vast realised wealth and unbounded private luxury. We are rapidly following in the same path. The realised capital of Great Britain was estimated in 1814 at L.1,200,000,000; in 1841, Mr Porter estimated it at L.2,000,000,000; the capital subject to legacy duty in Great Britain, on an average of forty-one years, from 1797 to 1841, was L.26,000,000; in the single year 1840 it was L.40,500,000. The increase of realised capital among the rich has been nearly as great as that of pauperism, misery, and consequent emigration among the poor—the well-known and oft-observed premonitory symptoms of the decline of nations.

It is in the midst of these numerous and overwhelming evils, the result mainly of theoretical innovation and class government in the country—when above two millions of paupers in the two islands are painfully supported by public assessment; when three hundred thousand are annually driven into exile, and a hundred and fifty thousand more are constantly supported in jails, one-half of whom are committed for serious crimes;18 when all classes, excepting those engaged in the export trade of human beings and the import of human food, are languishing from the decline of domestic employment, and the constantly increasing influx of foreign goods, both rude and manufactured—that we are assured by one benevolent set of philanthropists that all will be right, if we only give the starving working-classes model houses, rented at L.8 each, to 278 live in; by another, that ragged schools for their destitute children will set all in order; by a third, that a schoolmaster in every wynd is alone required to remove all the evils under which we labour; by a fourth, that cold baths and wash-houses to lave their emaciated limbs, are the great thing; by a fifth, that church extension is the only effectual remedy, and that, till there is a minister for every seven hundred inhabitants, it is in vain to hope for any social amelioration. We respect the motives which actuate each and all of these benevolent labourers in the great vineyard of human suffering; we acknowledge that each within a limited sphere does some good, and extricates a certain number of individuals or families out of the abyss of degradation or suffering in which they are immersed. As to anything like national relief, or alleviation of distress in any sensible degree, from their united efforts, when the great causes of evil which have been mentioned continue in undiminished activity, it is as chimerical as to expect by the schoolmaster or the washing-woman to arrest the ravages of the plague or the cholera.

Two circumstances of general operation, and overwhelming importance, render all these various and partial remedies, while the great causes which depress the demand for labour and deprive the people of employment continue in operation, entirely nugatory and ineffectual, in a general view, to arrest our social evils.

The first of these is, that these remedies, one and all of them, are calculated for the elevation and intellectual or moral improvement of the people, but have no tendency to improve their circumstances, or diminish the load of pauperism, destitution, and misery with which they are overwhelmed. Until the latter is done, however, all the efforts made for the attainment of the former, how benevolent and praiseworthy soever, will have no general effect, and, in a national point of view, may be regarded as almost equal to nothing. The reason is that, generally speaking, the human race are governed, in the first instance, almost entirely by their physical sufferings or comforts, and that intellectual or moral improvement cannot be either thought of or attended to till a certain degree of ease as to the imperious demands of physical nature has been attained. In every age, doubtless, there are some persons of both sexes who will heroically struggle against the utmost physical privation, and pursue the path of virtue, or sedulously improve their minds, under circumstances the most adverse, and with facilities the most inconsiderable. But these are the exceptions, not the rule. The number of such persons is so inconsiderable, compared to the immense mass who are governed by their physical sensations, that remedies addressed to the intellect of man, without reference to the improvement of his circumstances, can never operate generally upon society. Even the most intellectual and powerful minds must give way under a certain amount of physical want or necessity. Take Newton and Milton, Bacon and Descartes, Cervantes and Cicero, and make them walk thirty miles in a wintry day, and come in to a wretched hovel at night, and see what they will desire. Rely upon it, it will be neither philosophy nor poetry, but warmth and food. A good fire and a good supper would attract them from all the works which have rendered their names immortal. Can we expect the great body of mankind to be less under the influence of the imperious demands of our common physical nature than the most gifted of the human race? What do the people constantly ask for? It is neither cold baths nor warm baths, ragged schools nor normal schools, churches nor chapels, model houses nor mechanics' institutes—"It is a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." We would all do the same in their circumstances. Give them that, the one thing needful alike for social happiness and moral improvement, and you make a mighty step in social amelioration and elevation; because you lay the foundation on which it all rests, and on which it must, in a general point of view, all depend—without it, all the rest will be found to be as much thrown away as the seed cast on the arid desert.

In the next place, the intellectual cultivation and elevation which is 279 regarded by so large a political party, and so numerous a body of benevolent individuals, as the panacea for all our social evils, never has affected, and never can affect, more than a limited class in society. We may indeed teach all, or nearly all, to read; but can we make them all read books, or still more, read books that will do them any good, when they leave school, and become their own masters, and are involved in the cares, oppressed with the labours, and exposed to the temptations of the world? Did any man ever find a fifth of his acquaintance of any rank, from the House of Peers and the Bar downwards, who were really and practically directed in manhood and womanhood by intellectual pleasures or pursuits? Habit, early training, easy circumstances, absence of temptation, a fortunate marriage, or the like, are the real circumstances which retain the great body of the human race of every rank in the right path. They are neither positively bad, nor positively good: they are characters of imperfect goodness, and mainly swayed by their physical circumstances. If you come to a crisis with them, when the selfish or generous feelings must be acted upon, nine-tenths of them will be swayed by the former. The disciples of Rousseau will contest these propositions: we would only recommend them to look around them, and see whether or not they are demonstrated by every day's experience in every rank of life. We wish it were otherwise; but we must take mankind as they are, and legislate for them on their average capacity, without supposing that they are generally to be influenced by the intellectual appliances adapted only to a small fraction of their number. And, accordingly, upon looking at the statistical tables given in the commencement of this Essay, it will be found that, while emigration, crime, and pauperism, have advanced rapidly, despite all the efforts of philanthropy and religion, which are permanent, but affect only a part of society, they exhibit the most remarkable fluctuations, according to the prosperity or distress of particular years, because the causes then in operation affected the whole of mankind.

The only way, therefore, in which the physical circumstances of the great body of mankind can be ameliorated, or room can be afforded for the moral and intellectual elevation of such of them as have received from nature minds susceptible of such training, is by restoring the equilibrium between the demand for labour and the numbers of the people, which our late measures have done so much to subvert. By that means, and that means alone, can the innumerable social evils under which we labour be alleviated. Without it, all the other remedies devised by philanthropy, pursued with zeal, cherished by hope, will prove ineffectual. How that is to be done must be evident to every person of common understanding. The demand for labour must be increased, the supply of labour must be diminished. The first can only be done, by a moderate degree of Protection to Native Industry, at present beat down to the dust in every department by the competition of foreign states, where money is more scarce and taxation lighter, and consequently production is less expensive. The second can only be attained by a systematic emigration, conducted at the public expense, and drawing of annually an hundred or an hundred and fifty thousand of the most destitute of the community, who have not the means of transport for themselves, and, if not so removed, will permanently encumber our streets, our jails, our workhouses.

But money is required for these things; and where, it will be asked, is money to be found in this already overtaxed and suffering community? The answer is, the money-question is the easiest of all; for it will be attained in abundance by the very means requisite to attain the other objects. Protection, even on the most moderate scale, to Native Industry, is not to be attained without the imposition of import-duties; and that will at once produce the funds requisite for the attainment of all these objects. Laid on the importation of all goods, rude or manufactured, they would yield such a revenue as would enable us to take off the Income Tax, and thereby let loose L.5,500,000 a-year, now absorbed by it, for the encouragement of 280 domestic industry. Agriculture, manufactures of all sorts, would take a renewed start from the exclusion, to a certain degree, of foreign competition. Domestic industry would cease to languish, because the ruinous competition of foreigners working at a third of our wages would be checked. By these means an ample fund would be raised to enable us to transport, at the public expense, and comfortably settle in their new habitations, some hundred thousand annually of the most destitute class of our people—that class who cannot get away themselves, and, as they are thrown out of employment by Free Trade, now encumber our hospitals, jails, and workhouses. We would convert them from paupers into healthful and sturdy emigrants, doubling in numbers, with constant additions from the parent state, every ten years; and consuming L.8 a-head worth of our manufactures. Property in the colonies would double in value every five years, from the joint effect of domestic labour, and the prolific stream of external immigration; and every acre cleared in these fertile wilds would cause a wheel to revolve, or a spindle to move, or a family to be blessed, in the parent state.

We can affix no limits in imagination to what the British Empire might become, or the amount of social and general happiness it might contain, with the physical advantages which nature has given it, and the character which race, and consequent institutions, have impressed upon its inhabitants. In the centre of the Empire stands the parent state, teeming with energy, overflowing with inhabitants, with coal and ironstone in its bosom capable of putting in motion manufactories for the supply of half the globe. In the extremities are colonies in every quarter of the earth, possessing waste lands of boundless extent and inexhaustible fertility, producing every luxury which the heart of man can desire, and one only of which could furnish the whole staple required for its greatest fabrics.19 With such providential wisdom were the various parts of this immense empire fitted for each other; so marvellously was the surplus, whether in animated beings or rude produce, of one part adapted to the deficiencies and wants of another, that nothing but a just and equal system of government, alive to the wants, and solicitous for the interests, of every part of its vast dominion, was requisite to render it the most united, prosperous, growing, and powerful state that ever existed on the face of the earth. The Roman Empire, while spread around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, affords but a faint image of what it might have been. The ocean was its inland lake; the British navy its internal means of communication; the foreign trade of the whole earth its home trade. We obtained the empire of the seas precisely to enable us to carry out this magnificent destiny; the victory of Trafalgar presented it to our grasp. But a just and equal system of government was essential to the existence and duration of so immense a dominion; a sense of fair administration, a consciousness of protected interests, would alone hold it together for any length of time. The simple precept of the gospel, "to do to others as we would they should do unto us," would, if duly carried into practice, have for 281 ever kept united the mighty fabric, and caused it to embrace in peace and happiness half the globe. This object was practically attained by the virtual representation of all classes, interests, and colonies, under the old constitution; and thence the steady growth, vast extent, and unvarying loyalty during many a severe contest, of this multifarious dominion. The new constitution, by vesting the government in the representatives of our manufacturing towns, and thence introducing the rule of class interests, is visibly and rapidly destroying it. The only remedy practicable—and even that is so only for a short season—is the extension to the colonies of a direct share in the Imperial Parliament; but that is far too just and wise a measure to permit the hope that it will ever be embraced by the class interest who now rule the state.

Notwithstanding all the obvious advantages of the course of policy which we have recommended—though it would at once furnish the means, as we have shown in a former paper, of obviating our external dangers and maintaining our national independence, and at the same time relieve our internal distresses and extend and consolidate our colonial dependencies—we have scarcely any hope that it will be adopted. The Free-traders have got such a hold of the burghs—to which the Reform Bill gave a decided majority in the House of Commons—and their leaders so perseveringly pursue their own immediate interest, without the slightest regard to the ruin they are bringing upon all other interests of the state, that the hope of any change of policy—at least till some terrible external disaster has opened the eyes of the nation to a sense of the impending calamities brought on them by their rulers—may be regarded as hopeless, without a general national effort. The imposition of a moderate import duty upon the produce, whether rude or manufactured, of all other nations, but with an entire exemption to our own colonies, is obviously the first step in the right direction, and would go far to alleviate our distresses, and at the same time replenish the public Treasury and avert our external dangers. In taking it, we should only be following the example of America, Prussia, and nearly all other nations, who levy a duty of 30 per cent on our manufactures, and thereby make us pay half of their taxes. But it is to be feared the mania of Free Trade will prevail over a wise and expedient policy, calculated equally to advance the interests of all classes in the state. We do not say, therefore, that any such system will be adopted; but this we do say, and with these words we nail our colours to the mast,—Protection must be restored, or the British empire will be destroyed. 282



"It was no bad idea of yours, Pisistratus," said my father graciously, "to depict the heightened affections and the serious intention's of Signior Riccabocca by a single stroke—He left off his spectacles! Good."

"Yet," quoth my uncle, "I think Shakspeare represents a lover as falling into slovenly habits, neglecting his person, and suffering his hose to be ungartered, rather than paying that attention to his outer man which induces Signior Riccabocca to leave off his spectacles, and look as handsome as nature will permit him."

"There are different degrees and many phases of the passion," replied my father. "Shakspeare is speaking of an ill-treated, pining, wobegone lover, much aggrieved by the cruelty of his mistress—a lover who has found it of no avail to smarten himself up, and has fallen despondently into the opposite extreme. Whereas Signior Riccabocca has nothing to complain of in the barbarity of Miss Jemima."

"Indeed he has not!" cried Blanche, tossing her head—"forward creature!"

"Yes, my dear," said my mother, trying her best to look stately, "I am decidedly of opinion that, in that respect, Pisistratus has lowered the dignity of the sex. Not intentionally," added my mother mildly, and afraid she had said something too bitter; "but it is very hard for a man to describe us women."

The Captain nodded approvingly; Mr Squills smiled; my father quietly resumed the thread of his discourse.

"To continue," quoth he. "Riccabocca has no reason to despair of success in his suit, nor any object in moving his mistress to compassion. He may, therefore, very properly tie up his garters and leave off his spectacles. What do you say, Mr Squills?—for, after all, since love-making cannot fail to be a great constitutional derangement, the experience of a medical man must be the best to consult."

"Mr Caxton," replied Squills, obviously flattered, "you are quite right: when a man makes love, the organs of self-esteem and desire of applause are greatly stimulated, and therefore, of course, he sets himself off to the best advantage. It is only, as you observe, when, like Shakspeare's lover, he has given up making love as a bad job, and has received that severe hit on the ganglions which the cruelty of a mistress inflicts, that he neglects his personal appearance: he neglects it, not because he is in love, but because his nervous system is depressed. That was the cause, if you remember, with poor Major Prim. He wore his wig all awry when Susan Smart jilted him; but I set it all right for him."

"By shaming Miss Smart into repentance, or getting him a new sweetheart?" asked my uncle.

"Pooh!" answered Squills, "by quinine and cold bathing."

"We may therefore grant," renewed my father, "that, as a general rule, the process of courtship tends to the spruceness, and even foppery, of the individual engaged in the experiment, as Voltaire has very prettily proved somewhere. Nay, the Mexicans, indeed, were of opinion that the lady at least ought to continue those cares of her person even after marriage. There is extant, in Sahagun's History of New Spain, the advice of an Aztec or Mexican mother to her daughter, in which she says—'That your husband may not take you in dislike, adorn yourself, wash yourself, and let your garments be clean.' It is true that the good lady adds,—'Do it in moderation; since, if every day you are washing yourself and your clothes, the world will say that you are over-delicate; and particular people will call you—TAPETZON TINEMÁXOCH!' What those words 283 precisely mean," added my father modestly, "I cannot say, since I never had the opportunity to acquire the ancient Aztec language—but something very opprobrious and horrible, no doubt."

"I daresay a philosopher like Signior Riccabocca," said my uncle, "was not himself very Tapetzon tine—what d'ye call it?—and a good healthy English wife, like that poor affectionate Jemima, was thrown away upon him."

"Roland," said my father, "you don't like foreigners: a respectable prejudice, and quite natural in a man who has been trying his best to hew them in pieces, and blow them up into splinters. But you don't like philosophers either—and for that dislike you have no equally good reason."

"I only implied that they were not much addicted to soap and water," said my uncle.

"A notable mistake. Many great philosophers have been very great beaux. Aristotle was a notorious fop. Buffon put on his best laced ruffles when he sat down to write, which implies that he washed his hands first. Pythagoras insists greatly on the holiness of frequent ablutions; and Horace—who, in his own way, was as good a philosopher as any the Romans produced—takes care to let us know what a neat, well-dressed, dapper little gentleman he was. But I don't think you ever read the 'Apology of Apuleius?'"

"Not I—what is it about?" asked the Captain.

"About a great many things. It is that Sage's vindication from several malignant charges—amongst others, and principally indeed, that of being much too refined and effeminate for a philosopher. Nothing can exceed the rhetorical skill with which he excuses himself for using—tooth-powder. 'Ought a philosopher,' he exclaims, 'to allow anything unclean about him, especially in the mouth—the mouth, which is the vestibule of the soul, the gate of discourse, the portico of thought! Ah, but Æmilianus [the accuser of Apuleius] never opens his mouth but for slander and calumny—tooth-powder would indeed be unbecoming to him! Or, if he use any, it will not be my good Arabian tooth-powder but charcoal and cinders. Ay, his teeth should be as foul as his language! And yet even the crocodile likes to have his teeth cleaned; insects get into them, and, horrible reptile though he be, he opens his jaws inoffensively to a faithful dentistical bird, who volunteers his beak for a toothpick.'"

My father was now warm in the subject he had started, and soared miles away from Riccabocca and "My Novel." "And observe," he exclaimed—"observe with what gravity this eminent Platonist pleads guilty to the charge of having a mirror. 'Why, what,' he exclaims, 'more worthy of the regards of a human creature than his own image,' (nihil respectabilius homini quam formam suam!) Is not that one of our children the most dear to us who is called 'the picture of his father?' But take what pains you will with a picture, it can never be so like you as the face in your mirror! Think it discreditable to look with proper attention on one's-self in the glass! Did not Socrates recommend such attention to his disciples—did he not make a great moral agent of the speculum? The handsome, in admiring their beauty therein, were admonished that handsome is who handsome does; and the more the ugly stared at themselves, the more they became naturally anxious to hide the disgrace of their features in the loveliness of their merits. Was not Demosthenes always at his speculum? Did he not rehearse his causes before it as before a master in the art? He learned his eloquence from Plato, his dialectics from Eubulides; but as for his delivery—there, he came to the mirror!'

"Therefore," concluded Mr Caxton, returning unexpectedly to the subject—"therefore it is no reason to suppose that Dr Riccabocca is averse to cleanliness and decent care of the person, because he is a philosopher; and, all things considered, he never showed himself more a philosopher than when he left off his spectacles and looked his best."

"Well," said my mother kindly, "I only hope it may turn out happily. But I should have been better pleased if Pisistratus had not made Dr Riccabocca so reluctant a wooer."

"Very true," said the Captain; 284 "the Italian does not shine as a lover. Throw a little more fire into him, Pisistratus—something gallant and chivalrous."

"Fire—gallantry—chivalry!" cried my father, who had taken Riccabocca under his special protection—"why, don't you see that the man is described as a philosopher?—and I should like to know when a philosopher ever plunged into matrimony without considerable misgivings and cold shivers. Indeed, it seems that—perhaps before he was a philosopher—Riccabocca had tried the experiment, and knew what it was. Why, even that plain-speaking, sensible, practical man, Metellus Numidicus, who was not even a philosopher, but only a Roman Censor, thus expressed himself in an exhortation to the People to perpetrate matrimony—'If, O Quirites, we could do without wives, we should all dispense with that subject of care, (eâ molestiâ careremus;) but since nature has so managed it, that we cannot live with women comfortably, nor without them at all, let us rather provide for the human race than our own temporary felicity.'"

Here the ladies set up a cry of such indignation, that both Roland and myself endeavoured to appease their wrath by hasty assurances that we utterly repudiated that damnable doctrine of Metellus Numidicus.

My father, wholly unmoved, as soon as a sullen silence was established, recommenced—"Do not think, ladies," said he, "that you were without advocates at that day: there were many Romans gallant enough to blame the Censor for a mode of expressing himself which they held to be equally impolite and injudicious. 'Surely,' said they, with some plausibility, 'if Numidicus wished men to marry, he need not have referred so peremptorily to the disquietudes of the connection, and thus have made them more inclined to turn away from matrimony than given them a relish for it.' But against these critics one honest man (whose name of Titus Castricius should not be forgotten by Posterity) maintained that Metellus Numidicus could not have spoken more properly; 'For remark,' said he, 'that Metellus was a censor, not a rhetorician. It becomes rhetoricians to adorn, and disguise, and make the best of things; but Metellus, sanctus vir—a holy and blameless man, grave and sincere to whit, and addressing the Roman people in the solemn capacity of Censor—was bound to speak the plain truth, especially as he was treating of a subject on which the observation of every day, and the experience of every life, could not leave the least doubt upon the mind of his audience.' Still Riccabocca, having decided to marry, has no doubt prepared himself to bear all the concomitant evils—as becomes a professed sage; and I own I admire the art with which Pisistratus has drawn the precise woman likely to suit a philosopher."

Pisistratus bows, and looks round complacently; but recoils from two very peevish and discontented faces feminine.

Mr Caxton (completing his sentence,)—"Not only as regards mildness of temper and other household qualifications, but as regards the very person of the object of his choice. For you evidently remembered, Pisistratus, the reply of Bias, when asked his opinion on marriage: Ἣτοι καλὴν ἕξεις, ἢ αἰσχρὰν· καὶ εἰ καλὴν, εξεις κοινήν· εὶ δὴ αἰσχρὰν, ἔξεις ποινήν."

Pisistratus tries to look as if he had the opinion of Bias by heart, and nods acquiescingly.

Mr Caxton.—"That is, my dears, 'the woman you would marry is either handsome or ugly: if handsome, she is koiné, viz. you don't have her to yourself; if ugly, she is poiné—that is, a fury.' But, as it is observed in Aulus Gellius, (whence I borrow this citation,) there is a wide interval between handsome and ugly. And thus Ennius, in his tragedy of Menalippus, uses an admirable expression to designate women of the proper degree of matrimonial comeliness, such as a philosopher would select. He calls this degree stata forma—a rational, mediocre sort of beauty, which is not liable to be either koiné or poiné. And Favorinus, who was a remarkably sensible man, and came from Provence—the male inhabitants of which district have always valued themselves on their knowledge of love and ladies—calls this said stata forma the beauty of wives—the uxorial beauty. Ennius 285 says, that women of a stata forma are almost always safe and modest. Now Jemima, you observe, is described as possessing this stata forma; and it is the nicety of your observation in this respect, which I like the most in the whole of your description of a philosopher's matrimonial courtship, Pisistratus, (excepting only the stroke of the spectacles,) for it shows that you had properly considered the opinion of Bias, and mastered all the counter logic suggested in Book v. chapter xi., of Aulus Gellius."

"For all that," said Blanche, half-archly, half-demurely, with a smile in the eye, and a pout of the lip, "I don't remember that Pisistratus, in the days when he wished to be most complimentary, ever assured me that I had a stata forma—a rational, mediocre sort of beauty."

"And I think," observed my uncle, "that when he comes to his real heroine, whoever that may be, he will not trouble his head much about either Bias or Aulus Gellius."


Matrimony is certainly a great change in life. One is astonished not to find a notable alteration in one's friend, even if he or she have been only wedded a week. In the instance of Dr and Mrs Riccabocca the change was peculiarly visible. To speak first of the lady, as in chivalry bound, Mrs Riccabocca had entirely renounced that melancholy which had characterised Miss Jemima: she became even sprightly and gay, and looked all the better and prettier for the alteration. She did not scruple to confess honestly to Mrs Dale, that she was now of opinion that the world was very far from approaching its end. But, in the meanwhile, she did not neglect the duty which the belief she had abandoned serves to inculcate—"She set her house in order." The cold and penurious elegance that had characterised the Casino disappeared like enchantment—that is, the elegance remained, but the cold and penury fled before the smile of woman. Like Puss-in-Boots after the nuptials of his master, Jackeymo only now caught minnows and sticklebacks for his own amusement. Jackeymo looked much plumper, and so did Riccabocca. In a word, the fair Jemima became an excellent wife. Riccabocca secretly thought her extravagant, but, like a wise man, declined to look at the house bills, and ate his joint in unreproachful silence.

Indeed, there was so much unaffected kindness in the nature of Mrs Riccabocca—beneath the quiet of her manner there beat so genially the heart of the Hazeldeans—that she fairly justified the favourable anticipations of Mrs Dale. And though the Doctor did not noisily boast of his felicity, nor, as some new married folks do, thrust it insultingly under the nimis unctis naribus—the turned-up noses of your surly old married folks, nor force it gaudily and glaringly on the envious eyes of the single, you might still see that he was a more cheerful and light-hearted man than before. His smile was less ironical, his politeness less distant. He did not study Machiavelli so intensely,—and he did not return to the spectacles; which last was an excellent sign. Moreover, the humanising influence of the tidy English wife might be seen in the improvement of his outward or artificial man. His clothes seemed to fit him better; indeed, the clothes were new. Mrs Dale no longer remarked that the buttons were off the wrist-bands, which was a great satisfaction to her. But the sage still remained faithful to the pipe, the cloak, and the red silk umbrella. Mrs Riccabocca had (to her credit be it spoken) used all becoming and wifelike arts against these three remnants of the old bachelor Adam, but in vain. "Anima mia—soul of mine," said the Doctor tenderly, "I hold the cloak, the umbrella, and the pipe, as the sole relics that remain to me of my native country. Respect and spare them."

Mrs Riccabocca was touched, and had the good sense to perceive that man, let him be ever so much married, retains certain signs of his ancient 286 independence—certain tokens of his old identity, which a wife, the most despotic, will do well to concede. She conceded the cloak, she submitted to the umbrella, she concealed her abhorrence of the pipe. After all, considering the natural villany of our sex, she confessed to herself that she might have been worse off. But, through all the calm and cheerfulness of Riccabocca, a nervous perturbation was sufficiently perceptible;—it commenced after the second week of marriage—it went on increasing, till one bright sunny afternoon, as he was standing on his terrace gazing down upon the road, at which Jackeymo was placed,—lo, a stage-coach stopped! The Doctor made a bound, and put both hands to his heart as if he had been shot; he then leapt over the balustrade, and his wife from her window beheld him flying down the hill, with his long hair streaming in the wind, till the trees hid him from her sight.

"Ah," thought she with a natural pang of conjugal jealousy, "henceforth I am only second in his home. He has gone to welcome his child!" And at that reflection Mrs Riccabocca shed tears.

But so naturally amiable was she, that she hastened to curb her emotion, and efface as well as she could the trace of a stepmother's grief. When this was done, and a silent self-rebuking prayer murmured over, the good woman descended the stairs with alacrity, and, summoning up her best smiles, emerged on the terrace.

She was repaid; for scarcely had she come into the open air, when two little arms were thrown round her, and the sweetest voice that ever came from a child's lips, sighed out in broken English, "Good mamma, love me a little."

"Love you? with my whole heart!" cried the stepmother, with all a mother's honest passion. And she clasped the child to her breast.

"God bless you, my wife" said Riccabocca, in a husky tone.

"Please take this too," added Jackeymo in Italian, as well as his sobs would let him—and he broke off a great bough full of blossoms from his favourite orange-tree, and thrust it into his mistress's hand. She had not the slightest notion what he meant by it!


Violante was indeed a bewitching child—a child to whom I defy Mrs Caudle herself (immortal Mrs Caudle!) to have been a harsh stepmother.

Look at her now, as, released from those kindly arms, she stands, still clinging with one hand to her new mamma, and holding out the other to Riccabocca—with those large dark eyes swimming in happy tears. What a lovely smile!—what an ingenuous candid brow! She looks delicate—she evidently requires care—she wants the mother. And rare is the woman who would not love her the better for that! Still, what an innocent infantine bloom in those clear smooth cheeks!—and in that slight frame, what exquisite natural grace!

"And this, I suppose, is your nurse, darling?" said Mrs Riccabocca, observing a dark foreign-looking woman, dressed very strangely—without cap or bonnet, but a great silver arrow stuck in her hair, and a filagree chain or necklace resting upon her kerchief.

"Ah, good Annetta," said Violante in Italian. "Papa, she says she is to go back; but she is not to go back—is she?"

Riccabocca, who had scarcely before noticed the woman, started at that question—exchanged a rapid glance with Jackeymo—and then, muttering some inaudible excuse, approached the Nurse, and, beckoning her to follow him, went away into the grounds. He did not return for more than an hour, nor did the woman then accompany him home. He said briefly to his wife that the Nurse was obliged to return at once to Italy, and that she would stay in the village to catch the mail; that indeed she would be of no use in their establishment, as she could not speak a word of English; 287 but that he was sadly afraid Violante would pine for her. And Violante did pine at first. But still, to a child it is so great a thing to find a parent—to be at home—that, tender and grateful as Violante was, she could not be inconsolable while her father was there to comfort.

For the first few days, Riccabocca scarcely permitted any one to be with his daughter but himself. He would not even leave her alone with his Jemima. They walked out together—sat together for hours in the Belvidere. Then by degrees he began to resign her more and more to Jemima's care and tuition, especially in English, of which language at present she spoke only a few sentences, (previously, perhaps, learned by heart,) so as to be clearly intelligible.


There was one person in the establishment of Dr Riccabocca, who was satisfied neither with the marriage of his master nor the arrival of Violante—and that was our friend Lenny Fairfield. Previous to the all-absorbing duties of courtship, the young peasant had secured a very large share of Riccabocca's attention. The sage had felt interest in the growth of this rude intelligence struggling up to light. But what with the wooing, and what with the wedding, Lenny Fairfield had sunk very much out of his artificial position as pupil, into his natural station of under-gardener. And on the arrival of Violante, he saw, with natural bitterness, that he was clean forgotten, not only by Riccabocca, but almost by Jackeymo. It was true that the master still lent him books, and the servant still gave him lectures on horticulture. But Riccabocca had no time nor inclination now to amuse himself with enlightening that tumult of conjecture which the books created. And if Jackeymo bad been covetous of those mines of gold buried beneath the acres now fairly taken from the Squire, (and good-naturedly added rent-free, as an aid to Jemima's dower,) before the advent of the young lady whose future dowry the produce was to swell—now that she was actually under the eyes of the faithful servant, such a stimulus was given to his industry, that he could think of nothing else but the land, and the revolution he designed to effect in its natural English crops. The garden, save only the orange-trees, was abandoned entirely to Lenny, and additional labourers were called in for the field-work. Jackeymo had discovered that one part of the soil was suited to lavender, that another would grow camomile. He had in his heart apportioned a beautiful field of rich loam to flax; but against the growth of flax the Squire set his face obstinately. That most lucrative, perhaps, of all crops, when soil and skill suit, had, it would appear, been formerly attempted in England much more commonly than it is now; since you will find few old leases which do not contain a clause prohibitory of flax, as an impoverishment of the land. And though Jackeymo learnedly endeavoured to prove to the Squire that the flax itself contained particles which, if returned to the soil, repaid all that the crop took away, Mr Hazeldean had his old-fashioned prejudices on the matter, which were insuperable. "My forefathers," quoth he, "did not put that clause in their leases without good cause; and as the Casino lands are entailed on Frank, I have no right to gratify your foreign whims at his expense."

To make up for the loss of the flax, Jackeymo resolved to convert a very nice bit of pasture into orchard ground, which he calculated would bring in £10 net per acre by the time Miss Violante was marriageable. At this, Squire pished a little; but as it was quite clear that the land would be all the more valuable hereafter for the fruit trees, he consented to permit the 'grass land' to be thus partially broken up.

All these changes left poor Lenny Fairfield very much to himself—at a time when the new and strange devices which the initiation into book knowledge creates, made it most desirable that he should have the 288 constant guidance of a superior mind.

One evening after his work, as Lenny was returning to his mother's cottage very sullen and very moody, he suddenly came in contact with Sprott the tinker.


The tinker was seated under a hedge, hammering away at an old kettle—with a little fire burning in front of him—and the donkey hard by, indulging in a placid doze. Mr Sprott looked up as Lenny passed—nodded kindly, and said—

"Good evenin', Lenny: to hear you be so 'spectably sitivated with Mounseer."

"Ay," answered Lenny, with a leaven of rancour in his recollections, "You're not ashamed to speak to me now, that I am not in disgrace. But it was in disgrace, when it wasn't my fault, that the real gentleman was most kind to me."

"Ar—r, Lenny," said the Tinker, with a prolonged rattle in that said Ar—r, which was not without great significance. "But you sees the real gentleman who han't got his bread to get, can hafford to 'spise his cracter in the world. A poor tinker must be timbersome and nice in his 'sociations. But sit down here a bit, Lenny; I've summat to say to ye!"

"To me—"

"To ye. Give the neddy a shove out i' the vay, and sit down, I say."

Lenny rather reluctantly, and somewhat superciliously, accepted this invitation.

"I hears," said the Tinker in a voice made rather indistinct by a couple of nails which he had inserted between his teeth; "I hears as how you be unkimmon fond of reading. I ha' sum nice cheap books in my bag yonder—sum as low as a penny."

"I should like to see them," said Lenny, his eyes sparkling.

The Tinker rose, opened one of the paniers on the ass's back, took out a bag which he placed before Lenny, and told him to suit himself. The young peasant desired no better. He spread all the contents of the bag on the sward, and a motley collection of food for the mind was there—food and poison—serpentes avibus—good and evil. Here, Milton's Paradise Lost, there The Age of Reason—here Methodist Tracts, there True Principles of Socialism—Treatises on Useful Knowledge by sound learning actuated by pure benevolence—Appeals to Operatives by the shallowest reasoners, instigated by the same ambition that had moved Eratosthenes to the conflagration of a temple; works of fiction admirable as Robinson Crusoe, or innocent as the Old English Baron, beside coarse translations of such garbage as had rotted away the youth of France under Louis Quinze. This miscellany was an epitome, in short, of the mixed World of Books, of that vast City of the Press, with its palaces and hovels, its aqueducts and sewers—which opens all alike to the naked eye and the curious mind of him to whom you say, in the Tinker's careless phrase, "suit yourself."

But it is not the first impulse of a nature, healthful and still pure, to settle in the hovel and lose itself amidst the sewers; and Lenny Fairfield turned innocently over the bad books, and selecting two or three of the best, brought them to the Tinker and asked the price.

"Why," said Mr Sprott, putting on his spectacles, "you has taken the werry dearest: them 'ere be much cheaper, and more hinterestin'."

"But I don't fancy them," answered Lenny; "I don't understand what they are about, and this seems to tell one how the steam-engine is made, and has nice plates; and this is Robinson Crusoe, which Parson Dale once said he would give me—I'd rather buy it out of my own money."

"Well, please yourself," quoth the Tinker; "you shall have the books for four bob, and you can pay me next month."

"Four bobs—four shillings? it is a great sum," said Lenny, "but I will lay by, as you are kind enough to trust me; good evening, Mr Sprott."

"Stay a bit," said the Tinker; 289 "I'll just throw you these two little tracks into the barging; they be only a shilling a dozen, so 'tis but tuppence—and ven you has read those, vy, you'll be a reglar customer."

The tinker tossed to Lenny Nos. 1 and 2 of Appeals to Operatives, and the peasant took them up gratefully.

The young knowledge-seeker went his way across, the green fields, and under the still autumn foliage of the hedgerows. He looked first at one book, then at another; he did not know on which to settle.

The Tinker rose and made a fire with leaves and furze and sticks, some dry and some green.

Lenny has now opened No. 1 of the tracts: they are the shortest to read, and don't require so much effort of the mind as the explanation of the steam-engine.

The Tinker has now set on his grimy glue-pot, and the glue simmers.


As Violante became more familiar with her new home, and those around her became more familiar with Violante, she was remarked for a certain stateliness of manner and bearing, which, had it been less evidently natural and inborn, would have seemed misplaced in the daughter of a forlorn exile, and would have been rare at so early an age among children of the loftiest pretensions. It was with the air of a little princess that she presented her tiny hand to a friendly pressure, or submitted her calm clear cheek to a presuming kiss. Yet withal she was so graceful, and her very stateliness was so pretty and captivating, that she was not the less loved for all her grand airs. And, indeed, she deserved to be loved; for though she was certainly prouder than Mr Dale could approve of, her pride was devoid of egotism; and that is a pride by no means common. She had an intuitive forethought for others; you could see that she was capable of that grand woman-heroism, abnegation of self; and though she was an original child, and often grave and musing, with a tinge of melancholy, sweet, but deep in her character, still she was not above the happy genial merriment of childhood,—only her silver laugh was more attuned, and her gestures more composed, than those of children habituated to many play-fellows usually are. Mrs Hazeldean liked her best when she was grave, and said "she would become a very sensible woman." Mrs Dale liked her best when she was gay, and said "she was born to make many a heart ache;" for which Mrs Dale was properly reproved by the Parson. Mrs Hazeldean gave her a little set of garden tools; Mrs Dale a picture-book and a beautiful doll. For a long time the book and the doll had the preference. But Mrs Hazeldean having observed to Riccabocca that the poor child looked pale, and ought to be a good deal in the open air, the wise father ingeniously pretended to Violante that Mrs Riccabocca had taken a great fancy to the picture-book, and that he should be very glad to have the doll, upon which Violante hastened to give them both away, and was never so happy as when mamma (as she called Mrs Riccabocca) was admiring the picture-book, and Riccabocca, with austere gravity dandled the doll. Then Riccabocca assured her that she could be of great use to him in the garden; and Violante instantly put into movement her spade, hoe, and wheel-barrow.

This last occupation brought her into immediate contact with Mr Leonard Fairfield; and that personage one morning, to his great horror, found Miss Violante had nearly exterminated a whole celery-bed, which she had ignorantly conceived to be a crop of weeds.

Lenny was extremely angry. He snatched away the hoe, and said angrily, "You must not do that, Miss. I'll tell your papa if you—"

Violante drew herself up, and never having been so spoken to before, at least since her arrival in England, there was something comic in the surprise of her large eyes, as well as something tragic in the dignity of her offended mien. "It is very naughty 290 of you, Miss," continued Leonard in a milder tone, for he was both softened by the eyes and awed by the mien, "and I trust you will not do it again."

"Non capisco," (I don't understand,) murmured Violante, and the dark eyes filled with tears. At that moment up came Jackeymo; and Violante, pointing to Leonard, said, with an effort not to betray her emotion, "Il fanciullo e molto grossolano," (he is a very rude boy.)

Jackeymo turned to Leonard with the look of an enraged tiger. "How you dare, scum of de earth that you are," cried he,20 "how you dare make cry the signorina?" And his English not supplying familiar vituperatives sufficiently, he poured out upon Lenny such a profusion of Italian abuse, that the boy turned red and white in a breath with rage and perplexity.

Violante took instant compassion upon the victim she had made, and, with true feminine caprice, now began to scold Jackeymo for his anger, and, finally approaching Leonard, laid her hand on his arm, and said with a kindness at once childlike and queenly, and in the prettiest imaginable mixture of imperfect English and soft Italian, to which I cannot pretend to do justice, and shall therefore translate: "Don't mind him. I dare say it was all my fault, only I did not understand you: are not these things weeds?"

"No, my darling signorina," said Jackeymo in Italian, looking ruefully at the celery-bed, "they are not weeds, and they sell very well at this time of the year. But still, if it amuses you to pluck them up, I should like to see who's to prevent it."

Lenny walked away. He had been called "the scum of the earth," by a foreigner too! He had again been ill-treated for doing what he conceived his duty. He was again feeling the distinction between rich and poor, and he now fancied that that distinction involved deadly warfare, for he had read from beginning to end those two damnable tracts which the Tinker had presented to him. But in the midst of all the angry disturbance of his mind, he felt the soft touch of the infant's hand, the soothing influence of her conciliating words, and he was half ashamed that he had spoken so roughly to a child.

Still, not trusting himself to speak, he walked away and sat down at a distance. "I don't see," thought he, "why there should be rich and poor, master and servant." Lenny, be it remembered, had not heard the Parson's Political Sermon.

An hour after, having composed himself, Lenny returned to his work. Jackeymo was no longer in the garden; he had gone to the fields; but Riccabocca was standing by the celery-bed, and holding the red silk umbrella over Violante as she sat on the ground looking up at her father with those eyes already so full of intelligence, and love, and soul.

"Lenny," said Riccabocca, "my young lady has been telling me that she has been very naughty, and Giacomo very unjust to you. Forgive them both."

Lenny's sullenness melted in an instant: the reminiscence of tracts Nos. 1 and 2,—

"Like the baseless fabric of a vision,
Left not a wreck behind."

He raised eyes, swimming with all his native goodness, towards the wise man, and dropped them gratefully on the face of the infant peace-maker. Then he turned away his head and fairly wept. The Parson was right: "O ye poor, have charity for the rich; O ye rich, respect the poor."



Now from that day the humble Lenny and the regal Violante became great friends. With what pride he taught her to distinguish between celery and weeds—and how proud too was she when she learned that she was useful! There is not a greater pleasure you can give to children, especially female children, than to make them feel they are already of value in the world, and serviceable as well as protected. Weeks and months rolled away, and Lenny still read, not only the books lent him by the Doctor, but those he bought of Mr Sprott. As for the bombs and shells against religion which the Tinker carried in his bag, Lenny was not induced to blow himself up with them. He had been reared from his cradle in simple love and reverence for the Divine Father, and the tender Saviour, whose life beyond all records of human goodness, whose death beyond all epics of mortal heroism, no being whose infancy has been taught to supplicate the Merciful and adore the Holy, yea, even though his later life may be entangled amidst the thorns of some desolate pyrrhonism, can ever hear reviled and scoffed without a shock to the conscience and a revolt of the heart. As the deer recoils by instinct from the tiger, as the very look of the scorpion deters you from handling it, though you never saw a scorpion before, so the very first line in some ribald profanity on which the Tinker put his black finger, made Lenny's blood run cold. Safe, too, was the peasant boy from any temptation in works of a gross and licentious nature, not only because of the happy ignorance of his rural life, but because of a more enduring safe-guard—genius! Genius, that, manly, robust, healthful as it be, is long before it lose its instinctive Dorian modesty; shame-faced, because so susceptible to glory—genius, that loves indeed to dream, but on the violet bank, not the dung-hill. Wherefore, even in the error of the senses, it seeks to escape from the sensual into worlds of fancy, subtle and refined. But apart from the passions, true genius is the most practical of all human gifts. Like the Apollo, whom the Greek worshipped as its type, even Arcady is its exile, not its home. Soon weary of the dalliance of Tempé, it ascends to its mission—the Archer of the silver bow, the guide of the car of light. Speaking more plainly, genius is the enthusiasm for self-improvement; it ceases or sleeps the moment it desists from seeking some object which it believes of value, and by that object it insensibly connects its self-improvement with the positive advance of the world. At present Lenny's genius had no bias that was not to the Positive and Useful. It took the direction natural to his sphere, and the wants therein—viz., to the arts which we call mechanical. He wanted to know about steam-engines and Artesian wells; and to know about them it was necessary to know something of mechanics and hydrostatics; so he bought popular elementary works on those mystic sciences, and set all the powers of his mind at work on experiments.

Noble and generous spirits are ye, who, with small care for fame, and little reward from pelf, have opened to the intellects of the poor the portals of wisdom! I honour and revere ye; only do not think ye have done all that is needful. Consider, I pray ye, whether so good a choice from the Tinker's bag would have been made by a boy whom religion had not scared from the Pestilent, and genius had not led to the Self-improving. And Lenny did not wholly escape from the mephitic portions of the motley elements from which his awakening mind drew its nurture. Think not it was all pure oxygen that the panting lip drew in. No; there, were still those inflammatory tracts. Political I do not like to call them, for politics mean the art of government, and the tracts I speak of assailed all government which mankind has hitherto recognised. Sad rubbish, perhaps, were such tracts to you, O sound thinker, in your easy-chair! Or to you, practised statesman, at your post on the Treasury Bench—to you, calm dignitary of a learned Church—or to you, my lord judge, who may often have sent from your bar to the 292 dire Orcus of Norfolk's Isle the ghosts of men whom that rubbish, falling simultaneously on the bumps of acquisitiveness and combativeness, hath untimely slain. Sad rubbish to you! But seems it such rubbish to the poor man, to whom it promises a paradise on the easy terms of upsetting a world? For ye see, these "Appeals to Operatives" represent that same world-upsetting as the simplest thing imaginable—a sort of two-and-two-make-four proposition. The poor have only got to set their strong hands to the axle, and heave-a-hoy! and hurrah for the topsey-turvey! Then, just to put a little wholesome rage into the heave-a-hoy! it is so facile to accompany the eloquence of "Appeals" with a kind of stir-the-bile-up statistics—"Abuses of the Aristocracy"—"Jobs of the Priesthood"—"Expenses of Army kept up for Peers' younger sons"—"Wars contracted for the villanous purpose of raising the rents of the landowners"—all arithmetically dished up, and seasoned with tales of every gentleman who has committed a misdeed, every clergyman who has dishonoured his cloth; as if such instances were fair specimens of average gentlemen and ministers of religion! All this, passionately advanced, (and observe, never answered, for that literature admits no controversialists, and the writer has it all his own way,) maybe rubbish; but it is out of such rubbish that operatives build barricades for attack, and legislators prisons for defence.

Our poor friend Lenny drew plenty of this stuff from the Tinker's bag. He thought it very clever and very eloquent; and he supposed the statistics were as true as mathematical demonstrations.

A famous knowledge-diffuser is looking over my shoulder, and tells me, "Increase education, and cheapen good books, and all this rubbish will disappear!" Sir, I don't believe a word of it. If you printed Ricardo and Adam Smith at a farthing a volume, I still believe that they would be as little read by the operatives as they are now-a-days by a very large proportion of highly cultivated men. I still believe that, while, the press works, attacks on the rich, and propositions for heave-a-hoys, will always form a popular portion of the Literature of Labour. There's Lenny Fairfield reading a treatise on hydraulics, and constructing a model for a fountain into the bargain; but that does not prevent his acquiescence in any proposition for getting rid of a National Debt, which he certainly never agreed to pay, and which he is told makes sugar and tea so shamefully dear. No. I tell you what does a little counteract those eloquent incentives to break his own head against the strong walls of the Social System—it is, that he has two eyes in that head, which are not always employed in reading. And, having been told in print that masters are tyrants, parsons hypocrites or drones in the hive, and landowners vampires and bloodsuckers, he looks out into the little world around him, and, first, he is compelled to acknowledge that his master is not a tyrant, (perhaps because he is a foreigner and a philosopher, and, for what I and Lenny know, a republican.) But then Parson Dale, though High Church to the marrow, is neither hypocrite nor drone. He has a very good living, it is true—much better than he ought to have, according to the "political" opinions of those tracts; but Lenny is obliged to confess that, if Parson Dale were a penny the poorer, he would do a pennyworth's less good; and, comparing one parish with another, such as Roodhall and Hazeldean, he is dimly aware that there is no greater CIVILISER than a parson tolerably well off. Then, too, Squire Hazeldean, though as arrant a Tory as ever stood upon shoe-leather, is certainly not a vampire nor bloodsucker. He does not feed on the public; a great many of the public feed upon him: and, therefore, his practical experience a little staggers and perplexes Lenny Fairfield as to the gospel accuracy of his theoretical dogmas. Masters, parsons, and landowners! having, at the risk of all popularity, just given a coup de patte to certain sages extremely the fashion at present, I am not going to let you off without an admonitory flea in the ear. Don't suppose that any mere scribbling and typework will suffice to answer the scribbling and typework set at work to demolish you—write down that rubbish you can't—live 293 it down you may. If you are rich, like Squire Hazeldean, do good with your money; if you are poor, like Signor Riccabocca, do good with your kindness.

See! there is Lenny now receiving his week's wages; and though Lenny knows that he can get higher wages in the very next parish, his blue eyes are sparkling with gratitude, not at the chink of the money, but at the poor exile's friendly talk on things apart from all service; while Violante is descending the steps from the terrace, charged by her mother-in-law with a little basket of sago, and suchlike delicacies, for Mrs Fairfield, who has been ailing the last few days.

Lenny will see the Tinker as he goes home, and he will buy a most Demosthenean "Appeal"—a tract of tracts, upon the "Propriety of Strikes," and the Avarice of Masters. But, somehow or other, I think a few words from Signor Riccabocca, that did not cost the Signor a farthing, and the sight of his mother's smile at the contents of the basket, which cost very little, will serve to neutralise the effects of that "Appeal," much more efficaciously than the best article a Brougham or a Mill could write on the subject.


Spring had come again; and one beautiful May-day, Leonard Fairfield sate beside the little fountain which he had now actually constructed in the garden. The butterflies were hovering over the belt of flowers which he had placed around his fountain, and the birds were singing overhead. Leonard Fairfield was resting from his day's work, to enjoy his abstemious dinner, beside the cool play of the sparkling waters, and, with the yet keener appetite of knowledge, he devoured his book as he munched his crusts.

A penny tract is the shoeing-horn of literature: it draws on a great many books, and some too tight to be very useful in walking. The penny tract quotes a celebrated writer, you long to read him; it props a startling assertion by a grave authority, you long to refer to it. During the nights of the past winter, Leonard's intelligence had made vast progress: he had taught himself more than the elements of mechanics, and put to practice the principles he had acquired, not only in the hydraulical achievement of the fountain, nor in the still more notable application of science, commenced on the stream in which Jackeymo had fished for minnows, and which Lenny had diverted to the purpose of irrigating two fields, but in various ingenious contrivances for the facilitation or abridgment of labour, which had excited great wonder and praise in the neighbourhood. On the other hand, those rabid little tracts, which dealt so summarily with the destinies of the human race, even when his growing reason, and the perusal of works more classical or more logical, had led him to perceive that they were illiterate, and to suspect that they jumped from premises to conclusions with a celerity very different from the careful ratiocination of mechanical science, had still, in the citations and references wherewith they abounded, lured him on to philosophers more specious and more perilous. Out of the Tinker's bag he had drawn a translation of Condorcet's Progress of Man, and another of Rousseau's Social Contract. These had induced him to select from the tracts in the Tinker's miscellany those which abounded most in professions of philanthropy, and predictions of some coming Golden Age, to which old Saturn's was a joke—tracts so mild and mother-like in their language, that it required a much more practical experience than Lenny's to perceive that you would have to pass a river of blood before you had the slightest chance of setting foot on the flowery banks on which they invited you to repose—tracts which rouged poor Christianity on the cheeks, clapped a crown of innocent daffodillies on her head, and set her to dancing a pas de zephyr in the pastoral ballet in which St Simon pipes to the flock he shears; or having first laid it down as a preliminary axiom, that 294

"The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself—
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,"

substituted in place thereof Monsieur Fourier's symmetrical phalanstere, or Mr Owen's architectural parallelogram. It was with some such tract that Lenny was seasoning his crusts and his radishes, when Riccabocca, bending his long dark face over the student's shoulder, said abruptly—

"Diavolo, my friend! What on earth have you got there? Just let me look at it, will you?"

Leonard rose respectfully, and coloured deeply as he surrendered the tract to Riccabocca.

The wise man read the first page attentively, the second more cursorily, and only ran his eye over the rest. He had gone through too vast a range of problems political, not to have passed over that venerable Pons Asinorum of Socialism, on which Fouriers and St Simons sit straddling and cry aloud that they have arrived at the last boundary of knowledge!

"All this is as old as the hills," quoth Riccabocca irreverently; "but the hills stand still, and this—there it goes!" and the sage pointed to a cloud emitted from his pipe. "Did you ever read Sir David Brewster on Optical Delusions? No! Well, I'll lend it to you. You will find therein a story, of a lady who always saw a black cat on her hearth-rug. The black cat existed only in her fancy, but the hallucination was natural and reasonable—eh—what do you think?"

"Why, sir," said Leonard, not catching the Italian's meaning, "I don't exactly see that it was natural and reasonable."

"Foolish boy, yes! because black cats are things possible and known. But who ever saw upon earth a community of men such as sit on the hearth-rugs of Messrs Owen and Fourier? If the lady's hallucination was not reasonable, what is his, who believes in such visions as these?"

Leonard bit his lip.

"My dear boy," cried Riccabocca kindly, "the only thing sure and tangible to which these writers would lead you, lies at the first step, and that is what is commonly called a Revolution. Now, I know what that is. I have gone, not indeed through a revolution, but an attempt at one."

Leonard raised his eyes towards his master with a look of profound respect, and great curiosity.

"Yes," added Riccabocca, and the face on which the boy gazed exchanged its usual grotesque and sardonic expression for one animated, noble, and heroic. "Yes, not a revolution for chimeras, but for that cause which the coldest allow to be good, and which, when successful, all time approves as divine—the redemption of our native soil from the rule of the foreigner! I have shared in such an attempt. And," continued the Italian mournfully, "recalling now all the evil passions it arouses, all the ties it dissolves, all the blood that it commands to flow, all the healthful industry it arrests, all the madmen that it arms, all the victims that it dupes, I question whether one man really honest, pure, and humane, who has once gone through such an ordeal, would ever hazard it again, unless he was assured that the victory was certain—ay, and the object for which he fights not to be wrested from his hands amidst the uproar of the elements that the battle has released."

The Italian paused, shaded his brow with his hand, and remained long silent. Then, gradually resuming his ordinary tone, he continued—

"Revolutions that have no definite objects made clear by the positive experience of history; revolutions, in a word, that aim less at substituting one law or one dynasty for another, than at changing the whole scheme of society, have been little attempted by real statesmen. Even Lycurgus is proved to be a myth who never existed. They are the suggestions of philosophers who lived apart from the actual world, and whose opinions (though generally they were very benevolent, good sort of men, and wrote in an elegant poetical style) one would no more take on a plain matter of life, than one would look upon Virgil's Eclogues as a faithful picture of the ordinary pains and pleasures of the peasants who tend our sheep. Read them as you would read poets, and they are delightful. But attempt to shape 295 the world according to the poetry—and fit yourself for a madhouse. The farther off the age is from the realisation of such projects, the more these poor philosophers have indulged them. Thus, it was amidst the saddest corruption of court manners that it became the fashion in Paris to sit for one's picture, with a crook in one's hand, as Alexis or Daphne. Just as liberty was fast dying out of Greece, and the successors of Alexander were founding their monarchies, and Rome was growing up to crush in its iron grasp all states save its own, Plato withdraws his eyes from the world, to open them in his dreamy Atlantis. Just in the grimmest period of English history, with the axe hanging over his head, Sir Thomas More gives you his Utopia. Just when the world is to be the theatre of a new Sesostris, the dreamers of France tell you that the age is too enlightened for war, that man is henceforth to be governed by pure reason, and live in a paradise. Very pretty reading all this to a man like me, Lenny, who can admire and smile at it. But to you, to the man who has to work for his living, to the man who thinks it would be so much more pleasant to live at his ease in a phalanstere than to work eight or ten hours a day; to the man of talent and action and industry, whose future is invested in that tranquillity and order of a state, in which talent and action and industry are a certain capital;—why, Messrs Coutts the great bankers had better encourage a theory to upset the system of banking! Whatever disturbs society, yea, even by a causeless panic, much more by an actual struggle, falls first upon the market of labour, and thence affects prejudicially every department of intelligence. In such times the arts are arrested; literature is neglected; people are too busy to read anything save appeals to their passions. And capital, shaken in its sense of security, no longer ventures boldly through the land, calling forth all the energies of toil and enterprise, and extending to every workman his reward. Now, Lenny, take this piece of advice. You are young, clever, and aspiring: men rarely succeed in changing the world; but a man seldom fails of success if he lets the world alone, and resolves to make the best of it. You are in the midst of the great crisis of your life; it is the struggle between the new desires knowledge excites, and that sense of poverty, which those desires convert either into hope and emulation, or into envy and despair. I grant that it is an up-hill work that lies before you; but don't you think it is always easier to climb a mountain than it is to level it? These books call on you to level the mountain; and that mountain is the property of other people, subdivided amongst a great many proprietors, and protected by law. At the first stroke of the pick-axe, it is ten to one but what you are taken up for a trespass. But the path up the mountain is a right of way uncontested. You may be safe at the summit, before (even if the owners are fools enough to let you) you could have levelled a yard. Cospetto!" quoth the Doctor, "it is more than two thousand years ago since poor Plato began to level it, and the mountain is as high as ever!"

Thus saying, Riccabocca came to the end of his pipe, and, stalking thoughtfully away, he left Leonard Fairfield trying to extract light from the smoke.


Shortly after this discourse of Riccabocca's, an incident occurred to Leonard that served to carry his mind into new directions. One evening, when his mother was out, he was at work on a new mechanical contrivance, and had the misfortune to break one of the instruments which he employed. Now it will be remembered that his father had been the Squire's head-carpenter; the widow had carefully hoarded the tools of his craft, which had belonged to her poor Mark; and though she occasionally lent them to Leonard, she would not give them up to his service. Amongst these, Leonard knew that he should find the one that 296 he wanted; and being much interested in his contrivance, he could not wait till his mother's return. The tools, with other little relics of the lost, were kept in a large trunk in Mrs Fairfield's sleeping room; the trunk was not locked, and Leonard went to it without ceremony or scruple. In rummaging for the instrument, his eye fell upon a bundle of MSS.; and he suddenly recollected that when he was a mere child, and before he much knew the difference between verse and prose, his mother had pointed to these MSS. and said, "One day or other, when you can read nicely, I'll let you look at these, Lenny. My poor Mark wrote such verses—ah, he was a scollard!" Leonard, reasonably enough, thought that the time had now arrived when he was worthy the privilege of reading the paternal effusions, and he took forth the MSS. with a keen but melancholy interest. He recognised his father's handwriting, which he had often seen before in account-books and memoranda, and read eagerly some trifling poems, which did not show much genius, nor much mastery of language and rythm—such poems, in short, as a self-educated man, with poetic taste and feeling, rather than poetic inspiration or artistic culture, might compose with credit, but not for fame. But suddenly, as he turned over these 'Occasional Pieces,' Leonard came to others in a different handwriting—a woman's handwriting—small, and fine, and exquisitely formed. He had scarcely read six lines of these last, before his attention was irresistibly chained. They were of a different order of merit from poor Mark's; they bore the unmistakeable stamp of genius. Like the poetry of women in general, they were devoted to personal feeling—they were not the mirror of a world, but reflections of a solitary heart. Yet this is the kind of poetry most pleasing to the young. And the verses in question had another attraction for Leonard: they seemed to express some struggle akin to his own—some complaint against the actual condition of the writer's life, some sweet melodious murmurs at fortune. For the rest, they were characterised by a vein of sentiment so elevated that, if written in by a man, it would have run into exaggeration; written by a woman, the romance was carried off by so many genuine revelations of sincere, deep, pathetic feeling, that it was always natural, though true to a nature from which you would not augur happiness.

Leonard was still absorbed in the perusal of these poems, when Mrs Fairfield entered the room.

"What have you been about, Lenny?—searching in my box?"

"I came to look for my father's bag of tools, mother, and I found these papers, which you said I might read some day."

"I doesn't wonder you did not hear me when I came in," said the widow sighing. "I used to sit still for the hour together, when my poor Mark read his poems to me. There was such a pretty one about the 'Peasant's Fireside,' Lenny—have you got hold of that?"

"Yes, dear mother; and I remarked the allusion to you: it brought tears to my eyes. But these verses are not my father's—whose are they? They seem a woman's hand."

Mrs Fairfield looked—changed colour—grew faint—and seated herself.

"Poor, poor Nora!" said she falteringly. "I did not know as they were there; Mark kep 'em; they got among his—"

Leonard.—"Who was Nora?"

Mrs Fairfield.—"Who?—child,—who? Nora was—was my own—own sister."

Leonard (in great amaze, contrasting his ideal of the writer of these musical lines, in that graceful hand, with his homely uneducated mother, who can neither read nor write.)—"Your sister—is it possible? My aunt, then. How comes it you never spoke of her before? Oh! you should be so proud of her, mother."

Mrs Fairfield (clasping her hands.)—"We were proud of her, all of us—father, mother—all! She was so beautiful and so good, and not proud she! though she looked like the first lady in the land. Oh! Nora, Nora!"

Leonard (after a pause.)—"But she must have been highly educated?" 297

Mrs Fairfield.—"'Deed she was!"

Leonard.—"How was that?"

Mrs Fairfield (rocking herself to and fro in her chair.)—"Oh! my Lady washer godmother—Lady Lansmere I mean—and took a fancy to her when she was that high! and had her to stay at the Park, and wait on her ladyship; and then she put her to school, and Nora was so clever that nothing would do but she must go to London as a governess. But don't talk of it, boy!—don't talk of it!"

Leonard.—"Why not, mother?—what has become of her?—where is she?"

Mrs Fairfield (bursting into a paroxysm of tears.)—"In her grave—in her cold grave! Dead, dead!"

Leonard was inexpressibly grieved and shocked. It is the attribute of the poet to seem always living, always a friend. Leonard felt as if some one very dear had been suddenly torn from his heart. He tried to console his mother; but her emotion was contagious, and he wept with her.

"And how long has she been dead?" he asked at last, in mournful accents.

"Many's the long year, many; but," added Mrs Fairfield, rising, and putting her tremulous hand on Leonard's shoulder, "you'll just never talk to me about her—I can't bear it—it breaks my heart. I can bear better to talk of Mark—come down stairs—come."

"May I not keep these verses, mother? Do let me."

"Well, well, those bits o' paper be all she left behind her—yes, keep them, but put back Mark's. Are they all here?—sure?" And the widow, though she could not read her husband's verses, looked jealously at the MSS. written in his irregular large scrawl, and, smoothing them carefully, replaced them in the trunk, and resettled over them some sprigs of lavender, which Leonard had unwittingly disturbed.

"But," said Leonard, as his eye again rested on the beautiful handwriting of his lost aunt—"but you call her Nora—I see she signs herself L."

"Leonora was her name. I said she was my Lady's godchild. We called her Nora for short"—

"Leonora—and I am Leonard—is that how I came by the name?"

"Yes, yes—do hold your tongue, boy," sobbed poor Mrs Fairfield; and she could not be soothed nor coaxed into continuing or renewing a subject which was evidently associated with insupportable pain.


It is difficult to exaggerate the effect that this discovery produced on Leonard's train of thought. Some one belonging to his own humble race had, then, preceded him in his struggling flight towards the loftier regions of Intelligence and Desire. It was like the mariner amidst unknown seas, who finds carved upon some desert isle a familiar household name. And this creature of genius and of sorrow—whose existence he had only learned by her song, and whose death created, in the simple heart of her sister, so passionate a grief, after the lapse of so many years—supplied to the romance awaking in his young heart the ideal which it unconsciously sought. He was pleased to hear that she had been beautiful and good. He paused from his books to muse on her, and picture her image to his fancy. That there was some mystery in her fate was evident to him; and while that conviction deepened his interest, the mystery itself, by degrees, took a charm which he was not anxious to dispel. He resigned himself to Mrs Fairfield's obstinate silence. He was contented to rank the dead amongst those holy and ineffable images which we do not seek to unveil. Youth and Fancy have many secret hoards of idea which they do not desire to impart, even to those most in their confidence. I doubt the depth of feeling in any man who has not certain recesses in his soul into which none may enter.

Hitherto, as I have said, the talents of Leonard Fairfield had been more turned to things positive than to the 298 ideal; to science and investigation of fact than to poetry, and that airier truth in which poetry has its element. He had read our greater poets, indeed, but without thought of imitating; and rather from the general curiosity to inspect all celebrated monuments of the human mind, than from that especial predilection for verse which is too common in childhood and youth to be any sure sign of a poet. But now these melodies, unknown to all the world beside, rang in his ear, mingled with his thoughts—set, as it were, his whole life to music. He read poetry with a different sentiment—it seemed to him that he had discovered its secret. And so reading, the passion seized him, and "the numbers came."

To many minds, at the commencement of our grave and earnest pilgrimage, I am Vandal enough to think that the indulgence of poetic taste and reverie does great and lasting harm; that it serves to enervate the character, give false ideas of life, impart the semblance of drudgery to the noble toils and duties of the active man. All poetry would not do this—not, for instance, the Classical, in its diviner masters—not the poetry of Homer, of Virgil, of Sophocles—not, perhaps, even that of the indolent Horace. But the poetry which youth usually loves and appreciates the best—the poetry of mere sentiment—does so in minds already over predisposed to the sentimental, and which require bracing to grow into healthful manhood.

On the other hand, even this latter kind of poetry, which is peculiarly modern, does suit many minds of another mould—minds which our modern life, with its hard positive forms, tends to produce. And as in certain climates plants and herbs, peculiarly adapted as antidotes to those diseases most prevalent in the atmosphere, are profusely sown, as it were, by the benignant providence of nature—so it may be that the softer and more romantic species of poetry, which comes forth in harsh, moneymaking, unromantic times, is intended as curatives and counter-poisons. The world is so much with us, now-a-days, that we need have something that prates to us, albeit even in too fine an euphuism, of the moon and stars.

Certes, to Leonard Fairfield, at that period of his intellectual life, the softness of our Helicon descended as healing dews. In his turbulent and unsettled ambition, in his vague grapple with the giant forms of political truths, in his bias towards the application of science to immediate practical purposes, this lovely vision of the Muse came in the white robe of the Peacemaker; and with upraised hand, pointing to serene skies, she opened to him fair glimpses of the Beautiful, which is given to Peasant as to Prince—showed to him that on the surface of earth there is something nobler than fortune—that he who can view the world as a poet is always at soul a king; while to practical purpose itself, that larger and more profound invention, which poetry stimulates, supplied the grand design and the subtle view—leading him beyond the mere ingenuity of the mechanic, and habituating him to regard the inert force of the matter at his command with the ambition of the Discoverer. But, above all, the discontent that was within him finding a vent, not in deliberate war upon this actual world, but through the purifying channels of song—in the vent itself it evaporated, it was lost. By accustoming ourselves to survey all things with the spirit that retains and reproduces them only in their lovelier or grander aspects, a vast philosophy of toleration for what we before gazed on with scorn or hate insensibly grows upon us. Leonard looked into his heart after the enchantress had breathed upon it; and through the mists of the fleeting and tender melancholy which betrayed where she had been, he beheld a new sun of delight and joy dawning over the landscape of human life.

Thus, though she was dead and gone from his actual knowledge, this mysterious kinswoman—"a voice, and nothing more"—had spoken to him, soothed, elevated, cheered, attuned each discord into harmony; and, if now permitted from some serener sphere to behold the life that her soul thus strangely influenced, verily, with yet holier joy, the saving and lovely 299 spirit might have glided onward in the Eternal Progress.

We call the large majority of human lives obscure. Presumptuous that we are! How know we what lives a single thought retained from the dust of nameless graves may have lighted to renown?


It was about a year after Leonard's discovery of the family MSS. that Parson Dale borrowed the quietest pad mare in the Squire's stables, and set out on an equestrian excursion. He said that he was bound on business connected with his old parishioners of Lansmere; for, as it has been incidentally implied in a previous chapter, he had been connected with that borough town (and, I may here add, in the capacity of curate) before he had been inducted into the living of Hazeldean.

It was so rarely that the Parson stirred from home, that this journey to a town more than twenty miles off was regarded as a most daring adventure, both at the Hall and at the Parsonage. Mrs Dale could not sleep the whole previous night with thinking of it; and though she had naturally one of her worst nervous headaches on the eventful morn, she yet suffered no hands less thoughtful than her own to pack up the saddlebags which the Parson had borrowed along with the pad. Nay, so distrustful was she of the possibility of the good man's exerting the slightest common sense in her absence, that she kept him close at her side while she was engaged in that same operation of packing up—showing him the exact spot in which the clean shirt was put, and how nicely the old slippers were packed up in one of his own sermons. She implored him not to mistake the sandwiches for his shaving-soap, and made him observe how carefully she had provided against such confusion, by placing them as far apart from each other as the nature of saddlebags will admit. The poor Parson—who was really by no means an absent man, but as little likely to shave himself with sandwiches and lunch upon soap as the most commonplace mortal may be—listened with conjugal patience, and thought that man never had such a wife before; nor was it without tears in his own eyes that he tore himself from the farewell embrace of his weeping Carry.

I confess, however, that it was with some apprehension that he set his foot in the stirrup, and trusted his person to the mercies of an unfamiliar animal. For whatever might be Mr Dale's minor accomplishments as man and parson, horsemanship was not his forte. Indeed, I doubt if he had taken the reins in his hand more than twice since he had been married.

The Squire's surly old groom, Mat, was in attendance with the pad; and, to the Parson's gentle inquiry whether Mat was quite sure that the pad was quite safe, replied laconically, "Oi, oi, give her her head."

"Give her her head!" repeated Mr Dale, rather amazed, for he had not the slightest intention of taking away that part of the beast's frame, so essential to its vital economy—"Give her her head!"

"Oi, oi; and don't jerk her up like that, or she'll fall a doincing on her hind-legs."

The Parson instantly slackened the reins; and Mrs Dale—who had tarried behind to control her tears—now running to the door for "more last words," he waived his hand with courageous amenity, and ambled forth into the lane.

Our equestrian was absorbed at first in studying the idiosyncrasies of the pad, and trying thereby to arrive at some notion of her general character: guessing, for instance, why she raised one ear and laid down the other; why she kept bearing so close to the left that she brushed his leg against the hedge; and why, when she arrived at a little side-gate in the fields, which led towards the home-farm, she came to a full stop, and fell to rubbing her nose against the rail—an occupation from which the Parson, finding all civil remonstrances in vain, at length diverted her by a timorous application of the whip. 300

This crisis on the road fairly passed, the pad seemed to comprehend that she had a journey before her, and giving a petulant whisk of her tail, quickened her amble into a short trot, which soon brought the Parson into the high road, and nearly opposite the Casino.

Here, sitting on the gate which led to his abode, and shaded by his umbrella, he beheld Dr Riccabocca.

The Italian lifted his eyes from the book he was reading, and stared hard at the Parson; and he—not venturing to withdraw his whole attention from the pad, (who, indeed, set up both her ears at the apparition of Riccabocca, and evinced symptoms of that surprise and superstitious repugnance at unknown objects which goes by the name of "shying,")—looked askance at Riccabocca.

"Don't stir, please," said the Parson, "or I fear you'll alarm this creature; it seems a nervous, timid thing;—soho—gently—gently."

And he fell to patting the mare with great unction.

The pad, thus encouraged, overcame her first natural astonishment at the sight of Riccabocca and the red umbrella; and having before been at the Casino on sundry occasions, and sagaciously preferring places within the range of her experience to bournes neither cognate nor conjecturable, she moved gravely up towards the gate on which the Italian sate; and, after eyeing him a moment—as much as to say, "I wish you would get off"—came to a dead lock.

"Well," said Riccabocca, "since your horse seems more disposed to be polite to me than yourself, Mr Dale, I take the opportunity of your present involuntary pause to congratulate you on your elevation in life, and to breathe a friendly prayer that pride may not have a fall!"

"Tut," said the Parson, affecting an easy air, though still contemplating the pad, who appeared to have fallen into a quiet doze, "it is true that I have not ridden much of late years, and the Squire's horses are very high fed and spirited; but there is no more harm in them than their master when one once knows their ways."

"Chi và piano, và sano,
E chi và sano và lontano,"

said Riccabocca, pointing to the saddlebags. "You go slowly, therefore safely; and he who goes safely may go far. You seem prepared for a journey?"

"I am," said the Parson; "and on a matter that concerns you a little."

"Me!" exclaimed Riccabocca—"concerns me!"

"Yes, so far as the chance of depriving you of a servant whom you like and esteem affects you."

"Oh," said Riccabocca, "I understand: you have hinted to me very often that I or Knowledge, or both together, have unfitted Leonard Fairfield for service."

"I did not say that exactly; I said that you have fitted him for something higher than service. But do not repeat this to him. And I cannot yet say more to you, for I am very doubtful as to the success of my mission; and it will not do to unsettle poor Leonard until we are sure that we can improve his condition."

"Of that you can never be sure," quoth the wise man, shaking his head; "and I can't say that I am unselfish enough not to bear you a grudge for seeking to decoy away from me an invaluable servant—faithful, steady, intelligent, and (added Riccabocca, warming as he approached the climacteric adjective)—exceedingly cheap! Nevertheless go, and Heaven speed you. I am not an Alexander, to stand between man and the sun."

"You are a noble great-hearted creature, Signor Riccabocca, in spite of your cold-blooded proverbs and villanous books." The Parson, as he said this, brought down the whip-hand with so indiscreet an enthusiasm on the pad's shoulder, that the poor beast, startled out of her innocent doze, made a bolt forward, which nearly precipitated Riccabocca from his seat on the stile, and then turning round—as the Parson tugged desperately at the rein—caught the bit between her teeth, and set off at a canter. The Parson lost both his stirrups; and when he regained them, (as the pad slackened her pace,) and had time to breathe and look about him, Riccabocca and the Casino were both out of sight.

"Certainly," quoth Parson Dale, 301 as he resettled himself with great complacency, and a conscious triumph that he was still on the pad's back—"certainly it is true 'that the noblest conquest ever made by man was that of the horse:' a fine creature it is—a very fine creature—and uncommonly difficult to sit on,—especially without stirrups." Firmly in his stirrups the Parson planted his feet; and the heart within him was very proud.


Lansmere was situated in the county adjoining, that which contained the village of Hazeldean. Late at noon the Parson crossed the little stream which divided the two shires, and came to an inn, which was placed at an angle, where the great main road branched off into two directions—the one leading towards Lansmere, the other going more direct to London. At this inn the pad stopped, and put down both ears with the air of a pad who has made up her mind to bait. And the Parson himself, feeling very warm and somewhat sore, said to the pad benignly, "It is just—thou shalt have corn and water!"

Dismounting therefore, and finding himself very stiff, as soon as he had reached terra firma, the Parson consigned the pad to the ostler, and walked into the sanded parlour of the inn, to repose himself on a very hard Windsor chair.

He had been alone rather more than half-an-hour, reading a county newspaper which smelt much of tobacco, and trying to keep off the flies that gathered round him in swarms, as if they had never before seen a Parson, and were anxious to ascertain how the flesh of him tasted,—when a stage-coach stopped at the inn. A traveller got out with his carpet-bag in his hand, and was shown into the sanded parlour.

The, Parson rose politely, and made a bow.

The traveller touched his hat, without taking it off—looked at Mr Dale from top to toe—then walked to the window, and whistled a lively impatient tune, then strode towards the fire-place and rang the bell; then stared again at the Parson; and that gentleman having courteously laid down the newspaper, the traveller seized it, threw himself on a chair, flung one of his legs over the table, tossed the other up on the mantelpiece, and began reading the paper, while he tilted the chair on its hind legs with so daring a disregard to the ordinary position of chairs and their occupants, that the shuddering Parson expected every moment to see him come down on the back of his skull.

Moved, therefore, to compassion, Mr Dale said mildly—

"Those chairs are very treacherous, sir. I'm afraid you'll be down."

"Eh," said the traveller, looking, up much astonished. "Eh, down?—oh, you're satirical, sir."

"Satirical, sir? upon my word, no!" exclaimed the parson earnestly.

"I think every free-born man has a right to sit as he pleases in his own house," resumed the traveller with warmth; "and an inn is his own house, I guess, so long as he pays his score. Betty, my dear."

For the chambermaid had now replied to the bell.

"I han't Betty, sir; do you want she?"

"No, Sally—cold brandy and water—and a biscuit."

"I han't Sally either," muttered the chambermaid; but the traveller turning round, showed so smart a neckcloth and so comely a face, that she smiled, coloured, and went her way.

The traveller now rose, and flung down the paper. He took out a penknife, and began paring his nails. Suddenly desisting from this elegant occupation, his eye caught sight of the Parson's shovel-hat, which lay on a chair in the corner.

"You're a clergyman, I reckon, sir," said the traveller, with a slight sneer.

Again Mr Dale bowed—bowed in part deprecatingly—in part with dignity. It was a bow that said, "No offence, sir, but I am a clergyman, and I'm not ashamed of it."

"Going far?" asked the traveller.

Parson.—"Not very." 302

Traveller.—"In a chaise or fly? If so, and we are going the same way—halves."


Traveller.—"Yes, I'll pay half the damage—pikes inclusive."

Parson.—"You are very good, sir. But," (spoken with pride) "I am, on horseback."

Traveller.—"On horseback! Well, I should not have guessed that! You don't look like it. Where did you say you were going?"

"I did not say where I was going, sir," said the Parson drily, for he was much offended at that vague and ungrammatical remark applicable to his horsemanship, that "he did not look like it."

"Close!" said the traveller laughing; "an old traveller, I reckon."

The Parson made no reply, but he took up his shovel-hat, and, with a bow more majestic than the previous one, walked out to see if his pad had finished her corn.

The animal had indeed finished all the corn afforded to her, which was not much, and in a few minutes more Mr Dale resumed his journey. He had performed about three miles, when the sound of wheels behind made him turn his head, and he perceived a chaise driven very fast, while out of the windows thereof dangled strangely a pair of human legs. The pad began to curvet as the post horses rattled behind, and the Parson had only an indistinct vision of a human face supplanting these human legs. The traveller peered out at him as he whirled by—saw Mr Dale tossed up and down on the saddle, and cried out, "How's the leather?"

"Leather!" soliloquised the Parson, as the pad recomposed herself. "What does he mean by that? Leather! a very vulgar man. But I got rid of him cleverly."

Mr Dale arrived without farther adventure at Lansmere. He put up at the principal inn—refreshed himself by a general ablution-and sate down with good appetite to his beef-steak and pint of port.

The Parson was a better judge of the physiognomy of man than that of the horse; and after a satisfactory glance at the civil smirking landlord, who removed the cover and set on the wine, he ventured on an attempt at conversation. "Is my lord at the park?"

Landlord, still more civilly than before: "No, sir, his lordship and my lady have gone to town to meet Lord L'Estrange."

"Lord L'Estrange! He is in England, then?"

"Why, so I heard," replied the landlord, "but we never see him here now. I remember him a very pretty young man. Every one was fond of him, and proud of him. But what pranks he did play when he was a lad! We hoped he would come in for our boro' some of these days, but he has taken to foren parts—more's the pity. I am a reg'lar Blue, sir, as I ought to be. The Blue candidate always does me the honour to come to the Lansmere Arms. 'Tis only the low party puts up with The Boar," added the landlord with a look of ineffable disgust. "I hope you like the wine, sir?"

"Very good, and seems old."

"Bottled these eighteen years, sir. I had in the cask for the great election of Dashmore and Egerton. I have little left of it, and I never give it but to old friends like—for, I think, sir, though you be grown stout, and look more grand, I may say that I've had the pleasure of seeing you before.

"That's true, I daresay, though I fear was never a very good customer."

Landlord.—"Ah, it is Mr Dale, then! I thought so when you came into the hall. I hope your lady is quite well, and the Squire too; fine pleasant-spoken gentleman; no fault of his if Mr Egerton went wrong. Well, we have never seen him—I mean Mr Egerton—since that time. I don't wonder he stays away; but my lord's son, who was brought up here,—it an't nat'ral like that he should turn his back on us!"

Mr Dale made no reply, and the landlord was about to retire, when the Parson, pouring out another glass of the port, said,—"There must be great changes in the parish. Is Mr Morgan, the medical man, still here?"

"No, indeed; he took out his ploma after you left, and became a real doctor; and a pretty practice he 303 had too, when he took, all of a sudden, to some new-fangled way of physicking—I think they calls it homy-something—"


"That's it—something against all reason: and so he lost his practice here and went up to Lunnun. I've not heard of him since."

"Do the Avenels keep their old house?"

"Oh yes!—and are pretty well off, I hear say. John is always poorly; though he still goes now and then to the Odd Fellows, and takes his glass; but his wife comes and fetches him away before he can do himself any harm."

"Mrs Avenel is the same as ever?"

"She holds her head higher, I think," said the landlord, smiling. "She was always—not exactly proud like, but what I calls gumptious."

"I never heard that word before," said the Parson, laying down his knife and fork. "Bumptious, indeed, though I believe it is not in the dictionary, has crept into familiar parlance, especially amongst young folks at school and college."

"Bumptious is bumptious, and gumptious is gumptious," said the landlord, delighted to puzzle a Parson. "Now the town beadle is bumptious, and Mrs Avenel is gumptious."

"She is a very respectable woman," said Mr Dale, somewhat rebukingly.

"In course, sir, all gumptious folks are; they value themselves on their respectability, and looks down on their neighbours."

Parson, still philologically occupied.—"Gumptious—gumptious. I think I remember the substantive at school—not that my master taught it to me. 'Gumption,' it means cleverness."

Landlord, (doggedly.)—"There's gumption and gumptious! Gumption is knowing; but when I say that sum un is gumptious, I mean—though that's more vulgar like—sum un who does not think small beer of hisself. You take me, sir?"

"I think I do," said the Parson, half-smiling. "I believe the Avenels have only two of their children alive still—their daughter, who married Mark Fairfield, and a son who went off to America?"

"Ah, but he made his fortune there, and has come back."

"Indeed! I'm very glad to hear it. He has settled at Lansmere?"

"No, sir. I hear as he's bought a property a long way off. But he comes to see his parents pretty often—so John tells me—but I can't say that I ever see him. I fancy Dick doesn't like to be seen by folks who remember him playing in the kennel."

"Not unnatural," said the Parson indulgently; "but he visits his parents: he is a good son, at all events, then?"

"I've nothing to say against him. Dick was a wild chap before he took himself off. I never thought he would make his fortune; but the Avenels are a clever set. Do you remember poor Nora—the Rose of Lansmere, as they called her? Ah, no, I think she went up to Lunnun afore your time, sir."

"Humph!" said the Parson drily. "Well, I think you may take away now. It will be dark soon, and I'll just stroll out and look about me."

"There's a nice tart coming, sir."

"Thank you, I've dined."

The Parson put on his hat and sallied forth into the streets. He eyed the houses on either hand with that melancholy and wistful interest with which, in middle life, we revisit scenes familiar to us in youth—surprised to find either so little change or so much, and recalling, by fits and snatches, old associations and past emotions. The long High Street which he threaded now began to change its bustling character, and slide, as it were gradually, into the high road of a suburb. On the left, the houses gave way to the moss-grown pales of Lansmere Park: to the right, though houses still remained, they were separated from each other by gardens, and took the pleasing appearance of villas—such villas as retired tradesmen or their widows, old maids, and half-pay officers, select for the evening of their days.

Mr Dale looked at these villas with the deliberate attention of a man awakening his power of memory, and at last stopped before one, almost the last on the road, and which faced the broad patch of sward that lay before the lodge of Lansmere Park. An old pollard oak stood near it, and from 304 the oak there came a low discordant sound; it was the hungry cry of young ravens, awaiting the belated return of the parent bird. Mr Dale put his hand to his brow, paused a moment, and then, with a hurried step, passed through the little garden and knocked at the door. A light was burning in the parlour, and Mr Dale's eye caught through the window a vague outline of three forms. There was an evident bustle within at the sound of the knocks. One of the forms rose and disappeared. A very prim, neat, middle-aged maid-servant now appeared at the threshold, and austerely inquired the visitor's business.

"I want to see Mr or Mrs Avenel. Say that I have come many miles to see them; and take in this card."

The maid-servant took the card, and half-closed the door. At least three minutes elapsed before she reappeared.

"Missis says it's late, sir; but walk in."

The Parson accepted the not very gracious invitation, stepped across the little hall, and entered the parlour.

Old John Avenel, a mild-looking man, who seemed slightly paralytic, rose slowly from his arm-chair. Mrs Avenel, in an awfully stiff, clean, and Calvinistical cap, and a gray dress, every fold of which bespoke respectability and staid repute—stood erect on the floor, and, fixing on the Parson a cold and cautious eye, said—

"You do the like of us great honour, Mr Dale—take a chair! You call upon business?"

"Of which I have apprised you by letter, Mr Avenel."

"My husband is very poorly."

"A poor creature!" said John feebly, and as if in compassion of himself. "I can't get about as I used to do. But it ben't near election time, be it, sir?"

"No, John," said Mrs Avenel, placing her husband's arm within her own. "You must lie down a bit, while I talk to the gentleman."

"I'm a real good blue," said poor John; "but I an't quite the man I was;" and, leaning heavily on his wife, he left the room, turning round at the threshold, and saying, with great urbanity—"Anything to oblige, sir?"

Mr Dale was much touched. He had remembered John Avenel the comeliest, the most active, and the most cheerful man in Lansmere; great at glee club and cricket, (though then stricken in years) greater in vestries; reputed greatest in elections.

"Last scene of all," murmured the Parson; "and oh well, turning from the poet, may we cry with the disbelieving philosopher, 'Poor, poor humanity!'"21

In a few minutes Mrs Avenel returned. She took a chair at some distance from the Parson's, and, resting one hand on the elbow of the chair, while with the other she stiffly smoothed the stiff gown, she said—

"Now, sir."

That "Now, sir," had in its sound something sinister and warlike. This the shrewd Parson recognised with his usual tact. He edged his chair nearer to Mrs Avenel, and placing his hand on hers—

"Yes, now then, and as friend to friend."



Lovers of the Fine Arts—and they ought to be the whole civilised world—owe an especial regard and reverence to the Monastic Orders, without whom there would have been, and would be now, no Art at all. Taking the Fine Arts at their lowest value, as a mere source of pleasure, from the love of imitation or representation of agreeable objects—the remembrancer of scenes of interest, the elegant accomplishment by which homes are embellished and made more beautifully homely—surely some little gratitude is due, where it has been the fashion to be sparing of any praise, to those good and pious men who in their convents prepared, improved, and invented colours as well as implements of Art; were themselves the early painters, and by their extensive patronage may be called the Fathers of the Arts. Had the world derived from the monastic orders no other good, that one should have insured them a perpetual respect.

But the Arts do not stand alone—are themselves a sisterhood, if we may so speak—many orders, but one religion; one bond binding them together—the culture of humanity.

History has unfortunately too often been the work of infidel hands and hearts. Whatever is of religion has been viewed with a prejudice; the vices of mankind at large have been tenderly treated; while such as could with truth or untruth be charged upon religious orders, have met with little mercy, and have been exempted from the common apology of the age. In this, little candour has been shown. It would be fairer, speaking of any class of men, to inquire whether they were worse or better than others—a benefit or a plague-spot on society; and it would be fairer to see what efforts they made for their own and for the general improvement, and rather to estimate their success, where few but themselves struggled for amelioration, than to single out every fault, every corruption, and of every age, and to bring the accumulation to bear upon the head, as it were, of one generation. The monastic orders have been the theme of general abuse by many a flippant writer, as if they lived but at one particular period, and were but examples of ignorance and vice—the encouragers of superstition for their own selfish ends. The "dark ages" have been indeed dark to those who have shut their eyes to the light which, small and glimmering though it appeared from our broad and open way of life, might, if followed with a gentle curiosity, have led into undreamt-of recesses, found to contain great treasures; and as the bodily, so the mental eye would have accommodated its vision to the degree of light given, and would have seen distinctly both form and beauty, which would have burst with a kind of glory upon them through the gloom, and met them as goodness would meet willing seekers.

"Virtue makes herself light, through darkness for to wade."

"I know nothing," says one writer, "of those ages that knew nothing." As it has been justly retorted—how did he, knowing nothing of them, know that they knew nothing? It might be more easy to show that, if he knew anything about anything, he was mainly indebted to those very ages which kept within them the light of knowledge, preserved and cherished from utterly going out with the sanctity of a vestal fire. Turn where we will, we see the monuments of the labour of the monastic orders—wonderful monuments. And surely if any age may be said with truth to be dark, dark were those of the two last centuries which, with the wondrous edifices before their eyes, saw not their beauty mutilated, and with most unwarrantable conceit thought they had improved upon them. Whose was the ignorance? Look at our architecture. Great advancement has been made, and is making daily; and what is the consequence of this revived taste? A proper appreciation of the architecture 306 of the "dark ages." Our best hope is, to imitate successfully. Who were they who designed these miracles of art? Devout men—the monastic orders! Who furnished every species of decoration—the sculpture, the painted glass, the pictures, that were a language? Men who themselves lived humbly and sparingly, that they might devote themselves, their talents, and their possessions to make an exalted and visible religion upon earth, as the one thing needful for future generations of men. Such, undoubtedly, was the one mind of the great religious orders—we speak of their purpose and of their doings. It was their mission over every land: we say not that corruption did not find them out, that there was no canker in their fruit. The enemy knew where to sow his tares; but perverse people tore, uprooted and cast from them the wheat, and loved to lay waste; and, as is ever the case, hating whom they injure, they vilified per fas et nefas; and, upon the plea of others' corruption, became themselves robbers, plunderers, and, too often, assassins.

It has been charged against these orders, that from the extreme of poverty they became rich. Hinc illæ lachrymæ. But how did they so increase? Because toil and labour were their law: they brought wealth out of lands chosen for their sterility, that their rule of toil might be the more continually exercised. Industry had its natural fruits, and spread its influence: they taught as well as practised; and their object, how they disposed of that which they gained, is now well known. The monuments, long unheeded, are before us. That we may not be unjustly thought, in what we have said, to favour Romish institutions, we would make a distinction, too little observed,—we would not confound the retired, the benevolent, the religious lives of those benefactors in the monastic orders, with the political tyrannical Papacy in Rome itself. There was ambition and avarice—a worldliness, at the instigation of the "Prince of this world," working out a system whose necessities begot the vilest superstitions and idolatries for unholy gain, and disseminated corruption instead of life. The history of the Popes is not the history of the devout and laborious of the monastic orders at all times. They were indeed within the pale of the Church of Rome, for there was then no other; but they who cultivated wastes, taught the people, and preserved and invented arts and literature, were far other men. The evil of Papacy had not reached them at once in their wildernesses. When the corrupt system did reach them, it bore its fruit. But even then, and among such, be it remembered, arose those who were still pure, and above the corruptions—and from them originated the Reformation. In reasoning upon past institutions, consideration must be had of the peculiar phase of the world when they arose. The whole altered condition of society would make that a positive evil which was once a positive good. Monastic institutions have done their work;—they cannot be restored, in a healthy state, in a Protestant country, whose constitution, and the laws that both make and support it, and the habits, manners, and feelings of the people, are entirely repugnant to them. Romanism is antagonistic with everything that is not of it. It demands at all times and everywhere to be the dominant power. To give it more than toleration, is to put into its hands that fulcrum which will be incessantly employed to subvert every institution that cannot be resolved into itself. Neither governments nor homes can escape its snares and its tyranny.

"Inspectum domos venturaque desuper urbi."

And here we would offer a quotation from Mrs Jameson's introduction to this her third volume of the Series on Religious Art; and we cannot but think that the scrutiny her subject has led her to make, into the real character of the religions orders of the middle ages, has given a more serious, we would say solemn, respect for them than was perceptible in the two former volumes. Not that we would charge any levity upon her in them: the reverse; but we do think that the reverence and respect for the subjects generally have fallen advantageously upon the "orders" themselves.

"In the first place, then, monachism in art, taken in a large sense, is historically interesting, as the expression of a 307 most important era of human culture. We are outliving the gross prejudices which once represented the life of the cloister as being from first to last a life of laziness and imposture. We know that, but for the monks, the light of liberty and literature and science had been for ever extinguished, and that for six centuries there existed for the thoughtful, the gentle, the inquiring, the devout spirit no peace, no security, no home but the cloister. There learning trimmed her lamp, there contemplation 'pruned her wings;' there the traditions of art, preserved from age to age by lonely studious men, kept alive in form and colour the idea of a beauty beyond that of earth—of a might beyond that of the spear and the shield—of a Divine sympathy with suffering humanity. To this we may add another and a stronger claim on our respect and moral sympathies. The protection and the better education given to women in these early communities—the venerable and distinguished rank assigned to them when, as governesses of their order, they became in a manner dignitaries of the church—the introduction of their beautiful and saintly effigies, clothed with all the insignia of sanctity and authority, into the decoration of places of worship and books of devotion—did more, perhaps, for the general cause of womanhood than all the boasted institutions of chivalry."

Now, be it remembered that all this was effected in the midst of a hostile and turbulent world, whom they thus subdued by their sanctity to an awe and respect, without which there would have been no peace to them, no shelter to the pure and the weak from injury and wrong. Do we not see here the strongest proof of their earnestness, their piety, their charity, and that they were, under Heaven, the ministers of blessings to mankind? There was a period, however, when the entire seclusion of the cloister ceased to be beneficial—the contemplative life must be succeeded by the active. From that period must we date the promise of all that is great and good in art, science, and every effort of human genius, which burst winged out of darkness into day, with the rise of the Mendicant orders.

"If the three great divisions of the regular ecclesiastics seem to have had each a distinct vocation, there was at least one vocation common to all. The Benedictine monks instituted schools of learning; the Augustines built noble cathedrals; the Mendicant orders founded hospitals: all became patrons of the fine arts, on such a scale of munificence that the protection of the most renowned princes has been mean and insignificant in comparison. Yet, in their relation to art, this splendid patronage was the least of their merits. The earliest artists of the middle ages were the monks of the Benedictine orders. In their convents were preserved, from age to age, the traditional treatment of sacred subjects, and that pure unworldly sentiment which in later times was ill exchanged for the learning of schools and the competition of academies; and as they were the only depositories of chemical and medical knowledge, and the only compounders of drugs, we owe to them also the discovery and preparation of some of the finest colours, and the invention or the improvement of the implements used in painting: for the monks not only prepared their own colours, but when they employed secular painters in decorating their convents, the materials furnished from their own laboratories were consequently of the best and most durable kind. As architects, as glass-painters, as mosaic workers, as carvers in wood and metal, they were the precursors of all that has since been achieved in Christian art; and if so few of these admirable and gifted men are known to us individually and by name, it is because they worked for the honour of God and their community—not for profit, nor for reputation."

Mutability is written upon the face of all earthly things, whether they be good or evil in themselves. We progress and we retrograde according as influences act upon us. If we would judge in candour, we cannot take any class of facts of things or persons by themselves—all are parts of one whole; but how made one, is a speculation of a deep philosophy. It is hard to place upon the map of understanding the hidden causes, and their relation to each other, which make up the general social aspect at any one period. However we may advance, in knowledge, however that knowledge may operate as a check, mankind are in heart intrinsically the same they ever were—they have within them the same passions, the same instincts; and though we are daily pronouncing, as we look back upon past ages, that such and such things never can be again, that we cannot have the same superstitions, nor exercise the same cruelties, whatever 308 we may hope, we do in fact say but this, that the identical facts and identical personages will not come again upon the stage of life. Of this we may be sure, that under certain influences, always within the sphere of our liabilities, the passions of men will lead them to the same excesses, the same fanaticism, the same crimes. The plot of the drama may be somewhat varied, or even new, but tragedy and comedy will still designate the play of human actions. We may have crusades without a Holy Land to recover—as we have had a Bartholomew massacre; we have had, and may have again, in civilised Europe, the political massacres which, in reading history in our closets in our own peaceful homes, we had fondly deemed passed away for ever. Fanaticism in religion and politics is still a human instinct—the sleeping volcano in every man's breast, though he knows it not, believes it not. "Is thy servant a dog that he should do this thing?" Who can answer for himself? It is wiser, far better to bow the head in humility—"Lead us not into temptation." As the times are, as people are, in peace or in suffering, will be their religious hopes or their religious fears—a gloom or a comfort, a wholesome practical virtue or a feverish excitement, a personal selfishness, a frenzy of despair—intolerance and persecution the result. The civil troubles of England made our religion, or that which passes for religion among the masses, gloomy and morose on the one hand, and, on the other, an awful conceit of self-righteousness. There was the asceticism of the early ages, but in a new form: there were no deserts, no dens into which fanatics could fly from worldly pleasure: compelled to live in its sight, they persecuted it to the death, and took their own insane pleasure in denying pleasure to others. General distress will naturally engender unwholesome excitement, and it will infect invariably the religious mind. These remarks are not superfluous—they arise out of the subject. Mrs Jameson herself sees analogies of times, which it may be worth our while to pause and consider.

"It seems to me that in the movement of the thirteenth century there was something analogous to the times through which we of this present generation have lived. There had been nearly a hundred years of desolating wars. The Crusades had upheaved society from its depths, as a storm upheaves the ocean, and changed the condition of men and nations.... A generation sprang up physically predisposed to a sort of morbid exaltation, and powerfully acted on by the revelation of a hitherto unseen, unfelt world of woe. In the words of Scripture 'men could not stop their ears from hearing of blood, nor shut their eyes from seeing of evil.' There was a deep, almost universal, feeling of the pressure and burden of sorrow—an awakening of the conscience to wrong, a blind anxious groping for the right, a sense that what had hitherto sufficed to humanity, would suffice no longer. But in the uneasy ferment of men's minds, religious fear took the place of religious hope, and the religious sympathies and aspirations assumed, in their excess, a disordered and exaggerated form.... But what was dark misery and bewilderment in the weak and ignorant, assumed in the more highly endowed a higher form; and to St Francis and his order we owe what has been happily called the mystic school in poetry and painting—that school which so strangely combined the spiritual with the sensual, the beautiful with the terrible, and the tender with the inexorable—which first found utterance in the works of Dante and of the ancient painters of Tuscany and Umbria. It has been disputed often whether the suggestions of Dante influenced Giotto, or the creations of Giotto inspired Dante; but the true influence and inspiration were around both, and dominant over both, when the two greatest men of their age united to celebrate a religion of retribution and suffering—to solemnise the espousals of sanctity with the self-abnegation which despises all things, rather than with the love that pardons and the hope that rejoices—and which, in closing the gates of pleasure, 'would have shut the gates of mercy on mankind.'"

Dante himself, the great man of his age, the deep in soul and intellect, but individualises the character of an age; and, as far as individual character can portray a general, tends to confirm the observations into which the nature of our subject led us. Dante lived a whole life of injury and wrong, of sorrow, of persecution, which doubtless darkened and embrowned every faculty of his consummate genius. The persecutions of the early Christians drove men into solitudes, where 309 the tumult and fear of the world was exchanged for tumult and fear within; for they were where nature, ordaining every man to work for a common good, never intended them to be, and therefore would not give them peace. No wonder, if, in their bewildered fancies, they were haunted by demons, and took their fevered visions for realities. No wonder if they enacted the extravagant vagaries of insanity, and their faith (still faith) became mixed with a fabulous superstition. The anchorite was sought as a holy man; people believed in his miraculous powers as people have believed since—and people believe now, though no longer in anchorites. There are even Protestant miracle-workers, and thousands who have a kind of belief in their hearts which they will not acknowledge in words; and, while they ridicule the Romish calendar, have their own Protestant saints, and worship them, too, with an idolatry perhaps not less in reality than that which they so vehemently condemn in others. It is well to discountenance seriously and gravely the lying legends of Rome, and to sift from the fables the evil purpose with which they are fabricated or propagated, to expose the hidden design—a dominant power over minds and persons. But, to be candid, there was a time when legends of miracles were household words, and yet had nothing to do with priestcraft and Popery. Such things were before Popery; and that corrupt Church but took advantage of a human propensity, which they could not hope to eradicate. It would indeed be wonderful if there was not at all times a ready belief in them, as long as people believed anything, and that there might be powers above the human. And be it remembered, that many legends of miracles are of that early date which may be said to have begun ere miracles had ceased—ere the belief, not in the possibility, but in the present existence, could be well worn out. The necessity of keeping up the show of them has indeed been the crime, and is the crying disgrace, of the Romish Church. All we mean to assert is, that, considering the contiguity of the true and the false, in point of time, there is at least a great diminution of disparagement of intellect in those who, in the earliest times, took visions and dreams for facts, and events, that happened to be simultaneous, for miracles. Then, again, we know that many of these legends were but repetitions, and in their origin not intended to pass for truth. The lives of saints were the school-themes in convents—the only, schools. The names and a few leading lines of life of saints given, scholars were to fill up, as their imaginations could supply detail; consequently we see many of them to be of a puerile and even infantine fancy, and taken from nursery tales enlarged—a kind of 'raw-head and bloody-bones'—children boiled in a pot, the Thyestean supper, and the children leaping whole out of the dish. And here we would ask the Romish clergy, who certainly in their accredited books propagate fables scarcely less ridiculous, if the being ridiculous is not a test of their falsity? We cannot, while we are reasonable, suppose otherwise than that the Author of miracles would at least guard them from contempt of this kind; that, as they are intended for the conversion of mankind, they should not present themselves in a ridiculous posture, or under ridiculous coincidences. Such was not the pattern of the Scripture miracles. We would, however, make a great distinction between the fraudulent (that is, having a fraudulent purpose) legends, and those which are merely exaggerations or repetitions, readily and naturally applied under congenial circumstances, and for the most part allegorical of the Christian charities, and inculcating Christian virtues. Shall we shock the reader if we add, too, that there may be a very innocent superstition? Since bloody persecution has ceased, superstition in the eyes of this wise-growing age is like the dog that the member of a Peace Society rebuked thus, "Friend, I won't beat thee, but I'll cry mad dog." Should a child, now-a-days, on lying down in bed, say, as children did say in our younger days—

"Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on,"

there may be grounds for fear that, should ever the Government inspectors of schools hear of it, the poor innocents would be put to an inconvenient 310 questioning; and it is possible that these inspectors, or multitudes of men equally learned, discreet, and wise, may, after lecturing the school teachers and scholars on superstition, go directly, with as great credulity, to a lecture of another kind, and to witness mesmeric experiments, which assume powers far beyond those of any miracles whatever. Those who would smile at the tale of a holy man healing the sick by a word, will credit a somnambulist who, upon a physician's fee, professes to look blindfolded into the inside of his credulous patient, and, without knowing anything whatever about medicine, say what drug will effect a cure; who advertises to be at home for consultation upon people's most private affairs—to tell them of unknown, unsuspected, important papers and documents—to tell the past, the present, and, more wonderful, the future. And, with a wonderful inconsistency, there are men who, having entire faith in these assumptions, and on the infallibility of their science, have no belief whatever in a soul, scoff at spirituality, and boldly pronounce the phenomena of seeing without eyes, travelling without feet, bidding doors, whether of mansion or of cabinets, open to them, and, being obeyed, of knowing all secrets which were never told; of knowing what is passing thousands of miles off with persons never before seen, by holding any person's hand; of entering into that person; of prophesying; of knowing thoughts and their consequences, as to be shown in events;—audaciously, we say, pronouncing these phenomena to arise from materialism.

While such things are, and things as strange, who can hope to expel superstition from the stronghold of man's belief? and who would wish to do it altogether, if the vacant citadel is to be taken possession of by such philosophy as this—the fanaticism of science? And whilst we condemn, as it must be confessed we ought, but duly and discreetly, the greater part of the Romish saintology, their legends and the works of art relating to them, as all belonging to "ages dark" and obsolete, it may not be altogether amiss to turn over some of the old and new pages of the evangelical magazines, where modern saints figure in portraiture and biography—that is, in our enlightened art and literature; and it is more than probable we shall be humbled and disgusted, and be charitably disposed to make some apologies even for the aurea legenda. And should any, in their folly or in their wickedness, desire to set up a new idol, to rival or obliterate the memory of St Johanna Southcote the immaculate, or St Huntingdon, for whom the fishes leaped voluntarily from the ponds into his sanctified hands, and for whose sake sudden death came upon the man who would not receive him as a tenant, let such person or persons not despair of collecting a household of "Latter-day Saints" after the authorised manner of Joe Smith the Mormonist. It may be read in modern biographies, that children almost infants have been miraculously converted whilst in idle play, and have gone back to their homes and converted their great-grandfathers. Poor good John Wesley believed many of these absurd things. He assented to the assertion of the profligate who courted his sister, that it was by "the Lord's directions;" and again, that suddenly "the Lord" had told him to transfer his affections to John's other sister. The published Sancta sanctorum of religious sects are nigh forgotten now-a-days; but they still exist, as did other legends, to be collected in form, should a seeming necessity or a cunning purpose require it: for there are multitudes who credit them now, and many more who might, without much difficulty, be made strenuous to establish them for "their Church."

We must not, however, forget, that the subject of Mrs Jameson's book before us is the legends of the monastic orders in their connection with art. And here modern superstition or fanaticism is at a desperate disadvantage. Modern art itself is far too worldly, too material a thing for spirituality, real or assumed. In those evangelical portraits to which we have already alluded, gross, and, as it would almost seem, studiedly ugly similitudes, lest the flesh should boast, shining with an unction too human, and with the conceit of self-applause escaping from every pore, and redolent of congregational 311 adoration, vulgar personifications of peculiar and hostile sectarianism, the material man has been alone the aim of the artist. There is no tale told—no act of devotion represented—no religious procession, no temple spirituality,—but the man alone; not as he might be seen—humble, devout towards God, but, as it were, with his back to sacred things, and his face towards his people, as if he were the sole or chief recipient of worship. How different in character were the works of Angelico, Il Beato, of Giotto, and those great and pious men, who with their wondrous genius adorned the cloisters of the monastic orders—not with the portraiture of the monks of the day, but with devout and holy processions, acts of their founders, and incidents of sacred history! They taught by the eye; and it possessed, in some respects, a charm above that of the being taught by books. Picture, at once, is able to imbue the spectator with a kind of spirituality ere it touches the understanding; whereas, in reading, it is the uninformed and grosser imagination supplies the portraiture from scenes of a narrow experience, and personages of a homely familiarity.

Yet even in very many of the monastic pictures Mrs Jameson finds a defect, in the too human purpose of the painters and their patrons: she ascribes somewhat of a vain-glorious and exclusive, where the chief object was to exalt a St Benedict, a St Francis, or St Dominick, not as men, but as saints of their respective orders, and for those orders. Still, we think this objection is carried too far. The purpose was, at least, no present portraiture; and surely the subjects did often convey precept, and were calculated to touch the heart, and kindle devotion, and encourage human charities. Undoubtedly, far higher in the poetical scale were those themes of an actual Divinity, of which she treated so enthusiastically in the first part of her former volumes—ascending from angels and archangels, from the heavenly host, to the precincts around the throne of the Divine glory. Yet be it duly weighed, in favour of the patronage of the monastic orders, that this exaltation of art in its theme was not altogether ever abandoned; and upon the whole, we doubt if advantages were not in some degree gained by the admixture of things more comprehensible, and more directly appealing to natural sensibilities. Besides, there was a class of paintings which arose out of our human affections, and which, therefore, led to a pious trust, through our common sympathies: we allude to votive pictures, which were of the earliest and latest date—pervading, indeed, the whole religion; for it was, in truth, a practice continued from the heathen worship.

"The pictures, too," says our authoress, "which are suspended in churches as votive memorials of benefits received, are often very touching. I recollect such a picture in the gallery of Vienna. A youth about fifteen, in the character of Tobias, is led by the hand of his guardian angel Raphael; and on the other side is St Leonard, the patron of captives, holding his broken fetters; Christ the Redeemer appears above; and below in a corner kneels an elderly man, his eyes fixed on the youth. The arrangement of this group leaves us no doubt of its purpose. It was the votive offering of a father whose son had escaped, or had been redeemed from captivity. The picture is very beautiful, and either by Andrea del Sarto, or one of his school. If we could discover where it had been originally placed, we might discover the facts and personages to which it alludes; but, even on the walls of a gallery, we recognise its pathetic significance: we read it as a poem—as a hymn of thanksgiving."

Mrs Jameson makes a very good remark upon a deficiency in catalogues of galleries and collections—the omission of the name of the church or chapel, or the confraternity, whence the pictures were purchased, and such history as might be known respecting them. Our collectors, indeed, are not without their picture-pedigrees; but they are of a curious kind—rather too expressive of a fear of dupery of dealers, and implying but little good foundation of taste in purchasers. Picture-pedigrees refer not to an inherent virtue, visible as the pure blood of the Arabian courser, but to the supposed taste or better known wealth of the last possessor. Few pictures stand on their own merits—they acquire a virtue from the hands or houses they have passed through, more than from the hands that 312 worked them. Indeed, the known collector is generally the only authenticity of the painter, and stamps the value. But to say somewhat of pictures of sacred subjects—and they are by far the finest in known collections—from this deficiency in the catalogues much of their interest is lost; not only so, but we see them in the midst of strange incongruities, as well as injured in their effect by locality, and by light unsuited to them. We cannot judge fairly of their real excellence, nor understand the actual religious power they once possessed. Many of them were painted for private chapels or oratories, and purposely, perhaps, for dim religious light; for an intimate communion of the devout with the one sentiment and with it alone. We have often earnestly wished that, in building national galleries, the large and ostentatious display, at one view, were not the object, and that the particular character of our greatest works were well considered, and fit positions given, and proper lights adjusted. It would be a great thing, for instance, to see the "Raising of Lazarus" of Sebastian del Piombo, in our National Gallery, in a room by itself, and under a studied and arranged light. It is now where it is not all, and at all times, visible; and it is far too important in itself, of too impressive a character, for the look of one passing moment, and the distraction of many things. In the Vatican the Apollo has a room to himself. Picture galleries should not emulate the show-rooms of trade. If the pictures are irrecoverably removed from their own birthplace, from their own home, separated from their local history and interest, much may still be done, in some degree, to preserve for them their general character, and to allow them to make the intended general impression. And it is in fact for this purpose that we highly estimate this work of Mrs Jameson, that, in referring to these legends, we may read the productions to which they have given rise.

"What a lively, living, really religious interest is given to one of these sacred groups when we know the locality, or the community for which it was executed; and how it becomes enriched as a production of mind when it speaks to the mind through a thousand associations, will be felt, I think, after reading the legends which follow."

The Benedictine order stands first in point of time and in interest, not as regards art only, but as the great civilising order of the world. The Benedictines were the early missionaries of the north of Europe; they, banished the impure and inhuman rites of heathenism, by conveying, regardless of peril, the light of the gospel into the wilds of Britain, Gaul, Saxony, and Belgium. They gave security to the oppressed, rescued from the spoiler, and were a refuge to the poor in times of tyranny and barbarism. They were the sole depositaries of learning and of the arts; collected and transcribed books—particularly the Scriptures—which were charitably bestowed or deposited as precious gifts. We owe to them not only the diffusion of the Scriptures, but the preservation of classical literature. To them we owe the recovery of the works of Pliny, Sallust, and Cicero.

"They were the fathers of Gothic architecture; they were the earliest illuminators and limners; and, to crown their deservings under this head, the inventor of the gamut, and the first who instituted a school of music, was a Benedictine monk, Guido d'Arezzo."

They were the great civilisers, by bringing science to bear upon agriculture; the authors of experimental farming and gardening; the cultivators of new fruits and herbs. They cleared and cultivated; science and the plough went with them wherever they planted the cross. We cannot forbear quoting the words of Sir James Stephen:—

"The greatness of the Benedictines did not, however, consist either in their agricultural skill, their prodigies of architecture, or their priceless libraries, but in their parentage of countless men and women illustrious for active piety, for wisdom in the government of mankind, for profound learning, and for that contemplative spirit which discovers, within the soul itself, things beyond the limits of the perceptible creation."

The Benedictines were introduced into England about fifty years after the death of their founder, in A.D. 543. Augustine the monk, however, was not the first Christian missionary 313 to this country, as it has commonly been represented. The Benedictine order was established here by him. The whole Christian world was then divided upon the question, whether the Eastern or Western Patriarch should be acknowledged head of the universal church. Under him England was subjected to Rome. St Benedict was of a noble family, and born at Norcia, in the duchy of Spoleto, about A.D. 480. Sent to Rome to study literature, and disgusted by the profligacy of his companions, at a period when opinions as to the efficacy of solitude and penance were prevalent, he separated himself from vicious contagion in a hermitage, at fifteen years of age. He would probably have died under suffering and privation had not his nurse, doubting, perhaps, between the idea of his inspiration or his insanity, followed him, begged for him, and administered to his wants. Benedict thought to deny himself this comfort—escaped, and hid himself among the rocks of Subiaco, about forty miles from Rome. He here met with a hermit, and lived three years in a cavern, unknown to his family, and shared with the hermit the scanty fare of bread and water. In this solitude he was not without temptations; visions too earthly, and such as well might assault his age, were rendered vain by increased penance. He is said to have rushed from his cave, and to have thrown himself into a thicket of briars and nettles, until the blood flowed. They still show at Subiaco the rose-bushes propagated from those which wounded the saint.

The scenery about Subiaco has even now a monastic charm; it has its lonely recesses, its silent dells. We have ourselves threaded its deep valley, and laying aside the pencil, been the hermit of an hour by the side of its clear mountain river—and then ascended the rocky heights to visit the convents of St Benedict and Santa Scholastica. We well remember to have taken shelter from a land-storm, such as Poussin has painted, and probably from this spot, in a cave which had heretofore doubtless been the home of more than one follower of St Benedict.

He became so holy, in the estimation of the villagers and shepherds, that they brought their sick to his cavern to be healed by him. A neighbouring society of hermits prayed him to put himself at their head. He knew the morals of the monastery, and, with the intention of reforming them, he yielded to their solicitation. The strictness of life required by him alarmed and excited the envy of these men, and poison was given him in a cup of wine. It is told that upon his blessing the cup, it fell from the traitor's hands. Upon this he left them, and again retired to his cave at Subiaco. But the fame of his sanctity brought many to Subiaco, which became crowded with huts and cells. Among those who came to him were two Roman senators, Anicius and Tertullus, who brought their sons, Maurus and Placidus, to be educated by him in the way of salvation. He had now induced his followers to build twelve monasteries, in each of which he placed twelve disciples and a superior. One Florentius, through envy at seeing so many of his own followers drawn away from him, maligned Benedict, and endeavoured to destroy him by means of a poisoned loaf. Not succeeding in this, the same Florentius introduced into one of the monasteries seven young women, in order to corrupt the monks. Benedict now, as was his wont, fled from evil, and left Subiaco; but soon Florentius was crushed by the fall of a gallery of his house. His disciple, Maurus, who sent to acquaint Benedict of the fate of his adversary, was enjoined a severe penance for his too triumphant expression, that a judgment had overtaken his enemy. Here was Christian forgiveness and Christian charity, worthy of imitation in these enlightened days.

Paganism was not yet extinct. Benedict hearing that, while the bishops were extending Christianity in distant regions, idolatry was practised near to the capital of Christendom—the worship of Apollo on Monte Cassino—repaired thither, and by his preaching prevailed upon the people to break their statue and the altar, and burn the consecrated grove; and here he built two chapels in honour of St John the Baptist and St Martin of Tours. 314

On the same mountain he built the celebrated monastery, the parent institution of his order.

"Hence," (we quote from Mrs Jameson,) "was promulgated the famous rule, which became, from that time forth, the general law of the monks of western Europe, and which gave to monachism its definite form. The rule given to the Cenobites of the East, and which, according to an old tradition, had been revealed to St Pachomius by an angel, comprised the three vows—of poverty, of chastity, and obedience. To these Benedict added two other obligations: the first was manual labour with their hands seven hours in the day: secondly, the vows were perpetual; but he ordained that these perpetual vows should be preceded by a noviciate of a year, during which the entire code was read repeatedly from the beginning to the end, and, at the conclusion, the reader said, in an emphatic voice, 'This is the law under which thou art to live, and strive for salvation; if thou canst observe it, enter; if thou canst not, go in peace—thou art free.' But the vows once taken were irrevocable, and the punishment for breaking them most severe. On the whole, however, and setting apart that which belonged to the superstition of the time, the rule given by St Benedict to his order was humane, moderate, wise, and eminently Christian in spirit."

Towards the close of his long life, Benedict was joined at Subiaco by his sister Scholastica, who had also devoted herself to a religious life. She retired to a cell near his convent, and is generally considered the first Benedictine nun. It is said that Totila, king of the Goths, visited him in the year 540, and, casting himself at his feet, entreated his blessing, but was reproved by Benedict for his cruelties; and it is said that he became from that time more humane. Shortly after, Benedict died of a fever, caught by visiting the poor. In his last illness he ordered his grave to be dug. Supported by his disciples, he stood upon the brink to contemplate his last earthly home—was carried by his desire to the foot of the altar in the church, where he received the last sacrament, and expired on the 20th March 543. It is natural to expect that legends of so remarkable a man should abound; and it is to the credit of the ecclesiastics of his order that they reproach the legendary writers for their improbable stories. Benedict saw his order spread during his life; but so widely did this rule supersede all others, that when Charlemagne made inquiry throughout his empire, if other monks existed, none were found but of the Benedictine order. St Maurus his early disciple, introduced the order into France; the other, St Placidus, was sent into Sicily, where he was joined by his sister Flavia. They were, it is said, massacred at Messina, in front of their convent, with thirty others, by an irruption of pirates. We the more notice the latter statement, because it is the subject of a celebrated picture by Correggio in the gallery at Parma, and of which copies are frequently met with. We dwell at some length on the order of St Benedict, because of its chief importance. All the monasteries already in existence, from the time of St Augustine, accepted the rule; and, during the next six hundred years, the grand ecclesiastical edifices which rose in England were "chiefly founded by or for the members of this magnificent order." The information concerning the works of the Benedictines in our country will be found extremely interesting in this new volume by Mrs Jameson. Space will not allow us to do more than refer the reader to its pages. Mrs Jameson eloquently deplores the mutilation and destruction of so many great memorials of the Benedictines, under the rapacity of Henry VIII. and his minion plunderers; and of the ferocious and degradingly-fanatic Puritans she thus speaks:—

"When I recall the history of the ecclesiastical potentates of Italy in the sixteenth century, I could almost turn Puritan myself; but when I think of the wondrous and beautiful productions of human skill, all the memorials of the great and gifted men of old, the humanisers and civilisers of our country, which once existed, and of which our great cathedrals—noble and glorious as they are even now—are but the remains, it is with a very cordial hatred of the profane savage ignorance which destroyed and desecrated them."

We are not sure that what yet remains is safe. We are surrounded with political fanatics, who hate 315 everything ecclesiastical; and the people are not taught sufficiently to be lovers of art to wish to preserve what belongs to it. We cannot but remember that at the Bristol riots, for the furtherance of the Reform mania, attempts were made to burn down the cathedral, and that the bishop's palace was actually burnt to the ground, and the good bishop was in great hazard of his life. The Bible and all his library were ostentatiously destroyed.

Heterogeneous parliaments grant no money for the building and decorating churches; it were well if they did so, as a public act, that the people might feel that these places of worship are their own, and with that feeling understand and venerate every art which, in the chain of decoration, might receive a sanctity thereby.

To return. One or two noted characters of the English saintology we cannot omit to mention. St Neot and St Swithin had the glory of educating our Alfred. St Neot gave his name to two towns in England.

"He was a monk of Glastonbury; and it is recorded of him, that he visited Rome seven times, was very learned, mild, religious, fond of singing, humble to all, affable in conversation, wise in transacting business, venerable in aspect, severe in countenance, moderate even in his walk, sincere, upright, calm, temperate, and charitable. This good man is said to have reproved Alfred for his faults, and to have consoled him in his misfortunes."

St Swithin still lives in popular superstition; and is perhaps the object of prayer or deprecation among the ignorant, according as they may lack rain for their fields, or dread the pains of rheumatism. He was Bishop of Winchester. He accompanied Alfred to Rome. His character resembled that given of St Neot; he was a devout champion of the church. Perhaps the reader is not acquainted with the origin of the popular superstition with regard to this saint. We give it in Mrs Jameson's words:—

"He had ordered that his body should be buried among the poor, outside the church, 'under the feet of the passengers, and exposed to the droppings of the eaves from above.' When his clergy attempted to remove the body to a more honourable tomb inside the church, there came on such a storm or rain as effectually stopped the procession; and this continued for forty days without intermission, till the project was abandoned, and his remains were suffered to rest in the humble grave he had chosen for himself."

Such is the story of this Jupiter Pluvius of our Saxon ancestors, and of our Protestant calendar.

We cannot be allowed altogether to pass by St Dunstan. Mr Turner, in his Anglo-Saxon history, represents him as having introduced the Benedictine order into England: the fact being that there had been no other order from the time of St Augustine of Canterbury. St Dunstan is chiefly known in popular belief for his treatment of Elgiva. The story of Edwin and Elgiva, is of too romantic a cast to be willingly abandoned. He is quoted also as an object of ridicule, whenever ridicule of ecclesiastical matters or personages is thought desirable. He was, however, as Mrs Jameson justly considers him, "one of the most striking and interesting characters of the times." He was himself an artist, as well as the subject of art. He was born in 925. He gained instruction at the great seminary, Glastonbury, of which he afterwards became a professed monk. A painter, a musician, and a skilful artificer in metal, he followed strictly the industrial rule of his order. Learned in books, he was also an accomplished scribe. He constructed an organ "with brass pipes, filled with air from the bellows, and which uttered," says Bede, "a grand and most sweet melody." He was made successively Bishop of Worcester, of London, and at length Archbishop of Canterbury. If he did not introduce, he at least reformed the Benedictine order in England: he founded monasteries and schools, promoted learning, and a taste for science and the arts. Like other saints, he has his fabulous history of miracles.

"He relates himself a vision in which he beheld the espousals of his mother—for whom he entertained the profoundest love and veneration—with the Saviour of the world, accompanied with all the circumstances of heavenly pomp amid a 316 choir of angels. One of the angels asked Dunstan why he did not join in the song of rejoicing, when he excused himself on account of his ignorance. The angel then taught him the song. The next morning St Dustan assembled his monks around him, and, relating his vision, taught them the very hymn which he had learned in his dream, and commanded them to sing it. Mr Turner calls this an impious story; whereas, it is merely one form of those old allegorical legends which are figurative of the mystic espousals of the soul, or the church (as in the Marriage of St Catherine) and which appear to have been suggested by the language of the Canticles."

In our view, Mrs Jameson might have made quite a more simple solution; for it is altogether offensive if his earthly mother is meant, (as the words "for whom he entertained," &c. would imply); but if he thereby expressed, that he had by his vow but one mother, the Church, and the Canticle was an Evangelical one—and therefore that he was angel-taught—we see nothing in the story but a quaintness belonging to the age, and by no means derogatory to the character for piety of St Dunstan.

Concerning St Thomas-à-Becket, we cannot but quote the eloquent words of our authoress:—

"Lord Campbell, in his recent and admirably written life of Becket, as chancellor and minister of Henry II., tells us that his vituperators are to be found among bigoted Protestants, and his unqualified eulogists among intolerant Catholics. After stating, with the perspicuity of a judge in Equity, their respective arguments and opinions, he sums up in favour of the eulogists, and decides that, setting aside exaggeration, miracle, and religious prejudice, the most merciful view of the character of Becket is also the most just. And is it not pleasant, where the imagination has been so excited by strange vicissitudes and picturesque scenes of his various life—the judgment so dazzled by his brilliant and generous qualities, the sympathies so touched by the tragic circumstances of his death—to have our scruples set at rest, and to be allowed to admire and to venerate with a good conscience; and this, too, on the authority of one accustomed to balance evidence, and not swerved by any bias to extreme religious opinions? But it is not as statesman, chancellor, or prelate that Becket takes his place in sacred art. It is in his character of canonised saint and martyr that I have to speak of him here. He was murdered or martyred because he pertinaciously defended the spiritual against the royal authority; and we must remember, in the eleventh century, the cause of the Church was, in fact, the cause of the weak against the strong, the cause of civilisation and of the people against barbarism and tyranny; and that by his contemporaries he was regarded as the champion of the oppressed Saxon race against the Norman nobility."

Why is the eulogy of the Church confined in this passage to the eleventh century? It was, and is, and ever will be, the cause of the people. We mean the Church as the Church should ever be, cleansed from every superstition, every impurity, the Reformed Church of England, or even that ancient Church which existed in this our land before Popery was—emphatically the Church of England in this our, not a Pope's England, free from superstitious, in principle unpersecuting. With regard to Becket, he was a sincere man, nor did he disparage the Benedictines in his own character. The strong man—the man of vigorous intellect and of direct purpose—will ever find in all minds but the mean a ready reception and excuse for actions which, in their nature distasteful, would not be tolerated in the weak, the vacillating, though even the more virtuous. Becket's history is well adapted to historical art. His mother, daughter to the Emir of Palestine, delivering his father from captivity, seeking him in England, knowing no English words but London and Gilbert, is of the richest tissue of old romance.

From the seventh to the twelfth century almost all the men distinguished as statesmen, or as scholars, or as churchmen, were of the Benedictine order. And when their influence declined, owing to the disorders and neglect of the primitive rule which crept into religions houses, there were not wanting men who conscientiously opposed the corruption. Many retired again to the hermit's cell, the wild and the forest, till numerous communities at length arose to re-establish the strictness of the rule, and constituted the reformed Benedictines.

The origin of the Augustine order lies in much obscurity. We are told 317 that Augustine assembled together persons disposed to a religious and charitable life; but it does not appear that he himself instituted a religious order. About the middle of the ninth century, Pope Leo III. and the Emperor Lothaire incorporated all the various denominations of Christian clergy who had not entered the ranks of monachism, and gave them the rule of discipline promulgated by St Augustine. Under Innocent IV., after much difficulty, and not without the assumption of no less a miracle than the re-appearance of St Augustine himself, all those recluses, and hermits, and fraternities, bound to no discipline, were brought under that rule, and enjoined to wear the habit in which the saint had appeared—the sign of poverty and humility. Such were the "Austin Friars" in England. St Patrick and St Bridget of Ireland were of this order; who, though every vestige of them has been destroyed or mutilated, still live in story and legend in the faith of the people of Ireland.

"To the Augustines belong the two great military orders, the Knights Templars (1118) and the knights of St John of Jerusalem, afterwards styled of Malta (1092.) The first wear the red cross on the white mantle, the second the white cross on the black mantle or cassock. They may thus be recognised in portraits; but in connection with sacred art I have nothing to record of them here."

With us their architecture is still the monument of their greatness and their piety.

Of the Mendicant orders—the Franciscans, the Dominicans, and the Carmelites—it will be in place to speak only of the two first: the Carmelites, though claiming Elijah himself as their founder, never having been an influential order. The strong religious movement of the thirteenth century exhibited no results more important than the rise of the two great mendicant communities of St Francis and St Dominick.

"In the year 1216, Dominick the Spaniard and Francis of Assise met at Rome. They met and embraced, each recognising in the other the companion predestined to aid the Church in her conflict with the awakening mental energies so long repressed, and in her attempt to guide or crush the aspiring, inquiring, ardent, fervid spirits of the time. Some attempts were made to induce them to unite into one great body their separate institutions. Dominick would have complied: it may be that he thought to find in Francis an instrument as well as an ally. Francis, perhaps from an intuitive perception of the unyielding dogmatic character of his friend, stood aloof. They received from Innocent III. the confirmation of their respective communities, 'and parted,' as it has been well expressed, 'to divide the world between them;' for before the end of the century, nay, in the time of one generation, their followers had spread themselves in thousands and tens of thousands over the whole of Christian Europe, and sent forth their missionaries through every region of the then known world."

The rule of St Augustine was the adoption of both. The stricter Benedictine rule, though as we have seen how departed from, enjoined a seclusion from the world. They had, as Mrs Jameson expresses it, "whereever their influence had worked for good, achieved that good by gathering the people to them, not by lowering themselves to the people." The Franciscans and Dominicans, on the contrary, were to mingle with the people, even in all their domestic concerns and affections: they were, in this more intimate connection with the people, to comfort, to exhort, to rebuke. The ministering the offices of religion was not at first conceded to them. They took the more humble title of brothers and sisters of mankind—frati and suori—instead of that of fathers, padri. The Dominicans called themselves "preaching friars;" the Franciscans, with greater humility, called themselves Frati Minori, "lesser brothers." In England they were known as the black and grey friars; but they never reached the popularity or power of the Benedictines in this country. The remarkable feature in the institution of these communities was their admittance of a third class of members, called "the Tertiary Order, or the Third Order of Penitence." These were of both sexes, and of all ranks: they were not bound by vows, nor required to relinquish their secular employments. They were, however, to be strictly moral, and, as far as they might be, charitable. They were never to take up weapon except 318 against the enemies of Christ. "Could such a brotherhood," says Mrs Jameson, "have been rendered universal, and have agreed on the question, 'Who, among men, Christ himself would have considered as His enemies?' we should have had a heaven upon earth." The Franciscans and Dominicans may be considered as one body, the difference being not in essentials, but in points of discipline and dress.

The characters of these two founders of their communities have the distinguishing stamp of Dante's genius,—

"Hath two ordained, who should on either hand
In chief escort her; one seraphic all
In fervency; for wisdom upon earth
The other, splendour of cherubic light!
I but of one will tell: he tells of both
Who one commandeth, which of them soe'er
Be taken; for their deeds were to one end."

Of Dante's description of St Dominick, that he was—

"Benigno ai suoi ed ai nemici erudo,"

we think Mrs Jameson's paraphrastic translation a little unwarrantable—"unscrupulous, inaccessible to pity, and wise as a serpent in carrying out his religious views and purposes."

Shakspeare was more true,—

"Lofty and sour to those that loved him not,
But, to those men that sought him, sweet as summer."

Greater learning and energy characterised the Dominicans; sanctity and humility and self-denial the Franciscans. The good of both communities is eloquently set forth by Sir James Stephen, and quoted in this volume:—

"So reiterated and so just have been the assaults on the Mendicant friars, that we usually forget that, till the days of Martin Luther, the Church had never seen so great and effectual reform as theirs.... Nothing in the histories of Wesley or of Whitfield can be compared with the enthusiasm which everywhere welcomed them, or with the immediate and visible result of their labours. In an age of oligarchal tyranny, they were the protectors of the weak; in an age of ignorance, the instructors of mankind; and in an age of profligacy, the stern vindicators of the holiness of the sacerdotal character and the virtues of domestic life."

Two remarkable things are spoken of both. One, that after fasting, and being rapt in a vision, St Francis was seen with the "Stigmata," (the miracle of the present day,) the wounds of the Saviour in his hands, his feet, and his side. St Dominick invented the Rosary; which, like most inventions of the Romish Church, and from the nature of its claim, is perpetuated to this day. Of the artistic treatment of the mysteries of the rosary, Mrs Jameson professes to have much to say, when she comes to the legends of the Madonna. The cruelties towards the Albigenses—ascribed apparently with too much reason to St Dominick—shows that when religion descends to fanaticism, persecution becomes a tenet; and in this, politics and religion, when both lose their reliance on Providence to guide all things to an end, are of one character, and make the interference of man's oppressive and bloody hand the only instrument.

One of the order of St Dominick has been immortalised by Titian, in perhaps the finest work of his hands—St Peter Martyr. Fra Bartolomeo, in painting this martyr, took the portrait of that extraordinary fanatic, his friend, Jerome Savonarola, who, too successful in the destruction of works of art that did not come up to his religious mark, met with a terrible fate—being strangled, and then burned in the great square at Florence, in 1498. The face is striking, and indicative of the impetuosity of a fanatic and religious demagogue. We should be glad to treat of many of the characters, members of these communities; but space, and the difficulty of selection, where there is so much of interest, will not allow us. We therefore pass on to the Jesuits.

This most remarkable order have had little influence on art. They neglected it as a means of teaching. Their great wealth was lavished in gorgeous ornament: but few pictures, and they not of the best, are to be found in their churches. Nor, though they can justly boast of men of science, classical learning, mathematicians, astronomers, antiquarians, have they produced one painter. The Jesuits' perspective is still a standing work; but Father Pozzi can scarcely 319 merit the name of artist,—"who used his skill less as an artist than a conjuror, to produce such illusions as make the vulgar stare." The fact is, art had long declined before the canonisation of their saint. Mrs Jameson thinks them unfortunate in this; yet it may be doubted if the genius of their order is not in a degree adverse to art, and would not at all times have disregarded it. The secret working of their system—the depositing their influence in every house, in every bosom—their ubiquity, their universal aim, required neither the particular circumstances and incidents, nor the localities of art. It was the insidious "teaching through the ear, and by their books, upon which they relied for success." Nor can it be said of them that they have been doomed to a long night of forgetfulness: in this their lack of sacred art they have not perished—Carent quia vate sacro—for they are indestructible, intangible. They have been nominally suppressed, but spring up in full vigour at the first call, and everywhere; for they exist everywhere, known and unknown. And one clause in their regulations greatly favours them in this, that they are permitted to assume the dress of the country in which they may be, whenever they shall deem it expedient. And it has been asserted that they are at liberty to assume much more than the dress, and that Jesuits are to be found among the functionaries in Protestant countries, and at Protestant courts. We have only to see the nature of their vows; and if we give them credit for zeal and honesty in fulfilling them, certainly we must be alive to the danger of such a society, whose movements are secret, and whose conscience is in implicit obedience organised throughout the body.

"They were to take, besides, a vow of special obedience to the head of the Church for the time being, devoting themselves, without condition or remuneration, to do his pleasure, and to go to any part of the world to which he should see fit to send them.... The essential duties of the new order were to be three: preaching in the first place; secondly, the guidance of souls through confession; and thirdly, the education of the young."

Surely this is a wise scheme, to prepare the kingdoms of the earth and subdue them, not to their Divine master, but to their temporal, and, through their temporal, to themselves. Their founder, Ignatius Loyola, was one of the most remarkable men of the world. His life is too well known to admit of our dwelling upon any of its incidents. He died first General of his order, 1556, and was canonised by Gregory XV. in 1622. Although the Jesuits were not conspicuous as patrons of art—nor has sacred art done much for them—yet the gorgeous pencil of Rubens, of a more material than spiritual splendour, has to a considerable degree brought them within pictorial notice and celebrity. Mrs Jameson thinks that no portrait was taken of their founder during his life. We are surprised she does not notice that wondrously fine portrait at Hampton Court, by Titian.

In the histories of religious orders, it is a striking fact that the founders never failed to unite themselves with one or more congenial spirit, ready to co-operate with them, and doubtless, as they thought, by a Divine appointment. As St Francis and St Dominick, different as they were in individual character, had the one great sympathy under which they met, embraced, and then parted—as for one end to divide the world between them—so did Ignatius Loyola find in Francis Xavier a friend and associate, and subsequently in Francis Borgia, a no less willing disciple. One is perfectly astonished at reading accounts of the entire devotion of the whole man to the law of obedience, and the more than satisfaction, the joy, at being selected to suffering and death. It had been the dream of Francis Xavier to die a martyr in the Indies for the conversion of mankind; and when chosen to that end by Ignatius,—

"When the clearer sense and approaching accomplishment of those dark intimations were disclosed to him, passionate sobs attested the rapture which his tongue was unable to speak. He fell on his knees before Ignatius, kissed the feet of the holy father, repaired his tattered cassock, and, with no other provision than his breviary, left Rome on the 15th March 1540, for Lisbon, his destined port of embarkation for the East."

320 Nor is the story of St Francis Borgia less strange, showing the sudden impulse, yet continued purpose, executed after many years—never for a moment lost sight of. A grandee of Spain, high in honour and office, in his twenty-ninth year, as her master of horse he attends the funeral of the Empress Isabella, first wife of Charles V. The ceremonial required that he should raise the lid of the coffin, remove the covering, and see the face, to swear to the identity of the royal remains committed to his charge. He beheld in the solemn paleness of death the face of his beautiful and benign empress, and from that hour made a vow to dedicate himself to the service of God. Nevertheless, he repaired to his active duties—conscientiously performed them—and after the death of his wife, and six years spent in settling his affairs and providing for his children, and "bidding a farewell to every worldly care and domestic affection, departed for Rome, to place himself, and every faculty of his being, at the feet of St Ignatius." It was in the character of the humble Father Francis he visited his cousin Charles V., soon after his abdication.

How unlike are times and personages at various periods! Yet, doubtless, what man does at any time is in the man to do at all times. The influences set in in various directions: now we sail in another current and under trade-winds—and must go that course; but while we look back upon the history of our own and other countries, and read the doings of men, we marvel, and for a moment ask if they were of our flesh and blood.

A personal security has given us the experience of ease. It is not the temple but the home is in every man's thought. Let security be removed, our god Mammon be dethroned, and poverty be upon us—not as a vow, but an enforcement of the times—distress bring violence and persecution, and persecution the fever of excitement—the now sleeping capabilities of our nature would be roused to an energy which would make another generation as unlike the present as ours is to that which has been under contemplation.

The whole subject of this volume belongs to ecclesiastical history, and it is a strange one—how difficult to read to our actual knowledge, and to receive with candour. How much is there to condemn, to abhor—how much to admire, to love, to venerate. Sincerity, zeal, piety, and charity ought always to claim our sympathies, when our understandings reject a creed. If rising from contemplative communion with the saints and martyrs of the Romish calendar, with such mixed feelings, yet in which, we confess, a loving admiration preponderates, let us not come under a suspicion, so common in these days, of "tendencies to Rome." We have not the shadow of a thought that way—we utterly abominate and abhor Popery as a system, its frauds, its idolatry, or idolatries—for they are many—and the bondage which it would impose upon the necks of all people. But forbid it, charity—Christian charity above all—that we should join in a bestial persecution, and sit, as we were gods, and as some do, in severe judgment on, and denounce as children of perdition, and as doomed, all simple and innocent, virtuous and pious, members of that Church. To do this would, we conceive, be the part of a bad Protestant, for it is not the part of a Christian. But to return. It is remarkable of the Jesuits that they have no female saint. Yet, if there be truth in history, they have dealt cunningly and widely in female agencies.

We have too hastily passed by the Carmelites, and without noticing that extraordinary woman St Theresa—at a very early age a candidate for martyrdom—who with her brother, when they were children of eight and nine years of age, went begging into the country of the Moors, in hopes of being martyred for their faith at the hands of the infidels. At her death she had founded fifteen convents for men, and seventeen for women. We refer to the volume of Mrs Jameson for a larger notice of this saintly and sainted woman. We merely mention her slightly ourselves, that we may pass to her eulogy from the pens of two eloquent writers of her own sex—Mrs Jameson and Miss Martineau.

"It is impossible," says the former, "to consider, in a just and philosophic spirit, either her character or her history, without feeling that what was strong, 321 and beautiful, and true, and earnest, and holy, was in herself, and what was morbid, miserable, and mistaken, was the result of the influences around her."

Oh, how does this eloquent apology cover with the mantle of charity, and embrace with the arms of love, many more personages than poor St Theresa, whose effigies may be seen in this volume.

We must not forget, before we lay down the pen, that not only the religious orders, but art also is a main object of this work.

We have said much to the credit of many pious, zealous, charitable, and good personages of the several orders, and will conclude with an anecdote creditable to Art; and the more willingly, as it brings us gently down to our own times—for we believe anecdotes of similar generosity may be told of many living men of the profession.

Annibal Caracci, suffering from illness and disappointment, and tempted by the promise of two thousand crowns, accepted an order from a certain Don Diego Herrera, to paint a picture in honour of a saint, in a church. He was, however, so ill that he could not perform the task. His pupil Albano nursed him, comforted him, cheered him; and between his attendances on his sick master, ran backward and forward to the church, and painted the frescoes with the greatest care—as they were to pass for the work of the master. Annibal every now and then rose from his bed and retouched and in part finished the painting. Don Diego refused the payment, as the work was not all by Annibal's hand. But the work being greatly admired, he consented to pay the two thousand crowns. And here a generous contest arose between the master and pupil; and this we give in the words of Mrs Jameson:—

"Annibal insisted on giving twelve hundred crowns to Albano, and keeping only four hundred for himself, which he said overpaid him for the little he had executed, and a few sorry drawings, (miseri disegni) not worth the money. Albano, not to be outdone in generosity, absolutely refused to take anything; saying, that he was only his master's creature and disciple, working under his orders, and profiting by his instructions. At length they agreed to submit to the arbitration of Herrera, who decided that the sixteen hundred crowns (four hundred had been paid,) should be divided between them. Even then it was with the greatest difficulty that Annibal could be persuaded to receive his share; and when he did, it was with a certain air of timidity and bashfulness—mostrando in certo modo temersene e vergognarsene."

In taking leave of Mrs Jameson's volume, the third of her series, we do so with the hope that she will speedily fulfil her promise and bring out the fourth part, relating to the Madonna, as connected with art.

The whole series we strongly recommend to the connoisseur at home as to the traveller abroad; for as the best pictures in the world are of subjects treated of by her, it is most desirable to have such a key to them as she has given, and promises further to give. The woodcuts and etchings are excellent, and maintain her reputation for judgment shown in the selection, and her skill as an artist. 322


We are glad to observe, from sundry symptoms which have of late been manifested, that the taste for the supernatural is again reviving amongst us. It is not safe now to deny miracles, to sneer at stories of winking images, or to speak lightly of the liquefaction of the blood of St Januarius. Cardinal Wiseman, in his future attempts to familiarise us with the doctrines of saintly interference, will find a good deal of work already cut and dry for his hand. Pious young noblemen, whose perversion is only of a few weeks' standing, have already laid in such a stock of exuberant faith, that all Europe rings with the fame of their pilgrimages; and the chain in the church of St Peter ad Vincula has already been suspended around more than one English neck, in token of the entire submission of the proselytes to the spiritual yoke of Rome.

Nor is the hankering after the supernatural confined only to the sphere of religious belief. Were it so, we should not have ventured even to allude to the subject; for it matters nothing to us what amount of pilgrims may choose to press forward to Loretto, with or without the salutary but inconvenient impediment of pease. But we are going a great deal faster and farther. We have renewed some of the popular beliefs of bygone centuries; and in a short time we may hope to discover a few of the lost secrets of the Chaldeans and the Magi. Astrology, never wholly extinguished as a science, is again beginning to look up. Raphael and Zadkiel—we ask pardon of the latter gentleman if we have mistaken his name, for we quote merely from memory, and have none of his invaluable treatises lying on our table—will calculate your nativity for a trifle, and give you in January a shrewd hint as to the aspect of public matters at the ensuing Christmas. Reichenbach will tell you all about ghosts, luminous children, and suchlike apparitions as seem perpetually to have disturbed the repose of the gifted Lady Fanshawe. By a little fasting and maceration, and possibly a course of purgatives, you may even succeed in reducing yourself to a state of clairvoyance, in which case your curiosity will be amply gratified by a visit to the nearest churchyard. You will then thoroughly understand the occult theory of corpse-candles, and various other things undreamed of in your philosophy, so long as you adhere to your present gross diet of beef-steaks and porter, and pride yourself on your Particular Madeira. Almost any lubberly boy can now discover you a spring by means of the divining-rod. Travelling is no longer a luxury confined to the rich. If you wish to be transported to any known part of the earth with a rapidity greater than that of Malagigi's flying demon, who conveyed Charlemagne on his back from Pampeluna to Paris in the course of a summer's night, you have only to go to a biologist, and your desires are at once accomplished. He will request you to sit down and favour him for a few minutes with the inspection of a button which he places in your fist—a strange sensation of drowsiness steals over your brain—and you are instantly in the power of the sorcerer. He will set you down wherever you please. You may either gather grapes in the vineyards of sunny Tuscany, or take an airing, on the top of the Pyramids, or wander in a buffalo prairie, or study the habits of the walrus and white bear on the frozen shores of Nova Zembla. We have ourselves seen an enthusiastic sportsman, whilst under the influence of this magical delusion, stalk an imaginary red-deer with considerable effect through the midst of a crowded lecture-room; and, had he been armed with a proper couteau-de-chasse, we entertain little doubt that he would have gralloched a gaping urchin who happened to be standing in real flesh and blood close to the 323 spot where the spectral stag rolled over at the discharge of his walking-stick. After this, who shall deny magic? James VI. was right after all, and we ought to be put in possession of a cheap reprint of his treatise on Demonology. Everybody recollects Lord Prudhoe's account of the wonder-working magician of Cairo, who required nothing more than a few drops of ink, and the aid of a child, to conjure up the phantoms of living persons from any quarter of the globe. The necessity of resorting to Cairo for a repetition of that phenomenon is now superseded. One of the magic crystals, known to Albertus Magnus and Cornelius Agrippa, has lately been recovered, and is now preserved in London. It has its legendary history, known to Horace Walpole, who kept it among his other curiosities at Strawberry Hill; but its miraculous powers seem to have been dormant, or, at all events, to have been unobserved, until a very recent date. In short, we are gradually working our way to a region which lies beyond the ken of science—a circumstance which cannot fail to give intense gratification to poets and novelists, who have been grievously trammelled for a long time in their legitimate functions, by the priggish scrupulousness and materialism of the votaries of exact science and analysis. Laud we the gods therefor! We may hope once more to see poetry disentangled from the thraldom of the Philosophical Institutions.

We have made this preface less in application to the work which we are about to notice, than from a certain feeling of disappointment which came over us during its perusal. It is not at all the kind of book which we expected from Mr Borrow. His previous writings had prepared us for a work of extraordinary interest, and the preliminary advertisement stimulated our curiosity to the highest pitch. Lavengro; the Scholar—the Gipsy—the Priest! Not for years have our eyes lighted on a more fascinating or mysterious title. Who, in the name of Mumbo Jumbo, we thought, can this Lavengro be? Cagliostro we know, and Katterfelto we have heard of, but Lavengro is altogether a new name for a conjuror. From what country does he come—in what favoured land is laid the scene of his exploits? Is he a Moldavian, a Wallachian, a Hungarian, a Bohemian, a Copt, an Armenian, or a Spaniard? The mystery grew deeper as we pondered: we could hardly sleep of nights for thinking of this Lavengro. Then what a field for cogitation was presented by the remainder of the suggestive title! The Scholar—the Gipsy—the Priest! Dr Faustus—Johnnie Faa—and Friar Bacon! Why, the whole title was as redolent of magic as a meadow in summer-time of myrrh! Then we thought over the hints which Mr Borrow had thrown out in his earliest volume. We recollected his mysterious intercourse with the gipsies, and his reception by that fraternity in Spain. We were aware that he had not yet explicitly accounted for his trafficking with the outcasts of Egypt, and we looked for some new revelations on the subjects of fortune-telling, hocus-pocus, and glamour. Lavengro, with his three attributes like those of Vishnu, might possibly be the Grand Cazique, the supreme prince of the nation of tinkers!

We have read the book, and we are disappointed. The performance bears no adequate relation to the promise. The story—if that can be designated as a story which the author describes as "a dream, partly of study, partly of adventure," is in the form of an autobiography, in which we recognise Mr Borrow in the characters of Lavengro and the Scholar. The Gipsy is a horse-couper, with a tolerable taste for the ring; and the Priest a Romish Jesuit, with a decided taste for gin and water. The scene is laid in the British islands; and the adventures, though interesting in their way, neither bear the impress of the stamp of truth, nor are they so arranged as to make the work valuable, if we consider it in the light of fiction.

Of Mr Borrow personally we know nothing. In common with many others, we admired the lively style and freshness of his earlier book, The Bible in Spain; and, without altogether swallowing as genuine the whole of its details, we were willing 324 to believe, that the author was a person of uncommon attainments, energy, and perseverance; a good philologer, and an intimate acquaintance of the gipsies. This much we were ready to concede. But ever and anon there occurred oblique hints and obscure inuendoes, which seemed to point at some secret or mystery pertinent to the author, just as, in a melodrama, it is common for an individual in a slouched hat and russet mantle to insinuate that he is somebody in disguise, without condescending to favour us with a glimpse of his visage. These we set down at their proper value—that is, we considered them, sheer humbug. It was Mr Borrow's own fault if we did him wrong. He may be, for aught we know, as notable a personage as Paracelsus; but if so, he ought to claim his honours boldly, not copy a trick which is now somewhat stale through repetition.

In Lavengro the same thing occurs, and even more conspicuously. We cannot, by possibility, separate the ingredients of fact from those of fiction. Mr Borrow will not permit us to know whether it is an autobiography or a pure romance. In all probability it partakes of the nature of both. Enough of reality is retained to identify it with the actual author; enough of fiction introduced to make that author appear a most singularly gifted being. If Apollonius of Tyana had undertaken the task of compiling his own memoirs, instead of trusting to the pen of Damis, he could not have hit upon a better plan. Benvenuto Cellini and Vidocq, by adopting this method, have each of them earned a very fair portion of celebrity; and we do not in the least degree doubt that Mr Borrow will be equally successful. His situations are often striking; the characters which he introduces must have the charm of novelty to the great majority of readers; his descriptive powers are above the common mark; and his ideas are frequently original. If, in the more ambitious passages, his style is occasionally turgid, we are inclined to overlook that blemish in consideration of his other accomplishments; if the humour of his characters is sometimes forced and tiresome, we are ever and anon repaid by sketches which would do credit to the skill of a more refined artist. Yet, with all this, the original fault remains. We cannot yield to Mr Borrow that implicit credence which is the right of a veracious autobiographer; we cannot accord him that conventional credence which we give to the avowed romancer. The fact destroys the fiction; and the fiction neutralises the fact.

Is it fact or fiction that Mr Borrow is a snake-tamer, a horse-charmer, and something more? These qualities certainly are claimed by the hero of this autobiography, who, before he was three years of age, could handle a viper without injury, and even, as the following extract will show, caused a Jew to stand aghast at the superhuman extent of his acquirements.

"One day a Jew—I have quite forgotten the circumstance, but I was long subsequently informed of it—one day a travelling Jew knocked at the door of a farm-house in which we had taken apartments; I was near at hand sitting in the bright sunshine, drawing strange lines on the dust with my fingers, an ape and dog were my companions; the Jew looked at me and asked me some questions, to which, though I was quite able to speak, I returned no answer. On the door being opened, the Jew, after a few words, probably relating to pedlery, demanded who the child was, sitting in the sun; the maid replied that I was her mistress's younger son, a child weak here, pointing to her forehead. The Jew looked at me again, and then said: 'Pon my conscience, my dear, I believe that you must be troubled there yourself to tell me any such thing. It is not my habit to speak to children, inasmuch as I hate them, because they often follow me and fling stones after me; but I no sooner looked at that child than I was forced to speak to it—his not answering shows his sense, for it has never been the custom of the wise to fling away their words in indifferent talk and conversation; the child is a sweet child, and has all the look of one of our people's children. Fool, indeed! did I not see his eyes sparkle just now when the monkey seized the dog by the ear?—they shone like my own diamonds—does your good lady want any—real and fine? Were it not for what you tell me, I should say it was a prophet's child. Fool, indeed! he 325 can write already, or I'll forfeit the box which I carry on my back, and for which I would be loth to take two hundred pounds!" He then leaned forward to inspect the lines which I had traced. All of a sudden he started back and grew white as a sheet; then, taking off his hat, he made some strange gestures to me, cringing, chattering, and showing his teeth, and shortly departed, muttering something about 'holy letters,' and talking to himself in a strange tongue. The words of the Jew were in due course of time reported to my mother, who treasured them in her heart, and from that moment began to entertain brighter hopes of her youngest born than she had ever before ventured to foster."

This beats Benvenuto hollow! Nay, we are not quite certain that it does not distance the celebrated experiment of Psammetichus, king of Egypt, who, in order to ascertain which was the original language of the world, separated two infants from their mothers, intrusting them to the care of a dumb person, who daily fed them with milk. The first word which they uttered, and perseveringly reiterated, was "Beccos," which in the Phœnician language signified bread; and as nothing could be more natural than that children should clamour for their porridge, the speech of the Phœnicians was acknowledged as the native dialect of mankind. Wee Georgy Borrow, however, in company with Jocko and Snap, seems to have outstripped in precocity the Psammetichian foundlings. What "holy letters" from the Talmud the "prophet's child" inscribed, which had such a marvellous effect upon the mind and conscience of Ikey Solomons we know not, and perhaps ought not even to guess. Perhaps it was some sentence from Rabbi Jehuda Hakkadosh, bearing upon the real value of the diamonds which the impostor was proffering for sale.

A few years afterwards he becomes acquainted with an old man, whose principal occupation consisted in catching snakes, and who, upon one occasion, had enjoyed the inestimable privilege of an interview with "the king of the vipers." Practised as he was at pouching the vermin, old Adderley could teach nothing to his pupil, who, from the hour of his birth, was privileged to take a cockatrice by the tail, and seize on a cobra with impunity. He gifts him, however, with a pet viper, a fellow of infinite fancy, who nestles in Georgy's bosom, and whose timely apparition from beneath the folds of the vest not only saves him from a threatened drubbing at the hands of a Herculean gipsy, but introduces him to the acquaintance of a young gentleman of that nomad persuasion, one Jasper Petulengro, who is also the representative of the Pharaohs! More unmingled rubbish than is contained in this part of the book, it never was our fortune to turn over; and Mr Borrow must have a low estimate indeed of the public taste, when he ventures to put forward such twaddle. Fancy the intrepid snake-charming urchin of some nine or ten years' standing, thus defying Gipsy Cooper.

"Myself. I tell you what, my chap, you had better put down that thing of yours; my father lies concealed within my tepid breast, and if to me you offer any harm or wrong, I'll call him forth to, help me with his forked tongue!"

Ancient Pistol could not have spoken more magnanimously; indeed, both in rythm and rhyme, this challenge is conceived in the style of Pistol's strophe. But we shall skip this absurd passage, with all its accompaniments of candied nutmegs, and the dispersion of the Egyptian encampment.

Mr Borrow was the younger son of an officer in a marching regiment; and in the course of the peregrinations of the corps, found himself located in Edinburgh Castle. His father, though somewhat appalled at the notion of his children acquiring the fatal taint of a Scottish dialect, determined, very wisely, to send both his boys to the High School; which circumstance calls forth the following magnificent apostrophe:—

"Let me call thee up before my mind's eye, High School, to which every morning the two English brothers took their way from the proud old Castle, through the lofty streets of the Old Town. High School!—called so, I scarcely know why; neither lofty in thyself nor by position, being situated in a flat bottom; oblong structure of tawny-stone, with many windows fenced with iron-netting—with thy long hall below, and thy five chambers 326 above, for the reception of the five classes, into which the eight hundred urchins, who styled thee instructress, were divided. Thy learned rector and his four subordinate dominies; thy strange old porter of the tall form and grizzled hair, hight Boee, and doubtless of Norse ancestry, as his name declares; perhaps of the blood of Bui hin Digri, the hero of northern song—the Jomsborg Viking, who clove Thorsteinn Midlangr asunder in the dread sea-battle of Horunga Vog, and who, when the fight was lost, and his own two hands smitten off, seized two chests of gold with his bloody stumps, and, springing with them into the sea, cried to the scanty relics of his crew, 'Overboard, now, all Bui's lads!' Yes, I remember all about thee, and how at eight of every morn we were all gathered together with one accord in the long hall, from which, after the litanies had been read, (for so I will call them, being an Episcopalian,) the five classes from the five sets of benches trotted off in long files, one boy after the other, up the five spiral staircases of stone, each class to its destination; and well do I remember how we of the third sat hushed and still, watched by the eye of the dux, until the door opened, and in walked that model of a good Scotchman, the shrewd, intelligent, but warm-hearted and kind dominie, the respectable Carson."

Generally we abominate apostrophes; but this is not so bad. We are glad to observe a tribute, even lightly paid, from an old pupil to the merits of that excellent and thoroughly learned man, Dr Carson, whose memory is still green amongst us, and on that subject we shall say nothing farther. But old Bowie! ye gods! how he would have stared at the magnificent pedigree chalked out for him by the enthusiastic Borrow! Little did the worthy janitor think, when exchanging squares of "lick" or "gib,"—condiments for the manufacture of which the excellent man was renowned—for the coppers of the urchins in high-lows, that in future years, after he was borne to his honoured rest in the Canongate churchyard, the "gyte," or rather "cowley," whose jaws he had seen so often aggluminated together by the adhesive force of his saccharine preparations, should proclaim his descent from one of the starkest of the Norse Berserkars! Great is the power of gib—irresistible the reminiscence of lick! We remember no instance of gratitude like to this, except, indeed, Sir Epicure Mammon's gratuitous offer to his cook, of knighthood in return for the preparation of a dish of sow's teats,

"Dressed with a delicate and poignant sauce!"

But enough of old Bowie, the representative of the Jomsborg Vikings!

During his residence in Edinburgh, Master Borrow became acquainted with a young man, who afterwards attained considerable though unenvied notoriety. He appears to have been tolerably hand-in-glove with David Haggart, and to have fought side by side with him in sundry "bickers," which at that time were prevalent on the salubrious margin of the Nor' Loch. We never enjoyed the advantage of an interview with David, and consequently cannot speak to the accuracy of Mr Borrow's portrait of him; but we are not in the least surprised at the almost affectionate terms which our author uses in regard to the grand evader of the Tolbooths; having been assured by several of our legal friends, who knew him well, that he was a person of considerable accomplishment and rather fascinating manners, a little eccentric perhaps in his habits, but decidedly a favourite with the bar. Some of our readers may possibly think that Mr Borrow's comparative estimate of the merits of Tamerlane and Haggart is slightly overwrought; and that his early prepossessions in favour of David may have led him to exalt that personage unduly. The bias, however is pardonable; and, sooth to say, were it not for the Dumfries murder, which was a bad business, we also should be inclined to rank Haggart rather high in the scale of criminals. He is still regarded as the Achilles of the Caledonian cracksmen, and legends of his daring, prowess, and ingenuity, are even yet current in the northern jails. During the literary epidemic which raged in this country some ten years back, occasioning such a demand for tales of robbery and assault, we remember to have received a MS. drama, in which Haggart was honourably mentioned. In that play, a prejudiced and narrow-minded 327 burglar expressed his conviction that

"There never yet was cracksman worth a curse,
But he was English bred from top to toe!"

To which injurious assertion Ephraim the resetter, a more diligent student of history than his customer, thus replied—

"All honour to the brave, whate'er their birth!
I question not the greatness of the soil
That bred Dick Turpin, and the wondrous boy
Sheppard, whom iron bars could ne'er contain;
Yet other lands can boast their heroes too:
Keen David Haggart was of Scottish blood,
Left-handed Morgan was a Welshman born,
And kindred France claims honour for her own,
That young Iulus of the road, Duval!"

We hardly know which most to applaud—the total freedom from prejudice, or the poetry of this exquisite passage.

We have not space to insert a dialogue touching the merits of Sir William Wallace held between the two promising youths, Borrow and Haggart, in the airy vicinity of the "kittle nine-steps." Suffice it to say, that the former uttered such heterodox opinions regarding the great deliverer of Scotland, that Haggart threatened to pitch him over; and if he should ever chance to revisit Edinburgh, and drop into the studio of our friend Patric Park, who has just completed his magnificent and classic model of Wallace—a work which would confer honour upon any age or country—we would earnestly caution him, for his own sake, to avoid a repetition of the offence. The scene is then transferred to Ireland, and we have some rough-riding and horse-taming, with a glimpse of a rapparee; all which is exceedingly commonplace. Back again to England goes young Borrow, and at a horse-fair he encounters his old acquaintance Jasper Petulengro, now fairly installed and acknowledged as the reigning Pharaoh, his father and mother having been "bitchadey pawdel." This, in the Rommany or gipsy tongue, corresponds to, the emphatic term of "herring-ponded," by which facetious malefactors are wont to indicate the compulsory voyages of their friends. Mr Borrow is always great upon the subject of the gipsies, who, in fact, constitute nine-tenths of his stock in trade; and, if we are to believe him, such lapses as popular song attributes to a former Countess of Cassilis are by no means unusual at the present day. Here is a sketch of a fascinating horse-stealer.

"'And that tall handsome man on the hill, whom you whispered? I suppose he's one of ye. What is his name?'

'Tawno Chikno,' said Jasper, 'which means the Small One; we call him such because he is the biggest man of all our nation. You say he is handsome; that is not the word, brother; he's the beauty of the world. Women run wild at the sight of Tawno. An earl's daughter, near London—a fine young lady with diamonds round her neck—fell in love with Tawno. I have seen that lass on a heath, as this may be, kneel down to Tawno, clasp his feet, begging to be his wife—or anything else—if she might go with him. But Tawno would have nothing to do with her.'"

A shrewd, sensible, and well-behaved fellow, this Tawno, in so far at least as the ladies are concerned. When a horse was to be picked up on the sly, he does not seem to have been so particular. The gipsies being encamped near the town where the author was then residing, an intimacy is struck up between them; Mr Borrow takes lessons in Rommany from the respectable Jasper, very much to the disgust of his mother-in-law, a certain Mrs Herne, who "comes of the hairy ones," and who ultimately secedes from the kraal, rather than receive the stranger into the tribe. The others entertain no such scruples.

"I went on studying the language, and, at the same time, the manners of these strange people. My rapid progress in the former astonished while it delighted Jasper. 'We'll no longer call you Sap-engro, brother,' said he, 'but rather Lavengro, which in the language of the gorgios meaneth Word-master.' 'Nay, brother,' said Tawno Chikno, with whom I had become very intimate, 'you had better call him Cooro-mengro; I have put on the gloves with him, and find him a pure fist-master; I like him for that, for I am a a Cooro-mengro myself, and was born at Brummagem.'"

There is a deal more of the same talk, tending to the laudation of the author. Our taste may be perverted 328 and unusual, but we really cannot discover any merit whatever in the gipsy dialogues which occur throughout these volumes. Mr Borrow ought to reflect that he has already treated the public to a sufficiency of this jargon. What on earth are we to make of "dukkeripens," "chabos," "poknees," "chiving wafado dloova," "drabbing bawlor," "kekaubies," "drows," and "dinelos?" Possibly these terms may be used in the most refined Rommany circles, and enliven the conversation around the kettle in which the wired hare or pilfered capon is simmering but such exotics can hardly be considered as worth the pains of transplantation. When Mr Borrow, in a moral reflection of his own, observes, "softly, friend; when thou wouldst speak harshly of the dead, remember that thou hast not yet fulfilled thy own dukkeripen!"—he is penning absolute nonsense, and rendering himself supremely ridiculous. Then, as to the scraps of song which are here and there interspersed, we cannot aver that they either stir our bosoms like the call of a trumpet, or excite the tears of pity. However, as we said already, our taste may be in fault; and it is just possible that we may hear the following ditty warbled in many a drawing-room:—

"The Rommany chi
And the Rommany chal,
Shall jaw basaulor
To drab the bawlor,
And dook the gry
Of the farming rye.
"The Rommany chi
And the Rommany chal,
Love Luripen,
And dukkeripen,
And hokkeripen,
And every pen
But Lachipen,
And Tatchipen."

Certainly we never had, on any previous occasion, the dukkeripen to copy such jargon.

However pleasant it may be—and proverbs tell us that it is so—to go a-gipsying, it is manifest that this mode of life, unless professionally adopted, cannot keep the pot boiling. It is one thing to be an amateur, and another to be a thorough-paced practitioner. Mr Borrow, though tempted by his associates to adopt the latter course, and ally himself in marriage with a young fortune-teller of the name of Ursula, had the firmness and good sense to decline the proposal; and, accordingly, we presently find him ostensibly engaged in the study of law under the tutelage of an attorney. Young gentlemen so situated, are, we fear, but too apt to overlook the advantages within their reach, and to cultivate the Belles Lettres secretly when they should be immersed in Blackstone. If they do nothing worse, we may indulge the charitable hope that there is mercy for them in this world and the next. Mr Borrow did like his neighbours; with this difference that, instead of concealing the last new novel in his desk, he began manfully to master the difficulties of the Welsh language, and became an enthusiastic admirer of the poetry of Ab Gwilym. This, at all events, was a step in the right direction. Next, by one of those extraordinary accidents which, somehow or other, never occur except in novels, he became possessed of a copy of the Danish ballad-book—we presume the Kjœmpeviser—and mastered the language by means of a Danish bible. To this he added afterwards a knowledge of German, and German literature; so that, when compelled to go forth and struggle, single-handed with the world, his accomplishments were of a varied, if not a very marketable kind.

We are here treated to a description of a prize-fight, which, if we recollect has been already sketched by Mr Borrow in his "Gipsies in Spain." It is rather too bombastic for our taste, though it is worked up with considerable effect, both as regards action and accessories. It is introduced, we presume, principally on account of an individual who was present, and who took a prominent part in the proceedings of the day—we mean the notorious Thurtell. That Mr Borrow should have added Thurtell to the list of his acquaintances,—for it seems the grim murderer of Weare was wont to bestow upon him a nod of recognition,—after having known Haggart, is certainly remarkable, and testifies, at all events, his superiority to vulgar prejudice. There is a clever scene at the house of a magistrate, where Thurtell introduces 329 a prize-fighter to the notice of the Custos Rotulorum, a portion of which we are tempted to quote:—

"'In what can I oblige you, sir?' said the magistrate.

'Well, sir, the soul of wit is brevity; we want a place for an approaching combat between my friend here and a brave from town. Passing by your broad acres this fine morning, we saw a pightle, which we deemed would suit. Lend us that pightle, and receive our thanks; 'twould be a favour, though not much to grant: we neither ask for Stonehenge nor for Tempe.'

My friend looked somewhat perplexed; after a moment, however, he said, with a firm but gentlemanly air, 'Sir, I am sorry that I cannot comply with your request.'

'Not comply!' said the man, his brow becoming dark as midnight; and with a hoarse and savage tone, 'Not comply! why not?'

'It is impossible, sir; utterly impossible.'

'Why so?'

'I am not compelled to give my reasons to you, sir, nor to any man.'

'Let me beg of you to alter your decision,' said the man in a tone of profound respect.

'Utterly impossible, sir; I am a magistrate.'

'Magistrate! then fare-ye-well, for a green-coated buffer and a Harmanbeck!'"

Lavengro—our fine fellow—it is not a thing to boast of, that you have, occasionally put on the gloves with Jack Thurtell!

Rejecting the profession of the law, our author, after the death of his father, started for London, in the hopes of a literary engagement; his sole credentials being a letter to a publisher from an eccentric German teacher, and two bundles of manuscript—being translations respectively from the Welsh and the Danish. Of course nobody would publish them; and the bookseller to whom he had been recommended would do nothing better for him than give him an order to compile a new series of the Newgate Calendar, at worse than hodman's wages. This portion of the story is very dull, and abounds in silly caricature. The struggles of the aspirant to literary distinction fail to excite in us the slightest degree of commiseration, because they are manifestly unreal; and the episodes of London life, though intended to be startling, are simply stupid. Thus, we have an Armenian merchant, whose acquaintance Mr Borrow makes by apprehending a thief while making free with his pocket-book—a merchant, only less sordid and fond of money than a Jew, whom, nevertheless, the author persuades to employ the whole of his realised fortune in making war upon the Persians! It is to be regretted that Mr Borrow does not favour us with his dukkeripen. Then there is the aforesaid thief, whom Mr Borrow again encounters at Greenwich fair, in the possession of a thimble-rig table, and who makes confidential proposals to him to act the subsidiary part of "bonnet." It was perhaps as well that Tawno Chikno's idea of investing the author with the honorary and fistic title of Cooro-mengro was not adopted, seeing that Mr Borrow abstained from doubling-up the scoundrel at the first hint of the kind. Then there is an applewoman who kept a stall on London Bridge, at which stall the aforesaid Armenian was wont to eat apples, and to which Mr Borrow occasionally repaired—for what purpose, does the reader think? Why—simply to read the history of Moll Flanders, a copy of which enticing work the old woman had in her possession!! This excellent creature, when Mr Borrow first knew her, was a receiver of stolen goods, and, in fact, hinted that, if Lavengro could pick up in the course of his peregrinations any stray handkerchiefs, she would be happy to give the highest available price for the same. There is some awful trash about her conversion having taken place in consequence of this copy of Moll being filched from her stall; but we have neither stomach nor patience to dwell upon this maudlin episode. The extract or essence of the whole, in so far as we can understand it, appears to be this—that by the perusal of Moll Flanders, Mr Borrow acquires a knowledge of the artistical skill of Defoe, and avails himself of that knowledge by writing an entire work of fiction within a week! We have never happened to fall in with this book, which is funnily entitled "The Life and Adventures of Joseph Sell," and therefore we cannot 330 say whether or not it was limited to a single volume. In charity, we shall assume the smallest bulk; and if it be indeed true that Mr Borrow accomplished this task within the above time, feeding, moreover, all the while on nothing stronger than bread and water, we are ready, for the honour of our country, to back him for a heavy sum, not only against Fenimore Cooper, but even against the redoubted and hitherto unvanquished Dumas. We shall merely stipulate that the respective authors shall be securely and properly locked up, so that all communication from without may be effectually prevented. Cooper shall have as many sherry-cobblers, and Dumas as many bottles of Pomard or Chambertin, as they please. Lavengro shall be supplied with ale by the pitcherful; and we have no fears of the result. Only—let him establish his antecedents; and the challenge may be given, and the contest fixed, in time for the approaching "Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations."

These women are the very devil at driving bargains! The bookseller, to whom Lavengro sent the manuscript, might easily have been persuaded to come down with a cool five-and-twenty for the adventure; but his wife asked the author to tea, and between the relays of butter and toast, buttered the original Sap-engro so effectually, that he accepted the twenty, minus the five. And with this plentiful supply—from which the payment of accounts past due had to be deducted—Lavengro valorously determined to cut the trade of authorship, on the eve of his first success, and follow out his dukkeripen among scenes and sounds which were more congenial to his taste than the crowded streets and busy din of London.

Somehow or other an author always falls upon his feet. If you, dear reader, without any other recommendation than the figure and countenance which nature has bestowed upon you—even though you have never been solicited to join a gipsy encampment, or to participate in the mysteries of thimble-rig—should start upon a pedestrian expedition through these islands, rather shabbily attired, and carrying your bundle on the end of your stick, the odds are that you do not meet at every turn with a beneficent squire of considerable fortune, but eccentric literary habits, to invite you to make his house your home so long as you may please to honour it. This may be a reflection on modern hospitality; however, try the experiment for yourself, and you will find that we are right in our assumption. But, if you are an author, the case is very different—at least it will be different when you print. The mens divinior will have come out in some way which passes human understanding. You may have been standing flattening your nose against an alehouse window, thinking perhaps intently on the means of liquidating your reckoning, when a chariot shall arrest itself at the door; a metaphysical gentleman steps out, for the apparent purpose of regaling himself with a glass of bitters; and in the course of five minutes' conversation, you so gain his heart, that you are whirled off to the mansion-house or the lodge, and forced to submit, for the next fortnight, to a regimen of turtle, venison, and claret. Such are the horrid but unavoidable nuisances of superior mental cultivation. It is no use struggling against the stream—you must perforce submit to it. And accordingly, when you publish, you enter a proper protest against the violence which has been done to your feelings, by removing you from a damp truckle-bed to a couch of eider down; and by forcing down your throat abhorred foreign luxuries, in place of that bread-and-cheese which you patriotically preferred as your nutriment.

No long time elapses before our friend Lavengro encounters his predestined squire. In the interim, however, he visits Stonehenge, and encounters a returned convict, who of course is the son of the applewoman. Shortly afterwards Amphytrion appears, just as Lavengro is sitting down to a buttock of beef and accompaniments in a cheerful inn. The character has been so often drawn, that it is rather difficult to chalk out a new branch of eccentricity for the gentleman who is about to convey the author to his house, in order that he 331 may confide to him the details of his personal history: we are bound, however, to confess that Mr Borrow has managed this very cleverly. The new comer is afflicted with the mania of "touching"—not for any pleasurable sensation conveyed to the sensorium through the medium of the tips of the fingers, but for luck, or as a charm against the influence of the evil eye! For example, his mother being extremely ill, he finds himself irresistibly impelled to climb a large elm-tree and touch the topmost branch, as the means of averting the crisis. He does so, and sustains a severe fall, to the detriment of his nether-man, but is rewarded by finding that his filial piety has saved his mother, for the fever departed the moment that he clutched the gifted twig! Genius has no limits. After this it is not impossible that a gooseberry bush may be found available machinery for adding to the interest of a tale.

The story is told at the Squire's house during a thunder-storm; and another character, a certain Rev. Mr Platitude, is introduced solely, we presume, to lay a foundation for the subsequent appearance of a Roman Jesuit, to whom the said Platitude is in bondage. Having delivered himself of his touching history, the Squire, like Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, feels himself considerably easier in his mind, and Lavengro takes his leave. Led by his dukkeripen, he next falls in with a disconsolate tinker, Jack Slingsby by name, whom he finds with his wife and children sitting over an empty mug, "which, when filled, might contain half-a-pint." Lavengro is perfectly orthodox on the subject of malt liquor. He understands, appreciates, and even venerates its virtues; so, like a kind Christian, he orders a double jorum, and requests the woe-begone Jack to insinuate his whiskers therein. Slingsby complies, nothing loath; for grief is notoriously dry: and we are presently informed that he is sore at heart, in consequence of having been beaten off his bent by a rival, ycleped the Flaming Tinman, who travels the country, accompanied by his wife, Grey Moll, and a young woman of more than amazonian proportions. This Ajax having conceived an intense hatred of the pacific Slingsby, has first given him an unmerciful hiding; and, secondly, compelled him to take his Bible-oath that he will immediately vacate the country. Cause enough of sorrow, to be sure, the district being rife in frying-pans, and the kettles, generally speaking, of reasonable antiquity. Having delivered himself of this tale, the soft-hearted Slingsby weeps once more, and refuses to be comforted.

"'Myself.—Take another draught—stout liquor.'

'Tinker.—I can't, young man, my heart's too full, and, what's more, the pitcher is empty.'"

Nature! thou art always the same. Under whatever garb—but we crave pardon. We have already condemned apostrophes.

An idea occurs to Lavengro. What if he were to become the proprietor, by purchasing Slingsby's stock in trade, and the goodwill of the district, and start on his own account as a regenerator of fractured pans? Of course he must be prepared to encounter the opposition of the Flying Tinman; but that was only a contingent hazard; and should it occur, why—our friend flattered himself that he had not looked upon the "terrible Randall" for nothing. In days of old, his sire had encountered Big Ben Brain the Bruiser "in single combat for one hour, at the end of which time the champions shook hands and retired, each having experienced quite enough of the other's prowess;" and the memory of that glorious deed was glowing in the bosom of the son. Free of the forge also was he, as one of Tubal Cain's apprentices; and if not quite an adept in the mysteries of solder, likely enough to become so with the help of a little practice. So Slingsby sold his cart, pony, and apparatus, for the sum of five pounds ten shillings, and our author was metamorphosed into a tinker. The account of his first night encampment is rather picturesque, and we shall insert it here, as a good specimen of Mr Borrow's powers of description.

"How long I continued in that state I am unable to say, but I believe for a considerable time. I was suddenly awakened by the ceasing of the jolting to which I had become accustomed, and of which I 332 was perfectly sensible in my sleep. I started up and looked around me; the moon was still shining, and the face of the heaven was studded with stars. I found myself amidst a maze of bushes of various kinds, but principally hazel and holly, through which was a path or driftway, with grass growing on either side, upon which the pony was already diligently browsing. I conjectured that this place had been one of the haunts of his former master; and, on dismounting and looking about, was strengthened in that opinion by finding a spot under an ash-tree, which, from its burnt and blackened appearance, seemed to have been frequently used as a fire-place. I will take up my quarters here, thought I; it is an excellent spot for me to commence my new profession in; I was quite right to trust myself to the guidance of the pony. Unharnessing the animal without delay, I permitted him to browse at free will on the grass, convinced that he would not wander far from a place to which he was so much attached; I then pitched the little tent close beside the ash-tree to which I have alluded, and conveyed two or three articles into it, and instantly felt that I had commenced housekeeping for the first time in my life. Housekeeping, however, without a fire is a very sorry affair, something like the housekeeping of children in their toy-houses. Of this I was the more sensible from feeling very cold and shivering, owing to my late exposure to the rain, and sleeping in the night air. Collecting, therefore, all the dry sticks and furze I could find, I placed them upon the fire-place, adding certain chips and a billet which I found in the cart, it having apparently been the habit of Slingsby to carry with him a small stock of fuel. Having then struck a spark in a tinder-box, and lighted a match, I set fire to the combustible heap, and was not slow in raising a cheerful blaze. I then drew my cart near the fire, and, seating myself on one of the shafts, hung over the warmth with feelings of intense pleasure and satisfaction. Having continued in this posture for a considerable time, I turned my eyes to the heaven in the direction of a particular star; I, however, could not find the star, nor indeed many of the starry train, the greater number having fled, from which circumstance, and from the appearance of the sky, I concluded that morning was nigh. About this time I again began to feel drowsy; I therefore arose, and having prepared for myself a kind of couch in the tent, I flung myself upon it and went to sleep.

I will not say that I was awakened in the morning by the carolling of birds, as I perhaps might if I were writing a novel. I awoke because, to use vulgar language, I had slept my sleep out—not because the birds were carolling around me in numbers, as they probably had been for hours without my hearing them. I got up and left my tent; the morning was yet more bright than that of the preceding day. Impelled by curiosity, I walked about, endeavouring to ascertain to what place chance, or rather the pony, had brought me. Following the drift-way for some time, amidst bushes and stunted trees, I came to a grove of dark pines, through which it appeared to lead. I tracked it a few hundred yards; but, seeing nothing but trees, and the way being wet and sloughy, owing to the recent rain, I returned on my steps, and, pursuing the path in another direction, came to a sandy road leading over a common, doubtless the one I had traversed the preceding night. My curiosity satisfied, I returned to my little encampment, and on the way beheld a small footpath on the left, winding through the bushes, which had before escaped my observation. Having reached my tent and cart, I breakfasted on some of the provisions which I had purchased the day before, and then proceeded to take a regular account of the stock formerly possessed by Slingsby the tinker, but now become my own by right of lawful purchase.

Besides the pony, the cart, and the tent, I found I was possessed of a mattress stuffed with straw, on which to lie, and a blanket to cover me—the last quite clean, and nearly new. Then there was a frying-pan and a kettle—the first for cooking any food which required cooking, and the second for heating any water which I might wish to heat. I likewise found an earthen tea-pot and two or three cups. Of the first, I should rather say I found the remains, it being broken in three parts, no doubt since it came into my possession, which would have precluded the possibility of my asking anybody to tea for the present, should anybody visit me—even supposing I had tea and sugar, which was not the case. I then overhauled what might more strictly be called the stock in trade. This consisted of various tools, an iron ladle, a chafing-pan and small bellows, sundry pans and kettles—the latter being of tin, with the exception of one which was of copper—all in a state of considerable dilapidation, if I may use the term. Of these first Slingsby had spoken in particular, advising me to mend them as soon as possible, and to endeavour to sell them, 333 in order that I might have the satisfaction of receiving some return upon the outlay which I had made. There was likewise a small quantity of block-tin, sheet-tin, and solder. 'This Slingsby,' said I, 'is certainly a very honest man; he has sold me more than my money's worth; I believe, however, there is something more in the cart.' Thereupon I rummaged the further end of the cart, and, amidst a quantity of straw, I found a small anvil, and bellows of that kind which are used in forges, and two hammers, such as smiths use—one great and the other small."

Here the author remains for a few days tinkering at his kettles, and wholly uninterrupted, until he is surprised by the visit of a young gipsy girl. The scene which follows is sufficiently absurd. The girl wants to get a kettle from him, and patters Rommany, which choice dialect Mr Borrow pretends not to understand. At last, however, he presents her with the culinary implement, and astonishes her by singing a part of that dainty ditty about dukkeripen, hokkeripen, and lachipen, which we have inserted above. He had much better have kept his accomplishments to himself; but we suppose the temptation was irresistible. Indeed, judging from the various instances which are chronicled in this book, it would appear that Lavengro made a regular practice, in his intercourse with every one, to maintain the semblance of considerable ignorance and simplicity, until some opportunity occurred, when he could let off his bottled knowledge with astounding effect. We question the wisdom of this method in any point of view, and under any circumstance. In the present case he paid dear for the untimely exhibition of his lore.

"The girl, who had given a slight start when I began, remained for some time after I had concluded the song, standing motionless as a statue, with the kettle in her hand. At length she came towards me, and stared me full in the face. 'Grey, tall, and talks Rommany,' said she to herself. In her countenance there was an expression which I had not seen before—an expression which struck me as being composed of fear, curiosity, and the deepest hate. It was momentary, however, and was succeeded by one smiling, frank, and open. 'Ha, ha, brother,' said she, 'well, I like you all the better for talking Rommany; it is a sweet language, isn't it?—especially as you sing it. How did you pick it up? But you picked it up on the roads, no doubt? Ha, it was funny in you to pretend not to know it, and you so flush with it all the time; it was not kind in you, however, to frighten the poor person's child so by screaming out; but it was kind in you to give the rikkeni kekaubi to the child of the poor person. She will be grateful to you—she will bring you her little dog to show you—her pretty juggal; the poor person's child will come and see you again; you are not going away to-day, I hope, or to-morrow, pretty brother, grey-haired brother—you are not going away to-morrow, I hope?'

'Nor the next day,' said I; 'only to take a stroll to see if I can sell a kettle. Good-bye, little sister, Rommany sister, dingy sister.'

'Good-bye, tall brother,' said the girl as she departed, singing—

"The Rommany chi," &c.

'There's something about that girl that I don't understand,' said I to myself—'something mysterious. However, it is nothing to me; she knows not who I am; and if she did, what then?'"

Lavengro, however, was doomed to become the victim of misplaced confidence. The young lady in question was the grand-daughter of Mrs Herne "of the hairy ones," who, as the reader will recollect, abandoned the society of her kin rather than associate with the gorgio, as, we presume, we ought to call Mr Borrow. This old woman, who was resolved to have her revenge should any opportunity occur, was encamped somewhere in the neighbourhood; and in the dusk of the evening Lavengro beheld "a face wild and strange, half-covered with grey hair," glaring at him through a gap in the bushes. It disappeared, and Lavengro went to bed. A day or two afterwards he received a second visit from the gipsy girl, who presented him with a species of bun, prepared, as she said, by her "grandbebee," for the express consumption of the "harko mescro" who had been so liberal of the "kekaubi." His evil dukkeripen induced the author to eat, and, as the reader must have already anticipated, the cake proves to have been poisoned.

Lavengro, in great agony, crawls into his tent, and has just sunk into 334 a kind of heavy swoon, when he is aroused by a violent thump upon the canvass; and, opening his eyes, beholds Mrs Herne and the girl standing without. They have come to gloat over his dying pangs.

It has been our fortune to peruse several of the romances of M. Eugene Sue, and of his followers, as also divers of those interesting and improving fictions which issue, in a serial form, from Holywell Street; but we are not sure that we can recall to our memory any passage culled from these various sources, which is more unnatural, distorted, and purely disgusting, than the conversation between the two females. We give a very small portion of it—for it extends to ten or twelve pages—and what we do quote is, perhaps, the most natural of the whole:—

"'Halloo, sir! are you sleeping? you have taken drows. The gentleman makes no answer. God give me patience!'

'And what if he doesn't, bebee; isn't he poisoned like a hog? Gentleman! indeed; why call him gentleman? if he ever was one he's broke, and is now a tinker—a worker of blue metal!'

'That's his way, child; to-day a tinker, to-morrow something else: and as for being drabbed, I don't know what to say about it.'

'Not drabbed! what do you mean, bebee? But look there, bebee—ha, ha—look at the gentleman's motions.'

'He is sick, child, sure enough. Ho, ho! sir, you have taken drows; what, another throe! writhe, sir, writhe, the hog died by the drow of gipsies; I saw him stretched at evening. That's yourself, sir. There is no hope, sir, no help; you have taken drow. Shall I tell your fortune, sir—your dukkerin? God bless you, young gentleman, much trouble will you have to suffer, and much water to cross; but never mind, pretty gentleman, you shall be fortunate at the end, and those who hate shall take off their hats to you.'

'Hey, bebee!' cried the girl, 'what is this? what do you mean? you have blessed the gorgio!'

'Blessed him! no, sure; what did I say? Oh, I remember; I'm mad. Well, I can't help it; I said what the dukkerin dook told me. Woe's me! he'll get up yet.'

'Nonsense, bebee! look at his motions; he's drabbed, spite of dukkerin.'

'Don't say so, child; he's sick, 'tis true: but don't laugh at dukkerin; only folks do that that know no better; I, for one, will never laugh at the dukkerin dook. Sick again; I wish he was gone.'

'He'll soon be gone, bebee; let's leave him. He's as good as gone; look there—he's dead!'

'No, he's not; he'll get up—I feel it. Can't we hasten him?'

'Hasten him? yes, to be sure; set the dog upon him. Here, Juggal, look in there, my dog.'

The dog made its appearance at the door of the tent, and began to bark and tear up the ground.

'At him, Juggal, at him; he wished to poison, to drab you. Halloo!'

The dog barked violently, and seemed about to spring at my face, but retreated.

'The dog won't fly at him, child; he flashed at the dog with his eye, and scared him. He'll get up.'

'Nonsense, bebee! you make me angry. How should he get up?'

'The dook tells me so; and what's more, I had a dream.'"

But the gentle Leonora—which was the name of the girl—has a strong tendency towards the practical. She would have been an invaluable assistant at the inn of Terracina—which hostelry the dramatic writers of the Surrey side used to select as the scene of their most appalling tragedies; representing the landlord as an unhappy misanthrope, who could never sleep unless he had poniarded his man; and the head-waiter as a merry creature, who wore two brace of stilettoes in his girdle, and lurked at the bottom of the pit, to receive the visitors when the bed tumbled through the trap-door. Miss Leonora, we say, becomes impatient at the exceeding dilatoriness of Lavengro in giving up the ghost, and entreats her bebee, notwithstanding the dukkerin, to finish him at once by poking her stick into his eye! The venerable descendant of the hairy ones attempts to carry this humane advice into effect, but, at the second lounge, the pole of the tent gives way, and she is sent sprawling under the canvass.

At this juncture, the sound of wheels is heard, and the girl has work enough to extricate her bebee, and hurry her off, before a car arrives. It is pulled up by the fallen tent. Lavengro hears a sound of voices; but the language is neither Rommany nor English: it is Welsh.

The Samaritan—who immediately 335 doctors Lavengro with oil, and relieves him from the effect of the poison—is a Methodist preacher, who, in company with his wife, pays an annual visit to certain stations, where his ministry is greatly prized. The portrayment of this family—Peter, and his helpmate Winifred—would have been nearly perfect, had Mr Borrow not chosen to represent the man as haunted by the most horrible and overwhelming remorse for an imaginary sin of childhood. The idea is evidently taken from a melancholy passage in the life of Cowper, who, as every one knows, was, owing to constitutional hypochondria, the victim of hideous delusions. To select such themes wantonly and unnecessarily, argues the worst possible taste. They ought not, on any account, to have been introduced in a work of this kind; and Mr Borrow must not be surprised if very grave objections should be urged against his book, arising from the manner in which he has chosen to treat of so awful and inscrutable a dispensation. It will be no apology to say that the thing actually occurred, and that the writer is merely relating what passed under his own observation. No man is bound to set down and publish everything which he hears or sees. On the contrary, he is bound to use a just discretion, in order that he may not profanely enter on forbidden ground, or cruelly parade confessions and doubts which, surely, were never intended for the public ear.

But, as we have already indicated, we have no belief in the reality of the preacher's story. Even had the main incidents of the episode been true, it is not only improbable, but incredible, that a person, such as the preacher is represented to be, would have confided his history to Lavengro, who had certainly few recommendations as a spiritual adviser. We are thoroughly convinced that our hypothesis is correct, and that Mr Borrow—whose birth-place was Dereham, the town in which Cowper was buried—has been led, through a diseased and vicious taste, to reproduce a picture which no one can contemplate without a shudder. But enough on this painful subject. There is, however, a point of minor morals which we must notice. Is Mr Borrow aware that the conduct of his hero in concealing his knowledge of the Welsh language from the people who had just rescued him from death, so as to induce them to utter their most private thoughts and feelings within his hearing, was, to say the least of it, a very ungrateful return for all their kindness? It would appear not. However, we are tolerably certain that no one who peruses the book will differ from us in this opinion.

The preacher and his wife persuade Lavengro to travel with them as far as the boundary of Wales, where he stops, refusing to set foot on the land of Cadwallader. According to his usual custom, he petrifies them at parting by exhibiting his intimate knowledge of the Welsh language and literature. Just as they are taking leave, Petulengro makes his appearance, emerging from Wales, and Lavengro turns with him. Now, what does the reader think the respectable Jasper had been doing? Neither more nor less than assisting at the interment of Mrs Herne, who had herself anticipated the last tender offices of the executioner! The fraternal pair jog on for a while amicably, Petulengro beguiling the way by a sprightly narrative of blackguardism, until they reach a convenient piece of turf, when he expresses a strong desire to have a turn-up with the rather reluctant Lavengro. As the Rommany code of honour is but little understood, we may as well give Petulengro's reasons for defying his brother to the combat:—

"There is a point at present between us. There can be no doubt that you are the cause of Mrs Herne's death—innocently, you will say; but still the cause. Now, I shouldn't like it to be known that I went up and down the country with a pal who was the cause of my mother-in-law's death—that's to say, unless he gave me satisfaction. Now, if I and my pal have a tussle, he gives me satisfaction; and if he knocks my eyes out—which I know you can't do—it makes no difference at all; he gives me satisfaction: and he who says to the contrary knows nothing of gipsy law, and is a dinelo into the bargain."

So, there being no other mode of 336 adjustment, a stand-up fight took place, in which it would appear that Lavengro received the largest share of pepper. Petulengro at last declared himself satisfied, and the affiliated couple set forward as if nothing had happened to disturb the harmony of the afternoon. When they separate, Lavengro takes his way in a secluded dingle, five miles distant from the nearest village, and there encamps, makes horse-shoes, and has a fit of the horrors. Just as he is recovering from this attack, who should appear in the dingle but the Flying Tinman, with Grey Moll, and the amazon whom Slingsby had mentioned—"an exceedingly tall woman, or rather girl, for she could scarcely have been above eighteen." The Tinman himself was no beauty.

"I do not remember ever to have seen a more ruffianly-looking fellow. He was about six feet high, with an immensely athletic frame; his face was black and bluff, and sported an immense pair of whiskers, but with here and there a grey hair; for his age could not be much under fifty. He wore a faded blue frock-coat, corduroys, and high-lows; on his black head was a kind of red nightcap, round his bull-neck a Barcelona handkerchief. I did not like the look of the man at all."

Two bulls are as likely to be amicable on one pasture as two tinkers on the same beat. There is some surly chaffing. Lavengro tries to conciliate the big girl by telling her that she is like Ingeborg, Queen of Norway—which must have been an exceedingly intelligible compliment—and then by pouring into her ear the following Orphean strain:—

"As I was jawing to the gav yeck divvers,
I met on the drom miro Rommany chi."

The minstrel's reward was a thundering douse on the chops. Then stood forth the Tinman in his ire, and a battle-royal commenced. Belle—for such was the name of the big girl—was, however, an admirer of fair play, and though she had been the first to strike him, volunteered her services as Lavengro's second—Grey Moll doing the needful for her spouse. After several sharp rounds, the Tinman misses a blow, smashes himself against a tree, and goes down like a ninepin, insensible to the call of time. There is honour among the tinkers, as there was law among the cutters. The defeated warrior retires with his mort, leaving Belle, whom he now abandons, to the protection of the victorious Lavengro.

And what follows? No sniggering, young gentleman, if you please. You never were more entirely mistaken in your life. It is true that Belle—or to give her her proper title—Miss Isopel Berners, was a young lady of doubtful origin, who had been educated in the workhouse. Why not? The only three noble names in the county were to be found there. "Mine was one, the other two were Devereux and Bohun." And she was independent as she was strong. Being apprenticed out at fourteen years of age to a small farmer and his wife, she knocked down her mistress for ill-using her, and, at sixteen, knocked down her master for taking improper liberties. Shortly afterwards, having taken service with a lady who travelled the country selling silks and linen, Belle thrashed two sailors who wanted to rob the cart; so that, upon the whole, she was by no means the Neæra with the tangles of whose hair it was safe to play, unless with her entire consent. Therefore the twain tarried in all amity and honour together in the dingle, making themselves, upon the whole, remarkably comfortable. An occasional visit to an alehouse, where politics and polemics were discussed, relieved Lavengro from the vapours; and of an evening in the dingle, he occupied himself by adding to the stock of accomplishments possessed by Miss Isopel Berners. The reader will naturally be anxious to know the nature of the lessons. Did he teach her ciphering, or French, or cross-stitch, or cooking according to the method of Mrs Glass, or philosophy, divinity, or calisthenics? Nothing of the kind. Lavengro gave her "lessons in Armenian!"

Nor were they altogether without visitors. The priest appears upon the stage, or rather comes to the dingle—a red-haired, squinting Jesuit, who, very unnecessarily, expounds his method for converting England to the faith of Rome, over several tumblers of Hollands-and-water, sweetened 337 with a lump of sugar. It is a curious fact, that he preferred the water cold. Then, during a thunder-storm, a postilion makes his appearance in consequence of a capsize of his postchaise, and relates the history of his travels to Rome, where it appears that he also had known the red-haired Jesuit. The said postilion, by the way, is an accomplished rhetorician, for he divides his discourse into the three parts of exordium, argument, and peroration. And so the book ends; Lavengro and Miss Berners still remaining in the dingle, the latter having evidently conceived a tender interest for her teacher in Armenian lore.

Such are the contents of the book, which, most assuredly, will add but little to Mr Borrow's reputation. That he has seen a great deal of strange vagabond life, is certain; and it is equally plain that he is gifted with adequate powers for depicting it. But he is no artist as respects arrangement, and his anxiety to represent himself, or Lavengro, as a character altogether without a parallel, has led him into the most gross exaggerations and the most absurd positions. We were willing to accept his former works as valuable contributions to philology, and as containing sketches, vivid, if not true, of gipsy life and manners. But this must have a limit somewhere. We are sick of the Petulengros and their jargon, and Mr Borrow ought now to be aware that he has thoroughly exhausted that quarry. He is mistaken if he supposes that he has caught the secret of Defoe, who, like him, introduced the reader to scenes and characters which were not usually selected for portraiture and illustration. Defoe's excellence lies in his extreme truthfulness, his homely manner, and his total freedom from exaggeration; and until Mr Borrow is master of these qualities, he can never hope to succeed in this line of composition. We strongly suspect that, in the course of the composition of this book, which, unless our memory strangely deceives us, was announced more than two years ago, considerable changes have taken place in its plan and disposition. We cannot read the preface in connection with the latter part of the third volume, without thinking that much has been added and interpolated to suit the occasion of the recent Papal aggression; and that we are indebted to that circumstance for the introduction of the Jesuit, and the rhetorical postilion's story, so strangely dragged in as an episode to conclude the narrative. If we are right in this conjecture, a great deal of the incongruity which is apparent throughout the work is explained. But the faults still remain; and, while it is impossible to deny that Lavengro contains some spirited passages and many indications of talent, we cannot pronounce such a general verdict in its favour as would be at all satisfactory either to the author or his admirers. 338


This portly volume, by the accomplished author of Modern Art in Germany, is not so wise as it looks. Its bulk, like that of Minerva's bird, of much feather and little weight, proves delusive when it comes to be handled. This is not a history of the arts in Portugal, but an accumulation of materials, whereof nine-tenths are either extraneous to the subject or indirectly connected with it. A glance at the contents may give an idea of the incongruity and unmethodical arrangement of the book, in reference to its professed object. It consists of twenty-nine letters. The second and third, occupying seventy-five pages, are extracts from a MS., dated 1549, and chiefly relating to Italian art, by Francisco de Hollanda, an architect and illuminator, a Dutchman by race, but by birth a Portuguese, who resided for some time at Rome. Highly interesting these extracts are; for the writer was intimate with Michael Angelo, and gives a lively though somewhat showy report of conversations with him on painting and sculpture, in the presence of Victoria Colonna. But of the state of art in Portugal, Francisco de Hollanda affords the scantiest information; he complains much, indeed, that art was there disregarded. From his laboured and tedious remonstrance on this neglect, addressed to the young King Sebastian in 1571, Count Raczynski has been over-liberal in citation. Among the reasons urged by the memorialist for royal encouragement of the science of design and colouring, one is that the king might be thereby instructed "how to choose hares, partridges, sporting-dogs, camels, lions, tigers, and other domestic animals." Both MSS. are in the library of the Academy of Sciences at Lisbon. In the fifth letter, an extract from The Lisbon Nosegay, O Ramalhete, introduces us to an old history of the order of Dominic, and to its editor, Frei Luiz de Sousa, a Portuguese classic, who is thus singularly recommended to notice,—"You will perceive that the extracts which I have taken from him do not mention a single fact that can throw light upon the history of the arts in Portugal: not a name, and few interesting particulars."

In default of the information wanted, we find, however, an anecdote of Sousa, which might be no mean subject for the pencil. Manuel de Sousa-Coutinho, a nobleman, proud of his talents and jealous of his dignity, having set fire to his residence at Almada, to get rid of importunate visitors from Lisbon during the plague, withdrew into Spain. On his return he rebuilt his house, and married Magdalen, the widow of Don John de Portugal, who had been reported among the slain with Sebastian in Africa. Don Manuel had a daughter by this union, and his domestic content was untroubled for some years, till a stranger presented himself at Almada, and obtained an interview with the Lady Magdalen. "I am a Portuguese," he said, "just returned from captivity in Palestine. At the moment of my departure, one of my countrymen charged me to seek you out, and to inform you that a person who had not forgotten you was still in existence." The alarmed matron demanded a minute description of that person, and the answer strengthened a terrible suspicion. To remove all doubt, she led the stranger to a room where the likeness of her first husband was suspended among many other family portraits. The messenger at once recognised the portrait of Don John of Portugal as that of the individual on whose errand he had come. Manuel de Sousa was no sooner apprised of the fact, than he resolved to take the cowl. He assumed the name of Luiz, and became a friar in the Dominican convent at Bemfica. The lady also retired into 339 a religious house, and never saw him more.25 The story would have been as satisfactory if the captive husband had been ransomed by those who had so unwittingly wronged him.

In the next letter we find Monsieur Raczynski, catalogue in hand, giving an account of his visit to a triennal exhibition of modern paintings. On those or any other productions of art, even out of their turn, we willingly listen to him; though his opinion only leads us to the conclusion that revolutionary turmoils do not make painters. But we protest against his budget of extravagancies from the Lisbon Diary, and flowery tropes from The Universal Review, which is or was edited by an ingenious poet, A. F. Castilho, who has the misfortune to be blind, and has been so from his youth, and is nevertheless a critic on art, who resents "the presumption of frivolous and impertinent foreigners!" We might have been spared, too, the dull discourse pronounced before their Majesties, by the late venerable Director of the Academy. As a specimen of Senhor Loureiro's oration, in which the glories of the German easel are the main topic of panegyric, take the following compliment to King Ferdinand Saxe Kohary:—"After Louis XIV., who bowed to all the ladies he met on his ride, and after Frederick II., no king nor prince in Europe returns the salute of by-passers, except our much esteemed king, Don Ferdinand, as you all must have often witnessed." This delicate flattery is insinuated à propos of a portrait by Frank, in the Berlin Cabinet, of "Frederick the Great passing on horseback, and lifting his hand to his classical hat, garnished with feathers, to salute the inhabitants of Potsdam, who offer him their tribute of homage." Then follow ten letters, full of capital blunders, for which M. Raczynski is no otherwise responsible than that he has printed them; for these letters are principally made up of communications from respectable but most inaccurate correspondents, and of gatherings from more obscure and not less questionable sources. That such a mass of absurdities, especially those on Gran Vasco—the great name among Portuguese artists—should have been retained is the more remarkable, because the Count, by his laudable diligence, timely discovered that he had been misled on many particulars, and finally tells us so himself. As to Gran Vasco, in search of whose disputed identity his blind guides had led him floundering through a weary morass—now after one will-o'-the wisp, now after another—he at last finds himself on terra firma at Vizeu, whither he had repaired on the sensible advice of Viscount Juromenha, and thus announces his success (Letter 16,)—"Fica revogada toda a legislação em contrario!—that is to say, I retract all that I have said or cited about Gran Vasco, and whatever is contrary to what I am now going to tell you!" From Vizeu we are conducted, by shocking bad roads, to Lamego and Regoa, and hence down the Douro to Oporto. The 20th Letter is a postscript to the 11th, and we are again among objects of art at Lisbon. Here the modesty of the king-consort is put to the blush by one of those awkward compliments which personages of the highest rank are born to suffer, and to which they become callous in time. But the Prince is young, and courtiers should be merciful. We have just heard the president of the Academy proclaiming him as the only mannerly prince in Europe since the days of the Great Frederick of Prussia. M. Raczynski throws the strong light of his admiration on another and a greater excellence in the German husband of Donna Maria da Gloria, though, inferentially, it is no compliment either to Her Faithful Majesty or her subjects,—"The King is, to my knowledge, endowed with more taste than any other person in this country; beyond every other individual, he possesses true feeling for the arts. He is the owner of a pleasing collection of paintings, besides a rich album of drawings and water-colours, pretty pictures in German, French, and 340 English!" The 21st Letter is "the continuation of my letter the 14th," that is, a resumption of the subject of Portuguese architecture. The 22d Letter is a corollary to the 10th, "to serve as a sequel to my 10th letter;" and so, throughout the work the reader is fiddled to and fro, down the middle and up again—now at Coimbra, now at Marseilles, back again to Barcelona and Seville, and other places where he has no business—and at last sits down to cool in a printing-office at Paris. In short, if only what fairly relates to the arts in Portugal had been admitted into this publication, with a due regard to method, five score pages would have served the purpose of above five times that number, and Monsieur Renouard's types would have been more profitably employed—for the reader at least, if not for the printer. Even as it is, however, the book is an improvement on Taborda and Cyrillo, the latter of whom the Portuguese have hitherto been contented to take for their Vasari. There is no reasonable doubt that attempts at the revived art of painting were practised in Portugal as early as in Spain, though so vastly in favour of the latter nation is the balance of pictorial wealth. Rudiments of the art seem faintly discernible in the very infancy of the Portuguese monarchy. There is a tradition of a portrait of Count Henry, who died in 1112. In the Lisbon duplicate of the Livro-preto—the Black-Book of Coimbra cathedral, a collection of ancient documents—there is one dated 1168, setting forth sundry payments to artificers in the church; and in that memorandum, mention is made of an altar-picture, The Annunciation to the Virgin. Among the royal archives at Lisbon is a book of charters, one page of which is wholly occupied by a drawing of our Saviour, coloured in red and blue. This MS. bears date 1277. That Portugal was early rich in illuminated manuscripts, is proved by the existence of many very old bibles, missals, breviaries, books of armorial blazonry, and other gorgeous quaintnesses, on much and long enduring vellum. Garcia de Resende, in his Chronicle of John II., at whose court he was brought up, says that he employed much of his leisure in painting, to the great satisfaction of his royal master, who often suggested subjects for his pencil, and would frequently sit by him watching the progress of his pleasant labours. The Castle of Belem, as it stands at this day, was constructed, in the following reign, from a plan designed by Garcia for John II., in whose time also, as we learn from that chronicler, and from Ruy de Pina—both eye-witnesses—scene-painting was executed on a large scale, for the court pantomimes and spectacles, before a stage for the written drama was known in the kingdom. It was by John II. that the Florentine Andrea Contucci, called Il Sansovino, was invited to Portugal, where he remained nine years—chiefly employed, however, in architecture and wood-sculpture—although his example as a painter is supposed to have had some corrective influence on the rudeness of pictorial notions in this country.

In the reigns of Emanuel and John III., 1495 to 1557, artists both native and foreign were numerous in the land; and hagiologies were ransacked for appropriate subjects of decoration for the churches and monasteries, and other important edifices. Most of those painters are forgotten. Few of their names have been preserved in connection with their works; so that these, of which many are still extant, and might bear honourable testimony to their skill, have incurred the singular fate of being, almost universally attributed to one artist, who was five years old at the decease of John III., and who ought to have lived to more than twice the age of man, and have been a Proteus in varieties of style, to make it possible that he should have completed one-half the number of the works imputed to him. Every Gothic picture of any pretension found in Portugal is called a Gran Vasco. Even that fine painting, The Fountain of Mercy, in the sacristy of the Misericordia at Oporto, has been pronounced a Gran Vasco. It was indeed painted thirty years only before he was born; it has some historical features that pretty nearly fix the date. King Emanuel gave that picture to the brotherhood of the Misericordia at Oporto. It contains portraits of himself, his third wife, 341 several of his children by his second wife, and other personages of his family and court. He died in 1521. Vasco Fernandez, the true Gran Vasco, was baptised at Vizeu in 1552. Senhor J. Berardo has the honour of this discovery. After many a weary research among piles of records in the Vizeu Cathedral, he there detected a document which destroys delusions that had become national, leaves scores of old pictures fatherless, and yet detracts but little, if at all, from the reputation of the great master. In the very church where he was christened, several of the best compositions of Fernandez remain as vouchers for the integrity of his genius. The antiquary of Vizeu, Ribeiro Pereira, whose MS. is dated 1630, and who might have personally known him, and must have well known the principal works executed by him for their native town, specifies the large picture of Calvary, in the Jesus Chapel of the cathedral, as by Gran Vasco. The pictures in the sacristy are by the same hand; and, though the cathedral is of very ancient foundation, this sacristy, in its present form, was not finished till 1574, as we learn from the inscription "Georgius Ataide Episcopus vicensus faciendum curavit MDLXXIIII;" and by the position of the pictures, in regard to the light from the windows, it is evident that they were prepared for the places they occupy. M. Raczynski has not only seen and scrutinised those paintings, but he has examined the baptismal entry above spoken of, and he has likewise inspected a copy of the MS. of the Vizeu antiquary. Of the register of baptism he says,—"M. Berardo has shown me the voucher, which is almost in tatters. Nothing can be more authentic, more incontestable. You have no idea of the vividness of tradition, among all the inhabitants at Vizeu, respecting Gran Vasco. One would say that all the world here has been personally acquainted with him, that every man in the place has had some heritable share in him. For me, the question is decided." On the extract, first communicated to him by the Visconde de Juromenha, from the MS. of the Vizeu antiquary, Vasco's contemporary and fellow-townsman, he observes, after comparing it with the original in the Oporto Library,—"The extract is perfectly accurate. M. Gandra, Librarian of Oporto, has given me a sight of the MS., which is as genuine as the register of Vizeu. In the MS., the painter is once styled 'The Great Vasco Fernandez;' and the second time, 'Vasco Fernandez.'" It is curious that the celebrity of a quiet artist should have been of such speedy growth as to obtain for his name the popular prefix of "Great" during his lifetime. The Count's judgment on the Vizeu paintings is as follows:—"The picture of 'Calvary' is of high merit, but in bad condition. I should have supposed it older; but, in fine, documents are a stronger authority than my impressions. Moreover, the draperies and the architecture in the paintings of Gran Vasco are of a style that well accords with the epoch to which we are now certain they belong. Not only is the large, picture of 'Calvary' of great merit, but as much must be said of those that form the predella," (that is, those on each side of the steps to the altar,) "representing the sufferings of our Lord. The pictures in the sacristy are—The Baptism of Christ, The Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, St Peter, The Martyrdom of St Sebastian, and thirteen smaller pieces, half-length portraits of various saints. Nothing can be more magnificent than the St Peter. Attitude, drapery, composition, drawing, touch, colouring, architecture, accessories, landscape, the small figures in the distance—all are fine, all faultless. I cannot express to you what joy I felt when, on entering the sacristy, I at once beheld, fronting the door, this superb painting of St Peter. The effect on me was decisive; all doubt was over. Every work by Gran Vasco has a solemn and elevated character, which I do not recognise to the same extent in any of the Gothic pictures that I have seen in Portugal. The style of Gran Vasco is not ascribable, as I had imagined it to be, to Italian influence, but, very peremptorily, to that of Albert Durer; and it is plain that this influence had continued to inspire Portuguese artists, though working side by side with the imitators 342 of Gaspar Diaz and Campello," (two of the several Portuguese painters who were sent by King Emanuel to study at Rome,) "who had imported into their country the Italian style and tendencies of the classic era. I will even affirm, that the influence of Flanders and Germany produced better results than that of the classic painting of Italy." This notion of the superior efficacy of Flemish and German over Italian influence on Portuguese art, in the first half of the sixteenth century, is a favourite one with our author; and not unreasonably so, for the palmy days of Emanuel and his successor were also the days of Charles V., the kinsman of those princes. Many Flemish and German subjects of the great emperor found ready access to the court of Portugal, and a favourable reception there; and their manner must have been pretty generally adopted, and very closely imitated too, for in multiplied instances it perplexed connoisseurs to distinguish the native from the northern workmanship of that period.

Between Vasco Fernandez of Vizeu and any legitimate successor to his supremacy as a Portuguese artist, the interregnum is far longer than the duration of the Spanish tyranny. After the death of Sebastian, no Portuguese painter of any recognised eminence appears for nearly a century and a half. During all that time, producers of pictures were numerous; there was plenty of artists, but little or no art. At last, about 1715, John V., the mighty builder, willing to hope that his projected temples and palaces were destined to be worthily adorned by native talent, if stimulated by the best models, sent several youths to the schools of art in Italy; herein repeating the experiment of the old kings of the race of Avis, but without much success. The only very distinguished painter of this reign and the next, "O Insigne Pintor," Vieira Lusitano, owed his opportunities Of professional instruction at Rome to the patronage of a nobleman rather than to that of the King himself, though he was afterwards much employed both by John V. and his successor Joseph.

The story of Francisco Vieira, popularly called the Lusitanian, and self-styled "The Admirable," is one of the most curious on record. It is an autobiography in verse, a lyrical poem in quatrains without rhyme. His self-esteem is immense, as may be inferred from his title-page, Viera the Lusitanian, the famous Painter and faithful Husband. In the preface he loads himself with honour; through the fourteen cantos, six hundred pages, of his poem (which is but a portion of what he intended to give to the world, though it was published three years before his death, and he died at the age of eighty-four,) he puffs his own praises with all the simple untiring energy of a boy blowing bubbles; yet it is as clear that he was no fool as that he was a prodigious coxcomb. Measureless vanity does sometimes co-exist with vigorous ability. There is no doubt whatever of the genuineness of the production, for it was published in his lifetime, and he signed his name to the dedication. Being the hero of his own story, he speaks of himself all through in the third person; and it was perhaps his intention, when he composed the work, to publish it anonymously, and let the public suppose that it was written by some friend. But he no doubt thought himself the præclarus vates as well as the pictor insignis, and could not finally make up his mind to lose the honours, poetical and chivalrous, of his work, though it is in truth as wretched a poem as it is a rare and most captivating biography. Robert Southey, a name not to be mentioned without respect, yet a critic by no means to be implicitly followed on questions of Portuguese literature, says that this is the best book of Portugal. If he simply meant that it is the most attractive biographical production, he was probably right, (if we set aside old Mendez Pinto, the marvellous and the delightful,) for we doubt whether a more striking personal narrative of genuine love-adventure is extant in any language. But if Southey intended to say that it was the best Portuguese poem, the eulogy is utterly absurd. There is but little unborrowed poetry in it, and his countrymen, who should be the best judges—justly proud as they are of him as an artist—do not admit him to any rank even among their numerous minor poets. There is, it is true, in one of the volumes of 343 Southey's Life, recently published, a favourable specimen of this poem—a translation by Southey of a few lines, which are pleasing enough; but the version is an improvement on the original. Vieira gave indications of his talent for drawing by chalking figures on the floor before he could walk alone; and he proved his genius for intrigue by winning the heart of a damsel, not less juvenile than himself, but of far higher rank, and by completely hood-winking her parents and his own, before he was eight years old. But the constancy of this infant passion on both sides is the marvel of his life. At ten years of age he gained a patron in the Marquis of Abrantes, who, being appointed ambassador from John V. to Pope Clement XI., took him to Rome, where he resided seven years, always devoted to his art and to the Fidalgo's daughter. He was at first a pupil of Lutti, and afterwards of Trevisani. He mentions the latter with respect and affection. He obtained considerable distinction as a student of painting, and was befriended by Cardinal Barberini. On his return to Lisbon, whither his reputation had preceded him, he was welcomed by none of his friends more cordially than by the parents of Dona Agnes Helen De Lima e Mello, who was now a blooming and beautiful young woman, for whom several offers of suitable marriage had been already made, all of which she had evaded by the plea that it was her intention to take the veil. On his first visit he was followed by a porter with a box full of relics that he had brought from Rome—beads blest by the Pope, bones of saints, a chip of the true cross, and many other inestimable things of the kind, all warranted—tudo com seus diplomas authenticos! These he presented to the father and mother, who were more than delighted with such gifts, and could not but attribute a hopeful measure of sanctity to the young virtuoso who had collected them. He was thenceforward a frequent guest at the Quinta da Luz, the residence of the De Limas, and continued to be encouraged by the elders of the family, till they found out—not by their own wit—that the humble youth whom they had so graciously countenanced fully intended to do them the favour of becoming their son-in-law. The presumption was inconceivable, the humiliation of having been outwitted by two children was intolerable. Vieira had secretly consulted the Judge of Marriages (O Juiz dos Casamentos,) an official as formidable to hard-hearted parents in Portugal as a Gretna Green parson to guardians of heiresses in England. By his advice, the young gentleman had secured his lady-love's signature to a formal declaration of her engagement to him; and, on the strength of this document, the same obliging functionary had easily obtained the Patriarch of Lisbon's certificate of approval, which was necessary to perfect the legality of the contract. A page, in attendance on the Patriarch when the matter was discussed, happened to be acquainted with the family of De Lima, and hastened to reveal to the astonished parents the transaction that he had witnessed. In strict law, they had now no remedy—the parties were betrothed. But the lady's father possessed a power greater than the law in the friendship of the Minister, the formidable Pombal; and before any further communication could pass between her and her lover, she was shut up in a nunnery, the convent of St Anne. As she had avoided marriage by asserting her intention to become a nun, it was now resolved that she should keep her word. She resisted to the uttermost; and even after she was immured in the convent, it was only by main force that the novice's dress was put on her, though her aunt and two other grim duennas assisted in the operation. Vieira appealed to the King; but it was too delicate an affair to be interfered with, even by an absolute monarch. He retired from the royal presence in anything but a loyal mood, and tasked his wits from day to day, but all in vain, to devise some means of communication with the prisoner. That convent, he says, baffled all his approaches, as if it were an enchanted castle. He determined, however, that if she could not see him she should hear him; so he seized his guitar, repaired to the convent walls at midnight, and serenaded her with passionate songs—walking round and 344 round the gloomy den like Blondel round the Fortress Tenebreuse, the cage of Lion Richard; or, as the painter himself expressed it in one of his pictures, like Orpheus at the gates of hell demanding his Eurydice. He was for the third or fourth time turning a corner of the convent chapel when he was pounced upon by the police, and forthwith lodged in prison, and would inevitably have been transported, in a ship ready to depart for one of the Indian settlements, had not one of his patrons, the Conde del Assumar, afterwards Marquis de Alorna, interfered, and procured his release. The noviciate of Agnes expired, and she was compelled to take the veil. Her relations now thought that they had her safely settled for life, and the lady abbess thought so too. Agnes, making a virtue of necessity, pretended to be reconciled to her fate; and thenceforward the restraints on the seemingly submissive nun were far less stringent than those that had been imposed on the rebellious novice. A correspondence between the married nun and her husband was now effected through a third party, who had access to the convent. It was written in a cipher invented by Vieira, as a sure precaution against mischance or impertinent curiosity.

"Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
Some banished lover, or some captive maid."

But this sort of communication only inflamed their impatience for freer intercourse. By the death of one of the sisterhood, a cell became vacant which might be very convenient for a vestal whose heart was unconsecrated. It was in a retired part of the building, and the window was in an outer wall, separated from some of the city gardens by an unfrequented thoroughfare. It was the custom to set a price upon the new tenancy of any void cell, so that the nun who wished to possess it must pay for the privilege. The price set upon this apartment was three hundred milreas, about £70. Vieira procured the money, and passed it to Agnes, who was thus enabled to become mistress of the room; and the superior seems to have had no suspicion that the gold was not supplied by some one of the young lady's wealthy relatives. The window was high, but the spaces between the iron grates were not so narrow as to forbid the passage of a faithful Mercury, in the shape of a basket secured by a string. When it could be prudently let down, a palm branch put out between the bars was a signal. Vieira, taught by his former misadventure, no more approached the walls as an unarmed minstrel, but silently, and furnished with munitions of war—mas munido com seus marciaes petrechos—a good sword at his side, a pair of loaded pistols in his belt, and a cloak of black taffeta over all. After a hundred plans for her rescue had been mutually discussed and abandoned, she thus addressed him,—"My beloved, I am withering here. You must deliver me from this horrid prison, from these dismal rules which I am forced to obey—though I protest that I am no nun, never was, and never will be. Freira nao sou, nem fui, nem ser quero. I am assured that nothing short of a decree by the Pope will avail us. I know that certain immunities may be bought and obtained by deputy from the Holy See; but I would trust no agent in such an affair as ours. I confide in the proverb—'He who wants a thing goes for it; he who would miss it sends for it.'—(Quem quer vai, quem nao quer manda.)" He received the young lady's orders without winking, sem pestenejar; and, leaving two large pictures, commissions from the king, unfinished, he set off on the forlorn hope to the Vatican, with a good chance of ending his career in the Castle of St Angelo. He got to Rome, he says, as if by magic. Cardinal Barberini was dead: this news was a shock to him, for on his protection he had mainly relied. The resolute lover, however, by dint of importunity, obtained from the Pope an order addressed to the Patriarch of Lisbon, requiring him to cause the lady to be interrogated, and to report the result. Months passed away, but no answer came.

He obtained another order, an exact duplicate, also signed by the Pope, and forwarded it with an explanatory letter to the Conde de 345 Assumar. The Count willingly carried the paper to the Patriarch, who was much offended, and refused to receive it, saying, that such matters were not to be disposed of in a hurry. He had received the Supreme Pontiff's first letter, and had, in consequence, personally visited the convent, and questioned Donna Agnes. Further investigations were on foot, and the case could not yet be decided.

A friendly Portuguese Jesuit gave Vieira warning that he was in danger, and that, if he persisted in his appeals to the Pope, he would be quickly and summarily silenced. Baffled at all points, and ashamed to go home, he continued in Italy for six years, during all which time he maintained a correspondence with Agnes, by the aid of a friend at Lisbon, a well-known brother artist, André Gonsalves. He also laboured assiduously in his profession, and became famous as a painter in the land of painters. His works were purchased as fast as he could produce them, and many of them were engraved. Finally, he, was elected member of the Academy of St Luke, and was honoured with a diploma or certificate of especial merit. He now thought he might return to Lisbon, and look after his impounded treasure—his tesouro imprisonado. On the arrival of the ship in the Tagus, he remained on board till he could be smuggled ashore at night. His enemies imagined him to be still at Rome when he was once more plotting under the convent walls, and thus announcing himself to the faithful object of so much constant love—"Here I am again! All the doors of justice are closed against us, and we have nothing but our own wits to help us; yet I am more resolved on your deliverance than ever." He proposed to supply her with files and aqua fortis to cut through the bars of her cell, and a rope-ladder to let her down. But she rejected that expedient. "Through the gate by which I entered, and through that only, will I go out," she said. Pois só pela portaria, por onde entrei, sahir quero. Repairs were going on in the house; many masons were employed there daily. "Get me," said she, "a hodman's dress and a half-mask, and I will walk out of the convent. Do not look so mistrustful; I am not without courage; I know myself well. I rely, too, on higher strength than my own for aid. God does not require violent sacrifices: I am here against my will; my stay in these cloisters is not self-devotion, but sacrilege." Seeing that she had made up her mind to the adventure at all hazards, Vieira lost no time in furnishing her with the required disguise. He prides himself particularly on his skill in the fabrication of the half-mask, which he describes as a miracle of art. It fitted her exactly, and the false nose was provided with hooks to be inserted in the nostrils of the true nose, to prevent it from betraying itself by any eccentric movement,

"Porém no nariz fingido
Lhe armou de arame hum remedio
Para poder segurar-se
Nas ventas do verdadeiro."

The hour was come for the perilous attempt. It was a summer evening, light as noon, when the chapel bell rang for the Ave Maria. Donna Agnes left her cell and gained a covered courtyard, where she passed some of the sisters, who bade the supposed workman good evening. She was a little too soon, for the labourers were not yet assembled to retire. But, being so far committed, she could not retreat; she must proceed alone to the porter's gate. It chanced that several ladies of the city were standing by the lodge, in conversation with the superior. It was therefore requisite, according to custom, that the person going out should ask leave to pass with all respect, licença para passar, com respeito. She did so, and the lady abbess herself answered, "Pass," making way for her. Donna Agnes, in her agitation, stumbled against an angle of the wall, and heard one of the party she had just left behind her, perhaps the abbess, exclaim—"Ah, can't you see, you clumsy fellow?" She moved on into the street, where Vieira, also in disguise, was anxiously waiting. He would not have known her had he not recognised his own handiwork, the mask. He seemed not to notice, her till she had turned down a lane at some distance: he then followed her, and in a few minutes they were out of immediate danger. The commotion 346 in the nunnery, when her flight was known, may be imagined. The king, when informed of an escape which was speedily the talk of the town, applauded the act for its spirit and cleverness, though he had declined to enforce the law on behalf of the aggrieved pair. They proceeded with all despatch to verify the contract made between them before her incarceration. After this formal attestation of the illegality of her enforced vows, they were formally married, and their triumph was complete. Here, according to rule, where connubial bliss begins, the story should end, for it is very like a novel; but it is nevertheless a true tale, huma historia verdadeira, and something darker remains behind. They took a house in the Hortas da Cera, and were happy for some months. But the rage of her family was unappeasable. While the painter was pursuing his professional avocations with honour and profit, they were secretly busy with machinations against his life. On the morning of Whitsunday he had set out from home, to hear mass in the nearest church. His wife, attended by a servant, followed him some minutes later. At the top of an obscure alley, communicating with the street just where it made a bend, stood a man whose face was muffled up in his cloak. Vieira had passed but a little way beyond him, when he was fired at and severely wounded by this person. The pistol had been loaded with slugs, one of which pierced the artist's right cheek, and another was lodged in his shoulder. Turning round, he caught a glimpse of the face of the assassin, in whom he recognised his own brother-in-law, the brother of Donna Agnes. Vieira, supposing himself mortally hurt, called out for a confessor, staggered back to meet his wife, and fell bleeding at her feet. Both were carried half dead into their house. His wounds, though so serious that the last sacraments were administered to him, were skilfully and prosperously treated by Felucci, an Italian leech, and by the king's German surgeon, who was ordered to attend to him. His wife was nearer death from terror and anxiety, than he from his wounds; but no sooner was he declared out of danger than she recovered, and was his best nurse. As soon as he could be safely moved, he proceeded in a chair to the palace, and craved audience of the king, before whom, after he had knelt and kissed hands, he was permitted to produce the clothes in which he had been shot. They were stained with blood that told its own story. The king and the gentlemen present seemed much affected; and an order was given, somewhat late it would seem, for the apprehension and punishment of the assassin. Family interest, nevertheless, smothered up the inquiry, and the criminal was not even imprisoned; but the mark of Cain was on him, and the general odium that he had incurred soon compelled him to leave the kingdom. It is a sort of satisfaction to know that he fell into poverty, and was even at last reduced to the ignominious condition of a pensioner on the bounty of the man whose life he had attempted. The fact is not recorded in the poem, as it ought in poetical justice to have been; but Cyrillo asserts that he had it from Vieira's own mouth, in these words,—"He came at last to beg his bread from me, whom he had outraged so cruelly."

Vieira, soon after his complaint to the king, being apprehensive of further molestation from the family of his wife, placed her with some of his own relations, and took sanctuary, for a while, in the convent of the Paulistas; and there, in 1730 and 1731, he painted his famous Hermits, as appropriate ornaments for the church of their patron, St Paul the Eremite. In 1733, willing to live tranquil, says Cyrillo, he resolved on a third visit to Rome, with the view of ending his days there. Guarienti, the curator of the Dresden Gallery, who came to Lisbon in 1733, and remained there till 1736, was personally acquainted with Vieira, and asserts that his motive for expatriating himself was disgust at an insult that had been put on him through the malice of his rivals, by the removal of one of his works from the recently completed pile of Mafra, and the substitution of a picture by an inferior artist. He got no farther, however, than Madrid or Seville, (Cyrillo names the latter 347 city,) when he was recalled by his sovereign, who well knew his value, and appeased him with honours and a fixed salary as Royal Painter, exclusive of payment for works supplied by command.

Vieira Lusitano lived admired and honoured, to a venerable age, eighty-four; and his constant heroine, the Lady Agnes, also reached a good old age, and shared prosperity which could hardly have been real, or of any value, without her. She died at Mafra in 1775, and from the day of her death he never again touched a pencil. To the last, says Cyrillo, he idolised her memory; and, no doubt, the strength of his affection for her was the governing motive of his publication of their strange history, five years after her decease, and but three before his own. Both his own portrait and hers were often introduced into his paintings. Many of his works perished in the earthquake, with the temples and mansions they adorned. He particularises, as thus destroyed, "his grand picture of the Martyrs—the inestimable portrait of the first Patriarch of Lisbon, Don Thomas Almeida," (who figures as an important influence, for and against him, in the narration of his love adventure;) "the portraits of the Royal Children, and that sublime idea," (the words are his own,) "the Meeting of the Blessed Mother with her Son, after her assumption—the Death of Moses—Pluto and the Court of Hell listening to the suit of Orpheus." He says he designed the last-named performance as an allegorical plea for the restoration of his wife, to whom the convent was a hell. In another composition, which he calls "a stupendous work," and which was also demolished—Perseus exhibiting the Gorgon's head to Phineus—he represented his own effigy as that of the Greek hero, and the image of his cloistered wife, as a winged Victory, hovering over him, and about to drop a laurel wreath on his helm, &c.

But in spite of the earthquake in his own day, and the later razzias of the French in their Pyrennean Algiers,—in spite, too, of civil convulsions, spoliation of convents and convent churches, and all the various causes of dispersion or wanton destruction of works of art in this fair but unhappy land—there is a sufficient number left of those by Vieira Lusitano to show, on better authority than his poetical self-celebration, that he was in truth a fine artist, though not quite a Gran Vasco. The dignity of his St Augustine, and the elegance of his Madonna of the Rosary, both in the Academy of Art at Lisbon, might be evidence enough to prove that the Italians made no great mistake when they conferred a first-class medal on him in his boyhood, nor when they elected him member of the Academy of St Luke after his return, an unprotected emigrant, to Rome. St Augustine is trampling on heresy, while an angel in the foreground burns a pile of heretical writings. This is generally admired as the most powerful of those works by F. Vieira that are in possession of his countrymen. Count Raczynski prefers the other—a Virgin and Child,—in which the infant Jesus stands on a pedestal, surrounded with figures excellently grouped. It must be a fastidious taste that can look coldly upon either. A St Antony in the Church of St Francisco de Paula bears Vieira's signature, and the date 1763. It shows that his hand had lost nothing of its cunning at the age of sixty-four. The Church of St Roque and that of the Paulistas, and some other Lisbon churches, contain important specimens of his skill. They are all more or less remarkable, not only for correctness of drawing, and for breadth of well-harmonised colouring, but for a peculiar grace of touch—a feeling of the versifier and the lover—that seems never to have forsaken him to the last. Even in the countenances of his hermits, the sanctity of expression is heightened, not enfeebled, by a sentiment of human tenderness and regret, as if the day-dreams of their youth in the world were not utterly forgotten. M. Raczynski, though usually chary of commendation in these latitudes—for his predilections are manifestly, and perhaps naturally enough, far north,—has always a good word for this artist, and now and then even grants him a down-feather from the nest of the Black Eagle itself. "As to Vieira Lusitano," says the Count, "he is truly a distinguished artist; and at the time in which he lived we 348 were very poor in Prussia: we were very far from possessing a painter of his value. Wherever I meet with his works, I feel myself attracted by the nature that he infuses into art."

The alphabetical table (which, by-the-by, sadly wants the revision of an index-maker,) gives references to Vieira Lusitano, and Francisco Vieira, as if the two designations did not belong to one and the same person.

There is a second Francisco Vieira, also a historical painter; but, to distinguish him from his predecessor, he is called Vieira Portuense—Vieira of Oporto, the place where he was born, 1765. In 1789 he went to Rome. After about two years' study there, he repaired to Parma, where he was elected one of the directors of the Academy, and gave lessons in drawing to a daughter of the Duke. In 1794 he returned to Rome, where he staid three years more, and then proceeded to Dresden. Few of his works are found in his native city. Mr Allen possesses two or three. There is one at the house of the British Association—Eleanor of Castille extracting the poison from the arm of our Edward the First. The outline of the two figures is not ungraceful, but the effect is tame. The queen looks more asleep than the king; her lips do not touch the wound, yet are so close to it as to seem to express that action. In this, as in most of this artist's productions, the colouring is fluent but weak. Yet some of his church-pictures at Lisbon, and one also of the few at Oporto—St Margaret on her deathbed confessing to a Monk—are stamped with a holy fervour of intention, a deep and unaffected sentiment of piety, that is strength in itself, and not always to be found in religious paintings of higher name. Of his lighter performances, a Cupid and Venus in a landscape, very elegant, and not unworthy of Albani, was engraved at Lisbon by his friend Bartolozzi. His life, it is said, was embittered by the malice of Sequeira his rival. They went to Rome about the same time. Taborda, Fusquini, and Cyrillo, their contemporaries, also studied at Rome. We agree with M. Raczynski in his estimate of Sequeira, whose St Bruno and other ambitious displays are so highly extolled by his countrymen. He is a clever and disagreeable performer on canvass, except in some few of his minor pictures, such as the Translation of St Francis. In his large and finished works he strains at intenseness of effect, and vulgarises his art. But his numerous sketches have quite a contrary character. They appear to have cost him no trouble; and the best of them, if always true to proportion, would be almost as valuable as those of the elder Vieira, the Lusitanian, of which many, in red crayon, are preserved in the library at Evora. As to Taborda, Fusquini, and Cyrillo, and some other recent artists, we would say, to the inquirer, "Go to the palace of Ajuda, and by their works you shall know them! They are as precious there as flies in amber."

M. Raczynski's desultory notices touch on architecture, sculpture, terra-cotta figures, glazed tiles, and many other things besides painting—that portion of his inquiries to which we have of necessity confined our remarks. Of the actual condition of this art in the city of Ulysses, the Academy, instituted in 1780, presents, we fear, no very hopeful indications, though it has many young students as well as many old members. "Numerous are the persons," Count Raczynski observes, "who are enthusiastic in their praise of the Arts in Portugal. But with the honourable exceptions of the Duke of Palmella and the Count de Farrobo, not one will expend a sous, not one will take any trouble for their advancement. It is true, however, that in the actual position of affairs, it would be no easy matter to know how to set about such a service to the nation. The country is in a state of revolution. These few words explain all; and we have only to accuse modern constitution-mongers, and the confusion of ideas and the disorderly spirit that are the consequence of their machinations, here and in Spain, for more than twenty years."

The worthy diplomatist from Prussia, when he wrote the last quoted sentence, seems to have had no notion of the force of pestilent doctrines that were at work on the other side of the Pyrenees, nor how soon the revolutionary mania was to shake the Transmontane thrones, and all but annihilate even his own master's. 349


So good, so estimable, so eminent a man as Southey—one whose moral character was perhaps as near to perfection as it is given to humanity to attain, and whose literary works, if not of the very highest order of genius, fall short only when compared with those few which are of the very highest—such a man as Southey, it was not likely we should allow to pass from amongst the living without some tribute bestowed upon his memory, or some attempt made, to appreciate the value of his long and illustrious labours. We have been somewhat tardy, it maybe thought, in fulfilling this duty. But we do not regret the delay. Our topic is not one of an ephemeral nature, and the delay may perhaps have instructed us in those points of view in which it is most needful that our subject should be placed.

There is nothing, for instance, so well known of Southey—if we may be allowed to anticipate a little, and to plunge, like the epic poets, in medias res—nothing so notorious as the change which his political and social opinions underwent; the sentiments of his youth upon government, and the organisation of society, being almost diametrically opposed to those of his maturer years. The contrast is great between the young republican, the ardent communist, the bold experimenter in Pantisocracy, the author of the Book of the Church, and the celebrated champion of Conservative principles in the Quarterly Review. But often as the contrast has been held up to notice, the time has only just arrived when it can be surveyed in the right spirit. The whole life of the man is now before us; and, contradictory as the parts may have appeared as the long picture was slowly unrolled to the eyes of contemporaries, it now becomes possible for us to see the real coherence that existed between the several parts, and to trace throughout their very inconsistencies a unity, and an honourable unity, of character. The enthusiasm of the youth enables us to understand whatever was peculiar in the maturer man. The earlier mind of Southey throws light, we think, upon the later. It was the same mind, it was the same man, young and old.

We learn from the biography before us, that the imagination of Southey had been early and too exclusively developed; and whether from this circumstance, or from natural temperament, a close, systematic, scientific mode of reasoning was the mental quality or mental exercise in which, throughout life, he least distinguished himself. His affections were ardent and generous, his moral sentiments invariably pure and noble, his piety unalterable; his judgment, wherever abstract and general principles were to be dealt with, was, to the last, often hasty, incomplete, vague, uncertain. But if his reasoning was never that "dry light" of which Bacon speaks, it never, in his case, was mingled with other passions or feelings than those which did honour to his nature. Above all, there was throughout his career the utmost sincerity in the expression of his opinion; no taint of hypocrisy, no reserve, no timidity—a want sometimes of caution, never that prudence which is the disguise of cowardice,—you had at all times the genuine unaffected utterance of the man. He was not even the least apprehensive of ridicule. He would have borne martyrdom before a host of jesters, which some have thought to be not the lightest species of martyrdom. If astrology had found favour in his sight, he would have expressed his belief in it before the whole conclave of the Royal Society. Whatever seemed truth to him, had its clear, manly, unhesitating avowal. Of an ardent disposition, impatient of slow thinking or of long and intricate reasoning, eager, confident, somewhat too self-relying, his was not the mind peculiarly fitted for expounding abstract principles;—we note no extraordinary 350 deficiency in this respect, but we can easily conceive of minds better trained and disciplined for the discovery of great elementary truths;—but few men in our age and generation have manifested a warmer or more generous attachment to whatever assumed to them the shape of truth. For this he was ready to do battle to the utmost. No crusader could be more valiant, or go forth with fuller faith, or be more resolved at all hazards to drive out the infidel, and take possession of the Holy City. His geography was once at fault, or the territory and scene curiously shifted, and his Jerusalem was at one time due west, and at another due east; but it was the same devoted uncompromising knight that was seen marching towards it.

Those only who have never thought at all, or who have quite forgotten their past efforts at thinking, will throw blame upon another because the opinions of his his youth were different from those of his manhood. Such difference is almost the necessary attendant upon progress and mental development. The ardour and the candour of Southey's nature made the difference in his case singularly conspicuous. He lived, too, at that epoch when the French Revolution made and unmade so many enthusiasts. This may be thought a sufficient vindication of his memory. But there remains to add one very honourable distinction. Many of those whom the French Revolution had made enthusiasts in the cause of human progress, became cold and dead and utterly indifferent to that cause—selfishly callous, or quite sceptical as to the possible improvements which might be effected in society. Now, Southey changed his opinion on many subjects, but he never deserted the cause of human improvement. He would have promoted very different measures at different periods, but he had the same cause always at heart. He never sank into a cold and selfish indifference; nor was it a mere passive conservatism that he ever advocated. His son has here very justly pointed out that, as a writer in the Quarterly Review, in which character he was thought to have consummated his apostasy, it was the renegade Southey who drew attention to the state of the poor, who called on the Government for a scheme of national education, who pointed out the folly of neglecting our great colonial possessions, and the necessity of adopting some large and judicious plan of emigration. Of the topics which occupy reflective and philanthropic men at this moment, pauperism, national education, and emigration are three of the most conspicuous; and in each of these Southey may claim to have led the way, in drawing towards them that public attention which they so eminently deserve. He is always alive to whatever seems to him a feasible scheme for the improvement of society. If he goes abroad, and visits the Beguinages in Belgium, he thinks whether a like institution might not be introduced into Protestant England, for the benefit of a class of women, whether single or widowed, who with difficulty find any active employment—who are not paupers, but whose poverty condemns them to a cheerless, solitary existence. If Robert Owen of Lanark comes across his path, no fear of having his own early dream of Pantisocracy revived before him, of being reproached for an old abandoned faith, (the constant terror of men who feel themselves apostates,) prevents him from expressing the natural interest which such a man, and the projects he then had in view, naturally excited within him. His Colloquies may not earn him a reputation amongst political economists; but no one will deny the philanthropic spirit which they breathe. In his Life of Wesley, and all his religious or theological publications, however devoted he may show himself to the Church of England, he never fails to inquire how this great institution may be made still more serviceable to the nation at large, and this, too, by embracing within its pale those very sectaries towards whom he was accused of having so bigoted and unfriendly a feeling.

Those of his opponents who, in the later part of his career, were accustomed to represent Southey as the unscrupulous, drilled, formal advocate of a party in Church and State, ready for his pension and his pay, for court 351 honours and the praise of bishops, to espouse its cause to the utmost, never made a greater mistake in their lives. Innumerable proofs are here before us in his letters, if we did not find them in his works, that he retained to the last a certain bold, erratic, independent manner of thinking, quite his own.

Always was he Robert Southey, and no representative of a party. At one time of his life he contemplated the profession of the law, and studied for the bar. What sort of lawyer he might have made, if he had been able to give up his mind to the study, or what the practice of Westminster Hall might have made of him, there is no saying; but there was never any literary men, earning subsistence by his pen, who had less of the spirit of the retained advocate. A self-willed, untamed, quite individual manner of looking at things, is always breaking out. If he had taken that seat in Parliament which, without any consultation of his wishes, was so strangely bestowed upon him, he would, we are persuaded, have greatly disappointed any party that might have relied upon his steady and unswerving co-operation. He would often have deserted them for the cross benches, and as often perplexed them by his uncompromising zeal. No whipper-in would have been quite sure of him, or kept him steady in the ranks. In that position where he was most subject to restraint—as a writer in the Quarterly—it is amusing to see how restive he is, how he rears and plunges at first starting, how he chafes at that harness which each one in such a team must be content to wear, though every steed were a veritable Pegasus, and Apollo himself in the editorial car. He thinks "a sprinkling of my free and fearless way of thinking would win friends" for the Review. "It is my nature and my principle," he says, "to speak and write as earnestly, as plainly, and as straight to the mark as I think and feel. If the editor understands his own interest, he will not restrict me." We must confess, judging by the ebullitions he sometimes gives vent to in these letters, that the most indulgent editor must have been occasionally called upon to "restrict" a certain impetuosity of manner, which, it may be observed, would have embarrassed Mr Gifford almost as much as it would have done Mr Jeffrey.

But from this somewhat rash incursion into the very centre of our subject, it would be wise—since we are not, in fact, epic poets—to effect a timely retreat; let us recommence, after the more legitimate manner of prosaic reviewers, with some account of the work immediately before us.

The Life and Correspondence of Dr Southey, which is here presented to the public, answers fairly to the description which the author, or editor, himself gives of it in his preface. A number of letters are arranged according to their dates, and are connected together with just such intimations of a biographical nature as enable them to tell their own story. The life of Southey, meaning thereby a skilful narrative and analysis of incident and character, remains, of course, to be written; and a very interesting work it will prove, if it falls into fortunate hands. Meanwhile, this collection of letters, many of them delightful compositions, and perfect models of epistolary style, gives us such an insight into, and appreciation of the man Southey, as was previously impossible to any one who did not know him personally and intimately. The editor has performed his part in a very creditable and judicious manner. It would have been very difficult for the son to conduct a rigid and impartial scrutiny into the literary merits of the father, and he has not attempted it; but it would have been the easiest thing in the world for that son, or for any other editor, to have spoilt such a work as this by intrusive panegyric, by constant controversy with old and hostile criticisms, by perpetual contest for place and pre-eminence for his biographical idol. The mere vanity of authorship, or an officious spirit, might have given a repulsive air to what is now a most agreeable book. There are cases, and this is one of them, where, considering the temptations that beset an editor, the absence of cause for censure becomes no slight ground of commendation.

The letters of Southey are preceded by the fragment of an autobiography. Would it were more than a fragment! The author, we are told, had looked 352 forward to this task as one of a very agreeable nature; and, so far as he proceeded with it, appears to have found it such; for he revels in the reminiscences of childhood and his school-days, and describes the old house in Bristol in which he lived when a boy, with a loving minuteness that is in danger of outrunning the interest which any one but himself could feel in such a locality. But even before his school-days are quite over, he drops the pen. To one who had so much necessary employment for that pen, a supererogatory labour of this description ought to be very attractive, and apparently he found in his task, as he advanced, increasing difficulties and decreasing pleasure.

The reminiscences of childhood, of boyhood, and even of the first entrance into youth, have to almost all men an indescribable charm. Up to this time, we look back upon ourselves with a curious feeling, as if it were not altogether ourselves we were contemplating, but rather some other being who preceded us, and whose thoughts and feelings are the sole remembrance of them we have inherited. We look back upon the frailties of that other self with an unlimited indulgence; we smile at his errors, at his passions, at his griefs; we even sport with his absurdities, and can afford to throw a playful ridicule over all the follies he committed. This child that we are playing with is ourself, but still it is only a child; and we have the fuller right to play with it because it is ourself. No sense of responsibility intervenes to disturb this singular amusement, where the adult is seen toying with and holding in his arms the image of his own infancy. But when this early pre-existent state has passed in review, and the real man is summoned forth upon the scene, we begin to feel that this is indeed ourselves; and we become too implicated and too much involved in the part he performs, to enjoy any longer the position of an imaginary spectator. We are sensitive to the errors, and responsible for the faults, of this other self; we cannot treat him with cavalier indifference; we must be his advocate or his censor. The retrospect assumes a quite different character. Formerly we called up a departed self from some half-fabulous region of the past, and questioned it as to its ways of thinking and acting; we now stand ourselves in the witness-box, and give our testimony; and the best of us must occasionally assume the sullen aspect of an unwilling witness. Formerly we sported with the past absurdity, ridiculed and laughed at it; but now the remembered folly, the sentimental effusion of the youth, the absurd oratorical display, the ridiculous exhibition, of whatever kind it may have been, affords us no amusement. It matters not what the distance of time, the cheek tingles with the reminiscence. What is still more to the purpose, the griefs and afflictions which we have now to summon up are the same in character as those we continue to feel, and their recollection is but a renewal of suffering. The affliction of the child rarely revives an affliction in the man—very often calls up a smile at the idea that so much distress had been felt at so trivial a cause. This is one reason why childhood appears, in our review of human life, so much happier than any other portion of it. We find a mirth in its remembered tears which assuredly we never discovered when they were flowing. But the remembrance of the sorrows of a later period is but sorrow itself, and we only taste again the bitterness of grief.

To Southey, whose disposition rendered him peculiarly susceptible to those domestic losses which death occasions, this last appears to have been one chief reason for the distaste he felt for his task as he proceeded in it. Certainly it soon lost its zest. During the early and playful portions of the biography, he holds on his way with alacrity and delight; he ransacks his memory, and brings out with great glee whatever odd and strange things he finds there; but the Westminster boy has not run his career before the theme has changed its aspect. At all events, it has no longer sufficient interest to make a time and leisure for itself amongst the crowded occupations of the author. 353

In the record of his childhood which Southey has given us, we have no reason, as we have intimated, to complain of the want of detail. Indeed, some circumstances are related which at first we thought might as well have been passed over in silence. It appeared to us that everything which a person can possibly recollect of his own childhood, cannot be interesting to others, although every such effort of recollection may be extremely amusing to the reminiscent himself; and we were prepared to read a lecture to all future autobiographers, and to remind them that they must distinguish between the pleasure of memory, of rescuing the half-forgotten incident from threatened oblivion—a pleasure which must be exclusively their own—and the value which the rescued fact itself may possess in the estimation of the world at large. But while we were preparing this lecture, a little incident occurred which gave us a lesson ourselves, and induced us to withhold this part of our criticism. Such details as we have alluded to, not only give pleasure to the reminiscent, but occasion exactly the same pleasure to those in whom they call up similar recollections; and we had overlooked the extreme difficulty the critic, or any one reader, must have in determining which of such details is absolutely without this species of interest for other readers. What seems to him as really "too absurd" to be worth mentioning, may awaken vivid emotions in another in whom it calls up a similar remembrance from the all-but-forgotten past: he shares in the very pleasure of the original reminiscent. Whilst we were perusing this autobiography, and our pencil was straying down the margin of a passage we intended to quote as an example of a quite superfluous effort of recollection, a friend called in upon us. We read to him this identical passage. To our astonishment, it had thrown him into a perfect ecstasy of delight. It had recalled an image of his schoolboy days which had never once been revived since he left school, and which he was certain would never again have occurred to him but for the paragraph we had read. Here is the passage:—

"One very odd amusement, which I never saw or heard of elsewhere, was greatly in vogue at this school. It was performed with snail shells, by placing them against each other, point to point, and pressing till the one was broken in, or sometimes both. This was called conquering; and the shell that remained unhurt, acquired esteem and value in proportion to the number over which it had triumphed, an accurate account being kept. A great conqueror was prodigiously prized and coveted—so much so indeed, that two of this description would seldom have been brought to contest the palm, if both possessors had not been goaded to it by reproaches and taunts. The victor had the number of its opponent's triumphs added to its own; thus, when one conqueror of fifty conquered another which had been as often victorious, it became conqueror of an hundred and one. Yet, even in this, reputation was sometimes obtained upon false pretences. I found a boy one day who had fallen in with a great number of young snails, so recently hatched that the shells were still transparent, and he was besmearing his fingers by crushing these poor creatures one after another against his conqueror, counting away with the greatest satisfaction at his work. He was a good-natured boy, so that I, who had been bred up to have a sense of humanity, ventured to express some compassion for the snails, and to suggest that he might as well count them and lay them aside unhurt. He hesitated, and seemed inclined to assent, till it struck him as a point of honour, or of conscience, and then he resolutely said, No! that would not do, for he could not then fairly say he had conquered them. There is a surprising difference of strength in these shells, and that not depending on the size or species; I mean whether yellow, brown, or striped. It might partly be estimated by the appearance of the point or top, (I do not know what better term to use;) the strong ones were usually clear and glossy there, and white if the shell were of the large, coarse, mottled brown kind. The top was then said to be petrified; and a good conqueror of this description would triumph for weeks or months. I remember that one of the greatest heroes bore evident marks of having once been conquered. It had been thrown away on some lucky situation, where the poor tenant had leisure to repair his habitation, or rather where the restorative power of nature repaired it for him, and the wall was thus made stronger than it had been before the breach, by an arch of new masonry below. But in general I should think the resisting power of the shell 354 depended upon the geometrical nicety of form."—(Vol. i. p. 55.)

This odd amusement, it seems, was not monopolised by young Southey's school. "Oh, I remember it well!" cried my enraptured auditor. "Yes, conqueror was the word. But Southey is wrong! It was the empty shell only that we used. How distinctly I remember it!—and it must be thirty years ago—and never once till this moment have I thought of it since. How strange a thing is memory! You hold the shell, you see, between your forefinger and thumb, the forefinger being bent to receive it. Your adversary did the like with his shell. Then you applied the boss of your little shield to the boss of his—quite fairly, you understand, boss to boss, otherwise the strongest part of one shell would come in contact with the weaker part of the other. Silently, but with all your might, you pressed them together. The one which broke through its antagonist's was, of course, the conqueror. But Southey is wrong! It was only the empty shell we used. Consider, if the animal was there—what a horrible mess!"

We ventured to suggest to our friend, as soon as his impetuosity permitted us, that Southey was describing his school, and no other school whatever; and as to the horrible mess which boys might delight in, it would be difficult to say, in such a matter, what would pass the bounds of credibility.

After this unintentional experiment, we gave up all idea of determining what might or might not be interesting amongst details of such a description. If this story of the snail-shells found its ardent admirer or sympathiser, what other could possibly be pronounced to be superfluous? or down the margin of what other passage could our critical and expurgatorial pencil have safely strayed? To as little purpose, we apprehend, should we undertake to examine such stories on the grave historic ground of their perfect credibility. When "Uncle William," who is half an idiot, plays a trick upon the servant Thomas, and substitutes a dead mouse for his quid of tobacco, the thought did occur to us, that although a mouse is a very small animal, it would surely make an enormous quid—altogether a most extraordinary substitute for a quid—and that the servant Thomas must have been the greatest idiot of the two to have been deceived by it. But such carping criticism, we repeat, would be altogether out of place; and this fragment of autobiography is really too amusing to excite any other feeling than that of regret at its sudden termination.

We learn from it that Southey was born on the 12th August 1774. His father was a linendraper at Bristol, and by no means prosperous in his calling. He passed his childhood, however, for the most part under the roof of a maiden aunt, Miss Tyler, who resided at Bath. To this house at Bath we must, therefore, betake ourselves, if we would learn the circumstances which assisted in forming the mind of the future poet and historian. To be born the son of a linendraper we hold to be no evil; but to have been bred up in the shop at Bristol would have been to Southey a real calamity. From this he was spared. The linendraper's shop may figure on his shield, if the malicious herald is disposed to place it there; it had nothing to do with his head, or his heart, or his manners; he was bred a gentleman. Moreover, he had exactly that sort of breeding which is calculated to foster the imagination, and develop whatever there was of poetry within him. Miss Tyler had two passions—one for order and cleanliness, the other for the theatre. She had, too, a free admission; and young Southey, at an age when other little boys are fain to content themselves with turning over the leaves of the great picture-book, was seated, night after night, in the front row of the boxes, a delighted spectator of the performances of one of the best companies in England. His first library—and this he possessed as soon as he could read—was a whole set, more than twenty in number, "of Mr Newbury's fairy tales, or other wonderful stories; delectable histories in sixpenny books for children, splendidly bound in flowered and gilt Dutch paper, of former days." This library, and free admission to the theatre, and, for the rest, much idleness, few companions, and a world of dreams,—such is the 355 opening scene of Southey's mental history.

"I had seen more plays before I was seven years old," he says, "than I have seen since I was twenty." Miss Tyler, it seems, was living at one time with some ladies whose property was vested in the theatre. From their house—

"A covered passage led to the play-house, and they very rarely missed a night's performance. I was too old to be put to bed before the performance began, and it was better that I should be taken than left with the servants; therefore I was always of the party; and it is impossible to describe the thorough delight which I received from this habitual indulgence. No after-enjoyment could equal or approach it; I was sensible of no defects either in the dramas or in the representation; better acting, indeed, could nowhere have been found: Mrs Siddons was the heroine; Dimond and Murray would have done credit to any stage; and among the comic actors were Edwin and Blanchard—and Blisset, who, though never known to a London audience, was, of all comic actors whom I have seen, the most perfect. But I was happily insensible to that difference between good and bad acting, which in riper years takes off so much from the pleasure of dramatic representation; everything answered the height of my expectations and desires. And I saw it in perfect comfort, in a small theatre, from the front row of a box, not too far from the centre. The Bath theatre was said to be the most comfortable in England; and no expense was spared in the scenery and decorations."—(Vol. i. p. 71.)

Frequenting the theatre soon introduced him to far other literature than Mr Newbury's publications. Shakespere was in his hands, he says, as soon as he could read. He went through Beaumont and Fletcher before he was eight years old. What hosts of plays beside he may have devoured, it was probably beyond his power to recall. And he early began to imitate what he read. In one passage he leaves us to gather that his first attempts at poetry were so early, that they went beyond the time of memory.

Miss Tyler had all along intended to give her protegé a systematic education, and for this purpose she had purchased a translation of Rousseau's Emilius. The systematic education, however, was never commenced. In 1782 he was placed—for what reason we are not told—as a day-boarder in a school at Bristol. He then necessarily resided with his father. Two years after, Miss Tyler herself removed to Bristol, and again received her nephew. But in this interval of two years, the holidays were always spent with his aunt, wherever she might be. It was in these holidays that his real education was carried on.

At home he was on very short allowance of books. His father read nothing but the Bristol Journal. A small glass cupboard in the back parlour, fastened up against the wall, was sufficient to hold the wine-glasses and all the library. But in the holidays he gets back again to Bath, and to Bull's circulating library. He meets, at his aunt's, people who talk about authors—even sees an author or two—learns that they are greater personages even than the players. In one of these holidays a lady gives him a copy of Hoole's translation of the Jerusalem Delivered. This led him into a new course of poetical reading; it converted the budding dramatist into an epic poet. The Tasso introduced him to the translation of the Orlando Furioso, and this to Spenser's Fairy Queen. How he read, how he revelled in these books!

"The copy of Hoole's version (of Tasso) which Mrs Dolignon sent me, is now," he says, "in my sight upon the shelf, and in excellent preservation, considering that when a schoolboy I perused it so often that I had no small portion of it by heart. Forty years have tarnished the gilding upon its back, but they have not effaced my remembrance of the joy with which I received it, and the delight which I found in its repeated perusal.... Hoole, in his notes, frequently referred to the Orlando Furioso. I saw some volumes thus lettered, on Bull's counter, and my heart leaped for joy. They proved to be the original; but the shopman, Mr Cruett, (a most obliging man he was,) immediately put the translation into my hands; and I do not think any accession of fortune could now give me so much delight as I then derived from that vile version of Hoole's. There, in the notes, I first saw the name of Spenser, and some stanzas of the Fairy Queen. Accordingly, when I returned the last volume, I asked if that work was in the library. My 356 friend Cruett replied that they had it, but it was written in old English, and I should not be able to understand it. This did not appear to me so much a necessary consequence as he supposed, and I therefore requested he would let me look at it. It was the quarto edition of '17, in three volumes, with large prints folded in the middle, equally worthless (like all the prints of that age) in design and execution. There was nothing in the language to impede, for the ear set me right where the uncouth spelling (orthography it cannot be called) might have puzzled the eye; and the few words which are really obsolete were sufficiently explained by the context. No young lady of the present generation falls to a new novel of Sir Walter Scott's with keener relish than I did that morning to the Fairy Queen."—(Vol. i. p. 83.)

He had commenced poet, as we have said, at an earlier age than he can call to mind, so that his first rhymes are utterly lost in the oblivion of childhood. He can only remember that this discovery that he could rhyme gave him great pleasure, and that his mother seemed equally gratified, and still more proud of the achievement. When in the habit of reading and witnessing so many plays, he of course wrote dramas. His first subject was "The Continence of Scipio!" Now that Tasso and Ariosto were his great delight, he commenced the epic or the metrical romance. He would graft a story upon the Orlando Furioso. Arcadia should be the scene and give the title to the poem. There he would bring the Moors, and there should his hero Astolfo, riding on a Hippogriff, &c. &c. This must have been, he says, when he was between nine and ten, for some verses of it were written on the covers of his Phædrus. They were in the heroic couplet.

It is curious to notice that, although writing heroic couplets on the covers of his Phœdrus, his first task in prose composition was accomplished with extreme difficulty. The master, Mr Williams, would sometimes tell the boys to write a letter upon any subject that they pleased. Nothing had ever perplexed our young poet so much as this task. He actually cried for perplexity and vexation. At last he set to work. A Salisbury Guide had fallen in his way; he wrote a long description of Stonehenge, and his master was not less surprised than delighted with it. He himself was unconscious of having done anything extraordinary, till the envy of his schoolfellows made him aware that he had surpassed them all. On coming to school next morning, some half-dozen of them beset him, and demanded "whether he, with all his learning, could tell what the letters i. e. stood for? You have written a description of Stonehenge, now tell us what i. e. stands for." Southey dashed at an answer, "John the Evangelist, I suppose." They shouted with triumph.

In after years, when Southey had written Don Roderick, there were many pedants disposed to ask him what i. e. stands for.

But now his maternal uncle, the Reverend Herbert Hill, always his kind friend and benefactor, determines to send the intelligent lad to Westminster school, and then to the University of Oxford. By way of preparation, he is removed from Mr Williams' academy, and placed under the care and tuition of a clergyman. We have not traced him through the various schools he attended—it would be waste of time; we have seen what was the real process of his education. Here, also, according to his own account, the progress of his mind was very little connected with the formal tuition he received.

"I do not remember," he says, "in any part of my life, to have been so conscious of intellectual improvement as I was during the year and a half before I was placed at Westminster; an improvement derived not from books or instruction, but from constantly exercising myself in English verse; and from the development of mind which that exercise produced, I can distinctly trace my progress by help of a list, made thirty years ago, of all my compositions in verse, which were then in existence, or which I had at that time destroyed."—(Vol. i. p. 117).

Before entering Westminster, our autobiographer takes a retrospective glance at his home in Bristol, and gives a most graphic description of his aunt, Miss Tyler. That lady has earned an immortality which she little dreamt of, and would have hardly coveted. Already every English 357 reader knows Miss Tyler. She will live for ever as a type of that class of ladies, whether spinsters or married, who let their love of order and cleanliness grow into a disease—ladies who keep the best rooms in their house in such a superstitious neatness, that they are no longer habitable. The disorder usually drives people from their pleasant and spacious drawing-room into close back-parlours, deserving of a visit from the Sanitary Commission. In the case of Miss Tyler, it drove her from the parlour to the kitchen, from the best kitchen into what should have been the scullery. We hope those ladies in whom the disease has not yet attained such a height may take warning by the terrible example of Miss Tyler. For the rest, she was a woman of violent temper, and of a proud imperious disposition.

Of course, in a house kept with so much neatness as Miss Tyler's, no other boy was likely to be admitted; no other specimen of that race whose shoes no quantity of mats or matting could have rendered clean, or afforded sufficient protection against; and who might have even placed his corduroys on the lady's own chair—an offence which, we are assured, would have excited the highest indignation. Young Southey, therefore, had few playmates. Shad, a handy lad, kept for all manner of garden or out-of-door work, was his chief companion. He might well say that "few boys were ever less qualified for the discipline of a public school." He had, however, an elastic and buoyant spirit, which, notwithstanding this unsuitable preparation for such a scene, enabled him to meet the trials and the turmoil of Westminster school. It was on the 1st April 1788 that he entered there. A rough apprenticeship to life it seems to have been. One boy holds our epic poet out of window by the leg, to the manifest peril of his skull. Another appoints him, "by the law of fist," to write all his Latin exercises, with the special injunction that they shall be always "bad enough" to pass muster as the composition of the bully and the dunce. We suppose all this has been reformed since Southey's time, and that the following picture is curious only as a record of the past. In this "interior" the Westminster scholars look very much like a buccaneer's crew:—

"Our boarding-house was under the tyranny of W. F——. He was, in Westminster language, a great beast; that is, in plain truth, a great brute—as great a one as ever went upon two legs. But there are two sorts of human brutes; those who partake of wolf nature, or of pig nature; and F—— was of the better breed, if it be better to be wolfish than swinish. He would have made a good prize fighter, a good buccaneer, or, in the days of Cœur de Lion, or of my Cid, a good knight, to have cut down the misbelievers with a strong arm and a hearty good will. Everybody feared and hated him; and yet it was universally felt that he saved the house from the tyranny of a greater beast than himself. This was a fellow by name B——, who was mean and malicious, which F—— was not: I do not know what became of him; his name has not appeared in the Tyburn Calendar, which was the only place to look for it; and if he has been hanged, it must have been under an alias—an observation which is frequently made, when he is spoken of by his schoolfellows. He and F—— were of an age and standing, the giants of the house; but F—— was the braver, and did us the good office of keeping him in order. They hated each other cordially, and the evening before we were rid of 'Butcher B——,' F—— gave the whole house the great satisfaction of giving him a good thrashing."—(Vol. i. p. 150.)

Then follow some other and more amusing accounts of his schoolfellows, and of their after position and fortunes in the world, and the fragment concludes. It does not even relate the history of his expulsion from Westminster—apparently a very severe punishment for the offence he had committed. The boys had set up a paper called The Flagellant. In one of the numbers, which Southey had written, the subject of corporal punishment was handled in a manner which by no means pleased the headmaster; and for this offence he was, as is here expressed, privately expelled. The first appearance in print of our voluminous author was not fortunate.

With this event, therefore, Mr Cuthbert Southey commences the slight thread of biography on which 358 these letters are strung. How far this expulsion from Westminster, by exasperating the mind of our young author, tended to foster a certain democratic and rebellious mode of thinking, we have no accurate means of judging; we can only guess that it would have some such tendency. He was now to proceed to Oxford; but the expelled of Westminster was rejected at Christ Church, in which college his uncle had particularly wished him to enter. He found refuge at Balliol, where he was admitted Nov. 3, 1792.

We have lost our guide, and the only guide that could have traced for us the course of his reading and the progress of his mind. Southey now somewhat abruptly appears before us as the ardent republican, and something verging on the communist. We left him with Tasso and the Fairy Queen, inditing or planning innumerable epics. We find him writing Wat Tyler, that poem whose singular history we shall have, by and by, to allude to. From intimations scattered through these letters, we learn that he had dieted rather freely upon Rousseau; that he had "corrected" this diet by a course of Godwin; and that with Godwin he had united Epictetus and Stoic morality. As aunt Tyler had purchased a translation of Rousseau's Emilie in order to educate her pupil, it is probable that he had heard of the philosopher of Geneva at a very early period. Perhaps it was the Contrat Social that first received him when he stepped from poetry to philosophy. At all events, the captivating ideas of perfect liberty and equality, which are there set forth, had taken full possession of his youthful mind.

At college his industry was still of the same vagrant self-directed description that it had hitherto been. He read much, but he did not distinguish himself in the special studies of the place, nor desired to do so. Now his uncle, the Rev. H. Hill, had designed that his nephew should enter the Church, where only he had the means of assisting his future advancement in life. When Southey first came to Oxford, he contemplated this as his future destination, though probably with no very good will. But it is quite evident that his course of reading and thinking has not been fitting him for the Church; and we are not at all surprised to find that this disinclination to take holy orders amounts at length to a decided and unconquerable repugnance. We might be rather surprised to find, as we do, that, throughout this era of the reign of liberty and equality, he retains his fervent and deep-rooted sentiments of piety. What exactly his theological creed had become, we have no distinct evidence before us: probably it was unsettled enough. But it is quite remarkable how strong a faith he has, throughout the whole of his career, in the great fundamental doctrine of religion—a future state of existence. It is no mere doctrinal belief, no dim and shadowy foreboding; it was such a belief as a European has in the existence of the continent of America. No emigrant can have a stronger conviction that he shall reach the new country he has embarked for, or that he shall meet such of his friends as have preceded him on the same voyage, than Southey has in that future world to which we are sailing over the ocean of time.

Mr Cuthbert Southey very wisely refrains from speaking decidedly upon his father's religious opinions. He leaves the impression on our mind that, according to his view, the Unitarian heresy was the utmost limit of his divergence from the orthodox standard. We doubt if Southey, at this time, had formed any doctrinal system full and precise enough to be classed under the name of Unitarianism. However that may be, it was impossible for him, with his relaxed creed, and his high sense of moral rectitude, to think of entering the Church. Such unhappily being the state of his opinions, he very properly abandoned all idea of taking orders. At a subsequent period of his life, we may remark that his repugnance to subscribe the articles of the Church of England may very fairly be attributed far more to the moral feelings than to the religious opinions of the man, far more to an extreme scrupulosity and the reluctance to fetter himself, than to any absolute heresy. This we may have an opportunity of 359 showing as we advance farther in the correspondence.

But the Church being resigned, it was necessary to look out for some other career. He thinks of physic, and studies anatomy for a short time, but the dissecting-room disgusts him. He thinks, as doubtless many others have thought, and are thinking still, that some official appointment which would occupy his mornings with business, and leave his evenings for philosophy and poetry, would be a very suitable position, and he writes to his friend Bedford for his advice and interest in the matter. His friend bids him reflect whether he, with his burning republicanism, was exactly the person most likely to obtain the much sought for patronage of Government. At last he thinks of emigration. Rousseau and Coleridge convert the scheme of emigration into the project of Pantisocracy. Here is the provision for life, and liberty, and equality. The scheme is perfect. It will be house and home—it will be philosophy put in action.

The letters of Southey are not at this time the interesting compositions which some may have expected to find them; neither do they give us much insight into the details of this great scheme (though tried on a small scale) of a community of goods. The earlier letters—say those which, immediately succeeding the autobiography, occupy the remaining part of the first volume of the work—are indeed anything but pleasing or agreeable. The editor himself speaks of them in the following manner: "His letters, which at this time seem to have been exercises in composition, give evidence of his industry, and at the same time indicate a mind imbued with heathen philosophy and Grecian republicanism. They are written often in a style of inflated declamation, which, as we shall see, before many years had passed, subsided into a more natural and tranquil tone under the influence of his matured taste." They are the letters of a clever confident youth, and quite as disagreeable as such effusions usually are; full of flippant absurd judgments on men and things, varied with that affected self-disparagement which never fails to form a conspicuous part of such compositions. Their writers are profound philosophers at one moment, and rail at philosophy the next; full of their future fame, yet despising the only occupation that they love. "I am ready," says Southey, "to quarrel with my friends for not making me a carpenter, and with myself for devoting myself to pursuits certainly unimportant, and of no real utility either to myself or to others." One gets nothing from letters of this description. Our account of Pantisocracy we must take from the words of the editor himself:—

"We have seen," he says, "that in one or two of his early letters my father speaks of emigration to America as having entered his mind; and the failure of the plans I have just mentioned now caused him to turn his thoughts more decidedly in that direction; and the result was a scheme of emigration, to which those who conceived it gave the euphonious name of 'Pantisocracy.' This idea, it appears, was first originated by Mr Coleridge and one or two of his friends; and he mentioned it to my father, on becoming acquainted with him at Oxford. Their plan was to collect as many brother adventurers as they could, and to establish a community in the New World upon the most thoroughly social basis. Land was to be purchased with their common contributions, and to be cultivated by their common labour. Each was to have his portion of work assigned him; and they calculated that a large part of their time would still remain for social converse and literary pursuits. The females of the party—for all were to be married men—were to cook, and perform all domestic affairs; and having even gone so far as to plan the architecture of their cottages, and the form of their settlement, they had pictured as pleasant a Utopia as ever entered an ardent mind."—(P. 211.)

We nowhere gather what provision was made for any other branch of industry than the agricultural. Was each man to be his own tailor, shoemaker, carpenter, &c.? Or was each Pantisocrat to train himself for one special art, to be practised for the benefit of the whole? Or were they to export raw produce, or poetry, the results of their much literary leisure, and so obtain from the old civilised countries the necessary articles for a commodious life? If the last was their plan, their colony, by still being 360 dependent upon other countries, would lose its character as a complete experiment of a new social organisation. The projectors seem to have thought of nothing beyond the cultivation of the soil, (if they had even studied this,) and the building or the architecture of their cottages. Never surely was such a scheme of colonisation devised. Amongst the whole number of emigrants, there were only two who, apparently, had ever handled anything but books. Shad, the servant lad, and one "Heath an apothecary!" They were all students, poets, or scholars; if they had ever reached the banks of the Susquehanna, they would have found, on unpacking their boxes, that they had all brought nothing but books.

Southey having had some notions of emigrating before he became a Pantisocrat, is heard now and then to talk about the price of "blue trousers and cloth jackets;" but Coleridge had a fixed idea, that all was to be done—at least all his part was to be done—by irresistible force of argument. "Pantisocracy!" he exclaims, in a letter which is here quoted; "Oh! I shall have such a scheme of it! My head, my heart, are all alive. I have drawn up my arguments in battle array." His head and his heart! As to what hands could do, that was to be left to others. He, on the banks of the Susquehanna, would still draw up arguments in battle array. "Up I rose," he says a little further on, speaking of one who had ventured to laugh at their project, "up I rose terrible in reasoning!" We can well believe it; and if terrible reasoning would have founded a colony, he would have been the most successful of emigrants. But it is palpable that in no other way, and by no other labour, would he have assisted the new settlement. Yet when Southey, coming to his senses, relinquished the scheme, Coleridge was grievously offended. He might well, indeed, be the last to resign the project. He would have gloriously defended the little band of zealots to the latest hour of their departure; he would have stood upon the beach, and protected their retreat from every logical assailant; he would have seen the last man safely on board; and still he would have stood, and reasoned, till the vessel was out of sight; then would he have returned home, and triumphed in the great Pantisocratic settlement he had founded in America!

Very absurd, indeed, was this scheme—very like what children plan after reading Robinson Crusoe. But we must observe, that there was nothing in it worse than its folly. There was no moral obliquity. If these enthusiasts formed a perilous scheme, they took upon themselves the whole of the peril. In these days, when bold theories of social organisation are more rife than ever, it may be well to remark, that this is the only honest way to put such theories to the test of experiment. It is not fair of the speculative man to sit at home, secure of the enjoyments which the present order of things procures for him, and, from his library-table and his easy-chair, to promulgate doctrines that may be preparing the way for future revolutions of the most disastrous description. Unless he is quite sure of his speculations, such an act is of the nature of a crime. But to go forth, as Southey and Coleridge, and the rest of the fraternal band intended, to the banks of the Susquehanna, and there, unaided and uninterrupted, reduce into practice their own theories, this would be of the nature of heroism. Now, if there are a certain number of thinking intelligent men and women, who have a firm faith in the possibility of a communistic organisation of society, we should much like them to make the experiment in the manner these Pantisocrats designed, but, of course, with vastly better preparations for their undertaking. This would be fair; and the experiment, though it failed, would not be without good result. Let a certain number of such educated men and women, willing and able to work with their hands, as well as with their brains, each one previously trained to some necessary or useful handicraft, club their fortunes together. Let them purchase a track of land on the banks of the Mississippi, or wherever they think fit, and then go forth with all the necessary implements of agriculture and manufacture, and the requisite 361 skill to use them, and abundant store of provision, and there let them put to shame, by their brilliant example of equality and fraternity, the old civilisation of mankind, founded hitherto on the law of individual property and self-reliance. Who would not wish them success? Even those who would prophesy nothing but failure for the experiment, would admire the courage and good faith of those who made it. There are few of us who would not like such an experiment to be made—by others—always presuming, that the worst result to those who embarked in it would be the blundering commencement of a new colony, which would soon mould itself on the pattern of the old societies of Europe.

But to return to the course of our biography. This visionary project, while it lasted, was not without its real results on the career and fortunes of Southey. Funds were to be raised, and therefore a poem was to be written. He composed with redoubled zeal his Joan of Arc, his first epic, and the first performance which rendered him famous in the world. It was not, however, published till after the vision of Pantisocracy had vanished into thin air. The history of its publication is well known, and how Joseph Cottle, who generously purchased the copyright, has for ever linked his name with those of Southey and Coleridge, by this and other good services rendered to the young poets, when as yet the world knew nothing of their greatness.

The next result of his project was of a more serious description. All the Pantisocrats were to be married. Whether, in Southey's case, a previous attachment was thus suddenly matured into a formal engagement, or whether he had been engaged to Miss Fricker even before this notable scheme had been set on foot, we nowhere learn. Nothing is said of the early love of the young poet—how it rose and grew and flourished. This momentous chapter of his life is summed up in the following brief sentence. It was all, we suppose, that the son knew of the matter.

"In the course of this month, (August 1794,) Mr Coleridge having returned from his excursion in Wales, came to Bristol; and my father, who was then at Bath, having gone over to meet him, introduced him to Robert Lovell, (a Pantisocrat,) through whom, it appears, they both, at this time, became known to Mr Cottle; and here also Mr Coleridge first became acquainted with his future wife, Sarah Fricker, the eldest of the three sisters, one of whom was married to Robert Lovell, the other having been engaged for some time to my father. They were the daughters of Stephen Fricker, who had carried on a large manufactory of sugar pans or moulds at Westbury, near Bristol, and who, having fallen into difficulties in consequence of the stoppage of trade by the American war, had lately died, leaving his widow and six children wholly unprovided for."

Whatever was the date or progress of the attachment, Southey was now engaged to be married. But there was one person whose opinion had not yet been consulted in all these momentous enterprises. "Hitherto," says Mr Cuthbert Southey, "all had gone on pretty smoothly; the plan of emigration, as well as my father's engagement to Mary, had been carefully concealed from his aunt Miss Tyler, who, he was perfectly aware, would most violently oppose both; and now, when at last she became acquainted with his intentions, her anger knew no bounds." In fact, she turned him instantly—though it was night, and raining hard—out of her house, and shut the door for ever upon him.

We must quote the letter in which Southey gives an account of this terrible denouement. It introduces us at once into the state of affairs, his enthusiastic project, and the associates with whom it was to be carried out. A rather different account, it will be observed, is here given of its origin, than that which we have quoted from Mr Cuthbert Southey—

"To Thomas Southey.
Bath, Oct. 19, 1794.

My Dear Brother Admiral,—Here's a row! here's a kick up! here's a pretty commence! We have had a revolution in the College Green, and I have been turned out of doors in a wet night. Lo and behold! even like my own brothers, I am penniless. It was late in the evening; the wind blew and the rain fell, and I 362 had walked from Bath in the morning. Luckily, my father's old greatcoat was at Lovell's; I clapt it on, swallowed a glass of brandy, and set off. I met an old drunken man three miles off, and was obliged to drag him all the way to Bath, nine miles! Oh Patience, Patience! thou hast often helped poor Robert Southey, but never didst thou stand him in more need than on Friday the 17th of October 1794.

Well, Tom, here I am. My aunt has declared she will never see my face again, or open a letter of my writing. So be it. I do my duty, and will continue to do it, be the consequences what they may. You are unpleasantly situated, so is my mother, so were we all, till this grand scheme of Pantisocracy flashed upon our minds, and now all is perfectly delightful.

Open war—declared hostilities! The children are to come here on Wednesday, and I meet them at the Long Coach on this evening. My aunt abuses poor Lovell most unmercifully, and attributes the whole scheme to him: you know it was concerted between Burnett and me. But of all the whole catalogue of enormities, nothing enrages my aunt so much as my intended marriage with Mrs Lovell's sister Edith: this will hardly take place till we arrive in America; it rouses the whole army of prejudices in my aunt's breast. Pride leads the fiery host, and a pretty kick-up they must make there....

Everything is in the fairest train. Favell and Le Grice, two young Pantisocrats of nineteen, join us; they possess great genius and energy. I have seen neither of them, yet correspond with both. You may, perhaps, like this sonnet on the subject of our emigration by Favell." [We skip the sonnet. It seems to have been held sufficient testimonial for his qualifications as an emigrant.] "This is a very beautiful piece of poetry; and we may form a very fair opinion of Favell from it. Scott, a brother of your acquaintance, goes with us. So much for news relative to our private politics.

This is the age of revolutions, and a huge one we have had on the College Green. Poor Shadrack is left there, in the burning fiery furnace of her displeasure, and a prime hot berth has he got of it: he saw me depart with astonishment. 'Why, sir, you be'nt going to Bath at this time of night, and in this weather! Do let me see you sometimes, and hear from you, and send for me when you are going.'

We are all well, and all eager to depart. March will soon arrive, and I hope you will be with us before that time.

Why should the man who acts from conviction of rectitude, grieve because the prejudiced are offended? For me, I am fully possessed by the great cause to which I have devoted myself: my conduct has been open, sincere, and just; and though the world were to scorn and neglect me, I should bear their contempt with calmness. Fare thee well.

Yours in brotherly affection,
Robert Southey."

"It might have been hoped," continues the editor, "that this storm would have blown over; and that, when Pantisocracy had died a natural death, and the marriage had taken place, Miss Tyler's angry feelings might have softened down; but it was not so—the aunt and nephew never met again!"

To describe this "natural death of Pantisocracy" is hardly necessary. When the expense of a passage to America presented itself as a serious obstacle, the scene of the experiment was shifted to Wales, evidently a mere stage in the natural process of dissolution. Brought from America to Wales, the scheme looked even still more hopeless, and was finally abandoned. Mr Cuthbert Southey, in the preface to his work, says, speaking of his father—"the even tenor of his life, during its greater portion, affords but little matter for pure biography." That portion of his father's life with which he was personally acquainted, exhibited, no doubt, this even tenor; but there are few men whose lives will, upon the whole, afford more striking materials for the future biographer. He who passed the day so evenly and uniformly at Keswick, amongst his books, and with his ever-busy pen, had experienced some of the most startling vicissitudes of life, and could recall scenes in which the very strongest passions of our nature must have been called into play.

What a singular and dramatic position—how full of agitating emotions—is that which next in order reveals itself! Pantisocracy is relinquished; but he is engaged to be married. Aunt Tyler is unmitigable. What is to be done? His uncle Hill comes to the rescue. He is chaplain to the English Factory at Lisbon; is at present on a visit to England, and will shortly return. Apparently he has never interfered, by any useless remonstrances, 363 with his nephew's proceedings; he now invites him to return with him to Lisbon. Here, at all events, is an asylum for the present; here he may enjoy an interval of quiet thought, may study Portuguese and Spanish if he will, may see a foreign country; above all, may pursue his cogitations remote from republican associates—so thinks the uncle—and from Miss Fricker. Southey accepts the invitation. But whatever may become of his political opinions, he is resolved to put it out of his power to commit any inconsistency towards Edith Fricker. As soon as the day was finally fixed for his departure, he also fixed his marriage-day. On the 14th of November 1795, he was married at Radcliffe Church, Bristol. "Immediately after the ceremony, they parted. Edith wore her wedding-ring hung round her neck, and kept her maiden name till the report of the marriage had spread abroad." Writing to his friend Bedford, he says, with truth and feeling—"Never did man stand at the altar with such strange feelings as I did. Can you, Grosvenor, by any effort of imagination, shadow out my emotion?... She returned the pressure of my hand, and we parted in silence."

We cannot look upon his conduct on this occasion in any other light than as the natural course of a noble and generous nature. There was nothing in it unfair to the uncle. The uncle had speculated on the probability that separation would weaken his attachment; but the nephew had never stipulated that it should have this effect. The uncle had also anticipated that a change of scene would cure him of his democratic politics, but this did not put the nephew under any obligation to renounce his politics, or to submit them as fully as possible to the experiment to be made on them. One motive for his hastened marriage, he tells us, was, that in the event of his death at Lisbon, or on the voyage, his widow might have some claim on the protection of his own relatives, some of whom were wealthy. But on these relatives he threw no unwarrantable burden—no burden whatever—unless such as pure generosity might feel. There was no young family to be provided for. He would have left behind him a widow, whose prospects in life could not have been injured by merely having borne his name for a few months. Southey was of a confident nature, conscious of his own great abilities, of habitual and indomitable industry. Notwithstanding some occasional and very natural fits of depression, he must have felt persuaded that, sooner or later, in one way or the other, he should secure for himself a respectable position in life. He was engaged to Edith Fricker, and he was determined she should share that position with him, and that, in the mean time, she should at all events have no other doubts or fears than what the inconstancy or perversity of fortune might suggest.

Of this, his first visit to Lisbon, very little is recorded. His mind underwent no perceptible change. We have only two letters written by him at this period to his friends in England. From the last of them, he appears to have been impatient to return. It is dated thus—"Feb. 24, 1796, Lisbon, from which God grant me a speedy deliverance!"

He returned the same man, and returned to the same perplexities. Full of his poetry, occupied incessantly with literary projects, he has not yet the courage to trust to his pen for the necessary supplies. He will enter the profession of the law. From this he will extract that needful revenue which shall one day establish him in his country house, with his Edith, and amongst books of every description—except the legal.

Here follows a chapter in his history which, we think, is one of the most instructive of the whole; certainly not the less instructive because many others have been, and many others will be, submitted to the same trials. If Southey had fulfilled his design, and completed his own biography, it is probably upon this interval, between his first and his second visit to Lisbon, that he would have thought it necessary to dwell with the greatest minuteness.

"My father," says the son, "continued to reside in Bristol until the close of the year 1796, chiefly employed in working up the contents of his foreign note-books 364 into Letters from Spain and Portugal, which were published in one volume early in the following year. This task completed, he determined to take up his residence in London, and fairly to commence the study of the law, which he was now enabled to do through the true friendship of Mr C. W. W. Wynn, from whom he received, for some years from this time, an annuity of L.160—the prompt fulfilment of a promise made during their years of college intimacy. This was indeed one of those acts of rare friendship—twice honourable—'to him that gives and him that takes it;' bestowed with pleasure, received without any painful feelings, and often reverted to as the staff and stay of those years when otherwise he must have felt to the full all the manifold evils of being, as he himself expressed it, 'cut adrift upon the ocean of life.'"

He was fairly to commence the study of the law, but he had not the least idea of renouncing his poetical and other literary labours. If the passion of authorship had been felt by Southey only in a slight degree—if it had been a little book he wanted to write, just to "exhale his soul," and then to sober business—this scheme would have been rational enough; but authorship, with its love of fame, had become the master passion of his mind—his second nature. Of "little books" Southey never thought—all his designs were vast, and they were innumerable. His whole life was already pledged. He was then upon Madoc, with Thalaba looming in the horizon. He is writing to his friend Bedford, just before he proceeds to London to commence the study of the law; and only note the sort of impedimenta he carries up with him, and the very auspicious temper in which he enters on the campaign.

"I want to write my tragedies of 'The Banditti.'

Of 'Sebastian.'

Of 'Iñez de Castro.'

Of 'The Revenge of Pedro.'

My Epic poem, in twenty books, of 'Madoc.'

My novel, in three volumes, of 'Edmund Oliver.'

My romance of 'Ancient History of Alcas.'

My Norwegian tale of '—— Harfagne.'

My Oriental poem of 'The destruction of the Dom Daniel.'

And, in case I adopt Rousseau's system, my '—— Pains of Imagination.'

There, Grosvenor, all these I want to write....

The law will neither amuse me, nor ameliorate me, nor instruct me; but the moment it gives me a comfortable independence—and I have but few wants—then farewell to London. I will get me some little house near the sea, and near a country town, for the sake of the post and the bookseller.... And perhaps, Grosvenor, the first Christmas-day you pass with me after I am so settled, we may make a Christmas fire of all my law-books. Amen, so be it."

He goes to London, and is admitted of Gray's Inn, Feb. 7, 1797. A few days afterwards, he writes in a graver mood to his early and staunch friend Joseph Cottle.

"I am now entered on a new way of life, which will lead me to independence. You know that I neither lightly undertake any scheme, nor lightly abandon what I have undertaken....

As to my literary pursuits, after some consideration, I have resolved to postpone every other till I have concluded Madoc. This must be the greatest of all my works. The structure is complete in my mind; and my mind is likewise stored with appropriate images....

On Tuesday we shall be settled; and on Wednesday my legal studies begin in the morning, and I shall begin with Madoc in the evening. Of this it is needless to caution you to say nothing, as I must have the character of a lawyer; and though I can and will unite the two pursuits, no one would credit the possibility of the union."

What follows shows, nevertheless, the folly of attempting to combine things utterly incongruous, and the mischief that may ensue from the attempt. It was very little that Southey could have studied the law, but the effort to force his attention to one subject, while his mind was really absorbed in another, and the perpetually intruding and distracting thought that he ought to be studying the law, was very nearly ruining his health irretrievably, and converting one of the most buoyant hilarious of men into the confirmed hypochondriac.

It was in February he came to London. The spring no sooner appeared than he began to pine for the country; he felt his spirits exhausted; he thought his legal studies could be 365 as well pursued at the sea-side as in the smoke of London; he goes to Burton in Hampshire. There, or elsewhere in the country, he spends the whole summer. In December he returns to London, but "remains there only a very short time." He takes a cottage in the pretty village of Westbury, there to prosecute his legal studies. He stays a twelve-month at Westbury; nor does he again return to London to reside. He had attributed his ill-health to the smoke and confinement of the metropolis, but it is after his escape from London that his health becomes seriously deranged. He had not escaped from his legal studies, or rather from the sense of obligation constantly impending over him to pursue them, and the occasional attempts to compel his attention to the repulsive task.

The law cannot be accused of having encroached seriously on time that would have been else devoted to literature. He took long vacations, when the hated text-book and the detestable reports were banished entirely from his mind. Speaking of his residence at Westbury, he says, "it was one of the happiest portions of his life: he had never before or since produced so much poetry in the same space of time." But still the profession hung over him, urging, from time to time, its distracting obligations. Having escaped from the smoke of London, he now attributes his shattered nerves to the climate of England. But it was as little the climate of England, which his constitution afterwards endured very well in the cold and rainy regions of Cumberland, as it was any fair amount of intellectual labour, that was undermining his health. It was the sense of an unperformed task, and that compulsory and distracted attention, one half hour of which more tries and fatigues the brain than a whole morning spent in willing harmonious effort.

Bearing these observations in mind, the following letter will be read with peculiar interest:—

Kingsdown, Bristol,
Dec. 21, 1799.

Grosvenor—I think seriously of going abroad. My complaint—so I am told by the opinion of many medical men—is wholly a diseased sensibility, (mind you, physical sensibility,) disordering the functions, now of the heart, now of the intestines, and gradually debilitating me. Climate is the obvious remedy. In my present state, to attempt to undergo the confinement of legal application were actual suicide. I am anxious to be well, and to attempt the profession: much in it I shall never do: sometimes my principles stand in the way, sometimes the want of readiness, which I felt from the first—a want which I always know in company, and never in solitude and silence. Howbeit I will make the attempt; but mark you, if by stage-writing, or any other writing, I can acquire independence, I will not make the sacrifice of happiness it will inevitably cost me. I love the country, I love study—devotedly I love it; but in legal studies it is only the subtlety of the mind that is exercised.

I am not indolent; I loath indolence; but, indeed, reading law is laborious indolence—it is thrashing straw. I have read, and read, and read; but the devil a bit can I remember. I have given all possible attention, and attempted to command volition. No! The eye read, the lips pronounced, I understood and re-read it; it was very clear; I remembered the page, the sentence—but close the book, and all was gone!

I suffer a good deal from illness, and in a way hardly understandable by those in health. I start from sleep as if death had seized me. I am sensible of every pulsation, and compelled to attend to the motion of my heart till that attention disturbs it. The pain in my side is, I think, lessened, nor do I at all think it is consumption: organic affection it could not have been, else it had been constant; and a heart disease would not have been perceived there. I must go abroad, and recruit under better skies."—(Vol. ii. p. 33.)

He reads and reads, and he comprehends, but he does not remember. It would have been marvellous if he did, reading always with a divided attention. He never could bring all his mind to this task. "I would rather," he says in one place, "write an epic poem than read a brief." And in the most self-congratulatory moment, when he is the most reconciled, or in the least bad humour with the law, he writes thus: "I advance with sufficient rapidity. Blackstone and Madoc! I hope to finish my poem and begin my practice in about 366 two years. I am clearing a farm; I am painting a landscape that shall rival Claude Lorraine!"

Southey had resolved to be poet and lawyer both. If he had really delighted in both studies—as Sir William Jones seems to have done—he might, like Sir William, have attained a certain degree of excellence in both. We have a living example before us of a judge who has written a far more beautiful poem than half-a-dozen Sir Williams could have indited. But with Southey one of these studies was not only indifferent but intolerable, whilst the other was most delectable. Under these circumstances, the attempt to unite them was ruining one of the best constitutions that a student was ever blest with by nature. We have no doubt that, if he had much longer seriously persisted in this attempt, there would have been a general wreck and ruin of mind and body both.

"My health," he says, writing to Mr May, "fluctuates, and the necessity of changing climate is sadly and sufficiently obvious, lest, though my disease should prove of no serious danger, the worst habits of hypochondriasm fasten upon me, and palsy all intellectual power." He took the wisest resolution the circumstances of the case admitted of—he embarked for Lisbon. He threw off entirely—at all events for a season, perhaps, in secret, for ever—the anxious burden of the law. He gave his whole soul to poetry; rode about in the paradise of Cintra, and wrote the concluding books of his Thalaba. So was he rescued from the fate of a nervous hypochondriac patient.

It is a piece of advice we would give to every man, but especially to the student. Harmonise your labours. If ambition prompt you to mingle two conflicting studies that will not accord, that breed perpetual civil war in the mind, we charge you to fling away ambition. If the higher, and more ambitious, and more beloved study—be it science, or poetry, or philosophy—will not yield, then choose at once for it and poverty, if such must be the alternative. Better anything than a ruined disordered mind; or, if you prefer the expression, than a confirmed cerebral disease.

Very pleasant was the life that Southey led at Lisbon and at Cintra, and very agreeable are the letters that he writes to England during this second visit to the Peninsula.

"You would be amused," he says in one of them, "could you see Edith and myself on ass-back—I sitting sideways, gloriously lazy, with a boy to beat my Bayardo, as well adapted to me as ever that wild courser was to Rinaldo. In this climate there is no walking, a little exercise heats so immoderately; but their cork woods, or fir woods, and mountain glens, and rock pyramids, and ever-flowing fountains, and lemon-groves ever in flower and in fruit, want only society to become a paradise. Could I but colonise Cintra with half-a-dozen families, I should never wish to leave it. As it is, I am comfortable, my health establishing itself, my spirits everlastingly partaking the sunshine of the climate. Yet I do hunger after the bread-and-butter, and the fireside comforts, and the intellect of England."—(Vol. ii. p. 109.)

On his return to England we hear no more of the law, or we hear only that it was entirely abandoned. We find him writing to Bedford (p. 159) about one solitary remaining law-book—"my whole proper stock—whom I design to take up to the top of Mount Etna, for the express purpose of throwing him down straight to the devil."

His sojourn in the Continent had led him to think that some foreign consulship would not be unacceptable. No appointment of this kind, however, offered itself. That of private secretary to Mr Corry, Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland, was proposed to him, and he accepted it. "This had been brought about," says the Editor, "through his friend Mr Rickman, who was at that time secretary to Mr Abbot, and in consequence residing in Dublin—an additional inducement to my father to accept the appointment, as he would have to reside there himself during half the year."

He went to Dublin to take possession of his new office, but soon after returned to London, where the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer was in the habit of residing during the winter portion of the year. Mr Corry is described as a man of mild unassuming manners; and "the Chancellor 367 and his scribe" got on very well together. But the Chancellor discovered that he had nothing to do for his very clever secretary. Having no sufficient official employment, he proposed to him to undertake the tuition of his son. This "was not in the bond," nor at all suited to Southey's habits and inclinations. To use his own words, he therefore resigned "a foolish office, and a good salary."

This was the last serious attempt he made to obtain the necessary supplies from any other source than his pen. He betook himself steadily to reviewing and other literary work. The Annual Register offered him constant employment till the Quarterly was established. For his residence, he thought first of Richmond, on the Thames; then of the Valley of Neath in Wales; finally, he established himself at Keswick.

We have thus brought down his biography to the period when, his political opinions considerably modified, and his literary avocations clearly defined before him, he takes up his residence at that place which will for ever be associated with his name, and assumes that character and position in which he was so long known and honoured by his contemporaries. Before leaving England, on his second voyage to Lisbon, he had written Madoc, (that is, in its rough state,) and had composed the greater part of Thalaba. The concluding books of Thalaba—that charming episode of Laila—were written amongst the hills and the cork forests of Cintra. The completed manuscript was sent to England, and was published soon after his own return. Madoc there received its last corrections and additions. The time is now come when we can take a glance at these and other poetical works, which were, and still are, the basis of his fame. The author is now himself moored safely in still waters, and his life henceforth is little more than the history of his writings, of his mind, his opinions, and his acts of beneficence; for these last occupy no small space in it. No relative can put in a claim to his assistance but it is granted to the utmost of his power, and often beyond such restrictions as prudence, and a regard to nearer claims, would suggest. He is open to the very enthusiasm of friendship, and prepared for any self-sacrifice that the most romantic sense of duty can demand. Nor is there any young poet struggling with that world which his love of letters has made appear so harsh and cruel, to whom Southey does not extend his sympathy, his guidance, and his aid. But as the remaining portion of our task would occupy more space than we could assign to it, and as we have arrived at a fair halting-place, we will here break off for the present. 368


In the Speech delivered from the Throne at the opening of the present Session of Parliament, the following passage will be found:

"Notwithstanding the large reductions of taxation which have been effected in late years, the receipts of the Revenue have been satisfactory. The state of the Commerce and Manufactures of the United Kingdom has been such as to afford general employment to the labouring classes. I have to lament, however, the difficulties which are still felt by that important body among my people who are owners and occupiers of land; but it is my confident hope that the prosperous condition of other classes of my subjects will have a favourable effect in diminishing those difficulties, and promoting the interests of agriculture."

Without attaching too much importance to the phraseology of this Address, it will, we think, be admitted by every one who recollects the dissensions of last year, that her Majesty's Ministers, by inserting in the royal Address this acknowledgment of the difficulties under which the owners and occupiers of land are labouring, have virtually abandoned their ground; and are not now, as formerly, prepared to maintain that agricultural depression, arising from low prices, is to be considered simply as an accident, and not as the result of legislation. Last year we were told, on high Ministerial authority, that the low prices then current were merely exceptional, and could not continue; and that a signal check had been given to the importation of foreign grain. "Therefore," said Sir Charles Wood, "the farmer need not apprehend that ruin from the operation of Free Trade, which he at present anticipates from prices under 40s. a quarter." But time, more infallible than Sir Charles Wood, or any other Chancellor of the Exchequer, has proved that all these notions are fallacies. The importation continues, and prices droop. During the twelve months which have elapsed, there has been no symptom of rallying; and it is now almost universally admitted, that the depreciation of the value of agricultural produce is permanent, and must so continue in the absence of a protective duty.

We are always glad to see a fallacy cleared out of our path. The idea that high-farming can ever be made an adequate substitute for protection, was exploded last year; and now the efforts of the Whigs to demonstrate that importations cannot continue, have been abandoned. The state of the case is precisely that which we laid before the public in January 1850; and no one thinks of denying it. Even those journals, which, from time to time, have hazarded vaticinations as to rises in the value of produce, are compelled to acknowledge their fallibility, or drop their pretensions to the mantle of the gifted seer.

The matter is, therefore, very materially simplified. We are justified in holding that henceforth, under the system of free ports, the average price of the quarter of wheat in England will not exceed 40s., and may possibly be much lower when the resources of the Continent and America, both aware of their market, are fully developed. In Scotland, the average must necessarily be two or three shillings less. A corresponding fall has taken place, and will continue, in all other kinds of cereal crop and of provisions. If these data are admitted—and a very short period will now suffice to establish or refute their accuracy—the agricultural question may be discussed without any specialities whatever. Every man throughout the country will have the means of forming his judgment upon the actual working of the measure, and its effect, both direct and indirect, upon all branches of British industry. It is most desirable, on every account, that there should be no mistake as to this. Our opponents—perhaps naturally enough exasperated at the prolongation of a combat in which they have been uniformly worsted when the weapons of argument were employed, and being moreover 369 aware, from symptoms which are everywhere, manifested, that the period of delusion is nearly gone by—have over and over again charged the country party and its chiefs with a desire to cut short the experiment, before its results were sufficiently apparent. We need hardly say that the charge is utterly unfounded. We have no wish to precipitate matters, or to effect by a coup-de-main that alteration which never can be permanent unless based on the conviction of the majority of the constituencies of the Empire. We have no desire to take a leaf from the book of recent statesmen, and to induce members of Parliament to act contrary to those declarations on the faith of which they were returned. But we are entitled—nay, we are bound—to watch the experiment as it proceeds, and ever and anon to declare our honest and sincere opinion as to the nature of its working. We cannot shut our eyes to the vast injury which it is causing, and has already caused, to a most important and numerous class of our fellow-countrymen; we cannot reconcile ourselves to the operation of a system which has undoubtedly disappointed the expectations even of its founders. We have, therefore, whenever that was needful, expressed our opinion without any reservation whatever; and we shall continue to do so, not the less confidently because the views which we entertain are now openly adopted and received by many who were heretofore unwilling to disturb a course of legislation which had been deliberately sanctioned by the State.

We beg to assure the Free-Traders that we never, for one moment, underestimated the advantages of their position. At the commencement of this Parliament, they had a majority large enough—supposing that their cause was good, and their boasted experiment successful—to render all idea of a return of protection perfectly futile and hopeless. And, therefore, we were told, day after day, and month after month, that it was in vain for us to struggle against the tide—that a course of policy such as this, once commenced, must be regarded as irrevocable—and that we were merely losing time in demonstrating, what latterly was hardly denied, that the agricultural interest could not maintain itself under the pressure of the growing competition. But those who held such language seemed to have forgotten that the experiment, upon the success of which they had staked their reputation for sagacity, was all the while progressing before the eyes of the nation. Had its progress been successful and satisfactory, the country party must long ere this have dwindled away into nothing. Can our opponents not see that it is the failure of Free Trade alone which constitutes our strength? In the late debate upon Mr Disraeli's motion, Sir James Graham, who is certainly not apt to exaggerate the power of his opponents, spoke as follows: "I see very plainly that we are on the eve of a great and serious struggle. I see a party of gentlemen in this and the other house of Parliament, powerful in numbers, powerful in the respect in which they are held for their personal and hereditary virtues, having great influence in the country, and great possessions. They are an interest which, up to the present moment, has commanded great influence with the Government; and, with the main body of the community at their back, they exercise a power upon any question that is irresistible.... With such opponents it behoves us to gird up our loins. I know not whether the watchword, 'Up, guards, and at them!' may not already have been given. It is clear to me that the opponents of protection must prepare for a severe contest. They must stand upon the defensive. They must stand to their arms, and close their ranks, and prepare for a firm, manly, and uncompromising resistance!" Now, considering that not more than two years have elapsed since it was the fashion of the Liberal journals to aver that the country party was all but extinct, helpless in the House of Commons, and unsupported beyond its doors, this estimate of Sir James Graham is undoubtedly remarkable. We are naturally led to inquire how it is that the cause of protection has made so prodigious a stride—why it should now appear so formidable in the eyes of an old and experienced statesman? No other reason can be 370 assigned than the justice of the cause which the country party have maintained, and the failure of the experiment to which their adversaries were pledged. If there are any new "opponents" to Free Trade within the House of Commons, they have either been sent there by constituencies since the present Parliament was summoned, or they have become convinced of the error of their former views, and seceded from the Ministerial ranks. If, beyond the House of Commons, men are changing their opinions to that extent which Sir James Graham indicates, surely that is no argument in favour of the party which still is dominant—no testimony which can be adduced to support the wisdom of their policy. Rather should it be to us a great encouragement to persevere as we have begun, for it conveys a direct acknowledgment of the truth of those arguments which we have all along maintained.

Very absurd indeed is the accusation, that the Protectionists will not allow fair play to the progress of the experiment. Hitherto the promoters of the experiment have had it all their own way, and have been allowed to go on without any check or impediment. They profess themselves to be extremely well satisfied with the result; and yet, singularly enough, whenever a division occurs upon any point arising from their policy, they find their boasted majority becoming less and less. The conduct of the Protectionist party has indeed been marked by an extraordinary degree of forbearance. But the supporters of the cause without the walls of St Stephen's have full reliance on the integrity and the discretion of their champions within. They have not forgotten the distinct announcement of Lord Stanley that, "it is not in the House of Lords, nor in the House of Commons, but in the country at large that the battle must be fought, and the triumph achieved;" and they have no desire, through rash impatience, to endanger the coming victory. But, whilst refraining from a direct attack upon the principles of the Free-Trade system, our representatives in Parliament are by no means oblivious of their duty. The peculiar burdens on land and agricultural property and produce have not been removed, notwithstanding the promises which were made; and as the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that he had a surplus of revenue in hand, the Government very naturally been called upon to consider, whether that surplus should not be applied to the alleviation of the distress among "the owners and occupiers of land," admitted, in the Royal Speech, to exist; and whether, in fact, they have not a righteous claim to a considerable reduction of their burdens?

Such was the tenor of Mr Disraeli's motion, which was negatived, in a crowded house, by a majority of only FOURTEEN. In the proposal itself there was nothing unreasonable—nothing which even faction could lay hold of. The difficulties of one class in the community were admitted by Ministers, and contrasted by them with the general prosperity which was assumed as the condition of all others. It was not denied, but rather stated as matter of exultation, that this general prosperity arose from the same cause which had occasioned the depression—that the same fountain had given forth both sweet and bitter waters, refreshing and enlivening on the one side, whilst, on the other, it spread decay. Under these circumstances, it will not be denied, by any unprejudiced person, that it was the bounden duty of Her Majesty's Ministers—not to come forward voluntarily with any remission to the suffering class, which might be construed as a favour—but seriously to consider whether or not the statement preferred on the part of the agriculturists, that they were unjustly and unequally burdened and restricted, was true; and if it were true, then to accord relief in a fair and equitable manner. Sorry are we, indeed, to say, that neither her Majesty's Ministers, nor such of the supporters of the late Sir Robert Peel as spoke and voted on the motion, had the courage to face openly this question of abstract justice. It was enough for them that the proposition was made by a leader of the country party, and that it was generally supported by those opposed to their commercial policy. These circumstances were of themselves sufficient to secure its rejection, even had the discussion 371 of it not involved points to which no Free-Trader has ever yet ventured to address himself.

What these points are, we shall presently examine. But first let us go back for a little to what are matters of history.

In the first speech which he delivered in the House of Commons, during the eventful Session of 1846, the late Sir Robert Peel, while paving the way for the introduction of his Free-Trade measures, made the following remarks with regard to the peculiar burdens upon land:—"Further, it may be said that the land is entitled to protection on account of some peculiar burdens which it bears. But that is a question of justice, rather than of policy: I have always felt and maintained that the land is subject to peculiar burdens; but you have the power of weakening the force of that argument by the removal of the burden, or making compensation. The first three objections to the removal of protection are objections founded on considerations of public policy. The last is a question of justice, which may be determined by giving some counter-balancing advantage." Further, on the very same evening, the present Premier, Lord John Russell, thought fit to read to the House of Commons a letter which bad been addressed by him to Her Majesty, of which the following is an extract:—"The measures which Sir Robert Peel had in contemplation appear to have been—a present suspension of the duties of corn—a repeal of the Corn Laws at no remote period, preceded by a diminution of duties—relief to the occupiers of land from burdens by which they are peculiarly affected, so far as it may be practicable. Upon full consideration of these proposals, Lord John Russell is prepared to assent to the opening of the ports, and to the fiscal relief which it was intended to afford." On that evening, (22d January 1846,) Lord John was in a peculiarly communicative mood; for, besides the letter of 16th December 1845, of which the foregoing is an extract, he read to the House another epistle, dated the 20th, informing Her Majesty that he had found it impossible to form an Administration. That letter, moreover, contains a sketch of what the noble lord proposed to have done, provided it had been possible to procure the aid of that galaxy of talent with which he is now surrounded. "Lord John Russell would have formed his Ministry on the basis of a complete free trade in corn, to be established at once, without gradation or delay. He would have accompanied that proposal with measures of relief, to a considerable extent, of the occupiers of land, from the burdens to which they are subjected."

Now, we beg the reader distinctly to mark the character of these several admissions made by Sir Robert Peel and by Lord John Russell. They were made five years ago—are quite unequivocal—and demonstrate the opinion of both, that, in justice, no alteration should be made in the laws which regulated the admission of foreign grain, without granting to the occupiers of the soil a relief from their peculiar burdens. This is a matter which it is very necessary to keep in view, inasmuch as we cannot compliment Lord John Russell on his general ethical perceptions. He has an odd way of addressing the whole agricultural body as if they were liable for the consequences of the rejection or acceptance of certain proposals, which, in office or out of it, he thought proper to make to certain members of Parliament—a mode of dealing which, in our humble mind, is more suitable to a sharp attorney than to a wise and enlightened statesman.

What followed is well known to every one. The Free-Trade measures proposed by Sir Robert Peel were carried, and Lord John Russell succeeded him in office; still, however, not one word was heard about the promised relief to the agriculturists. It is quite true that there was no explicit bargain, but justice is independent of bargains. Both Ministers had expressed their opinion that, in the event of the repeal of the Corn Laws, it was not only reasonable, but JUST, that the agriculturists should be relieved from certain burdens peculiar to them alone; and yet neither of them took one step in the direction of justice. At that time it was notorious that neither of them contemplated the disastrous effects of their measures 372 upon the landed interest. They imagined—foolishly enough, it is true, but in accordance with the false data on which they proceeded—that very limited supplies of grain would be thrown into this country, and that consequently prices could not be affected to any large degree. We cannot read the different speeches of Sir Robert Peel, guarded as they were, without concluding that he never contemplated a permanent fall in the price of wheat below 50s. per quarter, if he even expected it to drop so low; and yet, these being his calculations, he admitted that it was not just to expose the agricultural body to that contingency, without giving them a measure of relief. We all know what has occurred. An average of 40s. is now considered a high price in England, as markets go; and in Scotland we are settling down to 36s.; yet still the preliminary measure of justice, which, according to both Ministers, ought to have accompanied the repeal of the Corn Laws, is withheld. With a surplus in their hands, Ministers refrain from applying it to the discharge of the just debt and when the debt is claimed—as it was the other day by Mr Disraeli, in terms not less distinct than forcible—they give it the go-by, and commence declaiming on the impolicy of a return to protection—a point which was not before them!

It is difficult, indeed, to observe the limits of conventional decorum while commenting on conduct like this. Had Mr Disraeli demanded the re-imposition of a duty, whether fixed or variable, we should of course have expected that, however strong his case, he would be met by strenuous opposition. The Whigs have committed themselves so far that, were it proved to them that in the course of a single year, the whole agricultural interest must perish unless their whole system of commercial policy were changed, we should not expect them to step in and offer to stay the calamity. In this line of dogged inaction and obstinacy they would probably receive the congenial support of the small rump of Conservative renegades, who follow them rather through the necessity of their degraded position, than from any abstract love they bear to the Whig dominant faction. But Mr Disraeli asked nothing of the kind. He simply pointed out the fact, which could brook no denial, that certain burdens and restrictions were still imposed upon the agriculturists, which prevented them from entering on anything like, equal terms, into that course of competition which is the glory and essence of Free Trade. He demanded the removal of these, or, at all events, all impartial adjustment of them, in order that the British agriculturist might have fair play, and not be brought into the field loaded and oppressed by a weight which no other class of the community is called upon to bear. It was no question of countervailing duties to put the British on a level with the foreign producer: it was simply a question of home taxation between class and class, and between man and man. Under the system of protection, burdens had been laid largely upon the land, and the land alone; restrictions had been laid upon the occupiers, forbidding them to grow certain valuable crops, in order that the revenue might be maintained by fixed custom-duties, levied on the same articles when imported from foreign countries; and certain other produce was placed under the fetters of the Excise. The system of protection fell, but the burdens and restrictions remain. Apart altogether from the foreign question—apart from considerations whether the owner and occupier of land in Britain can compete with foreigners in his own market on equal terms whilst the burden of British taxation remains undiminished—lies the question of fair and equal adjustment of taxation among ourselves. It may be that this is difficult—it may even prove to be impossible. The state of the public revenue may be such, that no Government can accord to the occupiers of land their natural right of producing what crops they please, or abrogate the laws which have the effect of restricting certain kinds of produce to very narrow limits. It may be that human ingenuity cannot devise a method for setting agricultural industry free in all its branches, and allowing that open competition which is not withheld 373 from any kind of manufacture if so, that is the strongest of all arguments in favour of protection, and it were well if it were thoroughly understood. And understood it is by many, though some of those who understand it find it convenient to do their utmost to perpetuate an act of injustice. Sir James Graham, Mr Cobden—ay, twenty more of those who either spoke or voted against Mr Disraeli's motion, have declared themselves hostile to the continuance of the malt-tax, and yet we see the result. But there are, according to the recorded admissions of both Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell, burdens from which the agriculturists ought in common justice to be freed—or rather, from which they ought to have been freed long ago; and yet even this poor modicum or instalment of justice is denied. And when is it denied? At the very time when the Ministry boast of the general prosperity of the country, with the exception of one single class, at whose expense, they allow, this general prosperity has been gained! At the very time when they are in possession of a surplus of revenue, part of which is to be applied to a remission of duties on foreign timber!

We rejoice that the question has been brought forward fairly, manfully, and openly. The division, and still more the tone of the debate, must show the agriculturists how hopeless it is to expect any redress from her Majesty's present advisers. No one speaker attempted to meet Mr Disraeli on the ground to which he strictly confined himself. "If I am asked," said he, "what is my remedy for the difficulties of the owners and occupiers of land, my answer, on the part of those who sit around me, is brief. It is—We want justice. We ask that you shall not prohibit or restrain our industry. We ask that you shall not levy upon us direct burdens for public purposes, to which very few other classes contribute. We ask that you shall not throw upon us, who, according to your own account, are the only class that is in a state of prolonged distress, the burden of your system. That is what we ask. We say—remove this enormous injustice, and let us be fairly weighted in the race. We shrink not from the competition which you have thought fit to open to our enemies; but do not let us enter into the struggle manacled." Was there anything in this discordant with the theories of Free Trade? Was there any claim advanced for the maintenance or the imposition of burdens pressing upon the rest of the community to the advantage of the agricultural class? Nothing of the kind. It was, on the contrary, a demand which, if the Free-Traders had an atom of principle, could not be refused, unless they were prepared to maintain that they alone had a right to immunity of taxation. So strong was Mr Disraeli's argument—so irresistible were his conclusions, that no one orator on the other side ventured to meet him fairly. The Chancellor of the Exchequer brought forward statistics, letters, reports, newspaper articles, and all the other gallimaufry which elaborate subordinates are expected to supply on such occasions, for the purpose of showing that trade was in a healthy condition, exports increasing, and what not;—things, even supposing them to be true, quite as relevant to the matter in dispute, as if he had read a statistical account of the commerce of China. One point he certainly did touch, and that was the saving clause in the Speech from the Throne, expressing "my confident hope that the prosperous condition of other classes of my subjects will have a favourable effect in diminishing those difficulties, and promoting the interests of agriculture." Upon this text Sir Charles Wood chose to dilate, asking, "Is it possible that the agricultural interest can stand so much separated from the rest of the community as not to be benefited by their prosperity, and derive advantage from the great and increasing demand for their produce which that prosperity must create?" Great and increasing demand FOR THEIR PRODUCE!! Why, according to the same authority, the prosperity of the said classes has been created, or, at all events, augmented, by their deriving their supplies abroad, from the foreign producer who can afford to undersell the overburdened British farmer! Something like ten or twelve millions of quarters 374 of grain are now annually forced into this country, whatever be the quality of the harvest; as also provisions enough to feed the army, victual the navy, and supply the sea-coast towns; and live cattle innumerable are shipped for our eastern ports. And this, according to Sir Charles Wood, is to create a great and increasing demand for British agricultural produce! We may say frankly, that although we never entertained a high estimate of the intellectual powers, acquirements, or sagacity of this member of the Cabinet, we should not have ventured to accuse him of such sheer imbecility as this speech of his betrays, save on his own evidence. We believe him to be perfectly sincere. Even had he the desire to practise it, nature has fortunately denied him the possession of the talent of casuistry. His optics are like those of the owl in daylight, utterly irreconcilable with the common standard of vision, and therefore we need not wonder if, ever and anon, he dashes himself unconsciously against a tree.

Neither have we much to say to the speech of the Premier. If we are to consider it in the light of a hortatory warning against any future attempt to regain protection, it is not without its value. We know very well that it is much easier and more popular to remit, than to impose a duty; and the ancient experiences of the noble lord in fostering democratic agitation, make him a valuable witness in all that relates to the probable causes of tumult. But Lord John Russell, in his forcible sketch of the awful consequences of any return to the protective system, did, as it seems to us, not only mistake the question before him, but overlook, whether wilfully or casually, the express statement of Mr Disraeli, which embodies the declared views of the chiefs of the country party. Let us see what that statement was:—"I am extremely anxious that I should obtain no support to-night under a false pretence, and that I should not incur any opposition by the same means. I trust no honourable gentleman will rise to-night and say that this motion is a direct or an indirect attack on our new commercial system. Far from it. It is in consequence of your new commercial system that I have felt it my duty to make this motion, and to try to adapt, if I can, the position of the owners and occupiers of land to that new commercial system you have introduced. Nor let any honourable gentleman support me to-night in the idea that this is an attempt to bring back protection in disguise. Nothing of the kind. I last year said what I now adhere to severely, strictly, even religiously. I said then that I would not, in this Parliament, make any attempt to bring back the abrogated system of protection, and I gave my reasons for that course. I deeply deplored at the time the circumstances of the change. I deeply deplored that a Parliament and a Ministry, which, if not formally, at least virtually—and that is of much more importance in the opinion of the constituencies—were pledged to uphold the system of protection, should have abrogated it. I think there was in that circumstance a clear plain cause of quarrel between Parliament and the constituencies; but I cannot forget what passed after that great change. The general elections took place; that opportunity was afforded to the constituencies, even if they were betrayed, to recall the legislation the abrogation of which they deplored. I cannot forget that the agricultural body in particular were warned by their best and most powerful friend—now lost to us—not to lose that opportunity, because it was their only one. I cannot forget that they rejected that counsel; that, misled by the superficial circumstances of the moment, the prices of the year, which were undoubtedly the result of exceptional circumstances, they did not support us in the policy we recommended; and I for one, sir, cannot consent that the laws which regulate the industry of a great nation should be made the shuttlecock of party strife. I say that, if I thought I might, by a chance majority, bring back the system called 'protection,' I would shrink from it. That is a thing which must be done out of the House, and done out of the House by no chance majority, but by the free unfettered expression of public opinion; and no other result can be satisfactory 375 to any class, or conducive to the general welfare. I have expressed this opinion before, and honourable gentlemen opposite, if they will condescend to recollect what I have said, will do me the justice of admitting I have done so. I repeat it now, because I wish no one to be in error with respect to my motives, my object, and the policy I wish Government to pursue."

As to the distinctness of this statement in all its parts, there can be no difference of opinion. Some who are not merely smarting, but writhing under the injuries inflicted by Free Trade, may think that Mr Disraeli has taken too dispassionate a view of the case, and that the line of conduct which he has announced, and which he declares himself determined to follow, is less energetic than suits the emergency of the present crisis. Deeply as we deplore the misery which exists, and the evils which have been occasioned, we cannot do otherwise than express our entire concurrence with the views so ably stated. Protection cannot be regained by a side-wind, or a mere casual and hasty vote. It must be brought in by the voice of the constituencies, and according to the forms of the Constitution, or not at all; and he is no friend of the agricultural body who would counsel otherwise. Therefore we say, that Mr Disraeli performed a most manly, proper, and timely act in making that distinct declaration; and we verily believe that nothing could have galled the Free-Traders more, or struck greater consternation into their ranks, than the simple and clear avowal of the principles by which the advocates of native industry are determined to abide. Lord John Russell evidently felt himself placed in an awkward position. He was of course prepared to combat any proposal for a return to protection, but he had not one argument to meet the demand for justice which Mr Disraeli so strongly urged on the part of the agricultural body. Where could he find any? We have seen that, five years ago, he acknowledged the justice of the claim, and, by a broad admission of agricultural distress in the Speech from the Throne, he virtually confessed that the time had arrived when all fair remissions should be made, more especially as he had the means to do so. But, finding it impossible to meet Mr Disraeli on the only ground which he occupied, the shifty Premier thought fit to evade the question altogether, and, under the sheltering shield of Sir James Graham, who preceded him in the debate, to utter a harangue upon the dangers to which the country would be exposed should protection carry the day. Now, we have nothing whatever to say upon the subject of Lord John Russell's vaticinations, simply considered as such. A return to protection may be bad, or it may be good; it may make us poorer or richer; it may involve us in new difficulties, or it may free us from those which confessedly exist at present. All that is matter of opinion. But has Lord John Russell so far forgotten his old constitutional creed, as to maintain that, if the majority of the constituencies should declare in favour of protection, and the majority of the House of Peers adopt the same view, the present commercial system is not to be reversed? And if he does not mean that, why all this empty bluster and ridiculous vapouring upon a point which has not yet been mooted? There is no Guy Fawkes' conspiracy going on in the cellars to blow the Treasury benches, with their occupants, into the air; there is no intention on the part of the Protectionists to call the yeomanry of England together, and march them upon Westminster, to see their wrongs redressed by force of arms. If the noble lord dreads anything, it is a moral reaction on the part of the people—on the part of the voters throughout the country, who hold the franchise, and return members to the House of Commons; and if he denounces the acts of a majority so obtained,—why, we must even seek out a new interpreter of the mysteries of the British Constitution!

In sober sadness, we could almost find it in our heart to be sorry for Lord John Russell. For years past he has had it in his power very materially to strengthen his position, by acting up to the tenor of those 376 letters which we referred to in the commencement of this article. We do not say that any such arrangement would or could have satisfied the agricultural interest; for the vicissitude which they have experienced has proved so tremendous, that no adjustment of taxation could act as a remedy for the evil. Nevertheless, it was perfectly open to the Premier to have freed himself at once from the trammels of party—to have taken a high, honourable, and bold position—and to have insisted that the interest which was made the subject of experiment should be placed as nearly as possible, in so far as regards taxation, on an equal footing with the other interests of the country. To that line of conduct, indeed, his credit, if not his honour, was pledged; and we confess that we cannot fathom the motive which has led him first to delay, and then directly to refuse, what he once acknowledged to be an act of simple justice. What ulterior views the Whig Cabinet may entertain, we have no means of guessing; but if it should be, as has already been surmised, that they calculate on maintaining their supremacy through the ruin of the most important branch of the producers of the United Kingdom, they may look for a struggle not less desperate than that which Lord John Russell has predicted as the consequence of a constitutional return to the protective system.

But, to keep to the actual question which was before the House of Commons—the question as to the peculiar burdens imposed upon the land—let us see Lord John Russell's opinion in 1851, contrasted with his opinion in 1846. He thus speaks in reply to Mr Disraeli:—"Well, but it is said that land is burdened in a special manner, and that the owners should receive compensation. Why, I remember when a friend of mine, who is now Governor General of the Ionian Islands, year after year attempted to gain a Select Committee for the Purpose of considering what were the burdens upon the land; that those gentlemen who are the most clamorous for protection never could bear to consent, and used to come forward to beg that there might be no inquiry, and to stop all attempts at investigation; and now it appears that, without any investigation at all, we are to suppose those great and unfair burdens are placed on the land." Without any investigation at all! What reduction, then, was Lord John Russell willing to have given in 1846? Was he, an ex-Prime Minister, so entirely ignorant of our fiscal system, that he did not know what were the peculiar burdens upon land? If so, it is manifest that he had not passed his apprenticeship when he was pretending to act as a master. But, in reality, the subterfuge is as mean as it is ridiculous. Never was a promise to pay more clumsily and disgracefully eluded; and we only regret that the stamp duties are not sufficiently comprehensive to include within their reach, in a legally binding form, the promises or offers of an ex-Minister who is making a violent effort to re-establish himself, his relations and friends, in the highest offices of these kingdoms.

Absolutely, however, we care nothing for what was said in this discussion by Lord John Russell or his colleagues. They have taken their part, and they are determined to abide by it; and from their hands the agriculturists need not look for the slightest measure of relief. According to the Whig creed, each fresh importation of corn, flour, provisions, and cattle, must tend to "diminishing the difficulties, and promoting the interests of agriculture," since by those means the general prosperity of the country has been attained, and it is through that general prosperity alone that agriculture is hereafter to profit. In short, the doctrine is, that an increased consumption of foreign produce in Great Britain must materially tend to the prosperity of the British agriculturist! Truly, political economy, as thus interpreted, is a great and wonderful science!

But we have a few words to say with regard to another section of politicians, who were represented on this occasion by their present chief Sir James Graham. Notwithstanding the violent efforts which have been made to keep it together, that 377 party has undergone, during the last twelve months, a very considerable modification. The great head and originator of it has been removed from this world, and many who were content to fight under his banner have not cared to renew their oath of allegiance to a less trusted and popular captain. Sir James Graham has some excellent qualities and accomplishments, but he is wanting in others. He is the very Reuben of politics; unstable as water, uncertain as the winds of heaven. With the fussy assistance of his prime janissary, Mr Cardwell, he has been attempting for some time back to intrench himself in a small camp, apart from the larger leaguers, and to maintain such a semblance of exact neutrality, that neither party, on the eve of joining battle, can confidently reckon on his support. It must be acknowledged that he is true to his hereditary traditions. The Grahams of "the Debateable Land," as that tract of country occupied by the clan was denominated, were, in the days of Border warfare, accounted neither Scots nor English. One day they appeared on the one side, and on the next they showed face on the other. That method, however, though it may have its conveniences, is not likely to meet with much approval at the present day. The Free-lance system has gone out of fashion; and we confess that we are not sorry to observe that Sir James Graham has at last committed himself so decidedly, that the country party must hereafter regard him in the light of a permanent foe. Do not let us be misunderstood. We acknowledge the great advantage of his services as a friend: we have not the least desire to depreciate or undervalue his abilities as a debater. But now, more than ever, it is important to know distinctly who are for us, and who against us. Sir James Graham, in so far as his own opinions are concerned, has left no doubt whatever on the matter. He has not only joined with Lord John Russell in denying the justice of any claim whatever on the part of the agricultural interest, but he has taken the bolder step of practically denying the existence of agricultural distress. We cannot attach any other meaning to that portion of his speech, in which he alludes to the state of his own tenantry, and the condition of the Scottish farmers. We shall transcribe it here, in order that our readers may fully understand the views of the right honourable baronet:—

"I pass from the handloom weavers to the farmers and landlords of Cumberland. I know none of the cases to which the honourable member alluded of my own knowledge; but he adverted to a farm which has been recently relet in Cumberland at a considerable diminution of rent. The noble marquis has spoken of his labourers. Perhaps I may here be permitted to say a few words of mine. I have already stated to you the infinite obligations I am placed under by the conduct of my tenantry, but I stand here this moment without an acre of land unlet which I wish to let. I have not for the last five years changed two tenants who pay me above £100 a-year, and I have not an arrear of £300 on my whole rental. That is the state of my county, so far as I am concerned. But I look to the estate of my neighbour, of my colleague, and of my friend, as I am proud to call him, the Duke of Buccleuch, one of the greatest proprietors in the south of Scotland, and one who differed from me as to the policy of Free Trade. He has not, in Roxburghshire and Dumfries, let land falling out of lease—and those leases are usually for nineteen years—at any diminution of rent. A case has been mentioned, again, of a farm in East Lothian; and I dare say some hon. member more conversant with the details of that property than I am will speak upon that point; but, as I am informed, the farm in question had been previously in the hands of the owner, and had never been let before the last letting—that it was never calculated to be worth more than £1800 a-year—that some speculative farmer took it at £2200—that he made an imprudent and improvident bargain—and that a remission, therefore, has taken place, reducing the rent below £1800 a-year, but not much. I have friends in East Lothian, and I have made it my business to inquire into these matters, and I am told farms let freely as they fall out of lease, without any diminution of rent whatever; and also I am informed that the value of the fee-simple, which is the real test among the shrewd and sagacious people of Scotland, has increased since the repeal of the Corn Laws. I have said I have no farms to let; but I have perceived that, since the repeal of the Corn Laws, there has been a competition for land, arising 378 among a class of persons with whom there was formerly no desire to occupy land, while there was the uncertainty which attended the operation of these laws."

The natural inference from this is, that Ministers have been entirely deceived as to the condition of the owners and occupiers of land—that, notwithstanding the great fall of prices, agriculture is flourishing—and that the whole of the agitation which has been got up on the subject is no better than a gigantic imposture. We call this "the natural inference," because such undoubtedly would be the impression conveyed to the mind of any unprejudiced reader. It is very much to be regretted that such statements should go forth to the public on the authority of Sir James Graham. In so far as Scotland is concerned, they are calculated to lead to a conclusion directly opposite to the truth. It is always a delicate thing to allude to individual instances; but we cannot help observing, that when Sir James Graham cites the case of the Buccleuch property in "Roxburghshire and Dumfries," he does not add, for the information of those who are unacquainted with the locality, that the great bulk of these possessions consists of sheep-farms; and it is notorious that, owing to the price of wool, the sheep-farmers constitute the only agricultural class which has not suffered severely from the introduction of the Free-Trade measures. Of the Buccleuch estates in Mid-Lothian, where the land is entirely arable, Sir James Graham makes no mention. In the south-eastern districts of Scotland, the fall in the value of farms has latterly been remarkable. To this point we may have occasion to recur hereafter; for although we do not think that the letting of particular farms is to be taken as a criterion of the general condition of agriculture, still we are desirous that the public should know how the case really stands. It is quite true that, until lately, instances have occurred of farms being let without any diminution of rent; nor is this the least surprising, considering the language which was employed so late as last spring by Lord Lansdowne and other members of the Government, as well as by individuals of considerable station, influence, and intelligence, like Mr W. E. Gladstone. The whole tenor of their addresses was calculated to persuade the farmers that the depreciation of prices then existing was attributable to an excellent harvest in 1849, and not at all to foreign importation. They scouted the idea that the averages of wheat could remain permanently at or near 40s.; and they prophesied a speedy rise. It is no great marvel if these representations induced some people to offer for farms which were falling out of lease. A farmer cannot, from the nature of his profession, be idle. He must have ground whereon to place his stock, unless he chooses to sell it off; and as the value of stock had also greatly fallen in the spring of last year, few were willing to part with theirs, and so virtually to abandon their profession. But it is a gross mistake to suppose that, in the majority of cases, the reletting of a farm in East Lothian or Roxburghshire, at the same rent as formerly, is to be taken as evidence of continued agricultural prosperity. During the last nineteen years, the common period of the endurance of a lease, the land in these counties has been so much improved by a liberal expenditure of capital, that a considerable rise of rent was anticipated, and would have been obtained but for the operation of the new commercial measures. Be that as it may, we are assured by the most competent authorities, that since last harvest there has been a general disinclination on the part of farmers to offer for land, except at greatly reduced rates; and we have heard of instances in which the highest offers did not reach two-thirds of the previous rental. We are speaking just now of the best arable land in Scotland. It is commonly and currently stated, and has never yet been contradicted, that elsewhere the depreciation is at least as great. Earl Grey, perhaps, may be able to afford some rather startling instances of the decline of rents in Northumberland. In the cattle-breeding districts of the north and Argyleshire, tenants have almost entirely ceased offering for vacant farms. They consider their occupation 379gone; and many of the best and most prudent of them are either on their way or preparing to emigrate to America. As for the islands, they are now no better than so many districts of pauperism.

Perhaps, however, we are attaching too much importance to this statement by Sir James Graham. So far as we can see, he now stands alone, a solitary believer in agricultural prosperity, whilst every one else has admitted the distress, though differing as to the nature of the remedy, or even denying the propriety of administering a remedy at all. From what is passing in England, we should imagine that the distress among the agricultural classes there is of unexampled severity. We read in the Times of 17th February—the last number which has reached us—a curious account of the South Nottinghamshire election, which has resulted in the return of Mr Barrow. As one paragraph bears directly upon the point which we are now discussing, and as it, moreover, contains a wholesome warning to such landlords throughout the country as have chosen to stand aloof from the tenantry during this momentous struggle, we shall here extract it.

"The result astonishes everybody, even here; and that, in the most aristocratic county of England, with the landlords almost to a man banded together in support of their nominee,—a scion of one of the largest landed proprietors in the county should be defeated by a plain country gentleman, a retired solicitor, with scarcely an acre of his own in the county, appears truly marvellous. It can only be accounted for by the fact of the losses of the occupiers during the last two years rendering them indifferent as to whether they be expelled from their homesteads or not; even though Mr Barrow has for many years presided at and taken part in their farmers' clubs and other meetings, and Lord Newark has never been seen by one elector in a thousand until this contest."

Assuming this account to be true—for we have no other knowledge of the case—we rejoice that the electors of Nottinghamshire have acted so independent a part, and returned to Parliament a gentleman who has made their grievances and condition his especial study. Such men are wanted at the present time, and it is to such we look for the firm vindication of the rights of an injured tenantry. But what degree of agricultural prosperity is implied by the previous statement?

Of course it is very easy for Sir James Graham, holding such views, to descant on the impolicy of any return to protection. If no injury has been inflicted upon any one, and if all interests are prospering, there certainly can exist no conceivable motives for a change. For, not to mention the obvious difficulties which lie in the way of a reversal of the present commercial system, what chance should we have of persuading any one to join us in such a mad crusade, if there indeed exist no grievances of a weighty and intolerable character? According to Sir James Graham, the landlord is receiving the same rent as before, the tenant is equally comfortable, the labourer much more comfortable than he was under the system of protection—grant all this, and no censure, no reproach, can be severe enough to stigmatise our conduct. Unfortunately for his theory, the Knight of Netherby has to contend against something more stubborn than arguments. Before he can establish his conclusions, he will in the first place demonstrate that 38s., the present average price of the quarter of wheat, is equal to 56s., the former remunerative rate. Next, he must explain and make clear to the comprehension of the farmer, how all public and private taxes, imposts, and obligations, can be discharged by the same amount of produce as formerly, that produce having fallen upwards of thirty-five per cent in value. And lastly, rising to economics, he must show us how the home trade can be improved by the depression of the principal customer. When these points are satisfactorily disposed of, we promise to give in; for why should we prolong a contest, to our own great discomfort, for no substantial reason?

But we must now allude to a 380 passage in the speech of Sir James Graham, far too serious to be passed over without indignant commentary. Irish iteration may of late years have somewhat blunted the nicer sensibility of the ear of the House of Commons, once painfully acute to the remotest whisper of sedition; but we certainly never expected to see the time when such language as the following, from the lips of a Privy Counsellor, should be allowed to pass without rebuke:—

"Now, I will not venture to make any prediction with respect to the price of corn in future; but this, sir, I say, that, be the price what it may, the time has arrived when it must be left to its natural level; and that for any Government or for any Legislature artificially, and by power of law, to enhance it,—I say the day is past. And why do I say so? I say there is not a ploughboy who treads the heaviest clay in England, who does not feel practically his condition improved within the last three years—and he knows the reason why. I tell you there is not a shepherd on the most distant and barren hill of Scotland, who does not now have daily a cheaper and a larger mess of porridge than he ever had before—and he also knows the reason why. I tell you, again, there is not a weaver in the humblest cottage in Lancashire who has not fuller and cheaper meals, without any fall in his wages, than he had before—and he knows the reason why. Now I must tell you the whole truth. The time has arrived when the truth fully must be spoken. There is not a soldier who returns to England from abroad, that does not practically feel that his daily pay is augmented, that he has a cheaper, larger, and a better mess, and that he enjoys greater comforts,—and he also knows the reason. Now, sir, I entreat my honourable friends who sit below me to be on their guard. You may canvass the country—you may endanger property—you may shake our institutions to the foundation, (hear, hear, from Lord John Russell, and cheers from the Government benches); but I am persuaded that there is no power in England which can permanently enhance by force of law the price of bread. Now, that is my honest and firm conviction. The peace of this country, my own possessions, are as dear to me as any honourable gentleman who sits on the benches below me; but I feel that we have arrived at the period when it is necessary to speak the truth, and I have spoken it without reservation."

It is much to be regretted that Sir James Graham did not choose to speak the truth at an earlier stage of his career. Since the clatter of the muskets of Pride's detachment of soldiery was heard in the House of Commons, no more insolent sound has jarred on the ear of that popular assembly than this suggestive harangue. We pass over the declamatory passages about the ploughboy and the shepherd without comment, as mere bombast; but Sir James Graham ought to know, and if he does not he should be made to know, that such language as he used with respect to the British army is not more offensive than it is greatly dangerous to the State. Are gentlemen of the House of Commons, acting upon their own honest convictions of what is best for the interests of the State, and deputed by constituencies to represent their feelings and opinions, to be threatened by a Privy-counsellor and Ex-minister with the attack of a Prætorian guard? Anything so monstrous—so unpardonable as this, it has never been our lot to comment upon. Not only the dignity of the law, but the liberty of the subject, and the prerogative of the Crown, are here passed over as matters of no account; and a presumption is directly reared—that the soldier is a political functionary, and may exercise his judgment as to what side he should adopt, or what course he should pursue, in the event of any legislative enactment whatever! Grant but that, and we are indeed on the verge of anarchy. Now, we entreat our readers and the public to weigh well the meaning of this language, considering the quarter from which it came. It is no trifling matter. Those sentences were not the rapid conceptions of an orator in the heat of debate. Their context shows that they were prepared, studied, and committed to memory, with a serious intent and purpose; and the sooner we understand their entire significance the better. This gentleman, Sir James Graham, after having assumed all the postures of the weathercock—after having looked, in the maturity of his years, all winds of political doctrine in the face—finds himself at last in the position 381 of a Cabinet Minister, pledged to his constituents to uphold a certain line of commercial policy. The head of the Cabinet, equally, or even more, deeply pledged, wavers, turns round, belies his former profession, and carries his colleague along with him. Having carefully ascertained that a considerable number of the representatives of the people, though pledged directly or indirectly to an opposite course, are ready to obey their orders; and being thus certain of a majority, these statesmen refuse an appeal to the country, and proceed to obtain the sanction of the law for certain measures diametrically opposite to the opinions which they formerly professed. They are so far successful, that the measures are carried, but the Cabinet shortly afterwards falls, in consequence of the treachery of its members. A new Parliament is summoned, and the members of that Parliament are bound, not more by pledges than by evident considerations of the public welfare, to give a fair trial to the working of the new commercial system. The Cabinet, and the majority of the members of Parliament, believe in the excellence of that system: the minority do not. Time rolls on, and the system develops itself. No attempt is made to impede it: it is left as free as the metal is to run into the mould. But in the course of its progress it crushes and breaks down various of those interests which were always considered the most important in the British commonwealth; and a cry is heard, that to persevere is to ensure destruction. Still no attempt is made towards a retrograde movement. The experiment was asked for—demanded—let it be seen in its true colours. The cry, however, is not altogether without its effect. The majority is weakened—the minority materially increased. Beyond the walls of Parliament the ferment increases daily. The anticipations and the prophecies of the supporters of the new system prove to be not only inaccurate, but so wholly contrary to the real result that no one can venture to defend them. The small party rapidly swells into importance, because it has public opinion with it. Almost each casual election is given in its favour. And at last the leader of that minority comes forward and, without requiring a total change of system, requests that Parliament should at last take into consideration the unjust, peculiar, and unequal burden of taxation, which the most suffering interest is still compelled to bear, notwithstanding that it has been deprived of that position which alone could justify the imposition of peculiar burdens. Whereupon this quondam Minister and adviser of the Crown, avoiding the question before him, and practically denying that meed of justice which his former colleague, the head and front of the whole offending, had directly admitted to be due, stands up in his place, and warns the opposite party to desist from the course which they are pursuing; not because their case is hopeless, for he acknowledges their power and the extent of their support; but because he foresees a rebellion looming in the distance, with the soldiery arrayed against them! We say deliberately, that such language as this is eminently and grossly mischievous. It presupposes, what we certainly never expect to see in this country, the masses of the nation and the army drawn out, not against the House of Commons, or the House of Lords, or the Sovereign individually, but against all these three estates in the exercise of their undoubted functions. The Protectionists do not propose to imitate the example of Sir James Graham and his friends, by perverting the House of Commons against the will of the constituencies. Even were that in their power, they would abstain from doing so, for the nation has already suffered by far too much from the consequences of such a total abandonment of principle. The success of the country party depends solely upon the will of the constituencies. Nothing shall be done illegally—nothing deceitfully. When an appeal shall be made to the electoral body of these kingdoms, they will have it in their power to decide, whether the nation is to persevere in a system which has already proved so disastrous to many interests, or whether British industry is to be again protected to the extent, at all events, of 382 its burdens. And if the constituencies decide in our favour, and the two other estates of the realm act in accordance with the opinion of the House of Commons, what is it that we have to fear? Not certainly the dark hints and insinuations of Sir James Graham. When the two Houses of the legislature are divided in opinion, and when neither of them will yield, or, when the Sovereign authority is broadly opposed to the declared will of the Commons, it is perfectly possible that a most serious and lamentable struggle may ensue. But so long as the three great estates act together in harmony and concord, there is no power in the land that can set their councils at defiance. Therefore, when Sir James Graham sketches his imaginary league of ploughboy, shepherd, weaver, and soldier, against the resolutions of the Imperial Parliament, he is contemplating an anomaly which never has occurred, and which never can occur in Great Britain. Why or wherefore should we accept his affectionate entreaty, and be on our guard? How are we to convulse the country—endanger property—or shake our institutions to the foundations? Are we plotting? Are we conspiring? Do we destroy the law? Are we doing anything, or do we propose to do anything, contrary to the spirit of the Constitution? And if not, why are these big words thrown at our heads? We may be quite wrong in our anticipations. The country may not accord us its support. The electors may determine that henceforward and for ever Free Trade shall remain the sole and dominant system. If so, we shall submit, as is our bounden duty. We shall rear up no phantom armies, such as are said at times to be seen skirting the hills of Cumberland, to oppose to the levies of Sir James Graham; but whilst we are acting constitutionally and openly, let us hear no more of such language, which is somewhat worse than offensive.

We observe from the report, that these passages in the speech of Sir James Graham were cheered emphatically by the Premier. Indeed, in his own address to the House, he touched upon similar topics: "I should be most grieved if I thought the great mass of the people of this country were induced, by the restoration of laws which enhance the price of food, to consider that, by imitating the example of the democracies on the Continent, they could gain any advantage which they could not now obtain, or increase the prosperity they are deriving from the ancient institutions of this country." We cannot of course presume to say that we distinctly apprehend the meaning of this complicated sentence, which we now put upon record for the benefit of future students of composition; but it sounds very like a hint of civil insurrection. Now, we take leave to say, once for all, that such hints and inuendoes are excessively indecorous and improper when emanating from any Minister of the Crown; and that Lord John Russell, in particular, considering his antecedents, is a vast deal too fond of indulging in this sort of dubious talk. His business and his duty is to inculcate respect for the laws, not to contemplate their infraction. If he entertains, as he professes to do, a deep regard for the Constitution, he should cautiously abstain from hinting that there is a power beyond the Constitution which may possibly be called in to control it. Certainly we are not inclined to submit ourselves to this sort of despotism, or to be deterred from doing our duty, and expressing our opinions, by vague threats of future consequences. There is another passage in Lord John Russell's speech which is open to peculiar animadversion. He, the champion of popular opinion, deprecates any appeal to the country on the subject of import duties, on account of the damage which might thereby arise to trade! Does the noble lord think that the great body of the British agriculturists now under the pressure of the screw, and with the prospect of ruin before them, will be deterred from prosecuting their demand for what they conceive to be their just rights, by any such considerations as these? Are the yeomanry to suffer themselves to be crushed and expatriated without a murmur, simply for the sake of putting the manufacturers to no temporary or extra inconvenience? The Premier may depend upon it that 383 he will never save himself in an emergency by putting forward such worthless and shallow arguments. Why, if he, like Sir James Graham, recognises the great and growing power of the country party, can he shut his eyes to the fact, that that power is simply the embodiment of public opinion, without which to back him, Mr Disraeli's speeches and motions would be as innocuous as the sheet lightning of a summer's evening?

There are several other points arising out of this memorable debate, to which we intended to refer had our limits permitted. We cannot, however, avoid noticing the prosperity terms of the Royal Speech delivered at the opening of the Session.

It is a very remarkable circumstance, that the trade and manufactures of Great Britain, however much they may have been depressed at different periods of the previous year, are always marvellously resuscitated towards the opening of the Session. Thus, in December 1849, the cotton trade was, according to the confession of the Free-Trade organs, in a very bad condition. Less business than formerly had been done during the year; and even the Economist questioned "whether 'the power of purchase,' on the part of the British community, is nearly equal to what it was in 1845." In February thereafter, under the medical treatment of Ministers, all kinds of manufactures received an amazing fillip. Mr Labouchere almost wept for joy at the amazing prosperity of the shipowners, who, ungrateful villains as they were, instantly and unanimously repudiated the soft impeachment. This year there has been the same burst of sunshine precisely at the same season. Everything is couleur de rose. We were exceedingly delighted to hear it. In our ignorance we had been led to believe that the iron trade was nearly in a state of stagnation, and the cotton-mills not remarkably remunerative; but it appeared that we were wrong. However, a day or two afterwards, in turning over the Times, we lighted upon a paragraph which did not appear to us indicative of a high degree of prosperity in one important branch of manufactures. It is as follows:—

"State of Trade. Manchester, Feb. 13.—The continued decline of cotton places our spinners and manufacturers in a very awkward and critical position. The market appears to have lost all confidence, for the present, in the maintenance of prices, and heaviness and gloom are its prevailing characteristics. There has scarcely been business enough to-day to determine what rates would be acceded to; but there can be no doubt that, for any considerable order, a modification of price equal to 3d. per piece on cloth on the nominal rates, or of 4½d. to 6d. on the prices of Thursday last, would be accepted. The decline on yarn is to a proportionate extent."

Messrs Littledale's circular of 20th February is not much more cheerful in its tone. It opens thus:—"The dulness which has pervaded our different produce markets since the opening of the year still continues, but with little change in prices during the last fortnight." As regards the article of silk, we are told that—

"Since the commencement of the month, several parcels of China raw silk have changed hands at rather lower prices than in December last. The manufacturers, finding a great falling off in the sale of their goods, have shown but little disposition to purchase. This, with the announcement of the public sales which are now in progress, has caused great dulness throughout the manufacturing districts. East India and China piece-goods—the demand for which has suddenly diminished; and prices for all sorts are lower, except good and fine Corahs (which for some months past have been very scarce.) These have sold at previous rates; but all other descriptions have been unsaleable."

This is at best but April prosperity—gloom and brightness, intermingled sunshine and showers.

In a very few days we shall learn how Ministers are to meet the opposition which the absurd and incoherent financial statement of Sir Charles Wood has provoked. We have seen bad budgets before, but this is incomparably the worst that was ever devised. The obnoxious and unjust Income Tax is to be renewed, solely for the purpose of bolstering up Free Trade, and the removal of the Window Duties is to be nearly neutralised by the imposition of a house tax! The "happy family," it must be owned, have an especial 384 talent for making themselves universally unpopular.

The result of the division on Mr Disraeli's motion cannot fail to be very cheering to those who look for the advent of better times, and more enlightened legislation. It marks the progress which has been made, even in the present Parliament, from which we had so little to expect; and it will be our own fault if the advantage is not pursued. We would earnestly recommend to the serious perusal and consideration of all, but more especially the landlords of Great Britain, the emphatic peroration of Mr Disraeli in his admirable reply:—"I hope honourable gentlemen will not be frightened by threats, from whatever quarter they may come. I hope there is still so much spirit in gentlemen of the United Kingdom, that they will not be daunted even by the mystical reference of the First Minister, or the more authoritative, more decided threats that may reach them from any other quarter. I hope honourable gentlemen, if they believe they are doing their duty by supporting this motion—and let no man support it who does not believe that he is doing his duty—will feel in future that their part is one of more activity in defending the interests of the tenantry of this country. This is mainly a farmers' question. No one has met my argument about rent, which showed the fallacy of that barbarous slang that has been too long prevalent. It is a farmers' question. Upon the farmers the pressure for years has been too severe; it is now increasing. From motives I call appreciate, and feelings of delicacy I can comprehend, the owners of the soil have not stood forward to vindicate, as they ought to have done, the interests of the tenantry. I hope that this is the commencement of a new era in that respect; and that no man, whether owner or occupier, will hereafter be ashamed or afraid of asking from an English Parliament that justice to which every English subject is entitled."

Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.


1 Edinburgh Review, January 1851, p. 23.

Years. Exports.
Official Value.
Official Value.
Tons inwards.
1822 42,236,533 29,432,376 2,519,044
1823 43,803,472 34,591,260 2,506,760
1824 48,785,551 36,056,551 2,559,587
1836 65,926,702 44,586,741 3,002,875
1837 69,939,389 45,952,551 3,149,152
1838 73,831,550 49,362,811 3,149,168
1846 132,286,345 75,953,875 6,091,052
1847 126,157,919 90,921,866 7,196,033
1848 132,904,407 93,547,134 5,579,461
1849 164,539,504 105,874,607 6,071,269
Parliamentary Tables.

3 Times, Jan. 21, 1851.

Years North
United States Australian
Colonies and
New Zealand
All other
1825 8,741 5,551 485 114 14,891
1826 12,818 7,063 903 116 20,900
1827 12,648 14,52 715 114 28,003
1828 12,084 12,817 1,056 135 26,092
1829 13,307 15,678 2,016 197 31,198
1830 30,574 24,887 1,242 204 56,907
1831 58,067 23,418 1,561 114 83,160
1832 66,339 32,872 3,733 196 103,140
1833 28,808 29,109 4,093 517 62,527
1834 40,060 33,074 2,800 288 76,222
1835 15,573 26,720 1,860 325 44,478
1836 34,226 37,774 3,124 293 75,417
1837 29,884 36,770 5,054 326 72,034
1838 4,577 14,332 14,021 292 33,222
1839 12,658 33,536 15,786 227 62,207
1840 32,293 40,642 15,850 1,958 90,743
1841 38,164 45,017 32,626 2,786 118,592
1842 54,123 63,852 8,534 1,835 128,344
1843 23,518 28,335 3,478 1,881 57,212
1844 22,924 43,660 2,229 1,873 70,686
1845 31,803 58,538 830 2,330 93,501
1846 43,439 82,239 2,347 1,826 129,851
1847 109,680 142,154 4,949 1,487 258,270
1848 31,065 188,233 23,904 4,887 248,089
1849 41,367 219,450 32,091 6,590 299,498
808,740 1,260,247 185,286 30,911 2,285,184

Average annual emigration from the United Kingdom for the last twenty-five years, 91,407.

5 Table showing the commitments for Serious Crime in England, Scotland, and Ireland, from 1822 to 1849, both inclusive:—

Years England Scotland Ireland Total
1822 12,241 1,691 13,251 27,183
1823 12,263 1,733 14,632 28,628
1824 13,698 1,802 15,258 30,748
1825 14,437 1,876 15,515 31,828
1826 16,164 1,999 16,318 34,481
1827 17,924 2,116 18,031 30,071
1828 16,564 2,024 14,683 33,273
1829 18,675 2,063 15,271 36,009
1830 18,107 2,329 15,794 36,230
1831 19,647 2,451 16,192 38,290
1832 20,829 2,431 16,056 39,316
1833 20,072 2,564 17,819 40,453
1834 22,451 2,691 24,381 49,523
1835 20,731 2,867 21,205 44,803
1836 20,984 2,922 23,891 47,797
1837 23,612 3,126 14,804 41,452
1838 23,094 3,418 15,723 42,635
1839 24,443 3,409 26,392 54,244
1840 27,187 3,872 23,883 54,892
1841 27,760 3,562 20,796 52,118
1842 31,389 4,189 21,186 56,684
1843 29,591 3,615 20,126 53,332
1844 26,542 3,575 19,448 49,565
1845 24,303 3,537 16,696 44,536
1846 25,107 4,069 18,492 47,668
1847 28,883 4,635 31,209 64,677
1848 30,349 4,909 38,522 73,780
1849 27,806 4,357 41,982 74,162

6 Table showing the Poor's Rates of England and Wales, with their Population, and the amount in Quarters of Grain in every year, from 1822 to 1849, both inclusive:—

Years Poor's Rates Population Prices of Wheat Amount in
of Wheat
s. d.
1822 £6,358,702 12,318,310 43 3 2,940,440
1823 5,772,958 12,508,956 51 9 2,231,091
1824 5,736,898 12,699,098 62 0 1,850,612
1825 5,786,989 12,881,906 66 6 1,740,447
1826 5,928,501 13,056,931 55 11 2,983,221
1827 6,441,088 13,242,019 56 9 2,269,987
1828 6,298,000 13,441,913 60 5 2,084,855
1829 6,332,410 13,620,701 66 3 1,911,671
1830 6,829,042 13,811,467 64 3 2,125,772
1831 6,798,888 13,897,187 66 4 2,049,916
1832 7,036,968 14,105,645 58 8 2,398,966
1833 6,790,799 14,317,229 52 11 2,566,601
1834 6,317,255 14,531,957 46 2 2,736,717
18357 5,526,418 14,703,002 44 2 2,502,528
1836 4,717,630 14,904,456 39 5 2,393,723
1837 4,044,741 15,105,909 52 6 1,540,853
1838 4,123,604 15,307,363 55 3 1,492,684
1839 4,421,712 15,508,816 69 4 1,275,494
1840 4,576,965 15,710,270 68 5 1,336,340
1841 4,760,929 15,911,725 65 3 1,459,288
1842 4,911,498 16,141,808 64 0 1,534,843
1843 5,208,027 16,371,892 54 4 1,917,665
1844 4,976,093 16,601,975 51 5 1,935,595
1845 5,039,708 16,824,341 50 10 1,976,354
1846 4,954,204 17,032,471 54 8 1,801,528
1847 5,298,787 17,426,321 69 9 1,513,939
1848 6,180,764 17,649,622 50 6 2,423,436
1849 5,792,963 17,862,431 44 3 2,633,166
1850 40 2
Poor's-Rate Report, 1849; and Porter, 90, 3d ed.—The five last years' prices are not from Mr Porter's work, where they are obviously wrong, but from Parl. Pap. 1850, No. 460.

7 New Poor-Law came into operation.

8 Dr Young's Report, Jan. 1851

9 On 22d June, 1850.

10 Edinburgh Review, Jan. 1851.

11 Including buildings £87,000; for poor alone.

12 Dr Strang's Report, 1851.

13 Modern System of Low-priced Goods, p. 2, 3.

14 Alton Locke, vol. i. p. 149-50.

15 It was ascertained, from an accurate return obtained by the Magistrates of Glasgow, that the number of persons who arrived at that city by the Clyde, or the Ayrshire railway, in four months preceding 10th April 1848, was 42,860.

16 Parliamentary Return, 1851.

17 The following Returns from three seaports alone—London, Liverpool, and Dublin—in 1849 and 1850, will show how rapidly this ruinous process is going on:—

1849. 1850.
I. London Ships. Tons. Ships. Tons.
British, 6,917 1,444,311 6,497 1,376,233
Foreign, 3,040 443,923 3,413 527,174
II. Liverpool
Foreign, 56,500 124,800
III. Dublin
British, 351 63,263 279 44,146
Foreign, 125 27,774 183 39,250
Decrease of British. Increase of Foreign.
Ships. Tons. Ships. Tons.
I. London, 420 78,078 373 83,251
II. Liverpool, 78,300
III. Dublin, 72 19,117 58 11,476
Total, 173,027

18 Including the police committals, much more numerous than those for trial.

19 "At present the native consumption of cotton in India is estimated at from 1,000,000,000 lb. to 3,000,000,000 lb. annually; while the export to Great Britain is only 60,000,000 lb., and to all the world only 150,000,000 lb. In this state of things, the rough production that suits the home market will, of course, only be carried on; while, if sufficient means of conveyance existed to render the cotton that is now grown in the interior, at 1¼d. per lb., remunerative for export, increased care in its preparation would be manifested, as was the case in the United States, just in proportion to the increased reward that would result. In developing these views, Mr Chapman undertakes to demonstrate, by well-arranged facts and tables, that the export of cotton from India to England has risen exactly as the difficulties or expense of its transmission have been diminished; and also that costs and impediments still remain which are sufficient to account for the smallness of the quantity we continue to receive."—Times, Jan. 1851.

20 It need scarcely be observed, that Jackeymo, in his conversations with his master or Violante, or his conferences with himself, employs his native language, which is therefore translated without the blunders that he is driven to commit when compelled to trust himself to the tongue of the country in which he is a sojourner.

21 Mr Dale probably here alludes to Lord Bolingbroke's ejaculation as he stood by the dying Pope; but his memory does not serve him with the exact words.

22 Legends of the Monastic Orders, as Represented in the Fine Arts. By Mrs Jameson. 1 vol. Longman & Co., London. 1850

23 Lavengro; the Scholar—the Gipsy—the Priest. By George Borrow, Author of the Bible in Spain, &c. 3 vols. London: 1851.

24 Les Arts en Portugal. By Count A. Raczynski, Envoy from the Court of Berlin to the Court Of Portugal.—Paris, 1846.

25 Sr. J. B. Almeida Garrett, one of the most distinguished living writers of Portugal, has produced an effective and popular drama on this subject.—See vol. iii. of his collected works, in 7 vols. Lisbon, 1844.

26 The Life and Correspondence of the late Robert Southey. Edited by his Son, the Reverend Charles Cuthbert Southey.

Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume
69, No. 425, March, 1851, by Various


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